Thursday, January 31, 2013

Scottish Conservatives want a fresh start in Scotland, situation is dire, they need a new party, new policies and new people; deliver social justice is the key, like football they need to enter the transfer market and get new strikers!

Dear All

If you are a Tory in Scotland generally your chances of getting elected to public office are at best slim and mostly unelectable.

Scotland doesn’t vote for the Scottish Conservative Party because of its prior history and legacy of Thatcher.

Thatcher’s treatment of Scottish people is burned into the psyche of Scots, if there was a pilot to treat people badly; it was earmarked for Scotland first.

Any Tory leader in Scotland is a token leader who is permanently benched on the sidelines, there is history, an issue of trust and a deep loathing that if they get elected in large numbers, they will have an opportunity to enhance the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.

Ruth Davidson is the current leader; she concedes Scotland does not trust her party.

In order to make people vote Tory in Scotland various gimmicks were use such as saying things like the Tories stand for ‘commonsense’, a slogan which failed to float with voters.

Deeds and new policies are required, acts so spectacular that people are forced to stop and look round, we are talking epic stuff to remove a legacy.

Even Tories recognize that there is something serious wrong with them, their vote has collapsed, membership is small and they are entrenched in an old mindset where rather than apologizing for what has happened in the past, they say are proud of it.

Like the dinosaurs, the party is well fucked!!!!

Some in the Tory Party like Murdo Fraser and some others recognized the scale of the problem, if you have a brand that doesn’t sell; you have to bring new products to the market place.

Although there is a need to have a centre right party in Scottish politics, it has to be a party that can cross the line and pick and implement centre left policies particularly on social justice issues.

Murdo Fraser was on the right track, however, his journey wasn’t taking his party to an end destination that signaled a re-birth, he had a raw product, which needed someone to pop the hood and fine tune it for political races ahead.

There was much talk about long-needed reorganisation but if people don’t believe in you, they won’t come out and work for you, and if the message is wrong as well, on a rainy day, you might just catch a cold for your efforts.

No one in politics likes losing especially if they have worked hard.

But hard work isn’t enough, your cause must be just, it must have a hook that catches ordinary people, people want to know, if they back you, will you fight to the death for them.

Can anyone say that type of passion is in the Scottish Tory Party regarding working class people?

That is their untapped market, unlock that and Scottish politics takes on a new dimension completely.  

Murdo Fraser wanted a new centre right party, not a new version of the Conservatives.

Rightly or wrongly depending where you stand, it was bold, but if it was going to work, then a new party couldn’t have been a replacement for the Conservatives; nor a club for former Conservative members and their MSPs to bounce through the door like the keys to a new house.

It would have to be a new party, with new people advocating new policies.

In politics, some people are better at certain aspects and in other areas, their vision is completely warped.

Recently; rich farmer and Tory MSP Alex Johnstone was quite outspoken when he gave his ‘fuck the poor’ speech on the unfairness of the bedroom tax.

Johnstone is alright Jack!

2013 and this attitude still runs through the Scottish Tories and they wonder why they can’t get working class people to vote for them?

Last week, 18 months since Ruth Davidson took over the leadership; she gave a speech calling for change, all change, but probably not!

Her speech may or may not be a turning point, the current strategy of shouting louder, changing the logo, burying the head in the sand, and a mystical date in the future of everything will be turned around is now acknowledged that the party’s problems are more fundamental than just bad marketing and a big smile for the press and punters.

Scotland doesn’t trust Tories.

Can Ruth Davidson find the right solution to that bunny?

Well, the problem was Westminster, so her window of opportunity has to be to correct that problem, if she can’t fix that then the next Holyrood election is just business as usual.

2015 is the only opportunity she gets; new ideas of epic scale on social justice have to be rolled out that put her tanks on the lawn of Labour and the SNP. She needs votes from both; less we forget there is one Tory MP in Scotland.

Big decisions are needed very quickly because the race for Westminster has already begun by Labour.

They are out and about and wanting to cement their MP block.

'Fuck the poor' hasn't worked as a strategy maybe its time to try something else.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scottish Independence: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon suffer a humiliating defeat as SNP backtrack to accept 'more neutral' indyref question, SNP Govt can’t write an unbiased question; looking pathetic now!

Dear All

It seems that the ‘retreat from Moscow’ has started for Alex Salmond and Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Today is a milestone and another defeat for the SNP Government as they have run up the ‘white flag’ and agreed to the Electoral Commission’s request for the SNP’s proposed referendum question to be changed to a “more neutral” form of words.

Blair Jenkins of Yes Scotland walked out into no man’s land and firstly declared an intention to surrender the position which was indefensible.

Time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

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

Well, seems the SNP Cabinet can’t draw up an unbiased question.

Talented indeed, me thinks not!

The Electoral Commission’s said the planned ballot paper question for 2014 - “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? Yes/No” - was potentially biased in favour of a Yes answer.

They have come up with a plainer wording: “Should Scotland be an independent country?

So, people at the ballot box will have a simple Yes / No” on their paper.

