Friday, November 30, 2012

English by-elections, Labour retains all three seats but the story of the night was massive rise in UKIP support, Lib Dems destroyed and lose deposits, Westminster politics gets interesting again!














Dear All

Labour has won three by-elections, retaining Commons seats in Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham.

You could say that the story is not the win by the increased share of the vote in all three seats.

The majority was down in Rotherham; however the previous MP had quit over expenses claims.

For me the other interesting story was the rise of UK Independence Party coming second in Middlesbrough and Rotherham, and finished third in Croydon North.

Although UKIP has been around, the real big breakthrough has quite happened yet, by their star is on the rise.

And that is a worry for the Conservatives in England.

The real bad news of epic proportions is the Lib Dems, in Rotherham; they fell from third place to eighth, behind the BNP, Respect and the English Democrats. The party got less than 5% of the vote, losing its deposit, in two out of the three contests.

It seems that not only hasn’t the public forgiven Clegg, it is still of a mind to punish the entire party. Clegg is getting in the neck for being the Conservative Party’s human sandbag.

The Conservatives saw their vote drop in each of the seats, coming fifth in Rotherham and fourth in Middlesbrough, this they will put down to the protest vote and try to shrug off. But it would be foolhardy to simply dismiss this; their austerity programme isn’t winning friends.

The lib Dems are looking at a massive collapse in next election, coalition possible?

They might not be able if Labour hoover up their seats in England.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who attended the count in Rotherham, called the result across all three seats "UKIP's most impressive result in Westminster elections so far".

And he has reason to be upbeat, UKIP has been going well, some people have jumped ship from the Conservative Party and there is a vocal euro sceptic group in the background of Cameron’s own party, decidedly unhappy and biding their time.

Nigel Farage said:

"The political establishment is just going to have to wake up to the fact that UKIP is here and here to stay as a significant and rising mainstream part of British politics."

Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the results as an endorsement of "One Nation Labour", the slogan he is expected to fight the general election under.

However, it isn’t all plain sailing just yet as he acknowledged that his party still had work to do to win back the trust of voters.

Miliband said:

"Voters in Croydon, Rotherham and Middlesbrough have put their faith in a One Nation Labour Party standing up for young people trying to find work and standing up for people whose living standards are being squeezed."

Or it could be that the voters in large numbers thought that there was no viable alternative.

Business Secretary Vince Cable tried to put a brave face on by saying the government was unpopular, but was dealing with a difficult economic situation. It is actually more than that; the Lib Dems are minor members and taking a disproportionate hit than the Conservatives. It is patently more than a difficult economic situation.

To give it a name, people who voted Lib Dem feel betrayed.

All the Labour Party won all three seats, the real story is UKIP, they can feel a sense of achievement, but it should be remembered that in some respect it is on the back of others unpopularity. They need to transfer the protest vote into a core vote, then we can see a clearer picture but hats off, they are travelling along in the right direction but the real game changer hasn’t happened yet.

Where that will come from and when is anyone’s guess but the austerity programme and events in Europe regarding riots may make people think about whether the traditional vote to a mainstream party serves them anymore.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Alex Salmond takes SNP politicians and 34 ‘buddies’ on week long golf trip to the USA; cost £468,580, in 'Skintland' people have to face real choice ‘heat or eat’!
















Dear All

Does Alex Salmond know that we are living in a time of austerity?

Apparently not judging by the fact that the Scottish Government blew spent almost £500,000 sending him and his ‘entourage’ on a week-long trip to the Ryder Cup in Chicago.

Chicago, Chicago…….. a wonderful town but not £500,000’s worth.

£500,000 for a week!

As well as Salmond himself and SNP politicians, he was accompanied by 12 Scottish government officials and another 22 from VisitScotland and Scottish Development International.

One big party!

Recently £400,000 was blown in three weeks as Alex Salmond set up his London Embassy for the Olympics.

In a written response to the question from Labour, external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop stated:

“The overall cost of Team Scotland’s participation at the 2012 Ryder Cup was £468,580 and every effort was made to minimise costs, including liaising with partner organisations to secure preferred rates where possible, and identifying in-kind support. The Team Scotland approach in Chicago will help ensure we maximise the economic benefits of hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014, which will generate at least £100 million for the Scottish economy.”

Patricia Ferguson, the Labour MSP, said:

“To find out that Alex Salmond’s trip to watch the golf cost all of us almost half a million pounds is eye-watering. The Welsh government can spend about the same, but attend three Ryder Cups. Why does Alex Salmond cost us so much more? This comes on top of the tens of thousands of pounds spent on his trip to the opening of Brave in California earlier this year. Alex Salmond has no shame. At a time of such severe cuts to public spending and thousands continue to lose their jobs, for [him] to be spending such sums is outrageous.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said:

“Like most taxpayers, I am astonished that the costs incurred bear more relation to a head of state with a travelling circus than to the more modest expense which would have been appropriate and justifiable. It seems that even when using taxpayers’ money, Alex Salmond doesn’t do modest.”

In her answer to the parliamentary question, Ms Hyslop claimed “every effort” was made to minimise costs:

“Ministers carried out an extensive programme of targeted engagement with high-level business, media, tourism and civic leaders, to develop relationships, support potential and existing inward investment in Scotland, and to promote Scotland, as the home of golf, and the host of the 2014 Ryder Cup. The First Minister’s work in Chicago also included a number of business meetings which secured over 140 new jobs and tens of millions in new investment from US based companies who are successfully expanding their operations in Scotland.”

So, it takes circa 36 people to secure 140 new jobs?

Alex Salmond’s government has blew nearly a one million pounds of taxpayers money on three events, the Olympics, Golf trip and watching a cartoon (Brave) in America, in Scotland however, disadvantaged people are suffering severe austerity making the hard choices like ‘heat or eat’.

