Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lord Steel takes a swipe at Alex Salmond over 'intimidation' of BBC, if Salmond got invite, it should have been honoured, not rocket science

Dear All

It seems that the BBC row with Alex Salmond over the Scotland Vs England is going into extra time.

Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former Holyrood presiding officer has popped up to claim, how Scotland was becoming like a one-party state.

We should all remember that one party states by enlarge usually fail at some stage because even within the one party, a central clique is established.

Which is pretty much how the SNP unfortunately operates at present, a one party centralized clique.

At present there is what I can only describe as membership apartheid with the Scottish National Party.

SNP MP Dr. Whiteford makes unsubstantiated allegations and gets help immediately from Alex Salmond downwards and George Laird makes a similar complaint of mistreatment and is ignored over a period of six months.

An example of how even with the one party state a caste system operates, despite the claims that the SNP stands for fairness, equality and social justice.

I don’t believe the Scottish National Party does stand for these ideals, except if it is to their political advantage.

Anyway, Lord Steel opines that SNP "heavies" have came close to intimidating broadcasters; personally, I think Lord Steel is wrong.

Obviously the SNP need the oxygen of publicity to counter the fact that their activist base is extremely small, they have also benefit from the poor media operations and policies of the unionist parties.

But their media problems are an easy fix, if someone has vision.

When Alex Salmond spat the dummy and decried the decision to knock him back at the rugby match things went rapidly south, and he described the BBC executive who made it as a "gauleiter".

Seeing an opportunity his political opponents were quick to accused him of using a Nazi slur.

Ah politics.

The ‘facts’ of who said what and when are disputed by both sides who are claiming the moral high ground.

The BBC said the FM had asked to be included on the programme, but his appearance had never been confirmed and had been refused following two requests for him to appear on radio.

Across the road, the Scottish Government accused the BBC of getting its "facts wrong" and pointed to emails showing Alex Salmond had indeed been invited to appear.

During a contribution to the committee stage of the Scotland Bill last night, Lord Steel told peers:

"When I switched on my television that Saturday at 4.30 to watch that dreadful Calcutta Cup match, the last thing I wanted to see was the First Minister popping up to give his inexpert views. He should be concentrating on governing the country, not looking for camera calls wherever he can."

And why should that be any different from any other inexpert angling for a freebie and possibly a decent buffet thrown in.

Steel added:

"We are being told by some people that to be anti-SNP is to be anti-Scottish. It is time they understood that the rest of us resent being told that to be pro- Scotland; you have to be pro-SNP. That's not the case".

The SNP from my experience is pro SNP and anti Glaswegian and anti working class, that is why so few Glaswegians are willing to work for them.

The SNP GRA, the umbrella group for all SNP branches isn’t controlled by Glaswegians born and bred but by outsiders.

And at some point, people will start to ask the question, why do the SNP believe that Glaswegians aren’t good enough to be candidates?

To be fair, the SNP has token Glaswegians standing, however they are a minority in a city where they are the majority.

Referring to the TV row, Lord Steel said:

"I have been told by other broadcasters that the Salmond rugby experience was not unique for them and that SNP heavies have made more regular calls of complaint to newsrooms than all the other political parties put together and that this is running at times close to intimidation. We are seeing a trend towards the attributes of the one-party state, where news bulletins are led by stories of what the dear leader has been doing today and that is a real danger."

If Alex Salmond had an invitation it should have been honoured once it was sent, that should be plain to all, if he was chancing his luck and got bounced then he should walk away and forget it.

The row with Alex Salmond got out of hand very quickly which means that in future, everything will have to be examined, goodwill replaced by regulation.

As well as Steel; Lord Maxton, the Labour peer, interjected followed Labour colleague, Lord Foulkes, no one was speaking up for Alex Salmond because the SNP don’t have any SNP Peers which I call a mistake in their policy thinking.

At present the SNP have been quiet on the BBC row because they can’t win, it was stupid to start it and they are firefighting to try and save the reputation of Kenny MacAskill who stands accused of pressuring Al Megrahi into dropping his appeal.

The SNP should realise that having fights with others on matters of principle isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the problem appears to be the judgment to fight on petty issues they cannot win and a tendency to look short term ‘Heath Robinson’ style.

In the Al Megrahi case the important thing was the appeal, if that appeal was successful or unsuccessful then Scottish Justice would have been seen to be fair.

But the short term thinking appeared to be sticking two fingers up to the Labour Government in London using the compassion clause as a vehicle.

Now, Scottish Justice stands as a mockery, steered by a man who has lost control of his ministerial brief and is accused of tampering with a witness.

I don’t see Alex Salmond wanting to run with this argument because it is so toxic and tainted, there will be the usual 100% behind MacAskill statement of course.

And then a possible high profile announcement to move the agenda off it.

But questions remain, did the Crown Office failed to hand over all documents in the case of Al Megrahi.

If the answer is yes, when did the Justice Minister know about this and why were no steps taken to launch an inquiry?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Devo plus gains support from three unionist MSPs, somewhere along the line, the indy option could get drowned out, one referendum, one question!

Dear All

Politics is always about strategy; some people have a feel for politics and tread the light fantastic, seemly coming up with the right ideas for the right time.

But there are danagers as Harold Wilson said, “a week is a long time in politics”.

However policy should never be based on short term considerations but long term planning.

Accidents and disasters happen which require attention.

The independence is a long way off, I have blog on why the SNP need so long before the referendum, it is because they don’t have enough people to work for them, too many tasks and not enough people of a high enough calibre and standard to implement tasks set by SNP HQ to branches.

That is an entire blog post on the short comings of the SNP in itself and why they need a new political structure, possibly for the future.

Anyway, as well as the SNP having its problems, the unionist parties need a strategy to resell the union to Scotland.

MSPs from the three main opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament are backing a new campaign for much greater devolution.

Devo Plus is a watered down version of Devo max.

It is a political carrot that allows Holyrood full control of income tax, corporation tax and some welfare spending.

So, what makes Devo plus better than Devo max?

Quite simply, Devo plus can be pushed through Westminster by MPs, where as Devo Max favoured as a fall back in the event of a no vote cannot, the SNP has 6 MPs in Westminster.

6 out of 650!

Westminster would keep control of pensions, VAT and national insurance which means that Holyrood would have more levers but not every lever.

In an ideal world, it would be better to have full autonomy but it isn’t an ideal world, and the more options pushed onto the table, the more that have to compete with the independence option.

Independence is credible, but requires more work than the SNP has done or indeed signed up for.

Statements, slogans and spin wouldn’t cut the mustard with the public.

So far, Devo Plus has the personal support of three MSPs from Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott, the Conservative MSP and former presiding officer Alex Fergusson and the Labour MSP Duncan McNeill are fronting this, which tends to suggest others are backing it.

Edinburgh-based think tank Reform Scotland and former Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis are advancing the new option and tinkering with the Devo Max idea which floats about and is ‘promoted’ by the SNP who keep raising it in the hope that someone will run with Pan McB.

Jeremy Purvis said:

"The term devo-max has been used, wrongly, as an umbrella under which all fiscal solutions from Calman to independence can hide, when in fact it is a very specific proposal by the SNP, which would lead to constant friction. Fundamentally, it does not address accountability issues either."

In floating Devo Max, the SNP thought they were hedging their bets, but the unionists are quite as stupid as everyone seems to think, if the independence referendum fails, Devo max is replaced by Devo plus or we have independence, Devo this, Devo that and Devo the other, people will get confused.

One question is needed, a straight forward yes or no is all that is required.

If Devo plus is on the ballot paper and wins, the SNP can’t claim a win, it also puts the unionists on the front foot for the next Holyrood election.

And election which will be different that 2011.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

The day has dawned on the sunset of Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s tenure and career as Justice Minister

Dear All

The day dawned yesterday on the sunset of Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s tenure and career as Justice Minister.

He is now damaged goods, damaged beyond political repair, and it wasn't the work of the opposition but rather a man who continually claims that he suffered a miscarriage of justice.

At present the Justice Minister has been quick to deny the claims in a new book, entitled Megrahi: You Are My Jury.

He took to the TV to prove his innocence, however looking at the footage, I was struck not by his words of denial but rather what the eyes were saying.

They were saying that this is a man who is completely uncomfortable denying the claims in the book.

MacAskill, who in my opinion should never have been appointed Justice Minister is under pressure to explain the claims he advised the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing to drop his appeal.

Since the appeal was against conviction, it throws up serious questions, did a Scottish Justice Minister tamper with a witness.

