Monday, July 25, 2011

It is that time of the year to take what is called the 'summer' break, to wander the earth, potter about and generally watch the world going by




















Dear All

I have decided to take some time off.

Summer break to do some reading!

As such I have found a rather nice picture of a chicken for you to look at while I am having a break.

Note the excellent balance on one leg.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say:

‘I’ll be back’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, July 23, 2011

GCC road workers caught in clocking-off scam and using council vehicles for personal use, a symptom of failure of Glasgow Labour’s leadership














Dear All

You would think that given the state of the economy and that fact unemployment is high that those in a job getting a regular wage and the security that brings would be grateful.

At the Glasgow Labour Council of shame apparently they are not!

A group of council roads workers have been caught on CCTV running a clocking-off scam which involves ripping off taxpayers.

The unsophisticated fiddle involved a ‘nominated’ staff member clocking colleagues on and off with a bundle of time cards.

As well as that others were caught on cctv taking council vehicles home from their depot for personal use.

Which begs the question, why was this allowed and why the failure of management?

We wouldn’t be any the wiser but for a probe launched in June after a whistleblower tipped off Glasgow City Council chiefs about the roads department scam.

15 workers have been given three-day suspensions and final warnings after CCTV footage was compared with clocking-off times.

They all should have been sacked.

One individual who already had a poor disciplinary record has sacked.

Following a four-week probe workers at the Gartcraig depot in Glasgow's east end were implicated.

The investigation has resulted in a manager who was accused of turning a blind eye being moved to a different role.

He should have been sacked as well.

Unsurprisingly the Unions are unhappy with the process which led to the suspensions and the sacking.

A staff source said:

"Most of the guys involved seem decent sorts and would have seen this as nothing more than an innocent scheme they had going with managers to get home early."

This is the problem at Glasgow City Council; it has been run as a fiefdom, run for the benefit of the Labour Party, their Councillors, family, friends, Labour donors and Associates

A council spokesman said:

"Following an investigation, action has been taken against 16 staff. It would be inappropriate to comment further on individual disciplinary matters."

It all adds up to an attitude problem which has been allowed to develop because the Council is dysfunctional.

It starts at the top with the Labour Councillors of shame, through the senior officers and then heads downwards to the shop floor.

Labour Councillors are supposed to be in charge but the reality is that the senior officers are the power at Glasgow City Council.

That must change if public sector reform is to be carried out at the Council.

If the SNP win the Council in 2012, a new regime must be brought to tighten things up.

The Glasgow Labour Group head up by Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson doesn’t have the will needed to turn things around at the Council.

Or ideas

Or vision

Or policies

It is business as usual lurching from one scandal to another.

And the service the public gets reflects that.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Strathclyde Police to investigate Tommy Sheridan trial, reports say that Andy Coulson may face perjury charges in Scottish Court!

















Dear All

Scotland is to have its own phone hacking investigation.

Given the nature of this story, it would have been surprising if they hadn’t started an investigation.

Strathclyde Police are to head up the investigation into phone hacking and breaches of data protection in Scotland.

The announcement was made by the Crown Office.

And like in England, the remit seems at present to be limited in nature to just News International employees.

A probe will centre on allegations that witnesses gave perjured evidence in the trial of ex-MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Sheridan was found guilty of perjury and sent to prison.

Last December he was found guilty of lying during his successful defamation case against the News of the World (NoW) newspaper in 2006.

The jury verdict was 8-6 for guilty, however, trial by jury is a crapshoot, he could have easily got off, juries are fickle because as experienced by myself, fact isn’t the only thing considered.

Juries sometimes allow emotion to influence their verdict.

However, in the trial of Tommy Sheridan, the jury came to the verdict that the evidence led them to, Sheridan’s guilt.

You could say that there was a tsunami of evidence against him but 6 people still voted not guilty.

Tommy Sheridan is a good public speaker but he isn’t that good, it worked once for him in the civil case but criminal cases are a different animal.

Asst Ch Con George Hamilton said:

"Following our discussions with the Crown, we have now been instructed to carry out a full investigation into allegations that witnesses gave perjured evidence in the trial of Tommy Sheridan and into alleged breaches of data protection and phone hacking.

"We will also be looking to see if we can uncover any evidence of corruption in the police service or any other organisation related to these inquiries.

"However, I must stress that no specific allegations regarding corruption have been presented to us at this time."

“The investigation is likely to be a lengthy one”

He also said his detectives would be working with the Metropolitan Police and other Scottish forces.

And on Newsnet Scotland they are running an article that Andy Coulson might possible be facing perjury charges in Scotland.

A blogger Charles Lavery says that:

"He (Coulson) met Scots QC Paul McBride at the Matrix legal chambers in London last week. That meeting came after a series of telephone calls between McBride, Coulson, and senior members of the Conservative Party. Coulson has been told to prepare himself for charges. Legal restrictions prevent further reporting at this time."

Paul McBride during the Sheridan case defended Gail Sheridan.

Now, he is switching sides to defend a Sheridan’s Nemesis and presumably fight to prove their innocence.

Sheridan’s lawyer Aamer Anwar got the ball rolling with Tom Watson by handing in a dossier of information alleging hundreds of people had been targeted by News International.

The BBC has managed to obtain a copy of that dossier, which details journalists' requests to private detective Steve Whittamore.

The so-called "Blue Book" features the names of many high-profile figures who later allegedly became victims of phone hacking.

And in it there are requests for a variety of legitimate, publicly-sourced information, but noticeably but there are also requests for sensitive information like ex-directory numbers, criminal records, vehicle registration details and Friends and Family numbers.

And all that could be illegal if they have been accessed by blagging or deception.

Truly phone hacking is a can of worms for News International.

The Scottish News of the World employed private detective Steve Whittamore dozens of times.

For Sheridan who was found guilty, this is a victory of sorts, the NOTW got him and it looks like he might return the favour at a Scottish level.

However, NOTW or their Associates possible guilt wouldn’t alter his situation.

But at least he can enjoy their misery.

And if anyone at NOTW gets banged up then it will be counted as a form of victory.

Andy Coulson if reports are correct, maybe coming back to Glasgow to stand trial.

He should learn the old song, ‘I belong to Glasgow’ because if convicted Barlinnie will certainly own him for some considerable time.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Oslo bombing kills 7 people and 84 people die when a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, Police say both incidents linked












Dear All

Whether we like it or not, there is danger everywhere which can strike at anytime.

We live in a world with a lot of unhappy people who want to push their views and agenda on the rest of us.

To that end, they don’t think anything of using violence and other means to achieve their goals.

Norway is reeling from shock from a bombing in Oslo and massacre at an island youth camp.

The bombing was massive in nature and the damage is mind blowing.

At the youth camp at least 84 people have lost their lives when a gunman opened fire on innocent people.

The man dressed as a police officer has been arrested on the island after an hour-long shooting spree.

And Police have charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man over both attacks.

The man has been named as Anders Behring Breivik who describes himself as a
Christian and conservative on a Facebook page attributed to him.

The Oslo bombing which ripped the guts out of the city centre killed at least seven people.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the attacks were "like a nightmare".
Continue reading the main story

Stoltenberg described the attacks as a national tragedy.

He said:

"Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this scale."

The search is still going on for bodies at the island itself and also in the waters around it.

As people fled in terror by trying to escape by jumping in the water and trying to swim away to safety, the gunman opened fire on them.

One question which is being asked is the length of time that it took the Police to act and get to the island.

But that question and others is for another time, right now there are people who need help and our support in Norway.

You can’t help but feel sorry for the families of those who have lost loved ones in both incidents.

But I don’t think Anders Behring Breivik thought about that while planning evil.
And his acts were truly evil in nature.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland announces new Knife-carrying penalties that are meaningless pap, who does he think he is talking to that are listening?




















Dear All

Knife crime is a problem in Scotland.

It always has and always will cause heartache and misery for victims and families.

Knives are weapons of choice because they are readily available, accessible and cheap.

Politicians haven’t stamped out the problem because they really don’t understand how to deal with offenders.

How to put that moment of pause into the mind of someone thinking of using a knife on another person!

And because they don’t we don’t have a serious attempt to fix the problem.

When the Labour Party used knife crime as an issue at the Holyrood election, they were ridiculed on Newsnight Scotland by Gordon Brewer.

