Thursday, June 30, 2011

SNP MSPs brand BBC's The Scheme 'tabloid TV', it is more than that, its all about producing a narrative that the working class are trash

Dear All

One of the things about television which is disgraceful is that working class is always portrayed for the most part as scum.

To that end we have programmes such as "Saints and Scroungers" and the “The scheme”.

If you are middle class then you get ‘A place in the sun’, 'location, location, location' with the affluent middle class deciding whether to buy million pound homes.

You don’t see Phil and Kirsty doing a programme about some poor person trying to get a council house.

And the shit they usually get offered is in a war zone or gerrymandered ghetto.

SNP MSPs have accused the BBC of exploiting vulnerable people in its hit TV documentary "The Scheme".

The series focussed on the lives of families living in Onthank, Kilmarnock, an area affected by social issues including drink and drug problems.

Kilmarnock SNP MSP Willie Coffey has branded the show "tabloid TV at its worst", during a Holyrood debate.

Despite the criticism, MSPs also recognised the programme had highlighted important issues.

Which they should already know if they do activism in their communities!

BBC Scotland said The Scheme was the station's best performing documentary in the past 10 years.

The reason is because it is car crash TV, the scheme isn’t helping these people, but it does show that these people are the people that middle class politicians ignore unless there is an election.

These people despite what anyone says are the people who are left behind, forgotten and not helped.

Willie Coffey is right when he said the programme had dangerously exposed people already at risk, "for nothing more than public entertainment".

To prove his point Mr Coffey told how the local children's football team had been "jeered" and called "the scheme team", as a result of the series.

He added:

"The programme-makers are clearly in business to make money, and they certainly did that, on the back of some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland, especially as they were able to sell the programme for broadcast outside Scotland."

Another SNP MSP, Margaret Burgess, a former citizens advice worker who previously worked with Onthank residents, said the community "did not deserve to be treated the way they have been by the BBC.

And she added:

"People were exploited. The programme did highlight some important issues around drugs, alcohol and deprivation, issues which society needs to know about and issues they we've got to address, so I don't have an argument with the BBC there."

Tory MSP Ruth Davidson, a former BBC Scotland journalist, said she had never watched The Scheme, telling parliament:

"I also agree that it sounded like tabloid television at its worst and also poverty pornography, as it's been called in a number of newspapers."

Davidson went on:

"When we look at this programme and we look at it in the round, what it has done in Scotland is promote a debate.

The debate being how detached from the problems of the working class she is, she doesn’t give a shit about people like this, and everytime she stands for election she gets defeated.

She is using the list system to get elected, because she is publicly unelectable.

Davidson is a Holyrood ‘schemer.’

Unfortunately, the Holyrood debate was attended by about only 10 MSPs and featured no contributions from Labour or the Lib Dems.

Ewan Angus, head of TV commissioning for BBC Scotland said The Scheme, which attracted about 70 viewer complaints, did not set out to present a definitive portrait, but helped inform and stimulate a wider debate on a range of issues.

This programme is all about finding people at the bottom of society and setting them on a virtual anthill for others to watch through the glass.

The opportunity to watch them stumble and fall through life in the relatively comfort and safety of an armchair knowing that no matter what way they turn they are never going to get on.

That is what ‘The scheme’ is all about.

To say it did not set out to present a definitive portrait is middle class patronising shite.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Lord Advocate Frank ‘pie’ Mulholland gets a five day holiday in London at taxpayers’ expense to ask Supreme Court to teach him law, five days enough?

Dear All

The Lord Advocate has asked the UK Supreme Court to clarify the law on the rights of suspects who are being detained by police in Scotland.

Frank Mulholland QC wants the court to examine four similar "test cases" in light of the Cadder ruling.

In 2010 the Supreme Court upheld Peter Cadder's appeal against a 2009 conviction for assault in Glasgow.

It ruled the practice of interviewing suspects without a solicitor present infringed their human rights.

At a hearing in London, Mr Mulholland told five judges:

"Cadder has not made it clear exactly when suspects' right to legal advice arises."

That is quite easy to answer, when a Police Officer detains you into their custody.

The hearing to teach Frank ‘pie’ Mulholland’ the law is expected to end later this week.

Lawyers say uncertainty about the law has created a backlog of cases which a Supreme Court ruling could free.

Prosecutors in Scotland have refused to comment on the numbers of cases involved.

A Crown Office spokesman said:

"We will not speculate in advance of the court's decisions. The Crown will assess and evaluate the impact of the court's decisions and thereafter consider releasing statistics in relation to affected cases once the impact of an adverse decision is fully known."

A question which must arise like a crust on a pie; is how much money is being wasted to teach ‘pie’ Mulholland law?

It is only unclear for the incompetent Frank.

Let's hope the trip was productive and he gets his xmas shopping done and can catch a show.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Councillor Isabella Campbell labelled 'Hitler' in Highland Council document by staff member by accident, is there a plan to invade Poland?

Dear All

A council has apologised after a Councillor was given the title "Hitler" in a document on its website.

The label given to Isabelle Campbell remained on Highland Council's website for three weeks before being removed.

A council spokesman said the password used by the operative to get into the computer system had "randomly attached itself" to Ms Campbell's name.

He said he was not sure why the person used "Hitler" as a password, but the error was not intended as malicious.

The PDF file posted online listed the names and positions of each elected member along with their expenses.

The spokesman said the council had been unaware of mistake and had removed it as soon as it was pointed out.

"This is just a very regrettable and unfortunate technological glitch," he said.

"We will be apologising to Councillor Campbell for any embarrassment that this error has caused."

Ms Campbell is a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh ward.

She sits on the council's Gaelic committee, as well as on the planning, environment and development committee.

At present there are no plans to invade Poland by the Council.

And given the Lib Dems are so bad at strategy probably just as well.

However; if Councillor Campbell goes on a tank driving course then questions will have to be asked of her!

We also don’t want her to propose buying tanks in the current economic climate.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour Party clearly rattled as moment of truth in Inverclyde draws near, voting day will decide who goes to Westminster, Labour or SNP?

Dear All

Today is the Inverclyde by-election.

It is as everyone knows a straight two horse race between the SNP’s Anne McLaughlin and Labour’s Iain McKenzie.

The other three contenders are Lib Dem Sophie Bridger, Tory David Wilson, and UKIP’s Mitch Sorbie.

Last month saw a landslide victory by the SNP so Labour leaders are worried their massive majority will be wiped out in the by-election.

The Labour Party is sitting on a massive a majority of 14,416.

Massive pool of voters and David Cairns was a much liked MP.

A senior Labour source said

“It’s close, too close for comfort, but we still think we can win it. There has been a huge effort in the past few days.”

Labour is right to be nervous because they have been exposed as poor representatives of the community.

A Labour backbench MP said:

“It looks tight. Salmond has been virtually camped in Inverclyde all week but we believe we will win it, we should win it.”

The SNP have been very much pro active in Inverclyde with a well oiled slick campaign machine with many MSPs flooding the community canvassing on the door steps.

But at the Holyrood election, Greenock and Inverclyde Labour MSP Duncan McNeil held on to the seat by just 511 votes.

Everything is up for grabs in a by-election, in 2008, John Mason grabbed Glasgow East, but there were special circumstances there.

A lazy Labour MP who didn’t open a constituency office coupled with paying his family substantial amounts money from the public purse.

And the expenses scandal was raging like wild fire.

Labour have the jitters as it emerged as the SNP leader Alex Salmond has spent a sixth day campaigning in the constituency.

The First Minister has been knocking doors with candidate Anne McLaughlin, a former Glasgow list MSP.

I don’t think this campaign will go down in history as jolly.

Alex Salmond said Anne McLaughlin had exposed Labour candidate Iain McKenzie’s “secret plan” to cut council jobs.

Ms McLaughlin claimed that during the course of the campaign, she had “held the Labour candidate and his Tory coalition to account over their plans to sack workers and together we have forced them to back down”.

A retort from local Labour MSP Duncan McNeil accused the SNP leader of scaremongering and said he should apologise.

