Friday, March 30, 2012

George Galloway pulls off the most incredible result in the Bradford West by-election, he secures a win and a 10k majority, it’s the stuff of legend!












Dear All

To quote a famous line:

“I don’t believe it”!

But it is true; George Galloway is celebrating a dramatic victory in the Bradford West by-election.

The result is mind blowing, after Galloway secured a 10,000-plus majority.

It seems the political class has a problem, all of the political class.

Politics at one time was about helping people, somewhere along the line, it became something rather different, it became about self interest, serving big business and careerist in nature.

People are waking up to the fact that politics is run by main stream parties by a middle class clique.

The result is unbelievable but more than that, the majority is incredible.

Galloway says this result highlights the "massive rejection" of mainstream parties.

Can this be the start of people in Britain voting for effectively independent candidates?

Not enough evidence to say yes, but it must be a concern for mainstream parties.

Galloway's party, Respect, swept from fifth place at the 2010 general election, to victory on a swing of 36.59%.

F*cking hell!!!

Galloway is a real politician known as a great speaker and debater, formerly of the Labour Party; he has pulled off some stunning results in his career, including sticking it to Blairite careerist Oona King.

A result I enjoyed in its Portilloesque magnitude.

Galloway has described this as "the most sensational result in British by-election history bar none" after being declared the victor with well over half the total votes.

For the Labour Party, who were picking up by-election seats like confetti from the Tories, this is a serious blow for Labour which entered polling day as overwhelming favourite.

If they can’t pull a win like this out of the bag when the Tory/ Lib Dem Government are on the ropes, it shows their selection process is wrong.

The middle class candidate isn’t always the best candidate.

Labour Party sources pointed to a massive slump in the Conservative vote as evidence of the Government's unpopularity but what’s the upside when equally Labour are just as unpopular?

The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit, no surprise there; Clegg has destroyed the party by going into coalition.

The reasoning of a ‘unity’ government doesn’t wash with the public; this was all about Clegg’s middle class greed and ambition.

He has sunk the careers of many people by his stupidity.

If I was Clegg, I would walk out on the coalition but then I wouldn’t have made the mistake of going into it in the first place.

The defeat focuses the spotlight back on the leadership of Ed Miliband.

He is seen as a weak leader politically and personally.

Galloway won 18,341 votes to the 8,201 for Labour candidate Imran Hussain.

This is a significant event in political history, do the British people realise that by voting for independent candidates that they can effectively take back their democracy?

I hope so, mainstream political parties aren’t about helping the people; they are about pushing their own personal agendas out with mainstream public concerns.

In Scotland, there is a possibility of many councils being hung, Glasgow a key area is in flux, no party may hold overall majority after May’s election. The balance of power could be in either minority parties or independents.

Democracy would be better served if more independents or minority were elected to effectively do the job of oversight that elected bodies sometimes ignore.

But for George Galloway, this result is incredible, when you thought his career was over, he has done it again.

This is right up there with his Oona King win, possibly better since he was very much an underdog.

We could do with more underdogs in politics fighting for the people.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FM Alex Salmond reported to Standards Watchdog by Labour Party over the ‘Edinburgh Tea Party’, dullard MSP has trouble 'brewing' complaint properly













Dear All

A political game has started; First Minister Alex Salmond has been referred to the standards watchdog.

The reason is the meeting with SNP donors at his official residence just days before they handed £1 million to the party.

Since the visit was not officially recorded and no minutes were taken, it has given the Labour Party an opening to paint the First Minister as somehow sleazy.

Cash for tea isn’t a real prospect as a complaint.

Labour parliamentary business manager Paul Martin who isn’t the sharpest tack in the box and a few sandwiches short of a picnic has fired off a complaint.

Martin is rolling with Salmond allegedly breached rules relating to separation of ministerial and constituency roles, the use of public resources for party political purposes and a duty to record formal meetings.

Can’t see that floating, the Weirs don’t live in his constituency, Salmond can invite anyone he wants for a cup of tea in his own home and there is no need to record informal meetings just because they happen to be in Bute House.

So, Martin’s on to plums.

Martin cites the code which states:

“Government property should not generally be used for constituency work or party activities. A particular exception is recognised where a building has been designated as the First Minister’s official residence. Where ministers host party or personal events in the First Minister’s official residence, it should be at their own or at party expense, with no cost falling on the public purse.”

Has Martin any evidence to support his claim?

No!

But having no evidence hasn’t stopped him putting the boot in to Salmond, there is an election and it helps to paint the Leader of the opposition as sleazy.

So, Martin has written to Dame Elish Angiolini, independent adviser on the Scottish ministerial code, to investigate his complaints.

Angiolini isn’t going to find anyone who is First Minister guilt of anything.

Martin added:

“It is not befitting of someone holding the office of First Minister to chase after lottery winners and hold tea parties for them at his official residence in a bid to secure donors for his separation campaign. This is a party which auctioned off lunches with the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament to raise campaign funds and changed its policy on bus regulation at the first sign of a cheque from Brian Souter. It is hypocritical of the First Minister to attack David Cameron for abusing his office for party purposes, yet does not see anything wrong when he does the same.”

Given Weir was once an SNP Candidate and Salmond knew him, the personal aspect of their friendship comes into play.

In political terms the Martin compliant is just muck raking but in politics that is how the ‘game’ is played by some.

The timing of the complaint in the run up to the council election is not unusual because it is all about getting an idea across that the First Minister is sleazy and untrustworthy.

Bute House is his residence, he can invite anyone he likes, and the Labour Party hasn’t a leg to stand on.

Don’t you just love electioneering?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

‘Vote Gail Sheridan’ says Tommy as his wife throws her hat into the ring for the Glasgow Council election in Craigton, Girl Power returns?













Dear All

Gail Sheridan, the wife of recently paroled former MSP Tommy Sheridan has thrown her hat into the ring and revealed she is to stand for election to Glasgow City Council.

It was expected.

Gail will stand for her husband’s Solidarity party on an anti-cuts programme.

The Ward she has chosen to stand in is the Craigton ward where the couple already live with their daughter Gabrielle.

The area is generally rock solid Labour but if she gets her act together she might squeeze through and get a win. The SNP is sticking up two candidates but the area isn’t an area where the SNP do well.

The Labour Councillor is Alastair Watson of the SPT fame who has a track record. I would expect him to get back.

That leaves three seats up for grabs, generally the SNP can expect to get one as well, whether they can get two depends on other factors out with their control.

Gail has already stood for election in her local area before and came within only a few hundred votes of winning a seat.

Although she has a brand name when nearly 99% of the other candidates don’t, her chances of success will depend on how she connects with the voters.

Does Solidarity have the policies to be credible?

Having a high profile candidate can sometimes mean a better service for voters, most candidates people in this election will never have heard of, and afterwards probably will never heard from again, at least for another five years.

Gail Sheridan said:

“It may not be the done thing at competitive elections but I have worked alongside some of the local councillors here for many years and respect their work and commitment. I hope to join them in fighting for the area and not replace them. Under the new electoral system, four councillors are elected. I hope to be one of them. I’ve never served on the council but I will learn fast, and Tommy was a councillor for eleven years so he can also teach me the basics. I will be a hard-working and caring councillor. I hope the people of Cardonald and Craigton will give me a chance.”

What has Mrs Sheridan got going for her?

Well she is loyal, you have to give her that, she gets on well with the voters, she has personality and charisma; she is able to talk on her feet but is slightly inexperienced.

However having seen some councillors close up in the SNP, I don’t see her having a problem learning the ropes.

On the plus side as I said Gail Sheridan has been a steadfast supporter of her husband who has vowed to continue the fight to clear his name after being found guilty of lying under oath.
Personally, I think his campaign is madness but it’s his nickel.

Meanwhile, yesterday saw a ninth Glasgow Labour councillor has resigned from the ruling party.

Councillor Ellen Hurcombe, who represents Canal ward, has joined breakaway party Glasgow First.

She joins her other former Labour colleagues who resigned after being deselected by the party for the forthcoming elections. Glasgow First is an interesting group who may hold the balance of power if their candidates, some of whom were treated unfairly retain a personal vote about the electorate.

I have to say as an outsider on this election, I do hope Mrs Sheridan does well. It would be interesting to see how her campaign does which is probably a toe in the water for her husband standing again for Holyrood.