Just as well Alex Salmond gets a big enough ‘giro’ from the British Government to finance his largesse!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scottish independence: UK Supreme Court says SNP Government acted unlawfully in denying Scots their human rights, Salmond is losing trust of Scots
















Dear All

It seems that SNP Ministers are bracing themselves for hundreds of compensation claims after a landmark Supreme Court ruling that they have acted unlawfully.

It appears that human rights so valued in the free world don’t get the same respect in Scotland under the leadership of Alex Salmond and his government.

One of the things I have highlighted in the Justice brief is the need to appoint two deputy justice ministers, one to deal with day to day problems and the other to deal with law review and special projects.

Kenny MacAskill, the pal of Alex Salmond has left Scotland looking like a laughing stock and a third world country.

Awhile ago he was forced to openly say he supported human rights while having a track record of deny them using his Office of State.

It has now been left to the UK Supreme Court again to defend the human rights of Scots as five law lords yesterday issued the first constitutional ruling that the SNP government had failed to protect the right of hundreds of mental health patients.

Through-out the entire term of the first SNP Government nothing was done and this failure continued into the second term, no one in the SNP Government was bothered that such a scandal was allowed to continue.

The latest judgment shows how ordinary Scots need the UK Supreme Court at present, patently trust in SNP Ministers protecting ordinary rights is open to question, when it comes down to it, it appears that Alex Salmond’s Government Ministers automatically side with those against the people.

Contained within the Mental Health Act there is provision to allow for such appeals, but the old familiar story of lack of action by ministers has been brought into the public domain.

Didn’t George Laird highlight the need to send SNP Ministers back to their desks?

George Laird right again!

We are where we are following a 2006 test case brought by a man detained at Leverndale Hospital in Glasgow. Patient "RM" had been institutionalised for 35 years after a road accident left him with significant mental health difficulties.

A tribunal found he was unable to lodge an appeal against his security level because the legislative statutory instruments to the Mental Health Act 2003 had not been passed. This lead to his solicitor Frank Irvine argued his client had been detained in conditions of excessive security and that his quality of life, liberty and his prospects for release would be improved were he to be transferred to an open ward.

Lord Hope, Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed and Lord Carnwath unanimously upheld the patient's appeal against an earlier Court of Session ruling, finding:

"The failure by the [Scottish] ministers to draft and lay regulations, and their continued failure to do so since [May 1, 2006] was and is unlawful."

One of the things which the SNP keep bragging about is that they stand for fairness, equality and social justice.

Does this case pass any of these tests?

Sadly no, in the Scottish National Party under the leadership of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, fairness, equality and social justice are only for the rich as case after case proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Mr Irvine said:

"The implications of the ruling are fairly significant and immediately there are several hundred people who should now have the right to appeal. The question of damages for patients who have been unable to appeal since 2006 and the suggestion of compensation following this ruling of unlawfulness is now a live one. This ruling is to be welcomed not just for our client but for the many individuals who have been denied a right of appeal enshrined in law and passed by the Scottish Parliament."

Niall McCluskey, QC, said:

"The key issue here is the rights of the individual, a mental health patient, who was unable to bring an appeal about the standard of his detention."

Human rights lawyer John Scott said:

"The Mental Health Act was intended to allow our human rights legislation to be human rights proofed and to try to thwart it on still an unexplained basis flies in the face of that."

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said the Government was considering the terms and implications of the judgment.

Scots need the UK Supreme Court at present because we can’t trust Alex Salmond and the SNP Government to ensure that ordinary working class people get the human rights protection they are entitled too.

Alex Salmond famously said:

'My problem is that I have too many talented people and not enough Cabinet positions'.

He really does set the bar so low for his clique!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nicola Sturgeon says SNP Government will put the ‘strongest possible case’ to save shipbuilding on the Clyde; they couldn’t save a ‘sausage’ factory in Broxburn!

















Dear All

It seems that military shipbuilding has popped back on the radar which rumours that Govan and Scotstoun may face closure.

At present things are tough, sadly expect that to continue for the next decade unless a miracle happens.

Conservatively some say we are going to be in a hole for another 6 years.

Cuts are happening all over, at present in Britain, we have three shipyards known for military shipbuilding.

Govan; Scotstoun and the Portsmouth yard!

Whatever happens; Portsmouth is going to be saved no matter what by Westminster; strictly speaking it would be madness for that yard to close down.

At present it is assumed by many that all three yards will continue to operate at least until after the independence vote.

It is clear that if Scotland leaves the UK then so goes military shipbuilding from Westminster, a Scottish navy can’t support the order books of Govan and Scotsoun in the long term.

With independence comes consequences, and it is highly disingenuous everything will be rosy in the garden.

Westminster has made it clear; they won’t place military shipbuilding orders in an independent Scotland, their own people come first. Military procurement isn’t simply a matter of just buying what you need; politics plays a huge part in it.

So, there appears to be a threat, but in reality, there is a lot of talk but nothing to write home about just yet. The Scottish Government last night called on politicians to put “political differences aside” and unite “in the Scottish interest” to keep shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Closure plans announced by defence giant BAE Systems left thousands of jobs in jeopardy at its two yards north of the Border but such concerns change depending on the order book. Military shipbuilding is a business, and BAE are still in it to make money.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will make the “strongest possible case” to save the yards.

As we recently seen; the Scottish Government couldn’t save a ‘sausage’ factory in their own backyard, so I don’t think that false hope helps anyone!

Exactly how will Nicola Sturgeon ensure the survival of the Govan and Scotstoun bases?

Is the Scottish Government going to start military shipbuilding?

For whom exactly will they build?

And of what types of military ships will they build?

