Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yes Scotland forced into a web U-turn as opponents accuse the Scottish National Party of deception, external oversight is required on shop floor!

Dear All

The Independence launch was a flop as an event.

Everyone panned it.

Some in the SNP like Muslim list MSP Humza Yousaf said that the event was historic?

Set in Cineworld?

The event was run by Yes Scotland which is seen by many as an SNP front since it is run by the SNP and they are putting up the cash. There are other little organisations popping up to join the cause like the Scottish Independence Convention and they have SNP members running them as well.

It is a bit stupid because they can be researched and their membership found by a bit of digging.

Back to Yes Scotland which is being run by people connected to the SNP, they have already blundered badly after opponents of the cause claimed they were being misrepresented as apparent backers.

Remember how I blogged on a lack of talent in the SNP?

George Laird was right again.

After being accused of deception the independence campaign has promised to make changes to its website.

Too late damage already done and self inflicted, makes it even worse, not enough attention to detail and probably didn’t care either.

Leaders of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign were accused of employing deliberate deception to exaggerate support.

Does anyone believe that people who follow someone automatically support their views?

I follow someone from the Westboro Baptist Church on Twitter but I certainly don’t believe a single word of their rantings.

Last night a senior organiser of the Yes campaign, Jennifer Dempsie, said:

"The intention was never to mislead. We are prepared to change this."

How thoughtful after being caught out.

She insisted it was a new, organic website which was changing all the time, and denied the phrase "people o' independent mind" implied support for the campaign.

Crap that is what it definitely does.

She said:

"It was never our intention to categorise people that way and those coming in through Twitter have to opt in and agree to conditions."

Just plain stupidity then!

The story of the deception broken when Liberal Democrat blogger Caron Lindsay expressed her astonishment at appearing on the site as a supporter without her knowledge or consent.

She said:

"Beware when you hear the Yes campaign bragging about how many supporters it has. They are counting the electronic equivalent of someone taking a leaflet off them in the street."

Scots LibDem leader Willie Rennie said:

"Following an individual or group on Twitter should not be misrepresented as support. This is an underhanded way to pad out numbers to make it look like more people support the break-up of the UK than is actually the case."

Twitter uses the word "follower" to describe anyone who tracks an online site, but in fact many of those who do so are neutral, such as journalists, while others are hostile, including political opponents.

Everyone needs to know what the opposite opinion is.

The Yes site used names and photographs of such followers to create a section on the website, stating: "Powered by people o' independent mind, like you."

Yesterday the site added the line

"- following Yes Scotland on Twitter and Facebook," but this was seen as insufficient to clarify the issue.

Second time lucky and still f*cking up, I guess that is what they mean by “organic”.

Labour MP Tom Harris and Labour MSP Drew Smith found themselves also co-opted to the independence cause.

Harris, MP for Glasgow South said:

"Everyone who owns a Bay City Rollers CD assumed to be a supporter of Yes Scotland."

Glasgow MSP Mr Smith said:

"This system doesn't just deceive – it is designed to deceive. My name, photograph and supposed endorsement must be removed from this website immediately."

Labour MSP, Richard Baker, said:

"This is a shambles. From a lacklustre launch last week, we see the SNP deploying increasingly desperate measures to exaggerate support. The partial U-turn overnight throws up more questions than it answers, and raises serious privacy questions for the Yes campaign. To give the impression of having support from people who are merely mentioning the referendum on Twitter is deeply misleading and will infuriate people."

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

"This is clearly designed to deceive. Alex Salmond has been caught out once again."

You know you just can’t buy this type of “expertise” of garnering bad publicity, the SNP are so lucky to have a party membership that has these type of 'gifts' in depth.

I am looking forward to the re-launch and if I get invited make sure there is a buffet, I think better while munching ‘freedom’ chicken!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Braveheart SNP Councillor Graeme Hendry promises to hold Glasgow Labour Council to account, two weeks later promise already broken, Freedom!

Dear All

One of life’s events that make your heart sink is being stuck behind an Orange Order parade.

I have absolutely no time for these guys, however in a democracy you have to set aside your personal dislike for what they represent and recognise their legal right to hold their marches.

More than 20 Orange Order parades will be staged in Glasgow this weekend.

The reason for this amount is to allow the Orange Order and its members across the city commemorate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Pretty much they are covering every direction of the city, so no matter where you go you will bump into them especially on main roads.

In all, there will be 20 separate processions coming into and leaving the city across late morning and afternoon so we are stuck.

As well as the marching, there will be a service at the Evangelical Church in Cathedral Square on High Street as part of the annual County Church Parade.

Around 1500 members of the organisation will be out banging the big drum and taking part in the parades, and where there is marching, you can expect their followers, possibly thousands who trail behind them.

To give the Orange Order credit, it is my understanding that they do charity work raising funds for worthwhile causes.

There are no police objections to the timings or the routes of the parades since Strathclyde Police is pretty much use to overseeing these parades.

Expect noise and expect people who follow this, some of whom will get plastered.

The Labour Party has come in for some criticism from opposition politicians in Glasgow who are boycotting taking seats on a body that decides on controversial marches over plans to overhaul the city's approach to parades.

The SNP's boycott is another example of stupidity and proof if it is further needed that new leadership is required at Glasgow SNP.

The previous leadership by SNP leader and Councillor Allison Hunter was so weak I rated it utterly pathetic. And I am being kind about that opinion.

If I was the SNP Group leader I would appoint SNP Councillors from the allocation given by Labour to every position in every committee.

Part of the problem that Glasgow SNP had going into the council election was an appalling record of crap rather like Labour had at the Holyrood Parliament.

Labour got stuffed at 2011 election, Glasgow SNP got stuffed 2012.

As well as opposition members acting up some of the members of the Labour administration have been reluctant to take seats on the public processions committee.

One bright spark claimed:

"It's a committee to avoid at all costs."

It isn’t one of life’s trendy committees but it has to be done and it has to be done fairly and professionally, because it is about allowing people to express their views even if you strongly disagree with them.

I wouldn’t have a problem myself because defending people’s right to protest or support their cause isn’t anything to be ashamed of.

In election mode and on the campaign trail leader of the city council, Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson, told a pre-election meeting with the Orange Order that his authority's landmark policy on limiting the number, routes and timings of parades was "wrong" and promised to overhaul it.

In politics it is called responding to voters concerns or simply buying votes with goodies.

The SNP Group in pure ‘fighting for Scotland’ mode has decided not to work, who is going to notice?

Graeme Hendry, leader of the council's SNP group, said:

"At the moment, following councillor Matheson's comments, the parades' policy is up in the air. SNP councillors are more than happy to play a full part in the running of all council committees but we cannot do that on this occasion until we know what it is we're implementing."

You just stick to implementing the ‘good’ policies Graeme and leave the running of the council to those who are prepared to tackle all the issues that the voters want resolved.

You just do the good stuff!

That will win you the council in 2017…. Just kidding, no, I am just kidding, no seriously, really just kidding.

Co-leader of the Greens, Nina Baker said that if offered her party would have taken a seat on the committee but would want further reductions in the number of parades.

She added:

"If there is a review in the offing we absolutely want to have our views known."

What difference does it make to her? A protest is a protest and a march is a march and to the public, they generally don’t care, they are more concerned how to body swerve them to get where they are going.

The public processions committee as I understand it only meets when the police lodge objections to routes, the timing or nature of a parade, with the council then deciding how to act on the concerns.

And surely Graeme Hendry can find at least one SNP Councillor who understands free speech.

Recently Hendry was elected leader of Glasgow SNP Group speaking soon after the SNP AGM Hendry boldly declared he was looking forward to holding Labour to account.

He said:

“Our work begins now to put in place a team of spokespeople from this talented group which will continue to hold Labour to account and start the process of developing ideas that will help this great city.”

That was about two weeks ago and already that promise is being broken!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Andy Coulson arrives in Scotland and gets charged with perjury regarding his evidence at the trial of Tommy Sheridan, red letter day for Tommy!

Dear All

Yesterday, one of the big stories of interest was the arrest and charge of Andy Coulson.

Coulson was previously a News International employee and David Cameron's former director of communications at Number 10.

At 06:30 am, officers from Strathclyde Police arrested him at his home in London and transport him back by car to Scotland where he was interviewed at Govan Police Station.

He has been charged by police with perjury from his evidence in the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

For Tommy Sheridan, this is a red letter day in his continual fight for revenge and resurrection against the Murdoch press.

