Saturday, April 29, 2017

Wiped off the Map of Scotland, Scottish Labour is targeting major resources at just three seats in Scotland according to party sources, there seems to be a lack of ambition that out of 59 seats only 3 seem viable, Glasgow isn’t selected for help which comes as no surprise, the activist base has been effectively destroyed by neglect

Dear All

Targeting resources is nothing new, some political parties struggle to find resources, which is why I talk about what I term the ‘political economy’, basically this is made up by three things, people, money and resources.

In Scotland, the Scottish Labour Party is said to be targeting just 3 seats in Scotland. The seats are Edinburgh South, East Renfrewshire and East Lothian, you might be tempted to say that the Labour Party was lacking in ambition, especially when you consider that there are 59 seats up for grabs.

If the Labour Party was some lesser mainstream party you might think, short of cash, done the sums, maybe worked the area, could be a possibility. The Edinburgh South seat is Ian Murray, last time; he was successful so perhaps his claim for resources could be done on merit.

As to the East Renfrewshire, this is a classic three way fight, the SNP took it off Jim Murphy, by all accounts he put the work in the area but he was wiped out in 2015 along with the rest of Scottish Labour’s MPs. The ‘good’ went out with the ‘bad’ because Scottish Labour has done too much damage to their party to remain viable.

The SNP’s Kirsten Oswald has a majority of 3,718 but the real contender according to polling is the Scottish Conservatives. This is a seat that they are targeting and given Jackson Carlaw won the Holyrood seat, and given the collapse of Scottish Labour, it seems that East Renfrewshire is a tricky proposition for the Labour Party. One thing about the Labour candidate Blair MacDougall is that he in my opinion is an administrator, and not a campaigner. Although, he was the former Better Together chief, the organisation wasn’t running as people hoped. You may remember the spin doctor statement when ex Labour MP Frank Roy was appointed to lead the Remain Campaign in Scotland, citing he could ‘talk all day about the mistakes in that campaign’.

Personally speaking if I was to pick a campaign to get the most viable pro UK politician into Westminster at East Renfrewshire, I would have to go with the Scottish Conservatives. It isn’t just that their support is on the rise, it is more to do with Scottish Labour effectively doing nothing for months on end. A by-product of the nasty spat that was the Labour leadership contest and the closure of Labour branches and CLPs for basically six months.

A decision which was utterly stupid!

One of the seats where Scottish Labour can also ‘forget it’ is Perth and North Perthshire currently held by Pete Wishart, his direct challenger is Ian Duncan Conservative MEP, Ian stands a decent chance, this is based on his record at the European Parliament, also the Perth area is a happy hunting ground for Conservatives in terms of voters. This seat is one of the seats in Scotland that I have an interest in, although I have nothing personal against Pete Wishart, he maybe out. If you are into campaigning, then Perth and North Perthshire like East Renfrewshire would be an interesting campaign to go into for a laugh.

It is said that the Moray seat held by SNP depute leader Angus Robertson, as I mentioned, if he gets slotted this would be marvellous for Scotland, this as I mentioned could be the ‘Portillo’ moment of the night. In this seat, it is a straight fight between the SNP and the Conservatives.

At the present moment, the numbers of seats parties will end up with is anyone’s guess, but the news for Scottish Labour remains the same, it is said that they are going to get wiped out yet again. Electoral Calculus, the political forecasting website, has predicted Labour will experience a complete wipe-out in Scotland.

If that happens, the sustainability of Kezia Dugdale as continuing as leader will become a matter of internal and external discussion. How many wipe outs will Kezia Dugdale lead Scottish Labour to and then accept that the party simply isn’t in a fit state to campaign? Jim Murphy famously said when leader that he had ‘fixed’ the Labour Party in Scotland, this surprised me as I thought he hadn’t a clue what he was talking.

Scottish Labour isn’t fixed at all.

If things pan out then the SNP could win 46 seats, the Tories might get anywhere between 7 and 11 seats, the Liberal Democrats securing two, up one. One thing I came across today in Pollok was a sign in someone’s window, which said ‘No Labour Party propaganda, no Tory propaganda; no Liberal Democrats propaganda’, the sign was printed off, not hand written in big type!

Finally, I have to say that I am surprised that in Glasgow which was considered a Labour heartland and where Scottish Labour has an HQ in Bath Street, there appears that no one was able to make a case for securing extra resources for at least one of the seven seats in the City. Do you think that anyone down there has the intelligence to divert the entire Glasgow Labour activist base into one seat?

Asking everyone nicely of course!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Terror arrest near Houses of Parliament, armed man carrying several knives arrested due to an intelligence-led operation, the big question which many people will want an answer to is why someone who is known to Police is able to walk around armed and get so close to Westminster, will new laws be needed in the next parliament?

Dear All

Yet again, in London there has been another incident which some people are calling a ‘terror arrest’ near Houses of Parliament. In a previous attack, 5 people lost their lives, one of whom was a serving police officer. The latest arrest is a concern as police detained a man as part of an intelligence-led operation. This raises some interesting questions, in regards to people suspect of being possibly active in terrorism. The biggest one being why such people just free to roam about the place when they are considered such a threat?

Today’s arrest of the person was on suspicion of terrorism offences, the knives he was carrying although they would be lethal were just ordinary kitchen knives, this tends to suggest the man wasn’t trained and was more likely an amateur. You can get killed with a large bread knife however because of the lack of a hilt, a person’s hands could just as easy slide forward and they might end up cutting themselves.

As someone who has been a victim of knife crime, I know how quickly a huge amount of damage can be done in a relatively short time. Being stabbed produces a whole lot of blood which if not stopped very quickly can lead to serious problems and possible death.

In this case the man carrying knives near the Houses of Parliament was wrestled to the ground by armed police and no one got hurt. The officers acted very bravely in tackling an armed man and such situations are very high pressure and stressful, this operation was a success.

A police statement said:

“The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. Knives have been recovered from him. Detectives from the counter-terrorism command are continuing their investigation, and as a result of this arrest there is no immediate known threat.”

When arrested an eyewitness said that the man apparently was “very calm”, I assume given the speed of the police arrest operation, he may have been taken totally by surprise. Witnesses say the man was not shouting, or acting aggressively however if he had been taken when he was, one wonders what his plans actually were. Given the previous terrorist incident, it was incredibly stupid to go walking about the place carrying knives especially in a high security area like Westminster which is covered by CCTV, armed police at the Commons and roaming armed units.

Although the man is said to be a British passport holder, the press have commented that he was born in the UK, obviously more details about him and his past will emerge.

One thing which will be reviewed in light of this incident is whether current security measures are robust enough around Westminster. Given the number of government buildings and their staff, they must wonder if this is part of a campaign or just someone acting randomly. Awhile ago on the blog, some of the things I thought might happen appeared to have done so, like the use of vehicles as weapons and the targeting of politicians. Open access to politicians has always been consider normal as constituents go see their MPs, however in the past there have been attacks, so it would seem logical that within the parliamentary allowances that it may be deemed necessary for the employment of a security officer for MPs Offices.

The BBC's home affairs correspondent June Kelly said:

“It's understood that the man was detained as part of an ongoing operation by Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command. Officers working on intelligence moved in on him in Whitehall. He was then searched and arrested.”

I would suspect that many people will be shocked that the suspect arrested today had been under surveillance for some time. It maybe the case that new legislation is needed so such people can be tagged so that their movements can be tracked by GPS, but this is a stop gap measure. I suspect that down the line government policy will be such that people who gain British Citizenship who aren’t born here will end up facing withdrawal of such citizenship and be deported back to their home country.

