Labour Party

Silence in Sin City Glasgow Part 5 – 2014 – 2015 City Council In Need of Clear Out

1. March 1 2014; Glasgow’s homeless hostel scandal.

a. The appalling conditions in the Bellgrove hotel are a horrifying reminder of how we treat our poorest and most defeated citizens. You walk past it on the way to Celtic Park on a match day, barely noticing it but knowing that it exists in the city’s folklore as a last-chance saloon. That though, doesn’t even begin to describe the reality of it. The squalor and deprivation witnessed in this place made me ashamed to be Glaswegian.

b. Without repeating the crushing detail of John Ferguson’s brilliant report, the Bellgrove hotel is a place where men go to die, expiring in their own waste and choked by alcohol and drugs – 150 of them at any one time. This hellhole has a staff of two, presumably to keep the costs down. For the Bellgrove is a privately-run facility that rakes in several million pounds a year for the two city property magnates who own it. They make their money from the housing benefit these men receive each fortnight. Basically, the state hands over millions of pounds every year to this pair to keep its most embarrassing citizens away from polite society. “Don’t worry,” we say (and it is you and I) “keep them in as much filth as you like, we won’t be asking any questions.”

2. March 10 2014; Is the East End of Glasgow the NEW West End of Glasgow?

a. Take a stroll around the east end of Glasgow and it quickly becomes apparent that big changes are afoot – the roads are being resurfaced, new buildings are springing up as quickly as others are torn down, the park railings are getting a new brush of paint (Limmy will be delighted) and even the stations are getting wifi. There’s a sense of urgency about it all as well, with the much feted Commonwealth Games now just a few months away.

3. May 6 2014; Huge bill on fact-finding foreign tours.

a. Bosses at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, (SPT) ran up hotel and travel bills totalling £38,000 while on two fact-finding trips. A seven-strong team from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, headed by chief executive Gordon MacLennan, travelled to Canada and Europe to check out companies bidding for lucrative contracts to upgrade the Subway. The first trip in December involved visits to Canada, Spain and London while the second in February took them to Denmark, Switzerland and Austria. In 2010, then chief executive Ron Culley quit in the wake of a £120,000 expenses and travel scandal. The sum does not include the cost of expenses incurred during the visits.

4. July 25 2014; Frank McAveety chosen as Scottish Labour’s candidate in Glasgow Shettleston.

a. Councillor Frank McAveety is to contest the Glasgow Shettleston Scottish Parliament seat for Scottish Labour in 2016. McAveety, who represents the Shettleston ward on Glasgow City Council, was selected by local members at a meeting in Bridgeton last night. He said: ‘It is an absolute honour to have been selected as Scottish Labour’s candidate for Glasgow Shettleston.

Comment: Unbelievable. He just wont go away

5. August 14 2014; Glasgow City Council flog Victoria Park online

a. After recovering from the hangover of the Games, Glasgow City Council appear to be back on form with a vengeance this week; announcing the details of their plans to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to expand Buchanan Galleries or “the Buchanan Quarter” as nobody calls it (we’re running out of how many quarters the council thinks they can fit into their (w)hole) into an event bigger mass of glass and shopping. Today we learned that their alleged consultation over what to do with the playing fields in Victoria Park entered the “putting it on Gumtree” phase.

6. November 21 2014; Lolitican of the Year: Ten Gordon Matheson fails since 2013

a. Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson was last night crowned “Scottish Local Politician of the Year” at the Herald’s annual awards ceremony. Since the event was held in Edinburgh, we thought it only fair to have a celebration right here in Gordon’s hometown. So we are delighted to welcome our good pal Nicki Minaj, to present the Excellent Matheson Award to A Thousand Flowers Lolitician of the Year, wee Gordo. Details of ten of his greatest cock-up’s from 2013. View the article.

7. December 14 2014; Audit Scotland investigating corruption involving the Celtic SLA at The Lennoxtown Initiative

a. I kept this back to allow Audit Scotland unimpeded time to do their investigation without being hassled by phone threats. This was issued well before the EU ‘cleared’ the State Aid against Celtic PLC for the Glasgow Celtic Council land transactions but has been sat on patiently. The reply above from Audit Scotland acknowledges that they are investigating the use of charity, The Lennoxtown Initiative, to hide and funnel payments back to Celtic PLC using the Celtic SLA and whether NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC), East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) and Scottish Enterprise (SE) performed their duties as public authorities in keeping track of the funds donated to The Lennoxtown Intiative and whether ‘value for money’ was obtained. Many other excellent expose’ articles on this blog.

8. January 1 2015; £500k pay-off to Glasgow ‘poverty campaigner’

a. Never let it be said that Glasgow lacks enterprise where it matters…The city has been rocked again by a scandal over the approval by Labour Councillors of a £500,000 “golden goodbye” to the former chief executive of the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency – a charity set up to alleviate poverty in one of the most deprived areas of the city. The exit package for Ronnie Saez comprised a “severance payment” of £42,000 and a £470,000 addition to his pension, which included a discretionary £208,000. The pension top-up is said to have come from a budget pot earmarked for the redevelopment of a school in Dalmarnock, a deprivation black spot. GERA was a registered charity, with a prime goal “to relieve and/or prevent poverty particularly among residents of East Glasgow”.

b. Three of the five GERA directors who approved the Saez deal were Labour city Councillors. They included James Coleman, a former deputy council leader who was the chair of the agency; the vice-chair Councillor Catherine McMaster; and George Redmond, who signed off the accounts. A subsequent report by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator said the pay-out amounted to “misconduct” and was “wholly unacceptable”.

c. Sadly, this will confirm for many the governance of Glasgow as a dubious and shady old pals’ act. Given the need for vigilance over the disbursement of public funds and the activities of agencies registered as charities, the council must act swiftly and decisively to clear up the appalling impression left by this episode.

9. January 3 2015; Updated article A Scottish test for Ed Miliband this week –

a. The UK’s five richest families have more cash between them than the poorest 20 per cent of the entire population – some 12.6 million people. (Though note that none of the Big Five are Scottish.)


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