Monday, April 30, 2012

‘Bought and sold for Aussie Gold’? Labour Party steps up the pressure on Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein, pure politics for council elections

Dear All

Last few days of the election before the vote, and it is the Labour Party stepping up the pressure on Alex Salmond over the links to Rupert Murdoch!

The question people want answered by Alex Salmond is how Rupert Murdoch having total control of BSKYB would lead to jobs in Scotland?

As the battle rages down south, Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein has been reported to Scotland’s most senior civil servant Sir Peter Housden.

The Labour Party is asking him to investigate whether the aide has broken the rules governing special advisers.

Down south, Tory Minister Jeremy Hunt has had to let go his adviser.

Alex Salmond is nailing his colours to the mast as he takes to the streets of Glasgow in key wards.

On council election day, this Thursday; he is campaigning in Ward 4, Craigton in the Mosspark area, along with another ward in the east of the city to get the vote out.

By personally spending as much time in Glasgow, he is taking a risk; will there be a ‘Salmond bounce’ for the SNP?

Or will it be a brick wall that his popularity runs face first into?

Of Murdoch, Salmond said:

“I think Rupert Murdoch is one of the most substantial figures in journalism for the last 50 years so it would strike me as important to have a good and business-like relationship with him.”

Given Murdoch is effectively a leper with most serious politicians in UK politics abandoning him, the wisdom of that ‘friendship’ may come back to haunt him.

The Labour Party has fought a hard campaign to keep control of Glasgow’s City Chambers.

Their tactic of not engaging with the SNP in any real sense other than to lambast the SNP leader Allison Hunter as an example of poor SNP leadership could prove to be right.

Now that Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein is in the firing line, he will be taking heat right up till Thursday’s election.

Will Geoff Aberdein be cleared?


I can’t see Scotland’s most senior civil servant Sir Peter Housden finding any evidence and I can’t remember any time when people like Housden went against a First Minister.

Labour’s letter to Housden on Saturday is politics. They have a boot on their foot and they are going to use it, hard, every kick weakens the credibility of the First Minister as they create doubt in the minds of the public.

The comedy extents to suggesting Aberdein should follow the example of Hunt’s special adviser, Adam Smith, who resigned.

Smith gave a Murdoch employee the details of private meetings the Culture Secretary had with regulators and opponents of News Corp’s planned takeover.

Labour chief whip James Kelly, who is acting as point man said:

“It is difficult to see the difference between the case of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s adviser Adam Smith who quit and Alex Salmond’s adviser, Geoff Aberdein, who hasn’t.”

Kelly added:

“In his resignation statement Smith said he had exceeded his boss’s authority with his claims to the Murdochs so he quit. In evidence to Leveson, it was heard that Aberdein told the Murdochs Salmond would lobby the UK government on the Murdochs’ behalf whenever they wanted him to. Salmond denied that. If the First Minister is to be believed that means Aberdein exceeded his authority yet he hasn’t resigned.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said:

“Contact between Mr Aberdein and News Corp representatives has been within the Special Adviser Code of Conduct, we will respond to the letter once it has been received.”

Presumably until after the election on Thursday and in the hope that something else dominates the news agenda.

Alex Salmond is putting a lot of his personal stock into a win in Glasgow.

Anything less than a clear majority; will be seen as a personal disaster for him and the Scottish National Party.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Open letter to Alex Salmond, think its time to change your ‘Lawyer’ Nicola Sturgeon, her last high profile ‘client’ in spotlight, got put in prison!

Dear All

My last post was a Newsnight Scotland ad, Nicola Sturgeon VS Johann Lamont; the fight was about Alex Salmond’s relationship to Rupert Murdoch.

You would have thought with Nicola Sturgeon saying she was setting the record straight that she would be able to put Johann Lamont away in the first round.

In the end, Johann Lamont lacked skill, delivery and that killer punch.

Nicola Sturgeon also was devoid of the killer punch to put Lamont away, instead she stayed on the outside just flicking the political jab and trying to turn the interview into a mini election advert for the SNP standing up for Glasgow.

Not the right tactic by the SNP deputy leader.

As the vote draws near on Thursday, opposition parties are keeping the pressure on Alex Salmond over his ties with Rupert Murdoch.

By being unable to kill off Lamont when she had the chance, Nicola Sturgeon has allowed opposition to rumble on questioning Alex Salmond’s version of events and creating doubt.

Having survived the bout Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has challenged Alex Salmond to produce documentary evidence that his conversations with Murdoch were about jobs in Scotland and not about seeking support for the SNP.

And she wants to see the paper trail of the detail of meetings with Ministers and external agencies that could prove he was genuinely concerned about securing jobs and not the backing of the Murdoch-owned press.

And she can harp on about Alex Salmond’s integrity right up to Thursday polling day.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied there was any link between the discussions over the bid and the Scottish Sun supporting the SNP.

Sturgeon says no deal exists to back the bid in return for editorial support.

She said:

"I am emphatically and unequivocally saying there is no connection between these two things."

Until polling day, opponents will be running with this story to the hilt, the SNP has produced a lacklustre campaign and very much rely on the ‘Salmond bounce’, that bounce may not be quite so high if working class people believe he is the pocket of the rich.

So, what do the opposition want?

Alex Salmond to release details of discussions with his Enterprise Minister, Scottish Enterprise and details of any Cabinet discussions on the issue.

Details if Scottish Enterprise was asked to look at what assistance it could offer News Corporation to base further jobs in Scotland.

Labour leader, Ed Miliband said on the issue:

"I think the revelations are shocking. The First Minister has questions to answer. If it is about a campaign to bring jobs to Glasgow why wasn't he open about it. What he actually did was act as an undercover lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch."

Responding to Mr Miliband's comments, Ms Sturgeon said:

"This is rank hypocrisy from Ed Miliband, given his own attempts to curry favour with News International. It is a desperate bid by Labour to divert attention from Johann Lamont's blunder at First Minister's Questions, where she appeared to be completely clueless about a major recent jobs announcement in Glasgow."

You know something; I am glad that Nicola Sturgeon isn’t my lawyer!

She failed to provide any evidence the BSkyB takeover would have resulted in more Scottish jobs, the First Minister’s justification for his willingness to back the takeover.

And the last time she defended someone who came under a very heated spotlight, he got prison!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Newsnight Scotland ad, Nicola Sturgeon vs Johann Lamont, Championship match BBC2 11 pm, its for all the marbles this time

Alex Salmond openly mocked by Lamont and Davidson at FMQs, FM takes hard body blows during punishing session, as two women set about him with verbal

Dear All

When David Cameron set up the Leveson inquiry he set in motion a chain of events that has come back to haunt him and his government!

Rupert Murdoch wants revenge on the Tory Government and he sees Leveson as a vehicle.

As an offshoot from the ‘main event’ SNP Leader Alex Salmond has been dragged into the mire by dear old Rupert.

I suspect that Rupert might not find Alex Salmond as amusing, with ‘friends’ like Murdoch who needs enemies!

The First Minister last night took to the television screen to protest his innocence on Scotland Tonight regarding the notion that he had 'been bought and sold by Aussie gold'.

Given the proximity of the Scottish Council elections, he must have thought that a rapid rebuttal was the way to go.

However he certainly didn’t look at all comfortable and should have left any interviews or statements until Holyrood had the chance to grill him.

At FMQ’s, the Labour leader Johann Lamont torn into him.

Lamont said:

“When did he first talk about this publicly and how many jobs would be coming to Scotland?”

First Minister Alex Salmond says correspondence related to the significance of BSkyB as an employer in Scotland, which he says provides more than 6,000 jobs

Lamont on the attack says she always welcomes jobs coming to "my own city". She would also welcome if the FM answered the question he was asked. She goes on to say that:

“one of Mr Salmond's MSPs, Angela Constance, was against the call centre changes by News International and all six of Alex Salmon's MPs supported a withdrawal of the bid for BSkyB. Why did the FM support his own MPs in opposing the takeover deal?”

Alex Salmond responded that says there was a huge risk last year of thousands of BSkyB jobs being lost in Scotland last year due to changes at the company and he was doing his job as first minister by getting involved.

Lamont storms on says that even after the Milly Dowler revelations, Mr Salmond was the only politician in "this country, perhaps the world" to invite Rupert Murdoch "round for tea". He is still welcome in "wee Eck's house", she adds.

Alex Salmond refers to the days of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown "courting" the Murdoch press. He says Labour has spent 15 years worshiping at the feet of Rupert Murdoch.

Own goal Alex, clearly rattled.

Lamont stepped up a gear and said Ed Miliband put down a motion opposing the BSkyb deal. "This is not about the FM's cynicism, this is about his infatuation about very rich men."

She goes on to list his contacts with:

Fred Goodwin
Donald Trump
Rupert Murdoch

Ms Lamont says:

"Each case was in secret, each case was a disaster and the detail had to be dragged out of the FM." She calls Mr Salmond a "sucker".

