Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, Tommy Sheridan vows to clear his name after prison release, what a pity there is overwhelming evidence by the Crown!














Dear All

Defiance!

That is the message from Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, Tommy Sheridan.

The former MSP Tommy Sheridan has vowed to re-fight his conviction and launched a new High Court appeal.

Sheridan wants to expose the "lies and damned lies" against him.

However, there is a problem, a fly in the ointment, he confessed to a room full of people and there is a videotape with him confessing to a witness.

That means if you take away the NOTW alleged misdemeanours of hacking etc of him.

He is still f*cked, Sheridan’s case wasn’t an unfair conviction or unsafe.

When Sheridan left Castle Huntly open prison, near Dundee, the narrative had already been written, Sheridan was Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, he was Mohandas K Gandhi, he had been opposed, sent into internal exile by being banged up for his beliefs.

Scotland’s only political prisoner with a share of the vote so small that even Lib Dems would be happy to get it.

He has done just one-third of his three-year sentence for perjury and he could be recalled to prison if he causes a problem.

Standing in front of his own castle in Paisley Road West, he pledged to fight his conviction in the courts.

And unfortunately for those campaigning for independence said he hoped to take an active part in the campaign for Scottish independence.

Sheridan is a comic, he is a funny guy, likeable but the fact remains he is damaged goods politically and publicly.

Mind you the public can forgive much, anyone can mess up, but the lack of a confession and the continuation of the ‘circus’ doesn’t help Sheridan.

He was done bang to rights; even Rumpole of the Bailey couldn’t get him off.

So as to his ‘fight’, Sheridan believes clear proof or admissions of criminal misconduct by the NOTW when it was investigating his private life would have influenced the jury.

Take away their evidence which wasn’t important to the nub of the case and he is still f*cked.

Looking visibly thinner, he announced:

"We will continue to fight to clear my name."

The only way that could happen is on a technically and I very much doubt, that is going to happen, his case wouldn’t get to the starting line, let alone go the distance.

Sheridan added:

"We are determined to highlight the contrasts in treatment between the 20-plus News of the World former journalists, I've lost count, who have been arrested for illegal activities (and myself). I've not read of any of them who had their homes raided over a mammoth nine-hour search or their children traumatised in the interests in justice.

"Well, I have news for them and for others. This fight is far from over and this story has not yet finished.

"I believe I will return to Glasgow High Court within the near future but not as an accused, but as an accuser of witnesses at my trial for the lies and damned lies they gave in the course of the evidence that was given that allowed a narrow conviction to be passed on December 23 of last year.

"We are confident that, once the lies of those perjurers are highlighted, we will have a very strong appeal that will hopefully lead to the quashing of my unfair, unsafe and unsound conviction."

Bollocks!

In a touch of comedy Sheridan said:

"It is a relief to be able to speak personally for once. It seems a while now since I have been able to speak. It's always been through my good friend and excellent lawyer Aamer Anwar”.

In fact Anwar who I remember from human rights abusing Glasgow University was so ‘excellent’ his client got done and imprisoned!

Sheridan obviously sets the bar pretty low.

Anyway, it is back on the campaign trail for Sheridan with the possibility that his wife might stand in the Glasgow City Council Elections 2012.

Good luck to them.

But really, they have become more like the Hamiltons down in England, famous for being infamous.

The reality is that Sheridan is damaged, his party is damaged and there is a credibility gap which needs addressed, Solidarity needs a major overhaul if it is to be a political force.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 30, 2012

President Sarkozy launches a bizarre attack on Britain by saying 'The United Kingdom has no industry any more', less of 'le merde' Sarkozy














Dear All

Oui, oui mes braves, it is le terrible.

The President Sarkozy has attacked Britain for being a country with 'no industry'.

He has a problem, the French are in an election cycle and that means his neck is on the line, and things don’t look ‘le bon’.

Non, non, non, his French derriere is in a ringer!!!

This sneering by Sarkozy is a sign of desperation to try and generate some interest that Sarkozy is a fighter for France.

But does attacking Britain for being a country with 'no industry' really help his cause?

I would say non!

Tensions between France and Britain have soured lately because of the Euro crisis with Sarkozy playing a key role along with Merkel of Germany in leading the ‘recovery.

Translated more money into the black hole!

David Cameron isn’t impressed and during a recent summit, the two were hugging and kissing for the cameras.

Sarkozy famously refused to shake David Cameron's hand after he vetoed the proposed EU treaty changes.

The ‘war’ or as the French say ‘Le Guerre’ is still running, Sarkozy is facing his downfall as the French are sick of austerity and poor leadership.

And with Sarkozy expressing his dislike of his cross-Channel neighbours, it takes the shine off statesmanship.

And in October at an EU-27 summit, after criticism from UK ministers over the euro, Mr Sarkozy bluntly told Mr Cameron:

“You have lost a good opportunity to shut up.”

He added:

“We are sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meetings.”

And chucking in a bit of scandalous talk he said:

“Perhaps the fact that you come from an island; you can't understand the subtleties of the European construction.”

Oh dear!

The end for Sarkozy looks possible, people have a shelf life when they ‘go off’ with the public; it is only a matter of time before Sarkozy gets the heave oh by the French people.

At that point; the word, ‘merde’ which figure in his mind!

Vie La France, down with the dictator Sarkozy!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, January 27, 2012

Move towards single Scottish National Police Force sees 2000 police workers being axed, sackings were always going to happen to protect frontline













Dear All

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

When I proposed the single national police force for Scotland at the SNP National Assembly in Perth on the 4th September 2010, I knew two things, the current setup was unsustainable and that if my idea was accepted there would be job losses.

A lot of job losses, of backroom staff, but given the financial situation and danger of frontline numbers being cut, the options were limited.

On a financial sense, the idea is sound, but regardless of finance other more important issues were at stake.

Public safety and increased operational effectiveness!

So, now the sting in the tail, 2000 civilian staff will be axed when Scotland's new single police force is created.

That is unfortunate but necessary and it was always on the cards, as to beat bobbies being left desk-bound that is speculative as the new national force isn’t even in operation.

Although, one-third of workers will lose their posts when the Police Service of Scotland is created in April 2013 that number will have to climb.

The reason is that the Scottish Government hasn’t a Plan McB, reformed is talked about as soundbytes but under the surface, despite people trying to give the impression that the ‘wheels are turning’, they aren’t.

Lots of use of the word, ‘change’ but no idea what kind of change, the timescale, the implications, indeed anything tangible to put to the electorate.

So, who gets the chop, staff who field calls from the public, court liaison officers, forensics, human resources and admin employees, all hitting the tiles.

There is a case of retaining forensics and such a move to dismiss these people would be counter productive.

Scaremongering has started with the Scottish Police Federation and Unison saying Police would be taken off the streets. Police are already taken off the streets in the current setup.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was unwise to write to Scotland's 17,000 police officers and civilian staff reassuring them they would keep their jobs.

That wasn’t going to happen; the SNP put forward a policy for a national police force, knowing that people were going to be sacked.

If they deny that was known that what they are really saying is that they are incompetent or naïve.

I can understand why the Scottish Government said this, and then turned around and said that ‘sackings’ would be a matter for the new Chief Constable, because they don’t want to face the tag that they sacked 2,000 people.

Instead, they prefer ‘sacking by proxy’ because they want to be everyone's 'friend'.

The result is still the same, people will lose their jobs.

You could look at this mentality in this way, Kenny MacAskill pulls a Glock pistol and puts a bullet through someone’s head by randomly firing and then wants to blame the guy who comes to clean up the mess and say it’s his fault.

Kenny MacAskill should accept responsibility for what he has done, because it is was necessary and there aren’t too many other viable options on the table.

There is no point in blaming others, the Scottish National Party adopted a policy and the direct result is that people were going to be sacked.

Cutbacks are already happening, 832 police support staff have been cut in the past year.

Scottish Police Federation chairman Les Gray said:

"Common sense dictates you should never dispense with civilian staff and replace them with police officers. Economically it is just plain daft. All of these staff contribute to the frontline. Without them the frontline would not exist."

Gray has never impressed me, and his protectionism and scaremongering isn’t helpful.

Peter Veldon, Unison's staff side-secretary for the police and fire services says members would be balloted about strike action.

He added:

"In the first year, there will be a threat to 2000 staff jobs. This will mean police officers – on double the salary – having to leave the streets to go back to their desks to do call-handling, forensics, intelligence and administrative work. The Government has a dilemma, though, because it has said there will be no compulsory redundancies. We have serious concerns about how this will work."