Ms Sturgeon said:

“BAE Systems is a hugely important employer in Scotland and we want to ensure that the strongest possible case for the retention of the Scottish yards is made and acted upon. Scotland showed during the Strategic Defence and Security Review an ability to put political differences aside and unite in the Scottish interest, and I believe that the same constructive and positive approach is needed now. The Scottish Government is monitoring this situation closely and will work with BAE, the UK government and opposition parties in Scotland.”

The reality is that any discussion will be solely between BAE and Westminster, the Scottish Government poking its nose in will be ineffective, and any decision will be taken behind closed doors.

As Phillips O’Brien said last night, the smart money is scaling down all three yards to an upturn happens.

I think he is right, no point in ‘rocking the boat’ just yet, after the referendum, then the issue will be looked at again, I expect a sound commitment from Westminster, there are certain niceties and mostly they centre round the General election expected in 2015. Scottish Conservatives are going for a revival strategy, well that’s how politics operates, moving the pieces around, and Cameron needs Scottish seats, question is, are the Conservatives smart enough to capitalise?

The Scottish Government tried to save Halls of Broxburn and had to leave without a sausage, it is therefore highly doubtful that the Scottish Government can save shipbuilding by itself and certainly not out of their budget which is shrinking.

On this issue they are all at sea.

The Scottish yards have a strong economic case however, it isn’t just about pounds and pence, politics play a major role. This is a debate that will firmly remain at Westminster, I don’’t see Phillip Hammond giving the SNP the time of day on this one or even interested spectator status.

Sausages!!!!!!!

Yours sincerely

 George Laird
 The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

SNP Government latest crackdown on knife crime is branded 'pointless', 6 people in 5 years get maximum sentence, Kenny MacAskill, a drowning man out of his depth!




















Dear All

After a disastrous few weeks of increasingly bad press the SNP Government yet again fail to score when presented with an open goal.

Instead it’s another own goal!

Where?

Well, it Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s inept and incompetent Justice Minister department, in trying to get himself some good PR, he and his ‘crew’ decided to raise the maximum sentence for carrying a knife from four years to five years.

And guess what, the max sentence has only been dished out a miserable six times in four years.

To add insult to injury, the few punters who were slung away, got let out after serving only half of their time in the pokey!

At this point, let’s have a quote from the washed up leader Alex Salmond:

“My problem is that I have too many talented people and not enough Cabinet positions”.

What a load of wank!

What he should have said was:

‘I can’t turn my back without some halfwit pissing up their brief against the wall’!

Unsurprisingly campaigners weren’t overjoyed when they heard the news and said it would be better to ensure the courts used their existing powers to throw the book at knife thugs.

John Muir, who has been fighting for automatic jail sentences for knife-carriers since his son Damian, 34, was stabbed to death in Greenock in 2007, said:

“They would be better off keeping the sentence at four years – and actually implementing it. There should be no compromise. If you are caught with a knife, you should be hammered by the courts.”

Here is my opinion what MacAskill should be doing.

If you stab, slash or cut someone with a knife once, ten years in prison.

If you stab, slash or cut someone with a knife multiple times, minimum fifteen years in prison.

If you murder someone with a knife or similar, twenty five years one wound, before being considered for parole.

If you murder someone with a knife or similar, multiple cuts, thirty five years, before being considered for parole.

Once a few people get sentenced, the ripple effect will cut knife crime drastically.

And the tariff would also include that any additional charges don’t run at the same time, once you finish that sentence, you automatically start paying for the next charge.

Yes, the ‘fun’ aspect of knifing people would soon ‘die a death’!

In trying to appear tough on crime to get some good PR after the paedophile fiasco which shows how dysfunction Justice is under his watch, the latest attempt at populism is rather weak at best and at worse, incredibly dim witted.

Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Lewis Macdonald MSP said:

“Sentencing policy has to be crystal clear and send a message that it is never acceptable to carry a knife on the streets of Scotland.”

As long as I can remember the Labour Party has fought each by-election with a phoney knife crime campaign, where is their private members bill?

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont welcomed the maximum sentence increase but said automatic early release for prisoners should be scrapped.

This is incomplete thinking and distinctly unoriginal from Mr. Lamont on the lines of ‘tough on crime’, hardly going to get a revival of Conservative fortunes talking like that.

Scottish Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP said the Government should concentrate less on sentencing and more on diverting youngsters away from carrying blades.

Ms. McInnes could sorely benefit from someone have a quiet word in her shell like ear.

This latest 'stunt' is meaningless tat but is what the people of Scotland have come to expect from a lame duck like Kenny MacAskill.

The option to sack him remains with Alex Salmond, he should exercise that option, Justice is an ominshambles under the lightweight that is MacAskill.

Failure to address the issues at all levels.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, November 26, 2012

Desperate Nicola Sturgeon gets out the ‘begging bowl’ for Westminster, where the evidence of substantial numbers of new jobs creation, ‘pie in the sky’ again?
















Dear All

When Nicola Sturgeon took on the job of infrastructure sec, she probably didn’t realise that it was a mistake.

You can’t win independence by trying to buy votes through construction projects.

And less we forget there are only so many projects that can be built at anyone time due to funding constraints.

Should have stayed at the health brief!

How many times can you be photographed with a shovel?

Anyway, it appears that Ms. Sturgeon, in her role of ‘Bobette the Builder’ has launched a call for Westminster to increase spending on major building projects.

I wonder if the coalition government will sing ‘Bobette the Builder, she can’t do it’ when it comes to getting extra dough out of Osborne!

Scottish Government has published a list of £800 million-worth of ‘shovel ready’ projects that could begin construction before the end of 2013-14; this is part of the artificial bubble that the SNP Government wants to create as a prosperous Scotland under their watch.

And it is an artificial bubble; part of the money is going to be coming from stripping budgets and funnelling cash to her department.

This will leave many in lurch in terms of services provided by council, NGOs and Charities.

We have already seen 80,000 college places lost under the SNP Government and college funding cut.