Both Labour MSPs Andy Kerr and Iain Gray were roasted over Labour’s knife crime policy.

To be blunt, it was a load of incoherent shite.

‘Carry a knife, go to jail’ was their slogan, which meant that anyone regardless found with a knife would go jail.

When Gordon Brewer pointed out to Andy Kerr ‘does that mean me’?

Andy Kerr replied no, which put Labour’s mandatory jail policy in the position to be seen for what it was a gimmick.

Gordon Brewer asked ‘how can it be mandatory if it isn’t mandatory’?

Needless to say Labour lost the election by a landslide but their knife crime policy didn’t help matters, it showed them as legal incompetents.

Anyway, Frank Mulholland is the new Lord Advocate after replacing Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini; he has announced tough new penalties for first-time offenders found in possession of a knife.

As such he has issued a statement of intent of how his office will work on whether to prosecute someone carrying a knife.

Anyone found with a knife in a variety of situations will be prosecuted on petition and their guilt decided by a sheriff and jury.

Hardly ground breaking stuff.

The situations include:

Possessing a knife on licensed premises

When gang involvement is suspected

At a "hotspot" for violence

On public transport, or at a bus or train station

In fact, the rule of thumb should be that anyone regardless carrying a knife should have their arse thrown in a cell, charged and prosecuted unless they have reasonable cause.

Mulholland said these measures will allow greater sentencing power for the sheriff and increases the maximum prison term from one to four years.

The aim of the policy is to act as a deterrent and to reduce reoffending.

It won’t, this assumes that offenders have an interest in reading the pap churned out by Team Mulholland.

They don’t, no one sits and reads the guidelines of the Crown Office before deciding whether to commit an offence.

The Lord Advocate said:

"Carrying a knife in public is completely unacceptable and a serious offence and those in our society who choose to ignore this will face the full rigour of the law”.

Is he saying they didn’t before?

Adding:

"Today, I send out a further warning to those who still carry knives or use knives to harm others, you will, if caught, be prosecuted and could be imprisoned for up to four years."

That happens anyway, so Mulholland maybe flapping his gums, noise is coming out but it isn’t useful.

Who does he think he is talking to in the first place, Neds?

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

"The courts already have the power to impose a four-year sentence for possession of a knife, but with more cases set to be heard by a sheriff and a jury rather than through the summary courts, this new strengthened prosecution policy will mean more offenders now face the toughest of sentences."

I doubt that, a judge determines sentencing not the Crown Office and not the Scottish Government.

Them saying there will be a presumption in favour of prosecution on indictment where the accused has previously been convicted of a relevant offence aren't new and is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, who leads the anti-violence campaign on behalf of the violence reduction unit, said:

"The Lord Advocate's announcement sends out a clear warning to those carrying knives that their behaviour will not be tolerated and will be punished."

Unfortunately, no one is listening because it is mindless pap and rhetoric; these people are only talking to themselves, probably to justify their existence.

And they should be talking to the offenders.

The policy should be, if you use a knife on a person, on conviction, minimum 5 year sentence, and an additional three months for every stitch put into a wound.

Stab someone, automatic 7 year sentence plus an additional three months for every stitch put into a wound.

When word get out that draconian sentences are being handed out coupled with 5 year bans from living in their home areas, people will start to think twice.

Then we will have a proper knife crime policy.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Hacking scandal: more high drama as Sun staff member is sacked and James Murdoch’s evidence called in question, things look bleak













Dear All

It is naïve to think that the phone hacking scandal was just a problem for the News of the World.

Previously the narrative out of the Murdoch Empire was it was down to a few rogue people.

We all know that it nonsense, the focus has been kept deliberately short and narrow by the Government so as not to drag in other newspapers involved.

And of course the Police investigation will be limited as well.

We will learn a lot and a few nuggets will be thrown to the public that this type of thing will be stamped out.

A few faces will change, people will rotate out and new ones rotate in with the new press watch dog.

But they will all be establishment people.

The most important thing out of this whole mess is to keep the investigation limited in nature.

Because this story involves the big three, Press, Police and Politicians and the interconnecting relationships they have.

That is how information, power and influence is passed about by the political and social elite.

Ed Miliband is causing a storm but would he be saying as much if he was in power?

The answer is no I believe.

For him, this is all about party political advantage.

In the latest scandal to hit the Murdoch Empire, an executive at The Sun has been sacked.

News International confirmed in a statement that a member of staff had been dismissed and reports suggested it was Mark Nixson, features editor at the daily newspaper.

A spokeswoman said:

“News Corporation’s Management and Standards Committee (MSC) can confirm that News International today terminated the contract of a member of staff in relation to his previous work at the News of the World.

“The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone-hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International, as well as conducting its own inquiries where appropriate.”

As things unravel, the Murdoch crew are sacrificing people left right and centre to say their own skin.

So far, they haven’t shut this down; it is growing, because other newspapers and agencies sense real weakness for them over this.

And they see this as an opportunity to boost their share of the tabloid market at the expense of the Murdoch Empire.

However, the real bombshell is the revelations of Colin Myler, who edited the last edition of the News of the World newspaper two weeks ago, and Tom Crone, the paper’s long time lawyer.

They have put James Murdoch between a rock and hard place.

They cast doubt on Mr Murdoch’s testimony to MPs on Tuesday.

During the grilling before the Media Select Committee, Mr Murdoch Jnr told MPs that he was not aware of a crucial email, dubbed the “for Neville” message, before he signed off a payout to Gordon Taylor from the Professional Footballers Association.

In a statement they said:

“Just by way of clarification relating to Tuesday’s CMS Select Committee hearing, we would like to point out that James Murdoch’s recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken”.

Adding:

“In fact, we did inform him of the ‘for Neville’ email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor’s lawyers.”

James Murdoch had a good day in front of MPs, well coached by lawyers; he told them nothing of value.

Despite being questioned for hours; Rupert Murdoch, also held the line.

But Myler and Crone just drove a truck right through his credibility.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Westminster plan for Crown Estate Fund for coastal communities, Danny Alexander bypasses Alex Salmond’s call for it devolved to Holyrood













Dear All

Tory Prime Minister David Cameron says he has a respect agenda for Scotland and its Government, the truth is that is smoke and mirrors.

There is no respect, it is an illusion.

To show the point, ministers at Westminster have stuck two fingers up to the SNP over who should control millions of pounds generated by the Crown Estate in Scotland.

At present, the Crown Estate is controlled by Westminster and Danny Alexander, the as Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury has decided along with the rest of the coalition to announce that a new fund will use Crown Estate profits to help coastal communities.

This means that charities and community groups will benefit from the specially created fund.

Currently it is £4 million a year but likely to rise to around a whopping £40m by 2021.

Call it buying influence direct from Westminster against the narrative used at Holyrood.

The fund completely bypasses First Minister Alex Salmond’s call for all Crown Estate revenue in Scotland to be devolved to Holyrood.

In the fight to keep Scotland within the union, the unionists will use every device at their disposal.

Lib Dem Danny Alexander has admitted he had not engaged with the Scottish Government on the fund.

On the basis that although they have an interest; they don’t have an input or a leg to stand on, which is correct!

Finance Secretary John Swinney responded by accusing the Treasury of trying to “buy off Scotland’s coastal communities by offering them only 50% of their own resources” and said “this paltry announcement does not go nearly far enough”.

Alexander said:

“There will be a direct benefit to coastal communities from what is likely to be a significant growth area in years to come, as offshore renewables especially become a more important part of our energy generation.”

The fund starts next April but will be UK-wide in nature.

In Scotland, there will be two parts, one covering the Highlands and Islands and the other covering the rest of the country.

It will be administered by the Big Lottery Fund.

They will decide what projects will benefit and by how much.

Alexander also added:

“As a Highlander, I feel it’s important we enable coastal communities to share in the benefit of offshore developments in their areas. I hope this will be a fund that will grow over the years and enable a real difference to be made in these places.”

This is all about buying influence, it is patently clear; the unionists are doing what anyone else would expect from a political group.

Creating doubt in the minds of ordinary people and providing a channel that Westminster is good for them.

As to the SNP plans for control, he said:

“The SNP have put forward a proposal and we are considering it but this is a better way forward for the communities in Scotland.”

