Stirling – The Three Headed Council – Time to Throw Off the Shackles of the Unionist’s – Give The SNP a Clear Majority






29 May 1998: Stirling Council staff take to streets over jobs

Council services in the Stirling area were badly affected yesterday by the first all-out strike to hit a Scottish authority since local government reorganisation three years ago. More than 1,000 members of the public service union, Unison, took part in the action in protest at 20 compulsory redundancies which the council said are necessary to save £400,000 this year. Pickets were mounted on all the main council offices in Stirling and more than 200 banner-waving strikers marched from the council headquarters at Viewforth to a rally outside the Albert Hall.




19 June 1998: Labour debt row hits Stirling Council.

Opposition politicians last night called for an immediate public inquiry after it was revealed that a third Labour-controlled council has recorded substantial losses with in-house contracts. After recent revelations of ‘black hole’ debts of more than £4m in North Lanarkshire and £3.5m in East Ayrshire, it has emerged that the Direct Labour Organisation at Stirling Council has debts of £500,000. This figure look likely to rise by another £400,000 because of a dispute with the Scottish Office over road management work. Stirling wants £388,000 for lost business when the Government allocated road closure work to other organisations.



DFA60R A local authority council direct labour worker leaning on his spade shovel smoking a cigarette UK


15 August 1998: Private guards for Big Mags Brood and Taxpayers Will Foot the Bill

Members of the notorious Haney clan are to get private security protection paid for by the taxpayer. They’ve been targeted by irate neighbours since being rehoused in Bannockburn, Stirlingshire. Nearly £8,000-worth of damage has been done to homes occupied by John Haney – ex- husband of infamous Big Mags – and their daughter Valerie.  Most of the 16-strong family from hell are convicted criminals and they were driven out of Stirling’s tough Raploch estate last year by residents fed-up with constant trouble. Since then they have lived in temporary accommodation. But, last week, John and Valerie were allocated council homes on a previously quiet Bannockburn estate.    This family saga went on for years





15 August 1998: Private security protecting houses planned for Haneys

A Private security firm has been called in by a local authority to protect houses that were to be occupied by two members of a so-called family from hell. Stirling Council said the move followed discussions with police after several thousand pounds worth of damage was inflicted on two houses in a Bannockburn estate due to be occupied by a daughter and former husband of “Big Mags Haney”. Feelings have been running high in Bannockburn after it was confirmed that Ms Valerie Haney, 30, and Mags Haney’s ex-husband John, had been allocated houses within 800 yards of each other in Bogend Road and Douglas Street. A petition was raised and poster campaign begun after news of the council’s plans to house the Haneys became clear.


11 September 1998: Government taskforce urged over DLOs

The Government was yesterday urged to set up a special task force to investigate the problems of council direct labour organisations. The demand by the Scottish Liberal Democrats follows the publication of an independent report which warns Stirling Council to take action to end poor management practices or face continuing losses in two of its key DLOs. The Labour-controlled council admitted in June that its road and building maintenance DLOs had lost more than £1.1m between them in the past financial year. The authority confirmed yesterday it was “concerned” at the contents of the confidential report by consultants, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Its publication comes as Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar continues his review of all council DLOs in Scotland.



AAH08H Two local authority direct labour employees laying new turf   on lawn Lampeter Ceredigion Wales
12 September 1998: Stirling Council warns that more jobs could go

A Labour-controlled council has announced it is considering another wave of redundancies in order to prevent its loss-making Direct Labour Organisations from producing further deficits. More than 50 jobs have already gone from Stirling Council’s DLOs, and yesterday it was forecast that 30 more could disappear soon. In June independent consultants were called in after the council admitted that its roads maintenance DLO had lost £586,000 in the last financial year, and its buildings maintenance DLO had lost £500,000. Their damning report, leaked but still not published by the council, warned that drastic action was needed to prevent the two DLOs, which together employ 250 people, from being a continuing drain on the council’s finances.



ED92X1 Two Local authority (Ceredigion County Council) direct labour employees workers  in a 'cherry picker' replacing the sign on Cambrian Street , Aberystwyth, with new versions with 'heritage' typeface, Wales UK


23 September 1998: The Council Paying Its Staff More for Not Doing the Job

Council workers are being paid bigger bonuses if they do not get the job done, it was revealed yesterday. Stirling Council’s roads bonus scheme means employees pick up more money the longer a job takes and acts as a disincentive to improved productivity, accountants said yesterday. It was also revealed that the works organisation is on target to make a second massive loss. The Labour-controlled council heard yesterday that its Direct Labour Organisations are set to lose another £800,000 this year, on top of the £1.1 million announced in June. In a report to members of Stirling Council’s resources committee, technical services director Arthur Nicholls admitted yesterday there was a ‘crisis’ in the authority’s buildings maintenance and roads DLOs.






28 December 1998: Petrol-Bomb Gangsters; Thugs Set Street Ablaze in Lawless Village That ‘Needs a Wyatt Earp

Gangs of youths threw petrol bombs, terrorising a village and leaving residents afraid to go out at night. Their latest mindless act of vandalism follows several assaults and acts of destruction with 2,000 street lamps being bent in half. The growing reputation for ‘near anarchy’ in the former mining village of Plean, Stirlingshire, has led to a call for ‘a latter day Wyatt Earp’ to clean up the crimewave. The new outbreak of trouble came on Thursday night when a gang threw the makeshift petrol bombs, Molotov cocktails, in the main street and set fire to the roadway as the fuel spread. An off-duty fire officer who was passing at the time alerted the fire station at Maddiston.





8 March 2002: The Corrosive Culture of the Labour Party’s Rotten Little Fiefdoms; Cronyism and Corruption Hand-in-Hand across Scotland

Amid the storm raging this week over the revelations about Labour party cronyism in Fife Council, one question has arisen from the maelstrom. Is this just a little local difficulty – or does it highlight the situation throughout Scotland? After 23 years in local council politics and another three on the national stage at Holyrood, I can safely vouch for the latter. Labour cronyism is so embedded within our political life that we almost take it for granted, and deem it acceptable. The situation in Fife is not an isolated incident, no matter how hard Labour try to blame it on poor old Henry McLeish. It is a microcosm of the wider malaise. Something is rotten in the state of Scotland. Nowhere is that more the case than in Glasgow, my own political territory. It is widely said that when parents are seeking a present for their son’s 21st birthday, no gift does more for their career prospects in the city than a Labour Party membership card.





15 March 2003: Provost suspended as trust’s land deal is investigated by police

A proposed land deal involving one of Scotland’s leading businessmen and a council provost is under investigation by police. The deal involved Tom Allison, chief executive of Clydeport, and Tommy Brookes, provost of Stirling Council, who was last night suspended by the Labour party. Mr Allison, a non-executive director of Celtic FC, said there was nothing clandestine about the deal and he would be happy to co-operate with police. It is alleged Mr Brookes broke a code of conduct for councillors by becoming too closely involved in Mr Allison’s bid to buy seven acres of land near Stirling Castle to build a house.






21 March 2003: Provost stripped of title after land deal; Stirling Council acts over code of conduct breach

The Labour provost of Stirling was ignominiously stripped of the title yesterday after breaching a national code of conduct. The move was thought to be a first of its kind in Scotland. Tommy Brookes was also removed from Stirling’s planning panel, its licensing board, Central Scotland police board, and Stirling Tourist Board, although he remains a councillor and JP for the time being. Mr Brookes’s fellow councillors sealed his fall from grace in a unanimous vote after hearing a report about his recent activities and alleged “irregularities” in a proposed £395,000 land deal. Last night, Mr Brookes, 62, who had been provost since 1996 and a councillor since 1984, apologised for his actions, but insisted he had acted honestly.



3 May 2003: Dirty tricks claims and jeers as former Stirling provost is beaten

The vote in Stirling was marred when Tommy Brookes, the former provost, lost his Sauchenford seat to Michael O’Brien, the Labour candidate, by 176 votes. The result was booed by Mr Brookes’s supporters, who accused Labour of dirty tricks in the suspension of Mr Brookes from the party following an inquiry into a proposed land deal last month. Mr Brookes, who stood as an independent, was sacked as provost after becoming the centre of a police corruption inquiry over allegations that he abused his position in an attempt to help a director of Celtic Football Club to buy a derelict farm. He was also stripped of the chairmanship of the 377-year-old council-administered charity which owns the land at the centre of the allegations, and from membership of the Central Scotland Police Board after the council felt he breached the national code of local government conduct.






8 June 2004: ‘Midden’ City Facing Rats Danger

A Scots city faces being overrun by rats because of a wheelie-bin fiasco. Stirling Council switched the main collection of household waste from a weekly to a fortnightly schedule. Now rubbish is left to rot in the streets for weeks because of faulty equipment and an intransigent workforce, it is claimed. As a result Stirling has been branded a ‘medieval midden’ by tourism chiefs and health experts have warned of a return of diseases not seen since the Industrial Revolution. Since the switch, rats have been on the increase, as have the danger of Weil’s disease – an infection spread by the vermin’s urine – and food poisoning.





18 May 2007: Labour Links With the Unionist Party’s to Take control of Stirling Council

In Stirling, former teacher and now Labour councillor Margaret Brisley was elected to represent the authority as its new provost. She was nominated by Labour group leader Corrie McChord and seconded by Liberal Democrat group leader Graham Reed. Ms Brisley’s appointment was made at the first meeting of the new council since the election. It returned eight Labour councillors, seven SNP members, four Conservatives and three Liberal Democrats.



20 April 2008: PPP plan approved against expert advice – Johann Lamont refused to call in £100m plan for government consideration

A Former Labour minister rejected advice from senior officials to delay a deeply flawed and highly controversial £100m plan for new schools and homes in Stirling and Dunblane, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Top-secret documents disclose that the deputy communities minister in 2005, Johann Lamont, was strongly urged by government planners to call in the application for consideration by ministers. The plans were lambasted by advisers as “questionable”, “worrying” and “poor”. Stirling Council, which promoted the development, was also accused of “procedural failings” and of maximising profit at the expense of decent housing. “Stirling Council’s judgement in carrying out its statutory duty under the terms of planning legislation has been heavily clouded by its conflict of interests, ” warned the official advice to the minister.








Calls For Print Firm to be Investigated for Providing Bogus Invoices To Jim Devine

There have been calls for an investigation into the printing firm that provided bogus invoices for ex Labour MP Jim Devine after it emerged that the company’s director is also a Labour councillor. Mr Devine is currently awaiting sentence after being found guilty of fiddling his MP’s expenses by using bogus invoices to claim public cash. It has emerged that a director at Armstrong Printing Ltd, Margaret Brisley, is also a sitting Labour councillor at Stirling council. Armstrong printing was named in the ex Labour MP’s trial as the firm that supplied Mr Devine with receipts for work that was never undertaken.

Witnesses told the court how the former Scottish Labour MP contacted the printing firm in March 2009, asking them to send him receipts for thousands of pounds worth of work that was never done and that he never paid for. Mr Devine subsequently received two sets of invoices for over £5000 marked “received with thanks” after director and shareholder Bill Lockie overruled former company secretary Jennifer McCrea, who had refused to sign off Mr Devine’s “strange” request.

In May 2009 documents leaked to the Telegraph newspaper caused outrage after it revealed the extent of expenses abuse at Westminster and investigations were carried out into the claims of several MPs. A short while later in July 2009 company director Jennifer Coyne resigned from Armstrong Printing. Bill Lockie’s directorship was terminated just a few months later in November that same year.

Jim Devine was eventually charged with fraud relating to public cash claimed using the bogus invoices. A few months after Mr Devine was charged, Jennifer McCrea had her employment with the printing company terminated. At his trial the ex Labour MP claimed to have received advice from senior Labour whips who he alleged told him to obtain receipts for work. This was denied by the MPs during questioning when they gave evidence.  The printing company received thousands of pounds for work carried out for other Labour politicians. The revelations have led to calls for an investigation into the companys’ links with the Labour party.

John Wilson, an SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said there were questions the firm had to answer. Mr Wilson said: “Armstrong Printing has to state whether the practice of providing receipted invoices to MPs before the work was carried out was common or not. All the MPs who used their publicly-funded allowances to give work to this firm need to list all the jobs that were carried out. The company’s links to Labour need to be fully investigated.”

Armstrong Printing claimed there was no wrongdoing on their part, a spokeperson said: “It’s not unusual to give an invoice in advance of a job being done.”



28 November 2012: Armstrong Printing in voluntary liquidation owing up to 30 creditors

The £300,000 turnover company, which produced publicity materials such as flyers and brochures, placed itself in voluntary liquidation on 29 October 2012. But like a Pheonix rising Companies House states that on 16 October 2012, Armstrong Printing’s Brisley registered a new company called Armstrong Printing (Alloa).

Comment: This is so wrong, they were still ordering supplies right up to the moment they placed themselves into liquidation. They created this new company while they were still trading. Paid themselves off and then said what is left can be handed out to suppliers by Baker Tilley. As you can imagine……no money will be paid out!! The new company they have created is being used as a print management company/digital print. They have contacted all their old clients with a view to retaining them via this new company. All I can say is if you trade with them now… deserve to get stung!



21 February 2011: John Park and Claire Baker deny any wrongdoing over ME2 Communications printing work

Two Labour MSPs from Fife have staunchly denied any wrongdoing after questions were raised about £11,000 of public money paid in their name to a company set up by a party official. John Park and Claire Baker are under scrutiny for £11,283.33 of printing work carried out by ME2 Communications in March 2008 — just months after the firm was founded by Sarah Metcalfe and her husband John. Sarah Metcalfe is Labour’s director of research and strategy in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP have likened the revelations — which emerged on the NewsNet Scotland website at the weekend — to the case of shamed Labour MP Jim Devine, who earlier this month was found guilty of making two dishonest expenses claims totalling £8385. During his trial, Mr Devine claimed he had been told by a senior colleague to get a “friendly printer” to provide false invoices. However, Mr Park and Mrs Baker said the work was above board and had been approved by the Scottish Parliament’s allowances system.





Mr Park said the firm was paid £4720.38 to design, print and distribute an annual report from his first year in the parliament in 2007. It was also paid £2533.92 for similar work on a consultation document on an apprenticeships bill he proposed that year. That document is still available on the Scottish Parliament website and clearly states it was “designed and produced” by ME2 Communications. Meanwhile, Mrs Baker, who is married to Labour’s justice spokesman Richard Baker, said the £4029.03 paid to the firm in her name was for her annual report that year. The firm designed the documents and then sourced and paid other firms to print and distribute them. The printing costs for the annual reports, which were distributed to thousands of homes across the Mid Scotland and Fife region, would have been considerable. ME2 Communications invoiced the parliament authorities directly, meaning Mr Park and Mrs Baker were not involved directly with the financial transactions. “We paid what I thought was a reasonable price for the newsletters we got sent out,” Mrs Baker told The Courier. “I was pleased with the quality of the work.” She added that the payment was signed off by the parliament’s allowance watchdog as being reasonable. Mr Park said he had an audit trail for the work and the origins of the firm had been reported in the press at the time. “I still have copies of the documents, and anyone who is interested can see where the money was spent,” he said.





However, a spokesman for the SNP said, “This could have very serious implications for the MSPs involved and for Labour. Dodgy accounting and false expense has plagued the Labour Party, and this story sounds all too familiar in the aftermath of Jim Devine’s invoices. “John Park and Claire Baker must be fully open with any investigation that follows these revelations. Dodgy expenses may be no shock to those at Westminster, but at Holyrood we have a much more transparent system, and I hope that there has been no wrongdoing here.”
ME2 Communication was compulsory dissolved by Companies House on August 21, 2009, for failing to submit accounts. Mr Metcalfe, a designer, subsequently went to work in Gordon Brown’s parliamentary office in Kirkcaldy.



18 February 2012: Stirling council’s £214m budget defeated over detail

An SNP-led local authority has been left in limbo and embroiled in bitter recriminations after it failed to pass its budget. The deadlock came after Labour members of Stirling Council rejected an amendment they had proposed themselves, causing the motion to be defeated at a meeting. The minority Nationalist administration had been prepared to accept the Labour amendment to its original plans, which sought to change a fraction of the £214m budget. Labour accused the SNP of attempting to “steal” its alternative proposal and voted against its amendment, having been told it was too late to withdraw it on Thursday evening. Yesterday, Provost Fergus Wood said no progress could be made until the parties reconvene at the earliest opportunity.


25 February 2012: Council’s tax cut decision condemned

A local authority yesterday became the first in four years in Scotland to cut its council tax. Stirling Council agreed to the 1% cut which takes the average band D levy down from £1209 to £1197. The decision to shave £12 a year off the average household bill was taken as councillors passed the 2012-13 budget at their second attempt. Labour and Tory councillors voted the measure through in an “alternative” budget, after rejecting the minority SNP administration’s proposals. It will mean the majority of households in the area will see a weekly saving of 23p. The SNP group called the cut “fiscally imprudent” and “irresponsible”, while the LibDem group leader said it was a “cynical” vote-grabber ahead of the council elections on May 3.


11 May 2012: Labour and the Unionists Will Run Stirling

Labour will run Stirling in a pro-Union administration with the Conservatives, which means the SNP will not have control of landmarks such as Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument in the run-up to the independence referendum. It is a major blow for the Nationalists, who have been running the city as a minority and had more councillors elected at last week’s Stirling council elections than any other party. Labour had earlier struck deals to run the three largest cities, ruling as a majority in Glasgow and as the largest party in coalitions in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.




11 May 2012: Rainbow Coalition of Tories, Liberal Democrats and Independents force SNP out of Office Despite being the Biggest party

The SNP is being “frozen out” of power in councils across Scotland, as the local government map becomes clearer after last week’s election.The Nationalists suffered major blows yesterday as they lost control in First Minister Alex Salmond’s backyard of Aberdeenshire, as well as the key stronghold of Stirling – despite being the biggest party in both areas. Labour also seized control in West Lothian and East Dunbartonshire and governs almost half of Scotland’s 32 councils. Mr Salmond is the MSP for Aberdeenshire East and the Nationalists claimed 28 seats in the local council last week, twice as many as the second placed Conservatives. But a rainbow coalition of Tories, Liberal Democrats and Independents has combined to form a ruling alliance on Aberdeenshire Council. …





22 June 2012: Weapons Ban at Anniversary Rally Sparks New Battle of Bannockburn

It is revered as the place where Scotland won its freedom from the ‘auld enemy’, with a victory in battle that has resonated down through the ages. But now people wanting to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn this weekend have been banned from carrying replicas of the very weapons used in the historic clash as they make their way to the battlefield. For decades a colourful rally has been held on the site of the battle, near Stirling, with a procession through the town beforehand. In recent years, many of those taking part wore traditional Jacobite or medieval costumes complete with swords, axes, daggers and shields. However, following reports of an “incident” at last year’s march, where a car on the route was allegedly hit with a shield and a Union Flag was burned, Stirling Council ordered those taking part to lay down their arms, saying no weapons would be allowed to be carried during the march, even if they were safely sheathed in a scabbard.






18 April 2013: Stirling Council Impose Shambolic Bus Cuts

The announcement of a number of bus cuts in the Stirling area has been dubbed ‘shambolic’ by opposition councillors. Last week Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee agreed policy savings of around £313,000 from the Support Transport Services budget. The cuts were quickly met with criticism from opposition councillors, including Green Councillor Mark Ruskell who said: “The way these bus cuts were made in committee was utterly shambolic, with no consultation, mis-leading information about services and costs, and no analysis on how these cuts impact on services across the remaining network. Guillotining bus services at this scale using blunt criteria not only fails to recognise the impact on ordinary people, it plays directly into the hands of operators like First Group who are driven by maximum profitability rather than service. Watch this space.” On Dunblane High School S8 bus service he added, “It will be a shock for many Dunblane parents to learn that from after the Summer their children will have to walk up to two miles out and two miles back in all weathers to get to school. Having a single bus service run for pupils entitled to free travel beyond two miles and paying users within two miles made sense, the decision to cut the S8 just puts the cost pressure onto Education to run their own entitlement only service.”



27 August 2013: Labour’s Stirling Disgrace

Threatening to sack staff unless they agree to work longer for less money comes straight from the Margaret Thatcher school of economics. But for it to be happening at a Labour-led council is utterly astounding. Labour are the people’s party, set up to protect the rights of workers. Staff at Stirling Council, which Labour run in an unhealthy coalition with the Tories, have been sent a letter warning that if they don’t agree to an attack on their terms and conditions they will be out on their ear. To their credit, many of the workers refuse to be bullied and went on strike yesterday. You might hope it is the Tory influence that has led to this outrageous attempt to bully workers.



28 August 2013: Pay-Cut Council Blew £8000 on Office Revamp: Fury over Provost’s New Curtains

A cash-strapped council who want staff to work longer for less money splashed out almost £8000 doing up their provost’s office. Almost half of the cost went on carpets and more than £2500 was spent on curtains. Stirling Council have to save £24m over the next four years. And they are in the middle of a dispute with workers after asking them to take a 0.5 per cent pay cut and work an extra hour a week. But our sister paper the Stirling Observer has found out that the authority – run by a Labour-Tory coalition – agreed to a revamp for Provost Mike Robbins’s office. SNP councillor Alasdair MacPherson said: “I have constituents who are struggling to keep the roof over their heads and are losing their jobs as a direct consequence of the provost’s unholy alliance with the Tories.



10 October 2013: Row over Bid to Replace Saltire with the Union Flag at Council

Labour and Tory councillors have launched a bid for the Union flag to replace the Saltire as the main symbol over a local authority’s headquarters. The parties, who run Stirling Council in coalition, said they were standing up for “symbols the men and women of Stirling have fought and died under for 300 years”. They added that it was a bid to form part of the debate over next year’s independence referendum and would reflect the diversity of views in the area. However, the move has been criticised by opposition leaders, coming at a time of tens of millions of pounds worth of cuts and industrial action at the council, and by academics, who have said it is a turn-off for voters.


11 October 2013: Councillors Back Down in Flag Row

Plans to replace the Saltire with the Union flag as the main symbol over Stirling Council’s headquarters have been dropped. Labour and Tory councillors who are part of the ruling coalition between the parties said they were standing up for “symbols the men and women of Stirling have fought and died under for 300 years”. However, Tory Callum Campbell and Labour’s Danny Gibson cancelled their motion hours before a meeting at which it was expected to be passed. Cllr Gibson blamed the decision on “an atmosphere of negativity”. Cllr Campbell said it had been undermined by “the vitriolic tone of Nationalists”. Dr Peter Lynch, a history and politics lecturer at Stirling University, said the episode had made the city and council look dreadful.




19 February 2014: Wrecking Amendment Delays St Margarets Primary New School Build

Initial plans would have seen the new school completed by October of this year, but this was delayed when Councillors Neil Benny and Margaret Brisley tabled a motion to instruct officers to “commence consultations with the Cowie community about a potential new community facility to include a joint campus arrangement for the schools” which Cllr MacPherson described as a “wrecking amendment.” And now the Tory-Labour administration’s capital budget plans suggest the building of the school will be extended into 2018 – five years after the initial proposal.

The minutes of the October meeting read “Cllr MacPherson pointed to the separate identities of the two existing schools and the funding that had already been spent on upgrading Cowie Primary School. He also expressed concern that the timetable to replace St Margaret’s Primary School could be adversely impacted by this additional consultation and asked where the funding for the campus would be found from.”

Cllr MacPherson cammented “On the night the Council was due to approve the funding for the new school Councillor Brisley and her Tory coalition partner Cllr Benny tabled a wrecking amendment which proposed the possibility of building a joint campus for the two schools in Cowie. I did not support this proposal for several reasons, the main one being the delay it could create. Council officers were sent back to consult with the Cowie community on the proposed joint campus. I attended one of the briefing sessions only two weeks ago and was astonished to learn that the wrecking amendment campus idea was no longer on the table. Their budget proposals clearly showed that the new school and nursery is to be built over a 4 year period from 2014 and would not be completed until 2018 at the earliest.


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29 June 2014: Stirling Council conspired with Westminster and the media to spoil Battle of Bannockburn anniversary

It seems somehow fitting that there was a political battle in Stirling yesterday. The city was host to two sets of military-themed festivities, with the UK government having decided to hold Armed Forces Day there in a move transparently aimed at wrecking the commemorations of the 700th anniversary of the Battle Of Bannockburn.




25 June 2015:  Unionist Stirling Council Cabal in SNP Snub at New School

You would think that after the recent seismic events in Scottish politics, Labour locally, would have learned its lesson?

First in 2012 there was their toxic alliance with the Tories at Stirling Council in the shape of a formal coalition; this was later affirmed during the Better Together campaign when once again they both stood side-by-side. Strangely enough, most of us could fathom what electoral fate awaited them (Labour seem to have been blissfully unaware), and sure enough to their cost, they achieved near wipe out in Scotland during May’s General Election which saw 56 out of 59 SNP MPs returned to Westminster with Labour reduced to just one! On the night the disastrous campaign they fought locally, which was full of anti-SNP rhetoric and lies, was largely mirrored on the ground when their candidate (and Stirling Council leader) polled her worst results in the Castle ward, where SHE is the ward Councillor. Talk about the proverbial slap in the face?

But it appears that lessons have still not been learned as once again the Tory/ Labour administration play games by thinking they can simply ignore the biggest party on Stirling Council in the hope that they will just go away. This morning I was saddened to read an article from Bannockburn ward Councillor, Alasdair MacPherson, someone who is held with a lot of regard by his constituents, and is known not only as a champion of the worker, but also for his dislike of anything Tory, whatever the colour. The article reads:

“It’s a massive day for Cowie tomorrow. After many years of campaigning the first turf will be cut for the new St. Margaret’s primary school and community nursery. I and my fellow SNP elected members have campaigned for this day for nearly ten years.” said Alasdair.