The wrong political strategy to adopt, at the wrong time!

Ms. Sturgeon is attending the British-Irish Council in Cardiff and continuing the theme of finance secretary John Swinney, more money from George Osborne.

Osborne isn’t the sympathetic type and I don’t see Sturgeon getting anywhere near the £800 million she wants, a few titbits maybe if the wind is blowing in the right direction.

Ms Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said:

“The scale of the UK Governments cuts to public investment are acting as a key drag on economic growth. They are too deep, too quick and are holding the whole of the UK back. The Scottish Government is taking forward a range of initiatives to stimulate our economy.

You may remember the SNP Government was forced to admit that their influence to stimulate the economy is limited.

She added:

“A key action is a major programme of investment in capital infrastructure - despite the significant cuts by the UK Government to our capital budget of around a third between 2010-11 and 2014-15. But there is only so much we can do within our limited powers. That is why we are calling on the UK Government to provide a much needed stimulus to the economy through increasing capital investment which creates jobs and increases confidence in the short term, and creates long term assets for sustainable growth.”

If the SNP Government had carried out public sector reform, then Scotland would be better placed to weather problems, sadly they didn’t, everything worthwhile in terms of ideas has been shelved until after indy because there is no debate on anything unless it centres round that.

Ms. Sturgeon added:

“The Chancellor must act in his Autumn Statement in December – the whole of the UK economy needs it. We are ready to put extra spending to immediate use in Scotland, stimulating growth and creating substantial numbers of new jobs.”

Where’s the evidence that substantial numbers of new jobs will be created? I think unless we are seeing some detail this is looking increasingly like another one of her ‘pie in the sky’ adventures based on wishful thinking.

Ironically, it isn't the sword of Damocles above Nicola Sturgeon's head but rather the spade of Damocles which will impact on her future success. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scottish Independence; too many Salmond cronies board chopper for free buffet with tragic consequences, not a single pie survived

SNP Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill turns Scotland into a ‘paedophile’s paradise’, homeless paedophiles roam unchecked, grieving mother accuses MacAskill of ‘lying’





















Dear All

A few days ago, I wrote a post:


In that blog post, I returned to a theme that Alex Salmond’s crony, Kenny MacAskill was the most inept and incompetent Justice Minister in Holyrood’s history.

Regular readers to this blog know George Laird is always right, and here yet again is the proof of the pudding why MacAskill needs sacked!

Not moved, not allowed to step down, his arse sacked sending out a clear warning to the rest of the SNP Cabinet that they better start getting personally involved in their work or they will be out the door.

Alex Salmond is supposed to running a government, not a social club for his cheerleaders and sycophants.

Under the ridiculous state of affairs we have at present, we don’t have effective government.

And we haven’t had since May 2011; SNP Ministers have abandoned their posts to chase the independence dream.

What they should be doing is being at their desks.

Here is a story that highlights the fact that Kenny MacAskill is inept and incompetent; a mother whose son was murdered by a freed paedophile last night accused him of lying to Parliament.

Lying to parliament?

This is a story which is gaining traction with people, time after time we are seeing these allegations of lying make their way into the public domain regarding the SNP Ministers.

Child murder is a highly emotive issue add paedophilia and it becomes highly toxic for any politician.  

Campaigner Margaret Ann Cummings is rightly angry and has hit out after MacAskill claimed to have closed a legal loophole which can allow homeless sex offenders to go unmonitored.

It appears that the quality of MacAskill’s work is less than sterling as Margaret and opposition parties insist the legislation only affects a minority of paedophiles.

Margaret said:

“We’d been led to believe this loophole had been closed. Now, we find out we’ve been lied to”.

Adding:

“Sex offenders are devious people and get wind of weaknesses in the system – they know the flaws. Kenny MacAskill has had five years to close this loophole. He said he’d done it, but he hasn’t. It angers me after all we’ve been through that he’s still not man enough to see the job through. When you stand up in Parliament, you should be obliged to tell the truth.”

Margaret Cummings’ son is dead nothing can change that, but measures can be taken to safeguard other children and taken now.

MacAskill gave assurances in 2010 that 31 recommendations, including a crackdown on homeless sex offenders, had been implemented .He repeated the claim when questioned yesterday in Holyrood, however when pressed under cross-examination by Labour MSPs Paul Martin and Patricia Ferguson, he was forced to admit new regulations are still being drafted.

Still being drafted?

What the f*ck are they doing down in justice with their time?

MacAskill said:

“We are bringing forward the regulations so the matters are being dealt with.”

Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said:

“The Justice Secretary gave clear assurances which were empty. He says he’s taken action but notification arrangements for homeless sex offenders haven’t changed in five years.”

Five years!

Didn’t George Laird say that Alex Salmond should send SNP Ministers back to their desks?

Yes, I did and yet again, I am right.

This case highlights how inept and incompetent Kenny MacAskill is; he should never have been appointed Justice Minister in the first place, one can’t help but feel incredibly sorry for the Cummings family, their grief must be beyond belief.

Kenny MacAskill should keep a picture of Mark Cummings on his desk as a reminder of what happens when you don’t do your job properly.

If I was First Minister I would sack MacAskill and order a review of Justice to find out what has gone wrong there and what else hasn’t been dealt with. Then clear the parliamentary timetable to get the protections on the books that Scotland needs as a priority.

An entire department has been allowed to slide because Alex Salmond didn't appoint a Justice Minister, instead he appointed a pal.

How much longer must this go on? 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, November 23, 2012

Scottish independence: defiant English ‘bully’ Mike Russell refuses to resign; Russell clings to Alex Salmond for protection, Salmond's weak leadership in government kills indy!

















Dear All

It is increasingly clear that Scots want the English SNP ‘bully’ Mike Russell, the Education Secretary to resign.

Scots want this now!

