Friday, August 23, 2019

Declaration of Cineworld 2, B Movie Actor Alan Cumming blunders back in Scottish politics to support SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s sham indyref2 bid, ham actor delivers a less than convincing speech as he says Scots were ‘duped’ in 2014, he also thinks a bad Brexit has a ‘positive’ if there are food and medical shortages, I think a dwarf throwing act would have more appeal than his shaky political commentary

Dear All

One thing of the things which dominated the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 was serial lying by the Scottish National Party and their cohorts. Hardly a day went by when the lies weren’t attempted to be fostered on the Scottish population. The other aspect of the 2014 referendum was the emergence of hatred which the SNP had stoked up at their party conferences. Anti Englishness was disguised as ‘Westminster’ is the problem. This has now publicly emerged to now take the form of cheap banners for the rent a mob Nats. Banners proclaiming ‘England get out of Scotland’ which is a replica of the Sinn Fein banner ‘word for word’ banner except instead of Scotland, they used Ireland.

Lying and hatred was all the SNP had to argue for independence since they chosen the grim reality of what independence meant. For the people, it was to be austerity beyond belief, it was to see living standards fall, it was a sham.

Those who chose to campaign for Scottish independence where also peddling another lie, that they were campaigning for independence when in fact they were doing no such thing.  The SNP wanted to end the union to give up power and sovereignty to a foreign political organization called the EU. In this new arrangement, a Scottish voice would be smaller, and critically have no power, Scotland like many smaller countries would be asset stripped of our resources like Greece. Budgets for Scotland would need to be approved by the EU as Scottish politicians would be mere puppets.

In 2012, at the launch of the Scottish independence campaign at Cineworld in Edinburgh, a motley crew assembled which I dubbed, the Declaration of Cineworld. This was a post which the SNP didn’t like as I compared the motley group to the fictional army concert party in the BBC, it ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’

The SNP hated this post so much that the leadership decided to remove me as a member under the pretext that it was homophobic. One thing about me which is well known is that I tell the truth. If I was homophobic, I wouldn’t have a problem putting it in writing and no problem telling it straight to someone’s face. It was a great post mocking ‘the gathering’, which I ended up finishing my post by writing:

“Let’s hope that the ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’ concert party don’t get taken on the road otherwise some people won’t even get a nickel for their mother!”

Seven year later, this post remain on my blog, it is a post I am proud to have written. Of the three people in the picture, Alex Salmond has gone on to be charged with multiple sexual offences; Patrick Harvie is still talking shite, and actor Alan Cumming. Alan Cumming is a B actor.

Moving on from 2012, Alan Cumming is back to Scotland to tell Scots about independence, remarkable in that he cleared out of this country a long time ago. He said he hopes that Brexit will expedite Scottish independence, it won’t, and neither will his intervention. In his delivery of doom and gloom, he cites a leaked Whitehall dossier laying out the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit could lead to a hastened break-up of the union. This document hailed by the Nats as some sort of evidence is opinion, not fact, which is easily explained to anyone who can read English.

But will Alan Cumming, Patrick Harvie and Alex Salmond be putting the band back together? Hardly anytime soon, Salmond is an outcast from the SNP, and 2020, he plays centre stage in his court case. No doubt covered by RT, the Russian Channel.

Cumming said:

"In my crystal ball, which is tinged with my political leanings, I would hope that Brexit and if the effects of Brexit and that leaked memo the other day with the medical supply issue, food shortages high prices and even civil unrest all being the potential outcome will hopefully further and quicken Scottish independence because that for me would be the only positive thing to come out of this debacle."

It won’t, and you don’t need a crystal ball to know that I see a plane ride in Alan Cumming future back to his home in New York. There wouldn’t be high prices; there won’t be food shortages; no medical shortages because we aren’t living in the dark ages. We live in a modern integrated world where money talks, and when it does politicians do well to listen. As a B actor, no doubt Alan Cumming will be welcomed back into the new C list production of Scottish Independence 2, ‘the tampax affair’ starring Nicola Sturgeon. So, what role other than a plank could Alan Cumming play in this upcoming production?  The options could be:

Comic relief

Joke teller

Replacement for Sean Connery

Or he could do a handstand!

So, what advice could I possibly give a B actor like Alan Cumming who wants to dabble in serious politics?

This is the perfect clip with advice.

Finally, although seven years have passed since the Alan Cumming trod the boards at the Declaration of Cineworld, my advice still stands, if the SNP chose to do Declaration of Cineworld 2, ‘if people didn’t enjoy the concert party, then at least they were well positioned to go see the Avengers Movie, grab a drink and a hotdog’. Given the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon talks so much hot air, perhaps Alan Cumming can have a role, as her personal Punkah wallah.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

University of Fail, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s day job report card comes out, Scottish deficit record is six times bigger than UK's last year, £12.6 billion deficit shows SNP Government incapable of generating wealth in Scotland, official figures show Scotland is running a 7% deficit, the highest in Europe, independence means brutal savage cuts to government and council services

Dear All

If you listen Ad nauseam to what comes out of the mouths of the SNP, you will hear one thing over and over again, ‘Scotland is a rich country’. 

In the minds of the SNP, the streets are littered with gold, the sea full of oil, below it and fish; we have more wood to house the entire world. We are the country which could be Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, and everything is rosy in the garden. That isn’t the real picture, we are the highest taxed part of the UK, we have an inept and incompetent government failing to deliver services, our councils are short of money and the First Minister appears to be looking for a new high paid job.

The SNP bubble of nirvana has well and truly burst, but those who watch politics already know this, for some time, we have heard the air escaping. Scotland’s deficit was more than six times as big as the UK’s last year. The deficit was 7% of GDP compared to the UK’s which is running at 1.1%. This is a new record for Nicola Sturgeon who is so rotten at the ‘day job’ that she keeps running off to Book Festivals and everywhere else she can get away too. So, why so bad, part of the reason is ‘plank’, plank as in Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, the heir to Sturgeon in waiting. As well as not being able to run the country, the SNP needed cross-border transfers of cash, public spending per head in Scotland was a record £1661, or 13.6%, higher than in the UK as a whole last year.

The failed tax policies of the SNP have also caused a problem, tax revenues per head in Scotland were £307 less than in the UK; this makes the combined “fiscal gap” £1968 to Scotland's advantage. Nicola Sturgeon’s needs bigger financial bailouts than Alex Salmond ever did. So; ‘where is this rich country called Scotland that is dripping in wealth’, the official figures show it doesn’t exist. It seems the wealth of Scotland is being enjoyed alright, but by the SNP who live and travel in luxury.