In other words, case closed move on.

When I heard that the SNP wanted the Crown Estates, I was doubtful that they would get it.

Why would Westminster give up control, what is in it for them?

Absolutely nothing!

Westminster is just sending several messages to Holyrood and the Scottish Government.

The SNP should send one back and reject the entire Scotland Bill.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tommy Sheridan manages to get in a photo op by playing football at Scotstoun Sports Centre, he will need more than a bag of air to win votes!















Dear All

One thing we know is that Tommy Sheridan after getting released from prison will try and make a political comeback.

To do so, it will be the usual man of the people stuff liberally sprinkled with comrades and brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately, as much as he may think that it is business as usual he is seriously wrong.

His spell in prison which no doubt will be portrayed as him being a political prisoner for standing up to the Murdoch Empire will only wash with a few.

So, I have a question for Tommy Sheridan, do you want to be an elected politician?

He would probably say yes immediately.

But the reality is his party is like a fringe group, he will get a core vote but not enough to start back on the long road back in a meaningful sense.

So, having been released from prison on a home visit, football fanatic Tommy Sheridan has done his first unofficial photo op of getting back on the campaign trail, the classic kickabout.

And the location was the Scotstoun Sports Centre in Glasgow where he met up with friends.

Its man of the people stuff, politician taking part in sport with a group of people creating a narrative of I’m like you, I do ordinary things.

Sheridan has been released from Castle Huntly open prison for the first in a series of home leave breaks so we can expect more photo ops of him doing mundane things as he will probably have been told that he can’t campaign in his usual manner.

Or they will whip his ass back inside pronto.

The former MSP was expected to host a meal for family and friends before returning to jail tomorrow.

I suppose that Sheridan will count this as a success in the short term but in the long term, he has a mountain to climb, he has wrecked his party in the minds of voters.

A serious rebranding exercise is needed and a new name for a fresh start coupled with new policies.

Solidarity has run its course; it was a poor choice of name to begin with, harking back to the Polish ship strikes of old.

And Sheridan should be looking towards the future.

If he is interested in winning seats and not being just a soap box politician!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Prince Andrew steps down as Britain's trade envoy following row over friendship with U.S. sex offender and billionaire Jeffry Epstein, bad judgement













Dear All

One of the things that the Royals do as a job is press the flesh in various countries promoting British goods and services.

The Duke of York is UK's roving business ambassador.

And as such he gets about the place.

Unfortunately for him, he is to step down from his role as the UK's roving business ambassador because of his links with American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and others.

Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

And people like Prince Andrew can’t have paedophiles as friends.

However as bad luck would have it, Prince Andrew has faced intense scrutiny over his relationships with a series of controversial figures, including the convicted paedophile, Epstein.

If he was hanging about with the same type of people at a local level in Britain, they would be classed as gangsters and thugs.

But these people that Prince Andrew meets are rich gangsters and thugs.

Prince Andrew has been dogged by accusations of a lack of judgment.

But this should extend to the people he employs to steer him right and didn’t.

Further doubts were raised about Andrew's position in the wake of media coverage about him entertaining the son-in-law of ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.

With people dying as the Arab Spring engulfs the Middle East, perhaps it wasn’t the best time.

You could say that Prince Andrew is really unlucky he also held a meeting with Libya's embattled leader Colonel Gaddafi while on a private visit to Tunisia in 2008.

And in 2011, Gaddafi is an outcast.

As expected and despite the mounting criticism, he received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

Not a surprise as this is automatic.

Andrew has been the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment since 2001, travelling around the world and at home promoting Britain's business interests.

Prince Andrew need to find a job and this one is as good as any other because it is all about trading on his name as a senior member of the Royal family.

Another aspect of his demise from the position is the long-running complaints about the lavish nature of his official foreign trips.

Prince Andrew stays in absolute luxury when abroad.

What is telling is a leaked letter written by retired diplomat Stephen Day, a former ambassador to Qatar and Tunisia, to Foreign Secretary William Hague that stated an 'entirely new role should be found for him as soon as possible'.

Back at home, the calls for him to resign or be removed from his role were made in March by Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former Foreign Office minister, and senior Labour backbencher Mike Gapes.

Although politicians try and paint the lie that we live in a meritocracy it isn’t the case, above a certain level people like Prince Andrew get opportunities that ordinary people can’t get.

They wouldn’t even get their application read; they don’t move in the right circles or have the right social connections.

When retired diplomat Stephen Day said that:

'entirely new role should be found for him as soon as possible'.

All he did was flag up how utter corrupt Britain is.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

David Cameron and the Tories sink lower as backlash against phone hacking gives a boost to the SNP; however the real vote goldmine remains Labour vote













Dear All

Scottish people hate Tories.

Say the word Thatcher and it provokes deep anger and resentment over her treatment of the Scots.

The poll tax and every other dirty pilot to make people’s lives more unpleasant was tried out on the Scots to work the kinks out before being introduced in England.

People suffered under the Tories in Scotland badly, Thatcher brought in the end of heavy manufacturing industry in coal, steel making and to some extent ship building.

For those crimes, the people of Scotland turned their backs on them.

They exist as an anomaly a party that needs a form of proportional representation to get people elected.

It is not surprising that in Scotland there is only one single Tory MP and his seat is down at the border close to England.

With the phone hacking scandal wrapped around David Cameron’s neck because of his links to News International that dissent and disapproval is growing.

Cameron is suffering a backlash with increasing numbers of Scots expressing deep dissatisfaction with the Coalition.

He isn’t as unpopular as Nick Clegg but his personal stock is bankrupt, he is now damaged goods.

Rather than being on the front foot and leading the charge, he is well behind the curve playing catch up.

The desertion of support is another blow to the Prime Minister on a day in which he expressed regret to MPs over his misjudgements.

But he stopped short of apologising,

And when asked repeatedly in the Commons by several MPs did he have private talks with executives from the newspaper’s owners News International while its parent company News Corp was trying to buy broadcaster BSkyB.

He refused to directly answer the question citing instead that he had no inappropriate talks about that.

Cameron may have thought he was being clever and cute but came across as devious and dishonest.

The supposed leader of the Country unwilling to tell the truth in Parliament!

That is unacceptable.

But Cameron’s woes are the SNP gain as the party is benefiting from the chaos that has engulfed Westminster, the Police and the Press.

However, the rising may only be temporary as minds are focused on the scandal, once the agenda moves on so to maybe that support.

Despite the Labour Party making the running, Ed Miliband hasn’t connected with the voters as much as he would like to.

There still remains a question about his leadership and judgment and like Cameron, people will want answers.

So as much as this poll is of interesting in the grand scheme of things it is a small blip on the radar as just 102 people north of the Border took part in the Scottish section of it.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ann McKechin is called for an inquiry into alleged hacking and police corruption in Scotland.

And wants the First Minister Alex Salmond to make public his media meetings.

Previously the Labour MSP Paul Martin in a list of 25 questions asked:

“In the interests of public confidence can the Scottish government assure the public that it has carried out an internal review to ensure none of its staff have been involved in phone hacking at any point?”

What evidence has he to think or imply that Scottish Government staff have been involved in phone hacking.

That was an incredibly stupid and ignorant question.

So far Paul Martin hasn’t produced a single shred of evidence and can’t.

David Cameron survived because the Murdochs, Rupert and James put up a good performance, particularly James Murdoch who was well briefed and coached beforehand.

The select committee at the Commons didn’t get a kill.

James Murdoch answered questions but told MPs nothing; no new facts that weakened his position emerged.

His performance made it easy for David Cameron at the House of Commons because the shield is still intact.

If you can take anything from this, it is how noticeable was the lack of support from Government Ministers for Cameron and how Boris Johnson acted.

Cameron has this scandal around his neck like an albatross.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Number of Scottish people going into debt and then bust rises by 25%, we can’t carry on like this or the future will be bleak












Dear All

The trouble is debt.

Whether it is the bailouts to the banks or people taking cheap credit and running up huge debts which they can’t afford to service.

The number of people going bust in Scotland rose by a 25% in the first few months of this year, according to official figures.

5,000 people were declared insolvent between April and June.

And things are going to get worse as more and more people lose their jobs.