Mr. Veldon should accept the fact that change for the better is happening, there is no point standing in the way of destiny.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Councils have a liquidity problem, but solutions to this aren’t being solved.

In October, Mr MacAskill told officers in a letter: "All officers and staff in post when the new organisation is established will transfer to the Scottish Police Service on the day of establishment."

It added:

"We have also made clear ... there should be no compulsory redundancies."

Aye, aye, aye, very good, the reality will be less rosy.

Graeme Pearson, a Labour MSP and the former head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said:

"This comes from a minister who denied there were any cuts in the first place. I raised concerns eight weeks ago about the numbers of support staff that had already been cut and he indicated that was fanciful and there would be no substantial cuts."

Graeme Pearson should remember that the Labour Party has signed up to this to the hilt, pretty much everyone is onboard except the Lib Dems, I don’t know about Margo McDonald but really who cares what she thinks.

The new force is expected to cost £234m over five years, this is a huge saving, unfortunately, people will lose out, but this isn’t being done out of spite, it is being done to protect the service.

If the new force can get a few years to bed in, the stage two reform can happen, this isn’t a final solution to policing but rather a staging post.

At a future SNP National Assembly; I can layout stage two reforms, but let us get the new force up and running.

And sort out the kinks like the enlargement of the Police board to 20 members instead of the proposed 11, that was a serious mistake by the Scottish Government.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Glasgow University product Sir Fred Goodwin could lose his knighthood within days, a small price to pay for his failure, but public want it!















Dear All

It seems that Glasgow University product ‘Sir’ Fred Goodwin is on the verge of losing his knighthood.

Knighted by the Queen, it appears he is about to be de-knighted which will see people de-lighted.

The Glasgow University product has had his honour award re-visited by the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

And if there is any justice, then he should be stripped of his title.

The public want it and I see that politicians have unofficially hinted at it as David Cameron has publicly spoken out on the issue.

Conservative Party backbencher David Ruffley has stated that Goodwin should lose his "ill-deserved knighthood".

In reply to Ruffley, Cameron said:

"The Forfeiture Committee will be meeting, as I understand it, this week."

Quite so, much as it pains me to support Tories, this is a matter of public decency and morality.

Goodwin was at the helm as chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland when the bank was involved in a takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. That was a mistake, deemed to be ill-judged when led to near collapse of RBS.

Following on from this, the taxpayer was forced into a bailout of RBS, the biggest in history, to the tune of £45 Billion.

Finally, the public may get some satisfaction but until the ‘deal is sealed’ we shouldn't get our hopes up.

Britain is still a deeply corrupt country.

I favour Goodwin being stripped of his honour because he didn’t deserve it.

For the human rights abusing Glasgow University, this is another reminder that the public is catching on to what is produced there.

A Glasgow University product was responsible for the biggest bailout in history.

Perhaps Goodwin should setup a burger van with corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli, someone else who is unworthy of honours, maybe the two could make ago of it as they appear to be cut from the same cloth.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MSP Margo McDonald seeks return of state sanctioned legalised killing bill, Holyrood has a crank stalking the halls wanting political immortality















Dear All

Independent MSP Margo MacDonald is to launch a fresh attempt to get the medical community involved in state sanctioned murder.

This is her bringing back the End of Life Assistance Bill.

If Ms. McDonald is so keen to end her own life by using others then she should travel to Switzerland were they allow this disgusting practice.

The End of Life Assistance Bill is Margo McDonald’s ticket to Holyrood immortality.

Sorry, you’re getting fu*k all dear.

The Lothians MSP, who has Parkinson's disease, claimed there was wide public support for the legislation; this is because it hasn’t been explained what this actually means.

We would expect doctors and nurses to kill people and all that entails regarding the breaking of the medical oath and the destruction of trust.

She doesn’t see this as a problem, its all about what she wants.

MacDonald says it is important to allow terminally ill people some dignity in death, there is no dignity in death McDonald, perhaps she has watched movies and has gotten the notion that there is some fairy tale end with music and bright lights.

She said:

"Since the defeat of my original proposal in December 2010, the volume of correspondence I've received on the matter, coupled with the continuing public interest, stimulated in part by some high-profile statements in favour of the general principle of assisted suicide, indicates to me a consistent level of support for individuals suffering a terminal illness or condition, for whom life becomes intolerable, to have the legal right to request help to end their life before nature decrees."

People also favour bringing back hanging, what the public wants isn’t the same as what the public needs, as an MSP she should be seeking to do no harm and do no wrong.

Patently in my opinion, she is unfit to be an MSP for holding such disgusting views.

If she is so keen regarding death, then buy a CZ75, a hand vice, a file, a table and a hacksaw, chair for sitting on, optional, while she is going the work.

Put a bullet in the vice, using the hacksaw make an X by sawing, then take the file and clean up loose edges. Once done, insert the bullet into the clip (facing the correct way). Insert the clip into the CZ75 making sure the safety is off and cock the weapon.

Then it is just a matter of pulling the trigger by placing the barrel in the mouth or under the chin.

The round enters the head and the bullet breaks up effectively shredding the brain and blowing the back of the head off.

It's not a fairy tale ending like the heavenly music and fluffiness that McDonald is expecting but is does the job right.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SNP Government Minister Alex Neil accuses Labour North Lanarkshire Council personnel of "robbing” elderly citizens, election flared up backfires

















Dear All

You can tell that parties are in an election mode by rhetoric coming out in the scrum to get voters.

However in using rhetoric you have to be careful, Alex Neil is a senior Scottish Government Minister. He is a very good speaker, in fact if I get the opportunity to listen to him rather than some of my less gifted SNP colleagues, I pick him everytime, he is a good performer, knows his stuff and can pitch it at a level that gets the message across.

This time in getting his message out, he has sparked fury among unions and council leaders after accusing his local authority of being "bloated" and "barely fit for purpose".

John Reid, the former Labour Minister first came out with the ‘unfit for purpose’ during an investigation into the Home Office and how it was run.

The phrase ‘unfit for purpose’ was then picked up on by many ‘professionals’ as management speak jargon.

Alex Neil is the MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, he has come out and said that North Lanarkshire Council has been "badgering people on the lowest of incomes".

Other claims are that the education department is over-staffed and that its housing division is letting homes "which are not in a fit state for a family to live in".

On badgering people, he says:

"The finance department badger people on the lowest of incomes for money which sometimes they don't even owe."

I don’t think that this type of mistake is specific to North Lanarkshire and I very much doubt that in SNP Councils mistakes don’t happen.

As to the education department being overstaffed, is he suggesting that if the SNP wins the North Lanarkshire Council, they would carry out widespread redundancies post election?

As for the housing issue, and letting homes "which are not in a fit state for a family to live in", perhaps he should as an SNP Minister bring in a bill for a minimum standard. Houses and flats have to be wind and water tight before they are let, along with having running water and other amenities as a Scottish standard. I am unsure what else Alex Neil could be referring too, perhaps he might expand.

After Neil Neil has made his comments, workers have reacted angrily towards the minister with unions stepping in to demand an apology. At election time isn’t considered smart to even hint that employees are going to get sacked.

Even if that could be part of a future SNP Council’s agenda!

Unison has reacted quickly by sending a letter of complaint to both Mr Neil and First Minister Alex Salmond criticising the comments.

Unison's rep, Chris Armstrong, said:

"Alex Neil should apologise to our 7500 members at North Lanarkshire. Fair enough if he wants to have a pop at the administration but not the workers. We don't need Alex Neil using us as a political football at a time when cuts mean the council has had to get shot of people and those remaining have to do more and more."

A senior North Lanarkshire administration source said:

"Alex Neil is an embarrassment to the SNP and Scottish Government. This type of overblown rhetoric with no basis in fact is a serious error of judgment. More than 70% of our 17,000 staff live in North Lanarkshire and will be voting in the council elections in May so hardly the smartest move in the world or a vote-winning strategy."

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council said:

"We do not recognise the portrayal of the council by Alex Neil MSP. Audit Scotland, in finding that the council is high-performing, stated that the council has good strategic direction, with good leadership and clear vision. We will be responding appropriately to Mr Neil in due course."

The unfortunate thing in the broadside fired back is Audit Scotland finding the council is high-performing, stated that the council has good strategic direction, with good leadership and clear vision.

One of the things in the Scottish National Party which concerns me as an SNP Member is that certain people in the party who hold positions or are connected to the senior leadership think that it is acceptable to smear people and get away with it because they are 'protected'.