However, he would be wiser to pick another seat other than Pollok, with the Labour leader Johann Lamont holding Pollok; it is a seat that is unwinnable for every other party.

To take her out requires a special campaign which currently no party operating in the area is capable of doing.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Italy gets tough with foreign terrorists as they simply ignore Euro judges deport fanatics back to their own country, Britain should follow suit













Dear All

Human rights are a good thing, but problems arise when human rights are used to escape justice.

When a person has human rights they also have human responsibilities, human rights a frame work on how to live decently in society.

Terrorists and their supporters use human rights as a barrier and as such we have seen terrorists and their sympathisers being unable to deport them from the UK.

It is that human rights legislation is wrong; it is because we don’t have better judges.

In the main; Terrorists et al have used Article 8 as a loophole.

ARTICLE 8;

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Under Article 8.2, we have the grounds to deport foreign nationals that we deem are a threat to the people of this country.

But for years, successive governments have insisted that extremist preacher Abu Qatada cannot be kicked out of Britain, claiming it would breach his human rights.

That is not true.

Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights admitted it is effectively powerless to intervene in the case of a convicted terrorist deported by the Italians.

The Strasbourg court however has ordered that compensation be paid to Mohamed Mannai, who was sent home to Tunisia in 2010 in breach of a court order.

I think we can all live with that, but it also reinforces my point that I recently blogged on that human rights needs to be revisited and enhanced.

A spokesman for the Strasbourg Court said:

“Once the applicant has been deported there is nothing much we can do because he is in Tunisia, a country that is not part of the European Court of Human Rights.”

Extremist preacher Abu Qatada who resides in Britain should be deported; he represents a threat to our society and should be removed. Although the right to liberty is recognised in human rights, even human rights campaigners recognise that people if convicted can be locked, there are exceptions to the rule.

In the case of extremist preacher Abu Qatada, we aren’t talking about deporting someone on the basis of we don’t like him, that would be wrong and highly unethical, no, Qatada is a hatemonger.

The Government has argued the radical Islamist was described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe cannot be removed to his home country of Jordan because of an ECHR judgment.

It is time to take a leaf out of the Italians handbook, deporting terrorists and those who are a danger sends out a strong message, if you play by the rules then you will be treated fairly, if you do not then you will be deported and no excuses will be accepted.

The English Court’s judges said Qatada could not hope to receive a fair trial if deported because it would likely be based on evidence obtained by torture. This isn’t a fact but it does show how perverted justice has become, judgment must be based solely on evidence, not subjective opinion which has no basis in fact.

Clairvoyance has no legal basis in law.

Dominic Raab, Tory MP for Esher and Walton, said:

“The Italian and French governments have a track record of ignoring Strasbourg in deportation cases where there is a risk of torture with precious little consequence. In the Qatada case, Strasbourg went well beyond existing human rights law. Having bent over backwards to accommodate this flawed ruling, we now need to put him on a flight to Jordan without delay.”

Being a Tory, we can only speculate if he understands human rights, as Tories generally aren’t open to reason where political opportunism is concerned.

In the case of Mohamed Mannai, he was jailed for five years and four months in October 2006 after he and two other men, thought to be linked to radical group Ansar al-Islam, were convicted on terror charges.

Police said the cell planned attacks in Italy and brainwashed recruits to act as suicide bombers.

After Mannai’s conviction, the Milan court said he should be deported at the end of his sentence.

The ECHR ordered Italy to block the deportation while it considered if sending him home would breach his human rights.

However the Italians rightly defied this order and within months of finishing his sentence, Mannai had been put on a plane back to Tunisia.

Mannai is the sole person responsible for his deportation.

The Council of Europe has written to the Italian government, saying it is ‘deeply concerned’ by its actions, but questions need to be asked of The Council for Europe. Mannai is clearly a threat; he planned murder of innocents and would probably do so again.

The risk allowing him to stay was too great.
This isn’t the first time that Italy has taken this move; similar steps were taken in June 2008 when convicted terrorist Ben Khemais was also sent back to Tunisia.

At present for political reasons at home, the Home Secretary is currently negotiating with the Jordanian government to get assurances that Qatada would be given a fair trial.

It is not the sphere of Britain to be judge of the judiciary of another country.

We have a weak political class because of the racism tag that is allowed to run through Britain; used by political parties and certain groups to target people and politicians for their advantage.

Extremist preacher Abu Qatada represents a continual threat to people in Britain from all walks of life and religions.

He should be deported and everyone who thinks that Britain is a safe haven for terrorists should get a wake up call, you won’t be escaping justice.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Labour Party says higher ed cuts are 'SNP's legacy to students', SNP Gov paralysed over indy need to start reforms now, the task of second SNP term















Dear All

Being in Government isn’t easy but it helps if you have vision and the ability to plan.

The SNP Government has done well in certain regards, but it is now entering a time where they will be forced to make hard choices.

What does that mean?

It means that the SNP will be making choices; who will lose out under their administration?

The days of the easy ride are drawing to a close.

Higher education like justice isn’t a flagship policy; it is another area where the SNP struggle to have a competent policy.

Tinkering with the edges has led to crisis.

Money has been cut by Westminster and shit travels downhill in the main, Westminster cuts Holyrood, Holyrood cuts Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Funding Council cuts College funding.

And the ordinary working class Scots lose out.

But there is a way to fix this, not the Mike Russell way, the George Laird way.

Major overhaul, split the Scottish Funding Council into two distinct bodies, next slim down the university sector, transfer entire department and courses to colleges.

Expand the college sector which has a better ratio of cash to student per head.

Set a review of higher education research, the black hole in universities to weed out crap research and where necessary shut down these unproductive departments.

As the full impact of not doing reform hits, the Scottish Government has been accused of letting down students.

Half of colleges have cut courses.

Whose fault is that?

It is the fault of the SNP Government, just as the SNP basks in the good times, the rain has now started for them, monsoon season is coming and instead of planning for the worst, the SNP haven’t even bought an umbrella.

The Labour Party has revealed that 23 out of 38 colleges who responded to a freedom of information (FoI) request have cut courses in 2011/12.

That number will rise; we are entering a time where independence isn’t the issue of this parliament but local government reform.

Every day that this is delayed by the SNP in favour of spinning and talking about indy, is a wasted opportunity.

Alex Salmond and his government are like a group appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, they want to keep singing the same song repetitively.

After a while people will tune out, spin cannot replace substance and independence is all about substance.

Spin is something that the cronies around Salmond and Sturgeon have in great supply but when it comes to substance they are pretty much Scotland’s Not Got Talent.

We should see more of that in the public domain soon enough.

People want to know why their sons and daughters can’t get a higher education, bleeting its free isn’t any comfort if you can’t get in.

In highlight the problem, the Labour Party found out that in the previous year the teaching budget to colleges was reduced by 10.4% as part of wider public funding cuts.

At that point, a major review should have been commissioned and wasn’t, no one is willing to do the work and importantly no one knows what to do.

Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour's education spokesman, said the cuts were the SNP's "legacy to students".

Henry added:

"Given the sustained damage to college budgets from the SNP Government, it is inevitable that colleges would have to cut courses and it leaves students with fewer options. Given the forced mergers we are seeing all over Scotland, this raises serious questions about access to education if courses are being centralised away from local colleges. It has never been harder for young people to get work and colleges have an important role in giving them the skills they need to get into a tough labour market."

The forced mergers plan is a run on from Scottish National Police Force idea, however in this case; the SNP wrongly thought this was the way forward.

Academic ignorance and a red flag of the problems that sit directly behind Salmond regarding talent!

Some have it, but many more certainly don’t.

The FoI request by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) also flagged up 541 academic staff took voluntary redundancy in 2011/12 and 51 were forced out by compulsory redundancy.

David Besley, EIS, said the responses showed the adverse effects of the 10.4% cut.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said:

"From 2007 until the end of the spending review period we will have invested £4.7 billion in colleges, 40% more than in 1999-2007."

Can’t get justice in Scotland under the Scottish Government, can’t get an education in Scotland under the Scottish Government.

Alex Salmond is in danger of finding that far from delivering independence; he is actually working his way towards the return of a Labour administration in Holyrood in 2016.

The SNP Government should be solving people’s problems but instead are stuck paralysed because of the independence referendum.

When exactly will the SNP learn from their mistakes?

Alex of the 1,000 days is running out of spin!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fresh calls for Lockerbie public inquiry after leaked SCCRC report; Justice Sec Kenny MacAskill says no concerns about Crown Office, major blunder!












