Monday, May 22, 2017

The leadership Question: Kezia Dugdale’s got a series of major problems; as Scottish Labour donors don’t want to give party any donations during the General Election, members failing to turn out to be activists, not enough help and support given to candidates, and non party members of the public leading Labour sessions, and worse is to come, we haven’t had the result of GE17 yet

Dear All

It isn’t a huge secret that Scottish Labour is struggling in this election, this election caught them on the hop, I am sure given the choice; the party would rather not be fighting it at this present time. I have said it before and I will say it again, the Scottish Labour Party is in no fit state to campaign. I am not going to go into certain people’s campaigns because that would be unfair to them, but the overall picture is of a party that has simply lost its way.

Last Thursday, I wrote a blog post on the suspending of the 9 Labour Councillors in Aberdeen by Scottish Labour, at the time, I said this was a bad judgement, and it would be felt and go into the Westminster campaign.

“Kezia Dugdale just dropped a huge rock into the Labour pond which will have consequences for her and the party outwith the Labour Party”.

If you are familiar with the Law of Unintended Consequences, there has been some for Kezia Dugdale. 

I will give you the short and blunt version, Scottish Labour fucked up big style!

One of Scottish Labour’s biggest donors has said he will not hand over any money for the General Election campaign, if there is a price for stupid, the wider Labour Party are paying for it in spades via the leadership. Another unintended consequences; more in the shape of ammo is that Momentum (Corbyn support group) will benefit enormously as Kezia’s decision goes well beyond internal party politics; it affects the governance of Scotland.

What Kezia Dugdale should have done was allowed Aberdeen Labour Councillors to chart their own course and not interfere in local democracy, you could add that her action, an unintended consequence shows Scottish Labour doesn’t support local democracy or trust its elected officials.

Alan Massie, the North East tycoon bankrolled Kezia Dugdale’s leadership campaign, whether he regrets that investment is open to speculation, prior to getting elected leader, Alan Massie knew Kezia’s track record in the disaster of the 2015 Westminster campaign, and things haven’t got better, they only get worse.

If you read my blog, I talk on occasion about ‘the political economy’, this is made up for 3 key ingredients, ‘money, people and resources’, people aren’t willing to be donors to the Scottish Labour Party, people aren’t willing to vote Labour, members of the party aren’t willing to be activists, and resources are scarce and talent hasn’t been developed. Some candidates also haven’t been getting the logistical support they need and should have readily available from HQ.

It is a right fucking mess!

I have no problem with Alan Massie speaking out and what he does with his money is entirely his business, but there are decent candidates for Labour, perhaps, he should consider directly funding them rather than a general contribution, to me this makes sense in the short term.

Long term, I said before, Scottish Labour needs to go back to bare metal, and some people need to be removed from various positions because they are just crap, they are seriously getting in the way of any possible revival.   

Massie said Labour’s decision to ban a coalition with the Conservatives is “ridiculous”, this was my immediate thought. Labour needs to reach out across constitutional lines, and has failed to do so. Either they are so stupid in their understanding of politics (they could make that argument) or the leadership is just effectively and actively supporting the SNP by default, Labour indy supporters aren’t coming back, Scottish Labour has let the people down.

The public spoke in 2015, spoke in 2016 and spoke in 2017, and they will be speaking twice this year, and the message was loud and clear, you aren’t supporting the public, supporting the UK and aren’t behaving like a credible party.

Massie said:

“I am not going to give any more until we see the direction of the party after June 8.”

The direction of the party after June 8 in the short term is to go nowhere, elections are years away, and because candidate selection starts at the wrong time, effectively the party’s activists base will simply disappear. Of course there will be the odd by-election here and there, but the gap in campaigning will probably not be used wisely. Without leadership, there can’t be teambuilding, and without teamwork there can be no prospect of returns to Holyrood and Westminster.

Some of the office staff needs to be removed, maybe given the option of being retrained or simply sidelined totally.

When Kezia Dugdale kicked out the Aberdeen 9, she said:

“This isn’t about positions or gold medals around the necks of councillors, this is about the job Labour councillors are elected to do – to protect public services, to invest in and defend public services.”

Question to Kezia, why is a Glasgow Labour Councillor asking me as a member of the public to deliver his newsletter, effectively doing part his job in the ward he supposedly represents?

There are several hundred members in his CLP, but he wants a member of the public to work for him?

Where are the members?

Why won’t they come out for him?

Is it because they have no faith that he will defend public services?

One of the other really big donors to Scottish Labour is businessman Willie Haughey, he is loaded and seen as Labour’s most generous donor from Scotland. Haughey has come out and blasted the SEC decision Dugdale staunchly defends.

He said:

“It is ridiculous the SEC never supported the deal.”

He added the Labour/Tory agreement ensured all the party’s manifesto commitments would be implemented:

“I think the party has got this so wrong. The criteria were all met and they have erred on their own policy.”

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: 

“Labour’s approach has been clear and consistent: we absolutely cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities”. 

Scottish Labour jumped into bed with the SNP which has imposed austerity on communities, either the spokesman is unaware of politics in Scotland or they are just stupid and helping to bury the party in Scotland.

Finally, when I stood for selection to be a Labour Candidate, I was told I didn’t understand leadership, yesterday as a member of the public; I was leading a Labour Team which came out to do Pollok. I even setup and pre-planned the next event so that it could be done in the most effective and efficient way possible for the CLP..... they then went to Parkhead for the fitba, I went to Glasgow North East to work as a team player to do a canvass.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University    

Friday, May 19, 2017

The long grass: Theresa May rules out second Scottish referendum for at least another five years, for the entire next term of Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon will just be a depressed ‘wallflower’, is this the end of Nicola Sturgeon’s career now that the momentum has been effectively stopped dead in its tracks

Dear All

Like me you are probably someone who values straight talking, you might not always like what you hear but you can certainly value the truth.

A home truth which has just come down the pipeline is that Theresa May has signalled that if on the 8th June, the Conservatives win the Westminster election, there will be no second Scottish independence referendum going to be allowed for the entirety of the next Westminster Parliament.

This statement is huge.

Theresa May has also dropped another gem that any referendum would also need public consent.

Nicola Sturgeon is now someone who is treading water, the news effectively kills independence campaigning stone dead as you would see in a short campaign, and a long campaign of 5 years plus is too long to sustain interest. Politics by its every nature requires the agenda to move on.

And the only game in town is……….. governance!

Years ago, I highlighted the need for the SNP to use their second term for National and Local government reform, and as indy is out the window, the Nationalists who are on the slide will be forced to do the day job.

A recent poll sees all parties having a rise in their vote for Westminster; however, no one who is a back marker in their constituency has effectively leapfrogged over others by this revelation.

If nothing happens next term, the date of the next possible chance slides to around 2022, then you have talks about when, where and who gets to vote. EU Nationals still here will not get the vote, Brexit will be done and dusted by then and as such they will be excluded from the franchise. I assume I will in 2022 be writing a post on the SNP leader whoever that is squealing of rigged vote.

The reason for Theresa May dropping the bombshell is to court traditional Labour supporters to her cause but also to set in motion what I suspect is a plan to win the Holyrood campaign, so that the Conservatives form the administration in Edinburgh. There will be a few years before the next big election which means that all efforts by the Conservatives will be geared towards that aim.

Although the SNP will want to keep talking indy, this will bomb with the public, everything has its time, and if you miss your chance, you can’t guarantee a second shot.

Although the Conservatives have a plan, in many places in Scotland, they are still not able to operate effectively on the ground, it isn’t a secret, you by even casual research can see which constituencies have just ‘paper candidates’.

How do you do that?