Some of these people doing the smearing are the employees and relatives of SNP MSPs, the real ‘cybernats’.

In a column in a local newspaper, Mr Neil rather unwisely stated new North Lanarkshire charges were "robbing many elderly citizens of a large chunk of their pension."

By using the word ‘robbing’, he has accused personnel of North Lanarkshire of being involved in a systematic fraud through-out the council; however I don’t believe that is what he meant, I would say that he meant the charges were unfair, but regardless he still shouldn’t have used such language.

What is said publicly matters, as everything is governed by the Nolan Principles of standards conducted in public life.

His claim of believing North Lanarkshire was one of the worst-run authorities is subjective since, he hasn’t personal first hand knowledge of working in other council.

In refusing to apologise or back down Alex Neil has defending his position by saying:

"Any sensible person knows my comments were directed at the Labour leadership and a handful of senior officers, not the workers for whom I have the highest respect. The council is led by a political dinosaur and I can give example after example illustrating the points I've made. For too long North Lanarkshire has been run as a one-party state. The Unison representative should worry more about the compulsory redundancies facing the workers than any loyalty to Labour."
So, a sensible person would think it is okay to accuse North Lanarkshire Council of "robbing many elderly citizens of a large chunk of their pension."

I don’t think so.

Also giving example after example of his points only proves that personnel maybe incompetent which flies in the face of him saying that he has the “highest respect” for the workers. Generally when people are getting mucked about the chain starts with the cross the counter personnel, the workers!

His parting shot to the Unison rep about compulsory redundancies facing the workers is actually quite funny because earlier he stated that the education department is over-staffed and has more than hinted that an incoming SNP Council would have to address the problem.

By making people either compulsory redundant or voluntary redundant!

I think Alex Neil has made the best possible case for the Labour Party but he should really be making the case for the Scottish National Party.

Since he is a government minister!

And I can’t see how saying vote SNP get made compulsory redundant or voluntary redundant wins hearts and minds.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 23, 2012

George Robertson criticises future Scottish Government defence plan, SNP need NATO and major changes to ‘defence lite’ policies to be trusted














Dear All

After the Holyrood election, Alex Salmond stood up and said that the SNP didn’t have a monopoly on wisdom.

It is true, the SNP don’t get everything right, they do make mistakes, but no one gets everything right all the time.

Former Nato Secretary General George Robertson has said Alex Salmond's defence plans for an independent Scotland are "half-baked", "reckless" and have a "gigantic hole" in them.

Robertson was also a former Defence Secretary back in the day.

His approach to the independence debate is to criticise the SNP's plans regarding defence, by saying they lacked coherence.

He said:

"This is not a serious plan for the defence of a separate Scottish state."

Like other SNP Members, I am only getting to hear what the vision that Mr. Salmond and his team think is appropriate.

Lord Robertson attacked Mr Salmond for arguing that there was an "overwhelming case" to retain three airbases in Scotland when he is now arguing an independent Scotland would only need one.

I have for sometime saying and blogging that the SNP need to stop this populist thinking, jumping on a bandwagon to get votes.

So, we have the First Minister arguing for 3 as “overwhelming” then doing a complete about face, how can this be credible?

Defence isn’t an SNP strong point, recently, Alex Salmond said; an independent Scotland would have one airbase, one naval base and a mobile armed brigade as exactly the right mix.

I would like to see the paperwork on how someone came to this conclusion, when it is so blatantly ‘defence lite’.

Lord Robertson said:

"There is a gigantic hole in the plan and that is the fact that the SNP intend to tear Scotland out of Nato, the first time any country would contemplate this irresponsible course of action.

Adding:

"Outside of Nato, the world's most successful defence alliance, it is difficult to see what the proposed force structure would be about." He said the SNP was the only mainstream political party in all of the 27 Nato nations which suggested withdrawal. The SNP's only compatriots are the extremist and fringe parties in Europe – and not even all of them. It is high time the SNP leadership rethought this outdated and oddball policy."
An independent Scotland outside NATO is an ill conceived position to take at many levels from universal security to getting soldiers valuable experience of NATO missions.

The SNP has come along way; unfortunately they still have a long way to go when it comes to defence and other reserved matters.

2010, Scotland spoke on reserved matters by returning only six SNP MPs to Westminster that should have sent alarm bells ringing.

But let us stick to defence, one airbase and one naval base, leaves Scotland vulnerable.

Lord Robertson isn’t a fan of the return of Scottish regiments from the British Army either which in itself isn’t as straightforward as everyone in the SNP seems to think it is.

The regiment’s personnel may not wish to transfer to a Scottish Army; such a move limits opportunities for them from educational to promotion.

There is no SNP fix for those issues.

Lord Robertson added:

"For example, the Scots Guards are a key part of the UK Brigade of Guards and cannot simply be cut out of the Brigade on a political whim. And what about logistic troops, or combat support and combat service support? Engineers, medics, communicators, and reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence forces – all are essential to all armed forces. Nothing is said about how this gap is to be filled or afforded. The other missing link in these half-baked proposals is the cost and huge job losses to a separate Scotland of relocating the Faslane submarine base. None of the small countries constantly quoted by the SNP need such a base for conventional submarines. If the SNP dogmatically demand the withdrawal of Trident it will have to pay multibillion-pound compensation for it to be relocated."

The SNP policy on NATO isn’t credible, neither is the removal of nuclear submarines from Faslane, our alliances must be strong within NATO, we sit at a key strategic position, we should be open to the US using our facilities for their nuclear submarine fleet.

The SNP must commit to NATO, the SNP must commit to allowing nuclear submarines to be retained; the SNP must commit to a better Scottish defence policy than is currently proposed.

Either that or Alex Salmond should just ringing up John Smeaton and ask is he available on call to kick foreign invaders 'in the balls' as a ‘Plan McB’.

Defence isn’t cheap and it isn’t something to be taken lightly.

If Scotland wants to be taken seriously as a member of the world community, then a shitty airbase, naval base beside a big puddle and a group of guys travelling about on a 'battle bus' screaming ‘Scotland’ isn’t going to cut it.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scotland’s top judge Lord Hamilton gets rebuffed in Supreme Court row; it is a firm no, to his call for anti human rights legislation in Scotland Bill














Dear All

Only yesterday, I blogged on Lord Hamilton was wrong to try and remove the right of ordinary Scots to take their cases to the UK Supreme Court where there was concerns over aspects of their trial involving denial of article six human rights to a fair trial.

Lord Hamilton fired off a letter to Westminster asking that Scotland be made ‘equal’, but what he was actually asking for was human rights denial.

In the space of 324 hours since I blogged he has had his reply, his ridiculous requested has been rejected.

It never had a realistic chance of success as the English cannot remove the right and Holyrood cannot legislate it a way.

At present there is a nasty debate running regarding the referendum and the Scottish establishment seeing which way the wind is blowing is jumping on the SNP bandwagon.

Much the same way as everyone climbed aboard when Blair won by a landslide in 1997!

There is danger in being ‘populist’ as everyone knows only too well, all things to all men, generally means relevant to none.

Lord Hamilton, the Lord President effectively has backed First Minister Alex Salmond, who effectively back Justice Kenny MacAskill and Elish Angiolini over a turf war with the UK Supreme Court.

At stake was the true nature of justice in Scotland.

The people of Scotland were lucky, not that Kenny MacAskill and Elish Angiolini was ‘fighting’ for them but rather it was another Scotsman came to their aid.

Lord Hope of the UK Supreme Court!

If it wasn’t for people like Lord Hope, Scotland would be even more unfair than it current is.

When Lord Hamilton jumped on the populist bandagon, he tarnished his reputation as Scotland’s senior judge.

Supporting human rights denial, where is the impartially in it that?

He has fallen into line with senior prosecutors and SNP Ministers, in calling for the London court to treat Scottish criminal appeals in exactly the same way as those from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This can only be done by human rights denial, that is the only way to look at this issue, it isn’t politically, it is a purely justice issue.

Lord Wallace, the Advocate General for Scotland has signalled he "remained to be persuaded".

This is code for f*ck off, Wallace can never be convinced because whoever signs this away will be forever tainted, and he couldn’t legally get away with it anyway.

Politically removal of human rights needs a seismic event to happen such as war or national emergency.

Another person to enter the fray is Paul McBride QC he opines that Lord Wallace's stance effectively meant Britain had two classes of judges.

When a English Judge sit on the UK Supreme Court, they effectively become a British Judge, Lord Hope isn’t English.

His point is ill-judged and plainly incorrect.