Long gone are those happy days, where the deficit was a mere £9 billion, we are loaded down with a deficit of £12.6bn in 2018/19.  Derek Mackay in trying to highlight some deflection highlighted a £3bn growth in onshore revenues to a record £61.3bn which he credited to a strong economy. In fact the economy in Scotland is so strong we can’t pay our way. This is the reality of the SNP’s dream, it’s a nightmare designed by them to go from Westminster helping us, to the EU bailing us out while at the same time plundering our assets.

Given the news is so bad, Nicola Sturgeon decided to pass the buck to Derek Mackay to announce the bad news, she decided to skip town and go to hide out in Shetland at the by-election. It seems that Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister doesn’t like to be associated with bad news. Sturgeon likes to keep her delusion going that present herself as super smart and all knowing and all seeing. But the truth is she is an over the hill failed politician who has gone by her sell by date. When Salmond stepped down, she should have gone with him, but she hung around for the FM spot.

Mr Mackay stressed GERS reflects the nation's finances under the current constitutional settlement and boosted the case for Scotland to be in control of its own economy.
For the first time, the GERS report suggested Scotland would ordinarily have a far greater gap between income and expenditure than the UK's.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:

"Today’s GERS figures show clearly how Scotland benefits from being part of a strong UK with every man, woman and child in Scotland receiving a ‘Union dividend’ of nearly £2,000 a year. These Scottish Government figures also show there would be a £12.6bn black hole at the centre of an independent Scotland’s finances. Real questions need to be asked about the First Minister’s stewardship of the country’s economy. With Scotland’s deficit now more than six times greater than the UK average, the Scottish Government needs to take action. Scotland remains the highest taxed part of the UK. This is harming our economy and should be a huge concern to us all”.

Jack added:

“The UK Government is investing in Scotland to deliver jobs, opportunities and sustainable growth, including £1.4 billion for city and growth deals. We are working hard to support businesses and bring further opportunities as we leave the EU on 31 October.” 

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said:

"These figures reveal an enormous gap between what Scotland spends and what it raises in tax. We can have much higher spending in Scotland on public services thanks only to fiscal transfers from the rest of the UK. These figures make it clear - had we followed Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s advice in 2014 and backed independence - Scotland would now be facing up to an unprecedented financial black hole.”

What we should remember is that to solve the black hole means even steeper cuts right across the board, in services provided by the government and services provide by councils and also by NGOs. The SNP independence Scotland would be the fleshed out Skintland previously plastered on a magazine which drew so much SNP anger. The SNP aren’t a party of government, their record stinks, they are a party of protest who lack vision and plan.

Murdo added:

"Thanks to this union dividend, we continue to dodge the SNP bullet. What is remarkable is that, despite today’s clear evidence of the cost of independence, Nicola Sturgeon is still demanding we re-run the independence referendum as early as next year. Not only is she unable to spell out how she’d close the gap between spending and tax revenue, she can’t even tell us which currency we would use.These figures show once again that the SNP’s independence obsession isn’t standing up for Scotland – it would wreck Scotland. It’s time to take indyref2 off the table, and back a Scottish Conservative plan to get back to the things that matter - growing our economy, delivering high-quality public services, and keeping the UK together."

Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson tweeted:

“Official figures show Scotland is running a 7% deficit - the highest in Europe. The next highest are
Cyprus - 4.8%
Romania - 3%
France - 2.5%

And the overall UK's deficit has been brought down to 1.1%

For the SNP to pretend a 7% deficit is not an issue is criminally negligent”.

Recently the SNP nationalized the Ferguson shipyard, the person standing outside was again Derek Mackay, if I was a betting man, I would say that once the two Ferries are completed, the future of that yard is over. Normally, you see Nicola Sturgeon swooping in for the ‘selfie’ as ‘heroine’ but in this case she didn’t. Was it because the yard is being propped up just for the short term? Sturgeon bought a white elephant, previous she bought Prestwick Airport and that is another enterprise which isn’t doing well. The SNP aren’t a party of government nor are they a party of business.

Finally, the SNP run with a message that decisions about Scotland are best made by people in Scotland, well given we have record deficit running at £12.6 billion, should remember that the location of where decisions are made is meaningless; it is the quality of the mind making them that is important. Nicola Sturgeon may be hiding in Shetland going round peddling her candidate but the reality is she is a bad leader. As a bad leader, Sturgeon is unable to appoint talented Ministers because the SNP is setup to appoint flawed individuals incapable of seeing the bigger picture.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, August 19, 2019

Déjà vu in Europe; Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use first foreign trip to present Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron with Brexit ultimatum, if history repeats itself, then Boris will get the same reception as David Cameron got, non, nein, nada to everything, hard Brexit is our way out of the European mess

Dear All

Think back to David Cameron as Prime Minister, he goes to Brussels to attempt to get 5 concessions which he hoped would make the British people vote to stay in the EU. Do you remember this, it was significant. The EU said no to everything, which made the former PM then attempt to move the goalposts to something else. The new goalposts also got knocked back which proved the whole EU adventure was to be a disaster. The EU had it in mind to punish the UK as much as possible and publicly humiliated it. The reason is simple, punish the UK and put fear into other member states that they will get likewise if they decide to leave. 

The EU miscalculated the mood of the British people which as we know resulted in a vote to leave.

Boris Johnson as the new PM faces a hard task to leave the EU, external enemies abroad, political enemies at home, and even within his own party. The EU referendum did flag up one significant thing, the myth of representation. How many years have you voted for a party under the banner that you believe that they represented you and you believed that when they gave their word it has weight? Now, we find out that far from representing the people, there are some people in British politics who align with foreign powers over the people.

Boris Johnson will this week undertake his first foreign trip as Prime Minister to deliver an ultimatum to Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron: scrap the Irish backstop or see Britain leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

If David Cameron failed, then the odds of success by Boris Johnson remain highly dubious, since the 2016 vote, the EU kindest hasn’t changed, it has hardened; no deal but their deal is their mantra. I have always thought that hard Brexit is the only viable option that makes sense, why waste time trying to changed closed minds. 

The clock is ticking towards the 31st October; that is the date we are supposed to leave, we should prepare for WTO rules and get on with it. Boris Johnson, if he fudges this will become a man with few allies, Brexiteers will not understand, and the only winner politically will be the Brexit Party. The Brexit Party maybe selecting Westminster candidates, but if there is a no deal Brexit, they lose a lot of their political meaning. Whether they then fold as a party is a matter for Nigel Farage, however, I suspect that they will end up hanging around at least until after the 2022 General Election for Westminster.

Boris is off to the G7 summit, a gathering of world leaders, but the man he is keen to talk to is Donald Trump, the US President, see him is a priority, interestingly he is seeing Merkel in Berlin before meeting French President Macron in the capital of France, Paris, the French much like the Germans are unwilling to compromise. No 10 expects there would be "very little discussion" of Brexit during the two foreign visits but other topics would be discussed.