He said:

“Sometimes in the heat of an election politicians get a bit carried away, but Alex Salmond knows full well there are no plans to sack workers here, there were no plans to sack workers, and there will be no plans to sack workers. I know the SNP candidate in this seat has lurched from gaffe to gaffe, but this is the worst type of negative, gutter politics. The desperate irony of him making these false claims on the day of the final CalMac car ferry sailing here is clearly lost on him. The workers on that ferry now face life on the dole because of his decision to withdraw funding for the route.”

Politics is a rough and tumble business with accusation and counter accusation flying about the place.

The Labour Candidate is Iain McKenzie, he is in my opinion a weak candidate; he has no personality and sounds depressing.

But to show it’s not all doom and gloom LibDem MEP George Lyon provided a funny when he claimed only LibDem candidate Sophie Bridger had the “drive and vision” voters deserved.

Which is quite funny when you consider that in interviews she will be remember for having to say that she didn’t know the answers to questions.

Drive and vision my ass.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

English fee refuges get a shock as Scottish universities allowed to charge £9000k a year to study in Scotland, unionist parties deeply upset!

Dear All

The problem of higher education continues, but one thing is certain, the status quo will eventually collapse.

Higher education needs to be radically overhauled.

What is the purpose of education?

I would say it is to educate the masses, this is the most important thing that a country must do.

Unfortunately in the education, mini empires and fiefdoms have been allowed to flourish.

And the Scottish taxpayer has had to foot the bill.

No really radical proposals have been put on the table to solve the problem.

So, here is George Laird radical thinking.

Four tier education.

Universities must be slimmed down.

The college sector must be expanded.

Community colleges introduced run by councils.

And schooling, both secondary and primary kept but improved.

Universities are sacked and destroying courses to save money, because they are only interested in self interest not the national interest.

Skills lost, places lost and gravitas lost.

Does that look like a plan?

The Scottish Government has started the reform ball roiling by allowing universities to compete for fee-paying students from the rest of the UK.

Under the Scottish Government plans, universities will be able to set their own fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The cap is up to £9000 a year.

This will stop Scotland being flooded by applications from students from the rest of the UK who saw higher education in Scotland as a cheap option.

The Education Minister’s solution has the joint advantage of raising additional income for universities and creating a level playing to prevent the fee refugees coming across the border.

And this means that Scottish Universities can undercut their English counterparts to try and get a bigger share of the market.
Education is a business, although university management like to portray it as something else.

As to Scottish students, they are quids in; they will continue to get their fees paid.

Mike Russell said:

“Let me say at the outset, this is not a measure I take any joy in having to implement. Scotland welcomes students from all over the world. We want them to continue to come here because of the quality of what we offer and the quality of where we offer it, but we must be the best option, not the cheapest option. Action is essential to make sure Scottish students are not simply squeezed out by students from elsewhere across the UK.”

Ken Macintosh, Scottish Labour’s education spokesman is unhappy about the announcement by saying that d UK students now faced paying even more for their degree than if they attended an English university.

He said:

“There is a real danger that the SNP’s plans to overcharge students from the rest of the UK will be counter-productive.”

Tory MSP Liz Smith said the move was vindictive adding:

“Mr Russell says he wants access to higher education to be based on the ability to learn, not on the ability to pay, but it appears this does not apply to students from the rest of the UK.”

It is not our problem to solve the English funding problems in higher education that is a matter for the Westminster Government.

Liam McArthur, the Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman, added:

“Four-year degrees at Scottish universities may become more costly than options south of the Border that is a concern.”

The solution is simply, people cut their cloth to suit, it is called money management.

But there was also unhappiness from academics with Gordon Watson, president of the UCU Scotland lecturers’ union, saying:

“It is perverse that the SNP, who fought an election on the promise of no tuition fees, can justify introducing an English system for other UK students in Scotland.”

No tuition fees for Scots, promise kept.

NUS Scotland (Labour stooges) aren’t happy, they are suppose to ‘represent’ students, said the Government had made the “wrong choice” on fees.

Robin Parker, NUS Scotland president-elect, said:

“These proposals could make Scottish degrees the most expensive in the whole of the UK for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, going further even than what we have seen in England. There’s more than an element of hypocrisy here. The SNP rejected a market in tuition fees for Scottish students prior to the election, only to introduce one immediately after for students from the rest of the UK.”

So, there is going to be unhappiness all round except from Scottish students who are Scotland’s future.

And that is what the SNP Government is investing in, our people in our country.

We can’t sort out England’s problems.

However, if the current model is replaced, then English students could possibly see a dramatic reduction in education costs.

A four tier education system under my proposals would strengthen the system while at the same time keeping volume and expertise in the system.

That means the whole sector needs to be overhauled as one distinct entity from top to bottom.

The purpose of education is to educate the masses not be mentality attached to any specific establishment.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tory PM David Cameron urges public sector staff to call off strikes and accept less as he tries to keep debt bubble afloat to make bankers rich!

Dear All

David Cameron has pleaded with public sector workers unhappy about changes to their pensions not to go on strike on Thursday "for the good of the country".

In other words, he wants people to accept lower living standards in order to prop up the banking system and greedy rich bankers.

Our money taken in tax is being pumped into banks to allow countries to collapse under debt and then their national assets stolen.

We are seeing this in Greece.

And it is coming to the UK.

The prime minister said planned reforms were "essential" or the system was "in danger of going broke" in future.

The question is; why are we being held hostage by bankers and their fraudulent schemes.

Cameron says the changes were fair to both workers and the taxpayer.

That is a lie.

Up to 750,000 teachers and civil servants are set to strike saying that the government's plans will mean them working longer and paying more.

What is fair about that?

There was no breakthrough in talks between ministers and unions on Monday so we are looking at strikes, strikes and more strikes.

The government has insisted it has contingency plans in place to prevent any major disruption to essential services on Thursday.

This means the army being made available in certain circumstances!

Education Secretary Michael Gove has been criticised after suggesting that parents should go into schools to help keep them running; as ‘strike breakers’.

CRB cleared?

The planned 24-hour walkout involves members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the University and College Union and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union.

The Local Government Association is of course Conservative led but even they are openly hostile.

The big issue in this ongoing row is who to blame for cuts to services: Central government or some of the councils ministers say are still wasting too much money.

David Cameron's speech could mark what many in local government hope is an end to the war of words.
The PM doesn't want unnecessary battles either with unions or councils.

The action in England and Wales is expected to disrupt thousands of schools.
Speaking to the Local Government Association conference, Mr Cameron urged workers to reconsider their actions and not to believe what he said were "scare stories" about the government's proposals.

He said:

"To those considering strike action, when discussions are ongoing, I say to you these strikes are wrong, for you, for the people you serve and for the good of the country. It is the changes we propose that are right, right by the taxpayer but, above all, right by you."

He added:

"The changes we propose are a good deal. They are fair for the low-paid, fair for the taxpayer. They secure affordable pensions, not just now but for decades to come. And they mean that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available."

After two hours of talks on Monday, TUC leader Brendan Barber said there were still major divisions between unions and the government over three key proposals - to raise the pension age, to increase workers' contributions and to link pension values to the generally lower consumer prices index (CPI) rather than the retail prices index (RPI).

More talks are due to take place next month.

Public sector union Unison, which had threatened to ballot its 1.2 million workers for strike action if the latest talks proved unsatisfactory, said no ballot would be called at this stage.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said:

"I think we found today the government were willing to treat the negotiations seriously."

The Tory Government is going to do what the Greeks are being forced to do, sell off all our assets.

We are on a downward spiral to the bottom were people will be expected to work for nothing.

At the same time, the elite will get wealthier fuelling a more divided Britain.

The nation is being asset stripped to try and keep afloat an enormous debt bubble which is going to burst.

Our money, our assets and our future is all being stolen.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Glasgow 2014 chief Executive John Scott is forced to resign after breaching strict rules on potential conflicts of interest, sackable offence

Dear All

Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games chief executive has resigned after he admitted failing to declare an offer he received from a potential supplier.