Finally, no one died today, but as we have seen previously we cannot always expect the Police to be there in time to save the day, that just isn’t possible. It maybe in the next parliament there will need to be a Bill which seeks to address the issue of people suspected of being involved in terrorism just being able to walk around, something which goes beyond current measures.

What that maybe be will be the subject of long discussions between Ministers because we know we have a serious problem.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The imploding SNP; Nicola Sturgeon is rattled as polls show Scottish Conservatives are making too much headway, 12 SNP seats are at risk as one in three Scots prepare to give Sturgeon a bloody nose over her failures in Government, Brexit and second indyref, the SNP deserve everything that's coming to them

Dear All

Do you remember the SNP tactic at the 2015 Westminster election?

To refresh your memory, the tactic was talk up the Conservative Party in order to crush Scottish Labour, in the hope and knowledge that people would vote SNP.

The tactic worked, Scottish Labour was roundly defeated, left with just a single MP in Scotland, along with a Conservative and a Lib Dem.

Now that Theresa May has called a snap election, it seems that early on the Nationalists were going to trot out the same tactic, after all if it worked once, chances are it could work again. One slight huge problem, Scottish Labour’s polling is dire, the 14%, the mistakes early on, failing to back Corbyn, failing to get the right policies and upping their game is still plaguing the party north of the border.

Scottish Labour isn’t expected to do well; in fact, there is talk that they might get three seats which puts them on course yet again for another electoral disaster. Some people will of course try to win their seats but other people know in their heart of hearts they are just ‘paper candidates’.

They are going to get humped senseless!

Although the press focus on the active election campaign which is called the ‘short campaign’, the real work of building support isn’t done here, the long campaign in an area worked over years is crucial. And as we have painfully seen, in some areas the Labour vote has imploded, especially in places deemed heartlands. Some MPs sat back and didn’t work their areas, now they don’t have an area.

As the election was called, it seemed that Nicola Sturgeon was going with the same old tactic of last time, however, the polls have shifted and now the Conservatives in Scotland are seeing their support rise. Professor John Curtice, the polling expert thinks that the SNP could lose 12 seats to Ruth Davidson’s party. In Scotland there are a million Leave voters who want to see Brexit pushed through, and logically they would want the Conservatives to handle the franchise.

Awhile ago, I blogged that Jeremy Corbyn falls down big time on two issues, defence and foreign affairs, something which the Labour Party needed to address as a priority. Jeremy Corbyn does well on domestic issues, this is his real strength but to get to Number 10, he needs the whole package to work. No one expects the Labour Party to do well; it is reckoned they could be down to 150 seats after the 8th June.
In Scotland, if the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon fail to win all previous 56 seats, this will be seen as a personal disaster. It seems that the Nationalists in an attempt to be clever have rather shot themselves in the foot, time will tell. If the Scottish Conservatives do get 12 seats, they will be doing so continuing their message that they are the party of the Union in Scotland. This led to their successful Holyrood campaign which they became the official opposition.

It is looking increasing obvious that Nicola Sturgeon has hit panic mode, there she was babbling about the threat of the Tories as norm, talking them up, only to find that she is actually talking them straight in Westminster at the expense of some of her deadbeats who maybe about to hit the bricks! Now that the expectation of a political gubbing has travelled across brain cell to brain cell, it seems that Sturgeon is now back tracking. This is why she is suggested Theresa May called a snap general election before the alleged Tory expenses fraud in 2015 “catches up with her”.

To be blunt, Nicola Sturgeon is by default now talking up Scottish Labour without actually saying so. 

The alleged Tory expenses fraud in 2015 is in the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service, and they will do what they are going to do in due course. If some people have broken the rules, they will be held to account. This election is not however about this as Nicola Sturgeon wants you to think, it is about Brexit talks, and having the Government in place doing the job so these talks don’t have a distraction of a Westminster election.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) in Aviemore in the Highlands is just an attempt to play to the crowd and hype up her party.

Sturgeon said:

“A campaign called by the Prime Minister last week for one purpose and one purpose only: to strengthen the grip of the Tory party and crush dissent and opposition, and to do so before possible criminal prosecutions for alleged expenses fraud at the last general election catches up with her. Whatever else happens in this election, we should not allow the Tory party to escape the accountability for any misdemeanours that may have led to them buying the last general election.”

Rhetoric, but note the use of the word ‘may’, as in she doesn’t have proof.

According to polling one in three Scots is preparing to vote for Ruth Davidson’s resurgent Conservatives, this would unseat a host of SNP big names, people like Pete Wishart who faces a real challenger in the shape of Ian Duncan MEP, who has done a really decent stint at the European Parliament. One other person whose seat is under a bit of pressure is Angus Robertson, the SNP Deputy Leader, him getting put to the sword would be a Portillo moment of the election.

The poll figures have rattled Sturgeon’s cage, as she issued a strongly-worded press release ramping up the SNP’s anti-Conservative rhetoric to a new level.

She said:

“The election in Scotland is a two-horse race between the SNP and hard-line Tories. The Tories have taken an extreme position – demanding an end to any opposition at Westminster if they win the election. The more Tory MPs there are, the heavier the price Scotland will pay. They’re already cutting nearly £3billion from the Scottish budget. They’re hitting family incomes hard by cutting and removing child tax credits. They want to remove Scotland from the European Single Market – which will cost thousands of jobs. They’ve done all this with a small majority. Now they want to crush any opposition. The bigger the Tory majority the more they will think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it.”

So, this leaves Sturgeon with a real problem, the problem being how does she talk up Scottish Labour as a credible force to try and suck some of the wind out of the Scottish Conservatives?

And without putting any Labour MPs back into Westminster!

Elections are funny; Harold Wilson famously said that a week is a long time in politics, and the 6 weeks till polling day will see Nicola Sturgeon on the back foot. The Scottish Conservatives will have to work really hard, but this is their best chance to crack Westminster.

And as another poll recent showed on Scottish independence voting intention:

Yes: 37% (-4)
No: 55% (+8)

Finally, you can expect the Nationalists to get really nasty in this campaign; being dumped back on the unemployment register is going to put a real kink in some people’s social life.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thrown under the Nationalist bus, SNP blocks the odious Natalie McGarry from standing as an SNP candidate, where was her ‘good pal’ Nicola Sturgeon to come to her aid with a passionate defence, it seems the pretence that the SNP is presented as ‘squeaky clean’ instead of a ‘ratship’ is all that is important now!

Dear All

Last year, I did a post among several on Natalie McGarry, formerly of the SNP, and elected to Glasgow East.

The general premise was that the conduct of McGarry from my personal experiences of her, led me to believe that she was unfit to be an MP. Unlike some people who obviously held a similar view, I had no problem expressing my thoughts publicly.

Natalie McGarry is an odious little excuse for a human being, and as many remember, if I had my chance, I would have publicly named in a criminal trial in October 2015 relating to Tommy Ball who ran a malicious hate campaign against me. Ball pled guilty to get a reduced sentence, so McGarry’s part wasn’t widely spread as the press focused on Tommy Ball.

Here is what she wrote:

I've made it! At last I've been designated non-Jedi by the great sage that is @georgemlaird Want a laugh? Here ya go:

Natalie McGarry linked my blog to a hate account setup by someone she knew and socialised with, Ball’s hate account was all about labelling me among other things a ‘paedophile’. This little ditto above was Natalie’s contribution!