The only problem that is that Russell is a member of the Alex Salmond clique, and Salmond himself is running out of allies.

Last night saw a defiant Russell refuse to apologise for forcing an innocent man from his job, Kirk Ramsay had done nothing wrong.

Part of Russell’s defence to Gordon Brewer was that he had known him for decades as proof he wasn’t a ‘bully’. Unfortunately for Russell this tactic didn’t work as Brewer quickly shot that down in flames.

The accusation of bullying revolves around people under him or who Russell thinks he has control of.

As well as the ‘bullying’ accusation levelled against him, Russell is embroiled in the college funding row.  

Scotland’s three main opposition parties demand he quit over college funding, his apology to Parliament hasn’t been accepted.

Rightly so, in my opinion, his time is up, his career is effectively over despite clinging to Salmond like a wounded animal.

Russell’s actions tainted Salmond, the stain isn’t coming out, particularly on the ‘bullying’ claim, Salmond exercised poor judgment; this incident was another marker on the road to defeat for the Salmond clique at the independence campaign. 

In a show of defiance, he accused fellow MSPs of being “unpleasant”, before echoing former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson by adding:

“People will be asking what’s going on. Let me tell you – I’m going on.”

Accusing others of effectively bullying is a known tactic by people who bully to portray they are the victim.

In a piece of theatre Russell admitted he was not a “model of perfection.”

Further to his Newsnight Scotland interview, we heard Russell say he was passionate about education.

His record:

80,000 college places lost over two years.

Where was his defence of his brief there?

The disastrous regionalisation programme!

Gross stupidity!

Curriculum for Excellence, another badly managed event subject to criticism!

College Jobs lost.

College courses removed.

And add to that he can’t get a grip of his brief.  

Flanked by First Minister Alex Salmond, who had to apologise for misleading MSPs last week over the incorrect figures, Mr Russell was accused of having received the “dreaded vote of confidence” from the SNP leader.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, said:

“Like in football, the chairman has turned up to give the dreaded vote of confidence to the manager. Surely it’s only a matter of time before this one’s on gardening leave.”

Either Alex Salmond gets rid of Mike Russell or the people of Scotland will get rid of Alex Salmond.

This episode was a clear marker why Scots will not vote for independence, Russell will ride out this storm, but the Tsunami that will hit the independence campaign will drown Salmond, Sturgeon, Russell and the nasty clique round them.

Earlier this week, Mike Russell offered a “full and unreserved” apology to MSPs, they have responded by in effect saying ‘take your apology and shove it right up your fucking arse’!

Scotland demands the resignation of Mike Russell.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scottish independence: Kenny MacAskill the most inept and incompetent Justice Minister in Holyrood’s history on brink of bring lawyers out on strike, chaos in courts!

















Dear All

When Kenny MacAskill was appointed Justice Minister few knew what to expect, within a short time they found out to their horror.

MacAskill, a Salmond crony was totally out of his depth and pissing on justice in Scotland, the greatest failure has to be Megrahi; he released the biggest mass murderer in Scottish history.

This is his legacy, a legacy he can't outrun.

I don’t have a problem with people making a judgment call, however in the Megrahi case, we saw how inept, incompetent and warped his judgment became.

Then other notable blunders, the Cadder Case row, the UK Supreme Court and the steady denial of rights both legal and human, this shows he is unfit to hold the Office of Justice Minister.

In my opinion MacAskill is the worst Justice Minister in the history of Holyrood.

Whether it is a big problem or a small problem, this individual isn’t up to the task, his portfolio is a disaster, the worst in government despite being hard pressed by Mike Russell in education.

The latest evidence in the case for his removal, I prefer sacked myself is that Scotland is facing its first national lawyers’ strike.

This is in response to controversial legal aid proposals, in a move which could bring widespread disruption to the courts.

In trying to save pennies, MacAskill will cost us all pounds, wasted court time and severe disruption and breakdown of good will.

And all because Alex Salmond went for his ‘best pal’ instead of the ‘best man’ for the job!

Bar associations and faculties have backed industrial action as tensions­ between the legal profession and the Scottish Government continue to mount. MacAskill is killing justice in Scotland due to his outright stupidity.

In previous articles I made the suggestion that Scotland need two deputy justice ministers, one to deal with day to day problems like this and another to operate as a reviewer of law and special projects.

Lawyers have opposed SNP Government plans to make an accused pay a contribution to their defence costs, if the individual has more than £68 a week of disposable income.

This means that innocent people are fined at the start of their trial.

Lawyers are also angry that law firms would collect these fees, rather than the Scottish Legal Aid Board (Slab).

This makes lawyers, in effect ‘debt collectors’ under the plans, if their clients are found guilty and jailed having no money, they are f*cked!

You can understand why the plans are so unpopular, and badly thought-out.

These plans are staggering incompetence of a level undreamed of; we are climbing ‘Mount Stupid’ here, the highest plane of ignorance and ineptitude.

The call for action came the day after justice secretary Kenny MacAskill offered some ‘concessions’ on the level at which payments would begin and on how the contributions were collected.

Free Legal Aid is essential, why he thought tampering with this is beyond me, clearly out of his depth and clearly he needs his a**e sacked immediately.

Scotland will vote for independence with him as Justice Minister, forget it.

The recent moves by MacAskill are not enough to persuade lawyers to reject industrial action.

These proposals should be scrapped!

To show the level of contempt against the SNP Government, no prior warning will be given of the date or manner of the action, however Salmond and MacAskill will be getting the message before Christmas unless ministers change course.

Sadly as we have seen all too often MacAskill isn't very bright, he needs to restore the system and restore it now.

Cameron Tait, president of Edinburgh Bar Association, said:

“There will be further industrial action and it’s going to involve numerous bar associations across Scotland. We are not going to advise when it is going to be, but it will be in the near future.”