Take a candidate’s name, and then cross reference that with the nearest key target seat for the Conservatives. What you will see in places like twitter is that the candidate in the ‘paper’ area is campaigning a lot in the key marginal. Then check for evidence of them campaigning in their seat, the results might surprise you.

Resources are scarce and putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t new, on the blog I said that Scottish Labour needed to adopt a similar policy in Glasgow. James Kelly, their campaign manager flagged up two seats for Labour in Glasgow, Glasgow South West and Glasgow East.

There hasn’t been a huge influx into Glasgow South West to assist the Labour candidate and I doubt Labour even had a meeting to make a policy for activists to work in other areas.

Basically, it seems it is every man for him or herself; time to start swimming!

I bumped into Thomas Haddow, Conservative Candidate last night in town, he told me, he was happy enough the way his campaigning was going, and he had roped in his family to help out. In Glasgow South West, it comes down however to a two horse race despite a Conservative rise in the voting intentions.

This campaign is a short campaign so if you haven’t got a lot of people and resources, you are down to relying on the brand. In Glasgow South West, although the brand for Conservatives is established as a name, they need to go door to door which is very time consuming and there isn’t enough of that left before the vote. I would say good luck to Thomas, he is willing to give it a go and that is the important thing, areas have to be developed, so reality is that there needs to be a Conservative Councillor first to open expectations for Holyrood and Westminster.

Finally, the news that Scottish independence is effectively gone till beyond 2022 is a huge body blow to Nicola Sturgeon, perhaps much more than she knows, expect her to scream long and loud, gnashing of teeth, knickers to be twisted, collective whines as the ‘cult’ gather round Nicola’s feet expecting a miracle.

And miracles are off the menu!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University   

Thursday, May 18, 2017

CHRIS CORNELL - YOU KNOW MY NAME (Casino Royale Soundtrack) RIP Chris, Bond music legend

Scottish Labour: Kezia Dugdale has made a huge mistake as Scottish Labour suspends entire Labour Council team over coalition deal with Tories in Aberdeen, this disaster will ripple into the General Election Campaign as people won’t understand why the Labour Party won’t support a pro UK council, things just got much worse!

Dear All

To say that the Scottish Labour Party is going through a tough time would be an understatement, at the present moment the leadership is just plain lost. 2015, the worst result in Labour history for a 100 years, 2016, lost the Holyrood election badly, and to add insult to continual self inflicted injury got pushed into third party by the Scottish Conservatives.

Hats off to the Scottish Conservatives, they played a blinder when Kezia Dugdale dropped the ball on the question of support for the Union. Having lost Labour voters who supported independence, Kezia also managed to alienate pro UK Labour voters who simply went over to the Scottish Conservatives.

A remarkable achievement which left many people baffled as the leadership was effective destroying large swathes of the core working class vote. Kezia went on to try and repair the damage, but that didn’t work out. Labour members don’t want to come out, donors don’t want to donate, and some candidates are struggling to get their campaigns off the ground because they aren’t getting enough support from Labour HQ.

I have said it once and I will say it again, the Scottish Labour Party is in no fit state to campaign, this isn’t just an observation, it is the reality on the ground. Kezia was pretty clear that she is opposed to a second independence, that she wants Conservative votes, and is pro Uk. If you take that as is, you are lead to the conclusion that the important thing is to limit and curtail the power of the SNP spreading.

We have just had the council election which was to see Scottish Labour do badly; they don’t control a single council with an overall majority. So, in order to get local governance moving deals have to be made depending on the make up of each individual council.

This brings us to what happened yesterday, Kezia Dugdale just dropped a huge rock into the Labour pond which will have consequences for her and the party outwith the Labour Party. Labour has suspended their entire council team over a deal to work in coalition with Aberdeen Conservatives.

Having set a deadline yesterday of 5 pm for the Labour Group to quit the coalition, this passed and not one of the Labour Councillors stepped away. Everyone stayed put, we now see them being unjustly suspended for in effect supporting a pro UK council, if Kezia thought this act was strong leadership, she is sadly mistaken, she made a rod for her own back, and there is no positive out of her action for her party. The news was warmly welcomed by Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson who tweeted a welcome.

I was wondering how to fix this problem because this could impact the Labour General Election campaign because it sends out the message that Scottish Labour under Kezia Dugdale do not support the Union. If anyone who was a pro UK Labour voter sees this act, they will think twice when casting their vote for Scottish Labour. The only solution is for kezia Dugdale to realise that local democracy cannot be run top down from Labour HQ, we have already seen result after result of complete abject failure in elections. Although Labour has pushed through some howlers on policy, this episode is incredible even by their standards. It goes without saying to do this in the midst of an election I sheer madness, Kezia just cut the legs off the Labour campaign, if that hasn’;t sunk in, she only has to wait a few weeks till June 8th to see the reality of what this action costs.

Kezia Dugdale has said that she will not resign as Scottish Labour leader even her party if suffers a complete wipe-out in the General Election but you can be sure when the results come in, that many people in momentum will be furnished with enough ammo to openly call for her to go.

Although she said she intends to stay on until at least the next Holyrood election in 2021 “no matter what the outcome” at this election, she could be setting the Labour up for about 15 to 20 years in the wilderness. One thing that the Scottish Conservatives can speak with experience on is what that feels like to be a fringe party.

Awhile back, I put myself forward for selection as a councillor but was told I didn’t know enough about the council or leadership, so I walked, it wasn’t worth arguing with people who didn’t understand leadership and also I was told that Labour HQ didn’t like my blog.

I am going to demonstrate what true leadership is, I am not doing to talk about how I gave suggestions to a 2017 candidate to maximise their vote, I am not going to talk about how I taught a Labour campaign organiser how to do an area more effectively, no, that wouldn’t drive my point home which I wish to sincerely express.

True leadership is the ability to state the truth without having to pander to the feelings of any inadequate who happens to think leadership can be learned out of a book, leadership is something you are born with, and given so few Labour members are willing to come out, this tells you all you need to know about certain individuals who lead the party.

If I was going to give Scottish Labour tips on campaigning, a quick one would be buy a watch and attend campaign sessions 10 minutes prior to the start of the activity. The ‘dick’ like behaviour of turning up 15, 25 and 30 minutes after the event starts is a key reason why teamwork doesn’t exist, and why their brand of leadership stinks to high heaven.

Recently a councillor asked me whether I would be willing to come back to the Labour Party; I said ‘what for?’ I mean what is in it for me as a highly experienced campaigner to be treated as an outsider to be used as a form of cheap labour so others can sit at home while others work on their behalf.

In the event of a second independence referendum, I would not willingly choose to campaign with Scottish Labour in a second referendum even if I did rejoin that party, not after what I witnessed in Pollok in 2014. In all likelihood if there is a pro UK campaign set up to fight this next referendum, I would probably end up running that group in Pollok.

In previous posts I said that Scottish Labour had further to fall, the council elections proved my point, the Westminster election doesn’t look good, the Electoral Calculus current puts Scottish Labour on winning no seats. Scottish Conservatives on the other hand have a shot at about 10 to 14 seats right across Scotland. Places like East Renfrewshire which was previously held by Jim Murphy, have collapsed for Labour, their candidate Blair MacDougall is 10/1 to take the seat, with Paul Masterton coming in at 4/6, the SNP odds are 6/4. Bookies don’t like to give away money but 10/1 for Scottish Labour shows that being a long shot is rapidly the status quo for the party.

Yesterday’s decision wasn’t leadership when Scottish Labour removed every single councillor, it was just bad judgement, who in Scottish Labour has the task of saying to Kezia Dugdale, the word no, because the way things are going that should be a salaried position.