Everyone knows where everyone stands.

The German Government apparently now accepts that there is a “high probability” the UK will leave the EU without a deal and that it is fully prepared for such a scenario. They might say it, but I don’t believe it, and you add into the mix a possible German recession, you will see a bit of internal German problems pop up. Germans aren’t going to like having to pay more into the EU especially when they are suffering. Such a scenario is only going to fuel the right with parties like AfD set to gain support. Merkel is on her way out, she is running down the clock until she leaves after her term, but she leaves office having made Europe weak, divided and with considerable social issues.

For now, both sides, the UK and the EU27, are digging in, who will blink first, well Boris can’t. The money tap is about to be turned off from the UK. When that happen Whitehall insiders believe that Brussels will blink when it realises that MPs will be unable to stop a no-deal Brexit. After the recess for the annual party conferences there will be less than four weeks to go before Brexit Day. Although Harold Wilson as former Labour PM said a week is a long time in politics, the 4 weeks to Brexit Day will pass quickly. There may be some drama prior to the date with a no confidence vote in the Government but that is expected to fail.

The numbers don’t stack up in favour of the Jeremy Corbyn plan, or indeed any remainer plan.

If the EU does blink, the key date is 17th October, at a European Council meeting, last change before the end. I think we could see them budge but attempt to use that as a time mechanism to give the impression of talks. This would be the tactic to encourage rebel MPs to mount another challenge against the UK Government as an attempt to wear the British people down. Boris Johnson must calculate whether any extension is worth the trouble, because extension doesn’t necessarily mean progress, there is no point in going on with a running extension, it only benefits the EU.

Finally, 31st October is Hallowe’en, a time where some people end up getting a fright, Boris Johnson needs to decide where he is going out with a ‘trick or treat’ scenario. If he is seen not to deliver a treat with hard Brexit, then the trick may be how he can stop a general election. The People Vs Politicians may throw up some unexpected surprises, and The Brexit Party at least down south may be in a place to be a power broker with seats, but they need an emotional vote by the British people to get those seats needed. The next Westminster election could be quite an angry affair.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Very Un-British Coup; The Labour Party plan to oust Boris Johnson by a no-confidence motion gains support from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, she says she is prepared to make Jeremy Corbyn PM, the SNP want a general election because the Scottish Labour Party is weak, the SNP has used this tactic before, they want to wipe out Labour in Scotland before any possible second independence referendum

Dear All

If the UK doesn’t leave the EU on the 31st of October 2019, you will know one thing, democracy is dead and the illusion that it exists has been shattered forever. The people of the UK voted to leave the EU, they won the vote fair and square. The political class transferred sovereign to the British people and said they would abide by the decision. When sovereignty was transferred back to Parliament to implement the will of the people, certain MPs decided to betray us.

This begs the question, who do MPs exactly represent?

Brexit has raised the most serious questions about our democracy, in fact a key question is why you should be loyal to a party if the party isn’t loyal to you? The Labour Party promised under Jeremy Corbyn to deliver Brexit and respect the vote. Now the Labour Party has a problem, in a way this problem is more dangerous to them than the Westminster expenses scandal. In Scotland, if there is an election, the Scottish Labour Party stands to be effectively wiped out again according to polls. Can you imagine a Scotland where there are no Labour MPs at Westminster? It is a hard concept to given the history of the party but increasingly this scenario isn’t that far-fetched.

Toss into the mix that The Labour Party has effectively thrown the Scottish operation under the bus recently in favour of the SNP, and you get a sense of a party that has lost direction to head into the wrong direction. If you could say anything about the current state of Scottish Labour is that it needs reform and revival from the grassroots right up to the very top to combat the threat posed by the SNP. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s strategy appears to want to seize power at any cost, and that includes making a deal with the Devil.

Although the SNP has previously said under Nicola Sturgeon that they would put Labour in power under the Ed Miliband tenure as leader, we all saw how that turned out. They didn’t, but what they did was to make Scottish Labour seem unviable as a party to vote for. 2015 is the proof of the pudding, so when Nicola Sturgeon says she is prepared to make Jeremy Corbyn PM to avoid no-deal Brexit, what she is trying is the same trick on the public which the SNP used before. When Miliabnd sat on the fence, before eventually climbing off, he managed in part to wipe out the Labour Party in Scotland as an electoral force. Ed Miliband was lacking in leadership in so many ways.

The SNP won 56 MPs, the biggest bunch of chancers to enter Westminster 2015.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal to other parties to oust Boris Johnson and form a temporary caretaker government is a highly dubious maneuver which naturally has attracted the support of Nicola Sturgeon. Previously the SNP were doing badly, but the collapse of the Scottish Labour Party in the EU election has given them a boost. Not by getting more voters but by others not generating enough votes. Recent polls put the SNP on course for big gains, which is entirely due to the weakness of other parties mainly Scottish Labour. Recently Kezia Dugdale who left as an MSP said the maths didn’t work out for Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM.

The fly in the ointment for the Labour Party could be the effect of the Brexit Party in places such as the North of England and other strong Brexit supporting areas. However all isn’t sunny and rosy in the garden for them, they need a raft of policies and need a network of people in constituencies something they lack. Given Westminster is fought in a First Past The Post manner, a different type of campaigning is needed, more local, more focused, which means more bodies on the ground. There is no history of ‘long campaigns’ by the Brexit Party, and to try and build a network while at the same time running a six week short campaign is problematic.

When the buzzer is officially sounded, there are 42 days to make your pitch to the voters, and if you lack bodies, you will be working night and day trying to get the max impact with whatever resources you can cobble together. Add to it if you don’t have local knowledge, you are at a real disadvantage, you see as in all things, you need a plan.

I don’t see a Boris Johnson coup or the formation of a temporary caretaker government because, it would a mistake. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn needs to face off against Boris Johnson in a general election, no other option will be seen as honourable by the public. If this scenario played out, if Corbyn was temp PM, he would have to step down for the PM in a general election. You don’t stab Caesar in the back and then be forgiven by the public, didn’t work during the Roman Empire, and won’t work today.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s plan, he would table a no-confidence motion in the current government as soon as the numbers were there to pass it. He would then lead a “strictly time-limited” administration to extend the deadline for Brexit and call a general election. You might think on paper this looks good, but they forget the 17.4 million who will be an angry mob. Imagine trying to sell a story that explains all this to an unhappy Brexit voter. Do you talk about democracy, do you talk about how you are representing them, do you just ignore the entire issue?

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is an opportunist, she knows that with Scottish Labour weak, divided and involved with in-fighting, this represents the best chance for her lame duck SNP MPs to hold onto their meal tickets.        

Scottish Conservative Jackson Carlaw said Mr Corbyn had been more than amiable to "surrendered on a second independence referendum" to the Nationalists.