Openly mocking the First Minister in public, Lamont is on a roll, this is turning out to be Annus horribilis for Alex Salmond.

Job done, the Labour leader sat down.

Next up Ruth Davidson, second in command to put the boot to the First Minister‘s head.

She goes on the ‘Trump card’.

Davidson says that when Mr Salmond was asked by parliament about his contact with the Trump organisation, he did not mention his contacts with "The Donald". Did the FM mislead Holyrood? [Mr Trump's appearance before MSPs yesterday revealed details of meetings with Mr Salmond].

Alex Salmond says the night in New York in 2007 was less a candlelit dinner with Donald Trump and more an international Scots business event. Also the First Minister repeats that he never gave assurances to the US tycoon over the fate of the wind farm.

Andy Wightman tweets: Ruth Davidson has done her homework #trump #fmq.

Davidson sensing blood says that if Mr Salmond has nothing to hide from a 12-man dinner, why didn't he talk about it to a parliamentary committee?

She says:

"Something here stinks, will the first minister set the record straight and say that nothing was discussed on planning and the Menie estate scheme?"

FM says Mr Trump hadn't been threatening to pull out of his Menie development until the last few months. Mr Salmond also quotes Mr Trump's line from the committee where he said "I am the evidence". Mr Salmond calls it the Judge Dredd response (named after the ruthless comic book law enforcer, whose catchphrase was "I am the law!"

If Trump is Judge Dredd then that by default makes Salmond ‘the prep’, patently this is a man not a Judge Dredd fan.

I bet he wishes he had a lawgiver or some stumm gas for the chamber.

Mark Baillie tweets:

“No contrition from the FM over his article... Is he the last political leader defending newscorp over phone hacking? #fmq”.

So, a rough ride for the beleaguered First Minister Alex Salmond, from ‘tripping the light fantastic’, he is now just tripping.

I don’t think his ‘crew’ of spin doctors and gofers will be telling him that he handled that bunny well, it was a disaster, last night was a disaster with a distinctly uncomfortable First Minster being semi grilled.

Time to go up the park and feed the ducks!

And hope no one else in the SNP f*cks up between now and polling day.

The SNP is starting to look like a party experiencing the last days of Blair!

And we know how that turned out, don’t we.

Good FMQ for Lamont and Davidson, not so good for Alex Salmond.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Double dip recession hits Britain as economy falters, GDP figures fall for second quarter in a row, austerity is killing UK, new financial model?

Dear All

For sometime, I have been saying that despite all the hoo ha of everything is going well; Britain will slip into a double-dip recession.

George Laird was right again.

And ahead of the curve!

This is the first double-dip recession since the 1970s after a surprise contraction in the first three months of the year.

Instead of starting massive overhaul and restructure Britain has tried to prop up the existing problem of debt.

The problem is that we need to see an EU wide solution to problems within the Eurozone.

Greece shows us that the fight must be fought by all with unity and one purpose.

The 99% cannot be used to the betterment of the 1%.

Solution is short term pain, and it is going to hurt, but better now than a lifetime.

Government needs to stop being in the pocket of bankers, we need to take back our economy, we need to end asset stripping of sovereign countries and new financial sector with different priorities.

Official figures today showed the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 having declined by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2011.

Tories have been quick to trumpet that their austerity is working but the cuurent situation shows otherwise as the first double-dip since 1975 hits us.

Debt is a black hole with its own gravity no matter how much is flung at it, the hole can never be filled.

The news is a bitter blow to Chancellor George Osborne in the wake of last month’s 'omnishambles' Budget.

We need to recreate a manufacturing base, to get people back into work so they will spend and save, we have to return fix so many things that Europe needs its own Marshall plan.

At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron said:

“They are very very disappointing figures and I do not seek to explain them away.”

Banks will not lend to business, so Government needs to create a new state banking sector to address this problem.

The model of this concept should be localised to City banks that channel money in conjunction with state enterprise groups who help people develop small and medium businesses.

Local jobs for local people!

We are face a the longest economic slump for 100 years worse even than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Europe must address these problems immediately when problems reach the public level as they have, its time to get serious.

Andrew Smith, chief economist at KPMG, said:

“It's official, we're in a double-dip”.

He added:

“But worse, output remains broadly unchanged from its level in the third quarter of 2010 and, four years on from its pre-recession peak is still some 4 per cent down – making this slump longer than the 1930s Depression”.

We can’t grow our way out of debt with more debt.

Sooner or later, expect the problems of Greece, Holland, Spain, Portugal and France to hit these shores, the political class need to rebalance the economy or the biggest seller in the UK will be riot gear.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Govan Election Special, SNP leader Allison Hunter fails to shine in a room of non entities, slumped in chair she didn’t look like a council leader

Dear All

Election special, Glasgow 2012 by your roving reporter, George Laird on the scene of the Govan Hustings at Kinning Park Parish Church!

Last night, I decided to attend the Sunny Govan Radio Hustings, not all the people standing were represented on the panel.

The attendees were; Finlay Archibald, Stephen Dornan, Joyce Drummond, John Flanagan, Allison Hunter, Fariha Thomas and Chris Young.

It was a truly awful field of Z list candidates but to their performance.

Finlay Archibald of the Pirate Party Scotland was totally out of his depth. He gave weak answers and so naïve, possibly likeable but not councillor material, too immature by half. It is doubtful that he will get elected with no track record.

George Laird Verdict, no chance.

Stephen Dornan, former Labour Councillor displayed a massive chip on his shoulder against his former Labour colleagues who kicked him out. This wasn’t the platform for his grievances; a mistake on his part. He spoke up well during his shaky presentation of answers highlighting he lives in the Ward and his track record of circa 17 years of being a councillor. People might vote for him if he has a personal following in the ward.

George Laird Verdict Possible!

Joyce Drummond, Solidarity - Scotland’s Socialist Movement, she had an awful experience, not a public speaker and out of her depth politically. No cuts at all was her mantra; not credible and highlights what I said many moons ago that Solidarity needs a major overhaul of people and policies to win.

George Laird Verdict No chance!

John Flanagan, ex Labour Councillor is standing as an independent; possibly with the idea if successful then he can return to the Labour Party fold with hugs and kisses and let bygones be bygones. He was arguably one of the best speakers had a track record in various positions and stressed his local connections to the hilt.

George Laird Verdict Possible!

Allison Hunter, Scottish National Party (SNP) in a room of non entities you would think that Mrs Hunter would be the star of the show given her position in the SNP, she wasn’t. It was a mediocre performance from an old aged pensioner without passion. She said nothing and committed the SNP to nothing but she did express ‘concern’ about various issues particularly about the plight of the asylum seekers who face eviction. She said it nearly had her crying it was so moving. Slummed in her chair she failed to impress and didn’t look like a council leader in waiting. She looked like a boxer who didn’t want to hear the bell for another round.

George Laird Verdict win based on party, Possible!

Fariha Thomas, Scottish Labour Party, she put in an average performance, shaky start, not much to say for herself but blurted out standard answers. Not a fighter as you would expect from a councillor.

George Laird Verdict win based on party, Possible!

Chris Young, Scottish Liberal Democrats, good speaker in delivery but his foot in his mouth early on when he talked about shady Glaswegians (Labour) doing deals in backrooms. Young is English so he probably didn’t understand how badly that statement played in a room full of Glaswegians. Okay for Glaswegians to say that, not outsiders, poor choice of words.

George Laird Verdict no chance!

The best speaker in the room on the panel was the presenter, he isn’t standing.

I can’t say I am surprised by the performance of Allison Hunter, Scottish National Party (SNP).

She looked like an old woman in every sense hunched in her chair.

Take her away from the Sturgeon ‘bubble’ and she is nothing, her day has long gone, her election agent sat in the audience and another SNP Candidate Jonathan Mackie turned up an hour later after the start, but there was no real cheers for her.

People clapped out of politeness as they did the other candidates, there was no buzz that greatness was sitting in the room; there was no feeling that a politician of stature was present.

However she fitted in well with non entities but couldn’t even shine there!

And that was the Sunny Govan Hustings, this is George Laird, your roving reporter; on the scene bring the blow by blow fight for Govan.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Labour Leader Johann Lamont warns working class trade unionists of SNP 'deception' as 'day of judgement' in Glasgow draws near for Alex Salmond

Dear All

It seems that as well as carrying the fight to the SNP on the public front, the Labour Party has decided to carry it on at trade union level as well.

Labour leader Johann Lamont has urged trade unionists not to be "seduced" by the SNP and to recognise that progressive politics cannot be "bolted on to another cause".

Recently SNP ‘leader’ Allison Hunter blurted out that everything done by the Nationalists is a 'stepping stone' to independence.

In addressed the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Inverness, Johann Lamont was speaking out to the working class people of Scotland as she spoke about the link between Labour and the unions as "our mission".

One theme of this Labour campaign is a strong social justice message which the Scottish National Party appears to have abandoned when it concerns the working class.

