Thursday, December 30, 2010

‘East Coast Weasel’ Labour MSP Iain Gray fires first shot in ‘dirty’ Holyrood campaign, special soap commandos put on high red alert

Terrorist plan to slaughter newspaper staff is thwarted by Danish Security Services, another plot foiled before innocent people could be killed

Dear All

Most people accept that freedom of speech is essential in a democracy and should be vigorously protected by the State of any country that considers itself liberal in nature.

Five Muslim men have been arrested for planning to shoot as many people as possible at the office of a Danish newspaper.

This is the newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

In publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the newspaper showed bad taste and bad judgement.

However they were legally within their rights to do so.

The cartoons provoked massive and violent protests in 2006 in Muslim countries where demonstrators said the drawings as having profoundly insulted Islam and shortly afterwards death threats were issued.

There are ways of making your point without restoring to murder.

Is it acceptable to kill someone for drawing a cartoon?


This is an example of people using a cause as an excuse to justify murder, the people arrested are criminals.

Denmark's intelligence service arrested four men in two raids in suburbs of Copenhagen.

During the raids an automatic weapon, a silencer and ammunition were recovered.

Swedish police said they also arrested a 37-year-old Swedish citizen of Tunisian origin living in Stockholm.

Jakob Scharf, head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or PET said:

"An imminent terror attack has been foiled."

Some of the suspects have been described as "militant Islamists with relations to international terror networks."

Zubair Butt Hussain, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Denmark called the murder plan "extremely worrying."

He added his organisation "absolutely condemns any act of terrorism regardless of the motives and motivations that may lie behind."

The four men face preliminary charges of attempting to carry out an act of terrorism. This isn’t the first time that there have been plots against the news paper Jyllands-Posten or Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew the most contentious of 12 cartoons.

There have been four.

Kurt Westergaard said:

"The foiled plot is a direct attack on democracy and freedom of press. We may not and won't let anyone forbid us to criticise radical Islamism."

In January, a Somali man broke into Westergaard's home wielding an axe and a knife; Westergaard escaped by using a safe-room within his house.

2008, two Tunisians with Danish residence permits were arrested for plotting to kill him.

September, a man was wounded when a letter bomb he was preparing exploded in a Copenhagen hotel as it was being prepared for the newspaper.

These people should get long prison sentences and deportation for life from the European Union.

When PC culture was introduced by the political classes is was a tool to silence dissent and marginalise people.

In the immigration debate, it quickly became polarised, branding people, by sticking the racist tag on them.

Mainstream parties went out of their way court sections of the community as they saw groups like the Muslim community as potential large ‘vote caches’.

To that end we had campaigns such as ‘One Scotland Many Cultures’, this can be found here.

What that campaign should have said was ‘One Scotland, One Culture; Many Religions’.

The Scottish Government campaign was to tackle racism and discrimination but it was a signpost that highlighted how communities had segregated instead of integrated.

All over Europe we have seen political leaders speak out of the failure of the multicultural experiment.

Failure is due to political fear and short term thinking but there are good people to highlight in our Muslim Community.

Mr. Assader Ali.

He is a restaurateur in Edinburgh who to me is signifies what One Scotland, One Culture; Many Religions’ means.

Assader is a Muslim Chef who does not celebrate Christmas but he decided to shut up shop and taking his curries around the city to feed the homeless.

He and his staff cooked up a massive batch of turkey jalfrezi and off they went to help people.

Regardless what religion someone is, one culture, promotes shared values which everyone should have and aspire too.

For me my Scot of the Year is Mr. Assader Ali for highlighting a message I continually blog on, the importance of community, something everyone should fight to protect.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

CBI director Iain McMillan writes his ‘report card’ on Scottish Government, he is solution lite and lacking vision, no future in education then

Dear All

Everyone has a right to put their bit in and complain, that is the nature of free speech.

CBI director Iain McMillan wants a return to a Labour Government in Holyrood, unfortunately someone else is parked there at present.

So what are his complaints regarding the current Scottish Government?

1/ The National Conversation on independence.

Is he serious? A party pursues its main goal!

This complaint is without merit.

2/ Cancelling Edinburgh and Glasgow Airport rail links.

Given that he accepts that there needs to be cuts, how does he think these projects can be paid for? Should the current Scottish Government spend money they don’t have?
Wouldn't he be straight onto the media citing and screaming financial incompetence from the rooftops if this was allowed to happen?

Also would he chop the £842 million New Glasgow Southern Hospital? 24/7 365 days a year serving 110,000 people?
How does he justify £200 million on a ten minute choo choo train ride that a report says the thing will be underused?

This complaint is without foundation.

3/ Failure to allow the private sector to deliver more public services.

The only way to deliver this is to destroy public services departments, is this reform for reform sake or just greed? A strong effective and efficient public service is needed coupled with a higher degree of commercial awareness is the answer, public service needs to acquire more flexibility.

This complaint is without merit too.

4/ Refusing to use Public Private Partnerships.

Labour dogma, buy now and pay forever!

This complaint is without foundation.

5/ Not allowing the building of new nuclear power plants.

Speaking personally I favour a mixed approached so won’t rule out the building of Nuclear Power Plants in the future provided certain conditions were met, for example State owned but commercially operated, waste management strategy and a levy put into a fund like the Norwegians done with oil.

His complaint is to my mind politically motivated, it is a unionist view.

6/ Hitting big retailers with higher business rates.

In any economy there needs to be a mix of small and big retailers, is it surprising that we should ask big retailers to put something back? Big retailers need sensible Government putting into place the mechanisms and infrastructure to allow a healthy economy and communities to flourish. We also need to support small businesses which local communities depend on too.

This complaint is without foundation as it is short term thinking, big retailers want steady and sustainable growth; the current Scottish Government ensures this.

So, six complaints which could have been written by the Labour Party, McMillian then has to come clean with the successes.

1/ streamlining planning procedures
2/ construction of new rail and motorway links.
3/ support for renewable energy
4/ the commitment to improving literacy and numeracy in schools
5/ the Curriculum for Excellence
6/ prompt payment policy to suppliers to the public sector (his members).
7/ Action to reduce red tape
8/ the council tax freeze.

‘East Coast Weasel’ Labour MSP Iain Gray joined criticisms by McMillian saying that there was a failure to grow the economy.

How can there be a failure when the Scottish Government deferred the cuts for a year to stimulate the economy in the first place?

Does Iain Gray who doesn’t understand economics not get keeping money in the system at present is helping Scotland and its people?

CBI director Iain McMillan thinks that Scotland should strip the public sector and place it in the hands of the private sector; this means that democratic accountability would be lost and Government at all levels would be tied in contracts allowing them no room for manoeuvre or act.

Then society would be in real trouble.

CBI director Iain McMillan says:

“In this election year, there will be temptations on the part of our politicians to avoid tough decisions and court popularity. But real leadership is about doing the right things for Scotland at the right time and explaining why they are necessary”.

Is he advocating full financial levers for Scotland?

That is ’the right things for Scotland at the right time’ or is that too innovative for him!

His ‘report card’ which he has presented as a failure is actually nothing of the kind, it shows that there is a real agenda for change, jobs done and successes made but like any report card it cannot report on the next year, we have to see the other changes in the pipeline work their way through. Tough decisions will be made but at the right time for the right reasons, government by the people for the people.