One of the things which should be stamped out in public life is hospitality for council officers and people like John Scott in NGOs.

John Scott earned£180,000-a-year.

He resigned from his post yesterday after breaching strict rules on potential conflicts of interest set out in the Glasgow 2014 committee’s gifts and gratuities policy.

And it seems that plod has turned up on the premises as Strathclyde Police will today discuss the specific circumstances of Mr Scott’s departure with the 2014 organising committee.

So far the Commonwealth Committee has refused to reveal the identity of the supplier or what was offered.

And the current joke is their refusal is based on on the grounds they are “private and commercially sensitive”.

Christopher Mason, a Liberal Democrat member of Glasgow City Council said:

“The public is entitled to know exactly what is meant by the word ‘offer’ in the press release.”

Mason is 100% right what was on offer and was it special?

It is said that this was a significant breach of the rules.

Earlier, Glasgow 2014 chairman Lord Smith said:

“John Scott has made an important contribution to the planning of what we believe will be an outstanding Games. The board has accepted his resignation for an error of judgment in accepting, and not declaring, an offer from one of Glasgow 2014’s potential suppliers, in breach of the organising committee’s strict gifts and gratuities policy. I know he deeply regrets this mistake and this was a job he loved. It is a measure of the man that he has put the values and reputation of the organising committee ahead of his own at this time.”

And lets us also remember, he got caught.

Chief operating officer David Grevemberg is now steadying the ship.

Former colleagues yesterday insisted that, although Mr Scott was guilty of a sackable offence, his error had not been “huge”.

Huge enough to get the bullet and significant enough to have the Police sniffing around, so turn it up.

In a previous life, Mr Scott had been British sport’s anti-doping czar then he became chief executive of the Glasgow 2014 organising committee.

A post he held for more than three years.

He was a board member for the 2002 Games in Manchester and was previously a UK Government adviser on the 2012 London Olympics.

That means he is on what I describe as ‘the circuit’.

Board members were informed last week but were kept in the dark about what would be discussed until minutes before.

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said:

“It was a significant breach of the rules. Significant enough to lose a job over not trivial, but not huge either. We feel clear on why he resigned but will not be commenting. It is private and commercially sensitive information. The point of having these rules is to be open and transparent.”

They are so open and transparent they aren’t telling!

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council’s opposition SNP group said:

“We would expect the 2014 organising committee would be revealing the specific reasons for Mr Scott’s departure on the basis that the event is entirely publicly funded.”

Commonwealth Games minister Shona Robison said:

“The reputation and integrity of our Games is paramount and to that end I believe Mr Scott has done the right and principled thing in stepping down.”

Archie Graham, Glasgow City Council’s head of 2014, added:

“Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and Commonwealth Games Scotland have a strong partnership and this does not affect that.”

Accepting gifts and gratuities should be banned in public life; some see it as token bribery to curry favour.

Although Glasgow is the home of the Labour trough, people should look at the amount of gifts and gratuities that council officers, councillors and senior employees receive on a regular basis, that should be stopped.

A new policy is need.

Quite simply, ‘you’re getting f*ck all’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, June 27, 2011

The four ‘wise’ men hand in their report on the UK Supreme Court; they want Scots to give up human right and seek permission to appeal, request denied

Dear All

The four ‘wise’ men have spoken.

Experts reviewing the relationship between the High Court of Justiciary and the UK Supreme Court in criminal cases have called for change.

I have just checked my pocket and have £1.72.

Made up of a pound coin, a fifty pence piece, a twenty pence piece and a two pence.

That is the only change that is being offered because the law certainly won’t be.

Lord McCluskey's review group claimed Scotland faced more intrusive jurisdiction from the Supreme Court than the rest of the UK.

The report said the system was "flawed" and called for coherence across the UK.

Why should the Scottish system mirror England?

If we look at the Peter Cadder case, he was denied the same rights as English people.

It is therefore hypocritical to say that we should mirror England when we were quite happy to deny Scots the same rights as English people before.

Scottish government ministers have previously said the Scottish legal system should have direct access to the European court in Strasbourg.

The backlog of cases at the European Court makes this idea untenable.

Although it is seen as a mechanism for ending the jurisdiction of the UK Supreme Court on Scottish criminal cases in reality, it isn’t.

The question is human rights; the Scottish Government cannot take away the human rights of a person to go to the UK Supreme Court.

The Westminster Government also cannot legislate this way because fundamental human rights cannot be tampered with.

However, the McCluskey Group backed the UK Supreme Court's jurisdiction to rule on human rights in Scottish criminal cases but only if the High Court in Scotland granted convicts permission to appeal.

And they can whistle if they think people are going to submit to the High Court acting as a de facto agent of their human rights provision.

Currently in Scotland, an appeal can be made to the UK Supreme Court for criminal cases relating to human rights law.

That is the way things stand, and at present given the miscarriages of justice which have occurred, we need this protection against vested interests.

The McCluskey report has recommended a new provision, with proposed amendments to the Scotland Bill, which would place the High Court of Justiciary "on an equal footing with its counterparts elsewhere in the UK, by enabling the Supreme Court to grant permission to appeal only if the High Court of Justiciary has granted a certificate that the case raises a point of general public importance".

They won’t get that from a Westminster Government, it isn’t even a possibility worth discussing because it removes the exercising of a human right which Scots currently enjoy.

A proposal which is entirely disgraceful in nature because no one would ever get the right to have their case heard and everyone knows it.

Another disgraceful step is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should be exercised in such a way that it identifies clearly the law that the criminal courts have to apply, but that the application of the law to the case in which the issue is being litigated should be remitted to the High Court of Justiciary".

If they can’t be trusted the first time round, then should they then be given the opportunity to just ignore the judgement?

I think not.

There is a Scottish Parliament debate taking place on Thursday to discuss the McCluskey Report.

That debate should focus on where is the nearest place for this landfill material to be deposited.

High Court in Scotland to grant convicts their permission to appeal!

Request denied.

Cases remitted to the High Court of Judiciary!

Requested denied.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Libya: ICC issues arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi and tow others over war crimes against civilians, who is going to enforce it and make the arrest?

Dear All

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

The court had accused him of crimes against humanity and of ordering attacks on civilians.

How is going to enforce the warrant?

For sometime, I have been blogging that the solution to Libya is land invasion.

The ‘drip drip’ effect of allied bombing is slowly destroying the infrastructure of the country which as our experiences in Iraq shows sets their economy back decades.

This cannot be allowed to continue, effectively we are watching a civil war where the ‘allies’ have picked the side of the rebels after jumping from the bed of Gaddafi.

The Hague-based court also issued tow other warrants Col Gaddafi's top aides, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi.

Chances are the warrants will not be served as rule of thumb in that region is drumhead.

Drumhead means a bullet through the back of the head, yes; the rebels don’t have the command structure on the ground to exercise proper control.

Libyan footage by news channels conforms this, they are a rabble, not a unified force.

The statement by the Court was read out by presiding judge Sanji Monageng who said there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that the three men were "criminally responsible" for the murder and persecution of civilians.

As the "recognised and undisputed leader of Libya", said the court, Col Gaddafi had "absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control" over the state.

As part of the evidence, he introduced a state policy "aimed at deterring and quelling by any means, including by the use of force, the demonstrations of civilians against the regime.

Libyan authorities have previously said they do not recognise the court and are not concerned by the threat of a warrant as it has in their eyes, no legitimacy.

The arrest warrant was welcomed by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said it further demonstrated "why Gaddafi has lost all legitimacy and why he should go immediately".

As well as the real fighting with guns, bullets and bombs, there is also a political fight taking place, but there is a real need for this conflict to end.

Pictures of the dead are a reminder that the West has in part failed the Libyan people; we went into Afghanistan and Iran for all the wrong reasons, both those missions ended in failure.

Afghanistan is unwinnable and allied forces are drawing down to leave, and we leave a corrupt government in charge there.

In Iran, we were lied to by the US and UK Governments, which saw Blair and Bush, go ‘crusading’ in the Middle East.