The unemployment market is oversaturated with people and about to be flooded with even more as Councils cut back on services or carry out public sector reform.

In Scotland, public service reform will be the task that dominates political thinking.

How to achieve more for less and at the same time protecting as many jobs as humanly possible!

But the grim reality is that there will be some job losses because shrinkage is needed to stabilise the situation.

No one has an unlimited supply of money.

And Councils don’t do enough to generate extra income.

The Public sector has to fundamental developed in order to service the needs of its clients and also generate cash.

And any cash generated needs to be ring fenced so that it doesn’t affect their next years’ budget, success shouldn't be punished.

Growth is the key but contraction has to be allowed to take place first!

The idea we can just keep going at the same level is nonsense, society is falling apart.

At the local level, the number of people opting for the voluntary protected trust deed to help write off their debts rose up by 51%.

A trust deed is an alternative to bankruptcy for people unable to repay their debts. It involves a monthly payment arrangement with some creditors and often involves some of the debt being written-off.

The rule of thumb is if you can’t afford it, then don’t buy it.

The poor and unemployed people know only too well how to live within their means, they have no option.

What however works for people, doesn’t quite work for countries and current models of public service are outdated hence public sector reform is needed.

Before things can expand, they have to be put right to work better.

Everyone talks about public sector reform but when pressed their reforms are little more than tinkering, not root and branch.

Debt is a problem and councils have to build up and develop sovereign funds pots to effective long term unsustainable growth.

In the short term that means real pain for some.

Politically that is the way we should be travelling, but it is the only way that the many will have a future.

Not everything can be protected but unless political parties acknowledge that they must stop their short term thinking things will continue as is and will probably get worse.

That means politicians have to stand up and be counted.

But we must contract before we can expand.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

David Cameron says he received no specific warnings about Andy Coulson, Labour MPs Tom Watson and John Prescott both sent letters, no replies




















Dear All

David Cameron’s premiership has been completely ruined, he will go on but he is fatally damaged.

And you can see that by the lack of support he is getting from Cabinet Ministers and Boris Johnson, the London Mayor.

Cameron says no one warned him about Andy Coulson, but there were two letters sent directly to him by Labour MPs, Tom Watson and John Prescott.

Here is the Prescott letter in full.

‘Dear Mr Cameron

I am writing to express my deep concern about the allegations in today's Guardian newspaper.

The claim that up to 3,000 people, including myself, had their mobile phones "hacked" on the instruction of the News of the World while being edited by your director of communications, Andy Coulson, must be thoroughly investigated.

I'm glad to see that thanks to my calls, the Metropolitan police, the culture, media and sport select committee and the Press Complaints Commission are now investigating these claims.

But I'm surprised about your reaction to these serious allegations.

Last night, you were said to be "very relaxed" about the case. And this morning you said you had no intention of sacking Coulson, adding: "Of course I knew about the resignation before offering him the job. But I believe in giving people a second chance."
But since your statement, it's been announced that the Metropolitan police are investigating the allegations, and the culture, media and sport select committee will reopen its inquiry into News International and mobile phone hacking.

The chair of that select committee, John Whittingdale, has said that the Guardian's allegations raise "very serious concerns" and that it would probably call on Coulson to give evidence.

The former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, who worked closely with Rupert Murdoch and News International, has already said that under Coulson it appears the News of the World newsroom was "out of control" and that he was either "incompetent or complicit".

You now appear to be the only person satisfied with Coulson's role while every other relevant authority is investigating the claims.

In light of this, will you ensure that Coulson fully co-operates with the select committee and, if called, attends to give evidence.

Finally, I must say that I feel your "very relaxed" attitude to these allegations seriously calls your judgment into question.

If they are true, Coulson is not fit to enter government as your director of communications if you are elected or, indeed, remain in his current post.

I look forward to your prompt reply as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon John Prescott MP’

David Cameron is a liability, he made a serious error of judgment and he was warned on two occasions by way of letters.

Cameron has said he received no specific warnings about Coulson while he was working at No. 10.

Enter stage left Tom Watson and John Prescott who are able to immediately cite letters sent in 2009 and 2010.

Both received no reply.

And kept their letters on file, David Cameron’s future looks bleak as he tries to rewrite history.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour Party member Jonathan May-Bowles attacks Rupert Murdoch at hearing before Media Committee, a really stupid petty act by a clown!













Dear All

Yesterday was a day of high drama.

The Murdoch family appeared before MPs to answer questions.

The only disappointing aspect of the proceedings was an idiot called Jonathan May-Bowles who attacked Rupert Murdoch.

This according to some gave Murdoch the sympathy vote, painting him as a victim.

He was hit in the face by a paper plate with shaving foam.

After that all the public were kicked out of the hearing because of the actions of one man.

And he should get done and prosecuted for common assault and breach of the peace.

As Murdoch got attacked his wife Wendi Deng jumped up and slapped protester Jonathan May-Bowles hard across the face in dramatic scenes during the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing.

May-Bowles is a Labour Party member.

And fronts as a comedian known as Jonnie Marbles.

The Labour Party has immediately suspended him.

And he will probably get expelled, too high profile and at some point in the future Labour and News International will try and make up.

For the Tories this crisis threatens to further engulf David Cameron’s premiership.

One thing which is noticeable is the lack of support from Boris Johnson to Tory Ministers for David Cameron.

Cameron isn’t popular.

Trouble, Cameron and Murdoch all said in the same sentence seems natural after the Conservative Party was forced last night to admit his former communications chief Andy Coulson had consulted hacking suspect Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor of the News of the World, before last year’s General Election.

Wallis wasn’t paid but things look really black.

Cameron’s crew have tried to switch the spotlight on George Osborne by saying Osborne recommended Coulson to Cameron.

David Cameron’s surprise link to Mr Wallis came as he touched down in the UK last night ahead of a crunch statement to Parliament today to save his premiership.

Cameron will survive but this scandal has damaged his authority and standing in the party despite agreeing to all the measures asked of him.

But he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do so.

David Cameron by sheer bad luck has to face serious questions over the hiring of Mr Coulson as the Number 10 Communication Chief.

He said that he gave Coulson a second chance because he believes people should be given it in life.

I can’t fault that sentiment but Cameron should have done better checks rather than accept Coulson’s word that he was trouble free.

As we have seen there is definitely a stink around Coulson that is growing, Sean Hoare who has turned up suddenly dead said Coulson knew of phone hacking in a panorama interview.

This places him in the firing line, but can he dodge the bullet in a trial?

We will have to wait and see if the Police investigation leads to charges against him.

And Cameron is at the centre of a web to everything via his links.

Today, David Cameron has told MPs that "with hindsight" he would not have hired ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson.

In the closest he has come to an apology, Cameron said:

"Of course I regret, and I am extremely sorry, about the furore it has caused."

And that is the close yet he has come to a public apology.

He regrets but still hasn’t apologised.

BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said "bit by bit, Mr Cameron is cutting Mr Coulson further adrift".

Bad news for Andy Coulson!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scotland’s Nelson Mandela; Tommy Sheridan out of jail on home leave, he gets to play happy families for a few days, but what future does he have?













Dear All

He is out!

Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, political prisoner Tommy Sheridan has been allowed out of prison on home leave.

It is only temporary, he has to go back.

The release is to prepare Tommy Sheridan to integrate back into the free world.

While clamped up in prison Sheridan has been a model prisoner which is the quickest way out.

Wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and looking leaner from his time behind bars, Sheridan arrived unheralded at the city’s Buchanan Street Bus station at 11am.

There then followed an emotional reunion with his wife Gail, the first time the couple have been together outside of a prison’s walls since he was sentenced.

As part of his release he is barred from talking to the press but he managed to give the snappers a wave.

Who turned up in droves, Sheridan is in disgrace but the current News International problems make him a person of interest.

At the front door, the only real victim of the Tommy Sheridan downfall was waiting to greet him.

His six-year-old daughter Gabrielle, who ran out of the house to embrace him yelling “Daddy!” at the top of her voice.

Sheridan said:

“I’m under strict instructions that I can’t do anything. I can get photos taken out in the street but I can’t invite anyone in and I can’t make any further comment.”

Sheridan was slammed up for three years in January after being found guilty of lying in court during his successful defamation case against the now defunct News of the World in 2006.