However, no matter how you spin it, any allegedly wrongdoing by the NOTW re phone hacking doesn’t prove his innocence.

If you take away that evidence I doubt if an Appeal Court would believe the evidence is substantially changed in anyway.

There is the confession in front of witnesses, the confession in front of George McNeilage and the videotape which clearly identifies Tommy Sheridan.

Sheridan says the tape was doctored and someone impersonated him, does he expect the public to believe that McNeilage is that clever?

In a statement released at 9.50pm, Strathclyde Police said:

"A 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged perjury before the High Court. A report will be submitted to the procurator-fiscal."

Then the press pack turned up at Govan and camped out waiting for Andy Coulson to arrive at the station.

At 3.20pm Coulson duly arrived in a black people carrier which swept into the car park area.

Of course, during the day, Gail Sheridan who lives on the same road just happened to be driving by the Police Station with a big smile on her face!

Tommy Sheridan has vowed to clear his name after he was released from Castle Huntly prison because he knows that he and his Solidarity Party are toxic.

Commenting on Coulson being slammed up, Sheridan said he believed it was the first step "in the journey towards the quashing of my conviction, which was unsafe and unsound".

Interesting I would have thought the first words out of his mouth would be that he is innocent.

Now, it appears he is going for a technical decision if he can ever get his appeal off the ground.

Former MSP and colleague, the current SSP leader Colin Fox last night attacked Sheridan.

He said:

"It is time Tommy Sheridan stopped shamelessly milking the public anger about the deplorable actions of the Murdoch press and started telling the truth that he lied in his libel case, was found guilty of perjury. Regardless of the outcome of the Coulson inquiries that remains the case."

Tommy Sheridan allowed his ego to rule his judgment.

It was ego that got Tommy Sheridan into trouble and it is ego that keeps him in limbo, he has a brand name but he is also painted himself into a corner.

If he wants his party, Solidarity to have any future and win seats he needs to radically reform it, change policies and attitudes and be credible.

Still yesterday was a good day for him personally if not professionally.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Julian Assange loses court bid to block extradition to Sweden over 'sex crimes', he will probably appeal decision but lose that as well, he is going!

Dear All

There are several really interesting stories going the rounds today, Coulson for example, but I am deciding to go with the Juilan Assange story.

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his Supreme Court fight against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations.

The argument put forward by his defence is that the European arrest warrant issued against him was 'invalid and unenforceable'.

I have to say, I think that as a defence strategy is risible.

The Supreme Court judges have rightly thrown that argument in the bin and rejected his challenge.

The court dismissed his appeal by a majority of five to two.

I am not up to speed with the merits of the actual case, however, and regardless, a legal process has been started and Mr. Assange should face trial.

Assange has been given 14 days to consider today's ruling before a final decision on his next step in his legal battle.

His team indicated they would reopen the case at the Supreme Court.

What has happened today is obviously a blow, he is a high profile figure but no one is supposed to be above the law, I believe any further appeal will also fail, the merits of this appeal were weak.

Lord Phillips, president of the court, said the point of law which had to be considered had not been simple to resolve.

I would disagree, this is a clear cut matter, Sweden isn’t a third world country with dubious human rights record and a dodgy government; the request is legal.

Swedish authorities want Assange, 40, to answer accusations of raping one woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture.

It is a highly publicised case, I don’t know the merits; some claim that the Swedish Government want him in Sweden to deport him to America. The reality is that the UK and US already have such an arrangement to extradite him, and without evidence.

Assange is important because his WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses.

In truth he has helped expose a lot of evil things but he has also been rather careless and thoughtless but dumping information without realising the consequences of not vetting properly.

Exposing injustice is one thing, putting lives in danger is something else.

His case has become a cause celebre and has hearings have previously been attended by celebrities such as Jemima Khan, film director Ken Loach and former Labour minister Tony Benn.

But regardless of who stands up for him, he has to stand up at some point in court.

He is either innocent or he is guilty, but the place for proving this in a Swedish Court.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

SNP need to adopt NATO as a new policy, where are SNP going to get military and civil intelligence, it’s time SNP changed

Dear Longshanker

“I watched the debate and I'm glad I can put a face to your blog. I like that you got to ask a question. :)”

To be clear the fact remains that the 30 year old anti NATO SNP stance is wrong, and here is why.

Firstly, a recent poll stated the majority of serving Scottish Soldiers didn’t want to transfer to a Scottish Defence Force.

That issue needs addressed by the SNP, it is a major problem.

Secondly, if the SNP was to form the government of an independent Scotland, they wouldn’t be plugged in the intelligence network of the West.

Where are they going to get military and civil intelligence from?

Clear examples why the SNP need to adopt NATO and also as a NATO partner we have to accept the NATO protocols that allow other member countries to pass through Scottish territory with nuclear weapons, we have to accept responsibility. I would allow the continuation of Faslane for UK and US nuclear submarines.

If the SNP adopt NATO it sends strong signal to Scottish service personnel that the Scottish National Party is proactive regarding their safety.

“Especially one which could lead to a rift in the party”.

Two Government Ministers have also spoken out as well, Constance and Campbell and there are more besides me who feel uncomfortable, because in the SNP if you stand up, you risk being singled out and treated like an outcast.

“Like you, I fail to see how the SNP could possibly hope to win the referendum without signalling to the international community that they'll be a contributing member of NATO. Nice one”.

Actually, I am removing objections to a NO vote, but I am not listened to the SNP, they didn’t listen to my advice before and that led to a disaster at Glasgow City Council election.

“I disagree with you about the debate slightly. Patrick Harvie was undoubtedly the best performer followed by Ruth. Equal last were Nicola and Sarwar”.

From my previous blog posting on the event:

“As to the debate, Patrick Harvie did well, Ruth Davidson did well, Anas Sarwar did well and Nicola Sturgeon put in a decent performance in parts, until Ruth Davidson pulled out the letter that the SNP Govt hadn’t sought legal advice from the EU on Scottish membership and blew her out of the water”.

Anas Sarwar outperformed Nicola, as you stated, she was knocked for six and looked defensive.

Another previous point I made to the SNP that the fight needs to be fought on detail was ignored also. I tell them what is wrong; they ignore me and then pay the price at the ballot box and elsewhere.

You also forgot that Anas nailed Nicola on military shipbuilding when she got wrong that the outsourced MoD vessel wasn’t in fact a warship contract, all warships are all built ‘in house’ for over 50 years. She appeared not to understand the difference between a warship and an auxillary vessel.

Malcolm Chambers said to Commons Select Committee recently, those contracts can be rigged to suit design spec. This leaves the SNP argument that Scotland would get military shipbuilding to be in my opinion, baseless and without substance.

I enjoyed the BBC show, for me it wasn’t a problem being in front of a camera, but I would rather be in front of an SNP campaign, once the problems are sorted out regarding policies and direction.

The indy launch was a flop, set in the ‘historic’ setting of Cineworld!

I can make the case for independence but so many of the SNP can’t and that is a major problem since their voices are getting heard and mine isn’t.

I hope you enjoy the blog and thanks for taking the time to comment, I am a Scottish Nationalist but I am not a mindless sycophant.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Poster takes George Laird to task, isn’t time that the Scottish National Party strictly enforced fairness, equality and social justice within party?

Dear XYZ

“Thanks for replying George”.

If people treat me properly I have no problem going the extra mile for them, if they are just neutral to me, I have no problem in going the extra mile for them.

If they treated me badly, I don’t care who they are, even Salmond and Sturgeon, they can whistle for my help.

“Thanks also for filling in some of the detail of your grievances. I do not mean diminish the seriousness of that at all. Something went badly wrong for you”.

Thank you for accepting that I am talking to matters of fact.

“When I said 'but forget that' all I really meant is, that whatever troubles we as individuals are experiencing, in whatever area, we should leave that on the back burner, or even leave it in a former life, so that we can join together to work for a fairer, wealthier and independent Scotland. You worked hard for it in the past so you must be the real deal as someone who seeks independence for Scotland”.

I have been told by the former head of the GRA in the past that I was one of the hardest workers he had ever seen in the Scottish National Party.

“I am concerned that your blog, your public disagreements and your films are not helping the cause of independence”.

For any problem there is always a solution.