McBride said:

"Basically, we have English judges who can be trusted and Scottish ones who can't."

This is the type of mentality that this issue generates, gross stupidity, the UK Supreme Court has rendered flawless judgments, and if the Appeal Court judges had done their jobs properly, both Cadder and the Fraser decisions wouldn’t have needed to go to London in the first place.

The UK Supreme Court pointed out by default incompetence within our legal system that is institutional in nature. This is because these people must know the law, so either they are ignorant and have no place on the bench or they are deceitful, in which case they shouldn’t be on the bench.

To give them the benefit of the doubt, I prefer to believe they are ignorant rather than outright corrupt.

Lord Hamilton and the Holyrood ministers' complaint stems from the UK Supreme Court's 2010 "Cadder" decision, which gave suspects in custody the right to legal advice.

The UK Supreme Court judgments have been welcomed by defence, human rights lawyers and human rights activists such as me; who believed Scots Law needed fundamental reforms.

Scotland needs two Deputy Justice Minsters in the Scottish Government tasked with reform issues.

Lord Wallace, in a letter to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has stated my previous point rgarding the certificate when he wrote:

"I remain to be persuaded that it is necessary to require an appeal under the new appeals route to be certified by the High Court before it can be appealed to the Supreme Court."

Historically, the High Court of Justiciary was the court of final appeal in all Scottish criminal cases.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:

"We welcome the Lord President's intervention, which underlines the seriousness with which the matter is being treated by the Scottish judiciary, and support his view. We agree that the High Court of Justiciary should have the final say on which points of law are of general public importance and with the recommendation of a certification process."

I would like to reply to this person:

Try reading a law book on human rights; then you might be able to take part in the debate, instead of being a sycophant.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lord Hamilton enters the UK Supreme Court row, where did he get his law degree, at a Bangkok Whore House, remedial class in ethics wouldn’t go a miss!


















Dear All

Scotland’s most senior judge is Lord President, Lord Hamilton, he has written a letter to the UK Parliament into the Supreme Court looking at Scottish cases brought before them under the auspices of human rights.

His take on the Supreme Court row is to urge Westminster to give the judiciary north of the border equal powers to the rest of the UK.

What does that mean?

It means that Lord President, Lord Hamilton is arguing for the removal of a human right that accused and convicted Scots or those held in Scottish jails currently have.

He is arguing the removal of a human right, something you would think he would uphold as his first duty should be to justice, not the establishment or indeed any government.

In a bizarre statement he says that:

“Being closer than a court of further appeal to the day to day operation of criminal jurisdiction it will, I suggest, have a better appreciation of the operation of the criminal law in the community is serves”.

If that was the case as Lord Hamilton suggests how can he explain the miscarriages of justice away in Scotland? How can he explain away seven judges sitting on the Appeal Court refusing to uphold the rights of people to a fair trial?

Frankly he can’t, this is all about protectionism which leads to injustice for ordinary people, unfortunately this row between the Scottish Government and Westminster seeks ignore that pertinent fact.

What has happened here, is that human rights have been replaced to ‘gifts’ or ‘concessions’ which in the minds of the Appeal Court Judges have been deemed acceptable to replace human rights enshrined in law.

That is the Scottish problem that Holyrood has failed to address, acknowledge or fix.

Lord Hamilton is backing Lord McCluskey, who led a review on the Supreme Court’s role in Scottish law, as one of the four wise men appointed by the Scottish Government.

The report by McCluskey was disappointing but not unexpected; he went for the cheap option of wanting appeals only referred to London with the agreement of judges in Edinburgh by way of a certificate.

Such a situation is in my opinion completely untenable, what does society, the Scottish Government and the Scottish National Party fear from justice being done and the law upheld?

This why it is important that the UK Supreme Court who give flawless legal judgments should be retained at present, we in Scotland are too small minded, poor mentally and plain stupid.

The proof of the pudding is rendered in such high profile cases as Peter Cadder and Nat Fraser.

If the Holyrood Parliament and legal establishment were so interested in adopt a similar position to the high Courts of England and Wales, and Northern Ireland then why didn’t they adopt the same system of allowing subjects access to a lawyer which English suspects enjoyed since 1986.

The answer is simple; they didn’t care about being proactive to uphold people’s human rights until being forced to do so.

The reply to Lord Hamilton’s letter should be no thank you!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign forHuman Rights at Glasgow University

Cuts cuts cuts, anger as BBC plans to axe Scottish jobs at BBC Scotland HQ, one third of BBC Radio Scotland's production staff are to lose their jobs!














Dear All

A few years ago, the BBC opened Pacific Quay in Glasgow, as the BBC's headquarters in Scotland to much fanfare.

It was super duper.

Now, comes the bad news for staff at the news organisation; one third of BBC Radio Scotland's production staff are to lose their jobs.

Hopefully this will not mean the newscaster reading a story and people walking in and taking the microphone, chairs and table out the door as the person announces their own job losses.

The BBC has its priorities wrong.

Out of 27 people eight radio production journalists are getting canned, and given their occupation they might have to relocate elsewhere to find work.

This is unfortunate but it is always those at the bottom who seem to suffer most when the axe is getting wielded.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said she continues to have "deep concerns" over the impact of the changes.

She said:

"We have previously sought assurances that the quality of the BBC's output in Scotland, particularly in relation to news and current affairs, will not suffer as a consequence of these cuts.

"At a time of such momentous importance for our nation, I continue to have deep concerns about the potential impact of these job losses and programming cutbacks.

"I understand the BBC is being forced to make difficult decisions because of the damaging licence fee settlement imposed by the UK Government.

"This reinforces why it is so essential that Scotland has greater accountability and responsibility for broadcasting."

If broadcasting was a devolved issue, instead of a reserved matter, these job losses would still be taking place, let us not have any delusions about that.

As Ms. Hsylop has highlighted the “damaging licence fee settlement imposed by the UK Government”, does she therefore support an increase in the licence fee and if so, by how much?

Scottish television output could be characterised by a simple statement.

Truly fu*king awful!

Being Scottish, I cringe when I see some of the dross produced, my pet hate is the Scottish football phone in where pundits and the public discuss the weighty matters of football from the armchair perspective.

I want to slit my wrists when these bastards are on, how anyone can think this has any value is beyond me.

I am not a football supporter as you may have guessed.

A BBC insider said last night:

"People are angry and disappointed. They are worried about their jobs and they are worried about the programmes themselves – these are the staff that produce GMS and Newsdrive and John Beattie's show – and they are the programmes that are important and which they are proud of. Obviously this is an important time in Scotland, there is a huge political debate and the timing of these cuts couldn't be worse. People concerned about public service broadcasting will find this a worry."

A spokesman for the BBC said that Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC Scotland, had outlined staff cuts last year and yesterday's announcement was part of that cuts plan.

He added:

"These are part of the plan that will save 100 to 120 staff positions over the next four or five years, and we hope to do that, as much as is possible, through voluntary redundancy”.

Maybe the corporation could take some of the money that it invests in ‘stars’ and like Warner Brothers invest in talent development.

Does anyone find people like Graham Norton and his show remotely funny or witty; it is a pile of low cost utter shit.

What happened to quality in broadcasting, the Weekend World, the World in Action, and other serious informative debate programming that open people’s eyes to ideas?

Tough luck on the rear echelon, it seems they are walking.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Unemployment in Scotland up by 19,000; local government needs reform, its time to stop talking about potholes and dog shit, Glaswegians want solutions











Dear All

We all know that we are in the middle of tough economic times, but actually we are just at the start, just skimming the surface of the vast amounts of cuts that will be coming down the pipeline.

People, a record number of people are out of work in Scotland.

In the last 3 months unemployment has risen by 19,000.

The total number of people unemployed in Scotland stands at a shocking 231,000.

Councils are cutting budgets which will see jobs and services cutback to levels that people will scarcely think possible.

Council elections are looming, but so far the debate hasn’t started on local government reform, we are living through an Obamaesque people were people in political parties think if they mutter the word ‘change’ that will replace substance.

Currently there are moves by some people to down play this election by lowering it to potholes and dog shit.

Glasgow has real financial problems, unemployment problems, infrastructure problems, facilities problems, housing problems and other social problems too numerous to mention.

Who gives a fuck about dog shit?

The labour market statistics put the Scottish unemployment rate at 8.6% - higher than the UK average of 8.4%.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said the figures are a clear signal that focus must be on getting the economy "back to health".