Scotland took a step forward in 2007, now it is time to start the ‘running’ programme.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Community service delays unsatisfactory, says Lib Dem MSP Robert Brown, he wants the current dogma to run faster when changing the system is needed

Dear All

Public Service reform is a topic has a certain strength at the moment, not just because of the cuts coming down the line but because when tested some services leave a lot to be desired.

Criminal Justice is in some aspects like a road that goes nowhere, once a person is sentenced to community service; the justice system that has processed them appears to grind to a halt because the interface with the councils doesn’t work.

At present there are delays in offenders starting their stint of community service and this is allegedly damaging the current system.

The majority of local authorities it is said are failing to meet the Scottish Government’s seven-day target.

And the number of councils that cannot get their act together is shocking, two out of 32 councils confirm all offenders sentenced to Community Service Orders in September in their area were set to work within a week.

This is a failure of not just management but of the Councillors themselves.

Surely, it is clear that there must be a system in place where the provision of work is geared up ready to go.

This can either be stand alone or integrated within existing departments personnel.

And then there is the issue of reform, if people have skills which are of use then surely a better return is to use them generating a benefit rather than the idea of the old fashioned ‘chain gang’ approach.

It may satisfy the ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ brigade but doesn’t satisfy the need to make crime pay for the victims and the State.

Liberal Dem justice spokesman, Robert Brown said of the delays:

“This is not at all a satisfactory position. Liberal Democrats have always been clear that community sentences have to be speedy, effective and of high quality. Robust and effective community sentences are a much better option than very short prison sentences, which just don’t work. But in order for community sentences to fulfil their real potential for both offenders and communities, these work placements must be properly implemented, within given time frames. In some areas, offenders kick their heels for almost a month before their sentence begins. This does neither the victim nor the offender any favours.”

Lots of rhetoric from Brown, big on brush stroke and short on detail, for someone who speaks on justice I would expect him to fill in the blanks; he appears to be talking about speeding up the process when reform of the process must run parallel to that as well.

Once the justice system has coughed out an offender, the council must take a more active role but there also needs to be Scottish Government help to fundamentally change the nature of community sentences to so that benefit the community more than they currently do.

If people have useable skills then they should be slotted into council departments rather like the concept of short term contracts, it is time to think of community service in these terms.

Society benefits, the offender pays their due, the victim gets justice and the council gets additional manpower for free.

Clearly in Scotland there is need for a new radical agenda that thinks pass current dogma.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Carpenters - Calling-Occupants-Of-Interplanetary-Craft

Tommy Sheridan to appeal guilty verdict, Sheridan needs an expert in Human Rights law to properly argue he didn’t get full Article Six Rights

Dear All

I like to see a good legal fight in a court of law as it is highly entertaining in many respects, not just the rhetoric but the legal argument on points of law.

Tommy Sheridan is to lodge an appeal against his conviction for perjury.

I think this is to be expected and given his situation and I suspect the best possible route since the guilty verdict last week.

So, what grounds could Sheridan use to claim he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

It is said that he is to claim "key witnesses" were blocked from speaking at the trial and that e-mails were withheld from his defence lawyers.

That means the basis of his appeal is that he didn’t get his article six rights which give the right to a fair trial under Human Rights Law.

Is this a runner?

Well, it is definitely something he could try and why not, the alternative on January 26 is grim.

Sheridan has been found guilty of five counts of perjury; the sentence he is looking at is years in prison.

His appeal also allegedly will focus on the "withholding of crucial e-mails" sent between the Scottish News of the World and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

So, the question which comes to mind is, does Sheridan have any evidence that supports the appeal that any undisclosed email has evidence relevant to his case?

Or are he and his legal team just flying a kite?

Labour MP and former minister Tom Watson, a senior member of a Commons committee probing the NOTW hacking allegations has popped up and lodged a complaint with the UK's Information Commissioner.

He says he has done this over a "highly suspicious" claim at Sheridan's trial by Scottish NoW editor Bob Bird that e-mails sent about the newspaper's investigation into the former SSP leader had been lost.

Bob Bird claimed during the court hearing that "many e-mails had been lost when they were being moved to an archive in India".

This doesn’t look to me that this would fly in front of a Judge unless Sheridan can prove by third party independent evidence that something allegedly lost prejudiced his case.

Speculation isn’t a solid basis on which to claim under Article Six that the trial was unfair.

In preparing an appeal, I would expect his legal team to ‘pad’ out his case.

Sheridan’s appeal allegedly also centres on the fact that defence lawyers were stopped from quizzing Mulcaire during Sheridan's trial, after he was excused from giving evidence due to a doctor's note.

As to the non attendance of a witness due to their illness, why didn’t Sheridan and his legal team ask for a postponement?

That is not an unreasonable question which would pass across the minds of anyone sitting looking at his appeal.

I think they better put together some real evidence which is fact based and not speculation otherwise this appeal will be bounced out the door.

A Judge won’t allow a ‘voyage of discovery’ without something to justify the trip.

During the trial, and I think this is clinging at straws, they intend to cite the trial judge Lord Bracadale's decision to stop Scottish comic Des McLean, who previously impersonated Sheridan on the radio, from giving evidence.

So, what could McLean say other that people can impersonate other people’s voices!

Where does that take Sherdian?


That would be put to the sword by an appeal judge as trash!

A crucial piece of evidence in the trial was a video on which Sheridan was heard admitting he had attended sex clubs.

Through-out Sheridan denied the voice heard was his and said there was no scientific evidence led to prove that it was.

Why didn’t Sheridan produce his own scientific evidence and experts?

If the tape was doctored, who did it?

Is Sheridan saying that George McNeilage done it?

Or is Sheridan saying that it was done post McNeilage?

If so, does Sheridan have any evidence to support such a position or is this speculation?

His legal team believe that had McLean been allowed to show his impersonation skills in court it would have cast doubt on the authenticity of the tape.

That is a stretch.

One point which is worth pressing is excusing former escort girl Fiona McGuire from giving evidence at Sheridan's trial on the grounds of illness.

That could be argued successfully I feel but doesn’t however put Sheridan in a better place unless McGuire can give an account helpful to him.

So, what are the odds on a successful appeal?

I would say that bunny depends on how it is written up and by whom.

If the appeal is anything like the 5 hour rant by Tommy Sheridan in his closing speech, he will get nowhere.

The appeal has to be short, sharp and factual and backed up by case law examples up the ying yang!

And I would get in some fresh talent to do the writing up and bin Aamer Anwar.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Annabel Goldie calls for drug testing of all Scots prisoners, ‘take the train’ Annabel, the record has been played to death on tough on crime!

Dear All

The Scottish Tories lead by Annabel Goldie are back on ‘tough on crime’ again.

It’s getting old Annabel, really old.

On of the tricks in politics is to ask loaded questions so that you can be supplied the answer you want then go out as shout the odds from the rooftops.

An overwhelming number of Scots support mandatory drug testing in prisons.

A poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Scottish Tories showed 91% in favour of the measure.

Boosted by the poll Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie gets on her high horse and demands action.

The end game is that this supports her calls for the Government to introduce tougher measures.

I suspect that given the issue that a rolling review of procedures would be in place.

Goldie said:

“When you consider that there is a drug bust in a Scottish jail every five hours, and that the Scottish Prison Service does not keep records of the type of drug found, something clearly has to be done”.

Like sticking your finger in the dyke as the water pours through in several places?