In Scottish law tampering with a witness is a serious issue to be levelled at anyone, but at the Justice Minister it is unheard of.

Megrahi claims he felt pressured to drop his claim to smooth the way for his compassionate release.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi says he was "the innocent victim of dirty politics, a flawed investigation and judicial folly".

The only course of action by a decent Government is to run his appeal, the public have a right to know, was the trial of Al Megrahi tainted by the withholding of evidence by the Crown.

I have previously blogged on why under Elish Angiolini, Justice was a sham which hampers the SNP case for independence.

No justice means no independence.

Recently high profile failures of the SNP Government all stem from the one department, the Justice brief of Kenny MacAskill.

Silly little gimmicks and ‘housekeeping’ have been portrayed as success.

The Crown Office like the Fingerprint Service has been shown to be ‘unfit for purpose’ however the SNP Government hasn’t the political will to tackle the big problems.

That is why Scots need the UK Supreme Court, Kenny MacAskill needs an outside source to rectify and put his house in order, he is incapable of doing it himself.

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie calls for Kenny MacAskill and Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland to make a statement to Holyrood.

We are beyond statements, we must move on to the appeal, and leadership is required by the SNP on this issue.

Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.

Rennie said:

"Allegations of suppression of evidence and a Greenock Prison release deal between the Justice Secretary and Megrahi make it essential for a statement to be made to Parliament - it is important the Justice Secretary answers serious questions."

Tory leader Ruth Davidson said:

"This is a staggering claim and implies the Scottish Justice Minister was offering legal advice to help a convicted killer escape prison."

Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, said Mr MacAskill may have "knowingly misled Parliament".

The problem in the SNP is that quick solutions badly thought-out without mental rigour has seen blowback in SNP policies, scratch below the surface and it is clear that beneath slogans and press releases there is precious little there.

The book's author, John Ashton, who spent three years as a researcher with Megrahi's legal team, described the Crown's failure to disclose key information as a "scandal".

Professor Robert Black, one of the architects of the original trial, said the book appeared to have "put the final nail in the coffin of the conviction."

Was the sticking of two fingers up to the Labour Government and saying ‘f*ck you’ in order to grab a little TV as ‘world statesman’ by Alex Salmond really worth it?

I would suggest not, if the SNP Government doesn’t takes steps to ensure that this issue of the appeal is run, it casts doubt not just on the competence of Kenny MacAskill but directly on Alex Salmond, he should consider Alex Neil for Justice Minister subject to a rigourous interview.

No justice means no independence.

Today is the day that the SNP lost credibility to handle justice issues on behalf of the Scottish people.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, February 27, 2012

Glasgow Labour go with ‘Top guns’ for Glasgow Council election fight as Frank McAveety and Bill Butler stand, Glasgow SNP go with ‘Pop guns’

Dear All

It seems that high profile Labour Party member and former MSP Frank McAveety is to stand as a councillor for Glasgow.

His appearance on the Labour list isn’t just the starting gun for the council election; it also signals that McAveety is lining up for another title shot against John Mason.

When MacAveety got gubbed last May in the Holyrood election, he spat the dummy on stage and started to talk about “the resurrection” to boos and jeers and cat calls.

Hey; what is going to the count for, if it isn’t to heckle?

I was sorry to see Frank McAveety slotted, met him at a polling station and took he trouble to say hello to me in passing, I said hello back as you do.

So, can McAveety get back on the council?

I would say yes, he is a real politician.

The opposition in the Shettleston Ward is by way of the SNP, Cllr John McLaughlin, who is a very experienced councillor and Adam Miller who is a nonentity.

So, looks like the Glasgow Labour Party is pulling in high profile candidates to defend their heartland of Glasgow, whoever wins Glasgow puts themselves in a strong place to win the referendum.

Doesn’t guarantee the win but is mighty helpful.

Track record is important and McAveety previously served as sports minister and local government minister.

McAveety has had a few gaffes in his colourful career but remains a firm favourite with the public.

Any man who can miss ministerial questions because he was eating pie and beans in the Holyrood canteen can’t be all bad.

As well as McAveety, another former MSP will also be standing as a councillor; Bill Butler who lost his seat at the Scottish Parliament by only seven votes.

He is standing in Ward 3, which is Pollok, his opposition is Cllr David McDonald and Shab Jaffiri, David McDonald is a long standing councillor and Shab Jaffiri is another nonentity.

So, Butler has a decent chance of getting elected, however, he faces an additional problem of disgruntled ex Labour Councillors such as Tommy Morrison who has threatened to stand as an independent or ‘Glasgow Labour’ faction.

Of 45 Labour candidates standing in the city, 23 are existing councillors seeking re-election.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said 20 current candidates are either retiring or have been deselected. The spokesman added there had been a "huge number" of new applicants for the council elections and added that being a Labour councillor "is not a job for life".

The election has been running low key at present with candidates busy doing activism in various wards.

We are at the phoney war stage which runs till the short campaign starts, then it will be all guns blazing.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Lockerbie comes back to haunt SNP Justice Sec Kenny MacAskill as new book claims he tampered with a witness, if true, his position is untenable

Dear All

I have written previously that Kenny MacAskill in my opinion is unfit to be the Justice Minister of Scotland.

Apart from his law degree, his only qualification is that he fits the criteria of being Alex Salmond’s ‘pal’.

If you are Alex Salmond’s pal, you automatically qualify under ‘does your face fit’ rule in the Scottish National Party.

MacAskill is wrong for justice, oh so wrong.

George Laird said it before and it appears that George Laird is right again.

It now transpires in the public domain that Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill personally urged the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing to drop his appeal.

This was the ‘carrot’ placed in front of Al Megrahi to pave the way for compassionate release from prison.

Some people may opine that is tampering with a witness during live legal proceedings!

If true, his position as Justice Minister is untenable, resignation isn’t an option, this is a sacking offence.

The claims regarding MacAskill are to be found in the authorised biography of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.

The book reveals for the first time that Kenny MacAskill as the minister responsible for deciding whether he would return to Libya actively encouraged Megrahi to give up his case in the appeal court.

This allegedly happened in an exchange between a senior Libyan minister and MacAskill in a private meeting in Edinburgh.

The jist that:

"it would be easier for him to grant compassionate release if I dropped my appeal".

The Scottish legal system at the time was under the microscope on a number of issues that the SNP Government preferred to brush under the carpet as they saw themselves as the ‘new establishment’. It was important to cosy up to the Crown Office and Judges rather than be an impartial Justice Minister.

Many people believe that the Megrahi case was a fundamental miscarriage of justice, however the search for the truth was abandoned very quickly by the SNP Government as Alex Salmond wanted to be ‘statesmanlike’ on the world stage by publicly sticking two fingers up to the Labour Government in Westminster who had struck a ‘deal in the desert’ under Blair.

Compassion was the new SNP buzzword.

I campaign for Megrahi to be released on compassionate grounds to do his appeal which I believed stood a fair chance of being successful.

The SNP Government wrongly put him on a plane when they should have released him for the appeal, because it isn’t just important that justice is done, it has to be seen to be done.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission had already highlighted six grounds for suggesting Megrahi's conviction was unsafe.

Anyone of them upheld would have been enough for his release and declaring a mistrial.

Of the ‘deal in the burgh’, Megrahi:

"On 10 August (2009), MacAskill and his senior civil servants met a delegation of Libyan officials, including Minister [Abdel Ati] Al-Obeidi. By this time I was desperate.

"After the meeting the Libyan delegation came to the prison to visit me. Obeidi said that, towards the end of the meeting, MacAskill had asked to speak to him in private”.

“Once the others had withdrawn, MacAskill told him it would be easier for him to grant compassionate release if I dropped my appeal. He [MacAskill] said he was not demanding that I do so, but the message seemed to me to be clear. I was legally entitled to continue the appeal, but I could not risk doing so. It meant abandoning my quest for justice."

If the appeal had no bearing on his release then questions have to be answered why the issue was brought up.

John Ashton, a former member of the defence team said:

"The Justice Secretary and his officials should, at all times, have made it clear to Mr Megrahi and his representatives that, if he chose to continue his appeal, it would have had no bearing on the justice secretary’s decision on whether or not to grant compassionate release. Furthermore, they should have been aware that, given Mr Megrahi's desperate position, even the slightest pressure that was applied would have caused him to abandon the appeal, even though he was not legally obliged to do so. Of course, by dropping the appeal he spared the Scottish criminal justice system a colossal embarrassment."