He added:

"Both he and [shadow chancellor] John McDonnell are preparing to hand Nicola Sturgeon the referendum she wants in exchange for SNP support for a Labour government. Scottish Labour has been left dangling in the breeze – they are utterly irrelevant even to their own party. It’s clear who’s in charge of Scottish Labour and it’s not Richard Leonard. It’s a complete betrayal of thousands of Labour voters in Scotland who support the Union. It shows once and for all that Corbyn cannot be trusted to defend Scotland’s decision to remain in the UK."

Finally, history teaches us many lessons on the subject of betrayal, and for some people, what seems as a good idea at the time can have consequences.

When people decided to do in Julius Caesar, there was an aftermath; the result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. I really do wonder if Jeremy Corbyn has thought this idea out; really chew this down to the bone? This tactic has disaster written all over it, we need unity now because the decision to leave the EU has been made. In times like this, party interest must be set aside for national interest. Jeremy Corbyn has two choices; go down in history as a statesman or as a plotter. Plotter may seem so much fun, but it is temporary fun, and leaves a bitter after taste. Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for a general election must be clean; no other scenario can be logically played out resulting in success.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Where’s the Action, Where’s the Public Health Minister; SNP Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick’s Emergency Drugs Death Taskforce has still not met four months after SNP Government set it up, yet again senior SNP figure at the centre of failing the Scottish people over health issues, why is it that SNP Taskforces always seem to fail to deliver?

Dear All

One thing the SNP excel in is promising action then failing to deliver it, for them getting the sound bite out as intent to be doing something actually trumps action. The SNP Government under Nicola Sturgeon is a sham, incompetent, unable to do their job and lazy. When Scotland learned we are the drug death capital of Europe, the SNP promised action, an emergency taskforce to address our drug deaths crisis. In this regard, it is the only real claim to fame that Nicola Sturgeon has a ‘world leader’.

But so far, the emergency taskforce to address our drug deaths crisis has never met, not even once, which begs the question, does the SNP understand the term ‘emergency’? Just like we have a duff health minister in the shape of Jeane Freeman, we also have a public health minister Joe FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick is part of the SNP Dundee operation which was seen as the SNP powerhouse under the Hosie Dynasty.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick promised that an expert group would quickly be assembled to address the issues but unlike the Avengers, this expert group couldn’t assemble.

Did they need instructions from Ikea?

So far, than the chair, Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University, there is a distinct lack of members been announced, which begs the question, other than Matheson is there anyone else in the emergency taskforce? At the time of her appointment Fitzpatrick said:

“I am very pleased that Professor Catriona Matheson has agreed to head up this taskforce. She has a great deal of experience in this area, both through her role as Trustee of the Society for the Study of Addiction and as Convenor of the Drugs Research Network Scotland.
“What Scotland faces in terms of drugs deaths is an emergency. Every one of those deaths is a tragedy and tackling this issue is a public health priority. I want to ensure that the work of the taskforce is driven by a strong evidence base and it is my desire to ensure that the voices of those with lived experience of using drugs, and their families, are heard. I will give consideration to any proposals that may help to tackle this issue.”

It seems that action doesn’t match Fitzpatrick’s words.

Professor Catriona Matheson said when joining:

“I am honoured to accept this responsibility to deliver real change through a strengthened public health approach. I am keen to examine the evidence, and work across the landscape, involving those with lived experience of drug use and their families.  We need to be bold in our thinking and our actions to reverse the trend, recognising that behind the statistics is personal tragedy.”

So, everyone has congratulated themselves but where’s the action, where’s the team and more importantly where is the recommendations?

Could it be that there is none?

Think about it, the worst drugs death crisis ever in Scotland and no action.

Scottish Labour’s shadow health spokeswoman Monica lennon said:

“Joe FitzPatrick announced the ministerial drug death taskforce in the Daily Record in March – we’re now in August and its membership still hasn’t been finalised and it still hasn’t met. This isn’t good enough. We’re more than half-way through 2019 and our national response to the drugs death crisis is inadequate. Scottish Labour is continuing to press the Scottish Government to take urgent action and I have lodged a parliamentary motion calling on the government to legally designate a public health emergency.”

So far no public health emergency has been announced, and when you think about the people who are dying, it isn’t like they matter to the SNP, mostly junkies don’t vote.

FitzPatrick has announced that a drugs summit will be held in Glasgow to address the crisis which is handy because it provides Nicola Sturgeon with a photo op if the SNP can cobble together someone’s plan of action with their stamp on it. And with Nicola Sturgeon doing a drive to be popular and caring at present, perhaps she could pop in like Santa Klaus.  

A SNP Government spokesman said:

“The taskforce remains on track. Since the announcement of Professor Matheson as chair, terms of reference have been published and the public health minister has written to potential members inviting them to confirm their interest. Details of the full membership and next steps will be announced shortly and the taskforce is expected to hold its first meeting in September.”

What we need is an expert group on £300 a day?

Finally, Monica Lennon apparently offered to join the expert group but her offer was refused by Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick, clearly Ms Lennon hasn’t grasp the SNP’s addiction to ‘it’s my ball’.  It seems that party politics takes priority over a public health emergency. Fitzpatrick studied Forestry at Inverness College and worked for the Forestry Commission in Angus and Tillhill Forestry in Argyle which doesn’t really equip him for anything in the role of public health minister.  But I am sure he can say, ‘it’s Westminster’s fault’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fed Up with Nicola, Wings over Scotland blogger Stuart Campbell attacks SNP and Greens in Yes movement split, could the formation of a new indy party siphon off SNP list seats, Nicola Sturgeon is finding people don’t believe in her anymore, Sturgeon is an indy anchor, on a lighter note anyone imagine Campbell holding the balance of power in Holyrood?

Dear All

This is Sparta!!!!!

If you remember the Gerald Butler movie, 300, you will remember the line, the line is used as a call for slaughter to the enemies at their gates. It is a rich line which is steeped in madness, much like Japanese Samurai movies where people are very nice and formal and then two minutes later calling people bastards and wanting to cut their heads off.

If you follow the Scottish politics scene, you will recognize that the Yes Movement and the SNP are splitting apart. This is due to the SNP wanting to control everything and that includes the message. There are of course offshoots like the AUOB and the Scottish Resistance but their influence is limited. Over the weekend, the Wings over Scotland blogger has floated an indea to start a new independence party.


The reason is simple, the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon are seen as a liability to the wider Yes Movement. Could a Wings Party attract voters, probably, enough to win seats even on the list is doubtful. The problem is time, and the fact the SNP has to some extent sown up the market. If you look at the Scottish Greens, they need list seats at Holyrood to be relevant. One thing emerged during the 2014 campaign was that the Scottish Greens under Patrick Harvie were certainly second fiddle for Salmond and Sturgeon’s indy run.