In the past much shouting of the odds by Scottish Government Ministers was done, this is Scotland’s election made in Scotland they cried and their cybernat supporters piped up straight behind them as Salmond and co threatened to over-rule the politically impartial Electoral Commission if they disagreed with its suggestion.

How the world has changed with the total collapse of independence support.

23% with Nicola Sturgeon at the helm pushing the debate backwards instead of forward!

On the financial front, the two main campaign groups, Yes Scotland and Better Together, will each be permitted to spend £1.5m in the crucial final four months before polling.

Presumably beforehand Mr. Salmond will wish to address why Scots are unwilling to be active in his independence campaign even within his own party.

Alex Salmond can’t even tempt his own supporters onto the streets to support him now!

In Glasgow, the Sturgeon clique has to stagger events in order for people to attend both thus giving the impression of large interest when there is none!

John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said:

“Voters are entitled to a referendum which produces a result they can have confidence in. The recommendations we have made today are an important part of giving voters that confidence. But it is of course for the Scottish Parliament to have the final say.”

So, the retreat has started, as Salmond and Sturgeon lead the remnants of the clique and hangers on across the cold bitter snowy wastelands, people will start to drop out and dodging the column with excuses.

Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-UK Better Together groups said:

"I am pleased that the impartial Electoral Commission has rejected the fixed referendum question which Alex Salmond demanded. They have also rejected the nationalist's attempts to silence their opponents by setting spending limits that would have given them an unfair advantage. The commission’s experts have also said that nationalist attempts to gag business, unions and civil society are wrong”.

Time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

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

It seems now that SNP members and indy supporters should be asking the hard questions of Salmond and Sturgeon who have completely botched this campaign up.

Nicola Sturgeon needs to stand down as Independence Minister, she is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Today is a humiliating defeat made worse by the hot air and bluster of previous rhetoric by Salmond and Sturgeon.

As Eric Cartman of SouthPark would say:

'This campaign sucks ass dude!'

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SNP Government can’t be trusted to obey the laws of Scotland, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon promised a fair campaign, trust is now a major issue in the independence debate, sheer panic and madness engulfs integrity and good judgment now!

Dear All

Such is the state of the independence campaign collapse that the Scottish Government is now breached its own Freedom of Information (FOI) rules.

Independence has been made complex by the sheer utter stupidity of the Scottish Government under the leadership of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Instead of being ‘masterminds’ they are rapidly turning into never minds!

The latest piece of self inflected wounds is an official report finding the SNP Government believing they don’t have to obey the law of Scotland.

By not releasing e-mails, opposition parties have another open goal to shoot at, a slight tap and it’s in the net, they say this debacle exposes attempts to “nobble” a leading expert who clashed with ministers over the referendum.

Trust is now a major issue in the independence debate and with Scotland’s Information commissioner ruling that ministers “frustrated” an FOI request.

The Scottish Government’s top civil servant is now facing fresh calls to re-open an inquiry into the row but given the civil service is paralysed, it is doubtful an inquiry will be heard unless it would clear the SNP Government.

Faith in due process has disappeared in the minds of opposition parties and the public.

The ruling yet again puts fresh pressure on the SNP over compliance with FOI. Previously, Ministers have clashed with information commissioner Rosemary Agnew.

That episode was regarding the existence of legal advice on Scotland’s place in Europe after independence.

It later emerged there was no such advice exposing people in the SNP Government to the charge they were liars.

Alex Salmond was publicly branded a liar, and despite appoint his own judge and jury to clear him, the court of public opinion didn’t, the charge is still uttered by opposition MSPs.

The background to the Qvortrup incident was First Minister Alex Salmond reading out a letter to MSPs at Holyrood in October 2011.

This letter was purported to be from Dr Qvortrup, recanting his referendum criticism in a newspaper article.

One major problem for Salmond, he was forced to apologise after it turned out the letter had been drafted by an SNP adviser and was not endorsed by the academic.

When pressed by the Labour Party officials withheld an exchange in which SNP adviser Kevin Pringle attempted to get the academic to change tack and urged him to claim he had acted first without interference from the government. It was only released under appeal.

SNP adviser Kevin Pringle is widely regarded as smart, well maybe in the Salmond clique he is something due to the others being so lacking but this is an incident that need not have happened.

Stupidity caused this, lack of ethics caused and arrogance caused this, now the price has been paid, another brick has been laid that the SNP Government cannot be trusted.

Labour’s Hugh Henry said the ruling left further questions for Mr Salmond to answer over the affair.

He said:

“The Information Commissioner’s decision is a damning indictment of the disgraceful manner in which the SNP government operates and the extraordinary lengths they will go to cover up their deceit.”

Henry added:

“It was serious enough that the First Minister read out a faked letter of retraction to parliament, but for his adviser to then seek to persuade Dr Qvortrup to be complicit in a fraud and then withhold the incriminating e-mails, confirms that this SNP administration is incapable of being straight with the Scottish people. There remain big questions as to what the First Minister knew about the attempt to nobble Dr Qvortrup and the subsequent cover-up. If Mr Salmond is clinging to the excuse he was misled himself, why was no disciplinary action taken against those responsible? In light of this ruling I intend to write again to Permanent Secretary.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We have received the Information Commissioner’s decision and are considering its terms.”