He had claimed the newspaper’s allegations that he had attended a sex club were untrue.

The jury thought otherwise and by 8 to 6, he was imprisoned.

I am surprised that the result was so close because the evidence against him was compelling.

Videotape, George McNeilage who made the tape, the people at the meeting who said he confessed and witnesses who saw they saw him in Mnachester plus the Danish woman Katrine Trolle who said that Tommy Sheridan done her.

Sheridan’s return home is the start of a series of visits, which are all part of the rehabilitation process for convicts who have been moved to an open prison.
Is Tommy Sheridan rehabilitated?

As he said he was wrong to lie to the Court?

No!

He maintains his ‘innocence’ of all wrongdoing.

Sheridan is expected to return to prison within a few days, but there remainds the possibility that he could be freed with an electronic tag in October.

Just in time to start campaign to get his wife elected if she stands for the Glasgow City Council elections in 2012.

What she campaigns on isn’t certain but the Solidarity Party needs a rebranding and a whole raft of new policies and a name change.

Sheridan has damaged Solidarity so that it is toxic in the minds of the voters.

People just can’t take them seriously.

And that means they won’t vote in the numbers needed to win seats.

Last night, Sheridan’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar said:

“Mr Sheridan is being released from prison on a home visit. He is going to be with his family and that’s something he has waited a long time for. We would request that he be given his privacy.”

Earlier this month, Mr Anwar handed in a dossier to Strathclyde Police which he says contains the details of private information of individuals north of the Border accessed by the News of the World.

That evidence of possible wrongdoing doesn’t clear Tommy Sheridan.

Anwar has also called on officers to carry out an investigation to establish if any the News of the World executives lied during evidence at Sheridan’s perjury trial.

Tit for tat!

I suspect the prize is Andy Coulson, the Sheridan camp would love to get Coulson convicted and sentenced to a term in a Scottish prison.

Tom Fox, of the Scottish Prison Service handling the press for Tommy Sheridan’s release said that convicts, in this case Sheridan, are allowed home leave but have to comply with a number of conditions, which vary from prisoner to prisoner.

He added:

“People that are allowed home visits are assessed as having a low risk of reoffending and of being no danger to the public. The visits can last as little as a day or be as long as a week, and are all part of the process of easing someone back into the community.”

At the end of the Tommy Sheridan trial, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison, I disagreed with that sentence but understand the idea behind it.

Lying in court is a serious offence.

But Sheridan with all his faults wasn’t a danger to society.

He is doing his time and claiming innocence because when he gets out he goes back on the campaign trial.

And the narrative will possibly be he was a wrongfully convicted man.

He may think that narrative if said loud and often will convince people on the doorsteps, Tommy Sheridan stood up ‘against the man’ and went to prison for his beliefs.

If he wants to turn round his political fortunes then he can’t live in the past and live in denial.

He will just be another political ‘leader’ fostered on the public whom the public will just reject at the ballot box.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Labour MSP Paul Martin asks the SNP 25 questions over Murdoch links such as ‘have any Scottish Government staff been involved in phone hacking’, clown




















Dear All

Paul Martin is a Labour MSP at Holyrood.

He is the son of Michael Martin, the former MP for Springburn who was forced to resign as Speaker of the House of Commons, the first to do so in nearly 300 years.

I supported the Tory campaign for Martin to hit the bricks, not because I like Tories but because they had a point.

Michael Martin was a bad Speaker.

Paul Martin followed his father into politics, the Martin family had a stranglehold on Springburn politics hence Paul became an MSP.

He is asking questions of the SNP and particularly First Minister Alex Salmond.

The questions Labour has asked of the SNP are:

1). On what date did Alex Salmond meet with James Murdoch and what matters were discussed?

2). Who instigated the meeting between Alex Salmond and James Murdoch?

3). How many times has Alex Salmond spoken with and met with James Murdoch or other senior News International figures in the last four years?

4). When did Alex Salmond last speak to James Murdoch?

5). When does Alex Salmond next plan to speak to James Murdoch?

6). Other than Alex Salmond, have any other SNP ministers met with senior News International figures? If so, when and what was discussed?

7). Have any civil servants or taxpayer funded advisers met with News International on behalf of the Scottish government? If so, who, when and what matters were discussed?

8). In the interests of public confidence can the Scottish government assure the public that it has carried out an internal review to ensure none of its staff have been involved in phone hacking at any point?

9). What is the SNP’s position on a separate media regulator for Scotland?

10). How much public money have been spent facilitating meetings between Scottish government ministers and News international, such as the dinner Alex Salmond hosted at Bute House with the Scottish editor of the News of the World in March 2009 or the exclusive News International business breakfast in April of this year?

11). How much have the SNP spent on advertising with News International publications in each of the last four years?

12). How much public money have the SNP spent on advertising with News International publications in each of the last four years via the Scottish government?

13). How many free articles, such as Joan McAlpine’s interview with Sean Connery in the Bahamas, have the SNP provided to News International publications in each of the last four years?

14). Why did it take four full days and for the News of the World to close down before Alex Salmond (not through a spokesperson) made any official public statement on the phone hacking scandal? (Milly Dowler revelations broke on 4 July yet Alex Salmond did not speak on the issue until 8 July).

15). Why has Alex Salmond still not respond to Ann McKechin’s [shadow Scottish secretary] letter dated 8 July 2011 to all Scottish political party leaders calling for further action on phone hacking?

(The letter included calls for: assurance that the public inquiries announced by the prime minister are properly resourced, able to take evidence under oath and will start their work immediately; the scrapping and replacement of the Press Complaints Commission and a call to the industry to come up with better self-regulation; suspension of the decision by the Government on the BSkyB deal and referral to the Competition Commission and the removal of Rebekah Brooks as CEO of News International with immediate effect).

16). Given Alex Salmond’s attacks on “successive Westminster governments” for failing to properly regulate the press on how many occasions in each of his four years as First Minister has he raised this with the UK government?

17). What dialogue has the Scottish government had so far with the UK government regarding the inquiry announced by the prime minister into the broader conduct of the press?

18). What dialogue has the Scottish government had with the relevant authorities as to how many Scots have had their phones hacked?

19). Why did Alex Salmond at no point support Ed Miliband’s calls for Rebekah Brooks to resign?

20). Why did Alex Salmond at no point speak out on the BSkyB deal?

21). How many t-shirts depicting The Sun’s front page from the 5 May 2011 has the SNP sold from its online shop?

22). Why did SNP MPs contribute only two sentences in last week’s emergency debate on phone hacking?

23). What contact have SNP MPs had with senior News International figures?

24). Is Alex Salmond worried that he has had his phone hacked?

25). What motivated the SNP to share an office building with News International in Edinburgh?

These are 25 questions which are nothing more than an attempt at muck raking, and flagging up how stupid Labour MSP Paul Martin is!

Let’s look at question number 8.

“In the interests of public confidence can the Scottish government assure the public that it has carried out an internal review to ensure none of its staff have been involved in phone hacking at any point?”

It is quite disgraceful to suggest that Scottish Government staff have been involved in phone hacking when there has been no evidence to support such a bizarre claim.

And given an internal investigation would be beyond the ability of the Scottish Government due to human rights legislation, it rather shows how ignorant Paul Martin is to allow such a question to be asked in the first place.

This question is clearly asked by a person with a low IQ.

Another gem of wisdom from Labour MSP Paul Martin is in question number 21:

“How many t-shirts depicting The Sun’s front page from the 5 May 2011 has the SNP sold from its online shop?”

And the Labour Party wonders why people are turning away from them!

What a clown!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch tells MPs that he is 'ashamed' by phone hacking scandal, but his body language betrays fear of being in spotlight












Dear All

Do you remember when the bankers appeared before MPs?

They put on a public sack cloth and ashes performance about being ‘deeply sorry’.

One after another like a ritual they each said sorry.

Now, today we have another performance this time it is the turn of the Murdoch Empire.

Rupert Murdoch has said he was "appalled and ashamed" to learn that the phone of Milly Dowler had been hacked by the News of the World.

He also told MPs he was not aware hacking was more widespread than originally claimed.

And he said he had "clearly" been misled by some of his staff.

Rupert Murdoch said his appearance was the "most humble day of my life".

Sack cloth and ashes.