I recently put in a Data Subject Access Request, not only was it late, it was three times over the 40 day limit, sheer utter contempt by Peter Murrell, the husband of Nicola Sturgeon to add to the injustice already done to me.

And specific information requested not provided.

“The people of Scotland need the best communicators to be on their side. Otherwise we will miss the chance, a once in history chance, to help Scotland and her people rejoin the family of independent nations”.

I am a good communicator because I spent several decades giving talks, lectures and work shops to high performance athletes who have represented Scotland, England and Britain, even as high as the Olympics.

However I don’t go bragging about it, it is enough I know.

I am sure that if the SNP has any concerns about my opinions on my blog then they would contact me immediately and wait the “customary”, 120 days for a reply, from me.

I believe the SNP stand for independence but my experiences show me that the SNP don’t stand for fairness, equality and social justice.

Yes, I am in the party, but until they decide to do the decent thing, I will remain inactive and the SNP need all the help they can get, particularly since there is lack of talent in the party.

And I should know; I have spent considerable time attending their events, listening to them, and helping them get elected.

The Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour Anas Sarwar spoke to me three times at the Big Debate.

Once at reception, then came over to me at the end and made a point of shaking my hand as he did other members of the audience and when I exited, he spoke to me again saying “goodbye George”.

In Glasgow, I am well read all political parties, recently I blogged on Labour Councillor Sohan Singh, that he should be removed as Baillie, he jumped ship and resigned.

And my previous articles on Labour running a 'Labour Council of shame',may have helped bring them to realise they need to ditch councillors for the deadwood they are.

Every one of the BBC Big Debate panel knew me, Patrick Harvie, Ruth Davidson, Anas Sarwar and Nicola Sturgeon. Previously on Friday I was talking to Ruth Davidson, she was off to the pick up her dog at the Vets.

I believe the SNP stand for independence but my experiences show me that the SNP doesn’t stand for fairness, equality and social justice and that runs like a golden thread right down the party.

Lets see how long it takes for them to apologise for my ill treatment, I can wait, because it is a matter of principle.

For your information, I was one of the first people to turn up at Nicola Sturgeon’s election campaign for Holyrood.

When I asked her for a reference and help, not only did I not get a reference I didn’t even get the courtesy of a reply.

Not even the courtesy of a reply!

Last night I was ejected from an SNP meeting for turning up as a visitor by Glasgow SNP Councillor Mhairi Hunter, does that sound like the actions of an inclusive party?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, May 28, 2012

BBC Big Debate; Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Govt haven’t sought legal advice on EU membership from the EU, lack of detail will kill independence vote!

Dear All

Last night I did attend the BBC Scotland debate on independence.

I see from Newsnet Scotland website that I have attracted a few comments on their shipbuilding article, I am not going to defend my position re my Glasgow University dispute but I do feel a response is required since that lot have decided to attack me.

To deal with them, here is my response to matters of fact.


“Even when one SNP party member did put in his two pence from the audience. He did not help at all by saying something like the SNP need to spell out their policy on NATO and NUKES because I love NUKES .. or something along those lines”.

If you check the tape of the programme after I said that the SNP need to change the anti Nato policy, you will see Nicola Sturgeon nodding!

The anti Nato policy is one of the reasons why the SNP do badly at every Westminster election, but not the only reason.

"J Wil:

I thought this guy may have been a Labour guy posing as an independence supporter, but he did say that Nicola knew him. It wasn't really the time to be saying whar he did (a foot shooting exercise). That argument is an internal one within the SNP and not for public consumption”.

If you check, Alex Salmond and the senior leadership have signalled a shift towards NATO and this is in the public domain, why do you think the policy was removed from the agenda of the SNP National Council? The SNP will have to come round to my view which they did in the UK Supreme Court row. Because I always get it right but it takes the rest of the SNP a while to catch up to me.

The current policy from the 1970’s is sheer nonsense and always was!

An unofficial poll states that the majority of the Scottish Soldiers serving in the British Army don’t wish to serve in a Scottish Defence Force.

Can anyone explain why? I can but I would like to here from the anti brigade.

Scotswhahae states:

“He also told us he was going to be in the debate the next day, & I thought that maybe he was lying.”

As people in Glasgow SNP who know me well can testify I don’t lie, however when I do tell the truth, it does upset people.

For example 18 months ago I spoke to Nicola Sturgeon told her of the problems in Glasgow SNP at MSP hustings, she didn’t listen, because Nicola doesn’t listen to people like me, she is too clever.

The result of the Glasgow Council Election speaks for itself.

27 seats out of 79 seats!

Complete failure to achieve any of the objectives of that campaign.

Tartanfever states;

“I would seriously suggest keeping away from this guy, and as to how he was allowed to get himself on to the TV debate I will never know”.

I applied online and because I am an influential blogger check my twitter feed I am followed by the press, and I was accepted.

Also selected was the despicable Tommy Ball, you may remember him as the Govan SNP Organiser who said British Soldiers were ‘child killers’ and ‘uneducated racist thugs’, but I imagine he is more acceptable to the SNP than me, well at least to the Newsnet Scotland board.

As to the debate, Patrick Harvie did well, Ruth Davidson did well, Anas Sarwar did well and Nicola Sturgeon put in a decent performance in parts, until Ruth Davidson pulled out the letter that the SNP Govt hadn’t sought legal advice from the EU on Scottish membership and blew her out of the water.

Not as a government or as an opposition.

She also got wrong the shipbuilding contract information but was corrected by Anas Sarwar, check the tape again of the programme, minor slip on matters of fact.

As to being a ‘Labour’ member, my activism record for the Scottish National Party outstrips many of the elected SNP representatives by miles.

Patrick Harvie laid out the bottom line for the SNP when he said that detail is the most important thing.

Oh and at present I don’t have a good word to say about Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon but I am sure Alex and Nicola can explain why.

And finally to upset everyone, the independence launch was a flop, singing and poetry, are you kidding me!

Yes, that will really win over people, that and lack of detail and the stealing of slogans and parts of the US Constitution about self evident truth.

If anything the attack on myself highlights another home truth for the SNP about the lack of education in the party, which I have already spoken out against.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Braveheart Alex Salmond’s indy launch turns out to be damp squid much like a badly organised concert party in ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’!

Dear All

The launch of the independence debate yesterday was rather like the protest outside the BBC today rather a damp squid.

Rather than 'The A Team' it looked more like 'The GAY Team' in nature.

As Alan Cummings took to the stage, he was joined by an odd assortment of characters.

Brian Cox stole the show as I understand it by ranting.

The “important” and rich people who are completely meaningless to the ordinary working class people of Scotland, this was their day with Alex Salmond.

The poet Liz Lochhead, singers Dougie MacLean and Lou Hickey and names from the past including former MSP Dennis Canavan and union leader Tommy Brennan!

All trooped on stage at Cineworld at Fountainbridge in Edinburgh to voice their support rather like a badly organised concert party in ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’.

The real draw of the show wasn’t there, Fountainbridge's most famous son, Sir Sean Connery.

The name is Bond, James Bond! (cue music).

His contribution was read out by Sweet Sixteen actor Martin Compston.

"This is a historic day for Scotland," it said. "The Yes campaign has centred on a positive vision for Scotland. It is rooted in inclusiveness, equality and that core democratic value that the people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future."

Patently Mr. Connery doesn’t live in Scotland; Alex Salmond can’t even guarantee inclusiveness, equality and the core value of democracy within his own party that the people of Scotland would expect as a minimum.

Then came the presentation, included video clips from other supporters including The Proclaimers and businessman Sir George Mathewson.

Not relevant to the people of Scotland either.

Interestingly Martin Compston, who compered the event, told how he became a nationalist at the age of eight, after the 1992 election of John Major's Tory Government.

Hating Tories isn’t a reason to become a nationalist.

Compston recalled his "frustration" that Scotland would be "ruled by a Conservative Government the people of Scotland had not voted for".

Which beggar’s belief since the SNP in 2011 only received 45% of the people who voted, under his beliefs, the people of Scotland had not voted for an SNP Government either.

Perhaps that point eluded him that the majority of people in Scotland had not voted SNP in 2011.

He said:

"Now I'm a grown-up and we're in the same situation all over again”.

Expect him to be protesting outside Holyrood anytime soon!

Tommy Brennan!

Who is Tommy Brennan?

Apparently, he was involved in the campaign to save Ravenscraig steel works in Motherwell.

That failed.