Dear All

When Al Megrahi was released, the Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said he had no doubt about the conviction of the Lockerbie Bomber.

Several others had.

Justice is one of the weakest portfolios in the SNP Government, if a major mistake is going to happen, the first question isn't where, but what has gone wrong in justice this time.

Many people think the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was unsafe and warranted a public inquiry.

It is a running sore that the SNP Government cannot close.

No justice means no independence and while questions remain about the integrity of Scottish justice, the independence referendum is already lost.

Autumn 2014 will probably not be an event that has historic significance unless the SNP fix many major problems in Scottish society.

So far, they don’t have the political will, the ideas, the vision or interest. The SNP is going on ‘intellectual lite’.

‘Intellectual lite’ isn’t going to win independence.

So, here is a new date for a referendum for Scottish independence autumn 2018.

Back to Megrahi, there are fresh calls for an inquiry into the Crown Office handling of the Lockerbie bombing trial.

The SNP make a major mistake in justice, several to be precise, they appointed Kenny MacAskill, when they found out he was capable, they kept him on and he prompted jumped into bed to be a Crown Office stooge.

In the SNP’s rush to be the ‘new establishment’, there wasn’t the appetite to run justice properly.

The job of the Justice Minister isn’t to be up the arse of the Crown Office, the role is to be impartial. To see that justice is protected not the Crown Office; somewhere along the line MacAskill confused the two.

After the shameful attempt to deny ordinary Scots justice and human rights, the Justice Minister reaffirmed his commitment to human rights.

This begs the question why was he trying to deny it in the first place?

Kenny MacAskill believes in human rights, I take that with a pinch of salt and the contempt it deserves.

Ironically First Minister Alex Salmond has praised the Sunday Herald for publishing the full 800-page report by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates potential miscarriages of justice, on the heraldscotland.com website.

A report that they leaked in the public interest, with wasn’t obtained legally but leaked.

No one is coming after the Sunday Herald but rather they will get behind it because everyone wants to be seen as standing up for the principle of Scottish justice, even if they don’t.

The publication puts firmly the case for a new appeal in the name of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.

This appeal is needed.

Gerard Sinclair, the SCCRC's chief executive, said:

"The commission has always been willing to allow for publication of the outcome of our inquiries into Mr Megrahi's conviction."

However, the Crown Office said some actions of those fighting to clear Megrahi were "to be deplored" while insisting they have "every confidence" of defending the conviction in the event of an appeal”.

Evidence was withheld and witnesses paid.

How in anyway is this acceptable to the Crown Office?

Alex Salmond said:

"I welcome the publication in full of this report, which is something the Scottish Government has been doing everything in our powers to facilitate."

Is that right Alex, you have been doing everything?

So, why did it have to be leaked?

The First Minister added:

"This report provides valuable information, from an independent body acting without fear or favour, and while we cannot expect it to resolve all the issues, it does however lay the basis for narrowing the areas of dispute and in many ways is far more comprehensive than any inquiry could ever hope to be."

Prejudging?

I think we can take that as a no to a public inquiry into the Crown Office and their staff, still protecting the establishment at the expense of the public.

Holyrood Justice Committee convener Christine Grahame said:

"There are allegations in the report that the Crown Office withheld crucial evidence that might have been substantive evidence to assist the defence. Where we have an allegation, I would wish the Crown to be able to establish that this is unfounded."

The reason the Labour Party is out on the street is that they operated in the same way as the SNP are doing. People got sick of them and turned on them, the SNP are heading in the same direction.

One day Alex Salmond will be leaving Bute House and he might find it will be a long time before the SNP set foot back in it as a Government.

It takes a pebble to start an avalanche and a drop of water to start a tsunami, the tipping point for the SNP is growing, and when the slide starts, no Alex Salmond for First Minister will stop it.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tories finish their conference in Troon as they suffer a major poll slump, Ruth Davidson bids to rally troops, Tory leader is not good enough















Dear All

The Scottish Conservatives have just finished their conference in Troon, like the other political parties it is staged managed to show ‘unity’ sometimes where none exists.

Anyway, bad news travels fast as the Tories have slumped to eight points behind Labour in the aftermath of the Budget.

In Scotland, the Tory leader is Ruth Davidson, was described by the late Paul McBride as ‘someone not so nice’.

As conference unfolded, there was a speech by Prime Minister David Cameron who delivered a tough wake-up call to Scottish Tories.

Get up and fight, the usual rhetoric you expect, as party leaders try and put across they have the backing of the people and will get things done.

And as we see from the budget, getting things done is helping the rich.

The party faithful of a dying entity arrived in Troon for the Scottish conference on Friday to the blast of the mainstream media who are running with the granny tax fiasco, even the ones who ‘like’ them turned hostile.

The latest opinion poll sees Labour on 39%, the Conservatives on 31%, and the Liberal Democrats stuck on 11%.

Cold comfort for the Lib Dems who are just three points ahead of UKIP bunch!

One thing Cameron made clear is his impatience with the lack of progress north of the Border.

Tory policy is shit.

Shit don’t sell, Tories don’t grasp that concept.

Anyway Cameron tells party representatives to end the "hand-wringing" and get out and capture the centre-right vote.

Analysis; a bunch of horrible people with bad policies, who want to keep the working class down, don’t get votes, to be expected.

The conference is all about trying to boost the new Scottish leader Ruth Davidson as she tries to build bridges to boost morale.

Ruth Davidson, ‘someone not so nice’.

Enough said.

Stupidity the Tories have thought because Davidson has presenting skills she is a leader of men.

No, no, no!

She is publicly unelectable.
At present the Tories are doing internal party reforms and a promised new logo to replace the UK tree symbol.

Who gives a shit?

Cameron is banging on about centre right, but the Tories need to go centre left with ideas so radical that people actually stop and say, what’s that again?

Davidson says her party's goal is to "reclaim our place as the voice, and party of choice, for mainstream Scotland".

Never in a million years under the status quo as it exists.

A group including MEP Struan Stevenson, former Scotland Office Minister Jamie Lindsay, MSP John Lamont and Edinburgh businessman Iain McGill, will lead "the broadest review" of Tory policies since devolution.

And that review will fail; this group has no real reality with the lives of ordinary Scots.

Deputy leader Jackson Carlaw is leading a consultation on future grassroots party structure, and a review of candidate selection.

Which means what exactly?

The right candidate is someone who is in the clique?

Regarding the referendum Davidson used much of her speech to the conference in Ayrshire to make the case for the Union.

She told delegates:

"When it comes to the very future of the country I love, I will not falter. As Conservatives, where we need to lead, we will lead. Where we need to join, we will join. And where we need to fight, we will not be found wanting."

Not wanted!

Davidson said of the No vote:

"Today we stand on the brink of history. The world is watching, this is our cause and we will not be found wanting. We will add our sound to the millions of voices declaring as one: A strong Scotland in a strong Britain. Together for good."

Scottish Tories are about as appealing as SSP or Solidarity.

So, Council elections, traditional Tories don’t do well, any upward movement will be seen as a breakthrough but since they are bouncing along the bottom, they can’t really sink much worse.

In Glasgow, there is one Tory Councillor, after the election I don’t see a raft of new Tories entering Glasgow Council.

Because they have nothing to say to ordinary working class people!

And Ruth Davidson has nothing of interest to say to wider Scotland.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, March 23, 2012

World exclusive, Glasgow Labour ups it's game with pledge to tackle dinosaur poo on city streets, shovel ready project to be rolled out?

Labour leader Johann Lamont ambushes Alex Salmond at the pass, over NHS Scotland failures over the care of patients at FMQs, totally shredded!












Dear All

In the political battles in Holyrood Alex Salmond and the SNP generally have an easy ride, yesterday; the First Minister was ‘ambushed at the pass’ as Labour leader Johann Lamont press home an attack.

The ambush happened in what is seen as Alex Salmond’s domain and the graveyard of Labour politicians, FMQs.

Johann Lamont stood up at question time and let rip about SNP failure in the NHS seen as the Crown jewel of the SNP Government.

In his usual, ‘can’t touch this’ moment of batting away and dismissed claims of Labour politicians, he went on the attack.

But he was lured into a trap about exchanges about nurse numbers and other health statistics, Ms Lamont threw a punch by confronted the First Minister about people suffering in the NHS by lying in beds without blankets.