Goldie added:

“Put simply, all prisoners should be subjected to a drugs test upon their arrival in jail. This testing must be comprehensive, robust and consistent.”

Are we to believe that people who have no future would care that there is drugs testing?

And to want end, take them to court and jack up their sentence?

Annabel Goldie is a nice old dear whose is desperate to try and cling on to her position so she is like a record, only so many songs repeated.

She is a vinyl record in an MP4 age, she needs to upgrade her thinking, better still get someone in to think for her.

This quote shows how out of touch with ordinary people she is:

“We must work harder to help addicts recover and send them on the path to abstinence”.

The only part missing from her quote is ‘Ahem’!

Annabel Goldie is Scottish Tory leader, she has had a career, a good job, several advantages which other people cannot even dream of, but despite this she cannot relate to people.

Ms Goldie says of current Government policy that it should be directed at helping prisoners get off drugs.

Perhaps people don’t want to deal with reality, if Annabel Goldie was taken out of her cushy existence and lived as a member of what is termed ‘the underclass’, she would have her eyes opened.

Former Tory MP and journalist Matthew Parris tried to ‘do poor’ in the eighties as an experiment.

It was a shock to his system.

Practicalities are another thing divorced from Goldie’s thinking when she says:

“We must work harder to help addicts recover and send them on the path to abstinence. That is why we must have drug-free wings in every institution where prisoners who want to come off drugs can be removed from the availability and the temptation of drugs.”

Unworkable and resource barred.

I had to laugh when she said robust action must also be taken against anyone supplying drugs to prisoners.

Like prison?

She said:

“Visiting privileges should be withdrawn and in persistent cases criminal charges brought. We would also consider prison visits taking place behind glass screens to ensure that there is no contact between prisoners and their visitors and therefore deny them the opportunity of passing over drugs.”

I would be wary of politicians straying into operational policy matters of the SPS as a matter of course.

It may look fine on paper but how would that work in an open prison?

I suspect that Annabel Goldie isn’t trying to take us in a new direction but is purely politicking on three fronts, trying to boost the vote for Holyrood 2011, trying to gear up her own crowd and finally trying to shore up her weak position.

Goldie said the benefits of finding the political will to tackle the problem would be lower re-offending, less crime and a safer prison environment.

Speculative opinion on her part it seems.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman say that more than 70% of their ‘customers’ come through the door with an addiction problem.

As recovery takes a long time, it is a bit like a Super tanker, it can’t stop on a dime, just like education it takes time to sink in.

SPS said:

“The SPS has invested extensively in anti-drug measure including dogs, new technology and enhanced intelligence co-operation with the police and other agencies. Anyone found trafficking or attempting to traffic drugs into our jails is reported to police.”

I am sure Annabel Goldie knew that, so shouting the odds was nothing more than running her mouth.

It wasn’t clever and it wasn’t going anyway.

One thing for certain, when her colleagues in the Tory Party come calling for her head post 2011, the only way she will be ‘getting stoned’ is by the verbal rocks the anti Goldie faction will be throwing.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Glasgow City Council officials probed over hospitality breach, the stench of cronyism is so overpowering that it would turn your guts inside out!

Dear All

I call it The Glasgow Labour Council of shame!

And for good reason, awhile ago in the post dated 30th March 2010, I said there should be a full public inquiry into Glasgow City Council.

My exact words were:

“The inquiry must be wide ranging, people need to know the full extent Glasgow City Council and their ALEO’s funnelling of jobs and contracts to Labour Party members, relatives, friends, associates and donors”.

At the time the SPT expenses scandal involving Labour Councillors of shame was the storm of the moment but I knew that we had only seen the tip of the Glasgow iceberg breaking the surface.

Now, 8 months later, an inquiry has been launched after senior officials at Glasgow City Council allegedly breached their own code of conduct when they were entertained by a private firm.

And shortly after that happy event the firm secured almost £2 million worth of contracts from Land and Environmental Services, their department.

12 senior managers from land and environmental services were wined and dined at this year’s £50-a-head Lord Provost’s Burns supper by Maclay Civil Engineering.

The company was tendering for contracts and four of these tenders were successful.

At present, acceptance of hospitality is a breach of council rules.

The Labour-led authority’s code of conduct states no officer should take gifts or hospitality during a tendering process.

So, the 12 involved have questions to answer as a council’s audit team is investigating if there has been any inappropriate behaviour.

Isn’t it inappropriate behaviour to break the rules?

And we aren’t just talking a slap on the wrist and burying this as such conduct could fall foul of the incoming Bribery Act 2010.

This isn’t the first time that allegations of cronyism at the City Chambers have surfaced but it is the first time that so many have been caught so publicly.

And why are they allowed to accept hospitality in the first place?

Those who were entertained by the contractor, Maclays at the Burns supper in the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow’s Cambridge Street on January 29 were deputy director George Gillespie, head of roads Andy Waddell, and David McClelland, head of service development, whose post includes overseeing procurement.

Should such senior people have known better?

We aren’t talking a few junior staff; we are talking about the very senior members of department who sit in judgement of others.

The council’s code of conduct states:

“Hospitality must not be accepted knowingly during the tendering period of a contract and councillors/officers should always be aware of the possibility that the contractor/consultant offering hospitality may be tendering for a contract elsewhere in the council. The clear rule of thumb is that, when in doubt, politely refuse.”

And in the Minutes of a meeting of senior land and environmental services (LES) officials, we find a fortnight after the Burns supper noting that “managers were asked to be mindful re hospitality requests”, with department head Robert Booth “asking the division heads to provide him with a note of the dinners that LES take tables at”.

With the trade unions trying to save jobs already under threat from a callous Council who are trying to outsource everything they have been quick to condemned the actions of those who have breached of the code.

Unison’s Chris Stephens said:

“Once again the issue of relationships between LES and contractors has been called into question. Our members believe some of this work should be done in-house and increasing the amount of work to be sub-contracted will only lead to fears that something is not quite right.”

Martin Doran, of the GMB, said:

“The appearance this sends out is that nepotism and cronyism is alive and well within Glasgow. Officials cannot be wined and dined by contractors when tenders are under way.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman as per their usual modus operandi said:

“Every council service is asked to approach suppliers and contractors to support the Lord Provost’s Burns Supper by buying or sponsoring tables. However, an allegation has been made and is now being treated like any other complaint.”

We aren’t however talking about ‘buying or sponsoring tables’, we are talking about 12 senior managers who by their own actions have left themselves opened to possible Police investigation under the Bribery Act 2010.

What I said in March 2010 regarding what needs to be done at the Labour controlled Glasgow City Council remains true:

“people need to know the full extent Glasgow City Council and their ALEO’s funnelling of jobs and contracts to Labour Party members, relatives, friends, associates and donors”.

Only when such a transparent inquiry takes place and matters are dealt with can people start to have faith in what the Council is doing.

At present Glasgow City Council is a Labour Council of shame!

The fact that Labour Leader and Councillor of shame Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson has seen this blown up on his watch shows he isn’t the leader that Glasgow needs.

We are seeing another episode of the tip of the iceberg of cronyism at the City Chambers breach the surface, now watch Glasgow Labour Councillors and officials jump on this to push the tip back under the water.

The tip shows what I have always said; Glasgow City Council is rotten to the core. The sooner that the people of Glasgow realise the Council is run for the benefit of the Labour Party members, relatives, friends, associates and Labour donors, the sooner they will vote them out on the street.