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"This is yet another reminder that Alex Salmond's government's decision to free the UK's greatest mass murderer was wrong. Writing a book three years after he was released is an insult to the families of the 270 people who were murdered."

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond was quick to deny the allegation.

The spokesman said:

"The Justice Secretary has not had a meeting with any party to this issue in the absence of officials. So there has been no such meeting."

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said:
"This is a staggering claim and implies that the Scottish Justice Minister was offering legal advice to help a convicted killer escape prison. The allegation is that rather than face a potentially embarrassing and public appeal in court the SNP shut Megrahi up on the promise that it would help in his eventual release – and supports similar claims previously made by SNP member Christine Grahame.

"The SNP Government asserts that they are trying to be more transparent, but this statement paints a far different picture. These are grave allegations and if the Justice Secretary has been withholding information then it calls his position into question. There is now an urgent need for Kenny MacAskill to make a statement to Parliament explaining these claims, followed by an immediate inquiry as so we can finally get to the bottom of this case."

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said:

"It is important that the Justice Secretary answers serious questions."

Kenny MacAskill will remain the Justice Minister of Scotland under the Alex Salmond ‘middle class pal’ rule for Government Ministers.

Anyone with a shred of decency would have canned MacAskill years ago.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, February 25, 2012

SNP Stirling Council condemns council tax cut decision as Labour and Tory Councillors force through alternative budget, nats defeated by 23p

Dear All

One of the things about the forthcoming council election in May is that it throws up interesting wee stories.

Stirling Council has agreed to the 1% cut which takes the average band D levy down from £1209 to £1197.

Stirling becomes the first local authority in four years to cut its council tax.

For the punters, the decision sees about £12 a year off the average household bill.

Labour and Tory councillors joined to vote the measure through in an "alternative" budget, after rejecting the minority SNP administration's proposals.

The sum maybe paltry as it is a weekly saving of 23p.

No one will be booking up for cruises anytime soon.

The SNP group has called the cut "fiscally imprudent" and "irresponsible".

You could argue why the SNP Group have a ‘giro’ mentality and not done enough to create additional revenue streams using council resources.

Probably because they don’t have any ideas or vision, but now they want to whine about not getting their own way like a five years old little girl.

The Council has lost £450,000 by the proposal, but they could have been making money.

Justifying their decision Tories and Labour believe this can be shored up with a deal to sell land to Waitrose.

Unison said the deal puts Stirling's commitment to a living wage of £7.20-per-hour in jeopardy.

Dave Moxham, the STUC's assistant secretary, said:

"Council services are under severe pressure without crackpot ideas like this. Proposals like this can only serve to reduce services and increase charges. We'd criticise any party which cuts council tax when services are under so much strain."

Unison's Scottish convenor Mike Kirby said:

"The big disappointment for Unison is this no longer guarantees that the council will implement the living wage promised to the unions. It also means the council appears to be shoring up revenue spending through capital receipts, a dangerous road to go down."

Alex McLuckie, senior officer at GMB Scotland, said:

"This is another weird decision by Stirling which goes against the grain of current thinking. And it looks a lot like electioneering for both Labour and the Tories.

"But we'll be wanting assurances that this budget will not impact on frontline services which are already at breaking point and the job security of our members. The taxpayers of Stirling will also want to know they will not suffer a cut in services."

One could ask why unions and others aren’t pressing for local government reform to make services better and generate liquidity!

Scott Farmer, who proposed the SNP's budget, said his group had made "repeated approaches" to Labour group leader Corrie McChord in an attempt to reach a consensus over the budget.

He said:

"Mr McChord could not bring himself to sign up to anything proposed by the SNP. Selling whatever principles he ever had to jump into bed with the Tories – what an insult to his party."

Much like Glasgow SNP did with the Tories at Glasgow Council budget meeting.

Mr Farmer interesting said it was "not the time" to be cutting council tax, in fact, the SNP should abandon the council tax freeze as it unduly punishes the poor and vulnerable.

How much longer can the SNP stick with policies that see millionaires getting free prescriptions and council tax freezes?

Millionaires get this at the expense of the working class with cuts to services and provision.

The Labour group leader responded by calling Mr Farmer's argument "bunkum" and rejected claims that the party's amendment was "imprudent".

Mr McChord said:

"In the last two or three years we have supported cuts in council tax because it had grown more than in other areas of Scotland."

Tory group leader Alistair Berrill claimed the SNP had previously relied on their support.

He said:

"They were quite happy the last three budgets to accept our support. There was no talking about jumping into bed with the devil then."

Maybe ‘it’s time’ that the SNP woke up and smelt the coffee, local government reform is needed to be started now, at present due the referendum, the entire Scottish Government is paralysed because the big decisions are all being shelved.

People at the Accord Centre were promised a new facility.

Alex Salmond’s office issued a formal statement:

“During the election campaign I met many people who benefit from the Accord Centre. They put a good case to me for the future of the facility. They told me that a commitment had been made to them by Glasgow City Council some years ago, that if the centre had to go to make way for the Commonwealth Games as part of the local authority’s programme of modernisation, then they would be offered a like-for-like replacement. I was asked to come and see the centre so that I could understand why those who benefit from the services it provides believe that the alternative they are being offered is not appropriate. Today I was proud to meet staff, carers and service users as well as local people campaigning to save the centre. I think it is an important service for the community and I will continue to urge Glasgow City Council to ensure it is re-housed in suitable premises.”

The people of the Accord centre didn’t get a like for like replacement and they are still waiting on the First Minister to act.

But these people are working class; they are in for a long wait if they are waiting for Alex Salmond to come to their aid.

Blair in office doesn't 'do God', Salmond in office doesn't 'do working class'.

It would be quicker to ‘wait for godot’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

‘Better a nutter than a Nat’, Labour back off from trying to force Eric Joyce from Falkirk seat, if there is a by-election Labour Party would win it!

Dear All

After fighting all-comers in the House of Commons boozer, Eric Joyce got thrown a lifeline by Scottish Labour.

Labour isn’t prepared to risk a by-election by trying to force him out; actually, Labour shouldn’t be worried as the recent Greenock by-election showed.

Although the SNP made reasonable gains because of the Holyrood bounce, people still wanted a Labour person when it comes to going to the ‘big hoose’.

There was never any chance that Anne McLaughlin would have won that election in a million years.

You could argue why she was unacceptable but that really requires a separate post.

One Labour source quipped:

“They really would rather have a nutter in that seat than a Nat.”

Actually, the SNP is very good at doing by-elections, but in the case of Falkirk.

‘Any nat won’t do’.

Not even a hand picked middle class which proves to be so in vogue at SNP HQ.

Eric Joyce has gone to ground yesterday to let the heat die down as activists stepped up plans to deselect him as MP for Falkirk!

He remains suspended him, Labour are desperate to avoid a by-election in the seat, where they lead the SNP by just over 7000 votes.

It is too much effort for no gain and in the unlikely event of a loss, which I cannot envisage a real disaster, Labour at present wants a steady ship.

If Joyce is convicted or pleas guilty he can as an MP receiving a jail sentence of less than a year can continue to serve in Parliament, even though the party whip is removed.

And voting rights would be curtailed.

He can continue to draw his £65,738 salary, expenses and pension contributions as an independent MP until the next general election.

So, what should happen to Eric Joyce if convicted, well I would say that 12 weeks imprisonment, 280 hours of community service and a drink rehab programme would be just about right.

Commons sanctions should be put into effect as a separate matter.

At present Joyce has little sympathy from other Scottish Labour MPs, who felt he had tarnished their image.


However, no condemnation of him from Scottish leader Johann Lamont’s office which is a mistake, she should be speaking up, but Lamont isn’t leader material. She will find that out soon enough if she doesn’t already know.

Labour’s official response came the way of was issued by UK deputy leader Harriet Harman, who said:

“He’s been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Labour Party. If there’s a charge of assault, which there is, we regard it with the utmost seriousness.”

So says the woman who fled the scene of a car accident!

Joyce’s predecessor, Dennis Canavan, who was expelled from the Labour Party for standing as an independent for the Scottish parliament, said Joyce was not “a fit and proper person” to be an MP.

He said:

“This all speaks volumes about the way the Labour Party goes about selecting its candidates. I am saddened but not very surprised to hear about this latest incident. My sympathies lie with the people of Falkirk, not with Mr Joyce.”

Interestingly Tory backbencher Andrew Percy, one of those caught up in the fracas, tweeted yesterday that he felt “sorry” for Joyce.

