Categories
Local Councils

Inverclyde – Is It Corruption Or Incompetence That Makes It The Worst Run Council In Scotland? – Enough – is – Enough Time Voters should Turf Ian McKenzie And His Labour Mafia Out Of Office

0ed23a6

1. Inverclyde – Once a Great Place to Live What Happened – Death of the Clyde Under the labour party

 

 

_53795915_jex_1094140_de29-1

 

 

2. September 2000; Inverclyde Scotland’s Poorest Performing Local Authority

a. Inverclyde Council has been declared as Scotland’s poorest performing local authority. The Council was created four years ago as a result of local government reorganisation. and was formerly a part of Strathclyde Region. The first year’s accounts needed 2500 adjustments and this resulted in a reduction in net assets of £49 million, not a lot if you say it quickly, and only taxpayers’ money, not like real money.

 

 

6576 itok=NArNVmUl

 

 

b. The Council could be forgiven for a bit of confusion, after all, they were formed by the Tories, who detested Strathclyde, which they also set up, and the reorganisation was to set all that right, but not enough resources were allocated. All these clever moves by the Tories to regain their lost votes didn’t work, but the taxpayers footed the bill for their joukerie pawkerie*. None the less, Inverclyde have now had four years to put things right (Or should it be left? Oh no, it’s New Labour, so right is the correct term). Anyway, they submitted late and poorly prepared accounts, there is delay in the audit due to the number of changes to the accounts, poor accounting systems and controls, and failure to achieve statutory financial targets.

c. They only implemented the action plan in July, fourteen months after the failings were highlighted; what is shocking is that no heads seem to be rolling, and that there is no clamour for heads to roll. The Secretary of State for Scotland went to town, obviously in vain, on North Lanarkshire, why did Donald Ceasar not do the same with Inverclyde?
http://www.scotsindependent.org/2000/010900/index.htm * Joukerie pawkerie – Trickery.

 

 

blairs

 

 

3. August 2003; People in the West of Scotland live much shorter lives

a. People living in Glasgow & the West of Scotland have the lowest life expectancy in the UK. The average lifespan of men in the city is more than a decade shorter than in North Dorset, which tops the list for longevity. Health officials blamed poverty for the city’s bad record. The figures relate to life expectancy at birth in 1999-2001. The survey said that men could expect to live for an average of 68.7 years in Glasgow. Highest life expectancy; 80.0 North Dorset. Lowest Life Expectancy Men;

Glasgow – 68.7
Manchester – 69.8
Inverclyde – 70.3
West Dunbartonshire – 70.8
Renfrewshire – 71.7
Dundee – 71.8
North Lanarkshire – 71.8
Blackpool – 72
Liverpool – 72
Western Isles – 72.3

mawbroon1

 

 

b. The life expectancy for women living in Glasgow & the West of Scotland is not that much better than the men. Scottish council areas accounted for six of the 10 areas with the lowest life expectancy for for women. West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde also featured in the worst five areas for both men and women. Highest life expectancy; 83.5 West Somerset. Lowest Life Expectancy Women;

Glasgow – 76.2
Manchester – 76.5
East Ayrshire – 76.7
West Dunbartonshire – 77.2
Inverclyde – 77.2
Liverpool – 77.3
North Lanarkshire – 77.5
Wansbeck – 77.6
Merthyr Tydfil – 77.6
Renfrewshire – 77.7

What is the point of the Labour party

 

 

c. Scottish National Party health spokeswoman Shona Robison said the statistics were “a national scandal”. She said: “These figures show that after six full years in power in Westminster and four years in the Scottish Parliament, Labour has completely failed to tackle the underlying problems of poverty and deprivation which lead to low life expectancy.
“Under Labour, the life expectancy gap between the top and bottom is widening.” A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said there was “no short-term fix”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3172229.stm

 

 

1382418_654850097888240_7984289_n

 

 

4. June 2005; Council urged to tackle failings

a. Inverclyde Council has been told to solve its problems. The council has been branded one of the worst in Scotland has been ordered to seek outside help to solve its problems. The Accounts Commission said Inverclyde Council requires “urgent remedial action” to address weaknesses in its leadership and direction. Public Services Minister Tom McCabe said the findings were “completely unacceptable” and urged the council to tackle its failings. Council leader Alan Blair said it had drawn up a recovery plan. The commission’s report, published on Thursday, said Inverclyde needed better leadership, more consistent decision-making and urged it to carry out a “recovery exercise”. Fundamental weaknesses in leadership and direction are preventing Inverclyde from improving.

 

 

blair_flag

 

 

b. The Accounts Commission report is part of a drive which began in 2003 to assess whether councils are meeting their legal duty to improve services. Its deputy chair, Isabelle Low, said the report was the most critical so far and added that problems could be traced back to 1996 with local government reorganisation. “Extensive and fundamental weaknesses in leadership and direction by elected members and senior management are preventing Inverclyde from improving,” she said.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4601297.stm

5. July 2007: Letter from Former Girls And Boys Abused of Quarrier Homes (FBGA) to Mr John Mundell, Chief Executive to Inverclyde Council

a. Mr Mundell. Further to my conversation with your office today. I am writing as the representative of Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers Homes.

 

 

cutbenefits2

 

 

b. We are writing to ask why you as council leader of Inverclyde Council and the Inverclyde Council have failed in its duties to undertake any type of Enquiry into Quarriers Homes past abuse. Such as an Independent Enquiry or an SWSI Enquiry. As the Quarriers organisation comes under your sphere of control and regulation. McBearty, Porteous, Wilson, Nicholson, Wallace, Climbie, Drummond, all ex-employees of the care home have all been recently convicted in the Scottish Courts of abusing children in-care either sexually or physically. In addition a sibling (Gilmore) of a former ex-employee. No other care establishment in the UK has had as many ex-employees convicted of abusing children in its care.

c. Quarriers Charity are Scotland’s 3rd largest charity today and continue to care for vulnerable adults and children as such it is important that it is fit for purpose going forward and only a full Independent Inquiry will ensure that. An Independent Inquiry will also fully establish the facts and understand the causes and failures in the past care system of Quarriers Homes while ensuring that the current Charity’s organisation has robust care and protection systems in place today to prevent and minimise a repeat of the past. There have been recent Independent Inquiries into past issues of abuse committed on children in-care by other Councils in Scotland such as Edinburgh and Fife 2002.

 

 

1119906_386141274842022_976233902_o

 

 

d. An Independent Inquiry or SWSI into Quarriers Homes residential abuses would enable a full understanding of all the abuse issues pertaining to the care home and its residents & ensure the following:

i. An Independent Inquiry established would be able to consider what lessons could be learned from children in-care and any further changes that appear to be needed to minimise the risk to children and vulnerable adults in care in the future.

ii. To review the action of the former organisations senior management and others during the period when children were in the care of the care home.

 

 

14259158

 

 

iii. To identify what action was taken when children at the time reported abuse or made any complaints.

iv. An Independent Inquiry should review the internal Social work audit of measures to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse in care are sufficient and robust enough and advise whether appropriate and effective safe guards are in place and to make recommendations as to future practice where appropriate. It is simply unacceptable that Inverclyde Council and you personally have not initiated any such Independent Inquiry to date. We would like you to consider seriously our request for such an Independent Inquiry for the reasons outlined in our letter. There are many more compelling reasons why such an Inquiry should be undertaken with immediate effect. Signed; David Whelan.
http://www.redguitars.co.uk/fbga/dW2johnMundell31_07_07.php
http://fbga.redguitars.co.uk/ http://fbga.redguitars.co.uk/aimsoffbga.php
http://www.redguitars.co.uk/fbga/fbgaNameIssue.php

Click to access PE1351_O_FBGA_16.11.11.pdf


Click to access VW002_-_FBGA_%28Former_Boys_and_Girls_Abused_in_Quarriers_Homes%29.pdf


Click to access 0080457.pdf


http://www.careleavers.com/blog/australia-apologises-to-forgotten-children.html

 

 

CARTOON2JPG-articleLarge

 

 

e. There are many more links exposing the scandal of the abuse of children in care in Quarrier homes. This is the most enlightening one. http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/child-abuse-suspected.html

6. November 2008; McMillan Angered at Council’s Incompetence on Applying for Health Funding

 

 

_53795915_jex_1094140_de29-1

 

 

a. Stuart McMillan MSP, (SNP West of Scotland) has today reacted angrily to the reported news that Inverclyde Council did not apply for Government funding allocated to local authorities for tackling health inequalities. On the back of these reports Mr McMillan has tabled Freedom of Information questions to Inverclyde Council to get to the bottom of this debacle. Mr McMillan said;

b. “I have today submitted a Freedom of Information request to get to the bottom of this in order to determine whether or not we have witnessed a cover-up as well as a cock up from the Council. I am extremely angered that Inverclyde Council did not apply for the funding made available by the Scottish Government to tackle health inequalities. This display of incompetence has meant the people of Inverclyde were to miss out in their share of vital funding which would have gone to tackle problems such as deprivation and substance abuse. Thankfully, the Scottish Government have agreed to meet representatives from Inverclyde Council to discuss the matter and hopefully to consider their late submission. The Council must hang their heads in shame on this matter. I am certain many constituents in Inverclyde will share my anger that Inverclyde Council has shown a lack of leadership over this situation which could prevent much needed support being brought to Inverclyde.”

 

 

20140531_BRD000_0

 

 

7. May 2009; Council Goes Ahead with New Approach to Delivering Excellence in Services

a. Inverclyde Council has taken the important first step along the road to radically reorganising how it delivers services to its customers to offer excellence at best value for money. The Future Operating Model reflects a root and branch shift for Inverclyde as it strives to operate more efficiently while giving customers the highest quality services where and when they need it. Chief Executive John Mundell said: “This is all about our customers. We have spent the past couple of years looking at how we operate as a business and it is clear we can and must change to maximise our resources into front line services and at the same time radically improving our customer service.”

b. Research has identified key areas where the Council can improve its operational effectiveness and efficiency at a corporate and service level. Key issues included:

i. Too many points of contact
ii. Too many premises
iii. Too many computer systems
iv. Customer has a different experience with each service and within services

 

 

blair-cameron-butchers-block

 

 

c. Mr Mundell added: “This is not about our staff doing a bad job. On the contrary they do an incredible job but should be given the freedom to do even more. This is about enabling employees, giving them new skills and a better working environment.

d. The review has been carried out in consultation with staff from a wide range of Council services through participation in workshops and focused discussion groups. Trade unions were also consulted. Research has also been carried out through the experience of business transformation projects throughout the UK public sector, local authorities and other organisations. The new Customer Contact Centre will be located on the ground floor of the Municipal Buildings in Clyde Square. The existing Contact Centre in Wallace Place will be modernised to meet the requirements as it the plan is phased in. The process should be completed by late 2012

e. Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “We would be failing our communities if we did not act now. Inverclyde’s needs are at the heart of the Future Operating Model. We are determined that our customers get the first class services they deserve from an organisation that is in tune with what they need.”

 

 

B3KcuZWIcAEnCQ0

 

 

f. The six phrase project is funded through £1 million from Council reserves with any additional costs funded by savings created. It is anticipated that savings will cover the cost of loan charges, improving Council buildings, and further investment in frontline services. Councillor McCabe added: “This really is a case of Spend to Save and is so much more than a shiny new call centre. This is a fundamental change in the way we deliver our services to the customer in a manner that will benefit the Council and the community in the long term. This is a 10 year model and we expect it to deliver on our fundamental promise to provide excellence to our customers at value for money.”
http://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/news/2009/may/council-goes-ahead-new-approach-delivering-excellence-services/

g. Comment; Councillor McCabe’s very high profile indicative of his commitment and active participation in the project

8. May 2009; Inverclyde Council’s corporate director of education and social care, Ian Fraser, suspended

 

 

146204_600

 

 

a.Inverclyde Council’s corporate director of education and social care, Ian Fraser, has been suspended by the authority’s chief executive,John Mundell pending an investigation into “a number of management and operational matters”. The dramatic move followed a decision by the council’s education appeals committee to reverse a decision by the education directorate to refuse a place at Gourock High to a P7 pupil who lived in its catchment. A council source suggested that the committee’s decision on the parental appeal had been the “final straw”, and not the main reason for Mr Fraser’s suspension.

b. However, other sources suggest the disciplinary action follows his alleged failure to communicate with the chief executive that the case was effectively a “ticking bomb”. In Mr Fraser’s defence, it is being pointed that this was a policy he inherited when he moved to the council from East Renfrewshire. As a result of Gourock High’s pending merger with Greenock Academy, the education department – with the backing of the council – had set a limit of 100 places for the S1 intake in August. However, faced with 101 applications the council held a ballot to select which pupil would attend Greenock Academy. Kirstin Airlie, a pupil at Moorfoot Primary, lost. The cap had been put at 100 pupils for S1, based on five classes of 20 for practical subjects: the council has now agreed to create another class.

 

 

6a00d8341d417153ef01538ed03d18970b-800wi

 

 

c. A spokesman for the council said the 101 applications had included an unexpected 12 requests from St Ninian’s Primary – pupils who would normally have gone to St Columba’s High, which is being decanted to another building next year as part of the council’s school modernisation programme. Education sources suggest Mr Fraser and the council’s chief executive, John Mundell, have been engaged in a “power struggle” – not so much over budgets per se but over management style and decision-making. Some of Mr Fraser’s decisions, such as moving the school holidays, have been controversial with parents. However, the education community regards him as a highly-effective, focused manager, albeit no shrinking violet. https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6013520

9. May 2009; Suspended education chief retires

 

 

1944823626

a. A council has granted early retirement to its £100,000 a year education chief after lifting a suspension against him. Inverclyde Council took action against Ian Fraser two weeks ago as part of an investigation into “management and operational matters”. Now the local authority has announced the 59-year-old year is to retire in August – 10 months early. He will not receive redundancy or an enhanced package but has not been disciplined. Inverclyde council said it was investigating several issues but Mr Fraser was not the focus. He was recruited two years ago from the high performing education authority, East Renfrewshire. The council said his suspension, a fortnight ago, was not a direct result of the controversial decision to deny a girl a place at Gourock High School after drawing her name from a ballot. The girl’s appeal against the decision was upheld by the council, as were the appeals of three other pupils who were denied placing requests at the school. The council has apologised to the families of the four pupils involved for any distress that had been caused.

b. An independent consultant has also been appointed by lnverclyde to conduct a review and prepare a report on the policies and procedures for school admissions and placing requests and their operational implementation. John Mundell, chief executive of Inverclyde Council, said: “Inverclyde Council has historically had an excellent track record of high performing education and social care services and Ian contributed to the further development of these services over the last two and half years.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8063812.stm

 

 

a30f04da-5cd3-11dd-8d38-000077b07658.img

 

 

10. August 2009; Council blamed for ‘serious mismanagement

a. Inverclyde promises changes following hard-hitting inquiry and report into handling of school admissions. An independent review of Inverclyde Council’s school placing requests policy found four different versions in circulation, with contradictory information contained in each document. The council’s criteria for granting placing requests appeared to vary from one year to the next, and the admissions process lacked consistency and transparency. The council’s chief executive, John Mundell, ordered an investigation into a placing request row.

b. Mr Mundell promised to take immediate action to create a more coherent policy on admissions and parental placing requests after a special meeting of the education and lifelong learning committee considered the report by Maggi Allan, former education director of South Lanarkshire. Inverclyde is not alone in wrestling with the difficulty of planning its future school estate and balancing falling rolls with parental aspirations and placing requests. Ms Allan’s findings could now lead other authorities to review their policies and may also put pressure on the Government to introduce legislation. Mr Mundell described the report’s findings as “obviously extremely disappointing”, as they had identified a number of serious management and operational issues in the education department.

 

 

article-1261449-08EA3029000005DC-910_468x225

 

 

c. Ian Fraser, Inverclyde’s former corporate director of education and social care, was suspended and subsequently took early retirement and has since taken up employment with the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration (SCSSA), which specialises in leadership and management training.

d. Ms Allan’s report, which was commissioned in May and cost £35,500, makes a series of recommendations – including the need to reduce the physical capacity of the council’s secondary schools. This means, in effect, that some classrooms will be turned over to alternative uses, such as community learning and development or teachers’ continuing professional development, so that parents cannot argue that there is space for their children over and above the capping level set by the council.

e. The council had sought to reduce the S1 intakes for Gourock High and Greenock Academy, pending their merger in 2011 when they become Clydeview High. Education officials tried to manage the intake by limiting placing requests to the existing two schools, but this was overruled in court. A sheriff decided that, as Greenock Academy had admitted 160 pupils in 2007, it still had the capacity to admit the same number in 2008, rather than capping its intake at 80.

 

 

d769ba923d346aad15289b182bb2ba181e85edd86fece9c04dab37a5dbfeec40

 

 

f. Ms Allan criticises the directorate for failing to appreciate and act upon the strategic impact of the sheriff’s decision. The situation was further exacerbated when it was found there were 101 pupils in Gourock High’s catchment, but only 100 places available for 2009-10.

g. Parents then received a letter informing them that a ballot had taken place to determine which pupil would not be granted entry to Gourock High this month. Thirteen other families, whose placing requests had been rejected, also appealed successfully to the council’s education appeals committee.

h. Inverclyde also operated its admissions policy for secondary schools purely according to address, rather than simply giving priority to pupils in the associated primaries. That is expected to change, as a result of the review. https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6021017

 

 

_76413933_pa-20283542

 

 

11. August 2010; Labour MSP refuses to apologise for ‘Riggi death slur’

a. Labour MSP Duncan McNeil has refused to apologise for remarks he made following the tragic deaths of the three Riggi children. The Labour MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde had used the deaths in order to attack SNP politician Keith Brown by suggesting that ministerial inaction over home-schooling had left the children vulnerable. The bodies of the three children were discovered by firemen who were investigating a gas explosion at the block of flats where they lived, the children had all suffered stab wounds. Their mother, Theresa Riggi, was found seriously injured after jumping or falling from a second-floor balcony of the building in Edinburgh and has since been charged with their murder.

b. Mr McNeil, the MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, implied that home-schooling had left the children in danger and had accused the SNP’s Keith Brown of complacency. Mr McNeil had questioned whether the home-schooling of the Riggi children may have led to delays in the authorities picking up on the danger they were in. The Labour MSPs remarks provoked a furious reaction from the Scottish government who accused him of trying to make political capital out of the tragedy.

 

 

1930s-Conservative-film

 

 

c. It also led to home-schooling organisation ‘Schoolhouse’ issuing a statement demanding an apology from the Labour MSP and labelling his remarks deplorable, an attempt to peddle vile personal prejudice in order to score cheap political points and tantamount to ‘grave-robbing’. However in a statement to his local newspaper, The Greenock Telegraph on Wednesday 11th Aug, Mr McNeil refused to apologise for the remarks suggesting that loopholes in the law could be exploited by some people that would lead to child welfare being compromised. More here; http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=477:labour-msp-duncan-mcneil-refuses-to-apologise-for-riggi-death-slur&catid=1:politics&Itemid=2

12. September 2011; Inverclyde result was a draw. It’ll take more than an Irn-Bru re-branding to turn it round.

a. Ed Miliband may be relieved at last week’s by-election result in Inverclyde, but for Labour in Scotland, it was no better than a draw. Labour held the seat with almost the same share as the late David Cairns in what was a good general election result for Labour locally and in Scotland. That’s the good bit. The SNP almost doubled their vote, appearing to clean up on former Lib Dem voters and winning voters from all other parties. Enough to say with justification that they’re still riding as high as in the May Holyrood elections. Hence the importance of the review of the Scottish party led by leading Westminster Blairite Jim Murphy and MSP Sarah Boyack. Scottish Labour, whose dominance was almost unchallenged for decades, has the fight of its life ahead of it. Full article here; http://www.leftfutures.org/2011/07/inverclyde-result-was-a-draw-itll-take-more-than-an-irn-bru-re-branding-to-turn-it-round/

 

 

access

 

 

13. March 2012; Inverclyde Council has suspended four senior bosses because a scheme set up to save cash ended up costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

a. Paul Wallace, Corporate Director of Organisational Improvement and Resources at Inverclyde Council, has been suspended by Chief Executive John Mundell along with John Arthur, Head of Safer and Inclusive Communities, Gordon McLoughlin, Head of Customer Service and Business Transformation and head of IT project management Arun Menon.

b. The four are understood to have been involved with establishing a money-saving drive known as the Future Operating Model, which was unveiled in February 2009, with the aim of helping the council hit an over-all savings target of £6.43 million in three years. Instead, the Evening Times understands, the scheme cost the council £650,000 in fees to consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper, and delivered only £250,000 in savings, far short of the expected £2m target.

c. The scheme included a raft of efficiency measures and also the establishment of a new council customer contact centre in the Municipal Buildings in Greenock, which opened in October 2009. But one senior council source said there had been doubts about the need for the new centre. The source said: “Social housing is no longer dealt with by the council, leisure’s not dealt with by the council, what’s this customer service centre for? They’ve cut away a huge chunk of what a customer service centre is used for. They’ve even detached the letting of halls to Inverclyde Leisure. In the short term, the expected budget cuts, almost promised savings, have not come to pass, with the result of a black hole in the budget. The Future Operating Model involves ‘modernisation’. No-one’s prepared to challenge what’s meant by that, but in effect it means more technology, the aspiration to cut staff. It’s been a budgetary mistake but I don’t think the spend has to be binned. However, the main justification for it was ‘efficiency’ and that has not been successful.”

 

 

112737-flooding-cars-floated-down-streets-in-inverclyde-after-the-downpour

 

 

d. Lib/Dem Councillor Alan Blair, a former leader of Inverclyde Council, told the Evening Times: “It’s a very concerning situation. “It plainly means money is going to have to be found to fill a black hole. That may well have to come from services important to the public. I think the administration should have been giving much more thought to important projects than recently they have been doing.”

e. In July 2010, a report by a collection of public watchdogs, including Audit Scotland, warned that the then Labour-run council needed to ensure that the Future Operating Model was going to deliver its projected savings. The ‘Shared Risk Assessment’ Report’ on Inverclyde Council was co-compiled by the Social Work Inspection Agency, the Scottish Housing Regulator, the Care Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education and Audit Scotland. It said: “The council has progressed to phase two of their Modernisation and Efficiency Programme which includes designing, building and implementing the council’s Future Operating Model (FOM). The FOM is based on improvement to both corporate and service level efficiency opportunities through modernisation of current working practices. The development of a new customer service centre which allows customers to access a range of council services in a single location is expected to deliver significant improvements to customers over the next two years. The council need to ensure that the FOM delivers the projected efficiency savings and the intended improvements.”

f. That warning was in stark contrast to the words of Inverclyde Council Leader, Stephen McCabe who launched the plan in May 2009 saying: “This really is a case of spend to save and is so much more than a shiny new call centre. This is a fundamental change in the way we deliver our services to the customer. This is a 10-year model and we expect it to deliver on our fundamental promise to provide excellence to our customers at value for money.”

 

 

article_seat_1130

 

 

g. A spokesman for Inverclyde Council said: “Following a review of the council’s operating model, four officers have been suspended, as a precautionary measure, pending further investigation. Whilst this investigation is being carried out it would be inappropriate to comment on the circumstances of the individuals involved.”

14. January 2011; PwC consultancy goes sour at Inverclyde

a. Based on the latest published figures, the FOM project spectacularly failed to do so. In spite of effectively producing an operational loss on this scheme, PwC won a further £300,000 consultancy contract that was not put out to tender, plus another later commission for a contract that did go out to tender. http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/topic/practice/pwc-consultancy-goes-sour-inverclyde/472960

 

 

Ed Milliband

 

 

15. January 2011; Inverclyde Project Update

a. It is now accepted that the major service delivery and value for money project for which they were responsible, the Future Operating Model (FOM), has failed. It had been intended to produce £1.9 million of savings. In fact all it has made is a loss. It paid PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants £650,000 and has delivered savings totalling only £250,000. The FMO project has now been binned and questions are being asked about the supervisory role of the CEO, John Mundell. He went on sick leave last month (December? Hmmm) and is said to have begun looking at the performance of the FMO project when he came back.

b. In his defence, it is being said that he asked for a progress report back in October 2010. That is proving something of a boomerang ploy, raising further questions as to why, if he had queries about FOM’s operations in October, he did not press his request and did not engage with the matter again for some considerable time. There also appear to be issues around the probity of the council’s relationship with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The consultants are alleged to have been given an untendered contract for £300,000 by the suspended officers. All of this adds to the pressure for radical reform of local government. http://forargyll.com/2011/01/inverclyde-council-suspends-four-officials-while-argyll-and-bute-does-nothing/

 

 

Screen-Shot-2014-02-20-at-13.13.435-717x680

 

 

16. August 2011; Top council official sacked over saving scheme fiasco

a. One of Scotland’s leading local government officials has been sacked and several others given final warnings for their role in the collapse of a money-saving scheme. But cash-strapped Inverclyde Council is continuing to face criticism for taking seven months to complete its probe, during which time it paid out almost £200,000 to the four suspended officers. The role of the chief executive John Mundell in the saga has been criticised.

b. Paul Wallace, the authority’s £100,000-a-year-plus corporate director, was the only member under investigation to be fired for his role in the fiasco, which saw more than £650,000 paid to consultants and savings of barely £250,000 delivered. The Herald can also reveal Mr Wallace has taken Inverclyde Council to the Court of Session over how it has handled the investigation. It is understood his case will focus on claims of a lack of transparency in the probe and that chief executive John Mundell’s role in it breached any sense of natural justice. Two other heads of service, John Arthur and Gordon McLoughlin, both on annual salaries of around £80,000, are on final warnings. The fourth, Arun Menon, admitted culpability several weeks ago and has also been issued with a final warning.

 

 

atlas-and-inverclyde-james-williamson

 

 

c. The decision to sack Mr Wallace comes amid mounting speculation that the former leader of the council at the time the FOM fiasco came to light is to return to the post. Labour’s Stephen McCabe quit several months ago citing family reasons, but he has been touted to return to the leader’s chair later this month after his successor, Iain McKenzie, was elected to Westminster at the Inverclyde by-election in June. Last night, senior insiders said the investigation may have cost taxpayers double the amount paid to the four suspended officers as the probe took place and could approach the £500,000 mark. They also said that despite the outcome there would still be questions about Mr Mundell’s role
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/top-council-official-sacked-over-saving-scheme-fiasco.14640959

 

 

spin-small

 

 

d. Comment; Hold on a min, these incompetents were employed by then Council Leader Mr McCabe, he quit because of this screw-up but before the report that cost the taxpayer many hundreds of thousands (approx £700,000) was published. McKenzie, formally in McCabes job, lands a higher paid post as an MP at Westminster. McCabe decides to come out of retirement to take up his old job as Council Leader. If is correct the matter needs to be investigated, a professionally qualified person should be appointed not Mr Mccabe is clearly not fit for post.

i. Who brought the consultant’s in?

ii. Who signed off on the FOM?

iii. Who decided to stop the FOM?

iv. Are efforts being made to recoup fees from said consultants?

1. Inverclyde – Once a Great Place to Live What Happened – Death of the Clyde Under the labour party

2. September 2000; Inverclyde Scotland’s Poorest Performing Local Authority

 

 

nyt3

 

 

a. Inverclyde Council has been declared as Scotland’s poorest performing local authority. The Council was created four years ago as a result of local government reorganisation. and was formerly a part of Strathclyde Region. The first year’s accounts needed 2500 adjustments and this resulted in a reduction in net assets of £49 million, not a lot if you say it quickly, and only taxpayers’ money, not like real money.

b. The Council could be forgiven for a bit of confusion, after all, they were formed by the Tories, who detested Strathclyde, which they also set up, and the reorganisation was to set all that right, but not enough resources were allocated. All these clever moves by the Tories to regain their lost votes didn’t work, but the taxpayers footed the bill for their joukerie pawkerie*. None the less, Inverclyde have now had four years to put things right (Or should it be left? Oh no, it’s New Labour, so right is the correct term). Anyway, they submitted late and poorly prepared accounts, there is delay in the audit due to the number of changes to the accounts, poor accounting systems and controls, and failure to achieve statutory financial targets.

 

 

scotland_3024651b

 

 

c. They only implemented the action plan in July, fourteen months after the failings were highlighted; what is shocking is that no heads seem to be rolling, and that there is no clamour for heads to roll. The Secretary of State for Scotland went to town, obviously in vain, on North Lanarkshire, why did Donald Ceasar not do the same with Inverclyde?
http://www.scotsindependent.org/2000/010900/index.htm * Joukerie pawkerie – Trickery.

 

 

scotland-unemployment-2

 

 

17. December 2011; A Special meeting of Inverclyde Council will be held on 15 December as part of an inquiry into a failed money-saving scheme.

a. Councillors are to discuss the Future Operating Model – a project which was designed to save the council cash but ended up costing money – a year after problems came to light. Four council officials – including a corporate director – were suspended in January this year amid an investigation into the scheme. All have since returned to work, with the last of the employee appeals following the disciplinary action concluded this week. One senior councillor says that elected members and members of the public should now be told which costs have been associated with the saga.

b. Lib Dem Alan Blair yesterday told a meeting of Inverclyde Council: “The Lib Dem group are very concerned abut this being dealt with transparently. “We have to get a history of the Future Operating Model, what went wrong and what it has cost the taxpayer. It’s a year since this blew up and that’s too long.”

 

 

Yes Complacent Westminster Establishment

 

 

c. Council leader Stephen McCabe said the project would be debated in full as soon as a report on it is completed. He said, “The chief executive has given a commitment to the council to report back at the first opportunity. The chief executive has called a full council meeting to give a detailed report and to allow members the opportunity to question him.” More on Councillor McCabe; http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/west-of-scotlands-political-world.html

d. Council chief executive John Mundell also gave an assurance that the meeting will be held in public, following a briefing for elected members. He said: “Full details will be with members and we will try to optimise what will be heard in public.” http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/uploadedFiles/Decision081-2012.pdf Councillor McCabe defends his record; http://councillorstephenmccabe.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/setting-record-straight.html

 

 

Tory Justice conflicts of interest

 

 

18. July 2013; ‘fails’ on jobs and investment targets

a. A publicly funded urban regeneration firm may face an overhaul over shortcomings in meeting targets on inward investment and job creation. Riverside Inverclyde was set up in 2006 to create thousands of new jobs and homes and lever in private investment. A mid-term review shows it has only achieved a small fraction of these targets for its £59m of public funding. One of its partners, Inverclyde Council, is now proposing changes to the firm’s management structure. Riverside Inverclyde – key facts;

b. Aims?

i. Launched in 2006 and operate for 10 years
ii. To help regenerate economically depressed parts of Inverclyde
iii. Would create 2,600 jobs
iv. Would build 2,285 homes
v. Attract £300m in private investment
vi. Secure £93m in public money

c. Achievements?

i. £59m of public money ploughed in so far
ii. 191 jobs created
iii. 121 new homes
iv. £3.6m of private investment secured
v. Development of Riverside Business Park,
vi. Enhancements to James Watt Dock
vii. Improvements to parts of Greenock and Port Glasgow town centres

 

 

C4_physics_teaser_WEB

 

 

d. The aim of Riverside Inverclyde was to help regenerate the area, which had become economically depressed with the decline of heavy industries. It was envisaged that the agency would operate for about 10 years, during which time it would achieve ambitious targets such as the creation of 2,600 jobs, 2,285 homes and attracting about £300m of private investment. To help achieve these goals, the firm was to be given £93m of public funding by the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise.

e. A mid-term review of the agency’s performance was carried out on behalf of the council and Scottish Enterprise earlier this year by external consultants. It found that while Riverside Inverclyde had received about £59m of public funding so far but it had fallen well short in its original targets.

f. BBC Scotland understands that the report, which has yet to be published, shows that since 2006, the agency is credited with the creation of just 191 jobs and 121 new homes. It also shows that £3.6m of private investment has been levered in – just over 1% of the original 10-year target. The report also highlighted some achievements by Riverside Inverclyde, such as the development of Riverside Business Park, enhancements to James Watt Dock and improvements to parts of Greenock and Port Glasgow town centres.

 

 

B9pZhpWIQAA3S1B.jpg large

 

 

g. Inverclyde Council, which is a major financier of Riverside Inverclyde, is now proposing an overhaul of its operations. If these are agreed, the board of the regeneration firm would be retained but discussions would take place on its future composition. The management structure of the firm would also be reviewed and closer monitoring and reviews of it operations would be put in place. The Council is also proposing that both bodies develop a two-year regeneration plan and key economic staff work more closely together.

h. Inverclyde’s environment and regeneration convener, Councillor Michael McCormick, said: “This mid-term review gives all of the partners a chance to take stock and see what’s working well and what areas we need to change. “It’s clear that in some areas Riverside Inverclyde has worked well and also that we’ve faced some tough economic conditions. “We now wish to focus on delivering a single regeneration and economic development operating plan geared towards the opportunities and financial picture we face today. That way we can make sure that we work together to maximise the impact of our work.”

i. A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise said: “We remain committed to working with regeneration companies, including Riverside Inverclyde, to create economic opportunities in communities across Scotland.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-23314933 http://www.riversideinverclyde.com/ http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/jul/riverside-inverclyde-report-must-be-made-public

 

 

camvlad

 

 

19. July 2013; Agency paid £10m for land that is worth less than nothing

a. The regeneration agency criticised over its use of public cash spent in excess of £10 million on land it later emerged was worth less than nothing. Riverside Inverclyde has so far spent almost £13m on its scheme at the waterfront in Greenock, the vast majority of which was the cost of buying James Watt Dock. But the report into the seven years of progress of the agency found not only did Riverside Inverclyde pay real estate firm Peel Holdings over the odds for the land but the scale of the contamination on the site left it with a value of minus £6m.

b. It also claims many of those consulted as part of the review have felt the agency has lacked rigour in its dealings with Peel. Meanwhile, it has emerged Riverside Inverclyde will appear before the Scottish Parliament’s local government and regeneration committee after the summer recess. Although the meeting had been scheduled long before it was revealed Riverside Inverclyde had dramatically failed to meet key targets on jobs, homes and investment despite being awarded £60m in public cash, sources insist the findings of the Midterm Review are likely to dominate.

c. The review of the arm’s-length Riverside Inverclyde found it had met only 7% of its 2600 job targets since 2006, working out at a cost per job cost per job of £321,000. It has built just 5% of the 2285 new homes promised, while also securing just 1% of the private sector investment targeted. Two leading officials, chief executive Bill Nicol and implementation manager Garry Williamson, have either left or are due to leave. Mr Nicol and Riverside Inverclyde’s chairman, journalist and commentator Alf Young, have been consulted on the findings of the Deloitte review.