This is one case where new management and a cull are badly needed!

Hospitality should be strictly forbidden for Council employees who act in a management capacity at any level.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, December 24, 2010

In the Tommy Sheridan case, I said on the 15th October he was in real trouble and needed a trial lawyer, George Laird was right again

Dear All

The Tommy Sheridan verdict came as no surprise.

It was a bitter, nasty, hostile and at times, vocally bad tempered fight at the High Court in Glasgow.

Good entertainment value from the point of view from an outsider and excellent for those considering a career in law.

On the 15th October 2010, I wrote this post.

I said in explicit terms:

“For fuck sake son, get a trial lawyer because you are getting legally fucked up the arse with a dick the size of an elephant”.

For those who are film buffs, you will notice that is a slight adaptation from the line used by Tom Cruise in the movie, The Firm.


After Tom Cruise forcibly puts his client in the picture regarding tax, the person turns round and says;

“Do you know that as a fact?”

Tommy Sheridan had a disastrous start to his trial and although he had some good days and scored points, made some headway, in the end, it wasn’t enough.

Through-out the trial, I have to say I was impressed by Lord Bracadale who from what I heard and read was a model of fairness.

Well done that Judge.

In granting Sheridan bail, he allowed Tommy Sheridan to spend Xmas with his wife and 5 year old daughter and keep his promise.

Tommy Sheridan returns to Court on the 26th January 2011.

Judge Lord Bracadale told him beofre he left Court:

"You have been convicted of the serious offence of perjury and must return to court expecting to begin a prison sentence."

It has been said that the Police inquiry cost about £1,500,000 and the trial between £2 million to £3 million pounds.£4.5 million and if he is sent down for 5 years then add another £160k to that total.

For £4.6 million, does the public feel they got value for money?

Justice has been done, the right verdict was produced by the jury based on the evidence, the winners have taken the laurels but I wonder deep down if the 'winners' really feel like celebrating?

In politics, the usual rule of thumb is that as soon as an opposition politician get caught doing something wrong, automatically you scream for their head on a plate, in some kind of self righteous way.

In this case I don't feel I want to, it is also like there is a sense of loss attached to this verdict not just for Sheridan but for Scotland.

Away back in October I saw the writing on the wall, when I bumped into a photographer who does work for the News of the World on occasion and he asked my opinion.

He wanted to know; what was the George Laird view?

I immediately said that Tommy Sheridan was completely f****d!

He had a different take on the case and thought he would get not proven.

I listen as he reeled off tit bits but in the back of my mind I always thought that Sheridan’s best chance of freedom would be in the hands of a clever trial lawyer.

As for Aamer Anwar who was Sheridan’s solicitor, my view is still the same as it was here:

He is a prick!

Someone in the Times agreed with my assessment.

When Sheridan sacked Maggie Scott QC, It was a mistake.

I said:

“I think Sheridan is in real trouble, he needs a trial lawyer or the next ‘big brother’ house he will be in, will be Barlinnie Prison”.

George Laird was right again but in this incidence I take no pleasure in saying I told you so.

Perhaps, the public interest would be better served if Lord Bracadale tempted his sentence with mercy, I don't see Sheridan representing a danger to the public, warehousing him for 5 years would cost circa £160k and as the Crown said there was no victim in this case.

I would like to see a suspended prison sentence, fine and community service, I would think this would better serve the ends of justice and be more appropriate.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tommy Sheridan convicted of perjury at the High Court in Glasgow, he couldn’t move the biggest stumbling block in the trial; the truth!

Dear All

The wait is over; Tommy Sheridan has been convicted of perjury.

This is the verdict of the 12 women and 2 men at the High Court in Glasgow following a 12-week trial.

Tommy Sheridan now faces a lengthy prison term when he is sentenced.

I can genuinely say I am disappointed but the evidence of so many people against him must have weighed heavily on the minds of the jury.

And the voice on the videotape in my mind did sound like him although he called it a fake.

Tommy Sheridan had it all, a recognisable name, a career in local and then onto national politics.

His career and reputation now lie in the dust.

His downfall started after ironically a win in his successful defamation action against the Sunday tabloid, The News of The World in August 2006.

Sheridan sued after it printed allegations that he was an adulterer who had attended a swingers' club.

It was a case which would see the SSP finished as a political force and Sheridan leading effectively the Tommy Sheridan Party called Solidarity.

Two months later the defamation case ended Edinburgh's procurator fiscal ordered Lothian and Borders Police to investigate allegations of perjury during the case.

An unusual step in a civil case, unheard of which attracted a lot of comment.

One of the things which I touched on through-out his trial was that Tommy Sheridan needed a trial lawyer.

George Laird was right again!

The case was a rollercoaster which made it a nightmare to predict, it could have gone any which way.

The News of the World published details of a video tape, secretly recorded by Sheridan's best man George McNeilage and this must have done considerable damage.

In the High Court in Glasgow dozens of witnesses give evidence against the former MSP.

The sheer volume alone must have raised eyebrows of outsiders.

During the second week of the trial, Sheridan released his defence QC Maggie Scott and opted to represent himself just as he had done successfully during the 2006 defamation action.

Tommy Sheridan was caught in the myth of his own invincibility.

In a marathon closing speech, lasting five hours over two days, Sheridan told the jury that the Crown witnesses were not credible or reliable, he made an emotional speech.

In hindsight, perhaps he should have kept emotion out and concentrated on weaknesses of the prosecution.

At the end five hours to me seemed to be a man who was sliding down a slippery slope throwing everything but the kitchen sink; at the jury.

He accused police of conducting "a vendetta" against him.

Claimed people were liars.

Said the tape was a fabrication designed to incriminate him.

The jury, however, chose to believe the Crown's case, and convicted him of perjury.

I have met Tommy Sheridan on a few occasions; I have to say I always found him friendly; he was a hard campaigner and a passionate fighter who made a name for himself.

Leaving the merits of the case aside, I hoped as an outsider he walked for his daughter’s sake.

But there was one stumbling block that Tommy Sheridan could shift in the Trial of Sheridan vs. the Crown, the truth!

And I always say if you want to do the most damage, use the truth, there is no answer to that!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family, enjoy the festive period and be safe

Dear All

Merry Xmas and a happy New Year to you and your family!

I would like to thank all the people who took the opportunity to drop by the blog to read and comment.

62, 354 stopped by.

At this time of year, it is all too easy to get caught up by events so what did I learn this year?

There are some things and people worth fighting for.

One of my favourite films is ‘It’s a wonderful Life’ which encapsulates the meaning and importance of community.

One of the lines in the movie is:

“Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends”.

And I am lucky, I have good friends.

Merry Xmas!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

The BBC google George Laird Glasgow University, fame at last, certainly made my Xmas for me, just goes to show anyone can blog

Dear All

Fame at last!

Yes, after blogging away for a bit, the BBC even recognises me by name.

Someone parked in sunny London, type into google George Laird Glasgow University.

This doesn’t mean I will be asked onto Strictly Come Dancing but rather the blog is getting noticed.

Wouldn’t it be funny if they asked me in for an interview on something, I suspect that it would be a lively exchange for the viewers.

You can imagine the scene, the family is sitting there munching away at its dinner, and they all stop, look at the screen and say, 'did he really say that'!

Still it is nice to be noticed so early on in my short but eventful blogging career.