He also said:

"We have to get Scotland back to work and it is imperative we keep making the right decisions to support and grow our economy. Restoring confidence and stability will require work across every sector and I will continue to meet with a wide variety of businesses and organisations in the coming weeks and months. Tackling youth unemployment continues to be a major focus and I will chair a major national event on the issue in March to build on the seminars held throughout Scotland over the last year”.

Adding:

“We are taking practical steps through the UK Government's Youth Contract, a 1 billion initiative backed by business and aimed directly at helping the young unemployed into work. There is no doubt it will take the committed efforts of both of Scotland's governments to overcome the scourge of joblessness among our young people and I will work with the Scottish Government, agencies, civic Scotland and anyone else to get people back into jobs. There has been a lot of interest in the constitution and the uncertainty surrounding Scotland's future in the last few days but Scotland should know nothing will divert this government from the challenges we face in creating long-term, sustainable jobs."

This is a lot of talk about doesn’t address the core problems of the economic; we can’t grow our way out of this problem because there is a massive black hole of debt.

There needs to be a whole industrial scale overhaul of the entire economy and the banking system sits at the centre of everything that is wrong.

We need the creation of a City Banks scheme much in the same way as savings and loan, this idea isn’t new but it is essential to reconstruct the country along a different model that see the building of liquidity and surplus.

A while ago I blogged on the idea of a City Sovereign Fund City and Town, the idea is turn local government into a more commercial focused entity while still have the public sector base. Rather than just accept their ‘giro’ from the Scottish Government, revenues streams would be developed.

The current local government set up helps no one, everyone is complaining about poor services, delays and a ‘can’t do’ attitude.

Scotland has to reform local government; unfortunately no one has articulated a vision beyond soundbytes.

Spouting the word ‘change’ when for the last five years you have sat on your arse and achieved nothing isn’t a track record.

Who gives a fuck about dog shit?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stricken cruise liner captain abandon ship before passengers and then refused to go back when ordered, how many lives did he cost?












Dear All

In ye olde days, a Captain was expected to go down with his ship or at least be the last man off, women and children would be placed in the lifeboats first.

However times change and Francesco Schettino, the Costa Concordia's captain decided to abandon ship and leave the passengers to their fate.

Hundreds of people placed in danger because he didn’t do his job.

He allegedly mislead the coastguard as to numbers of passengers still trapped on the ship, but allegedly was said to be willing to return to pick up the black box.

The crew mutinied when they realise that the Captain was incapable of handling the situation and gave the order to abandon the stricken vessel.

Proof of the 'mutiny' came from coastguard vessels at the scene, who reported seeing several lifeboats in the water before Schettino had officially given the order at just before 11pm.

Safety of passengers should have been his top priority, why wasn’t it.

A Coastguard source said:

“Ten minutes is just not enough time to have launched the number of boats that were seen in the water. That's why we believe that once the ship had started to list, crew members realised the seriousness of the situation and ordered passengers to the lifeboats ahead of the captain giving the order.”

Society is collapsing into a nasty, personal me me me society, Captain Francesco Schettino is just an example how society is breaking and collapsing as moral and civic values collapse.

What a pathetic individual.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Ex Tory Holyrood Candidate and Preacher John Smart jailed over campaign of child abuse, abit hard to sell a Scottish Tory membership now Ruth!












Dear All

Recently the Scottish Tories under Scotland’s Maggie Thatcher Ruth Davidson launched a membership drive.

Come join the Scottish Conservative they cried.

If anyone had taken up that offer previously, they might have run across Tory Holyrood Candidate John Smart.

He has just been jailed for eight years for a 15-year campaign of child abuse.

Come join the Scottish Tories?

No, thanks Ruth!

John Smart 48, preyed on three youngsters he met at the Edinburgh City Mission, this is an old tactic for paedophiles who work themselves into positions that gain them access to the vulnerable.

The scope of ‘Tory boy’s actions are extreme, as he abused one of his victims when the boy was just three years old.

After conviction Judge Lady Dorrian has placed Smart on the sex offenders' register and he is to be monitored in the community for three years after his release.

At the High Court in Glasgow, she told Smart:

"The social enquiry report points out that these offences were planned, intrusive and involved a significant degree of planning.

"Your victims were vulnerable. You pose a sufficiently significant risk to children to merit a lengthy sentence."

Solicitor advocate John Keenan, defending, said that Smart, a first offender, continued to protest his innocence.

The parents of his victims believed he was a devout Christian and as such he got access to take the youngsters to play parks and swimming pools.

Instead Smart, of Christian Crescent, Edinburgh, used the time alone with them to carry out the abuse.

Well, I guess this episode might focus minds why Scotland hates Tories; they prey on the vulnerable, the weak and defenceless.

I think Ruth Davidson might not be talking about Tory values and particularly Tory family values for a few weeks.

Might leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the Scottish public!

Murdo Fraser was right the Scottish Tories need to fold their tents and start again from scratch.

A 15-year campaign of child abuse, unbelievable but sadly not.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 16, 2012

Labour MP Tom Harris Downfall spoof was poor, here is the real deal in comedy political spoofs, classic and witty

70% of Labour supporters say they don't believe in Ed Milliband anymore, someone better ask him does he know the phrase, ‘do you want fires with that’




















Dear All

A while ago, I commented that Ed Miliband had an image problem, he needed to go to political boot camp and get toughen up.

He obviously has brains, seems to some extent, on some issues, to be making the right noises but people are tuning out.

We have an unpopular Tory Government, with an incredibly unpopular Lib Dem attachment as a coalition partner.

Things are going south for him as he has been deemed 'too ugly' to become prime minister. On top of his problems, Ed Miliband has been dealt another blow after it was revealed that 70 per cent of people don't believe in him.

70% is absolutely mind blowing when you consider that the Labour Party has PR gurus, style doctors and spin doctors and everything else.

How do you fix a problem like Ed?

There must be a telly show in there somewhere, I can feel it.

A YouGov poll gives him his worst rating since winning the Labour leadership.

The country is going down the toilet and he is drifting, how can someone so bright be so stupid?

Even his own supporters are turning away from him. Luke Bozier, a party member for five years, wrote:

“At a time when the nation needs strong political leadership, Labour offers nothing”.

Luke Bozier posted an an article about why he recently switched allegiance to the Conservatives.

The truth of that pudding is that Scottish Holyrood election result, the Labour Party was seen as not being credible as the next government under poor leadership that resulted in them going nothing for 4 years at Holyrood.

And they paid the price for that weak leadership.

Ed Miliband put himself forward to be a leader of men, the trouble with him he didn’t have the tools in place to do the job.

He isn’t a leader of anyone at present.

So, what should Ed Miliband do?

Ed Miliband’s problem according to Labour MPs on Saturday night is to stop copying David Cameron and start showing some leadership of his own. Mirroring is a successful sales tactic used by business to sell goods and services, but who exactly is Miliband trying to sell to?

Why become a Cameron Mk2 when he could be a Miliband Mk1?

Why buy into the Tory narrative?

When Luke Bozier let rip he said that Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls were 'out-of-touch', Brownite career politicians.

10 points

He criticises the wider party saying it has been taken over by student politicians and is unable to 'put aside its tribal prejudice and ideology'.

10 points!

He wrote:

“Ed Miliband is a leader that Labour MPs and Labour members didn't want. He was forced upon them by the Trade Unions and like most people, I wasn't happy with the result”.

10 points!

“I tried for as long as I could to give Ed the benefit of the doubt. But look what it's come to, with the party and the leader now a national laughing stock. Rarely in British history has a leader become so quickly defined by humiliating questions about his looks and personality”.

10 points!

Spot on analysis from Luke Bozier.

When Miliband goes to the despatch box he acts and sounds like a whining pathetic individual, the style, the presentation is all wrong. You don't go to the despatch box to whine, you go there to lay down the law and put the Government on notice.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Labour MP Tom Harris quits media post over Hitler joke video called Joan’s Downfall, how ironic since it appears he engineered his own, now its Tom’s


















Dear All

Recently Tom Harris stood to be the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.

He came in last in a three horse race; he got less than 10% if memory serves me right.

Harris like me does a bit of blogging and tweeting, he is a controversial figure at times within the Labour Party, however; there are dangers in blogging as he has just put his foot in it.

He has had to step down from his internet adviser role after he posted a joke video portraying First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond as Hitler.

Tom Harris has apologised for his actions. He was only given the post of the party's new media guru after Johann Lamont was elected leader.

It was a short appointment.