He has also seen the family of Milly Dowler because in media terms it is important to touch all the bases.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

An example of when it doesn’t is Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy when he wanted a ‘kiss and make up’ media event after calling her a ‘bigot’.

She refused to do the staged managed event, rightly in my opinion.

Ruper t Murdoch is making his first appearance facingdirect scrutiny by MPs during his 40-year media UK career.

His son James also apologised to victims, saying he had great regrets.

In trying to distance himself, Murdoch said that the News of the World was "just 1%" of his worldwide business and that he employed "people I trust to run these divisions".

Rupert Murdoch and his son are taking a calculated gamble by appearing as they see this as a chance to create distance for them and gain closure for their empire.

So, we have James Murdoch, chairman of News International, saying the firm failed to live up to "the standards they aspired to" and was "determined to put things right and make sure they do not happen again".

In other words they don’t intend to step down.

He added:

"I would like to say just how sorry I am and how sorry we are to particularly the victims of illegal voicemail interceptions and to their families."

The Murdochs initially declined to appear before the committee but changed their minds after they were issued with a summons to attend.

If they didn’t appear they could have been in serious trouble.

At present the scandal isn’t going away, Murdoch and his advisors haven’t created a suitable narrative that is getting MPs and the public on side.

Their only option is gaining time; they want to create enough time to allow the media, public and parliament to move onto other issues that gets them off the radar.

And although they are before the Media Committee, the Tory chairman John Whittingdale is friendly with people he is investigating.

He is friends with Rebekah Brooks.

This conflict of interest should have seen him remove himself from the proceedings and he didn’t.

We will see a show for the public but don’t expect anything in the form of new evidence, the Murdoch’s maybe before the committee but their prepared line is that they know nothing.

And the blame lies with other people.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

NOTW Whistle-blower Sean Hoare who publicly stated that Andy Coulson knew of phone hacking suddenly winds up dead, David Cameron is now damaged goods




















Dear All

Sean Hoare is dead.

He was a former employee of the News of the World who stated that senior executives knew of the phone hacking culture within the paper.

And he alleged that Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former spin doctor, was aware of hacking when he edited the paper.

Sean Hoare could have given evidence at a trial that might have put Andy Coulson in prison.

And now he has suddenly died.

Hoare was the first journalist from the now-defunct tabloid to speak out publicly about phone hacking.

He took part in a panorama interview, so that tape could be used by the Crown Prosecution Service if charges are filed against Coulson.

At present the official Police line is that Mr Hoare's death is ‘unexplained’ but not suspicious.

From that you could opine that either he committed suicide or just died from natural causes.

Hoare’s death came on the day Met Police second-in-command John Yates quit over the scandal citing he was the victim of was the victim of “inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip.”

At the same time questions have surfaced about his alleged help for Neil Wallis, formerly of the NOTW in secure employment for his daughter who got a civilian job at the Met Police.

Yates also added:

“I have acted with complete integrity and my conscience is clear”.

Then he should have no problem answering lots of questions then!

The Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission last night revealed it was investigating five allegations against Mr Yates.

And former officers Peter Clarke and Andy Hayman, both senior officers at the Met Police!

Yates jumped ship when told he was being suspended from duty.

And in another bizarre episode which questions ethical practice Media committee chairman John Whittingdale who is to quiz Rupert Muroch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks hasn’t stood down on his conflict of interest.

He is friends with Rebekah Brooks on Facebook.

As such he should have removed himself immediately from the Media committee and didn’t.

For David Cameron, the pressure is growing that he should resign over the crisis given his close links to Coulson, the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks.

So far he is trying to do a ‘nothing to do with me guv’ approach.

But he is worried; he cut short an overseas trip to deal with the political crisis.

Odds on the prime minister being the next cabinet member to leave office were slashed.

Cameron is at the centre of too many people connected to this scandal.

But to return to Sean Hoare, when he first spoke out, Mr Hoare told Panorama the then NoW editor Andy Coulson had asked him to hack phones something Mr Coulson has denied.

Now, he has turned up dead.

Hertfordshire Police said in a statement:

"Police investigations continue into the unexplained death of a man who, whilst formal identification is yet to take place, police believe to be Sean Hoare.

"The post-mortem is set to take place today. The man's next of kin have been informed and the family are being supported by police at this sad time."

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, July 18, 2011

Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has resigned, Yates confronted with new info about friendship with Neil Wallis, a phone hacking suspect











Dear All

Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates has resigned.

First went Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson now John Yates pulls out his truncheon and falls on it.

High drama as the phone-hacking scandal fall-out continues.

Can we dare that David Cameron follows suit given his closeness to Andy Coulson?

People keep asking him to accept responsibility he says he has but he is still in his job!

What probably done for Yates, was that he checked the credentials of Neil Wallis before the Met employed the ex-News of the World executive who was arrested last week over the phone hacking scandal.

John Yates's resignation came after he was informed he would be suspended pending an inquiry into his relationship with Mr Wallis.

That was all too much; Yates indicated his intention to resign to the chairman of the Met Police Authority, which was accepted immediately.

Apparently John Yates had been confronted with new information about the friendship between the two men.

Yates of the Yard is now in the knacker’s yard.

And he will still face questions.

Lots!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Lord Glasman Ed Miliband's policy guru says freeze immigration and put British people first, EU should have a internal immigration policy




















Dear All

Immigration is a touchy subject because it is usually linked to the racist tag when people speak out in favour of British people.

But the solution to immigration has got to be solved by the European Union.

As part of being an EU member people are allowed to work in other countries, they problem is that there should have been an internal mechanism in place so that those travelling elsewhere have funds to sustain them.

Ed Miliband's new policy guru is Maurice Glasman, he believes the country should toughen up on immigration and put the needs of British workers first.

We have heard this all before as the Labour Party reaches out to the working class vote which to some extent is disenfranchised by political parties.

That is why at election time parties offer gimmicks and bribes or ask you to vote for the ‘popular’ alternative.

But the reality the ‘popular’ candidate is sometimes the least objectionable to you.

Lord Glasman has a history last month he faced accusations of sexism from a key ally of deputy leader Harriet Harman.

Glasman told the Daily Telegraph that more stringent legislation should be in place to prevent workers moving freely throughout the EU.

Like me he believes that there is a problem but it must be sorted out at EU level, something which I have blogged on for some time.

He believes that immediate change is needed and is calling for the Department of Work and Pensions to deal with immigrants on a case-by-case basis, accepting workers only where there is a skills shortage.

That only works with people from outside the European Union and the problem is also the internal labour market.

Glasman is leading calls for British workers to be given priority over migrant workers and you can understand why when so many British people lose out in the job market.

He said Britain should be more open and generous to those immigrants who are needed, but to do so, the country had 'to draw the line'.

He said:

“We've got to re-interrogate our relationship with the EU on the movement of labour. Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first. The EU has gone from being a sort of pig farm subsidised bloc, to the free movement of labour and capital.”

A point he makes is that immigration should be completely stopped for a while.

We also need to tackle the illegal immigrant problem, which involves thousands of illegal people living and working here.
It is to some extent seen by political parties as ‘acceptable crime’ as illegal immigrants become involved in multiple crime such as identity theft, falsely acquiring documents, national insurance numbers and using the social fabric of the country such as the health service.

Labour has moved swiftly to distance itself from Lord Glasman's comments with a party insider stating:

“Maurice Glasman is a friend and colleague. His views are his own. Ed Miliband has made clear that the previous Labour Government made mistakes on immigration but we will set out our views clearly and after careful thought some time in the future.”

The source added:

“We cannot turn our backs on the free movement of labour across Europe, especially as more than one million Britons work abroad.”

Labour will not tackle immigration because as I say the problem has to be solved at the heart of the European Union and requires political will.

The Tories have pledged to tackle immigration but their efforts need to go much further, at present action is only being taken by introducing a cap on non-EU workers permitted to seek employment on British shores.

The Labour Government used immigration as a social engineering experiment while claiming it was to help the economy.

Exposed as a lie!

Since then, Ed Miliband has taken a swipe at the former administration claiming they 'made mistakes' when addressing immigration.

Under the last Labour government, the UK oversaw a record influx of migrant workers with more than three million arriving in Britain.