“The Tory and Labour coalition who run Stirling Council have disgracefully not invited me, Stirling’s MSP Bruce Crawford, or our new MP Steven Paterson to the event. You would have thought Labour would have learned their lesson by now about jumping into bed with the Tories. I emailed Labour and the Tories asking for a formal invitation to the event – but they ignored my email. However as tomorrow’s event is taking place on publicly owned land I am inviting myself to the event so I do not miss out on the big day. It will take more than a cabal of Tories and Red Tories to stop me attending.”

So readers, Alasdair will turn up tomorrow, like the awkward uncle at a wedding, and do his bit for the community he was elected to represent. No amount of politically motivated skulduggery will keep him from the task in hand and I’m sure he will receive the warmest of welcome’s from his constituents.

To those who are denying him the courtesy of even an invite for something he has fought tirelessly for, for nearly ten years – you should hang your heads in shame! The lack of democratic decency which you show now will be reflected through the ballot boxes at the Stirling Council elections in May 2017.


Johanna Boyd






West Dunbartonshire – Under Labour officially the Worst Run Council in Scotland – 50 Years of Unfettered Abuse of the Electorate



The Labour Party in Dunbartonshire – A lifetime of unfettered power – A local governance of corruption and abuse of the trust of the electorate. What follows provides a brief record of local political events, primarily in West Dunbartonshire from 1996. It is not comfortable reading but a “Yes” vote in the referendum and election of an SNP MP in the 2015 General Election gives hope that the voters have decided enough is enough and get the rest of the Labour acolytes out of office.


carolineCaroline Glashan



28 April 1996: Dumbartonshire – The Council of Cowards – Cameras near Murder Scene Removed after Drug Threats

On the morning of 24 August 1996, the severely battered body of 14 year old Caroline Glachan was found by a drug addict in the Leven river near Loch Lomond. She failed to return home after she had gone to meet a new boyfriend the previous night. She was not robbed or sexually assaulted. More than 14 years later, the apparently motiveless murder has still not been solved.

Surveillance cameras that could have trapped the killer of schoolgirl Caroline Glachan were removed only months before by the council because of threats from drug dealers. Caroline was last seen alive on Saturday night by friends at a small shopping centre in a Dunbartonshire housing estate which, until May, had been monitored by closed-circuit television cameras.

Her battered body was discovered the following afternoon semi-submerged in the River Leven where it runs through a known haunt of drug addicts. The cameras at the Ladyton shop row in Bonhill, where Caroline lived with her mother, were dismantled three weeks after being installed when a primary school janitor, who monitored the equipment, was theatened by drug dealers.

Unsolved Caroline Glachan part 1

Unsolved Caroline Glachan part 2

Unsolved Caroline Glachan part 3






27 September 1997:  The O’Malley’sTen  relatives linked with a Council sports complex under financial investigation

In The heart of a bleak Scottish housing estate a building meant to improve the lives of the community stands empty – a monument to local authority sleaze. Thousands of pounds have gone astray and, amid a raft of accusations of abuse of powers, councillors met this week to discuss how they came to lose control of a publicly funded project to one family. Meanwhile the head of the family, nine of whose relatives served on the staff and management committee, continued to protest his innocence in the face of an unexplained and irretrievable overspend of more than £46,000.

The case of the O’Malleys and West Dunbartonshire Council shows in miniature the problems Labour face in their efforts to tackle corruption all over Scotland. West Dumbarton Activity Centre will remain firmly shut as council, police, Inland Revenue and Department of Social Security investigations continue. This week the council revealed more findings of its continuing investigation into the running of the centre.

A report by Michael Watters, chief executive of West Dunbartonshire Council, alleges six relatives of unemployed painter and decorator John O’Malley served on the centre’s management committee at various times. They included his sisters Esther O’Malley and Mary Gregg, his son John O’Malley junior, son-in-law Ian Devlin, sister-in-law Yvonne Harrison and brother-in-law Gordon Casey.






30 January 1998: Labour faced a fresh wave of sleaze accusations last night.

In West Dunbartonshire, chief executive Michael Watters wrote to the provost to complain about two senior councillors. And in Edinburgh, a councillor accused fellow members of exerting pressure on officials to secure extra funding for their wards. Mr Watters made a series of allegations against council leader Andrew White and Labour group secretary James McCallum. He accused them of trying to dismiss him, and of attempting to dig up dirt on his deputy, Ian Leitch.






4 February 1998: West Dunbartonshire questions

The SNP group on West Dunbartonshire Council believes that there is a concerted effort being made by the Labour Party at all levels to cover up the doctoring of reports, intimidation, and dirty tricks being carried out by Labour councillors in West Dunbartonshire. A comparison of the final paragraph of the letter to The Herald from Angus Macleod of the Labour Party with the notice of motion submitted to the council by the Labour group reveals remarkable similarities (February3). “This council affirms that it requires an authority which is efficient, effective, and responsive to the community” (Labour group). “Our councils should be efficient, effective, and responsive to their local communities” (A Macleod).




2 March 1998: SNP lead attack on ‘unjust’ Cosla inquiry

The controversy surrounding an inquiry into strife-ridden West Dunbartonshire Council deepened last night as the local SNP leader attacked the procedures as “flawed and contrary to the rules of natural justice”. The Cosla inquiry was called to investigate claims by the council chief executive, Mr Michael Watters, that two leading members of the ruling Labour Group, council leader Andrew White and group secretary James McCallum, connived to try to oust him and his deputy. It was revealed that Cosla representatives had met Mr Watters in advance of instituting the inquiry to advise him that his position was untenable and he should resign. This led to concerns being raised about the impartiality of the inquiry.






7 March 1998: Wattersgate inquiry ‘a breach of justice.’ Councillors warned they would have to foot bill for ‘backstabbers’ charter’

Labour councillors at war with their chief executive and his deputy were warned last night that if they proceeded with an inquiry they would be “breaching natural justice” and faced having to pay for it out of their own pockets. Councillors in strife-torn West Dunbartonshire Council were confronted with the shock news four days before they are due to begin an inquiry into allegations by chief executive Michael Watters that two leading members of the council’s Labour group were conniving to try to get rid of him and his deputy, Mr Ian Leitch.






7 March 1998: An investigation into a Scottish Council was scrapped yesterday.

A senior official at West Dunbartonshire Council blocked the investigation which was due to begin on Tuesday, saying it would be in breach of natural justice. In an astonishing report to councillors on the procedures to be adopted by the inquiry team, the legal manager, Stephen Brown, claimed the council would have to completely revise its inquiry guidelines. Problems have arisen out of one area of the inquiry, which was to focus on allegations from the chief executive, Michael Watters, that Andrew White, leader of the Labour-led council, and the group secretary, Jim McCallum, connived to get rid of him and his deputy, Ian Leitch.




11 March 1998: Labour’s ‘natural justice’ flawed Yet again

So flexible is New Labour’s concept of natural justice that it should be sponsored by one of our leading latex manufacturers. In the case of the so-called Wattersgate scandal in West Dunbartonshire Council, the elastic was stretched so tight that the hold on credibility could not be sustained. The grip has given and the smack on Labour councillors’ faces, and on Cosla ones, will be no less painful for being figurative. But it will be no surprise that the Labour Party has once again been caught on the rebound in its crusade to sort out local government.






11 March 1998: Panel ‘not appropriate’ – Council inquiry team quits

The Cosla investigation into the Wattersgate scandal gripping West Dunbartonshire Council was in tatters last night after the three- man inquiry team withdrew. The extraordinary turn of events followed a weekend council report that warned councillors they would be breaching natural justice if they went ahead with the flawed inquiry and could be surcharged for the £1100-a-day costs.

The man heading the inquiry, Professor John Fairley, initially expressed the hope it was “only a minor hiccup”. He said he had proposed “using tried and tested procedures” and hoped to get down to business soon. However, Professor Fairley, director of the Centre for Public Policy and Management at The Robert Gordon University, did a U-turn yesterday and told the council in a letter he was withdrawing from the inquiry, which was set up by Cosla to look at claims by chief executive Michael Watters that two leading Labour councillors, leader Andrew White and group secretary James McCallum, had connived to try to get rid of him and his deputy.






24 April 1998: Court ban threat over bias claim; Labour hits back in Wattersgaterow

The Chief Executive at the centre of the “Wattersgate” scandal is preparing to go to the Court of Session over alleged bias on the part of two members of a grievance committee set up to investigate his complaints against two senior Labour councillors. Labour-controlled West Dunbartonshire Council will be given an ultimatum by Mr Michael Watters either to change the make-up of the investigating committee or face a legal challenge.

Mr Watters is prepared to bring forward written evidence of bias on the part of two members of the three-man committee – councillors Jim Flynn and Duncan Mills. They are due to start the inquiry next Wednesday into Mr Watters’ complaints that the leader of the council, Andrew White, and Labour group secretary Jim McCallum connived to try to get rid of him and his deputy, Ian Leitch.






1 July 1998: A Labour provost has been criticised by appeal judges over his handling of a shopkeeper’s application for an off-sales licence.

George Cairney, the recently installed provost of West Dunbartonshire Council, played a key role in having the request rejected. As chairman of the board, Councillor Cairney visited the next door shop run by the objector and had a private conversation with the owner before giving him a friendly wave as he left.

The judges at the Court of Session said Mr Cairney’s actions, as chairman of the licensing board, left him open to suspicions of bias. They stressed that, although there was no suggestion that Mr Cairney had tried to influence fellow board members, justice had not been seen to be done. The shopkeeper, Zafar Mahmood, will now be granted the licence, which councillors have voted twice to refuse.




26 October 1999: Minister backs scrapping Trident

A Minister in the Scottish Executive has admitted publicly to being in favour of scrapping Trident, it was confirmed last night as the Opposition SNP moved to exploit Government concern at the controversial judgment of a Greenock sheriff who ruled that Trident was illegal. In the wake of Sheriff Gimblett’s ruling that the nuclear deterrent based on the Clyde contravened the law as viewed by the International Court, the Opposition SNP last night asked if ministerial collective responsibility in Scotland applied to reserved as well as devolved areas. Ms Jackie Baillie, Deputy Minister for Communities, replied to a CND questionnaire posted on the Internet before the Scottish Parliament elections saying she supported the scrapping of Trident.



baillie trident



15 May 2001: Erskine Bridge charges ‘Taking a Toll’ on the community

Scotland’s transport minister Sarah Boyack has been asked to remove toll charges on the Erskine Bridge because they are strangling the economy of a small local authority. People living in West Dunbartonshire are losing out on 500 new jobs, it is claimed, because firms are deterred from moving to the area by the high tolls on the bridge which crosses the Clyde. The council’s Labour leader, Andy White, wants the executive to scrap the 60p each-way toll to give the local economy, already damaged by the pull-out of Polaroid and closure of the J&B bottling plant, a chance to recover. Councillor White said yesterday that Ms Boyack has the opportunity to abolish charges when she reviews the operation of the bridge in July.






Comment: Tolls were eventually dropped on 1 April 2006 (5 year’s after the urgent request submitted by the Dumbartonshire Council leader) hardly inspiring work by Jackie Baillie. But note the reason the tolls were stopped: TOLLS on the Erskine Bridge will be scrapped from April 1 to relieve congestion on the Kingston Bridge and Clyde Tunnel. Ending the 60p each way charge for cars is expected to cost the Scottish Executive, the owner, around £4m a year. But the cost is dwarfed by the GBP20m lost to the economy each year because of workers and hauliers being stuck in jams in the tunnel and on the Kingston bridge.




24 January 2002: West Dunbartonshire is officially Scotland’s worst council

Scotland’s least efficient council – with the lowest council tax collection and highest absenteeism rates – will be confirmed today as West Dunbartonshire. The unenviable title comes with new figures from the Accounts Commission, the spending watchdog. The findings come a week after West Dunbartonshire was revealed to have the country’s worst rent arrears, failing to collect almost a quarter of the money owed by its tenants. The new figures show that the council – which covers Clydebank, Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and west Loch Lomond – last year had the country’s worst council tax collection rate and its highest staff sickness level.




12 October 2006: Council in crisis set to face public hearing. Damning report of bullying and poor morale prompts inquiry

Leaders of a crisis-hit local authority are to face unprecedented scrutiny after the official Scottish council watchdog yesterday announced it is to hold a public hearing into the running of its affairs. The hearing, announced by the Accounts Commission for Scotland, followed a damning Audit Scotland report published last week which delivered a devastating assessment of poor management and political leadership at West Dunbartonshire Council. The local authority’s councillors and officials were heavily criticised in the report, carried out earlier this year, which identified a culture of bullying and poor staff morale. It also attacked decisions made in secret, unstable management, and in- fighting between councillors and officials.




30 November 2006: Leading Labour politicians yesterday launched a public broadside on their own party’s leadership of a Scottish council, with the local MP calling for Holyrood ministers to send in a hit squad to force change. A series of astonishing accusations flowed at Clydebank Town Hall during an unprecedented public hearing held by the Accounts Commission, the local authority watchdog. Last month it was handed a highly critical report on West Dunbartonshire Council by Audit Scotland and opted to air the issues in public. The hearing continues today. Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP for Dumbarton, alleged there had been repeated cases of bullying, while John McFall, MP for West Dunbartonshire and chairman of the Commons Finance Select Committee, claimed a cabal of councillors had allocated millions to favour their own wards.

Comment: Funny how Baillie and McFall said nothing until the audit report identified failings. Clearly a move to distance themselves from the chaos and misappropriation of finance ongoing within the constituency.






2 December 2006: The long history of efforts to curb Labour misbehaviour on West Dunbartonshire Council

The Scottish Executive has warned it is prepared to take action against a local authority which has come under heavy criticism from watchdogs. Decision-making and leadership at West Dunbartonshire Council were found wanting by the Accounts Commission. A public hearing into the running of the local authority also raised concerns about a “culture of bullying”. But the council criticised the watchdog for its “negative” focus and insisted it was performing well in many areas. The executive’s warning comes five days after council leader Andy White announced his resignation after nine years in the job.

Local Government Minister Tom McCabe voiced concerns about the findings, which he described as “not good enough”. Mr McCabe said he would consider what action could be taken. “I expect the council to accept these findings in full and put in place a recovery process without delay,” he said. “If they do not, I will have to consider what further action may be necessary.” A written warning could be issued and, if the situation did not improve, the council could be taken under ministerial control. The council would have more than three months to implement a “comprehensive improvement plan”, during which the executive said it would monitor the situation.

The hearing, which took place earlier this year, highlighted “significant deficiencies” in corporate decision-making at the council, which was not as “open and transparent” as it should have been. There was concern that individuals were afraid to give evidence in public for fear of reprisals.

The commission also heard allegations of bullying and harassment from councillors and trade union representatives. It stated: “We are concerned by the assertion that individuals were afraid to give evidence in public for fear of reprisals. “This issue of a culture of bullying and harassment, whether real or perceived, must be addressed immediately.”

The authority was not in a position to deliver best value for residents and must accept outside help to push through improvements, according to the commission. Alastair MacNish, chair of the commission in Scotland, said there were “serious problems” at the council. “People in West Dunbartonshire deserve better and need to know that these problems are being addressed,” he said.

However, a council spokesperson said: “We believe that we made a well-evidenced case to the Accounts Commission and are very disappointed that – while they recognise some of the council’s strengths – their findings focus more on the negative parts of the Audit Scotland report.” The council said education and social work were performing well, despite deprivation in the area, and claimed the commission had also accepted there was effective working with community partners. The spokesman added: “The findings have chosen to focus negatively on issues of decision-making, leadership, scrutiny, relationships and morale. “We have recognised that, like all councils, we are not perfect, but we are far from being the worst performing council in Scotland.” The unprecedented step of holding the hearing took place after a critical Audit Scotland report on behalf of the commission.


Andy Whiteleader of West Dunbartonshire Councilimageswe



11 December 2006: Deputy leader of crisis-torn council will not stand again

The deputy leader of a crisistorn council is set to quit his post, having just secured an £80,000 contract from the council for his graffiti-cleaning business. Councillor Jim Flynn, number two at West Dunbartonshire Council, told party colleagues at the weekend that he will not stand again at the May election. His announcement comes days ahead of a report by the council watchdog, the Accounts Commission, which is expected to be highly critical of the local authority’s political leadership. Those at the party meeting were surprised to hear Mr Flynn explain that his decision to quit came after the passage last week of the Adoption Bill at Holyrood, which has raised controversy because it gives gay couples the right to adopt.






12 December 2006: The leader of West Dunbartonshire Council is to resign next week.

Councillor Andy White said he could no longer tolerate the behaviour of two of his fellow Labour councillors and some Dumbarton Labour Party members. Cllr White alleged he had been subject to vindictive and personal abuse by some politicians after investing resources in schools in Clydebank. He will formally step down at a meeting next week when the local authority said a new leader would be appointed.



16 December 2006: Council under fire after staff  ‘too scared’ to give evIdence Minister threatens to take full control

The official council watchdog has raised fears about staff in a West of Scotland council being unwilling to raise their criticisms of the leadership for fear of reprisals. The Accounts Commission included concerns about the alleged culture of bullying and harassment at West Dunbartonshire Council among a series of damning findings into the local authority. The long-running battle between the Labour-run council and its watchdogs was stepped up yesterday, with the second devastating critique of poor leadership, inadequate scrutiny by councillors, poor morale, and lack of clarity behind the allocation of millions of pounds. The council responded it was “disappointed” that the Accounts Commission had been so negative in its findings.


Employees who vent their frustrations at every turn can make colleagues feel threatened and reduce productivity. Lynskey once fired a skilled IT employee whose behavior scared co-workers and made them uncomfortable. "The person was very good at what he did, but that was a very distracting problem," says Lynskey.

21 December 2006: Council chief suspended in Labour clampdown West Dunbartonshire faces tough action

Labour has suspended one of its most senior representatives in Scotland, blocking him from standing for the party at next year’s elections. Andy White, leader of West Dunbartonshire Council until he was replaced yesterday, faces unprecedented action from party headquarters, after months of growing pressure through political channels and the official council watchdog. His suspension by the party’s Local Government Governance Panel, came on the day Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm decided to send a hit-squad in to the council’s housing department, another unprecedented move. The minister has imposed an external team in response to concerns raised by the Scottish Executive’s housing regulator, Communities Scotland.




4 February 2007: Dunbartonshire council leader facing motion of no confidence

The leader of a Labour-run council faces dismissal by his colleagues next month, after an attempt at voting him out of office failed this week. Martin Rooney, who was voted leader of West Dunbartonshire Council less than two months ago following a party headquarters move against his predecessor, did not face a motion of no confidence on Monday night, but only because Labour rules ban decisions being revisited within three months. Jim Flynn, the group whip and housing convener who tabled the motion, was suspended by party headquarters only hours before the vote on Monday. That effectively blocks him from standing for Labour at the elections in May. He has faced criticism for the manner in which council contracts were placed with the graffiti-cleaning company he runs.






1 March 2007: Council members bid to oust Jackie Baillie MSP

Labour councillors turned on their local MSP yesterday, demanding her resignation over local hospital services. Jackie Baillie, the Dumbarton Labour MSP and former communities minister, was attacked by four Labour members of West Dunbartonshire Council, including former leader Andy White. They sided with the Scottish National Party and independent councillors at a full council meeting which brought the ruling administration to the brink of collapse. Martin Rooney, who replaced Andy White after his forced resignation in December, could count on only six of the 16 people elected as Labour councillors in 2003. Several stayed away while four rebels voted against the Labour line and sought revenge on Ms Baillie for her public attacks on them.



The outbreak occurred at the Vale of Leven Hospital in West Dunbartonshire
The cdif outbreak occurred at the Vale of Leven Hospital in West Dunbartonshire

16 March 2007: Labour headquarters extends its purge of senior figures in West Dunbartonshire Council, while deciding to expel the former council leader and his deputy.

Andy White, who led the council until December, has been recommended for expulsion by the ruling National Executive Council (NEC) in London, and it is a formality for the disciplinary panel to oust him. The same is true for former deputy leader, Jim Flynn, the housing convener. Five other councillors who recently resigned can expect to have future membership applications blocked. That affects Denis Agnew, who was elected on Monday as the third leader of West Dunbartonshire Council in three months. His deputy, Jackie Maceira, resigned on Sunday, and is also not welcome to return.



B94zalUIYAIgqkH.jpg large



18 May 2007: Can the SNP tame Wild West Dunbartonshire? Labour has paid the price of corrosive tribal wars within the council

It should have come as no surprise – indeed, it was an outcome thoroughly predictable – that the night of the election count in West Dunbartonshire should have ended with a brawl outside a pub. It involved members of the Labour Party, and the former deputy provost and her husband left with bruised heads, arms and feet in the fracas. Welcome to Wild West Dunbartonshire, one of a number of former Labour strongholds now under SNP control. It is at local level, rather than Holyrood, where Labour’s reversal of fortune has been most dramatic. But the toppling of Labour in West Dunbartonshire is a particularly awesome fall. How could the unthinkable have happened here?




21 December 2008: West Dunbartonshire Council in the news again – Labour Grandees, MP John McFall and MSP Jackie Baillie accused by Councillor and former colleague, (in a letter to the Labour Party General Secretary) of overseeing a “thuggish” clique within the Labour Party in Scotland. McFall is the chair of the powerful House of Commons Treasury select committee, while Baillie is a former minister and ex-chief of staff for Labour at Holyrood.

Marie McNair, who has served on West Dunbartonshire Council for five years, said the politicians, who ran her local party forced their will on party decisions quelling any opposition by intimidation. She also claimed to have suffered sexist abuse by a party member and that she was shouted down at meetings for challenging decisions. The allegations were contained in a letter of resignation sent by McNair to Colin Smith, the Scottish Labour general secretary, which said: “It fills me with despair that such thuggish and intimidatory behaviour has been tolerated and covered up by the Labour Party. The contents of McNair’s letter were read out in public at a meeting of the SNP-led council.



_71850103_71850102220px-John_McFall_MP_2008_croppedMarie McNair Councillor   West Dunbartonshire CouncilMarie McNair



18 January 2009: Councils bid to work together crumbles . . . and taxpayers are left to pick up the bill

Calls to reform Scotland’s councils were stepped up last night after three authorities wasted time and money trying to collaborate on a cost-saving IT project only to end up falling out over it. Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Perth & Kinross started disagreeing within weeks of an initial deal to buy a new payroll and human resources system in 2007. Last month it emerged the trio had gone their separate ways, two after obtaining their own legal advice, and bought three systems instead of one at prices far higher than they expected. Critics of Scotland’s patchwork of 32 councils said the case illustrated the need for authorities to be made to co-operate.




29 November 2012: Public meeting of the Clydebank Trades Union Council

The panel comprised Gil Paterson (SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie), : Jackie Baillie (Labour MSP for Dumbarton), Chairman Tom Paterson (Secretary of Clydebank TUC), Stephen Boyd (Assistant Secretary of Scottish TUC) and Cathy Leach (Scottish Pensioners’ Forum). Baillie roasted by many of those present who outed her as a liar on many of the issues she sought to defend.



hqdefaultbaillie trident



Jackie Baillie – and the Unionist Labour Party Are So Consumed With Hatred of Alex Salmond That They Cannot Even Let Him Mourn In Peace – Disgraceful Conduct Unbecoming

_96373733__76040429_salmondAlex and his Dad


Former SNP leader Alex Salmond’s father Robert dies aged 95

The father-of-four passed away at the Erskine Home for ex-servicemen on Monday 5 June. His funeral is expected to be held in West Lothian next week.

Former first minister Mr Salmond said it was a “very sad week” for all the family.

Mr Salmond also paid tribute to staff at Erskine Hospital for their care in his father’s final years.

He said: “Dad passed away peacefully on Monday night at Erskine and now will be taken home to Linlithgow where he spent all of his days, apart from his wartime service in the Royal Navy.

Torpedoed in action

Robert Salmond was in the Royal Navy during the war.

As a petty officer he served on two aircraft carriers, and was responsible for repairing radios on the planes.

He was on the Fleet Carrier, HMS Indomitable, when she was torpedoed supporting the invasion of Sicily in 1943.

When the Indomitable sailed for Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs, Mr Salmond senior and his team were transferred to the newly commissioned escort carrier HMS Hunter and he saw further action in the Salerno landings, before being diagnosed with TB and confined to hospital for the remainder of the war.


alex salmond dad

Alex and his Dad



June 2017: Jackie Baille – Has No Shame – Her Hatred of Alex Salmond  Knows No Bounds

Baillie’s original tweet came during the 6 June leaders’ debate on S.T.V. shortly after Nicola Sturgeon claimed Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale had told her, following the Brexit vote that ”Labour should stop opposing a referendum” on Scottish independence.

Getting straight onto the attack mode Baillie fired off a tweet with both barrels stating: “Nicola Sturgeon told me once that she really liked Alex Salmond. Really! That was two days after he resigned.” #scotdebates.”

Her Tweet was delivered only a few hours after Alex Salmond had made public the death of his father Robert aged 95 who passed away at the Erskine Home for  ex-servicemen on Monday.

Alex Salmond said: “Dad passed away peacefully on Monday night at Erskine and now will be taken home to Linlithgow where he spent all of his days, apart from his wartime service in the Royal Navy.