McGarry went on to win Glasgow East, it seemed that justice wasn’t going to catch up with her as she and others lived the dream. Sadly for her, pride comes before a fall, and McGarry was to fall several times, JK Rowling spat and Alistair Cameron spat were other twitter incidents where McGarry failed to engage brain before coming a cropper.

Then big fall happened, investigated by Police Scotland!

McGarry, who effectively had to resign the whip is facing fraud charges after a pro-independence group, Women for Independence reported a potential financial discrepancy in its accounts. Next up, the SNP Glasgow Regional Association raised concerns about its finances, so, in total McGarry is now facing five criminal charges, however, she denies any wrongdoing.

After the SNP chucked Natalie McGarry under the bus, and according to Nicola Sturgeon, she was a ‘good pal, it didn’t seem likely that the SNP could pick her again to stand in the Glasgow East seat. One thing the SNP like to do is to bury their mistakes to give the impression that everything and everyone is above board.

The Scottish National Party is a rat ship, I have commented on this often, and unlike most people as a former member, I saw these people up close and personal, everyone who is anyone from Salmond downwards.

The other dud who has been removed is Michelle Thomson, she wouldn’t be missed either, personally, I couldn’t care less about Thomson as I had no dealings with her, first came across her in the nonsense that is Business for Scotland, the nod dug for the SNP during the 2014 referendum.

Now, that Natalie McGarry has been cast adrift, I think we have seen the end of her career as a front line politician, which incidentally wasn’t much cop anyway. She leaves political office a damn sight sooner than she thought she would and that is a good thing.

I am really grateful to Theresa May for pulling the plug on Westminster as she did; obviously it wasn’t for the same interests as me, but hey silver linings and all that! So, who should get the opportunity to be the candidate in Glasgow East, given the two declared Rosa Zambonini and David Linden, Linden is the better choice this is based on his prior knowledge of the area, and Rosa Zambonini’s history.

I have no interest who wins the nomination but I am sure that other parties would love it to be Rosa Zambonini.

Finally, do you think that Nicola Sturgeon keeps in touch with Natalie McGarry, or is Nicola constantly unavailable for chit chats?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University   

Friday, April 21, 2017

Paris shooting: Gunman was 'focus of anti-terror' probe - BBC News

France suffers yet again; ISIS terrorist shot dead in Paris attack was a known extremist arrested two months ago for threatening to kill police, previously he had served 15 years for trying to murder two officers, he murdered a policeman and seriously injured two others before his end

Dear All

The ‘War on Terror’ has been fought for many years, to most people, the war was fought out in the streets, cities and towns in the Middle East and Afghanistan, it was a distant war.

A war that was too remote until now!

France has suffered greatly due to terrorism; the first Paris attacks sent shockwaves through the country, then the Nice attack, which left a nation angry again at the political failure to protect its citizens.

Yet again, France is reeling after an Islamic self radicalised terrorist decided to go on a murder spree.

Here is a sample of what the France has endured.

7-9 Jan 2015 - Two Islamist gunmen storm the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 17 people. Another Islamist militant kills a policewoman the next day and takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket in Paris. Four hostages are killed before police shoot the gunman dead. The other two gunmen are cornered and killed by police in a siege.

13 Nov 2015 - IS jihadists armed with bombs and assault rifles attack Paris, targeting the national stadium, cafes and Bataclan concert hall. The co-ordinated assault leaves 130 people dead, and more than 350 wounded.

13 Jun 2016 -A knife-wielding jihadist kills a police officer and his partner at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris. He declares allegiance to IS, and police later kill him.

14 Jul 2016 - A huge lorry mows down a crowd of people on the Nice beachfront during Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86. IS claims the attack - by a Tunisian-born driver, later shot dead by police.

26 Jul 2016 - Two attackers slits the throat of a priest at his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy. They are shot dead by police.

3 Feb 2017 - A machete-wielding Egyptian man shouting "Allahu akbar" attacks French soldiers at Paris's Louvre Museum - he is shot and wounded.

20 Apr 2017 - A known terror suspect opens fire at police on the Champs Elysees in Paris, killing one and wounding two. He is shot dead - and the assault is claimed by IS.
In this latest attack, the gunman is said to be known to security services, and deemed a threat, but despite this, he was able to get hold of weapons, plan and execute a terrorist act. The person has been named as Karim Cheurfi, 39, from the eastern Paris suburb of Chelles by the French media but the authorities haven’t as I understand confirmed this yet. One person is dead, and it is said that two others are seriously wounded, the gunman didn’t managed to get away; he was shot dead.

This case like many others will renew calls for a new direction for France to take in terms of security measures. It will put into sharp focus that Europe yet again is safe, it will also raise issues regarding freedom of movement. I believe that Europe must as a matter of priority re-instate hard borders. More must be done to stop the flow of illegal weapons across Europe coming in from places like the Balkans.

This attack may have an effect on the French Presidential election; the campaign of Marine Le Pen will certainly get a boost as she proposes to fix the problems of France and extremism within its borders. Depending on the mood of the country, France could decide that Marine Le Pen is a price worth paying if she can safeguard people.

After the attack, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted:

"I strongly feel for the policemen killed and wounded and their families. Terrorist attacks will never go unpunished, accomplices never forgotten."

Planned events by candidates have been cancelled this Friday as a mark of respect and also security concerns.  

National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen said in a press conference that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners on security watch lists. I agree with her analysis that the border checks should be immediately reinstate; it is a measure I blogged on at the start of the migrant crisis. 

Her second proposal may find opposition from the other political parties who are scared of being seen as racist. The inaction by authorities in France and elsewhere due to lack of political will is truly shocking; it is one of the major scandals of this century. It isn’t enough to clean up the mess after a terrorist attack and make speeches of punishment; clearly what is needed is to reduce the risk.

How do you reduce the risk?

You remove the risk from society; deportation is going to become a hot topic not just in France but in other European countries as well. The political elite have failed Europe, their failure cannot be forgotten which is why they must be replaced by new political leaders.

It might be the case that if you want a safer society, you may need someone in charge who isn’t so understanding, who can set aside empathy and do what is needed to be done. The reason most of us sleep well in our beds at night is because men stand ready to do violence on our behalf, in France, the security forces shot the Paris attacker dead before he could do more harm.

Finally, Islamic terrorists want to bring the battlefield to the streets of mainland Europe where they can hide, be supported and operate in plain sight until they strike.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Theresa May drops the biggest political MOAB ever to hit Westminster, the entire country is going to the polls on the 8th June, Conservatives have decided to take their 21 point lead over the Labour Party out for a spin, everything is literally up in the air, and this election isn't just about Brexit, is it also about can the Scottish Conservatives take Holyrood in 2021

Dear All

It seems that there is to be a snap general election for Westminster, Theresa May has pulled the plug and the country is going to the polls. In Scotland, people are a bit election and referendum weary.

Firstly, hats off to Prime Minister Theresa May for playing a blinder, the opposition is in a bit of a state at present, especially the Labour Party who has a huge mountain to climb, 21 points behind in the polls. The Lib Dems are making noises about a revival which is frankly ludicrous, they have 8 MPs, and in Scotland, they have a single MP.

There are good reasons to go now:

1/ To get a clear mandate, always handy
2/ To strengthen the UK position at the Brexit talks
3/ To outflank the SNP who made noises about dissolving Holyrood then backed away
4/ To use this election to see if the Scottish Conservatives can take Holyrood  

Obviously there are probably other reasons, such as not wanting to get distracted near the end of Brexit talks with an opposition threatening mischief.

So, is Theresa May as some people suggest taken her biggest gamble?