It is looking more like Xmas all the time, thanks BBC, you made my day.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Residents of remote villages in fight to save medical cover, we should all back them, they have a solid case, we have a moral duty to fund

Dear All

It is a fact of life that if you stay in outlying areas that you cannot expect to have the same services that we all take for granted in the big city.

Staying in ‘the boonies’ has advantages and disadvantages, one being that the most remote communities on the British mainland have trouble fighting to keep out-of-hours medical cover.

Five Highland villages on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula have been told by their local health board that two district nurses will no longer be able.

They will be limited to a 9am to 5pm service, cool comfort in an emergency.

Such is their concern that they have contacted senior politicians asking them to intervene the matter will now raise the matter with NHS Highland.

We are talking about 250 residents live in Kilchoan, Glenborrodale, Portuairk, Sanna, and Kilmory on a single track road on the peninsula.

If the district nurses, who live in Kilchoan, are no longer able to take out-of-hours calls, villagers will have to rely a service from GPs in Acharacle 40 minutes away by road.

I think 40 minutes is far too long a time to wait, can you imagine trying to do CPR for 40 minutes?

It is unacceptable and sometimes health boards do have to take the hit and fund areas like this, commonsense dictates the need is important.

Also the two local GPs also want the nurses to continue, probably from a practical level.

Campaigners have told politicians:

“The nearest ambulance is a minimum of one-and-a-quarter hours away but has taken four hours to reach us. Our doctors are an hour away, and the nearest Accident and Emergency department (at Fort William) is two hours away. NHS Highland has given us very little notice. They have not consulted with us or with our local practice, nor has there been an evaluation of the impact of the move, for example on additional costs of GPs and helicopter medivac resources. We have had many assurances from NHS Highland that the nurses would not be withdrawn. Our 10 new First Responders (who provide early intervention until an ambulance arrives) completed their training over the last few months on the clear understanding that the nurses would be available to support them. They all intend to resign when the nurses are withdrawn.”

I would hope that politicians would dig into the reserve and give the Highland Health Board, the extra cash.

Sue Cheadle, a crofter at Sanna, said:

“My daughter suffers from epilepsy, so we are extremely concerned about what will happen in February when the current nurses’ out-of-hours cover ceases. Early last year, two weeks after her baby was born, my daughter had a seizure and stopped breathing. Although we phoned the ambulance, we knew it wouldn’t get here in time to save her. It must have been the worst and longest moments of my life. Thankfully, within 15 minutes of our 999 call, our district nurse arrived and administered emergency treatment. By the time the ambulance finally arrived 50 minutes later, my daughter was out of danger – thanks to the nurse’s quick response. We’re worried sick about the future.”

This case study should be more than enough.

Tracy Ligema, locality manager for Mid Highland Community Health Partnership, explained the health board’s decision:

“The district nurse service in Kilchoan is not being withdrawn but, in time, we will be stopping the specific on-call cover. By doing this Ardnamurchan will have a district nurse service similar to other areas in NHS Highland and indeed areas throughout NHS Scotland. In all other locations, including remote and rural, out-of-hours primary care is provided by NHS Highland GP cover supported by access through NHS24 for initial triage and advice. More urgent care and provision of an emergency response is the clear responsibility of the Scottish Ambulance Service.”

She added:

“It is clear that the provision currently in place is not sustainable as it diverts nursing services away from essential daytime work and requires nurses to stay away on a regular basis. A review of the activity has shown that there are a small number of calls, the majority of which are for minor illness or injury which do not require immediate response. As has been discussed with staff and the community council, we have to be mindful of the future availability of staff to carry out these duties.”

Having read Tracy’s version of ‘live on mars’, I am not backing her.

The Ardnamurchan case isn’t the first case of this nature as there is continuing campaign by 600 residents in and around Kinloch Rannoch in Perthshire.

The ‘rednecks’ in the provinces still want the restoration of GP out-of-hours cover which was withdrawn in May 2006 and they can whistle!

The people of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula have a case which the Scottish Government should bite the bullet and ensure that the required resources are made available.

Sometimes, decisions can’t always be about money and if you have to take the hit you do so.

I hope sense and grit is sued in talks with Highland Health Board and the people get the help, to not do so would be a dereliction and sad indictment on those involved.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Frankie Boyle in new language storm over deeply offensive remarks, Channel 4 back him to the hilt in arse covering damage limitation exercise

Dear All

Fresh from the storm of abusive behaviour towards Katie Price’s son, Frankie Boyle has sparked fresh outrage.

His latest faux pas is using deeply offensive language by using the "nigger" and "Paki".

Awhile ago Quentin Tarantino provoked the anger of Spike Lee over the word “nigger” in relation to the number of times it appeared in Pulp Fiction.

It prompted Samuel L Jackson to say this:

“I don't think the word is offensive in the context of this film. ... Black artists think they are the only ones allowed to use the word. Well, that's bull. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to black exploitation films. This is a good film, and Spike hasn't made one of those in a few years”.

In show business boundaries are tested, we expect to be shocked on occasion but as much as shock is a tool of the entertainer so are ethics.

I am not a Frankie Boyle fan even before his gaff about Katie Price’s son Harvey but is Boyle saying anything which is not part of mainstream subculture for certain groups like Rappers?

I would say no.

His use of the word “paki” is offensive and is rightly seen as such by society.

Tory MP John Whittingdale believes that the Scottish comedian should not be allowed to continue with his brand of humour.

He said:

"The words nigger and Paki are deeply offensive to a large number of people. I don't think even in comedy it is justified."

Whittingdale added:

"Frankie Boyle is becoming a serial offender. I really think Channel 4 will have to think whether it's appropriate to screen programmes which are regularly causing offence to a lot of people. It might be a breach of the Broadcasting Code. Ofcom will have to determine that."

Channel 4 said the use of the words was "satirical", not racist.

But they would say that.

A spokesman said:

"Channel 4 strongly refutes any suggestion we are endorsing or condoning racist language by our broadcast of Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights. This cutting edge comedy is clearly intended to ridicule and satirise the use of these words - Frankie Boyle was not endorsing them. Channel 4 would not have broadcast these words had they been used in a racist way. All the jokes highlight the unacceptable nature of this language."

And they would say that to cover their arse legally.

The spokesman added that strong warnings about the content were made ahead of the programme and Channel 4 received one complaint about racism following the broadcast.

This is clearly a matter for Ofcom but I suspect that this will not go anywhere or affect Boyle; I don’t see him as a racist but rather someone who specialises in using crude and blunt humour.

Billy Connelly made his name by being funny and offensive about body parts, times and attitudes change but good taste and manners don’t.

Boyle has found a brand of humour which he markets for a living, I think like most people that he overstepped the marked by a wide margin regarding Katie Price’s son Harvey.

Once you say something you have to accept responsibility for it, Boyle is saying things and words that in some cases are deeply offensive but that is the nature of having free speech.

The other side of free speech hopefully is that the person should show some responsibility.

Failing that, we all have several remedies, one of which is flipping over the channel.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

‘Watch them words!’ George Osborne upsets Labour MP Chris Bryant, Bryant throws verbal and Osborne power punches him to the canvas, one shot

Dear All

‘Watch them words!’

If you like John Wayne movies then you will recognise that as a quote from Victor McLaglen from the movie ‘She wore a Yellow Ribbon’.

And if you don’t buy the movie, it’s excellent.