Insisting he was “fine” after the incident, the Brigg and Goole MP added:

“I sort of feel sorry for him. People in a good place don’t act like that. That’s all I’ll tweet on it!”

Last night, a senior Labour MP said:

“Eric Joyce’s political career is over. Whatever the outcome of the court case, he is now a political pariah. People in the country may think it’s just an escapade but what happened was an outrage to Parliament. Many of us are amazed that he has never been deselected by his own constituency or taken off the candidates’ list by the party. It’s been a complete mystery why he has survived this long.”

Seems that Eric Joyce has a lot of fence building to do in several areas; funny that Tories seem have more sympathy for him than his own party.

However as I discovered recently, people in the Scottish National Party can be just as vile and nasty as Labour.

I am still waiting for SNP leader Alex Salmond to stand up for my rights as a working class member, the victim of an SNP smear campaign.

Salmond says he is fighting for Scotland, what a great pity that he only fights for the middle class.

If he keeps going on this course Alex Salmond will lose the working class vote in Scotland, his own working class activists are already deserting him, and they do the work.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, February 24, 2012

Labour MP Eric Joyce is charged with 3 counts of common assault following incident in Stranger’s bar at House of Commons, looks like soapy bubble!

Dear All

It’s bad news for Eric Joyce.

He has been bar room brawl at a House of Commons bar in which a Tory rival was allegedly head-butted.

In light of the ‘Battle for Britain’ episode, he faces 3 charges of common assault and will go up before the beak.

So, he is off to West London Magistrates' Court next month.

I suspect he will probably plea guilty and then say something in mitigation along the lines of personal troubles etc etc.

I have to say that I expected better of Joyce, he has let himself down badly and his family and community.

Going to Westminster is a privilege because you help to shape the country and get to float ideas that could make real difference to people’s lives.

Mind you may people are hacks, little better than cannon fodder who simply follow the party line.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said:

"Eric Joyce, aged 51, an MP of Union Street, Bo'ness, West Lothian has been charged with three counts of common assault following an incident within the House of Commons on Wednesday, 22 February. He will appear on bail at West London Magistrates' Court on 7 March."

Tory MP Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey who ‘got the nut’ stuck in him, has no visible cuts or bruises.

And he quickly let the world know on Twitter by writing:

"I'm ok."

Labour suspended Joyce from the party pending the results of the police investigation.

Labour will have to make an example of Joyce as they have already stuck their flag to the mast by saying the incident is "extremely serious".

Commons Speaker John Bercow was quick to thwarted any attempt to raise the matter in the chamber by issuing a stern warning at the start of proceedings.

He told MPs:

"I take this matter very seriously, as do the House authorities. I would ask that no further reference should be made to these reports in the Chamber."

I think given what is in the public domain, so many witness and ‘victims’, Eric Joyce would be well advised to think before entering any plea.

I don’t think that he will end up in prison and see no reason for a Falkirk by-election but I do think there is scope to send him for counselling to find out what exactly his problem is.

And the Common authorities should ban him from drinking alcohol and setting foot in the Palace of Westminster bars or restaurants which sell alcohol for remainder of the current term of this Parliament.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour cllr Jim Docherty attacks SNP Minister Alex Neil calling him the biggest P**** in Holyrood, totally wrong, SNP list MSP Bob Doris wins by mile!

Dear All

It seems that tensions are running high in the run up to the Council elections through-out Scotland.

A Labour councillor has taken the unusual step of referring to an SNP Minister as a "p****" on a social networking site called Twitter.

He has denied the slur was offensive.

Jim Docherty, a Labour councillor representing East Kilbride South on South Lanarkshire Council popped on to Twitter as you do, to do a quick ditto.

While on Twitter used his personal Twitter feed to post an attack on Alex Neil, the Scottish Government's Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary.

I have met Alex Neil, a few times he is one of the SNP who I wouldn’t regard as a P****!

The tweet read:

"Alex Neil MSP. M is for monkey S is for spare P is for P**** biggest in parliament."

This is an outrageous slur, because anyone who watches SNP MSPs would know that the biggest P**** in Parliament has to be Maryhill & Springburn list MSP Bob Doris.

So, where is the evidence?

Well, I sat in a meeting where Bob Doris said he would win the Holyrood 2011 election.

He lost and I walked out of his campaign because he was such a lazy bastard, he made Osama Saeed look like an Olympic athlete.

At the same meeting he implied that Alex Salmond might call him to offer him a Cabinet post.

Salmond isn’t mentally retarded.

Not only did Doris fail to win the Maryhill and Springburn seat against one of the weakest Labour Candidates, he didn’t become a Cabinet Minister or even get a Holyrood Convenership.

Post election, at the 'victory' celebration SNP branch meeting, he declared himself the MSP for Maryhill & Springburn, he isn't!

His 'reward' was to be stuck in Health and Sport Committee as Deputy Convener, how embarrassing, moved out of local government to make way for better candidates.

Enough evidence that Bob Doris is easily, easily, the biggest P**** in Holyrood!

Because Salmond stuck him in the ‘arsehole of the universe’ committee where he can do no harm, not that Doris has ideas to make Scotland better, but why take a chance.

Anyway back to our Labour chum, Docherty, When asked if he thought referring to a political rival as a "p****" was acceptable, Mr Docherty replied:

"My Twitter site has nothing to do with my role as a councillor or my standing in public life”.

Actually, Docherty is wrong, if you get elected to public office, the Nolan Principles apply all the time that you are in public office until you leave it.

Say what you like before, say what you like afterwards but you are restricted while in office.

That’s why there are standards in public life.

Docherty, probably because someone had a quiet word with him as removed the offending "p****" tweet.

Alex Neil said he was treating the incident "with the contempt it deserves".

But failed to add and point the finger at Bob Doris.

Alex Neil added:

He added:

"It's clear this man isn't fit to hold public office."

Much in the same way as SNP Council Candidates who run smear campaigns and attempt to rig SNP candidate selection!

A Scottish Labour spokesman said:

"Alex Neil has infuriated people in Lanarkshire by claiming the hard-working council staff were 'bloated' and famously refused to apologise for calling a Labour MP a Nazi, but we will remind Mr Docherty to express his opinions more eloquently in future."

Seems things are getting hot under the collar.

In a recent Newsnight Scotland interview Gordon Brewer openly mocked Bob Doris, well you would wouldn't you; he is such a P****!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scot Sec Michael Moore wants independence referendum to be held in autumn 2013, SNP can’t win indyref then, lack of resources, money & manpower

Dear All

It isn’t often that Scottish Secretary Michael Moore says something funny, but he has entered the world of political comedy.

He wants the independence vote to be held in 2013, a year earlier than planned.

People looking at the SNP’s preferred date of August 2014 may find it strange that the referendum is so far away.

There good reasons why; the SNP don’t have enough activists to work in the community, hence heavy reliance on their use of social media. They have set branches too many tasks without carrying out assessments if they are feasible. The branches are time pressured and lack the skill sets to carry out tasks.

For these reasons, the SNP of 20,000 members doesn’t translate to 20,000 activists; I would put the number of activists at circa 3,000. Mostly male and average 50 plus; people who aren’t politicians with the skill set of communication.

That is why I lobbied for a training hub in Glasgow, an idea that fell on deaf ears, because in order to be professional, someone would have to head up a team dedicated to teaching activists various skills beyond being used a form of cheap labour.

That means investment of time, money and resources in Glasgow SNP.

So, in order to give himself the best possible chance to win the independence referendum, Alex Salmond is forced to hold it in 2014 for a variety of reasons, he can’t go now because of the Council elections, 2013 is too early, 2015 might be a Westminster election and beyond 2014 under the current SNP structures, he will run out of money, resources and manpower.

Although the SNP say their campaign has started, Council elections mean it is effectively shelved although they would publicly dispute this.

August 2012 is their real start date, but that is also the start of their problems, manpower. Tasks set by the SNP to branches are doubling their membership, making a database of the top 500 people in each area who might back independence and their activism programme of leafleting and canvassing.

Since selling memberships is a sales task, it cannot be done on leafleting days or indeed on canvassing days. In order to sell an SNP membership, the golden rule is sales is to have a USP, nothing has been done to provide buyers with reasons why they should buy an SNP membership.

The database of 500 is an uphill task because it has to be created from scratch which requires a huge amount of work to create and service, again, no thought by the SNP on how this is achieved.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore wants 2013, but the SNP can’t do the work by then and it is doubtful that they can do the work by 2014 either. That is because the ‘blue sky’ thinking hasn’t been thought-out properly.