She said:

"Does the First Minister realise it's not enough just to say you are protecting the NHS, you actually have to do it?"

Typically Alex Salmond he cited high satisfaction of the NHS in Scotland and saying Labour's health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie had been forced to withdraw and apologise for previous "scare stories" on shortage of blankets across Greater Glasgow Health Board.

He had to look in horror as the Labour leader pointed two such patients in the public gallery at Holyrood who were victims.

Game, set and match Johann Lamont.

After FMQs, Alex Salmond abruptly changed his schedule to meet the pensioners in a damage limitation exercise.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon then both apologised "for their individual experience and the lack of blankets during their stays" in hospital.

Is this the new tactic of Labour leader Johann Lamont?

Bring victims of SNP failure to Holyrood, put them in the gallery and pin them to Alex Salmond?

One of the victims was 92-year-old Helen Macbeth who lay "frozen" in her bed at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.

How can staff be unable to find her a blanket in a public funded hospital?

In the end her family brought in her own blankets for the next three days.

Another exocet missile was the case of great-grand-father Jack Barr, 64, who spent three nights in the same hospital "with only his towel to keep him warm.

As trap was set, Johann Lamont said:

"If the First Minister won't believe me, why doesn't he come and meet Mr Barr and Mrs Macbeth in my office after this session and explain that we don't have a problem with the NHS?"

It was classic politics.

It also highlights what I have been saying about the Scottish Government that Ministers needs two deputies in all departments specifically tasked to oversight. If such a thing was in place, then such problems could be dealt with at operational levels.

Because review would always be constant, and perhaps the Scottish Government should consider a helpline for patients and family members that fast track such problems.

Alex Salmond was ambushed at the pass, and it was a bad one.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Minister Alex Salmond runs up the white flag over the Scotland Bill, total surrender as unionists swamped by SNP ‘prisoners’ send them home













Dear All

The SNP were pretty clear that the Scotland Bill was a bad bill and didn’t go far and was unfit for purpose.

Yesterday under the cover of the UK Budget, the Scottish National Party surrendered, gave up the fight, threw in the towel, and bowed the knee to Westminster.

In the ‘fight’ for extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond set out six key demands.

It appears that he managed to get one!

One out of six!

So, there has been a ‘deal in the backroom’, not a desert, not a sandy beach but a back room.

Room 101 for political humiliation!

What did the Scottish Government fail to get?

Only the crown jewels, only the crown jewels.

Like the American Indians, Alex Salmond was bought off with plastic baubles and shiny objects.

What we are not getting is responsibility for corporation tax, the Crown Estate, excise duties, broadcasting and a formal role in European Union meetings.

Corporation tax wasn’t a goer because of the problems in North East England.

The Crown Estate wasn’t seriously up there for sovereignty reasons.

Excise duty, in your dreams.

Broadcasting, never in a million years, and as an SNP member I don’t want an non independent BBC or SBC subject to overly uncomfortable regionalism. Once you have seen a hick in Orkney pulling a fishnet in a boat, that’s enough and as to the Gaelic shit, the sooner that is pushed to the back of the political agenda the better.

For the unionists, this is a red letter day, much to celebrate as they claimed that the First Minister had "crumbled" over his six original demands.

Does he want some custard with his crumble?

At the end, Alex Salmond didn’t even deliver one demand; he got a bit of one on borrowing powers that has been partially met.

He has an opportunity to redeem himself, when the Scotland Bill comes to Holyrood he can kill the bill.

And it also allows the SNP with the marvellous opportunity to do a campaign Kill Bill!

I just thought that up on the spot, really easy.

Bruce Crawford, Scottish Government Strategy Secretary, admitted a degree of disappointment, saying:

"We fought hard to get more powers in the Scotland Bill, and succeeded in removing the harmful elements, but the UK Government resisted more significant changes."

He is a Scottish Government Strategy Secretary?

He added:

"It represents a real missed opportunity. To stimulate the economy we need much greater financial responsibility that will allow us to boost our recovery, invest in our public services and support long-term sustainable growth."

If the Scottish Government thought accepting crap was a good idea then they are terribly misguided, the climb down, the throwing in of the towel, the bending the knee, the capitulation shows that rather than fight to end,a bit of resistance and the Scottish Government rolled over.

A review in three years of the current system of criminal appeals to the UK Supreme Court will turn to dust.

And the idea that the Scottish Judges would get their hands on a certification scheme which would have returned power to Scottish judges to reject appeals and cover up establishment malpractice will fade into ancient modern Scottish history.

Westminster will not hand over a key human rights issue.

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie said:

"The SNP will be red-faced after its demands for rushed extra powers crumbled under scrutiny. Just months ago it described the Scotland Bill as a poison pill, dog's breakfast and dangerous but after all its hot air it has ditched its demands and concerns and now supports the bill."

Labour leader Johann Lamont said it was good news for those who believe in a stronger Scottish Parliament.

Tory Leader, Ruth Davidson said it was "hugely welcome and heralded a new era of devolution".

Oh how they must be laughing their heads off.

What's the good news for the SNP?

Now the 'treaty' is signed they can get out of the coal bunker!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

George Laird is right again as European Court rules that gay marriage is not a 'human right': ruling torpedoes Coalition and Scot Gov stance













Dear All

At present there is a campaign by the gay community and some politicians to promote the idea of gay marriage.

They are currently using the tagline equal marriage but many see this as religious marriage under another name.

In Scotland the Scottish Government has backed equal marriage with high profile politicians such as Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon backing the proposal.

But if you asked Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon would they back two Muslim men marrying in Glasgow Central Mosque, you might find you will have a long wait for a yes response.

Although politicians are doggedly using equal marriage for political gain as all parties have more less jumped on that bandwagon, religious marriage is the elephant in the room.

All major religions have said no.

Whether you are religious or not the human right to freedom of religion exists.

What doesn’t exist is tampering with that human right to freedom of religion, in Scotland, we aren’t going to have the King James Bible replaced by the ‘King Alex’ Bible.

Campaigners of same sex marriage want politicians to enact a law that allows same sex marriage in Scotland.

For the SNP, it is a political judgement call, if they ram this through will religious people vote for independence or will they punish the SNP.

I think people will vote for punishment, if the SNP kicks it into the long grass thinking everyone is so stupid that they can have the indy vote first and then bring this in, they have another thing coming.

In trying to be all things to all people, the SNP will find out they are relevant to none.

SNP MSP Alex Neil said after Holyrood 2011, there was a political tsunami, well tsunami go back out to sea.

The middle ground for the SNP is ‘the compromise’ that they will bring in a bill for gay civil marriage to the Scottish Parliament because the argument put forward would be that civil marriage already exists. Ergo, it could be argued that it falls into the equality part of human rights.

But it isn't as simple as that!

However, across the road at Strasbourg, European judges have ruled that same-sex marriages are not a human right.

Their decision shreds the claim by government ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right.

Their judgment is of course correct; marriage is not a universal human right in the religious sphere because it requires third party consent.

Any right requiring third party consent isn’t a human right.

The ruling was made by judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following a case involving a lesbian couple in a civil partnership who complained the French courts would not allow them to adopt a child as a couple.

Should gay couples be allowed to adopt?

I think there is no reason why not, provided they fill the suitable person criteria.

With the European Court of Human Rights, based in the French eastern city of Strasbourg ruling that same-sex marriages are not a human right, it sends a warning note to politicians.

Subjective opinion isn’t fact and ‘I want’ is the same as ‘I am entitled to’.

So the stop gay marriage lobby has received a boost by this judgment.

Strasbourg also opine that the ruling also says that if gay couples are allowed to marry, any church that offers weddings will be guilty of discrimination if it declines to marry same-sex couples.

I think that this is a problem that could be overcome by splitting what is marriage in terms of religious and civil marriage.

As I have blogged on before The European Convention on Human Rights is in need of overhaul, although the fundamental principles remain sound, the Convention needs expanded.

And it would be better to expand the Convention rather than rely on case law judgment.

For Governments both north and south of the border in the UK, it means that if MPs legislate for same-sex marriage, the Coalition’s promise that churches will not be compelled to conduct the weddings will be worthless.

This could be a stumbling block which makes any law north or south of the border incompetent.

UK Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

“Put simply, it’s not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry.”