Despite there being a coalition of the damned SNP, SSP and Scottish Green along with a few phoney groups saying they were Conservatives and Labour, the result was a foregone conclusion. The reason for failure was lying by the Yes Campaign, lying and not telling the truth in the hope that this would get them over the line.

Wings over Scotland blogger Stuart Campbell has attacked the SNP for putting stopping Brexit ahead of leaving the Union. The reality is that Nicola Sturgeon wants Brexit stopped to try and circumvent EU membership application rules, it is a failed and badly designed plan because under EU rules, members must be allowed to veto a new country if they so wish. The Sturgeon plan is a convoluted back door attempt to sneak in under the UK membership if she ever got an indyref win.

It is a sign of the estrangement post 2104 defeat which has grown, and now public, Campbell said he and other Nationalists were “uncomfortable” with the SNP. If you look at the donations situation in the SNP, it is drying up, business doesn’t want to fund them.

The SNP record in government is poor, example new hospital in Edinburgh might not open for another two years; incompetence is rife in Sturgeon’s Cabinet. One flaw in the Wings plan is his aim, win seats from Unionist parties in order to increase the chances of a pro-independence majority in Holyrood. Given the SNP and Labour fish in the same voter pool, this pool would be quite crowded, so you have to wonder. Wonder if the reason is to squeeze out the Scottish Greens?

To me this is the only scenario that makes sense.

But would floating Greenies a give Wings Party a vote coupled with foaming cybernats?

The only reason for Wings MSPs on the list is to nudge Sturgeon along into taking a stronger line on Indyref2. This story is getting a lot of coverage, but if you think back to the SSP/ Rise experience, someone called Cat Boyd got a lot of publicity by the press, extraordinary when you consider the end result.

She got humped senseless at the ballot box.

Campbell said:

“I don't think it's a great secret that I, and a lot of other people, are rather uncomfortable with the direction that the SNP is moving in at the moment. It seems to have become a stopping Brexit party, rather than a gaining independence party. That's something they haven't got a mandate for and it's something that if they were to achieve it, it would nullify the mandate that they do have from the 2016 election to have a second independence referendum. However, if they do hold a referendum before 2021, then categorically the Wings party will not happen, that's the whole point."

Campbell best get his application for a new party into the Electoral Commission asap, no indyref this side of the current Holyrood Parliament!

Campbell, who votes Liberal Democrat in his adopted home of Bath, also attacked the other pro-independence party at Holyrood, the Scottish Greens, as being “far left”, I think far left isn’t quite there, the Scottish Greens are like a Student Union debate society trying to impose their middle class world view through an LGBT lens. In response the Greens accused him of being “too conservative for radicalism” and said his party would be “tepid single-issue” one.

The Scottish Greens have at least three, tree hugging, indy and LGBT issues, tree hugging also includes wind and wave power etc etc. Can Wings break into the political market, having been accused by critics as being a troll who whips up ill-will towards Unionists online? You can break in, but that doesn’t mean you get something worth taking, like a seat. His colourful language and liberal use of profanities accompanied by caustic humour may find a market with working class people but only from his own side. He needs floating voters and those who generally don’t vote to make an impact.

Finally, although Campbell has a following, how many of his followers are SNP and are willing to switch to his Wings Party in areas which he thinks he can get someone elected? I suspect that far from welcoming Campbell’s idea, the SNP will set the attack dogs on him, and try to freeze him out. I doubt that Nicola Sturgeon will not be inviting him to tea at Bute House any time soon.

Anyone up for shouting , ‘this is Sparta’ on the campaign trail? 

Anyone imagine Campbell holding the balance of power in Holyrood? 

Anyone betting null points for an MSP list seat at the Bookies for Wings? 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, August 9, 2019

More Fuel for the Scottish Labour Fire; Scottish Labour Party is in fresh turmoil as general secretary Brian Roy dramatically quits, tipped to replaced him in the top job is Tommy Kane who is Jeremy Corbyn's political adviser on Scotland, does Tommy Kane know the ‘Corbyn revolution’ needs to be put on hold if he becomes Gen Sec in order to fix the party as a campaigning vehicle?

Dear All

They say there is never a dull moment in politics, and after John McDonnell’s brick in the puddle sent ripples in Scottish Labour, a side effect is the resignation of Brian Roy as the party’s general secretary. Roy has a Labour pedigree being the son of former MP Frank Roy, and had been in post for five years as the party’s most senior official. Brian Roy was appointed general secretary by the then Scottish leader Jim Murphy; he was regarded as a safe pair of hands.

However the last few days have been a testing time for the party as shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a UK Labour government would not block Indyref2. McDonnell clears knows nothing about the political landscape of Scotland, the players and what is going on at ground level. He probably doesn’t even grasp what the major problems that face Scottish Labour which need to be addressed.

And haven’t.

What John McDonnell did was completely undermined the entire Scottish Labour Party and their credibility. McDonnell’s foolhardy statement flatly contradicted the position of Scottish labour leader Richard Leonard, who said in March that a Labour government would block Indyref2.

This intervention was a ‘Ratner’s’ moment for Scottish Labour, McDonnell effectively said the Scottish Party didn’t really count because they could do a deal with the SNP. The party was undermined, the prospective MP candidates were undermined and the entire Labour Group at Holyrood including the leader were effectively shredded. 

You remember what the Ratner’s moment was?

In real terms, what McDonnell did was far worse than Kezia Dugdale’s ‘I could vote for independence’ gaffe.

Brian Roy being caught in the middle of the chaos probably thought to himself, enough is enough, with bad polling, now this nonsense and the lack of direction of the party, he probably felt swamped. Sometimes, you need to step away from something, just to keep your sanity intact. When you are working hard and others are working against you, you see all your work failing to bear fruit, its rather soul destroying.

A source said staff at Scottish Labour HQ in Glasgow learned of the development this morning.

They said:

“It’s not a complete surprise. There had been speculation that the Scottish leadership wanted him out. But there is still a degree of upset. I think it has blindsided a lot of people. My understanding is that there will be a statement later today.”

What probably caught many people on the hop is that Brian Roy is understood to be a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

So who is next in line for Scottish General Secretary, one person said to be tipped is Tommy Kane. Tommy Kane is Jeremy Corbyn's political adviser on Scotland. If you want to get a sense of him here are a couple of links.

And here is an interesting Daily Mail story.

A Labour source said of Tommy Kane’s musings:

‘The idea that MI5 needs to spend time undermining Corbyn when he is doing such a good job of it by himself is frankly laughable.’