There are still unhappy remainers but the direction of travel for the United Kingdom is towards Brexit, politically since the Labour Party is in a bad place, there is talk of huge losses for them, a figure of 140 seats was being banded about the place. Elections however are funny things, and snap elections are in a way a little like by-elections, they are specials because you don’t get the normal run in time of year. After Westminster folds its tents on May 3rd, we get what is called a ‘short campaign’, this means the election is called and running. Ideally, short campaigns favour mainstream parties who have the resources and personnel to mount a proper campaign as we traditionally know it.

To stand for Westminster requires a good few thousand pounds, if you want to do a decent campaign and you have go full time. Quite simply the logistics is staggering especially if you are unclear what support if you can expect in terms of money, people and resources, which I call the ‘political economy’. If you take a constituency of 60,000 voters, call it 30,000 homes, divided by the number of activists, let’s say 10 for an example. That means an activist has to deliver 3,000 leaflets, roughly 200 a night which takes some people 2 hours; that works out to 15 work days, multiple that by 3 leaflets, this rolls out at 45 workdays. This is based on them doing every day, not doing canvassing and street stalls, that is more labour intensive.

As well as the Westminster in Scotland, there are the council elections, that is an additional huge drain on resources, money and people, running two campaigns at the same time is possible but not easy, somewhere the time factor kicks in. Everyone party needs to prep for Westminster, not just in the office but also in the CLPs or branches and they have to do it now. Running a campaign on the hoof isn’t easy, especially when no one else has a bloody clue what anyone else is doing in the same campaign.

Planning is still critical and so being flexible because the best campaign plan can fail if you can’t execute it, so you have to be creative. When other people are looking to you, you need to have a clear idea that everyone can get onboard with. The last thing you want is people feeling left out because they don’t feel part of the team. This why short campaigns are high pressure, so much done over the course of a year is literally crammed into 6 weeks.

If you have done a bit of campaigning, you know what a good campaign is, a good campaign is the person in charge putting everyone before themselves; this is leadership. It is important that the activists are treated with respect and you understand they are going the extra mile for you, so you go further for them. Winning is better than losing, but having a badly run campaign has a ripple effect in your CLP, people don’t feel they want to get involved in future events if treated in an offhand manner.

This election is being dubbed “the Brexit election”, with Theresa May saying:

“I trust the British people.”

A point which will no doubt come up is that this election will also be billed as an election to show national unity to Europe, despite many differences, the country must present a united front, obviously leaving out Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP who have no interest in doing so.
Theresa May said:

“In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill. The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain's membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.”

She added:

“If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election. Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country. So we need a general election and we need one now. Because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

I was surprised that Theresa May has called a snap election after ruling this out earlier, but we are where we are as General Mike Jackson used to say, so we have to get on with it. The Conservatives have a 21 point lead which is huge, and if things pan out, they stand to increase their majority. In Scotland, things aren’t so rosy, the Scottish Conservatives face a few problems, although they can find the money for the campaigns, will be able to access resources, they don’t have enough personnel on the ground, and certainly not enough prep time to mount the kind of challenge that they would wish for to gain seats.

Yesterday I was saying that the Scottish Conservatives would like Ruth Davidson to have a crack at being First Minister in 2021, so luckily for her this election gives the Scottish Conservatives a rough idea if that is viable. Let’s face it if you are considering ploughing a massive amount of cash into a future election, you don’t want to wet your finger and stick it in the air, you want something a bit more robust in terms of empirical evidence.

Finally, I wonder how many of the SNP MPs are feeling a bit uncomfortable about their continued employment prospects at Westminster?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2021, the year of living dangerously, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon faces a four year wait minimum if there is a second independence referendum, if things don’t work at the 2021 Holyrood election, if the pro UK hold the balance of power, her position as leader becomes untenable, this could be the biggest failure to deliver in SNP history

Dear All

One of the things that Nicola Sturgeon wants is a quick independence vote as soon as Brexit ends, the reason is quite simple, she knows she is on a clock, can’t win an argument, and thinks that emotional attachment to the EU membership will blind people’s judgement.

Her fear is that Brexit becomes a huge success and she is left politically adrift much like Alex Salmond was, his campaign was a tawdry affair from start to finish, it wasn’t much in terms of substance. The Nationalists presented a sanitised view of a nirvana that they couldn’t deliver, everything will be good and there will be no bad things happening.

The truth of independence is that there will be a lot of bad things happening and those bad things will work their way down in a very real sense to ordinary working class people.

Scotland’s shipbuilding industry heavily depending on UK military warship orders would not be viable without MOD support. No British military warship has in the last 50 years been built outside the UK. During the 2014 referendum, the SNP leadership distorted the truth by claiming that auxillary vessels such as supply ships for the military counted just the same as warships.

They don’t!

It was an untruth which was continuously repeated through-out the campaign by the Nationalists in an attempt to deflect criticism. The SNP would have been responsible for the entire closure more or less of shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Independence comes at a price, nothing is free.  

And of course before any deal is signed, sealed and delivered, Nicola Sturgeon will say that the ‘deal’ is a bad deal regardless of terms. It is now highly likely that Sturgeon’s timetable will just be ignored by Westminster for several reasons; principally the Brexit talks will require their full attention. Brexit although in principle is straightforward, the untangling and timescale is not, it might be tedious, but 40 years of membership cannot be unpicked overnight.

If it can be done in two years, that would be good going but given how the EU operates, the process will be slow because of the legal aspects.

I think many people who watch the political scene know that given the length of time the previous talks and stages took on the 2014, the chances are that any second referendum would have to be pushed right back until 2021. I would say this is probably about right and this tallies with what the House of Lords Library has indicated. The various legal stages of doing through Westminster and then Holyrood all have to be met before the Queen can sign off on a second referendum.

I suppose depending on how well the Scottish Conservatives do and how badly Scottish Labour does in the council elections will to some degree shape advice being given to the Prime Minister. In a nutshell, the Scottish Conservatives would like to have a ‘shot’ at Ruth Davidson becoming First Minister in 2021.

So, well, humm, tick tick tick tick!

That’s a tricky one for the Scottish Conservatives to pull off, although they had a remarkably good Holyrood result; it was down to the collapse of Scottish Labour. The Conservatives played the pro UK card which they wouldn’t have had a chance of doing if Kezia Dugdale hadn’t dropped the ball.

Although Kezia Dugdale has since said she isn’t in favour of a second referendum, is promoting federalism, and a few other bits and pieces, she is still seeing Scottish Labour’s support drop. When a poll showed that the party had hit 14% with the public, donors weren’t supporting the party and few activists are willing to come out.

The Scottish Labour as is doesn’t fit into 21st Century Scotland, some people reckon that it has had its day, and given defeat after defeat following impending defeat, you have to wonder what can bring them back. What they do know is that they are in major trouble, and haven’t quite worked out that they don’t have a proper narrative. In this election, Scottish Labour is along with others trying to use this as a vehicle to say no to a second independence referendum.

It is the wrong strategy much like Jim Murphy’s fitba nonsense; this election is and should be all about localism, reconnection, empowerment of local groups and public service. After the election, Scottish Labour need to start addressing how to make branches and CLPs better for their members, in effect they have to invest in people beyond elected representatives.

One thing is quite clear, having been unable to invoke the ‘will of the Scottish people’, the SNP are now invoking the ‘will of the Scottish Parliament’, they see this as baby steps to attempt to get the power to call an independence referendum anytime they feel like it. One thing that Westminster must not do is shift from what the reason was for granting the vote last time. Theresa May needs to hold fast and state the franchise will only be granted if the SNP win an outright majority, this was the reason that David Cameron used to grant a section 30 order.