Finally, Scottish Labour runs with a slogan 'stronger together' maybe it is time to practice what they preach because slogans don't win elections. substance does! Let Labour Groups make their own decisions so people can see local democracy functions as it should. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University    

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A simple man of quite un-extraordinary talent, Glasgow University Principal Anton Muscatelli, Nicola Sturgeon's EU adviser warns of "pretty catastrophic" Brexit, Scotland reels as Anton makes statements of the bleeding obvious, the wisdom of Scots hasn't been pushed forward, a trip to the library or the pub could get you the same wisdom, and at least at the pub you could get smashed and talk about the footie!

Dear All

Sometimes when you give an idiot a title, they think they know everything, today; I would like to focus on the rubbish spout by Anton Muscatelli. You may not be familiar with him but this character is Principal of the University of Glasgow. One of the phoney jobs he has is the chair of the First Minister’s standing council on Europe.

The SNP policy during Brexit was to remain, that didn’t work out as Nicola Sturgeon backed the wrong horse, then after she stopped squeaking, her next tactic was to demand separate access to the single market.

Why is this important, because the single market means that Scotland would be operating a different policy from the rest of the Uk and this would also mean Scotland would be allowed to continue to have freedom of movement. This policy by the SNP would also mean a hard border would have to be established within the UK.

Westminster rightly rejected that idea totally.

One of the funny developments in recent days is the idea floated that Nicola Sturgeon would have a seat at the Brexit talks, which is just fantasy, the UK Government will not have her on their team, questions of trust arise. As we also know, the SNP isn’t very good at working with others which completely in my opinion puts the notion of getting access to Brexit talks beyond her.

Nicola Sturgeon will not be allowed to go grandstanding, relegated to the sidelines; she will just be an interested spectator.

So, lets to Muscatelli, and his ‘wisdom’ he says at a breakfast meeting, presumably while scoffing his English breakfast that a quick trade deal with the EU was “complete fantasy”.

Well done Anton, that stint in education has certainly served you well, but statements of the bleeding obvious don’t count as wisdom. Here is some other wisdom, if you stick your hand in a fire it will get burnt, I don’t see anyone inviting me to a breakfast to pass on this gem but I thought I would throw it out there.

Another gem is use a rubber while having sex or you might get someone up the duff, really I could do this type of Muscatelli wisdom all day!

As to his claim of Brexit will be “pretty catastrophic” impact on the UK unless the free movement of people continues for several years, the UK will survive, there will be immigration, but there won’t be open borders. It will be for the country to decide who to let him, and legislation already exists to get skilled workers in. What needs to end is the influx of low skilled workers displacing working class people from jobs; this is dangerous for society, in many ways.

Muscatelli has no worries with money, or having a place to stay, he makes a packet, in ye olde days of my time at Glasgow University, the Principal also had an on call chauffeur to cart his arse about, it was flashy expensive car. And of course, in ye olde days, Musctaelli wasn’t living in the slums or deprived areas of Glasgow, he lived of the Switchback Road in Sunny Bearsden. Plus as Principal he also got cut rate sports facilities to use.

Perhaps Anton Muscatelli could speak to this aspect of freedom of movement which sees working class people displaced from job opportunities.

He and other experts had a “duty” to point out the flaws in a hard Brexit that would take the UK out the EU single market according to him.  Maybe he can point out the flaws of the UK allowing itself to be screwed by the EU, since ‘duty’ seems to be to at the forefront of his mind.

So, what I take from Muscatelli’s waffling is a single word, transition, it is bleeding obvious that there will be a transition as a new system comes online but equally there will be a cut off date. People of the UK can still go to Europe, and many of the scare stories are just that to frighten people.

Ask yourself how many people in the UK benefit from freedom of movement, if this is as Muscatelli says so important, what are the numbers, the bulk of the population aren’t involved in freedom of movement anyway. Freedom of movements only helps the rich suppress wages and conditions for workers.

If talks take longer than two years…… who cares; the direction of travel is the important issue, not steering and parking in cul de sac to satisfy someone’s whims. The most important issue of Brexit is sovereignty and the return of control to Westminster so that we the people have the right to choose who governs us and when necessary removed them via the ballot box.

Democracy in the EU is a joke, and not a funny one, the diktats of imposing migrant quotas coming out of Berlin and Brussels sees other countries rail against this; attacks on sovereignty by stealth are equally as bad as any other form of oppression.

One thing which I agree on is when Tom Harris who led the Brexit campaign in Scotland Brexit would force politicians to “put their money where their mouth is” and train people properly for jobs rather than rely on EU migrants. Bring in people from outside destroys internal social cohesion because it alienates those affect who are marginalised. Any country must invest in its own people rather than taking the cheap option of importing migrants. In certain areas such as medicine, there is a strong case for having diversity due to the nature of research and advancement; the same cannot be said at the low skilled worker end of the spectrum.

How does low skilled migrants benefit working class people chasing the same job, does more competition help them?

If so how?

How does competing with hundreds of people help you?

 Tom Harris added:

“For the first time our politicians are living in an environment where there is at least a possibility that if we don't train up Scottish youngsters to fulfil those roles we may not be able to rely on an unending supply of foreign workers to do those jobs for us. It puts a huge amount of pressure on politicians and it's something we should welcome, that for the first time in a generation these politicians are actually going to have to put their money where their mouth is and actually deliver on training of the indigenous population. They've been allowed to ignore that for too long because they've always been aware the safety net of EU immigration has been there.”

So, for decades, the bottom line is that politicians have abandoned the very people they purport to serve; this is why politicians are held in utter contempt by many people.

To prove my point, this morning, I was campaigning for a candidate, street stall stuff, no big deal, early morning, as I was trying to hand a person a leaflet, the individual who I had never met told me to ‘fuck off’.

I don’t know about you, but telling people to fuck off before 9 am isn’t on, you would need to wait till after dinner time, had someone do something bad to you and be having a really bad day for me to go down that road.

Finally, Dr Peter Bennie, chair of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said Scotland could build on a very limited existing ability to have different migration policies in different parts of the UK.

He said:

“There's a UK shortage occupation list, which includes a number of medical specialities where we simply don't have enough home graduates to fill those places at present. There's a separate and additional Scottish shortage occupation list, which includes additional specialities. It seems to me that works very smoothly already for non-EU, non-EEA citizens. Therefore we've got at least the bones of that kind of structure, and I think it could work.”

We should be producing our own home grown medics, much more than we do now, so I agree with Bennie and what he said about the existing provisions and the need for improvement in educating our young people.

Finally, as Muscatelli sits on standing council on Europe, some may take his wittering seriously, but at the end of the day, if you go down the pub, you could get another opinion. Although some people class him as an ‘expert’ I don’t, opinion maybe fact and then again it may not be fact.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Death of a Monster, Ian Brady; the Moors Murderer is dead, his crimes were of such unspeakable evil that no one will mourn his passing, the signs he was evil flagged up early in his life as in his youth, he tortured cats

Dear All

Lots of people have grown up in very grime surroundings in this country, and they turned out alright, unfortunately others did not, Ian Brady was always be known as a mass murderer who committed such vile acts the term monster will apply to him. While growing up, he didn’t develop into an ordinary individual; he was a person who practiced evil. Brady’s crimes shocked and appalled the British people, people who commit child murder are the worst of people.

Although he lived in Glasgow, he also lived in Greater Manchester but in both locations, people were wary of him, some dubbed him Dracula and others the undertaker.

Brady went on to murder five innocent children, and in May 1966 he was convicted along with Myra Hindley, of murdering 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey and 17-year-old Edward Evans. He was a person who was deemed too dangerous ever to even be considered for release. It was right that Ian Brady was never allowed to see freedom, the names of his victim such as Lesley Ann Downey, Edward Evans and John Kilbride only experienced a small taste of it before Brady and Hindley robbed them of it.