She heaped and poured scorn on the Scottish Government as having "deception and deceit at its heart".

I thought that the Scottish National Party was about fairness, equality and social justice, but my experiences show that to be a complete lie.

Ms Lamont said:

"If truth is the first casualty of war, then we are in a hell of a conflict. The Tories may be brazen about their Thatcherite agenda, but this Scottish Government has deception and deceit at its heart."

The Scottish National Party has turned into a callous indifferent Tartan Tory party worthy of Margaret Thatcher.

Is it returning to its roots?

Lamont hammered into the Scottish Government that talked radically about childcare but never delivered, trumpeted new investment months after it was withdrawn, and accused others of lying about NHS patients sleeping without blankets until the evidence is "literally thrown into their faces in the shape of a 92-year-old victim".

All true and a message which will ring loudly with working class SNP members.

She added:

"It is not flags or borders which fires me up. It is injustice and inequality which raises my blood and makes me fight."

It appears that the Labour Party has found a theme going towards independence as it tackles injustice and inequality at the heart of the Scottish National Party ideology.

I have previously blogged that injustice in Scotland will cost Alex Salmond the referendum.

He won’t be getting independence with a smile, a balloon and false words.

Ms Lamont added:

"Progressive politics is not something to be bolted on to another cause. Fighting injustice and inequality is not a cloak to another end. It is our inspiration. It is why trade unions were founded. It is why trade unionists founded their own political party, the Labour Party."

As the campaign in Glasgow draws to a close, the pace to retain the city by Labour will hot up; it’s the Labour Party who is up for the fight here.

The SNP will be desperate for the ‘Salmond bounce’ as their mediocre campaign draws a close, if they don’t win an outright victory then everyone will know where to point the finger.

Nine days until polling day and I have still not received an SNP election leaflet in my area naming the candidates.

It appears the Scottish National Party has no one willing to work for them as their working class members are staying away.

Is it is something to do with unfairness, inequality and injustice right at the heart of the SNP's 'core values'?

Why can't a working class member of the Scottish National Party get justice in his own party Alex Salmond?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, April 23, 2012

SNP leader Allison Hunter disastrous performances show Nicola Sturgeon her team isn’t as clever as they think they are; ‘Hunterite eunt domom’

Dear All

Some people it could be said are having a ‘good’ election, from a shaky and near disastrous start, Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson has put down the knife and fork and taken up the sword.

Albeit not on an epic El Cid quest, he wants to keep his job.

In an STV interview I rated him as being poor, too jittery.

Across in the SNP Camp, the ‘leader’ Allison Hunter is having a disaster of tsunami proportions.

She has become a lightning rod for Labour attacks in the battle to take over Scotland's biggest city.

Hunter, 70, should never been put up as leader and she should have known to make way for someone who can walk the walk and talk the talk.

George Laird.

I am the leader that the Glasgow SNP Group was waiting for, big ideas and small ideas to radically change Glasgow for the people by the people.

Hunter is a former election agent to SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon; her election as leader was all about a power struggle to concentrate power in the Sturgeon camp.

Allison Hunter can run an election well, but anyone can learn that, leadership is a different matter.

She isn’t one and has emerged as less than astute, blundering repeatedly from political car crash to politicial car crash.

Hunter is seen by many people across the political divide as a lame duck.

Given her gaffes, you could nickname her ‘Gaffy Duck’.

Allison Hunter has told the press that her future role was "up in the air" as she may stand aside as SNP group leader.

Previously she admitted in an interview that she hadn't thought of any policies to implement if the SNP replaced Labour at the City Chambers.

She and the entire SNP Council Group had 5 years.

5 years!

Another blunder by Hunter was saying an SNP win would be a "stepping stone to independence"; prompting Labour to claim her priority was the constitution, not Glasgow.

At a now infamous hustings; old aged pensioner Allison Hunter was totally outclassed and outfought by Gordon Matheson.

Matheson was described by SNP insider as ‘doing a wonderful job for us’!

Oh really!

The SNP insider has a track record of getting a lot wrong.

When Hunter blurted out 'stepping stone' and admitted the SNP Government's policy of cutting and changing bus subsidy "might be anti-city" and hurt Glasgow, she destroyed her own credibility.

In a ten second ‘moment of destiny’, you could argue she possibly threw the election away.

There is a big difference between handing someone a bag of leaflets and speaking publicly.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont now refers regularly to Hunter on TV and radio as an example of poor quality SNP leadership.

From the lips of Allison Hunter:

“I'm not an out-there leader. I'm a team leader”.

Glasgow Labour will next week home in on that and issue up new leaflets featuring Hunter's quotes, saying she is no match for council leader Gordon Matheson.

And now for a short break using Monty Python!

Centurion: What's this, then? "Hunter eunt domus"? People called Hunter, they go, the house?

Brian: It says, "Hunter go home. "

Centurion: No it doesn't ! What's the latin for "Hunter"? Come on, come on !

Brian: Er, "Hunterus" !

Centurion: Vocative plural of "Hunterus" is?

Brian: Er, er, "Hunteri" !

Centurion: [Writes "Hunteri" over Brian's graffiti] "Eunt"? What is "eunt"? Conjugate the verb, "to go" !

Brian: Er, "Ire". Er, "eo", "is", "it", "imus", "itis", "eunt".

Centurion: So, "eunt" is...?

Brian: Third person plural present indicative, "they go".

Centurion: But, "Hunter, go home" is an order. So you must use...?
[He twists Brian's ear]

Brian: Aaagh ! The imperative !

Centurion: Which is...?

Brian: Aaaagh ! Er, er, "i" !

Centurion: How many Hunters?

Brian: Aaaaagh ! Plural, plural, er, "ite" !

Centurion: [Writes "ite"] "Domus"? Nominative? "Go home" is motion towards, isn't it?

Brian: Dative !

[the Centurion holds a sword to his throat]

Brian: Aaagh ! Not the dative, not the dative ! Er, er, accusative, "Domum" !

Centurion: But "Domus" takes the locative, which is...?

Brian: Er, "Domum" !

Centurion: [Writes "Domum"] Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times.

Brian: Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.

Centurion: Hail Caesar! And if it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.

What a great pity that Allison Hunter isn’t even a Brian!

Maybe after this election she should 'Hunterite eunt domom'!

In the name of God...... go!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

President Nicolas Sarkozy facing defeat as Socialist rival Francois Hollande storms ahead in the polls, Sarkozy in serious trouble as he loses touch

Dear All

Mai oui!

It looks like a disaster for Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President is in trouble.

The trouble for Sarkozy stems from many fronts, but right up there is economic despair both at home and in the Eurozone.

In all fronts Sarkozy is fairing badly.

Towards the latter half of his campaigns he decided to go more right wing, the person kicking him up and down the French countryside and towns is a left winger.

This are going so badly that Sarkozy could be the first president to lose a fight for re-election in more than 30 years, it is a real possibility.

It is hard to be popular when people hate you and Sarkozy like Blair thought he was in with the bricks, however, a wrecking crew has turned up to fix that notion.

Sarkozy like Blair was all about showy style but as much as hype may get you into power, reality is the currency to keep you there.

People are angry about his failure to bring down unemployment; this led to his anti immigrant policy to get rid of illegals by deportations to appeal to them.

However, he hasn’t clicked that substance is needed, EU reform, the development of an internal immigration policy and other structurally reforms, rather than seen as a man with a vision, it was short term thinking to try and solve a short term problem.

People saw through that straightaway, it may be too late to turn the tide as his Socialist rival Francois Hollande has a double-digit lead.

Hollande, 57, has tapped into the feelings of the people with promises less drastic spending cuts.

Another feel good idea is higher taxes on the wealthy to fund state-aided job creation.

Hollande wants a 75% upper tax rate on income above €1 million (£810,000), this is populist but not well thought-out in a practical sense. It is however good electioneering, if not clever policy.

If Hollande does the business, he would be only the second left-wing leader of France since Francois Mitterrand.

France needs change, not just someone shouting the slogan with nothing to back it up, the EU is in trouble, major reform of institutions are needed and whoever delivers that narrative is in a strong position to be credible to the French public.

As the incumbent Sarkozy says he is a safer pair of hands for future economic turmoil, the unemployment figures don’t bear that out!.

In 2007, Sarkozy was seen as a man providing a vision to many workers and young voters on his 2007 pledge of more pay for more work.

These same people are now deserting him as jobless figures hit a 12-year high, he isn’t delivering on his pledge and when people realise that, its represents a tipping pointing.

At present, that tipping has almost been reached with many voters.

Helene Boudot, said:

"Sarkozy's divisive. Hollande's reassuring."

Helene Boudot who is 85 was voting in her village of Chailland in western France.

You might find this comment aptly sums up the Sarkozy Presidency.

France is struggling with weak economic growth, a gaping trade deficit, 10% unemployment and strained public finances leading to ratings agency Standard Poor's to cut the country's triple-A credit rating in January.