After the lie was exposed, Tony Blair said he had acted in good faith but Blair would have followed Bush anyway.

A lot of people are dead because of Tony Blair and George W Bush, these were innocent people.

The ICC announcement comes as the international air operation in Libya, aimed at protecting civilians, enters its 100th day.

The rebels aren’t equipped to win and airstrikes never won a war, land invasion is the only viable option.

Or does the West just intend to pound the country into the dust?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Pressure mounts on Hearts to ditch sex offender Craig Thomson, is money more important to Hearts Football Club than ethics?

Dear All

Football is all about family entertainment that is the image that clubs portray to the world.

So, that image will be taking a bit of a knock at Hearts Football after their decision not to sack a convicted sex offender and player by the name of Craig Thomson.

Two children’s charities have been joined by the mother of one of predator Craig Thomson’s victims to speak out against the club’s decision.

He was convicted for targeting young girls on the internet.

Craig Thomson finds himself on the sex offenders’ register.

And he will stay there for five years as well as stumping up a fine of £4000 after admitting lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour.

As well as being a Hearts player, he is also a Scotland Under-21 internationalist.

I would expect the selection panel not to select him again.

He targeted two young girls with indecent comments and naked photographs.

When the shit hit the fan, Hearts launched an internal investigation and following that have confirmed that he can resume his career.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has urged the club to keep him away from children during official duties.

Thomson has previously represented his club at an event with Barnardo’s.

A spokeswoman said:

“If Hearts continue to employ the player, they must make sure they manage the child protection risks of doing so. It will be important to make sure they do not put the player in a position where he would have contact with children.”

Kate Higgins, policy manager of Children 1st, said:

“We believe that Hearts football club needs to look again at this situation. Not taking action to protect children from the risk of sexual harm is unacceptable. Allowing convicted sex offenders to continue working where they will have direct and indirect contact with children is wrong.”

She has a point; plainly it would be wrong if Craig Thomson was ever allowed to come into contact with children, especially now that he is on the sex offenders’ register.

Hearts Football Club have scored a spectacular own goal.

It also sends out a very odd message in what is supposed to be a family club.

In a statement released on Friday, Hearts said:

“The club believes that there is no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect. In reaching this decision, the club accepted that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances that provide significant assurance that the player’s conduct, no matter how distasteful, was the result of a grave error of judgment due to naivety and possible wrong outside influence rather than anything more sinister and it will not be repeated. The club views this matter very seriously and does not condone the behaviour of the player. Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken.”

What are the sufficient mitigating circumstances in this matter?

‘A big boy told me to do it and ran away?’

This part of their statement interests me:

“Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken.”

That is bullshit.

What Hearts fans and the general public have found out is an age old truth, football is a business and Thomson is a product line within that business of use.

Money makes the world go round so it seems.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Labour Party launch attack on David Cameron for 'running scared of by-election battle', Labour desperate to appear meaningful as grip on power slides

Dear All

David Cameron has been accused of bottling the by-election battle in Inverclyde.

But the truth is what is in it for him?

Absolutely nothing, the Tory Candidate is David Wilson and he is going to get humped senseless.

Inverclyde has been held by the Labour Party, as a stronghold for as long as people can remember.

Even although Cameron is up in Scotland this weekend for a series of official engagements, Number 10 say his plans din’t include a trip to support his party's candidate.

Desperately the Labour Party claim this is a snub and shows the Tories have given up on Scottish votes.

I call it good time management.

Labour MSP Duncan ‘cretin’ McNeil said:

"This is a massive snub to the people of Inverclyde. Even Margaret Thatcher dared show her face in Greenock - but, of course, David Cameron is even less popular in Scotland. David Cameron has been to other by-elections but is apparently too busy this time. I guess he knows how furious people are with the Tories. Their cuts are so fast, they are risking the recovery and there's no plan B. That is why Labour is standing up against unfair cuts to families and pensioners."

As usual McNeil is parroting the official line of too deep and too fast thinking if that is said often enough it will have traction.

Labour’s Alastair Darling said he would cut faster and deeper than Thatcher.

Voters go to the polls on Thursday to choose a successor to Labour's David Cairns who died prematurely in London after becoming ill.

He was a popular MP, a high flyer.

His replacement is Iain McKenzie who is simply woeful and totally out of his depth, a poor speaker.

This by-election is a two-horse race between him as the leader of Inverclyde Council, and SNP hopeful Anne McLaughlin, a former Glasgow list MSP.

Cairns had a majority of more than 14,000 at the last Westminster election about a year ago but McNeil scraped home by just 511 votes in last month's Holyrood poll.

But voters view Westminster and Holyrood differently, voters are willing to switch to the SNP for a Holyrood election but in 2010, the 20 seat predicted breakthrough never happened.

However, the Holyrood wins across Scotland cannot be ignored.

The scale of the SNP task is huge, which could be characterised by saying ‘for f*ck sake’.

They need to swing a 19% lead in a diehard Labour stronghold but it has been done before in Glasgow East but unfortunately John Mason lost the seat at the Westminster election.

Labour is throwing in the big guns to hit the campaign trail including party leader Ed Miliband, brother David Miliband, Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander and Harriet Harman.

Former first minister Jack McConnell lent his support yesterday, while Alex Salmond led the SNP effort as well as SNP MSPs told to attend in force.

Meanwhile a Labour spokesman has accused SNP candidate McLaughlin of making a "gaffe" during an appearance on the BBC's Daily Politics show.

The claim came after McLaughlin was asked by a reporter to identify a picture of Greenock-born steam engine inventor James Watt and she replied:

"Is it my grandad? It looks like him."

It seems that humour is something Labour lacks.

On Thursday, the Labour Party will see if their calling of a short and quick election will pay off.

The SNP really face a mountainous task, but mountains can be climbed.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, Tommy Sheridan could be 'free by October', but what then, Solidarity needs a total revamp and name change, brand destroyed

Dear All

Scotland’s Nelson Mandela and former MSP Tommy Sheridan is heading towards the prison gates and to freedom.

He could be out of jail by October after just nine months into his three-year sentence.

The good news just keeps on coming for Tommy Sheridan who will leave the prison cell for the campaign trail.

His wife is expected to stand as a Council Candidate in the Glasgow City Council elections of 2012.

Although the press will be looking for an admission of wrongdoing from Sheridan, it won’t be coming, he is as far as he is concerned an ‘innocent’ man, although the evidence is overwhelming.

He is a political prisoner of ‘the man’.

So, when he comes out what should he be doing?

Well politically, he has to revamp the Solidarity Party, they need a name and image change.

Out should go ‘comrades’ and ‘brothers and sisters’ and in should come professionalism.

To be credible you have to be professional.

When he does that, he can specifically target locations to build up voter confidence in his party.

Solidarity is dead as a brand.

That’s politics.

When he is released, he will be wearing an electronic tag but he will get time to spend Christmas at home with his wife and daughter.

His lawyer also says that Tommy Sheridan could be permanently freed in January.

The 47-year-old was moved from Glasgow Barlinnie Prison to Castle Huntly open jail near Dundee on Tuesday.

He will be eligible for home visits of up to a week in a month's time.

Home cooked meals and plenty of love.

Through-out his imprisonment, Tommy Sheridan has been a model prisoner, as a political leader, he has certainly taken a huge knock.

But voters can be forgiving.

Can there be a political comeback of epic proportions?

That will depend on whether Sheridan has the ability to understand that radical change to him, his policies and his party is needed.

He needs George Laird radical type thinking.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Rising Labour Mafia Chief, Paul Rooney grasps top post in city chambers, Glasgow’s Michael Corleone cements position for leadership attempt

Dear All

The ‘reign of hell’ of Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson is in trouble, as his enemies are on the march, hell bent and drunk on personal ambition.

Matheson is politically dying and so is his weak leadership which has suffered another massive blow.

The fight and struggle for power at the heart of Scotland’s largest local authority has led to the promotion of several rivals of the council’s leader.

The political blowback is the sacking and demotion of some of his core allies.