The evidence presented in the trial of Lesley Ann Downey, was a little girl stripped naked, bound and gagged, and a tape recording of her begging for help and asking to be allowed home to her mother. Lesley was repeatedly tortured and sexually assaulted by Brady and Hindley before being brutally murdered. If you think of the scope of his crimes, you cannot help but get angry; to do this type of activity requires a person to be devoid of humanity. Lesley’s cries reduced the judge, jury, spectators and even hardened police officers to tears during the trial. People like Brady, a monster are always used in the debate on capital punishment, as an argument to bring hanging. Hanging is a ghastly business, if you take the time to view youtube, you can see examples of people being hanged, Nazis war criminals, although the event seems peaceful, the event is also charged with emotion which you can see in the faces of the people attending the event.

Taking human life isn’t pleasant, even when done in the judicial sense of the state exercise the right in law. I am anti capital punishment; I can never support hanging, not because I have sympathy to people who do evil, but because miscarriages of justice rendering a final solution cannot be undone. In many countries, people like Brady would be hanged in front of a cheering crowd along with Myra Hindley and no one would mourn their loss to society.

Brady was to escape the hangman in Britain as the Death penalty was abolished just months earlier. As with some types of serial killers, Brady and Hindley kept a trophy of their killings. Hindley holding her pet dog and posing for pictures on the edge of one of the victims, no doubt she was proud of what she had done, and she had enjoyed it. Although Lord Longford, the great prison reform campaigner was to visit Hindley in jail and advocate on her behalf, she was equally as guilty as Brady, she was a monster as well.

The work done by police on the murder of Evans on October 7 1965 was to bring about the evil pairs downfall, Brady had made the mistake of trying to rope in another person, in this case Hindley's brother-in-law David Smith. What Smith must thought when he saw Brady hacking to death Evans with an axe is anyone’s guess but clearly he had witness horror beyond belief and the next day, he went straight to the police.

In 1987 Brady was to reveal information regarding the murders of Pauline Reade, 16, and Keith Bennett, 12, but was never tried for the crimes. Everyone knew Brady would never be let out into society.

The Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are now dead, Hindley died in November 2002 after suffering respiratory failure following a heart attack and now Brady is gone.

No one is mourning their loss.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Flames in the Hood, a George Laird production

Dear All

This is test material which I haven't finished yet, but I wanted to put it up to show you that with a bit of time, patience and learning, you can do a lot.

I would like to run through how I did this, compositing, is a bit like layers on a cake, the bottom layer in this case is the clip which I used which is called the 'plate' in film terms, and the fire and smoke are the layers, as you can see I have some layers behind others. This is to give an impression of depth.

The first thing I did was to 3d motion track the clip, when you do this, you create markers, when you find a marker where you want to put digital assets (smoke and fire), you then need to create a 3d camera and what is called a null object. The best way to explain what a null object is, think of a nail being hammered into a wall in a room, you walk in and place your jacket on the nail, When you stand at the door you can physically see where your jacket is in 3d space.

When you bring in your digital assets which are 2d, you have to make them into 3d layers, this is done by simply checking a box. So, you get to the place in the timeline where you want the clip, import it and then parent the clip to the null object. This basically allows your clip to stay exactly in the same place when the camera pans across the shot as I have done here.

All the assets you see in this clip are all parented to the same null object, then I just move them into position by using the XYZ arrows and scaling the clips either up or down to fit the location where they are placed.

Then, once you are happy, you can turn all the layers into a single clip and render it out into a movie format, I tend to use MP4.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, May 12, 2017

Open Letter to Anon, after a lifetime of voting Labour, 45 years, you have doubts, so here is an idea, why don’t you volunteer to campaign for a few days for the person who you feel best represents you and your community, you will quickly get a sense of the worth of a candidate beyond any information presented in a leaflet posted through your door, try doing street stalls, very educational and easy to do

Dear Anon

“I am very conflicted having voted labour at every election for the past 45 years and having recently joined the party to vote against Corbyn as leader. I have no doubt he is committed to his political viewpoint for altruistic reasons, I disagree great difficulty with his positions on trident, stop the war, nationalisation and a number of other issues, but that is OK. What I cannot get past is his support over many decades for the IRA, even during the period it was actively bombing and killing British citizens”.

Recently, my friends at a night out were talking me, and how I could support certain people or a certain party at a certain time. The truth of politics is that no party stays the same, an example is the SNP on NATO; decades spent being anti NATO then to suddenly change for independence, not because of recognition of the policy being wrong but for votes. You won’t find a perfect party which allows you to agree on every policy.

As to Corbyn, when I was in Labour, I voted for him, second time around, previously I wasn’t in the party. I know that he has shortcomings; the biggest ones are defence and foreign affairs. On his domestic front, he fares much better, however, there is an issue of trust, which when you consider the Brexit question and his problems with the ‘progress’ crowd, makes people nervous. A majority voted Leave, which I maintain was the correct thing to do, in years to come; it will shown I contend that leaving the EU was in the economic and national security interest. Europe has opened the door to serious problems regarding security, terrorism has been imported.

When you joined Labour to vote against Corbyn, you made a personal choice, like I did, although I voted for him, his past re the support of IRA was something which I didn’t like. Although people shouldn’t forget the past, we have to live in the present so we have to solve the problems of the present. The Conservatives in the shape of John Major started a dialogue with the IRA because they recognised that the terror campaign has run its course and the people on both sides didn’t support it. Ireland is a great place, and there was a price paid for peace, before and after Good Friday, politics is about compromise when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. You wouldn’t want to see Ireland return to the problems of the troubles anymore than anyone else would.

“How can I believe that the British public could be persuaded to vote Labour with the prospect him as PM and McDonnel as Chancellor????”

At election time, you get an ‘offer’, this is called the manifesto, in that document you are presented with a series of proposed changes, some people have said to me that they do like some of the ideas in this document. I haven’t had a change to read it. At the same time other parties give you their offer. You must weight up several things, when you consider voting I would suggest, chiefly the candidate, will that person represent you properly and sincerely if you have a problem. In Scotland, Labour crashed due to neglect of the people they were chosen to represent. Non-representation killed Labour in Scotland, took time, took decades, but they were operating their own agenda which wasn’t in sync with the public. This isn’t exclusive to just some in the Labour Party. You should also look at the manifesto, does their offer make sense to you; are there things which void their offer? Also what is their track record not just in your area but how they have operated as a government in the past? Politics in Scotland is in flux, I think more and more that the key thing which people want is representation, if you can’t get it from the candidate, you won’t get it from them as an MP. Labour losing all but one of their seats shows the problems in the party go beyond a few people, Labour needs to be taken back to bare metal back to the principles of Keir Hardie.

“If, as with Michael Foot, we have a Labour leader who present a persona that can be easily caricatured by the media, even the best Manifesto will not be able to cut through and win an election”.

That is a fair point, the leader should be respected, not just by the media, but also by the public and their fellow MPs. Jeremy Corbyn as I see it has a job, not to win the election, his job was to prepare people to come through the party so that a viable government in waiting gives the people a choice. I think although he does well with the grassroots, he has a connection problem because he isn’t seen by some as the next PM.

“With no prospect of winning an election with this leadership Labour will be a party of protest not government. The left have long wished to take over control of the Labour party, they have it now, but it is destroying the it as a party of government”.

Think of this, who was it that brought in the bedroom tax and the WCA, the ATOS scandal?