In politics momentum is important, but no one can sustain an independence campaign from 2017 till 2021, especially since we already had a vote in 2014. The political agenda must move on, it is the nature of politics and having Nicola Sturgeon stagnant the country for another 4 years repeating the same old failed arguments will turn people off. Already people are saying they are sick of the SNP, how are they going to feel after another stint of campaigning comes around?

Prime Minister Theresa May was right when she said "now is not the time" to stage a second referendum, at present, this is a time where all parts of the United Kingdom should be coming together in national unity. The SNP have deliberately chosen not to do so for political ends, so it was the correct decision by the UK Government to make it clear it will not even talk about the issue until after the Brexit process is completed.

If things pan out as I think they might, the second referendum may end up being led by Scotland in Union as the lead campaign group, in effect, Nicola Sturgeon would be facing a ‘direct democracy’ challenge against either her will of the parliament nonsense or overall SNP mandate. This would make for an interesting contest but you also have the pro UK political parties running their own campaigns with like minded people folding into Scotland in Union.

Scotland in Union would have to do a bit of thinking if they ended up as lead campaign group because they would have to consider bring forward proposals for change and solicit cross party support. There are a lot of balls waiting to be flung up in the air, so someone better have a lot of experience of not dropping them.

As I said to Professor Adam Tomkins in 2014, better archive everything from this campaign because it looks like we will be going again, he replied ‘I hope not, the last one was bad enough’, but as many people know I have an uncanny knack of getting it right.

2021 Holyrood elections are going to be very important in Scottish history.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, April 17, 2017

SNP’s Busted Flush; Nicola Sturgeon’s independence referendum attracts NO support in several Scottish towns, SNP MP Pete Wishart has set the tone of indyref 2 with a really nasty tweet, and Brexit is going to be a success story which the SNP had no part of, the Nicola Sturgeon bandwagon is looking like a burned out car with no mileage left

Dear All

It is only a matter of time before the number of people who ‘wise up’ to the SNP get it into their heads to stop voting for them. Everyone knows that Scotland is in political flux, plenty people vote SNP, if you haven’t worked out why it can be summed up in a single word.


The SNP are a vehicle for protest, beyond that people really don’t have much use for them, whether is it daft ideas like ‘baby boxes’ or failed leadership in the Scottish NHS, the SNP scrap the bottom of the barrel when it comes to moving Scotland forward.

People in Scotland have along with other start to grasp the idea that they are by far the best people to be the judge of living their lives; they don’t need or want politicians trying to dictate to them and micromanage their lives.

It is as unnecessary and it is unpopular.

Populism is a reaction to people rejecting politicians who are more concerned about their private agendas than the public good. Years ago many people stood on a platform of selflessness, dedicated to the ideal and spirit of public service. Today, the modern political class is a different animal altogether, it is about promoting a minority or cause, the party that the person joins is just a vehicle and they have no interest in the wider aims.

The Scottish National Party is an empty vessel, made of self interest groups, some of whom just hate the British Establishment; I call that grouping in the Nationalist ranks, ‘Sein Fein lite’. Sein Fein lite is as I have stated before is one of the four main groups who inhabit the SNP.

If you think back to previous posts, I listed four ‘minorities who make up the main groups; Rich, Muslim, Homosexual and Sein Fein lite, there are other sub groups which we already know such as CND and Trade Union, but people in these groups are at the fringe.

If you take the recent SNP Tartan Week jolly, the SNP had sent four MPs, what are the odds that those attending come from one of the four main groups?

The SNP are all about virtue signalling that they are inclusive, it’s a lie; they are inclusive in name only. As Pete Wishart’s recent tweet showed the SNP have no respect for anyone, they are an angry wee small minded feral mob and hold they grudges. Of course Pete Wishart was quick to spring to his defence that he was using comedy, however this falls down in my opinion as he published something listing the candidates as various forms of wanks!

To refresh your memory, the SNP hasn’t fitted in well at Westminster, and with a Conservative Government, the Nationalists have it seems a weekly barny with the Conservatives at the dispatch box. It is no surprise that they view their Scottish Tory Candidates in these crucial council elections as “absolute total wanks.” Murdo Fraser’s call for voters to vote anyone but SNP will not go down well with Nationalists.    

Bad language is of course nothing new, there are great many people who swear, but when elected to public office, you have to set an example, so if your minded to stand yourself, best to get all ‘F that’ and ‘F this’ all done beforehand.

Once elected you have to toe the line.

There might be a second Scottish independence where the SNP will set out their next story; presumably there will be plenty of fantasy involved because lying with that crowd is like breathing.

If you think back to pre 2014, the people of Scotland in the main weren’t up to speed with the incredible dishonesty that the SNP prosecuted their case for independence. This means next time, the SNP start their campaign with the same people who seen as dishonest, untrustworthy and liars. There will be a new spin, you can expect that, and maybe new faces, but deep down the message is still the same. In a nutshell, it will be vote for independence to get rid of the Tories, have nirvana, join the EU; stay in a rich country and what ever else they can cobble together.

Oh yes, and you can expect Nicola Sturgeon to surround herself with kids, all prearranged through-out that campaign, particularly as the Cybernat division ‘get back to work’ abusing people. Who knows, if you consider getting the fight, you might find yourself called ‘paedophile’, the Nationalists love using that smear.  

As to their Brexit argument which will come up, the SNP are on a hiding to nothing, Brexit will be a success, if you want to know why, the answer is simple, money; huge oceans of money floating into the UK and then back into Europe. And despite the SNP thinking otherwise, they and their aims will not even be a footnote.

London is a major financial centre, what passes through there in a day is staggering.

If you have watched events, you will have seen that pro UK groups have been busy, Scotland in Union particularly has had a ‘upgrade’ in terms of profile, activism and support, as I said if there is a second referendum, then I would speculate that they will adopt the role of ‘Better Together’. They would have further develop and expand on their personnel front, recruiting might be slightly problematic as they would have to find a way to have a dialogue with the main pro UK parties to get their best activists.  

2014 was a really ugly referendum, it turned many people off the SNP, the Nationalists had revealed their true colours, people were targeted and singled out, the tactics were to backfired as the public for the first time knew exactly what they would be getting in an independent Scotland in terms of governance and how it would be conducted by the SNP.

The SNP don’t start the next referendum with a clean slate, they start with a serious handicap, lack of trust, lack of competence, lack of goodwill and a nasty vicious mob of online thugs who are still ‘plying their trade’.
The fact that many Scots have had enough of the Scottish National Party doesn’t surprise me, they are fighting a battle already lost and they know it. Scotland isn’t in the same place as 2014; this is a country which has become knowledgeable, not the result that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon had hoped for. Up and down the length of Scotland, there are entire places it seems that Nicola Sturgeon’s independence referendum is attracting no support whatsoever.

In a new website to solicit support these included Strichen, the Aberdeenshire village which is home to former First Minister Alex Salmond. This is particularly embarrassing for Alex Salmond, but not unexpected; up north is a well to do part of Scotland with some of the best places to live. People being people will not risk this on a gamble. There are other places which flag up as no support, places such as Braemar, Kippen, Pitlochry, North Queensferry, Plains and Inverkip.

We also see in Turriff, Ballater, Coupar Angus, Glamis, Crail, Crook of Devon, Drymen, Fintry, Balfron, West Linton, Newton Stewart, Broadford, Gifford, Kinghorn, Winchburgh and Port Bannatyne, there is no interest in a second referendum.