Former Labour MP and Independent MSP Dennis Canavan also told how he had become a "convert" to independence.

His conversion was when the Labour Party refused to select him for Holyrood and the bad blood that ensued from that episode.

So, if people didn’t enjoy the concert party, then at least they were well positioned to go see the Avengers Movie, grab a drink and a hotdog.

It’s very good, all three!

The launch of the 'Yes’ campaign was a strangely underwhelming affair.

Let’s hope that the ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’ concert party don’t get taken on the road otherwise some people won’t even get a nickel for their mother!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, May 25, 2012

Braveheart Alex Salmond and the SNP lead the ‘highland charge’ for independence; two of three Scots don’t back independence, big trouble ahead for SNP

Dear All

The official campaign encouraging people to back Scottish independence in a referendum has been launched in Edinburgh.

Braveheart Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party will lead the ‘highland charge’ and play the dominant lead role in the "Yes Scotland" campaign, because it is being run effectively by the SNP by proxy anyway.

Yes Scotland is an arms length SNP vehicle which allows other parties and assorted individuals to all campaign under the same umbrella.

Today’s event was all about the rich and important getting together around Alex Salmond to give him their endorsement.

But the reality is that ordinary people will decide the future of Scotland.

Two out of three people in a recent opinion poll don’t favour independence.

That’s the problem.

Yes Scotland is effectively an SNP controlled vehicle which has been designed as the biggest community based campaign in Scotland's history.

The idea is simple, the SNP draws up lists of pro independence minded supporters and asks them to effectively be SNP Activists doing the work.

My personal experience of how the SNP operate on the ground is that the party’s branches aren’t community based.

In my entire time in Pollok SNP, the branch run by Chris Stephens never ran a specific campaign for local organisations.

Never ran a campaign for specific individuals in the area.

Never ran a campaign on specific issues relating to the area.

Nothing but SNP leafleting, on SNP issues, this highlights that the SNP isn’t ready on the ground, it was even worse in the Maryhill & Springburn branch controlled by Bob Doris.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister and SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon said it was important to let the people of Scotland decide their future.

She told Radio 4's Today programme:

"This is not about breaking up, it's not about separating. We can continue to share things where that makes sense”.

In case anyone doesn’t understand what she means, she is hinting that the Westminster Government will continue to build warships in Scotland.

The reality is that the UK Government has effectively told the people of Scotland that it will not be the case. No British Warship has been built outside the UK in 50 years, that is the policy and the policy will not be changed. The first consideration of the Westminster Government will be to protect UK jobs.

Ms. Sturgeon added:

"But independence puts powers over our economy, over our political life into the hands of the people of Scotland."

So what are those powers?

constitutional matters
UK foreign policy
UK defence and national security
fiscal, economic and monetary System
immigration and nationality
energy: electricity, coal, gas and nuclear energy
common markets
trade and industry, including competition and customer protection
some aspects of transport, including railways, transport safety and regulation
employment legislation
social security
gambling and the National Lottery
data protection
abortion, human fertilisation and embryology, genetics, xenotransplantation and vivisection
equal opportunities

In 2010, the Scottish people spoke at the Westminster General Election and the message was that the SNP isn’t trusted in those reserved issues. And they haven’t solved that problem, their white elephant in the room.

Yes campaign chiefs said the launch would feature Scots "from all walks of life."

Does anyone believe that the Yes campaign chiefs allowed the poor into their event?

I don’t, today is all about Alex Salmond being surrounded by his rich friends.

Already the coalition of the damned has already split with the Scottish Greens, who support independence, having called for a more inclusive approach in the "Yes" camp.

The Greens recognise that the ordinary working class are the key to win the independence vote, not Alex Salmond.

Down the road, former chancellor Alistair Darling, a Scottish Labour MP, pointed to a poll he had commissioned which 57% opposed independence and 10% are also undecided.

Following the YouGov poll, which took the views of 1,000 voters, Mr Darling said:

"The Nationalists are entitled to their view but the majority of us simply aren't buying the independence policy they're selling. At today's launch, they'll try and suggest they have the momentum, but over five years, indeed for more than 40 years, the numbers on independence haven't really shifted”.

Darling added:

"Even after winning two Scottish election victories, raising a war chest of millions and deploying the full resources of the Scottish government, Alex Salmond has failed to convince Scots that they should leave the UK. The Nationalists will go to great lengths to try to prove there is a groundswell towards leaving the UK, but the truth is that their campaign has stalled. Independence is as unpopular as it ever has been."

Alex Salmond should enjoy his day, it marks the beginning of the end of his political career, just as he revels in the applause he and the SNP will also have to endure the sour taste of defeat.

In the run up to the Glasgow Council election I stated that the SNP weren’t going to win.

George Laird was right again.

The look on Nicola Sturgeon’s face at the SECC as she walked passed me told the story of Glasgow SNP election.

The SNP cannot win independence without people like me returning as activists, and presently I like others who have been treated badly and disgracefully are letting the untalented middle class clique in the SNP continue on their merry way.

Let’s see how smart they are without other people’s ideas.

I am betting the campaign will have to have a continual relaunch.

Some people think Alex Salmond is a God in the SNP, you could call him Apollo because this campaign will need more relaunches than the entire NASA space missions combined.

Today isn’t the launch of the independence referendum it is a political wake.

And George Laird is always right on such matters!

Alex Salmond has already lost 42% of SNP voters acording to reports and its only day one of the campaign!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Glasgow Labour Councillor Sohan Singh becomes the first Labour Councillor of Shame in Matheson administration, he operated as illegal landlord

Dear All

It was supposed to be a new start for the Glasgow Labour Party by kicking out the deadwood and replacing them with better.

Sohan Singh gets the George Laird award for being the First Labour Councillor of shame in the new Labour Council.

The award is recognition as operating as an illegal landlord for at least 11 months up until his election.

He is such a hero to his community.

Labour Councillor of shame Sohan Singh was renting out some of the 28 properties in a block of flats in the north of Glasgow which he bought from the city council for just £1 around 10 years ago.

This raises questions about how people seem to benefit from their association with political parties.

Of course Councillor Singh isn't the only deadbeat who became a councillor in May; other political parties have their quota as well.

So what prompted Labour Councillor of shame Sohan Singh to do the right thing?


He only registered after the intervention of a whistleblower led to officials pursuing him.

As well as the whistleblower complaining, a local housing association was also complaining to public spending watchdogs.

Earlier this month he became a Labour councillor for Springburn and last week was given the civic honour of being appointed a Baillie of Glasgow.

He should be stripped of the position of Baillie of Glasgow by the Council Leader immediately, Matheson needs to show leadership.

Landlord registration is a requirement of the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004.

If you fail to register that failure carries a maximum penalty of £50,000.

Given the vast extent of his property empire with 28 flats, he would have to be registered as a professional landlord.

Given he is an illegal landlord does anyone think he is capable of passing fit and proper person tests?

I certainly don’t.

Councillor Singh isn’t giving interviews and the people of Springburn have been let down, but looking at the candidates available standing in the Springburn ward with the exception of Councillor Greene, they are just party hacks.

In May 2011, George Gillespie, the assistant director of land and environmental services, wrote to a local councillor, saying:

"I can advise that the development is only partially completed. However, some flats are already occupied by tenants and difficulties have arisen with the temporary arrangements currently in place."

Sohan Singh should never have been passed as a Labour Candidate but it seems that money and connection talk in Glasgow politics.

New administration and one Labour Councillor steps out from the darkness.

As an Illegal slum landlord!

Matheson needs to get a grip immediately because failure to do so, leaves him open to charges of weakness.

If I was council leader I would fire Singh from the position of Baillie without a second thought.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eve of independence launch blow for Alex Salmond and SNP, unofficial opinion poll among Scottish soldiers say they would stay with the British Army

Dear All

If Scotland votes for independence then one of the critical issues for the country will be defence.

Defence is a reserved issue and the Scottish National Party is lacking in how the defence of Scotland would be conducted.

The prime example of this lack of objectivity is that recently they were shown not to have a plan but instead decided to use someone else’s ideas.

The consequence of that embarrassing episode shows how unprepared the Scottish National Party is to led an independent nation.

And of course if further proof is needed, the Westminster results speak for themselves.

As recent as 2010, the SNP could only manage to send 6 MPs to Westminster.


Voters are voting differently, as the SNP has carved a niche in their sticking up for Scotland, they are firmly rejected when it comes to international matters.