Independence support has totally collapsed.


The public aren’t stupid and each day, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon by their actions provide reasons to vote no to independence.

You can’t buy independence, you can’t lie your way there either; and as we are seeing Salmond’s judgment is being called into question, too many bad decisions and no forward thinking.
Nicola Sturgeon is a liability as independence minister, the blame game better start early because out of that solutions can be found, and if the Salmond Government could obey the law of Scotland it would be so peachy!

Another bad day for Alex Salmond, have another pudding Alex!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 28, 2013

Scottish independence: Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is making a complete spectacle of herself over Scotland’s EU membership, off key, screaming and foaming at the mouth, ‘wee angry Nat’ of old returns!

Dear All

When Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was appointed Independence Minister by Alex Salmond, it was a gross mistake and error of judgment.

Nicola Sturgeon dropped the ball on Scotland’s EU membership on live television when it was revealed that the Scottish Government had done nothing, they never asked the right people about membership in the EU.

Claims were made that turned out to be false.

Recently Ms. Sturgeon was rebuffed by the EU President when she asked for talks on the subject; his Vice-President cited that any request must come from the British Government.
It was a stupid stunt which spectacularly backfired on her and the SNP!

Then followed a disastrous trip to Ireland still trying to flog a dead horse and appear relevant, that Nicola Sturgeon is somehow moving the independence cause forward.

23% in a recent poll show exactly what Nicola Sturgeon has done, and her supporters better wise up fast, the strategy is nonsense, and highlights how small Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are on the international stage, they don’t flag up at all as serious players.

Another PR disaster for Sturgeon’s Ireland trip which highlights the lack of talent in the Scottish National Party is when Ireland's European affairs minister has said an independent Scotland would need to apply to become a member of the European Union.

And any application would take time.

The SNP Government claim that Scotland would be negotiating from ‘within’ was left in tatters, it was never a credible claim in the first place to make without factual evidence.

After a rebuff by the EU President, the latest piece of stupidity by Nicola Sturgeon is trying to drag the leaders of the 27 EU states into British domestic politics by trying to open up a direct dialogue with them.

If the word is no from Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, it is certain no right across the 27 states, no one is going to play Ms. Sturgeon’s childish game, it is incredibly bad judgment to push a bad position.

Her letter shows yet again how desperate and isolated the Scottish Government are becoming, it’s time to drop this quietly and move on, it was never a viable idea in the first place, it’s an embarrassment now and example of poor leadership skills on her part.

On the unionist side of the debate, they are laughing, Ms. Sturgeon is personally sinking in her personal credibility as they point out that Scots under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t get the right to a referendum on EU membership in the event Scotland was to vote for independence.

Jackson Carlaw, the deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, said the Sturgeon stunt letter was "yet more self-important posturing."

Nicola Sturgeon is desperate now under her direction, the independence campaign has been badly botched; she is now a publicity seeker like a rejected X Factor singing contestant wanting to get back in the limelight.

Off key, screaming and foaming at the mouth, she is making a spectacle of herself now.

I said there was a genuine lack of talent in the Scottish National Party, and the evidence speaks for itself.

George Laird right again!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Scottish Conservative Ruth Davidson says she wants to give Tories a fresh Scots image, if she was serious about re-branding then she needs to adopt radical social policies to reconnect with ordinary voters, where’s the beef?

Dear All

It seems that Conservative leader Ruth Davidson wants a fresh start between the Tories and the Scottish public.

For decades the Scottish Conservative Party has been wiped out electorally in Scotland, in areas such as Glasgow, there is a single Conservative Councillor, no MP’s and only one list MSP, Ms. Davidson herself and not a single first past the post MSP seat held or even coming close.

As part of her efforts she has announced plans to take her party down the route of extended devolution for Scotland.

It is surprising because if people think back to last year she ruled out such a move.

In the leadership contest, Murdo Fraser put forward an agenda for change, including scrapping the current party and starting from scratch.

It was at the time, too big an idea for the Conservatives to wrap their heads round.

Scotland doesn’t vote Tory.

Its part of the Thatcher legacy; and with recent changes affecting the poorest in society, any rebirth is going to be still born.
Her appetite for change through possible greater tax powers was met by a sardonic response from her defeated leadership opponent Murdo Fraser because during the leadership contest he was attacked on the issue by Ms Davidson..

He tweeted:

"Looks like a very good speech from Ruth Davidson. Could almost have written it myself."

Ms Davidson told her supporters in Edinburgh:

"The debate has moved a great deal in the last year. We now know what the parameters are for a referendum on independence. But the conversation on the constitutional future of Scotland doesn't begin and end with that referendum. It will continue and the Scottish Conservatives must have a voice, a strong and positive voice, in that conversation."

If she thinks tinkering with devo will solve her party’s problems then she is looking at things from the wrong end of the telescope.

Change for the Conservatives has to be much more than this, if this is the offer to the Scottish people, then it will business as usual for Scots, don’t vote Tory, don’t listen to Tory and keep them down and out from power.