Baillie faced a barrage of criticism on Twitter:

Councillor Katy Loudon wrote: “That’s a really classy tweet given Alex’s circumstances today. Shameful.”

Isobel Huntly added: “What is it with Labour’s personal attacks. It’s shameful. You are bringing our politics into disrepute.”

Baillie responding to the furore caused by her conduct later apologised saying she was unaware of the news when she had posted on social media.





Labour web row: ‘I wish Salmond’s father would die’

ALEX SALMOND’S 90-year-old father was yesterday forced to issue a defiant message after a twisted Labour supporter said online that he wished he would

The First Minister described the taunt as “pathetic” and the SNP called for the offending website, which is only open to Labour Party supporters and used by the Holyrood leadership, to be shut down.

The sick jibe was made by “Daniel Kelly”, a member of the “Scottish Labour for Scotland” group on the social networking website, Facebook.

It came after Mr Salmond cancelled an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday night because he had to attend a family funeral the following day.

In a comment taken to refer to the death of the First Minister’s elderly aunt, Kelly wrote: “Don’t you wish his dear old dad did the same.”

However Royal Navy veteran Robert Salmond, who was on board HMS Indomitable when she was torpedoed during the Second World War, said: “This person is in for a disappointment – there’s no way I’m pegging out before the Cup Final.”I’ve been waiting all my life for a Hearts/Hibs final, and I’m going to be there in three weeks’ time.

“In any case, I survived the war so I can survive the comments of some nyaff on the Internet.

“I’m not into computers, so this stuff doesn’t bother me – it just sounds like someone has a lot of growing up to do.”

Ironically, the nonagenarian, who still lives in the family home in Linlithgow, West Lothian, was a Labour voter until he was put off for life by a rude canvasser.His son, who spent yesterday campaigning in Fife and Glasgow ahead of Thursday’s council elections, added: “This is the lowest of the low, just pathetic.”

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, her deputy Anas Sarwar, shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran and Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell are all members of the Facebook group.

Labour officials insisted they had no knowledge of Kelly and did not believe he is a member of the party.

However, he identifies himself as a staunch supporter and is Facebook friends with Ms Lamont, Mr Sarwar and Mrs Curran, as well as dozens of high-ranking Labour politicians including former First Minister Jack McConnell, MPs Cathy Jamieson, Ian Davidson, Tom Harris and Tom Watson, and MSPs Jackie Baillie, James Kelly, John Park and Lewis Macdonald.A spokesman for the SNP said: “Johann Lamont and Anas Sarwar should immediately resign from this website, which should also be shut down.”

Incredibly, Labour attempted to distance themselves from the uproar and described it as a “desperate smear” by the Nationalists.

A spokesman said: “This desperate smear campaign falls at the first hurdle because this Facebook page is not owned, managed, or operated by Scottish Labour, and it will not detract from the rantings and ravings of SNP candidates – sacked or otherwise – online.

“Political parties are responsible for their candidates and officials, but members of the public must be responsible for their own behaviour.”Privately, officials said they found the comment “absolutely reprehensible” and urged the moderator of the Facebook page to have Kelly banned. (The Express 29 April 2012)




Jacqueline Marie Baillie

Was born in the far east, 15 January 1964, to a Portuguese father and Scottish mother. She was schooled at the exclusive private St Anne’s School, Windermere in the English Lake District (annual boarding fees were £21,000 a year) and later studied at Cumbernauld College, Strathclyde University and the University of Glasgow. She lives in Dumbarton with her daughter.  Appointed, Chair of the Scottish Labour Party in 1997, she was first elected to Holyrood as MSP for the Dumbarton constituency at the inaugural election for the Scottish Parliament in May 1999. She was re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011.







26 October 1999: Minister Jackie Baillie backs scrapping Trident

A Minister in the Scottish Executive has admitted publicly to being in favour of scrapping Trident, it was confirmed last night as the Opposition SNP moved to exploit Government concern at the controversial judgment of a Greenock sheriff who ruled that Trident was illegal. In the wake of Sheriff Gimblett’s ruling that the nuclear deterrent based on the Clyde contravened the law as viewed by the International Court, the Opposition SNP last night asked if ministerial collective responsibility in Scotland applied to reserved as well as devolved areas. Ms Jackie Baillie, Deputy Minister for Communities, replied to a CND questionnaire posted on the Internet before the Scottish Parliament elections saying she supported the scrapping of Trident.



Henry McLeishHenry McLeish




13 November 2001: Baillie rules herself out of leadership race

Jackie Baillie, the social justice minister, yesterday ruled herself out of the race to become the next First Minister. She said she had no intention of standing for the top job in Scottish politics, because it would deny her time with her daughter. Ms Baillie, popular among MSPs, party members and the unions is seen as “a safe pair of hands”. Her reputation in the executive is as a solid, capable operator with a good line in putting down the opposition parties in the parliament chamber.

She had been tipped, along with Angus MacKay, the finance minister, as a potential “stop Jack” candidate, because she is seen as being close the wing of Labour loyal to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, whose allies had initially made it plain they were determined to prevent Jack McConnell, the education minister, succeeding Henry McLeish as First Minister.


indexahuyJack McConnell (now Lord)




28 November 2001:  Mcconnell exact’s his revenge

Jack McConnell cast half the Scottish Cabinet into the political wilderness yesterday in a devastating display of ruthlessness. The new First Minister wreaked a deadly revenge on colleagues who opposed his leadership bid. In a dramatic reshuffle, four of the most senior figures in Scottish politics were summarily sacked, while another was humiliated into resignation. Tom McCabe, Jackie Baillie, Angus MacKay, Sarah Boyack and Susan Deacon were all relegated to the backbenches where they are free to nurse their grievances.

Mr McConnell had lulled the casualties into a false sense of security by insisting there would be no ‘night of the long knives’. They thought their jobs were safe when he repeatedly stressed that Scotland needed a period of stability following the resignation of former First Minister Henry McLeish. But yesterday their careers were in tatters following a merciless purge. He replaced them with a string of his leftwing loyalists, most of whom have no ministerial experience.

The new Finance Minister is backbench MSP Andy Kerr, who masterminded Mr McConnell’s public confession about his adulterous affair. He is joined at the Cabinet table by Mr McConnell’s acolyte Patricia Ferguson, who becomes Parliament Minister, and fellow close colleague Lord Watson (the fireraiser).


SarahBoyackMSPSarah Boyack120927susan-deaconSusan Deacon220px-Andy_KerrAndy Kerr

_1646084_angusmackaythree150Angus McKayTom McCabe Local Government MinisterTom McCabe07 May 2011..MSP pictured in the garden lobby during the MSP registration session. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish ParliamentPatricia Ferguson




30 November 2006: Labour politicians(McFall & Baillie) launch a public broadside on their own party’s leadership of a Scottish council

Constituency MP called for Holyrood ministers to send in a hit squad to force change. A series of astonishing accusations flowed at Clydebank Town Hall during an unprecedented public hearing held by the Accounts Commission, the local authority watchdog. Last month it was handed a highly critical report on West Dunbartonshire Council by Audit Scotland and opted to air the issues in public.

Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP for Dumbarton, alleged there had been repeated cases of bullying, while John McFall, MP for West Dunbartonshire and chairman of the Commons Finance Select Committee, claimed a cabal of councillors had allocated millions to favour their own wards.

Comment: Funny how Baillie and McFall said nothing until the audit report identified failings. Clearly a move to distance themselves from the chaos and misappropriation of finance on going within the constituency.



imageswe220px-John_McFall_MP_2008_croppedJohn McFall MP  ( Baron McFall of Alcluith)




27 February 2007: The pork-barrel component of Trident

I suspect there is only one job Jackie Baillie is anxious to protect at the moment. Mrs Baillie has put on a bravura performance pretending to be concerned with employment while actually defending Scotland’s place as a humble cog in the US military industrial machine and her own interest in the pork-barrel arrangements which flow therefrom. Trident is about the British taxpayer subsidising the US defence industry and providing, gratis, an ICBM submarine squadron to the US Navy. The pork-barrel part is that impoverished / Labour – dominated (same thing, really) areas like Mrs Baillie’s constituency (20% of households living in poverty) get very few relatively well- paid, ferociously subsidised defence jobs.







1 March 2007: Council members bid to oust Jackie Baillie MSP

Labour councillors turned on their local MSP yesterday, demanding her resignation over local hospital services. Jackie Baillie, the Dumbarton Labour MSP and former communities minister, was attacked by four Labour members of West Dunbartonshire Council, including former leader Andy White. They sided with the Scottish National Party and independent councillors at a full council meeting which brought the ruling administration to the brink of collapse.

Martin Rooney, who replaced Andy White after his forced resignation in December, could count on only six of the 16 people elected as Labour councillors in 2003. Several stayed away while four rebels voted against the Labour line and sought revenge on Ms Baillie for her public attacks on them.


Andy Whiteleader of West Dunbartonshire CouncilAndy Whitemartin_rooneyMartin Rooney




19 October 2007: Reasons to be cynical

Jackie Baillie has tabled a question at Holyrood about the cost of the summit “Scotland Without Nuclear Weapons” convened by the Scottish Government. Her concerns, (related to the cost of the hire of a hall and some sandwiches) is in stark contrast to her support of political policies forcing the Scottish taxpayer to fork out billions of pounds being the nations share of the Trident renewal programme. This new charge being, added to the billions already paid for Trident system.

Ms Baillie has become Scotland’s most vociferous supporter of nuclear weapons, no doubt in the hope of continuing to save her political skin as MSP for Faslane.     Comment: But she said she was anti-Trident ?





21 December 2008: West Dunbartonshire Council in the news again

Labour Grandees, MP John McFall and MSP Jackie Baillie stand accused by a Councillor and former colleague, (in a letter to the Labour Party General Secretary) of overseeing a “thuggish” clique within the Labour Party in Scotland. McFall is the chair of the powerful House of Commons Treasury select committee, while Baillie is a former minister and ex-chief of staff for Labour at Holyrood.

Marie McNair, who has served on West Dunbartonshire Council for five years, said the politicians, who ran her local party forced their will on party decisions quelling any opposition by intimidation. She also claimed to have suffered sexist abuse by a party member and that she was shouted down at meetings for challenging decisions.

The allegations were contained in a letter of resignation sent by McNair to Colin Smith, the Scottish Labour general secretary, which said: “It fills me with despair that such thuggish and intimidatory behaviour has been tolerated and covered up by the Labour Party. The contents of McNair’s letter were read out in public at a meeting of the SNP-led council.



Marie McNair Councillor West Dunbartonshire CouncilMarie McNair



2 January 2012: Baillie criticised over ‘out-of-date’ superbug figures

Labour was yesterday accused of scoring an own goal after it used statistics from its time in office to describe Scotland as the “superbug capital of Europe”.

Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie produced figures showing Scotland joint top with Sweden on 9.5% of admissions resulting in an infection. The UK was fourth worst on 9%, just after Greece, with Germany, Lithuania and Latvia under 4%, according to the Scottish Parliament Information Centre. The European average was 7.1%.

Ms Baillie said: “Being the superbug capital of Europe is an accolade no country wants. These figures show that, despite recent progress, the SNP government still has a long way to go in the battle against healthcare associated infections (HAIs).



baillie2jackie baillie

5 January 2012: Baillie’s false statements another injustice to Scottish healthcare workers – Labour owe health workers another apology

The SNP has called on Labour to apologise to health workers after Jackie Baillie admitted her claims that NHS patients had to share blankets in a Paisley hospital were wrong – weeks after the health board provided proof there was no truth in her accusations.

SNP MSP George Adam has written to Johann Lamont asking her to investigate Ms Baillie’s remarks and apologise to the staff of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for her health spokespersons false statements.

Ms Baillie made the allegations, despite NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde saying, when the matter “was raised a few weeks ago”, that they provided “proof that there was no truth in this claim”. She later admitted in a newspaper that they were wrong

Mr Adam, SNP MSP for Paisley and a Member of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee, said:

“To knowingly make incorrect claims in her conference speech beggars belief. She should be ashamed of herself for talking Scotland’s health service down yet again.

Ms Baillie knew her allegations were wrong as NHS GGC had addressed them weeks before. I have written to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, asking her to investigate these remarks and apologise to the staff of the Royal Alexandra for her health spokespersons false statements.

Ms Baillie is a repeat offender in smearing Scotland’s NHS. It was only in December she tried to pass off “new figures” for infection rates as ones gathered under the SNP, when in fact they were collected in 2005/06, when Labour were last in power.

And this follows her infamous “Winter Watch” campaign last year, which had nothing to do with improving the NHS, and everything to do with her finding new ways to talk down the NHS and its hard-working staff.

She must explain why she made an assertion in her conference speech which had already been comprehensively rebutted by the Health Board several weeks before.

This is not only disrespectful to our health professionals – it has caused alarm among patients and their families. Labour’s health spokesperson should instead be acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our NHS workforce.”


1) In her speech to Labour conference at the weekend, Jackie Baillie stated that “In one hospital in Greater Glasgow and Clyde patients are even having to share blankets because of the cuts.”

2) However, responding to the blanket claims, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “This matter was raised with us a few weeks ago, and we were able to provide proof that there was no truth in this claim. Extra blankets are available in all our hospital as and when patients need them.”

3) Jackie Baillie herself “later admitted that the claim was wrong”

4) Link to story from Straight Statistics in January about Jackie Baillie passing off figures from 2006 as an attack on the SNP

5) Details of Jackie Baillie’s “Winter Watch” campaign – asking for patients and staff to report “any strains in the NHS” and then suggesting the information will be used by the Labour Party – can be found at







29 November 2012: A video recording of a public meeting of the Clydebank Trades Union Council

The panel comprised Gil Paterson (SNP MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie), : Jackie Baillie (Labour MSP for Dumbarton), Chairman Tom Paterson (Secretary of Clydebank TUC), Stephen Boyd (Assistant Secretary of Scottish TUC) and Cathy Leach (Scottish Pensioners’ Forum).

Baillie roasted by many of those present who outed her as a liar on many of the issues she sought to defend.






28 October 2012: Jackie Baillie Trident job loss claims challenged by official MoD figures

Claims by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie that the Trident nuclear weapons system sustains 11,000 Scottish jobs have been called into question following a Freedom of Information request by Scottish CND. Figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence by the nuclear disarmament group show that the total number of jobs directly linked to Trident is a mere 520. According to official figures, of the 520, 159 are employed by the Ministry of Defence and 361 are employed by contractors.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has been a regular critic of the SNP’s policy over the siting of nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Ms Baillie has repeatedly claimed that having Trident creates 11,000 jobs, with thousands more set to be generated through plans to expand the naval base. Speaking on her official Labour party website, Ms Bailie said:  “There are over 11,000 jobs dependent on the base.

The SNP would remove Trident, devastating our local economy and turning Helensburgh into a ghost town.” Ms Baillie also claimed that the renewal of the nuclear weapons system and the expansion of the base would create thousands more jobs and added: “The SNP also fail to acknowledge that almost 3,000 new jobs will be created with the impending expansion of the base. These too would be jeopardised by the SNP plans to scrap Trident.”

Dismissing his Labour opponent’s claim as nonsense, SNP MSP, Bill Kidd, said: “Trident is, in reality, a jobs-destroyer, and attempts to justify the presence of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde in terms of jobs is the worst kind of nonsense, as Jackie Baillie knows only too well.”





UK Labour slaps down Jackie Baillie for bedroom tax scrapping claim




14 September 2013: Scottish Labour wall of silence as Baillie Bedroom Tax claim denied by London chiefs

A wall of silence from Scottish Labour has emerged following MSP Jackie Baillie’s claim that Labour are set confirm they will axe the Bedroom Tax if they win the next UK general election.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Baillie was asked if a new Labour government would abolish the Bedroom Tax.

Responding, she said: “We are very clear. Labour rejected this approach when it was put to them in government, for social landlords. We have campaigned for its abolition. “Yes we will abolish it. My understanding is that you can expect an announcement relatively soon.”

However, following Ms Baillie’s comments London Labour distanced itself from the Scottish Labour MSP stating, “It goes against what we are saying – we haven’t made that pledge to date,” their spokesperson added “Ms Baillie has gone a bit too far with this one”.

Despite the slap-down, neither Ms Baillie nor anyone representing Scottish Labour would speak out against the London briefing and it remains unclear whether Ms Baillie’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont gave clearance for her welfare spokeswoman to make the claims.

Labour MP and Shadow Cabinet member Helen Goodman says Labour would keep the bedroom tax for people who refused to move if offered smaller accommodation.







2 July 2014: It’s High Time Labour Put the People First

A Million people in Scotland now live in poverty, according to the latest official figures – a big rise. Things will get worse – another 70 per cent of the UK Government’s welfare cuts have still to come. Shamefully, yesterday’s figures revealed six out of 10 children living in poverty had a parent in work. Yesterday, I heard Jackie Baillie, Labour’s welfare spokeswoman at Holyrood, argue that Scotland benefited from the “strength and security” of the UK. That simply makes no sense. Where’s the “security” in a million people in poverty?



Cameron LargessScreen-Shot-2014-02-20-at-13.13.435-717x680




24 September 2014: Dumbarton & Vale MSP Jackie Baillie calls for unity after Referendum – West Dunbartonshire votes Yes in Independence Referendum despite Westminsters promise of new powers

Joyce White, chief executive of West Dunbartonshire Council, announced at Clydebank’s Playdrome leisure centre that 62,496 votes had been cast in the area — a huge 87.9 per cent of those registered with a majority in favour of independence.

“Unionist” and “Better Together” campaigner MSP for Dumbarton and the Vale, Jackie Baillie said whilst she was delighted with the overall outcome of the referendum, she was disappointed that the people of Dumbartonshire had not supported her and her fellow Unionist camaigners.

But she added: “Our own ballot box sampling (of the postal ballots) suggested a majority of people in the Dumbarton and Lomond wards voted No to independence. I do however understand that there will be some people who are disappointed with the result. “In the debates and doorsteps discussions I found there was more that united us than divided us about our vision for Scotland. It’s vital we now come together as one team to address that shared vision and make devolution work for Scotland.”

An SNP representative said he would want to see more powers for job creation, defence, welfare and energy efforts to be given to Scotland “as soon as possible”. He also said he wanted further discussion on matters involving external affairs to also be considered. He continued “any offering from the Westminster establishment must be open, honest and transparent to be trusted by the people of Dumbarton and the Vale.

Anything less will be treating our citizens with disregard, particularly as they voted in such great numbers for Independence. “There could well be many drawbacks to a proposal that has strings attached but it’s clear that the Westminster establishment must now come forward with substantial change.”


20140215_brp511_1Arthur's Seat March and Rally




This is what the people of Dunbartonshire thought of Jackie Baillie:

Laura Finlay: Personally I can’t stand this woman so am fairly biased, but this sounds like a threat. We have to be unified or we will not get extra powers, really?!  I believe we should be unified in getting rid of labour, forging forward to an independent Scotland.

Bobby Campbell: Jackie Baillie and her failed Labour party are liars, but don’t take my word for it, let’s do a last week/this week comparison: Last week: Only a no vote will save the NHS. Only a no vote will secure your pension. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it, vote no, The oil is running out.

This week: Only a vote for labour will save the NHS, it’s nearly destroyed. You can have your pension when your 70 now, winter fuel payment you say? It will take labour ten years to fix broken Britain. The oil has another 20 years above the 50 it already has.

Elaine Lainey McMonagle: Why would she need to “make sure” we get the powers when she promised we would most definitely get what we were promised! I don’t think back tracking will work now.

Colin Robertson: Jackie you refused to talk to anyone who wasn’t undecided while door chapping in dumbarton, you could not answer any questions we put to you, and the overall way you conducted yourself throughout the referendum was appalling, the way I heard you try to scare our elderly, the most vulnerable of our society with lies about losing their pension was unbelievable, this area does not agree with u on matters. You do not speak for me or anyone else in the area.

Janine Croft: Open honest and transparent? That’s an absolute cheek! Scaring the older people, lying to the community to suit yourselves, only speaking to those who suit you. Open, honest and transparent is exactly what you guys have not been. To expect any trust back from “your” community is a complete disregard of events over the last few months and weeks, and quite frankly, an insult!

Mark McGill: Here’s yer P45

Laura Finlay: Bye bye baillie, baillie goodbye !!!!

Stevie Mahoney: Get tae Jackie, and take yer pal Gemma wae ye. Yer done here. Maybe Asda are looking for folk.

Dougie McCann: The vow was on day after the 19th a motion would be tabled. It wasn’t and it’s still not on list of parliament future business.

Shaun Mills: have a look through the comments Jackie, the only unity you see here is unilateral dislike for you... the manner in which you and the rest of the better together campaign carried yourselves in this referendum was dishonourable and has contributed to.

Peter Devers: Up eh road butterbean.






Caroline McAllister: She lost the last drop of credibility she had when she dropped off the No Thanks posters at the Orange Lodge. She legitimised their harassment of the public who challenged them for removing YES posters while they put up BT posters. She is a snake in the grass.

Heather Fluffmum: Aire Well, you know where she can stick it…

Sharon McLeish: A Letter asking the true number of people who would have been put out of work by the scrapping of Trident under the freedom of information act was confirmed as 250!! I believe the number quoted by Jackie Baillie was 11,000. Plus those jobs would probably have been transferred to other new positions that would have needed to be created in organising the new independent Scotland’s Defence plans.

Carol Adair: The only thing this woman is not united with is reality! Wake up and smell the YES vote Ms Baillie – Dumbarton has rejected your party’s no campaign – go peddle your ‘Better together’ nonsense somewhere else!

James Slaven: Total idiot ! Down with the red Tory goons !

Paul Mclaughlin: Ironic coming from the woman who was fueling flames about yes campaigns vandals on polling day – a disgrace. Trying to claw back respect – guaranteed to be an act of self interest.

Mark McGill: No more labour!!!






John Cameron: Every word she’s uttered in the past two years has been lies in order to make sure her nose stays in the trough alongside the rest of the piggies. Who’d be daft enough to believe her cr@p now? Hope she has an up to date CV because it’s looking like she’ll need one the next time West Dumbartonshire takes to the polls.

Jean Moore: Why on earth would anyone listen to this blatent liar. Her days are numbered, cherio Jackie.

Nicola Stevenson: Love the unite in hatred for this poor excuse of a human being!!

Lynne Morrison: Hahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa…… Hahahahahahaaaaaaahahahahaha!

Irene Butler: Bye dear p45 on its way

Christina Logan: P45 time , bye bye

Anne Swartz: Open honest and transparent???

Nicole Graham: Stick it

Paul Connolly: Your time is up Jackie

Stephen Stewart: No thank bye bye jackie.

Martin Kerr: We will unite to rid ourselves of Jackie and Gemma Doyle

Chris Mahoney: Jackie Baillie’s time is out. Labour are a are a spent force in West Dunbartonshire.

John McIllaney: Get rid of home town voted yes, why keep her in comfort when she didn’t represent you..get rid of baillie!

Shona Logan: BSc Hons Hope she enjoys her farewell party. She’ll need to take doggy bags home after it to feed herself when she gets booted out of a job.

Kevin Woolfries: Hahaha Labour are finished in Scotland and anyone who’s for them are delusional Scum bye bye.






Jaine Hepburn: She is a horrible woman just like the rest of the red tories, they lied and used scaremongering all through a campaign where they should have been honest, truly think they are over in Scotland.

Dave Ó Conghalaigh: Throughout this whole campaign, she only cared about herself and getting on TV. She has spent the last few years attacking the SNP, while not just ignoring the people she’s supposed to represent, but frightening the most vulnerable members of our society with downright lies! I’m very happy that it’s looking likely we’ll finally see the last of her after the next election.

Scott McErlean: She’s a smug arrogant disgrace IMO and the MP Doyle is hopeless, I wouldn’t have left her in charge of the St Pats tuck shop.

Craig Denver: For to long they have taken Dumbarton voters for granted. Job centre for u hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Joanne Flynn: Jackie you are a disgrace to the Scots. Hang your head in shame.

David Ross: She let us all down and she knows it. And now she is shackled to her new Tory friends policies.

Claire Ritchie: The labour party is dead in this area after everything that’s gone on in the last few weeks – an extremely thin line separates them from the tories!  Since the referendum results I’ve been so fed up and disappointed.

Lynne Kennedy: Who ate all the pies ? Jackie Baillie .. who told all the lies ? Jackie Baillie ….

Mark McGill: Kilmalid are always hiring temps at this time of year lol.

Donald Farquhar: So is she suggesting that the promises of her party are not enough, that the voting public must also hold the parties accountable?? Sounds like she is endorsing people power at the ballot box if the promises made by her party are not kept. Good to know she is holding herself accountable to Labour promises.







31 October 2014: It was a funny old FMQs yesterday, with half the contributors deputising for someone else.

LibDem Alison McInnes stood in for Willie Rennie, who is recovering from spinal surgery. Apparently, and in a first for his party, he now has one.

Meanwhile Jackie Baillie took the place of Johann Lamont, who suffers from another common back problem at Holyrood, multiple stab wounds.

As is traditional with Labour slayings, Ms Baillie began with breathtakingly fake praise for the ex-leader she reportedly knifed. Ms Lamont (good riddance) had been a passionate and committed public servant, she sniffed, dabbing away tears with a bloodied stiletto.






Jackie Ballie Consummate Liar Exposed

Labour’s demand for more public cash to operate as an opposition party at Holyrood was attacked as “rank hypocrisy”. A wise old Scotsman once said, “Labour are like the pigeons in George Square…When they’re down they’ll eat out of your hand..but when they’re up they’ll shit on your head!”