His downfall was funnily enough using footage from 2004 movie, Downfall; many people have used this footage with the funniest being ‘in the bunker after Glasgow East’. This features a spoof on Gordon Brown going radio rental after John Mason won the Glasgow East by-election in 2008.

If you haven’t seen this spoof I highly recommend it, it had me in tears when I first watched it. Comedy has a part to play in politics as the SNP demonstrated with their spoof Life of Brian video but you have to be careful.

The SNP reacting to the Harris video have described it as "tasteless" and said it was "hugely embarrassing" for the Labour Party.

Mr Harris published his version of the video, titled "Joan's Downfall", following a row involving SNP MSP Joan McAlpine. She recently claimed unionist parties were being "anti-Scottish" in their attitude to the planned independence referendum.

This led Jackson Carlaw to issue a charge of political racism at her.

In hitting the bricks, the Labour MP for Glasgow South said:

"Having spoken to Johann, I have decided to step down from leading the party's social media review”.

An SNP spokesperson said:

“It is silly, negative nonsense like this that helps explain why Labour are in the doldrums in Scotland.”

I haven’t seen Harris’s spoof so I can’t comment on Harris’s version but as I previously blogged the indy referendum is going to be a nasty bad tempered affair on both sides.

Tom Harris’s Downfall video spoof was his downfall, how ironic.

In this short exchange of crossfire across no man’s land there was no one killed, but Tom Harris took one in an embarrassing position.

Surgeons are expected to operate later today to remove his foot from his mouth and Labour leader Johann Lamont’s boot from his ass, Ms. Lamont is currently experiencing pain from the incident but has been assured by hospital staff that she still qualifies for jelly and ice cream afterwards since it is an NHS operation.

Rumours she will ask for seconds remain pure speculation at this time as does a claim for new footwear damaged in the line of duty. She will be unable to claim this through MSP expenses since it is a party matter.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, January 13, 2012

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine defends 'anti-Scottish' claim on BBC, Labour MP Anas Sarwar asks her, "Am I anti-Scottish?", gloves are off now!












Dear All

On the back of the warfare on independence, we have our first piece of ‘hand to hand’ fighting in the trenches.

SNP list MSP Joan McAlpine has accused the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems were being "anti-Scottish" in their attitude to the planned independence referendum.

The verbal attack happened at Holyrood on Thursday which prompted Scotland’s Maggie Thatcher, Ruth Davidson to say that the comments were "ignorant and petty" while Labour MSP Neil Findlay chipped by saying they were an "utter disgrace".

And things didn’t get any better when she went on BBC Scotland’s Call Kaye programme hosted by Kay Adams.

On that programme she stated how shocked she was by Labour MPs congratulating the Tory-led government for intervening in Scotland.

Ms McAlpine told BBC Scotland's Call Kaye programme:

"They have been lining up in cahoots with the Tories. They have been lining up to congratulate the Tories for intervening into Scottish democracy and I will let the people of Scotland draw their own conclusions from that."

Ms McAlpine, Alex Salmond's parliamentary liaison officer, added:

"The issue here is the behaviour of the anti-independence parties coming together to stop Scotland having a referendum at a time of our choosing."

Sitting with her on that programme was Scottish Labour's deputy leader Anas Sarwar who studied a dental degree at human rights abusing Glasgow University. He joined the boxing club for a period while I was a coach; he loved to talk about how rich his father was from their cash and carry business.

So, in a fiery exchange between two, Sarwar said:

"What is being questioned here is my commitment and my love of my country. The country in which I was born and brought up, the country to which my grandfather came in 1939 with nothing and made a life for himself. This is really serious."

He then said to Ms McAlpine:

"Am I anti-Scottish?"

Ms McAlpine, the SNP MSP for South of Scotland said he was trying to "personalise" her comments and she would not be drawn into that.

From now to polling day of the independence referendum, I think we can be certain that this ‘debate’ will be a fairly bad tempered and nasty affair.

I don’t think that Ms McAlpine has acquitted herself well from this incident, it looks poor and doesn't play well with the public or even with me as an SNP member.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, January 12, 2012

US Marines filmed urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan is posted online, US launches investigation, this is a wicked act of callousness












Dear All

Warfare isn’t glamorous and in combat it is a soldier’s job to kill or capture the enemy.

There are strict rules that govern the behaviour of soldiers and how they treat others by way of military regulations and the Geneva Convention.

US Marines fighting in Afghanistan are engaged in a bitter fight with the Taliban, it is an unwinnable war because there can be no final battle in this unconventional war.

A video has come to light that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta appears to show US Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghans.

Panetta says that the act is "utterly deplorable" and that a full investigation will be held to hold those accountable "to the fullest extent".

If it wasn’t for the rise of social media on a worldwide scale, such events would be unknown to us and of course we would see the denial immediately issued as standard practice.

Four US Marines in the video are seen standing over the bodies of several Taliban fighters, all dead, with at least one of whom is covered in blood.

Who shot the video remains not known.

Commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen has been ordered to investigate the incident.

Panetta said after he had seen the footage:

"I find the behaviour depicted in it utterly deplorable. This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military."

There wasn’t much else he could say, apart from the physical act, the mentality behind it does suggest that a degree of callous for human life and disrespect has set in. If US Marines are prepared to act in such a fashion, what else are they prepared to do?

The Pentagon has also responded by saying that it is checking the authenticity of the video, but there is nothing to indicate that the film is not genuine.

Panetta isn’t disputing the authenticity.

The military is now in full damage-limitation mode because such acts give rise to anti American feeling beyond the borders of Afghanistan. And with the Americans trying to draw down their military operations due to cuts, this incident may prove regretful in more ways than one.

The Americans have never recovered from Abu Ghraib and other incidents were serious abuse was inflicted on detainees.

The US has about 20,000 Marines deployed in Afghanistan, based mostly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. In total, about 90,000 US troops are on the ground in Afghanistan.
Such acts do give motivation to the Taliban to commit further acts and doesn’t win over the population to support the NATO mission.

A statement from the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Kabul said the behaviour "dishonours the sacrifices and core values of every service member representing the fifty nations of the coalition."

In an earlier statement, President Karzai's office said:

"The government of Afghanistan is deeply disturbed by a video that shows American soldiers desecrating dead bodies of three Afghans. This act by American soldiers is simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms. We expressly ask the US government to urgently investigate the video and apply the most severe punishment to anyone found guilty in this crime."

Whoever, these Marines are, they have broken military discipline and should be punished, but more than that, they should be removed from operations in Afghanistan and tried by a military court.

This is an incident that will not be forgotten and will not sit well with the population, desecrating bodies in war time is an unforgivable act.

There is no way that any damage limitation can make this better.

This makes peace talks all the more difficult for the Americans, however Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the video "is not a political process, so the video will not harm our talks and prisoner exchange because they are at the preliminary stage".

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SNP calls vote on independence, trip to the UK Supreme Court regarding referendum legality as Westminster fights back looks likely now!














Dear All

There is a line I like which goes something like this, in a court of law whoever tells the best story wins.

In the last few days the lead has been flying back and forth across the border between the Westminster and Holyrood Governments.

This is over the independence referendum which has been announced to take place provisionally in the autumn of 2014.

I have blogged that it might have been somewhere between March and June 2014, the rational for autumn is that the European election is expected mid 2014.

Either way, the independence campaign will have to run in parallel with that campaign because there is no other choice.

Mid 2014 also sees the Commonwealth Games and other activities being planned so; it is going to be a crowded schedule politically.

We now have threats of legal action from Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, so no one is prepared to budge, we can expect a trip to court at either Scottish level or UK Supreme Court level if this all goes sideways.

And I expect it to since the idea that 16 and 17 years will be given the vote,won’t fly,and will invalidate the entire referendum.

So, what would happen if this mess winds up in the UK Supreme Court as constitutional issues are reserved matters?

Then the Scottish Government will see that they are in the same position as they were in during the Cadder Case, arguing for something that they are not entitled to do.

With not a leg to stand on!

It was wrong for the Westminster Government to try and bounce the Holyrood Parliament into an early election; however this led the Scottish Government to quickly announce a date within 24 hours.

On Tuesday 25th October 2011, I wrote this post.

http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.com/2011/10/what-is-date-for-scottish-independence.html

I came within about circa a month or so, it wasn’t difficult to work out the time frame in a general sense.

In fact, it was quite easy, it only took me a few minutes to analyse this.

Alex Salmond has now moved on to speak of the three-month public consultation plan which details the process leading up to the historic vote.