It was the Labour Party, if you have never been on the receiving end of bad government department decisions, you have missed an experience. Very unpleasant and socially destructive to not just the person but also a community; Labour wants to fix some of the problems which they created. This is a theme with them; it seems being kicked out of government makes some people more ‘caring’. Rachel Reeves famously said that Labour Party wasn’t the party of the unemployed, this fails to taken into account that many unemployed gave up their time to help the party at elections.    

Rachel Reeves….. what a scumbag!

“Will there be a modern day Gang of 4 to split the Left and guarantee Tory hegemony for 20 years, I hope not. The Salmond managed to do this on a smaller scale undermining Labour national campaign in 2015 and Sturgeon has had a big hand in rehabilitating the Conservatives in HR2016 & LG2017”.

Well spotted, the SNP want independence, they see more of a chance if the Labour Party in Scotland is marginalised; however, they didn’t calculate that there would be a Conservative revival in Scotland. Kezia made several huge mistakes, she upset Nationalist Labour voters and then Unionist Labour voters, which is why Labour in Scotland crashed. If she had set fire to the Labour HQ in Glasgow, that would have been the cherry on top of the icing cake. Kezia’s lack of support for the Union didn’t just cost her votes; it also cost her donations from wealthy backers. You can add to it, the activist base has crashed, members don’t want come out, and lifelong Labour votes would rather vote SNP than put an X beside a Labour candidate’s name.

  “If we ever want to see Socialist government in UK Labour needs to regain Scotland from the SNP, how do you do this with the current offering and leadership?”

100% agree with your statement, the second part how to ‘fix’ Labour, first thing to recognise is that Labour isn’t in a fit state to campaign. Every branch and CLP needs to have a review done on its operation, because to regain Scotland, you need to fix everything at the bottom and work your way upwards. Someone or a team needs to write a report on the operations of every branch and CLP. I have seen Labour training videos, honestly they are awful; Labour needs a virtual training series of videos on how to do all aspects of campaigning like a fly on a wall series, done professionally. I don’t know if you remember Jim Murphy’s claim that he ‘fixed’ Labour, no he didn’t.

Labour needs a new campaign model and a new structure for teaching, and having popped in to a session for prospective councillors, I wasn’t impressed; a guy reading off a Laptop screen with bad graphics doesn’t a teaching session make. Some people need to be removed from positions because they aren’t very good at it. So, all office staff need to be reviewed, what they do, and how and when it is done, a creation of a dedicated teaching team who operate a system which allows various learning outcomes to be achieved, so there is a universal standard, and allowing lateral thinking to create hybrid campaigns which don’t have to seek permission to operate during elections. Custom campaigns should be allowed in each area because although certain themes are universal, certain areas throw up challenges.

“With the ammunition SNP have stored up for opposition parties to use over the past 10 years Sturgeon should be slaughtered every FMQ's, Ruth Davison lands some good ones but no knock out blows, Kezia much less effective”.

2007, Labour loses Holyrood, from that date to 2011; they didn’t do any work of real importance at Holyrood. Post 2011, they didn’t learn, they didn’t change, so slaughtered again in 2016. And to return for a second to 2015, that campaign was bollocks, I saw months out that Labour thought that presenting crumbs to people would turn them back to Labour.

Is the most pressing social problem in Scotland, people getting an alcoholic drink at a football match?

Finally, I would encourage you to vote for the person who you personally feel will represent you and your area, you must make that decision, you will base your vote on one or more factors but you should vote, and get as many people to vote as well. I would also say volunteer to do a bit of time for the candidate you wish to vote for. You don’t need a vast amount of experience but it will let you see a side of politics which perhaps you haven’t seen before. Be dispassionate as you look at the campaign unfolding, you will get a sense of whether candidate is worth your time and your vote. How a candidate treats people helping them is a reflection on how they will treat others if elected. I can tell you this; one person who I campaigned for will not be getting my services in the future.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Your life not safe in Nicola Sturgeon's hands, SNP Health scare fiasco comes back bite the Nationalists as their scaremongering over Brexit leads foreign medics to consider whether they have a future in Scotland, 200 GPs are wondering if they are doing to have to quit their Scottish posts, Westminster will not be deporting a single doctor from our NHS, and they won’t be used as pawns either

Dear All

During the course of 20 years at Glasgow University, I met a ton of medics, and as a fitness instructor, I knew some people very well, some of these people are working in the NHS as GPs and other types of specialists. Training to become a doctor is a five year gig which demands a lot of time studying, going to hospitals and GP practices. One female medic during her summer went to a hospital in Malta to get experience of delivering babies.

As to the female medic, she graduated but her boyfriend dumped her and cleaned out their flat and even took the light bulbs, moral of that story, don't date an engineer.When she told me that story I burst out laughing, as I noted laughter is the best medicine to her. I also mentioned I was sorry for her, she was in my dealings with her a really great person to know. 

Medicine is a profession that opens lots of doors, it is something which is like an international passport, if you are a doctor and you wish to live in another country then having a doctor’s qualification is a huge bonus. Governments recognise the value of medical qualifications, and the bodies that represent the profession are taken seriously in high circles.

In Scotland, the health service has been badly managed by the Scottish National Party while in Government; the ‘rot’ started when Alex Salmond appointed Nicola Sturgeon as Health Secretary and boldly declared that health was a flagship priority. Like many people back in 2007, I was hoodwinked into believing this was true. The reality was that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP narrowed their focus to certain targets while the rest of the service slipped downwards.

Nicola Sturgeon is now First Minister but her tenure at health planted the seeds of disaster which simply grew, no nipping in the bud from Nicola. We have had various crises in health, A&E crisis, Cancer waiting time’s crisis, Operations cancelled crisis, GP crisis, midwife crisis, nursing crisis, lack of surgeons crisis, bed blocking crisis, people left with no blankets crisis.

We have a new super hospital in Glasgow; sadly one of the biggest problems is that it is too small to cope with the volume in A&E, what was the SNP response by Nicola Sturgeon’s pal, Shona Robison?

Too many sick people were using the service!

In December 2014, I nearly died; I went to A&E with a life threatening illness and was kicked out as a time waster and told to go to my doctor. The triage nurse and the doctor at A&E nearly killed me by denying me treatment and didn’t even give me a physical examination. I was forced to wait 55 hours during which time I was in incredible physical pain. I returned to the hospital with a letter from my GP, within 10 minutes of handing this over, I was dragged past a huge queue of people and treated. The symptoms I told my GP were enough to give him the information he needed along with a quick ‘prod’ to know what was wrong. I was told to immediately get back to the hospital.

I was unfortunate to get sick at the height of the A&E crisis at the Southern General, many ill people got turned away only to find their stories making headlines in the Daily Record. My return to hospital was surreal, after the initial treatment in A&E, I was told that I wasn’t going anywhere and I was to be admitted as a patient. I was kept in for 5 days as they were concerned about my kidney function which had been frying in toxic blood for some considerable time, along with other issues. When I was released, I was just at the start of my troubles which became a running saga of failures. Asked to go back in two weeks, this was cancelled and I wasn’t informed, the medical supplies given to me to cover this period which had to be ordered in were running out and I had to end up getting an emergency prescription and then to try to hunt round Glasgow desperately trying to get the supplies. Having left me in the lurch, the hospital when I went back refused to help me with more supplies after they had cancelled my appointment…. and to make matters worse, my GP went on holiday!

If it hadn’t been for my friends making their time available to run me about, I would have been in serious trouble. After I came out of hospital, I was so ill that even little old ladies using walking sticks would blow right pass me like Olympic athletes. The old saying ‘couldn’t walk the length of himself really did apply to me. To add insult to injury, my back seized up partially on the 23rd December, Xmas that year was a nightmare, if they say there is a point when you hit rock bottom, I had reached it physically. My time was a series of cancelled appointments, no information and feeling low. The next piece of bad news dropped as they put me through a huge battery of tests because they were concerned I might have cancer, my weight was falling like a stone and they couldn’t understand why.

