BBC Wages Total War Against Scotland’s March Towards Independence – Scotland needs a Media Free of Westminster Oppressive Control – This is a Human Rights Issue



Protest at Pacific Quay













Rolf Harris A BBC Favorite












Broadcast Media and the Press in Scotland – The Scottish Electorate Places Its citizenship In Trust With Journalists – But Is the Trust Misplaced




The Referendum – Scotland Will Overcome the Naysayers and Become a Nation Again



Rigged Scottish Referendum? Why the Anglo-American Establishment is Opposed to an Independent Scotland

It is evident that Scotland’s referendum on independence was “rigged.” neutral observers said there was evidence of electorial fraud. According to observers who were present at the polling offices, there were many more “Yes” votes during the vote count. Scotland, in the course of the referendum, found itself under immense pressure… Those on the UK side campaigning for a No vote had resorted to every violation conceivable.”

Washington and London have a vested interest in Scotland remaining in the UK and referendum results were always going to be tampered with. The Anglo-American military alliance would prevent any possibility of Scottish Independence under their watch. Scotland is a strategic military location. The British government call it ‘Democracy in action” and are content Scotland wishes to remain united with England.

Independent observers said the results were heavily influenced by “Westminster state controlled propaganda” since with the exception of Glasgow and Dundee, those supporting independence failed to register a majority. It was also reported that Prime Minister David Cameron had, (with the illegal clandestine support of the nation’s Civil Service) coordinated a secret propaganda war against Scottish Independence.




He also broadcast an improper speech shortly before the referendum, (ignoring referendum protocol) in which he (almost in tears) publicaly pleaded his case that; the shared history of both countries was worth retaining. He said:

“Our nations share a proud and emotional history. Over three centuries we have built world-renowned institutions like the NHS and BBC, fought for freedom and democracy in two World Wars, and pioneered and traded around the world. Our ancestors explored the world together and our grandfathers went into battle together as do our kith and kin today – and this leaves deep, unbreakable bonds between the peoples of these islands.”

Scotland sadly lost its bid for independence. The final result of Scotland’s referendum was: 55% ‘No’ to remain in the union and 45 % who voted for independence and the mainstream media lead by the BBC will make every attempt to bury the matter. They will produce stories about the growing threat of ISIS in the Middle East or on the personal life of one of the royal’s.

Scotland’s historic vote after 307 years of British rule inspired people across Europe and the World alerted other succession movements including Catalonia and Basque country in Spain to Veneto, South Tyrol, and the island of Sardinia in Italy to Flanders in Belgium.

The reason Westminster opposes independence for Scotland is that they would lose the power of control. They would also lose the benefits of Scotland’s vast natural resources. But it’s not over for Scottish Independence. It is just the beginning and Scots proved it by turning out to vote in huge numbers. What happen’s next? How about a call for a new referendum to be monitored by the international community? That might work.





Why an Independent Scotland is Inconvenient for NATO and American Foreign Policy

Firstly, Britain’s nuclear arsenal would no longer be deployed at Faslane, in the west coastline of Scotland where British nuclear-armed submarines are stationed. This would weaken NATO’s position in the North Sea and Arctic regions as it would also limit the usage of Scotland’s ports for U.S. submarine fleets.

Scotland has been a staging ground for NATO’s defenses including “early warning stations” to supposedly counter a Russian attack. The Scottish National Party (SNP) had rejected the idea that Scotland would serve as a nuclear deterrence by banning nuclear weapons. Scotland would not be able to participate in NATO’s defense by contributing just 2 percent of its GDP to join the organization; NATO could refuse its entry on economic grounds.

Scotland would establish its own defense at a cost of £2.5 billion. According to an article by the Telegraph titled ‘Scotland will be powerless to defend itself’ which was written by John McAnally, a former Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies. He described Scotland’s military plans if independence were to become a reality:

If the SNP wins independence, it plans to establish a new defence force of some 15,000 regulars and 5,000 reserves. The naval base at Faslane would become the joint headquarters. The Scottish army would include restored infantry regiments, army vehicles, artillery and air defence systems. The air force would have fighter jets, maritime patrols, transport aircraft and helicopters. The navy would include frigates, conventional submarines and marines. There would also be some special forces, and provision for intelligence, counter-terrorism and cyber-security. All this is to be achieved within an annual budget of about £2.5?billion – a fraction of the MoD’s current spending of £34?billion.