And most of the new jobs didn’t go to British people, whole generations of ordinary young working class people flung on the scrap heap.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

‘War on Bercow’ continues as Tories keep count that Speaker John Bercow 'ticks off twice as many Tories as Labour MPs', Order Order Order!




















Dear All

Michael Martin was a former Labour MP who was voted in to be the Speaker of the House of Commons.

It was a disastrous appointment.

Quentin Letts dubbed him ‘Gorbals Mick’ and the name stuck as Michael Martin became the ‘shop steward’ of the House rather than the Speaker.

He saw himself as a guardian of keeping secret MPs expenses and we all know how that ended.

Badly!

Martin resigned, the first Speaker to do so in about 300 years, he left office in disgrace and was wrongly in my opinion given a peerage.

The Queen did it on the quiet.

Martin sits in the House of Lords.

Labour having lost face set in motion a series of events as they saw the writing on the wall.

What would be the worst thing for the Tories who were so pro active in kicking Martin out?

Step forward John Bercow.

It was Labour’s FU.

Bercow wasn’t wanted by the Tories and got in by way of Labour votes.

Tories and Bercow never made it up.

So, we have a situation where Commons Speaker John Bercow it is claimed lashes out at Tory MPs more than twice as often as he rebukes their Labour counterparts.

Unofficially there is a Tory campaign against him rumbling along, full of hate and anger.

It has a certain pettiness in it as Rob Wilson, the parliamentary private secretary to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has taken the extraordinary step of counting the number of times Mr Bercow shouted ‘order’ at MPs since the general election in May 2010.

His findings show that Conservative members were admonished 257 times compared with just 109 times for Labour MPs.

Tory MPs have seized on the statistics as proof that Bercow is biased in favour of Labour.

Education Secretary Michael Gove tops the chart and earned the most admonishments, 18 from the Speaker.

Simon Burns, the Health Minister who called Mr Bercow a ‘stupid, sanctimonious dwarf’, has also been ticked off ten times.

Burns later apologised to dwarves.

Mr Wilson, the MP for Reading East, said: ‘Those MPs who have suggested bias in the Speaker’s handling of the Commons would feel vindicated by these figures.’

A spokesman for the Speaker said:

“To suggest any personal bias on his behalf is nonsense.”

The Tories are bringing the House of Commons into disrepute and David Cameron of ‘second chances’ fame has allowed this to continue.

As a Party leader he should have stamped out this problem a long time ago but he let it fester that Tory MPs feel they have a sacred right to put the boot into Bercow.

Bercow’s wife Sally is also an MP, she hasn’t distinguished herself either with her crass picture of her in a sheet demeaning the office of the Speaker.

With lead flying in the phone hacking scandal, the hard core Tory anti Bercow brigade still find time to run their hate campaign at Westminster.

Commons Speaker Joihn Bercow, few friends, many enemies.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

14 Scottish lawyers accused of fiddling Legal Aid but not one single prosecution, Scottish Government must act, taxpayer’s money












Dear All

One thing that the legal profession is passion about is self regulation.

That is why we have the Law Society of Scotland.

The Society is supposed to deal with complaints against lawyers.

However if you go to the Scotland against crooked lawyers, it is a testimony to the failure of self regulation.

www.sacl.org.uk/

However on occasion, the Law Society of Scotland gets tough usually because a case gets into the public domain in a big way.

Legal aid bosses from the Scottish Legal Aid Board have reported 14 lawyers to prosecutors for allegedly fiddling a fortune in taxpayers' cash.

But not a single one has been put in the dock.

The current Lord Advocate is Frank Mulholland, he took over when Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini folded her tent.

Of the 14 cases, 11 suspected fraud cases were marked no proceedings, one lawyer was declared insane, one died and the other is still being considered.

Crown officials are not identifying any of the lawyers involved or reveal the scale of their alleged fraud.

Which means just as they allegedly ripped off the taxpayer; they are free to do so with clients.

And the Procurator Fiscal Service is standing back.

The revelations of alleged fraud were made by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service director of operations Scott Pattison in response to a freedom of information request.

Last year, Scottish lawyers were given £155million of taxpayers' money for legal aid work.

Despite public spending cuts biting elsewhere, they opposed any attempt to reduce legal aid costs.

Legal reform campaigner Peter Cherbi said:

"It seems that the Crown Office which is run by lawyers has one rule for the legal profession and another for the rest of us. If you receive taxpayers' money, you should be open to full public scrutiny."

And MP Brian Donohoe added:

"This is outrageous but hardly surprising given that it's lawyers regulating lawyers. We need an independent system of regulation. Until that happens, people will have no confidence."

The self regulation scam isn’t just a preserve of lawyers; the medical profession has also jumped on the self regulation bandwagon.

It all makes Scotland and Britain corrupt.

Four months ago the Sunday Mail revealed that Kilmarnock solicitor Niels Lockhart, 60, raked in more than £600,000 in two years.

Legal aid watchdogs investigating ruled that Lockhart made dodgy claims but did not call in police.

Why did they not call in the police? That should have been automatic on their part.

Lockhart is still practising but no longer claiming legal aid.

Three lawyers who worked for Paisley firm Robertson & Ross have also fallen foul on claiming.

Ian Robertson was forced to hand back £221,847 in claims and banned from further claims.

Colleagues Fraser Currie and Alastair Gibb were also banned.

And last year a lawyer who was banned from claiming huge sums of legal aid was back in business.

Steven Anderson who worked in Springburn, Glasgow pocketed £560,330 in one year.

Slab blocked £500,000 of pending payments and banned all future claims by Anderson, but he was not struck off.

Slab said:

"We provide all relevant and available information to the police and Crown Office. It is for the procurator fiscal to decide if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution."

And in corrupt Scotland with pretty much all lawyers being members of the Law Society of Scotland cartel don’t hold your breath.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Met Police chief Sir Paul Stephenson quits over hack claims, Rebekah Brooks gets arrested and held at London police station, who’s next to fall?













Dear All

The phone hacking scandal certainly has proven interesting, from one high to another as outrage after outrage appears to be the order of the day.

The latest victim of the phone hacking scandal is Britain’s most senior police officer, Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

His phone wasn’t hacked.

He has suddenly resigned over his links to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

And a few hours later former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested.

And held at a London police station!

Sir Paul Stephenson stepped down after he was linked yesterday to free stays at a health resort which employed the newspaper’s former deputy editor Neil Wallis as a public relations guru.

Wallis was arrested last week.

The question is why was someone in his position accepting or allowed to accept that type of gift while holding the post he had.

It was declared but it never should have been allowed in the first place.

This is what I mean by corrupt Britain.

Sir Paul said:

“I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity.”

Thousands of people may have had their phones hacked.

Rebekah Brooks attended a London police station by appointment thinking she was going to help with their inquiries; she was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers from Operation Weeting.

They are conducting the inquiry into phone hacking including that of murder victim Milly Dowler’s phone.

Her spokesman questioned whether it would be proper for her to be grilled by MPs on the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee tomorrow.

She is due to face questions along with News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch, and his son, James, the chairman of News International, over the scandal.

And under the human rights act, she can keep her mouth shut as any questioning could prejudice her right to a fair trial if charged.

Her spokesman said the arrest was somewhat of a surprise, as last week it had been indicated to her she was not on the police “radar.”

He added:

“She was going, anticipating to help with their inquiry. She wasn’t anticipating she was going to be arrested. It has many implications for Tuesday. Over the next 24 to 36 hours her lawyers will have discussions with the select committee to see if it will still be appropriate [to attend]. She certainly wants to. It adds another layer of complexity.”

Could Rebekah Brooks be ignorant of all knowledge to do with phone hacking and the corruption of police officers selling information?

Some people would find that hard to believe.

Thousands of pounds walking out the door in brown envelopes and she isn’t asking questions.

Labour MP Chris Bryant questioned whether her arrest was a “ruse” before the meeting.

He added:

“It is unusual to arrest by appointment on a Sunday and that just makes me wonder whether this is some ruse to avoid answering questions properly on Tuesday in the Commons committee. I don’t want to overstress that argument but it’s unusual to be arrested on Sunday by appointment, why couldn’t that have happened tomorrow or Wednesday or whenever?”

In his resignation speech Sir Paul said the UK’s biggest force could not afford “any doubts” about its head.