In 2015, I was to get an operation, only to be told near the date that it was to be cancelled, I was offered another date but not with the same surgeon, if I didn’t take that date, I was told I could wait up to 3 more months. From the start of my illness to getting operated on, it took 27 weeks, and given the treatment I was getting, I didn’t want to hang around, so jumped in feet first and said I would take the new appointment. My new surgeon was Dr. Hasan Qazi, when we did our doctor/ patient chat, he asked me did I have an question, so I said that I had purposely not looked up what was involved in the surgery but I did have one question.

So, can you guess the question?

I asked him straight to his face, ‘I have just one question, are you any good at this’, he burst out laughing and said ‘don’t you worry I will take care of you’. He put me at ease, and strangely I had no more worries after that, prior to getting to hospital I was a nervous wreck, fear of the unknown. I get to the hospital then it was like a dream, I am feeling like I am a spectator. Dr. Hasan Qazi probably more than anyone in medicine gave me back something I had lost, he gave me back hope, I wasn’t out of the woods after surgery, I spent 3 weeks solid with blood pouring out me every 15 minutes but I had turned a corner. In 2015, I wasn’t politically active, as I said the medical problems had physically wrecked me, so the election campaign that year was for me just a spectator sport.

2016, I return to politics, that year, I did the campaign of Johann Lamont which strangely for me I made my sole campaign for various reasons, normally I campaign in more than one so I get a feel of how a party is doing with the public, and it also helps my posts as a by-product. 2016 was also the year of Brexit, and being a known campaigner, I was asked to ‘fix’ the Brexit campaign which got off to a shaky start in Glasgow. The Brexit campaign on day one of me attending saw a dramatic rise in volume as I explained to the group that we aren’t involved in a passive activity. The Brexit campaign in Buchanan Street was one of the most successful parts of Brexit in Scotland. It lead to me being made an official Brexit spokesman and it also saw me getting one of my bucket list ticked off; being a panellist on the Gordon Brewer radio show. Brexit for some people focused on a single issue but the prime reason which all other reasons were just symptoms was sovereignty. We as a people must have the right to hold people to account who make our laws, the European Union has lost its way; it is anti country and anti worker. I knew campaigning for Brexit was morally right, and politically correct, cut through the nonsense of both sides, and the sovereignty issue sticks out like a sore thumb.

Brexit threw up many scare stories, one of the chief ones is deportation; today we see a report by Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) that 200 family doctors could leave their jobs. If they did this would put pressure on an already badly managed and failing health service. The reality is that no doctor currently working in Scotland or indeed Britain has anything to fear after Brexit, no European doctor prior to us joining the then ‘Common Market’ in 1973 had any fear either. In medicine, due to the nature of the profession, it sees doctors crisscross the world learning, teaching and practicing. Once passed medical school training still continues for medics, they go on to do many courses to learn new skills and also update existing.

If as the NHS says that half of all Edinburgh GP practices might soon be forced to turn away new patients as the lack of family doctors heaped further pressure on practices. This is more an argument for controlled immigration, better forward planning and the medics telling Nicola Sturgeon to ‘get her act together’ regarding funding. Scotland is still a great place to work for a doctor, we have five exceptional medical schools in Scotland, who churned out very good students, after spending 20 years at University of Glasgow, I met a ton of them.

At present there is a GP shortage, the blame doesn’t rest with the NHS, the blames lies with the Scottish Government, we shouldn’t have a GP crisis, not in a country like Scotland, but the SNP aren’t focused on government, they are focused on independence. Is there a case for a permanent task force in government to go recruiting, probably not happen, ideas aren’t an SNP strong point!

In October, Nicola Sturgeon who boldly pledged £500 million for primary care has only handed over half that amount so far, given the extra money handed over by Westminster, you have to ask, where the hell is the money being diverted to?

Dr Miles Mack, chairman of the RCGP said:

“The full £500m promised to GPs and health centres by the first minister in October could be clearly outlined for the GP service, to show medical students a career with a bright future”.

So, it seems that there are many problems in medicine but I would strongly suggest there is no problem at all for any European doctor currently practicing in Scotland regards to their status in the country or their status in their current position. I would expect total cross party support for them without exception. These scare stories are a distraction and unhelpful, the purpose of Brexit was to reclaim sovereignty so that we can hold our elected politicians to account at the ballot box. Any fair minded person wouldn't have any truck with dragging up this rubbish, but sadly the SNP leadership aren’t fair minded people, the Nationalists have latched onto scare stories in an attempt to garner votes. 

It is the type of petty mean spirited politics which thrive under the SNP so easily.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Be proud no longer, Literacy levels fall through the floor among Scottish pupils as John Swinney’s joins the line of totally unsuccessful SNP Education Ministers who have failed to turn round Scottish education, giving up the ‘day job’ to be campaigning for independence is leaving generations of working class Scots destine for no bright future and the scrapheap, this is the SNP’s legacy to Scotland

Dear All

In the past, it was rightly said with some pride that a ‘Scottish’ education was a good one to have, the standard was said to be high.

In modern Scotland, the same cannot be said to be true anymore, after a decade of SNP failure in education, we have seen literacy levels drop among Scots pupils. The most important thing that a country can do is heavily invest in the future of its young people. A short term measure to bring in skilled people can to make up a shortfall in certain areas but educating your people is essential.

Scotland hasn’t been educating our young people successfully, particularly with regard to opportunities for the working class.  The SNP have abandoned the concept of an educated Scottish work force in preference for an increase in immigration.

This policy effectively creates a glass ceiling which traps many working class Scots in poverty!

This is the reality of SNP Government, Nicola Sturgeon and the senior leadership have destroyed our education by stupidity and partly by design. The sad thing about the demise of our education is the loss of so much potential and hope for many young people. Too many people have bought into the lie that the SNP stands up for Scotland and that they are doing a good job, the reality is that the SNP have done and incredibly bad job in many areas.

Some people have been robbed of a future entirely, they don’t know it yet, but they have already been earmarked for the scrapheap, they won’t be getting a chance now or in the future. Scotland a country in political flux is folding in on itself, we are on a road not to independence but to division.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy isn’t a better tomorrow but a legacy of hate.

To be in a country where reading and writing standards among younger pupils in Scotland have fallen is remarkably third world. Where are the once proud Scots who could stand up with pride and boast about the value of a Scottish education?

These days, there is nothing to boost about, nothing at all.

What Scotland needs is a reformed education system which drives forward attainment, which provides the necessary support so that pupils who haven’t done well can get the help they need to pull them up to a standard which offers them life choices. Life choices are important, so many have had their chances taken away. Right across the board through-out the education system, many pupils have been failed. The writing performance of young people in the second year of secondary and the final year of Primary fell between 2012 and 2016. These are the facts, according to the latest Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

The biggest success of the SNP in government has been failure in all areas of their responsibility and convincing a public that the blame lies elsewhere, other than where it should, at their door. In one sense Scottish Labour losing so badly will leave the SNP with no ‘cover’ now. Not that will be any comfort for Scottish Labour, they are finding out as well that their abilities have been shown up as lacking, no political party can do without an educated activist base, this doesn’t mean spoon fed propaganda but people who are versed in factual knowledge.

ducation Secretary John Swinney admitted the findings are "not good enough", this is an example of him trying to put across that a smokescreen that the subtext is underneath things are ‘good enough’ but they can be better than good. The reality is that Scottish education standards are bad, and John Swinney who spends the bulk of his time in another portfolio is unable to turn around education.