 

 

The National Newspaper Launches In Scotland

 

 

d. The report found a survey of the James Watt Dock had been carried out across April and May of this year to check on contamination levels of the site, earmarked as the centrepiece of the regeneration of the upper Clyde, complete with prestigious flats and moorings for boats. It found the extent of the decontamination and “abnormals” works “would indicate significant liabilities in terms of costs as the site is developed and requires an assessment of Riverside Inverclyde’s continuing involvement”. The report also claimed “the net value of the site was a negative land value, not +£10million” as valued in 2008, adding a leading estate agent “identified no profits would be expected in the development proposal and, in the light of the information provided, indicate a residual negative value of -£5,998,035”.

e. It then proposes to “put the project on hold until such time as an agreed exit strategy can be developed”. Elsewhere it recommends it is “important to develop an effective partnership with Peel Holdings, allowing some progress to be made on some sites” but adds some feel Riverside Inverclyde could be more robust in its dealings with Peel to achieve better regeneration outcomes”. Riverside Inverclyde have not returned calls to comment on the reports, while Mr Young said he could not discuss the review as it had not been before the agency’s board.

f. But one former board member took to social media platform twitter to discuss his four years with Riverside Inverclyde. Chris Osborne, a former SNP councillor, said officials from Inverclyde Council, which together with Scottish Enterprise is behind the body, had expressed concerns about the agency’s progress as far back as 2010. He said councillors and local authority officers had noted the body “was slow to downsize staff wise when Government funds were reduced” and there were “rumours of tensions over bonuses and pay awards to the chief executive”. Mr Osborne added: “By and large RI has done much good. More physical regeneration than actual job creation which is obviously disappointing. It must be remembered there was the most severe recession throughout most of it’s existence. Lots of regeneration projects have suffered because of that. However, the number of jobs created most definitely is a scandal.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/agency-paid-10m-for-land-that-is-worth-less-than-nothing.21624846 A total of 38 comments have been recorded, to date.. There are 5 pages of scathing comments to be found at ; http://nawthenoo.net/forums/index.php?topic=4846.0 and more comment here; http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2013/09/16/471643-riverside-inverclyde-chairman-resigns-over-chief-exec-row-/ and here; http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/sep/transparency-needed-inverclyde More adverse comments from architects here; http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=902178&page=5 even more comment; http://www.senscot.net/view_art.php?viewid=14778

 

 

inverclyde_021-1003x744

 

 

20. January 2014; Councillors in Inverclyde are to get a two per cent pay rise despite a continuing squeeze on local authority budgets.

a. The basic pay for all of Scotland’s councillors will go up in March by one per cent from the current £16,234 to £16,560, backdated to 1 April last year — in line with what has been awarded to staff and offered to teachers. This will be followed by a further one per cent rise for councillors in April. The Scottish Government said the move followed representations from councils’ umbrella body Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities).

b. Explaining the rise, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Following representation from Councillors and Cosla, ministers took the decision to end the period of pay restraint and have awarded what they consider is a fair award in the current financial climate.” The rises were defended today by Inverclyde’s Depute Provost David Wilson, who is Scotland’s representative on the National Association of Councillors. He said: “I will defend these rises until I’m blue in the face. Councillors work extremely hard and their pay is poor compared with that given to list MSPs. I’ve never really understood what list MSPs actually do, but Councillors certainly deserve their pay rise.” Mr Wilson also criticised the current level of responsibility payment given to council leaders, describing it as ‘a scandal’. Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe receives an overall total of £27,058, but Mr Wilson said: The leader is responsible for an enormous budget. It is a big responsibility for very little reward.”

 

 

0CE732F5000005DC-2929226-image-a-45_1422407421251

 

 

c. News of a rise in pay for Councillors follows hot on the heels of plans to increase the amounts paid to politicians at Holyrood and Westminster. The salary of MSPs has been linked to that of MPs since 2002, with politicians at the Scottish Parliament paid 87.5 per cent of an MP’s wage — meaning an MSP’s salary is currently £58,097 a year. Now proposals are in place to scrap that connection and instead bring MSP rises into line with the public sector. Meanwhile, MPs could get an 11 per cent increase of £7,600, taking their pay up to £74,000. Inverclyde MP Iain McKenzie has previously told the Tele he would refuse such a large rise.
http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/01/17/485313-inverclyde-councillors-to-get-2-per-cent-pay-rise/?mode=print

 

 

Greenock-Morton-Matchday-Appeal-page0001

 

 

21. September 2013; Town Hall Rich List-Clydebank

a. If I was an Inverclyde voter at local elections, I would be making my views quite clear about the disgusting siphoning of public funds towards a select group of individuals. Is it acceptable for ratespayers money to be allocated away from public services to feather their nests? Surely not?

J Mundell; Chief Executive of Inverclyde council: £141,752
A Fawcett; Corporate Director of Regeneration & Environment at Inverclyde council: £122,078
A Henderson; Corporate Director of Education & Communities at Inverclyde council: £122,078
R Murphy; Corporate Director of Community Care & Health Partnership at Inverclyde council: £122,078
P Wallace; former Corporate Director of Organisational Improvement & Performance at Inverclyde council: £120,767
E Paterson; Head of Legal and Democratic Services at Inverclyde council: £107,513

 

 

max-739622

 

 

b. Adding on costs and associated expenses the total financial commitment to 6 individuals is around £1 million. http://rongattway.blog.co.uk/2013/09/28/greedy-bastards-of-great-britain-http-aftu-webgarden-com-16469891/

22. November 2013; Hole Lot Of Bother — Council Way Behind On Pothole Repairs

a. Only one-in-10 high-risk potholes was made safe or repaired within the target time of seven days in Inverclyde during a six-month period this year, officials have admitted. And just 14 per cent of less serious potholes were dealt with within the target time of 28 days during a 12-month period, according to an Inverclyde Council report. Severe wet weather damaging the area’s roads is blamed for the problem and roads bosses are carrying out a review of the situation. An extra £50,000 is being diverted to reduce backlogs. The council aims to repair or make high-risk potholes safe within a week of them being identified but between April and September this year that happened for only 12 per cent of such potholes. In the financial year 2012/3 a level of 26 per cent was achieved. The council’s target for 2013/14 is 80 per cent.

 

 

snapshot000101

 

 

b. Less serious potholes should be sorted within four weeks of identification, according to council guidelines. Between April and September this year that response was made in 46 per cent of cases but for the financial year 2012/13, the figure was only 14 per cent. The target set for 2013/4 is 90 per cent. The council did much better with the worst potholes (emergency or urgent) which have to be repaired or made safe within 24 hours. Ninety-three per cent of those were tackled on time between April and September this year and 70 per cent during 2012/13. The council report states: “Management focus is now firmly on delivering improvements to performance in defect management. This will include a full review of operating practices, labour resources and possible investment of a software package to accurately record defects.”

c. A council spokesman said: “This information highlights how important the announcement earlier this year of an unprecedented £17 million investment in the council’s roads network is. Over the past few years in particular, the severe winter weather, coupled with frequent, intense and prolonged rain falls, has taken an enormous toll on the roads network across the entire country. With the £17 million investment over the next three years the council aims make a significant improvement to the roads network across Inverclyde.” http://www.inverclydenow.com/today/10786-a-hole-lot-of-bother-council-way-behind-on-pothole-repairs Many comments with the article

 

 

What is the point of the Labour party

 

 

23. October 2011; Riverside Inverclyde to build a Gourock Bypass

a. Riverside Inverclyde, with the support of Inverclyde Council, is to build a one-way bypass around Kempock Street. Residents of of Gourock are concerned their views are not being taken into account. Many are of the view that the development is a sticking plaster attempting to solve a more fundamental issue of an ever-increasing volume of traffic. How creating two fairly busy roads out of one very busy one, creating an island of shops in the middle and alienating the waterfront can be seen as a good thing is beyond belief. Reduction of traffic the flow has never featured in the options list. Neither has any thought been given to how else £2.5million (although other reports suggest much much higher) could be spent within Gourock — one would be forgiven for thinking a by-pass was the only way to spend money! It will merely create longer journey times for east-bound traffic and make accessing the north side of Kempock Street more hazardous, as you are forced to cross a main trunk road. http://www.inverclydenow.com/interact/reader-talkback/5750-reader-talkback-other-ways-to-spend-the-p25million-gourock-one-way-bypass-money-six-comments

 

 

PANews BT_P-c2b4af69-0a51-460b-a838-6c63920d06a7_I1

 

 

24. January 2014; Labour Councillor under fire after laughing at censorship of Yes campaign in local schools

a. A Labour Councillor has caused anger after appearing to mock local people angered at the news the council were censoring the official Yes campaign in local schools despite allowing pupils to view the pro-Union rival site. Councillor Stephen McCabe has come under fire after he treated the situation as a joke and suggested it would not be resolved until after the independence referendum. The episode began when Caitlin Brannigan, a student at a local School, tweeted a picture showing that Yes Scotland’s site was blocked under content filtering from the Schools internal network but no such block was in place for Better Together. On hearing this another tweeter Scott Gillan decided to raise the issue with the local Councillor. He tweeted: “How long will it take to resolve Yes Scotland page being blocked in our schools Councillor ?”

b. Inverclyde council leader Stephen McCabe responded by tweeting “7 months I’m told Lol”. In a later tweet Mr McCabe described people who had challenged him, “conspiracy theorists”. However, the Labour Councillor’s response has caused outrage amongst users of social media who have accused the official of treating the matter as a joke and of condoning censorship. The story has provoked controversy in Inverclyde with the local newspaper, the Greenock Telegraph reporting that the Labour Councillor is at the centre of a “political storm”. Speaking to the newspaper, Shona McQuarrie – who leads the Yes Inverclyde campaign – said: “This is inexcusable. Mr McCabe was asked a perfectly legitimate question and he chose to make a joke of a very serious matter. There’s been no hint of an apology for his flippancy, or a proper explanation as to what has actually been going on here. It would be different if both websites were blocked. We need to know why the Yes Scotland site was inaccessible, why it was so, and for how long.” Mrs McQuarrie added: “This is a huge issue. Where is the consideration for what parents think? Pupils are not learning anything about the referendum in local schools if they are only being provided with one side of the debate. It is profoundly undemocratic and I have been told that loads of parents have been complaining.”

 

 

woodnymphcloseup_small

 

 

c. Newsnet Scotland spoke to one parent whose children attend local schools in the area. She said: “I wasn’t aware of this until I read the ‘Tully’ [Greenock Telegraph]. It isn’t fair to ban one side but let pupils read the other one. They should either ban both websites or allow both websites.” On the flippant response of the council leader, she said: “He should just fix it and say sorry.” A spokesman for the local authority told the Greenock Telegraph: “Our IT service have sorted out the small glitch which appears to have caused this. There is absolutely no question of any site being deliberately blocked.” The spokesman added: “The first line of the council’s content filtering system is based on website categories. The Yes Scotland website was categorised under ‘society and culture’, which is blocked by default for pupils in schools. No-one at the council or school was involved in deciding the category of the website, which meant that it was not accessible. As soon as we were alerted to this situation yesterday morning the site was unblocked by applying more detailed filtering rules, to ensure it could be accessed.” However the issue is unlikely to die down with some questioning why the pro-independence site had been placed in a category that was blocked.

d. In another twist, the Labour Councillor has now backtracked on an earlier announcement he would quit twitter over the issue. Last night McCabe told users of the social media platform, “I regret to announce the immediate closure of my account. I can no longer take the constant abuse from Cybernats and fellow travellers.” However within hours, the Labour Councillor had reactivated his account and tweeted: “Following an overnight barrage from the Cybernats (when do these people sleep?) I’ve decided to resume tweeting with A manufactured “political stormDidn’t someone think to call me?”
http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/index.php/scottish-politics/8772-labour-councillor-under-fire-after-laughing-at-censorship-of-yes-campaign-in-local-schools

 

 

Inverclyde Tartan 1b

 

 

25. March 2014; Drug seizures up by 2,000 per cent in Inverclyde

a. Police in Inverclyde have recorded a 2,000% increase in drug seizures in just a year. A massive 34 kilos of cannabis resin — with a potential value of around £150,000 — was taken off local streets last year. The figure compares with 1.7 kilos of the drug being confiscated during 2012. Other hauls landed by police during 2013 include nearly 13,000 illicit tablets, plus Class A narcotics crack cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. Nearly 40 kilos of illegal substances were obtained by officers during stop searches and other drugs busts across the district. Some of the most significant swoops of 2013 saw 12,929 diazepam and other pills being confiscated, as well as the large amount of cannabis resin. Separate recoveries of 83 cannabis plants, worth more than £30,000, were also made, as well as smaller amounts of MDMA, ecstasy, black market methadone and temazepam.

b. Inspector Clare McGuckien said that drugs operations within Inverclyde are a ‘top priority’ for her. She said: “My officers will continue to target this blight on our communities and the misery it causes, which has been highlighted recently in the press. These drugs are dangerous, there is no quality control in their manufacture.” She added: “I would encourage any member of the public who knows of any illegal activity regarding the sale or supply of controlled or unclassified drugs to contact the police.”

c. The figures were obtained by the Telegraph under Freedom of Information laws from Police Scotland. The data covers the period 1 January until 30 November 2013.

 

 

81011241767002laughingDriver

 

 

d. Quantities of so-called ‘date rape’ drug Rohypnol and herbal cannabis were also seized by police during the year. Police have recorded a number of successes in recent months as they step up the war against dealers. Class A substances worth an estimated £700,000 were recovered in February last year during a high profile swoop at Larkfield Industrial Estate. The figures follow on from significant seizures during 2011, when drugs worth around £530,000 were recovered. This included a huge haul of heroin with a street value of around £325,000 after a police swoop at a flat in Greenock town centre and the discovery of a cannabis factory in Port Glasgow’s Robert Street. http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/03/12/491340-drug-seizures-up-by-2000-per-cent-in-inverclyde/

 

 

Scottish-Referendum42

 

 

26. March 2014; 1,000 Inverclyde children living in severe hardship

a. Pat Burke, of Children in Poverty in Inverclyde, has vowed to do more to help them after his organisation was awarded official charity status. The group was set up last October and since then, thanks to the local community, has helped provide new clothes for up to 80 youngsters. The charity now hopes to expand its work by offering day trips to Millport and holidays to a lodge in Dunoon, plus arranging events like Christmas parties and pantomime visits. Pat says the latest research into poverty in Inverclyde shows just how much need there is for his group. Recent figures show that 1,000 children in the area, 11 per cent, are suffering severe poverty, while the take up for school meals in Inverclyde stands at 28 per cent, significantly higher than the national average of 20 per cent. Pat said: “It is evident that certain children in Inverclyde are in desperate need. The stigma of poverty has a real and lasting effect, and especially on the physical and emotional development of children. Our organisation believes that through our main activities, children from families affected by poverty will be given opportunities to participate fully in educational, sporting and social activities in our community. Children from poor families will, as a consequence of our organisation’s activities, feel valued and be empowered to participate — on an equal footing — with their more affluent peers, in all opportunities available to Inverclyde’s children.”

b. Pat says his group has been asked to provide all sorts of clothing, from anoraks and underwear to bedclothes, since it was set up. They have also encountered families who have been left destitute after fleeing their homes with only what they were standing in, through domestic violence. The group recently secured cash from the council to help carry out its work but securing charitable status will mean they are able to do even more. Pat said: “The recent Inverclyde Council grant award of £2,000 received earlier this month will assist us, but now having registered charity status it opens the way for us to make applications to the large external funders whose potential funding would make a real difference in that we will assist greater numbers.” He also pledged to continue with fundraising and was swift to praise the community’s generosity. Pat added: “When it comes to supporting deserving causes, the people of Inverclyde have no equal. They won’t let us down.”
http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/03/18/492001-1000-inverclyde-children-living-in-severe-hardship/

 

 

Cyclone_Friedhelm,_Inverclyde_2

 

 

27. August 2014; Why are politicians among the few occupations you cannot have sacked for incompetence?

a. I make no bones about it: most of the politicians based in Inverclyde are either incompetent or corrupt. There are, of course, exceptions – I know several personally on both sides of the independence referendum who are extremely hard-working, competent and genuine – but Inverclyde Council has a sordid recent history. In the last decade alone, the Council has been brought to task by Audit Scotland for its gross incompetence, poor leadership, and generally considered the worst local authority in Scotland. But while improvements have been made, there are still significant barriers to overcome. The full article, excellent in it’s content and heavily influenced in it’s approach by a wealth of local knowledge is to found here; http://wildernessofpeace.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/you-cant-shut-us-up/

28. March 2014; This is Greenock -A Video Record of progress

The State of Greenock: Webisode 1 – A Creative Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 2 – A Greener Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 3 – A Healthier Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 4 – A Wealthier Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 5 – A Smarter Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 6 – A Better Greenock

 

 

130607gary-bakermilibandcartoon

 

 

e. The Greenock Telegraph report is correct. But it is a monumental disaster we have to rely on a National newspaper to give us the scant facts. I find it absurd that Heads of Service could get things so wrong without the Chief Executive not also being complicit. I would like to think that a project of this size would be reviewed by the Management Team. Both day to day and in a formal monthly review. Someone’s not very happy with Mckenzie; http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/senior-council-official-sacked-over.html

 

 

poll

 

 

17. December 2011; A Special meeting of Inverclyde Council will be held on 15 December as part of an inquiry into a failed money-saving scheme.

a. Councillors are to discuss the Future Operating Model – a project which was designed to save the council cash but ended up costing money – a year after problems came to light. Four council officials – including a corporate director – were suspended in January this year amid an investigation into the scheme. All have since returned to work, with the last of the employee appeals following the disciplinary action concluded this week. One senior councillor says that elected members and members of the public should now be told which costs have been associated with the saga.

b. Lib Dem Alan Blair yesterday told a meeting of Inverclyde Council: “The Lib Dem group are very concerned abut this being dealt with transparently. “We have to get a history of the Future Operating Model, what went wrong and what it has cost the taxpayer. It’s a year since this blew up and that’s too long.”

c. Council leader Stephen McCabe said the project would be debated in full as soon as a report on it is completed. He said, “The chief executive has given a commitment to the council to report back at the first opportunity. The chief executive has called a full council meeting to give a detailed report and to allow members the opportunity to question him.” More on Councillor McCabe; http://subrosa-blonde.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/west-of-scotlands-political-world.html

 

 

14259158

 

 

d. Council chief executive John Mundell also gave an assurance that the meeting will be held in public, following a briefing for elected members. He said: “Full details will be with members and we will try to optimise what will be heard in public.” http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/uploadedFiles/Decision081-2012.pdf Councillor McCabe defends his record; http://councillorstephenmccabe.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/setting-record-straight.html

18. July 2013; ‘fails’ on jobs and investment targets

a. A publicly funded urban regeneration firm may face an overhaul over shortcomings in meeting targets on inward investment and job creation. Riverside Inverclyde was set up in 2006 to create thousands of new jobs and homes and lever in private investment. A mid-term review shows it has only achieved a small fraction of these targets for its £59m of public funding. One of its partners, Inverclyde Council, is now proposing changes to the firm’s management structure. Riverside Inverclyde – key facts;

b. Aims?

i. Launched in 2006 and operate for 10 years
ii. To help regenerate economically depressed parts of Inverclyde
iii. Would create 2,600 jobs
iv. Would build 2,285 homes
v. Attract £300m in private investment
vi. Secure £93m in public money

c. Achievements?

i. £59m of public money ploughed in so far
ii. 191 jobs created
iii. 121 new homes
iv. £3.6m of private investment secured
v. Development of Riverside Business Park,
vi. Enhancements to James Watt Dock
vii. Improvements to parts of Greenock and Port Glasgow town centres

d. The aim of Riverside Inverclyde was to help regenerate the area, which had become economically depressed with the decline of heavy industries. It was envisaged that the agency would operate for about 10 years, during which time it would achieve ambitious targets such as the creation of 2,600 jobs, 2,285 homes and attracting about £300m of private investment. To help achieve these goals, the firm was to be given £93m of public funding by the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise.

e. A mid-term review of the agency’s performance was carried out on behalf of the council and Scottish Enterprise earlier this year by external consultants. It found that while Riverside Inverclyde had received about £59m of public funding so far but it had fallen well short in its original targets.

 

 

camvlad

 

 

f. BBC Scotland understands that the report, which has yet to be published, shows that since 2006, the agency is credited with the creation of just 191 jobs and 121 new homes. It also shows that £3.6m of private investment has been levered in – just over 1% of the original 10-year target. The report also highlighted some achievements by Riverside Inverclyde, such as the development of Riverside Business Park, enhancements to James Watt Dock and improvements to parts of Greenock and Port Glasgow town centres.

g. Inverclyde Council, which is a major financier of Riverside Inverclyde, is now proposing an overhaul of its operations. If these are agreed, the board of the regeneration firm would be retained but discussions would take place on its future composition. The management structure of the firm would also be reviewed and closer monitoring and reviews of it operations would be put in place. The Council is also proposing that both bodies develop a two-year regeneration plan and key economic staff work more closely together.

 

 

PANews BT_P-4f462f28-55b5-46cb-8f6e-1ee11936aca2_I1

 

 

h. Inverclyde’s environment and regeneration convener, Councillor Michael McCormick, said: “This mid-term review gives all of the partners a chance to take stock and see what’s working well and what areas we need to change. “It’s clear that in some areas Riverside Inverclyde has worked well and also that we’ve faced some tough economic conditions. “We now wish to focus on delivering a single regeneration and economic development operating plan geared towards the opportunities and financial picture we face today. That way we can make sure that we work together to maximise the impact of our work.”

i. A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise said: “We remain committed to working with regeneration companies, including Riverside Inverclyde, to create economic opportunities in communities across Scotland.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-23314933 http://www.riversideinverclyde.com/ http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/jul/riverside-inverclyde-report-must-be-made-public

 

 

circling-small

 

 

19. July 2013; Agency paid £10m for land that is worth less than nothing

a. The regeneration agency criticised over its use of public cash spent in excess of £10 million on land it later emerged was worth less than nothing. Riverside Inverclyde has so far spent almost £13m on its scheme at the waterfront in Greenock, the vast majority of which was the cost of buying James Watt Dock. But the report into the seven years of progress of the agency found not only did Riverside Inverclyde pay real estate firm Peel Holdings over the odds for the land but the scale of the contamination on the site left it with a value of minus £6m.

b. It also claims many of those consulted as part of the review have felt the agency has lacked rigour in its dealings with Peel. Meanwhile, it has emerged Riverside Inverclyde will appear before the Scottish Parliament’s local government and regeneration committee after the summer recess. Although the meeting had been scheduled long before it was revealed Riverside Inverclyde had dramatically failed to meet key targets on jobs, homes and investment despite being awarded £60m in public cash, sources insist the findings of the Midterm Review are likely to dominate.

c. The review of the arm’s-length Riverside Inverclyde found it had met only 7% of its 2600 job targets since 2006, working out at a cost per job cost per job of £321,000. It has built just 5% of the 2285 new homes promised, while also securing just 1% of the private sector investment targeted. Two leading officials, chief executive Bill Nicol and implementation manager Garry Williamson, have either left or are due to leave. Mr Nicol and Riverside Inverclyde’s chairman, journalist and commentator Alf Young, have been consulted on the findings of the Deloitte review.

 

 

Yes-Inverclyde-1

 

 

d. The report found a survey of the James Watt Dock had been carried out across April and May of this year to check on contamination levels of the site, earmarked as the centrepiece of the regeneration of the upper Clyde, complete with prestigious flats and moorings for boats. It found the extent of the decontamination and “abnormals” works “would indicate significant liabilities in terms of costs as the site is developed and requires an assessment of Riverside Inverclyde’s continuing involvement”. The report also claimed “the net value of the site was a negative land value, not +£10million” as valued in 2008, adding a leading estate agent “identified no profits would be expected in the development proposal and, in the light of the information provided, indicate a residual negative value of -£5,998,035”.

e. It then proposes to “put the project on hold until such time as an agreed exit strategy can be developed”. Elsewhere it recommends it is “important to develop an effective partnership with Peel Holdings, allowing some progress to be made on some sites” but adds some feel Riverside Inverclyde could be more robust in its dealings with Peel to achieve better regeneration outcomes”. Riverside Inverclyde have not returned calls to comment on the reports, while Mr Young said he could not discuss the review as it had not been before the agency’s board.

f. But one former board member took to social media platform twitter to discuss his four years with Riverside Inverclyde. Chris Osborne, a former SNP councillor, said officials from Inverclyde Council, which together with Scottish Enterprise is behind the body, had expressed concerns about the agency’s progress as far back as 2010. He said councillors and local authority officers had noted the body “was slow to downsize staff wise when Government funds were reduced” and there were “rumours of tensions over bonuses and pay awards to the chief executive”. Mr Osborne added: “By and large RI has done much good. More physical regeneration than actual job creation which is obviously disappointing. It must be remembered there was the most severe recession throughout most of it’s existence. Lots of regeneration projects have suffered because of that. However, the number of jobs created most definitely is a scandal.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/agency-paid-10m-for-land-that-is-worth-less-than-nothing.21624846 A total of 38 comments have been recorded, to date.. There are 5 pages of scathing comments to be found at ; http://nawthenoo.net/forums/index.php?topic=4846.0 and more comment here; http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2013/09/16/471643-riverside-inverclyde-chairman-resigns-over-chief-exec-row-/ and here; http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/sep/transparency-needed-inverclyde More adverse comments from architects here; http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=902178&page=5 even more comment; http://www.senscot.net/view_art.php?viewid=14778

 

 

Martin Rowson 15.12.2014

 

 

20. January 2014; Councillors in Inverclyde are to get a two per cent pay rise despite a continuing squeeze on local authority budgets.

a. The basic pay for all of Scotland’s councillors will go up in March by one per cent from the current £16,234 to £16,560, backdated to 1 April last year — in line with what has been awarded to staff and offered to teachers. This will be followed by a further one per cent rise for councillors in April. The Scottish Government said the move followed representations from councils’ umbrella body Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities).

 

 

PANews BT_P-46a14adb-c560-44d0-a116-e35a343ce256_I1

 

 

b. Explaining the rise, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Following representation from Councillors and Cosla, ministers took the decision to end the period of pay restraint and have awarded what they consider is a fair award in the current financial climate.” The rises were defended today by Inverclyde’s Depute Provost David Wilson, who is Scotland’s representative on the National Association of Councillors. He said: “I will defend these rises until I’m blue in the face. Councillors work extremely hard and their pay is poor compared with that given to list MSPs. I’ve never really understood what list MSPs actually do, but Councillors certainly deserve their pay rise.” Mr Wilson also criticised the current level of responsibility payment given to council leaders, describing it as ‘a scandal’. Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe receives an overall total of £27,058, but Mr Wilson said: The leader is responsible for an enormous budget. It is a big responsibility for very little reward.”

c. News of a rise in pay for Councillors follows hot on the heels of plans to increase the amounts paid to politicians at Holyrood and Westminster. The salary of MSPs has been linked to that of MPs since 2002, with politicians at the Scottish Parliament paid 87.5 per cent of an MP’s wage — meaning an MSP’s salary is currently £58,097 a year. Now proposals are in place to scrap that connection and instead bring MSP rises into line with the public sector. Meanwhile, MPs could get an 11 per cent increase of £7,600, taking their pay up to £74,000. Inverclyde MP Iain McKenzie has previously told the Tele he would refuse such a large rise. http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/01/17/485313-inverclyde-councillors-to-get-2-per-cent-pay-rise/?mode=print

 

 

Inverclyde_Map

 

 

21. September 2013; Town Hall Rich List-Clydebank

a. If I was an Inverclyde voter at local elections, I would be making my views quite clear about the disgusting siphoning of public funds towards a select group of individuals. Is it acceptable for ratespayers money to be allocated away from public services to feather their nests? Surely not?

J Mundell; Chief Executive of Inverclyde council: £141,752
A Fawcett; Corporate Director of Regeneration & Environment at Inverclyde council: £122,078
A Henderson; Corporate Director of Education & Communities at Inverclyde council: £122,078
R Murphy; Corporate Director of Community Care & Health Partnership at Inverclyde council: £122,078
P Wallace; former Corporate Director of Organisational Improvement & Performance at Inverclyde council: £120,767
E Paterson; Head of Legal and Democratic Services at Inverclyde council: £107,513

 

 

exploitation

 

 

b. Adding on costs and associated expenses the total financial commitment to 6 individuals is around £1 million. http://rongattway.blog.co.uk/2013/09/28/greedy-bastards-of-great-britain-http-aftu-webgarden-com-16469891/

22. November 2013; Hole Lot Of Bother — Council Way Behind On Pothole Repairs

a. Only one-in-10 high-risk potholes was made safe or repaired within the target time of seven days in Inverclyde during a six-month period this year, officials have admitted. And just 14 per cent of less serious potholes were dealt with within the target time of 28 days during a 12-month period, according to an Inverclyde Council report. Severe wet weather damaging the area’s roads is blamed for the problem and roads bosses are carrying out a review of the situation. An extra £50,000 is being diverted to reduce backlogs. The council aims to repair or make high-risk potholes safe within a week of them being identified but between April and September this year that happened for only 12 per cent of such potholes. In the financial year 2012/3 a level of 26 per cent was achieved. The council’s target for 2013/14 is 80 per cent.

b. Less serious potholes should be sorted within four weeks of identification, according to council guidelines. Between April and September this year that response was made in 46 per cent of cases but for the financial year 2012/13, the figure was only 14 per cent. The target set for 2013/4 is 90 per cent. The council did much better with the worst potholes (emergency or urgent) which have to be repaired or made safe within 24 hours. Ninety-three per cent of those were tackled on time between April and September this year and 70 per cent during 2012/13. The council report states: “Management focus is now firmly on delivering improvements to performance in defect management. This will include a full review of operating practices, labour resources and possible investment of a software package to accurately record defects.”

 

 

Inverclyde-byelection-007

 

 

c. A council spokesman said: “This information highlights how important the announcement earlier this year of an unprecedented £17 million investment in the council’s roads network is. Over the past few years in particular, the severe winter weather, coupled with frequent, intense and prolonged rain falls, has taken an enormous toll on the roads network across the entire country. With the £17 million investment over the next three years the council aims make a significant improvement to the roads network across Inverclyde.” http://www.inverclydenow.com/today/10786-a-hole-lot-of-bother-council-way-behind-on-pothole-repairs Many comments with the article

 

 

nyt3

 

 

23. October 2011; Riverside Inverclyde to build a Gourock Bypass

a. Riverside Inverclyde, with the support of Inverclyde Council, is to build a one-way bypass around Kempock Street. Residents of of Gourock are concerned their views are not being taken into account. Many are of the view that the development is a sticking plaster attempting to solve a more fundamental issue of an ever-increasing volume of traffic. How creating two fairly busy roads out of one very busy one, creating an island of shops in the middle and alienating the waterfront can be seen as a good thing is beyond belief. Reduction of traffic the flow has never featured in the options list. Neither has any thought been given to how else £2.5million (although other reports suggest much much higher) could be spent within Gourock — one would be forgiven for thinking a by-pass was the only way to spend money! It will merely create longer journey times for east-bound traffic and make accessing the north side of Kempock Street more hazardous, as you are forced to cross a main trunk road.
http://www.inverclydenow.com/interact/reader-talkback/5750-reader-talkback-other-ways-to-spend-the-p25million-gourock-one-way-bypass-money-six-comments

24. January 2014; Labour Councillor under fire after laughing at censorship of Yes campaign in local schools

a. A Labour Councillor has caused anger after appearing to mock local people angered at the news the council were censoring the official Yes campaign in local schools despite allowing pupils to view the pro-Union rival site. Councillor Stephen McCabe has come under fire after he treated the situation as a joke and suggested it would not be resolved until after the independence referendum. The episode began when Caitlin Brannigan, a student at a local School, tweeted a picture showing that Yes Scotland’s site was blocked under content filtering from the Schools internal network but no such block was in place for Better Together. On hearing this another tweeter Scott Gillan decided to raise the issue with the local Councillor. He tweeted: “How long will it take to resolve Yes Scotland page being blocked in our schools Councillor ?”

 

 

article-2219886-0CCF32B300000578-777_634x517

 

 

b. Inverclyde council leader Stephen McCabe responded by tweeting “7 months I’m told Lol”. In a later tweet Mr McCabe described people who had challenged him, “conspiracy theorists”. However, the Labour Councillor’s response has caused outrage amongst users of social media who have accused the official of treating the matter as a joke and of condoning censorship. The story has provoked controversy in Inverclyde with the local newspaper, the Greenock Telegraph reporting that the Labour Councillor is at the centre of a “political storm”. Speaking to the newspaper, Shona McQuarrie – who leads the Yes Inverclyde campaign – said: “This is inexcusable. Mr McCabe was asked a perfectly legitimate question and he chose to make a joke of a very serious matter. There’s been no hint of an apology for his flippancy, or a proper explanation as to what has actually been going on here. It would be different if both websites were blocked. We need to know why the Yes Scotland site was inaccessible, why it was so, and for how long.” Mrs McQuarrie added: “This is a huge issue. Where is the consideration for what parents think? Pupils are not learning anything about the referendum in local schools if they are only being provided with one side of the debate. It is profoundly undemocratic and I have been told that loads of parents have been complaining.”

 

 

D5009FB1

 

 

c. Newsnet Scotland spoke to one parent whose children attend local schools in the area. She said: “I wasn’t aware of this until I read the ‘Tully’ [Greenock Telegraph]. It isn’t fair to ban one side but let pupils read the other one. They should either ban both websites or allow both websites.” On the flippant response of the council leader, she said: “He should just fix it and say sorry.” A spokesman for the local authority told the Greenock Telegraph: “Our IT service have sorted out the small glitch which appears to have caused this. There is absolutely no question of any site being deliberately blocked.” The spokesman added: “The first line of the council’s content filtering system is based on website categories. The Yes Scotland website was categorised under ‘society and culture’, which is blocked by default for pupils in schools. No-one at the council or school was involved in deciding the category of the website, which meant that it was not accessible. As soon as we were alerted to this situation yesterday morning the site was unblocked by applying more detailed filtering rules, to ensure it could be accessed.” However the issue is unlikely to die down with some questioning why the pro-independence site had been placed in a category that was blocked.

d. In another twist, the Labour Councillor has now backtracked on an earlier announcement he would quit twitter over the issue. Last night McCabe told users of the social media platform, “I regret to announce the immediate closure of my account. I can no longer take the constant abuse from Cybernats and fellow travellers.” However within hours, the Labour Councillor had reactivated his account and tweeted: “Following an overnight barrage from the Cybernats (when do these people sleep?) I’ve decided to resume tweeting with A manufactured “political stormDidn’t someone think to call me?”
http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/index.php/scottish-politics/8772-labour-councillor-under-fire-after-laughing-at-censorship-of-yes-campaign-in-local-schools

 

 

article-2213626-155E8E74000005DC-633_634x492

 

 

25. March 2014; Drug seizures up by 2,000 per cent in Inverclyde

a. Police in Inverclyde have recorded a 2,000% increase in drug seizures in just a year. A massive 34 kilos of cannabis resin — with a potential value of around £150,000 — was taken off local streets last year. The figure compares with 1.7 kilos of the drug being confiscated during 2012. Other hauls landed by police during 2013 include nearly 13,000 illicit tablets, plus Class A narcotics crack cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. Nearly 40 kilos of illegal substances were obtained by officers during stop searches and other drugs busts across the district. Some of the most significant swoops of 2013 saw 12,929 diazepam and other pills being confiscated, as well as the large amount of cannabis resin. Separate recoveries of 83 cannabis plants, worth more than £30,000, were also made, as well as smaller amounts of MDMA, ecstasy, black market methadone and temazepam.