Tory MP and Chancellor George Osborne is crap at comedy, bad timing and unfunny with no feel for the art.

It meant as a festive joke but it backfired spectacularly when George Osborne was plunged into a homophobia row after he called a gay shadow minister a ‘pantomime dame’.

In the Commons, opposition parties trade verbal blows as they try to score points off each other, Vince Cable did the Mr. Bean routine for Gordon Brown; Denis Healy did the dead sheep on Sir Geoffrey Howe.

The comments are quick and sometimes score a hit.

When George Osborne fired across what was meant to be a light-hearted riposte to a dig at him by Labour’s Chris Bryant, it went from panto to an Ellery Queen thiller.
Bryant also known for sticking the boot in by his acerbic wit failed to see the funny side and accused Mr Osborne of being nasty and homophobic.

To set the stage, the feisty exchange happened in front of MPs during Treasury questions, the final session before parliament broke up for Christmas.

Bryant opened the play by likened Mr Osborne to ‘Baron Hardup’, Cinderella’s father because of his austerity cuts.

By saying:

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer takes a particular delight, it seems, in playing the role of Baron Hardup. But can I just say to him in the nicest, Christmassy way possible, that all his austerity talk does provide real anxiety for many of my constituents who worry about their winter fuel allowance, who worry about VAT increasing in January, who worry about major losses in construction jobs in the new year. So can I please just encourage him, just sometimes, to play Prince Charming instead?”

Osborne fired a broadside by replying:

“At least I’m not the pantomime dame.”

Pantomine dames are usually made up to look ugly and shocking.

It is said that Bryant, who is a Labour justice spokesman, looked shocked before shouting that the remark was ‘homophobic’.

A handful of Tory MPs laughed!

Later he told the Daily Mail that he had not received any apology from the Chancellor.

He said:

“I will survive.”

And hopefully plot revenge?

Post Xmas!

David Cameron was dragged into the row when he was asked at a Number 10 press conference whether it was acceptable for the Chancellor to call a gay MP a ‘pantomime dame’.

Cameron said probably wearily and see the Turkey and stuffing at the end of the Tunnel that it sounded like part of the ‘rough and tumble’ of parliament.

Disgraceful Deputy Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Surely it wasn’t intended as a homophobic remark – of course not.”


A Commons source added:

“George thinks he is being funny but sometimes his off-the-cuff responses get the better of him. If he is not careful, he will be cast as the villain in this pantomime, or at the very least, the back end of the horse.”

I always thought George Osborne spent his spare time, head first in the back end of a horse!

Hell across the dispatch box, surely a truce before the end of the week is in order and maybe everyone could go out and see a panto!

Osborne and Bryant would have to sit together sharing the same bag of popcorn because of austerity cuts.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

1 in 3 British Muslim students back killing for Islam which is criminal murder, 54% want Muslim party in Parliament, proof multiculturalism has failed

Dear All

We have seen that multiculturalism has failed.

Multiculturalism is generally defined as the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple ethnic cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g. schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities or nations. In this context, multiculturalists advocate extending equitable status to distinct ethnic and religious groups without promoting any specific ethnic, religious, and/or cultural community values as central.

I copied this from Wikipedia.

So what does it say that a third of young British Muslims favour killing in the name of Islam?

And we aren’t talking people who are plain thick but people who are in higher education, it shows that a different set of values have been allowed to exist without being effectively challanged.

A survey of 600 Muslim students at 30 universities throughout Britain found that 32 per cent of Muslim respondents believed killing in the name of religion is justified.

This is a backward attitude; murder in the name of religion is a criminal act nothing more, 9/11 and 7/7 were done by criminals who tried to wrapped themselves around the fact that they had 'a cause' to justify their actions.

At the end of the day, the Qur'an quite clearly legislates what is the sentence for murder, it’s the death penalty.

The wikileaks site has published a U.S. diplomatic cable from January 2009 which quoted a poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion as saying 54 per cent wanted a Muslim party to represent their world view in Parliament.

Also revealed is that 40 per cent want Muslims in the UK to be under Sharia law.

This will not happen, the rule of law must be the same for every citizen regardless of religious belief to tinker with this principle is naive and foolish.

The release of the wiki US cables suggests increasing radicalisation among Britain's young Muslims, if you want to change society be part of society is the answer.

A further U.S. cable, dated February 5 2009, said reaching out to Britain's Muslim community there was a 'top priority' for U.S. embassy staff.

It stated:

'Although people of Muslim faith make up only 3 to 4 per cent of the UK's population, outreach to this key audience is vital to U.S. foreign policy interests in the UK and beyond... This is a top mission priority.'

As the recent arrest in a Police raid, the problem of 'violent extremism' in the UK is growing because political parties are scared of being branded racist by each other; this has produced a culture of fear in speaking out.

All parties therefore must accept that they need a cross party consensus of what are acceptable views.

In this country people have the right and support of the majority of people to support whatever religion they wish.

The same cannot be said of all Muslim Countries particularly in the Middle East.

There they don’t practice tolerance and in some cases like Egypt, the state allows by inaction Muslims to attack Christians within its own population.

The UK is a breeding ground for Muslim extremism I think this is generally noticed by people outside the intelligence community.

It is a failure of the British Government who has made little progress in engaging Muslims and combating home grown extremism.

Across Europe, political leaders in Germany and France are speaking out that Multiculturalism has failed; it has also failed in Britain and Scotland.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Lib Dem Scottish Sec Michael Moore doesn’t like being with Glasgow University product and creep Liam Fox, Fox makes you feel unclean looking at him

Dear All

Isn’t it funny that when the arse has fallen out of the Lib Dem vote that all of a sudden ‘feel good’ stories of unhappy Lib Dem ministers appear like magic?

Almost too good to be true, they climbed into bed with the Devil and now as junior partner they feel hard done by after getting ‘rogered’ stupid.

They are getting paid ministerial salaries for it!

The feel good story here is for the benefit of the rich middle classes and upwards.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore coughed out to undercover reporters posing as constituents that cutting Child Benefit for higher-rate taxpayers was “blatantly not a consistent and fair thing to do”.

Yes, it is, what does a millionaire need with Child Benefit?

Some people live in real poverty, unable to put their heating on and Moore is worried that millionaires and the well heeled might have to forgo filling up their Chelsea tractor courtesy of the state.

Moore and other Liberal Democrat ministers are privately voicing unease about the Coalition Government’s policies on welfare reform and university tuition fees.

The Berwickshire MP is said to have described his unease on tuition fees to a maximum £9000 as akin to “the biggest, ugliest, most horrific thing in all of this ... a car crash”.

Not concerned really doing it but more the blowback when people who voted Lib dem couldn’t stomach it and walked out.

He said:

“I signed a pledge that promised not to do this. I’ve just done the worst crime a politician can commit, the reason most folk distrust us as a breed. I’ve had to break a pledge and very, very publicly.”

Moore said the move was “deeply damaging.”

Try terminal, in the short to medium term, once you betray how can the public trust you again?

Nick Clegg has burned his bridges, he is a liability a reminder to the public that what he campaigned on publicly he planned to abandon privately.

As a leader, he is finished damaged goods doesn’t do him justice, I am trying to think of a word better than loathing of how the public feels.

Moore added:

“What we’ve all had to weigh up is the greater sense of what the Coalition is about.”

The Coalition is about power, greed and opportunism.