In her speech she spoke of older Conservatives as "products of their environment" born into a past era when the Tories commanded popular support.

Products of their environment who acted in the most vile fashion in their treatment of people struggling to make ends meet, recently Alex Johnstone MSP gave a ‘fuck the poor’ speech.

Its 2013, Mr. Johnstone is alright because he owns a farm which is now run by his wife and son, so he is financially fixed for life, but many people don’t and have never had the opportunities that he has.

Scottish Conservatives have never stood up for the poor and disadvantaged in Scotland, so no one votes for them, decades have passed and still Scotland will not vote Conservative.

Ms. Davidson can stand and speak and continually say the word change till Alex Johnstone’s cows come home, but until there is a radical change on social policy on an epic scale then her speech will just be another one of many that have gone before.

Eventually someone will have to grasp the nettle and say that the Scottish Conservatives are going to stand up for the poor with real policies of help and assistance.

Given their track record, they will have to get someone in to write new social policies for them and then sign up to the hilt and smile.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, January 25, 2013

As support for Scottish independence totally collapses Nicola Sturgeon goes to Ireland, it’s a return by Ms. Sturgeon of the ‘angry wee Nat’ spreading grudge, grievance and malcontent, the positive campaign!

Dear All

It’s a ‘positive’ campaign screams Nicola Sturgeon who then descends into scaremongering and negativity.

Scotland's unpopular deputy first minister has claimed that Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge of an EU referendum is putting jobs at risk in Scotland.

Scaremongering and negativity!

Cameron’s speech is based on subjective assumptions, it was a non event, but so desperate is Nicola Sturgeon rather than think matters out to their logical conclusion, she grasps at anything to try and restore her failing campaign.

The independence campaign has collapsed, it’s over, the wrong people, the wrong policies and done at the wrong time.

In politics it isn’t unusual to see something go wrong but in Ms. Sturgeon’s case, she has got it all wrong.

Things have gotten so bad for her, she is now off the Ireland to try and drum up support for her cause, in Scotland, people have stopped listening as she and Alex Salmond lurch from disaster to disaster.

So, it’s back to the old Nicola Sturgeon, the angry wee Nat of old screaming about entitlement, grudge, grievance and malcontent.

Recently President Barroso rebuffed her request for a meeting because Barroso cannot interfere in UK domestic politics.

Rather than accept being blown out, it’s off to Ireland to flog a dead horse on the EU.

In what must be the most pathetic speech of her career, Ms Sturgeon told the British Irish Chamber of Commerce the prospect of an in/out referendum on UK membership of the EU was causing damaging uncertainty for Scotland.

Fear and scaremongering based on something that hasn’t happened yet and which the political class down south doesn’t believe will happen in the first place as Cameron spins a line to solve some domestic politic issues in his own party and try to take the wind out of UKIP.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"We are in no doubt that the single EU market continues to be, as it has been in the past, a driver of economic recovery, growth and jobs going forward."

She added:

"In recent days it has become clear that the UK government could be on a collision course with the EU over the terms of her membership, and it is no longer fanciful to consider as real the possibility that the UK is heading out of the EU."

Sadly, Ms. Sturgeon doesn’t understand Westminster politics, it’s a different game, played at a different level, 4 years in the future something might happen, but what isn’t going to happen is a UK out of Europe.

This is international politics and not provincial politics Ms. Sturgeon, and squealing in Dublin to try and ‘create a market’ in the independence campaign won’t work there or here.

In the last days of Blair and funnily enough of Gordon Brown, these people both embarked on foreign trips to try and raise their profile like Ms. Sturgeon is doing.

And we all know how that ended for the both of them.

If Ms. Sturgeon wishes to play the role of the ‘angry wee Nat’ which she played before, she will find it may get an audience with her own supporters but for the rest of us, it’s a tired old routine which was never popular in the past.

The Europe issue has no traction, it can’t help her campaign and she just is just kidding herself on.

Independence support has totally collapsed, it's your fault and Salmond.

Nicola Sturgeon, the ‘angry wee Nat’ who can’t run an independence campaign based on truth and transparency is getting a wake up call from the public but not an audience, she has to go elsewhere to find that.

Stupid people deserve what they get Ms. Sturgeon!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Yes Scotland seen by many as a front for the Scottish National Party launches leaflet campaign to try and save face of Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minster Nicola Sturgeon after indy support collapses to 23%

Dear All

It is a known fact that 98% of unsolicited mail goes straight into the bin.

Yes Scotland which is seen as a front for the Scottish National Party is to start a leaflet campaign.

The people delivering the leaflets are the so called by pro-independence community-based groups.

Who are the Pro-independence community-based groups?

They are SNP branches who will be leafleting in the same geographical area as they have always done, except they will be telling anyone they ask they are from Yes Scotland.

So a leafleting blitz over the weekend, so don’t expect everyone in Glasgow to get a leaflet, I found generally in the SNP that most of the entire membership, including councilors don’t come out and help.

As in don’t come out and help week in week out.

The latest drive is wasted effort to get SNP branches doing something because panic has set in following the total collapse of support for independence under Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Independence support sits at 23%

It’s the lowest figure since devolution in 1999.