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie ploughs on with her condemnation of a proposed SNP cut to Corporation Tax, even as Andrew Kerr twice attempts to point out that Labour cut it the last time they were in power. (Kerr says by 2p, but Gordon Brown in fact cut it twice by a total of 5p and promised additional cuts.






Open Letter to Jackie Baillie Asking her to prove her lies are the truth – No Answer





Holyrood – Health debate – Jackie Baillie, Labour Attacks Nicola Sturgeon.





Holyrood – Health Debate – Nicola Sturgeon Destroys Jackie Baillie.




Jackie “pants on fire” Baillie deputises for Johann Lamont (who was showing-face at Tony Benn’s funeral).







19 November 2015: First Minister holds shameful Jackie Baillie to account

You need to look no further than Labour’s Jackie Baillie to see why the people of Scotland have rejected this unionist party in their droves. Baillie shamelessly prodded Nicola Sturgeon by saying “She hopes the FM will eventually agree with Labour in restoring the cuts to tax credits”. When asked in a recent interview how Labour would pay for restoring the cuts, her answer was ridiculous gibberish that insulted the intelligence of every Scot.

The hypocrisy of Baillie is breathtaking…as the First Minister pointed out, Labour voted with the Tories against devolving tax credits and voted for spending £167 Billion on “independent” Trident nuclear missiles, that we can’t use without America’s permission, while children go hungry and homeless. Needless to say, the First Minister held her to account in no uncertain terms and exposes her shameful hypocrisy. Video and report here: :






28 January 2016: The Daily mail and Jackie Baillie sink to unplumbed depths

Today she took part in a Daily Mail Tory hate fest against Dr Philippa Whitford MP, whom the Mail accuses of being on the make because, over Christmas she did a few days work at her local hospital while fellow surgeons were unable to work, because of ill-heath, I believe. (Staff illness is something that would be avoidable even if Ms Baillie were cabinet secretary for health. No one wants a sick surgeon wielding a knife over them and regulations on this are pretty strict.)

Prior to being an MSP, Ms Baillie was employed in administration work with East Dunbartonshire Council and Strathkelvin District Council. She may therefore be unaware that medical doctors and surgeons are require to keep their skills honed in order that they may be able to continue to work in their speciality. Two stories here:









21 March 2016:  Watch: Jackie Baillie’s disastrous interview. To call it car crash would show a lack of respect for automotive  accidents

With the Scottish Parliament elections set to take place in May, the SNP are expected to once again top the polls. As for the other parties, Kezia Dugdale’s beleaguered Scottish Labour will be attempting to fight off Ruth Davidson’s conservatives for second place.

So, with Dugdale desperately needing to win back disillusioned voters, she may live to regret sending Jackie Baillie, the Scottish MSP, onto yesterday’s Sunday Politics. In an interview with Gordon Brewer, Baillie attempted to put forward her party’s new economic policy which claims to offer a way to end austerity which is not ‘prescriptive’. Alas Brewer was unconvinced, suggesting that the policy amounted to promising to put people’s taxes out without knowing what the money will be spent on: Full story here:







22 April 2016: Jackie Baillie Goes Rogue on Labour with support for Trident Nuclear  Weapons Upgrade

Jackie Baillie has gone rogue over Trident after refusing to back her party’s manifesto commitment to opposing the renewal of the nuclear weapons system.

The Labour politician currently MSP for the Dumbarton constituency is standing for re-election. She is also at the top of the party’s West of Scotland regional list. But questions are being raised about her suitability as a Party (list) candidate after she publicly vowed to defy the Party’s official policy on Trident.

A report published last year by union umbrella group the STUC and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated just 520 civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde are “directly reliant on Trident”, 132 of which are held by workers from Argyll and Bute and 178 by staff from West Dunbartonshire. The STUC, which calls for the establishment of a Defence Diversification Agency, says alternative roles can be found or created. At the STUC congress in Dundee this week, Jane Carolan of Unison said her union has a “proud record of defending quality employment”, but argued replacing Trident would be “catastrophic”.

She said Government figures show no jobs would be lost for 15 years, adding: “For the cost of Trident we could have 100,000 more firefighters, 120,000 nurses, 120,000 teachers. It is a gross misallocation of taxpayers money, our money, where there are so many more vital and constructive ways in which it could be spent.”

Yesterday Craig Edwards of Clydebank, who questioned Baillie on Trident at the hustings, said he knows no-one employed on the system but many opposed to it.

He said: “Night and day, the Ministry of Defence is transporting nuclear material through our streets. Jackie Baillie’s view has nothing to do with local jobs, it is to do with her protecting her own job. Her argument has always been the local economy is so reliant on it, but the Helensburgh economy has almost collapsed. It has empty shops. It is a fallacy.”

SNP Dumbarton candidate Gail Robertson, who is also standing on the regional list, said: “I don’t think Jackie Baillie can justify being a list candidate for Labour given what we are hearing about their manifesto. They are campaigning in opposite directions.”


But Jackie and Trident go back a long way


26 October 1999: Minister Jackie Baillie backs scrapping Trident

A Minister in the Scottish Executive has admitted publicly to being in favour of scrapping Trident, it was confirmed last night as the Opposition SNP moved to exploit Government concern at the controversial judgement of a Greenock sheriff who ruled that Trident was illegal. In the wake of Sheriff Gimblett’s ruling that the nuclear deterrent based on the Clyde contravened the law as viewed by the International Court, the Opposition SNP last night asked if ministerial collective responsibility in Scotland applied to reserved as well as devolved areas. Ms Jackie Baillie, Deputy Minister for Communities, replied to a CND questionnaire posted on the Internet before the Scottish Parliament elections saying she supported the scrapping of Trident.



Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour. Picture: Julie Bull






Cowal Conservative Lunch Club – Lunch – Jackie Baillie and lunch with those of a similar political outlook

Date: Friday, 7th February 2014: Time: 1215 hrs for 1230 hrs: Venue: Argyll Hotel, Argyll St., Dunoon PA23 7NE: Speaker: Jackie Baillie MSP: Lunch with tea or coffee: £10







Scot’s Earn the Least – Yet Donate the Most to British Charities – Control of the Charity Sector is Transferring to London – Scotland Stuffed Yet Again





Charity Donations across the UK


Giving: The results from a Ipsos Mori poll released in March that found Scots to be the most charitable people in the UK





14 March 2013: Scots charitable donations exceed £100 more per year than wealthy Londoners

It is a cruel stereotype: that Scotsmen have a tendency towards thrift that sometimes borders on the downright tight-fisted.

According to a survey released today, it is entirely unfair. Quite the reverse, in fact – it shows that Scots are in fact the most charitable people in the UK.

More than 42 per cent of those in Scotland give money after watching a TV charity appeal – well above the national average of 25 per cent.

Scots are more likely to donate to sponsorship requests from friends and family, with 65 per cent giving compared to the national average of 54 per cent.

Scots are also more responsive to charity emails – with 18 per cent saying they prompt a donation, versus a national average of just 12 per cent.

The results were found by online charity donation service Give as you Live in a survey of 2,000 people.

The poll also showed that Londoners donated almost £100 less – £268 – despite earning 35 per cent more than the Scots.

Overall Scotland was the most generous nation in the UK £356 on average, followed by Wales on £328 and England on £285. (The Mail)






17 June 2015: There is no end to it – English control over Scottish charities continues to expand – Big money is at stake and they are determined to seize control of it

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is planning to transfer staff and services from Scotland to, “Action for Blind People” (ABP), which currently runs all the charity’s services in England.

Staff in Scotland say there has been no explanation of how the strategy will work or evidence provided that it will benefit the 180,000 Scots with vision problems who currently receive help.

Unison’s voluntary sector organiser for Scotland said: “There is a complete lack of transparency about the business rationale for this move, what it will mean for the general public or how it will be of any benefit to service users. People are utterly baffled about what is going on.”

There are also questions over whether the Scottish Government, or the public, will be happy providing government funding to an English-based charity. (The Herald)





12 October 2015: The head of a leading Scottish charity has resigned in the wake of a furious internal row over the transfer of staff to a London-based partner organisation.

John Legg, the RNIB’s director in Scotland, had led it for more than 10 years.

He was known to have opposed RNIB UK’s move to run its Scottish operation from London under the auspices of “Action for Blind People”, a decision which was viewed by many staff north of the border as an English ‘takeover’.

RNIB UK insists that Mr Legg left by choice but speculation is rife as to how and why his departure has come about.

An employee (representing more than 200 RNIB Scotland workers) said: “Staff are shocked and dismayed. No reason was given, but it is obvious that he was pushed for not toeing the party line of centralisation on London (The Herald)




23 July 2015: Asthma charity to quit Scotland in London Switch

Asthma UK is currently consulting on proposals to concentrate staff in London.

But it has been urged to think again by campaigners who fear its work will be undermined in Scotland. (The Herald)




15 August 2015: Experts have voiced fears that more health charities will shut their Scottish offices in the wake of a number of high – profile cases.

It is understood that around half a dozen organisations are thought to be looking at the possibility of moving staff to England. (The Herald)




2015: Scottish animal charity donations are misdirected to England

Thousands of Scot’s routinely donate to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) believing the money will assist the efforts of the society in Scotland.

But, in Scotland, it is the charity, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) that responds to calls about cruelty to animals. Charitable donations in Scotland should be made to the SSPCA, not the RSPCA whose responsibilities are with England.


Another charity plans to shut doors of Scottish office




Scottish Charities in Name Only – Power Rests with England

2017: There are calls for the creation, registration and management off Scottish Charitable Societies and similar organisations who would be enabled to lobby appropriate Scottish Government Ministers, tailoring their activities to Scotland, in recognition of our different laws and social services.

In the last 10 years many “so called” UK charities, operating in Scotland have closed their doors in Scotland and transferred their headquarters (HQ) and operational control to England, some retaining a Scottish branch under the control of England

At present, qualifying charities in Scotland (regardless of the location of their HQ) are allocated approximately £500m annually by the Scottish government.

But control of and distribution and use of the Scottish government supplied finance and other charitable donations collected in Scotland is vested with their English based HQ’s.




One in Five of Britain’s 1500+ charities spends less than 50% of total income on good causes.

Gina Miller, founder of the “True and Fair Foundation” said: “It is an utter disgrace that so much of the money people generously give is going to feed large charity machines, which are often characterised by obscene overheads and salaries, aggressive fundraising, and bloated marketing and publicity departments; resulting in questionable levels of charitable spending.”

The report is a mind blowing expose’ of the charity sector:

Click to access a-hornets-nest-report-into-charitable-spending-by-UK-charities-12-dec-15.pdf




Action needed now

There is a call for the establishment of a “Scottish Society for the Blind” (SSB) which can concentrate on lobbying the appropriate Scottish Government Ministers, tailoring its activities to Scotland, and our different laws and social services.

Bluntly, if these charities based in England close their doors in Scotland, then new doors should be opened and the door closed to the so-called “National” (as in UK) ones.

The “Third Sector” in Scotland is allocated many £ millions annually by the Scottish government, much of it arising from the Big Lottery Fund. It is a nonsense to give financial support to charitable organisations that are based in England.

The Scottish government should introduce legislation requiring charities benefit-ting from government support, to be registered and managed in Scotland.






Scottish Tories – A Party of Political Eunuchs Managed By Mundell and Davidson – Left in Place By Cameron to Watch Over Rebellious Scots (part 4)









5 October 2015 ; How do SNP vet their candidates?’: Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson demands explanation over suspended MP Michelle Thomson

Tory leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson last night called for an explanation over the SNP’s ­candidate selection and vetting procedures in light of the Michelle Thomson property scandal. Davidson said there was a question over the integrity of the SNP’s MP candidate selection, while Scottish Labour said “real questions” had to be asked about the selection of the Edinburgh West MP.






Advice for Davidson

But Ruth Davidson should look to the poor behaviour within her own party. Tory in Scotland association members vetting procedures excluded Ruth (who had only been around for 6 months at a higher level working for Annabel) from running for the leadership following on from the Tory Central Office’s forced retiral of Annabelle Goldie. David Cameron, Mundell and the party in Westminster overruled the Scots and ordered that Davidson would be included on the ballot for the Tory party in Scotland leadership effectively screwing poor Murdo Fraser whose ambitions were strangled at birth. The story and subsequent calamitous outcome follows:







2011: Ruth Davidson – Takes charge and makes it clear to the Conservative Party in Scotland she wears the trousers

Ruth Davidson 35y, graduated from Edinburgh University and worked as a BBC journalist until 2009 at which time she left employment to attend Glasgow University to study  International Development. She joined the Conservative Party, and was a candidate in the Glasgow North East constituency at a 2009 by-election and at the 2010 general election, finishing in respectively 3rd and 4th place, with approximately 5% of the vote. From early 2010 to March 2011 she worked as the head of the private office of the then Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie. In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, she stood for election in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency and on the Glasgow Regional list. She finished in 4th place in the former, but was successful in the latter, and following party leader Annabel Goldie’s resignation in May 2011, she stood in the subsequent leadership election which she won and was declared party leader on 4 November 2011.








9 September 2011: Ruth Davidson draws a “line in the sand” on the constitution by promising “NO MORE DEVOLUTION” no more powers for Holyrood if she wins Scottish Tory leadership.

At the official launch of her campaign she said “The time for arguing about the powers the people want is over. It’s time now to use the powers that we have. “the range of powers included in the Coalition Government’s Scotland Bill is the final word on devolution. When the referendum is done and Scotland and the Union has won the day, that will be an end to it.” She added: “Under my leadership, there will be no existential crisis, no wringing of hands. Instead I want people to call themselves Scottish, Conservative and Unionist.”









9 October 2011: Leadership race for the Scottish Tories mired in claims of bias in favour of Central Office candidate Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson suffered a blow to her credibility when it emerged she faced hostility from party activists in what should have been safe home turf in Glasgow. All five party chairmen in Glasgow pledged their support to other candidates.

The least experienced of the four candidates for the leadership, the 32-year-old was promoted as the favourite of the Tory establishment, with backing from Thatcher-era grandees Lord Forsyth, Lord Sanderson, and the sole Scots Tory MP, David Mundell.

Her campaign was plagued by gaffes and rumours that she received unofficial help from the Conservative Party hierarchy. She was also ordered to sack her parliamentary assistant Ross McFarlane after he was caught on camera drunkenly burning a European Union flag in a Glasgow Street as a companion made sectarian remarks.

In a further unwanted development the Director of media, Ramsay Jones, was suspended from his duties when it was revealed that he attended a meeting of campaign strategists at Davidson’s home, despite being ordered by the party chairman not to take sides and remain impartial. Her camp insisted there was nothing untoward about the visit which required  Jones to make a 150-mile round trip from his home in Dunbar, East Lothian, on a Sunday during the campaign.

Malcolm Macaskill, a former Holyrood candidate, claimed Jones had previously boasted he was a “big fan” of Davidson and had recruited her to the party about three years before. He said “I was disappointed to hear he may have been supporting Ruth Davidson’s campaign for leader. That would be wholly unprofessional. But it is no surprise, as Ramsay stated to me he was a big fan of Ruth and he had been responsible for bringing her into the party.”

Macaskill, a member of the Scottish Tories for 35 years had been the Tories’ No 1 candidate on the Glasgow list for Holyrood. but in a surprise move was deselected by the party hierarchy shortly before the election. His removal meant Davidson, who was running Goldie’s Holyrood office, moved to the top of the list. Without the switch, Davidson would not have been elected as a list MSP for Glasgow.



MoS2 Template Master






30 October 2011: TORY LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE RUTH DAVIDSON, under pressure after claiming on television to be committed to Scotland while failing to mention she was shortlisted to become an MP in England.

(talk about careerist Polititian, this seat, that seat, ANY seat’ll do).  In a hustings broadcast by Newsnight Scotland last week, Davidson claimed never to have wanted to work outside her native land.  She said: “I have lived and worked my entire life in Scotland. Never been anywhere else, never wished to be. I’m Scottish to my bones.”

However, only last year, Davidson was one of six figures shortlisted to be a Tory candidate for Bromsgrove, south of Birmingham. The English seat had been left vacant by the exit of sitting MP Julie Kirkbride, who chose not to stand again after a row over her expenses. After local members in Bromsgrove chose Sajid Javid,  Davidson stood for the Tories in Glasgow North East instead, a seat she had contested the previous year in a Westminster by-election. She went on to slip from third place to fourth in Glasgow North East at the general election. Davidson’s spokesman said she had been put on the shortlist by Conservative Central Office in London.

Asked if she attended any selection meetings in Bromsgrove, her spokesman said Davidson “went down to see them” out of “courtesy”.
After the election, Davidson tried unsuccessfully to become the Tory candidate for the Holyrood seats of Edinburgh Central and North East Fife. She finally found a berth as candidate for Glasgow Kelvin, where she came fourth in May’s election after the Tory share of the vote fell. Davidson, a former BBC reporter who joined the party less than three years ago, was then elected as a Glasgow list MSP.

Her Bromsgrove link is understood to have irked many Tory activists in Glasgow and contributed to her lack of support in the city in the contest.The 32-year-old  failed to win the backing of any of the five Conservative association chairmen/women in the city, or Glasgow’s only Tory councillor, David Meikle, or the former Glasgow MSP Bill Aitken. The Bromsgrove episode appears to have been airbrushed from Davidson’s website and CV.






4 November 2011: Ruth Davidson is the new Conservative Party in Scotland leader

Ruth Davidson has been voted leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. She won by 2983 votes over Murdo Fraser’s 2417. She said on being elected “A political party is not a leader. A political party is its membership and I want to bring our members at all levels much closer together to take our party forward in unity”.

First Minister Alex Salmond was among the first to congratulate her on becoming Leader. He said: “I wish her well. My own view is that Annabel Goldie was a highly successful leader for the Conservatives in Scotland, and maximised the Tory vote here. That merely underlines the scale of the task for Ruth Davidson in motivating her party – as does the number of Scottish Tory members who actually voted in this contest, (5,400) and the fact that her main opponent proposed winding up the party. Hopefully, under Ruth’s leadership, the Tories will change their attitude to Scotland and start to work in the country’s best interests.”







7 November 2011: Davidson  Scottish Tory’s subservient to Westminster

In her first official act the new Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson confirmed that she did not urge David Cameron to alter the Scotland Bill in order to reflect Scottish public opinion. Her position, bowing to London on the constitution emerged after she met with her party boss in Downing Street.  She went on to stress her pleasure in meeting the Prime Minister and signalled that she would not adopt any policy positions which he might disapprove of.

She further stated that she had a mandate to speak for Scotland, claiming that the Coalition parties received more votes in Scotland at the UK general election than the SNP did in their historic victory in May.

The SNP immediately leapt on her claim, and issued a statement pointing out that the SNP received 902,915 votes in May 2011, 45.4% of the popular vote, whereas in May 2010 the Conservatives and Lib Dems together received a total of 878,326 votes, or 35.6%.

She then implied that she supported moves for Westminster to seize control of the timing and question of a referendum on Scotland’s place within the UK, a position taken by Michael Forsyth, a prominent supporter of Ms Davidson’s leadership bid.  She claimed that the democratically elected majority Scottish government may “rig” the vote and that this would not be tolerated.  She dismissed support for greater Scottish autonomy as “nationalist shennanigans”.

Commenting on the statement, SNP MSP Derek MacKay said:

“This is a real blunder by Ruth Davidson, continuing her bad start as the new Tory leader in Scotland.

“After talking big about David Cameron coming to Scotland and not being her leader, Ruth Davidson’s first act is a day trip to London where David Cameron is her boss, thus revealing the truth about Ruth’s leadership – the Tories remain the same London-led party, and they will continue to be rejected by the people of Scotland.

“She has also been caught out in a clear statistical fiddle.  Far more people voted for the SNP this year than voted for the coalition parties at the UK General Election last year, and we also got a much higher share of the vote than these two parties combined – which came third and fourth in Scotland last year, behind the SNP.  If Ruth cannot tell the truth about the dismal electoral state of the Tories in Scotland, and their Lib Dem hangers on, then she clearly doesn’t appreciate the scale of the challenge facing her – which at least Murdo Fraser showed an appreciation of.

“The inconvenient truth for the Tories is that the referendum, which will be held in the second half of this parliament, is a matter for Holyrood to scrutinise and deliver – not Westminster; it is part of the resounding Scottish democratic mandate achieved by the SNP in May.  If the Tories and other Westminster parties have difficulty grasping that very basic concept, it is a good illustration of why they are so badly out of touch with the aspirations of the people of Scotland.

“The SNP Government have always made it clear that we are entirely willing to include a ‘devo-max’ option in the referendum.  And a majority for independence on a straight Yes or No question will deliver independence – according to the democratic wishes of the people – and we are confident of success in securing a Yes vote.

“We know from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey that a strong majority, 74 per cent, of people believe that the Scottish Government should have the most influence over how Scotland is run, compared with just 16 per cent who think it ought to be the UK Government.

“Just days into Ruth Davidson’s new leadership, the Tories continue to be on the wrong side of the argument in Scotland.”




David Cameron’s Statement:

“I am proud that it is the UK Government which is enacting a new Scotland Bill which will transfer significant extra powers to Holyrood and place the responsibility for raising billions of pounds of public spending in the hands of the Scottish Parliament.  This will meet the demands of the Scottish people for more say over how Scotland is run and clear the way for a straightforward and clear-cut referendum on ‘yes or no’ to Scotland in Britain. I pledge myself to campaign to keep our United Kingdom and challenge Alex Salmond to set the date and to agree the question now.”









8 November 2011: Scottish Conservative businessman and financial donor John McGlynn attacks the election of new Tory leader Ruth Davidson

“Ruth has to prove she is capable of coming up with ideas and policies that will resonate with the people of Scotland in the way that Murdo Fraser did and she has to prove that the Tory Party has learned the lessons of electoral defeat.”

Mr McGlynn went on to express his anger at the way in which Mr Macaskill had been removed from the Glasgow Regional list and the interference in the leadership election process by Tory Head Office and said he and other financial donors had made no decision on future donations, but he added that he “wanted to support” the party.



_56557767_john_mcglynn_nn071111John McGlyn






25 March 2011: The Scottish Tory party was plunged into pre–election turmoil last night when key donors were reported to have withdrawn their support from the party after the unwarranted sacking of Malcolm Macaskill

Senior party sources claimed last night that wealthy donors – believed to include Tom Coakley, a former footballer turned millionaire property developer and John McGlynn, an airport car park magnate – had told officials they would no longer contribute to party funds after Malcolm Macaskill, a Glasgow businessman and justice of the peace, was removed from the top slot on the Tories’ Glasgow list by Andrew Fulton, the party chairman.

Mr Macaskill, who was virtually guaranteed a seat in the Holyrood elections on May 5, was kicked out by Mr Fulton, a former MI5 official. Mr Fulton made no mention of the reason for the dismissal, merely saying Mr Macaskill had been dropped “following discussions between the candidate and the party’s candidates’ board”.

The chairman thanked Mr Macaskill for his service and announced that Ruth Davidson, a close aide of Annabel Goldie and a former BBC producer, would be placed at number one on the list.

There was undisguised anger from Mr Macaskill’s supporters at his treatment last night. One senior party figure said: “This is outrageous. Malcolm has served the Conservatives loyally for over 30 years and is treated like this.”

Mr Macaskill was responsible for recruiting several wealthy donors, including Mr Coakley, a former professional footballer with Dundee FC who subsequently made his fortune buying and selling property in London’s Mayfair.

Estimated to be worth £70million, Mr Coakley announced two months ago that he would donate £100,000 per year for the next 10 years to Scottish Tory coffers. However, a senior Tory with close links to the situation said last night: “Mr Coakley is furious and he has told the Tories that he will no longer be making any donations.”

The same source said Mr McGlynn, whose companies own airport car parks all over Europe, and who also donates funds to the party, may also withhold future donations. Last night, Mr McGlynn said “This is outrageous. to penalise someone in this way is completely wrong.

An SNP spokesman said it was the “worst possible” start to the Tory campaign, adding: “The first day and they have lost one of their top candidates, amid party infighting and internal allegations of malpractice. The Tories are not fit for purpose, fit for Glasgow, or fit for Scotland.”



MalcolmMacaskill_1856932cMalcolm Macaskill






29 March 2011: Tory Party’s Holyrood election campaign in disarray after a third candidate steps down, this time as a regional list hopeful.

David Meikle withdrew in Glasgow because he felt that his allegations of vote rigging on the list for the city had not been sufficiently investigated. His complaints centre on the Conservative Rutherglen’s Association, whose membership shot up by about 150 members from a starting point of 17 in the months before the selections for Conservative lists

Mr MacAskill’s, who has been removed from the top of the Glasgow list will be replaced by Ruth Davidson, a former BBC journalist, this means she is likely to become an MSP.

Miss Goldie admitted that she did not have any say in the departure of Mr MacAskill. The Tory hierarchy in London, who are directing the campaign are said to be delighted with the way it is being run north of the Border.

The Tories also insist their budget for the 5 May election is in place despite reports that wealthy donors, including former Dundee FC footballer and property magnate Tom Coakley and airport car park magnate John McGlynn, had withdrawn their funding.