And there are doubts when a senior police officer in his position is receiving £12,000 worth of hospitality at Champney’s health resort in Tring, Hertfordshire.

And the guy handling public relations is Neil Wallis, another ex NOTW person who was also hired as a consultant by the Met Police.

It all looks too cosy.

Neil Wallis was Andy Coulson's deputy at the time of the scandal and has since been arrested.

Denying any impropriety, Sir Paul said:

“I have heard suggestions that we must have suspected the alleged involvement of Mr Wallis in phone hacking. Let me say unequivocally that I did not and had no reason to have done so.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“I respect and understand his decision to leave the Met. What matters most of all now is that the Metropolitan Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority do everything possible to ensure the investigations into phone hacking and alleged police corruption proceed with all speed, with full public confidence and with all the necessary leadership and resources to bring them to an effective conclusion.”

The Labour Party is milking this story like mad, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper contrasted Sir Paul’s relationship with Mr Wallis and Mr Cameron’s with Andy Coulson, who resigned over the scandal before he briefly became No 10’s director of communications.

She said:

“It is striking that Sir Paul has taken responsibility and answered questions about the appointment of the deputy editor of the News of the World, whereas the Prime Minister still refuses to recognise his misjudgment and answer questions on the appointment of the editor of the News of the World at the time of the initial phone hacking investigation. People will wonder at why different rules apply.”

The Labour Party wants David Cameron to resign.

That won’t happen and if the shoe was on the other foot does anyone think that Ed Miliband would resign?

Not a chance, we would be subjected to some mealy mouth statement of not walking away from responsibility.

Labour are being hypocrites.

Cameron said that he employed Andy Coulson because he believes in giving people a second chance and was given assurances by Coulson.

On the surface that seems fair enough, but Cameron wouldn’t be given be giving second chances if Coulson was at the bottom end of the social ladder.

Something we should all remember.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scottish Labour could be stuck with leader Gray as internal soul searching could take a year, a coin flip, Ken Macintosh or Jackie Baillie









Dear All

Labour people might not like it but part of the reason that they lost the Holyrood election 2011 was because Iain Gray was a poor, weak and ineffectual leader.

It came down to who was the best to defend Scotland’s domestic interests from Westminster.

People choose the SNP because of their four years of competent government particularly in the two key areas, finance and health.

Much more was done with less.

That is Labour’s problem, they had ran out of ideas, policies and spent four entire years being a negative force that refused to work constructively within the parliament.

They couldn’t point to a record of what they stood for that would better people’s lives because there wasn’t one.

After the election party leaders of other parties fell on their rubber swords and resigned, not from parliament but to the back benches.

Iain Gray duly let it be known that he would also fall on his rubber sword.

But Labour’s problem is who takes over the ship that has the keel ripped out.

The new crew brought onboard are made up of ex MSP’s relatives, researchers, non entities and extraordinary non bright people.

Most of the Scottish Labour big hitters are gone, Andy Kerr, Pauline McNeill and Frank McAveety all blown out of the water by the SNP.

Labour stands in a virtual wasteland, an apocalypse with a few survivors crawling back towards Holyrood.

That leaves’ Scottish’ Labour with a problem, who to lead them after Iain Gray.

Trouble is they could be stuck with Iain Gray as a lame duck leader for almost a year because of the party’s byzantine rulebook.

There has been a delay in the replacement process meaning any leadership contest is difficult this year.

And with a review in progress which is expected to beef up the role of the Holyrood leader that would delay the contest until next spring.

At present there is soul-searching in Labour to why it suffered its worst defeat for 80 years.

Quite simple, people have lost faith north of the Border in Labour representatives to work for the community.

People see Labour representatives as there to protect the rich and powerful.

UK leader Ed Miliband is the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
That is a problem as he is also the de facto leader of the Holyrood Labour MSPs because the person elected to take charge in Holyrood answers to him.

Miliband wants a new narrative to come out of the review into the party in Scotland, including “how the role of the Scottish Labour leader should develop and change; including how the election process might be amended”.

It is a rebranding exercise.

The exercise is being led by shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy and MSP Sarah Boyack.

So, who is in the frame for leader?

It comes down to two people.

Ken Macintosh and Jackie Baillie are the contenders.

Of the two, the only credible candidate is Ken Macintosh, Baillie is damaged goods and isn’t up to the task of taking on Alex Salmond.

Also she isn’t the kind of person who the public will warm to, she is from the Wendy Alexander stable and we all know what a disaster her tenure was.

One senior Labour source said:

“You would be pushing it [to have a new leader] by the end of the year. If there’s going to be an election, we would have to take a fair amount of time. The last thing we want to do is rush through some half-baked proposal. We need a consensus, and you don’t get that in five minutes.”

This isn’t simply about electing a leader.

It is about developing an entire strategy for the Labour Party in Scotland so far there is little evidence that either Macintosh or Baillie have grasped that point.

People want elected representatives to do what it says on the tin, deal with their problems, fight for their causes, Labour hasn’t done that and the SNP stepped in to fill the void.

From Councillor to MSP to MP, there is an attitude problem of can work won’t work.

People see it.

A leader is a figurehead but when all is said and done, it isn’t the leader who wins elections, it is the team.

And Labour’s machine is broken.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Labour MP Lyn Brown physically and verbally abuses a disabled man at Westminster and refuses to give her name to victim before running off




















Dear All

Here is a story that you just couldn’t make up from Westminster.

Labour MP Lyn Brown, a Labour whip abused a disabled man at Westminster using verbal and physical abuse.

She objected to a blind man getting in her way.

Brown is the Labour MP for West Ham and barged into the back of Talksport political editor Sean Dilley, and his golden retriever guide dog, as he was walking in a corridor towards Portcullis House.

Witnesses’ report that Miss Brown bulldoze into the back of Mr Dilley before overtaking him, shouting:

“For ****'s sake, move out of my ******* way.”

What followed was unbelievable.

The journalist asked her to be more careful as he did not want to crash into his guide dog, Chip.

Miss Brown replied:

“You are such a rude ******* man, you just walked right in front of me.”

Mr Dilley replied:

“I'm blind, you stupid woman.”

Mr Dilley then demanded to know Miss Brown's name, as he could not see who had bumped into him, but Miss Brown replied:

“I am not giving it to you, **** off.”

When Mr Dilley said he would ask security guards to identify her, Brown replied:

“You just do that and see what happens.”

Threatening a blind man for wanting to put in a complaint!

Commons security staff pursued her as she didn’t want to stop saying:

“You are harassing me, leave me alone.”

She has just verbal and physically abused a blind man and she claims she is a victim.

The security guard called for police assistance and a report was compiled by the Commons authorities.

A witness said Miss Brown, 51, was 'clearly in a rush' but her brusque manner shocked Mr Dilley, who was born blind.

The Commons source said:

“She was shockingly rude. There was no need for her to use language like that. Frankly I was surprised because Labour is supposed to be a party which is sympathetic to people with disabilities.”

I think people don’t believe the Labour Party stands for anything expect the rich and powerful, they use people as a means to an end.

An eyewitness added:

“he blind man she crashed into seemed very distressed by her manner and stream of swearing. I heard him saying that he was blind and calling her a stupid woman but frankly had I been barged into like that I would have been using much stronger language. The security people were muttering that if she had spoken to them like that, they would have carted her off to the prison cell in Westminster.”

Afterwards Brown was hauled before her boss, chief whip Rosie Winterton, for a dressing down and was made to issue an apology to Mr Dilley.

A Labour source trying to gloss over the abuse of the disabled said:

“There has been a misunderstanding. Lyn has apologised. They now both consider the matter to be over.”

Mr Dilley said:

“Look, I'm a journalist and we should never be the story. Lyn Brown has explained that there was a misunderstanding. She has apologised to me and as far as I'm concerned, that's the end of the matter.”

Unsurprisingly Labour MP Lyn Brown is not available for comment.

The reason she felt she could get away with such behaviour is because she thinks she in untouchable.

She is a symptom of what is wrong with the Labour Party and shows by her actions that she is unfit to hold public office, she was quite happy to abuse a disabled man. If the barging into was an accident, what followed should never have happened.

But it did.

It shows the true nature of Labour MP Lyn Brown.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University