That is why Alex Salmond is arguing with the BBC, he is smart enough to know that social media and exposure is taking up the slack of the logistical problems on the ground.

Moore accuses Scottish ministers of working on a "go slow" and said their planned timetable had “heel digging built in”.

It is quite easy to work out why, just like it was quite easy for me to work out the solution to the Jo Yeates murder prior to the arrest of Vincent Tabak.

13 days before his arrest, I posted the solution on my blog.

The SNP hit back, accusing the Coalition of attempting to "dictate" the terms of the ballot from Westminster.

The row is set to continue and possibly end up in court as the SNP want 16 and 17 year old to get the vote.

The Scottish Government has been accused of electioneering with its plans to hold the vote in autumn 2014.

This would coincide with a series of high-profile events including the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

But we should remember the real reason, Alex Salmond has no one to work for him in significant numbers, this is because of the way that the Scottish National Party operates.

2014, the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn may turn out to be Alex Salmond’s ‘Battle of the little Bighorn’.

Instead of crying ‘Freedom’ he may end up crying ‘Mammy’.

Perhaps Alex Salmond should watch the classic Errol Flynn movie, ‘They died with their boots on’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour MP Eric Joyce is suspended from the Labour Party after claims he assaulted Tory MP Stuart Andrew in Commons bar, bar was 'full of Tories'!

Dear All

Whatever happened to Eric Joyce?

He is a Labour MP who at one point in his career looked like he would make a major breakthrough towards something more than just a backbencher.

Then a few incidents of infamy have left his career flat.

There were his massive expenses claims at Westminster, which he defended on Newsnight Scotland, when quizzed why he bought 3 paintings at £180 for his office, he said that they looked ‘nice’.

A PR disaster on live TV!

Then something more serious, his drink driving in Grangemouth were he crashed his car at a roundabout, then refused to provide Police with a specimen, fined £400 at court.

His marriage hit the rocks and things stared to go south, his rise to the top halted dead in its tracks.

Now, there is another serious incident, Labour MP Eric Joyce has been suspended from the Labour Party.

The reason is allegations of an assault in a House of Commons bar.

Although still an MP, the Labour whip has been removed, technically he is an independent until the completion of a police investigation into the affair.

Strange times indeed!

Scotland Yard confirmed that officers detained a man in his 50s after reports of an incident at a bar within the Palace of Westminster at around 10.50pm.

Joyce was taken into custody at a central London police station.

A Labour Party spokesman said:

"This is an extremely serious incident. We have suspended Eric Joyce pending the results of the police investigation."

When people start sticking the word ’extremely’ in front of ‘serious’, it gives you a clue into his possible continuing future as a Labour MP.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said:

"We were called at approximately 10.50pm last night to reports of a disturbance at a bar within the House of Commons. A man aged in his 50s was arrested by officers on suspicion of assault."

According to reports, it is alleged that Labour MP Eric Joyce attacked Conservative MP Stuart Andrew. Andrew was said to be have head-butted and punched in the incident.

Details at present as scarce and Joyce remains innocent until proven guilty, however if it is true this is no way to behave in public office, people expect MPs to adhere to the Nolan Principles of standards in public life.

The public can be very forgiving of politicians but it appears that Eric Joyce may need some kind of help.

An eyewitness who did not wish to be named told the website PoliticsHome that Mr Joyce 'just started lashing out at people' after complaining the bar was 'full of Tories'.

I hope this isn’t a defence he intends to use in law.

Speaking in the Commons after news of Mr Joyce's arrest, Speaker John Bercow said:

“Members will be aware of reports of a serious incident in the House last night. I have been informed by the Serjeant at Arms that the honourable member for Falkirk has been detained in police custody. The matter is being investigated. I take this matter very seriously, as do the House authorities. I would ask that no further reference should be made to these reports in the chamber today.”

I think it was right of Labour to suspend him, such an incident cannot be tolerated and much be dealt with in a firm and fair manner.

I am really disappointed in Eric Joyce; he is in a position to do some good, which is too good an opportunity to waste.

A real pity!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Asian ‘paedophile’ gang at Liverpool Court listen as jury hears evidence 13 yr old girl was raped by 3 men as she lay vomiting on bed, harrowing tale!

Dear All

Do you know Kabeer Hassan, 24, Abdul Aziz, 41, Abdul Rauf, 43, Mohammed Sajid, 35, Adil Khan, 42, Abdul Qayyum, 43, Mohammed Amin, 44, Qamar Shahzad, 29, Liaquat Shah, 41, and Hamid Safi, 22?

Chances are not personally, they are all on trial at present in Liverpool charged with a variety of sex offences against children, including rape, trafficking, sexual assault and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

The rise of Asian rape gangs operating in Britain is a touchy subject, on the one hand politicians fear minorities who might claim they are racist for speaking out, and on the other they fear people turning against them for doing nothing.

That is why race is a touchy political subject.

Race is a stick that politicians fear to be beaten with, because they don’t want tagged with being labelled as a racist.

The case of Kabeer Hassan et al isn’t new; people have known this type of behaviour has operated in the Asian Community for sometime, however this is limited to a minority of that community.

In evidence in court, the jury heard that a 13-year-old girl was plied with alcohol and repeatedly raped by a gang of 11 Asian men.

13 years old and raped by a gang, people can scarcely believe this is happening in Britain in 2012.

And this wasn’t an isolated incident, she was one of number of schoolgirls targeted by the gang of 11 men, who gave them drink and drugs before they raped them.

The gang operated by targeting vulnerable children then passed among their group sometimes forcing them to have sex with several men in one day.

It is all to disgusting for words.

And these girls were vulnerable, all came from broken homes, so were seen as easy prey.

The attacks were predictable; the gang would incapacitate the little girls with drink or drugs so they couldn’t defend themselves.

The jury had to sit through the harrowing evidence of one 13-year-old girl who had become pregnant by one man and had the baby aborted.

And in other evidence straight out a scene you would expect to find in a third world civil war another teenager claimed she was raped by three men while she was being sick over the side of the bed.

Judging by what is in the public domain, someone is definitely going to jail for double digit figures.

Rachel Smith, prosecuting, said the teenage girls were given food, alcohol and money by the men in return for sex, and a pattern of abuse began.
She told Liverpool Crown Court:

“There were also times when the girls were subjected to violence to secure for the men the opportunity to have sex with them. There were also occasions on which one or more of the girls were so incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs that they were incapable of having any control over whether or with whom they had intercourse.”

The court was told some of the gang operated a paid paedophile ring by taking payments from other men in the group.

The jury heard that all in five teenage girls, all younger than 16 were abused by the gang on a regular basis between 2008 and 2010.

Rachel Smith told the jury:

“The events and circumstances described by the girls are at best saddening and at worst shocking in places – no child should be exploited as these girls say they were”.

Miss Smith added that one girl, who was 13 when the alleged abuse began, told police that the men she met were ‘friends’ who looked after her and ‘her number would be passed around amongst the Pakistani men in her area’.

The girl told Police officers:

“They pass it to their friends and they pass it to their friends, end up with a massive circle... everyone’s got it.”

The court heard that it was ‘common knowledge’ among the defendants that the girls were underage.

One defendant Abdul Rauf allegedly asked one girl if she knew anyone younger.

At Liverpool Court where the trial is running there is a strong police presence at the Court, presumably they are worried that people may take matters into their own hands.

Someone is definitely going to prison, I don’t see a jury hearing this type of evidence not convicting.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Royal Society of Edinburgh decided unanimously not to expel Glasgow University product Fred Goodwin, then refuse to explain why, corrupt Scotland

Dear All

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is a private invitation only club.

The Society’s members effectively have a monopoly on the entire Scottish Higher Education system.

It is almost like a cartel which in any other industry would be formally investigated and broken up.

For decades, mostly Royal Society members have been allowed to become the Principals in the ancient universities.

People, who had never worked, taught or even ran a business went to the front of the queue while other distinguished academics never got a look in to be Principal.

People like Scotch pervert Sir Muir Russell of human rights abusing Glasgow University.

Another university product is Fred Goodwin, formerly a ‘Sir’ stripped of his knighthood by the Queen on the advice and recommendation of a forfeit committee.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh has wrongly decided not to strip Fred Goodwin of his fellowship.

They decided unanimously not to expel the ex-chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland from its ranks.