Nicola Sturgeon, the ‘face of independence’ isn’t liked.

So, Yes Scotland will distribute about half a million leaflets at about 100 events and most of the half a million will probably end up in the bin, if Yes Scotland is lucky enough to get people to take them in the first place.

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the group, said:

"In 2013 we are keen to move the debate from the 'how' to the 'why' of independence.

Jenkins added:

 "We want people to start thinking about what kind of country they want, what kind of country Scotland could be and to think about why being independent could be the best way to achieve our aspirations and goals. So, the Hands Up for a Better Scotland initiative is asking, are you happy with the way things are? Or do you think they could be better? We are just asking people to think about that. A fairer, greener, more prosperous and more confident Scotland has got to be worth thinking about, but it has become clear that the Westminster system cannot deliver these goals."

Mr. Jenkins is regarded as ridiculous, as Euahn McLeod rather pointedly made the observation; he isn’t a politician and is a square peg in a round hole.

 Former SNP MSP and Yes Scotland Communities director Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

"The campaign for a Yes vote in 2014 will be won at grass-roots level.

 "Our plans to engage with people in every community in Scotland are well advanced as we seek to give them all the quality information they need to make an informed choice in 2014."

Given support for independence has totally collapsed under Nicola Sturgeon, a few leaflets wouldn’t save a campaign that has gone into cardic arrest.

One wonders if the weather turns bad will anyone see Mr. Jenkins on the front line for the whole 'tour of duty' or will he be leaving the hard slog to others?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Scottish independence: Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon oversees the total collapse of independence support, new poll shows 23% support, Nicola Sturgeon isn’t clever enough as her failure graphically shows!

Dear All

Time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

“My problem is that I have too many talent people and not enough cabinet positions”!

Support for Scottish independence has collapsed under the leadership of Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The scale of the collapse is total as under Ms. Sturgeon’s leadership, support for independence has dropped considerably to now an embarrassing 23%.

Previously I blogged that it was a serious mistake to make Nicola Sturgeon, the ‘face of independence’ and to shift her from the health brief!

George Laird right again.

The latest figure of only 23% is the worst level since 1999.

There is further to drop unless Nicola Sturgeon is removed as the Independence Minister and replaced by someone young, dynamic and visionary or old, dynamic and visionary.

The simple fact which is borne out by poll after poll after poll is that she isn’t clever enough to lead Scotland to independence.

You only have to look at the Glasgow Council Election of 2012 in which Team Sturgeon totally mismanaged that election due to stupidity, arrogance and exceptionally poor leadership.

Glasgow Labour Party won by a landslide, losing only one seat from a nearly perfect record.

With a track record of failure, Nicola Sturgeon was wrongly handed the independence portfolio after losing what many saw as the most important election on the road to independence.

The taking of the City of Glasgow!

Nicola Sturgeon and her ‘outsiders’ were rebuffed by the people of Glasgow, much like Ms. Sturgeon was recently rebuffed by EU President  José Manuel Barroso. That was another embarrassing episode and PR disaster which shows from top to bottom in society that Ms. Sturgeon can’t attract an audience to hear her point of view.

People aren’t buying what she is selling, fairness, equality and social justice are just words she uses to get votes, people have seen through her like a sheet of glass.  

The latest poll has been warmly welcomed last night by pro-UK campaigners, who said voters were growing “increasingly sceptical” of independence.

In trying to salvage something from the failure of Nicola Sturgeon, pro-independence Yes Scotland said the findings failed to take into account recent developments, particularly caps to welfare benefits.

Like Wendy Alexander before her, Ms. Sturgeon has spectacularly failed to connect to the poorest and most disadvantaged in society.

Professor John Curtice, research consultant at ScotCen Social Research, said last night:

“During the course of the last twelve months, the independence debate moved firmly to the top of the Scottish political agenda. Yet the proponents of independence have apparently struggled to capitalise on the resulting opportunity to persuade Scots of the merits of their case. Instead, more voters appear to have become concerned about the prospect of leaving the UK.”

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said last night:

“We are making a strong and positive case for Scotland staying in the UK family and even more people are agreeing with us.”

Scottish Labour’s constitutional spokesperson, Patricia Ferguson, said:

“The people of Scotland are really concerned about jobs and a strong economy.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP added:

“This survey shows Alex Salmond is failing spectacularly to sell his dream of separation to the people of Scotland.”

US President Harry S Truman once said ‘the buck stops here’, when will Nicola Sturgeon take personal responsibility for her failure to garner support and realise that her vision of an independent Scotland stinks to high heaven and no one is buying it?

The sooner she realises that she is part of the problem, the sooner a solution can be found, it is time to replace her as independence minister; she is like a Patrick Thistle Manager who believes she has the talent to run Manchester United.

Yet again, the genuine lack of talent in the Scottish National Party is laid painfully bare.

The independence campaign has been badly run, badly organised, crony ridden and not relevant to the people of Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon is the independence minister who is draining support away as each day passes!