However, the Strasbourg judges ruled that because the French couple were civil partners, they did not have the rights of married people, who in France have the sole right to adopt a child as a couple.

They declared:

“The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.”

The judges added that couples who are not married do not enjoy the same status as those who are.
“With regard to married couples, the court considers that in view of the social, personal, and legal consequences of marriage, the applicants’ legal situation could not be said to be comparable to that of married couples.”

The French civil partners, Valerie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, tried to secure marriage rights under clauses that prevent discrimination and protect privacy and family life.

As I said before a complete misunderstanding of human rights law and subsequent entitlement of citizens rights, people may not like it, but religious freedom cannot be tampered with or another human right used as a device to subvert it.

The judgment means that the Strasbourg judges have not discriminated against the plaintive because they were lesbians.

The fight will go on but the Strasbourg ruling certainly puts a spanner in the works of the equal marriage group.

Prior to this judgement, I had already blog that same sex religious marriage was not a human right.

George Laird was right again.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

French Police surround apartment of Islamic terrorist Mohamed Merah suspected of the murder of Jewish children, tense stand off in Toulouse France















Dear All

Recently the French people suffered a terrible blow as a lunatic killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers in three separate attacks in France.

The horror of these events cannot be understated; it was acts of unspeakable inhumanity.

Such was the outrage that the French authorities have launched a massive manhunt for the killer and have made an arrest.

The person sought is French national Mohamed Merah who was jailed for bombings in Afghanistan in 2007.

Merah isn’t French by birth, he is of Algerian origin, captured for the bombings he escaped months later in a mass prison break organised by Taliban insurgents.

At present there is a tense stand off Merah with French authorities who have tracked him down.

Whether he is the killer of seven people remains to be seen but clearly he is a dangerous individual who is not fit to live in society.

The killing of the Jewish children was particularly cold blooded; they were executed by gunshot to the head.

During the siege with Merah, two French police officers have been injured

The fire fight happened during the initial raid on the house in the southern city of Toulouse which according to reports was unsuccessful.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the suspect "wants to take revenge for Palestinian children" killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad.

In war, people accept that people will be killed during the fighting but people like Mohamed Merah aren’t soldiers, they are criminals and terrorists.

The murder of innocent people cannot ever be justified; Merah represents the worse type of person in society that many people would gladly see hanged by the neck.

But his life will go on because in the West, there exists values that Merah doesn’t have, and those values will save his life.

If he is responsible for the deaths of the seven people, his sentence should life in prison.

Either way, he is already several charges to face and is going there anyway.

Reports say that the siege is continuing but at some point the French may storm the apartment in which case Merah will probably be killed by French Special Forces.

And they will end this quickly and finally.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

World exclusive, visitors from another planet stop by to assist in Glasgow City Council election 2012, must be getting popular at last!

Pot calling the kettle black, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine says Skint families pay for millionaires' tax cut, SNP give millionaires council tax freezes et al












Dear Joan

“Skint families will pay for millionaires' tax cut”.

Is that much in the same way as skint families are paying for millionaires getting council tax freezes and free prescriptions in Scotland, year on year?

“George Gideon Osborne is the son of a baronet who made a fortune in fancy wallpaper”.

Do you have a problem that his family business was successful?

“The future Chancellor of the Exchequer moved seamlessly from quaffing champers and quails' eggs in the Bullingdon Club at Oxford University to Conservative HQ”.

What about the practice of signing up members to the Scottish National Party to produce a certain candidate, sometimes that doesn’t work seemlessly.

“He spent a period "folding towels in Selfridges", the only real job he's done”.

So, people who haven’t had enough work experience aren’t worthy to be a politician?

How Tartan Tory of you!

“So when he says his budget is designed "for working people" he's not speaking from experience”.

Isn’t this a bit like you and your SNP activism?

I have done a number of by-elections in the SNP and haven’t seen you; I haven’t seen you even at any branch meeting during my time at your SNP branch in Maryhill & Springburn.

So, your experience can certainly be questioned by me.

In referring to sunny Westminster, you say that we have a Tory Government we didn't vote for.

But let us remember that at the ‘big hoose’, Scotland only returned 6 SNP MPs.

6.

You add that John Swinney wants to bring forward capital spending from future years so we can get our folk back to work now. But he cannot do that without getting London's permission. That's a national humiliation. It's why we need independence.

Does asking for extra money equal a national humiliation?

No!

You are asking for extra money aren’t you, that you aren’t entitled to prop up the economy before the independence vote and the resultant crash of services due to budget cuts.

“When Alex Salmond last met David Cameron he demanded that the UK release future funds for these projects”.

Since he was demanding, what was his bargaining chip?

“Cameron promised to be reasonable, saying: "Tell us what is ready to go, and we'll think about it. So Scotland sent him a list of 36 "shovel-ready" projects”.

In business you aim high and then get cut down to what you want, you would know this is if you had business experience.

As to Cameron’s latest wheeze, privatise the roads in England and Wales, I don’t agree with that.

“It has nothing to do with Scotland and it certainly won't happen here under the SNP”.

Given the amount of potholes the SNP would be forced to bring forward ‘The Road Privatisation and Coalmine (Scotland) Act’ because of how bad the roads are here.

“How will Scotland's roads be paid for after the shake-up?”

Well Joan, I suggest that you do the job that you were paid for; you’re supposed to have ideas.

But you don’t, do you.

Because we would have heard by now if you did.

“With control over our own economy and our own decisions, we could give real progress the green light”.

Like giving the contract for steel to Polish, Spanish and Chinese workers instead of Scottish workers?

That really was stabbing the ordinary Scottish working class steel workers in the back wasn't it?

“Instead we find ourselves stuck in the UK slow lane”.

Then why don’t you press the accelerator peddle, but remember mirror, signal manoeuvre before you pull out into the UK fast lane.

You should stick to one speed Holyrood until you learn politics Joan.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tory MP John Redwood throws a devastating body blow accusing the SNP of being 'anti-English', Salmond put on the back foot, as racist tag is levelled













Dear All

John Redwood is a former Tory Minister who has pretty outspoken views.

He says that the Scottish independence movement is anti-English.

He also alleges that the SNP is bent on fostering English nationalism to secure the break-up of the UK.

When people think of English nationalist, some immediately think of BNP, although the BNP shout about Britishness, they really are talking abvout English values and traditions.

But they would rather Scotland stayed in the union.

John Redwood's remarks have drawn a furious response from First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr. Salmond has described them as "spectacularly ill-informed and ill-judged".

Redwood however does articluate a widely held view that English nationalism was now the "new force in UK politics".

What does English nationalism mean for Scotland?

In a word, less!

On the issue of devo max, he makes a valid point that if Scotland gets it then England should have its own version.

The problem with the devo max option is that it requires a bill going through Westminster and voted through by English MPs.

English MPs will decide what devo max is, not Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament.

In this case the tail will definitely not be wagging the dog.

Which brings us to devo plus; the devo max lite that allows Westminster to say they are standing up for Scotland by delivering for it.

If independence fails, then it will be the unionists claiming all the credit for Scotland’s new powers.

The SNP majority at Holyrood will be meaningless in the Westminster village, and it is doubtful if Westminster will allow SNP MPs to be part of devo plus committee discussions.

Writing in his blog, Redwood says that the SNP "enjoys using the EU against England".

He added

"It all helps to antagonise the England they wish to leave in a way, which might help the change they want".

One big hurdle which the SNP cannot answer is what currency will be in play post independence, they have a preference for Sterling but they stand in the shadow of the Euro.

Redwood says that one of the ironies of the independence movement was it wanting to transfer ‘ownership’ of the "dependence movement” from Scotland to Brussels direct control.

He added: "It is an anti-English movement more than it is an independence movement."

The sting in Redwood’s tail is that although he is happy that indy is a matter for the Scots, it should be understood that, should they decide to stay in the Union, there must be a new deal for England.

If that is the case, then the view in Scotland will be to return Scottish Labour MPs on mass to Westminster by the public.

The SNP isn’t seen as credible when it comes to Westminster, in 2010, Alex Salmond predicted a block of 20 SNP MPs returning to Westminster.

The original six went back and they lost the Glasgow East seat which was won in a by-election.

They lost that by thousands as people went back to Scottish Labour.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said:

"These are spectacularly ill-informed and ill-judged comments, which are plain wrong."

He said Scots independence would be good for Scotland and England, creating a new relationship of equality and friendship.