 

 

nuclear-explosion-digital-art-hd-wallpaper-2560x1600-3213

 

 

b. Inspector Clare McGuckien said that drugs operations within Inverclyde are a ‘top priority’ for her. She said: “My officers will continue to target this blight on our communities and the misery it causes, which has been highlighted recently in the press. These drugs are dangerous, there is no quality control in their manufacture.” She added: “I would encourage any member of the public who knows of any illegal activity regarding the sale or supply of controlled or unclassified drugs to contact the police.”

c. The figures were obtained by the Telegraph under Freedom of Information laws from Police Scotland. The data covers the period 1 January until 30 November 2013.

d. Quantities of so-called ‘date rape’ drug Rohypnol and herbal cannabis were also seized by police during the year. Police have recorded a number of successes in recent months as they step up the war against dealers. Class A substances worth an estimated £700,000 were recovered in February last year during a high profile swoop at Larkfield Industrial Estate. The figures follow on from significant seizures during 2011, when drugs worth around £530,000 were recovered. This included a huge haul of heroin with a street value of around £325,000 after a police swoop at a flat in Greenock town centre and the discovery of a cannabis factory in Port Glasgow’s Robert Street.
http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/03/12/491340-drug-seizures-up-by-2000-per-cent-in-inverclyde/

 

 

brown pocketmoney

 

 

26. March 2014; 1,000 Inverclyde children living in severe hardship

a. Pat Burke, of Children in Poverty in Inverclyde, has vowed to do more to help them after his organisation was awarded official charity status. The group was set up last October and since then, thanks to the local community, has helped provide new clothes for up to 80 youngsters. The charity now hopes to expand its work by offering day trips to Millport and holidays to a lodge in Dunoon, plus arranging events like Christmas parties and pantomime visits. Pat says the latest research into poverty in Inverclyde shows just how much need there is for his group. Recent figures show that 1,000 children in the area, 11 per cent, are suffering severe poverty, while the take up for school meals in Inverclyde stands at 28 per cent, significantly higher than the national average of 20 per cent. Pat said: “It is evident that certain children in Inverclyde are in desperate need. The stigma of poverty has a real and lasting effect, and especially on the physical and emotional development of children. Our organisation believes that through our main activities, children from families affected by poverty will be given opportunities to participate fully in educational, sporting and social activities in our community. Children from poor families will, as a consequence of our organisation’s activities, feel valued and be empowered to participate — on an equal footing — with their more affluent peers, in all opportunities available to Inverclyde’s children.”

 

 

Gordon-Browns-Cabinet-001

 

 

b. Pat says his group has been asked to provide all sorts of clothing, from anoraks and underwear to bedclothes, since it was set up. They have also encountered families who have been left destitute after fleeing their homes with only what they were standing in, through domestic violence. The group recently secured cash from the council to help carry out its work but securing charitable status will mean they are able to do even more. Pat said: “The recent Inverclyde Council grant award of £2,000 received earlier this month will assist us, but now having registered charity status it opens the way for us to make applications to the large external funders whose potential funding would make a real difference in that we will assist greater numbers.” He also pledged to continue with fundraising and was swift to praise the community’s generosity. Pat added: “When it comes to supporting deserving causes, the people of Inverclyde have no equal. They won’t let us down.”
http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/03/18/492001-1000-inverclyde-children-living-in-severe-hardship/

27. August 2014; Why are politicians among the few occupations you cannot have sacked for incompetence?

a. I make no bones about it: most of the politicians based in Inverclyde are either incompetent or corrupt. There are, of course, exceptions – I know several personally on both sides of the independence referendum who are extremely hard-working, competent and genuine – but Inverclyde Council has a sordid recent history. In the last decade alone, the Council has been brought to task by Audit Scotland for its gross incompetence, poor leadership, and generally considered the worst local authority in Scotland. But while improvements have been made, there are still significant barriers to overcome. The full article, excellent in it’s content and heavily influenced in it’s approach by a wealth of local knowledge is to found here; http://wildernessofpeace.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/you-cant-shut-us-up/

 

 

10007393_776205645794207_6391159673619889042_n

 

 

28. March 2014; This is Greenock -A Video Record of progress

The State of Greenock: Webisode 1 – A Creative Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 2 – A Greener Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 3 – A Healthier Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 4 – A Wealthier Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 5 – A Smarter Greenock

The State of Greenock: Webisode 6 – A Better Greenock

 

 

 

B-Du0FeIMAAkyA8.jpg large

 

 

1. Iain McKenzie is a Scottish Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Inverclyde since the June 2011 by-election in his constituency. McKenzie was born and raised in Greenock, Inverclyde’s largest town, in the areas of Broomhill and Fancy Farm. A former employee of IBM, he was elected to Inverclyde Council, becoming Leader of the Council in February 2011. McKenzie’s election followed the death of David Cairns, who had represented the constituency since 2001. McKenzie made his maiden speech to the House of Commons on 11 July 2011, mainly focusing on employment, opportunity and population growth in his constituency.

 

 

_53796189_012333343-1davidson

 

 

2. June 2011; The moment Iain Mckenzie, the Labour candidate for Inverclyde was made to look two feet smaller

a. The undoubted highlight of the evening (and a rare case of me finding myself cheering on one of Clegg’s mob) was 20-year-old Lib Dem candidate Sophie Bridger’s hugely satisfying slap-down of Labour’s Iain McKenzie. He’d been quite simply refusing to let her complete her answer to his question about why she didn’t support mandatory prison sentences for carrying knives (that old favourite), repeatedly interrupting her with the moronic and faintly patronizing line “don’t take that on the doors of Inverclyde, Sophie”. Eventually she paused, fixed him with an icy glare, and asked him : “are you going to lecture me or are you going to let me answer your question?”. The effect was extraordinary – McKenzie fell completely silent and instantly looked about two feet smaller.

b. Iain McKenzie tied himself up in knots when pressed about Iain Davidson’s charge that the SNP are “neo-fascists”. McKenzie stressed that he wouldn’t have used such language himself because he didn’t want to drag politics down to “that level”, but when asked if it had been gutter politics he replied : “it’s not gutter politics, it’s Iain’s type of politics”. OK, so Iain Davidson is not a gutter politician, but he is, it seems, very much at “that level” of politics. Not to worry, Mr McKenzie – I’m sure no-one will have spotted the implication, let alone found it side-splittingly funny. http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/moment-labour-candidate-for-inverclyde.html

 

 

B0BQhVdIMAAJPNS.jpg large

 

 

3. July 2011; Labour holds Inverclyde with much reduced majority

a. Labour has won the Inverclyde by-election for the UK parliament but its majority has been more than halved. Iain McKenzie took the Westminster seat with 15,118 votes over the SNP’s Anne McLaughlin on 9,280. Labour’s majority fell from 14,416 at the 2010 general election to 5,838. The Conservatives took third place with 2,784, the Liberal Democrats polled 627 votes and UKIP was fifth with 288. http://www.libdemvoice.org/tag/inverclyde

 

 

article-2010177-0CCF4FF800000578-400_468x547

 

 

4. October 2012; Trouble with accommodation rental expenses Oh dear!! not again

a. Mr Iain Mckenzie MP for Inverclyde elected at a by-election last year on a promise to “win back the trust of the people” is reclaiming rent in respect of a taxpayer-funded second home the property of a fellow MP while she claims expenses for a third property. What these troughers will do to extract even more money from the taxpayer. A left-wing MP is pocketing £19,000 a year from the taxpayer by renting out her second home to a Labour MP – while claiming thousands in expenses to rent a third property for herself.

b. Linda Riordan is today revealed as one of four MPs involved in the controversial practice of renting out their taxpayer-funded second homes to fellow MPs for profit. The practice is technically permitted under the supposedly tough new expenses regime imposed in the wake of the expenses scandal. But critics last night warned it broke the spirit of the rules – and recalled the worst excesses of the scandal that heaped shame on Parliament three years ago. Commons Speaker John Bercow has now launched a bid to block the publication of details of MPs’ landlords which would reveal which other MPs are involved.

c. Halifax MP Mrs Riordan, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, rents out her £400,000 London flat to fellow Labour MP Iain McKenzie. Mr McKenzie pays her £1,560 a month in rent – equal to £18,720 a year – which he claims back from the taxpayer.

 

 

yvfo28wh99sysv83xo8lLinda Riordan

 

 

d. Official records show that Mrs Riordan’s mortgage fell to £562 a month in 2009 when interest rates hit their current low level. Assuming the rate is unchanged, she is now making £1,000 a month in clear profit from the rental payments to supplement her MPs’ salary of £65,738. At the same time, Mrs Riordan, 59, claims £1,473 a month – equal to £17,676 a year – from the taxpayer for renting a separate flat in London for herself.

e. She also has a home in Northowram, Halifax, which she has owned outright for more than 20 years. The arrangement means she now has three properties, two are funded by the taxpayer. Mrs Riordan, a widow, also employs her 51-year-old partner Stephen Roberts as a ‘senior researcher’ on a taxpayer-funded salary of up to £42,000. She did not respond to calls last night and Mr Roberts declined to comment.

f. But Mr McKenzie confirmed he was renting from Mrs Riordan – and admitted he felt uneasy about it. The Inverclyde MP, who was elected at a by-election last year on a promise to ‘win back the trust of the people’, said he rented the flat via an estate agent and had not realised it was owned by a fellow MP until her post started arriving. Mr McKenzie said he had checked the arrangement with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) when he discovered Mrs Riordan was his landlady. He added: ‘Ipsa said there was nothing to stop MPs renting out their flats, MPs are allowed to do it. But if I am honest, I would not do it and if I had known beforehand that the flat was owned by an MP then I probably wouldn’t have taken it. You’ve got to apply the test of how it looks to the man in the street, regardless of whether it’s above board or not.’ Mr McKenzie stressed he made no money from the arrangement.

g. MPs were banned from claiming for their mortgages on expenses as part of a bid to clean up Parliament. Instead they get an allowance of up to £20,000 a year. The ban finally came into force last month. Ipsa said four MPs are now renting to fellow MPs. Another four rent from former MPs whose homes were subsidised for years by the taxpayer. Official records show around 50 MPs claim rental expenses from the taxpayer while renting out their own homes in London or their constituency. Commons Speaker John Bercow has launched a bid to block the publication of details of MPs’ landlords which would reveal which other MPs are involved.

i. Mrs Riordan, who was elected in 2005, bought the flat for £300,000 in 2006. Records show the taxpayer contributed more than £35,000 to the cost of her mortgage between 2007 and 2010. Total payments are thought to top £50,000. Other claims relating to the flat include £1,310 for a sofa bed, £219 for bedding, and £1,936 for carpets. She also routinely claimed the maximum £400 a month for food – all without receipts – and claimed £100 a month for a cleaner until the practice was banned.

j. Last night Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘It was the cry that “it’s all within the rules” combined with attempts to suppress the publication of claims that made the MPs’ expenses crisis three years ago so toxic. ‘Whilst the rules may not technically prevent MPs from renting properties to one another, it is certainly against the spirit of those rules.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219886/Labour-MP-pocketing-19-000-year-renting-second-home-fellow-MP-shes-claiming-expenses-rent-THIRD-property.html

 

 

launch1Did You Know workfare unemployment statistics

 

 

5. March 2013; Iain Mckenzie and Labour Party roll of shame on workfare

a. In a virtually-empty House of Commons, a handful of MPs stood up to oppose the cheap-work conservatives on the front bench, with a Labour Whip instructing party MPs to let the workfare bill pass, and cheat thousands of the poorest people in the UK out of the money the courts had ruled they were due.

b. Today’s debate – from Tory, Lib/Dem, and Labour – was for the most part just bitching about people on benefits, who – sanctioned unlawfully of the money they were due – might be so impertinent as to want the money taken away from them unlawfully given back.

c. The idea that Labour ought to be the party of the left, standing in opposition against cheap-work conservatives, has … just gone, for a clear majority of Labour MPs. The Guardian’s estimate was that the payout due to claimants unlawfully sanctioned of their benefit would be on average between £530 and £570. You could hardly have asked for a better trial run of helicopter money – a few hundred pounds to a few thousand of the very poorest households, people who so desperately need the money that they are likely to promptly spend it.

d. But instead, Liam Byrne and most of the UK Labour MPs opted for the shabby pleasure of knowing they wouldn’t look like the kind of nasty socialists who think employers should pay their workers. They reasoned that they could let a bill pass, formally setting the government up as above the law, beyond justice.

e. Retrospective legislation was passed because of the Labour Party making the DWP’s unlawful actions on workfare lawful. Vindictive legislation passed with the declared intention of preventing a few thousand of the poorest people in the UK from having the equivalent of an MP’s lunch money. Iain Mckenzie was one of many Labour Party MP’s that abstained allowing the retroactive legislation to be passed into law. https://edinburgheye.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/labours-roll-of-shame-on-workfare/

 

 

wear-it-pink-2012Labour-Cartoon

 

 

6. May 2013; Nowt so queer as MPs – Equal Marriage Bill

a. One MP, however, stands above them all; one who has not yet been named and shamed; one whose behaviour in voting against this bill is an act of betrayal and of laying waste to the legacy he was bequeathed. Iain McKenzie, Scottish Labour MP for Inverclyde, claimed he was voting against equal marriage because his constituents did not support it. The man is a disgrace. For he made this tawdry excuse in full knowledge that he is MP for an area which previously voted for a former Catholic priest who was openly gay when elected and in a long-term relationship with his partner, which he confirmed in a civil partnership. and whose partner, I understand, encouraged Iain McKenzie to vote for this bill.

b. Iain McKenzie said on his election that “If I can serve my constituents half as well as David, I shall be doing well indeed.” Well, here is the news Mr McKenzie. You can’t and you won’t ever. You are the worst kind of politician who pretended to be something you clearly are not in order to secure your sinecure. You have trampled all over the memory of a fine and principled politician. You aren’t fit to lace David Cairns’s boots. https://burdzeyeview.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/nowt-so-queer-as-mps/

 

 

Queen12-days-of-a-privileged-christmas-david-cameron-george-osborne-political-cartoon-550

 

 

7. March 2014; Even More children are to be consigned to a life of poverty

a. Yesterday the House of Commons agreed by 520 votes to 22 to back the £119.5 billion ceiling on welfare spending in 2015-16 announced by George Osborne in his Budget last week. It’s a cap that Save the Children estimate will push 345,000 children into poverty in just four years. Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said: “We support capping social security spending, a policy the Leader of the Opposition [Mr Miliband] advocated last year.”

b. Iain McKenzie – Greenock and Inverclyde voted in favour of the capping. As Iain Macwhirter writes in the Herald: “Labour has, through its actions in Westminster yesterday, legitimised the Conservative welfare agenda. The party that created the welfare state has lost the ability to defend its fundamental principles…Last week Ed Miliband accused Alex Salmond of mimicking Tory policies and abandoning social justice; this week the Labour leader stands accused of gross hypocrisy”. http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/03/27/if-the-cap-fits/

 

 

posterToryCartoon--Maguire-Benefits-Cap

 

 

8 May 2014; Inverclyde MP defends £3k kitchen

a. Iain McKenzie MP has been grilled for claiming nearly £3,000 in parliamentary expenses for a new kitchen. The public cash was splashed out on a complete refit and extension of existing facilities in his Inverclyde constituency office on Union Street.Mr McKenzie signed off £2,824.20 for all of the work — despite sharing the small space with his Labour counterpart at Holyrood, Duncan McNeil. The money for the work was claimed by Mr McKenzie after he took over his section of the office from his late party colleague, David Cairns, in 2011.

b. Telegraph reader Bill Beattie — who obtained the payout figure under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws — today branded the expenditure ‘bizarre’. He fumed: “Why was the kitchen good enough for Mr Cairns and Mr McNeil for so many years, but not Mr McKenzie? And why, if the office is shared, did the Labour MP claim the full cost and not share this equally with Mr McNeil?”

c. Mr McKenzie today dismissed the kitchen questions as a ‘storm in a teacup’ and said everything was in order with parliamentary standards authority rules. The MP — who was given an allowance of £15,000 for office start-up costs — said: “Something is being tried to be made out of nothing here.” He added: “I have more staff in Inverclyde than David (Cairns) had but less staff than him at Westminster. The money was spent in response to staff representations that the kitchen facilities were inadequate.”

d. However, outraged constituent Mr Beattie says that he was left ‘utterly disgusted’ at the outlay. In correspondence he has sent to the Tele, he wrote: “It is very important to point out that this office is shared with Duncan McNeil MSP, and is also the same office that Mr McKenzie’s late predecessor David Cairns MP used. I therefore find it bizarre why Mr Cairns and Mr McNeil managed to use the office for so long without the need for a kitchen upgrade, however one of Mr McKenzie’s first acts as an MP was to claim £2824.20 to upgrade the kitchen. Instead of doing the right thing and not claiming ‘start up’ costs, as these were not required, the Labour man decided to fit a new kitchen at the public’s expense. I think Mr McKenzie should explain these costs to the people of Inverclyde.”

 

 

11194 itok=cOQv-YeI

 

 

e. Mr McKenzie — who has three full-time staff and one part time in his Greenock office — said that employment contract rules which give workers half-an-hour for their lunch break had necessitated the kitchen upgrade. He explained: This kitchen had been just a sink and a cupboard, without a door. Employees expressed that 30 minutes for lunch didn’t give them a lot of time to go out and get something to eat, and there was nothing to prepare food with in the office.

f. However there was a lot more to it than just replacing a cupboard and a sink.” Mr McKenzie said that fresh work had to be carried out in the kitchen, extra storage space installed and a microwave oven and fridge provided. He said: “There were a lot of hidden costs as well as visible ones and the work included plumbing being replaced, fresh joinery work, a re-sited water heater, new floor, preparation of walls as well as labour and VAT costs.”

g. The MP — who said he couldn’t find any other appropriate office space close to the centre of Greenock — added: “I decided to do things differently in the office from David. I couldn’t have people coming into the office for meetings and surgeries and looking into a grubby old kitchen. The fact is that everything is totally above board here. There was no need for an FoI request and the cost that entails in the first place, because all the information is contained in already published expenses.”

h. Comment A 30 minute break is a bit Dickensian. I expect staff would benefit from an extended staff lunch-time to 45 minutes. The practice of staff taking lunch at their desks is to be deprecated. The Office must stink!!

 

 

After the Scottish referendum.

 

 

9. May 2014; Inverclyde Council leader hired as assistant by MP From 24 February 2011

a. Local authority leader Mr Tom McCabe began his new part-time role with his Labour Party colleague and friend Mr McKenzie last month. The 20-hours-per-week appointment comes after McCabe, 50, left his day job with Govan Housing Association after 16 years in January. He said back then that he would be spending more time with his family, but added that he would also ‘be looking for something on a part-time basis’.

b. Gourock constituent Anne Campbell contacted the Telegraph about the matter after noticing that Mr McCabe,  had not mentioned his work for Mr McKenzie, above right, on his frequently updated online blog. However, the politician has amended his register of interests on the council website to reflect the work he now does for Mr McKenzie’s Inverclyde constituency office. MP Mr McKenzie today declined to reveal exactly how much public money Mr McCabe is being paid as his parliamentary assistant. But according to official salary scales published by the independent parliamentary standards authority (IPSA), Mr McCabe’s annual renumeration package would range from somewhere between around £10,000 to just above £15,000. Both men today insisted that the arrangement was fully in accordance with Westminster rules and regulations.

c. Constituent Ms Campbell said: “When consulting Mr McCabe’s online blog that he updates with his weekly diary, there is no mention at any point in the last six weeks of him ‘going to work’, as he used to put it previously. “The diary is full of council meetings and details of events he is planning to attend as a councillor.”

d. Mr McKenzie — who did not advertise the post locally — said: “I needed someone with local knowledge in order to answer emails and carry out other duties with a local perspective. The post was advertised and interviews were carried out — in fact I got CVs from as far away as Germany for the job.” The MP said that he was now carrying out the role of parliamentary private secretary to both shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran and shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker, and he had to boost his staffing level as a result. Mr McKenzie said: “I’m also doing up to seven constituency surgeries a month, including street surgeries where we go from door-to-door and tell people that we’ll be in their street at a certain time. I’m getting a good response to those and Stephen has been setting them up. The salary and job description for the role were agreed with IPSA.”

e. Councillor McCabe said: “My online diary is solely for council commitments and nothing else. Whatever else I do with my time is entirely up to me. I got the post through an open recruitment process and was selected as the best candidate. I have absolutely nothing to hide. Somebody casting aspersions like this is totally out of order and crosses the line.” The MP advertised Mr McCabe’s job on the w4mpjobs.com website for five days from 3 February — less than a week after Mr McCabe left his role as assistant chief executive at Govan Housing Association.

f. The Telegraph told yesterday how Mr McKenzie claimed nearly £3,000 in parliamentary expenses to upgrade a tiny kitchen in his constituency office in Greenock’s Union Street.

g. Comment: Seems to me Mr Mckenzie is short changing his constituents. He would be beest advised to give up his additional PPS duties, releasing time which he would be able to concentrate on doing good works for those that elected him to office. The services of Mr McCabe would not then be required saving the taxpayer £10-15K P/A.

 

 

jiaim-mcmurphzie

 

 

10. December 2014; A bitter row has broken out between two high-profile Inverclyde political figures over claims about the future of the health service in Scotland.

a. Local SNP group leader Chris McEleny has called for the area’s Labour MP Iain McKenzie to retract or apologise for comments made to constituents suggesting that the Scottish NHS is being ‘privatised’. Councillor McEleny says the MP’s stance differs now from that during the independence referendum campaign.

b. But Mr McKenzie has hit back, saying the Gourock Councillor is ‘twisting the facts’ to help his bid to become the SNP’s Inverclyde candidate for next year’s Westminster election. Councillor McEleny said: “It seems the fear tactics that the Labour Party used in their Better Together campaign with the Tories are continuing. Whereas in England we have watched as the NHS has been getting privatised, the SNP Scottish Government have protected our NHS and made it clear that Scotland’s NHS will always stay in public hands for as long as the SNP are in government.

c. During the referendum campaign, Labour in Scotland claimed that the NHS in Scotland was under no threat if people voted No. Now Iain McKenzie is claiming it is under threat. People in Inverclyde have every right to ask: was Iain McKenzie and his Labour Party lying to us before the referendum or are they lying to us now? Iain McKenzie must retract these comments and apologise.”

 

 

_77683052_photo(15) Iain McKenzie & Chris McEleny

 

 

d. In an email sent to constituents, Mr McKenzie insists there is ‘ongoing privatisation through the back door under the SNP government’, paired ‘alongside cuts which will result in less hospitals and key services’. The Labour MP said today that he fully stood by those remarks. Mr McKenzie added: “What we have from this prospective SNP candidate is an attempt to twist the facts — I can only think this is seen as an aid in his selection process. The correspondence with my constituents was in relation to a vote to protect the NHS in the event of any proposed Transatlantic Trade Agreement.

e. I am aware my constituents are against any threat of privatisation to the NHS, be that in Scotland or other parts of the UK. Headlines in various national papers highlighting increasing spend by the Scottish Government in the private sector will be of concern to them. Recently it was reported that spending on private healthcare by the NHS in Scotland amounted to £400 million, whilst it was also revealed that a major contract in NHS was given to a private company.

f. The fact that this is happening to the NHS in Scotland will have been alarming to those who contacted me. As for what was said during the referendum campaign about the NHS, it was in fact a correction of the Yes campaign’s misleading statement on who controls the NHS in Scotland — it is of course only the Scottish Parliament who can privatise our NHS in Scotland.”

Comment; Seems to me Mr Mckenzie should retract & apologise for his clumsy efforts distorting the facts in favour of his scare tactic. There is a vast difference utilizing expertise and/or facilities in the private health sector in specific one off circumstances, whilst retaining absolute control over events and the wholesale contracting out to private healthcare of the bulk of health services as is the case in England. http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/greenock/articles/2014/12/03/517824-inverclyde-mp-under-fire-over-nhs-privatisation-claims/

 

 

_53796189_012333343-1

 

 

Scottish MP Ian McKenzie samples the American dream that is the British American Project

You may have heard of the “special relationship” between the United States and United Kingdom (UK). The annual  British American Parliamentary Group (BAPG)  exchange embodies the special relationship on an individual level. The program brings US and UK government counterparts together in Washington, DC, Boston, and congressional districts around the country in order to strengthen transatlantic relations. To date, the BAPG has sent over 250 UK Members of Parliament (MPs) to the United States, and is now an important component of the ongoing US-UK partnership.  This year’s BAPG program occurred in the midst of several critical junctures for the US and UK; many discussions centered around foreign policy in the Middle East, TTIP , healthcare, immigration, and the upcoming Scottish referendumhttp://blog.meridian.org/ivlp/special-relationships-uk-mps-shadow-us-reps-around-the-country/

This group is a cover for the “British American Project” a secretive networking organisation funded by the CIA

 

 

IMG_5014-1024x682 Iain McKenzie meets with Congresswoman Roybal-Allard

 

 

11. Running Costs full year 2013/14

Office Costs: £15,128.12
Accommodation: £20,097.13
travel: £16,335.21
Staffing: £119,179.01

Total; £170,639.47

 

 

 

Categories
Labour Party

Jim Spud Murphy- Love Him or Hate Him -He is Not Returning to Westminster Holyw(R)ood Beckons

1. Just who is Jim Murphy?

a. James Francis Murphy is a British Labour Party politician who is the current Member of Parliament (MP) for East Renfrewshire. He previously served as Secretary of State for Scotland in the the Cabinet from 2008 to 2010. Prior to this, he was the Minister of State for Europe from 2007 to 2008, the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform from 2006 to 2007 and the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 2005 to 2006.

b. Jim Murphy is married He is a season ticket holder at Celtic Football Club, and captains the Parliamentary Football Team. He is a vegetarian and teetotal. Murphy was born in Glasgow and raised in a flat in the Arden. He was educated at St. Robert Bellarmine School until 1979, when he was 12, when his family emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa, after his father became unemployed. In Cape Town, he went to Milnerton High School. In 1985, Murphy returned to Scotland aged 18 to study Politics and European Law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He was a student at Strathclyde for 9 years, but did not graduate from the university.

2. May 1996; Jim, (Spud) Murphy A Stranger to Democracy

a. Murphy masqueraded as a defender of students when he was the president of the National Union of Students, and he did get his reward from New Labour for selling working class students out. He became the New Labour MP for East Renfrewshire. Some students were well aware that Murphy did not have the interests of the NUS membership, particularly poor and working working class students close to his heart. Instead, they regarded him as a NUS president who actively supported the Labour government achieve its aims of introducing fees and loans for education. His style was dictatorial.

b. At Manchester University, only a select group of hand-picked Murphy supporters were able to question Murphy on his reasons for supporting the introduction of loans and education fees and the gradual elimination of grants. All other students raising their hands were ignored. In due time Murphy’s position became much clearer to an increasing number of students. In Leeds, Murphy was fortunate to escape unharmed when he drew the ire of many students on a Save Free Education Rally when they saw him in attendance.

c. At the time there was a rumour that Murphy would be rewarded by New Labour with the chance to contest a seat in Scotland for the Labour Party if he could succeed in pushing through the party’s introduction of education fees. For many students,this seemed too absurd and corrupt to be believed, the rumour had to be nothing more than just a rumour. However, time revealed the painful truth.

d. During Murphy’s presidency in 1995, the NUS dropped its opposition to the abolition of the student grant in line with the Labour Party’s policies. Subsequently he was condemned by a House of Commons Early Day Motion introduced by Ken Livingstone and signed by 17 Labour MPs for ‘intolerant and dictatorial behaviour’. The EDM also makes reference to his parliamentary ambitions.

e. This is the same opportunist Jim Murphy that later breezed his way to the top echlons of the labour Party, under the protection of Tony Blair. The demise of Blair has brought a halt to his ambition. Ed Miliband recently, “put him out to pasture” removing him from the, “top team”. desiring greater distance between the controlling labour Party machine, in England, Murphy has been given a mini-coach and sent to Scotland with the express purpose of, “stirring the s***. Beware this guy, we nicknamed him, “The Undertaker”. Ignore his message. Vote, “Yes” to independence in the referendum. http://www.indymediascotland.org/node/18398

3. June 1996; Early day motion: MR JIM MURPHY AND THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS 12.06.1996

a. “That this House condemns the intolerant and dictatorial behaviour of the President of the National Union of Students, Mr Jim Murphy, who has unconstitutionally suspended NUS Vice President, Clive Lewis, because he took part, in a personal capacity, in an open debate at Queen Mary and Westfield College on the issues raised by the Campaign for Free Education; further notes that along with President Elect, Douglas Trainer, both men have warned NUS Executive member, Rose Woods, that if she attends the Scottish launch of the Campaign for Free Education she too will be suspended from the NUS Executive; reminds Mr Murphy and Mr Trainer that freedom of speech is a right in the United Kingdom, that they have no power to overturn the results of elections that went against their preferred candidates and that, whilst these methods are a common practice in dictatorships around the 4. world, they are not acceptable behaviour from someone such as Mr Murphy who is putting himself forward as suitable for election to the House of Commons”. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1995-96/991

4. February 2010; Murphy’s faith card unlikely to win votes

a. It is interesting to note the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, intends playing, “the religion card to win votes” This is the same Mr Murphy who, last month, was reported as aiming to counteract the threatened opposition of the BNP in his East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency, by uniting, “Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups to battle the party, which he described as ‘abhorrent'”. However, it should be noted that this is also the same Mr Murphy who was apparently happy to support the present government in its attempts to add further restrictions to the Equality Bill – thankfully blocked by the House of Lords – that would have removed the right of churches and other Christian organisations to refuse to employ persons who do not share their core beliefs, in particular those whose sexual conduct is contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
http://www.scotsman.com/news/murphy-s-faith-card-unlikely-to-win-votes-1-792087

b. Comment:

i. Calton jock: at interview Roman Catholic candidates seeking a job as housekeeper to the parish priest might be asked, Do you wear a condom during sex? An affirmative answer would be sufficient grounds to reject the candidate. Bonkers Spud.

ii. Rev C Brian Ross, Motherwell: I think it would be more accurate to say that, instead of “Labour trying to reposition itself as the natural party of religious voters” it is trying once more to get the endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church in particular which used to be taken for granted. Labour knows that a candidate being given the Church’s blessing is worth a lot more than thousands of pounds spent on leaflets through doors. Unless the SNP candidate is called John Paul, I suppose.

iii. Barry Lees, Greenock: You describe MP Jim Murphy as being a “devout” Catholic, that is: he subscribes to all the tenets, beliefs and instructions of that faith. That being so, he cannot speak to other faiths in the way he does because one of his beliefs and prayers he will offer is for the conversion of England, and so the United Kingdom, to the Pre – Reformation beliefs and practices. Others can fill in the many fault lines in his attempt to win votes.

iv. Tom Reilly, Edinburgh: Jim Murphy’s religion, or lack of it, is of no concern to me, nor I imagine to most in Scotland. His use of religion, and his “devout” Catholicism, to further his, and Labour’s, ambitions is disgraceful. To quote Keir Hardie, it is an insult to the founders of the real Labour party. Today’s Labour is no inheritor of those principled, decent men and women, who strove to improve the lot of those at the lower reaches of society.

v. Bill McLean, Dunfermline: Jim Murphy is taking Labour into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote A poll by ComRes published last week showed that those who define themselves as “non-religious” are equal in number to those who say they have a religion. If Labour starts favouring religious voters by promising regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating that half of the population who say religion has “little importance” in their lives. Other polls have shown that most ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. Why, then, would they want such issues on the agenda of a political party? His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding Mr Murphy to the facts. One of those facts is that it is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.