The nuts and bolts of this, I will blog on when I see the material and give an opinion on that, however, the idea that 16 and 17 year olds will get the right to vote will become unstuck pretty damn quick if the SNP continues to push this.

This isn’t going to happen and be seen as a legitimate referendum vote.

Just as the Northern Ireland Assembly can be suspended, so can the Scottish Parliament and the powers transferred back to the British State.

Holyrood can be shutdown.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said:

"It is rather sad that a First Minister of Scotland keeps his plans for the constitutional future of our nation secret, doesn't tell the Scottish Parliament, but goes on TV because a debate at Westminster might keep him out of the headlines. We deserve better. This is about the future of Scotland, not the profile of Alex Salmond. This issue deserves calm consideration – not a panicked response from a panicked First Minister."

She added:

"We need to know there will be just one question, what that question is, and that the Electoral Commission will administer it. The First Minister should hold cross-party talks – including all quarters of civic Scotland – to discuss these details, including the date."

Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson said:

"Decisive action by the UK Government has forced his hand. We can discuss times and dates as part of the consultation, but the key issues for me are what is the question and who is the referee? Alex Salmond should be embracing the offer of more powers to hold a proper, real referendum. We are offering a fair, legal and decisive vote. Why wouldn't Alex Salmond want that?"

LibDem Holyrood leader Willie Rennie said:

"Announcing autumn 2014 as high-noon in the fight to protect Scotland's future as part of the UK family doesn't address the issue of ensuring the Scottish people decide the outcome, not the courts."

Fellow LibDem Sir Menzies Campbell said:

"If there are those who are so confident of the case for independence why is it they are unwilling to countenance a referendum now? Could it be the bravehearts are no longer quite so brave as they have been before?"

So, the unionist camp are on the attack now, at present it is a ‘phoney war’, if ends up in Court then all hell will break loose.

I think that we will end up at the UK Supreme Court the way things are going.

Alex Salmond said the referendum should be ‘made in Scotland, built in Scotland and run in Scotland’.

I have no problem with that but Alex Salmond and his advisors should think very carefully whether having this artificial argument is worth the damage to reputation for competence that the Scottish Government has built up.

It took years for Alex Salmond to build up the reputation of the Scottish Government as a competent government and it will takes only days to destroy it.

Once your reputation is damaged by your own hand, it is hard to get it back.

LibDem Sir Menzies Campbell said:

“Could it be the bravehearts are no longer quite so brave as they have been before?"

Brave enough in some quarters Menzies.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unrest among ‘University of Guantanemo Bay’ staff in Glasgow sees 60% of them remain unconvinced over radical reforms, what about running burger van?













Dear All

The majority have spoken at the ‘University of Guantanemo Bay’ in Glasgow run by corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli.

Human rights abusing Glasgow University is one of Scotland's oldest universities founded by a papel bull in 1453.

The year is 2012 and the bull is still there in two places, at the Vet School and out of the senior management’s mouth.

We can only hope they brush their teeth in the morning before breathing over anyone they come into contact with.

At ‘the bay’ there has been a series of measures introduced as part of a radical overhaul of its structures.

The staff have been less than impressed, in a poll at Glasgow University found some 60% were unconvinced the revamp had been beneficial.

And we should remember that corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli has already had a vote of no confidence passed against him but still he hangs about rather like a bad smell coming out of a septic tank with no chemicals in it.

After the revamp half of academics said they were unclear of what is expected of them.

Presumably work.

Last month, a report was written by Andrea Nolan who stated that officials from the university had over-reaching themselves in implementing the biggest shake-up of the institution for decades.

Big blue sky thinking is obviously a problem when not backed up with genuine genius.

An internal report by Andrea Nolan stated what everyone who has watched these characters knew that when they do something, rather than things going smoothly, it was destined to end in a f*ck up.

To replace nine academic faculties with four colleges in one year was "over-ambitious" especially in a crony ridden pit such as Glasgow University.

Tunnel vision caused the problems to be compounded due to the financial climate, which saw 264 staff hitting the bricks and leaving as the university declared that it had to save £20 million through cuts.

Add to that the continuation of a money grab scheme to attract overseas students and jack up their fees to ‘get an earner’ via 58 new mater’s degree programme.

Then came the big white elephant called mycampus, a £14 million student enrolment website which sank much like the titanic, because most of it didn’t work properly causing the staff to have a greater workload.

Then a mini ‘arab spring’ happened as the occupation of the Hetherington Research Club by students and a botched attempt to evict them hit the headlines.

Anton’s storm troopers aided by the Police raided the club and brought along a helicopter in case they needed air support, however the helicopter wasn’t armed and no one died however some students were allegedly slammed up against a wall.

Violence returned to the campus much like the bad old days of Stevenson Building run by the disgusting animal Julie Ommer and her staff thugs.

Machete in a staff locker anyone!

Perhaps Muscatelli will run with my idea that he sets up a burger van that way they can rip off the taxman much in the same way they rip off the working class.

Corrupt foreigner Anton Muscatelli Principal.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Open warfare erupts as the SNP attacks Tory/Lib Dem Coalition as poll row escalates, referendum with strings rejected by SNP












Dear All

They say that a week in politics is a long time, over the last 24 hours the independence referendum has become a hot potato in the UK.

David Cameron's Cabinet colleagues last night began openly hinting they would call their own vote.

They want Alex Salmond to accept their proposals on how the referendum is conducted however it is expected that the First Minister will rejected their proposal for conditions outright.

The stick that the UK Government is using to beat the nationalist government is that the uncertainty is damaging the Scottish economy.

Transfer of total sovereignty isn’t really an issue as major businesses have set up shop in Scotland and will continue to do so.

One of the UK Government conditions to their offer is that there will be a ban on under-18s voting.

This idea for 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to take part was never a serious prospect that Westminster would allow in my opinion, it was fantasy politics.

Alex Salmond’s call for 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to take part wouldn’t even get out of the starting gate nevermind take part in the race.

Michael Moore, the LibDem Scottish Secretary is to speak at Westminster today to tell MPs that it is right to attach strings to both the timing of the vote and the question asked.

A Scottish Office spokesman said:

"The statement will be about how the UK Government can facilitate a legal, fair and decisive referendum."

Fighting back the Scottish Government insisted yesterday that only it had the mandate to call an independence vote.

They won the Scottish election, however there are two governments in Scotland and only the Westminster Government has the legal authority regarding the referendum, not Holyrood.

And that is the problem.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the party would stick to its guns and hold the poll in the second half of the current Holyrood parliament.

As I previously blogged that would mean mid 2014 in order to prepare the ground for a Westminster campaign in the event of a no vote!

Giving interviews yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said that there was a body of opinion which favours a question on extra powers for Holyrood and the so called devo-max option which no one has twigged is unworkable.

Devo-max requires a Westminster Bill and that requires Westminster MPs to vote through this proposal, which I suspect wouldn’t happen.

Devo-max requires English MPs to dance to a Scottish Jig, much in the same way as the tail wagging the dog concept.

There are only 6 SNP Westminster MPs.

Devo-max isn’t going anywhere; it is a pipedream, pure fantasy politics, much like a consolation prize, it is a stop gap if things don’t work out to salvage something if the independence vote fails.

The only people in politics talking devo-max are the SNP within the context of the independence referendum, when challenged which other party supported this question Nicola Sturgeon was forced onto the back foot repeatedly by saying that other parties’ views change daily.

In the context of the referendum, all UK parties are of the same mind; they want one question and one question only and don’t want the water muddied by the second question on devo-max.

I don’t see their position changing and giving the SNP two bites at the cherry, its all or nothing as far as they are concerned.

The fight will continue because no one is willing to give an inch.

If the SNP decide to go ahead with allowing 16 and 17-year-olds being allowed to take part in the vote, then there exists the possibility that Westminster Government will not recognise the result or go further and block the referendum on technical grounds via a Scottish Court.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 9, 2012

Prime MInister David Cameron fires off a broadside and challenge to Alex Salmond over referendum, he wants vote to be "legal, fair and decisive"














Dear All

The Unionists are on the ‘warpath’, so it seems, with David Cameron throwing down the gauntlet to Alex Salmond.

Cameron is looking for a quick referendum because he thinks that this will ensure the continuation of the United Kingdom.

In the last parliament, the SNP said that they would have a referendum during the course of that Parliament; they abandoned it because they didn’t have the numbers.

Even if they could have got it through, it would have been the wrong time because I have always believed that two full terms must be served in order to show competence and they would have lost it under the political landscape in Scotland at that time.

After the landslide victory of the SNP in May 2011, they pledged again to hold it in the latter half of the second term.