Having a sense of humour is okay, ‘reds under the bed’ or ‘MI5 in the closet’ isn’t. One interesting fact which I picked up is that Tommy Kane had worked for Neil Findlay’s office which also worked part-time as Jeremy Corbyn’s advisor on Scotland.  If Kane gets the job, he will have to put the Corbyn Revolution on hold because the Scottish Labour Party is in pieces. And making Scottish Labour Party function better as a campaigning vehicle should be the first priority.

Pity Brian Roy left, he wasn’t a bad general secretary from what I could tell, but like everything in life, there is a shelf life, Brian Roy decided he had reach his in this job.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Heli flying in mountains - A George Laird Production

Major Error of Judgement; Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell plunges Scottish Labour into turmoil as independence row heats up, undermined the Scottish leader, undermined 59 prospective Labour Party Westminster candidates, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson commented, “Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would happily sell Scotland down the river if they thought it could give them a sniff of power.”

Dear All

When you make a mistake, you can either do two things recognise it; or double down and keep making it. After SNP leader using the Edinburgh Fringe for a sympathy vote, along comes Labour MP John McDonnell not understanding Scottish politics. In what must be seen as a betrayal of the Scottish Party and its leader Richard Leonard. We have McDonnell saying that a Labour government should not block another futile Scottish independence referendum.

So, why is McDonnell willing to stab the Scottish Party in the back?

Well if you look at polling over sometime, the Scottish Labour Party has done badly, in one poll; it said that the SNP would win 49 seats if there was a general election for Westminster. Given the likelihood of a hung UK parliament, it seems that in power politics, the Scottish Labour Party wouldn’t count in the arithmetic of a Labour minority UK government with a possible deal with the SNP. Scottish Labour sits on 11% for Westminster voting intentions which is incredibly poor for a party once thee dominant force in Scotland.
Scottish Labour has been thrown under the bus as John McDonnell tried to justify the decision which he says UK leader Jeremy Corbyn agrees with by a yarn about democracy.

He said:

"What I said yesterday, that was not picked up, is actually what I want is a Labour Government, and let us demonstrate as a Labour Government what we can do to transform people's lives. And if, after a few years, people want to come back and say they want to test the water on an independence referendum then fair enough, that's up to the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament. I'm not here to block a democratic exercise by any means."

McDonnell added:

"For me, the priority is a Labour Government. If the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people determine that they want another referendum, I'm not being set up by Nicola Sturgeon because that's what she's trying to do. She's trying to say it's the big bad English yet again trying to prevent us holding a referendum. No we're not. What we're saying is it's unnecessary. We will campaign against having a referendum, but we are not using parliamentary devices to block it — it's as simple as that."

The key part of his diatribe you should pick up on is, "For me, the priority is a Labour Government”.

Which if that is a minority government propped up by the SNP, the Scottish situation is firmly a distance second. This stance flatly contradicts Scottish Labour's pledge not to grant Holyrood the power to hold another referendum, and will be seen as another reason why the Scottish Party should split from the main UK party. It seems that the Labour Party likes the idea of Federalism, but in the meantime this is humiliation for Scottish leader Richard Leonard.

What Labour Party supporting Unionists members and voters will think of McDonnell’s unwanted and unhelpful statements is anyone’s guess but to hazard a guess, I would say not very happy. I would also draw your attention to the Kezia Dugdale statement where she said she could support independence under certain circumstances, this lead to a flood of Labour voters casting their votes for the Conservatives. Is history about to repeat itself at Holyrood or Westminster which ever comes first?

Leonard met with McDonnell yesterday and said he “made clear to him that a second independence referendum is unwanted by the people of Scotland and it is unnecessary”.  

He added:

“The 2014 referendum was a once in a generation vote. There is no economic case for independence, especially with the SNP’s new position of ditching the pound and new policy of turbo-charged austerity to bear down on the deficit.”

A dozen Scottish Labour general election candidates have now released a joint statement insisting they “oppose another independence referendum”. This would beg the obvious question of why it isn’t that 59 out of 59 Scottish Labour general election candidates signed the joint statement? I suppose to be charitable time pressure of getting a statement out for going to press could be the reason.

Martin Whitfield, Labour MP for East Lothian, said it was “deeply disappointing that John McDonnell has doubled down on his desire to ignore the party’s manifesto”. It is entirely possible that Mr. Whitefield according to polling could lose his seat, but does deeply disappointing really express the stupidity of the McDonnell intervention? Whitefield branded it “an insult to Richard Leonard and the entire Scottish Labour Party, which is working hard to win back the trust of voters and help elect a Labour Government at Westminster”. An issue for Scottish Labour is trust, Whitefield rightly indentified that bunny.

In March, Richard Leonard in an attempt to win back Labour voters who voted Conservative insisted a future Labour government would block a second referendum, even if the Scottish Parliament requested the Section 30 power to hold it.

Speaking at the Fringe event, Mr McDonnell claimed Mr Leonard "understands where I'm coming from".

I think many people understand exactly where Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is coming from, willing to sell out the Union under the guise of democracy. With things exceptional bad in Scotland for Labour, we shouldn’t forget the recent Brecon and Radnorshire by-election result.

The Labour Party polled a miserable 5.3% of a 59.7% turnout.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has since accused Labour of planning "a pact with the SNP in order to parachute Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10" despite John McDonnell saying he would not have a working arrangement with the SNP "because we're a socialist party; they are not".

He added:

"My own view - I think they're Tories, it's as simple as that, and I always have thought that."

Ruth Davidson added:

“The fact is this - Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would happily sell Scotland down the river if they thought it could give them a sniff of power."

Finally, what John McDonnell did wasn’t just to undermine the Scottish Labour Party and the leader Richard Leonard; he also undermined 59 prospective Labour Party Westminster candidates.  A remarkable achievement in such a short visit to Scotland and in such a short time frame! What would be seen as a more remarkable achievement would be if he became Chancellor of the Exchequer after the next Westminster election. McDonnell claimed Mr Leonard "understands where I'm coming from" but to give the George Laird view, it is important to let him know where he is going, not to 11 Downing Street anytime soon.

Yours Sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

No One Feels Your Pain Nicola, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon reveals 'pain and anguish' of Alex Salmond split, when your pal is charged with two attempted rapes, nine sexual assaults, two indecent assaults and a breach of the peace hard to be seen with him, Sturgeon uses interview at Edinburgh Fringe to attempt to drive up the sympathy vote for herself, her ‘Princess Di’ act really needed the Taj Mahal for dramatic effect

Dear All

It seems that something rotten is about to come out into the public domain because SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is looking for sympathy by the bucket load. 

In what must be one of the most bizarre interviews of late, Sturgeon has spoken of her “personal pain and anguish” at being separated from Alex Salmond. He faces trial after being charged with 14 offences. The breakdown to refresh your memory is two of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and a breach of the peace. Clearly Nicola has abandoned the SNP slogan,  'I am with Alex'.