Alex Salmond led the SNP up the hill on the 18th September 2014, he fought, he lost despite setting the time and place of battle, Scotland watched as he marched the SNP back down the hill and then resigned as First Minister.

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said:

“This map of supporters sums up the SNP’s push for a second referendum – while they may have support in some far flung places, in towns and villages up and down Scotland they have no one who is in favour of another vote. Scots are fed up of constitutional uncertainty, and don’t want to be dragged back to the arguments of the past. It’s time Nicola Sturgeon realised this and got back to the job Scots expect her to do – turn around our education and health systems that have so far suffered under the SNP.”

When did Scotland move past Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, that took place on the 19th September 2014, things are happening, discussions are taking place but these don’t include the SNP either within Scotland or the rest of the UK where things really matter that drive change.

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly added:

“We already know a majority of Scots don’t want a second independence referendum – and now it appears Alex Salmond can’t even convince his own neighbours to back one. SNP politicians have been flying around the globe to drum up support for independence, because they know how unpopular it is at home.”

One thing about the Nationalists is that they suffer from the delusion that they are clever, Pete Wishart’s tweet must have been so much fun for him as he geared up to publish, when it all went pear shaped, he hasn’t the conviction to stand by his actions. Pete Wishart like Nicola Sturgeon is a ‘hollow man’, there is no depth there, this is because the SNP as a party is basically ignorant from top to bottom, especially at the bottom, the political ignorance is entirely unhealthy but that is how the leadership operates, they don’t want thinkers, they want drones.

And you can always outwit a drone!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

SNP stand ready and willing to sell out the National hertiage; 50 European "duds" sign a letter saying that Scotland would be most welcome in the EU as a full member, we would be a ‘cash cow’ to milk for billions, a dumping ground for their migrant quotas, and EU fishing boats would plunder our waters and make a fortune, Nicola Sturgeon stands ready to sell out Scotland

Dear All

The senior SNP have had about 80 meetings with European politicians trying to sell themselves as friends of Europe. The reason for the fig leave by them is an attempt to creat pressure and ultimate give the impression to the Scottish people that the SNP are the people to lead Scotland to independence.

The SNP will never lead Scotland to independence, there are many reasons but for me a key reason for not buying into their nightmare is trust.

Trust is such a valuable commodity, that when the SNP were initially given it by people to run the government of Scotland, the Nats didn’t know what they were given. So, like any dyed in the wool copper bottomed nutcase, they started to abuse it, because in their minds they would be an endless supply of stuff.

2014 saw the SNP leadership lie, lie and lie again in their attempts to win indy, so the public being rather fickle about being conned decided that the answer to Alex Salmond’s ‘the dream will never die’ was to be no!

After getting well beaten in Scotland, the Nats and other lesser mortals started to plot, after a hefty piece of crying, they bizarrely started to talk in the terms that those who voted no didn’t have enough information to empower themselves.

Personally I felt empowered walking into the polling station knowing that I was going to hand Nicola Sturgeon (the face of independence) her ass! It is true that BT didn’t win Pollok with only 5 helpers, but they managed to get circa 22k votes while being up against the SNP front Yes Scotland will 30/40 volunteers, they managed to get 27k in terms of votes.

On a pound for pound basis, the Pollok BT Group was far superior to the SNP, one day I came across them in Paisley Road West as they attempted to be meaningful, I was quietly laughing my head off as I observed them operate.

No big thinkers in that group!

As Sturgeon seeks to keep her failing independence dream alive and let’s face it, it’s all about the council elections and getting people to work for her. The ball that indyref 2 has been kicked into is the very long grass, if that is a big if the SNP get a second vote, it will not be on their timetable, basically you have to think post 2020.

So, with another 4 years of Nicola Sturgeon trying to keep the hype going, the political pond will be reduced to stagnant water. Everything between now and whenever is all going to be about indy. If Nicola Sturgeon hadn’t picked Brexit as the ‘excuse’, she would have picked sometime else, what the issue is, is irrelevant all that matters to Sturgeon is the grievance is fresh and can be used as a ‘trigger’.

The senior SNP have had about 80 meetings with European politicians all of it came to nothing in any reason sense, the ones that did show interest haven’t the power to do anything, change anything; grant anything, they are all side lines people. The big decisions will be getting made elsewhere. Why do they want Scotland in the EU?

Firstly, it’s another ‘cash cow’ to milk for billions, secondly a dumping ground for their migrant quotas, and finally as the old saying goes, ‘what is that got to do with the price of fish. The Europeans want access to the fishing off Scotland’s coast.

The EU will milk, take our fish and dump their trash, in return Scotland would get crumbs back, the SNP would see a new route for political advancement post active Scottish politics, the classic retirement venue via the Commission or the Parliament or some other offshoot.

This is the pig in a poke that Scots face, maybe if we let the SNP have full reign would see another Sweden type style of destruction grow up under our very noses. In places like Sweden, Germany and France, they have experienced terror, robbery and rape. The diversity in the migrant community now has male rape to add to its collection of horrors facing the public.

I couldn’t care less that a group of MEPs and parliamentarians from across Europe are all lovey dovey about Scotland and giving it their backing under the guise that Scotland's voice will not be not ignored. The Europeans do recognise an easy touch when they find it, and what can suit their purposes better than Nicola Sturgeon with her delusions of grandeur.

The classless oaf is ideal to butter up and then fleece like a sheep.

The SNP group at Holyrood who do nothing meaningful anymore has responded to a letter signed by 50 European politicians from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Greece, Hungary and Malta stating Scotland would be ''most welcome'' as a full member of the European Union if it chooses independence.

If you go to a large boozer, you can find 50 other people who would tell her to get stuffed. The EU is like a supertanker, the rules are the rules, and Scotland might be ''most welcome'' but not with its huge financial problems.

The letter by the Europeans doesn’t impress me, meaningless tripe is easily manufactured, after all hot air costs nothing these days.

SNP group convener Bruce Crawford said:

"Last month the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of holding an independence referendum once the terms of Brexit are clear. It would be fundamentally undemocratic and completely unsustainable for any UK Government to block the will of our national Parliament and stand in the way of Scotland having that choice. It is important to remember that it is the intransigence of the UK Government which has brought us to this juncture. The Scottish Government offered a serious compromise plan, which was completely disregarded by the UK Government. Scotland's voice must not be ignored and, with support from friends across Europe who recognise the important values of democracy and international co-operation, we can ensure that it will not be ignored. We welcome your offer of support in ensuring a swift, smooth and orderly transition of an independent Scotland into the family of independent European nations if Scotland chooses that future in a democratic referendum. The depth of goodwill from across Europe is indeed heartening as we embark on that process and we look forward to continued close co-operation in the months and years ahead."

Basically the main point of his diatribe is that the SNP think if they keep saying that they are Scotland, people will believe them, sadly for them, people don’t think they are Scotland in anyway shape or form.

In their letter to Holyrood's Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and the MSPs, the European politicians said:

"The question of Scotland's constitutional future, and your relationships with the UK and the EU, are for the people of Scotland to decide. It is not our place to tell Scotland what path you should take. 'We regret that the UK's Government has chosen to follow the path of a 'hard Brexit' and has so far refused to properly take into account the preferences of Scottish citizens in the withdrawal process. 'Therefore, if Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to seek to maintain European Union membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth and orderly as possible."

The question to ask is obvious do any of the 50 exercise the veto for their country?