5. February 2010; Church launches government attack

a. The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has accused the Labour government of conducting a “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values”. The attack came as Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, a practising Catholic, claimed religious faith had a role in British politics. Mr Murphy said in a lecture that Labour best represented people of faith. But Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholic accused the government of “undermining religious freedom”. And a spokesman for the Scottish National Party said Mr Murphy was guilty of “crude electioneering” by trying to “corner the market regarding people’s faith”. A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed Cardinal Keith O’Brien

b. Mr Murphy focused on the key part “values voters” can play in the election when he delivered the Progress lecture in London on Tuesday evening. He argued that faith values have always been “at the very foundations of the Labour Party”. In his lecture, the Scottish secretary said: “In the US, faith has long played a central part in politics. Not surprising for a country where 60% of people say that God plays an important part in their lives. “But it’s wrong to think that it plays no role in British politics.” The MP for East Renfrewshire added: “Faith voters massively outweigh ‘Motorway Men’ or ‘Worcester Woman’ or any other trendy demographic group identified by marketeers.”

c. He also told the audience that like faith, the family was “another force for good” and “the most important thing in our country”. The minister added: “As well as providing a supportive intellectual environment, it’s a potential source of financial support in difficult days.” His comments were in contrast to the stated attitude of former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell. Despite former prime minister Tony Blair’s strong religious faith, Campbell famously said: “We don’t do God”. Mr Blair himself said he had avoided talking about his religious views while in office for fear of being labelled “a nutter”. Jim Murphy said religion was at the “very foundations” of the Labour party

d. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, welcomed Mr Murphy’s “recognition of the role played by faith and religion in society”. But he added: “A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed. “Instead we have witnessed this government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values. This is a charge I personally put to Gordon Brown when we met in 2008 and I have seen no evidence since then to suggest anything has changed.” Ironically, Mr Murphy had been due to mention the Cardinal by name in his speech by saying: “When the Cardinal speaks, people listen.”

e. Conservative leader David Cameron recently spoke of the importance of his Christian faith, while acknowledging that it grew “hotter and colder by moments”. He said he did not have a “direct line” to God and did not pray for guidance from the almighty.

f. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said he did not believe in God. However, he later added he had “enormous respect for people who have religious faith”, that his wife is Catholic and that his children are being brought up Catholic.

g. A spokesman for Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Politicians are fully entitled to declare their personal testament, as the first minister has done and indeed would encourage others to do so. “However, it is quite a different matter to make any suggestion that a political party should seek to corner the market regarding people’s faith. “To do so would be absurd, unreal, and bear the hallmarks of crude electioneering, which would backfire rather badly. “The reality is that people of all faiths and none support the different parties in Scotland, and that forms part of the vibrant political system we have.”

h. Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Jim Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote. “His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8529789.stm

6. February 2010; Jim Murphy – risks alienating voters by over-playing religion

a. Labour’s Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, risks alienating the Party’s core vote if he continues to insist that it embrace a religious agenda, says the National Secular Society. Reacting to Mr Murphy’s speech in Westminster today to Labour think tank, “Progress”, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said, “Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote. His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone. The society that we live in today is very different to the one that existed fifty years ago, and we want our politicians to reflect that change. Even in the last twenty years Scottish mass attendance has almost halved. The Labour Party should rein in Mr Murphy before he does it permanent damage. A poll by ComRes published last week showed that half of those who define themselves as Christian say that religion is of “little importance” to them.”

b. He went on to say, “If the Labour Party starts favouring religious voters by promising socially regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating huge numbers of people. Other polls have shown that ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. A 2007 YouGov poll showed that only a quarter of Catholics (and only a seventh of the population) agreed with Catholic dogma on abortion. This suggests allying a political party to religion is electorally very dangerous. This is why the electoral results of the Christian Party are pitiful.”

c. He added, ” The British Social Attitudes Survey, published last month about religious leaders trying to influence how people vote in an election, showed that 75% of respondents thought that they shouldn’t, while 67% think religious leaders should stay out of Government decision-making. When asked: “If many of our elected officials were deeply religious, do you think that the laws and policy decisions they make would probably be better or probably be worse?” Nearly half of respondents thought they would be worse, whereas only 26% thought they would be better.” http://www.secularism.org.uk/labour-risks-alienating-voters-b.html

7. March 2010. Glasgow Council Corruption

a. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has entered the Glasgow City Council scandal. Murphy has issued a statement to the press warning critics to, “stop knocking” the whole city of Glasgow, after the resignation of its disgraced council leader, Steven, “bin laden” Purcell. The, “critics” are calling for an independent inquiry into Labour controlled Glasgow City Council and its NGOs in regard to the awarding of contracts and jobs to Labour Party members. In trying to distance the Labour Council of shame from Purcell, Murphy protecting the Labour Party said it was, “more than one individual”. Murphy then went on to link the Glasgow Labour Party with Glasgow by saying; “I just wish people would stop knocking Glasgow”.

b. People aren’t knocking Glasgow, they are asking serious questions about Labour’s practices. And those questions aren’t going away until answers are provided. Who got the millions of, (disappeared) pounds of Glasgow taxpayers’ money? It seems that Murphy doesn’t want people asking questions so is attempting to smear them by saying they are attacking the city. That won’t wash and Glaswegian people aren’t that stupid Murphy despite what you think! The cry from the public and clean politicians is, “We have to find out whether this is serial fiddling or an orchestra of fiddlers.” http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/labour-mp-jim-murphy-thinks-glaswegians.html

8. March 2010; Murphy Upgrades his Office on Taxpayers Money

a. You mean Jim (Spud) Murphy from the East End of Glasgow? The young student who, as an active member of the, Revolutionary Communist Party, was at least 10 streets further to the political left than Tommy Sheridan ??? More money has been spent on fixing up Dover House in London over the past two years than in the whole of the previous five years, it was disclosed yesterday. Public cash has gone on things like new carpets and oak floorboards, wall and ceiling decorations, a new fireplace, air conditioning, new cupboard doors and CCTV cameras. Since 1999, a succession of Labour ministers have authorised more than £3.3 million of “refurbishments” to the Scotland Office’s Whitehall headquarters, as well as its smaller Edinburgh base. More than £1 million was squandered in 2007/08 alone with a further £400,000 last year, leading to claims that the government “wasted” public money during the height of the economic crisis. http://www.scottishsundayexpress.co.uk/news/uk/162972/Labour-blows-1-4m-on-Jim-Murphy-manor

9. September 2012; The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign strongly condemns the candidacy of Jim Murphy MP, former Chair and continuing member of Labour Friends of Israel

a. Throughout his political career, Murphy has demonstrated blind support for the Israeli state, and blatant disregard for Palestinian lives and human rights. Examples of Murphy’s contemptible views abound. In a 2011 article, Murphy expressed the sentiment that ‘Labour still loves Israel’, condemning the principled decision of the TUC to review its relationship with Israel’s racist trade union, the Histadrut. At that point in time, Murphy called trade unionists’ decisions to respond positively to the Palestinian call for Boycott as a ‘step backwards’, yet since then, no doubt much to Murphy’s chagrin, the Scottish TUC has reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions year after year.

b. Murphy’s recent complicity in Israeli atrocities goes on. Murphy has visited Israel at least three times since 2011: in June that year, receiving a £3,234 donation from pro-Israel lobby group BICOM to cover his expenses; in September 2012, to speak at the annual Conference of the ‘International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’ in Herzliya, and again in October 2013, on a visit with a ‘defence and security focus’, which included visits to the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan and to Israel’s apartheid wall in the West Bank. To an Israeli audience, Murphy lauded the State as a partner in ensuring ‘anti-autocratic instincts which gave birth to the Arab Spring are not abused by those who seek control for malign purposes’. Israel has been a vital partner, yes, but in the suppression of these anti-autocratic instincts, lobbying hard for the restoration of US military aid to Egypt following General Sisi’s coup last year. Following Israel’s November 2012 attack on Gaza, Murphy spoke only of Israel’s alleged ‘right to defend itself’, without as much as a passing condemnation of the murder of hundreds, many of them already refugees, in one of the world’s most heavily populated strips of land.

c. Whilst Murphy has claimed that that ‘to equate Israel with the vile racist regime in South Africa is both ignorant and outrageous’, veteran leaders of South Africa’s liberation struggle such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have long condemned Israel as an apartheid state; Israeli poet Yitzhak Laor has gone further, noting that ‘the system preserving this apartheid is more ruthless than that seen in South Africa, where the black were a labour force and could therefore also make a living.’

d. Such an apologist for the State which has perpetrated the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of Palestine from 1948 to the present day should have no place whatsoever in Scottish politics, let alone as Leader of Scotland’s second-largest political party. We urge all those with a vote in the Scottish Labour leadership election not to cast their vote for Murphy under any circumstances, and to hold the other leadership candidates to close scrutiny with regards to their positions on Palestine. http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php/142-western-complicity/1967-till-today/political/the-right/tories-and-new-labour/1668-jim-murphy-champion-of-apartheid

10. June 2010; Murphy The Welfare Minister

a. Murphy was Welfare minister in the last Government and oversaw the introduction of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA), etc, no mention by the faux anti-imperialists about that. He has simply never met a blairite policy or a party-line in his entire electoral life he didn’t agree with. Have a look at the rest of his voting record. His office running costs alone (which exclude the staffing budget) are higher than the median household income in the section of his constituency that counts as Labour’s support base (Barrhead, as East Refrewshire has previously been, in it’s past incarnations, a strong Tory seat). This is a Politician who, in the early years of his tenure claimed over £17,000 travel allowances, while 36% of his constituency live in the areas belong to the upper 25% of most deprived areas in the country.

b. Jim Murphy is the Labour MP for East Renfrewshire and shadow secretary of state for defence.

i. Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
ii. Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
iii. Voted very strongly for a stricter asylum system.
iv. Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.

11. October 2012: MP’s Sub-let Their Taxpayer Paid Flats to Other MP’s

a. Jim Murphy, MP for Eastwood, and Russell Brown, the Dumfries MP, are to meet officials from the Commons Fees Office this week to discuss repayment. Mr Murphy has admitted the Commons paid the full rent for his constituency office while he was claiming half the rent from the Eastwood MSP, Ken Macintosh. Mr Brown, who had the rent for his constituency office paid in full, received rent from the MSP Elaine Murray who is the new deputy minister for tourism, culture and sport. Miss Murray said it was inconceivable that Mr Brown would have “fiddled his expenses” and if there was any confusion it was because of the “lax systems at the Fees Office”.

b. A party spokesman said: “What these MPs did wrong was not returning this money, half the rent, to Westminster. They should have sent it back and asked for it to be forwarded to them for them to use to cover the costs of things like stationary and photocopying. “Instead they used the money themselves directly for this purpose, but they have receipts of purchase to show what it was spent on. They accept they made a mistake with the rules.” It has also emerged that the Labour Party overcharged for the rent of an office being used by Anne McGuire, and shared by the MSP Sylvia Jackson. The entire office rent for April was billed to, and paid for by, both Westminster and the Scottish Parliament. A spokesman said: “There was a mistake. The Fees Office is now aware of the mistake and the situation will be rectified in some way. We are being as honest as possible with this and are not trying to cover anything up.”

c. Pete Wishart, the Scottish National Party’s chief whip, said he intended to refer all three cases to Elizabeth Filkin, the Standards Commissioner. “If over claiming on Westminster office expenses was a big enough offence to topple a First Minister, then the consequences for Jim Murphy and Russell Brown are extremely serious,” he said. Mr Murphy should consider his position as parliamentary aide to Helen Liddell, the Scottish Secretary, and Mr Brown should not be allowed to carry on as a member of the Westminster Standards Committee.

d. “No politician should get rich by the back of politics”, Jim Murphy MP (Sky News Interview Apr 2010) Ready reckoner provides evidence his claims totaled just over £1 million. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220081/New-MPs-expenses-scandal-27-letting-London-homes-claiming-20-000-public-money-rent-elsewhere.html

12. January 2014; Pray to stay – expulsion threat for pupils who don’t say prayers

a. Children who opt out of saying prayers and singing hymns at Scottish faith schools are being threatened with expulsion. Evidence submitted to MSPs claims headteachers are trying to remove children or pressure them into switching school if they exercise their right to opt out of religious observance at denominational schools. And dozens of schools are failing to adequately inform parents about their rights when it comes to deciding whether or not to take part in religious aspects of the curriculum. The Sunday Post has learned of a case in which a girl was told she would have to leave her Catholic school if she did not take part in a traditional church ritual.

b. Critics last night described the revelations as “very worrying”. The Scottish Secular Society claim they are aware of “several” cases in which pupils have been forced to change school. Caroline Lynch, the organisation’s chairwoman, said: “It’s awful. One girl was told that if she didn’t learn part of the catechism then she’d be excluded. “In the last two months I’ve heard from three sets of parents whose children have been threatened with exclusion or told they were not at the ‘right’ school.”

c. The Scottish Secular Society is petitioning Parliament to change the law so parents and pupils opt in to religious observance rather than opt out. Lynch blames headteachers who believe that children who go to a religious school are automatically obliged to join in with religious observance including hymns, prayers and bible study. She added: “Sometimes headteachers just don’t understand the law. But, in some cases, it is people who believe that if a child is at their school then religion is part of the programme. That’s not acceptable. There’s a host of reasons why people send their kids to a particular school.”

d. Scotland has 370 state-funded faith schools of which three are Episcopalian, one Jewish and the other 366 Catholic. Just over a third of Scots claim to have no religion. Figures collated by the Scottish Secular Society show at least 26 schools in Scotland are failing to include information about the right to opt out in their handbook, which they are obliged to do.

e. Michael McGrath, of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said: “Catholic schools are expected to comply with council policies and Scottish Government guidance on the provision of religious observance. “All parents have a right to withdraw children from religious observance on grounds of conscience. “However, where a parent chooses a Catholic school for their child’s education, they choose to be part of the school community and to opt in to the school’s ethos and practice which is imbued with religious faith and religious observance. If a parent was concerned about this they would surely choose a school which does not have a faith character.”

f. One Christian mother contacted the Scottish Secular Society after opting her children out at their request because they said they no longer believed. She claims the school told her that if she went ahead they would be excluded. The Humanist Society Scotland’s Gary McLelland blasted: “If a parent is being forced to remove their child from a school then the rules are not being followed. That would be horrific.” Next week, The Humanist Society and the Church of Scotland will urge religious observance in schools be changed to “time for reflection” to make it more inclusive. Scottish Government spokesman said current legislation and guidance around religious observance is “appropriate” and is not persuaded a move to an opt-in system would be helpful.

g. Mum’s battle to opt out The decision to pull her children out of religious observance sparked a three month battle with their school for one mother. The woman, who asked not to be named to protect her children, informed the Catholic school she was exercising her right to opt out but the message failed to get through to the teachers. She said: “It was a battle and at one point my daughter’s guidance teacher was saying to her if you carry on down this road you will be excluded. “People say to me why don’t you pull them out, but they are settled in all other aspects, such as their friends, and you don’t know what views your teenagers are going to have years down the line when you are choosing schools for them. “I’m a Christian but my son is an atheist and the school needs to respect that. I’ve wondered if there is so much resistance because they know they’d have a staffing nightmare if more people chose to opt out.”

13. August 2014; A peaceful protest, (approximately 1000 attended) at BBC Scotland HQ in Glasgow. (BBC reported 350)

a. Outraged that the, “Yes” Scotland campaign should organise such a demo Labour MP Jim Murphy went on-line to, one of the pro-independence blogs and made mischief, Stirring the proverbial s*** he wrote; “they lost the plot”. “They were angry and divisive”. “Their attempts to bully broadcasters and boycott businesses is the last thing the independence debate needs”. “Their angry and divisive campaign is a turn-off”. “They are frustrated”. “They are losing the big arguments and losing the plot in a big way”. “The reason for the nationalists’ frustration is clear: after 80 years of campaigning to break up the UK and with just 80 days to go, patriotic Scots are still saying no thanks to their political project”. “Now we are seeing real-world attempts to bully a broadcaster.” But square the foregoing with an extract from a recent speech, (setting out his belief in democracy) by the same Jim Murphy; “Nations which suppress the rights of their people to take advantage of civil society, democratic expression or the rule of law can no longer be considered stable nation states” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTens0SZlno

14. September 2014; Jim Murphy appeals to ‘scunnered’ Scottish Labour voters

a. Jim Murphy addresses the Labour party conference in September the word of the moment, on a wet autumn afternoon in the East Renfrewshire constituency of Jim Murphy, the top . contender to lead Scottish Labour, is “scunnered”. The Westminster MP uses the Scots word for annoyed disgust to explain how his party can prevail in Scotland next May’s general election, despite opinion polls suggesting it faces a near wipeout that could kill Labour hopes of government. The prospect of a crushing defeat north of the border will do little to help the mood of a party where several senior figures, it was reported yesterday, have little confidence in Ed Miliband, Labour leader.

b. Scottish voters are feeling “scunnered with the status quo”, Mr Murphy, a former secretary of state for Scotland, says over pizza and Irn Bru at the Busby Hotel. But he believes Labour can still win if it offers a credible hope of change from a UK government led by the highly unpopular Conservative party. Among some formerly loyal voters in Scotland, however, it is the Labour party itself that arouses disgust. Just up the road in Busby, barber Robert Little, 51, says Labour could once depend on his backing. “That’s the way I was brought up by my dad,” he says. But Mr Little feels the modern Labour party is in thrall to corporate interests, citing what he sees as its failure to defend consumers from unhealthy processed food. In September he voted for Scotland to break away from the UK and the sight of Labour sharing anti-independence platforms with Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians really put him off. “That scunnered me,” Mr Little says. ““We’re not the other guy” is not the basis of an appealing party.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43d77872-6694-11e4-9c0c-00144feabdc0.html

15. October 2014: Murphy to Lead Labour in Scotland

a. In Jim Murphy, some believe that the party has found its super-sub. After his, “100 towns in 100 days” speaking tour made him a Unionist hero during the referendum campaign, the shadow international development secretary is regarded as having the stature necessary to first halt and then reverse the forward march of the SNP. “He looks like a leader,” a supporter declared. A teetotal vegetarian (his one vice is Irn-Bru) who finished first among MPs in the 2013 London Marathon and the author of a well-received recent book on football, even his enemies concede that few politicians can equal his energy.

b. But those same figures argue that his personality, ideology and Westminster background make him ill-equipped for the task at hand. “He’s the Marmite-plus candidate,” one Labour MP told me, noting that his, “fraught relationship” with Douglas Alexander had, “got worse” during the referendum campaign. “Jim Murphy’s the last person you would want to heal the wounds of a divided party.”

c. The Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm, meanwhile, warned that electing an MP as leader would, “turn a crisis into a catastrophe”. Under the party’s rules, Murphy is required to seek election to Holyrood by 5 May 2016 (the date of the next devolved contest) at the latest. While unlikely to trigger a stand-alone by-election, several sources have suggested that he would aim to secure a seat in time for the general election, giving him a year to take on Nicola Sturgeon in the Holyrood chamber.

d. No Scottish Labour politician draws more opprobrium from nationalists than Murphy. To some in the party, this is proof that he is the one they fear the most. However, SNP sources deride this as wishful thinking. “He’s pro-[tuition] fees, pro-Iraq [war], pro-Trident, which are three of the things now embedded as part of the SNP’s moral and political identity,” one told me. “All of the worst aspects of Labour politics from an SNP perspective are wrapped up and embodied in Murphy. His election would hand the party a gift on a plate.”

e. The prospect of the trade unions – and Unite in particular (whose recent animus towards Murphy dates from the Falkirk affair) – opening fire on him during the campaign is one that they relish. “Unless Ed can do a deal with them, the unions will cause problems for Jim,” one Labour figure warned.

f. As will the insurgent SNP and the wider nationalist movement. Under Sturgeon’s leadership, the party will move to the left, partly out of conviction (unlike Salmond, she is an unambiguous social democrat) and partly out of necessity. The 60,000 people who have joined the SNP since the referendum demand nothing less. In the new Scotland, where a young generation of writers, thinkers and activists define themselves by their constitutional radicalism, Labour faces forces that it can no longer control.

g. For now, the party draws consolation from the enduring unpopularity of the Tories in Scotland, as demonstrated during the referendum campaign. By framing the general election as a choice between a Conservative government or a Labour government, it hopes to prevent critical losses to the nationalists. First, Labour needs to win the right to be heard again. After the public bloodletting of the past weeks, the contrast between the ineptitude of Scottish Labour and the ruthless competence of the SNP has never been greater. The electorate could yet respond by inflicting even greater harm on Labour. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/10/fall-reluctant-leader-inside-story-scottish-labours-crisis

16. October 2014; Labour Party faces meltdown. Neil Findlay

a. Neil Findlay, MSP and left-wing candidate for Lothian was stumped for an answer when asked, “What do you think of this poll then?” after an astonishing survey put the SNP on 54 seats and Labour on 4 after the next general election. “We need to get our act together very quickly. We need to get a new leader in place, and most crucially get policies in place to sell to the electorate.” In a three-horse race, Findlay is, all about traditional Labour values. In his view the failure to push these values is why Scottish Labour has performed badly “over the last 10 years or so”, he said. “Just look at the electoral results, certainly at a Scottish parliament level, to see we haven’t been effective.

b. Findlay said the referendum, in which Labour campaigned shoulder-to-shoulder with the Conservatives, had badly damaged his party. “I was no huge enthusiast for the Better Together campaign,” he said. “It gave an easy opportunity for the Yes side to fire bullets at us and say we were allied with certain political parties. It was an easy attack for them, particularly when they were trying to peel away Labour voters.” Another candidate, Labour MP Jim Murphy, had a starring role in the referendum campaign but Findlay stressed that policies not personalities would decide the outcome of the next election. Referring to the visit to Scotland of Labour leader, in the final weeks of campaigning. Was this an own goal? “Presentational it might not have been the cleverest way to do things, he said.”

c. Ed Miliband is a touchy subject in Scottish Labour at the moment. Labour MP Ian Davidson claimed Lamont had been the victim of a “Blairite coup” led by the London-based leadership. Findlay refused to comment on those allegations, but said there has to be more power for the Scottish party, and less interference from the UK-wide party. “It would be naive to say there are no problems, clearly there were,” Findlay said. “It’s critical that we have further devolution of policy in the Scottish party. If Scottish Labour policy is different to UK policy, then so be it, that’s what the devolution policy in Scotland is all about.”

d. On devolution, he said “a range of powers” should be devolved to the Scottish parliament. When pressed on what this actually meant, he said: “The whole issue of taxation is key. There is an argument for the 100% devolution of tax, but there are also arguments against that.” So that clears that up. He said the referendum should be “once in a lifetime”, and that Nicola Sturgeon’s suggestion that every individual UK country should have to vote Yes in an EU referendum for it to be legally binding is “absurd”. Findlay is not the favourite in the Scottish Labour leader race, and even if he wins, polling suggests life as Scottish Labour leader will be very, very difficult. “A poll is a poll is a poll,” he said. “We’ve seen them come and go in the past. We have to be prepared, we have to get our act together very quickly, and that will be the focus of any leader when they’re elected in December.” http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/we-told-a-scottish-labour-leader-candidate-his-party-faces-m

17. October 2014; Jim Murphy’s Campaign Team Looks A Lot Like The Better Together Campaign Team

a. The campaign director of Better Together has been confirmed as an advisor to Jim Murphy MP as he campaigns for Scottish Labour leadership. Blair McDougall, who led the campaign for Scotland to remain in the UK, will take up an advisory role, Murphy’s team has confirmed. Meanwhile, Rob Shorthouse, Better Together director of communications, helped set up Murphy’s campaign this week but will not be formally involved in the campaign in the weeks to come. Day-to-day running of the campaign is to be led by James Kelly MSP and Jenny Marra MSP.

b. The involvement of the Better Together team could prove to be controversial. Some in Scottish Labour have said the pro-union campaign damaged the party. Labour support in Scotland has collapsed according to recent polls, and some within the party believe campaigning alongside the Conservatives as part of Better Together is responsible. Fellow leadership candidate, Neil Findlay MSP, said he was “no huge enthusiast” for Better Together and it gave the Yes side “an easy opportunity … to fire bullets at us and say we were allied with certain political parties.” More formal appointments to the team will made over the weekend as the Murphy leadership campaign officially launches with a rally in Edinburgh on Saturday. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/jim-murphys-campaign-team-looks-a-lot-like-the-better-togeth

18. November 2014; Ed Miliband tried to persuade Gordon Brown to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership

a. Ed Miliband tried to persuade Gordon Brown to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership, according to a senior party source. Miliband sent a member of the Shadow Cabinet to ask the former prime minister to stand before nominations closed last week, the Independent on Sunday reports. The source added: “Gordon showed good sense in turning it down.” Miliband is understood not to be a fan of Scottish leadership favourite Jim Murphy, a Blairite who stood down as Labour’s international development spokesperson this month. Miliband is thought to get on badly with Murphy, whom he demoted from defence spokesperson last year as Miliband’s aides branded him, “Disloyal”.
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/533476/Ed-Miliband-snubbed-by-Gordon-Brown

19. November 2014; Jim Murphy Will Stand For Holyrood Even If He Loses The Scottish Labour Leadership Election

a. Jim Murphy will leave Westminster and stand for the Scottish parliament even if he loses the Scottish Labour leadership election. Murphy, the MP for East Renfrewshire, is still favourite to become leader, but Neil Findlay MSP, the candidate backed by the majority of Scotland’s trade unions, has closed the gap to just 6%, according to polling seen by BBC Scotland. However, Murphy said he would stand for a seat in the Scottish parliament even if it meant taking a relatively unimportant role in Findlay’s Scottish Labour party. “Win, lose, or draw, that’s my plan,” he said, although he is not yet concerned about losing the increasingly tight leadership battle. “I’m never complacent, but I’m not worried. We’re having a contest, not a coronation, and I’m happy with how the campaign is going so far.”

b. Murphy spoke shortly after delivering a speech backing the full devolution of income tax to Scotland – a measure that he opposed only three weeks ago. “What’s changed for me is that the Barnett formula is now protected,” he said. “The worry we had was that [if] you devolve income tax but you don’t maintain the Barnett formula, that would be a bad deal for Scotland. We can now support the full devolution of income tax.” Labour officially supports sharing income tax between the Scottish and UK parliaments, but Murphy is bullish about being able to stamp his authority on a Scottish Labour party that ex-leader Johann Lamont said was treated as a “branch office” by “dinosaurs” in the UK party.

c. He said: “Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, I get on well with them, but they can read about my policies in the newspapers like everyone else. I’m big enough and ugly enough, I won’t be pushed around by anyone.” That, according to Murphy, includes the leader of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, who wrote a stinging attack on him, saying his election as leader would be “a death sentence” for Labour in Scotland. “Len has the right to say what he fancies, and Scotland has the right to say that he’s wrong,” said Murphy. “I grew up in a Glasgow housing scheme – I’m chilled out about it.” Murphy “admires the energy” of the SNP and thinks he would work well with first minister Nicola Sturgeon as “she loves Scotland as much as I do”, but was critical of the performance of his own party in Scotland. “We’ve not been good enough, and we’ve not been Scottish enough,” he said. “We have to change, and that’s what I’m trying to do.” The new Scottish Labour leader will be announced on 13 December. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/jim-murphy-will-stand-for-holyrood-even-if-he-loses-the-scot

20. November 2014; Senior Union official states – Trade unions want to stop Jim Murphy MP from becoming Scottish Labour leader because he’s a career politician

a. Gordon McKay, the Labour link chair of Unison, said his union chose to back Neil Findlay MSP’s bid rather than Murphy’s because Findlay “doesn’t come from a political elite”, and “didn’t start off with his career in politics”. “Neil Findlay is capable of getting our message out,” said McKay. “He’s been a brick layer, a teacher, a local Councillor before he got into Holyrood. He knows exactly what issues affect working people and their families.” Murphy, meanwhile, went straight from president of the National Union of Students to an official role with the Scottish Labour Party in 1996.

b. Union members have a third of the vote to decide who becomes the new leader, and proved to be decisive in the last Labour leadership election when they backed Ed Miliband. McKay hopes their influence will be enough to lift their man into leadership this time too. “We’ll be writing to our members to let them know our recommendation, we will be reminding people what Neil has done for our members, how he continually speaks up to defend our members,” said McKay. “We’ll be reminding people what the individual candidates are saying, and I would hope, after that, people will vote for Neil Findlay.”

c. McKay added that although Murphy’s “core values” are roughly the same as those of Unison members, “the main thing is winning the election, and he has more faith that ex-brickie Findlay would connect with voters and bring victory over the SNP and the Conservatives. People seem to believe the opposition to Labour in Scotland is the Tories, but it isn’t, it’s the SNP,” said McKay. We need to defeat them to make sure we don’t get a Tory government in Westminster. Neil ticks all the boxes that we’re looking for as a candidate to be leader of Scottish Labour. As far as I’m concerned, this election is absolutely up for grabs.” http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/scotlands-biggest-trade-union-wants-to-stop-jim-murphy-from

21. November 2014; We didn’t listen” – Jim Murphy launches campaign with apology to the Scottish people

a. Jim Murphy will officially launch his campaign for the Scottish Labour leadership with a speech in Edinburgh today. He will focus on the Party’s failure to listen to the public, leading to subsequent defeats in 2007 and 2011. Murphy will use the experiences from his 100 towns tour, where he spent 100 days going around Scotland holding street meetings to campaign for a No vote this summer, to talk about the appetite for change around the country. “I want to apologise because twice Scots have said they didn’t think we were good enough to govern in Scotland – in 2007 and 2011. “We didn’t listen to them. That has to change.”

b. However, the contender does not go so far as to lay the blame with previous Scottish Labour leaders, praising them as “proud and passionate servants of our party and our country.” And he highlights that, despite poor performances in Holyrood election, Scottish Labour have continued to perform well in both Westminster and local elections (although recent polling shows that may be changing). It is not Labour ideals that have been rejected, he says, “it’s our vision for Scotland – or more truthfully our lack of vision.”

c. Murphy’s campaign has kicked off with a high media profile, with a positive profile in yesterday’s Guardian and several television interviews, and is the bookies’ favourite to win the contest. Today, he becomes the first candidate to make a major speech on the campaign. Neil Findlay, meanwhile, became the first candidate to win a trade union endorsement yesterday, with ASLEF throwing their support behind him.

d. Unite union have said they would like to hear more policy from Murphy. Pat Rafferty, the Scottish Secretary of the union, said: “Mr Murphy needs to put away his Irn Bru crate and start setting out what he stands for. This is an election about who can best deliver for working and community Scotland. We sincerely hope it will not be much longer before Jim Murphy tells us what policies he is promoting. Unite’s members want to know what he will do to reverse falling wages, attack poverty and defend our services. What matters is, whoever succeeds, what they do in power. Unite’s representative members will soon decide who to nominate on behalf of our union. On the basis of this speech, it is extremely difficult for them to find much to find hope that Jim Murphy is offering the genuine, positive change in Scottish Labour they seek. We urge him to use the coming days and weeks to give Labour voters much more substance to go on.”

22. November 2014; Jim Murphy: I’ll repeal SNP’s anti-sectarian football law

a. The legislation, passed in 2012, gave police and prosecutors extra powers to crack down on sectarian songs and abuse at football matches. It has met with opposition from fans’ groups, who believe they have been singled out unfairly, and some eminent legal figures. Dundee Sheriff Richard Davidson said it was “horribly drafted” and “mince”. Mr Murphy, MP for Eastwood, said: “If I am elected Scottish Labour Party leader and First Minister I will scrap the Football Act right away. “The law was an attempt to chase headlines rather than actually fix a complex problem. Sectarianism and intolerance goes far beyond 90 minutes on a Saturday or 140 characters in a tweet. “Instead of fixing the problem, they have created a pointless culture of mistrust between football fans and the police. The way to tackle intolerance and bigotry is every day in our classrooms and communities not with gimmick legislation. “Only when sectarianism in Scotland is seen by future generations to be just as unacceptable as racism and homophobia will we get rid of this stain on Scottish society for good. “The Football Act isn’t helping us towards the fair and tolerant Scotland we all want to live in. It has to go.”

b. Comment; The stain of sectarianism, primarily in the West of Scotland has been there since 1850 and will exist for many generations to come. Until reason within is commonplace there will remain a need for legislation such as introduced by the SNP government at the behest of the nation.

23. November 2014; A Vote for Jim Murphy In the Scottish Labour Leadership Election Is a Vote for a Tory Government In 2015

a. When it comes to the three candidates fighting it out for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party – Jim Murphy, Sarah Boyack, and Neil Findlay – if the Tories in Scotland and the SNP could cast a vote between November 17, when the ballot commences, and December 13, when the new leader is announced, you can be sure it would be for Jim Murphy. Why? Because with Murphy as leader the likelihood of a Tory government at Westminster in 2015 increases to the point of being guaranteed, and likewise the continued dominance of the SNP in Scotland, bringing with it renewed danger of the break-up of the United Kingdom.

b. This is the reason it is no exaggeration to state that the upcoming election of the next leader of Scottish Labour is the most important internal election in the party’s history, not only in Scotland but UK-wide. For on the result hinges not just the future of Scottish Labour but also the outcome of the 2015 general election and, even more importantly, the very future of the United Kingdom.

c. On 18 September 3.6 million people in Scotland cast a vote in a referendum on Scottish independence. The prospect of the break-up of a more than 300 year old political union was real. In their droves people voted Yes – 1.6 million to be exact – even though the programme for independence put forward by the Scottish National Party, the dominant force within the wider Yes campaign, rather than a significant departure from the status quo had status quo stamped all over it. Yet regardless 1.6 million people voted for independence, of which, according to a Lord Ashcroft poll after the referendum, 37% had voted Labour at the 2011 Holyrood elections.

d. When it comes to the main issues that drove support for Yes, the same poll identified 54% whose priority was concern over the future of the NHS and 74% who cited disaffection with Westminster politics. The truth is that the unemployed, people from low income communities, and those alienated from the status quo were more likely to have voted Yes, while the obverse was the case when it came to voting No. Four out of 32 local authorities voted Yes, with three of those – Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and West Dunbartonshire – for decades impregnable Labour strongholds.

e. Only those in denial or suffering a severe case of myopia could fail to arrive at the conclusion that the referendum provided clear evidence of the deep political and ideological malaise that has gripped Scottish Labour, responsible for it shedding support to the SNP and one step away from its political grave. The sixty thousand new members that the SNP has attracted post referendum has bolstered not only the finances of the Scottish nationalists but more significantly their confidence. Compare this to the desultory 13,500 current membership of the Scottish Labour Party and the scale of the challenge facing the next leader of the party is considerable. Indeed in many parts of Scotland, Labour is every bit as reviled as the Tories, with the appellation Red Tories gaining currency.

f. An even more alarming poll when it comes to the crisis facing Scottish Labour was conducted by Ipsos Mori for Scottish Television. Its findings revealed that Labour in Scotland faces electoral wipeout at next year’s general election, on course to retain just four of its current 41 seats at Westminster.

g. Thus, not only Scottish Labour’s future success its very survival depends on the party electing a leader who understands the need to return to the founding values and principles upon which Labour came into being. It requires a political reorientation of the party towards the needs of ordinary working people, whose need for social and economic justice is non negotiable after four years of one of the most extreme Tory governments we have seen, engaged in the peddling of human despair under the aegis of austerity.

h. Jim Murphy is a politician wedded to Westminster and the ideals of Blairism; in other words the very policies that saw Labour shed five million votes between 1997 and 2010. An unapologetic supporter of the war in Iraq – indeed during a recent interview with the Fabian Society, when it came to Iraq, Murphy opined that, “It’s not Tony Blair’s fault.” – and still a supporter of the concept of British military intervention overseas regardless of the series of disasters that have resulted as a consequence in recent years, Murphy is also a supporter of the kind of cuts to public spending that have wrought so much damage to low income communities and the economy overall. During a 2011 interview with the Spectator magazine, for example, the former secretary of state for Scotland said that “the job for all of us now in the shadow cabinet is to work through our portfolios on just where we could make the savings, where would we make the cuts”.

i. A passion for cutting public spending, regardless of the damage to the economy and in particular the lives of working people and the poor, describes a mistaken understanding of economics as a morality play. For too long the emphasis has been on society serving the needs of the economy rather than an economy which serves the needs of society. Jim Murphy, as we have seen, is an adherent of the former and not the latter. In fact his credibility as a potential leader of the Labour Party in Scotland is largely derived from his willingness to stand on an Irn Bru crate in towns and cities throughout Scotland during the referendum campaign being abused by the general public. But if a talent for enduring public flagellation is the main criteria for the leadership of the party founded by Keir Hardie to address the needs of working people, Jesus Christ would be in the running. Ultimately, Mr Murphy stands proudly in this election as the candidate for New Labour at a time when Scotland is crying out for real Labour. Surely it is only those who have just awoken from a long slumber who would suggest otherwise. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/jim-murphy-labour-leader_b_6137822.html

24. November 2014; Labour leadership front-runner Jim Murphy set to back full income tax-raising powers for Holyrood

a. Scottish Labour leadership frontrunner Jim Murphy is backing full income tax-raising powers for Holyrood. He wants the party to agree with SNP and Tory representations to the Smith Commission on plans to devolve income tax. But his stance puts him at odds with senior party figures including former chancellors Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. In a speech today, the East Renfrewshire MP will throw his weight behind full income tax powers for the Scottish Parliament. Murphy will say: “If a Scottish Government wants to spend more, it will have to raise more. The buck will stop in Scotland.” He will use the speech to outflank main leadership rival Neil Findlay MSP.