So, what is the reason, officially no one knows but I suspect that the decision was all about protectionism, the 13-strong council of the RSE declined to give any explanation for its decision not to blackball Goodwin.

Once, banker’s fellowship was put on the agenda of the RSE council's meeting, you would have thought this would be a done deal.

The man responsible for the biggest banking crash in UK history was a ‘shoo in’ for getting the bullet after the report by the Financial Services Authority.

Ian Murray, Shadow Business Minister and the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said:

"I'm sure many other members of the society and public will find it quite strange that they did not make a different decision to protect the integrity of the organisation."

A distinguished fellow of the Royal Society said:

"I have to say I'm extremely surprised by this decision. It was a major step for the president of the society to take this matter forward on to an official level and I suspect that most fellows, given the president's initiative, would have expected a different outcome."

Scotland is corrupt, people have to wake up and realise that ‘Scotland’ operates behind closed doors with no accountability.

Ordinary members of the public are excluded from becoming Royal Society of Edinburgh members, it is a class thing.

A spokesman for the RSE said:

"Council met on Monday February 20 and, after considering whether or not there was a case for reviewing Fred Goodwin's fellowship, has concluded unanimously that no further action will be taken. The matter is now closed as far as council is concerned."

He stressed that the governing body had reached its conclusion after "extensive discussion".

Asked what the reasons were for its decision, the spokesman replied:

"Council does not wish to discuss the detail of that decision."

Asked if the RSE's decision might surprise people and prompt a backlash, he added:

"I don't believe that's an issue. As far as council is concerned the issue is closed."

The President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Sir John Arbuthnott was approached for a comment last night but declined to add anything to the spokesman's statement.

Goodwin was also unavailable.

So, now you know Scotland a little better, it is corrupt, it is run by a shadow government who operate right across entire sectors of our society.

And they are protecting their own.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Human Rights Abusing Glasgow University extends trainee pilot scheme for teachers, circa 18 years ago; I was already doing that at the University

Dear All

George Laird, humble Glaswegian pottering about the place.

Years ago, I was a fitness teacher for GUSA at human rights abusing Glasgow University, corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli Principal.

As someone who is always ahead of my time, I quickly established myself as the premier weight training instructor at the university gym.

At a young age, I began teaching fitness and so discovered that the conventional monkey see monkey do wasn’t how learning should be conducted.

As part of my teaching of students and staff, everyone who entered my classes to learn the skill of weight training was automatically enrolled into teacher training.

Classes weren’t simply about completing exercises they were about how to analysis performance.

My students became so good, that the staff asked for their help in making the gym better for all.

I taught the elite of the university because I produced the elite.

Now, circa 18 years, my style of teaching method has won praise by the Scottish Government who has looked at radical plans to transform the way teachers are trained.

The ideas are similar to mine used in traditional teaching hospitals.

I taught a shitload of medics, dentists, vets, doctors and very other type of person in the gym.

SNP Education Secretary Michael Russell has endorsed moves by human rights abusing Glasgow University to extend a pilot scheme introduced in the city.

The model borrows from the traditional approach of medical training where student doctors follow an experienced colleague on his or her rounds.

Similar to what I piloted about 18 years ago.

Research found that the pilot in schools in Glasgow had improved the experience of student teachers.

In particular, the research singled out the use of "learning rounds" – where groups of students observe teachers, as well as each other.

Exactly how I taught my classes at university many years ago.

Mike Russell said:

"I am confident this truly innovative model will be of great value to pupils, teachers and to the student teachers."

At the time of my teaching for free at human rights abusing Glasgow University, I was held and treated with contempt by the ‘teaching’ staff, some of whom weren’t even George Laird trainee standard.

One day, a staff member called Ann McPhail, PhD, Graduate assistant and international athlete approached one of my trainees and asked why she went to George Laird to learn weight training and not the staff, she replied:

“George Laird is a proper instructor”.

Tail between her legs Ann McPhail sloped off very quickly.

She now teaches in a shithole called the University of Limerick.

A suitable punishment, looking at her bio at University of Limerick, you might be tempted to think she was George Laird standard but at Glasgow she wasn’t.

Not by a long chalk.

As I said at the time to my trainees, it is easier to get into medical school at Glasgow University than a George Laird class.

And I considered myself better at teaching than the Dean of the Medical Faculty, since I didn’t have a failure rate.

Corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli Principal.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, February 20, 2012

HIV positive cases show rise in Scotland as Scottish Government sits paralysed with fear to do anything radical because of independence referendum

Dear All

A lot of people, some influential have recognised that the ‘war on drugs’ is a phoney unwinnable war that has produced criminal monopolies who have built empires on their ill-gotten gains.

I believe that drugs should be legalised thereby bankrupting the drugs market, cutting crime, saving lives and generating liquidity which can be used to benefit communities.

Unfortunately politicians seem pretty set on the status quo which benefits criminals.

‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ is their gimmick to get you to vote for them.

A symptom of the phoney war on drugs is that addicts are placed in greater risk from the use of illegal drugs.

To that end, a health warning has been issued after six drug users in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area were diagnosed HIV-positive.

This type of thing is caused by addicts not having access to clean needles and reusing dirty ones among themselves.

Because of stigma and being seen as weak, no mainstream political party is willing to be bold, be radical or genuinely care for people such as these.

These people are the underclass, the kind of people that politicians profess to care about usually around election time, any other day of the week they walk by such people.

HIV positive is a living death sentence, but it could have been avoided if the Scottish Government hadn’t been paralysed by fear.

You may have noticed that right across the entire Scottish Government nothing is happening, nothing is happening because of the referendum.

And nothing will continue to happen until that referendum has taken place.

Drug legalisation is now a moral issue, sitting back and letting people die is wrong.

Someone popped into my blog to say that Alex Salmond is a ‘great man’, then perhaps it is time that he started fighting the fights that need fought.

He could make a start in the deprived areas by ensuring that more resources are put into delivery and publicity of free needles for addicts.

A national programme should and could be rolled out; education is very much ‘key’ but making contact is even more important before education makes a difference.

Although sterile equipment and needles are available, it is enough to let addicts come to the health professionals, the health professionals need to be more in the community.

Preventative spend is the current buzzword in health, this fits neatly into that ethos.

Public health consultant Eleanor Anderson said:

“It is important for injecting drug users to engage with the wide range of services we offer designed to help them tackle their addictions. However for those who continue to inject, we remind them to take all the safety precautions necessary to protect themselves and others.”

By making drugs illegal we have created in part a shadow secret section of the population out with the norms of society.

We won’t save all of these people, but we should be trying to save as many people as possible.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, February 17, 2012

Celtic ‘spit the dummy’ and get angry over First Minister Alex Salmond's comments, First Minister scores own goal in ‘did he say that moment’?

Dear All

Usually the First Minister is pretty niffy on his feet, but he is not a football player or indeed a rugby player.

In a recent dribble onto the football scene, the First Minister Alex Salmond has scored a fantastic own goal.

His pace was quick, he dribble down the outside before lobbing the ‘grenade’ into his own net.

The opposition goal is up the other end of the park.

Which brings us to Glasgow Celtic, who have officially voiced anger after Alex Salmond suggested the survival of Rangers is crucial for Celtic and the rest of Scottish football to prosper.

No, it is not, just as the SNP would survive his departure or even George Laird, the party will go on.

Alex Salmond told Sir David Frost, in an interview to be broadcast on Frost over the World on Al Jazeera English:

"Obviously HMRC have got to pursue, in the public interest, taxation. Equally, they've got to have cognisance of the fact that we're talking about a huge institution, part of the fabric of the Scottish nation, as well as Scottish football, and everybody realises that. The most die-hard Celtic supporter understands that Celtic can't prosper unless Rangers are there. The rest of the clubs understand that as well. Therefore you have to have cognisance of these things when you're pursuing public policy. We've certainly been arguing to HMRC on one hand, and indeed to Rangers, to for goodness sake get a settlement, get a settlement and a structure over time whereby Rangers can continue because Rangers must continue for the future of Scottish football and for the fabric of the country."

One of the problems that the SNP has whenever an English institution such as the HMRC or the like try to tackle something unlawful, the SNP mistaken think it is clever to play the Scotland card.

Rangers’ problems didn’t happen by accident, they happened by design, which is why people and fans are asking where the fuck is the money gone?

And the Administrators replied, they don’t know yet but will keep looking.