When people become fearful, the start to look around, Sarkozy has style but he doesn’t have substance.

And more and more French people are waking up to that fact, but this is an election, anything can happen.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scottish Labour Party broadcast - Putting You First, other parties should watch and learn how to deliver message using social media!

Alex Salmond claims voters can “trust” SNP as he launches party's manifesto for local council, saying that to George Laird would ring very hollow

Dear All

The SNP have launched their council manifesto yesterday with the First Minister Alex Salmond at the helm.

However, straightaway he has run into controversy with opposition parties already asking him to explain how he will fund flagship election pledges.

He says SNP Councils will protect council staff from the axe, and also deliver them a “living wage” of £7.20 per hour.

The pledges seem fine but as the SNP cuts town hall budgets by £350 million, it raises questions of how this is to be funded.

One of the most glaring omissions of the SNP manifesto is three words.

Not the ‘we love you’ theme but local government reform.

Since there is no agenda for local government reform, it means we are stuck with the status quo.

In this election there is no big idea from the Scottish National Party, their election campaign for all intensive purposes is so low key that no one is noticing it.

To address their key pledges!

1/ The council tax freeze will be maintained.

This isn’t a pledge since the SNP Government has already pledged this.

2/ There would be no compulsory redundancies to council workers.

This doesn’t mean a commitment to maintain current numbers or even expand the council workforce. Opposition parties will be homing in on what the SNP are not saying about protecting departments and service provision.

3/ Council workers would also receive a living wage of £7.20 an hour.

In Glasgow, the living wage is already paid to council employees, and this begs the question, if the living wage is right as Alex Salmond suggests, why didn’t SNP Councils pay it before?

One thing about this election is the practice of trying to continually relaunch the SNP campaign. This practice was used by Labour regarding Brown’s election and we all know how that turned out.

This election for me is not about the local election but about how the 'Salmond bounce' carries over from Holyrood 2011.

This is an election which is being fought without a spark, without a hook to capture the voters’ imagination, no big idea.

Glasgow still remains the SNP’s top target; there the problem is that Labour and SNP both have more or less the same manifesto.

The SNP even if successful has made the mistake of rolling out the same manifestos in all councils.

These are local government elections and should be fought as such.

Alex Salmond said the SNP is “the only party to be trusted to protect family budgets” in local government.

Did he forget that it was the Labour Party that first introduced the council tax freeze?

Conservative local government campaign co-ordinator John Lamont said:

“What voters will want to see is exactly how these pledges will be paid for. The electorate won’t be fooled by empty words. The SNP has an obligation to set out how these significant spending commitments would be paid for, or which services they would cut to fund them.”

I don’t see how the SNP can pay a living wage without cutting services, given their manifesto singularly fails to mention local government reform.

More money for the council employees means less in budgets for service provision.

And the cuts passed on by the Scottish Government are going to get worse, that is why local government reform is so essential.

The Scottish Government budget for local councils is falling from £11.548 billion last year to £11.197bn in the year ahead.

A staggering cut of more than £350m.

Many will see the no compulsory redundancy policy as hollow because the SNP has been part of ruling administrations in Scottish councils, like Fife which have shed hundreds of staff through being compulsory dumped.

Labour chief whip James Kelly accused SNP councillors of failing to stand up to Mr Salmond over the cuts in local authority budgets.

So, you can immediately see how Labour wishes to play this, they are saying that if the SNP is both in national and local government that their councillors will just roll over if Alex Salmond cuts their budgets.

Well that’s true, that is what they signed up for, its called Standing Orders which each candidate must sign to tow the party line.

Kelly added:

“The SNP have passed on 90 per cent of Tory cuts to local councils, and it’s clear today that they expect their councils to meekly accept that and not rock the boat. By contrast, Labour councillors across the country are coming up with innovate ideas to create jobs, protect families and put you first.”

With less than 3 weeks till polling day, it will be interesting to see if the SNP’s Edinburgh centralist campaign will defeat Labour’s locally produced manifestos for each area.

This election does highlight something which I have previously blogged, there is a geniune lack of talent in the SNP, which is recognised by the fact that the 'local' SNP campaigns in all of Scotland, are all centrally produced by SNP HQ.

Which rather makes a mockery of the "trust" statement by Alex Salmond.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, April 20, 2012

Historian David Starkey calls Alex Salmond a "democratic Caledonian Hitler”, BBC get them on QT for Ian Hislop vs Mary Archer fight to the finish!

Dear All

You may have seen television pundit and historian David Starkey on the BBC; he regularly appears on Question Time to give us his views on the world.

I can’t say I like his opinions or the way he delivers them.

His most recent storm of his own making; was comparing Alex Salmond to Adolf Hitler.

This isn’t the first time that Alex Salmond has been compared to Hitler; Labour MP Tom Harris did a video called Joan’s Downfall.

The Downfall clip is widely used by people highlighting an issue to comic effect.

My personal favourite is ‘In the bunker after Glasgow East’ which featured the same clip with Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the butt of the joke.

If you haven’t seen it, then do so, it is absolutely hilarious.

Anyway back to Herr Starkey compared Alex Salmond to Hitler, the Historian wasn’t doing comedy; he was at the centre-right think-tank the Bow Group.

The Bow Group is an interesting wee bunch, a hothouse of Tory thinkers peddling ideas, they follow me on Twitter.

Starkey said during a speech that the First Minister was a "democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected".

It was a badly judged and rather silly comment.

But rather than not put his foot in it, he dived in head first, at the Bow Group by saying that, for Mr Salmond, "the English, like the Jews, are everywhere".

Having a go at everyone, I wonder if he has a book or television show on the horizon!

Immediately politicians in Scotland united to dismiss Starkey for what he is, a crank; a man who earned his living through insulting others without the wit to carry it.

Starkey is a regular guest on BBC programmes such as Newsnight, Question Time, Any Questions and The Moral Maze and loves putting his oar in it regularly.

He is also dubbed the "rudest man in Britain" for his comments in recent years but we should remember others don’t get the same oxygen as Starkey.

Last year his infamous remark was to say "the whites have become black", when discussing the London riots.

Mr Salmond's spokesman said:

"This offensive nonsense is actually an insult to Scotland and to the people of Scotland. David Starkey is getting dafter and crankier with every passing day. His litany of offensive comments are designed only to provoke outrage and thankfully England is blessed with far better historians than him. We can count ourselves lucky that David Starkey is nowhere near the teaching of history in Scottish schools. In the words of Robert Burns, Scots will 'look and laugh' at this nonsense."

He added:

"The Bow Group exists to stimulate debate within the Conservative Party, so I suppose you could say this has stimulated debate. David Starkey has a track record of making unacceptable comments. These comments say far more about him than they say about anything or anyone else. They say nothing good about him."

Overly wordy!

When he could have said, ‘the guy’s a dick’ with a hunch of the shoulders.

Labour business manager Paul Martin also condemned Starkey.

He said:

"These are just the latest in a series of wayward ramblings from David Starkey. I would no sooner ask his advice on matters of state than I would my cat on matters of dentistry."

Cat on matters of denistry!!!!!

Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said:

"This is a man who makes his living by making insults and building up his own notoriety. Every time he opens his mouth he causes offence to someone."

A bit like Carlaw when he was outed for racist jokes!

LibDem leader Willie Rennie said:

"If this is the sort of trash he is going to serve up, then broadcasters in particular should make sure they don't put him on any TV programmes from now on. He can't be taken seriously as any sort of academic."

Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie said the comments were "infantile" and "among the most absurd I've ever heard, and I've sat through his Question Time performances".

This isn’t the first time that Alex Salmond has been compared to a dictator as I said previously Tom Harris waded in with his video, (which the content wasn’t particularly funny); Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman even compared Mr Salmond to Robert Mugabe.

In politics, you will always run across people who don’t like you.

Alex Salmond now knows David Starkey doesn’t like him.

I think I see a Ian Hislop vs Mary Archer moment on Question Time looming for Starkey and Salmond.


Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Former SNP MSP Bill Walker returns to Holyrood, shunned by his SNP friends in the chamber, Walker cheers loudly and bangs desk at Alex Neil speech

Dear All

Bill Walker, a nationalist MSP yesterday returned to Holyrood to resume his duties.

The press pack duly turned up and spent the day following him about looking for a quote or a statement.

Murdo Fraser, the Tory MSP was nearly knocked over and felt so badly about it he tweeted.

Bill Walker is doing no comment at present, probably on the advice of legal counsel.

With a rape claim being investigated by Police he was shunned by his former SNP colleagues.

Previously he said that some SNP MSPs were appalled by the way he has been treated.

Walker sat alone up the back of the parliament which is the elephant’s graveyard in Holyrood usually reserved for ex party leaders and real non entities.

In an embarrassing 30 minutes in the chamber for the Scottish National Party, Walker clapped loudly, cheered and banged his desk when the SNP’s infrastructure cabinet secretary Alex Neil made a speech on the Scotland bill.