John Swinney has no business in education much like Shona Robison has no business being health minister; both are out of their depth. It doesn’t take an education or health expert to see why.

Although opponents have branded the results “shameful” and accused the nationalists of neglecting education to focus on another referendum which is true, they also must shoulder part of the blame as an opposition.

Where were the private members bills for education reform?

If you don’t know, I will enlighten you, they never existed…. Ever!

Swinney says:

"I want to see standards and attainment improving in Scottish education."

Is this a hope or is this an aspiration, this bland sentence by him is why he has no business in education, he should be saying I will drive up education standards but the reality is tinkering at the edges does not a plan make.

Remember my old posts on reform?

I have done a whole host of postings which highlight the need for a new entire system, four tier education which introduces, a new insert of education provision, ‘community colleges’ run out of schools and funded by various streams of local, national and business. Community Colleges would provide additional education provision to various segments of society. Just as people of all ages, and sex attend a sports centre to get fit, community colleges would be geared to getting people ‘educational fit’. The good thing is that people attended would have the desire to learn to better themselves after some have had a shaky start in education.

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted education is her main priority in office, the facts show that if this is indeed her main priority should realise that she needs to outsource for ideas because let’s face it, there isn’t any big ideas in the Scottish National Party.

The SNP have allowed self interest in their chase for independence to cloud judgment, they have left a whole generation of kids and adults to flounder because they cannot get the help they need. In my youth, I taught at university, although I was a fitness instructor/ personal trainer etc etc, my pupils were the ‘elite’ of the university gym, they were just trained up to learn fitness, they were taught to be instructors in their own right. One day, I passed on a guy who wanted to learn a technique to one of my female students, afterwards he came back to thank me, not only had he learned the exercise he had learned something unexpected, the value of tuition. The girl was one of my first generation students, personally taught by me to think, analyse and impart knowledge which made a person question.

Years later the University tried to bring forward the same concept through their graduate teaching assistant programme but it never took off, they had never learned the subject in the first place, which is why my students were a port of call for information. One of the stories which I always thought funny was when a PhD student, international runner on the university graduate teaching assistant programme asked a female student, ‘why do you go to George Laird to get taught weight training’, she replied ‘because he is like a proper instructor’. In fact, it was more than that, I was very good but as well as that my teaching was taking someone on a journey to learn together, so they knew at each step of the way, they could be sure that at the end, they knew all their learning outcomes.

The education system of Scotland will not be fixed by John Swinney’s ‘reform’ programme because John Swinney doesn’t know beyond the sound bites prepared for him what the hell he is talking about. And if you don’t know what the hell you are talking about you cannot fix anything let alone make improvements.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, May 8, 2017

Too little, too late, Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown returns to the campaign trail for Scottish Labour, he is an incredible asset but the Labour Party in Scotland is literally dying on its feet, perhaps a better use of his time would be to offer help and plan for a new approach to win back Scottish voters, Labour is heading towards being the ‘fourth’ party of Scottish politics, it really can drop down further!

Dear All

During the Scottish independence referendum, I was lucky to get asked if I wished to go and listen to listen Gordon Brown, the first event was a Labour event held in Glasgow City Centre. As Gordon Brown was such a high profile member of the party, I thought, it would make a nice change of pace for me. The event was packed, and I have to say I was really impressed by his speech.

The biggest thing for me was his knowledge of facts and figures interwoven with his personal experiences on the doorsteps and the many hustings he had done over the years. I got the invite because I was doing Better Together in Pollok and also elsewhere. When the opportunity came to listen to him again, I decided to go to that event also in the Emirates Stadium in the East End, just like before the event and his speech were very good.

I have to say, they were highlights for me.

The fall of the Labour Party in Scotland may have caught some people by surprise, but not me; for a long time, the party was heading in the wrong direction. The resentment against the Labour Party didn’t start with the SNP and others doing the Red Tories campaign, it started decades before. People in Labour had lived off the legacy of what had been achieved by the party after the Second World War.

When the Labour Party shifted to the right, it was taken there not by the working class which created the party but by the middle class. Careerists in the party came straight out of universities to work for MPs or MSPs and then waited their turn becoming staffers and getting additional income by being councillors. These people had nothing in common with the working class.

In the local election for council, I voted and ranked pro UK candidates only, although I did vote Labour number 1, I didn’t give my second vote to the party, I ranked other people higher. The second Labour candidate didn’t get a ranking at all from me; I didn’t want to vote for Fariha Thomas.

I was going to write that I first met her at a Labour street stall in Govan, but that wouldn’t be accurate. I attended that event to help out and was roundly ignored despite being a new Labour member. I have a reputation as an activist, I wasn’t expecting a red carpet but I also wasn’t expecting a cold shoulder. I don’t know if I will volunteer to campaign for the Labour Party in this General Election, I haven’t made my mind up. I have no problem being in a losing campaign but prefer winning ones, but politics is such that you can’t always get your wish.

I would say that one of the problems in the Labour Party in Scotland, there is an ‘element’ that doesn’t make you feel welcome at all.  In fact, I would say further that I didn’t enjoy my time in Pollok CLP which is why I had no problem leaving to stand as an independent. I was asked to put myself forward for selection and against my better judgement did so, even although I knew it would be a farce. Although I joined Scottish Labour, my plan was after the Holyrood campaign was to immediately leave, but I stayed to vote for Jeremy Corbyn and time drifted towards the selection process so I got roped into that as someone wanted to keep me in the party. My thoughts on Pollok CLP is that it is a shell, no one wanted to come out and work, whether this was because they didn’t like the policies, didn’t like the candidates or didn’t like the atmosphere is anyone’s guess. But in the Holyrood campaign in Govan in 2016, I was the sole Labour activist for Johanna Lamont, people did come in the last week, but by then it was too late, you could argue it was too late at the start of the short campaign but that’s another story.

Scottish Labour spends too much time not being active enough, not being able to effectively engage with voters and not able to motivate their own members to be activists. What you are seeing in Scottish Labour at present is a party which has been ran into the ground because those in charge were happy to do their agenda which by enlarge wasn’t in sync with what people wanted.

The charge of Red Tories has been run since the Scottish independence referendum; it is a label which appears to stick, at least with the Nationalist community. It wasn’t the Tories that brought in the bedroom tax, and it wasn’t the Tories who brought in the ATOS crowd which caused the benefits scandal, it was the Labour Party, or to home in and be more specific, it was the rich middle class in the Labour Party. In this General Election, Jeremy Corbyn isn’t going to do well; too much damage has been done by Labour and in Labour for him to have a viable chance of being Prime Minister.

I think, it is great that Gordon Brown is returning to the campaign trail for Scottish Labour but here is the rub, he despite his presence won’t be able to turn around Labour’s former heartlands. The reason in part is that many candidates don’t have his stature, his gravitas, his knowledge and are in some cases, like better than paper candidates. The lack of ambition by Scottish Labour is shocking, they are only targeting 3 seats, Edinburgh South, East Lothian and East Renfrewshire. When you stand back from the Labour Party, you can see a party which has lost its moral compass as it struggles to find if it even has a place in Scottish society.

Scottish Labour is said by some to be the ‘third party’ in Scotland, and things are still falling downwards as they have lost their heartlands. If you are pro UK and voting Labour chances are you are going so as part of an anti SNP strategy. I am voting Labour in the General Election, not for the party, and not for the candidate in Glasgow South West. At present, I haven’t even considered if I will even offer my services to Pollok CLP or whether I do so for someone else and/or other parties. As I said in a previous blog post, I am considering doing a ‘busman’s holiday’ for my own amusement.     