If Scotland was to be independent a think tank has stated that Scotland's defence forces would not be at full strength for a generation.

Malcolm Chalmers, from the Royal United Services Institute, suggested it would take 20 or 30 years to get Scottish defence forces up to "ideal" levels.

The problem the SNP has and which Hew Strachan, from Oxford University articulates is that an independent Scotland would struggle to keep its infantry battalions up to strength.

He opines that ordinary working class Scots would "vote with their feet" and join the British Army instead for better career prospects.

Would the British Army offer better career prospects?


The British Army has a vast range of career opportunities, and with the SNP saying that they will go with a single brigade it is only natural that soldiers will consider what is in their and their family’s best interests.

After independence the Scottish Government would try and persuade Scottish Regiments to join the new Scottish defence forces.

An unofficial opinion poll among soldiers revealed the majority had said they would stay with the British Armed Forces.

The reasons are complex but the bottom line is that the Scottish National Party has nothing to say to these working class soldiers that they want to hear.

And who could forget Govan SNP Organiser Tommy Ball who branded British Army soldiers as ‘child killers’ and ‘uneducated racist thugs’.

Tommy Ball still has a lot of friends in the Scottish National Party at various levels.

If there is a case for not joining the Scottish Defence Forces, it’s Tommy Ball and his nasty little ilk.

This means effectively the SNP would have to start from scratch, some people would transfer over but the numbers would be so small to make them combat ineffective.

On one point I disagree with the defence experts, Scotland wouldn’t get drawn into a conflict with Russia in the Arctic, the country is too small for military adventures, doesn’t have the resources or manpower for anything other than a limited conventional defensive action on home soil.


The SNP has been anti NATO for 30 years, the organisation is the cornerstone of Western defence; recently Alex Salmond signal there might be a shift in the backward looking policy which was to be debated by the SNP National Assembly.

That has now been cancelled and replaced by a debate at the next SNP Conference.

So as well as the poll showing that the soldiers would stay with the British Armed Forces, the republican element of the SNP doesn’t want the cloak of the NATO umbrella.

These people I call the ‘Sein Fein lite’ members of the party.

It seems that the obstacles to independence are mounting and so far the SNP hasn’t produced a credible strategy to deal with these problems.

The SNP are not ready for independence and not ready to even defend Scotland or even take the necessary step of joining NATO.

Can’t even agree on joining NATO or see the sense in it.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Justice Sec Kenny MacAskill and SNP Govt considering plans to ‘poison’ the minds of juries and deny accused persons the right to a fair trial!

Dear All

The right to a fair trial is a human right; the defence of Article Six rights is a cornerstone of a decent society.

When a criminal case is being tried in a Court of Law, the proceedings are based on the evidence presented by the Crown in relation to the crime.

Justice under the SNP Government is a disgrace.

I have previously blogged on the need to sack Kenny MacAskill as a necessary prelude to even attempt to win independence.

Quite frankly he is unfit to be the Justice Minister of Scotland, if you take the time to read Ian Hamilton of Stone of Destiny fame, he lays quite well the case for the removal of MacAskill.

He isn’t the Justice Minister, fair and impartial; he is in the pocket of the Crown Office.

This has led to disgraceful decisions and bad judgement such as the row with the UK Supreme Court (never winnable) and the Cadder Case (open and shut human rights abuse).

Now proposals have been brought forward to effectively corrupt trials in favour of the prosecution.

Judges and jurors in Scotland will be able to hear evidence not related to the trial regarding an accused person’s previous convictions and "bad character."

The idea comes from a panel that advises the Scottish Government on new legislation, the Scottish Law Commission.

If such a move is introduced in Scotland, it would be a retrograde step, is prejudicing a trial a good move?


It is all a matter of checks and balances to coin a phrase and this is not helpful, it will lead to miscarriages of justice because straightaway evidence will become secondary, and it is the evidence that should be subject to testing not the accused.

This turns the right to a fair trial on its head as under these proposals a person would have to prove their innocence, which means the less articulate stand a higher probability of being convicted even if they never done the offence.

Donald Findlay QC has expressed "horror and disgust" at the proposals.

He said:

"It is another fundamental strike at the very heart of what has been our distinctive legal system for hundreds of years that, except in very particular circumstances, we try people on the evidence, not on what they may or may not have done in the past. I can guarantee there will be horrific miscarriages of justice."

Niall McCluskey, an advocate and human rights expert, said:

"This is not conducive to a fair trial. It is ironic that under an SNP Government our criminal justice system is becoming more and more like the English system."

In the UK Supreme row, the SNP Government also wanted Scotland to be brought into line with England.

Patrick Layden, QC, the lead commissioner on the project, said:

"Evidence of how the accused has acted on another occasion is relevant to whether he has acted in a similar way in relation to the offence with which he is charged. It does not become irrelevant because he has been convicted on that other occasion. This report, if implemented, will ensure that the jury can consider all relevant information. We believe all the relevant evidence should be before the jury. The argument depends on where you would strike the balance between the interests of society and the interests of those charged with a crime. If someone with five convictions for rape was charged with rape then these convictions would go before the jury."

Clearly Layden doesn’t believe in human rights and a fair trial.

If Kenny MacAskill goes ahead with these proposals he is clearly a bigger fool that I previously took him for, but since stupidity is clearly valued far more than intelligence in the Scottish National Party, he will probably roll these recommendations out as part of judicial reforms.

What a pity that the First SNP Justice Minister turned out to be the Crown Office’s man in the Scottish Cabinet, not a man of vision and of calibre as Sir George Mackenzie (c.1636–1691).

Acting like just another shitty little ambulance chaser wanting to be loved!

Maybe my friend’s suggestion of 25% in the Yes Vote for independence may not be as wildly speculative as I previously thought.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

‘Deer Muncher’ and SNP list MSP Joan McAlpine sets out 10 pitiful reasons for voting for independence, subjective opinion and fantasy politics howlers

Dear All

Joan McAlpine is a list SNP MSP.

She is controversial and gaffe prone.

I call her the ‘The Deer Muncher’ because I always have the image of her standing munching away on a reindeer leg ripping the flesh off with her teeth in the Holyrood Chamber.

The Deer Muncher!

In the Daily Record, she has put up 10 'good' reasons why Scotland should vote yes to independence.

She has given her reasons, so here is my response as an SNP Member.

“1 Scotland would officially be one of the world's richest countries - ranked 6th in the OECD compared to the UK's 16th place. We have 24billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. That's £1.5trillion in today's prices - half as much in value as has been taken out”.

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are all oil rich countries and their people live in squalor. So, that argument is shaky and not backed up by anything which indicates the SNP plans wealth distribution, they aren’t.

If you are poor now, you will be poor in an independent Scotland.

“2 We also have around 25 per cent of Europe's potential offshore wind and tidal energy - and a tenth of Europe's wave power. An extra 45 per cent of renewable energy was generated in Scotland last year, according to the UK Department of Energy. It's more than we need and can be exported for cash”.

People in Scotland now are living in energy poverty, the renewable industry is heavy subsidised. The infrastructure isn’t in place and the technology isn't far enough developed, let alone the businesses to install the infrastructure in the first place.

“3 Other countries want to invest here. The recent Ernst & Young UK Attractiveness Survey highlighted Scotland's leading position in the UK for job creation from international investment. With independence, we can make the country even more attractive to these employers”.

This is speculation, independence may make Scotland attractive if the conditions are right, but likewise other countries can make their conditions better.

“4 Independence will allow us to keep services such as the NHS and the welfare state. In England they are being privatised and cut. Benefits are being taken from the needy and the Scottish Parliament can't stop that under present powers”.

The SNP already has control of the NHS by virtue of being a devolved government. If Labour got in pre or post indy they could privatise the NHS, that argument is complete nonsense. Likewise on benefits, she assumes that the SNP will always be the government for her argument to make sense.

“5 Scotland has five of the top 200 universities in the world. We also punch well above our weight in the number of research papers they produce. It means our historic reputation as a well educated nation is flourishing. We give our universities one of the best packages of support in Europe, with no fees for students from Scotland. With independence we can do even more”.

If you accept her analysis, what more? It isn’t the number of research papers that are produced that makes the difference; it’s the content that matters.