Alex Neil is a good speaker, however I think Walker could have had another agenda for his passion.

So, for the next four years the SNP will have a very vocal supporter in the chamber who has been accused of serial domestic abuse and rape!

Add to it, in the run up to the Scottish independence vote ‘battling Bill’ will use every opportunity to speak about his vision for independence.

By kicking out Walker, the SNP have no control over him in the chamber; that was a mistake, he should have been suspended and still subject to party discipline, then he could be told to shut up, sit quietly and play nice.

Strategically, you kick such problems in the very very long grass, citing no comment police investigation.

As ‘battling Bill’ cheers louder for independence at Holyrood, people will say, wasn’t that the former SNP MSP who was accused of rape?

What a gift for unionist parties because you know a penny to a pound, supporters of unionist parties will link him to the SNP at every opportunity.

As well as his SNP colleagues, senior MSPs entering the chamber such as former presiding officer Alex Fergusson and former Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott appeared to deliberately look away from him.

Brian Adam, the SNP’s chief whip at Holyrood was seen briefly speaking to Mr Walker, who was previously told he could no longer sit with SNP MSPs.

Bill Walker isn’t going anywhere and that is bad news for the SNP, his cheers, claps, foot banging and desk banging will no doubt be a problem for his former friends.

After all which other party has a man accused of rape supporting them in the chamber, right in the heart of Scotland’s democracy?

And getting £57k a year plus expenses, office, IT facilities, pension and a canteen!

And he even gets a free travel pass because of his age.

First Minister Alex Salmond has a real problem sitting behind him, a ticking timebomb, how does he solve a problem like Bill?

Especially when Bill talks about his SNP values!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

14 years to get an apology for the injustice that Strathclyde Police put Shirley McKie through, Chief Constable Stephen House clears up loose ends!

Dear All

How corrupt is Scotland?

It has taken 14 years for the chief constable of Scotland's largest police force, Strathclyde Police to make an unprecedented apology to former detective Shirley McKie.

Shirley McKie suffered massively in the infamous fingerprint case which wrecked her career and health.

In return she got £750,000.

What should have happened is that the compensation should have been millions and she should have been offered a return to active police work after completing a refresher course.

The £750,000 was to get rid of her and move on by sweeping as much under the carpet as possible.

14 years.

Stephen House is apologising on behalf of his force for the "pain and suffering" it caused to Ms McKie and her father Iain after meeting them last week.

Shirley McKie had the entire establishment against her, her own force turned against her, the Crown Office was hell bent on convicting her, the Fingerprint service tried to cover themselves, she was pressurised to admit the fingerprint was hers and the Labour/Lib Dem Executive sat back and did nothing.

Shirley McKie was wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at a murder scene, but fully exonerated by a public inquiry.

She was tried for perjury in 1998.


Everything humanely possible was done to deny her justice even to the extent the fingerprint was continually cropped to try and match hers.

And everything done to convict her was an ‘innocent mistake’.

Although Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill ordered the public inquiry, the net result is that it was always about ensuring protection for the status quo, it wasn’t a quest for justice on behalf of Shirley McKie.

The criminal justice system in Scotland is tainted.

On development however by inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Campbell was to recommend that fingerprint evidence should be now "recognised as opinion evidence and not fact".

In his report, Sir Anthony said the fingerprint in question, known as mark Y7, had been "misidentified as the fingerprint of Ms McKie", due to human error.

Then comes the fluffy bit, he said that "no conspiracy against Ms McKie".

I wonder how many people actually would believe that statement, given everything humanely possible was done to put every obstacle in her way?

Stephen House said:

"I am satisfied that the report did not find fault in the way in which officers of Strathclyde Police had conducted themselves throughout the course of events”

Other than being disloyal rats by getting her in a room and try to make her confess to something she never did?

House added:

"I thought that it was entirely right and proper that I apologised to them for the very lengthy and very public process that they had had to endure, and for the pain and suffering that they have experienced as a result. Both were officers in Strathclyde Police and it is my belief that Shirley, in maintaining the truth under such traumatic circumstances, adhered to the highest ideals of the police service; displaying honesty and integrity of a remarkably high manner. Both Shirley and Iain appreciated the fact that I had met with them and, like me, they hope that lessons can and will be learned as a result of these events, and that the Campbell Report will have a positive effect on forensics and fingerprint practices here in Scotland."

Or you could look at House’s apology in another way, clearing this off his desk because the Campbell Report came out, tidying up loose ends so he and his service can jog on.

If House is sincere, then the correct thing to do is to give Shirley McKie her job back; that is a powerful statement of intent.

So, what would I say to Stephen House?

Talk’s cheap!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When people have no stake in society, there is no future, Angiolini proposes prison reform, don’t go far enough, closing Cornton Vale not an option

Dear All

You may have caught the Newsnight Scotland interview on female prisoners and subsequent reforms proposed by the Angiolini Commission.

Clive Fairweather, former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland says that the appointment of Elish Angiolini was a ‘stroke of genius’ by what he describes as the normally embattled justice minister, Kenny MacAskill.

Is it a stroke of genius to be able to recognise a problem that everyone else has blogged on for years?

Patently no, but when it is a member of the ‘establishment’ it appears ‘wonder’ is magically attached to it!

A proposal has been made by Angiolini to close Cornton Vale prison.

We have a prison population is which far too big and needs addressed.

The crux of the matter in prisons is breaking the cycle of crime of repeat offenders which effectively log jam the system in both male and female prisons.

Short sentences which I have blogged on before, don’t work; it is a warehousing experience but on occasion is necessary.

We need prison for certain types of people and we always will.

Sending people to prison isn’t a success; it is a failure of society, all of society, particularly of the political class.

Some people appear to rack up more time in courts than some lawyers.

I have blogged over the years that when people have no stake in society they have nothing to lose, you can google me on my thoughts on prison, crime and punishment.

Clive Fairweather hails Angiolini has having a much broader understanding of the entire judicial system and ‘knows where to point the finger’.

One place the finger isn’t being pointed is the Scottish Government; we don’t live in a fair society, until measures are enacted to remove restrictions to education, social opportunities and employment to people who are imprisoned in places like Cornton Vale, we will get nowhere.

The Angiolini Commission proposals are doomed to limited success. This isn't the big pciture, but a part of the big picture, let us not mistake it for anything else.

Close Cornton Vale is not a serious proposal, getting rid of people who shouldn’t be there is a serious proposal however.

One of my ideas for offender rehab when I stood as a prospective SNP Council Candidate was radical, it was to allow offenders to be part of selected council departments and suitable organisations that offered them skills training while they pay back their debt to society.

Both society and offender would benefit from my idea.

People would be screened and personal development plans introduced, to effectively introduce them to an alternative lifestyle.

But more than that, there must be opportunities available to get there, genuine opportunities, not just talk.

Clive Fairweather argues that there is a case for treating women differently than men because backgrounds are often related to abuse from men and bound up with addictions.

Try flying that kite at a murder trial; it won’t get you very far. Currently community payback is to get a group of offenders to work in a chain gang mentality doing menial work, so they are seen to be punished.

Allowing politicians in government to run with the line that they are tough on crime!

In part that ethos is reason why there has been so much failure in the criminal justice system of repeat offenders returning to crime. Politicians left people to rot, the prison service just did the warehousing.

Angiolini has a plan, but it is a plan doomed to limited success, it isn’t genius as Clive Fairweather says or anything like it, its piecemeal, it addresses some problems but doesn’t address others.

Closing Cornton Vale isn’t a serious option.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Open letter to the BBC, Covent Garden, London, this is my take on the Bill Walker allegations, since you seem keen to know the George Laird view

Dear BBC

Yesterday was an odd day, as you in BBC, Covent Garden in London googled ‘george laird snp bill walker and then came to my website several times over the course of the day.

And today, you came back again, so for your benefit and others, what is my take on the Bill Walker case?

There are two issues that stick out for me, the domestic abuse allegations and the rape claim currently being investigated by the Police.

Even if Walker wasn’t a serving MSP, these are serious allegations to be sure.

Presently there is a political storm of sorts as political parties wish to force him out of Holyrood.

He isn’t going anywhere.

In an interview to the Daily Record yesterday, Walker allegedly said he slapped second wife Anne after she threatened to leave him.

On that basis, I think people would consider him to be unsuitable to be in Holyrood.

Although the public can understand self defence as an argument, their sympathy doesn’t extent to violence because his wife wanted to leave him.

In the Walker case most of the allegations related to his stormy second marriage to Anne, who he married in Edinburgh in 1970 and had three sons with.

He said they split up in about 1978 but had an on-off relationship until 1985 and divorced in 1986.

Walker said:

“In about 1983, I had to fight my ex-wife to the floor. There was a stiletto involved, an ornamental dagger. It was kept in a display case high up away from the children. This argument happened for no reason as far as I could see. She said, ‘Don’t come near me.’ I managed to grab her and wrestle her to the ground.”