Tait added:

“The government advised in Tuesday’s release that Kenny MacAskill is going to move an amendment to increase the eligibility level. Without an indication of what that will be it’s meaningless”.

More evidence of incompetence!

Tait:

“If if goes up by £1 it is not going to make any difference to people seeking access to justice. It’s of no worth. It’s not about contributions. It’s funding for people in Scotland who are on the poverty line.”

As Scots are finding out to their cost; when the wrong person is appointed to Justice, chaos ensues, MacAskill should have been removed years ago, Salmond never had the courage to get Scots a proper Justice Minister.

Salmond was just filling his pal’s pockets with ministerial cash when he should have been doing his job properly.

In the name of God, MacAskill go now!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond accused of misleading parliament again over renewable jobs claim, trust and competence has long gone, that's the truth Salmond!














Dear All

Alex Salmond is facing fresh calls to apologise to Parliament for misleading MSPs again.

Not long ago, the First Minister had to return to the Holyrood Chamber and apologise for misleading parliament over college cuts.

After shouting the odds, Salmond and his deadbeat education minister Mike Russell were positively beaming as they left the chamber. Salmond couldn’t contain himself and was crowing for the nearest TV crew with Russell being flippant.

A few hours later with his tail between his legs Salmond returned to apologise, he then left the chamber head down, not so cocky.

Opposition MSPs have found the range. They are starting to take him apart on detail.

Didn’t George Laird say it was important to tell the truth and deal in facts?

Yes, George Laird right again.

We now have Salmond accused of misleading parliament over exaggerating claims of green jobs in Scotland.

He told MSPs last month that 18,000 jobs were created, a figure disputed by Scottish Renewables which claimed only 11,000 were generated.

That figure was exaggerated by 7,000.

This incident happened on October 25 when he said that there were 18,000 jobs created by industries such as windfarms etc. Unfortunately for him, this has been totally refuted by Scottish Renewables.

This body says only 11,000 jobs are supported.

A Scottish Government spokesman said:

“The First Minister has corrected the Parliament’s official report to make it clear there are 11,000 jobs supported by Scotland’s renewable energy sector.”

It is the second time in a week that the Scottish Government has confessed giving inaccurate answers to Parliament.

People will now be asking is anything SNP Ministers say the actual truth?

How would Oscar Wilde put it?

To tell one misleading answer is unfortunate, to tell two seems like carelessness.

Scottish Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith said:

“This was clearly a misleading answer by the First Minister, who overestimated the number of jobs created by renewables considerably. It’s not the first time this month Alex Salmond has given inaccurate figures to Holyrood, and this has to stop. We know the SNP is obsessed with wind energy, but over-egging the benefits in such a spectacular way is not how to win the argument. He must now come to parliament and explain why he misled – is he just going to blame an inaccurate briefing again, or that he gave the figure in good faith?”

In case you don’t know how ‘good faith’ came in the fore of politics, it became popular when Tony Blair was outed for misleading parliament.

Labour’s Richard Baker said the latest episode shows that the First Minister “lies instinctively.”

“lies instinctively?”

The Labour Party of late are roasting Alex Salmond’s political arse, it is becoming a Labour Party training and proving ground for their MSPs to cut their teeth on.

They are getting the range and making precision hits.

Baker added:

“When asked about the number of jobs in renewable energy he tells the people of Scotland 18,000 but that’s simply not true”.

Not true!

Baker:

“He doesn’t even apologise, he just gets the Tipp-Ex out and changes the official record. When Alex Salmond is asked if he has legal advice on Europe he says yes – but that’s not true either”.

This is an effective theme by Labour, if they continue to call Alex Salmond a ‘liar’ it will take hold.

Didn’t George Laird say it was important to tell the truth and deal in facts?

George Laird right again, politics is so easy, sadly only the stupid seem to have difficulty steering a straight course.

Baker finished by mentioning:

“Just last week on college funding he boasted to parliament that he was giving the most exact answer ever given to any parliament – and then a couple of hours later he was dragged back to admit he had misled Parliament. Alex Salmond seems incapable of telling the truth and clearly thinks he can treat the people of Scotland for fools.”

Iain MacWhirter wrote on his blog on the 19th November this quote:

“He apologised last week for inadvertently misleading parliament on college spending.  This could be habit forming”.

Hugh Henry mocked Salmond by quoting Burns:

““Facts are chiels that winna ding.”

And added:

"Ding ding."

I am not familiar with Burns..

So I would say to Salmond:

“Smart, I like, smart arse I don’t”.

In this blog I pointed out quite some time ago that Salmond should send SNP Ministers back to their desks, this is the result of not following George Laird's advice!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Politically dead man walking Mike Russell in transport ‘row’; Scots don’t believe Mike Russell stands up for them, his track record is pathetic and he should resign















Dear All

SNP Minister Mike Russell is a politically dead man walking, he hasn’t the good grace to lie down, die and put us out of his misery.

He is in effect a zombie held up by Alex Salmond after taking too many hits, some of which are self inflicted.

When this deadbeat got control of education, he never stood up for his brief and more importantly stood up Scots.

80,000 Scots have lost out on college places due to him being inept and incompetent.

The regionalisation of colleges is stupid, ill-judged, ill-timed and frankly worthy of the deepest contempt.

College jobs are being lost, he didn’t save them.

Where was he when he should have been fighting for these people?

AWOL, desertion of his post because he is a few pages short of a jotter?

In order to try and save his miserable pathetic career, Russell is today at the centre of a new row, this time involving an agency overseen by fellow SNP ministers.

To try and take the heat off him, he is focussing on alleged “maladministration and negligence” within the Scottish Government. This relates to a ferry service operating in the Firth of Clyde.

Mr Russell, an Argyll and Bute MSP, has backed calls for an investigation.

One can only wonder if this is an artificial row created to show him standing up for Scots, Russell is English.