“6 We'll have more money in our pockets. If we got back what we sent south in tax, official figures show every Scot would have £510 more a year. The only tax the Scottish Government controls just now is council tax, and it's frozen under the SNP. Imagine if we controlled fuel duty, national insurance, VAT and income tax”.

We have tax raising powers, so she is wrong, the SNP didn’t keep the payments up to HMRC. Let’s ‘imagine’, fuel duty, national insurance, VAT and income tax are all in SNP hands, there will be no dramatic reductions, not for years if at all, reserved issues such as defence need capital and no proposals have been published that in anyway state that there will be reductions. Again, change government at Holyrood, what guarantees?

No guarantees!

“7 Our government would be more streamlined. Scotland, like Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and Finland, is a goldilocks country - not too big and not too small. The UK wastes money on bloated institutions bogged down by bureaucracy - look at HMRC, the tax authority. It's gone from one calamity to another. The rich get away with evasion while the rest are overcharged”.

At this point it is worth mentioning that there are no blueprints on how the SNP would run the taxation service or the rate, or the actual legislation itself. And as Holyrood is full of second class politicians with limited ability, can we really expect a tax system that effectively challenges the rich?

“8 Mobiles would work and we'd all get high-speed broadband. Telecommunications are controlled in London. Westminster auctions licences to phone companies but only demands 90 per cent coverage of the UK. This means "notspots" in much of Scotland. Broadband is patchy too, and it doesn't help that Scotland's capital budget has been cut by a third by the Tories”.

We are talking about the provinces here, I find no problem getting computer access, mobiles already work so that argument is oh so weak as Joan McAlpine runs out of genuine ideas.

“9 Our culture would get a boost. We'd have control over broadcasting and more high-quality programmes could be made here. Our news would no longer look hand-knitted compared with well funded UK offerings. We could export high-quality drama and our young bands would have a platform on the radio”.

There is no evidence to substantiate that claim as far as I can tell, yes, if Scotland becomes independence it will be news but the news agenda moves on, post indy Scotland will look the same.

“10 Imagine the goodwill. Scotland is held in high regard around the world - by those who know us. But being buried in brand Britain means sometimes we don't get to shine as we should. Independence would generate global interest. We would be the new kid on the block - young, modern, and happening”.

That is just as they say in Housing schemes, just crap Ms. McAlpine.

“We would be the new kid on the block - young, modern, and happening”.

And we aren’t already with an SNP majority government?

My analysis of SNP list MSP Joan McAlpine, she is in the Scottish Parliament as Alex Salmond’s aide to write his book, she isn’t an effective MSP, she isn’t effective as a campaigner; she is gaffe prone and her record of activism from the 17 campaigns I was involved in was incredibly poor.

She is one of SNP publicly unelectable and a political liability!

The ending of her book should be, ‘Scottish Independence remains very much a live dream’ because in 2014, the attempt is doomed to failure.

Ms. McAlpine aptly demonstrates why?

There is a lack of substance even among the SNP MSPs such as herself .... and she is Alex Salmond’s aide!

The Daily Record really pays her £400 a week to write articles?

£400 for this!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

IMF tells UK to consider quantitative easing (QE) and several other measures including interest rate cut to boost growth, it won’t work!

Dear All

You couldn’t fail to notice that the Euro crisis is heading towards financial Armageddon.

We are looking at Greece, as the spotlight focuses there, but the ‘virus’ in the Eurozone has already run through the entire system.

Spain is looking decidedly shaky, France has problems, Germany is in political flux, and Italy is also in trouble.

I will be blunt, the IMF has suggested more quantitative easing (QE)for the UK, this is bullshit.

Have a read of what QE is, short version, it is a scam to dilute currency value.

The continual dilution of the currency makes FIAT currency worthless, it may be seen as a short term fix, but like heroin continual use will kill you.

In Greece, I saw a report on SKY News that old aged pensioners were foraging for food in bins.

We can grow our way out of debt by taking on more debt, by ‘printing’ new electronically created money which makes the value of the currency worse, everyone has noticed the buying of Gold and Silver on commodities markets.

There is an argument for a return to the Gold Standard to be made.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants the UK to consider more quantitative easing (QE) such an idea should be resisted.

If anything we should be going in the other direction.

One thing they did highlight of value was to say that if growth failed to pick up, the government would have to consider delaying cuts.

Across Europe we need a Marshall plan; the Marshall plan was the work of Secretary of State George Marshall which saw the rebuilding of Europe after WW2.

From that wiki article:

“By the end of World War II much of Europe was devastated. Sustained aerial bombardment had badly damaged most major cities, and industrial facilities were especially hard-hit.[12] The region's trade flows had been thoroughly disrupted; millions were in refugee camps living on aid from United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and other agencies. Food shortages were severe, especially in the harsh winter of 1946–1947”.

Who doesn’t think minus the war aspect, the above situation doesn’t apply today in Europe?

We need a reindustrialisation of Europe, Germany is a good model to look at but we need that scaled up in the 27 countries of the EU.

Greece should default totally; there is no question in my mind that is what the Greeks need to do, but that action will ripple across Europe causing problems for others.

At this point people may say to me, you said the solution to a problem isn’t the creation of another problem.


27 nation default!

Everyone must default at the same time in the Eurozone, however is unlikely that the UK would agree; London is a major financial centre, is also the centre of the fraudulent derivatives trade and place where US Banks move debt offshore from their balance sheets when the US regulators come round.

As well as the Eurozone default, we need a new banking system established, State Banks, broken down to City Banks to act as buffers in local areas.

New rules regarding leveraging of debt and higher liquidity set aside in banking operations.

You could continue writing other measures needed all day, the problem is complex and deep rooted.

The cure in the short term is also painful, the virus is in deep in the Eurozone, but eventually if not treated as a whole, EU countries will be forced to break away from the Euro.

Quite simply, the people will grasp that their political leaders in place now will have to go, Greece is a good example, the attempts to form a government are difficult.

As an aside, the return of far right or far left parties will grow.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said:

"Unfortunately the economic recovery in the UK has not yet taken hold and uncertainties abound."

Britain relies too heavily on the financial market trade in London which is dysfunctional, that causes uncertainties.

Too many bubbles have been created by the financial markets, liquidity is available to business as others would hope for and the entire system is rotten.

Again, we need a new State Banking system.

We also need failing banks to go to the wall, no one is too big to fail we just need to ensure that savers have their money protected by guarantee.

To return to the IMF, their technical expert on the UK economy, Ajai Chopra said:

"I think the sort of measures we have in mind are, one could consider cutting the Value Added Tax. One could consider the payroll contributions because these can be credibly temporary. The emphasis here is on temporary and those are the sorts of measures we have in mind."
Window dressing, something that treats symptoms not the disease!

In its official statement on the UK economy, the IMF mission states:

"Fiscal easing measures...should focus on temporary tax cuts and greater infrastructure spending, as these may be more credibly temporary than increases in current spending."

Short term spending, yes we need to spend on infrastructure but that infrastructure shouldn’t just be built for the sake of it.

The Statement added:

"The stresses in the euro area affect the UK through many channels. Growth is too slow and unemployment - including youth unemployment - is too high. Policies to bolster demand before low growth becomes entrenched are needed."

That returns me to another theme I have blogged on the internal immigration policy within Europe, such an idea is needed.

Just as EU students need the right qualifications to get into higher education in the UK, certain qualifications should also be in place to work to in the EU.

In a nutshell Support Packages!

In the EU there is free movement of Labour, but that creates a problem, the EU needs to radically reform. I cannot believe for a second that in the original European dream we would have a situation where people would be eating out of bins, soup kitchens and living in substandard conditions or even sleeping rough.

That isn’t the dream as envisaged.

Austerity isn’t helping, QE will not help in the long run and the solutions are complex and deep rooted, we need a new European dream.

And that will be a painful birth.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Reform Scotland comes up with a proposal to cut Scottish councils from 32 to 19, you don’t increase voter turn out by restricting democracy!

Dear All

In the recent local council elections, the turn out was rather poor to say the least, any election needs a good turnout so that the results have credibility.

In some places like Australia there is compulsory voting in place, the idea ensures large voter turn out.

One thing is certain, something has to be done to increase turn out.

Reform Scotland has come up with an idea that the number of Scottish councils should be cut by almost half from the current 32, to 19.

The trend in Scotland is towards more centralisation which in some areas is desirable and in others less so.

Local councils are all about localism that is the reason they exist to deal with specific issues and problems in a designated area.