David-MeikleRuth Davidson &  David Meikle





13 November 2011: Talkin’  ’bout Ruth’s generation

Tory leader Ruth Davidson cast herself as the face of “generational change” during the party’s recent leadership race. But what kind of generation is currently coming through the Scots Tories?  Judging by some of the senior members of the Glasgow University Conservative Association (Hon Pres: R Davidson), it could be rather interesting. This fascinating photo shows Ruth with a number of Glasgow University Conservative Association (GUCA) celebrating her election as a Glasgow list MSP in May.

The blonde chap kneeling in front with arms aloft is Ross McFarlane, her election agent and GUCA president. She later sacked him as her Holyrood assistant when mobile phone  after footage emerged of him drunkenly burning an EU flag in a street while a companion made sectarian remarks about referee Hugh Dallas and the Pope. The incident took place after a St Andrew’s Day dinner (30 November 2010) last year. Ms Davidson had attended the dinner together with guest speaker, UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.

Meanwhile, the poker-faced chap on the right of the photo with the square lapel badge is Stewart Green, the GUCA webmaster. He apologised after posting a number of dodgy Tweets about race, including one comparing an Asian festival to cats being strangled.



270785_1David Cameron & Ross Macfarlane
10 March 2014: Green’s racist views exposed yet again three year’s later

Stewart Green, a parliamentary assistant to David Burrowes MP, was forced to stand down after after calling feminists “whingeing imbeciles” who “need a good slap round the face”. making a series of sexist and bigoted remarks on Facebook. Green told his Facebook friends he was “sick to the back teeth” of “wretched women MPs who seem to be constantly going on about there not being enough women in frontline politics”. He added: “This country has been a gradual decline southwards towards the dogs ever since we started cow-towing to the cretinous pseudo-equality demand of these whinging [sic] imbeciles.”

In another post last year, Green described an incident in which he offered a seat to a woman on a bus but was refused. Referring to the woman as a “fat ginger b****,” he added: “I am absolutely sick and tired of this feminism nonsense. It really has gone too far. “Quite a few of these women need a good slap round the face.” In another recent post on the social networking site, Green applauded proposals to close BBC3, saying that “all it seems to do is prop up the common scum lifestyle”.




CJTGlasgow University Conservative students




And finally, the dark-haired guy with the blue shirt and blue tie immediately above McFarlane is Colin James Taylor, a former GUCA president, who works for the Tory Press and Research Unit at Holyrood.  He posted song lyrics on Twitter glorifying Northern Irish terrorist group, the Ulster Volunteer Force. He also referred to Celtic Football Club as “tims” on the popular blogging website. Rangers fan Taylor, from Belfast,  used the Twitter name “Ulsterexile” to post offensive remarks while studying at Glasgow University, where he was president of the student Conservative Association (GUCA) from 2009 to 2010.

On Saturday, February 19, this year he posted lines from a notorious song, Here Lies a Soldier, about a UVF member awaiting execution. “Don’t bury me, in Erin’s Fenian vallies  [sic]. Oh take me home, to Ulster let me rest …” he wrote. Although he did not tweet the rest of the verse, it runs: “And on my gravestone carve a simple message, Here lies a soldier of the UVF.”

On that weekend, the UVF was much in the news as Northern Ireland awaited publication of a police ombudsman report into one of the terrorist group’s worst atrocities, the bombing of McGurk’s Bar in Belfast in 1971, which killed 15 people and injured 16. The report, published 48 hours after Taylor’s tweet, revealed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary wrongly blamed the IRA for the attack. The bombing was the worst during theTroubles until the Omagh bomb killed 29 people in 1998.

Taylor’s tweet also fell on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 conviction of the notorious Shankhill Butchers, the ultra-Loyalist gang, many in the UVF, who tortured Catholic civilians and murdered at least 30 people.

On April 17, the day that Aberdeen and Celtic met in the Scottish Cup semi-final, Taylor posted on Twitter: “Hope the sheep absolutely hump the tims today.” Tim is a term of anti-Catholic abuse. The anti-sectarian group Nil By Mouth said: “People have to realise that online bigotry is unacceptable.”

Taylor’s case has highlighted Davidson’s ties to Glasgow University Conservative Association. According to GUCA’s website, she is the body’s honorary president. She attended its annual dinner on Friday. After the Sunday Herald alerted the Tories about the matter, Taylor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts disappeared.

Last week, leading QC Paul McBride quit the Tories over the party’s hostility to an SNP bill aimed at tackling sectarianism in football.



rossRoger Helmer & Ross Macfarlane






28 November 2011: Roger Helmer (UKIP) MEP Reports all is well with the Conservative Party in Scotland under Ruth Davidson’s management

I was invited to speak at the Glasgow University Conservative Association St. Andrews dinner, in the Bridie Library in the Students’ Union.

Arriving in Glasgow around lunch-time, I was able to visit the Glasgow School of Art (Charles Rennie Mackintosh), and see their current “Glasgow Girls” exhibition. Excellent – worth a visit. On then to the Willows tea-rooms in Sauciehall Street, again with a strong Mackintosh theme, where I was shown around by Rachel, a well-informed waitress at the Willows. Shortly after seven, a taxi delivered me to the Union, all done up in black tie (OK, well burgundy velvet in this case), Crombie coat and trilby hat, every lefty’s stereotype caricature of a Tory politician – and straight into a couple of dozen vociferous student protesters, chanting slogans about education cuts and “Tory Scum”.

I anticipated problems, but I had reckoned without two of Glasgow’s finest, in hi-viz tabards, who elbowed me through the riot and into the building. I understand that a much larger force arrived soon afterwards and removed the unwashed proletariat. The fracas on the pavement failed to deter sixty or so diners, who tucked into traditional Saint Andrews fare, Scotch broth, haggis with neeps & tatties, cranachan and port. The group included a couple of MSPs and a host of candidates for public office. Then it was time for me to sing for my supper, or at least propose the toast to Saint Andrew.

I have rarely met a more enthusiastic audience. I mentioned Dan Hannan, and they burst into spontaneous applause. I commended the Daily Express “Get Britain Out of the EU” campaign, and they cheered to the echo. I spoke dismissively about climate hysteria, and they roared approval.

It’s worth mentioning that the Glasgow University Conservative Association, under the leadership of its President Ross MacFarlane, is no mere debating or social club. These are serious campaigners who have been pounding the streets of Scotland on the Party’s behalf. These are the future of the Conservative Party. And like so many Conservatives they’ve had enough of the EU, and they want out. They’ve also lost patience with the global warming lobby. They don’t believe it, and they won’t pay for it.

My fear is that the Party’s high command has simply failed to notice the way the wind is blowing. I wonder just how long David Cameron can lead us deeper into the EU, and into the battle for “climate mitigation”, before he notices that the troops aren’t following behind. He risks becoming dangerously exposed.



_63392082_davidsonforsyth464Ruth Davidson & Michael Forsyth






12 December 2011: The true racist face of the Scottish Consrvative & Unionist Party

The new leader of Scotland’s Tories, Ruth Davidson, has faced a tricky first month since taking the reins on 4th November. During her electoral campaign, she had to sack her parliamentary assistant Ross McFarlane, after video footage sufaced of him setting fire to a flag of the European Union, whilst dressed in a University of Glasgow gown. The incident took place after a dinner organised by the Glasgow University Conservative Association (GUCA). As MacFarlane, accompanied by two others, lit the flag, sectarian abuse could clearly be heard, including the derogatory term “tarrier” and claims that the pope was a paedophile. Unfortunately for Davidson, this was not the only time her allies have taken part in sectarian behaviour.

In the honorary president of GUCA’s first week as national leader of the party, it emerged that Colin Taylor, of the Tory press and research unit, tweeted lyrics from the song “Here Lies a Soldier”, which sings the praises of the Ulster Volunteer Force, an anti-Catholic Northern Irish terrorist group. In his tweets, under the name @Ulsterexile, Taylor also casually refers to “tims” another offensive name for Catholics. The account has since disappeared. As embarrassing as such behaviour may have been for Davidson, it was her response to Taylor’s tweets that has earned her the most criticism. Taylor was allowed to keep his position, his punishment for his behaviour being no more than a “formal warning.” Labour MSPs have called this “insufficient” and demanded more “disciplinary proceedings.”

Peter Kearney, of the Catholic Media Office, said: “The Catholic Church in Scotland condemns in the strongest possible terms any sectarian behaviour or criminality, from any quarter whatsoever, as having no place in a civilised society.” These sectarian incidents come at a time when the ruling SNP tries to pass its anti-sectarianism bill, which would see much tougher punishments dealt to those who make sectarian comments at football grounds and, like Mr Taylor, through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Scottish Tory objection to the bill led to the prominent criminal QC Paul McBride quitting the party, just one week before Taylor’s tweets became public knowledge.

And when it’s not sectarianism damaging the Scottish Conservatives’ reputation, it’s been racism, particularly that of Stewart Green, site designer of the current GUCA website and editor of the “Tory Hoose” blog. Green was one third of the drunken trio involved in the burning of the EU flag and in September it emerged that he had made several racist remarks online, including one tweet which read: “An Asian festival is taking place a few doors up, either that or several cats are being strangled. Can’t quite decide which.”

Other subjects of his racist abuse include Jewish, Pakistani and black students. This collection of sectarian and racist comments from her peers seems to go against what Davidson said to the Glasgow Guardian in November, when she told the paper: “I have said Conservatives never get enough credit for how progressive they can be.”

Those who stand against the Tories in Holyrood, however, argue that the behaviour of Davidson’s colleagues shows her party to be rooted in its old, “Bullingdon Club” ways. The SNP referred to the exclusive Oxford University club, of which prime minister, and supporter of Davidson during her campaign, David Cameron was a member. An SNP spokesman described the behaviour of Davidson’s party members as: “Bullingdon Club behaviour which has no place in Scottish politics.”

And things don’t seem to be getting any better for the 33-year-old leader. It emerged last week that members of the St Andrews University Conservative Association burned an effigy of US president Barak Obama on a St Andrew’s beach. As a result, the president of that association, Mathew Marshall, will apologise personally to Mr Obama by sending a letter to the White House. Marshall admits that the burning was “undoubtedly stupid.” He went on to say: “I apologise further for any damage this has done to the reputation of the University of St Andrews, or the Scottish Conservative Party.” Ruth Davidson, at least, will hope that that damage and the incidents before it have not left too big a stain on the party she is now responsible for cleaning up.



ImagePeter de Vink



25 March 2012: Tories have heads in the sand – no place for an independent mind in the Scottish Tories?

There’s yet more trouble for Ruth Davidson, as veteran Tory financier and fundraiser since the mid-1970s, Peter de Vink denounced the party as “complete plonkers” for being hostile to independence and silencing debate on the issue. The Tory stalwart of the Scottish Conservatives, he had been selected to stand in Midlothian, but was “dismissed” for supporting an independent Scotland.

He said “Draconian measures” were taken to silence him and “stamp out internal debate”. Referring to leader Ruth Davidson, who said the current Scotland Bill should be a “line in the sand” for devolution, he said “the Tories are repeating the errors of the 1980s and 1990s, when they opposed a Scottish Parliament. I fear we are once again harking back to the old days where we draw a line in the sand on Scotland’s constitutional journey. The negative arguments of the current leadership will cause more Scots to support independence rather than vote against it, while leaving the party condemned to the pages of history. Here’s the party that stands for independence of views, freedom of speech, freedom of action, and yet we are so intolerant when it comes to this. They look complete plonkers. They look so inept. Ruth Davidson, she is so out of her depth it’s just a laugh.”

Mr de Vink, 71, had tried to make his points in a debate on the Union at the Tory conference, but was not called to speak. He said it was “ludicrous” the debate only heard from speakers in favour of the Union. After being blocked as a Tory candidate earlier this month, he is now standing as an Independent in the Midlothian East Ward in May instead.

Managing director of Edinburgh Financial & General Holdings, Mr de Vink said he had raised “huge sums” for the Tories down the years, but now “hated to think” how much. In 1988, he was a founder member of the Tory party’s Scottish Business Group alongside former coal board chairman Sir Alan MacGregor and the merchant banker Sir Angus Grossart.

Earlier this month he hosted a lunch for Alex Salmond at Edinburgh’s New Club, partly to confront the First Minister with his critics. Not long after “very senior” Tories made it plain he could no longer be a conservative candidate.

Explaining events he said “In the invitation to the lunch I said I had come to the conclusion that independence was actually a very attractive option for Scotland. Some people sent that to their friends in the higher ranks of the Tory party and they accused me of running with the hare and chasing with the hounds. I said, Bollocks, this is a local election, nothing to do with independence, but they said No.

So I became a victim of the cabal. They said I have to be a unionist to be a Conservative, which I think is barking mad. The Tory party is painting itself in again by absolutely dismissing independence just as they dismissed devolution. Look at what a pathetic party it has become, with one member of parliament at Westminster. I call that pathetic… always hankering back to the past.

Why not look to the future?” He said the main attraction of independence was financial. “Scotland can stand on its own feet and can earn what it spends and spend what it earns and it stops being a subsidy junky thanks to [the] Barnett [formula].

I think if we became independent we could start thinking out of the box. He said a flat tax (one tax rate regardless of income) could be introduced by a right-of-centre party. What I’m tryin to say its that it’s better to prepare for reality.I am almost convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we will have independence and when it comes then we are going to have missed the boat. That’s my message.”

In May 2012 he was elected an Independent Councillor in the former People’s Republic of Midlothian where by joining the SNP/Independent Coalition he was instrumental in ending a 84 year long Old Labour regime. He is now working in undoing some of the worst decisions the previous administration made especially the disastrous PPP Contracts and making sure that these calamities will not recur.



18220704Malcolm Macaskill & David Cameron







12 July 2012: Scots Tories ‘rotten to the core’, says ousted Holyrood candidate

Malcolm Macaskill, whose forced removal from the Glasgow list paved the way for new party leader Ruth Davidson to get to Holyrood, got the five-figure pay-out after threatening to sue over the Tories’ handling of his sacking. In an interview Macaskill blasted the Tory machine as “rotten to the core” and said the Scottish party was an “inept and morally corrupt” organisation.

Macaskill, a member of the Scottish Tories for 35 years, had been top of the party’s Glasgow list for the 2011 Holyrood poll – almost guaranteeing him a seat in Parliament. However, days before the start of the campaign, party bosses removed him from the list amid allegations of historical financial problems. Davidson took his place on the list and was subsequently elected to Holyrood and then as party leader.

Following the election, Macaskill served notice on Davidson that he intended seeking a judicial review of his dismissal. He further insisted party rules did not contain a provision to remove a list candidate and the party had acted unconstitutionally. Discussions between lawyers resulted in an out-of-court agreement (payment of a five figure sum to Macaskill).

Macaskill, (confirming he had quit the party) said: “All I ever wanted from the party was an apology. An admission that they were wrong in removing me from the list and that they had failed to follow their own procedures but this was never forthcoming. I have now decided that I’ve had enough of the Tory Party. Over the past year, the treatment that I have been subjected to, along with the evidence that I have gathered, has convinced me that the party machine in and around Edinburgh central office is rotten to the core.

Some have suggested that there was perhaps always a greater plan. In dismissing me, the next in line on the regional list was Ruth Davidson, who had earlier failed to be selected as a constituency candidate in other parts of Scotland. History shows that not only was Ruth elected in my stead, but she also went on to become the party leader in Scotland. I know of hundreds of people who will never vote Tory again and I no longer wish to remain a member of such an inept and morally corrupt organisation.”








8 October 2012: Tory conference: Scottish leader Ruth Davidson in pro-UK rallying call

Addressing the conference she said:

* “It is staggering that public sector expenditure takes up 50% of Scotland’s GDP”.

* “only 12% of households contribute to Scotland’s wealth. I wonder how many of them work on public sector contracts. It’s not just staggering, it’s frightening”.

* “I believe Scotland should expand its private sector building prosperity and increasing opportunity”.

* “The restraints of government diktat should be removed so that people would be enabled to lift themselves out of dependency”.

* “So little moves in Scotland without government approval and anyone who dares challenge the status quo is deemed an enemy of the state. This must change”.

* “Scottish political commentators are indecently keen to write the Conservative Party off in Scotland. Perhaps because they are comfortable with the status quo”.

* “But the system of patronage is rotten since it has created a corrosive sense of entitlement which suits its political gang-masters denying many real choices in their lives”.



amphoto - Ruth Davidson the Scottish Conservative candidate in the Glasgow North East by-election. No Syndication No Sales Picture ALLAN MILLIGAN date taken Tuesday 15th September 2009 mobile 07884 26 78 79 e-mail - ...covering Politics in Scotland....



8 October 2012: Scotland’s Tory leader has got her sums hopelessly wrong on the economy

It is not uncommon to find statistics of dubious quality presented to party political conferences. However, even by the less than rigorous standards that seem to apply at these events, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s claim that only 12% of Scottish households “make a net contribution to the economy” is quite remarkable. By way of supporting analysis, all Tory HQ have seen fit to publish is one brief Excel spreadsheet which desperately needs some narrative explanation. It is not an impressive document.

Let’s start with the basics: all the information sources cited are out of date. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures from the Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income publication are drawn from the 2009/10 release; strange because the 2010/11 data have been available since June this year.

Similarly, data from the joint Scottish government/ONS publication, Public Sector Employment in Scotland is taken from the Q1 2012 publication and not the Q2 data published a month ago. This explains why the figures for public sector employment used in the calculation are wrong; currently 22.2% (23.5% if RBS and HBOS workers are included) of all Scottish workers are employed in the public sector, not 23.8%.

Davidson’s calculation also references the ONS data on income for all households. In doing so, she commits the Romney-esque error of failing to account for retired people. This is either lazy or deliberately misleading because the ONS provides such a breakdown in the very document she cites. The income of non-retired households is significantly higher than that for all households and would lead to very different findings.

Hilariously, at a time when Davidson’s party is campaigning hard for an end to Scotland’s universal benefits such as free bus travel for OAPs, free prescriptions and free personal care, the calculation assumes that the distribution in Scotland of “household income, benefits and taxes is the same as that of UK households”. It isn’t. In Scotland, those in the upper income brackets are recipients of additional spend that is lost in her analysis.

Also, the process by which Davidson’s colleagues have tortured the Government expenditure and revenue in Scotland (Gers) data to settle on average benefits and public spend per household figures is, to put it kindly, somewhat vague.

Of course all this is a helpful distraction from the economic and social devastation her Westminster colleagues are visiting on the Scottish and UK economies. It also reflects an embarrassingly naive view about the nature of economic development in any advanced nation where public and private sectors must interact to generate sustainable growth.

The facts of the matter are that Scotland’s public spending to GDP ratio is only slightly better or worse than that of the UK as a whole depending on whether or not a geographical share of oil revenues is included in the calculation. Many of the most enduringly successful economies in the world manage to sustain public spending and public sector employment ratios at similar or higher levels.

Davidson’s grand idea that removal of “government diktat” is necessary to unleash Scotland’s pent-up private sector potential is simply risible. Labour and product markets are regulated on a UK-wide basis and the evidence is unequivocal; Scotland is a good place to do business. Which is why our banks were at the epicentre of the banking crisis. But that is another story.









9 October 2012: Former Tory minister Lord Forsyth has criticised his party’s Scottish leader over her claims only 12% of households contribute to Scotland’s wealth.

Lord Forsyth said “I think perhaps Ruth Davidson ought to have been more careful with her comments. She’s new and a little inexperienced and one of the things one learns over the years is it’s always unwise to comment on something if you haven’t heard it and if you haven’t heard it in context.” her suggestion that those on the public sector payroll were dependent on the state could have been phrased a bit better. We are talking here about doctors and nurses and so on, they spend their money, they pay VAT. So, I think it is an unfortunate way of presenting it.”









10 October 2012: Ruth Davidson must apologise for pensioner insult

Ruth Davidson has been challenged to outline how much more money she thinks should be taken from pensioners, whom she this week falsely claimed were not ‘net contributors’ to Scotland, in light of the fact that Tory policies are already taking hundreds of pounds from the pockets of pensioners. With independent research published earlier this year showing that Tory policies announced in the Budget will leave pensioners £900 worse off by the end of 2014, Ms Davidson’s ill-judged comments have raised the prospect of tougher financial hardship being inflicted on Scotland’s older people if she had her way. Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris has now written to Ruth Davidson to remind her of the money that her party is already taking from Scotland’s pensioners, and demanding that she apologise for insulting them by saying they do not ‘contribute’ to society.








9 October 2012: Ruth Davidson’s stoking up a political disaster

Ruth Davidson’s suggestion, made during an appearance at a fringe event in Birmingham this week, that, in effect, most Scots spend their lives suckling on the government teat is not, I’m afraid, a helpful one. According to the Tory leader: “It is staggering that public-sector expenditure makes up a full 50 per cent of Scotland’s GDP and only 12 per cent of people are net contributors, where the taxes they pay outweigh the benefits they receive through public spending.” It is staggering and perhaps also frightening if the Tory leader really believes the public can so easily be divided into the Bad (88%) and the Good (12%) in this fashion.

If nothing else Davidson -should remember that her own career has hardly been a model of private-sector entrepreneurial vigour. The Tory leader has drawn pay checks from the Territorial Army, the BBC, the Conservative Party and, now, of course, the public purse as an MSP. None of these – not even Holyrood – are wholly disreputable places in which to work but, by her stated standard, none are “responsible for generating Scotland’s wealth”. That’s not good politics; it’s a disaster.





5 November 2012: More and more blunders from Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson has marked the one year anniversary of her error-strewn time in office with a spectacularly misjudged call to cut over £1 billion from Scotland’s budget. She previously stated that the Barnett Formula will be “reviewed” if there is a No vote in 2014, revealing the Tories’ willingness to bring in even more savage cuts to Scotland’s budget.






17 February 2013: Scottish Conservatives accused of “hypocritical posturing” for opposing wind farms when three of their MSPs stand to profit from them

It has been revealed, in the latest register of MSPs’ interests, that Jamie McGrigor, the party’s’ environment spokesman, Alex Fergusson, the Scottish Parliament’s former presiding officer, and John Scott, the current deputy presiding officer, are to receive a substantial annual income from wind turbines on or near their land.

But a report launched by the party leader, Ruth Davidson MSP, demanded a big cut in the number of wind farms planned on land, and for wind subsidies to be slashed by 50 per cent. It also called for councils to be given the power to impose a one-year moratorium on any new wind turbines. Political opponents and environmental groups say that the 3 amigo’s provision of land for wind farms conflicts with the new anti-wind farm policy adopted by the Scottish Conservatives.

Pointing out that renewable energy offered Scotland massive investment and thousands of jobs Chic Brodie, a member of the parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“This hypocrisy from the Tories is a classic case of do as I say, not as I do. They might be vocal opponents of Scotland’s renewable energy potential in public these days, but they remain perfectly content to personally profit from wind turbines.”
* McGrigor, the Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, received an initial fee of £5,000 and is now expecting to be paid between £5,000 and £6,000 a year for 20 wind turbines planned by the German power company, RWE, on his Ardchonnel sheep farm, near Dalmally in Argyll.

* Fergusson, the Conservative MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, gets between £40,000 and £45,000 a year from 52 wind turbines run by Scottish and Southern Energy on his land at Hadyard Hill in South Ayrshire.

* Scott, the Conservative MSP for Ayr, has a deal which enables Spanish-owned Scottish Power to use his farm near Girvan to access its 60-turbine Arecleoch wind farm in South Ayrshire. The deal is understood to be worth more than £5,000 a year.
Dr Richard Dixon, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“The Tories are clearly divided over wind farms. They should give up the narrow anti-wind agenda being promoted by a few prominent party members. There is little to be gained by drawing up policy statements in secret and to the exclusion of key stakeholders. Most people in Scotland think wind farms are a good thing. Anyone who believes that anti-wind policies will significantly boost the Tories’ electoral fortunes is making a big mistake.”

Niall Stuart, the chief executive of the industry body, Scottish Renewables, said:

“I hope those conservative MSPs who have first-hand knowledge of the sector can perhaps explain to their colleagues that onshore wind is the cheapest and one of the most effective sources of renewable electricity we have.”

Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP and Chairman of the the parliament’s energy committee said:

“the committee will be debating the Scottish government’s targets to boost renewable energy but it is my conclusion the targets are “achievable”.

A party spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives insisted that there was “no problem” with wind farms as long as they were appropriately sited with the agreement of local communities.






1 March 2013: Scotland’s gay Tory leader Ruth Davidson splits from her partner

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has split up with her partner of five years Saskia Halcrow. Like many couples with hectic working lives, they simply grew apart. Ruth is very sad about the split but it is a mutual thing and both want to remain good friends. Although the majority of Scottish MPs support marriage equality, the Scottish Conservative Party remains largely opposed, with only Ms Davidson and her Deputy Jackson Carlaw registering their support in a June 2012 survey.







8 April 2013: Thatcher’s death, Ruth Davidson pays tribute to ‘a true revolutionary’

She said: “Baroness Thatcher was a true Conservative revolutionary, challenging out-dated institutions, confronting vested interests and transforming Britain into a property-owning democracy. She empowered millions of people in a way that was previously unimaginable and the positive impact of her legacy with be felt by thousands of families for decades to come. She proved to women everywhere there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. She will go down in history as one of the truly great Prime Ministers.” But she didn’t live through the brutality of the Thatcher years.




2 June 2013: Ruth Davidson Causes Furore within the Tory party with her new policies of More devolved Powers For Scotland

Davidson’s remarks come after a stormy two weeks within the Scottish Conservatives. Senior party figures criticised her leadership following her decision to support a policy of handing more powers to the Scottish Parliament, and raised questions over her parliamentary style. Lord Forsyth, the former Scottish Secretary, described the u-turn on more powers as a “suicide mission”. However, Davidson says today that Prime Minister David Cameron, is “on board” with her plans to embed greater devolution in the party’s next election manifesto – assuming voters do not back independence first.