Salmond denies all wrongdoing.

The trial is said to be penciled in for next year. In an interview with Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Fringe in front of an audience she missed Alex Salmond after the sudden change in their 30-year relationship. After Salmond stepped down after losing the Scottish independence referendum, he jumped ship at Holyrood to go to Westminster.

Obviously distance makes the heart grow fonder, which is why we saw the development of the Court of King Alex and the Court of Queen Sturgeon sniping at each other. All done out of love? Salmond’s mob was also attacking Sturgeon’s advisor Liz Lloyd, all done out of love? Angst is a terrible thing, you add in a 30-year relationship between Sturgeon and Salmond, plus a trial and it might affect you. After all didn’t they send each other xmas cards, held each other in embraces at conferences, Nicola playing the faithful Mutley to Salmond’s Dick Dastardly?

In light of the disastrous news of the new sick kids’ hospital in Edinburgh being considered as a right off, and that means a £150 Million down the drain, we should have all expected to see Nicola Sturgeon trot out all the usual  sympathy play card. In a throwback to Princess Diana, sitting at the Taj Mahal, Sturgeon attempted to pluck the heartstrings talking about her loneliness. Loneliness of leadership, this with a Cabinet full of dummies, an army of special advisors, a nasty vicious SNP Southside clique, LGBT Pride marches and running off to Europe and anywhere else at the drop off a hat to promote herself?

Aye right!

You can imagine however the loneliness of facing a special Holyrood committee currently investigating why Sturgeon continued to have meetings and phone calls with Salmond. Especially after he told her that two female civil servants had accused him of sexual misconduct.  Anyone with any integrity would have stopped all contact immediately they knew of those allegations.

But Nicola Sturgeon didn’t!

Why didn’t she?

Relating to her Boris 'problem', she said:

“Boris Johnson is a Prime Minister the vast majority of people in Scotland, had they been given any choice, would not have chosen to give the keys of Number 10 to. He’s a Prime Minister that is intent on taking us out of Europe against our will. He looks intent on taking us out without a deal, and the catastrophe that would bring about is well understood here. I wasn’t overly thrilled to be standing on the steps of Bute House welcoming Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. I will always be polite to visiting dignitaries, if I can call Boris Johnson a dignitary. But I abhor what Boris Johnson wants to do to the UK, and I certainly abhor what he wants to do to Scotland completely against our democratic wishes. So forgive me if I’m not going to be full of the joys when I’m meeting him. I never wanted to see Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.”

“I will always be polite to visiting dignitaries”.

Clearly the look on her face at the doorstep of Bute House didn’t pass that test or indeed the charm offensive test either.

In a dig at former PM Theresa May, she added:

“Having conversations with Theresa May was pretty soul-destroying. So talking to Boris, at least it was like having a conversation, albeit a bit of a crazy one. You could debate and share views and disagree on things. I’ll say that for him.”

May would stick to a prepared script which left little room for a Sturgeon 'run off at the mouth' session. Even Sturgeon’s ‘how to win friends and influence people’ strategy over Theresa May’s shoes came a cropper after a 'fantastic shoes' comment. Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to fake warmth died rather quickly, probably cause the PM knew Sturgeon can't be trusted. She grassed up a private Kezia Dugdale conservation it has been alleged in the past.

There was certainly no love lost between May and Sturgeon, then you could say the same about most of the people that Sturgeon has a run in with including US President Donald Trump who allegedly hates. Totally understandable, which is why Donald Trump didn’t see her when he came to Scotland, apparently it was alleged that Nicola Sturgeon wanted a photo op.  


Finally, how can Nicola Sturgeon be lonely when the whole of Govanhill in her constituency wants her to get off her arse and fix the ghetto she has abandoned to chase indy. You could spend years talking night and day to residents about what needs done there. If Nicola Sturgeon does feel ‘lonely’, she can go to court and watch the Alex Salmond trial. The event will not have the same panache as Wimbledon, but it will be a packed hoose. Bags of excitement, bags of press, TV crews, it will be ‘selfie’ heaven. Interestingly as a titbit, Sturgeon is now saying she intends to hang around in Scottish politics, does that mean no takers offering plummy EU and UN jobs?

Quelle surprise!!!!!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, August 5, 2019

Scottish Labour Party; former Scottish Labour Minister Margaret Curran says the party has lost its relevance, Scottish Labour came fifth the European Election, lost both MEPs and got to less than 10 per cent of the vote, a Labour spokesperson says ‘Richard Leonard is ensuring that our organisation and operations are fully battle-ready’, so why hasn’t he ended ‘positive’ discrimination and identity politics in the party and introduced meritocracy

Dear All

Whether you are at the top or at the bottom of the Scottish Labour Party, you do know something, something is wrong, you might not be able to put a finger on it but its there. If you think back to the old days, the Scottish Labour Party was strong, strong at every level within Scottish politics. These days that is just a memory having lost their way; the polls and election results show that reform is needed. So, what brought the Labour Party in Scotland down, you could argue that lack of leadership by several leaders is to blame.

But where did the rot start?

It started decades ago, and like a ship going off course, the ‘crew’ never noticed hence when it hit the rocks, the damage was rather expensive. Between the years 2007 and 2011, the Labour Party was effectively killed off as a force at Holyrood. They lost the election, and sulked for four years, the lack of action, the lack of direction then brought about the SNP getting a majority. This is history, from 2011 to 2016, the Scottish Labour Party effectively failed to win back the working class vote, this led to the SNP wiping them out by getting 56 MPs. What was elected by the SNP was major dross in some cases but the fact people want to vote in dross showed how much the public had abandoned the party.

There was countless opportunities to fix the problem, but those in charge weren’t listening, and if you recalled Jim Murphy’s 2015 election campaign, I blogged for a full three months prior to election date that their campaign was awful. Who in their right minds starts an election campaign about getting a drink at a football game? This was the party leadership offering ‘crumbs’ to the people for their votes. One classic announcement was by Jim Murphy that he and Kezia Dugdale ‘fixed’ the party. Does Scottish Labour look fixed to from the tenure of Murphy to present day with Richard Leonard?

Here is a question; do you know what the issues that the Scottish Labour Party is campaigning on?

I am not talking generalisation of fighting poverty, social justice etc, I am talking about specifics; how they show that they are a government in waiting. Do you know of any Labour Party private members bills off the top of your head? How many private members bills a year has the Labour Party produced since 2007? I would like to think that the Scottish Labour MSP Group members would put forward as a minimum circa 6 a year regardless whether they got through.