Labour Councillor of shame Paul Rooney has control of the Council’s purse strings as the City Treasurer.

Another ally George Ryan becomes head of personnel.

Ryan is a surprise choice for personnel since when a woman was involved in a traffic accident outside a polling station; Councillor George Ryan never went to help her.

He just carried on handing out leaflets.

Both Rooney and Ryan are arch critics of the leadership of council leader Gordon Matheson.

There are claims among opposition councillors of a Blair/Brown-style pact between Mr Rooney and Mr Matheson.

Rooney being the Blair character of course.

Veteran councillor Jim McNally, an ally of Mr Matheson, was stripped of the Treasurer’s post.

Sore one.

Matheson has had a bad year within the Labour group as he steers Glasgow towards the rocks, the ‘crew’ have just mutinied.

But this isn’t a mutiny on the Bounty, no Fletcher Christian waits in the wings to save the ‘down trodden’.

As the ‘down trodden’ are wallowing in a sea of cash at the trough.

One senior opposition councillor said:

“It looks to everyone like a deal was struck in exchange for no challenge to Matheson at Labour’s annual general meeting last month and also a bit like grooming the heir apparent. The appointment of Ryan and Rooney to such senior positions shows Team Rooney now very much in the driving seat with Mr Matheson looking more and more like a lame duck leader.”

In a piece of true theatre, the head of the Glasgow Labour Mafia, Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer.

Personally, I don’t see anything to fear from George Ryan, as he strikes me as a typical Glasgow Labour Mafia Hood.

Rooney is the Michael Corleone figure.

Ryan, the Luca Brasi.

The Labour administration has been hit by infighting since the resignation of Steven ‘bin laden’ Purcell as leader over a year ago, Purcell fled the city with the Police hot on his heels over drug allegations which proved to be true as he coughed to being a cocaine user.

More infighting is bound to continue as individual Councillors wonder if next year at the Council elections they will be returned.

One thing is certain, Rooney might be on the way up but he still has to politically kill all his enemies to take over.

‘Don’ Rooney will have to see Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson sleeps with the fishes, at some point to take overall control.

And it won’t be a fish supper, two pickles and a can of irn bru.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, June 24, 2011

Labour prospective candidate Iain McKenzie finds out he can’t cut the mustard, 20 year old Lib Dem Sophie Bridger bitch slaps him to political death

SNP Candidate Anne McLaughlin wins Inverclyde Candidate debate on STV but Lib Dem Sophie Bridger hands Labour’s Iain McKenzie his ass on live TV

Dear All

The Inverclyde by-election is trundling along to the finish line on the 30th June.

At that point after the count we will get a declaration of who the new MP to represent the area will be.

Last night on the Politics Now show there was a debate between the four main Inverclyde by-election candidates.

Anne McLaughlin (SNP)
David Wilson (Conservative)
Sophie Bridger (Liberal Democrat)
Iain McKenzie (Labour)

The other candidate was Mitch Sorbie (Ukip) who wasn’t invited, a mistake by STV given there was only five people standing.

This was a chance for the candidates to ask questions of each other, specially prepared to make the opposition look awkward.

And of course Bernard Ponsonby usually drills it into anyone in the hot seat.

The SNP's Candidate is former MSP Anne McLaughlin got a rough ride on defence policy when she had to put her hands up and declare she didn’t know anything about defence policy of a future independent Scotland.

Funny enough this is something I have been going about for sometime, that people need to see how a new Scotland would look.

And that means detail.

However she did put in a decent performance in the round.

But, the highlight of the night was 20-year-old Lib Dem candidate Sophie Bridger's hugely satisfying slap-down of Labour's Iain McKenzie.

He decided to go on Labour’s fake knife crime policy.

A big mistake!

So, he asked her does she should mandatory sentencing then simply refusing to let her complete her answer to his question about why she didn't support mandatory prison sentences for carrying knives.

He kept repeatedly interrupting her with the patronising line "don't take that on the doors of Inverclyde, Sophie".

Helpful not!

Eventually she paused, fixed him with an icy glare, and asked him:

"Are you going to lecture me or are you going to let me answer your question?".

McKenzie was stopped dead in his tracks and looked totally out of his depth after being so effectively put down.

It was a version of ‘idiot shut up’.

And he duly did.

That was a political masterstroke however, she had a poor grasp of policy which she couldn’t hide or disguise.

The classic response by Ponsenby would be:

‘So, the answer is, you don’t know’!

Tory candidate David Wilson who is a councillor but doesn’t stand a hope in hell, trialled in with a decent performance and asked her a question she didn't have a scooby about.

Bridger was also left hanging by Ponsonby when he asked her what the coalition's biggest mistake had been.

Wouldn't he rather hear about all the good things the government had done, she implored?

"No" was the rather foreseeable answer to that one.

The worst performance of the evening was actually Labour leader of Inverclyde Council Iain McKenzie.

When asked about Labour MP Ian Davidson's charge that the SNP are "neo-fascists", he was all over the place, refusing to condemn him or say wherther he should step down as chair of the Scottish Select Committee he chaired.

McKenzie stressed that he wouldn't have used such language himself because he didn't want to drag politics down to "that level".

Which left the door open for the question was this gutter politics?

He replied:

"It's not gutter politics, it's Ian's type of politics".

Which is code for Iain’s special!

So, here is my score for the evening.

Anne McLaughlin (SNP) 7/10
David Wilson (Conservative) 5/10
Sophie Bridger (Liberal Democrat) 5/10
Iain McKenzie (Labour) 3/10
Mitch Sorbie (UKIP) 0/10

Everything is still to play for in the last week of this two horse race fight to the finish.

I am surprised that Iain McKenzie turned out to be so weak considering he is leader of the Council.

Not a great advertisement for being an MP.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tory MP Mark Pritchard 'threatened' by Number 10 over ban of use of wild animals in circuses, unnecessary use of the whip to beat down dissent

Dear All

One of the highlights for kids is being taken to the circus, where there is the opportunity to see wild animals.

Circuses are seen by children as a place of magic and wonder.

But in the pass issues regarding cruelty have risen, of animal maltreatment and unnecessary use of the whip for example.

Fast forward to 2011 and Tory PM David Cameron is accused of unnecessary use of the whip himself.

Not beating a lion, tiger or bear but one of his own backbenchers.

Tory MP Mark Pritchard claims he has been threatened by Number 10 after he managed to get the use of wild animals in circuses banned after an extraordinary debate in the Commons.

Mark Pritchard led the backbench charge to call for an end to the practice despite 'incentives' to scrap his plan.

And he has said publicly he will not be bullied by whips or the Prime Minister.

The decision will not bind the Government but who maintain there are legal obstacles to a full ban.

In a classic open show of defiance, Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin, told MPs he was first offered 'incentive and reward' if he complied with the wishes of the party hierarchy.

The carrot and the stick!

But when he decided to stay the course, then the pressure was applied.

He said:

'I had a call from the Prime Minister's office directly and I was told that, unless I withdraw this motion, the Prime Minister himself said he would look upon it very dimly indeed.'

Pritchard added:

'I will not be bullied by any other whips. This is an issue I have campaigned on for many years.'

There were currently three travelling circuses in the UK, with a total of 39 wild animals, including zebras, lions, tigers and camels.

Mr Pritchard's motion, which called for the introduction of 'regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses' from July 2012, was also signed by Labour's Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) and the Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell (Colchester).

In the face of a genuine cross party support, it is hard to see the government trying to use the strong arm on what should be a free vote.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said he shared the views of MPs concerned about the use of performing animals but raised concerns about possible legal challenges to a ban as proposed by Mr Pritchard.

He said:

'The reality is that the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, Section 12, does not allow ethical considerations to be a justification for a ban.'

He also added:

'The Government is determined to stamp out cruelty and bad welfare for animals in circuses.'

And that the Government has proposed a tough licensing scheme for circuses using wild animals.

Shadow environment minister Gavin Shuker asked whether the tough conditions would mean animals were still 'travelling for weeks on end up and down motorways, chained in a cage'.

Is he proposing they be unchained while travelling?