5 June 2013: It all started with a “line in the sand”. Amazing what an election loss brings with it.

Ruth Davidson’s “Line in the Sand” statement that got her the post Of leader gets washed away in favour of the losing candidate’s previously rejected proposals for change. “How’s that for stealing.f a rivals thunder?” She had chosen the term to define her position on the constitution, vowing that the Scottish Conservatives under her premiership would take devolution no further than the tranche of powers set to be handed to Holyrood under the Scotland Act 2012.

To the Tory grandees’ ear, it meant more than a simple cliché: it suggested stability against the stormy root-and-branch reconstruction that her principal challenger for the party leadership, Murdo Fraser, advocated. If only it had all been so simple, or at least the former BBC journalist had opted for less unequivocal language.

Eighteen months after her election, Davidson found herself in an awkward position, cast by then supporters, such as Lord Forsyth, as guilty of an “ while those who once opposed her bid line up, in public at least, to commend a courageous change of tack. In private, behind the veil of anonymity that daily newspapers have provided in the last few weeks, their words would appear to be less praiseworthy.

Eighteen months after her election, Davidson found herself in an awkward position. Discussion of the detail that enhanced devolution would entail was largely crowded out by discussion of whether enhanced devolution should happen at all. Lord Forsyth, whose views on greater devolution are hardly secret, warned the proposals represented an “incomprehensible volte face” and that the party was on a “bit of a suicide mission” tinkering with the settlement as it stood.

Murdo Fraser broke his silence: “Certainly the mood music thus far from Ruth, in terms of the two speeches she has made on the issue, have both been extremely positive and I think I tweeted at the time I could have written one of the speeches.

She had made very clear she wants to see a more accountable Scottish Parliament raising the bulk of the money it spends, so I think the direction of travel is encouraging. We’ll need to wait and see what the new proposals are but having set the hare running, we need to make sure that we’re not all disappointed when it comes to rest – that there is something substantial and credible and comprehensive there.

I have high ambitions for it and I think many people in the party who share my outlook also have. Our problem as a party is we’ve always been the back markers when it comes to constitutional debate. We’ve always been the ones who have been the most slow to move and then only move very reluctantly.

This is an opportunity for us for once not to be the back marker and to be seen to be taking a leading line. And we should be because it should be entirely in tune with basic Conservative principles that we support greater financial accountability and a more responsible environment for politicians to operate in.”









7 June 2013: Cameron launches defence of Scottish Conservative leader

Davidson has faced one of the most challenging periods of her leadership heading into conference with some of her own MSPs and party grandees who originally backed her leadership bid questioning why she has abandoned her previous opposition to more powers.

At the Scottish Conservative party conference in Stirling, in her defence, David Cameron told delegates that she was the “ideal leader” to modernise the party and expand its appeal and he backed her u-turn on further devolution for Scotland. He said:  “We will only succeed if we are in touch and in tune with modern Scotland. And in Ruth you’ve got the ideal leader.

Ruth wasn’t born into the Conservative Party – she chose it. And she understands that to win we’ve got to be a party for all of Scotland. A party focused on securing Scotland’s place within a strong UK but not afraid to look at how devolution can be improved.”


1 June 2014: Ruth Davidson today announced a historic shift in Scottish Conservatives’ attitude towards devolution by signalling that her party will re-draw the “line in the sand” and embrace a stronger Holyrood with radical new tax-raising powers.

The Scottish Tory leader says the Conservatives will advocate a “new system” that will bring real accountability to Scotland’s politics, paving the way for the transfer of all income tax raising powers to the Scottish Parliament. Tomorrow the Strathclyde commission is expected to produce a report recommending that Holyrood is given power over all income tax – a measure that would make the Scottish Parliament responsible for raising 40 per cent of the revenue it spends.

That would enable MSPs to set higher or lower rates than the rest of the UK and offers the possibility of the Scottish Tories campaigning on a tax-cutting agenda in the 2016 Scottish elections. The new powers would be offset by a cut in the block grant which Holyrood receives from the Treasury.

The move will be in line with Davidson’s growing belief that Holyrood must become more accountable for the cash that MSPs spend. “Every year, billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is allocated by MSPs to spend in Scotland, Yet MSPs are responsible for raising only a fraction of that money. Holyrood is, in effect, a giant spending machine, ministers and MSPs the signatories of a vast cheque book.”

The new approach contrasts radically with past Tory policy. In 1997 the Conservatives opposed devolution and the formation of a Scottish Parliament. It also marks a departure for Davidson herself, who campaigned for the Scottish Conservative leadership on the basis that a constitutional “line in the sand” should be drawn.

It is understood that Lord Strathclyde will also look at devolution of some welfare payments. Holyrood being given greater over housing benefit is one example, which would allow a Scottish Parliament to abolish the bedroom tax – the UK Government – imposed cut in the spare room subsidy which has been opposed by the SNP.

The document will also recommend that important aspects of the UK’s uniform tax system – such as VAT and Corporation Tax – will remain under the control of Westminster. Although Strathclyde has been chairing the commission, Davidson has taken a great personal interest in the work and has played the leading role in selling its recommendations to Downing Street.

In recent weeks she has met David Cameron and George Osborne to discuss the findings, which are likely to be included in the Tories’ 2015 General Election manifesto.

Last night Derek MacKay, the SNP’s Business Convener, responded saying that only a Yes vote would deliver the powers Scotland requires. “The only way to get the powers Scotland needs to build a fairer society and stronger economy is to vote Yes in September,” MacKay said. “The Tories are more interested in outdoing Labour than in delivering jobs or opportunities for Scotland.”

He added: “Whenever the Tories have been in a position to prove their commitment to more powers they have been found wanting. People in Scotland won’t be fooled by the Tories’empty promises.” But 55% of those who voted in the referendum believed Davidson, Cameron and other parties signed to the Better Together campaign.



Ruth Davidson: The public deserve to be told the facts. Picture: PA







10 October 2014: Davidson interviewed by police over vote claims

Ruth Davidson has been interviewed by police in her Parliament offices in connection with allegations pro-Union campaigners illegally counted postal votes in the weeks before independence referendum ballots closed.

She was spoken to yesterday, six days after Police Scotland was instructed to carry out an investigation into alleged electoral secrecy law breaches. Party sources say the interview was conducted on the basis of her being a witness and that Ms Davidson is not the subject of the investigation.

The formal police probe was sparked after the Scottish Tory leader said on a televised discussion that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18.

Police made initial telephone contact with Ms Davidson last Friday and party sources said at the time, and continue to say, that there is “no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong”.

Central to the probe is televised coverage of the referendum results, 45 minutes after the polls closed, in which Ms Davidson said that the No camp had been incredibly encouraged by the results of a “sample opening” of the postal ballot that she said had taken place around the country during the few weeks prior to the poll.

Complaints over her account of the postal vote “tallies” raised concerns the information may have helped inform the No campaign’s decision to issue the vow of more powers for Scotland from the three main party leaders.

A Scottish Conservative Party spokesman said yesterday: “Ruth had arranged to speak to police today in her office to help them with complaints they had received.”

In the footage forwarded to police, Ms Davidson said: “Postal votes are going to be enormously important in this campaign; about 18 per cent of the vote is going to come out of postal ballots and we have had people at every sample opening, around the country, over the last few weeks, while that’s been coming in.

And we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results.” Later, referring to postal ballots, she said: “Different local authorities have had openings around the country”, before adding: “There’s people in the room that have been sampling those ballot boxes that have been opened and have been taking tallies and the reports have been very positive for us.”

Political agents and campaigners are allowed to oversee the postal vote opening sessions, where checks are made to verify the signatures and dates of birth on postal voting statements against computerised records, but it is illegal to attempt to ascertain how a vote has been cast. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said of the latest development: “We never comment on anyone who is spoken to as part of any ongoing investigation.”

This ridiculous statement from Ruth Davidson does a disservice to the seriousness of the issues, and is simply insulting to the members of the McCluskey Panel – including the member nominated by Ms Davidson – as well as to others involved in this process.

If this is the Tory attitude to achieving consensus, it’s very clear why the equivalent process at Westminster is in such a mess.”










1 May 2015: General Election administrators warned to prevent illegal postal vote tallies by political agents after Scottish Referendum row

Electoral administrators and returning officers for the General Election have been reminded that the postal ballot is secret and voting tallies by political agents is illegal.

The guidance has come as a result of the experience during the Scottish Referendum when it was alleged pro-union campaigners breached electoral law by examining postal ballot papers to gauge how well the Better Together campaign was doing before the polls had closed on September 18.

At the end of September 2014 the Crown Office instructed Police Scotland to launch a formal investigation into the electoral fraud allegationso. Police say they are continuing to investigate but will not comment on what progress they have made during that time. Some complainers have raised further concern that no police action was taken in advance of the General Election.

It was revealed that police twice spoke to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as a potential witness over comments she made that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18 last year.

On televised coverage of the referendum results, 45 minutes after the polls closed,  Ms Davidson said that the No camp had been “incredibly encouraged” by the results of a “sample opening” of the postal ballot that she said had taken place around the country over the few weeks prior to the poll.

Complaints over her account of the postal vote “tallies” raised concerns the information may have helped inform the No campaign’s decision to issue the “vow” of more powers for Scotland from the three main party leaders.

It has emerged that Mary Pitcaithly, covener of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland has recommended to returning officers in Scotland that they take particular care in making sure the law is complied with and that the secrecy requirement is explained to all those attending postal vote openings.

The moves which the EMB said “draw on lessons learned from the Scottish independence referendum” include asking that ballot papers are handled face down so that no mark on the front of the paper is able to be seen by observers. And EMB spokeswoman said the recommendations have been “well received”.

The postal vote, makes up between 20% and 50% of the counted votes. Around 800,000 people, or 19% of participants, voted by post in the referendum. Openings to validate signatures and dates of birth were done before the official count and in Edinburgh the process was conducted at the EICC on Thursday. Those administering the process were told that while it was open to polling observers for “monitoring” purposes it was not for sampling.

A briefing for the 2015 General Election, to prospective candidates and their agents in Edinburgh constituencies stated  “Must be seen to be fair, no question of interference.”

It added: “Confidence in the system depends on integrity of campaigners: Code of Conduct! Experience of 2014!” The Electoral Commission has also advised all electoral administrators that the law prohibits tallying at postal vote opening sessions.

The advice states that under the Section 66(4)(d) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 it is “not permissible to attempt to ascertain the candidate for whom any vote is given in any particular ballot paper or communicate that information. “This provision therefore prevents  those present at the postal vote opening from attempting to ascertain the way individual ballot papers are marked,”

The advice says. “Anyone attending a postal vote opening must not attempt to look at identifying marks or numbers on ballot papers, disclose how any particular ballot paper has been marked or pass on any such information gained from the session,”

The Electoral Commission advice says. “Anyone found guilty of breaching these requirements can face a fine of up to £5,000, or may be imprisoned for up to six months in England and Wales, or up to a year in Scotland. “Our guidance to both candidates and electoral administrators clearly states the law and that the tallying of postal votes is prohibited.

Should anyone attempt to tally postal votes at the General Election, it would be for the relevant police force to investigate.”



Davidson insists the reforms she has put in place since taking over from Annabel Goldie a year ago now need time to bed in. Picture: Neil Hanna







7 May 2015: Ruth Davidson Cries wolf reporting (at 0512 hours!!!) that “Burly blokes’ were turning rival voters away from Annan polling station

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson took to Twitter to make the claims of ‘disturbing reports’. Police are investigating claims. ‘burly blokes’ have been turning rival voters away from a polling station, if they say they don’t support a certain party. The incident is said to have happened in the Scottish town of Annan, where by chance the only Tory MP David Mundell is hoping for a return to Westminster

It is believed a call was placed to Ruth Davidson’s office and they immediately (without gathering the facts of the situation) telephoned the electoral registration officer at the local Council and the Police.

Ms Davidson’s claims were later slapped down by Dumfries and Galloway Council, which is running the count. The council tweeted to her: “No burly blokes outside Annan. Officers and police visiting frequently. No complaints re canvassers.” end of.


CEZ9hfWWoAA2MsVNewington Sports and Leisure Polling Station in Annan







17 June 2012: Ruth Davidson fined by Electorial Commission for failing to Declare Donations Timeously

The commission last week issued a report stating that Davidson twice broke electoral law by missing the 30-day deadline for registering two donations totalling £14,500 in October. The Glasgow list MSP was fined £400, with each offence punished by a fixed penalty of £200. Davidson paid the fine on May 11.

The fine is embarrassing for Davidson, as it raises questions about her experience and competence. A senior Tory source said: “This is just not what the party needs. It’s the latest in a long set of embarrassing moments for Ruth.”

Davidson, 33, a former BBC broadcaster, became Tory leader in November following a bitter and divisive contest triggered by the resignation of Annabel Goldie in May 2011. She was made leader just six months after becoming an MSP for the first time. Despite being the favourite of the Tory hierarchy, she failed to secure the support of association chairs in her Glasgow seat, and her campaign was dogged by a series of self-inflicted errors. In the closing days of the campaign, the three other Tory MSPs vying for the job accused her of receiving an unfair advantage through covert backing from Conservative HQ.

After a fleeting honeymoon period, Davidson has been the subject of mounting criticism from the Scottish Tories, with a surge in complaints after the party lost 20% of its vote and its councillors in May’s local elections. Last week, Alex Salmond taunted her at First Minister’s Questions by reading out critical comments from Toryhoose – a Scottish Conservatives website – which had previously acted as Davidson’s cheerleader, about the party’s poor showing in the election. The latest setback concerns money given to Davidson’s leadership campaign last autumn.

Electoral Commission records show Davidson accepted £29,500 in four lots in her capacity as a “regulated donee”, the term used when an individual MP or MSP accepts a donation. Two donations were accepted on September 19 – a sum of £2000 from James Stewart, director of a private equity company who has also in the past given money to Scottish Tory MP David Mundell; and £12,500 from Glasgow-based property company Alchemist Estates Limited, owned by Conservative donor Brian Gillies. By law, these should have been declared to the Commission by October 18, but Davidson failed to register them until November 21, when she also declared a further £10,000 from Stewart and £5000 from London-based donor Carolyn Ward.

In its enforcement report, the Commission said it had fined Davidson for “failure to deliver two donation reports within 30 days of acceptance of donations”. Davidson’s main rival for the Tory leadership, Murdo Fraser, reported all of his donations on time. SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon: “This is a humiliation for Ruth Davidson and another blow for her flagging leadership.” A Labour spokesman said: “These rules are in place for good reason to ensure fairness and transparency in elections and it is appropriate this action is taken against Ruth Davidson.









Time To Dispel The Myth – There Is No Anti-Independence Consensus Within the Tory Party in Scotland – Rooth The Mooth Davidson And Her Acolytes Are Pushing Her Agenda




10418989_10205221312640529_9183507766757492921_n-300x281Screen-shot-2015-04-28-at-18.03.28Andy Maciver



Federalism or Independence – Andy Maciver is a former Scottish Conservative Head of Communications.

The 2015 General Election campaign propelled David Cameron back into Downing Street pulling England towards the Tories and pushing even more of Scotland into the welcoming arms of the SNP, both at the expense of Labour.

However, it was poisonous for the Union, and poisonous for the Scottish Conservative Party.

And the exasperating irony is that the Prime Minister and advisors hold the antidote in the palm of their hands. Federalism.

Federalism is the recovery formula for both country and party. It can equalise and heal the British state, which remains one of the developed world’s most centralised.

And it can free the Conservative movements in the north of England and Scotland to make the case for workers’ conservatism without the intoxicating influence of London.

There is no shame in this. There is no shame in letting go. Decentralisation leads to cohesion.

British devolution is a recipe for conflict and chaos. It is not working; it is never going to work.

There is increasing realisation that the only two outcomes are independence  (for Scotland, at least) or federalism.

The time has now come for Conservatives to do the right thing. Stand up. Face up. Speak up and Act in support of Federalism:  (conservativehome)






Conservatives For Independence – Comments Submitted By Tory Party Supporters

By any definition, Scotland has already left the Union. Its politics and its national sense of identity make it at best a semi-detached reluctant appendage and at worst a major problem for the English.

The UK must federalise or England must accept the inevitable and make the positive decision to end the Union for itself.

The map is clear for conservatives.  Scotland is ‘yellow’ and England is overwhelmingly ‘blue’ and there is no electoral advantage whatsoever in pretending otherwise.

Nor is there any moral purpose in deploying all the arguments used by the old empire loyalists in the early 20th Century who genuinely believed that we would be ‘better together’ under some form of Imperial Parliament. They were wrong then and ‘Unionists’ are wrong today.

There is therefore only one option. Independence for both Scotland and England.

We would have to come to terms with the loss of ‘our’ highlands, golden eagles, loch Ness monsters and golf courses and they would have to come to terms with becoming a bit like Norway or Denmark.

Both ultimately would benefit. Nobody, after all, would seriously suggest that we should seek a political union with other parts of what were once ‘Britain’ such as Canada, Australia or Ireland.






So we’re a family if England love bombs Scotland to stay but we’re not a family if a British party endeavours to run a British election campaign!

If the latter constitutes good cause for the Scottish Conservatives to distance themselves from the English ones because the “British” brand is tarnished,  then it is even more reason for a full and proper separation of Scotland and England.

The Union is not sacrosanct. It can survive only by the genuine willingness of all participants to make it work. That willingness is singularly absent north of the border.



Mitch Blunt



It’s often forgotten that until relatively recently the Scots were seen, and saw themselves, as being more ‘conservative’ than the English.

It’s also often forgotten that there are many Scot Nats who are in reality Tartan Tories who, like their left wing brethren, have felt utterly alienated from the Westminster Politicos – from all parties – who have treated the Scots with disdain.

The SNP vote is a political revolution against the SPAD-u-likes in London. The Scot Nats have grown up and matured into a seriously heavyweight political force.





I don’t think the ship of Great Britain has sailed but I do think that radical federalist change is needed to energise politics in England and Wales outside London.

It was on this basis that I supported devolution to Scotland and Wales, expecting comparable assemblies to follow in England, but the north-east referendum was ill-defined in its offer, had not looked at the detail of boundaries and loyalties, and seemed transparently a management exercise.





I am not impressed by Davidson she has drawn more lines in the sand than a toddler on the beach with a stick.

The other problem is that every time things might change up pops Lord Forsyth and a couple of other unelected pals and show why they lost in 1997.







The problem with federalism has always been, and remains, a question of how you provide balance between the component parts of the federation.

There would be too many tensions, Trident & the EU would continue to be points of political conflict. I doubt it is possible, or would work for long.

A confederation, on the other hand, has a better chance of working, because it immediately opens up the possibility of working together as sovereign, independent states.

But giving up sovereignty in the interests of a long-term solution to the problems of the union is likely to be a step too far for Westminster.






It is worth remembering that Scotland and England existed as sovereign nations for a much greater period of time than they have been in a Union.

Sure, the relationship was far from easy – but that was then, and our 300 years of learning how to work together will serve us well.





Smoke and Mirrors – Westminster Draws a Constitutional Line in the Sand – Retribution Visited Upon Scotland For Having the Nerve to Try to Break Up What Is Laughably Called the Most Successful Union of Nations in History.





Smoke and Mirrors – Westminster Draws a Constitutional Line in the Sand – Retribution Visited Upon Scotland For Having the Nerve to Try to Break Up What Is Laughably Called the Most Successful Union of Nations in History.

Westminster Unionist partys’ offer of devolution of limited fiscal powers to Scotland is driven by the dogma of doing just the minimum to keep Scotland in the UK, whilst reserving power to Westminster.

Preservation of the Ruth Davidson named “pocket money parliament” will be assured if Scots politicians allow themselves to be conned into accepting the proposals presently on offer. What we have is the illusion of a transfer of power with, pinned to it, a not so subtle £6billion reduction in the “Barnett Formula” financial allocation.

This will require the Scottish Government to find new sources of finance, (without borrowing money from the markets) so that existing benefits can be retained and new measures introduced providing assistance to those in need, (eg. removal of the bedroom tax). Income Tax rises would be a consequence, even for the Standard Rate taxpayer since Higher Rate taxpayers in Scotland are insufficient in number to bear the cost of any new financial requirements.



devolution problem3article-0-0F64AB6C00000578-447_468x286



Scotland’s government will only be totally responsible when they have access and authority over all of Scotland’s resources and financial income, but Westminster will never willingly allow that since with absolute power retained by Westminster, solving problems in the Scottish economy through increased income tax and other personal taxes will only serve to make the Holyrood parliament very unpopular. This proven tactic of delegating responsibility without authority suits the Westminster agenda.

The “Unionist” partys’ are determined to impose their will, (no matter how long it takes) and Scotland will be asset stripped by stealth so that it becomes ever poorer and increasingly dependent on Westminster’s whims reducing the confidence of Scot’s in their ability to build, without Westminster’s benign governance, a better future for Scot’s as an equal partner within the United Kingdom.





Witnessed by their actions, in the months following the referendum it is clear Westminster remains to be in the business of building failure into any devolved powers instead of doing the right thing, identifying what has the best chance of succeeding and transferring relevant powers and authority to Scotland.

If Westminster is serious about creating a federal state then the truly radical approach would require a team of independent advisors to go away, investigate the construction and governance of successful multi-state countries eg Germany, then report back.



Unresolved Aspects:

* The Barnett Formula. Should be retained until reductions are agreed between Westminster and devolved governments.
* Vat collection. Without the ability to vary rates needs to be addressed.
* The Scottish government should be able to raise and lower income tax.
* Multinationals operating out of Scotland, (Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, RBS, BOS, etc) should be liable for tax collection on their sales.
* Authority should be devolved allowing Scotland to gather taxes from Capital trusts etc. who may be practicing tax avoidance by registering in the Bahamas, Channel Isles etc.
* Corporation Tax and Air Passenger Duty, including variance authority should be devolved
* Oil, fuel taxation, excise duty (whisky) should be devolved.



Full Fiscal Autonomy

Scottish fiscal autonomy, stopping short of full political independence, forming part of a federal or confederal constitution for the United Kingdom is the way forward. The Scottish Government would be responsible for all financial matters in Scotland, making payments to the UK government covering Scotland’s share of the cost of providing agreed specified UK-wide services, such as, defence and the conduct of foreign relations.



devo-venn-english-parl-deskimagesjhy  The Green Party view.


Tory Prime Minister Heath – It’s Scotland’s Oil – So The Money Is Theirs – Westminster – We Can’t Allow That They Will Seek Independence





1972. The discovery of oil in the North Sea revealed Prime Minister, Edward Heath concerns about Nationalist opinion and the poor state of the Scottish economy. Alert to opportunities for change he initiated a policy review.

The Senior, Downing Street civil servant, Robert Armstrong wrote to members of the Cabinet;

“As you know, the point has recently been put to the Prime Minister that the benefits of oil production brought ashore in Scotland should accrue, and be seen to accrue, to the Scottish economy. The Prime Minister sees considerable force in the arguments believing it would be difficult to stress too highly the psychological gains which would come from the revival of the Scottish economy being seen to be something from which Scotland was achieving from its own resources, not just by the grace and favour of the Government at Westminster or of English industry.” He added: “The Prime Minister understands that novel arrangements may be required to achieve this result.”




Heath’s stance created alarm at Westminster and led to many “on and off the record” meetings between various factions within and outwith government and the civil service resulting in an outpouring of confidential minutes and memos. Primary contributors being:  the Scottish Office, the Exchequer, and the then Department of Trade and Industry led by the Scottish Secretary of State, Gordon Campbell, (later Baron Campbell of Croy) and the, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Anthony Barber.


by Walter Bird, bromide print, October 1959

Baron Campbell of Croy


In stating their opposition to Heath’s proposals the Westminster establishment voiced concerns about taking oil revenues away from the Treasury. A senior official at the Scottish Office, in London said in a memo to Downing Street on 25 January:

“The oil discoveries have raised speculation in Scotland on the financial aspects and will continue to do so. But, the official added: “the Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Campbell would not wish to see direct payments from the oil revenues, as these would be too late to be really useful and would raise a new principal causing difficulties if applied in other contexts. On the general question of the financial relationship of central Government with Scotland, the present has been evolved over many years and the types and amounts of grants, for example to local authorities for housing and education…follow formulae which recognise special circumstances and needs where they exist. “Mr Campbell considers that to dismantle this system, besides being a Herculean task, would resurrect innumerable issues now mercifully dormant.” (Independence)


baron anthony barber Baron Anthony Barber


In a memo on 7 February, 1972, Treasury officials said they too were looking at “aspects” of the Prime Minister’s request.  The Treasury argued more strongly and said “…Scotland takes a markedly bigger share of public spending than she contributes to public revenue. We are looking at the latest expenditure figures to confirm that they will tell the same story.”

Those in opposition to Heath’s proposals presented a uniform front and unanimously suggested that aims could be better met by investment in infrastructure and the fostering of fabrication yards and supply companies. Treasury officials later said there was “no question of hypothecation” of oil revenue to finance Scottish expenditure.

Their strident opposition to the suggestion gathered support, and submission of an alternative proposal, transferring all revenue gathered from the oil bonanza to the treasury in Westminster. The consensus was that, “any change in the financial relationship between Westminster and Scotland would resurrect innumerable issues, (A veiled reference to Scottish Independence) now mercifully dormant”. Edward Heath, blindsided, and out-voted in cabinet accepted their proposal. Scotland was then systematically ripped off for the next 43 year’s.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) argues, (correctly) that Scotland has been and continues to be cheated out of its oil revenue by Westminster.