In response, an unhappy Celtic released a statement which read:

"We are very disappointed with the First Minister's claims that Celtic 'need' Rangers and that Celtic can't prosper unless Rangers are there. This is simply not true. In a series of interviews given just three days ago, we made it abundantly clear that Celtic has a well-defined strategy and a business plan independent of the fortunes of any other club. That remains absolutely the case. The predicament of Rangers is clearly a serious and complex matter with a whole range of possible outcomes. However, we are extremely well-qualified to make our own position clear and have no wish to see this being misrepresented for political reasons."

Clearly there is “concern” by the First Minister Alex Salmond and his Deputy Minister Nicola Sturgeon, her brother in law who works for Transco in Kilmarnock is a Rangers supporter. Interesting pic of him, his son and Roman Abramovich in the office.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon jumped onto his Twitter account, saying:

"Important statement from the club today with regard to Mr Salmon's quotes . Once again we have made our position clear."

Later, Alex Salmond issued his own statement, saying:

“It's just a misunderstanding. I wasn't trying to imply that Celtic's finances were in any way under question. That was not the point I was trying to make. The point I was trying to make is that I think everyone in Scottish football, regardless of club, wants to see Rangers continue in football. I'm not an Old Firm supporter but if you look for a fixture at its best it's one of the great epic encounters in football and it would be sad if it didn't continue. I did not mean in any sense or way to imply that the finances of Celtic Football Club are in anything other than on a very sound basis.”

What a great pity, the First Minister couldn’t have made this clear earlier, I have the same problem speaking English because it is only my first language.

The SNP and the Scottish Government should not get involved in this issue even if they think it will draw them votes in the Glasgow Council Election because of the financial concerns of how Rangers Football Club was run.

Presumably some idiot in the Scottish National Party standing for Glasgow City Council will be declaring their ‘love’ of Celtic soon.

Red card for the First Minister and sent off the pitch!

They say politics is show business for ugly people, and there is an old showbiz saying never work with children and animals, add to that other people who kick balls for a living.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne appears in Court over perverting the course of justice charges, he hopes a jury don’t back the Greek default position

Dear All

If you are former energy secretary Chris Huhne, you aren’t a happy bunny at present.

He has made his first appearance in court today over a charge of perverting the course of justice after he allegedly dodged a speeding penalty.

And like a classic war movie, to ‘get the bad guy’, his ex wife has crawled through machine gun fire to pull the pin on the grenade which takes out her enemy.

Ex hubby!

Prosecutors have claimed that the Liberal Democrat politician persuaded his ex-wife Vicky Pryce to take points that should have been placed on his driving licence in 2003.

Serious stuff, and worthy of a prison sentence, perverting the course of justice is an offence which if convicted would see Huhne in prison.

Almost a decade since the alleged incident took place, the ex husband and wife team barely exchanged a glance as they stood in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court, in central London, where they face the same charge.

Huhne and Pryce spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses.

Then both defendants were granted unconditional bail.

Huhne, dressed in a dark suit and patterned tie, listened intently as the charge against him was read to the court.

His former wife, isn’t just an embittered wifey, she is an eminent economist.

At the hearing their body language was clear; they faced away from each other as the charges were read out during the hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes.

Now that both have entered the lion’s den and statements have been made into the public domain, Chris Huhne is on an incredible sticky wicket. If his wife puts her hand and confesses in open court that she did take his speeding points, then by default he is cooked. The jury can’t believe her story and then accept his.

He says he is innocent and remains so in the eyes of the law, but you have to wonder why his ex wife would go so far back into their past to pull this out of the bag. It doesn’t by itself make her claims credible but it does cast doubts in the minds of the jury.

Huhne’s defence is obviously she is a liar, but can Huhne place her in the car?

Someone was obviously there, the question is who?

Perverting the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

CRB crime checks spiral out of control as 940,000 people who do community volunteering get stung with ‘prove you’re not a paedo’ tax

Dear All

ID Cards were condemned by many people as an infringement of their civil rights; the UK Government wanted a database on everyone.

Legalised spying!

The public quite rightly were up in arms and the project in its current form was shelved.

Then a new version of surveillance was used to collect information, people who freely give up their spare time, nearly a million people who volunteered to help in schools or at sport and charity events last year were subjected to official checks on their backgrounds.

So, for volunteering to help others, the Government introduced ‘prove you’re not a paedophile tax.’

The ‘tax’ is collected by using Criminal Records Bureau checks, it’s a stealth tax.

And the ‘good’ thing about this tax is that once you have been CRB checked, they can milk you again in the future.

Even slaves didn’t pay to work for free.

Altogether there were just over four million Criminal Records Bureau checks; according to anti-red tape campaigners cost £45million over the past year.

So, who gets checked?

People in local authorities, staff and volunteers at community groups, such as local football clubs and Scout and Guide troops!

In future, you might find that everyone who applies for any job will be CRB checked, thus creating the ID card database.

Six million CRB checks have been carried out by local authorities in the past six years, and included those who supervise cycle rides, school reading volunteers, a school disco helper and even a Father Christmas.

If you are employed at the council then council chiefs had CRB searches carried out on tree surgeons, smoking cessation officers, beach cleaners, park rangers, zumba instructors, swimming pool caretakers, and even ice cream and burger van operators.

CRB checks were ramped up in large numbers when they were introduced in the wake of the Soham murders.

But the truth is that like any system, there are gaps, nothing is foolproof.

After a public outcry last summer, Home Secretary Theresa May promised that CRB checks would be ‘scaled back to common sense levels.’

She described the scheme as ‘draconian’ and could deter genuine volunteers, she is right, leading authors who read their work in schools were targeted which caused an outcry.

The Manifesto Club, an anti-red tape pressure group, claimed in its report published yesterday that in the past year alone councils ordered more than 940,000 CRB checks.

Director Josie Appleton said:

“There is no good reason why parent volunteers in schools should be CRB checked. This is a tax on goodwill.”

She added:

“It is surprising that councils can find the money to CRB check tree surgeons and leisure centre managers. They should cut these checks rather than front line services. If the Government is serious about scaling back vetting, it should introduce procedures for investigating over-checking authorities, and penalties for unnecessary checks.”

Their report also highlights that many checks could be illegal, made in breach of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which states that former lawbreakers should be allowed to keep their offences secret after a period of years has passed.

In this country there is a tendency to use a tragic event as a catalyst for surveillance on the entire population.

This has also been seen in America were recently politicians were trying to pass a bill so that internet service providers would have to keep records of which websites their customers visited again using children as an excuse.

We are supposed to be living in a ‘free society’ but the truth is we aren’t, we are living in an illiberal fascist environment where government and politicians feel our moves and actions should be tracked but at the same time, they wish to distance themselves from the same legalisation.

When was the last time anyone publicly asked a politician have they been CRB checked as they pop in and out of schools?

Yes, child protection is a priority but it isn’t a cover to stealth tax and snoop on them.

Balance in such matters is essential, at present warp judgment and overkill is the order of the day.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ex SNP Deputy leader Jim Sillars says Devo-max is a dodgy back-up plan to save SNP, party struggle with lack of ideas in their intellectual desert

Dear All

The SNP has been in existence for over 75 years, during that time you might have thought that they would have produced a rolling blue print for how an independent Scotland would look.

But to produce a rolling blue print requires work, and work and work.

So, we don’t have a rolling blue print for independence of how an independent Scotland would look and operate, post independence.

Defence which is a key issue has been ‘photocopied’, someone else done the work and the SNP Government like a kid with its eyes firmly fixed on a can of juice was transfixed.

Juice, Juice Juice!!!!!!!!!

So, we get someone who looks at an English defence review for Scotland and then states we will have that.

Juice, Juice Juice!!!!!!!!!

Taking part of someone’s work and trying to use it creates limited understanding.

The SNP policy on defence was shown to be ‘wanting’ not just on application but in design.

This represents a problem for the SNP, slogans and gimmicks replacing real indepth policy.

Recently, the leader of the Glasgow SNP Council Group, Allison Hunter boldly stated on policy:

“Actually, I’m not an out-there leader. I’m a team leader. So we haven’t actually thought about that yet.”

People call the SNP a one man band, it isn’t but it isn’t much more than that.

Why is the independence referendum in 2014?

It is quite simple and I blogged on the date as mid 2014 before the SNP made their official announcement.

It has to do with WORK!!!!!!!!!

So, why so far away, it is to do with logistics of SNP Branches and their abilities. At present the SNP has set branches the task of creating a database of the 500 most important people in each branch area who could be open to the idea of independence. A database starting from scratch isn’t easy by any means because from my experience of branches SNP members don’t have much contact with their communities.