25. November 2014; Labour’s Jim Murphy–at least he is honest about appealing to religious voters

a. The best that can be said about the appeal by Scottish Labour leadership contender Jim Murphy to religious voters is that, at least he is honest and transparent. Few other elected Scottish politicians openly profess their religious faith and their role in shoring up religious privileges in Scottish society. Most prefer not to make a public issue of the role of religion in politics for fear of upsetting influential religious minorities. They remain silent and assent to religious divisions in schooling, religious voting nominees on education committees, enforced religious observance in schools, and additional Scottish Government financial subsidies to religious organisations which already benefit from taxation relief because of their charitable status. Even the much vaunted democratic assembly that is the Scottish Parliament recoils from open public debate about these matters – suppressing attempts to have a public discussion of these and other religious privileges. http://edinburghsecularsociety.com/tag/jim-murphy/

26. December 2014; Jim Murphy Fury at Secular Society chief’s ‘sectarian, anti-Catholic’ slur

a. Scottish Labour leadership hopeful Jim Murphy has hit back at remarks from a leading secular society figure accusing him of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”. The comments, made by Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton on Facebook, have been dubbed “disturbing” and are “worryingly close to anti-Catholic sectarianism”, according to one of Scotland’s leading religious figures. The next Free Church of Scotland Moderator, Rev David Robertson, said the East Renfrewshire MP has been targeted by opponents because of his catholic faith. http://www.newsrt.co.uk/news/fury-at-secular-society-chief-s-sectarian-anti-catholic-slur-on-scottish-labour-leadership-hopeful-jim-murphy-2828196.html

27. December 2014; Scottish Labour leadership: Curran backs Murphy

a. In a sign all might not be going well for Jim Murphy, Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran says the Renfrewshire MP can reach out to Scots who ‘thought Labour had left them behind.’ Polling closes on Wednesday in the race to replace Johann Lamont, with Holyrood health spokesman Neil Findlay and former Scottish Government transport minister Sarah Boyack also in the running. Mrs Curran, the Glasgow East MP, says in an email to Labour members today that she wasn’t ‘planning to publicly back a candidate’ in the Scottish Labour party leadership election. But she said; “As this campaign has progressed it’s become increasingly clear how important this decision is for the future of the Scottish Labour Party.”

b. She added, “We won Glasgow East with drive, determination and by reaching out to the people who thought that Labour had left them behind. They’re the same qualities we need to put Scottish Labour back in the lead, and that’s what I’ve seen from Jim during this campaign. We need someone with ideas for how we can take Scotland forward and that’s exactly what he’s been talking about for the past five weeks.” She added that Mr Murphy, the former Scottish Secretary, showed he is ready to take the fight to the SNP with his 100 days tour during the referendum which drew organised picketing from hardline Nationalists. Mr Murphy said: “I am delighted to have Margaret Curran’s support for Scottish Labour leader. Having served in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments, and as a Scottish Government minister, she knows what Scottish Labour needs to succeed. I look forward to working closely with Margaret if I am elected leader.” http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/scottish-labour-leadership-curran-backs-murphy-1-3628538#

28. December 2014; Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton accuses Murphy of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”.

a. Otton posted four different Facebook threads about Murphy in the space of two days, all making reference to Murphy’s religion and support for denominational schools. Robertson described some of the comments as “disturbing”. He said, “the Scottish Secular Society have posted several stories about ‘Catholic fanatic/extremist/Pope Benedict fan’ Jim Murphy over the past few days. I find it particularly disturbing this constant referral to Jim Murphy as Roman Catholic – what does that have to do with anything? It comes worryingly close to the kind of anti-Catholic sectarianism that plagued the West of Scotland – perhaps it still does. It is of no relevance or interest to me that a particular political candidate is Roman Catholic or not. Mr Murphy should be judged on his political views and abilities, not what church he belongs to. It is ironic that of all groups the Scottish Secular Society continues to highlight religious affiliation as though this were somehow a disqualifying factor.”

b. But Otton defended his remarks. saying, “The Scottish Secular Society have no problem with Mr Murphy’s beliefs, but a very great problem with the way in which we fear they will influence his political decisions. In particular, we don’t approve of support for the idea that bishops can be put in charge of sex education in Catholic schools. We are also concerned that he will defend privileges for organised religion, segregating children on the basis of their parents’ religion in denominational schools with separate staff rooms and entrances. We are utterly opposed to sectarianism in any shape or form. There is also general agreement amongst secularists that unelected religious representatives, both Catholic and Church of Scotland, voting on how Councils should deploy their limited education budgets is absurd. Murphy has been reported in the press praising the US because religion has a bigger role in politics. That is not a scenario the Scottish Secular Society would welcome in Scotland. Opinions on Facebook’s Secular Scotland are personal and social media is the appropriate place to express them. The Scottish Secular Society is the appropriate organisation to challenge the religious privileges.”
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/fury-secular-society-chiefs-sectarian-4775349

29. December 2014; Jim Murphy on patriotism, socialism and Labour’s future

a. Jim Murphy loves Scotland. I know this because he assures me of it at least a dozen times in a half-hour interview. Scotland is his country. He’s proud of it. He intends to do well by it. Asked why he wants to lead Scottish Labour, the first thing he says is, “It sounds trite, but I love my country.” This expression of national pride is jarring because the SNP has so comprehensively co-opted the language of patriotism. That Murphy is comfortable talking about his love of country sets him apart from so many Scottish Labour politicians in recent years. That’s not all that makes him different. He loves his Irn-Bru and his Celtic – some sort of football club popular in the West of Scotland, m’lud — and for a politician he seems remarkably, well, normal. He’s the only vegetarian I’ve ever spent more than three minutes with and not wanted to punch. He has a sense of humour, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and though he speaks with evident passion about creating a fairer society, it is clear that politics is not his life. “I’ve never been a favourite in an election but I’ve never come second,” he points out, before chewing it over and adding: “There’s three candidates in this race so maybe I’ll come third this time and keep that record.”

b. He’s the sort of bloke you could have a pint with. Except he’s teetotal. (An abstemious vegetarian? Applying to lead Scottish Labour? At a time like this? If he wins, I give it six months before he gets tanked on half a Bacardi Breezer and challenges Len McCluskey to a square go in a Nando’s car park.)

c. In the Scottish Labour leadership election, Murphy stands out as the only MP contesting for the top job. A former president of the National Union of Students (where he made himself a power of enemies by reversing the NUS’s opposition to scrapping grants), he pulled off a surprise win in the safe Tory seat of Eastwood in 1997. He has retained the seat, now known as East Renfrewshire, ever since and despite the best efforts of the Conservatives to win back the prosperous suburban constituency.

d. Although often branded a Blairite, his political star came into the ascendancy when Gordon Brown took over at Number Ten and Murphy was appointed Europe minister and later Secretary of State for Scotland, a position from which he masterminded Labour’s successful 2010 election in Scotland.

e. His 100 Towns in 100 Days tour of Scotland during the independence referendum was seen as both a welcome energy boost for the Better Together campaign and a brazen pitch to replace the ineffective Johann Lamont as Scottish Labour leader. (It was also a tactic blatantly nicked from Neil Kinnock – coincidentally, a recent Murphy backer – who figured out early on that the 1983 general election was lost and drove round the country with a megaphone denouncing Thatcherism and positioning himself to succeed Michael Foot.) Murphy infamously attracted Nationalist hecklers to his soapbox speeches, their roiling anger – and flying dairy produce – betraying the threat they deemed him to pose.

f. If Labour’s electoral college of MPs, MSPs, members, and unions award him the job, Nationalists think Murphy’s 17-year record at Westminster will provide them with endless lines of attack:- His support for tuition fees; his vote for military action in Iraq; his parliamentary expenses.

g. The problem is that anyone who won’t vote Labour because Jim Murphy supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein stopped voting Labour a long time ago and probably never will again. Murphy himself recognises the need to move on from New Labour, while careful to pay the necessary obeisance to that project and the leader who brought Labour back out of the wilderness.

h. He explains: “New Labour is a way of thinking and of designing your politics that was of the moment in the mid-90s. It’s 20 years of age and it’s time to do things a bit differently. I’m not fascinated by whether people are left-wing or right-wing, New or Old Labour, I want us to be winning Labour.”

i. The time has come, he reckons, to step beyond the party’s most successful leader: “I think we need a post-Tony Blair Labour Party that’s patriotic, that’s radical. The Labour Party’s had six leaders since Tony Blair: two UK leaders and four Scottish leaders. It’s time for us to move on. Tony Blair was the right answer to the questions of his era. He’s a long time gone so it’s time to move on and be more confident about our future rather than continually harking on and looking in our rear-view mirror about our past.”

k. Murphy is not the candidate to bring disaffected lefties back into the fold. They have gone to the fringes or to the SNP, socialist Scotland’s favourite neoliberal party. His appeal is to the mainstream Labour voter, including those who have become more comfortable voting SNP in recent years. But as he argued during the Scotland Tonight leadership hustings, his pitch reaches further than that. “I don’t think we can just talk to Labour voters,” he said. “There aren’t enough of them.”

l. That means driving Labour’s tanks onto the SNP’s lawns just as brazenly as Alex Salmond did to Labour over the last decade. For the most committed SNP supporters, independence is everything but amongst the Nationalists’ impressive electoral coalition there are many, including Yes voters, who have other priorities.

m. Cast your mind back, if you can, to a time before the referendum campaign, when we had entire conversations and even parliamentary debates about things other than the constitution. Murphy’s task is to return the political debate to education, health, and the economy – and to offer voters bold alternatives to the SNP. His Blairite credentials might even come in handy here.

n. Scottish politics needs a substantial opposition figure other than Tory leader Ruth Davidson who is willing to think the unthinkable in order to reform education, improve the NHS, and create jobs. There is real scope to take on some of the SNP’s sacred cows, particularly their hostility to the non-state sectors, and offer parents, patients, businesspeople, public sector workers, and taxpayers policies driven by outcomes rather than the SNP’s uneasy mixture of populism and ideology.

o. How bold Murphy is willing or inclined to be remains to be seen, but he is determined to reach out to everyone necessary to win, including Yes voters. He maintains: “You have to move beyond the referendum. You don’t win people’s affections by telling them they were wrong… It’s about reaching out to these folk and making a patriotic case that we believe in similar things; we just disagree about how to achieve them. On the basis that we’ve now decided the constitutional arrangements of Scotland for a generation, as we were told, then let’s work together.

p. “If ever there’s a referendum again, we’ll be on different sides of that probably, but let’s work together in the meantime and try to create a better society. The challenge for the Labour Party is to be a party again that people can see a cause of social justice in. For example, I want to put income tax up to 50% as part that.”

q. That left tilt is perfectly balanced by a pitch to the middle ground. “In terms of aspirational voters, it’s about guaranteeing that if you go to work you’ll be better off in work than if you are on benefit. Now that parts of the welfare state are going to be devolved to Scotland, that’s important. It’s also about saying to people they deserve a decent home and it they want to own their home, I’m happy about that. I’m in favour of more people owning their home.” He wouldn’t reinstate the Right to Buy but wants to ensure there are enough houses, council, social, and private, to end homelessness. Murphy insists he is a socialist, a claim that his critics and even some of his supporters would scoff at. The MP for East Renfrewshire is not someone you’d mistake for a Morning Star seller standing outside a boarded-up Woolworth’s on a drizzly Saturday morning. But Comrade Murphy has his own definition:

r. “Everyone who’s comfortable with that title had a different definition. For me it means it doesn’t matter where you’re born or the family you’re born into, you should have a fair chance. And you should get a second and third chance in life. Strident, right-wing Conservatism has a sense of you being on your own; it’s like advanced social Darwinism – the survival of the fittest. I think every human being is created equal and people should have an equal chance. “It’s up to people what you do with your chance but my politics are that you should get a first chance, a second chance, a third chance. But you only get one shot at life and a politician’s job is to help you make the most of your life. If you don’t take your chances, there’s nothing I can do about that, but I’m a patient person and I’d like to give people multiple chances and choices. That’s my socialism. Others have their own definition.”

t. I don’t buy Murphy’s definition for a second but it is obvious that justice in one form or another is the nucleus of his political philosophy. While most Labour politicians learn about injustice from The Road to Wigan Pier or The Soul of Man under Socialism, Murphy lived it first hand during his early years in South Africa. His parents were driven there in search of work and better opportunities for their family. What greeted the 12-year-old Jim was the moral obscenity of apartheid. He describes a thread of segregation that ran through every aspect of public and private life. It is the only point during the interview that he’s subdued and his voice takes on a sadness that seems to come from another time and place. He recounts: “It was a bizarre nightmare of a society, where the only thing that mattered was the colour of your skin. In a country where almost 90% of the country were black Africans, you could easily go weeks without coming into contact with anyone other than someone of the same skin colour. You would stand at a Whites Only bus stop to go to a Whites Only school. You would travel on Whites Only buses. It was an unforgivable type of politics but the remarkable thing is that so many South Africans have forgiven.”

u. He adds: “I had to go to a Whites Only school where you had to learn Afrikaans, you had to be bilingual. Every Thursday you had to turn up to school in your cadet uniform and march up and down the rugby field to prepare to go and serve two years in the South African army. The society was structured around the maintenance of a minority politics. The media was controlled by the state, the curriculum was influenced by the state’s racism, sport was used to bolster a white supremacy. Then, like the Berlin Wall, it all just fell over.”

v. He paints a harrowing picture of a society that practised totalitarianism over the human spirit. It is, however, where he felt the first stirrings of political radicalism. He recalls: “Nelson Mandela’s name was banned — and his photograph. You weren’t allowed to say his name and the newspapers weren’t allowed to print his name or his photograph or they would have been shut down. It’s a remarkable experience to have your political consciousness forged in a place where democratic politics wasn’t tolerated and the biggest decisions you’ve got to make are daily ones about the way in which you live your life. “Do you buy into the casual, all-encompassing racism that dominated your education and dominated the culture of the country? I chose to opt out of that in all sorts of different ways. You find a social circle that wants nothing to do with it. You find ways of arguing against it. Then when it comes to the big decision about whether you’re going to serve in the South African army, I left the country.”

w. The move, he interjects, was not motivated by pacifism or cowardice. “I wasn’t going to spend two years of my life propping up the vile beast that was apartheid.” Instead he went to Glasgow, to study at Strathclyde University, and it was years before he saw the family he had left behind in Cape Town again. There’s that sadness again, but his tone quickly turns upbeat when he remembers that the experience, and the British Government’s stance on apartheid, drove him to political activism. “Mrs Thatcher got me to join the Labour Party,” he announces with pride. The late Conservative Prime Minister had opposed international sanctions against South Africa and deemed the African National Congress a terrorist outfit rather than a liberation movement. “I had just returned from that country and couldn’t understand it at all.” Now, a quarter of a century on, Murphy wants to lead his party, or at least its Scottish “branch office”. He could hardly have picked a worse time, given the party’s continuing opposition at Holyrood, dreadful poll numbers, and an SNP surging towards 100,000 members and a possible break though at Westminster next May.

x. The real obstacle to his political ambitions is the new First Minister. Nicola Sturgeon is a social democrat’s dream come true, a politician so perfectly attuned to the ideals and impulses of north European progressivism that she could almost have walked off the set of her favourite TV programme Borgen. Quite how that fits with a party that campaigns for corporate tax cuts and a services-slashing council tax freeze is a dynamic yet to play itself out. But as personal polling numbers show, this contradiction does not weigh on the minds of the electorate, who consistently rate the First Minister above any other politician in trust and effectiveness.

y. Ask Murphy if the SNP is a “left-of-centre” party and I’ve barely reached the question mark before he rejects the idea. Surely, I push, Nicola Sturgeon’s politics are more clearly aligned with Labour voters than Alex Salmond’s ever were. “We’ll see what Nicola Sturgeon is, we’ve yet to see what she really is. I think she’s effective, I think she’s formidable. Nicola Sturgeon will be what she needs to be to build a coalition to get independence. The SNP are unencumbered by an economic anchor; they will drift wherever they need to go to build a coalition that gets them to 50% plus one of the votes in any future referendum.”

z. Outside Glasgow and the west, he assures me, many of the SNP’s supporters are not left-wing and lend their vote to the Nationalists as the “anyone but Labour” party. However, in Labour’s traditional working-class heartlands, he recognises how much work has to be done. He concedes: “In terms of the central belt, the Labour Party hasn’t been good enough. That’ll change. We haven’t been strong enough, we haven’t been proud enough, we haven’t been radical enough.” That radicalism need not mean ideological policies, he argues, and should include overlooked and unpopular issues like mental health and prison reform. But he is convinced that Labour alone is the platform on which a progressive politics can be built.

30. “Radical social reform in our country comes from the Labour Party, when it comes to things like ending discrimination based on people’s sexuality, driving out discrimination based on gender, the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, all the great social reforms in our country – the national minimum wage, devolution, freedom of information – all of these supported – such as the minimum pricing of alcohol – there’s a lot more that can be done.” Still, if Murphy wins — and that’s not guaranteed; Labour’s trade union money men aren’t keen on him — he faces a monumental challenge. He will be leading a party that has lost the votes, the patience, and frankly the goodwill of the people of Scotland. Murphy talks a good game but that will matter for little if the voters no longer want to listen.

31. But he has skill and wit and charm. He sounds like a leader and looks like a First Minister. He also has necessity on his side. He is spoken of by his supporters as the only candidate who can make Scottish Labour electable again. That is for Labour members and trade unionist voters to decide. The bigger decision for this party is whether it should continue to be relevant to the political life of Scotland. Political parties that dominate electoral systems, as Labour has done in Scotland for half a century, come to confuse their dominance for permanence. But nations change and parties that fail to change with them are left behind. Consider the fate of Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party, the Democrat Party in the American South, or closer to home and a century back the Liberal Party. There is no law in heaven or earth that says the Scottish Labour Party must endure. Labour responded to its defeat in 2007 by going into denial. In the wake of its 2011 drubbing, it gave the impression of a party that had still not come to terms with its electoral reversal and had lost the will to fight back. The opinion polls for next May’s general election and the 2016 Scottish Parliament vote hint at results ranging from dire to apocalyptic.

32. Murphy seems acutely aware of the odds stacked against his party at the moment. “The Scottish Labour Party is the underdog. Scottish Labour is used to being the champion of the underdog; it hasn’t often found itself to be the underdog.” Under his leadership, the party will “get out of the recently acquired habit of losing”. What would a Murphy-run, non-losing Scottish Labour look like? “We would have a much more professional party, a better-funded party, a much more confident party that takes its chin off its chest and stands up for itself. That says our cause is as great as the Nationalists’, if not greater. The sense of solidarity in our country and beyond and the knowledge that a boundary or a border has never put food in the tummy of any kid anywhere in the world. It’s about energy, optimism, and a sense of self-belief. “We win, we hold what we have in 2015 and we go into a two-horse race against the Nats in 2016 where I think we can build a coalition of people, some of whom have always voted Labour and some of whom have never voted Labour. And in a two-horse race, I’m pretty confident we’ll win.” It can’t be easy to summon up that kind of optimism at these times but the positivity seems genuine. It shouldn’t be allowed to lapse into complacency. Scottish Labour is a party fast running out of chances. Jim Murphy will be hoping members see him as one of those chances — and grab it while they can. http://news.stv.tv/scotland-decides/analysis/302206-stephen-daisley-interviews-labour-leadership-candidate-jim-murphy/

33. December 2014; Scotland and Trident: two words Ed Miliband can’t afford to ignore

a. Unless Ed Miliband changes course on Trident replacement, Labour risks losing not only the general election, but losing its Scottish heartland for good. No matter how much Westminster politicians may wish to put Trident on the back burner for the general election, the reality is that’s not going to happen. Our friends north of the border – where up to 75 per cent oppose Trident irrespective of their position on independence – will make sure of that. The leader with the biggest headache over this is currently Ed Miliband: the question of Labour policy on Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons – currently located in Scotland – can make or break a Labour victory and a future Labour government.

b. Currently the very future of Labour – as a major player in Scotland’s politics – is at stake. Since the referendum, the parties that backed the No vote have taken a nose dive, as thousands have flocked to the parties of the Yes camp, from SNP through Greens, and SSP. Scottish civil society has taken on a whole new look, with widespread popular engagement at an all-time high. Labour is particularly badly hit and opinion polls suggest that it could lose as many as 31 Westminster seats in May’s general election. Reports from within the party suggest high levels of anger and dissatisfaction – about what the party now stands for and who decides where it is going. Johann Lamont’s resignation as leader seemed to sum up much of the problem as she accused Westminster Labour colleagues of trying to run Scotland “like a branch office of London”.

c. It may be that there is no way back in the current context – especially when Gordon Brown’s last ditch promises of vote-winning ‘devo-max’ aren’t being honoured and Nicola Sturgeon offers a more left-wing variant of SNP politics that is potentially attractive to Labour voters. So any hope of a Labour recovery, however marginal, surely hinges now on the outcome of the current Scottish Labour leadership contest where once again Trident is a big factor. A new leader can have a significant impact on where the party is situated politically.

d. Labour’s leadership is backing the pro-Trident former shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy. But it’s hard to see how Murphy will be able to win support back to Labour on that basis, particularly when significant working class communities in Glasgow and Dundee were lost so recently to the Yes camp.

e. Of course Jim Murphy isn’t the only option presented to Scottish Labour. Neil Findlay, the most strongly anti-Trident of the other candidates, also presents a policy platform which could help win back voters across a range of current economic and social concerns; areas where traditionally Labour has won strong support but Westminster Labour policies are no longer where Scottish voters are at. These include raising the minimum wage, the reintroduction of council house building and the reduction of private sector involvement in the NHS. If he wins the Scottish leadership on 13 December, Findlay’s active anti-nuclear stance will no doubt win Labour votes – and will force Ed Miliband to look again at Trident replacement.

f. That imperative may well come from other Scottish sources too. In the event that the SNP takes a significantly increased number of Westminster seats – some estimates are as high as 47 it’s possible that it may hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, in the same way that the Liberal Democrats did in 2010. Nicola Sturgeon has already said that she won’t make a Conservative government possible but she’s already named her price for SNP support for a minority Labour government: Trident has to be removed from Scotland. One way or another, Ed Miliband is having to confront the Trident issue. And whether he likes it or not, it has to be tackled, as these developments show. Kicking it into the long grass of internal party policy debates is just not adequate. The Scots may have forced the issue up the political agenda, but Trident – and whether to replace it – is a crucial issue for us all. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/12/scotland-and-trident-two-words-ed-miliband-can-t-afford-ignore

34. Annual Cost Travel, Accomodation, Subsistence, Office Rental & Running Costs – 2110-2014

a. 2010-2011

Accomodation £11,513 (6 Months Rent of Flat, Hotel Accomodation, Rates, Council Tax)

Constituency £9,456 (Office Rental, Rates, Services. Telephones, Insurances)

General Admin £8,960 (£1,300 Cellphone Rental, £1,900 Stationery, £2,256 Telephone System Rental, £1,239 Photocopy rental & charges, £470 Surveyor Costs, £2000 Staff contingency)

Travel £14,837 (travel by air, car, rail, taxi)

Staffing £21397 (Pooled staff professional fees)

Total £68215

b. 2011-2012

Accomodation £11,948 (Rent of Flat 8 months)

Constituency £20,679 (6 months Office Rental & Rates, £1500 Stationery/Adv, £1400 Photocopier Rental, £10,000 Shared Office Costs)

General Admin £1,456 (Telephone Rental, Mobile Phone Rental, Stationery)

Travel £25,528 (£23,500 MP Travel by Air, Car, Rail, Taxi + £2,500 Staff Travel & Accomodation Costs)

Staffing £21,035 (Pooled staff Professional fees)

Total £95,550

c. 2012-2013

Accomodation £22,554 (14 Months Rent of flat London + ancillary costs)

Constituency £18,240 (£8,377 Office Rent/Rates, £1,806 Telephone Rental, £1790 Stationery, £1,300 Insurances/Trg/Professional Fees, £4120 Shared Office Costs)

Staffing £35,939 (Pooled staff Professional fees)

Travel £18,938 (£14,989 MP Travel by Air, Car, Rail, Taxi + £2,200 Staff Travel & Accomodation Costs)

Total £80,767

d. 2013-2014

Accomodation £19,953 (Rent of Flat London 12 months + Ancillary Costs)

Constituency £22,195 (£10,384 Office Rent/Rates/Ins, £2653 Stationery, £2,150 Photocopier Rental, £1,100 Prof Fees, £1,784 Office Running Costs)

Travel £16,553 (£15,353 (MP Travel by Air, Car, Rail, Taxi + £1,200 Staff Travel & Accomodation Costs)

Staffing £138,268

Total £196,969

Categories
Labour Party

Barry Black – Labour Party – To Stand For West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine – Needs To Learn To Engage His Brain Before His Mouth – Not This Time Barry

 

 

1046409938

 

 

Barry Black – Aspiring politician.

Education: Robert Gordon University studying for a BA (Hons) Applied Social Science (4 year course 2013-2017).

Work: March 2013 – June 2014 (part time?) Marks and Spencer

Volunteer Work: Restless Development, June 2014– on-going

 

 

barry-black-small

 

 

October 2010; Barry Black, (silly boy) pronounces on the release of Al Megrahi

Scottish SNP Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, said in August 20, 2009, “For these reasons (stage 4 cancer) – and these reasons alone – it is my decision that Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya to die.”

‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron was in Washington this week meeting Barack and held a joint press conference where they were on first name terms and spoke of their respect for each other. A posh white Etonite and a middle class black man? I get it. Anyway, a US media hackette asked our ‘beloved’ PM whether or not his government would hold an inquiry into MacAskill’s decision. His succinct reply stated that it wasn’t up to his government, that it was Scotland’s *cough* SNP’s *cough* decision. He called for all relevant papers to be published, including medical reports and a report of Mr MacAskill’s ‘suspicious’ meeting with the terrorist himself. And so they should be.

Kenny MacAskill has since denied any deal between Scotland and Libya. The First Minister has also denied that BP influenced the decision. Fair enough, but why has former UK Justice Minister Jack Straw been quoted as saying the decision was based on trade? Hmm..

Kenny, you mentioned that you were upholding Scottish values of caring, compassion and decency, that you were making the decision on behalf of the Scottish people. I’m Scottish and I would have let the scumbag rot in jail.

Where’s the compassion for the victims, Kenny? Were they allowed to go home to be surrounded by their loved ones? No, they’re in graves now and according to you, by now, so should Megrahi.

Didn’t it make every one of you sick, when Megrahi left the aircraft and Libyans were waving Scottish flags in celebration of his return?

MacAskill has declined the opportunity to go to the USA to give evidence to support his decision. Why did he decline? Because he cannot support it – or because it was a corrupt decision? Will we ever know? So Kenny, a year on – why?

Caring, Compassion And Decency

 

 

 

kblairGordon-Brown1623566_460836310730482_406097192584783842_n

 

 

September 2011: UK Labour Government ‘lied about Lockerbie bomber’

Young Barry should eat his words since it was the direct involvement of his beloved labour party and it’s leader Tony Blair that brought about the release of al Megrahi. Who was completely innocent of the charges brought against him by the illegal activities of the secret services of the US and UK

Secret documents reportedly show the UK lied about the reasons behind the Lockerbie bomber’s release from prison. Britain’s Mail On Sunday newspaper made the claims against the former Labour government yesterday, citing secret documents it had obtained.

Abdel Baset al Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given three months to live. Megrahi was convicted in connection with the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, many of them Americans. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

After his arrival in Libya, Megrahi was given a feted welcome by Muammar Gaddafi’s government, actions which drew protests from around the world.

At the time of his release, the Scottish executive, which heads Scotland’s devolved parliament, said it had made the decision to free Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

Since then, the Labour Party has consistently denied that it had interfered and said it was the Scottish ministers’ responsibility. But according to The Mail On Sunday, the confidential documents showed that the UK Government gave in to pressure from Gaddafi after he threatened to start a “holy war” if Megrahi died in prison.

The papers, found on the floor of the British ambassador’s abandoned residence in the Libyan capital Tripoli, reportedly revealed Gaddafi warned there would be “dire consequences”.

The threat led officials to fear British nationals would be harassed “or worse”, UK energy contracts in the country would be revoked and there would be an end to counter-terrorism assistance.

Alastair Darling, Britain’s finance minister from 2007 to 2010, admitted that the Labour administration was trying to keep Gaddafi onside, but dismissed the idea that their pressure had in fact managed to secured Megrahi’s release, AFP reported. “We wanted to bring Gaddafi in from the cold because at that time it was thought that that was going to be possible,” he told the BBC. “It’s true to say that the British Government wanted Megrahi out. “There was no other way to try and bring Gaddafi under control… It didn’t work and he now looks pretty nigh finished.”
adelaidenow.com.au/news/world/uk-lied-about-lockerbie-bomber/story-e6frea8l-1226129388926?nk=49b745617f8734ab2a05cec34bafe5b3

Comment:  Better to engage brain before mouth Barry. Don’t believe all you read in the papers or view on BBC News. They follow the UK government agenda which was  bent on discrediting the Scottish government

 

 

RfGGxCg4

 

 

June 2012:  Aberdeen Youth Council (AYC) condemns Barney Crockett led Labour Party Controlled Local District Primary 1 Class Size proposals

* The Aberdeen City Youth Council (AYC) condemned proposals by the Education Culture Sport committee to increase the class size of P1 in a city school to 25.  Speaking on behalf of the AYC, Barry Black,  a pupil in S6 at St Machar Academy, said:

“Most experts and political leaders agree that the early years are vital in a person’s educational development. These plans to nothing to help that and I fear that this may have a negative effect upon the future of hundreds of young people in our city.”

* The AYT also took issue with the lack of foresight displayed by the Labour controlled Education Committee. Barry said:

“The report outlined investigating the over-capacity in March 2011. That’s over a year since the last meeting and little has been done. it is shocking behaviour and shows complete disregard for primary school children. It’s inevitable that this increase will put immense strain on teachers and other learners, who have already felt the blow of savage cuts and pay freezes.” We should be looking at ways to invest in the early years, not tiptoe around the problem by bringing in a measure like this.”

* The AYC also condemned the City’s Labour controlled council proposals to move around adult learning classrooms. Barry said:

“Adult learning is vital in society, whether helping in employment or filling in skills gaps, and removing these rooms to make way for classrooms does not help the bigger picture. In Milltimber, there are plans for a temporary classroom. This is no substitute for a real learning environment and is too short-term.”

 

http://www.acyc.info/index.php/youth-council-condemns-primary-1-proposals-press-release/ Barney Crockett not at all pleased about the criticism but Barry got a result.

Comment: Well done barry. Wonder what your Labour colleagues thought of your publically expressed views.

 

 

BarryBlackNE_twitter_profile

 

 

November 2012; Youth Council Speaks Out On Drug Problem

Chair of Aberdeen City Youth Council Barry Black MSYP has recommended the Education, Culture & Sport Committee on Aberdeen City Council approves the creation of a Drugs Youth Worker role. Barry told Aberdeen Voice:

“Our sister group, GRADE A (Get Real About Drugs Action Aberdeen), has worked tirelessly to improve drugs education in the city and has benefited immensely from the support of our youth worker.

An additional Drugs Action worker would make a huge contribution to the already excellent work being done on drugs education in the city.

We recommend the committee approve the funding for the position on the grounds of the benefit to young people.

We have a significant substance misuse issue with young people in the city and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

We are above the UK average for substance misuse statistics and a full-time drugs education worker would help to contribute to the fight against drugs abuse in the city.”    http://aberdeenvoice.com/2012/11/youth-council-speaks-out-on-drug-problem-2/

Comment: But Barry believes strongly that:  The, “Prohibition of cannabis legislation should be the subject of a parliamentary debate.

Legalisation and decriminalisation must form part of that debate’ http://barryblackformsyp.yolasite.com/

 

 

b_0ytgbusaadt1_-large

 

 

October 2013: Youth Councillors Back Calls For Ban On Religion On Education Committees

Two city youth Councillors, Barry Black and Kenneth Watt, have backed a Scottish Parliament motion calling for legislation making compulsory the membership of three religious figures on local authorities’ education committees necessary to be abandoned.

Instead of the religious committee members, Black and Watt believe that the three positions should be filled by young people, taken from democratically elected bodies such as the Scottish Youth Parliament or the Aberdeen City Youth Council. Watt said:

“It is not correct in 2013 to have religious figureheads – who nobody elected and many disagree with – to be making decisions about school children. I firmly believe that multiculturalism should be a key part of religion in faith in school, however, this in no way makes it appropriate to have unelected people deciding the budget and crucial decisions for schools.

The majority of young people have no affiliation to religion and by only selecting religious representatives from a faith with a ‘place of worship,’ minority faith groups and those who do not follow religion are not represented.”

Black said: “We have officially recognised youth groups at both national and local level – it would be a much better idea to utilise an elected young person to give input in to their education. Young people should be empowered to make decisions about what matters to them.” http://aberdeenvoice.com/tag/barry-black/

Comment: Church members would take a differing position.

 

 

barryblack

 

 

June 2014: Barry Black to contest West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine for Scottish Labour in 2015.

At a meeting last Thursday night, members voted in favour of Mr Black to be their candidate in the General Election.  Aberdeenshire Labour Group Leader, Councillor Alison Evison, said: “We are delighted to have Barry Black as our candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in the Westminster elections 2015.  These are exciting times for Scottish Labour in Aberdeenshire as we continue to build on the successes of recent years.”