Walker claimed he threw the dagger out.

He said: “I recorded it with my solicitor but it did not come out in court.”

Walker added:

“I think on one occasion I slapped her.” Asked to clarify the confession, he said: “I did not slap her on that occasion (the alleged dagger incident) but I remember one occasion when I did slap her.”

He said it happened at about the same time, after Anne threatened to leave home and told him he would “never see my sons again”.

Today Mr. Walker’s story has changed; he now says in a statement issued that he has never "assaulted" anyone.

In cases like this, the version of events seems to be constantly changing, and it makes it hard to believe what is being said.

On the one hand, according to the Daily Record interview, Bill Walker appears to say he assaulted his wife and now he says he has never assaulted his wife.

He also says he was in a knife fight and that is recorded with his solicitor, the best thing regarding the Walker case is to let the Police investigate the allegations and if there is enough evidence then pass it to the Crown Office.

Given his rambling incoherent interview to the Daily Record, I think it does question his suitability for Holyrood.

I have blogged before on the geniune lack of talent in the SNP below Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. It was only a matter of time before people such as Walker were exposed for what they are.

I have met many politicians because I am in politics and most are party drones, who when put on the spot in interview come across as gibbering idiots who quote party press releases, current mantra or use subjective opinion as fact.

Check out the Gordon Brewer interview of SNP list MSP Bob Doris and Jackie Baillie. Gordon Brewer openly mocks Bob Doris, a man who writes cheques with his mouth that his brain can't cash.

The public want to know, in a politician, what do you think, not what the party tells you to say.

At election time, they are buying not just into the party but you as a viable candidate. They want to know, will you stand up for me when I need help.

Bob Doris was the only SNP list MSP to serve the full term not to get elected in the Glasgow SNP 2011 landslide.

That tells you everything you need to know about Bob Doris and what the public in Maryhill & Springburn thinks of him, he will never win that seat, and I am willing to bet money on it.

He is one of Scotland's 'publicly unelectable'.

Unfortunately most politicians in Scotland don’t possess the wisdom of solomon.

And we are all so much poorer for it in Scottish public life.

On balance given he appears to have admitted to the press striking his wife, I don’t think Bill Walker should be in Holyrood but after this parliament, he wouldn’t be coming back anyway.

He denies all allegations.

Leaving aside the Walker case, there is a strong argument for a recall mechanism in political life at every level, however that debate is for another time and another place not clouded by emotion.

And thanks for dropping by, I do TV if asked.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour leader Johann Lamont says Voting SNP is like putting ‘Craig Whyte in charge of your tax returns’, she learns from SNP comedy has impact!

Dear All

It seems that the Labour Party has decided to step up another gear in the council election battles in Scotland.

Johann Lamont has ripped into the SNP yesterday, warning that voting for them was “like putting Craig Whyte in charge of your tax returns”.

Quite funny and topical given the nightmare of Glasgow Rangers at present!

Yesterday was the Scottish Labour leader’s chance to launch a blistering attack as she kickstarted Labour’s council election campaign.

In politics the truth hurts and Labour have learned lessons from bitter defeats, Lamont used figures showing Alex Salmond’s government have passed on 90 per cent of the budget cuts imposed on them by the Con-Dems to councils.

The net result of the SNP not starting local government reform is costing jobs and hitting services, it may backfire on an increasingly out of touch Scottish National Party.

In this election, this is all about the ‘Salmond bounce’, not local issues for the SNP as the campaign is very much being centralised from SNP HQ.

They are trying to run this election as a mini Holyrood.

I wouldn’t have done that because without diversity, it shows that SNP Councils will effectively be run by Edinburgh.

Democracy will suffer and decision making will effectively be taken out of local councillors’ hands. The upshot of this is that the public may decide that in order to keep councils local, they will not vote the same as they did at Holyrood.

In Lamont’s keynote speech in Edinburgh, she compared Alex Salmond’s record with Craig Whyte’s ruinous spell as owner of Rangers.

She told supporters:

“Putting Alex Salmond in charge of your local council is like putting Craig Whyte in charge of your tax returns.”

In the SNP, there are concerns in Glasgow about how very wrong the current approach by Sturgeon’s cronies is, some people are saying privately that the party will not win outright control.

Although a coalition remains a possibility!

But is that possible?

Mainstream parties will probably not go into coalition with the SNP for the simple reason; that they know the SNP will use council resources as a propaganda tool for independence, their leadership will warn them off.

Lamont’said that Labour’s top priority in all of the 32 council contests across Scotland was to create jobs.

In unemployment blackspots such as Glasgow, this has a certain appeal; Labour is targeting youth and over 50’s.

Sturgeon’s cronies completely ignored the plight of the over 50’s in Glasgow, a growing sector of the long term unemployed.

Lamont threw into sharp contrast the SNP’s aim, articulated by its gaffe prone old aged pensioner leader Allison Hunter of furthering their independence ambitions.

Lamont said:

“For the SNP, it is a step towards separation. We will put people first, while the SNP put their referendum first. I want these elections to be a welcome respite from constitutional debates.”

The Labour campaign has been clever, something that the SNP hasn’t picked up on, their campaign has been run very low key, something which doesn’t suit the SNP.

Add to that Labour are issuing separate manifestos for each council area in Scotland, highlighting local policies, clear water between them and the SNP who have taken a centralist approach.

This is a test for Johann Lamont since she became leader last December, and she isn’t able to predict anything, voters are in flux to some extent, they need people to believe. Labour’s tactic of going local is the right idea.

Whether it will pay off at this election remains to be seen but it is the right tactic.

Previously the SNP used the slogan ‘elect a local champion’ for the SNP this election is anything but local in terms of policies which are lacking and in people.

The SNP thinks that outsiders make better candidates than born and bred Glaswegians, as most of their candidates weren't born in the city of Glasgow.

After this election most of the SNP Candidates who are unknowns will soon disappear from activism if not elected, and those who are elected will not be out twice a week in the community.

Because that is their track record previously!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Glasgow University product and race Lawyer Aamer Anwar stands up for wanted terrorist Abu Qatada, SNP need to cut links to people like Anwar now

Dear All

There is an old saying that you are known by the company you keep.

And by whom you stand by.

Race lawyer Aamer Anwar is standing up for Radical cleric Abu Qatada.

Qatada has a date with destiny, a Jordanian Court of law on terrorist charges,and has been arrested ahead of fresh deportation proceedings.

Abu Qatada is naturally going to appeal to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission this Tuesday afternoon.

But hopefully the Special Immigration Appeals Commission will see that allowing Qatatda to escape the ends of justice isn’t right and deport him.

Previously the European Court of Human Rights had blocked his deportation to Jordan in January, saying evidence obtained by torture might be used against him.

Might is not sufficient reason or factual and as such subjective opinion should have no place in deciding his fate.

In order to get rid of Qatatda, UK Ministers have been seeking assurances from Jordan regarding his treatment to speed up the transfer back to Jordan.

The Home Office has said it was making "good progress" in obtaining those guarantees from Jordan.

We aren’t talking about an innocent here, he is a hate preacher and he faces charges of plotting bomb attacks.

Qatada is regarded as a threat to UK national security.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, 8.2 of the code give governments the right to deport people like him.

8.2 is a mechanism not being used as it should; too much is placed on 8.1 right to family life, we need better trained judges.

Aamer Anwar said:

“If there is untainted evidence against Abu Qatada then he should be tried in a British court.”

Complete disregard for the sovereignty of the Jordanian State and its law.

You would have though Anwar would be fully supportive of respecting the law of a Muslim country.

But no, Anwar is standing up for a hate preacher, a suspected terrorist and supporter of mass murder, Anwar is a Glasgow University product.

A troublemaker who I knew while pottering around the University of Glasgow!

He styles himself as a human rights lawyer but his business is using race, recently he and Muslim MSP Humza Yousaf held a 'public' meeting to try and get Scottish Government support to relax security at Scotland’s Airports.

Part of that disgraceful episode was the SNP member, Gail Lythgoe, wife of the MSP who described the checks as being a “tad racist”.

The race card used again but this time to no effect.

Ever heard of six degrees of separation?

Abu Qatada to Aamer Anwar to Humza Yousaf to Gail Lythgoe to Nicola Sturgeon to Alex Salmond!

Now the SNP is friendly with a guy who stands up for a hate preacher and wanted terrorist!

Aamer Anwar, Glasgow University product.

It’s time the SNP started cutting links to people like Aamer Anwar.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

SNP smearer Gail Lythgoe caught up in ‘fake leaflet’ row, in Glasgow she promotes newspaper with candidate not standing in election on front page!

Dear All

I have blogged on a genuine lack of talent in the SNP below Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

The SNP is falling apart; you may have heard of the old adage ‘if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well’.

You could make a reasonable case that in the SNP, if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing badly and pushed off onto someone else.

