Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top Scots Tories fire broadside at Ex MI6 Spy and Glasgow University product Andrew Fulton over denial of natural justice for Malcolm Macaskill

Dear All

Ex MI6 Spy Andrew Fulton, a Glasgow University product isn’t the flavour of the month with senior Tory stalwarts with decades of service under their belt.

They are rightly upset regarding the disgraceful treatment of Malcolm Macaskill who was removed as a candidate to make way for publicly unelectable Ruth Davidson.

Davidson is now a Glasgow list MSP although she lives in Edinburgh.

Activists have accused the party hierarchy of giving the brush off to those demanding answers over the way Macaskill, the leading candidate was cast aside on the eve of the May election campaign.

And with the Tories trying to construct a narrative that Ruth Davidson is the natural successor to Annabel Goldie, the activists have decided to stand up and be counted.

One of them said last night:

“We have been treated with contempt.”

Bang goes Davidson’s chances of being the ‘unity’ candidate.

In a letter to The Herald, the chairman and secretary of one of Glasgow’s largest constituency associations, Rutherglen and Hamilton West, claim treatment of lead candidate Malcolm Macaskill went “against the principles of natural justice”.

And they are so right.

But what is more damaging is that five polite letters to the Ex MI6 Spy and Scottish Tory chairman have resulted in a “brush off”.

Jean Miller and Allan Kenneth write:

“We don’t believe we can ask for the respect of the electorate when there is no respect in our party relationships.”

It is an unprecedented comment, given the loyalty of the pair to the party for decades.

Mrs Miller has been a member in Rutherglen for 45 years and an office-bearer for 21 years.

Mr Kenneth first joined the constituency party 27 years ago and has been an office-bearer for the past 12 years.

They write:

“Having been ranked as top candidate on the Conservative Regional List for Glasgow, Malcolm Macaskill was almost certain to be elected as a regional MSP in May.

“Six weeks before the election he was removed from the party’s list and Ruth Davidson was promoted from second on the list. She was elected.

“Malcolm was denied a formal hearing, which goes against the principles of natural justice. Despite five letters of polite requests from those of us who, as local party office-bearers have worked with Malcolm for many years, Andrew Fulton, the chairman of the Scottish party has given no proper explanation for the party’s high-handed action.

“His response can be best described as a ‘brush off’, with repeated statements that ‘this correspondence is now closed’. We don’t believe we can ask for the respect of the electorate when there is no respect in our party relationships.”

And with other Tories voicing anger about vote rigging in Glasgow, this is a row that isn’t going away.

Mr Kenneth went further, saying:

“Malcolm has been a very successful fund-raiser for the party and recently attracted pledges of substantial donations to the party from prominent businessmen. These pledges were withdrawn when Malcolm was sacked.

“The party apparently did not understand that the promises were dependent on goodwill created by Malcolm. We feel he was very badly treated by the party in March. The reasons given in press reports did not justify the party’s vicious action.

“Jean and I have repeatedly asked the chairman of the Scottish party to give an explanation or to meet us but have been treated with contempt.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said:

“This issue was, quite rightly, dealt with in private and we refuse to discuss personal circumstances in public. The decision was taken following due process and endorsed unanimously by the party executive.

The steps taken were regardless of the ranking position of the candidate and we consider the matter closed.”

In order words, democracy isn’t important as getting the right socially acceptable person for those running the party.

Mr Macaskill said:

“My method of removal from the candidates’ list and from the No.1 ranking in Glasgow was unjust, it would quite rightly not be tolerated in the workplace, or any properly constituted organisation. The disregard for a basic human right is not what people would expect from a modern political party which advocates fairness and democracy.

“Jean Miller and Allan Kenneth have been colleagues for many years and I hold both of them in the highest esteem. As I have not been party to any of the correspondence between them and Andrew Fulton, I am unable to comment further.”

I am not a fan of the Tories but what happened to Malcolm Macaskill was completely underhanded and against natural justice.

The fact that he wasn’t given a fair hearing shows why Tories are so publicly unelectable.

It is clear that within the Scottish Tories there operates a party within a party.

And any party that sits idly by as candidate selection is rigged is doomed to failure, eventually it will come out into the public domain and their support will leave.

Along with goodwill and activists.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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