Mr. McAnally also explained it would cost the British government billions to rebuild the necessary infrastructure needed to house its nuclear arsenal. He says it would be difficult to find an alternative to Faslane naval base which would also become costly just to relocate:





It is also difficult to envisage a workable alternative to the Faslane naval base, currently home to Britain’s nuclear deterrent and the Navy’s hunter-killer submarines. It would cost many billions to relocate the infrastructure built up over decades, such as the Coulport Naval Armament Depot, which stores torpedoes, missiles and nuclear warheads. If Britain were expelled from Faslane, there is every possibility that it could be forced into unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Why is Britain worried about Scotland’s defense and from whom? Who would attack Scotland? The Western funded ‘ISIS’ terrorist organization? Or from Russia who is threatened by NATO’s expansion close to its borders? Scotland wants peace, not war. They will be diplomatic in every sense when it comes to foreign policy. Whereas Great Britain’s history has only shown to be a force for war and occupation.

As we have seen in the past, countries that don’t want to operate under the ‘New World Order’ apparatus are considered to be enemies of “Democracy,” (Russia is an example.) So to is China, Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Syria and Iran are also enemies of Democracy according to the Anglo-American empire, because the “enemies of Democracy” want their nations to remain a “Sovereign entity”. Not under an “international Order controlled by the West.

Over the years, political and financial elites from the U.S. and Europe have planned for a single global power to control every nation on earth. In the last century, the establishment has called for a single power of authority that can dominate the financial, political and social landscapes of every nation. In 1992, President Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbot was quoted in Time magazine and said “in the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority.

National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.” Well not according to the Scottish people. Although they lost the ‘Yes’ vote, freedom and independence from British rule can still become a reality in the future.


Another Referendum – But a Different Time, A Different Place and A Different Outcome, (Will the Scots Ever Learn?)

The result was 99% yes, but that was in another time, another place, and another independence referendum. This referendum took place a hundred and nine years ago, in Norway, in 1905, where 368 208 voters chose “yes” and only 184 chose “no”.

Only men had the right to vote, but, just as in the Scottish independence debate, women were very much engaged. Not having the right to vote, Norwegian women organised a petition, which gathered nearly two hundred and fifty thousand signatures.

The pace of Norway’s journey towards greater autonomy was slower than that of Scotland. Like Scotland, Norway had shared both the formal head of state (the king) and the parliament with a neighbouring country.

Until 1814, Norway was part of Denmark and political decisions were made in Copenhagen. This year, in 2014, however, Norway celebrated the 200th anniversary of having its own constitution, and its own parliament. Norway broke the bonds to Denmark, but instead entered into a looser union with Sweden, sharing its king and foreign policy and representation abroad. It was nearly a hundred years before this union was also dissolved, and the way in which this happened is what this article is about.





Dissatisfaction was brewing in Norway from the 1860s onwards. As in Scotland of today, the political left was strong. The party which was simply named “Venstre” (“Left”) had a strong presence in the Norwegian parliament and lots of support in the population, whereas Swedish politics were more conservative than it was prepared to tolerate.

This movement thought the Swedish king had too much power. So radicalism and anti-unionism went hand in hand, just as I have observed in the weeks and months leading up to the Scottish referendum. Swedish conservatives were not very happy about this, and became sceptical towards the union as well. It was as if the union was being pulled apart by two sides that were diametrically opposed to one another.

From 1884, “Left” came to power in Norway and from started a hard fight against the union. They demanded that Norway should have its own foreign policy. This was especially important because Sweden at the time wanted a close relationship with Germany, while Norway was looking more towards Britain.

In 1895, it nearly came to a war between the two countries. Sweden terminated the common market that had existed within the union, and this was met with fury in Norway. War was narrowly avoided, and the union shakily continued for another decade.




However, in 1904 things came to a head again when the Swedish prime minister stated that if Norway were to have its own consulates, they would have to stick to Swedish foreign policy. This caused so much political commotion in Norway that the government resigned, and Christian Michelsen came to power as a new and radical prime minister.