The council election is rolling on and this election sees more and more SNP mistakes coming to light.

It is a matter of competency or the lack of it.

The latest gaffe regarding the SNP is a “fake leaflet” row after SNP smearer, Gail Lythgoe was depicted as a university student endorsing independence.

Nothing wrong in endorsing independence seems fine with me!

However, Gail Lythgoe, a Nationalist smearer and member of the SNP’s ruling executive committee was pictured in a newsletter beside an article she appears to have written on the referendum.

Ms Lythgoe is captioned as a “Stirling University student”.

Online profiles indicate she was a student at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities.

Gaffe but that is not the only hiccup for ‘Gaffy Gail’, in the SNP newspaper delivered in Glasgow promoted by her, there is a picture of an SNP candidate who is not standing in the Glasgow Council Election 2012.

Talking to an SNP Activist outside their own home in Drumoyne!

‘Gaffy Gail’ rides again.

Anyway, in the spirit of brotherly love, Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Dr Richard Simpson, last night seized on the gaffe.

He said:

“The local SNP must be pretty desperate if they are reduced this sort of subterfuge.”

Dr Simpson added:

“This kind of fakery is very serious. If you can’t trust council candidates to produce an honest newspaper, what can you trust them about? The last time Ms Lythgoe hit the headlines it was for making false allegations about a Labour MP. She perhaps ought to have more regard for the actuality if her political career is to take off.”

Dr. Simpson simply doesn’t understand SNP politics; it isn’t a matter of being talented, diligent; hardworking or things of that nature.

It is all about whether your face fits in the middle class clique that runs the Scottish National Party.

Lythgoe is married to Nationalist MSP Humza Yousaf and works for SNP MSP Joan McAlpine.

Last year she was accused of trying to smear Labour MP Ian Davidson by trying to organise a public demo against him.

She was later forced to admit she had gone “further than I should have” after distributing an e-mail which claimed the Labour MP had a “history of bullying and intimidation.”

Far from being sanctioned, the career of Lythgoe didn’t skip a heart beat.

The Davidson affair was a rather nasty episode done by a rather nasty person, of course in the Scottish National Party; such things are done behind the backs of victims.

One lesson Ms Lythgoe learned well up until the time she got caught!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

SNP Government show a startling level of contempt for the people of Pollok, Glasgow as escaped lunatic threatens safety, MacAskill loses control again

Dear All

Justice isn’t a flagship SNP policy; it is the Mary Celeste of the Scottish Government.

A rudderless ship to all intensive purposes under the ham fisted control of ‘Justice’ Minister Kenny MacAskill.

The latest gaffe of the MacAskill tenture which is becoming a weekly event; is Steven Wilson, who was convicted of manslaughter in England in 1988, is still on the loose after he absconded from Leverndale Hospital in Crookston, Glasgow.

Wilson decided that he didn’t like the scenery and during an unescorted visit on March 30 simply left to pursue other interests.

Wilson is a killer and the Scottish Government initial made public appeal for help in tracing Wilson.

They warned the public not to approach him but kept quiet about his violent past and that cover up only came to light in an email issued by mistake to the media.

Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said it is deeply worrying that ministers had failed to let the public know about Wilson's past.

He said:

"The priority must be that this dangerous individual, with a history of very serious violence, is tracked down as soon as possible.

MacDonald added:

"Despite the fact this man has been on the run for over two weeks, it is deeply worrying the SNP Government seems to have tried to conceal the fact this individual had a history of serious violent offending. The bottom line is, when a convicted killer goes on the run, the public deserve to be told. Kenny MacAskill must explain why this did not happen."

A Scottish Government spokesman:

"This individual is a restricted patient, and therefore it is a matter for the Health Service rather than the Scottish Prison Service. Some background information on the work to track down Mr Wilson was sent in error. The priority is finding him and we continue to encourage anyone who has any information to contact Pollok police. We have informed the public and media he is missing on three occasions over the last 17 days, including the advice that he should not be approached."

This shows a startling level of complacency which basically says f*ck off this isn’t our problem, call the Police.

MacAskill is dead weight at Justice, Alex Salmond needs to start seriously thinking about a Cabinet reshuffle, a reshuffle that would see MacAskill moved.

For the benefit of the people of Scotland; to be replaced by someone better, much better.

The Justice ‘ship’ is indeed becoming like Mary Celeste which will haunt the SNP come the independence vote.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, April 16, 2012

Big Stories, Andrew Neil discusses problems for Scotland in the event of successful independence vote, worth a watch!

SNP Cllr Anthea Dickson faces investigation by Standards Commission over land vote probe because she didn’t declare an interest, more bad news for SNP

Dear All

And the sh*t just keeps on coming.

An SNP politician is to be reported to the standards watchdog for failing to declare an interest when she blocked an ambitious Scottish Enterprise project designed to create jobs and attract millions of pounds of investment.

The complaint is against SNP Councillor Anthea Dickson.

What makes the complaint interesting for the Standards Commission and the general public is money, lots of money.

She is listed as the company secretary of a firm which owns a nearby plot of land that has planning permission for 47 houses and has been put on the market for offers of more than £850,000.

For the Scottish National Party, this look very ‘Tartan Tory’ on the campaign trail.

It is alleged that she was the driving force behind a council decision that has thwarted the economic quango’s plan to regenerate a derelict steelworks in Ayrshire.

As a bystander, questions should be asked, did she declare an interest and did she vote against the project.

If she didn’t declare an interest, then she should be in serious trouble in the party.

The prospect of Dickson facing an investigation is another blow to Alex Salmond.

As I blogged on before below Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon there is a genuine lack of talent.

I should qualify that by saying I am have missed out some talented people but I am making a genuine point.

Last week saw Lanarkshire SNP candidate Lyall Duff quit the party after describing two Catholic midwives as “money-grabbing old witches”.

Anyway, it appears that Dickson tabled a motion, which was passed at a North Ayrshire Council committee meeting last month.

According to the council minutes, Dickson, who is standing in Kilbirnie and Beith next month, did not declare an interest.

This warrants suspension unquestionably, the SNP have to been seen in public office as doing the right thing.

Dickson’s husband Alan Dickson is also listed as director of Kilbirnie Land Ltd.

His take on why she did not have to declare an interest is because the company is in administration and she does not stand to make money if the land is sold.

That is so weak as to be unbelievably stupid.

The question is not that she may or may not make any money but her lack of transparency which questions her suitability for public office.

It looks sleazy and the SNP need to show that they are following the letter and the spirit of the law, in fact, the whole alphabet.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scottish National Party 'considers Nato policy change', George Laird radical thinking ahead of the curve again, the SNP plays catch up again

Dear All

One of the policies I have written on and campaigned on hard is the SNP’s policy on NATO.

Finally, the SNP is said to becoming round to the George Laird view, unsurprisingly and not for the first time, I am way ahead of the curve in the SNP by being visionary.

Now, the SNP leadership is considering proposing a change to the party's policy on NATO and it’s about time.

When it comes to major serious issues the SNP suffers blowback and is out of step with mainstream public thinking.

The party has been opposed to membership of the military alliance for more than 30 years, 30 years of getting it wrong.

The next meeting of the SNP National Council is expected to discuss whether an independent Scotland should remain in NATO, there is no discussion; it is a self evident truth.

Another problem to campaign on; is the SNP maintaining its commitment to ditching nuclear weapons.

That is more crap that has got to go.

NATO is more than just a military alliance; it is the cornerstone of western ideology, the world’s policemen, a check on aggressive militarisation of the Russian and Chinese influence.

Is it successful?

Undoubtedly so, the ‘war’ has switched to financial warfare and territories being conquered not by bullet and bomb but by Russian and Chinese government using investment. This is a new tool of warfare which is startling successful, rather than blowing up a hospital or school, build it.

China has been particularly successful in this regard in Africa.

Professor James Mitchell of Strathclyde University said his research suggested any proposal to remain part of Nato would get a fair hearing from the SNP membership.

He said:

"The majority of members would support Scottish membership of NATO, but it has to be said that it is a bare majority and the strength of feeling on this is not great. In other words very few of the SNP's members feel that this is a matter of great urgency and great importance".

Which again highlights my proposal for an educated SNP membership to have a world view; a George Laird view.

Former SNP advisor Ewan Crawford said:

“If this in any way compromised the SNP's anti-nuclear stance it wouldn't even be countenanced”.

The SNP stance to nuclear weapons is old thinking, from a time when the party was unelectable and not relevant to Scots or Scotland.

Modern politics demands that the SNP goes Pro nuclear, not just in support of weapons but also power stations.

Nationalist MSP Jamie Hepburn said NATO was a destabilising factor in the West's relationship with Russia.

If it wasn’t for nuclear weapons people like Hepburn would be speaking Russian.

In a bizarre rant he says that the continued use of nuclear weapons serves no useful purpose in the modern world.

Out of touch!