One thing which caught my eye is that there will be a ‘Laird’ standing in this election, Lesley Laird, who is standing in Mr Brown’s old seat of Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, no relation just the same surname. Ms Laird is going head to head and challenging the SNP’s Roger Mullin, who had a 9,974-vote majority in 2015. The general feeling I get on the doorstep is that people aren’t flocking back to Scottish Labour, it is quite the opposite; people are drifting away and have moved on mentally to others. At an informal Labour meeting before I left the party when all CLPs were close down by the party, I said that Scottish Labour needed an ‘Nye Bevan’ moment to reset their brand.
Although Kezia Dugdale is in charge, she is struggling; her run of defeats is getting to be so embarrassing that her continuation as leader must be surely in question. I think she will hang on but the same question which haunts Jeremy Corbyn when will he stand down equally applies to her. Despite having more control of Scottish Labour and charting her own course, everything ends in abject failure.

Politics is quite simple, you listen to want people want and give it to them within reason, sadly in Scottish Labour, it is a case of not listening to people and telling them what the party is prepared to offer them even if the people. ‘Red Tory’ is a millstone round the neck of the Labour Party in Scotland, and they need to fix it. They lost the “Nationalist” working class vote and also the pro UK working class vote a remarkable achievement, there is just the bit in the ‘middle’ left and if they aren’t careful, they will end up as the ‘fourth’ party of Scottish politics.

Gordon Brown hitting the campaign trail is a boost for Scottish Labour, however, someone needs to go and fix the problems in the party; that is a backroom discussion!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University     

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Political Suicide of Scottish Labour; ousted from power in Glasgow after 40 years, Labour better get use to being out of power in Glasgow for a long time, in local news, unpopular Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP fail to win overall control which highlights they have peaked in Glasgow, Conservatives in Glasgow however are also the big winners as they make significant gains, Robert Connelly wins Calton and he deserved to win his seat

Dear All

Sorry for the lack of posts, hopefully normal service will be returning shortly. I was a candidate for Glasgow City Council, I came 7th out of 10 people standing, so no wooden spoon there for me. In the Govan by-election in 2013, I got 103 first preference votes, today; I managed 163 first preference votes, although not a win, heading in the right direction.

The more you learn, the better you get!

So, what where my thoughts on the local elections, well the bad news for Scottish Labour is that they have lost Glasgow, they didn’t leave it on a bus, they left it by neglect. This was an end of an era for Labour in Glasgow, earlier on at the count, it was clear that a disaster was looming and it came, Scottish Labour down 16 seats.

Some people I was glad to see elected today, Stephen Curran and Frank McAveety for Labour, and Robert Connelly was elected as the Conservative Councillor for Calton. Robert during Brexit was a very hard worker and if merit means anything, he truly deserved his victory. I stopped off to congratulate him, and his family.

One of the big stories of the day was the Conservatives gaining 7 seats. This was in line with what I was previously told by someone in the party. On my travels, I happened to bump into a few people, one being Professor Adam Tomkins who is also a Glasgow list MSP, so we chatted about indyref 2, having met during the previous one at Better Together.

I think that Nicola Sturgeon is going to be in for a bit of a wait!

I was also glad that Stephen Curran and Frank McAveety for Labour got back in, I personally like Stephen, and Frank is a solid campaigner who not only puts in the effort, he also treats the people who help him with respect. A friend of mine who helped him with his campaign gave a glowing report on how he treats people.

Before I go further, after I wasn’t elected, someone called John Hamill contacted me on twitter:

“163 votes. I'm actually fucking dying laughing. So much for the I hate Nicola Sturgeon party. @WingsScotland”.

No well done for standing it seems.

Yes, the die hard 90 minute Nationalist community felt compelled to gloat at me not being elected, however, what can I say, it is obvious I have upset someone and this outburst by Hamill is just leakage. If I have upset a few SNP… tough titty, I am sure they deserved it.

I am going to stand again, and also I am going to campaign again, who that is for and when, I have yet to decide. I am thinking of taking a ‘busman’s holiday’ for my own personal amusement which I might blog on, if it comes off, obviously post event.

Scottish Labour losing control of Glasgow after holding the city since the 1980’s is hugely significant, the run of failures for the party just keeps on coming. Labour is in decline but this defeat is also an opportunity for them to think again about what they stand for. If I was to give a prediction, I would say hand on heart; they won’t learn a thing from this defeat. Kezia Dugdales’ own spokesman done a runner to another job before the results, so he knew as everyone else did that stepping away from a sinking ship is a good way not to get your toes wet.

When could Scottish Labour retake the City of Glasgow?

Given the collapse of the Labour activist base, the way the party is operated and run, it could be a considerable time for a rebirth; certainly I would doubt any chance even at the next council elections in Glasgow. One thing which has occurred today is the introduction of more choice for voters, competition may shake Scottish Labour into action but if it is the same people have control now, nothing will happen. Scottish Labour’s rout was very painful but a saving grace but not much in the way of consolation is that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP failed to take overall control of Glasgow City Council.

Given the disaster of the council elections, the next test is the Westminster election and there is no time to turn round from such a heavy defeat, and you can add to it, it might be very difficult for Scottish Labour to talk their activists into another 5 weeks of activism.

It is a lot of time, and effort for what could and is expected to be a fruitless venture. If you don’t know what the Scottish Labour narrative is, you are in the majority of the population, although Kezia was banging on about ‘federalism’, this is a one sided conversation which Labour is having with itself at present.

The Scottish Conservatives did really well because they have managed to wrestle away from Labour some of their supporter base, people who are strongly pro UK who lets just say have serious doubts where Kezia Dugdale is headed with the party. Scottish Labour cannot be ‘all things to all men’, the debate has moved on, and Labour needs to find its identity and a new purpose.

If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t want to risk any money putting a bet down on Scottish Labour winning back seats, although there seems to be a feeling even before today that the Scottish Conservatives are worth a punt. To be absolutely clear, Kezia Dugdale by default is in part responsible for the gains by the Scottish Conservatives, unfortunately for her, she cannot manage the same process in the party she leads.

They call it ‘dropping the ball’!

One thing Kezia Dugdale did say which I agree with was:

“I know they (the SNP) are screaming and shouting just now and delighting in the result, but the reality is the SNP took every single seat in that city in 2015, every single seat in 2016, they should have walked it. But it looks like they're not going to get an overall majority in Glasgow.”

Mind you, not much comfort for her, since it seems highly unlikely that Scottish Labour will get a sniff at a Glasgow seat in the Westminster election. Nicola Sturgeon failing to gain overall control shows that the SNP have peaked, and are on the way down, doesn’t however help Labour. I met a guy who votes SNP because he doesn’t want Scottish Labour elected in Pollok; this was a traditional Labour supporter for decades in Pollok.

As I mentioned, the lack of political representation by those elected into positions is killing Scottish Labour, death by a thousand rubber ear cuts. This neglect built up over decades, 2014 was just the mass awakening which saw a tipping point, the SNP are a protest vehicle, if something better came along; people would jump to that new party.

I would have liked to have won, who wouldn’t, but I am pleased how I ran my campaign, the way I presented myself, and the effort, I didn’t have a lot of money but I did have a lot of commitment. I made the right choice in choosing Greater Pollok although I was told that someone in Baillieston had said that they wished I had stood in their area, true story.

Finally, here is a picture of the tweet sent by an apparently bitter Nationalist type called John Hamill for you to enjoy, you will notice that he has included the ‘warmer’ Wings over Scotland from Bath, probably for moral support. I don't know about you but I am sensing that Mr. Hamill has a lack of conviction, he tweets like a little girl.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University