Yours sincerely

George Laird 
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Second rate parliament stuffed with third rate politicians, unpopular Nicola Sturgeon at the Political Studies Association conference in Glasgow floats the idea that more MSPs would be needed in an independent Scotland, this might be a lifeline to SNP cult, but the pressing issue should be removal of the Holyrood list system

Dear All

In case you missed it, the Political Studies Association are in Glasgow a holding a conference, some big names from the world of politics are attending to enlighten the academics. There is a question and answer session with Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, whether there is value to that event, I leave it up to you.

One of the range of topics which might have perked your interest was ‘The (Dis)United Kingdom in Interesting Times’, the main point is the desire by people for sovereignty, the issue of populism is high on the people’s agenda, they don’t want politicians tell them how to live their lives. The new political landscape is seeing old parties effectively dying off, because they have no place in today’s society, it is very much a rejection of control freakery.

Yesterday, I blogged on how Scottish Labour’s problems, their task to recover is so huge and so time consuming, their current modus operandi is just not worth salvaging. Fixing Scottish Labour is an entire project all in itself, and to be clear when I read this:

I am not interest in the leak, whoever did that was stupid, what I am more interested in is the claim that in a debate, it is more important to present a pretence of a united front than allow others of different opinion to state another view. If democracy is about anything, the use of debate and alternatives views in a party is a sign of health.

This is why Scottish Labour will not progress, the same people who brought the party to its knees are more keen to fireguard their own positions by use of authority than allowing Scottish Labour to grow. Just as we have seen in England, we will see in Scotland, the emergence of two Labour Parties within the same organisation.

A small point on the SNP, they are already doomed, they don’t tolerate other voices in their ranks as seen by the comments from MSPs calling to challenge Nicola Sturgeon, please note the people doing so are at the end of their careers. In the SNP, selection isn’t based on merit, it is based on cronyism and promoting people with no ability to threaten the leadership.

Anyway back to the Political Studies Association in Glasgow, if you haven’t heard about them or their conference, don’t worry it isn’t cheap to go and attend;

Standard Rates
Member = £235
Postgraduate Member = £125
Non-member = £320
Postgraduate Non-member = £165


They are also handing out volt power banks for free with their names of them as a freebie, I got one, you never know, it might come in handy. The big thing about events like these is listening to the conferences talks, networking and quizzing the academics afterwards.

One of the speakers at the Political Studies Association event in Glasgow was unpopular Nicola Sturgeon, apparently if she ever gets her way and achieves an independent Scotland, she thinks that Holyrood will need more MSPs.

Pre-devolution, we had 59 MPs to represent the interests of Scotland and its voters, now in this day in age, we have 59 MPs and 129 MSPs to do the same job, so either we didn’t have proper representation pre Holyrood or now we have too much representation. The problem with representation now is a political class divorce from the needs of the public; this is shown by the election results. If Scotland is on a journey, it isn’t towards independence, it seems to me that the journey for Scots is to find new political parties who can meet the challenges that voters face in their every day lives…. and still do the day job of government.

Sturgeon’s call for more MSPs in my opinion is a lifeline to a load of cretins that she and others would which to foster on us to give them a payday.

Would under Nicola Sturgeon each ward have an MSP?

Would under Nicola Sturgeon a constituency be broken down into two wards which would seem more practical so that an MSP would have 45,000 voters?

Would there still be a list system to top up?

What would the effect be on local government and councillors?

How many new MSPs would be needed in total?

So, there is a lot of questions that Sturgeon’s suggestion throws up about how governance is enacted in Scotland if the SNP could ever managed to trick the people into voting for her nightmare.

I don’t believe that Nicola Sturgeon’s case holds water, if there is a case for needing more representation then it seems obvious that increasing the staff of MSPs would be a better solution, more productive and cost effective. The Holyrood Parliament for years has rightly been seen as a very poor second to Westminster which led to many people claiming that the place was filled with third rate politicians in a second rate parliament.

And the standard of legislation and debate is suspect, has Holyrood made people’s lives better?

Do you feel that you live in the highest tax place in the UK is better?

Do you see the streets lined with gold or do you see what I see homeless people living rough, abandoned to their fate, the SNP concerned more about middle class welfare-ism to deliver an election victory?

Gimmicks and low grade pap is served up to the public with the expectance of there should be universal applause and gratitude for the delivery of so little done by so many.

The most pressing reform I want to see at Holyrood is the complete removal of the list system as the most undemocratic piece of nonsense ever invented.

The public have no way to remove a bad list MSP.

Not even given the option via the ballot box.

Holyrood is designed to create a false air that democracy works; it allows people who the public would never consider to be allowed to make laws because of a rigged system.

Just because it is rigged legally doesn’t hold water, the list system is a scandal that plagues Holyrood since it opened in 1999.

As well as throwing a lifeline to the SNP’s cult members currently not MSPs, Sturgeon managed to get in her current grievance on Brexit and her wish of getting a vote permitted on her preferred timetable for a second Scottish independence referendum.

She can whistle for that agenda, Brexit is rolling, the letter’s in and the talking has started. Speaking of talking, did you know that the SNP have had about 80 discussions with people and officials in Europe about SNP membership?

80 discussions, no headway, nothing achieved, no objectives reached, no progress.

If there is a vote and the SNP position is a choice between the UK and the EU, the people will back the UK, the loss by the SNP will be greater because the UK is a country and the EU is a political organisation which is falling apart.

European people like the people of the UK want to rediscover their sovereignty again, they want control of their laws, full control, they want to freely trade, they like the UK don’t want a political elite dictating to them. They are just starting their journey, their awakening; it will take time to see the mainstream parties in Europe start the process of failing to accrue votes.

Their downward spiral will need a tipping point; the vehicle which will probably usher this in will be terrorism. At some point, there will be an event so huge that the national psyche of a country will be affected which will see a political party collapse. In Scotland, we witnessed a collapse of Scottish Labour, independence was the banner but lack of social justice was the driving force. Sustained pressure built up against Scottish Labour to a point when the collapse came it was pretty much total.

In a political sense the demise of Scottish Labour was due to their complete disconnect from the public and their problems. They wrongly thought that the public would continue to allow them to take them for granted as they pushed their agenda and not a people’s agenda onto voters.

Finally, Nicola Sturgeon told the Political Studies Association annual conference, that EU membership had been a “significant issue” in the 2014 independence referendum.

What utter delusional rubbish!

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is Scottish Labour losing credibility, Kezia Dugdale says she ‘has sympathy’ with Labour MEP David Martin’s stance on independence, as Scottish Labour’s core vote has collapsed, sending ‘mixed messages’ will turn off voters, you can’t ride two horses at the same time, and a lack of a proper narrative is killing the party, Scottish Labour can’t just be a party of complaining about SNP failures

Dear All

I have no problem with people being interested in their own self interest; it’s only natural and human to be concerned about your future. Labour MEP David Martin has had a very bright past, for years; he was paid a very high salary and expenses for going to the European Parliament as a British MEP.

On the 14th June 1984, he was elected as Member of the European Parliament for Lothians, when the revamp happened; he was elected in 10 June 1999 as Member of the European Parliament for Scotland.

So, he has had about 33 years of serve in the European Parliament, a good life and I assume a happy life. The vote for Brexit held on 23 rd June 2016 changed his happy little world, the next day; he saw his career come to a screeching halt.

Labour MEP David Martin is losing is job, people losing their jobs is nothing new, it happens, no one has a job for life in this country. Having been paid for 35 years a great deal of money, it now seems that David Martin is saying that he is considering voting for Scottish independence if Britain comes away with a bad Brexit deal.

Scotland has six MEPs, if independent and using Estonia as a rough guide, we might have considerably more, maybe 18 or thereabouts. How many MEPs you have per country is calculated by a mathematical formula known as D'Hondt.