He added:

"That is the positive message the First Minister has taken to people in England in a series of speeches, which have received an extremely enthusiastic response."

What a great pity that Alex Salmond cannot bring equality, fairness and social justice in his own party.

He is saying the all the right words but the deeds of his own party say something else.

As a Labour supporter said to me a while ago regarding the SNP, why would anyone believe that the Scottish National Party can deliver democracy for Scotland when they cannot deliver it within their own party?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Scottish colleges facing foreign students ban as UK Border Agency uses heavy handed tactics, its time to redefine its borders as they cross the line















Dear All

We all know or should know that the college sector is undervalued in higher education, always seen as the poor relation to universities.

Colleges are the work horses of getting Scottish youngsters to a better life, as well as youngsters, colleges are seen as a better entry level for people returning to education.

Bogus colleges in the UK are a problem, phoney institutions set up as a pipeline for people from ethnic backgrounds to circumvent the immigration system.

In a heavy handed approach genuine Scottish colleges are facing a ban on the recruitment of foreign students because of tough new immigration rules.

With funding being cut, this is a valuable revenue stream that has been damaged without due care and thought.

Six publicly funded colleges are seeking urgent talks with the Home Office after they were stripped of their highly trusted sponsor status following inquiries by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is a poor man’s Police Force used to track down illegal’s who have entered the UK or do not have permission to work here.

When the UKBA sent inspectors into institutions as part of a crackdown on colleges it takes with it the power to can suspend the licence of a college if it finds evidence it is not fulfilling its duties.

In other words if ‘students’ dupe the system the college gets it in the neck, effectively being punished for the failure of the UK Border Agency for letting them in, in the first place.

We will always get bogus students.

The move is damaging because it will impact on the raising of additional funding, from next month, with a highly trusted status, a college can recruit overseas students thus boosting its coffers and prestige.

Locally some colleges are at risk, Anniesland, Stow and Cardonald in Glasgow and Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, they fear the demotion will hit their international reputation.

The overseas market has for over a decade and longer figured in the thinking of higher education institutions of being the cash cow to prop them up.

In Scotland some 2500 students are currently enrolled, most of these people are here for an education, some will stay on such is the transient nature of the job market.

The reason for the recent demotions came after UKBA inspectors found attendance records were not being properly kept.

A sledgehammer was then used to crack a nut.

International students have to sign attendance sheets every time they go to classes, but some colleges had been relying on lecturers to keep registers.

Another problem that some colleges have is some overseas students had left before the end of their course which is a contravention of UKBA rules.

This results in an automatically downgrade which is unfair and bad practice by the UK Border Agency.

Scotland's Colleges, which represents college principals, said it was seeking urgent talks with the Home Office.

John Spencer, the organisation's convener, said:

"It is easy to understand why these rules exist, but it is nonetheless the case that they end up discriminating against colleges in Scotland. The loss of highly trusted status damages the reputation and prospects of the institution in attracting students to study with them. Furthermore, the changes being planned for April could see Scottish colleges unable to recruit internationally because they have fallen foul of the rules through circumstances beyond their control. These rules require urgent attention before that point to ensure international opportunities are not lost for the colleges and for the potential students wanting to come to Scotland."

He added:

"There are only six colleges in Scotland which have more than 100 international students enrolled, and many of the others have fewer than 50. In those circumstances, if a handful of students have to leave for entirely legitimate circumstances, the colleges can be penalised and stripped of their status."

Duncan McDougall, director of enterprise at Cardonald College, said:

"Our priority is our current international students who have been working hard to gain a qualification. We will seek to work with the UKBA to ensure disruption to the students' studies is minimised."

The Westminster Government's reforms of the immigration system were introduced to tackle abuse and the rise of so-called bogus colleges in the UK.

But let us be realistic, we all know what a genuine college is and places such as Anniesland, Stow and Cardonald in Glasgow fall into that bracket.

Robin Parker, president of NUS Scotland, said:

"We're concerned that such a cut might stretch the ability of colleges to deliver the frontline teaching quality and support services that students rely on to progress into employment or university."

This is a serious problem which requires a serious response, for too long the UK Border Agency has operated liked a mini fiefdom in law enforcement, it is time that they were brought to book.

The decisions they have made regarding genuine colleges should be removed from their remit.

The college sector will become more important for Scotland if independence is achieved because colleges offer better cash per student ratios.

Higher education is in need of major overhaul as it is too dysfunctional but that is another story.

The UK Border Agency is there to protect our borders but it needs to have its borders redefined.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alex can’t get you working, unemployment in Scotland rising above UK level, ‘SNP 1,2,3’ election ad might be prediction of 3 losses on trot!













Dear All

In case it escaped your attention things are bad.

But the good news; is that there is no good news but as bad as things are they are going to get much worse.

Unemployment in Scotland has risen again.

The total number of jobless people now stands at a whopping 234,000.

As further austerity bites, budgets are cut and the public sector sheds jobs that number will continue to rise.

As unemployment rises so will crime as people try to survive, social tensions and discontent against the Government will rise as well.

We will see the return of protests to the streets of Scotland.

The unemployment rate for Scotland is higher than that for the UK as a whole.

Current figures have the rate at 8.7 per cent north of the border compared to 8.4 per cent.

So, what has gone badly wrong in Scotland?

The problem is in part how the SNP Government is managing Scotland, poor choices and lack of vision coupled with paralysis caused by the independence referendum have brought the reform agenda to a dead stop.

In a recent speech to party delegates in Glasgow, the SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon stated that an independent Scotland would put an end to poverty and deprivation.

It is a vacuous claim, good for rabble rousing the troops but can it be done?

No!

And importantly, she didn't lay out a road map of how this would be achieved, she just made the claim.

If we buy into such a fantastic pledge as being possible, we are forced to ask why the SNP are delaying the independence referendum.

Why do the SNP believe that people should endure continual poverty and deprivation for years?

There are many reasons for the delay; all of them have nothing to with ending poverty and deprivation.

Firstly, Alex Salmond has no one to work for him, this is because the party is clique orientated, it is bad for the party and bad for Scotland.

Secondly, the SNP have set too many tasks that few among their ranks are capable or qualified to do.

Thirdly, and importantly, the real work of chapter and verse of how a new Scotland would like hasn’t been done.

Alex Salmond cannot tell you how a new Scotland would look beyond platitudes; this is a major mistake in SNP logic.

He can’t answer major policy questions because he doesn’t know, hasn't asked the questions and never entered into real discussions with the EU and UK Governments.

Years ago when the SNP first proposed the referendum they wanted to have it in the first term while minority government, they withdrew the bill.

At the time I opined that the SNP needed to complete two full terms of government before bring forward their referendum so that people could accurately judge whether there exists competence.

Alex Salmond has done well, but Alex Salmond has been buffered by the tail end of the financial bubble and by bringing forward capital.

Now, is the test, things are going to be bad, local government reform which should have been the agenda of the second term has been shelved to beyond the referendum at which point, he enters a Westminster contest.

In order to keep his dream alive he needs to win a landslide victory at the council elections, if that fails to be achieved in places such as Glasgow, it puts in doubt the indy win.

If he fails to win indy, he will crushed at the Westminster election of 2015.

This would be a continuation of a losing streak that started at the council elections. In a recent SNP Council election video, the presenter said SNP, one two three.

She may be talking inadvertently about possible future losses.

Glasgow, Indy and Westminster!

As unemployment rises, people become fearful for their welfare and that of their families, in such cases better the devil you know is the maxim.

If Alex Salmond wants an independence Scotland he better start listening to his members on a whole raft of issues.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eric Joyce apologises to House of Commons over his drunken rampage in Stranger’s bar and quits the Labour Party, sad end to his political career


















Dear All

Disgraced and suspended Labour MP Eric Joyce has tendered his resignation as a member of the Labour Party.

It is an end to his political career which seemed at one point would be high flying.

The fight in the Stranger’s bar in the House of Commons killed it.

You can’t help feeling sorry for his circumstances as he apologised to colleagues for a bar brawl in parliament.

Eric Joyce told the House of Commons he "had a number of personal issues to address".

He also stated that his behaviour on February 22 had "fallen egregiously below what is required" by an MP.

After Joyce was plead guilty, Tory MP Stuart Andrew read a brief statement the same day, his statement was very decent as he hoped to put the matter behind him and that Joyce would get help.