The false flag operation is nothing new in politics, and given the state of Russell’s career which has sunk, he is desperate now.

Russell has written to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, which investigates complaints against public bodies. The upshot of this is him saying he “fully supports” a demand that it should look into Transport Scotland’s role in overseeing a publicly-funded ferry service between Gourock and Dunoon.

Funnily enough, this government agency reports to Deputy First Minister and Infrastructure Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and Transport Secretary Keith Brown.

That is why I can’t take his complaint seriously at all.

Russell says he is acting on request of a member of the Dunoon Gourock Ferry Action Group.

The Dunoon Gourock Ferry Action Group has asked the Ombudsman to examine alleged “negligence, maladministration and system failure” at Transport Scotland, accusing it of delivering a service that was not fit for purpose.


The strategy to win independence is to try and buy it.

Gordon Blair, an SNP councillor for Cowal and secretary of the action group, said:

“It’s not only the current SNP administration, there’s been misinformation through several administrations in the way it’s all been done. When you look at the vessels they have operating on these routes, you have to ask how on earth they were deemed appropriate for the weather we have got.”

Blair also gives credence that this ‘infighting’ is phoney by claiming there was a rift between government ministers and Transport Scotland staff, adding:

“Civil servants need to be working with the elected representatives and have their fingers more tightly on the pulse.”

In other words this looks a fake row manufactured so that Russell, Sturgeon and Brown can after the hot air and fake outrage is done, come together under the banner of standing up for Scots.

If they were standing up for Scots, why are they stripping budgets to fund capital projects?

Labour MSP Duncan McNeil said:

“This is more evidence of drift at the heart of the Scottish Government”.

McNeil added:

 “If the SNP was more focussed on the day job, rather than obsessed with the referendum, then perhaps this bizarre situation could have been avoided. It is perverse that the Ombudsman is being used to settle scores between ministers.”

This isn’t a row, it is a stage show, let them play out their little piece of theatre; no one is coming to see that ‘performance’.

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tavish Scott added:

“The Scottish Government's omnishambles continues. On one hand, Mr Russell is happy to back an inquiry into his own government over mismanagement of the Dunoon-Gourock ferry line but, on the other, he has blocked an inquiry into his own mismanagement of Scotland’s colleges”.

This latest episode of Mike Russell, English fighter for Scots is pathetic!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Scotland’s inept and incompetent Education Secretary Mike Russell says he is ‘sorry’ for false college claim, many will ask, is that the truth this time?















Dear All

It seems that after Alex Salmond apologised to Holyrood and then left the chamber with his tail between his legs, it is now the turn of Mike Russell.

Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell has made a "full and unreserved" apology to MSPs for giving wrong information on college budgets.

Unfortunately this deadbeat hasn’t done the decent thing and resigned his post.

The latest SNP debacle started in June when Russell spouted out that there was no cut in funding in 2012-13.

It actually fell by £9.3m.

Talk about incompetence, we are talking millions here, how can you not notice that?

For the Labour Party this latest row led them to continue the theme that the SNP Ministers are ‘liars’.

And putting on the pressure they said that Russell had "knowingly misled" parliament.

When Alex Salmond went to bat for Russell at FMQ’s, he was pretty cocky in his answer, leaving the chamber; both he and Russell were positively beaming having stuck it to Labour.

A few hours later, he returned to apologise, he left tail between his legs and head down, he looked like a deflated man.

Labour education spokesman Hugh Henry said:

"Mike Russell misled the Scottish Parliament in June, despite knowing the true figures since February. Why has it taken him five months to apologise?"

Mr Henry said that, under the ministerial code, ministers who knowingly mislead parliament were expected to resign.

Given that Alex Salmond is running a clique, I think it is highly unlike that anyone in it knows what the ‘decent thing’ actually is.

Henry said:

"Mike Russell knew in June he had misled this parliament when he said there was no reduction in funding in 2012-13. He then knowingly misled this parliament again last Wednesday when he said 'I have never said that there were no cuts'."

Mr Henry added:

"He as knowingly misled this parliament not once but twice."

His end piece was to ask:

"Why has Mike Russell not offered his resignation?"

Because he is Alex Salmond’s pal and as long as you are Alex Salmond’s pal you can commit any obscenity under his protection and get away with it.

I am reminded of a quote from the movie Gladiator:

“The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end”.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks face Operation Elveden charges, Coulson says he will fight the charges, the alternative is prison time, serious stuff indeed!














Dear All

The phone hacking scandal which was initially thought to be the work a ‘rogue’ reporter has flourished into something much bigger than anyone could ever imagine.

Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are to be charged in connection with payments to police and public officials.

Coulson and Brooks were well known to David Cameron; although he had nothing to do with it, with friends like them ‘who needs enemies?’

For Cameron this is particularly toxic since Coulson was picked to be his Downing Street communications chief.

Right in the heart of government!

As well as Coulson and Brooks, journalists Clive Goodman and John Kay and MoD employee Bettina Jordan-Barber also face charges according to the CPS.

Coulson, denies the allegations.

Operation Elveden is the Met Police investigation into corrupt payments, if money has been paid, surely people at the NOTW must have known this was a rod to hell they were walking on?

I mean how could they not know?

Mr Coulson, Mr Goodman, Mrs Brooks and Ms Jordan-Barber are to be charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

If convicted someone will be going to prison, this won’t be community service, this will be jail time and years.

In a statement, Andy Coulson said he was "extremely disappointed" by the CPS's decision.

He said:

"I deny the allegations made against me and will fight the charges in court."

Given the situation he now finds himself, he has little choice but to fight, if he was to plea guilty, his lawyer would have advised that it would be jail.

This is a high profile case and people are watching closely.

Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said:

"All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings."

So far 52 people have been arrested as part of Operation Elveden which would tend to show that a culture existed beyond mere investigative journalism.