The evidence is overwhelming as 23% shows!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron signals he wants an in-out referendum on Europe set for 2017, after the next general election in 2015, his major speech is for the benefit of the Tory backbenchers, he is just playing for time!

Dear All

David Cameron, the Prime Minister is going to promise an in-out referendum by November 2017 on whether Britain should remain in Europe.

The European Union is a good idea; however, like all good ideas sometimes the application of the idea is flawed.

For many years the real test and challenge of the European Union should have been reform, the ‘club’ is also too big with 27 member states.

Cameron has problems with a hard core of Conservative backbenchers and is trying to buy time; his promise of a referendum only holds true if the Conservatives win the 2015 General Election.

Given the problems and unpopularity of the coalition, particularly with his Lib Dems partners, it is difficult to see how he gets a majority; the Lib Dems have politically died as by-election results show.

Nick Clegg sold his party’s integrity down the drain for a few cabinet positions.

It is easy to understand why the public is disillusioned with the EU because control of our own borders has been lost; leading many to say publicly that Britain has been swamped by people from outside.

The solution to this problem in part is an internal immigration policy in the EU so that criteria, conditions and quotas can be set up, and where needed; a government should have the right to restrict.

Cameron is to say:

"It is time for the British people to have their say; it is time to settle this European question in British politics."

Despite the bad things regarding Europe there are a lot of good which has been done such as the European Court of Human Rights, losing this would be a travesty for justice. The Conservatives keep floating a ‘Bill of Rights’, the idea has no traction because it isn’t about enhancement, it’s about denial.

Cameron hopes that playing to the gallery with what has been described as his "red meat" speech on Europe will be enough to satisfy the bulk of Conservative Eurosceptics and neutralise the threat from the anti-EU UKIP.

In truth, talk’s cheap, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are all signed up to the European project; Cameron is buying time. There is much talk about renegotiation by Britain, but as many commentators say that will not happen, its sheer fantasy.

To fix his and Europe’s problems it must be done from within.

Up north as they say this speech has been seized by Alex Salmond and the SNP for them to open up a new front with arguments that the only guarantee of Scotland staying in the EU is for Scots to vote for independence.

The problem for the SNP on Europe then become more problematic, because if Britain isn’t in Europe, it means without a shadow of a doubt that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon will be taking Scotland into the Euro.

Given the destruction of sovereignty and austerity in places like Greece which has been effectively asset stripped, no Scots will sign up to that agenda!

The people of Greece have lost their country.

Across Europe the problem is that banking reform hasn’t been done properly, so, to fix that problem, it would be better to have a 27 nation default and nationalization of all the banks to reset debt.

Once debt has been reset, then the next task of a ‘Marshall Plan’ is construction of a manufacturing base across Europe, and talks on splitting the Euro into two should be consider, Euro North and Euro South.

In his speech Cameron is going to argue that, with "courage and conviction", a better, more flexible EU can be created, one with which Britain is comfortable!

It is a straight choice, it’s either in or out, there is no third option to cherry pick the bits you like because the Europeans will not stand for it, it would be the thin end of a wedge which would cause chaos.

Cameron’s vision for Europe is said to be based on five principles: competitiveness; flexibility; power flowing back to, not just away from, member states; democratic accountability; and fairness.

He isn’t talking about people, he is talking about business, and if Europe is about anything it is supposed to be about a European Union of people.

Cameron is on a slippery slope, problems with Europe were left to fester, these problems trickled down to effective ordinary people and dissent broke out, once that happened it was hard to put the genie back in the bottle as the rise of UKIP shows.

For the Labour Party, Ed Miliband says the current situation would define Mr Cameron as "a weak Prime Minister, being driven by his party, not by the national economic interest".

He added:

“This speech will do nothing for a young person looking for work, for a small business worried about a loan, for the family whose living standards are squeezed. Britain needs a Prime Minister who is making change happen now in Europe, ensuring that we put jobs and growth ahead of austerity and unemployment."

If Miliband keeps sticking his head in the sand over European reform insisting everything is all right, then one morning he might wake up and find that a tipping point has been reached and events have ran away from him.

Cameron’s playing a dangerous game, he can’t stop the rise of UKIP no matter what he promises; their star is on the rise, if it continues they could replace the Lib Dems as the third force in British politics.

I am a big fan of Europe, but someone needs to go the European Parliament and fix the thing, no more expansion, hard decisions on the Euro, Marshall plan for Europe, nationalization of the banks, reset debt, internal immigration policy and a whole host of other things which don’t work and don’t gel.

Cameron is just playing for time; he is trying to win another Conservative election as leader, then bale out leaving the mess for someone else!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

University principals prepare to fight tooth and nail to protect their unaccountable fiefdoms and gravy train lifestyles in higher education, time they were subject to proper investigation and sanctions for using public money!

Dear All

Universities are run like fiefdoms, little empires that have sprung up which interconnecting social networks have developed which control them.

In Scotland, in the ancient universities, the Principals all belong to the same private club.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh!

Their members have a stranglehold on all the top jobs in higher education, below them there are others such as the association of university administrators.

I have come across the association of university administrators previously in their spiel they say their members are there to help each other.

