Monday, May 16, 2016
EU referendum special: Former Labour MP Frank Roy played a key role in Better Together, now he is campaign director for Scotland Stronger In, Better Together was seen as a shambles operationally, a spokesman vows past BT failures will not happen by saying ‘how long have you got’, not a ringing endorsement of his leader!
You may remember that I was involved in the Better Together Campaign back in 2014, I was also an observer at the Glasgow count.
Being in the campaign, I was invited to some special events, two speeches delivered by Gordon Brown stand out as highlights for me; his speech in the City halls in Saltmarket was very good, maybe that is an injustice; it was brilliant.
When the opportunity came to hear him speak again at the Emirates Arena, I popped along; it was another powerful speech which made an impression on me.
As part of Better Together, I did the Pollok Constituency where I currently live, and have done for decades. The core group of Better Together in Pollok was me, John and Angie, some other people came and went, but eventually we were a strong team of five people.
Five people managed to get circa 22,000 votes, this is in comparison to the Nationalist with a team of 30/40 people only managing to get about in the region of 27,000 votes.
During our time campaigning on the ground, no Labour MP, MSP, Councillor or member of the Pollok CLP came out to work with us, not one single day. At that point there were 9 elected Labour representatives elected in the Pollok Constituency.
Early on, the person assigned by Better Together which in the main was a combination of Labour and Conservative run came to me to ask my advice, apparently he was getting all sorts of requests coming out of the office.
After he explained what they want, I said to him that these requests could not be acted upon because there weren’t enough human resources.
Better Together was run as a Labour operation albeit badly.
A key figure in Better Together was the former Labour MP Frank Roy; he is now the Britain Stronger in Europe's campaign director in Scotland.
I was told by campaigners that Better Together was a shambles, although I never experienced problems when I popped into the office. One day I wandered in as you do, to find some woman who said to me in an offhand manner, ‘who are you’.
I just looked at her and said, ‘I am George Laird’.
At the point, it was like someone stunned her with an electric shock as she jumped up off her chair and went to get the person I wanted, who then rushed out. Apparently others didn’t get the same sterling service.
People post Scottish indy for Better Together now acknowledge that the last time round that they made mistakes, and now they say have learned from Better Together's mistakes. Early on, some nugget dubbed Better Together ‘Project Fear’.
This time round, they are dubbing the Remain campaign as "Project Cheer" which isn’t an Einstein moment in political campaigning.
Project Cheer isn’t exactly cheery if you take the time to listen to all the Remain scare stories including World War 3 if we leave by Prime Minister David Cameron.
World War 3, this is laughable when you consider that David Cameron said he would leave if he didn’t get the ‘deal for Britain’ he wanted.
Incidentally the deal he did get was so watered down it didn’t address voters primary concerns on immigration, he tried to do a deflection, he came with nothing and effectively left with nothing no one really wanted.
The campaign will be chaired by Professor Mona Siddique, formerly of Glasgow University, she pops up from time to time in the media but in reality, her opinion will not carry much weight with Scots, she doesn’t have the natural authority of Alistair Darling for example.
John Edward, the campaign's spokesman, said the campaign would make "a positive, fact-based case to remain in Europe".
How do you make a positive case about such an anti-democratic organisation?
The EU is setup not to be accountable to the people, for the most part they are removed from the decision making process, most EU organisations you have no say on who is appointed to them.
"At best I'd like to think it will be a Project Cheer. We are going to be upbeat about this. This is not to give scare stories."
Too late for that, if you take the time to read the UK Government booklet pushed through your door, it stinks of fear and false hope.
Do you know who killed off the British fishing industry?
The European Union!
Professor Sir Harry Burns, the former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland said EU rules on medicines and air and water quality had saved lives.
"That is something that transcends borders."
Britain pre EU wasn’t some backward third country where people got their water out of a ditch, and there was already a move towards new forms of energy which saw the demise of the coal industry.
As a measure of how bad the Better Together campaign was, the Stronger In spokesman said in response to how they would do things differently, he replied:
"How long have you got?"
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Frank Roy as Scotland’s Stronger In Campaign director!
Finally, Vote Leave had another incredibly successful two day event in Glasgow at the weekend, on Saturday alone, the group handed out about 4,000 leaflets at just two locations in the city centre and signed up many people.
Stronger In decided to play on the subway!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University