Surely not!

The campaign to stop the use of wild animals in circuses has gathered momentum in recent weeks, culminating yesterday with an open letter from a group of celebrities to the Prime Minister urging the Government to act.

The letter, sent by Animal Defenders International, was signed by a number of high-profile names including actor Brian Blessed, comic Ricky Gervais and Queen guitarist Brian May.

X Factor winner Leona Lewis has also joined the fight, writing to her MP Diane Abbott to demand action.

Whether Diane Abbott would be interested I cannot say, she has a part time job in self promotion so it would depend is it to her political advantage.

If circuses are banned I think it would be a great loss to children and the next step after that is do we ban agricultural shows?

I see no harm in circuses if animals are well treated and do not suffer distress, better licensing seems preferable to a complete ban.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Failing Labour Leader Ed Miliband goes for a power grab to deny Labour MPs the right to vote on Shadow Cabinet Elections, what price democracy?

Dear All

Ed Miliband is failing Labour leader, his popularity is falling, he has no vision, no policies and sounds like a whinging five year old at PMQs in the House of Commons.

It is pretty pathetic stuff!

And he hasn’t done the decent thing and resigned so his brother David Miliband can re-apply for the job which should have been his except for the union block vote.

David Miliband won the majority of MP votes but finds himself in the wilderness, hawking about trying to look statesmanlike.

Red Ed has parked himself for the long wait and as such is seeking to change his party's rules so that he can choose who he wants to sit in the shadow cabinet.

But Ed now has a problem with democracy; he has decided his party's MPs should lose the right they currently have to elect the party's top team every two years.

It’s a pretty oily power grab so unworthy that his brother David wouldn’t even go there.

Shadow cabinet elections it is claimed form a distraction for the Labour Party from holding the government to account and preparing the party for power.

What a load of nonsense.

The anti democratic change would have to be approved by Labour's party conference this autumn.

But are they mad enough to do this and rebuff Red Ed who will probably go into the huff if his idea is thrown out?

Labour MPs will have the chance to debate and vote on the rule change before it is considered by the party's ruling national executive committee next month and then put to the party conference in Liverpool.

Are they stupid enough to give this up?

What is in it for them, Ed Miliband’s undying gratitude and who wants that anyway!

Miliband wants a substantial increase in his power of patronage over his party, the last time someone went down that road with Labour was Steven ‘bin laden’ Purcell who ran a Presidential system of Government at Glasgow City Council.

Scotland’s Labour Council of shame.

Now, Purcell is out in the cold, politically dead and a walking zombie seeking a new life back in politics.

Ed Miliband’s planned change to the shadow cabinet rules is a key moment in his Presidency, it will signal that he wants a less democratic system operating within the Labour Party were people are effectively drones to his ‘Queen Bee’.

The supposed aim of the power grab is to bolster Miliband's failing leadership but it carries with it huge risks.

I suspect that everyone will have a moment of pause and send this rubbish on its way.

So what are the risks?

The most obvious danger is that the parliamentary party or the Labour conference simply send him packing, tail between his legs and simply refuse to endorse the changes.

A devastating and humiliating public blow to Mr Miliband and his ‘authority’.

The second risk is that Mr Miliband fails to use the moment to shake up his frontbench team and weed out his critics in a night of the long knives.

And does he really want to antagonise his party without bolstering his leadership because this isn’t the way to do it.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, a former Brown Cheerleader, has done a ‘Jack Straw’ by re-positioning himself as a loyal Miliband camp follower.

Alexander told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the internal election process was a distraction from the "important task of taking the government to account and understanding why we lost the last election".


Already Alexander has had to defend and denied that Miliband was proposing the changes in order to rid himself of critics in his shadow cabinet.


"There will continue to be mechanisms of accountability. Leadership involves taking decisions that you judge are in the best interests of the party. I think it's a sensible change that shows that Ed Miliband is serious about engaging with the public."

But not with his party and MPs it seems!

Labour MP John McDonnell said he was disappointed by Mr Miliband's proposal.

He said:

"You don't demonstrate strong leadership by having a battle with your own party. You don't need to browbeat your party into submission. They don't want to go back to the old days of Blair."

Shortly before Ed Miliband became leader, the Parliamentary Labour Party rejected proposals to change the shadow cabinet process which would have enabled the leader to choose half or a third of their team.

So, the fight to grab power starts, he may grab it or he may not but Ed Miliband is a caretaker leader, as long as his brother is an Labour MP, people will be asking when he is taking over as leader.
While David Miliband sits there impotent Labour cannot move forward, his nasal talking brother is strangling the party.

He is a sidekick; his brother is the only show in town.

Perhaps Labour MPs will send Ed Miliband a message, you’ve got to go, request denied!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Edinburgh Council officials prepare Plan B for Councillors in unique solution to tram project, give people a crash helmet and throw them along road!

Tory MSP John Lamont delivers a real slur on staff working in schools in the West of Scotland, "state-sponsored conditioning of sectarian attitudes"

Tory ‘justice’ spokesman John Lamont goes off on a bizarre rant in Holyrood about 'sectarian' schools in west of Scotland, what a clown!

Dear All

Everyone in Scotland quite rightly hates Tories.

The Scottish Tory ‘justice’ spokesman has accused the west of Scotland school system of overseeing "state-sponsored conditioning of sectarian attitudes".

That is a terrible slur.

John Lamont's comments came as MSPs debated emergency laws to increase jail terms for sectarian-related behaviour connected to football.

He said segregating children in Catholic and non-denominational schools contributed to the problem.

The Catholic Church quite rightly branded the comments "offensive" and "malicious".

Community Safety minister Roseanna Cunningham also attacked Mr Lamont's remarks, describing them as an "astonishing diatribe".

Lamont shouldn’t be a justice spokesman if that is the level of his thinking, schools don’t teach hatred in Scotland.

Recalling his time growing up and attending a non-denominational school in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire; Lamont said tensions with a local Catholic school resulted in pupils spitting and throwing stones and eggs at school buses.

That was nothing to do with the schooling they received rather that the pupils were acting like a bunch of wee troublemaking bastards.

Lamont added:

"This segregation of our young people has brought them up to believe that the two communities should be kept separate."

What is bizarre is that the Scottish Tories officially supports faith schools.

He added that the education system of west central Scotland had, "produced many, if not all, of those who are responsible for the shocking behaviour which we have witnessed in recent months".

He went on:

"The education system in this part of Scotland is effectively the state-sponsored conditioning of these sectarian attitudes. And I say this as someone who believes, as a Christian country, we should do more to promote Christian values in our young people and support religious education in schools. Clearly these attitudes are being entrenched at home and the wider community in these small pockets of west central Scotland."

The Bishop of Motherwell, Rt Rev Joseph Devine, said:

"The claim that Catholic schools are the cause of sectarianism is offensive and untenable. There has never been any evidence produced by those hostile to Catholicism to support such a malicious misrepresentation. Is Mr Lamont really claiming that he knows better than parents what is in the best interests of their children? Is it arrogance or ignorance on his part? Let him either produce the hard evidence to support such irresponsible claims or withdraw them."

I don’t think evidence will be coming anytime soon.

SNP MSP Rosanna Cunningham, said:

"After listening to John Lamont's astonishing diversion into a diatribe against Scottish education, I really do think that perhaps they (the Scottish Conservatives) need to reconsider how they are going to approach the whole issue of sectarianism in Scotland. Because that would suggest to me that they are reckless as to whether or not actually it gets stirred up even further."

I wonder if John Lamont is trying to be the new ‘Richard Baker’ on justice, totally clueless and a waffler.

He should retract that rubbish.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

First Minister Alex Salmond announces sectarianism bill delay at FMQs, 6 month delay gives everyone the opportunity to get it right, brilliant call!

Dear All

When the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill was proposed I was abit lukewarm about it.

My reason was that any new law needed to be robust and based on facts that a specific offence had been committed, not it might have been committed so let’s go to Court and have a discussion about it.

Just in case a Police officer was right in nicking someone in passing.