The radical Norwegian government dealt with the disagreement over the consulates by passing a law which said that Norway should have independent consulates. This law needed to be signed by the Swedish king, which he refused, and the government then refused to sign his refusal and handed in their letters of resignation, which the king in turn refused to accept because he couldn’t form another government.

Back in Oslo, prime minister Michelsen realised how he could use this as a lever to split up the union: He declared that as the Swedish king was not able to put together a Norwegian government, he had ceased to function as Norwegian head of state.

Both sides had seen where this was going for a while, and the Swedish Crown Prince Gustav was not against dissolving the union. But neither side wanted to take the final responsibility and the “blame” for the breakdown of the union. This twist by Michelsen allowed the Norwegian government to lay the formal “blame” on Sweden, while also being celebrated by the people of Norway for their cleverness.

And Sweden, this time, was not interested in fighting. However, the Swedish people thought the Norwegian government had played dirty. Sweden set down a committee which was to settle the conditions under which Sweden would be willing to accept Norway’s breakout from the union.

Two conditions that Sweden set was that all Norwegian fortresses along the border should be demolished, and that there should be a referendum in Norway. Norway felt it would be a pity to demolish two old fortresses of particular historical interest, and the compromise was that only relatively new fortresses were demolished while the old ones were spared as historical monuments.


People take part in a parade to celebrate Norway's Independence Day outside the Castle in Oslo on May 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NTB scanpix /JUNGE, HEIKO NORWAY OUT



Also, the referendum went ahead of the 13th of August, with a landslide win for the “yes” side. In the spirit of peace, a younger member of the Swedish royal family was offered the new position on the Norwegian throne, but he declined. The job instead went to a Danish prince, who became King Haakon the 7th.

The Swedish king Oscar II was much admired internationally for having avoided a war, and he was honoured for his brave and mature handling of the situation at a peace congress in The Hague in 1907.

Although the two countries needed some years to find their feet again without each other, the relationship gradually improved. Today, Norway’s tongue-in-cheek nickname for Sweden is “Sweet Brother”. The borders are open, with no passport controls, and Sweden is among Norway’s closest trading partners and greatest sources of immigration.

In 1905, Norway started out as a tiny independent state of two million people. The two world wars which were soon to follow also took their toll, but an enormous effort, led by the Labour Party, after World War 2 in getting the country back on track and building industry and jobs and the welfare state took Norway out of austerity.

Topped up with the lucky discovery of oil in the 1960s, Norway has now become a nation of 5 million people which sits comfortably at the top of league tables as one of the richest and happiest countries in the world.




Churchill – The Scheming Opportunist Who Plotted Against the Government – Manipulating Events Taking Britain to War With Germany – The Cover Up Exposed







The Special Relationship”

The phrase was first used by Churchill in a 1946 speech. It was his way of selling to the British electorate his belief in a high level of trust and cooperation that prevailed between the USA & Britain in economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing.

Many politicians and large numbers of the Scottish public were less enamoured of the USA having been saddled with meeting the massive cost of the “lease lend contract” negotiated by Churchill & Roosevelt at the start of the war. (The final repayment to the USA was not made until 1966, twenty years after the end of WW2. So much for the special relationship more akin to inviting the placement of a Trojan Horse at the heart of Westminster.

There were many in the Tory Party who questioned Britain’s decision to go to war with Germany in support of Poland since the policy had not been debated at length in Westminster. Such doubts were speedily squashed by the Labour government which was determined to bask in the glory of winning the War with Germany, Japan and their allies. It is said that “the Victor writes the history” and questions such as, could war have been avoided?  were ignored in the glory of triumph.

But in 1982 Robert Harris released an explosive BBC “News-night” report providing previously unknown information about events in the period 1938-45. The report was centred on a former US intelligence officer, Tyler Kent who, up to 1940 was employed as a diplomat, (cyber decoding) in the US Embassy. In 1940 he was arrested, tried and convicted of violating the British Official Secrets Act, (which as an American citizen he was not bound to) by a secret court in London.

In an unprecedented act, again decided upon, in secret, at Presidential level, Tyler Kent’s diplomatic immunity had been removed so that he could be arrested by MI5 and kept secure in a British prison until after the war. There is no record of his trial, which was held in secret. But he was sentenced to 7 year’s in prison, without appeal. He was released in 1945.