So you find the same practices and in some cases the names of identical departments, I am looking at services across the university spectrum.

In general it is the poorest Scottish students that make up a minority in their own country.

In places like St. Andrews, which years I ago I dubbed The University of St. Andrews (England), their record is appalling.

Yes, they do allow a few people from deprived backgrounds in, but then you would do in order to rake in Scottish taxpayers cash via the Scottish Funding Council, which is loaded with universities vice principals on its board and committees.

It’s a racket.

Now, Principals are unhappy that the Scottish Government may soon have the power to interfere in the management of independent universities.

Apparently they wish to keep their fiefdoms intact from outside scrutiny and this is causing widespread anxiety because the Post-16 Education Bill that would allow ministers to impose conditions on universities to adhere to "good practice in governance".

Leading the charge of the unhappy is University of Edinburgh principal Sir Timothy O'Shea said:

"We have a principle anxiety about the legislation. We are very supportive of the whole Bill in terms of intentions with regards to widening participation, greater efficiency of the sector and greater accountability. At the same time, we are very aware that the Scottish universities are seen as being particularly successful, and the outside commentators relate that success to the responsible autonomy that we discharge."

He added:

"We are anxious that there may inadvertently be a potential reduction in responsible autonomy and that some future administration might be in a position to intervene in a way that would be unhelpful to the success of universities."

Glasgow School of Art director Seona Reid said:

"The issue of a code of governance is something that all universities, or whatever size or nature, supports absolutely wholeheartedly”.

"But to enshrine it in legislation risks the possibility that for future administrations it could be misused to apply a uniformity of governance model that would be inappropriate to a diverse sector."

We support the idea but no thanks.

Labour learning and skills spokesman Neil Findlay suggested that conditions may have to be imposed to address the shortcomings of institutions that have "failed miserably" to widen access.

Findlay cited Aberdeen University with their record of 2.2% of students from deprived backgrounds, and St Andrews University, which has 2.6%.

Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said:

"Scotland's higher education institutions have a distinguished reputation and it is very clear from the evidence we heard today that the primary reason for this success is the responsible autonomy under which they have operated over a long period of time”.

And the Conservatives wonder why people in Scotland won’t vote for them.

Ms. Smith’s attitude is ‘pass the buck’, not take responsibility and maintain the status quo.

In wider sense, problems in higher education go well beyond this little spat, the entire sector has been allowed to fester for many years soaking up public money without accountability.

A question which should be asked is what is the role of Royal Society of Edinburgh because it seems that if you are not a member of that private invitation only club you are effectively ‘barred’ from becoming a Principal.

The SNP Government should go a lot further than just trying to get a few extra people from the most deprived backgrounds into university, they should be looking at what many would call a ‘cabal’ in higher education.

And you don’t have to dig too deep to see what is going on, it’s a racket!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 21, 2013

Leading academic Professor of civil law at Edinburgh University, John Cairns says that free higher learning is not centuries old as the SNP claim, “this illustrates the ignorance lying behind the First Minister's recent claim”

Dear All

John Cairns is a professor of civil law at Edinburgh University; he has decided to have a pop at the SNP Government over claims of a "centuries old tradition" of free higher education north of the Border.

Professor John Cairns says the reverse was true, with students often paying fees directly to academics.

In higher education some Scottish students do have to pay fees at university.

His intervention comes after suggestions by the SNP that its policy to keep university tuition free for Scottish students was part of a tradition dating back centuries.

Scribbling away on his blog on the university's website, Mr Cairns said the claim was untrue.

Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, and Alex Salmond, the First Minister, have spoken about this tradition.

Cairns said:

"Attending the class of Civil (Roman) Law at Edinburgh University in 1880 cost five guineas ... this illustrates the ignorance lying behind the First Minister's recent claim in his New Year broadcast of "Scotland's centuries-old tradition of free education" in the universities."

So, Mr. Cairns appears to be a man who doesn't mince his words regarding matters of fact!

Cairns added:

"That university education should be free is arguably a laudable ambition, though as a policy it raises interesting questions about how to pay for such expensive institutions as the British universities. But the point of interest here is that, quite simply, there is no centuries-old tradition of free university education in Scotland. This is an indisputable matter of fact."

Time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

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

This issue yet again raises the issue of trust in the First Minster Alex Salmond if he is peddling myths as the basis to add credibility and historical legitimacy to the Government's policy on fees, what else is he peddling which doesn't stand up to evidence?

A Scottish Government spokesman said:

"The First Minister was referring to the fact that we have a tradition of free education in Scotland”.

With the independence campaign stalled at 28%, maybe someone should go attend a few classes by John Cairns; it seems that facts are making a comeback!

Pulp fiction doesn't seem to be working!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Scottish independence: SNP hit back at claims Scots shipyards will die with indy; SNP MP Angus Robertson stakes his case on someone’s subjective opinion, does he have a good website too Angus?

Dear All

Scotland's shipbuilding industry is a key employer of Scots that unionist parties say would be doomed under independence.

So, is it a claim that stands up?

The economic case is that without UK military shipbuilding orders, there wouldn’t be enough work to keep all the yards open.