Despite having a donkey in the shape of Red Ed Miliband, the Labour Party has a good chance of re-election even although they plunged the country in the current mess.

The Tories and Lib Dems ran head long into bad decisions when if they had stepped back forgone the quick headlines and spin they could have done much better.

They haven’t taken the public with them and sooner of later in the polls that will twig, then they will be giving out the ‘red cross’ parcels to the ‘prisoners’ (voters) and ask to be allowed to continue being their jailers!

Bizarrely Moore says that LibDem ministers remain passionately "Liberal Democrat", but they have betrayed the public, betrayed their party and betrayed their principles.

Piss off Moore.

As to live inside the Cabinet of the Damned, it isn’t cosy despite the central heating, the Scottish Secretary said some Conservative ministers were “on a different planet”.

Of Glasgow University product and Defence Secretary Liam Fox, Moore singles him out as someone who he “probably couldn’t stay in the same situation for very long” if they were discussing a wide range of policies.

Liam Fox looks like a double glazing salesman in a cheap suit who would sell his own mother down the river for a few quid!

No matter what the subject he always comes across as a creep, a schemer and the worst type of Scottish Tory.

I can’t feel sorry for the Lib Dems and I suspect neither will the public come Holyrood 2011.

All Lib Dems Ministers are tarred with the same brush, political liabilities.

They will probably find that their activist base will desert them in future.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

University cash slashed to 11% is an opportunity, abandon the failed status quo and bring forward new vision of higher education

Dear All

In times of trouble, some people scream like a bitch, the Labour Party is a perfect example at Glasgow City Council as is the university sector.

But in crisis there is opportunity to fix things because the slow witted with a nudge can sometimes be brought round or lead.

Universities have two purposes in the main, research and teaching.

There are also other purposes such as a community aspect and providing employment but they are secondary.

The scale of the cuts facing Scottish universities in the next academic year on the surface looks stark.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) distributes Scottish Government funding to higher education but isn’t as independent as the public might think.

The place is loaded with people from universities serving on committees.

The teaching budget is facing a cut of 11% for 2010-11.

I would therefore say that it would be a smart move to reform the entire higher education sector that means both universities and colleges.

The issue is money on the surface but below the surface there is the rest of the iceberg to deal with.

I don’t believe in change for change sake that produces no benefit but clearly the sector has been allowed to fester because politicians haven’t had the political will to demand reforms.

Universities need to be slimmed down and entire departments transferred into the college sector where it would be cheaper on a cost basis.

SFC funding has fallen by £69 million, from £678m to £609m.

And the future will see that budget chopped further regardless who parks themselves as the Scottish Government post 2011.

Professor Bernard King, convener of Universities Scotland said the announcement was a clear indicator universities faced a significant funding gap.

No shit Sherlock!

Everyone is blinkered trying to protect the status quo and we do know, ‘the status quo has got to go’!

King said:

“Cuts to our teaching grants will inflict real pain on universities who will work to honour their commitment to students, but who will find it enormously difficult to manage this year’s harsh settlement. University funding is not a problem for the future, it is a very real and very big problem right now.”

Did anyone plan for the future?

No, not really, short term vision, all round in universities, they got their ‘giros’ and spent it not putting anything aside or planning for a disaster.

Why didn’t they slim down?

Why didn’t they ‘twin’ with colleges?

Why did they continue empire building?

When I was at the human rights abusing Glasgow University, they decided that they wanted a presence in Dumfries.

My first reaction was this is a mistake; part of the appeal of university is leaving home to go to the ‘big city’.

But Glasgow University wanted to expand its empire because others were doing likewise, a short while later we had the ‘Crichton disaster’.

At the time I said pitching a tent in the provinces was a ‘white elephant’ doomed to disaster, I was right.

The story of that can be read here, it starts out as ‘hope’ and then limps on.

In the space of a year or so, we get this:

I remember the boy who took charge, Professor Rex Taylor seemed a reasonable sort from what I can remember of him, always friendly.

Mary Senior, Scottish official for the UCU union says the cut in higher education was “much more severe” than the overall cut in the Scottish budget.

That is true but then when you’re pouring money into a black hole, it is only natural that you should want to pour less in.

Senior added:

“The rest of the world is investing in higher education and we risk being left behind if we continue to wrongly think we can cut education.”

We are already left behind but Mary Senior like university bosses isn’t calling for anything radical, she wants the status quo to prop up her members, protectionism at its best run under the cover of protecting education.

She also calls on “big businesses” to start contributing towards the cost of higher education, why?

The business of business is business, not a philanthropy quest.

Senior goes further:

“It is ludicrous to suggest an already stretched sector can do more for less – the time has come to look at better and fairer ways to fund our universities.”

She is part of the problem, no vision merely cannon fodder, she is worth the time of day in this debate.

The SFC is biased towards the older universities as shown by their decision to focus more of its funds them.

In a smoke and mirrors scheme SFC has decided to channel additional funds for widening access to newer universities, who have been more successful in recruiting students from deprived backgrounds.

Older universities don’t do deprived working class well at all.

So, at present the problem has been kicked into the long grass by universities who have another year of the status quo.

But this story will come round again, same story, same problems, same people, same rhetoric.

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in the novel, The House of Seven Gables:

“Families are always rising and falling in America. But, I believe, we ought to examine more closely the how and why of it, which in the end revolves around life and how you live it.”

Same with universities and colleges but it does help when the people at the top making decisions have some kind of vision.

To put it simply, we need to slim down the university sector and expand the college sector that way we will get more people educated for every pound spent.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Professor Robert Rennie, LL.B, PhD, FRSA who denied me a fair hearing of my complaints against Glasgow University staff stops by feelings of guilt?

Dear All

I was checking through my statcounter to see who had popped in, and to my surprise, I had a visit from an old fart.

The old fart in question was Professor Robert Rennie, a law professor; he was one of the people who denied me justice while at the human rights abusing Glasgow University.

IP Address

Time and date 21st December 2010 10:54:23

He is a Professor of Conveyancing.

In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage or a lien.

When I was complaining about my abusive treatment 'my' complaint was generated by staff, of the people I was complaining about and submitted to him on my behalf, without my knowledge.

Professor Robert Rennie investigated the Glasgow University staff version of my complaint.

He headed a secret hearing into my complaints organised by the people I was complaining about!

I was:

1/ Not told it was taking place.
2/ Not interviewed.
3/ Not allowed to submit evidence
4/ None of my witnesses were interviewed or allowed to submit evidence.

As a qualified lawyer, he must have known that this was entirely wrong.

In Appendix H of my formal complaint it was sent to the then Principal Muir Russell and all the Vice Principals Robin Leake, Anton Muscatelli, Andrea Nolan, Peter Holmes, Steve Beaumont, and Christopher Morris I pointed out what Rennie and others were up to.

Here is the text of part of the letter sent.

Appendix H is a letter from Professor Robert Rennie, Law Faculty who is also attached to the Senate Office. Professor Rennie apparently was able to conduct an investigation into my complaint without interviewing me or looking at my evidence. He then managed to clear individuals from the Department he is attached to. I should point out that under the university staff procedures this is not allowed. So, either Dr. Jack Aitken when he wrote on the 25th February 2004 is a liar or Professor Robert Rennie has been involved in the covering up of fraud at Glasgow University by investigating a case that he is not allowed to, under the policies and procedures of the University.

My letter and all Glasgow University documents which proved every single allegation went to the senior management of Glasgow University as I said including the current Principal, the corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli.