To move away from that concept is wrong.

Another idea for local councils is to boost their powers to revitalise local government, this idea has merit, if the right powers are handed over.

Reform Scotland also believes that health and police boards should be scrapped, and their responsibility added to councils.

I am not in favour of this, rather than having less accountability we should be having more, because 5 years is not acceptable to hold someone to account, especially when they have a majority.

There is a "crisis" in local government as Reform Scotland points out, but the crisis is the lack of vision.

In Glasgow, the SNP presented a manifesto to the people was bland and out of touch!

It wasn’t written for the benefit of the people rather it was written for the benefit of Nicola Sturgeon’s clique.

They said that their findings were the result of 18 months of consulting the people. This is a bit surprising because effectively no work was done by branches I was a member of.

To be clear after May 2011 post election.

May no branch work was done.

June no branch work was done.

July no branch work was done.

August no branch work was done.

September no branch work was done.

October no branch work was done.

November no branch work was done.

December no branch work was done.

January no branch work was done.

9 months of inactivity by the branches.

SNP Candidates were selected at end of January 2012, they simply took the data from Holyrood 2011 and added it together with the canvassing forms issued as part of their election campaign and stated they had been working for 18 months.

That was the reality of the Glasgow SNP Branches I was in.

It is wrong to say that the poor turnouts at the May council elections are a groundswell for Reform Scotland’s ideas.

They are not.

The recommendations have been dismissed by local authority umbrella group Cosla and the Scottish government.

Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson said:

"It is clear from the recent disappointing local election turnout that we have to take action against the erosion of local democracy in Scotland”.

By centralising and decreasing local democracy?

A Cosla Spokesman described the Reform Scotland report as "disappointing" and said some of the thinking behind it was "woolly and piecemeal".

He added:

"It is also interesting and somewhat odd that a think tank that champions localism is trying to deny councils the opportunity to be truly local with some of the suggestions in this report."

A Scottish government spokesman said:

"Our approach to reforming Scotland's public services, following on from the Christie Commission's recommendations, is about making sure that they are consistently well-designed and delivered to the right people by the right people it does not rely on wholesale structural reform. Local authorities are already finding innovative ways of collaborating and improving frontline services to deliver the best outcomes for the people of Scotland”.

There is a massive case for local government reform to be had, Reform Scotland is off at a tangent, it rightly identifies a problem re low turnout by comes up with a solution which doesn’t address the issue at all.

The solution to a problem isn’t the creation of another problem.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, May 21, 2012

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill and SNP get owned by newbie Labour MSP Jenny Marra, the case for MacAskill resignation grows

Megrahi dies ‘on the eve’ of Braveheart Alex Salmond’s launch of indy campaign, bad omen, Friday is about the race to replace him as SNP Leader

Dear All

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is dead.

Less we forget 270 victims of Lockerbie terrorist attack are also dead.

What has never died is the search for the truth for the families of the victims who deserve that much and more.

Yesterday on Twitter the Chief Executive of the Scottish National Party, Braveheart and freedom fighter Peter Murrell was talking about how Megrahi’s death closes a chapter for the families.

My reply to him was he was completely wrong.

Maybe it’s just another unhelpful item on the news agenda for him and I can understand why he would want it ‘off the books’ as quick as possible since he doesn’t want the news agenda dominated with bad press with the SNP launching their independence campaign on Friday.

Sorry, but justice is never an inconvenient truth, it is never just an item on the news agenda and never an issue of a staged managed political performance of “concern”.

Where was Braveheart Mr. Murrell’s concern for a public inquiry?

The inconvenient truth for Mr. Murrell was he was publicly silent on a public inquiry because there is an SNP Government in office.

Unfortunately there is a lack of talent in the Scottish National Party, no one is there to fight the fights that need fought and the SNP leadership is deaf to anyone unless it suits their personal agenda.

Closing a chapter, families who lose loved ones to terrorist attacks never close chapters Mr. Murrell.

Serious questions remain regarding the Lockerbie Trial and the role of the Crown Office and their work in critical key areas that raises concerns that the conviction was unsafe.

The decision by Kenny MacAskill was a judgment call, bad judgment; Megrahi should never have been allowed to leave Scotland.

His appeal was of such critical importance, that overwhelming public interest demanded that it should go ahead in the interests of justice.

At the time of his release, US families were among the most vocal critics of the decision, along with US president Barack Obama.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was to brand the move "absolutely wrong".

At this point I should declare an interest; I wrote to Kenny MacAskill and said that Megrahi should be released on compassionate grounds in order to have the best possible chance to present his appeal due to his medical problems.

The SNP Government went way beyond that and the Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill was to go on to babble about judgment from a ‘higher source’.

Which I assume means God and not Tony Blair.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has found 6 outstanding issues which anyone if aired in an Appeal Court may lead to the Megrahi conviction being overturned as unsafe.

Some of those issues involve the paying of witnesses, witnesses being shown the picture of Megrahi prior to an identification parade and a broken custody chain.

Speaking to a friend, two degrees of separation from Nicola Sturgeon, he told me that he believed that independence was not winnable, when pressed he said that he reckoned that Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government would get 25% of a Yes Vote.

I have to say although I agree that the independence referendum is unwinnable for the SNP in 2014, I thought his estimate was far too low.

Independence cannot be won by burying problems.

Friday isn’t the launch of the independence referendum, it is the start of the race to replace Alex Salmond as SNP Leader, it isn’t the end of his political career, but it’s the beginning of the end.

24 months and the clock will start counting down on Friday!

I’m not invited to the Edinburgh launch; it’s for the “important” rich middle class people and I won’t be invited to the independence ‘celebration’ party either, because there isn’t going to be one in 2014.

Braveheart Alex Salmond starts shouting about “Freedom” on Friday in Edinburgh.

And that will be just an item on the news agenda.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Scotland’s sham of a Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is taken to task for continual failures in his ministerial brief, Justice brief is rudderless!

Dear All

Under the SNP Government, law and order has been an omnishambles.

In 2007, Alex Salmond made the disastrous mistake of appointing his pal as Justice Minister.

He appointed his pal, Kenny MacAskill.

Instead of the people of Scotland getting a Justice Minister, we got a Minister for the Crown Office, a cheerleader, someone who wasn’t capable and was also biased.

What should a Justice Minister be?

They should be fair and impartial?

MacAskill is neither.

Where’s the proof?

The UK Supreme Court nonsense and disgraceful episode of the Cadder Case!

In the Cadder Case, an important legal principle was at stake regarding human rights which MacAskill failed the test miserably, he wrongly sided with the Crown Office and also couldn’t understand that human rights couldn’t be taken away by the Crown Office and replaced with ‘gifts’.

His embarrassing statement that he supported human rights was pretty feeble because the evidence spoke for itself.

If he supported human rights then why didn’t he fight for them in the Cadder Case, it was straightforward and backed up Case Law and European Court judgments.

Al Megrahi stands as his legacy, releasing the biggest mass murderer in Scottish history who has reached the 1,000 days mark just recently.

As well the above issues wrongly handled at every stage, concerns have been raised over the Scottish Government's record on modernising the law in Scotland.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill should be a proactive Justice Minister but isn’t, I would never have appointed MacAskill in the first place, but Alex Salmond has an incredibly small pool to draw on regarding talent in the SNP.

Anyway MacAskill is under pressure to respond to claims by the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) and the Parliament's Justice Committee that there has been a "relatively low implementation rate" on law reforms.

The truth is, and I have blogged on it previously the SNP Government is on the slide and is completely paralysed.

Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame is writing to MacAskill and query why there are delays in acting on recommended changes to contract, property and personal injury law.

Other issues remaining outstanding are issues on Crown appeals and the age of criminal responsibility.

When did MacAskill lose control of his ministerial brief?

To be honest, he never had control in the first place; he just fell into line behind the Crown Office as their man in government.

The SLC makes a point that instead of making it easier to modernise the law in Scotland, the formation of the Scottish Parliament has worsened the implementation rate.

The Justice Committee letter states:

"The committee noted concerns from the SLC itself at what it saw as a relatively low implementation rate since the advent of devolution compared to other jurisdictions with law commissions, particularly in relation to reports concerning civil law. We have sympathy with those concerns. One of the perceived advantages of the Scottish Parliament when it was set up was that it was expected to provide far more time to discuss and agree proposals emanating from the SLC and others to modernise and simplify Scots law."