Two government ministers Angela Constance and Aileen Campbell were among those who supported the motion.

And they are also part of problem.

The SNP provost of Stirling, Fergus Wood has written a letter to a national newspaper earlier this week in which he said he supported an independent Scotland retaining its NATO membership.

Ewan Crawford says the SNP staunch anti-nuclear stance is "part of the SNP's DNA".

DNA can be extracted.

He told BBC Scotland:

"Even although clearly this is a discussion that the leadership is having, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if this in any way compromised the SNP's anti-nuclear stance it wouldn't even be countenanced. The other point of course is that although the SNP is hostile to nuclear weapons, it wants to be international, it wants to join things. Therefore if they can join international communities, if they can engage in international cooperation without doing anything to overturn the SNP's anti-nuclear stance, then clearly that's something they are at the very least going to consider".

There are many hurdles to independence that the SNP need to cross and fixing its out dated and outmoded policies is one of them.

The SNP currently advocates Scotland becoming a member of Partnership for Peace, like Sweden, Austria, Finland and Ireland, which allows bilateral cooperation between Nato and non-Nato countries.


Partnership for Peace, what a load of wank that is!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Nat MSP in Fife is investigated by Police over rape claim as Scottish National Party Councillor is standing by him citing, ‘different moral code’!

Dear All

A year ago saw the Scottish National Party returned to Holyrood for a second term with 69 MSPs.

In the space of that time, scandal after scandal has hit the public domain regarding people within the SNP.

One of the people elected for the Scottish National Party was Bill Walker.

He is now the centre of a rape claim.

The claim is currently being investigated by the Police in Fife.

On top of the rape claim there stands previous allegations from his ex wives that he was involved in serial domestic abuse.

Incidences when ‘fighting for Scotland’ is totally unacceptable.

With Fife Police confirming that they were making inquiries into the latest allegation against Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, this latest scandal puts more pressure on him to resign as other parties turn up the heat.

With Bill Walker resign?

I don’t think so; he has nothing to gain and a lot to lose.

In a statement John Park, Richard Simpson, Claire Baker and Helen Eadie said:

"These are highly disturbing allegations and, coming on top of what we now know about Mr Walker's past, we have serious concerns about his fitness to be an MSP. He should resign from the Scottish Parliament today."

As well as being an MSP Walker, also a Fife councillor, and in a show of sticking together he has been defended by fellow Fife SNP councillor Douglas Chapman.

Man is accused of rape and the SNP is defending him, you couldn’t make up regarding SNP values and priorities.

Chapman said the allegations were "inconsistent with the discussions I've had with Bill on these issues".

He said:

"Some of these events took place 20 to 30 years ago and the moral code was very different. In no way am I condoning violence against men or women but it was a different time."

Doesn’t sound like, what does it was a different time mean?

Dunfermline and West Fife Labour MP Thomas Docherty said:

"Mr Chapman should spell out exactly what he means by these remarks and apologise."

Mr Chapman replied: "I condemn violence against women and domestic abuse of all kinds, regardless of when it was committed."

Even if it was from a ‘different time’!

Foot in mouth and highlights what I have been saying that below Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon there is a genuine lack of talent.

Mr Walker, 70, has said he intends to carry on as an independent MSP.

A Tory party spokesman said Mr Walker should to the "honourable thing" and resign.

Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie said:

"Bill Walker has outstayed his welcome and should leave the Scottish Parliament."

Nationalist MSP Bill Walker is the first serving person in the Scottish Parliament to be investigated by Police.

Someone should have a word with SNP Councillor Douglas Chapman about what he means by a ‘different moral code’.

It makes you wonder who were the SNP MSPs that Walker said backed him?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Minister of ‘Skintland’ accused of manufacturing outrage over Economist cover, Salmond too poor to answer questions, ten bob for a cuppa mister!

Dear All

First Minister Alex Salmond has reacted angrily to an influential magazine; The Economist that has likened Scotland to an impoverished nation.

They stuck on their cover a picture of Scotland and dubbing it 'Skintland'.

Alex Salmond said The Economist would "rue the day" it published the front cover with a map distorting the names of every area in the country.

I don’t think they will, although Alex Salmond is a big fish in ‘Skintland’, he is nothing in the London melting pot without his First Minster title.

In The Ecomonist’s article, names of places were changed to have a comic effect when read, Glasgow becomes Glasgone, Edinborrow, the Highinterestlands, Obankrupt, Aberdown and Falterkirk.

Kilmarnock, recently hit by job losses following the closure of the Johnnie Walker plant, was dubbed Nilmarnock.

The use of comedy is something which I proposed should be used more wider by the Scottish National Party along with my social media ideas.

Shetlands also becomes the Shutland Islands and the lowlands at the Loanlands.

Comedy scores used well, but is Scotland Skintland?

Yes, it is for many Scots, unemployment is rising, businesses are closing down and it is getting harder to survive in SNP 'skintland'.

Scotland’s seen a third of its courts to be shutdown, a third of colleges are to close or be ‘mergered’, courses axed, council budgets are getting more cuts, 350,000 people can’t get the decent treatment they want and need on Scotland’s NHS.

And the list goes on and on!

The article inside The Economist claims independence could leave Scotland "one of Europe's vulnerable, marginal economies".

This is because of oil isn't the panacea that Nationalists paint it as, the financial sector leaves Scotland exposed, local government reform is a problem and the general trend is downwards.

In Scotland, pretty much all political parties will be condemning this, because there is an election on.

But it is a storm in a teacup, without the storm, this is Skintland don’t forget, we can’t afford storms.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens say the cover is ill-judged, but the fiercest criticism came naturally from the SNP who wrap themselves in the Saltire at every opportunity.

Alex Salmond said it displayed a "Bullingdon Club humour".

New SNP member then Alex!

Alex Salmond said:

"It just insults every single community in Scotland”.

No, it doesn’t, it just insults the Scottish National Party and their increasingly out of touch middle class vision for separatism.

He added:

"This is how they really regard Scotland. This is Unionism boiled down to its essence and stuck on a front page for every community in Scotland to see their sneering condescensions. They shall rue the day they thought they'd have a joke at Scotland's expense."

How does he know that the person who wrote the article is a unionist or even cares about the union?

Deputy SNP leader and Glasgow MSP Nicola Sturgeon plodding along added even Scots who did not support independence would find the cover offensive.

I don’t, the article uses humour to demonstrate issues, it was used to provoke emotion and then debate, in that regard it served its purpose.

She said:

"This offensive and puerile front page is insulting to literally every single community in Scotland, not least to Glasgow, which it sneeringly terms Glasgone. It is patronising, metropolitan claptrap which lays bare the true nature of Unionism utterly negative."

Aye, aye, aye Nicola, keep flapping.

Nicola added:

"The Economist's article doesn't even reflect its ridiculous front page. As it says, Scotland is not subsidised from Westminster, the Scottish economy performs better than any other nation or region in the UK outside south-east England, and we account for 10% of the UK's GDP with just 8.4% of the population. How dare our community and nation be decried in such an insulting manner. It tells us nothing about economics and everything about the insular, metropolitan bias of the anti-independence campaign."

I hope she doesn’t do a Ken Livingstone and start crying.

Scottish Labour said the cover was "ill-judged".

Spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said:

"Most people will recognise this front page does not represent the facts, is way over-the-top and will not endear itself to readers in Scotland. I have no doubt Scotland could stand on its own two feet if the Scottish people decided to go it alone, but the SNP owe it to Scots to be straight with us on the costs of separation."

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"The cartoon was a bit silly, but it didn't represent what was in the article. It was well-balanced and posed a number of difficult questions the SNP have failed to answer."

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said the cover was "ill-judged and patronising", but added:

"People should calm down."

Tory spokesman David McLetchie accused the SNP of "manufacturing outrage."

He added:

"The SNP would be better advised to answer the important points made in the article about Scotland's future."

The article says:

"If Scots really want independence for political and cultural reasons, they should go for it. But if they vote for independence they should do so in the knowledge that their country could end up as one of Europe's vulnerable, marginal economies. In the 18th century, Edinburgh's fine architecture and its Enlightenment role earned it the nickname Athens of the North. It would be a shame if that name became apt again for less positive reasons."

So, Scottish politicians are all banding together to be ‘outraged’, the standing up for middle class Scotland SNP is particularly upset.

The ‘outrage’ game isn’t going to be a factor in the council elections so the SNP best ‘jog on’.

It seems that the SNP doesn’t have any problem standing up for Scotland, what a great pity that they cannot stand up so quickly for ordinary people working class people!

Alex Salmond has stood up for his 'middle class' Scotland, but can’t afford to stand up for the rest of it.

On his salary, I wouldn’t have thought that would have been a problem.

Maybe he is ‘skint’?

Alex Salmond, you are standing up for Scotland, is that right?

Given my SNP experience I find that rather hard to believe, but then I never thought he would stand up for the poor and disenfranchised in the first place.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University