In Scotland, Tommy Sheridan found himself in prison because of a court case with the News International crowd. He must be tickled pink of how far Coulson has fallen since he gave evidence at his trial. Sheridan spent a good deal of time in prison and emerged to seeing his political reputation in tatters.

Although there is much talk about Sheridan appealing I would find it hard to believe that any appeal would be successful on his part. The issues of multiple witnesses and a videotape remain even if you subtract the evidence of Coulson at the Sheridan trial.

It seems that the pressure is on Coulson and Brooks, the great pity of the phone hacking scandal is that despite the wrong doing, the NOTW exposed a lot of people who needed to be exposed. Sadly the lines got blurred and poor judgment was the order of the day. Getting a story at any price was the order of the day.

And now a lot of people are wondering what their future holds.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon's vision for sterling questioned, no clarity, no agreements and Scots can’t control own currency, Salmond's hopeless!
















Dear All

One of the things which weakens the independence campaign is the assumption of the Scottish National Party that if Scotland was to vote for independence, they would get things their own way post indy!

What would the currency of Scotland be post independence?

Would it be Sterling or the Euro?

Would the Bank of England give Scotland the lender of last resort facility?

If not is there a Plan McB for a Scottish Pound?

These are all serious questions to be asked and so far, two years out from the vote, nothing has been done to address this situation beyond platitudes.

Now serious doubt has been cast on the money situation by Brian Quinn, one of Scotland's most experienced bankers; he says the UK Government would impose stringent conditions if an independent Scotland kept the pound in a new "sterling zone.

Quinn is a former high-ranking Bank of England official.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are proposing that an independent Scotland hands over control of our money supply to effectively a foreign country.

This means unlike the situation we have at present where questions could be raised in the House of Commons, Scots would have no representation.

No representation on the Bank of England monetary policy committee either.

This would place many constraints on an independent Scotland's economic and financial policy choices. England would place their economic interests ahead of Scottish ones, this leaves Scotland vulnerable.

Plan McB for a Scottish Pound sinking in yet with the SNP?

Sadly no, given the independence campaign is such a disaster it would be foolish to think that Salmond has matters in hand.

As well as Quinn voicing doubts, Owen Kelly, head of Scottish Financial Enterprise, claims the industry was crying out for clarity on what independence might mean in practice.

He isn’t the only one, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon would probably be interested as well, the SNP have been in ‘business’ for circa 80 years and during that time, nothing was done to have a blueprint of how an independent Scotland would look.

Nothing!

A Party of independence without a plan, you can't make it up, but sadly it's true.  

The pair's (Kelly and Quinn) views highlight what many people in Scotland think, too much to do, too little time to do it and as we are seeing the calibre of Scottish Government work leaves a lot to be desired .

And we are seeing bad law being passed by the Scottish Government, the issue of competence, trust and honesty is being flagged up by opposition parties.

These continuing doubts over finance are outlined in papers for a David Hume Institute seminar in Edinburgh with deal a serious blow to First Minister Alex Salmond's idea of forging a sterling zone with the rest of the UK.

Any negotiations would not be a discussion among equal nations rather England would dictate all terms all the way.

We would see an independent Scotland's freedom to spend and borrow limited, this means people would suffer in recession and the Scottish Government could effectively do nothing to pull itself out of the hole.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon propose to give these monetary powers away.

Scotland would not be allowed to a run a significantly higher budget deficit than the rest of the UK.

The ‘Scottish’ budget would need approval each year from England.

Is this independence?

Another assumption floated by the SNP is that Scottish banks would, as the SNP claim, continue to come under UK regulation.

That plan appears to be in breach of EU rules.

Is this another thing that Salmond hasn’t asked the EU?

How is that competence?

But the real nub and bottom line is that any decision to bail out a Scottish bank on the brink of collapse would be taken by the UK Chancellor.

Not only would England be the ‘gatekeepers’ of finance, they would also be able to stop any rescue attempt of a Scottish bank plunging Scotland in dire economic straits.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have a plan to cope with this scenario?

Well no is the short answer, no answers, no vision and no plan!

Previously the Nicola Sturgeon made allsorts of frankly barmy claims that an independent Scottish Government would be represented on the Bank of England's key Monetary Policy Committee.

That idea was quickly shot down for student union politics that it was.

An independent Scotland according to Mr Quinn; is not self- evident that it would retain the UK's AAA credit rating.

This means no cheap borrowing and the Salmond's pledge to save billions of pounds in an oil fund isn’t backed by anything other than ramblings of an increasingly deluded First Minister.
 
Where is the plan for how the Oil Fund would operate?

When could the Oil Fund come online?

How much capital would the Scottish Government reserve from the budget each year for the Fund?

What is the purpose of the Fund?

Alex Salmond can’t tell you anything.  

Scottish Financial Enterprise chief Mr Kelly said:

"There is a strong appetite for clarity about what independence would mean in practice and this runs strong in the financial services industry, where facts and evidence are always given preference over belief and sentiment."

Did George Laird say that independence can only won by telling the truth?

It seems that George Laird is right again.

Scottish Labour finance spokesman Ken Macintosh said:

"When an expert such as Brian Quinn questions what independence would mean given the significant constraints Scotland continuing to use the pound would face, it is little wonder that Alex Salmond makes it up as he goes along."

We should let Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon play out their ‘independence game’, afterwards SNP members can look back at all the mistakes and start asking serious questions.

So far Salmond and Sturgeon have dug themselves into a hole, they are totally out of their depth and it shows as they make it up as they go along, Ken Macintosh is right.

People want to know facts, so far the SNP think they can get away with bullshit, but the polls show a different story emerging.

Independence should be taken offline, shelved to 2018, providing that the SNP can win a majority, so far that is looking increasingly unlikely.

There really is no vision.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University