So how far back does the mess that hasn’t been addressed extend?


Just lying about gathering dust!

Malcolm McMillan, SLC chief executive, said:

"Over the past few years, we have grown concerned about the implementation rate since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. You would expect that having a legislature in your own country would provide some room to do a bit more work on modernising the law of Scotland, but that doesn't appear to have been the case. We actually began to see that our implementation rate was going down rather than up. We looked at how England, Wales and Ireland were performing, as well as places like New Zealand which also has a law commission, and we felt our rate was dipping lower than the comparative bodies."

He added:

"We very much welcome the interest of the Justice Committee in looking at the issue fully and taking it up with the Government. We ourselves have also raised these concerns with the Government and have been working with officials to see what can be done to implement more of our reports and there has been some progress recently."

Government isn’t just about passing law, it is also about identifying law that isn't effective and where need be, repealing it.

The Scottish Government response was typical of a government that is now seen as rudderless as more SNP Ministers abandon their duties in favour of the independence referendum.

A Scottish Government spokesman said:

"The Government shares the commitment of the Justice Committee and the Scottish Law Commission to keeping the statute book up to date. As the committee letter notes, the Government has consulted on some Scottish Law Commission proposals where consultees had mixed views and as a result we have not implemented the reports. Where appropriate, we will consult on other reports put forward by the commission. We will continue to work closely with the commission."

Short version, can’t be bothered.

I have previously blogged that Kenny MacAskill should be replaced as Justice Minister, the SLC and the Justice Committee make the case official by raising their concerns.

Last December, I wrote on his prison blunder, but there are other posts further back where I identify the problem.

But the important point for the SNP to remember is that George Laird was right and ahead of the curve.

First Minister Alex Salmond will come to regret not sacking Kenny MacAskill and replacing him with Alex Neil.

A key part of getting independence is the guarantee that law and order works, is based on justice, fairness and human rights.

So far that test has been spectacularly failed under the SNP Government’s watch, check the picture of MacAskill, everyone behind him and round him knows he is a dud, the look in their eyes gives it away.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Return of ‘the Deer Muncher’, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine puts down the wine bottle to apologise to Holyrood for absence, lost track of time!

Dear All

Yesterday highlighted something I have blogged on for sometime about my party, the Scottish National Party.

There are a lot of untalented people in it.

Joan McAlpine isn’t a politician.

I have decided to given Joan a new nickname, ‘The deer muncher’ after she failed to turn up to do her job representing the people in her area.

She was too busy eating like it was going out of fashion, smoked venison with Strathdon blue cheese dressing and poached red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and parma ham.

Just as Ian Davidson the Labour MP is ‘the deer hunter’, Joan McAlpine is ‘the deer muncher’.

Maybe the two can go on a hunting trip, Ian shoots them and Joan stands by with the cooking pot!

Joan McAlpine, one of Alex Salmond's closest aides but the reality if that is the truth, then Alex Salmond is poorly served, Joan McAlpine brings nothing to the table except:

“smoked venison with Strathdon blue cheese dressing and poached red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and parma ham”.

It wouldn’t matter how bad Joan McAlpine is or how offensive she gets, she was never in danger of being sacked as Alex Salmond’s aide.

They say you are known by the company you keep, bad news for Alex Salmond then.

The meal was washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio priced at just over £15.

Drinking wine during the working day, no wonder that McAlpine said:

"I am afraid I completely lost track of time.”

Boozing can do that especially when the bottle isn’t drained.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

SNP Minister Nicola Sturgeon needs to get a grip of the Health portfolio as 1,300 Scots die a year through Scotland failings on trauma care provision

Dear All

It was once the flagship policy of the Scottish National Party in Government at Holyrood with Nicola Sturgeon at the helm, now it is like an out of control super tanker as Nicola Sturgeon has abandoned the helm.

A few posts ago, I highlighted the senior flaw in the thinking of SNP Government Ministers who are effectively abandoned their portfolios leaving their departments rudderless causing blowback.

Health from 2007 to 2011 was a flagship SNP Policy.

It isn’t anymore; Scotland is lagging behind other developed countries in its provision of care for victims of major trauma.

I have continually blogged on what the second term of the SNP Government should have been, public sector reform.

Now we are seeing in the NHS that certain provisions of the Health service need to radically overhaul its approach, the warning coming from medical experts.

George Laird was right again, Alex Salmond needs to send SNP Government Ministers back to their desks.

The extent of the major trauma scandal is in a report by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh who state that death rates for severely injured patients who are alive when reaching hospital is 40 per cent higher in the UK than in North America.

Down south England has reformed its healthcare policy to improve survival rates.

But in Scotland because the SNP Government is totally paralysed and fixated on one issue, the situation in Scotland has not yet been addressed.

People are dying because Nicola Sturgeon is spending too much time away from her desk.

The death toll speaks volumes that urgent action is required, major trauma is the commonest killer of children and adults under 45.

1,300 deaths every year in Scotland; how many could be saved if the health brief was managed more tightly?

The Royal College of Surgeons report does the SNP Government a service, they highlight what I have already blogged on, the work must get done and it must get done now.

If the Royal College of Surgeons believe that major trauma treatment is best served being carried out at a small number of dedicated major trauma centres then the Health Minister needs to make sure she is available to hear their case and act on it.

Ian Ritchie, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said Scotland had to wake up the fact its major trauma care was not as effective as it should be.

He said:

“The model recommended by our report is equivalent to that in North America and the one being adopted in England. Major trauma treatment requires a precise set of skills and knowledge, it also needs to pull expertise from a wide range of specialities and resources. Under the current system in Scotland, major trauma patients are sent for treatment at the nearest local hospitals which may not have access to all the resources and specialisms needed.”

Margaret Watt, chair of the Scotland Patients’ Association, said: “This is nothing short of scandalous”.

She added:

“We have known for some time the health service in Scotland is lacking in specialist care”.

So, why isn’t Nicola Sturgeon doing anything about this, why are the specialists who work in the frontline being ignored?

Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The report recommends that further research is required and we will explore further with the College possible ways of enhancing the current service as part of our commitment to continuously improve the quality of services for the people of Scotland.”

Every Government department which remains rudderless and devoid of leadership builds the case for not voting for independence.

Its time Nicola Sturgeon step back from celebrity politics and took control of the health brief in the same manner as she displayed pre 2011 Holyrood election.

It is time the Scottish Government appointed junior ministers in key portfolios such as Health, Law and order, and education.

George Laird was right again and ahead of the curve.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine ordered to apologise to MSPs for disrespecting Parliament by not turning up, Salmond should sacked her as his aide immediately

Dear All

A mistake was made passing Joan McAlpine as an SNP Candidate.

As a member of the Maryhill & Springburn branch, she didn’t attend any of the branch meetings as a member when I was there, as a member of the SNP I never saw her attend any of the by-elections I attended either.

Not a single day.

I never seen her at anything other than the SNP National Assembly in Sept 2010, I have never seen her do a single day of activism in my life.

She walked straight into the Holyrood Parliament and became Salmond’s aide.

Her tenure has led Euan McColm dubbing her dorothygraceyounger after a series of gaffes in print and in public.

Latest claim to fame is the Presiding Officer at Holyrood ordering her to apologise to MSPs because she failed to turn up in the chamber for a third time during her ministerial questions slot.

She just doesn’t give a f*ck!

The funny thing is that some quite ridiculous people see Joan McAlpine as a rising star in the Scottish National Party which highlights how untalented the party is within the middle class clique.

One can understand mistakes happening once, three times is unacceptable.

So, where was Joan McAlpine?

Her arse was parked in the parliamentary restaurant with Alex Salmond.

But let’s get to the substance, not the disrespect, the food, what kept Joan at the table?

Ms McAlpine was understood to have had smoked venison with Strathdon blue cheese dressing and poached red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and parma ham.

And all at just one sitting folks!

What she should have been doing is being in the chamber asking her questions on health as relating to cases of osteoarthritis and its impact on the NHS, during themed question time.

Personally, I would do away with list MSP seats and make every seat in Holyrood democratically tested by the public.

This is the only way to make people like Joan McAlpine accountable, but Joan is another of Alex Salmond’s ‘publicly unelectable’.

Not surprised about this, she isn’t a politician.

And Salmond should cut her loose as his aide immediately but he won’t, the SNP is falling apart through bad judgment at the top.

Every day it is more noticeable.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University