17 April 2002: Oil firms attack ‘give and take’ budget
North Sea platformThe North Sea Oil tax structure deters development.

The North Sea oil industry has reacted with alarm to Chancellor Gordon Brown’s decision to slap a 10% surcharge on profits.

This supplement, which will take some £500m out of the North Sea industry in a full year, will be a serious threat to jobs

Alex Salmond, SNP

In his budget speech earlier on Wednesday, Mr Brown said he would abolish the “royalty” payment on North Sea Oil.He also announced plans to improve capital allowances for oil companies.

But he spoiled the party for oil producers by slapping an extra 10% tax on UK oil production, taking it to 40% to “raise revenue”.

The net result of these changes to the complex North Sea tax regime is likely be a greater share of oil income going to the government.





‘Investor confidence’

The UK Offshore Operators Association, which represents more than 30 offshore organisations and companies, said the Budget was one of “give and take”. A spokeswoman said: “While the UK offshore industry welcomes the chancellor’s provision to increase capital allowances in first-year investment in the North Sea, it is disappointed at the decision to introduce a 10% supplementary charge on profits. “We believe this could undermine investor confidence in the long-term viability of the UK Continental Shelf.”





The industry has a labyrinthine tax structure, with different developments supplying varying levels of revenue to the chancellor depending on their age. Some fields going back 20 years or more can pay as much as 70% in various levies, while modern developments are taxed at a lower rate. UKOOA said it was too early to ascertain the impact of proposals to possibly scrap royalties on North Sea oil which are levied on older fields. The spokesman said: “His proposal to consult the industry on the abolition of royalties applies to mature fields developed before the end of March 1982. “It will take some time to analyse the impact of the full tax package on the industry.”





Urgent consultation

Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party at Westminster, said the tax supplement on profits was a threat to offshore jobs in Scotland, which was at the centre of the UK’s industry. “This supplement, which will take some £500m out of the North Sea industry in a full year, will be a serious threat to jobs. “Because Scotland is deprived of the North Sea tax, Gordon Brown will get the revenue while Scotland will lose the jobs.” Mr Salmond said he would be consulting urgently with the industry to assess the impact of the new tax.




27 September 2002: SNP Argue for full independence

Andrew Wilson told the party’s conference in Inverness that Labour had mismanaged the economy and the time has come for the Nationalists to assume responsibility. Mr Wilson said: “There is an economic imperative for independence like never before.” Accusing Labour of a lack of ambition, he said: “Labour have had their chance, now it’s Scotland’s turn. Let’s show some ambition for our country.”  He also said that “Scotland would not need to rely on oil revenues to ensure economic success after independence.”


_38280832_wilsonposter300Andrew Wilson


Alex NeilAlex Neil



Those comments came after fellow MSP Alex Neil received a warm reception when asserting that it was time Scotland received all the cash raised from North Sea oil. Mr Neil said there was enough oil under the North Sea to last for 30 years and raise £150bn.

He told activists that when oil was first discovered he had argued for all revenues raised to be evenly split between Scotland and the rest of the UK.  Amid loud applause, he said: “Thirty years later I’m still arguing for an oil sharing policy, but it’s an oil sharing policy with a difference.  “They’ve had their share, now it’s time that we got our share.”




‘No pot of gold’

However, Mr Wilson said Scotland could prosper without relying on oil revenues. He said: “The reality is that we can do it without natural resources. We’re not going to win independence by promising it’s a free lunch. “There is no pot of gold – black or otherwise – at the foot of the independence rainbow.” Mr Wilson told the conference that Scotland needed the powers of an independent nation to realise its potential.

Party treasurer Jim Mather said: “We are stuck with perennially low growth that in turn creates a wealth gap and a health gap with the rest of the UK. “The solution is clear, we must tackle Scotland’s core problem, Scotland’s lack of full financial Independence.”



Scotland_marine-borderTheft of Scotland borders




27 September 2002: Nationalists ‘ready to govern’
The Scottish National Party has evolved from a party of protest to one capable of taking power, John Swinney has told activists.The party leader spoke of the prospects of a Nationalist-led government in a keynote address to the SNP conference in Inverness.

Mr Swinney said he accepts that the SNP has attracted protest votes in the past, but he told delegates that his party was now ready to govern.

Our new approach will be to present independence, not as a land of milk and honey but as a land of opportunity

John Swinney, SNP leader

The SNP leader promised a reformed Scotland and issued warnings about life under Labour.He said that the SNP would ensure shorter hospital waits, safer streets and better schools if the party gains power at May’s Scottish parliamentary elections.

Boosting business was another key theme.

Mr Swinney promised to end the use of private cash in the public sector but warned that there was no “pot of gold” with which to ensure a smooth transition to independence.

The SNP leader said that Scotland needs the powers of independence to make a radical difference and “release its potential” – the party’s new slogan.

He directed his fire at the Scottish Parliament, telling delegates that criticism over his move for a debate on Iraq showed the limitations of the legislature.

John Swinney

John Swinney: “Release our potential”

He said: “They try to shout me down when I stray from the devolved agenda.”Well I have a message for the unionists. Scotland is not a devolved administration, Scotland is a nation and a nation’s voice must be heard.”

At the centre of Mr Swinney’s 40-minute speech was a promise that independence would create a passport out of poverty for many Scots.

Mr Swinney warned that the SNP would not use Holyrood’s tax-varying powers to raise revenue if it won power but added that it would use a Labour “slush fund” of £370m held in reserve by his opponents.


Scotland’s Future
Mr Swinney said: “Our new approach will be to present independence, not as a land of milk and honey but as a land of opportunity. An opportunity to compete. An opportunity to put our people back in control. An opportunity to release our potential, our potential as a talented and innovative people.  An opportunity to wave goodbye forever to those who stamp down on Scotland’s ambitions. That’s the opportunity of independence”.







Tax Havens And The Tory’s – Will they Honour Their manifesto? – Give Up Their Secret Nest Eggs To The Taxman – Pigs Will Fly First




The overall amount of finance held in tax havens, Panama, Caymans, Jersey etc. attributable to members of the Tory Party employed as MP’s, Baron’s etc in the House of Lords, Venture Capitalists, Hedge Funds, Charitable Funds, Corporations, other Organisations, other Financial supporters in or around the City of London, their wives, other family members, their heirs and successors is around £50trillion. (A guestimante but who can say otherwise with confidence)

A one off 20% levy on the profits deriving from these funds would be sufficient to clear the UK National Debt and provide a working surplus allowing completion of much needed capital developments. Austerity could be discontinued bringing much relief to the hard pressed British public

The major difficulty is the “ merchants of the City of London“, the square mile of the worlds financial intrigue. They will not give up their control of the British Protectorate Tax Havens, preferring to launder through them loads of funny money around the world. All to the detriment of the British public.

Another difficulty is identifying just who has what tucked away where. The “Registration of Financial Interests” in Westminster specifically excludes the need for politicians to reveal any financial information pertaining to such holdings. Paragraph 58 states:

“Holdings in a collective investment vehicle (including unit trusts, investment companies with variable capital (ICVCs) and investment trusts) are not generally registrable.”


25 May 2015: Tory Election Win Good for Offshore Umbrella Companies

The return of a Tory government was much welcomed by the Tory party and their supporters in the City of London who were at risk of losing some of the financial perks extended to them since 1979, at the time Thatcher removed Capital restrictions from financial institutions. The site listed below provides explanatory information about the sharp practices being foisted upon the British electorate.





If the Tory government is serious in it’s manifesto pledge to close down Tax Haven loopholes they should make a start by introducing measures requiring MP’s, Lord’ etc. to declare all relevant information to the treasury and in the “Register of member’s Interest’s”.

Adding to the debate is information pertaining to David Cameron whose fortunes are mirrored throughout the “British Upper Class”

Continuing failure by (Westminster and the City of London Financiers) to address the multitude of financial “scams” will surely bring about calls for Scotland to break away from a system of governance that punishes rather than protects the electorate.
April 2015: The Code of Conduct and Guide to Rules –
April 2015: The Register of Members’ Financial Interests –


30 Aug 2013: An explanation, (by use of analogy) addressing the impact of unfettered political doctrine on the UK population



27 April 2012: David Cameron and the offshore connection

Questions about links between Britain’s rulers and the obscure world of offshore finance signal a need for transparency. Last weekend, the Guardian reported that the British prime minister’s father, Ian Cameron, held directorships in companies registered in tax havens. These companies were created soon after then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher relaxed capital controls in 1979. They were the foundation of a fortune estimated at around £10m ($16m) in 2009.

That Cameron comes from a wealthy background hardly qualifies as front-page news. But his family’s links to the offshore sector have not, until now, been widely publicised. In its obituary of Ian Cameron, ( for example, the Telegraph mentioned his work as a stockbroker and described him as an “old school” City man. But it made no reference to his being the chairman of Close International Asset Management (Jersey), and a director of both Blairmore Holdings (Panama City) and Blairmore Asset Management (Geneva).

There is no hint of any offshore connection in David Cameron’s recent entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests published by parliament. In the past year he has listed benefits such as “honorary membership for life of the Carlton Club” and “discounted personal training”. He also notes “residential property in London, from which rental income is received”. When he was on the board of Urbium, a company that very successfully promotes the consumption of alcohol, he disclosed the fact. Doubtless he is scrupulous in his observance of the current rules concerning outside interests. (




But it is time to ask if the British prime minister has a beneficial interest in an entity or entities registered offshore. Indeed, it is time to ask if any of our politicians benefit from facilities provided by companies, trusts and other institutions located in tax havens. The main purpose of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests ( is “to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in parliament, or actions taken in the capacity of a member of parliament”.

If an elected politician uses offshore facilities, for the purposes of long-term tax planning, for example, or to hold wealth in trust for his or her heirs, surely this would qualify as a “material benefit”? And isn’t it reasonable to think that such an arrangement could have some bearing on his or her actions “taken in the capacity of a member of parliament”?  After all, states such as Britain have a decisive role in determining the size and scope of offshore. The UK government suddenly removed capital controls in 1979. It could, just as suddenly, reinstate them. It could also change its attitude towards wealth held overseas by UK citizens and residents. Politicians can make tax avoidance more or less easy through changes in legislation.





There is another sense in which offshore assets are not like other forms of property. The  costs of creating investment vehicles and other structures in tax havens ensure that only a tiny minority can afford to take advantage of them: “A change in the interest rate affects savers and borrowers in a clear and obvious way. But politicians can quietly change the rules governing offshore and deliver huge benefits to a handful of very wealthy individuals.”

There are one or two indications that British politicians are aware of offshore. The most recent Register of Members’ Interests notes visits to Liechtenstein by four MPs: Daniel Kawczynski,  Angus Macneil,  Mark Menzies and Andrew Rosindell. One of the four,  Daniel Kawczynski,  also visited Jersey at the invitation of the island’s first minister. Two others, Brian Donohue and Graham Brady, visited Grand Cayman in the same period. (

I hope that MPs who visit tax havens make a point of highlighting their concerns about offshore’s role in facilitating tax avoidance, tax evasion, money laundering and corruption. Doubtless the bankers of Liechtenstein tremble a little at the prospect of another grilling from Andrew Rosindell and the rest of the “British-Liechtenstein All-Party Parliamentary Group”.





But presumably there is more to the relationship between offshore and the British political class than occasional parliamentary visits. After all, a lot of politicians used to work in banking and associated trades. Many more look forward to doing so later in their careers. Only full disclosure can dispel the growing sense that politicians have become detached from the country they are supposed to serve, and are loyal instead to the imperial empire of offshore finance.

The Register of Members’ Financial Interests “is not intended to be an indicator of a member’s personal wealth”. Perhaps that’s reasonable, although it is worth noting that the salary of £65,738  puts MPs in the top five per cent of UK wage earners; by most people’s standards, all MPs are rich. But the use of offshore resources to minimise tax is different in kind from the mere fact of wealth. It is a benefit that depends on very particular policies. It is a fact that the British government is “committed to a G20 plan to put an end to banking secrecy, yet we have no idea if our leaders have a stake in keeping effective regulation at bay. Any register of financial interests must include information about any interest at all politicians have in tax havens. The current situation manages to be both sinister and farcical. We would be happy to help parliament draft sensible guidelines”.

Critics of the government are right. Arguments can be made in favour of the current arrangements. But if those defending the status quo derive material benefits from it, then these benefits cannot remain effectively secret. Without transparency there can be no accountability, as the register itself acknowledges. Only full disclosure can dispel the growing sense that politicians have become detached from the country they are supposed to serve, and are loyal instead to the immaterial empire of offshore. If the prime minister and other politicians want to keep one foot in Panama City then that is their business. But it is something the rest of us are entitled to know.



April 18 2012: Osborne wants London to take the lead in off-shore yuan trade

“Britain wants London to become a leading centre for off-shore trading in Chinese renminbi to help boost the economy”, Chancellor George Osborne said. Speaking after HSBC launched the first-ever renminbi(or yuan) denominated bond in London, Osborne said “the city’s pre-eminence in foreign exchange and bond issuance means it is well placed to serve as a hub for Chinese banks that want to do business in the west”. “It is the ambition of the British government to make London a western hub for the sector – with all the benefits that this will bring to our own economy,” Osborne said in a speech.

Osborne’s comments came after HSBC Holdings Plc said it planned to launch a 3-year renminbi (RMB) bond. “This is a significant moment,” Osborne said. “This builds on the progress London has already made toward becoming the western hub for RMB,” he added.




A report by the City of London Corporation published overnight showed that customer and interbank yuan, or renminbi deposits in London total 109 billion yuan. The city is working with major banks to boost London as an off-shore yuan trading centre, building on an initiative by Britain and Hong Kong to co-operate on off-shore yuan trading.

London represents 26 percent of the global offshore spot foreign exchange market in renminbi. London and other financial centres such as Singapore are seeking to capitalise on the rapid growth of the off-shore yuan bond market in Hong Kong since its launch less than two years ago, as investors aim to put their yuan deposits to work by buying high-yielding yuan bonds. Borrowers have included international companies such as  Tesco and McDonalds as well as international banks.





20 April 2012: David Cameron’s family fortune – Blairmore Holdings Inc – the Jersey, Panama and Geneva tax haven connection Offshore venture

At the heart of a stunning 50-acre estate by the banks of the river Deveron in Aberdeenshire sits the granite-clad Victorian mansion Blairmore House, home to four generations of the prime minister’s family. Built in the 1880s by Alex Geddes, a Scotsman who became known as the Chicago grain king, the estate holds decades of David Cameron’s family history. The union of the Geddes and Cameron families was celebrated in the grounds in 1905, and the nearby chapel remembers forebears killed in the first world war. David’s father, Ian Donald Cameron, was born in 1932 at Blairmore House. But soon after that, the old place was sold.

So it was perhaps for sentimental reasons that the offshore fund Ian Cameron helped to establish in the tax haven of Panama shares the name. Blairmore Holdings Inc, just like Blairmore House, is a monument to wealth obtained overseas. The family’s banking history goes back even further, to the 1860s, when Sir Ewen Cameron joined the industry. He later helped the Rothschild banking dynasty sell war bonds during the Russo-Japanese war. While at Panmure Gordon, Ian was a bond specialist too, showing determination to overcome his physical disability – he was born with deformed legs – and make partner at the firm by the age of 30.






David Cameron’s father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune that paid for the prime minister’s inheritance, the Guardian can reveal. Though entirely legal, the funds were set up in tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva, and explicitly boasted of their ability to remain outside UK tax jurisdiction. At the time of his death in late 2010, Ian Cameron left a fortune of £2.74m in his will, from which David Cameron received the sum of £300,000.

Cameron and other cabinet members have recently suggested that they would be willing to disclose their personal tax filings amid growing scrutiny following the budget, but this would only shed light on annual sources of income rather than accumulated wealth or inheritance. Blairmore Holdings, meanwhile, continues to go from strength to strength. According to the company’s own listing with the Financial Times, the value of the fund’s investments has increased by 8.5% in the last three years.



David Cameron father Ian



The structure employed by Cameron senior is now commonplace among modern hedge funds, which argue that offshore status can help attract international investors. UK residents would ordinarily have to pay tax on any profits they repatriated, and there is nothing to suggest the Camerons did not. Nevertheless, the dramatic growth of such offshore financial activity has raised concerns that national tax authorities are struggling to pin down the world’s super-rich.

Ian Cameron took advantage of a new climate of investment after all capital controls were abolished in 1979, making it legal to take any sum of money out of the country without it being taxed or controlled by the UK government. Not long after the change, brought in by Margaret Thatcher after her first month in power, Ian Cameron began setting up and directing investment funds in tax havens around the world. Leaving his full-time role as a City stockbroker, Ian Cameron went on to act as chairman of Close International Asset management, a multimillion-pound investment fund based in Jersey; as a senior director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, registered in Panama City and currently worth £25m; and he was also a shareholder in Blairmore Asset Management based in Geneva.






However, the family will – a public document seen by the Guardian – only details the assets of Ian Cameron’s estate in England and Wales. Offshore investments would only be listed in submissions to HMRC for inheritance tax purposes. It is unclear what those assets – if any – are worth and which family member owns them.




In 2009 the compilers of the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Ian Cameron’s wealth at £10m. He was survived by his wife, Mary Fleur Cameron, who as his spouse would not have had to pay inheritance tax on sums transferred between them. In 2006 Ian’s eldest son, Alexander, became the sole owner of the family’s £2.5m house in Newbury, Berkshire, where David had been brought up. Another family home in Kensington, London, worth £1m, passed to his two daughters in equal share. Cameron’s father was “instrumental” in setting up the Panamanian company, Blairmore Holdings, in 1982, which was exempt from UK tax, when David was a pupil at Eton aged 16. The fund shares its name with the family’s ancestral home in Aberdeenshire, Blairmore House, in which Ian Cameron was born in 1932 but which the family no longer owns.

A lengthy prospectus for Blairmore Holdings written in 2006 and meant to attract high net worth “sophisticated” investors, with at least $100,000 to buy shares, is explicit about how the fund sought to avoid UK tax. At the time more than half of the fund’s 11 directors were UK nationals.






Under Panamanian law the fund was excluded from taxation derived from other parts of the world. “The fund is not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains as long as such income or capital gains are not derived from sources allocated within the territory of the Republic of Panama,” the 2006 prospectus reads. “The Directors intend that the affairs on the Fund should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes. Accordingly … the Fund will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits,” the prospectus continues.






The investor document also credits Ian Cameron as a founder member of Blairmore Holdings and states that as an adviser he would be paid $20,000 a year – the highest paid director – whatever profits were realised. In fact, the long-term Panamanian investment fund performed above market rate over many years averaging a 116% return from 2002-2007. Today many of the fund’s largest holdings are in blue-chip stocks such as Apple, Unilever and Coca Cola.

Before his death, aged 77, Ian Cameron was also chairman and shareholder of Close International Equity Growth Fund Ltd, registered in Jersey and worth £9m according to papers filed in 2005. In that year just under half of the fund’s holdings were in UK listed stocks. A third fund set up in Geneva, Switzerland, had a shorter life span and finally dissolved in 2007 but had many of the same registered shareholders as the Panamanian outfit. These included a number of former employees of Panmure Gordon, the stockbroking firm where Ian Cameron spent much of his career and those from Smith and Williamson investment management where Cameron senior was a consultant.

One notable investor into the Panama fund was a charity established by Tory peer Lord Vinson. Accounts from 2009 show that a charitable trust set up under his own name invested £82,000 into the fund – almost one quarter of its investments in shares. Vinson’s trust that year went on to donate tens of thousands of pounds to right-wing think tanks including the Institute of Economic Affairs and Civitas. Both Close International and Blairmore Holdings are also listed in accounts of a clutch of Church of England charities and family trusts whose funds are managed by Smith & Williamson




David Cameron has recently remarked on companies who have taken advantage of offshoring to legally avoid tax. Speaking at the start of the year to small business leaders in Maidenhead, he said: “With the large companies, that have the fancy corporate lawyers and the rest of it, I think we need a tougher approach. “One of the things that we are going to be looking at this year is whether there should be a general anti-avoidance power that HMRC can use, particularly with very wealthy individuals and with the bigger companies, to make sure they pay their fair share.”

The row also comes as the top rate of tax was lowered in last month’s budget from 50p to 45p and the rate of corporation tax continue to drop to achieve the chancellor’s ambition of giving the UK one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G7.






Responding to opposition criticisms over the lowering of the top tax rate, Cameron said: “The cut in the 50p tax rate is going to be paid five times over by the richest people in our country.” Downing Street said it did not want to comment on what was a private matter for the Cameron family. A spokesperson added: “The government’s tax reforms are about making sure that some of the richest people in the country pay a decent share of income tax.” The investment managers Smith and Williamson, for whom Ian Cameron worked, chose not to comment.
See also my earlier post about the Liberal Democratic Party funding



Anna (Shoots herself In the Foot) Soubry – Another Tory Minister Who Needs to Engage Her Brain Just A Bit More Before Speaking


Anna Soubry, BennettAnna Mary (look at me) Soubry Tory MP



Anna Mary (don’t you just luv me) Soubry Tory MP  – Media, Media, Media, I love it

Anna Mary Soubry is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxtowe since the 2010 general election and Minister for Small Business since the 2015 general election. Born, in Lincolnshire, she studied law at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s and was involved in student politics, becoming the only Conservative member of the National Union of Students’ executive committee. She graduated in law from the University of Birmingham in 1979. She left the Conservatives and joined the SDP soon after its formation in 1981.

She was a journalist from 1981 until 1995 and also reported on and presented several regional and networked TV programmes, including Grampian Television’s North Tonight in the North of Scotland and the East Midlands regional news programme, Central News East. She also presented and reported Granada Television’s This Morning in the late 1980s. She returned to Liverpool’s Albert Dock in October 2013 for the This Morning 25-year anniversary party. She was called to the bar in 1995 and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association.

She was the Conservative Party candidate for the Gedling constituency in the United Kingdom general election of 2005. During the campaign, she said she was “ashamed” of living in Nottingham as it had a bad reputation for crime. She said she wasn’t ashamed of the people of Nottingham, but, instead, was ashamed of what had happened to the city. She was chosen as an “A-List candidate” and in 2006 was selected for the nearby Broxtowe Parliamentary seat. In a debate in front of sixth formers in 2006, she said an honest debate was needed to stop people taking Class A drugs and she supported the legalisation of cannabis. Soubry was one of the 49% of Conservative MPs who entered parliament in 2010, she is regarded as “one of the most formidable communicators of the new intake” but is not a ‘Thatcherite.’ It is said of her that: “she has a record of unusually free speech”.



23 February 2012: NHS Reforms – Soubry at it again

As PPS to Health Minister Simon Burns, Soubry appeared on the Daily Politics show to discuss the controversial NHS reforms with the chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Clare Gerada. Burns had previously claimed that Gerada’s opposition to reforms did not represent the views of GPs.Gerada rejected this saying that despite 18 months of “endless consultations” in a recent survey 90% of the 44,000 GPs had asked for the Bill to be withdrawn. Parts of it were good, putting GPs in charge of finance, putting patients first, addressing health inequality but in its totality the Bill was a mess and would not achieve its objectives.

Soubry said Gerada was wrong. She had talked to GP constituents who had formed a consortium before the election and they were already putting into operation what the Bill was trying to achieve (one local GP is a Conservative Councillor). Another GP constituent had “actually begged her” to get the bill through so he could deliver the treatment that he wanted to give his patients.

However she agreed with the presenter Andrew Neil that this was anecdotal evidence whilst Gerada’s evidence came from surveys and conferences. Gerada said the experience of Soubry’s local GPs wasn’t reflected in what she was hearing through the Royal College.

Neil then questioned Gerada saying her opposition to competition and further choice appeared to be based on ideological grounds and she appeared to be suggesting the Bill was an attempt to privatise the NHS along American lines. Gerada agreed the bill did seem to be an attempt to privatise the NHS, turning it into a mixed funding system.

GPs were not against competition where it added value to patients, but they were against full fettered competition where any qualified provider could compete to treat the same hip.

In March 2012, a group of 240 doctors, including 30 professors wrote to The Independent describing the Bill as an “embarrassment to democracy” which had no support from professional healthcare organisations. They blamed the Bill’s supporters for putting the Coalition survival “above professional opinion, patient safety and the will of the citizens of this country”.

They pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it and Soubry was mentioned as a likely target both because of her tiny majority and because she told her constituents the bill’s opponents were exploiting people’s heartfelt support for the NHS.

In response to a local newspaper article which referenced the Independent article, Soubry reiterated that there had been no complaints from her local GP consortium and claimed that many local GPs couldn’t wait for the Bill to be passed.

The Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012.

In April 2012, an independent poll carried out on behalf of the BBC by ComRes showed that the number of GPs believing the NHS reforms would noticeably improve patient had fallen from 23% in September 2010 to 12% in March 2012 though there were still around 33% “Don’t knows.” The chairman of British Medical Association’s GPs’ committee said GPs were unconvinced by the changes and were worried about being blamed for the consequences of meeting the £20 billion Government savings target.





8 September 2012: The Dept of Health and the Ministry of Justice distance themselves from Anna Soubry’s comments on the right to die.