Flanked in the Commons by Dan Jarvis, another former Army major-turned-MP, Mr Joyce said:

"Members will be aware of events in the Strangers' Bar on February 22 during which the standard of my conduct fell egregiously below what is required by a member of this House, or indeed anyone, anywhere. I am grateful for this opportunity to apologise without reservation to the House."

He added:

"Clearly I have a number of personal issues to address, and you can be assured that this will take place. I would also like to inform the House that I have today tendered my resignation as a member of the Labour Party to the party leader."

Eric Joyce will continue to serve as MP for Flakirk until the next General election possible in 2015.

Going to Parliament is a wonderful opportunity because you can get to do so much good.

It is a pity that his own downfall should come at his own hands and according to evidence, his head!

Another tale of someone who had it all and lost it!

Let us hope that for the remainder of this Parliament he sets an example as a model MP.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Damning verdict on Scottish Justice as secret report states Megrahi was denied a fair trial, is Kenny MacAskill the man who cost Scotland indy?












Dear All

One the themes I blog is that Scotland is a corrupt country.

Now a secret report on the Lockerbie bombing has revealed just how deep the corruption is, you cannot get a fair trial in Scotland.

The Lockerbie case is a case that will not go away as it is central to a wider theme, should Scotland be an independent country.

At present the last hope of innocent people wrongly accused rests with the UK Supreme Court.

The Court based in London delivers flawless judgment.

In the Lockerbie case conducted by Scottish prosecutors key documents were not disclosed to the defence team.

The upshot of denying Al Megrahi a fair trial which could have cleared the Libyan convicted of the atrocity is the whole system is now damned and unfit for purpose.

Everyone knows what is wrong but there is no political will to fix the system as the Scottish National Party members in Government are busy convincing themselves they are the ‘new establishment’.

Not willing to take on vested interests, this flawed and warped thinking will cost them the independence referendum.

The full 821-page Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) dossier uncovers serious discrepancies in the Crown Office's actions.

In Scotland, we don’t have a Justice Minister because if we did, that person would be and should be a beacon of what our principles stand for.

When Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) took on the Megrahi case, the Scottish Government should have had the courage to launch an independent inquiry, not led by a friendly placeman but by someone of Lord Hope’s standing.

It failed to deliver it.

As SCCRC started its work, it quickly ran into problems, as the Crown was warned warning it would take legal action if the prosecution did not hand over important documents and speed up information sharing.

Isn’t the Crown Office interested in justice?

Apparently not because they have the Justice Minister in their corner but a better description would be in their pocket.

As SCCRC looked through the appeal it rejected many of the defence team's submissions but upheld six different grounds which could have constituted a miscarriage of justice.

You only need one for a miscarriage of justice.
As well as the above problems that SCCRC encountered, the Crown failed to disclose seven key items of evidence.

This evidence would have led to the Lockerbie case being referred back for a fresh appeal.

This raises serious questions why are any the people employed in the denial of justice allowed to be in post?

The SCCRC has made it abundantly clear that, had such information been shared with the defence, the result of the trial could have been different.

In my opinion, the case against Megrahi would have collapsed, but instead of focussing on justice, they were hell bent on conviction at any cost.

Robert Black, QC, one of the architects of the Camp Zeist trial, said:

"I don't think there could possibly have been a guilty verdict if the Crown had disclosed to the defence all the material they had in their possession and they were obliged to disclose, even as the law on disclosure stood in 2000/01.

"Why didn't the Crown disclose? Was it because they convinced themselves getting a guilty verdict was more important than obeying 'technical' rules – after all, this was a terrorism case?

"The law about disclosure was clarified after the Zeist trial. But even in 2000/01 the law as it stood would have required the Crown to disclose all the material they withheld. I am delighted The Herald is unveiling this information."

A Crown Office spokesman said last night:

"We note the Commission reported delays in obtaining materials from the Crown but also accepted that the Crown's responses to requests were often detailed and helpful in this uniquely large and complex case."

He added:

"Mr Megrahi was convicted unanimously by three senior judges following trial during which the evidence was rigorously tested and his conviction was upheld unanimously by five judges, in an appeal court presided over by the Lord Justice General."

No justice will mean No independence for Scotland.

Alex Salmond will not be able sell the idea when everyone patently knows that our justice system is so utterly corrupt that we need the UK Supreme Court.

It’s time to sack Kenny MacAskill for failing to deliver justice; he is a weight that cannot be carried anymore.

When are we going to get a Justice Minister in Scotland?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, March 12, 2012

SNP MSP Nicola Sturgeon says UK reforms are threat to Scots NHS; it’s time that Scots hospitals were allowed to raise revenue doing private ops















Dear All

Last weekend saw the SNP host their Spring Conference in the City of Glasgow.

During a conference speech Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said to delegates that Scotland’s health budget could be hit by changes being proposed by the UK Government.

Health is a flagship SNP policy which is protected by the Scottish Government, but as Westminster pushes through its planned changes, there will be a knock on effect for Scotland.

The problem that those reforms bring are financial, as England moves more towards the private sector, this creates an in balance.

The Deputy First Minister admitted this is a "very real risk" to the Scottish NHS.

If hospitals in England decide to allow up to 49% of their beds and operating theatre time treating private patients, funding will be lower, that will affect Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon stated on the private sector that:

“we will never go down that road."

That was a mistake, good deals are where you find them, since there is a liquidity problem; it would be irresponsible to shutdown a possible revenue stream which could be used to fund Scotland’s NHS.

The NHS should be state controlled and always state controlled but it is time to move away from dogma.

She said:

"As hospitals in England get more of their money from private patients, I believe that we will see future UK Governments freeze or reduce public funding for the NHS. They will still claim that NHS funding is protected, but the reality will be that less of it will come from the public purse."

Ms Sturgeon added:

"Devolution allows us to protect the principles of our NHS. But if we want to make sure that Tory health policies can't damage our health service in any way, we need independence."

In a hard-hitting speech, Ms Sturgeon also attacked Westminster policies which she said would hit the vulnerable badly.

She also added:

"Only independence can stop Westminster governments squandering our energy wealth while our older folk struggle to pay their heating bills. Only independence can put a stop to heartless Tory welfare reforms that will punish the vulnerable and the disabled. And only independence will give us the tools we need to rid Scotland of the poverty and deprivation that still scars our nation and create the jobs and opportunities that will get people off benefits, not for Tory reasons, but for the right reasons."

Does Ms. Sturgeon actually believe everything can be solved by an independent Scotland?

She boldly states that if Scotland was independence we would be rid of poverty and deprivation.

Is there evidence to back up her claim?

No.

If we look at the world, we see that many independent countries even within the EU are experiencing real savage austerity cuts that fuels poverty and deprivation.

Can she name a country where no citizen lives in poverty and deprivation?

Hundreds of countries in the world, I am just looking for one from her.

Her speech is a speech to her own audience, everything will not be solved by independence but some things will improve.

Even within the positive message there has to be losers such as military shipbuilding which if the British Government doesn’t continue to build in Scotland will collapse, Britain doesn’t outsource warship building.

When Nicola Sturgeon attacked Westminster governments squandering our energy wealth while our older folk struggle to pay their heating bills, was she saying that a Scottish Government will pay the heating bills of the elderly?

Did she seriously commit to that?

No!

In law the most successful cases all have a common thread running through them, the truth the whole and nothing but the truth, until the SNP are prepared to put the pros and cons of independence, they are in danger of letting others pick apart their arguments and mock them.

And as Ms. Sturgeon knows, there is no news like bad news, which is why soap operas are so popular.

I never heard her speech in full, she might have thought she was talking to the masses but she was actually just talking to her own crowd.

I would like to see her try sell the end to poverty and deprivation line to people in Possil, Easterhouse, Pollok, Bridgeton, Drumchapel, Nitshill, Govan, Castlemilk and Calton.

The people there know what everyone else in the western world knows; no country independent or not has put an end to poverty and deprivation for its citizens.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Alex Salmond: Glasgow needs a political overhaul, so why is the SNP campaigning on dog shit and potholes, shit don’t sell Alex on doorsteps













Dear All

The SNP Conference is in the City of Glasgow over the weekend and today Alex Salmond gives a keynote speech.

He says that Glasgow is desperately in need a new political outlook and a change of administration.

With the city currently experiencing a phoney war in the long campaign, the real fight goes public once the council election starts.