The SNP Government hasn’t a plan to deal with the withdrawal of military shipbuilding in an independent Scotland other than saying the UK wouldn’t do it.

No plan!

Despite having done no work in this area, the SNP have been branded this story as shoddy, partisan and dishonest.

So, when are they going to present their economic plan to reassure the workers that their jobs are safe?

The SNP won’t, because they know this is an argument they can’t win because they control UK Defence contracts being placed.

Ian Davidson, Labour chairman of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, said the choice for Scottish shipbuilding was clear: stay in the UK and have a secure source of work for decades, or leave and see orders from the UK dry up.

Reading this statement it seems he is guaranteeing something which the SNP will not do.

There is fresh speculation that BAE Systems, which operates two shipyards and employs 3500 people in Glasgow, will wind down Scottish operations. The bottom line is that this company will go where the money is, that is how it works in defence.

Angus Robertson, the SNPs' leader at Westminster, has been the SNP’s defence spokesman for many years.

And guess what?

He never produced a plan for the defence of Scotland; he left that to the UK, to his credit however the SNP did cut and paste part of the UK defence plan for their own ends and he gave it the nod. This led to the farce of the SNP supporting only one airbase for Scotland when previously they said it was important Scotland retained three.

And on naval matters, he said Scotland could have a navy like Norway, but when asked couldn’t answer what the Norwegian navy looked like or disposition.

He said they had a good website!

Probably with pictures!!!!!

Angus Robertson in refuting the latest claims said the committee's claims were not supported by the facts.

He said evidence from Vice-Admiral Andrew Mathews omitted from the committee's report  confirmed the UK Government would keep the option to build Royal Navy vessels on the Clyde if Scotland became independent.

That option isn’t a guarantee of anything, with austerity yet to kick in fully, Westminster will be looking to protect jobs in England and not outsource to another country.

No military warship has been built outside the UK in 50 years.

Robertson added:

"This Labour-led committee's primary job is to scrutinise the UK Tory-led government but it has shown itself to be nothing more than an extension of the Tory/Labour anti-independence campaign."

So far the SNP Government has made no guarantee for the jobs of the workers, hasn’t answered what will happen if military shipbuilding orders dry up from Westminster and hasn’t produced an economic plan.

They hang their whole case on the opinion of Vice-Admiral Andrew Mathews who has a subjective opinion.

Well, Vice-Admiral Andrew Mathews doesn’t place military shipbuilding orders, or where they are built, or negotiate the price!

Someone is kidding themselves on and is divorced from reality.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Independent Scotland could have avoided the financial crisis, says Blair Jenkins, when assumption is presented as fact, it insults the intelligence of the readership!

Dear All

Everyone of the major economies in the world ha suffered in the financial crash but if Scotland was independent then it could have avoided the financial crisis altogether.

So says the leader of the Yes Scotland campaign.

Blair Jenkins is the chief executive of the campaign who has managed to achieve 28% for breaking up the United Kingdom.


The independence campaign has stalled completely right from the word go.

He has talked up the strength of small economies during a webcast interview with BBC Scotland but his words are just spurious genralisations.

Jenkins said:

"We might very well not have had the financial crisis had Scotland been independent."

For a minute there I actually thought Mr. Jenkins was going to pull out a fact, but no, also given the SNP Government wanting financial regulation controlled by the City of London, it is doubtful Scotland could avoid anything.

As part of his ‘positive’ message he went on to explain that it was the UK’s fault.

Jenkins added:

"I think it's a key point that is not made often enough that all of us in Scotland, we are depending upon the UK government and the UK financial regulator to be doing their jobs and not to have allowed what did happen to happen”.

As I said the SNP Government want Scotland to continue being managed by the UK financial regulator!

And they can’t operate to two masters with different positions of view. 

Jenkins further says:

"I think what all of us in Scotland were entitled to assume was that the UK government and the UK financial regulator were looking after our interests now it actually turns out they were asleep at the wheel."

Given his disposition to assumption instead of fact, I think he will have a hard time getting anyone to take him seriously.

The former TV news boss for the BBC and STV said small countries and small economies are the most successful.

Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Libya and Iceland anyone!

He said:

"When you look around the world it is very clear that the most successful economies in the world are small economies and that's becoming more and more true with the passing of time”.

If you build a bus stop then buses will come!

It gets better from his vault of wisdom:

"Smaller countries and smaller economies are more nimble, they are able to adapt much more quickly, there's a greater coherence and unity of purpose”.

Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and etc etc, all on their arse!

To finish Blair Jenkins ends with:

“If you look at the top 10 countries in the world and the top 10 economies in terms of GDP per head, they are small countries, many are smaller countries than Scotland."

Generalisations don’t help the case for independence, several factors aren’t taken into account, so, like for like isn’t being compared properly.

If this is what passes as a ‘positive’ message, it’s all the fault of the UK, then it won't be getting traction.

28%, it seems that Mr. Jenkins can’t manage the political economy very well so I don’t think I will be taking any lessons off him, let alone fairytales on the financial one!

Blair Jenkins, the Yes Man with no answers just assumptions!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University