Comment: Not a lot of evidence of success.

 

 

 

Scottish-Referendum42Scottish-Referendum43Scottish-referendum46

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Labour Party

Braden (I Worked At Macdonalds) Davy – Young Northumbrian Nationalist Seeking Gordon Seat – Braden Not All Citizens Of Gordon Consider Themselves To Be Britizens

 

 

Braden-Davy

 

 

About Braden- By Himself

I was born in 1991 in Bishop Auckland in County Durham and used to live in Spennymoor until I moved to Ashington when I was in first school. I moved around, but never lived outside the North-East of England.

Over the past two years I have recently spent time in youth politics around the UK and local youth politics in Northumberland. My hopes are that I will continue to do well enough in school and that I will get the grades I want for my AS levels while enjoying myself.

My fears are that this recession will bite and affect me and my family as well as people I know.  I get angry when people talk at me, or when people don’t listen to what I have to say and ignore my opinions.

This is particularly true when politicians don’t answer the question which was asked. I am opinionated, logical, ambitious.

 

 

Feeling-Braden

 

 

I couldn’t live without the Internet. I use it for my school work, socialising, keeping in contact with friends and organising.

I rely on the Internet for everything.   I am proud to gain amongst the best GCSE results in my school year.

My ambitions are to do well in my A levels and go on to a red brick university to study economics. I would also like to move back up north after university and become a local councillor.

I would make the world fairer. Wipe out starvation and death from easily preventable disease. Also I would stop the exploitation of the planet and protect our natural environments.

I bite my nails and write so badly I can’t read it later on.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/content/articles/2009/02/24/100lives_braden_davy_feature.shtml

 

 

bradendavy31

 

 

Work Experience

Aug 2007 – Sep 2011: Northumberland Young Leader: He said: “I take my responsibilities as Young Leader very seriously. I strongly believe that children and young people have to be listened to.”

Oct 2010 – Nov 2011:  HMS Calliope, Gateshead – Officer Cadet – Royal Navy: Carrying out all necessary duties on board and on shore.

Jan 2011 – May 2011: Events Coordinator, Durham: I was a local organiser for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. On May 5, 2011 the public decided not to change the first past the post election system.

Mar 2011 – May 2012: Northumberland – Big Northumberland – Worked with others on a social enterprise funded scheme aimed at increasing the economic opportunities of young people.

Jan 2012 – May 2012: Mid-Formartine, Aberdeenshire – Local government candidate – Scottish Labour Party in Mid Formartine.  Finished fourth in the preference vote. Not elected. http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/elections/local/detail.asp?wardID=8

Apr 2012 – Sep 2012:  Trainee – McDonald’s Corporation. Training programme for external applicants to McDonald’s.

Sep 2012 – Feb 2013:  McDonald’s Corporation. Lead a team delivering services to the public

Feb 2013 – May 2015: London, United Kingdom – Parliamentary Assistant – Work as a Special Advisor for Dame Anne Begg MP.Commons

 

 

Scottish_Labour-200x266

 

 

September 2014; Braden Davy is a wee bit disorientated – Mind you he’s only just arrived in the field of Scottish politics

According to Braden he voted YES in the Referendum, but will not be joining the SNP. Fair enough……. But wait…it looks to me like Braden might have actually voted NO, and being an agent for the NO campaign had authorisation to enter polling stations wearing his NO rosette.

I might be wrong of course. Maybe there is more than one Braden Davy in Aberdeen who is politically motivated. And maybe they all have the same picture on their twitter accounts. Or maybe this is just a big set up to fool us all. Never let it be said I don’t consider all the possibilities.

Most interesting I thought was the posters disgust for the professionalism of politics. Odd for Mr Braden then to publicise that kind of thinking seeing as he is a youth Councillor in Aberdeen and so we can assume is a would be real Councillor as soon as ever he can. Making him a potential career politician with no grounding in real life other than a stint on JSA and housing benefit when he was 20.

What is clear is his hatred for the Tories, although not clearly a patch on his distaste for the SNP otherwise why did he vote “No” and condemn Scotland to having a Tory government two thirds of the time!

http://munguinsrepublic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/this-is-little-odd.html

 

 

Byt51OlCYAAlwdl

 

 

11 Dec 2014: Braden Davy’s Twitter Profile:

Labour puppet for Gordon. Standing to become the first adolescent MP. Fighting to stop any meaningful change in Westminster. Big fan of kleptocracy. A post to his followers in Gordon. “Good morning fellow northern Britizens. How are we all today?”   Answers: None as yet.

 

 

profile_picture

 

 

Dec 2014: My Manifesto

I have lived in the Aberdeen area for a year and a half.  I want to see young people thrive and prosper. The best way this can happen is by ensuring that all young people have a bright future, that young people have opportunities and that people have enough money to make ends meet.

Everyone should earn a decent wage. Currently the minimum wage for a 16 year old is £3.68 an hour. This is shockingly low, some argue that this is fine since they live at home. Yet, for those over 18, it is just over £5, and for those over 21 still only £6 an hour. This is not acceptable. People who work hard should be paid for their hard work. The least everyone can expect is a fair wage, for a fair days work. All those in work should receive the living wage of £7.45 per hour for someone to support their family, afford to pay rent and live comfortably.

This is what I want to see happen, and will work with all organisations, (except the SNP, Labour Party policy) to campaign for this. Everyone should have access to apprenticeships and training. Aberdeen is the oil capital of Europe.

 

 

 

Scottish-Referendum42Scottish-referendum46Scottish-Referendum43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Local Councils

Renfrewshire District Council – Jobs And Perks For The Chosen Ones – Councillor Kelly & His Labour Party Associates

 

 

 

 

82496098

 

 

 

 

Ferguslie Park,  Paisley, Renfrewshire

Ferguslie Park is a housing estate on the North-Western edge of Paisley. The main estate was constructed between 1926 and 1966 and has undergone substantial redevelopment over the last 15 years. Its population peaked at around 13,500 in the late 1950s but steadily declined and is now estimated to be around 5500.

The area was badly hit by the closure of traditional industries, particularly those based in Linwood in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

It was at one time rated the second most deprived council area in Scotland with result it was chosen as one of four areas under the New Life for Urban Scotland initiative in 1988.

Loadsa money has been pumped into Ferguslie over the years and it is slowly showing progress although much more needs to be done to improve council housing stock which has much reduced.

 

 

hqdefault

 

 

 

 

July 2006: Councillor Kelly Faces Charges of a Breach of the provisions in the Councillors Code of Conduct set out in the key principles of the Code relating to Duty, Integrity, Objectivity and Respect.

It was alleged that the respondent had contravened the Code, in particular, the key principles of the Code relating to Duty, Integrity, Objectivity and Respect.

The persons complaining including Councillor Bill Martin of Renfrewshire Council, alleged that the respondent had breached the key principles of the Code referred to above by publishing on his web-site negative views about the Mormon or Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints religion and its members.

He also alleged that the respondent (who is a Labour member) treated and referred to his fellow Councillors in an unacceptable manner.

Verdict; Techno Speak. Assuming Councillor Kelly set up his web-site and place the articles complained of on it, his action was undertaken in a private, not official capacity, and, accordingly, his actions did not fall within the scope of the provisions of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. No further action. (Public Standards Commissioner)

 

 

GD12326358

 

 

 

January 2007: Councillor Kelly Accuses blog contributor of being nuts!!!!

You’ll never guess what wit and socialist hero Terry Kelly’s done now. Apparently he suspects me of being mentally ill. In a secure unit no less.

Whilst I suppose blogging openly about suffering from depression and stress is bound to invite the odd snide comment. I am genuinely surprised that an elected official thinks it appropriate. I wonder if he’d be so quick to make light of a physical disability.

God help anyone in his constituency with a mental health problem who approaches him for help unless of course they are after being bullied in a witless fashion.

With one in four of the Scottish population estimated to suffer from mental ill health at some point in their lives, I suppose this must include a fair number of the Kelly’s constituents.

I can’t help but wonder what they make of their obvious prejudice against those with mental health problems.

Let’s hope they take that into account when voting in May. Finally the discrimination faced by the mentally ill will not end unless challenged which is why I’d like to end by drawing your attention to this.

http://clairwil.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/councillor-terry-kelly-yet-again.html

 

 

1531998_840234932709939_3385315916147037263_n

 

Comments:

Steve:

It’s interesting that he accuses you of ‘synthetic rage’ on behalf of the mentally ill, when most of his blog is basically a failing attempt to falsely expose the SNP as some giant homophobic conspiracy?

It’s also interesting that he accuses other political parties of hijacking issues when most if not all of his posts about L.G.B.T. equality amount to little more than Trojan horses for a vitriolic attack on the SNP?

I’ve pointed this out in a comment to him on his blog. I’ve suggested that his approach might be viewed as hypocritical. Really I’m posting this here so as to make sure it sees the light of day. Sorry to hijack your post and all, but I thought it was worth saying.

Alan;

This confirms my suspicions: The Hearing Panel considered that further to the accepted breaches of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct by the Councillor Kelly that:-

it is wholly inappropriate for any Councillor to approach any member of the public in a “threatening and intimidating manner” – regardless of the provocation;

that Councillor Kelly’s conduct was, as narrated in the joint Statement of Facts, “inappropriate, improper and unacceptable”;

that Councillor Kelly’s conduct has adversely affected the good standing of Local Government and Renfrewshire Council in particular; and

that the actions of Councillor Kelly’s, as accepted by him, strike at the root of the obligation of leadership of any Councillor, and further that his behaviour was wholly inappropriate and contrary to the behaviour that the Chair, fellow Councillors, Council Employees and any members of the public are entitled to expect in the Council Chamber.

 

 

1623566_460836310730482_406097192584783842_n

 

 

 

 

February 2007: Terry Kelly:The greatest argument against representative democracy

Scottish bloggers continue, even after all these weeks, to read Councillor Terry Kelly’s blog with astonishment. If anybody wants to know what I mean when I say parts of Scotland are just one massive rotten borough, just take a look at this incredible blog and remember that a plurality of voters actually elected this man.

Kelly’s only support in the blogosphere appears to come from his own daughter, Rayleen Kelly. Ms Kelly’s latest post slams Blogging Bullies. Which is quite funny given that a couple of months back she called Martin Kelly and David Farrer “madmen” under the heading “People are Strange” and implied that they actually needed psychological help.

Kelly also likes to imply that people are mentally ill — simply in disagreeing with his viewpoint. It is this pious attitude that really pisses people off about Labour.

The Kelly clan’s blogs give off that familiar air, the claim that Labour is the only party worth supporting — But they never actually manage to explain their reasoning resorting instead to personal attacks and bullying.

Another bent of Kelly’s is to accuse the SNP of being homophobic — a claim which takes a lot of brass neck for a supporter of a party that put Ruth Kelly in charge of equality. And not very sensible when one of the Scottish blogosphere biggest voices is an SNP member who happens to be gay. It really is time people like this were booted out of office.

 

 

10986667_435491989949015_629596733385012287_n

 

 

 

May 2007: Councillor Kelly unhappy and comments – Post Scottish elections the SNP & Lib/Dem Parties agree to form Renfrewshire Administration

Renfrewshire now has a new administration, a pact has been formed between the SNP who were second behind Labour in the popular vote and the Lib-Dem’s who were last behind Labour, SNP and Tory in that order.

Labour attempted to agree a deal with the Lib-Dem’s but failed. Cllr. Kelly commented: “the SNP offered more than us, the Lib-Dem leader Cllr. Eileen McCartin has now been bought and paid for, the Lib-Dem’s. remind me of the great comedy actress Margaret DuMont, who was asked if she would bestow a kiss on Groucho Marx for money, her outraged reply was “what kind of woman do you think I am?  Groucho replied  “we’ve already established what kind of woman you are, now we’re haggling about your price.”  He went on “this is the reality of P.R. it’s meant to be a better, more democratic system, the Lib-Dem’s have just formed an administration with less than 10 % of the vote is there a political prize anywhere for breathtaking hypocrisy? Meanwhile Scotland takes a step backwards, at a time when the world needs more integration and cooperation, Scotland takes a regressive slide into parochialism. (http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.co.uk/2007/05/new-politics.html)

comments;

Brian: Looks like bitterness to me, Terry. A spell on the sidelines might do you good. I agree with your claim that “the world needs more integration and cooperation”, but having read your blog, you don’t really seem to be the cooperating type.

Anonymous: How did you work that one out Terry? Labour and SNP achieved the same number of seats (17 each). there is no other order after that to my knowledge, therefore one did not come behind the other. Please correct your statement. Also you need to buy yourself some sweeter grapes this weekend pal.

 

11050159_1550406018554802_1447969684542567979_n

 

 

6. May 2009;  Labour reshuffle dodgy team of Councillors

Labour this week have finally taken the decision to distance themselves from one of their crooked Councillor, Tommy Williams. As reported on another blog the Labour party was informed by their own members, (over twenty years ago) what this man was up to and yet in all of that time they did nothing.

It was from these events the term “phantom worker” originated and begs the question: ” if the Labour party knew this was going on and did nothing about it then who was actually benefiting from the scam? Was it Councillor Williams himself or the Labour party? Councillor Williams was “employed” with the Social Work at Glasgow Council for over twenty years for which he was paid a full salary. But he was never there.

This also begs the question how many other “phantom workers” are there? The Audit Commission recently revealed that Renfrewshire Council did not know how many workers they have (or how many council houses they own) and that they could be paying out wages to workers who no longer work for them. If this was going on in both Renfrewshire and Glasgow, both Labour councils at the time, then how many other councils was it going on in and who was benefiting?

Councillor Iain McMillan, leader of the Labour Group on Renfrewshire Council, wants Councillor Williams to be considered as an Independent member from now on, and is happy for Councillor Kelly to take the place of his friend on the Leadership Board.

Funny!! There was no leadership when Councillor Kelly was Chairman of the Scrutiny Board when it came to expenses, he was blind to Councillor Williams working full time for Glasgow Council whilst claiming for and working full-time for Renfrewshire Council. Same applies to Councillor Mark McMillan and ex-wife Barbara Adams, working full-time for Irene Adams MP and yet claiming extravagant expenses for working full-time as Councillors. And these are just a couple of examples. Yet Councillor Kelly somehow managed to avoid doing his job and properly scrutinise the claims of subordinate workers.

 

 

tommywilliams

 

May 2009; This expenses farce is not just about the last four years!

Many out there may be disgusted and angry about MP’s expenses swindles being revealed through the Press this is not new. The practices have been on going for much longer than the last four years. The scams is best measured in decades and what is being revealed is just the tip of the iceberg. And it is not only the MP’s that have been fleecing their constituents and tax-payers, local government Councillors that have been at it.

The fact is the Westminster government, the Scottish government, the Lord Advocate knows it and they have all been sitting on it, trying to bury it and hoping it will go away. The Procurator Fiscal has been sitting on the fraud cases committed by the Renfrewshire councillors, for a few years now and yet still no sign of justice for the people of Renfrewshire.

An example of just how long fraudulent claims have been submitted is detailed in a press report: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/6852178/Baroness-Adams-the-peer-who-claimed-200000-but-has-spoken-only-once.html)

Her maiden speech on the issue of the West Lothian question in February 2006 was to be her first and last contribution to the cut and thrust of repartee in the Lords chamber. However, Labour’s Lady Adams, who as Irene Adams represented the constituency of Paisley north for 15 years from 1990, was the second most expensive peer in the Lords last year, charging £66,896, including £30,212 for overnight accommodation.In each of the financial years 2007/8 and 2006/7 the peer claimed in excess of £60,000. Her claims for the last nine months of 2005/6 were £38,000, having joined the House in June 2005, seven weeks after bowing out of the Commons at that year’s general election.The then-Mrs Adams was first elected to Parliament in a by-election following the sudden death of her husband, Allen, who had represented the seat for 11 years.

She paid her daughter and former son-in-law, both Labour councillors, to work in her constituency office. Mrs Adams continues to live in Paisley, in a luxury flat in a converted mill, charging £11,916 last year to travel to and from Scotland and Westminster.  Records show that Lady Adams attended the Lords on 143 days – catching the eye of the clerk in order to claim £12,142 in daily subsistence on top of her overnight allowances. She also received £13,526 to run an office. She took part in 318 votes, but did not speak in any debates.

Her silence will have come as a disappointment to her fellow peers. Following her “powerful” maiden speech nearly four years ago, lords praised her “attractive” Scottish accent and said that they looked forward to hearing from her in future debates. Lord Wakeham, a Conservative peer, told her: “It indicates that her contributions on many other subjects will be much appreciated by all of us in this House.”

In interview with her local paper just before she took up her peerage, the then Mrs Adams said: ‘It is a great honour, not that I have ever held the House of Lords in great esteem.“ But I will have more time to get involved, because an enormous part of the job of an MP is dealing with constituents. “I have had a great career and there is plenty more to come. I will make the most of being in the Lords.“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to campaign about anything any-more, but I can’t help it.”

 

 

Ronnie BurnsAdams

 

 

 

 

May 2010; George Laird of the Blog; The Glasgow University Campaign For Human Rights – Is An SNP Fantasist and The Organisation He Links himself With Does Not Exist

The above mentioned person wrote to me a couple of times and took me to task in a rather insolent way and I confess it didn’t register; he made some malevolent remarks and again it didn’t register; he was obviously a narrow-minded supporter of the SNP and a hater of Labour and in due course it sunk in, I got there eventually. I asked myself some questions after a while noting that this guy was about as subtle as a rubber cosh; definitely a bit loosely wrapped and politically very partisan so, I asked myself what the hell has happened to standards at Glasgow University?

Being an inquisitive sort of guy and always ready and willing to take on the SNP fools and thugs I decided to make enquiries and; after moving around several departments at the University I was called back by a charming woman who was quite prominent in the Public Affairs and Publicity Department. When I started to tell her my story she interrupted me and said “what is this man’s name” when I said “George Laird” I was met with an outburst of barely suppressed laughter and the forceful statement that “Mr. Laird has nothing whatever to do with Glasgow University and you are only one of many who have called to ask about him. All seeking reassurance that the University had not suffered a collective breakdown and lost its collective senses.

So folks here we have a nationalist (what else) who is speciously claiming to have an association with Glasgow University and, writing to me and others as well as the press in a way which makes him feel important and suggesting that the Glasgow University campaign for human rights; is sympathetic to the SNP and hostile to Labour. Except of course that the organisation does not exist and he is a Walter Mitty character with a malicious streak who is not known to the University. I get the sense though that his anonymity might not last much longer. Glasgow University is a world famous centre of learning with a proud history and it has a big reputation to protect; while this fantasist and the SNP have none. http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/george-laird-of-glasgow-university.html

 

Pensioners-in-Scotland

 

Comments;

Arris Tauthil: 

You make allegations that Mr Laird is an SNP Supporter. At the time he set the blog up, he did state that, “The blog is Pro-independence. I support the work the SNP Scottish Government does in helping making Scotland fairer and a better place to live.” Seemingly though, when the SNP did actually gain office, and then failed to live up to Mr Laird’s expectations, he subjected the Party to the same critical examination and exposure as he had done to Labour and others previously.

Over time however his position has changed, as can be gleaned from his many posts critical of politicians of ALL political parties, who may guilty of hypocrisy, or have underperformed, or deceived the public in some fashion. You need to read the first entry on Mr Laird’s blog, http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/glasgow-university-senior-management.html where the entire raison d’etre is explained. It seems to me that, though originally a partisan blog, which was set up to deal with the single issue which Mr Laird describes in his first blog post, the blog has now become a beacon which draws attention to the foibles and pitfalls in Scottish politics.

 

 

11025731_440331709465043_5374557007276335186_n

 

May 2010; George Laird on his blog, (The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University) incurs Wrath of Terry Kelly Labour Party Councillor for Paisley,

George wrote; They say you are not truly famous until someone writes about you. I am the subject of a post by Labour Councillor Terry Kelly. He calls himself a ‘socialist’ but is more like the Hugo Chav of Paisley. As the ‘Labour Champion’ he has seen fit to have a pop at me. So, fame at last. His stock in trade is to call people who argue with him liars and on occasion racists, a term he uses to describe people who support the Scottish National Party.

He also likes to call people fools and thugs. Women, he calls ‘thick’. He proves beyond a shadow of doubt that any numb nut can stand and get elected to be a politician. Take the time to visit his website, read the posts and also the comments. You will see; he is a complete warmer!  http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.com/2010/05/george-laird-of-glasgow-university.html

 

gordon_brown_the_graduate

 

Comment:

Anonymous:

Oh and Kelly got suspended as a Councillor for being a dobber. He is called the ‘dobber of ward 4’ in Paisley because he hangs about looking limp.

Anonymous:

I think it’s fairly self-evident that Terry is a fruitcake. His delusional nature prompts him often to claim his blog has huge support. Now, in examining that claim, and bearing in mind that Tel uses editorial control to decide whether a post is published or not, the relatively small number of supporting posts would suggest that in fact most readers of his blog are well aware that he is a pompous balloon. I’ve been Terry watching on and off for around three years. His bigotry is legendary.

Kelly became obsessed with making sure our rugby club would not be allowed a move to a council controlled property on the basis that rugby is an elitist sport, and of course he crowed long and loud when ‘your local football club’, St. Mirren ( a private company) gained control of the same ground. He lied repeatedly during the public airing of this issue. The man has no scruples whatsoever, and if I had my way, he would never be allowed to hold public office. However, the good burghers of Ferguslie Park think the sun shines out of his substantial a**e.  There’s no accounting for tastes.

 

 

Scottish-referendum 45

 

 

 

 

September 2010; The Trials of Councillor Williams

Just over a week ago I went to Paisley Sheriff Court to see the latest pre-hearing for the fraud case involving the now ex-Labour Councillor Tommy Williams. Councillor Terry Kelly was also there with Councillor Williams – both employed by the tax-payers I might add!

Now Tommy Williams had been a phantom worker for the last twenty odd years for Glasgow Council Social Work on about £30,000 per year whilst working full time for Renfrewshire Council as a Councillor. The Labour party have known all this time about this situation with regard to Councillor Williams as it was reported to them by other members decades ago and they did nothing about it. Did they gain from this and who is paying for Councillor Williams QC?

It appears Councillor Williams likes wasting tax-payers money as, not only has he pleaded not guilty six times but, seemingly he has asked the court six times for the case to be carried over asking for extra time, one of these because his daughter was graduating, and has now lost the services of one QC because of his ignoring of his advice. Apparently the Sheriff was getting a little impatient at Councillor Williams time-wasting games!

Now you would think that most people would be raging at someone who has ripped off pensioners, patients, tax-payers etc of hundreds of thousands of pounds but no – it seems that Councillor Terry Kelly was there to support Councillor Williams rather than his electorate as he was huddled up deep in conversation with him for most of the day. Anyone who has voted for these two Labour Councillors then this just shows the contempt they hold for you!

Update; Councillor Tommy Williams is to appear again at Paisley Sheriff Court on the 5th October 2010 for a 7th diet hearing where he will have a 7th opportunity to confirm his not-guilty plea. The trial will be on the 18th October 2010 and with 31 witnesses is expected to last about four days. Hopefully justice will prevail for the people!  http://paisleyexpressions.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/it-seems-most-of-politicians-in.html

 

 

john_prescott_tracey_temple

 

 

 

Comments ;

Anonymous:  I am shocked to the core, Mr Williams was supposed to have worked for Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Dept, my Mother was scheduled to have had a visit from him, he never ever showed up, I phoned the Pollok office a number of times. When I mentioned his name the phone would go quiet, I asked “is Mr Williams available” the answer ” well we are not supposed to talk about this, I can’t say.” What sort of council is Glasgow City, Does Mr Williams work for Glasgow City Council or was he working full time for Renfrewshire Council?

Bill:  Would not surprise me what you say. From what I have been told people were phoning the same place as you say and the people there did not even know who Tommy Williams was or that there was no one working there with that name. Then again he was claiming for being at Renfrewshire Council full time with documentary proof.

 

 

11043225_1011900488837638_412989179756041273_o

 

 

 

 

October 2010: Councillor Williams Is Guilty Of Defrauding The Tax-payers. He admitted He did, So why are they continuing to waste more tax-payers money On the rest of this farce?

Been at Paisley Sheriff Court for this last week to follow the Councillor Tommy Williams fraud case as per the last post and it is amazing that this case looks as if it might go on for another week. You see Williams has admitted putting in time-sheets to Glasgow Council claiming to have been at work when in fact he never was.

The crook has come up with the claim that because of the pressure he came under being a Councillor, Deputy Leader of the Council and Convener, that is what drove him to commit the fraud – He disgracefully tries to claim that his superiors agreed to this to enable him to keep up his Pension Credits that he feared losing if he gave up his job – even though they denied this and said that they had no power to do so.

This is a huge red-herring firstly because Councillors do very little work anyway – even with convener-ships etc also with the c£30,000 per year he was getting from Renfrewshire Council plus the thousands he was getting from the Health Board he could easily pay for his own Pension Credits

The proof of my point about Councillors doing very little work was at the court all this week in Councillor Terry Kelly being there in support of his crooked friend Williams and to commiserate with him for his failure to adequately defend him at his Disciplinary Hearing when he was sacked from Glasgow Council.

Now witnesses saw Councillor Kelly point and say that it was Mr Tom Gatley’s fault that Councillor Williams was in court because it was he who reported him for committing fraud. Who is the ones sticking up for the tax-payers and constituents – It is certainly not any of these two Councillors . The person committing the fraud is the one to blame and no one else.

Councillor Williams and his defence claim that he has never tried to hide the fact that he was working full-time at Renfrewshire Council and at Glasgow Social Work which is a big lie as every time he thought he was under investigation he would remove the fact that he was employed at Glasgow Council from his declaration of interests on his Renfrewshire Council web page and then put it back on again when he thought it was safe to do so. Was this because Councillor Williams denied three times that he was employed by Glasgow City Council in the Social Work Department when questioned by a Sunday Mail reporter?

Mr Tom Gatley made an excellent quote in the Sunday Mail regarding this by saying “Councillor Williams defied not only the law of the land, but also the law of Physics by being in two places at one time”.

Strangely it has been said that Councillor Williams wife could not give evidence at this trial and yet it seems she is well enough to attend the court to witness the proceedings – a picky illness indeed! Ah well, seemingly Councillor Williams has implied that if he goes down for this crime then he is going to take others down with him all the way up to his teacher and mentor Irene Adams. One wonders if any of these people are going to be some of the machinates about to be exposed in: http://www.holyroodexposed.com/

 

 

10881702_1551717875067997_8281966087651607890_n

 

 

 

Comments:

Anonymous: “You cannot fight the Labour party”. Councillor Williams defence, appears, to rely upon whether he had an arrangement in place with his direct line manager Raymond Bell. Mr Bell denied this in court. Fact I was there. In court today Wed/03/Nov we heard from a Jim Callahan who was the group work (practice) manager in which Councillor Tommy Williams was a member of his team within Glasgow Social Work. Mr Callahan refused to sign Councillor Williams’s pay roll time sheets due to absolutely no hours being worked by Councillor Williams.

At a meeting between Callahan and Bell the two managers, Mr Bell’s reason to Mr Callahan when the issue was brought up is as quoted “you cannot fight the labour party”. No more was elaborated on from the statement. No more questions from the Procurator Fiscal.

The term went down like a lead balloon. Why? Well we all know that the politicians have been stealing our money for years and the system always states it is not in the public interest to prosecute. If someone was stealing our money how can any sane person tell you it is not in YOUR interest, to crave satisfaction, in full?

The answer given to Mr Callahan was extraordinary! Mr Bell claims there was no arrangement with Williams . Mr Callahan was angry at a wage, for a much needed social worker, being paid to a person without there being any service provided. In short he was pleading for a much needed worker, required to help the vulnerable children/families the department was set up to help at great cost to taxpayers.

Mr Bell in stating,” You can’t fight the Labour Party” was explaining to his college that Mr Williams was a Labour Councillor and it was unwise and impossible to highlight this fraudulent action by one of the ruling Labour Party Members. We all know what happens to (Whistle Blowers) don’t we?

Mr Williams spilled the beans in court, by stating, “He spoke to many councillors at conventions who had similar arrangements”. Well regardless Councillor Williams, you took money from the peoples purse, money collected from our taxes, and lined your own pockets. Your claim of worrying about your pension would be laughable if we were not all so sore from the effects of the economy. Corrupt politicians, who in the main come up with useless fiscal developments costing the tax payer money so they can skim, cream, blatantly steal our money whilst providing a shambles of a service. There are less and less Politicians who are honest, morale and blessed with some integrity. Unless the politicians are held to account we will never recover. Many a sound business floundered due to ignoring petty theft, it never stops there. Does it?

The Jury I am sure will have the common sense to convict. You see the truth is, the Crown have dumped a fraud case against an ex high ranking Deputy Leader of the Renfrewshire Labour Party on a fresh faced Procurator Fiscal, who we are told had ten days to learn her case and be prepared for trial, against not only an experienced QC, but Sheriff Spy appears to be hostile to the (young, pretty) Procurator Fiscal.

Why did the other 2/3 handling fiscal’s refused to try this case. Simple answer is that it would be the death of their career. Remember, if you have an ethical or a criminal issue to highlight with the way Labour do business, watch your back. If you intend to make noises about it, or even try going public, no main stream paper will print political wrong doing unless it is a shitty we line at the back of a publication.

Mr Williams provided false time sheets and you took money in the form of wages from the People of Glasgow and provided no service for it that is fraud. Not so pure, albeit Simple to understand.

 

 

gordon-brown-diaries

 

November 2010: Update:

After (four long and very expensive to the taxpayer) years investigating corruption within Renfrewshire District Council, retired businessman Tom Gatley who lodged the complaint is fully vindicated. But his success is stained by the verdict of the court which, whilst accepting £26,500 of taxpayers’ cash was scammed by the Councillor allowed Williams to walk free on a technicality.

Williams admitted pocketing wages as a Glasgow City Council social worker for three years – despite not doing any work – while also claiming expenses as a Renfrewshire Councillor. Williams, 58, got a not proven verdict on a fraud rap after claiming his boss Raymond Bell sanctioned his bogus wages.

The Councillor – nicknamed the Time Lord for defying the laws of physics by being in two places at once – was forced to repay the cash. Retired businessman Tom Gatley, who exposed the scam four years ago, said:  “This Councillor has walked free despite admitting dishonestly obtaining tens of thousands of pounds from taxpayers.  “His defence was that he took the money but a big boy told him that it was OK, so that makes it alright.

I don’t think that justice was done.”  Williams was among five Renfrewshire Councillors’ exposed by the Sunday Mail four years ago. http://www.ktbh.co.uk/williams.htm

 

 

11004544_4937439849490_5017761181658621797_o

 

 

 

 

February 2013:  The infamous Facebook rant.

You could read this and it will take 20 minutes, but please be aware this is 20 minutes of your life you won’t get back. I attended an independence debate at the University of the West of Scotland and Terry was present… but he refused to remain quiet. http://www.ktbh.co.uk/kellyrant.pdf

A psychologist reviewed the article and reported; Terry Kelly’s insistence in always having the last word “arises from early childhood or past misunderstandings where one feels they were not able to get their point across to a degree which allowed their words to be fully accepted, understood and/or agreed to.

This results in the person then desiring to have a sense of control over future conversations, debates or arguments and makes it very difficult for them to ‘let it go’ until they are able to reach, what they consider to be, a satisfactory closure point.

They are usually at heart unsure of their own worth, and so need to establish dominance by having the last word. It is like the final stroke of a sword in a battle.”….”Either he genuinely believes the nonsense he writes or he is writing in a tired, emotional state.”

 

 

Scottish-Referendum42

 

 

 

June 2013: Controversial Councillor Kelly a Liability?

Kelly is a Labour Councillor for Ward 4 Paisley North West, and convener of Renfrewshire’s Planning and Economic Development Policy Board. The Paisley Daily Express once described him as ‘outspoken’. There are other online references to Kelly which are less kind. I entered – “terry kelly” Councillor – into Google and there were over 9,140 hits, which is quite a lot for a Councillor, so there’s obviously something going on.

The Standards Commission for Scotland once suspended Kelly for calling an SNP member and fellow Councillor a “village idiot” during a council meeting. I wonder if this man, considering how much he is disliked, is not perhaps a liability to the Scottish Labour Party? Does 21st century Scottish politics really need someone causing so much friction? He seems to say a lot (and very loudly too), but what does he achieve, apart from making enemies?

I have only met this gentleman once, and I didn’t leave feeling at all enamoured with him. Based on his last two election results, his votes dropped from 1,671 in 2007 to 1,349 in 2012 (that’s a drop of 20%) – and that was an election which saw a marked swing away from the SNP and towards Labour. There’s obviously something going on.

 

 

11009133_438698519628362_6016341063874118177_o

 

 

 

July 2014: Maryhill Food Bank Experience Mocked by Councillor Kelly

Demonstrating his caring side he provided evidence of exactly what kind of socialist he was when someone commented on his blog with this quote, taken from an interview with someone who works at the Maryhill Food Bank, which appeared in the Evening Times;

“I have worked in social work for 20 years, so I am pretty hardened but we had a family come in on a Tuesday at 3pm having not eaten since the ­previous Friday. There had been a problem with benefits and because it was a Bank Holiday weekend the mum had no money for food for her or her two children. I watched the mum pick up and put down can after can, wondering what she doing, before I realised she was looking for one with a ring pull. She ripped the top off and starting eating the beans with her hands, she was so hungry. At that point I had to go to the toilets and have a cry.

Clearly moved, the Councillor commented;

“what a terrible story, a woman and her 2 children going without food for 4 days, did they have to walk several miles in their bare feet through howling winds and driving rain to get there as well?. No wonder you prefer anonymity, what a crock of bulldung.

If your social worker with 20 years experience actually exists, you should ask her what caused this catastrophic breakdown in the social work system which has provision to make sure that such an incident could not happen. Hyperbole is difficult to avoid when you are an idiot.”

When the poster responded, citing the source of the quote, the Councillor stuck steadfastly to his faecal based defence;

“I don’t care if you read it in the fecking Bible, it’s a crock of s**t and you are an idiot.”

We’ve covered the scandalous growth in demand for food banks before and while there are no official statistics for food bank use in Scotland, the largest provider of food aid, the Trussell Trust, gave out 71,428 food parcels to Scots in 2013 and the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee said last week that food bank use may have risen by as much as 400% in the last year. The committee (and everyone else) blame the relentless attacks on the unemployed, the vulnerable and the disabled being carried out by the Westminster Government. But your local Labour representative thinks that’s all a crock of shit made up by idiots.