Anyway here are my previous thoughts.

Which I opined that subjective opinion based law is nonsense.

First Minister Alex Salmond has listened to concerns and rightly decided to delay for six months the new anti-sectarian legislation.

Alex Salmond said he had listened to concerns that the new law was being rushed through parliament.

I am not a big fan of rushing through emergency legislation at the best of times because things get missed and it can produce bad law.

Alex Salmond says he would set up a new timetable to ensure it was passed by the end of the year.

This will give people plenty of opportunity to have a good long look at the Bill and make suggestions if needed.

Opposition parties, Celtic and Rangers football clubs and the Church of Scotland had all expressed concern at the original timescale.

Mr Salmond announced the delay to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill during first minister's questions, at Holyrood.

He told parliament more time was needed to take a range of evidence and views on the proposals.

Mr Salmond said:

"I accept, and I think everybody accepts, we have a majority in this chamber - but we need consensus. I hope, because what we say in this place on this issue has huge ramifications across society, that we can allow for the probability, the certainty that each and every single one of us wants to eliminate sectarianism and sectarian displays from Scottish football”.

The Bill plans to have two new offences on football-related behaviour regarded as offensive and threatening.

One deals with disorder around football matches inside the ground, and extends to those travelling to and from stadiums, as well as fans watching games elsewhere, for example in pubs or on big screens outdoors.

The second offence deals with serious threats including murder made on the internet.

Both offences would become indictable, with a maximum punishment of five years in jail.

The maximum jail term for sectarian hate crimes is currently six months which is far too low.

Draconian sentences send out a strong message.

This new legislation has only come about in the wake of several high-profile football-related incidents.

These include trouble at Rangers/Celtic games and the sending of suspected bombs to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two other high-profile supporters of the club.

Yesterday, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland jumped in feet first to add his bit and to ‘clarify’ the sectarian law by saying singing wouldn’t be seen as illegal without an "aggravating" factor.

Sit down Mulholland and have another pie, no one is asking you for your home spun wisdom.

Especially when you didn’t have the credibility to say that the Bill needed stopped in its tracks and pulled offline for it to be revisited.

I am quite pleased that the Scottish Government is taking the time to get this right and avoid the pitfalls and problems which would certain arise if this had gone through on the nod.

When I bumped into Nicola Sturgeon in the street in Glasgow a week after the Holyrood election, I said to her that even although the party had a massive majority, we should continue with consensus in the chamber.

George Laird was right again.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Edinburgh Tram project receives a fresh blow as Holyrood rejects bailout, it is time to take a deep breath and find the extra £155 million to finish

Dear All

The Labour Party has a thing for trains; they want to build train lines all over the place, classic example Edinburgh Tram project.

When the idea was first mooted, I thought like many others, disaster, Labour has a habit of starting projects that go disastrously wrong.

Scottish Parliament at Holyrood went from £40 million to £440 million under the Labour/Lib Dem coalition.

Anyway, back to trams, there is renewed doubt over its future after the Scottish Government washed its hands of the scheme.

The Holyrood administration is refusing to consider further funding for the stalled scheme after it emerged Edinburgh City Council need another £155 million to finish this white elephant.

The budget is £545m to ensure the trams run to Haymarket from Edinburgh Airport but if no money is forthcoming then everything will be wasted.

If this is scrapped according to long-awaited figures available for the first time, we would all be stuck with a bill for scrapping the project of £750m.

Council papers are expected to confirm today that running the line from the airport and along Princes Street to St Andrew Square would cost £770m which was reported last night on Newsnight Scotland.

We have no choice, we need to stump up the extra £155 million to complete even if it is through gritted teeth.

A spokesman for Transport Scotland, the national transport agency, said:

“The Scottish Government opposed the project, but in June 2007 the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of funding up to a maximum of £500m, a figure that ministers will not increase. The project is and always has been the responsibility of City of Edinburgh Council and the cost of cancellation or taking the trams project forward is a matter for them.”

To throw away the £545 million isn’t an option and neither is scrapping this white elephant.

First Minister Alex Salmond was right when he previously said he believed the project would “come to nothing”.

It was a stupid idea in the first place that went from bad to worse in a rather spectacular short space of time.

There is full council meeting to be held on June 30 to decide the scheme’s future.

And everyone will have to bite the bullet, even Deputy Leader Steve Cardownie who said his SNP group had tried to halt the tram project on four previous occasions.

And go plead with John Swinney for the extra cash which will be a hard ask for him to find given the cuts coming down the pipeline from Westminster.
Bizarrely, the Labour Party has said it plans to call for completion of the project but with a ceiling on council spending.

Completion means completion, so less us not kid ourselves on that front.

Andrew Burns, Edinburgh City Council’s Labour leader, said:

“This is a project that Audit Scotland gave a clean bill of health in June 2007. Since then it has totally unravelled. The figures show the complete and utter failure of the current LibDem/SNP administration to get to grips with the project. They are divided, incompetent and lack the necessary leadership to take the city forward. I believe it would be wrong to commit further public money to trams. We have supported this project since inception, we have attempted to provide positive input while in opposition, yet we feel that the project must be completed within the current funding arrangement. Labour will not support additional council funding being provided to the tram project.”

Amazingly, you would think that the Labour Party was blameless on this issue, this is their white elephant, and their prints are all over it.

With Council elections next year, everyone will be trying to distance themselves from this scandal to be elected but the correct decision is to go forward but appoint external monitors.

And then when it is all done, have a public enquiry into what went wrong.

The people of Edinburgh will get a chance to vote to remove those responsible from continuing as councillors.

They should exercise that right; not seeing this was a colossal mistake is a serious error of judgement.

The Labour Party tried to foster on the people of Glasgow, the GARL project but luckily, that was stopped dead in its tracks, another stupid idea.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Real anger as human rights abusing Glasgow University scraps courses, corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli oversees another part of university destroyed

Dear All

It seems the axe is whistling through the air like an unstoppable train or force of nature at human rights abusing Glasgow University led by corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli.

A whole series of courses are to go and with them, the staff whose employment chances of securing work in their speciality is slim.

So, these people will find themselves out on the street, walking the earth and probably having to move house.

Unless, they can find a ‘high frying’ job.

Do you want fries with that?

Glasgow University’s ruling Court or as I see them Muscatelli’s rubber stamp has voted to push through a series of cuts.

The closure of a drug misuse research centre, the end to Slavonic Studies and the scrapping of a stand-alone Liberal Arts programme at its Dumfries campus!

As well as this; nursing continues to have an uncertain future but has been given a stay of execution for a year.

There is a Scotland-wide review of training provision.

In Dace, where I spent many happy times, awake, some evening and weekend courses for adult learners may also be scaled back.

As the retreat continues towards high profit course, ‘the bay’ will also continue its withdrawal from social work courses.

Last night a university spokeswoman said it would be doing “everything possible” to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Is there a raft of cleaning jobs available?

Meanwhile, Strathclyde University in Glasgow also moved closer to a range of cuts in

Dave Anderson, president of the Glasgow University branch of the UCU, said:

“The implications for staff in these areas remain far from clear and we will be watching developments closely. We accept the university has had to contend with a 10% drop in public funding, but cost reductions have already addressed this and there is now no financial reason to cut jobs”.

He added:

“The way the consultations have been handled has had a devastating impact on staff morale and demonstrates clearly the need for academic decisions to be made by academic bodies and not senior managers far removed from research and teaching.”

Of course cutting courses is the line of least resistance, any clown can do that so that the trough that the senior management wallows in can remain topped up.
Could the human rights abusing Glasgow University has struck a deal with a college to transfer departments and save jobs?

I think it could be done, but Anton Muscatelli doesn’t have George Laird radical thinking, recently when the university ‘tuck shop’ went to the wall, he could get a plan to save it.

Perhaps the interest was there or the brains or the vision or the integrity.

The Hetherington Research Club went to the wall and students had to try and save it, they are still finding the good fight, despite being kicked out once in the street by Glasgow University ‘rent-a-mob’ security.