Glasgow is a prime target for the SNP in May's local elections, if the SNP don’t win Glasgow by a landslide then the decision of the independence referendum moves to the unionists being on the front foot.

Glasgow isn’t just a council election; it is a key milestone in the attempt to win independence.

It is the heart of the Labour heartlands, last May at the Holyrood election, the Labour Party lost many MSPs in the city as the SNP took over their seats.

But this isn’t a Holyrood election; Alex Salmond for First Minister isn’t going to work as a strategy.

Salmond also said the party would be working "very hard" to wrest power from Labour but they face an uphill task.

The SNP Group in Glasgow is in exactly the same position as the Labour Party in Holyrood, they have done nothing of importance, however you could be forgiven for thinking they have since they wrote an article on the Glasgow SNP website of achievements.

Not their achievements but that of the SNP Government, but it didn’t stop them trying to claim credit for it.

Glasgow Southside MSP, Nicola Sturgeon claims voters are wanting change, everyone is seeking 'change' but what vision has Glasgow SNP laid out over the last term of this current council?

Nothing, it was a blank piece of paper.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

"I've lived in Glasgow for 20-plus years and I've never known the mood that there is in Glasgow just now, which is a mood of wanting change and disillusionment and disaffection with Labour. So I think we have a great chance and a great opportunity but we don't take anything for granted. We won the victories [of] last year because we worked really hard for every vote and that's what we will do again. At the end of the day, the result is down to the voters but we'll be working hard because I think the city does really need new leadership."

Her analysis is wrong, the reason for the SNP victory last May was that the Labour Party weren’t seen as a credible alternative for government, the SNP bar some mistakes had managed as a minority to steer a generally event free course.

That is why the SNP won.

There is an opportunity as she rightly says to win the city, but Herald Scotland says that although the Labour Party deserves to lose the city the SNP doesn’t deserve to win it.

Everything to play for, but an SNP victory at Glasgow City Chambers, this isn’t Holyrood. The SNP has produced a list of candidates most of whom I don’t know, never saw them before at any by-election campaigning.

And once this election is over, if they lose, they will disappear soon enough because that is their track record.

Type into Google their names and there is generally nothing, what do they stand for, what have they done, why didn’t they do by-elections?

Maybe if they had they would have had sufficient experience to know that elections aren’t won campaigning on potholes and dog shit.

They are about change, detail and vision.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, March 9, 2012

Undefeated, Labour MP Eric Joyce admits four counts of assault at Westminster Magistrates' Court, hard drinking; hard fighting MP faces the beak














Dear All

Labour MP Eric Joyce today admitted assaulting four people.

The incident happened when he went berserk in a House of Commons bar called the Strangers bar.

In true Hollywood style the normally quiet Strangers bar was turned into a scene from a John Wayne movie as Eric Joyce stared punching and headbutting people.

Innocent people, the Duke would be so not proud of Joyce.

Joyce headbutted Conservative MP Stuart Andrew shortly before closing time at the Strangers Bar!

When others jumped in to stop the assault he also attacked Tory councillors Luke Mackenzie and Ben Maney.

Then came the icing on the cake, he battered the Labour whip Phillip Wilson.

Absolutely unbelievable but unfortunately true.

After the fight, Joyce was dragged off to a Police Station and was then suspended from the Labour Party.

He has rightly pleaded guilty to common assault on the three Tories and Phillip Wilson.

In truth, Joyce really had no choice but to plead guilty and because he has he gets a discount for not wasting the Court’s time.

Joyce entered the at Westminster Magistrates' Court this morning.

Jeremy Dein QC, defending, told chief magistrate Howard Riddle:

"Subject to the court's view, he wishes for the matter to be dealt with today."

Mr Riddle replied:

"I am hoping we will make progress."

It does the public confidence no good at all for elected members to act in this way, if we have a problem, the one hope is that our elected reps will be someone we can count on.

When Joyce reportedly went berserk without provocation, lashing out he declaring:

"There are too many f****** Tories in here."

A problem easily solved by going to another bar!

The Labour Party rightly suspended Joyce from the party pending the results of the police investigation, branding the incident "extremely serious".

It isn’t the done thing.
Eric Joyce has been MP for Falkirk since December 2000, served in the Army Education Corps before pursuing a career in politics.

He had potential to be a high flyer maybe Defence Sec.

It is a pity his career took such a turn for the worse, but it was all by his own hand.

I hope that he will try and finish the rest of his time in Westminster by being a model MP so that he can leave politics with some dignity.

They say that all political careers end in failure, this one was like an airplane crash landing in a ball of flame.

It was high drama right to the end.

Fined £3000 and ordered to pay £1400 to his victims at Westminster Magistrates' Court. Joyce was also given a 12 month community order banning him from entering pubs and licensed premises for three months and imposed with a curfew order from Friday to Sunday.

It is very stiff but could be the making of him.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Greece debt swap deadline looms, no debt swap, no bail out, the Greeks need to totally default and rebuild their economy, pain now for brighter future















Dear All

At present the Greek people are unhappy, very unhappy, the austerity measures introduced are causing great hardship on the people and the country.

And it’s all about trying to shore up the crumbling economic situation which is only going to get worse.

The Greeks need to look north and slightly west, to Iceland in fact, when the Icelandic banks crashed the government came to the conclusion that the only way to rebuild was by way of default.

They did so, their economic prospects improved dramatically.

The Greeks need to do the same, but on a wider scale, I would say that the EU needs a Marshall plan for a total default to wrestle back sovereignty from the banks.

New political leadership to think the unthinkable is needed.

Investors have until Thursday evening to sign up to a swap of bonds that is vital to keeping Greece in the euro.

Unfortunately the euro wasn’t set up properly, hence the current crisis; the fault was greed, predatory greed within the banking system.

Greece needs at least 75% of its bondholders to agree to take a cut in the value of their holdings by 20:00 GMT.

They are signing up to get less back, but something is better than nothing.

Greek officials said that almost 60% had signed up already and were "optimistic" the deal would be successful.

It is a temporary measure, the slide to chaos and civil unrest grows, Greece maybe the first EU country to get an ‘Arab Spring’ to overthrow the government.

If bondholders don’t agree, Greece will not receive another bailout.

Greece has said it wants 90% of bondholders, such as banks and pension funds, to agree to take a 53.5% cut in the 206bn euros ($272; £172bn) of Greek bonds they hold.

In the Euro zone crisis, it is the Germans who call the tune, they are the ones paying the piper.

A Greek government official said:

"The pace of responses to the bond offer is good, the percentage of bondholders tendering voluntarily is very high."

Although a positive spin, this isn’t a feel good story for anyone.

The number of creditors signing up for the deal is growing, but it's likely the Greek government will still need to force this through with the 'Collective Action Clause' mechanism.

That would make it less than voluntary and more like a default.

The bond market is a huge ponzi scheme, which is collapsing unfortunately politicians are in the pockets of the bankers who fund their election campaigns.

And the mentality of ‘too big to fail’ isn’t helping.

If banks go to the wall, then governments should ensure that customers are protected first, then if possible salvage the bank, if not then sell off what is left.

Credit-default swaps (CDS) insurance on the original bonds would then probably be triggered.

They played a role in the 2008 financial crisis and brought down the US insurer AIG.

Because Credit-default swaps (CDS) aren’t backed by anything, no collateral, it is a myth, it’s a con, and it’s a joke.

On a global scale certain types of products such as Oil and food need to be removed from trading on the futures market.

Already one bondholder told the BBC that he had "no incentive" to accept the deal and would not do so.

Patrick Armstrong, managing partner at Armstrong Investment Managers said:

"I'm not in the business for altruistic reasons; Capital markets function best when people are out to deliver return on capital investment."

The government said an announcement on take-up of the swap will appear on its Greek bonds website at 06:00 GMT on Friday.

Greece should look to Iceland and how it solved its problems, what is required is so painful that not to default leaves Greece completely stuck.

Trouble is already happening on the streets because of austerity and it will grow.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have said that if the debt swap does not go through then Greece will not get its latest bailout of 130bn euros.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said there would be no better offer, and the deal was vital for eurozone financial stability.

The eurozone is like a wooden shack which is promoted as a marble palace to investors, a few good hard kicks and the entire shack will come crashing down and take many EU countries with it.

To save it requires an EU wide solution to rip it all down and start from bedrock, then on firm ground the EU can rebuild again.

But demolition has to happen first.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University