On the rare instances he documents his attendance at council meetings, it’s usually to tell us about the dastardly Renfrewshire SNP doing things like waking him up when he’s trying to sleep in the chamber and wasting his precious time by discussing how to best support children who’re struggling to balance their education with their role as carers for their families.

Stating that Mr. Kelly is a wanker may not send earthquakes through the corridors of power, even the slightly dank ones at Renfrewshire Council but the Councillor Kelly’s of our local politics have been hiding in plan sight for too long.

He may be a much more rounded satirical character and a more damning indictment of Scottish Labour and its “unique” brand of socialism than anything we could invent but the arrogance, denial and downright derision directed at those who’ve been shoved below the breadline by the political class is no laughing matter. http://athousandflowers.net/2014/07/10/weekly-wanker-034-terry-kelly/

 

 

poster-21

 

 

July 2014:  Councillor Kelly  – The Man with his feet in two camps

There is a strong suspicion that Councillor Kelly is a closet Socialist, despite his support for Blair’s Government, his support of the selling off of council housing to a private limited company and his latest aberration, the stigmatizing of a food-bank user who dared to criticise the policies of the Cameron government.

Still, on his blog, he claims to be a socialist. How can this be? The Councillor runs the most vile, hate-filled blog it has been my misfortune to read. It is filled with spiteful venom and really obnoxious, and often has a special place for the Socialists. But Terry claims to be a socialist and although I do not know him personally, I’m told by those who do that he’s ‘OK’. So it’s difficult to believe that a vile hate-filled, spiteful, venomous, obnoxious person could charm the voters, could they ? Unless they were modelled on Blair.

I believe the explanation is that Kelly is reacting to his own shame at allowing his own Socialism to be sold down the river for a place at the council table and a pay of around £460 per week. But he says he’s a socialist and how could anyone think one of Tony Blair’s New Labour people would tell a lie ? I mean, I’m sure that if they live long enough, maybe four or five hundred years, Tony Robinson and the Time Team will find those weapons of mass destruction, right ?

So he embraces all of the Tory policies with enthusiasm, attacking food-bank users, manipulating Renfrewshire’s assets for tax avoidance and promoting big business at the Brae-head Shopping Development. He gets into bed with Cameron’s Tories to fight against independence with more vitriol than the Tories themselves. Nothing is too right wing for Kelly,  he has to do it to cover up his embarrassment and shame at having sold his Socialism for a paltry portion of silver and a small sliver of power.

Ashamed of his own cowardice he has to try to be a bully, but he’s not scary enough. That he has to be obnoxious, and to lose all respect among decent people is a very small price to pay when you have already committed the major act of betrayal of your community and working class heritage, and you can always pass off anger at yourself as strong commitment to principle if you are loud enough.

And as for the real Socialists, he hates them worst, because they are a constant reminder to him of his shame and betrayal. They are the open sore that just wont heal, they wont go away no matter what he does. They haunt him like a bad dream of what he believes but dare not admit because were he to come out of the closet as a socialist by action rather than just words then his leader, Councillor McMillan, would dispense with the services of his court jester as quickly as you can say Gulf War, and then he’s off the gravy train. http://redmistblog.blogspot.co.uk/

 

 

11043093_1565752753706989_9065576706820729752_n

 

 

 

 

17. March 2015: Labour Councillor Terry Kelly “in the dug house” amid claims he made offensive remarks about social workers.

Controversial councillor Terry Kelly sparked a row after claiming on Facebook that he wouldn’t let some social workers “look after my dug.’” The member for Paisley North West is now facing calls for him to be sacked over the remarks which were made during an online row with an SNP supporter.

Iain Nicolson, SNP leader at Labour-run Renfrewshire Council, said Councillor Kelly should be disciplined for the outburst. Councillor Nicolson said: “Labour councillor Terry Kelly and his offensive remarks regarding social workers are to be condemned. “To state on a public forum that ‘I am retired and I know a lot of social workers who I would not leave to look after my dug’ is a disgraceful comment from someone who is paid handsomely by the local authority. “Councillors have a legal obligation of care with regard to child safety, vulnerable adults and protection. “Councillor Kelly clearly stated that he knew ‘a lot’ of social workers who are unfit to watch his dogs. “He should name them in order that the council can protect vulnerable children. “If he hasn’t, then that is a complete failing of his duty of care which councillors have with regard to our roles in ensuring public safety.”

He added that Councillor Kelly was “smearing social workers” and that he still draws a £24,000-a-year salary as a senior councillor in Renfrewshire’s Labour administration, as well as being a member of the council’s leadership board, despite being retired. He said: “Smearing social workers in this way is completely irresponsible and is not the type of leadership expected. “He clearly has complete disdain for hundreds of council employees who are social workers. “They do a very difficult job on a full day week, often work out of hours and weekends protecting Renfrewshire’s children and on less money that he is happy to lift during his ‘retirement’. “Councillor Kelly should be called to account for his comments and Labour leader Mark Macmillan should show leadership by sacking him from his position of responsibility.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/labour-councillor-terry-kelly-in-5303395

 

2037e-bird

 

Labour Suspends Paisley Councillor Over Israel Blog Posts

Renfrewshire Council said Kelly had not been suspended as a councillor, but said he could not serve on boards or committees he attends as a party representative while he is suspended by Labour.  A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council’s SNP group said Mr Kelly’s conduct was “proof that Labour are not fit to govern”.

“Councillor Kelly has made clear many times on social media his support for the view of the Iranian leadership that Israel has no right to exist, this denies the voice of the Israeli peace movement and progressive voices that want a change of policy on the Palestinian question,” the spokesperson said.

“Councillor Kelly was a Militant supporter in the 1980s, and comes from the same hard left stable as Jeremy Corbyn. Labour is simply unelectable these days, and this is proof.”

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: “Terry Kelly has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”

 

imagesfff

 

 

July 2016: Kelly reinstated to the labour party

A Scottish Labour councillor suspended from the party over a series of posts on his blog about Zionism and Israel has been reinstated. It came after he wrote strongly in defence of former London mayor Ken Livingston, who was suspended from the party for making comments about Hitler.

 

 

1531998_840234932709939_3385315916147037263_n

Categories
Scottish Referendum

A Look Back at the Day Gordon Brown Saved Scotland From Itself.

A Look Back at How Gordon Brown Saved Scotland From Itself.

1. Best of Both Worlds promise

Far from enjoying, “the best of both worlds” Scotland is now burdened with, “the worst of all worlds” where a cabal of “on message” Tories and civil servants, (including the civil service in Scotland) controlled and directed by Cabinet Secretary and top civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood decide upon the fate of Scotland behind the securely closed doors of No 10 Downing Street. Exit in great haste, Gordon Brown, whose lack of influence over the unfolding disaster he generated is evident, even to the least politically minded of Scots.

2. Shambolic and divided: how Better Together nearly fell apart

a. Personality clashes, poor organisation, inter-party disputes threatened to derail the no campaign – until Alistair Darling called in the cavalry. Gordon Brown was the hero of the crucial eve-of-poll hour. The crowd erupted; he was the hero of the crucial eve-of-poll hour, but Gordon Brown, sweating profusely from exertion, buffeted by the attentions of grateful supporters at the end of a speech that, perhaps more than any had helped save the union, wanted the ear of his former chancellor – and former friend. “You deserve a lot of credit for this,” Brown mumbled to Alistair Darling, as the raucous cheers finally receded in Glasgow’s Maryhill Community Central Hall.

b. The response from Darling, leader of the cross-party Better Together campaign, whose 2011 memoirs told so candidly of being a victim of Brown’s “brutal” Downing Street regime, was lost to the noise. But for old-time Labour campaigners the speech meant a great deal. “It was like finishing a jigsaw which prompted a memory explaining why you had done so many things,” said one. “We thought, ‘So that’s why we followed that man Brown, why we made those decisions’.” Typically, perhaps even endearingly, after offering his olive branch to Darling, the former prime minister – still irascible, still a brooding presence – illustrated his continued personal and political insecurities, by turning to his aides. “Did it hit the mark? Did it hit the mark?” he asked insistently.

c. Brown had hit the mark. He had beseeched Scotland not to give up on solidarity, and prophesied, during his angry and passionate performance on Wednesday evening, that “the silent majority will be silent no more”. The next day Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to stay in the union, a comfortable victory given that Alex Salmond’s campaign had nudged ahead in the polls less than two weeks earlier.

d. The result was as pollster Andrew Cooper, David Cameron’s former director of strategy, had privately predicted to Darling. Hired by Better Together in May, Cooper forecast that “the polls are going to narrow two weeks out and that you might even see a couple where you are behind”, said a source from the campaign. Cooper told Darling that the gap would then widen again, leaving the final result a couple of points off the last poll and in favour of no. The hearts of the undecideds said yes and the heads said no, Cooper reasoned. The poll movements would result from those who went with their heart deciding earlier than the people who went with their head. Cooper’s prediction was one of the few things that did go smoothly in the battle to save the union.

e. The Better Together and, to a lesser extent, the wider no campaign was shambolic, divided and, at times, plain incompetent; riven by personality clashes (not only, but largely, confined to within the Labour fold) and inter-party political disputes. It was, paradoxically, often a display of British politics at its worst. The state of the Better Together base camp, from which a reluctant Darling led the fight (he had to be persuaded by Ed Miliband and Tories alike to take on its leadership) set the tone. The air in its fourth-floor offices in Glasgow’s down-at-heel Savoy shopping centre was thick with the smell of chip fat. The building’s shutters only opened at 8.30am and closed at 5.30pm apart from on Friday and Saturday nights when “40-year-old divorcees who had poured themselves into 17-year-olds’ clothes turned up for the Savoy disco,” said one insider. “It could not have been a worse base. You can imagine the fun and games there was on a daily basis just trying to get in and out,” another added. More significantly, for months, if not years, far too little appeared to happen inside this HQ and its forerunner in the grander Blythswood Square nearby.

f. “No one really blamed Alistair,” said a source within the campaign. “But he was pulling levers and nothing was going on.” Darling’s speeches were left unwritten until the last moment; a grid wasn’t set up to organise media activity; and there seemed little appetite to hone the messages sent out to an electorate soaked with the yes campaign’s propaganda. The case for the union seemed to be reduced to a series of dire and sometimes implausible warnings. It was felt by some that the Liberal Democrats weren’t pulling their weight by getting their people on television, and even a contact database of journalists wasn’t put in place for the press office. With six weeks to go one of Better Together’s press team asked Catherine MacLeod, Darling’s long-time aide, for a mobile number for BBC Scotland’s political editor. “How could they possibly not have had that number?” said one infuriated campaigner.

g. The battle within social media only went to further highlight Better Together’s deficiencies. The yes campaign was three times more socially active, in terms of positive tweets and Facebook likes. The yes Twitter feed was engaged with one million times, for example, compared with just short of 300,000 for Better Together. And, inevitably, this lack of activity, and a lackadaisical approach to canvassing, started to eat into the polls.

h. A year before the referendum, “no” had been ahead by 20 percentage points. But by the last month, despite the main three political parties ruling out a currency union, that lead was all but gone. “This summer Darling called in help. It was an important moment,” said a source. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander was sought for his expertise as was Torsten Bell, one of Ed Miliband’s closest aides and former economic adviser to Darling. Paul Sinclair, a former media adviser to Brown, now working with Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, also provided desperately needed energy. “Torsten made things happen and Douglas worked on advertising, messaging and scripts for interviews. He devised the Love Scotland, Vote No mantra. Paul was writing speeches and getting things moving. Things started to get a bit better.”

i. Meanwhile, a parallel Labour effort to get the vote out, largely led by Brown, started in May. Brown proved throughout the campaign to be every bit the same “clunking fist” (as Tony Blair once put it) that he ever was; bullying and bulldozing his way through, intolerant of failure and incompetence. “Still mad as cheese,” admitted one Labour figure. Brown adamantly refused to have anything to do with the cross-party campaign because he feared it would provide a platform for a Tory resurgence in Scotland. But he at least offered a figure to rally around, someone who could deliver a message to the core Labour vote.

j. In matters of organisation, Gordon Banks, Labour MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, who played a key role in batting off the threat from the SNP to Glasgow city council in the 2012 local elections, became a major player. “With four months to go, we were now getting on people’s doorsteps and having a conversation,” Banks told the Observer. “We were accused of being negative but the message was, ‘If you want to keep the pound, vote no’. That’s not negative. And it was a matter of trust. The nationalists have had 80 years to think this through yet they have no answers on pensions, currency and the rest. ‘Do you trust Salmond?’ we asked.”

k. As the Labour machine hit its top speed, 20,000 homes a day were being canvassed. Not that the gears of that machine moved altogether smoothly either. Jim Murphy, the shadow international secretary, who was embarking on a 100-speech tour, has a hate-hate relationship with Douglas Alexander, who was, for all intents and purposes directing events; Darling and Brown met only a handful of times during the entire campaign (“There was a peace pact, but Gordon doesn’t really do peace,” said a source); and Labour strategists were struggling to find anyone even willing to share a platform with their combative and prickly former defence secretary John Reid.

l. But things weren’t falling apart. Labour sources admitted that they believed David Cameron had “played a blinder” in his measured interventions. The three main parties, after endless negotiations, agreed, with a couple of weeks to go, to announce a timetable to further devolution in the final full week of campaigning. It was late in the day, but if presented well it could, the organisers reasoned, look statesmanlike.

3. And then the wobble came.

a. On the evening of 6 September, the Sunday Times released details of its next day’s splash: a YouGov poll had given yes its first lead. While some of those privy to Cooper’s polling predictions were calm, others were far less so. “It was 48 hours of chaos,” admitted a senior Liberal Democrat adviser. George Osborne, appearing on Sunday morning’s Andrew Marr show, managed to give the impression that a package of powers was soon to be announced, rather than a mere timetable; Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael, speaking at lunchtime on the BBC, chuckled and looked evasive when asked what was coming down the line, “with a wire coming out of his head that gave him a Mickey Mouse ear”, said one Labour source.

b. That day, Miliband sent up more staff to take a grip of Better Together in the final stages and the next day he spoke with Cameron in his Commons office where they agreed to cancel prime minister’s questions to travel to Scotland. And then Brown struck. “He completely jumped the gun,” said a Downing Street source. Brown took it upon himself to announce on Monday that there would be home rule for Scotland. Indeed he not only promised a timetable, but sketched one out. “It looked very much like an attempt to steal the glory,” said a Downing Street aide.

c. Whether that was the former prime minister’s intention, or not, Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg could only endorse it, while no doubt grimacing at the emotive and potentially problematic issue of what home rule means for Scotland – and the rest of the UK. Brown had certainly “hit the mark”, as he did again in his barnstorming speech on Wednesday; he may even have saved the union at its darkest hour. But, as the dust settles on a campaign that won almost despite itself, the British public may now be moved to ask: at what cost? http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/21/how-better-together-nearly-fell-apart-alistair-darling-gordon-brown-scottish-independence

Categories
Exposes

GOLD CARD cover-up: Ministers blame head of the Civil Service for blocking exposure of abuse

1. August 2011; Fury over taxpayer GOLD CARD cover-up: Ministers blame head of the Civil Service for blocking exposure of abuse

a. Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell is being blamed by key members of the Government for blocking moves to reveal the true extent of spending on the cards, which are given to officials to pay for their ‘expenses’. Ministers fear a cloak of secrecy is being used to conceal widespread abuse of £1?billion plus of public money spent on the cards every year. Some officials have already been caught using them for personal items such as hamburgers or supermarket shopping trips – but the real number of culprits is suspected to be far higher. About 140,000 Government Procurement Cards (GPC) are in circulation, and any bills lower than £1,000 a month are not routinely audited.

b. Now, amid growing public anger over the revelations, Whitehall finance mandarins have issued secret advice warning Ministers against publishing information that exposes exactly how much has been spent using the cards since their introduction in 1997. The advice says the Cabinet Office opposes the release of backdated information, including the identity of cardholders, as it would be a ‘poor use of resources’. Claiming the backing of Downing Street in opposing wider publication, the guidance declares that £235,000-a-year Sir Gus is personally resistant to the idea. The row coincides with the release today of bank statements revealing how officials at the Commons racked up a £1.5?million bill on taxpayer-funded credit cards over the past three years. The list of nearly 4,000 purchases, released under Freedom of Information rules, includes £3,700 on The Claridges hotel in New Delhi.

c. The Coalition’s drive to persuade the Civil Service to be more open about its credit-card spending is being spearheaded by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, but Mr Cameron’s influential strategy director Steve Hilton is believed to be a strong advocate of the ‘transparency agenda’. Most of the credit-card disclosures have been driven by open-government campaigners, although some Cabinet Ministers, such as Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, have voluntarily released details of their department’s spending.
Drive.

d. Mr Maude has now brokered a compromise deal under which Government departments will next month publish a list of items purchased using the cards. But to the anger of some senior Coalition members, the list will cover only items costing more than £500 bought in the current financial year. And it will not identify cardholders. Last night, one Minister who has lobbied behind the scenes for full disclosure said: ‘We have been banging our heads against a brick wall trying to get all this information out there. ‘We are convinced there has been an abuse of this perk on the scale of the MPs’ expenses scandal, but the Cabinet Office has resisted at every turn. And it has been made clear to us that Sir Gus is not on our side.’ And a Whitehall insider said: ‘For too long officials have treated this perk like a Gold Card on the taxpayer.’

e. In recent months The Mail on Sunday has revealed a series of eye-catching and exotic purchases made by civil servants and local government officials on taxpayer-funded cards, including £25?million spent last year on first-class flights, exclusive restaurants and shopping sprees. And last week this newspaper disclosed how officials working for a Government policing quango had used the cards to buy items including exotic lingerie and beehives, racking up bills of more than £3?million a year.

f. Sir Gus – known by his staff as ‘GOD’, after his initials – is a long-serving high-flyer who has been head of the Civil Service for nearly six years. The 58-year-old joined the Treasury as an economist in 1979, serving as Press secretary to Chancellor Nigel Lawson and later to Prime Minister John Major. He was Permanent Secretary at the Treasury when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, before being promoted to serve Tony Blair, Mr Brown and now David Cameron as Cabinet Secretary. He is planning to leave his post before the end of the current Parliament.

g. When the Cabinet Office was approached about the Ministers’ claims that Sir Gus is opposed to the wider publication of the credit-card statements, a spokesman said: ‘This is untrue. The Cabinet Secretary has not resisted the release of this information.’ When asked if that meant the Cabinet Secretary was in favour of the release of all backdated information, the spokesman said: ‘The Government’s position is clear: we intend to publish GPC transactions and the first set will be published shortly.’ Sources close to Mr Maude said: ‘We are pushing for maximum transparency, both for now and for what happened under Labour.’ Downing Street said: ‘As part of the Government’s commitment to transparency, we are working with card providers to provide a consistent method of reporting GPC spending data for transactions above £500, so this is available for publication from the end of September 2011.’

2. Oh! and about the men in tights in Westminster

a. Parliament’s ‘Men in Tights’ have racked up a £1.5?million bill on official credit cards to pay for items including French lessons, iTunes downloads and dress hire. Luxury hotels, long-haul flights and restaurants also feature in a new list of ‘procurement card’ spending released by Commons authorities. They reveal senior House officials used the cards to pay for: A £3,701.05 bill for the exclusive The Claridges hotel in New Delhi. Almost £2,000 of car hire from the Bermuda Motor Car Renting company. French lessons costing nearly £190. A Moss Bros bill for £392.73. The officials, who wear elaborate 19th Century court dress on Commons occasions, even lived up to their nickname in one case by flashing the taxpayer-funded cards to buy a pair of tights. The cards were used to cover more than £200 of spending at Tesco, a £76.65 item billed to Decanter Magazine and an £885 food blender. There was also evidence that staff were using them to withdraw more than £500 in cash, which is forbidden for procurement cards used by Government departments. Last night it was unclear if the same rules applied to the Commons cards.

b. A Commons spokesman said the bulk of the £1.5?million spending over three years was on behalf of MPs on official business either in the UK or abroad. But the House authorities faced challenges to justify some of the purchases. Tory MP Aidan Burley said: ‘No one begrudges Commons officials spending money on items essential to their work. But I fail to see how that includes language lessons or living it up in luxury hotels. ‘Asking the taxpayer to pay for that sort of expenditure can never be justified.’ Just like Government departments, the Commons issues the special payment cards to senior staff, including Select Committee clerks who look after MPs. About 230 cards are in use. According to House managers, the system allows staff ‘to pay for relatively low-value items in a cheap, secure, and quick way. ‘The use of the cards reduces the House’s processing costs and enables suppliers to be paid more quickly, delivering savings. ‘The cards are held by a limited number of staff and have strict controls for the authorisation of all transactions. All cards have an individual transaction limit and a monthly transaction limit.’

c. Staff are strictly advised that they can be used only for ‘business purposes and never for personal expenditure other than in exceptional circumstances where private expenditure is incidental to official business’. Any spending in that category must be reimbursed by the card user, say managers. But even though Commons auditors are supposed to exercise strict controls over authorising all transactions, details of the bills brought surprise last night. As well as minor items such as £4.99 at Snappy Snaps in July last year, a £3.02 Burger King bill from May last year and £8 last November on a spare set of keys, officials spent thousands settling up at exclusive hotels around the world. The biggest single entry on the list of bills for the 12 months to May is £3,700 for the luxurious Claridges hotel in New Delhi. The hotel, the flagship of an Indian chain not connected to Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair, offers club rooms from £200 a night or luxury suites from £290. Commons sources last night said the hotel had been used by MPs on a visit to the Indian capital in March. In the same month, a Commons card took care of a £1,705 account at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, although officials were unable to say whether this was the Ritz in Piccadilly or one of the chain’s overseas locations.

d. Commons officials faced questions over purchases not obviously relevant to MPs’ work. A Thermomix blender and processor ‘combo’ was bought for £885 last February, while £450 went on a bill from Majestic Wine. Other payments included £1,280 to the Cotswold Water Park in July last year, £10.78 at a Giraffe family restaurant a year ago and £7.21 in May last year at Nando’s. Language lessons were paid for on the Commons card, including £189.70 worth of tuition at London’s French Institute. Last night, a Commons spokesman could not say whether the lessons were for MPs or parliamentary officials. She was also unable to shed any light on the purchase of the food mixer or the wine bill. But she could explain iTunes transactions ranging from just 47p to £21.57. Officials had been acquiring software as part of a trial on using iPads in the Commons. She also stressed that the annual credit-card bill would be reviewed as part of wider plans by to cut expenditure by 17 per cent by 2014-15. In the 12 months to May, the Commons credit-card bill came to £414,000, down on the £608,000 spent in 2009-10. One MP last night explained how on Commons committee trips overseas, parliamentarians were always relieved to see accompanying officials ‘put out the Commons plastic’. ‘If we’ve been staying at a big hotel, it’s always a relief to see the clerk settle the bill with the Commons card,’ one said.

e. But Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘When a House of Commons official gets out their company credit card, they need to think about whether they could justify the expenditure to an ordinary taxpayer. ‘Only the very rich on their holidays stay in the sort of hotel MPs used in India, so it is absolutely unjustified that officials should do so when they go on work trips. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025760/Fury-taxpayer-gold-card-cover-Ministers-blame-head-Civil-Service-blocking-exposure-abuse.html

Categories
Taxation

Gathering Tax From This Lot Would Clear the National Debt- Scoundrels All

Gathering Tax From This Lot Would Clear the National Debt

May 2009; 40 New Labour ministers have taken taxpayers money and claimed expenses to get advice on how to avoid paying tax which everyone else has to pay. Shysters!

May 2009; Panorama Expose – The “Crooks” are the politicians who take tons of pay offs from anyone while stealing the peoples money through draconian tax laws. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWmlUfknTZk

March 2011; The bigger picture although still beyond too many, is increasingly exposed along with the entities. Great information that I will share with as many others as I am able. The living dead entities, predatory and parasitic, callous and cruel. They now possess zones of our law enforcement and judicial system. We desperately need a new system in order to remove the teeth and blunt the claws of these demonic entities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqhcMAE1ekA

August 2011; With more than 20 millionaires in the UK cabinet, reporter Antony Barnett examines the financial affairs of some ministers and others who have helped the government. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oElLtJ00Po

October 2011; This tax planning video explains the world of legal tax avoidance in the UK. It looks at how Tax planning and tax avoidance are almost the same thing. It covers income tax avoidance, avoiding capital gains tax, corporate tax planning and how to avoid corporation tax, inheritance tax planning and inhertiance tax avoidance, how to avoid stamp duty, international tax planning and international

February 2012; Urgent questions: Public sector bosses raking it in because they are avoiding tax, and making the little people pay more instead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6TiHrnbmVQ&list=PLN2Xn0dQuJeawx11ltjZAffuvjTy1P57w&index=199

February 2012; Not only have the Treasury closed 2 loopholes in the tax system, Barclays have been billed 500 million pounds sterling in unpaid tax, and other financial institutions face similar tax bills.

February 2012; Public sector bosses raking it in because they are avoiding tax, and making the little people pay more instead. The rest of the debate (just few more min) was cut due to schedule clash.

February 2012; The public sector boss of the Students Loan Company appears to have got a VERY favourable tax deal with the proven to be corrupt taxman, and has saved himself £10’s thousand of Pounds in taxes per year. Meanwhile, your taxes go up to pay for what he benefits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm_m6YCUYqY

May 2012; Revelations that Take That have been using an accounting scheme to get around taxation are symptomatic of the UK’s broken tax system. The TPA’s Chief Executive Jonathan Isaby tells BBC News exactly why.

May 2012; “The difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is the thickness of a prison wall” KinsellaTax Investigations discuss the moral issues surrounding the differences between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYXKXmRcLCs

June 2012; An investigation by Channel 4 News and The Times Newspaper on how some of the richest people in the UK, manage to get away with paying virtually no tax at all, despite earning £100,000’s a year. The loophole may or may not be legal, but morally, the people using this type of tax avoidance is scummy. They must feel good with themselves that they pay the same amount of tax on their fortunes, as someone on minimum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNkalwecwx4

July 2012; MOLLY MAID supports Tory Minister, David Gauke’s view on tax avoidance revealed today. As the nation’s largest employer in the UK’s £1.6 billion pound domestic cleaning sector we recognise the collective responsibility for charging and paying VAT, where appropriate, and the Government’s duty to regulate this. There are potential solutions to address this matter elsewhere in Europe to the benefit of all parties

August 2012; James Henry: US media and politicians mostly ignore massive untaxed wealth that big banks help rich move to tax havens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P1Z2mTCfLE

October 2012; BBC Newsnight report into BBC workers and Government/public sector workers who avoid paying taxes by using approved schemes.

November 2012; Carry forward net operating losses. The greatest invention for corporations since sliced bread. There are others, accelerated depreciation, capital investment losses etc. Absolutely brilliant!!?

November 2012; MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee grilled Starbucks, Amazon and Google about why they paid almost no UK corporation tax. Starbucks CFO, Troy Alstead, said it was because the company made profits here only once in 15 years. Amazon’s Andrew Cecil put it down to having their HQ in Luxembourg, where the top staff are based. Margaret Hodge, committee chair, described Google’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db4TlUY_1gI

November 2012; where do corporations get the money to pay corporation tax? from their customers. so in essence people want tax collectors to collect more money. the only problem i can see is that it creates a competitive disadvantage to smaller companies trying to compete. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8yBOHjeNOk

December 2012; Global firms in the UK that pay little or no tax are an “insult” to British businesses, a committee of MPs says. The Public Accounts Committee chairwoman said HM Revenue and Customs needed to be “more aggressive and assertive in confronting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA9IRSU-agM

March 2013; Panorama Undercover How To Dodge Tax Part 1 of 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY25SxVZTF4

April 2013; The Missing Trillions: Where The rich & mighty hide the cash. Tax Havens exposed More politicians and tycoons appear to be marred by scandal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd2QVvWc6Nw

April 2013; Jonathan Isaby on April’s Public Accounts Committee tax avoidance report

April 2013; What are offshore tax havens, who uses them, and how do they work? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy2RgjIIZyA

May 2013; Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much? Gaining insight from international tax experts, this excellent documentary takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally. As we have previously discussed in great detail, those routes go by resounding names like ‘Cayman Special’, ‘Double Irish’, and ‘Dutch Sandwich’ amid a financial world operating in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy where sizable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax. ‘The Tax Free Tour’ explains the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalized capitalism? At the same time, the online game “Taxodus” provides an interactive guide to hiding your company’s cash. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible.

May 2013; Chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, discusses Google’s tax, and her own tax affairs, with Channel 4 News. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYkRsg0s8Iw

May 2013; Senior Google executive Matt Brittin defended his company’s tax policies before Britain’s Parliament, denying charges that it was misleading authorities to dodge paying tax. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SasiOBsU9LE

May 2013; On the day that Google face strong criticism of its tax affairs at the Public Account’s Committee Robert Oxley argues that the solution is to simplify the UK’s incredibly complex tax code

June 2013; UK territories sign on to tax-avoidance crackdown U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron struck a deal Saturday with leaders of Britain’s overseas territories to share tax information — a move he heralded as a “positive step forward” on an issue at the forefront of next week’s G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.

June 2013; Tamasin Cave introduces a film examining the links between global accountancy firms and the UK government. When advisors and consultants move through a ‘revolving door’ between commercial and government posts, does this enhance the powers of the tax avoidance department in London, or create a link that provides privileged information to clients? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV3eHv_DbyA&feature=youtu.be

June 2014; But behind the simplicity of their menu lies a complex offshore network of money that involves the Isle of Man, Ireland, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands. But how does it all end up in Jersey? And what is the connection to a grand 16th century estate in Wiltshire? Guardian special projects editor James Ball explains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPS3bnkxdMM

November 2014; How Saint Bob Geldorf became (in his own words) a ‘private equity whore’ by launching £125m fund. Geldof is chairman of firm seeking to make large profits for its rich clients by investing in – of all places – Africa ‘My name is Bob. I’m a PE [private equity] whore and I’m looking for £25million,’ he said during speech to investors

200 videos each covering aspects of tax avoidance

Categories
Labour Party

Jim (Cookie Jar) McGovern Labour MP Dundee West Information of Interest to the Public

McGovern

1. Jim Cookie Jar) McGovern MP For Dundee West

a. James McGovern is a Scottish Labour Party pMP. He was born in Glasgow but moved to Dundee at the age of 9. He was educated at the Catholic Lawside Academy. He left school at the age of 15 and at the age of 16 began an apprenticeship as a glazier. In 1987, after being made redundant, he worked as a glazier for Dundee City Council. Whilst working for the council he was active within the GMB union. In 1997 he began working full-time for the union as Trade Union Organiser.

b. He was first elected to the British House of Commons at the 2005 general election for Dundee West, following the retirement of the sitting Labour MP Ernie Ross. Since 2005 he has served on the Scottish Affairs Committee. Between 2007 and 2008 he served as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Pat McFadden, the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. He was re-elected in 2010.