Newly-appointed health minister Anna Soubry has delivered an outspoken attack on the laws governing assisted suicide. She told The Times: “I think it’s ridiculous and appalling that people have to go abroad to end their life instead of being able to end their life at home.” Her intervention coincides with legal appeals for new guidelines, following the death of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson. Ms Soubry admits she is unsure about that particular case, conceding: “You can’t say to a doctor or a nurse you can kill this person.”

Nonetheless, the high court judges referred to the “terrible predicament” of Mr Nicklinson, and described the case as “deeply moving and tragic”. And Mr Nicklinson’s solicitor has said it should be referred to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court. A former keen sportsman, Mr Nicklinson was paralysed by a stroke in 2005. He subsequently described his existence as “pure torture” and sobbed in front of cameras when the court ruled he could not end his life. In the event, he died naturally, and, according to his wife, “heartbroken”. His funeral was held last week.

However, both the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice have distanced themselves from Ms Soubry’s protests. They said in statements she was expressing a personal view, and that any new legislation would be a matter for parliament, not government




10 September 2012: The high-heeled, foul-mouthed Minister for Death

Suddenly, a new ministerial shooting-star is born. Or should that be rather a new ministerial shooting-herself-in-the-foot-star, aka David Cameron’s latest self-imposed headache? Until a few days ago, the most likely reaction to the name Anna Soubry would have been: ‘Who?’

Ms Soubry is the Tory MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire. Brought up in the county where her father ran petrol stations until he went bust, Ms Soubry, a former TV presenter and union shop steward, has been divorced twice and brought up her two daughters as a single mother.

In last week’s government reshuffle she was appointed a junior health minister, and is said to be tipped for the Cabinet.

Almost instantly, however, she started making waves. First it was noted that, as a prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate back in 2006, she had told a group of sixth-formers that she thought cannabis should be legalised because ‘certain types of cannabis were less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco’. Even back then, this was an ignorant and irresponsible statement.

There were already mountains of evidence of the devastating effects of cannabis on the brain, including provoking the onset of psychosis. Since then, a slew of further research has demonstrated the grave dangers of cannabis beyond any doubt.

If selecting a person with such callow and dangerous views to be a prospective Tory MP was enough to raise an eyebrow, appointing her as a health minister suggested that the Prime Minister hadn’t done his homework. Maybe in order to find out whether her views on cannabis had now changed, the Times sought out Ms Soubry for an interview — and doubtless got more than it had expected.

With a knowing smirk at the camera, she came out with a stream of raunchy, swaggering attitudes and one provocative and outrageous statement after another — all liberally laced with distinctly laddish language. So she was keen to tell us gleefully how she drank too much when celebrating her promotion, and how she likes gin, champagne and especially beer.

Presenting herself as an incorrigible rebel, she described sitting on the ‘naughty bench’ in the Commons, heckling the opposition and yet blowing kisses at the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.

We also learned that she loves shoes and owns ‘beautiful ones covered in sequins’ and five-inch heeled boots. Well indeed — what else can one wear, after all, in Whitehall’s corridors of power? But excuse me — this attention-seeking creature is a health minister? Maybe she mistook the Commons for the set of Absolutely Fabulous?

As for the foul language, this was apparently adopted as a defence mechanism for little middle-class Anna against the local oiks at school. Well, isn’t it about time that Ms Soubry, 55, finally grew up? But wait — our besequinned, stilettoed, ex-cannabis advocating, foul-mouthed, flirty provocatrice is driven, she tells us, by a social conscience.

For she gave up the media to become a barrister — ‘a social worker with a wig on’ — defending the most disadvantaged. Indeed, with her declared fury at communal powerlessness, her passion to ‘make stuff better for the poorest’ and her rage over the ‘s****y lives of the unemployed’, you are left wondering why on earth Ms Soubry didn’t join the Labour Party. Read more:





14 September 2012: Anna Soubry, a health minister, has said that the Coalition “screwed up” over its controversial reforms of the NHS, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Miss Soubry, a junior health minister, made the frank remark in a private discussion with health service managers about reforms that will give GPs control of £80 billion of health spending. It is the second outspoken statement Miss Soubry has made since her appointment ten days ago.

Last weekend, she angered some Conservative MPs by suggesting that euthanasia laws are “ridiculous” and should be changed to make it easier for the sick to end their own lives.

David Cameron surprised some MPs last week when he made Miss Soubry, a former television presenter and barrister, a parliamentary under-secretary at the Department of Health.

Days after her appointment, Miss Soubry spoke at a conference held by the NHS Leadership Academy, which trains senior health service managers and medical professionals.





27 January 2013: Public health minister Anna Soubry: ‘They [the poor people] just sit in front of the telly and eat.

It’s a funny thing, but when you turn on your radio or television and hear someone say something breathtakingly ill-researched and insulting, you can almost tell straight away that the speaker is a Tory politician. Obviously, not everybody responsible for obtuse and patronising nonsense comes from that kind of background but that is where the propensity lies.

Who should we blame for this? In my experience, which includes many hours listening to Radio 4 in the kitchen, the people most likely to deliver unfounded claims or accusations backed by comically incomplete evidence, almost always come from families where it was considered quite normal to sit round a table for a meal they call “kitchen supper”, apparently a 25-course banquet served by bewigged footmen and consumed by flickering candlelight, at which it is customary for the participants to compete to see who can say the most preposterously offensive thing.

The tragic result is that at least one in three, if not more, Tory politicians is now at risk of making a complete arse of themselves on a regular basis, with the obvious risk that even their most abject pronouncements may influence public policy.

Although this idiocy epidemic is, admittedly, a growing problem afflicting all political parties, there is no doubting its alarming prevalence in the Tory cabinet.

It is becoming routine, in fact, to see a Tory minister rush out and, instead of constructing a conventional argument, backed by at least some research, emit a succession of outlandish assertions and anecdotes whose authority, if any, is most likely to rest on the speaker’s conviction of his or her superior understanding.

Thus, in her already celebrated speech to the food and drink industry, the public health minister, Anna Soubry, began with some remarks about fat people she had seen when out and about. “When I walk around my constituency, you can almost tell somebody’s background by their weight,” she said. “Obviously not everybody who is overweight comes from a deprived background but that is where the propensity lies.”





Leave aside the catastrophic condescension, and the thought of Ms Soubry roaming round Broxtowe with a pair of mental calipers, the better to establish social class by BMI (compared with which hobby Gladstone’s prostitute-rescuing missions sound almost normal) and what is most remarkable about this observation is the speaker’s conviction that it would advance her argument.

Of much less importance, it appears, were numbers, or authorities even greater than herself, to make the case that “primary responsibility lies with the individual”. Anyone serious about public health, you gathered, would be satisfied with such insights into proletarian life as have, during her career as a barrister and MP, been granted to Ms Soubry. “What they don’t do is actually sit down and share a meal around the table,” she disclosed to stunned food and drink operatives, convinced until that moment that every Quaver is eaten with a knife and fork. “There are houses where they don’t have dining tables,” the minister persisted. “They will sit in front of the telly and eat.”

Before dismissing outright Ms Soubry’s considered response to this depravity, we cannot, of course, rule out the possibility that, taking on the mantle of Henry Mayhew, the minister has indeed followed the fatties, or “them”, to use the technical term, back to table-less tenements that have never seen a John Lewis linen-feel napkin, or to offices where slovenly workers indulge in the “disgusting” – she finds – habit of eating at their desks. But in the intellectual climate of the current Tory cabinet she could be excused for thinking such investigations a complete waste of effort.

Given current trends in ministerial evidence, Soubry’s allusions to living people she has definitely heard about may soon come to look, along with Osborne’s analysis of lowered festoon blinds, positively scholarly. Before long, it may be enough for a minister to validate a policy that it came highly recommended in a vision, in the bottom of a teacup or, like the mayor of London last week, via an epiphany in his back garden. Noting the thick snow on a flowerpot, the putative Tory leader wondered if we have entered a “mini ice age”.

True, standing on giants’ shoulders, Boris Johnson’s snub to the scientific establishment owes much to an earlier challenge from the Daily Mail columnist Tom Utley, who famously deduced the impossibility of rising sea levels from the way ice behaves in his gin and tonic. But most columnists can only dream of the freedom to create mischief, some of it lasting, that is still enjoyed by the bolder Conservative politician, unshackled by readers’ editors, corrections columns or vestigial social conditioning.






There has been, for example, neither correction nor explanation from Maria Miller, who last autumn insisted that the abortion law needed changing, “to reflect the way science has moved on”. Though she was immediately challenged, media attention soon wandered to Jeremy Hunt’s claim that “the evidence” actually indicated a limit of 12 weeks, and by the time a new BMJ study had formally undermined Miller’s version, there were fresh errata to correct, from waffle about elite sport and gay marriage to more specific claims, such as Eric Pickles’s definition of all library campaigners as “luvvies”, or Nadine Dorries’s (erroneous) belief that her abortion debates had featured in broadcasts of I’m a Celebrity… Get me Out of Here.

That online fact-checking outfits, invaluable as they are, can barely keep up with the misspeaking, was confirmed last week, when Ms Soubry’s speech coincided with a rival outburst from Cameron’s adviser on childhood, the MP Claire Perry, previously a financier. She urged parents to spy on their children’s mobiles as a guard against sexualisation, a long-favoured pretext for political alarmism since nobody can prove that our seven-year-olds are not being groomed for the white slave trade by trends in advertising, toys, airbrushing, sexting, videos and skimpy tops featuring vile slogans unfamiliar to all but members of the Mothers’ Union.

It is not even clear that enhanced internet filters, occasionally promised by Cameron, would be any more effective than Ms Perry’s pleas to parents she presumably knows to be deficient in this respect, to “sit down with their kids and say, ‘Are you aware of what’s out there?'” For homes with no chairs as well as no tables, the advice, apparently, is to have the conversation standing up.

But what, in turn, can be done for the ministers? The first step is to keep them away from places, like government, where the temptation to mislead is just too great. Failing that, one can only hope for vigilance from Dame Sally Davies, the impressive chief medical officer.

Last week, she managed, in a single appearance before the science and technology committee, to rubbish homeopathy and assure politicians that, on drug decriminalisation, with which she sympathises: “I will make sure that the truth – the scientific evidence, peer reviewed – is published… even if it is uncomfortable for me.” Before that, however, Broxtowe could use a visit.





17 March 2013: MP Anna Soubry told off by Speaker Bercow for sniping from the sidelines at other MP’s.

Anna Soubry had been loudly heckling other MP’s in the chamber when she was pulled up short by the Speaker of The House, John Bercow.

Comment: I’ve seen this woman on television a few times, and I’m convinced she’s absolutely mad …she mutters and mumbles …she must never be put in a position of power.



Anna Soubry, Bennett

13 July 2013: Letter to Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health

I am writing to urge you to halt the acquirement of Plasma Resources UK by Bain Capital or, at the very least, to put in place strict restrictions on the way the company buys and uses blood products in order to safeguard the health of people in the UK.

There have already been many documented examples of serious damage to public health from an insufficiently regulated trade in blood products. As I am sure you will be aware, the 2009 Archer Report into the widespread contamination of blood supplies given to those affected by haemophilia noted that profit-driven companies have an incentive to keep their costs down by being insufficiently discriminatory about donor selection.

In Canada, social unrest was triggered when an estimated 30,000 patients caught hepatitis C and 1,000 contracted HIV from transfusions and blood products, thanks to an unregulated, profit-driven market. How can citizens trust a Government they see putting private profit before their own safety?

The purpose of Plasma Resources UK is to provide a safe, reliable source of plasma for UK residents, not to make a profit for a private American company with an abysmal track record, at the potential cost of the health and lives of UK citizens. My constituents are concerned about its potential sale and I hope your Department will be willing to reconsider. Read more:



17 July 2013: Anna Soubry Ignores Select Committee providing support to a EU directive Westminster had not agreed to

Junior Health Minister Anna Soubry and her civil servant the Head of Tobacco Policy, sniffy Andrew Black, were appearing before the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee (ESC). The Chair is Bill Cash and the committee’s role is to “..scrutinise draft EU legislation on behalf of the House of Commons and assesses which proposals are of particular political or legal importance.” What transpired was a reckless and distasteful undermining of British democracy.

Cock up or conspiracy? We saw Ms. Soubry and Mr. Black fidgeting as if their underwear had been ignited by napalm. Their gurning, discomfiture was equivalent to a battleship run aground on the Goodwin Sands with two torpedoes heading amidships. Ms. Soubry is the UK’s representative as Health Minister to the European Union for the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The move, much discussed in the British media as of late, is set to introduce a wide range of controls on tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Ms. Soubry, with advice from her civil servants had negotiated the TPD without any reference to Parliament and especially not the ESC. Between January and June 2013 she had not written or communicated with the ESC and Bill Cash did not mince his words. “The reason for our scrutiny process… is to ensure that no decision is taken in the Council of Ministers until that debate has taken place… What you did was effectively to prevent any such debate taking place at the time.” It seems the European democratic deficit is transmittable and approaching pandemic proportions.

Ms. Soubry also shows her ignorance on electronic cigarettes, whether they were part of the Directive or not. It still is, despite some valiant lobbying from e-cig users known as ‘vapers’, who have persuaded many MEPs to support their cause with much of the intellectual input from former Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Director Clive Bates.

There’s also a planned ban on flavourings for cigarettes such as menthol and “slim” cigarettes as they “appeal to women.” Never mind that this study found menthol smokers had over 30 percent reductions in lung cancer compared to non menthol smokers.

Other outstanding pearls of wisdom including the banning of packets of ten, and smaller pouches of tobacco. Ireland did so with ten packs in 2007 and this coincided with an increase in smoking of 27 percent to its current 29 percent of the population. Finally, more graphic images covering 65 percent of the packet. Scare tactics which ignores the fact that most (97 percent) of smokers can already name at least one fatal disease associated with smoking.

This isn’t for education’s sake. Help is at hand though. Fresh from her victory heading up the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, Angela Harbutt is in charge of No Thank EU, a new group which will be fighting for consumer rights and persuading people to write to their Member of the European Parliament, asking them to oppose the legislation.

When you bear in mind the apparent contempt for Parliament and the electorate by junior ministers, without a shadow of shame from the European Union, this is a campaign that deserves God’s speed. What vestiges of accountability the EU has to us should be prosecuted with vigour. Scandalous beyond imagining! She admitted that the directive would not have gone forward without UK support and so it would not have gone through in this presidency, and it was because of this that she overrode Parliament’s supremacy. Incredible!


The Andrew Marr Show

11 November 2013: Royal Navy Support Ships Built in South Korea As Jobs Lost In Portsmouth

The £425m order for four 37,000-tonne military tankers that will allow the Royal Navy to refuel at sea has been placed with Korean shipbuilder Daewoo. Hearing this from Nigel Farage the other day on the BBC’s Question Time (Video below) was to say the least shocking, especially when you consider the recent loss of 940 jobs at Portsmouth. Anna Soubry MP, the government’s Under-Secretary of State for Defence, was an absolutely shocking example of how poorly staffed the Coalition government is. Ms Soubry admitted on-air that she did not know that Daewoo in South Korea is building tankers for the Royal Navy.

Reacting in astonishment, UKIP’s Leader on Hampshire County Council Ray Finch said: “For a government minister to show such a basic lack of knowledge of her brief is thoroughly shocking and both Ms Soubry and Mr. Cameron must surely now consider her position as a Minister.

“The truth of the matter is the UK Government last year refused to allow a rival bid to build the tankers, with one of them built in this country, in favour of the Daewoo bid on cost alone, after BAE refused to bid for the contract. “The entire story of the tanker order leaves question marks over BAEs near monopoly position as a UK navval shipbuilder and its too-cosy relationship with the MOD.

“This mixture of incompetency and penny pinching by this administration that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing has caused the tragic potential loss of a 500 year tradition of shipbuilding in Portsmouth and the end of large scale naval shipbuilding in England. “

This woman should be forced to work on minimum wage for 12 months whilst raising a family. Only then will she see the harm immigration is doing to the UK. She has previously employed those who advocate the return of slavery. She is a nasty snob.

It creases me up each time I see Anna Soubry when she tries to act as if she has a serious brain with brows all furrowed up. I suppose it comes of trying to compete with men.

Taxpayer funded career offence seaker Trevor Phillips versus Conservative MP Anna Soubry versus UKIP party leader Nigel Farage on “racism” and immigration.





22 December 2013: Anna Soubry apologises to Ukip leader for ‘finger up bottom’ remark

The Conservative defence minister, Anna Soubry, has apologised to the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, after suggesting that his facial expressions made him look like someone who enjoyed a person putting their finger up his bottom.

Soubry made her remarks on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show while sitting alongside the impressionist Rory Bremner, Lord Mandelson, and the business secretary, Vince Cable. Both politicians looked on astonished as presenter Andrew Marr tried to stop her.

After Bremner had impersonated Farage, Soubry – who has clashed with the Ukip leader before – said: “I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it.” Bremner asked: “Are you allowed to say that?”, at which point Marr said: “It’s too late. She has said it.” Lord Mandelson commented: “Anna, please, it’s too early.”

The comment provoked an immediate reaction on Twitter, not least from Farage himself. “Perhaps [Anna Soubry] should spend less time investigating digital rectal insertion and more on her brief?” he tweeted.

Farage added: “She is rude and incompetent. I would expect an apology – but I won’t be holding my breath.”

In a statement, he said: “This is a woman who was proven to not even have a grip on her portfolio back in November when on Question Time she showed she had absolutely no idea about the Royal Navy support ships being built in South Korea.

“She also launched a vile attack on me then, claiming I was ‘putting fear into people’s hearts’ by raising concerns over unrestricted immigration. The same concerns that today her party are so desperate to try to address.

“But this latest, remarkable foul-mouthed attack is utterly incredulous. Soubry has stooped to the levels of crudity that any politician would spend a lifetime apologising for.

“This is supposed to be a professional woman representing her political party on a national television programme on a Sunday morning. Well, I am astonished, and I would imagine the rest of her party is too, as well as deeply embarrassed.”

With Downing Street unimpressed by the language and insults, Soubry later apologised. “If he is in any way offended, I apologise unreservedly. It was a lighthearted remark,” she said.

The pair’s previous run-in came last month, when Soubry said on BBC Question Time that Ukip had published a leaflet in her constituency suggesting that 29 million people would be coming to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria, The joint population of the countries is only 28 million.

Soubry told Farage: “I do not like your tone. You don’t talk facts, you talk prejudice, you scaremonger, you put fear in people’s hearts.” She said Farage was trying to turn foreigners into a menace, adding, with reference to the 1930s, that history had taught Britain the danger of such an approach.





4 March 2014: Same Sex marriage Debate – Anna Soubry treats Christian concerns with “supercilious disdain”

This debate is interesting for the way that the Ministry of Defence Minister Anna Soubry treats those of a Christian conscience, in this case Sir Edward Leigh (Roman Catholic) and Sir Gerald Howarth (Church of England), with utter contempt and rudeness. Those who witnessed the exchange were shocked and appalled at the Minister’s arrogance. His Grace reproduces the whole exchange because context and primary reasoning are important.

The transcript is a typical Hansard version of the truth – the words are correct, but they cannot show the disdain and sheer nastiness of the Minister. For that, you need to watch the video above. Like them or not, both Gerald Howarth and Edward Leigh make sense of the world through the lens of Christianity: the Church is woven into their lives, and Christ provides their moral compass. While many may believe that compass to be skewed – or, rather, that it does not point in a ‘progressive’ direction – at least they have a moral sense. Ms Soubry is a relativist and a modernist, and in this her third career (after TV presenter, and criminal barrister) as a politician, she is being used by others to do their dirty work – in both the House and on TV. She is personally quite charming, but with a majority of just 389, she is fighting for every vote, and if that means trimming her ‘conscience’ to the secularising zeitgeist and slapping aside a few pesky Christians, that’s exactly what she’ll do.

But it may, of course, be more than that. Perhaps, as with so many of her ilk, she simply does not recognise for a second that someone who disagrees with her might be right. And certainly not a Christian. (includes video)






30 April 2014: Anna Soubry, Government minister slams Armed Forces culture of ‘drinking to oblivion

Anna Soubry made the comments as she faced calls to scrap subsidised alcohol in military bars. She said her deep concerns about the impact of booze had been heightened by the suicide of one serving member. She told MPs she was not a “killjoy” and recognised from her time as a barrister that people with stressful jobs needed to let their hair down.

But she said the “vast amounts” consumed by the armed forces were unacceptable and must be scaled back. “I am not convinced that we couldn’t do more about the culture of drinking in our armed forces,” she said during a hearing of the defence select committee. “I’m not some killjoy. But sometimes there has been an attitude in the past that it was acceptable, as part of that de-stressing process, to all go out and consume vast amounts of alcohol as part of that camaraderie and that letting down of the hair. “There is nothing wrong with some of that, but the levels of drinking to the point of oblivion and all the rest of it is a culture which I don’t welcome in any workforce. “The incidence of binge drinking, the quantities of alcohol, across society are beginning to diminish. I would hope that would be the same in the armed forces.”

She suggested that her determination to act had been strengthened by the death of a serving member of the armed forces. “I read the coroner’s report recently into a very sad suicide case of a serving person. There were many things in that report that concerned me. “One of them, quite clearly, the culture of heavy drinking,” she said.

Pressed on what specific action she would take, she said a senior commander’s guide to alcohol was to be refreshed in the light of research into alcohol abuse in the armed forces which was due to be published soon. But she acknowledged that a cultural shift could not be encouraged purely by rules and regulations. “You can’t just put out edicts to change a culture,” she said. “You can have all the most wonderful guides and manuals in the world but what’s most important is the implementation of them and that is something that I am looking at, I can assure you of that.”

Labour MP Madeleine Moon said ending the “high level of subsidy” enjoyed at military bars would contribute to curbing consumption. She said she got the “fright of my life” when she was charged only £1 for a triple gin and tonic while visiting forces in the Falkland Islands two years ago. “One thing that could be done about alcohol problems in the armed forces is tackling the high level of subsidy in bars in military units – perhaps so they were the same price you would pay in town.”


Labour MP wants to end a “culture of drinking to oblivion”, but sees nothing wrong in ordering herself a triple gin… Perhaps it’s not just charity which begins at home?

Judging the behaviour of MP’s and Lords’ if the MP’s really wish to stop cheap subsidised boozing perhaps they should set a good example to the troops and start with the bars in the House of Commons.





2 June 2014: Another own goal for Tories: The minister who says her constituents are racist

A senior Tory sparked a fresh row about immigration yesterday after branding some of her own constituents ‘racist’ for raising concerns about it. Defence minister Anna Soubry, who is tipped for promotion to the Cabinet, said many voters were ignorant about its ‘hugely important’ benefits – while others were ‘frankly racist’. UKIP last night seized on the remarks as evidence that senior Tories still fail to understand public anger over the issue.

Miss Soubry’s comments came as Chancellor George Osborne suggested David Cameron would fail to keep his pledge to cut net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’ because of the difficulty of controlling the numbers arriving from Europe. She added to doubts about whether the target would be hit – but called on the Tory leadership to be more positive about the benefits of immigration, claiming migrants come to Britain ‘overwhelmingly to work – they do not come here to scrounge’.

Miss Soubry, who is defending a majority of just 389 in her hyper-marginal constituency in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘When you make the case with people who come and see me in my constituency surgery who say, “I’m really worried about immigration” you say really, why? ‘This is Broxtowe.

We don’t have a problem with immigrants. When you explain that to them, they get it. Not all of them – some people have prejudices, some people are frankly racist, but there are many who just don’t know the argument.’ Read more:






4 June 2015: Tory Minister Anna Soubry takes umbrage over ‘Behave Yourself, Woman’ remarks by Alex Salmond

Conservative minister Anna Soubry has hit back at Alex Salmond, accusing him of sexism after he told her to “behave yourself, woman” during a debate in the House of Commons.

The former SNP leader and Scottish first minister, who was elected as MP for Gordon in May, was speaking during a parliamentary debate on devolution on Wednesday evening.

Salmond, arguing about how many Scottish and English MPs should sit on the Scottish affairs committee, accused Conservative Party of trying to “stuff the Scottish select committee with English Conservative MPs”.

During the debate, Salmond appeared distracted by Soubry, the small businesses minister. He told her across the chamber: “The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates, she should be setting an example to your new members not cavorting about like some demented junior minister – behave yourself, woman.”

On Thursday morning Soubry responded on Twitter. “Salmond can dish it out but he can’t take it,” she said. “Alex Salmond seems to think women should be seen not heard. His attitude belongs firmly in the 19th century.”

It is not the first time Salmond and Soubry have locked horns. During the election campaign, the pair had a feisty debate on the BBC’s Sunday morning Andrew Marr programme. Soubry, who was then a defence minister, branded the prospect of a Labour government supported by the SNP “terrifying”.

Soubry, who is known for her combative manner, also once had to apologise after saying Nigel Farage “looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom”. Salmond isn’t the only parliamentarian to have faced questions over comments made to a female MP in the Commons. David Cameron was blasted for telling then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle to “calm down dear” during a heated debate in 2011.


Comment: I’m not a fan of Alex Salmond or the SNP but to accuse him of sexism…definitely not! Salmond was the man who supported, nurtured and mentored the inexperienced Nicola Sturgeon throughout her rise in Scottish politics. When he resigned as Scotland’s First Minister following the ‘NO’ Vote last November he immediately threw his considerable ‘weight’ behind Sturgeon, endorsing her as his replacement! Had Soubry been a male I’m absolutely certain that Salmond would have said, “behave yourself, man.”