It seems that a former Scottish Labour minister Margaret Curran has also spoken about the problems in Scottish Labour and her take on it is her admitting that the party is 'small and irrelevant'. Not exactly the type of thing that party bosses in Scotland want to listen too, but really someone should be listening, and also others speaking out. What is clear is that Scottish Labour is not in a fit state to campaign, this was raised in a Pollok CLP meeting 2016, when Cllr Alistair Watson said ‘the party had forgotten how to campaign’.

During the Blair ear, the Labour Party machine seemed unstoppable, it was slick, polished; professional and the party activist base was keen.

Party activists had a sense of purpose, contrast that with today were the party struggles to get CLPs activists working on a regular basis. The internal ‘civil war’ in the Labour Party is also a factor which doesn’t attract people into wanting to come out, especially if you have to answer questions about what is happening with anti Semitism complaints.

Margaret Curran has the party has lost its relevance and needs to “come to terms” with the fact that it is no longer a power in the land. The Scottish Labour came fifth in May’s European Election, lost both MEPs and vote share fell to less than 10 per cent of the vote. The Brexit Party with no real organisation, membership base and support managed to poll double that figure with a respectable 18%. If the Brexit party had got 28%, they would have sent two Scottish MEPs to Brussels.

Margaret Curran said:

“We are not terribly relevant. We are not saying relevant things at the moment.”

The last part of what she said is true; sure you do get Scottish Labour attacking the SNP on the failure of the new children’s hospital in Edinburgh. The nub is that complaining isn’t positive and complaining isn’t policy. The lack of policy is a real problem for the Scottish Labour Party. At an informal meeting; I asked, ‘what is the next Nye Bevan style policy that the Labour Party would seek to deliver to benefit ordinary working class people’. No one had an answer and when you are sitting in a group which includes MSPs and Cllrs, you would think someone of that grade would say something.

In a sense at this moment in time; Margaret is right to say:

“I think we have to accept we are not that powerful party anymore. We have no right to it. We have to earn that right again.”

This is a realisation that now the Labour Party has to fight for every vote, in the past, what happened was elected representatives choose to be lazy and take voters for granted. The=is caused the voter base to ebb away which led to the current state of affairs. Labour was once woven into Scotland’s social fabric at many levels which is a point well made by Margaret, now it seems to be less so.

She said:

“I remember the Labour clubs, the churches had a big connection, both the Church of Scotland and Catholic church, had a lot of Labour people within them. There was quite a lot of overlap. “That’s all gone. That has all completely gone. That’s just reality. You need to readjust.”

Isn’t it funny that Margaret Curran and me can see that the Scottish Labour Party has failed to reform itself since 2007 but those who lead it can’t. What is it that they cannot see from within and hear from others on the outside? The fact is when you elect leaders who only look to their own group, you don’t get improvement. Unless you break into the political bubble, your views really don’t count.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: 

“Richard Leonard is ensuring that our organisation and operations are fully battle-ready. This will give us the best possible chance to win again in Scotland, not for our own sake but for the sake of all those people in all of those communities who need a Scottish Labour government.”

Was it fully battle-ready for the EU elections?

Finally when a party engages in ‘identity politics’, and uses the rules to bring in ‘positive’ discrimination; the knock on effect is decline. The Scottish Labour Party needs to stop engaging in identity politics, end ‘positive’ discrimination which is just discrimination given approval by the leadership. It has to return to its roots because that is what made the party relevant. Scottish Labour did badly in Westminster, Holyrood and EU elections in Scotland, and there is no sign given the current polling that will change in upcoming elections unless there is change.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

Friday, August 2, 2019

8 Days in July; Just elected and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has majority of one after suffering a significant blow in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, Boris holds the record now of losing a seat in record time as a new PM, the real test however is the upcoming Sheffield Hallam by-election

Dear All

Last night a new record was set in the Breacon and Radnorshire by-election, Boris Johnson holds the record of losing a seat in circa a week. This fact is a titbit, but the real story for me is how the Brexit Party can influence an election. Firstly, in the European Elections in this area, the Brexit Party polled 35%. Last night they limped in with a measly 10.5% vote share, which begs the questions, where did the Brexit voters go and why?

The Brexit Party is facing a learning experience, EU elections aren’t like Westminster elections, and the lack of policies, long campaigns and short campaigns and general campaigning is a factor. Their contribution last night was to act as a stopper which cut Boris Johnson’s Commons majority to one!

Not exactly their plan, but a by-product nonetheless.

The Conservative incumbent went from 20,081 to 12,401 because Chris Davies was subject to a recall petition. A recall petition due to his conviction for in March 2019, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud concerning Parliamentary expenses. In what must seem bizarre, his local Conservative Association picked him again. The National Party let them, and as they say the rest is history.

A drop of 8,000 votes!

So, this isn’t a good night for the Conservatives but the good news for them is that the Lib Dems in the shape of Jane Dodds won having been the subject of a major campaign by her party to elect her. If you remember my previous stuff on the how the political economy works, you know the three key factors, money, people and resources. The Lib Dems put a huge amount of human capital in to win this seat, which in a general election will not be available.

One other bit of interesting news is the Conservative plan seems to be to crush the Brexit Party as the imminent threat to their election chances. The key date for everyone is still 31st October 2019, if there is a no deal Brexit, then the Conservatives have breathing space. If there isn’t no deal exit, the noose will be tightened around Boris Johnson’s neck. No deal Brexit neturalises the Brexit Party, anything else fans the flames.

The turn out last night was a healthy 59.7% in the by-election so it was a keenly contested seat, Jane Dodds did what was expected of her, her speech talking of Lib Dem revival was standard fare.

The Labour Party last night polled 5.3% of the vote which translates to, 1680, they kept their deposit but the night was really a disaster for them as well as the Conservatives.  In 2017, the party in the general election managed 7,335 votes, last night they should have done much better, but this seat isn’t a target seat for them.

Ukip’s contribution was on par with the Monster Raving Looney Party, however Ukip couldn’t beat them.
Looney beat them 334 to 242.

The Brexit party has sucked the life out of Ukip and it is now seen as a shell.

In light of this defeat, you will not be hearing calls for an early general election from the Conservatives, but you will from Labour, which will be bravado; this result is a kick in the teeth for them and their plans. This by-election isn’t a classic, a more interesting test is the upcoming by-election in Sheffield Hallam which is the current former Labour MP Jared O’Mara is about to resign. This seat is a genuine possibly three way contest between Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives unlike Breacon and Radnorshire.

Finally, two major factors helped the Lib Dems win, their relentless onslaught in the area swamping it with activists and the deal which saw Plaid Cymru and the Green Party stand aside for Jane Dodds. This made circa about just around 3,000 votes available to her which in normal circumstances wouldn’t have been available. Last night we really didn’t get a sense how the cards fall for a general election but we did see an anomaly and a peek at Conservative thinking….. crush the Brexit Party at all costs.

Roll on Sheffield Hallam.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University