Tommy Gore, president of the Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council, said:

“There are still concerns over adult education, nursing and Slavonic Studies. These subject areas still contribute hugely to the student experience.”

Maybe Tommy can give us provide a solution.

Dr Benjamin Franks, UCU representative and a lecturer in Social and Political Philosophy at Glasgow’s University’s Crichton Campus, said:

“We’ll carry on fighting. Without the Liberal Arts degree, south-west Scotland will be without any arts or humanities programmes. We deserve better.”

From Anton Muscatelli!

Corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli, principal of human rights abusing Glasgow University, said the decisions made at Court meant the university was in a strong position.

He added:

“The difficult decisions that have been addressed, coupled with the work that has been done to turn around our finances, means the future prospects for the continued excellence of the university are extremely promising. We will continue to provide a world-class learning and teaching environment, and look forward to the future development and success of the university with considerable optimism.”

And of course, the ‘bullying and discrimination provision’ has been saved from any unnecessary cuts.

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said:

“Just last year Anton Muscatelli spoke of the importance of the programme to the future of the university and its international outlook. I am pleased the university has taken on board some of the concerns previously raised. However, this decision is a serious step backwards.”

A serious step backwards, yes, Anton has got it wrong again.

But when you consider the incestuous nature of Glasgow University promoting its own, what do you expect.

For the last 30 plus years, every principal of human rights abusing Glasgow University has been members of the same private invitation only club, the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Another piece of Glasgow University history destroyed but the Muscatelli legend will live on, possibly on toilet walls within the campus.

You just can’t get the quality anymore at Glasgow University.

Corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli Principal.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Almost 1 million SNP voters are neo-fascists says Labour MP Ian ‘the deerhunter’ Davidson, go get your pal to do your decorating on taxpayer’s money!

Dear All

I live within the Glasgow South West area, the MP for the area is Ian ‘the deerhunter’ Davidson.

He is a Labour MP and a bam.

At the last Westminster election, he stood on the stage of the SECC and said:

“As us Pollokonians say’.

Which is a surprise because he has never lived in Pollok in his entire life; he stays in the trendy west end of Glasgow.

Davidson is the chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee at Westminster.

And with his customary big mouth he has sparked fury by describing the SNP Party as bunch of "neo-fascists".

Labour MP Ian Davidson used the term during a debate on the Scotland Bill, which has cleared the Commons.

In a bizarre rant, he attacked the "narrow, neo-fascism of the nationalists" only to be immediately condemned by SNP MPs who reacted angrily in the Commons chamber.

He told MPs:

"I think we have got to be clear about what the verdict of the Scottish people was. Fifty per cent of people in Scotland did not vote in the election. Of those who did vote, less than half voted for separation”.


"We must remember that there were more people voted for Gordon Brown as prime minister than voted for Alex Salmond to be First Minister. There is clearly a situation where not everything the SNP proposed was accepted because, remember, Alex Salmond called quite clearly for a Yes vote in the AV referendum and was roundly defeated."

As SNP MPs heckled him, Mr Davidson said:

"I notice the way in which efforts have been made to shout me down. That's what's happened traditionally in Scotland when people challenge the nationalists. Those of us who want to challenge the narrow, neo-fascism of the nationalists..."

Stewart Hosie MP (Dundee E) immediately raised a point of order with Commons Speaker John Bercow, complaining:

"That description is absurd and offensive and wrong in every single regard."

Only to find that Bercow wasn’t interested in putting down that slur!

Mr Bercow said:

"My powers do not extend to the covering or reputation of nonsense."

Mr Davidson (Glasgow SW) then said:

"Is it not neo-fascist to attempt to shout down speakers that you disagree with?"

The episode is another example of how angry the British Labour Party in Scotland has become and the nasty reaction to their Holyrood extermination at the hands of the voters.

People vote SNP because the SNP is a public service party.

The Labour Party is a party of the rich.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill needs a sunset clause, subjective opinion based law is nonsense

Dear All

Les Gray fronts for the Scottish Police Federation and he is a card.

He says that new laws to clamp down on football hate-crime require far more funding.

This is like a Glasgow Labour Councillor approach, be paid twice for the same job.

At present, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill is winging its way through Parliament.

And today the newspapers are running ‘Crime to sing the national anthem’.

The Bill is being rushed through Holyrood so that it can be in place for the start of the football season.

The law is poorly designed, as someone on their way to a football match singing British national anthem or Flower of Scotland could be arrested and found guilty but two feet away another guy going to the shops to pick up a loaf would be innocent.

This Bill requires a sunset clause so it can be revisited later after data is collected to see how it functions or not.

Anyway back to Les Gray, he says the financial provision “did not scratch the surface” of what would be required to “hammer” sectarian behaviour in order to deter such conduct in future.

It is dead simple, the Police see someone breaking the law and they arrest them, they are already paid for that.

Deputy Justice Minister Roseanna Cunningham went in front of the Holyrood Parliament Committee to answer questions.

MSPs wanted to know what might constitute an offensive song.

Tory John Lamont asked whether the British national anthem or Flower of Scotland could be considered offensive under the new Act.

“No,” boldly declared Ms Cunningham, but she said context was everything.

Which means, No and Yes rather than plain old no!

She cited the way Rule Britannia had become a sectarian anthem in some quarters, while other conduct could shift into the realm of the offensive depending on context.

Ms Cunningham opined:

“I would not regard it as an offensive song, which is exactly why we don’t start defining which songs and listing the songs because it is a matter of facts and circumstances of the case whether something is or is not offensive. I have seen hundreds of Celtic fans, in a manner which I can only describe as aggressive, making signs of the cross, gesticulating across an open area to Rangers fans. A sign of the cross is not in itself offensive but in circumstances such as Rangers and Celtic fans meeting each other in a crowded street, it could be construed as something that is offensive.”

She added:

“I want to remind everybody what we saw during the last football season, scenes which none of us ever wish to see repeated, scenes which were broadcast throughout the world and which shamed Scotland. Football is our national game, millions of people are passionate about it but we can’t tolerate the complete corruption of that passion into hate, whether it is mass sectarian chanting or bullets and bombs in the post.”

SNP Convener Christine Grahame said the Justice Committee has been “put in a very difficult position” in wishing to examine the Bill on behalf of the public in the timescale proposed.

Ms Cunningham responded:

“I don’t rule out the possibility in a few years’ time of revisiting the situation with legislation.”

Freedom of speech is a human right and freedom of religion is also a human right.

And the UK Supreme Court if cases end up there because of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill will have a field day.

This Bill is rather surprising given the Scottish Government stance of keeping Scots out the UK Supreme Court in the place.

Mr Gray and Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan, who represented the Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland, agreed that the new laws would be useful.


After toadying up Mr Gray said:

“I have absolutely no doubt that the financial memorandum is way off the mark. I don’t think £0.5 million to £0.7m will even scratch the surface of what is required. For the last few years, particularly the last two years, the police service has been engaged actively in removing police officers from football grounds to reduce costs. We’re now going to have to reverse that trend in order to enforce this legislation properly by bringing more police officers to police these games before, during and after.”

It would be far simpler to deal with this problem by stopping a match dead in its tracks citing health and safety by the Police.

Fans in the terraces would soon get the message that sectarianism will not be tolerated, all season tickets holders should have a photographic pass to get them in and if they cause trouble, banned for life from games.

A point made by Gray is that when this Bill passes, when two to three Police officers would be sent in to pubs during a football match to claim things down, enforcing these additional new laws safely could mean as many as between 20 and 30 officers would be needed.

This Bill needs a sunset clause before someone going for a loaf and pint of milk gets nicked for singing Flower of Scotland wandering down the street.

The scenario is as follows.

The Punter singing gets nicked and taken to court.

Crown Office:

‘You were singing Flower of Scotland on the way to a football game’.


‘No, I don’t like football; I was going to the shops’.


Case dismissed!

Football in part is a mob activity, where perfectly ordinary people for 90 minutes get the opportunity to vent off and call total strangers 'bastards', then everyone goes home happy.

Sunset clause please!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University