So why did so many people involve themselves in covering up fraud?

Because I was working class and poor, this won’t have happened to me if I was rich and socially well connected.

So, who was I complaining about?

Four Senior Heads of University Departments:

Julie Ommer, SRS Director;

Dr. Jack Aitken, Head of the Senate Office;

Professor Christopher Gilmore, Head of Chemistry

David Fildes, Head of the Data Protection Office who have all lied within my disciplinary process.

Their gross misconduct and lies have resulted in my being the victim of institutional bullying, discrimination, harassment, malpractice and fraud.

You can click on the link and read in detail how they operate:

Glasgow University operate a secret policy of bullying and discrimination and that runs from the top of the senior management downwards.

Corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli still hasn’t returned a single penny of the various monies stolen from me or apologised for the way I was treated.

At Glasgow University the rights of the staff abuser are more important that the rights of the victim.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tommy Sheridan jury told: Perjury is serious and unacceptable, are 12 women and 2 men really going spoil a 5 year old child’s Xmas, I hope not.

Dear All

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice, QC has described the Tommy Sheridan Case as a “straightforward” case.

It isn’t anything of the sort; it is complex because of the amount of witnesses and evidence presented.

The jury has a lot to look through and think about.

The Crown says that this case was brought ‘in the public interest’ and not in the interest of the News of the World, the SSP or the Police.

Given the usual nature of how this case came before a criminal court, I think this statement to some may some far fetched.

Some people believe this trial is an establishment organised witch hunt on behalf of the News of the World.

Prentice says that he has presented a “convincing and compelling” case against the former MSP.

However he should consider whoever tells the best story in a court has a fair chance of winning.

He also says that justice would be denied if perjury was not prosecuted.

Justice for the News of the World!

This is a newspaper that has destroyed a considerable number of people and in some way played a part in building them up.

If Prentice was looking for a sympathy vote about the poor NOTW I can’t see him getting it.

And remember Gail Sheridan was in the dock and all charges against her were dropped.

This begs the question if the case against her was so strong to charge her why did Alex Prentice back out?

Did he say this case was in the public interest?

Prentice told the jury of 12 women and two men that perjury was a serious offence that, if not prosecuted, puts the entire justice system at risk.

Is this case about lying or saving the entire justice system?

The case either stands or falls on its merits, nothing else should enter the mind of the juror least of all propping up the justice system.

He put it to the jury that they may be wondering why the crime should take up the time of the High Court when there were cases of murder, child abuse and drug dealing to handle.

He said:

“Why should we be interested if Mr Sheridan had sexual relations at a sex club? There is no suggestion that any crime was committed. They were all consenting adults. There are no victims of such as in a murder. The charge is one of perjury. That is a serious crime for the simple reason that our whole system of justice falls apart if perjury is acceptable behaviour. Juries such as yourself are expected to be given truthful evidence so that you can discharge the serious duties that you have. These murder cases could not be properly determined if perjury abounds. There would be a denial of justice. It is not acceptable and should never be acceptable in a mature and dignified democracy. If we let perjury pass without action, we let ourselves down.”

This case is a pile of crap and the justice system isn’t going to fall if Tommy Sheridan walks.

You could argue in a perverse way that justice would be served if he walked.

Prentice asked the jury to consider Katrine Trolle.

He said:

“Why on earth would Katrine Trolle want to come here and tell you about intimate things, sexual behaviour, to a busy court and a jury composed of strangers? Why would she put herself through that?”

I could hazard a guess that most people would think of and say money?

In the end this case shouldn’t have been brought regardless of the rights and wrongs.

How much time and money has been spent in case with no victims, that is the real crime here.

When Alex Prentice said that this case was brought ‘in the public interest’, I thought he was just going through the motions and taking the piss.

Sheridan in summing up said:

"I've got a wee girl at home, I've got a loving wife and if you decide to convict me I'll be separated from them for a very long time. I have to convince you that there's far too much reasonable doubt for you to find me guilty of any of the remaining six charges."

Would the world be better if Tommy Sheridan was slammed up?

I would say no.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Cable: ‘I could bring down Government’, he tries to sell the illusion that the Lib Dems are holding back the ‘nasty’ party, public not fooled Cable

Dear All

I like a laugh, I also like it when turncoat politicians try and fool us all that while doing the dirty on us it wasn’t really them.

Then subjecting us all to their angst as they allegedly wrestle with their conscience!

The meaning of angst is a feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression.

The Lib Dems are unpopular; the polls bear this out as people feel utterly betrayed particularly by the leaders, Nick Clegg, David Laws, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable.

Now, we are subjected to a Lib Dem version of a ‘Christmas Carol’ with Vince Cable playing Ebenezer Scrooge who is haunted by the ‘ghosts of Lib Dem voters’.

Cable, a former Glasgow Labour Councillor of Shame turncoat and staff member at the human rights abusing Glasgow University says he is the man trying to hold back the ‘nasty’ Tories.

The truth as we have seen by the student fee debacle is that when Vince Cable spits it is coming out Tory George Osborne’s mouth.

A remarkable feat how far up the Tories rear ends the Lib Dems have managed to get in such a short space of time.

The Lib Dem Christmas Carol:

Vince Cable is Ebenezer Scrooge who is allegedly saying privately that he could walk out of the Coalition and “bring the Government down” if he is pushed too far in negotiations with Tory ministers.

And it was leaked, Cable just happened to be recorded by undercover newspaper reporters.

He says that the situation with the Coalition was “like fighting a war”.

And let us be clear Cable and Co aren’t the allies.

In what is described as a set up he told the reporters posing as constituents in his Twickenham constituency that he believed David Cameron wanted to reduce or scrap altogether the winter fuel allowance for pensioners.

Didn’t he or his staff check their identities to see they were actually constituents?

We know that the Tories are holding up the dead weight of the Lib Dems, even Cameron has stopped Tories leafleting in Oldham and Saddleworth to allow the Lob Dems a chance.

In a hurried statement last night Cable said he was “embarrassed” by his remarks but insisted he had no intention of resigning.

The winter fuel allowance is said by Cable to be under threat; however Cameron has on numerous occasions made repeated assurances it would be protected.
One of the ‘tricks’ of PR is to flag up something under threat like Winter Fuel Allowance and then ‘save’ it.

It is a con trick designed to make the people taking part look better.

I think this ‘leak’ was a set piece designed to try and fool voters that the Lib Dems are a ‘force for good’, sheer tripe; they are signed up all the way to the Tory nightmare as having paid the full fare.

Cable isn’t resigning or going anywhere and the laugh is on them if they truly believe the public is so gullible to buy into this.

Cable said:

“I have a nuclear option; it’s like fighting a war. They know I have nuclear weapons, but I don’t have any conventional weapons. If they push me too far then I can walk out and bring the Government down and they know that.”

In a Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge changes after a lifetime of being a bad person, ‘Ebenezer’ Cable isn’t changing and we aren’t buying into this tripe.

Cable will be doing more harm after he gets a few weeks off and a bit of Turkey and stuffing down his neck.

Vince Cable made this statement also:

“I have no intention of leaving the Government. I am proud of what it is achieving and will continue to play my full part in delivering the priorities I and my party believe in, which are enshrined in the Coalition agreement.”

Does this look like a man in angst?

No, a man who has no regrets sticking it to the public.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University