In Pollok were I am a member during my time, the branch never campaigned on local issues, never campaigned for local organisations and never campaigned for local people, in trouble, as a branch activity.

I was never in my entire time involved in a local campaign.


That is why if you knocked on someone’s door and say could you tell me the name of the last local candidate, chances are they wouldn’t know. The SNP Candidate for Pollok Chris Stephens came very close in the Holyrood 2011 election but he never won, and he has never won in any of the three times he has stood in the Pollok area.

Another task set by the SNP for branches is to double their membership; again, the amount of work to achieve this is substantial because few have the capability to do sales. And if you are going to sell an SNP membership, generally people want something for parting with their cash.

And the SNP doesn’t offer a lot for the price of their membership rather people offer more than the SNP offers them.

There is as well, activism, where SNP members get the opportunity to provide the party with free labour as unpaid postmen to deliver their leaflets in the election cycle, however if you turn up regularly then you are just seen as a menial and used as such, my SNP experience.

So, the SNP needs a fallback position in the independence referendum, that is why the “devo-max” question is still being promoted.

It is the SNP’s each way bet, win win; if they lose the referendum then they can claim a victory of sorts to their membership.

Jim Sillars, one of the party’s former deputy leaders says a “devo-max” question in the independence referendum is a “fraudulent claim.” I wouldn’t say that it is fraudulent but shouldn’t be on the ballot paper because it wasn’t in the manifesto and as such there is no mandate for it.

Devo-max is as Sillars says designed to keep the Nationalist movement intact and in power if it loses the vote on the future of the UK.

The SNP maybe the largest party in Scotland, but very few people are willing to work for it as activists, I would suggest because of the way it is run.

It isn’t run as a political party but rather as a protest movement with a clique at its centre.

In trying to have its cake and eat it, the SNP does send out a dual message, lack of confidence and confidence regarding the case for independence. This is because the work needed to be done for independence hasn’t been done, the campaign may have been planned but beyond that there is little to suggest that substance backs up the case. It is all about hope and aspiration rather than about nuts and bolts coupled with reality.

Devo max is all about the SNP having something to take to the voters in the 2016 Holyrood election so they can claim they are moving ‘forward’ the current SNP slogan which if things don’t work out will go the same way as ‘elect a people’s champion’.

That theme died a death at the Westminster 2010 election.

The reason was simple the public didn’t believe the people put forward by the SNP were people’s champions.

Not a single seat was gained.

Take a candidate’s name type him or her in google and generally you get nothing, champions that don’t fight or stand up and be counted, aren’t champions Mr. Salmond.

An SNP spokesman said Mr Sillars was “entitled to his view”, but insisted it would leave open the option of a second question.

Sillars wrotes:

“Time… for the SNP to put aside what would be a fraudulent claim to implement devo-max, and produce policies on the detailed issues that will determine the result when the historic day arrives. Lack of preparation is allowing the Unionists to set the agenda.”

The lack of work as Sillars points out is a serious problem for the SNP.

Currency is also flagged up as another SNP elephant in the room which is glossed over as a ‘done deal’ when no deal exists.

Sillars says the SNP have been neglect over the detail of independence which has been manifest on defence and currency in recent weeks.

On the latter, Mr Sillars remarks:

“As for the Bank of England being lender of last resort, it is absurd.”

He goes on:

“If Whitehall agrees to the Salmond proposal, there will have to be a treaty to determine the rules of the new sterling currency union; and an independent Scotland will not be the stronger side of the negotiations because, as [Chancellor George] Osborne would point out, the alternative to agreeing the treaty terms dictated by Westminster would be the euro.”

Which brings me finally to Plan McP, the realisation that a Scottish pound is needed which I previously blogged on as a solution. It may mean that in the short term Sterling and currency union is advisable as a stepping stone.

But a new State bank for Scotland is needed, something else I previously blogged on ahead of time, as part of work needed for my City Sovereign Fund idea to address local government reform.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scottish National Police Force lacks scrutiny says Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, former chief of SCDEA, SNP ruin great idea by lack of accountability

Dear All

On the 4th September I attended the Scottish National Party’s National Assembly in Perth hosted by Nicola Sturgeon.

At that event the SNP were looking for ideas to improve Scotland and increase their chances for re-election.

I proposed the Scottish National Police Force and the Scottish National Fire Service.

In my proposal for the Police, I laid out in detail how the issue of accountability would be tackled which is a key objection of critics of the idea.

Now, the former head of Scotland's crime fighting agency has criticised the lack of accountability and governance proposed for Scotland's new single police force.

As much as it pains me my original idea has been tweaked badly.

In my original proposal, the current Police Boards would be kept as area boards and act as a feeder to a new national board which I have to be over 20 in size, this is because my proposal was a stage one reform. As well as area and national boards, a separate Holyrood committee would be formed as an oversight committee, cross party in nature and this was my triple lock to address the issue of accountability.

The New Chief Constable would retain complete operational control; however he would be answerable regarding his decisions, thus ensuring that power given could in the light of withdrawn in the event of serious misconduct.

The Justice Secretary would have no input into the appointment of the New Chief Constable by law and also they would never be in a position to rig the national board to do so.

Graeme Pearson is a Labour MSP and former head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency; he says the legislation going through Parliament to amalgamate the country's eight police forces shows a worrying lack of "open and positive public scrutiny".

He is right, by having Kenny’s 11 take over the board there has been a disastrous policy made; only recently the Scottish Government had to guarantee four councillors would serve on the new board.

That wasn’t in the legislation, so early on accountability and transparency wasn’t a primary issue until people complained.

Many people don’t like the way that centralism has taken root in the SNP Government that has created tunnel vision instead of real vision.

Les Gray, the outgoing head of the Scottish Police Federation has warned against the proposed timetable to appoint the new chief constable in January 2013 and has criticised the current lack of answers about governance and VAT.

Writing in The Herald letters page, Pearson warns the proposals for the new single police force are "undemocratic" and lacking in accountability.
He said:

"Across Scotland we have the opportunity now to deliver a proper public scrutiny of the oversight of policing at national level and accountability at the local level.

"But the SNP Government seem determined to maintain a service authority arrangement largely chosen by the minister, with a convener and chief constable reporting via civil servants to the minister before eventually Parliament's involvement. This is not a healthy situation for the future.

"A single Scottish police force will be a powerful body to be managed without an open and positive public scrutiny. What the civil servants have delivered is a model created to control and influence, particularly in relation to budget and policy. In a model maintained by, and on behalf of, government there is little encouragement to challenge wrong thinking or reveal wrong doing.

"These proposals are undemocratic, designed for the comfort of the executive at a cost in terms of parliamentary scrutiny. They are therefore debilitating to genuine accountability."

It is what it is, the truth, the Police are there to serve the people, it is a service, somewhere down the line the SNP Government has come to the conclusion that the Police is their private law enforcement body.

Like an independent judiciary is recognised as essential, an independent police service is equally critical in a democratic society because people must have faith in their police.

Look what happened in London were relations between public and police collapsed cause a ‘us and them’ situation developed. The damage of that open wound has never completely been healed. This is better now, but should never have gotten to that state in the first place down there.

Issues relating to VAT are needed to be dealt with, with answers surprisingly not forthcoming from the SNP Government, this shows that they are governing by events rather than being proactive to address problems ahead of time.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:

"Our plans for police reform have been informed by two consultations and more than a year of regular and sustained engagement with police, ACPOS, boards, local authorities, political parties and others.

"All criminal investigations will continue to be independently directed by the Lord Advocate and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner will ensure that, where necessary, investigations of the police are carried out by an independent body.

"The Bill will follow the standard Parliamentary timetable and our plans will ensure the new Police Service of Scotland is subject to more formal and routine scrutiny by Parliament than the current eight forces. Meanwhile, the appointment of SPA members will be regulated by the Public Appointments Commissioner."

All that and they still aren’t listening.

Rather than getting the new national force set up properly and working, the Scottish Government has set up a dysfunctional body that lacks accountability and transparency.

Stage one of my national police force ideas was the creation of the body, thus allowing and preparing the ground for stage two reforms.

The national police force was a stepping stone to a major overhaul of law enforcement in Scotland, by taking a part of my idea and changing it for the worst, stage two must now be shelved as there is no point in having that debate now.

Alex Salmond says the Scottish Government doesn’t have a monopoly on wisdom, how very right he is on that score; this is what I mean by saying that although there are clever people in the SNP, there are also a lot of stupid ones being listened to.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University