As we all know Brexit is going ahead and in the light of this someone people are making up their minds about their future, so when David Martin confirmed that he is no longer ideologically opposed to independence, I wonder now he is losing his job, Scottish Labour has collapsed at Westminster and Holyrood, whether he is hedging his bets in the long term that Scottish independence might happen.

Let me help Labour MEP David Martin out, if he wishes to jump and join the SNP, then they have a website where he can fill in his application, and with 35 years of experience of the EU, they will welcome you. Chances of getting into Westminster currently stand at about, give or take….. Zero.

Chances of being into Holyrood with probably very little brand name or activism plus the list system being swamped, give or take…. Zero.

Chances of standing in the council elections….. missed the boat, deadline for applications have closed.

Chances of getting a job in the European Parliament, depends on connections, but certainly no chance of the same salary and expenses.

Labour MEP David Martin has a decision to make, stand or jump from the Scottish Labour Party; he wouldn’t be the first elected representative to jump to the SNP if he decides to go and certainly not the last. I can understand David Martin’s position and I am sure many Brexit campaigners feel sorry for his personal situation but he has had a great run at it, his shift is over.

Scottish Labour’s problems are widely known, in some respects they mirror David Martin’s position, there they were rolling along huge support, and then in 2014, then a huge part of their base of working class people of Scotland voted for independence. The tipping point was 2014 in the mindset of the people against Scottish Labour, they felt more than letdown, they felt betrayed, betrayed by the Blair Faction which calls its self ‘progress’, progress can be described as middle class university educated Tories who aren’t in the Conservative Party.

Do you know who the vanguard of the proletariat is?

It is the working class, somewhere along the line, the Labour Party got hijacked by middle class university graduates like Blair and from there, the road to decline started, these people weren’t interested in helping the poor.

The Labour Party brought regressive measures such as the bedroom tax which has unjustly affected the poorest in society who are already sitting with nothing. Of course, now we have an awakening that this is a bad thing because the Conservatives are in Government at Westminster.

If the Blair Faction were sitting in government, the Labour Party wouldn’t be doing anything about this injustice, they would say that hard decisions need to be made, not affecting them, but affecting the poorest. The idea of tackling the biggest single issue of abuse such as corporations not paying their correct and fair share of tax remains just a talking point.

Sadly for the Labour Party, corporations can’t vote, people do, and in Scotland there is a huge amount of angry people kicking about the place. Have you ever been so angry that you are beyond being ‘well fucked off’?

This is a huge section of the people of Scotland in regards to their new relationship with the Labour Party. When you as a national party with a long history of social democracy and change sit at 14% of the vote facing off against a centre right SNP wearing temp ‘socialist’ clothes for convenience, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Scottish Labour isn’t in the position that it is in because there is a deep yearning for independence, no, Scottish Labour is here because of bad elected representatives, people elected who didn’t want to work for their constituents if their problem was either too hard, too time consuming or was for example against a current Labour administration. I am and was not surprised when the Scottish Labour Party fell, in 2015, in February after watching the Scottish Labour Campaign for several weeks, there was only one valid conclusion to make.     

“Fucking it all up, Labour Leader Jim Murphy has run into trouble, his ‘fitba’ campaign isn’t the substance that will attract Labour voters back, Jim Murphy, go see the 10 year old little boy who got bottled by Celtic fans and ask him should alcohol be re-introduced at football matches, Scotland has changed politically, Murphy needs to address that now”.

Scottish Labour went to an angry electorate crying out for social justice and change and offered them a crumb off a five course. The public looked at this crumb with disbelief and said ‘is that it; is that all my vote is worth, nothing to make my life better just this crap’?

In 2015, the Scottish Labour was wiped out, completely destroyed at the ballot box, there then followed a period of public soul searching which didn’t amount to anything. Then in 2016 came the hugely damaging Labour Party leadership contest as the Blair Faction tried to oust Jeremy Corbyn.

In Scotland, the Scottish Labour already doing incredibly badly was effective shutdown, no CLP could meet, nothing could get properly planned, no work could get done, in the run up to the Holyrood election, this wasn’t just bad management; it was political suicide. The defeat at Holyrood was always going to happen, if you were looking for a feelgood positive story from me at that time to spin for Scottish Labour, there isn’t one on the blog.

There was nothing positive to write about Scottish Labour who hadn’t addressed their failure to reconnect to their core vote. Beyond talk of change there was no change, even senior Labour people ditched campaigning for a ‘good night out’, there was ‘drinkies’ and then onward to a show afterwards. I often wonder those activists who stuck it out what were their thoughts when they found out what was doing on.

Scottish Labour’s campaign of 2016 could be described as a shambles, it lack pretty much everything, people, money and resources, not only were the voters not willing to engage neither were Labour Party members.   

As the storm continued in Labour, leader Kezia Dugdale had to make a choice, bearing in mind that people wanted rid of the Blair Faction politics, she wrongly decides to pick Owen Smith, the ‘progress’ candidate, lots of people in Scottish Labour vote Smith because a huge amount of people simply left. The phrase I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me’ applies, or to be more apt, the party was hijacked by the middle class, and guess what 2015 and 2016 saw the people of Scotland do what Scottish Labour won’t do, and go rid of these people via the ballot box.

Kezia Dugdale made a mistake in the past saying she could consider voting for independence, there was then a half hearted attempt to show she was committed to the Unioner mind may have been focused not by political argument but more by the fact that major Labour donors were not financially supporting the party. I find it incredible now that Kezia Dugdale can effective return to the same mistake by saying that she ‘has sympathy’ with MEP’s stance on independence.

Kezia lost a lot of Unionist votes which cost her the role as the head of the official opposition, who would have ever thought that the Scottish Tories who spent about circa 35 years in the wilderness would become the official opposition.

Hats off to the Scottish Tories, they played a blinder, they played the pro UK card, and picked up enough votes to get a second list MSP in Glasgow.

David Martin’s statement of the UK “could cease to exist” after Brexit is nonsense, the thing about the Union is that in time of need, the Union evolves, there is always scope for that, the push by some towards federalism isn’t coming anytime soon but there is a certain interest by some people.

On federalism, I see no appetite in Scotland for this, there isn’t even a discussion on the political agenda or by the public, at present, it is a ‘what if’. Kezia Dugdale is backing federalism but she is effectively having a conversation with herself, as she seeks to rebuild Scottish Labour’s fortunes.

So far, the ideas coming out by Scottish Labour aren’t capturing the imagination, they are in part still living in denial; they think people will end up hating the SNP and then come back to them, but they should remember people have long memories which the Tories know all too well.

The Tories were in the wilderness for circa 35 years, is Scottish Labour willing to wait that long under Kezia?

How many chances and long will Scottish Labour give Kezia Dugdale?

One thing that Kezia Dugdale needs to do immediately is not send out mixed messages, you can’t be sympathetic and unsympathetic; David Martin is leaving the European Parliament, all energies needs to focus ensuring a good deal for Brexit, this is all about national unity in time of crisis.

It is a time to forget party politics.

Scottish Labour needs to find a narrative, and that narrative cannot about just complaining about SNP mistakes, if Kezia Dugdale also cannot rebuild the Scottish Labour Party, then she better get used to not being the leader of the opposition in Holyrood.

Finally, in the days of old, people like Nye Bevan produced the greatest of the Labour Party’s policies which became the NHS, it is now time that Scottish Labour realised that they need policies of such vision, they have used up the goodwill associated with the Labour brand, now they personally will have to produce.

No one will be settling for crumbs anymore.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University