2. June 2009: A view of McGovern’s Expense Claims

a. Having trawled through Jim McGoverns expenses I spotted some belters:

i. £658 for a computer desk.

ii. £4360 to set up his 10 page website: The website was later classified as a Labour Party front. Did he refund the public purse? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw5ySbK_NlY

iii. £123 for a trouser press.

iv. £950 for a sofa bed.

v. Everything from cushions to bath screens and £2 for a knife.

vi. Office expenditure is equally bizarre with items as petty as 32p for a pair of scissors and 22p for drawing pins.

vii. Just about every month he was listing £400 for food (one month he tried for £500 and was knocked back), £250 for petty cash. How can you claim 32p for items in your office then £250 for petty cash, what the hell was the petty cash for?

viii. Most amusing though was routinely forking out £1K for leaflets then contracting companies at a cost of £4K to deliver them. Kind of shows the state of the Labour party membership in the city if they have to pay for leaflets to be delivered!

b. Given expenses refunded covered; council tax, rent/mortgage, food, household goods, phone bills etc. The question, answer oustanding is? what is his salary for?

c. But hang on a mo’, “what are expenses meant to encompass?”. Well they are supposed to be essentials needed to be an MP. I don’t think cushions are essential. I don’t think a computer desk needs to cost over £600 and I am baffled as to why an MP from Dundee can claim for an overnight stay in a hotel in South Wales. Was that when he was visiting parliament or his constituency? http://agraham.org/blog/2009/06/20/jim-mcgovern-snout-in-the-trough/

3. July 2009; Labour MP Questioned on 10p tax rate compensation vote

a. Labour MP Jim McGovern has come under fire after the Government voted down a compensation package for people who lost out when they scrapped the 10p tax rate. The Dundee West MP voted along party lines to defeat Labour MP Frank Field’s bill for compensation at Westminster although many Labour MPs had reportedly said they supported measures to help those who had suffered as a consequence of the lowest tax band being abolished. The 10p rate was abolished in the 2007 budget,it was Gordon Brown’s last as Chancellor. A humiliating defeat looked to be on the cards for the Government when the vote was taken earlier this month, but a backbench rebellion failed to get enough support for the compensation package to be approved. It is estimated that 500,000 Scottish households will lose out as a consequence of the move.

b. Dundee SNP Councillor Jim Barrie, who is standing against Mr McGovern in the General Election, said, “Scrapping the 10p tax rate hit people who could least afford it with a huge tax hike. Tax for the lowest-paid workers was doubled overnight. Local people will be shocked that Jim McGovern has now voted against a modest compensation package and failed to stand up for his constituents. He did not stand up to be counted with the Labour rebels, the SNP and Plaid Cymru behind Labour MP Frank Field’s compensation Bill. He will need to explain why to the electors of Dundee West. The SNP is doing everything in its power to help people through these tough economic times: freezing council tax, phasing out prescription charges and scrapping bridge tolls as well as driving down business rates for small businesses. Meanwhile, the Labour UK Government is inflicting shameful tax hikes on low paid workers and pensioners and is wasting billions of pounds on a new nuclear weapons system instead of investing in public services. There is no doubt thousands of people on low incomes are worse off since the 10p tax rate was abolished. The Government’s clumsy attempts to compensate for their blunder by introducing larger personal tax allowances do not go far enough. These people should be taken out of the income tax tier altogether. They cannot afford to shoulder the burden, especially in these difficult economic times. The vote to reject Labour MP Frank Field’s compensation bill simply compounds the damage which the government has done.” http://dundeesnp.scot/labour-mp-questioned-on-10p-tax-rate-compensation-vote/

4. October 2009; Is Jim McGovern toast?

a. It seems unlikely that the opposing concept of ‘civic nationalism’ holds much sway with Labour’s Dundee West MP Jim McGovern. Responding to last week’s controversial appearance by British National Party leader Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time, the Courier reports that Mr McGovern has played down the possibility of a rise in BNP support in Dundee. He’s quoted as saying: I don’t think there is a great deal of appetite for nationalism – either Scottish or British – in Dundee. I’m always minded of a quote from Charles de Gaulle. He said, “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

b. Leaving aside the alluded conflation of BNP and SNP nationalism, Mr McGovern seems to have forgotten that Dundee’s recent appetite for the latter has seen Stewart Hosie take the Dundee East Westminster seat from Labour in 2005, the election of SNP MSPs in both the city’s constituencies in the 2007 Holyrood elections and the advent of an SNP-controlled city council administration earlier this year. So much for a lack of appetite. Indeed, presumably Mr McGovern is a little worried that this hunger for Scottish Nationalism will result in him losing his seat in the forthcoming Westminster contest.

c. And on the subject of appetites, Mr McGovern has come in for some stick locally over his expenses claim at Westminster, having disputed auditor Sir Thomas Legg’s order to repay £5,224, but with eyebrows particularly raised over the MP’s claim for the purchase of a £106 toaster. A correspondent to the Evening Telegraph asks, “But how would one grace such toast? Butter made from unicorn milk? Scrambled dodo eggs? Or maybe just humble old caviar.” Clearly Jim McGovern doesn’t make it into the uber-trougher league, but could his breakfast time culinary excess mean the difference between holding Dundee West and ending up toast? http://planet-politics.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/is-jim-mcgovern-toast.html

5. March 2010; Jim McGovern claims the credit….Joe Fitzpatrick does the work

a. From the pages of the Dundee Courier’s Political Round-up comes this heartening tale of hard work rewarded. That hard work is, according to Labour, the work of Dundee’s sole flyer of the red flag, Dundee West MP Jim McGovern. The Courier reports that Jim claims to have put in a huge amount of effort to secure Dundee a £100 million taxpayer boost for the high tech gaming industry in which the city excels. It is suggested that Jim has been slogging away night and day by all possible means to secure that huge (and it is huge so I will say it again) £100 million…..and, I suppose, to help secure his lonely outpost of ex-Labour domination on the Tay.

b. But wait a minute…this is a Labour MP we are talking about. The sort that likes to take all the credit, but do very little for it. So imagine Jim’s ire when some busybody sent in an FOI request to the Scotland Office to actually see all the communications on this subject between our Jim and them. How dare they not take Honest Jim at his word, the blackguards! Just out of interest, how many communications where there, I hear you all ask? Well the answer given from the Scotland Office was…..one, and that was a letter sent to Dundee West MSP, Joe Fitzpatrick, Jim’s SNP counterpart in the Scottish Parliament. Oh dear! Hardly value for money is Jim, the ninth most expensive MP at Westminster with a whopping claim for £171,989. It seems that ‘well done Joe’ should really be the order of the day. http://munguinsrepublic.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/jim-mcgovern-claims-creditjoe.html Comments:

c. Tris: The Labour Party spin machine is awesome. McGovern didn’t even have one letter and yet the Scotland Office could spin it into his triumph. Joe Fitzpatrick has been a great MP for Dundee West.

d. Munguin: I think that Jim is desperate to hold on to the great state that Dundee was when Labour was in charge. But he could at least do something to justify his claims. Anything! It really would be better for them to think about these things before acting. This is a problem that seems to be inherent in Scottish labour at all levels. The “don’t think before you act” syndrome.

e. Munguin: That Jim thinks that it is okay for him to sit around on his doup doing nothing except claiming expenses to the tune of the 9th most expensive in the UK (and drags Dundee West onto the role of shame that is topped by Jim Devine) is quite beyond belief. Must be another instance of thinking they would not get found out. Hey Jim look out the window: everything you see was once Labour, but now it’s not: try doing a bit of work

f. Sophia Pangloss: The problem may lie, as in McGovern’s case, in a party bein’ so dominant, for so long, in an district or toun. There’s nae democracy there. Ah think ordinary folk hae a natural distrust o’ any organisation that likes power, like the Labour pairty or the masons or the nuns. Ah wis watchin’ the pope oan the telly last night an’ ah thocht he looked awfy like the Emperor Palpatine.

g. Sophia Pangloss: That wisnae very well thocht oot ah’m sorry. Ah shouldnae type an’ talk at the same time. Ah’ve no got ma brain switched oan th’ day.

h. Munguin: Thats ok Sophia, but I have no idea what emperor Palpatine looks like. The only emperor I have ever seen is an emperor penguin. They are not so very dominant here now what with both MSPs being SNP, Dundee east MP being SNP and the council being SNP an all. I guess Mr McGovern can feel the cold finger of fate on his collar and so has to try to justify himself. By in this case pretending to do a whole lot of work that he never did. Mr McGovern clearly feels that he has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin.

i. Dean MacKinnon-Thomson: Labour has very little value left. And, just as Tory domination of the Tay, and wider Scotland eventually evaporated between 1951-1997, so we shall also see this trend infect Labour. Unthinking Labour voters grow old and die..just like my Party’s core vote did. Over the next 20 years what matters is appeal to my generation – and frankly Labour has very little of any of that. Those of us who have grown up under Labour shall never ever vote Labour so long as we live.

McGovern2

6. November 2012; Jim McGovern, Labour MP refuses to withdraw comment accusing SNP of tuition fees “racism”

a. McGovern made the claim during a public meeting at Abertay University to discuss the future of post-16 education in Tayside. The SNP Government is to allow universities to charge fees of up to £9,000 a year for students coming to Scotland from the rest of the UK. Both Dundee and Abertay universities are planning to charge fees to English, Welsh and Northern Irish students from next year. Education Secretary Mike Russell insists the move is required to secure the financial future of the university sector and maintain free education for Scots.

b. But McGovern, MP for Dundee West, told the meeting he fears the policy is inspired by a Scottish nationalist ”hatred” of England. He said, “I’ve got serious concerns about the Scottish Executive saying that they will not charge Scottish students to go to university, but they will charge English students, you know, for me, that does not smack of patriotism — that smacks of racism.” He later clarified that he was not branding individual SNP politicians racist, adding, “What came to mind was that Charles de Gaulle once said that while patriotism is a love for one’s own country, nationalism, generally, is hatred of other countries and unfortunately, this is what the SNP confirm by their policies — that that’s what they see.”

c. The remarks were condemned as “disgraceful slurs” by the SNP’s Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, who was also on the panel at the public meeting on Friday night. He said, “It is deeply, deeply disappointing that a senior Labour politician should resort to such disgraceful slurs, the SNP’s commitment to keep university education free for Scottish domiciled students was a key part of our manifesto which was overwhelmingly backed by the people of Scotland. To describe it as racist is insulting to every person in Dundee and across Scotland who gave their support to the SNP in May. Robust political debate is one thing but making unfounded claims of this magnitude is quite another.” He also called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to take action over McGovern’s remarks saying, “This disgraceful slur raises further questions about the conduct of Labour MPs, coming so soon after his colleague (Glasgow South West MP) Ian Davidson called SNP MPs ‘neo-fascists’.”

d. Mr Russell also demanded that Mr McGovern withdraw the “offensive” comment. He told the Courier, “‘The Scottish Government would much rather not charge anyone fees. However, this has been forced upon us because of the actions of successive UK Governments. Scottish students and their parents have long had the reassurance of knowing that undergraduate education in Scotland will remain free. To maintain opportunities for our students, and to protect our world-leading universities’ reputation and competitiveness, we had no choice but to respond to the increase in tuition fees to £9,000 south of the border.” He added that it is thought the average fee will only be £6,841, reduced to around £6,375 by packages of bursaries and fee waivers.

e. But Mr McGovern is standing by his remarks, insisting the SNP is an “anti-England” organisation. He told The Courier on Sunday, “The latest strategy by the separatists would seem to be to pick up on a word or expression from a Labour politician then throw their hands up in horror and say that they feel threatened, intimidated or offended. If some members of the SNP cannot live with the robust nature of the rough and tumble of everyday Scottish politics then perhaps they should consider whether or not they are in the right job.” http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/jim-mcgovern-refuses-to-withdraw-comment-accusing-snp-of-tuition-fees-racism-1.33049 http://www.newsnetscotland.scot/index.php/scottish-news/3614-scottish-labour-mp-refuses-to-apologise-for-offensive-racism-slurs.html

7. November 2012; Shona Robison says Jim McGovern’s racism claim is ‘gutter politics’

a. Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison has accused the Labour Party of descending into “gutter politics” over a claim that charging English students tuition fees could be construed as racist. Although the Scottish Government has said it will not charge Scottish students tuition fees, anyone coming from elsewhere in the UK to study at a Scottish university will have to pay. This does not affect students coming to Scotland from elsewhere within the EU, as they are exempt. Ms Robison said, “Jim McGovern claims that such language is the, rough and tumble of everyday politics. It is not. This type of language and behaviour drags Scottish politics into the gutter. People expect better of their politicians, who should be focused on the important things like dealing with the current economic challenges.

b. Ms Robison, who was born in England, said she was personally offended by Mr McGovern’s remarks saying, “I have spent a lifetime in politics fighting racism and deeply resent this language being so easily bandied about. I was born in England with an English mother, with many of my family still living down south. furthermore, as for the tuition fee policy being racist, it was the last Labour-Liberal coalition in Scotland which first introduced tuition fees for students from the rest of the UK, which Jim McGovern should be aware of. I have no doubt that Jim McGovern will not have the decency to apologise for his disgraceful outburst. The question for the Labour Party is, therefore, whether they stand by him or are they prepared to reject this type of politics? We cannot allow politics in Scotland to descend to such a level and I urge all politicians to agree to work together to ensure this does not happen.”

c. Scottish Labour accused the SNP of trying to talk up the row — but also said it does not condone the language Mr McGovern used. A spokesman said, “It is clear the SNP are desperate to try to blow Jim McGovern’s comments out of all proportion in an attempt to score cheap political points. As Jim McGovern has made clear, his comments were not directed at any individual but in relation to the SNP government’s higher education policy, that he believes to be discriminatory, whereby European and Scottish students get free university education in Scotland while students from the rest of the UK will be force to cough up to £36,000 for a degree — the most expensive degrees in the whole of the United Kingdom. The SNP are the last people who should be complaining about how they are described by their political opponents. Anyone who dares to question or criticise them is immediately under attack. Mr McGovern’s remarks were made by him, speaking in a personal capacity. The Scottish Labour party is always willing to engage the SNP in spirited debate about their separation policies but does not condone the use of such language.” http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/shona-robison-says-jim-mcgovern-s-racism-claim-is-gutter-politics-1.33121 Comments:

d. Boris; McGovern’s tirade reminded me of the, “Salem Witchunt Scandal” A wee lassie said, “she’s a witch, without foundation, many were tried convicted and executed without cause or proof. He should be more moderate in his utterings. He should also discuss the fees’ issue with his colleague Jim Murphy MP since it was he, as the Chairman of the National Union of Students that instituted the UK policy of charging fees to Students. This was Murphy’s ticket to success given his assurance of a career in politics as a Labour MP. Students in England Wales and Northern Ireland are still charged University fees, a policy fully supported by McGovern and his party. Bit like the two headed dog on this one. He would be best advised to engage brain before mouth methinks.

e. Roin Tilbrook; There is an old lawyer’s courtroom joke that if your case is strong on the law then bang on about the law; if your case is strong on the facts then bang on about the facts; but if the case isn’t strong on either the facts or the law then bang on the table. Labour’s less amusing version, whenever it struggles to make a case, is always to cry ‘RACISM’. Here is a report about the latest example – for once not directed at an Englishman! Needless to say when counterattacked Jim McGovern MP limply blustered that his comments merely represented ‘the rough and tumble of everyday Scottish politics.’ Labour must be getting really desperate!
http://robintilbrook.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/labour-mp-smears-snp-as-racist.html

f. Chris Beverley; The use of the racist tag is indeed a low trick and one that the Labour Party and their ilk are always ready to use. Such misuse of language is a key tactic employed by the adherents of political correctness, that most evil of ideologies. Thank goodness our party takes a tough stance against this treasonous poison. I spoke about this in a recent speech to Bridlington English Democrats which can be read here: http://morleypatriot.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-bridlington-speech.html

8. April 2013; Taxpayers landed with £27,000 legal bill for MP’s £23.90 expenses claim

a. Jim McGovern tried to claim the fare from his Dundee West seat to a Labour party meeting in Glasgow by saying it was the first leg of a two-part trip to Westminster. But the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) rejected his expenses claim, arguing the detour was unconnected to McGovern’s official work as an MP.

b. Last month, in the first case of its kind since new legislation was brought in after the 2009 expenses scandal, McGovern appealed IPSA’s decision to a tribunal and lost. IPSA has now revealed its bill for defending McGovern’s appeal was £27,000 – which ultimately falls on the taxpayer. McGovern’s costs were met by his union, the GMB. IPSA said each side in the appeal had to pay its own costs, and it would not pursue McGovern for its £27,000 bill. The SNP last night called for McGovern to reimburse IPSA for its legal bill. The watchdog said it hadn’t wanted a tribunal but was glad to have won the test case. IPSA has now changed its rules on diverted journeys, capping the amount MPs can claim to the standard fare between the start and end points of each journey.

c. McGovern claimed £23.90 for a single rail fare from Dundee to Glasgow in September 2011 to attend a Labour Party meeting. He then claimed £249.45 for a business class flight on to Heathrow to fulfil his parliamentary role. McGovern charged both journeys to a card supplied by IPSA, but the watchdog refused to cover the cost of either leg of the trip. McGovern asked for a review of the decision from IPSA’s compliance officer, who agreed the MP should be covered for the cost of the flight, but not the train fare. McGovern then appealed against the compliance officer’s decision to a First Tier Tax Tribunal. However, tribunal judge Roger Berner flatly rejected McGovern’s case.

d. At the tribunal, held in London on March 14, McGovern’s counsel admitted that the Dundee-Glasgow leg of the trip could be characterised as not “wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance” of the MP’s parliamentary function, as the expenses rules require. However, he said the rules do not dictate that MPs must take the most direct or cheapest route from their seat to Westminster, and it was a fundamental principle that MPs should be financially supported to carry out their work.

e. Judge Berner said the tribunal did not accept that argument, and it was vital to consider the separate purpose of each leg of the trip. He said: “In general there can be no duality of purpose – Having found that the travel from Dundee to Glasgow was a separate journey, the only conclusion we can reach is that, as Mr McGovern has agreed, the purpose of that journey was to enable Mr McGovern to attend the Labour Party meeting. “The expense of that journey was accordingly not necessarily incurred in (or for) the performance of Mr McGovern’s parliamentary duties, and cannot be claimed.” McGovern, 56, has been the MP for Dundee West since 2005 and is a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. He has until the end of May to decide whether to appeal the tribunal ruling.

f. North East Scotland SNP MSP Mark McDonald said: “At a time when many households are struggling to make ends meet, it is unbelievable that Mr McGovern has run up this enormous bill. “Mr McGovern should reimburse these legal costs himself.” And North East Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone called McGovern’s case “extraordinary”. He said: “An MP should know the difference between what is a legitimate expense and what is not. I’m disappointed that was not as obvious to Mr McGovern as it is you and me.” An IPSA spokesman said: “We would rather this hadn’t gone to a tribunal, but Mr McGovern made the decision to take it there. “We believe the finding upholds the integrity of IPSA rules in what seems to be a test case.” The Scottish Parliament said MSPs were not allowed to submit a claim “which relates to party political activity”.

g. McGovern said the GMB union was covering his costs, but he did not know how much they were. “To be honest, I doubt very much if I could afford it. I imagine it would be expensive. IPSA are using public money. I don’t use any public money for representation.” Despite bringing the appeal, he blamed IPSA for “digging its heels in” over the fare.
He later said his lawyer had advised him to appeal, and described the SNP’s call to repay IPSA as “ridiculous”. He said: “The SNP trying to make cheap political capital out of this does not bear scrutiny.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/taxpayers-landed-with-27000-legal-bill-for-mps-2390-expenses-claim.20788554 Comments from the public:

h. Andrew R M Craik; I fail to see how this can be describded as “cheap” political capital. I would say that it is pretty expensive. What annoys me is the way the populace can be treated as though they are idiots.

i. Lawrence Maclean; More Labour sleaze. How many more Labour MP’s are going to get away with making false expense claims and not get the jail? If this was a member of the public who lost a case then that person would be liable for costs. The sooner Scotland is rid of corruption the better.

j. Les Barrie; Why is a well paid MP getting legal expenses when he made an illegal expenses claim and instead of accepting his “mistake” he challenged the ruling and lost,the hypocritical double standards of our politicians is breathtaking.

k. Andrew McMillan; The snouts of the greedy remain deep in the trough.

l. James Findlay; £65k salary plus £200K expenses. Why can these people not pay for anything, if his case was thrown out. Why do they not reclaim the court expenses from him or his union that backed him,he says he could not afford it then why go to court for a paltry sum of £24.I hope the people of Dundee West question this MP’s actions and remember him at the next election if I was in his constituency I would be all for getting him out.

m. John Souter; Another benefit fraudster seeks sanctuary in the establishment trough.

n. Alun Llewelyn; We know this ludicrous case has cost the taxpayers £27k but how much has it cost the GMB? Why are ordinary union members being made to cover the costs of greedy Scottish Labour MPs?

o. Rab Dickson; A Scottish Labour MP has landed taxpayers with a £27,000 legal bill after a Commons expenses dispute over a £24 train ticket. Very labour.

p. Stewart Murdoch; Why does any MP think it is OK to try to claim absolutely everything and then say, “rules do not dictate that MPs must take the most direct or cheapest route from their seat to Westminster, strikes me that he is a lousy representative for the people if he can’t tell the difference between morally responsible and administratively ambiguous. Hope he resigns . Stupidly optimistic I guess!

r. Stephen Read; He said his lawyer had advised him to appeal”…How pathetic…he’s an MP but appears to have no mind of his own….Please sir, the lawyer made me do it. Why should the taxpayer pay a penny towards supporting this man’s twisted view of what he should be able to claim. Isn’t falsely claiming public monies fraud?

s. John Collatin; The sooner we consign these neanderthals to the rubbish bin of history the better..A moral bankrupt, just like most of his Scottish Labour colleagues. We the public are no longer laughing at your arrogant inept stupidity..we are getting pretty cheesed off now..These people actually think that the laws and morals that the rest of us try to live by do not apply to them because they are politicians. Come next September I pray that they’ll all be signing on or doing Workfare in a Poundland in Croyden. A complete and utter waste of money grubbing space, the lot of them.

t. Peter Piper, Ayrshire; Despite bringing the appeal, he blamed IPSA for “digging its heels in” over the fare. He didn’t just bring the appeal he lost it. So is he saying that the IPSA were wrong to, “dig their heels in” when they were proven or judged to be in the right? And these MPs are the people supposed to be setting a moral example to the rest of us? What’s clearly needed is for MPs – and other elected political officials – to have a compulsory course on ethics, morality – and the Law before taking office. What is also wrong is that the Tribunal should have awarded costs against McGovern – there was already a ruling and it was being challenged. That, as I understand it, is the position if I were to contest a ruling in Court, so why should it be any different from an MP – representing us? I think this issue raises a lot more questions than it answers, and should be debated in the HoC. MPs, Ministers and Prime Minsters need to be called to account for how they spend our money. “McGovern, is a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee.” Indeed, and a very strongly Unionist one at that. And we’re supposed to trust his judgement.

9. May 2013; MP Jim McGovern barred from sharing NCR meeting details

a. Dundee West MP Jim McGovern has stormed out of a meeting with NCR management — after being warned repeating anything he was told could be detrimental to the firm’s future in the city. The American cash machine manufacturers announced last week it is to cut 70 jobs from its research and development plant in Dundee, which employs around 400 people. The cuts, the latest in a series that have seen hundreds of staff lose their jobs in recent years, have prompted many to fear that NCR may soon leave Dundee for good. Mr McGovern visited NCR’s premises in Dundee on Tuesday to discuss the job cuts but left after being told he could not repeat anything he would be told to workers or constituents. He said, “I asked a couple of questions and I think they answered them reasonably honestly but just kept saying the same thing about the realignment of global resources.” However, Mr McGovern claims that when he pressed for more information, he was warned repeating anything he would be told could be detrimental to NCR’s long-term future in Dundee.

b. “Their position is that the workforce should be informed first but my position is constituents have been phoning me with their concerns and I should be able to answer them,” he said. The MP added that he was disappointed to find no union representatives were invited to the meeting. “When I walked out, I asked to meet the union representatives but still haven’t been given their contact details,” he said. “However, I have spoken to Ian Ewing, regional officer for Unite, and he completely supported my decision. “To me it seems ridiculous that with such a large number of people potentially being made redundant that union representation was not present at the meeting to discuss the future of the Dundee workforce. “After two or three questions put by me to management they made it clear that due to ‘commercial confidentiality’ I could not let the constituents who had contacted me over the weekend know what had been said at the meeting. “I, therefore, said I could see no purpose in continuing this meeting and left.”

c. Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick visited the factory on Monday and said he has been told NCR’s future in Dundee is secure. He said: “In Dundee this will impact on both hardware and software engineering, although I was assured that Dundee remains integral to NCR’s global business. “I have already spoken with John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, who has assured me that the Scottish Government will work with the company to help those affected and maintain as many jobs in Dundee as possible.” A spokesman for NCR declined to comment. “We wouldn’t want to add to what we’ve said before,” said the spokesman. http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/mp-jim-mcgovern-barred-from-sharing-ncr-meeting-details-1.95353

10. June 2013; Efforts to save NCR jobs in Dundee

a. Scottish Enterprise’s most senior official will try to stave off the threat to Dundee jobs at NCR during a meeting in the US. Dr Lena Wilson is due to meet the global cash machine and electronics giant’s corporate management in New York, when the future of the local workforce will be raised. NCR moved to axe around 70 jobs at its research and development operation at the city’s Gourdie Industrial Estate last month. A 30-day consultation period over the redundancies will finish next week. All staff at the hardware and software design operation hub — around 400 in total — were called to a mass meeting where they were appraised of the situation by managers. NCR has confirmed that jobs are going as part of a wider “alignment” of operations but has thus far refused to comment on specific questions posed about the redundancies and whether it remains committed to Dundee in the long term. The cuts, the latest in a series that have seen hundreds of staff lose their jobs in recent years, have prompted many to fear that NCR may soon leave the city for good.

b. SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick welcomed news of the US meeting going ahead. In a letter to the member for Dundee City West, senior executive Adrian Gillespie confirmed that Scottish Enterprise’s chief executive Dr Wilson is to meet NCR management. Mr Gillespie stated the purpose of this meeting is: “To understand further the rationale behind this announcement and more importantly to explore how Scottish Enterprise can help to maximise ongoing long-term investment in the Dundee ?operation with key US decision-makers.”

c. Mr FitzPatrick said: “Following my recent meeting with NCR’s local management last month, I raised this issue at the highest level with the Scottish Government’s enterprise agency and also directly with the Finance Secretary John Swinney. “I am reassured that the Scottish Government’s most senior official from Scottish Enterprise is meeting with NCR in the United States in an effort to secure jobs and continued investment at the Dundee site. “This will be a difficult time for the employees and their families, though I remain hopeful that NCR will endeavour to avoid redundancies and I welcome the knowledge that action is being taken by the Scottish Government’s agency to assist them in doing so.”

d. At a meeting with local management, Mr FitzPatrick was advised that potential job losses are part of an international realignment and are not a reflection of the skills and experience of the city workforce. The company set up in Dundee to make cash registers in 1946 and once employed more than 6,500 people in the city. However, hundreds of jobs were cut in 2007 and NCR finally shut down its cash machine assembly operations in 2009. That factory has now been razed and is being replaced by an Asda supermarket.

e. Dundee West Labour MP Jim McGovern walked out of a meeting with senior management after claiming that a gagging order was being put on him with regards to the discussion’s contents. He said he was told during a visit to NCR’s premises to discuss the job cuts that he could not repeat anything he would be told to workers or constituents. http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/dundee/efforts-to-save-ncr-jobs-in-dundee-1.102071

f. Comment. Headline seeking, chest beating and public airing of difficulties being McGovern’s contribution to discussions was pretty negative. Quiet diplomacy, (undertaken by Government officers) is the best way forward in the 30 day consultation period required by law since it is for the company to decide staffing requirements and future policy.

11. November 2014; Smith Commission Report

a.Jim McGovern said: “Since the Smith Commission was first announced, the SNP and their members kept claiming that the timetable and the vow set out during the referendum campaign would never be fulfilled, but the publication of the report shows that this has been a promise that has been kept and an agreement that has been delivered. There was immediate action the day after the referendum, the publication of the command paper took place two weeks before schedule, and the Smith Commission’s report has been delivered days ahead of its intended date of St Andrew’s Day. Lord Smith took on board the views of the Scottish people and the resulting report produced as a result of this consultation meets the demand of extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament, delivering what the Scottish people decisively voted for. A strong Scotland with greater powers inside a strong United Kingdom.” http://www.dundeewestlabour.org.uk/jimmcgovern.htm

b. Comment; Noting the number of submissions there is no way in which Lord Smith would have been able to read over, study or review very many of the thousands of documents sent to his office. I myself compiled a 40 page effort which my office secretary carefully read in 6 hours, (spread over 8 hours). It is also the case that the “Heads of Agreement” report was delivered in the late morning of the deadline since the report was still in draft form on the morning of the day of submission. My understanding is that the Cabinet Office, in London, ( Sir Jeremy Heywood) and senior advisors of the Labour, Conservative and Lib/Dem Parties were still insisting upon and making major changes to the report, removing many, (agreed with Scottish political representatives) proposals for change, content agreed, that is in what they had understood was Lord Smith’s final submission. So what was delvered? A poisoned chalice containing so called powers which if adopted would bring about the destruction of the Scottish parliamentary system. The great con. Scotland would be well advised to reject it.

12. October 2014; Jim McGovern Response to Nicola Sturgeon’s comments on the Labour Party

a. Speaking on Nicola Sturgeon’s comments that the Labour Party “is obsessed with the SNP and has lost its purpose”, Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West said, “I think it’s quite rich of Nicola Sturgeon to say that Labour is obsessed with the SNP when the SNP themselves are fanatically obsessed with gaining independence, despite decisively losing the ‘once in a lifetime’ referendum. After losing the deputy leadership contest I don’t expect Keith Brown to start his own ‘45’ campaign, nor do I think that he will stop trying to help the people of Scotland, although we may differ on how we think it best to help them. But this is exactly what the SNP are doing. Rather than using the powers they have to tackle poverty, deliver social justice and provide secure work for Scottish people, they pretend their decisive defeat never happened and press for another referendum even though Scotland said no. The claim that Labour has lost its purpose is just as ridiculous, and we are not some one-trick party that fights for the Union and does nothing else. We are a party with a purpose that we have never lost sight of, a purpose to deliver for the many instead of the few, to tackle rising poverty and inequality, to deliver secure and well-paid jobs, to abolish the bedroom tax, to end the crippling cost of living, and above all, a purpose to deliver a better future for Scotland and the United Kingdom.”

b. Comment; McGovern is confused: It is important to establish a distinction between the SNP Party and the Scottish government. As a government the performance of SNP MSP’s has been exemplary. The limited powers and meagre finance delegated to the Scottish government very much restricts the assistance that can be provided. Despite this the level of social justice provided by the Scottish government to needy Scot’s greatly exceeds that meted out to the poor, infirm, sick and elderly in England, Wales and Northern Ireland much negating the excesses of the controlling and brutal Lib/Dem government.

c. Noting McGovern’s claim that the Labour Party has not lost it’s purpose. Well. Well. Poverty levels under the New Labour govenments in power from 1997-2010 increased markedly. At the time Tony Blair and new labour took power in 1997 there was 1 registered billionaire resident in the UK. When they left office there were over 1000 registered billionaires, (mainly non-doms) in the UK. Tell that to the masses. Under Labour Poverty rose, inequality spread like wildfire, The job market died, the cost of living soared and many Scot’s were left with no future. What a cynical bunch New Labour party is/was?

d. As for the ambitions of the SNP membership, the party will never give up the right to take Scotland away from a system of government that is bloated, corrupt and dying. Scotland is a nation state and should be governed accordingly. Scot’s should not be made to beg for scraps at the feet of the high heid yin’s and gentry of another country.

e. The need for independence is unarguable. One example. The unelected chamber, that is the, “House of Lords” will rise in number to over 1000. The chamber it’self was built to hold around 200 sitting at a time and they are actively seeking to move away from Westminster to a new build large enough to seat them all. Cost £15-20B. Add this to the repairs cost of Westminster £20-25B and you have a measure of the extraordinary amount of finance scheduled to be taken away from Scotland over the next 10 years.

f. Add to the foregoing the £1M cost, (travel, accommodation, subsistence and appearance fees) to the taxpayer for each Scottish Lord attending parliament on a routine basis. (Approximately £60M full parliament) Further add the £1.2M cost to Scotland sending and maintaining MP’s at Westminster, (£72M full parliament) Total full parliament cost MP’s and Lords £232m. This is not funny. An independent Scotland would be able to allocate the finance to the support of Scot’s in need not to a small group of people better able to look after themselves.

13. December 2014; Scottish nationalists accused of Nazi-style book burning

a.Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemns the, ‘unacceptable behavior’ of three SNP Councillors after they were filmed torching a report calling for more devolution. The First Minister took swift action as she faced the first major challenge of her leadership after Councillors Brian Lawson, Will Mylet and Mags MacLaren burned the cross-party Smith Commission document, telling viewers, ‘This is what we think about it.’ Miss Sturgeon said, ‘My clear view is that setting fire to something you don’t agree with is not acceptable behavior.’

b. Labour MP Jim McGovern compared the Councillors’ actions to the Nazis burning books before the war. Speaking at the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, the Dundee West MP said: ‘I have quite often read books and followed documentaries about pre-war Germany, and one of them was where … the National Socialist Party, which became obviously the Nazis, burned the books. ‘Yesterday, apparently, SNP elected members filmed themselves burning copies of the Smith Commission report.’

c. Yesterday SNP National Secretary Patrick Grady said he had made a complaint against four Councillors and they ‘will be suspended from the party until that complaint is heard’. They could be expelled from the SNP as a result of their actions. But Social Justice Minister Alex Neil downplayed the incident in a newspaper interview, claiming it was a ‘silly prank’ and ‘not a hanging offence’. http://sheffieldinnews.com/scottish-nationalists-accused-of-nazi-style-book-burning/

Categories
Smith Report

Experts Warn The Elephant trap will be Sprung Once Holyrood Is Handed Some Welfare Powers

December 2014; Experts warn Scottish benefit claimants could end up worse off once Holyrood is handed welfare powers

The Scottish Parliament is expected to gain control over carer’s allowance, industrial injuries benefit and severe disablement allowance under the powers negotiated in the Smith Commission on Scottish devolution. This will allow MSPs to raise or cut these benefits in line with the specific needs of the Scottish people, and “top up” payments from the new universal credit (UC) which will remain the purview of the UK Government. However, some benefits will be treated as income when deciding how much UC should be awarded.

If the Scottish Parliament increases its devolved benefits then claimants will get a pound-for-pound reduction in their UC, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) has warned. Holyrood could then top up claimants’ depleted UC from its own budget – but the SNP said this goes against Smith’s principle that additional income for the recipient should not result in money being offset from somewhere else. UC will replace job-seeker’s allowance, housing benefit, working tax credit, child tax credit, employment and support allowance and income support across the UK.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael pledged to investigate Spice’s research at Holyrood’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee today, insisting “it does not make sense” and could be an “unintended consequence” of the Smith proposals. Spice said: “If a UC claimant is receiving any of the reserved benefits, and they have been increased by the Scottish Parliament, then they will get a reduction in their UC award pound-for-pound. “This could mean a UC recipient is worse off. “However, this eventually could be offset if the Scottish Parliament decided to increase the UC award as well.”

Committee convener Bruce Crawford, an SNP MSP, said: “The Smith Commission report actually says: ‘Any new benefits or discretionary payments introduced by the Scottish Parliament must provide additional income for the recipient and not result in automatic off-settings.’ “So it doesn’t actually talk about the top-up process or the devolved powers, so I think we need a bit of clarity around that area because otherwise what would be the point of having the powers to do that.”

Mr Carmichael said: “Exactly, without hearing the reasoning behind that conclusion I couldn’t really offer you any explanation for it. “It doesn’t make sense to me, but it may be that our old friend, the law of unintended consequences, is at play here and if that is the case then all the more reason that we have proper scrutiny of the draft clauses when they come forward.”

Giving evidence to the same committee, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I think that would be a travesty if that was the case. “The purpose of section 55 was to put into the Smith Commission report a guarantee that if the Scottish Parliament was to decide to do anything in relation to welfare, then the individual who was to be the beneficiary of that should get that benefit.” He added: “To me it’s pretty clear that anything that we do within the Scottish Parliament should not see the benefit of that undermined or negated in any way as it affects the individual. “Without wishing to tread over the line of my participation in the Smith Commission, that was certainly my view of the purpose of paragraph 55.”

The Smith proposals could also contain a benefits “elephant trap” for the Scottish Government if it continues to pursue divergent policies on welfare from the UK Government, Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone warned. He said the UK Government is trying to reduce dependency on benefits, cut demand and limit cost, and accused the Scottish Government of doing the opposite. If the UK benefit bill goes down there will be less money for Scotland through the Barnett formula, but if Scotland increases benefit demand it could leave Holyrood underfunded, he said. Mr Carmichael said the Scottish Government would ultimately be held to account if such a situation emerged.

Mr Johnstone said: “Having spent three years on the Welfare Reform Committee, I have seen the process of divergence that has happened in relation to welfare already and the proposals under the Smith Commission open that up quite significantly. “Now there is a determination to cling to the Barnett formula, almost a white knuckle death grip in some cases. “But as we go towards the proposals contained in the Smith Commission, particularly in relation to working age benefits, there is a significant divergence in policy already where south of the border there is a policy of reducing dependency and demand reduction in order to limit costs. “Whereas there is a priority to do something different – rather the opposite – in Scotland.

“As we move forward with this are we not heading towards a Barnett formula elephant trap where the amount of money allocated in UK budgets for working age benefits in particular will fall away, while Scotland may simply pile on demand and find itself underfunded.” Mr Carmichael said: “Well, that’s the beauty of devolution isn’t it? “You make your spending decisions and now you’re going to have to account for that in your funding decisions as well. “You can only spend the money once, and if we have learned nothing else over the last 10 years we should have learned that.” http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/u/experts-warn-scottish-benefit-claimants-could-end-up-worse-off-once-holyrood-is-handed-welfar.1417695750