And they have the numbers to push it through Holyrood.

However, the referendum has a number of issues connected to it, of a legal nature that needs to be addressed before anyone can start talking about what the question might be.

Cameron wants Alex Salmond to accept an offer from Westminster that would enable Holyrood to hold a legally binding referendum on Scottish independence but there is a catch, he wants the offer to be time-limited.

The poll would have to be held before August 2013.

This would be about a year or 15 months of campaigning with activists expected to work two elections back to back.

And there are several problems with that, namely that there is lack of knowledge and personnel to get the message out at a local level in a manner that is direct and personal to the voters.

The referendum is a ‘special’ politically; it requires a different approach than the run of the mill campaigns.

In Pollok Constituency, on average circa 6 activists generally turn out to service a population of 60,000.

So, each activist would have to contact 10,000 people and speak to them. On average an SNP Activist on a workday of 2 hours would deliver in the region of 200 leaflets and as we know, 98% of unsolicited mail just gets chucked straight into the bin.

So, for 2 hours work plus travelling time which is an hour each side of the work day, the activist has delivered one leaflet per hour that is read.

Plus the SNP has decided to have a membership drive, seems fine in principle, I even wrote about this prior to the SNP announcement away back in July 2010 and how that should be done.

Where are the people going to come from to do that work?

And since this is effectively a sales pitch, how can people sell an SNP Membership when the members haven’t had any sales training?

Also if they ‘sell’ a membership what are they offering as an incentive to join?

Unfortunately the SNP like many political parties hasn’t evolved to offer enough options for members to take up.

I also wrote about that previously and raised the issue with Nicola Sturgeon that Glasgow needs its own stand alone training hub.

Unfortunately that idea was one of a number of ideas for a new type of SNP which offers the members more than they currently get, not taken up.

I wanted to see install a learning culture at branch level, but was met by such a hostile reaction to my idea, apparently dumb and ignorant is more preferably which probably explains why there so few people are willing to be SNP Activists in branches as a percentage of the total branch membership.

‘Not my problem anymore’.

To return to Cameron, he says that if Alex Salmond fails to take up his offer, then Westminster will seize the initiative and hold its own referendum.

I think this idea was always on the table by the unionists.

I previously blogged the earliest that independence referendum could be held was mid 2014 allowing the SNP an 18 month campaign which might have a realistic chance of success.

If the unionists timetable is pushed through, then the current Council Campaign would have to be effectively abandoned and given lip service in favour of the independence campaign which would have to come to the fore.

So, what should Alex Salmond do?

Well, issue a statement that the Scottish Government wouldn’t be threatened and make plans if it all goes sideways and they are forced into an early referendum.

A recent poll of 500 Scots, conducted by Ipsos Mori for the new think-tank BritishFuture puts support in Scotland for independence at 29%.

17% were don't-knows.

One poll isn’t enough as support for anything and anyone is always volatile, however 54% of people want the nation to remain part of the UK.

In 2010, during the Westminster election the SNP went into that election with 7 MPs, they finished with 6. Alex Salmond was predicting the possibility of somewhere in the region of 20.

Not a single new MP was delivered, which begs the question why isn’t the SNP seen as a credible force at the ‘big boys house’ of Westminster?

Cameron was blunt when he said:

"It's very unfair on the Scottish people themselves, who don't really know when this question is going to be asked, what the question is going to be, who's responsible for asking it. We owe the Scottish people something that is fair, legal and decisive."

At present, the SNP think they are playing a carefully crafted game by saying: ‘we aren’t telling you when we are having the referendum’.

Personally, I don’t think this is clever, if they had gone with my date of June 2014 then everyone would be better off and Cameron wouldn’t have oxygen to threaten.

There are many in the SNP who need to learn that there is a difference to being clever and thinking you’re clever.

I would suspect that Cameron’s threat is laying the ground work for what will be a series of future legal challenges on the question and other aspects of the referendum by others.

And we should not forget that Westminster, as the constitutional authority are the only people who can hold a legally binding poll but Westminster has the power to alter the Scotland Bill to allow such a referendum to take place.

That may come with a time limit because the unionists know no party has finite resources or personnel available for an active campaign.

There might be a majority in Holyrood for the SNP, but in Westminster it is 6 in a sea of 650.

So,we should name the day and start to close down avenues, it is called being proactive to solve problems before they occur.

Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Labour MP Thomas Docherty challenges SNP on navy under independence, Labour wants a pledge to an aircraft carrier, have IQ’s dropped sharply recently?











Dear All

In Scotland some people are called ‘Bams’.

A ‘bam’ is an idiot who has no awareness of what is going on around him or her.

Bams come in many shapes and sizes; the Labour Party is littered with them as are other political parties.

Thomas Docherty is a Labour MP, that doesn't auomatically make him a ‘bam’; he is a self made man however.

His latest outrageous piece of nonsense is to challenge the SNP to commit to the retention of an aircraft carrier in an independent Scotland.

You have to read this request a few times, because of the enormity of the stupidity behind it.

An independent Scotland, a country of 5 million people with an aircraft carrier!

If independence is achieved, initially there will be an army, navy and air force in the transition phase.

Then comes the first defence review which will see a complete overhaul, my preferred option is that there will be two services, a navy and a combined air force and army.

Although the command structure of the military will be kept, it will need to be developed if a two service approach is considered.

I would also envisage in the short term that Sandhurst would probably be used to train officers of the Scottish Armed Forces, possibly in the future there may be an Officers Training School.

Early on, it would be best to draw on the experience already in place.

As to active service, I would imagine that both Nato and UN Peacekeeping Forces would provide that essential operating experience so critical for a standing military.

However, foreign adventures such as those untaken by the British Government would be ruled out, due to cost and possibly ethics.

To return to Mr. Docherty’s proposal that an independent Scotland needs an aircraft carrier, what for?

Fishery protection duties, oil field protection or warning off Russian aircraft entering Scottish airspace?

Maybe Docherty wants an aircraft carrier so that the Labour Party in Scotland can use it for cruising and aircraft flights for the kiddies.

There is no need for an aircraft carrier because Scotland wouldn’t be seeking territory beyond its borders.

The navy wouldn’t be large in any case, Scotland would have to be a member of NATO, although there has been talk of other alliances by some in the SNP but lets us not kid ourselves; membership of NATO isn’t an option to be ignored.

How would I reply to a Nordic defence alliance instead of NATO?

By saying ‘fuck off and grow up’!

If we want to be serious contenders for independence then we have to affirm that we will join NATO and commit to it before an independence vote.

Thomas Docherty is the MP for the Dunfermline and West Fife seat which includes the Rosyth dockyard.

This facilty employs more than 1500 skilled workers, whether in a post independence world the Westminster Government would use Rosyth isn’t certain, however, it would be to the mutual advantage of both governments not to cut their noses off to spite their face.

However, economically, we shouldn't live in hope, and assume and plan for the worst, the loss of contracts, independence isn’t going to be a ‘fun’ event of balloons, champagne popping and highland dancing.

Some people and businesses are going to be under pressure, some may go to the wall.

Anyway, Docherty has asked SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson to back a similar pledge on the aircraft carrier.

Robertson can’t do it and mean it, he might as well pledge a space shuttle and mission to Mars.

Docherty said:

“The lack of detail on the size, shape or type of navy that a separate Scotland would have is causing a great deal of anxiety locally and it is time the SNP came clean. There is no doubt that the loss of the carriers would have a devastating impact and the SNP has a responsibility to make people aware of the full consequences of separation.”

The SNP if it is to win an independence vote has to spell out in great detail how an independent Scotland would look, soundbytes, spin and vague promises aren’t enough, so far these difficult questions haven’t been addressed or even answered.

It isn’t convincing to say to people just vote yes and we will sort it out later, not when people’s personal lives will be affected by this vote.

Is there a blueprint for a new Scotland?

As an SNP Member I haven’t seen it or haven’t a clue if it even exists, if this work hasn’t been done, then it is highly unlikely that an independence vote will be successful.

Independence can only be won on detail.

It can’t be won by spin or ‘Alex Salmond for First Minister’ because this isn’t a vote about a personality, it is much bigger than any individual person; people will look beyond that.

If Docherty wants an aircraft carrier pledge he can whistle because he isn’t getting one and if anyone commits to building one for a Scottish Navy then they are a fool who are patently incapable of holding public office were big decisions are required.

Thomas Docherty is a ‘bam’; he should play his silly little political games elsewhere and should not be indulged.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University