The Video:








The Strange Case of Tyler Kent was subsequently written up and published – Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt – Their Conspiracy to Take Britain to War

In May 1940, a 29-year-old American code clerk at the U.S. embassy in London was arrested by British authorities in his apartment. Tyler Kent was charged with having violated the British Official Secrets Act. “For a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interests of the state,” the charge stated, Kent had “obtained a document which might be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy.” He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released and returned to the United States after serving five.

Between June 1940 and December 1945, the Kent case was the subject of numerous American newspaper articles. Most were sensational or highly speculative, since reliable information was hard to come by. (At the time, the British press was strictly censored.) Many Americans wanted to know how a foreign government could secretly arrest and put on trial a U.S. citizen who held diplomatic immunity. Congressmen and newspapers speculated as to what the code clerk really knew about rumoured secret arrangements between President Roosevelt and British leader Winston Churchill.

Many wondered if Kent had been jailed to keep him from talking. But preoccupation with the war and official government statements satisfied the curiosity of all but a handful. When Kent returned to the United States in 1945 from British imprisonment, almost all interest in the case had evaporated in the general euphoria of Allied military victory. For many years the Kent story was virtually forgotten.






The passage of time and a more sober awareness of how American presidents operate have encouraged new interest in the case. Dramatic revelations of illegal Presidential actions that emerged from the Vietnam war and the Watergate affair shocked Americans into a bitter realization that their Chief Executive could lie and break the law. In recent years the Kent case has been the subject of several scholarly and semi-scholarly articles.

Highly acclaimed author John Toland devoted several pages to the affair in his 1982 revisionist book on Pearl Harbor, Infamy. In December 1982 the British television program “News-night” examined the Kent case. The broadcast included excerpts from an interview with Kent filmed near his Texas home. Several books about the Kent story are reportedly in preparation. All this testifies to a healthy, growing readiness to critically re-examine President Roosevelt’s fateful path into the Second World War.

Tyler Gatewood Kent was born on March 24, 1911, in Yingkou (Newchwang), northern China, where his father, William P. Kent, was serving as the American Consul. The family had strong roots in Virginia. Kent’s English forebears settled there in 1644. President John Tyler was a distant relative. A grandfather was Speaker of the Virginia Assembly and lieutenant governor.

Tyler Kent attended St. Alban’s School in Washington, D.C., and received his higher education at Princeton (AB, 1931), George Washington University, the Paris Sorbonne, and the University of Madrid. From an early age he showed a remarkable aptitude for languages. Eventually he learned numerous ancient and modern languages. Like his father, Kent chose a career in the State Department foreign service.

His first assignment was to the American embassy in Moscow. From 1934 to 1939, Kent learned first-hand in the Soviet capital about life under Communism. His fluent command of the Russian language helped young Kent to know the Russian people and the realities of Soviet life much more intimately than most diplomats. He developed an intense hatred for the Soviet system and for those who had foisted this monstrous tyranny on Russia.




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Like many Americans, Kent was appalled at Roosevelt’s support for Stalin’s cruel and despotic regime. Kent’s personal experience and careful study convinced him that Communism represented a mortal danger to the world, and to the West in particular. President Roosevelt, though, considered the Soviet system a rougher but more progressive version of his own New Deal, both motivated by the same lofty humanistic ideals.

From Moscow Kent was transferred to the U.S. embassy in London. From October 1939 until that fateful 20th day of May, 1940, he served as a code clerk. This was an especially important position there because all diplomatic dispatches from American missions across Europe to Washington were routed through the London embassy’s code room.

When Kent began work, war had already broken out in Europe. U.S. law and overwhelming public sentiment seemed to insure that America would avoid entanglement in the conflict. But from his special vantage point in London, Kent quickly learned that President Roosevelt was doing everything in his power to subvert the law and deceive the people in order to get America into war.

Kent decided to make copies or summaries of diplomatic dispatches documenting Roosevelt’s secret policies and somehow bring them to the attention of sympathetic congressmen and senators. And so he took the course that led to his untimely arrest, briefly made him something of a celebrity, and cost him five years in prison. As he puts it, he got “tangled up in history.” In fact he came very close to changing its course.

As code clerk, Kent intercepted hundreds of diplomatic dispatches between the embassies in Europe and the State Department in Washington. He made verbatim copies of most of the messages and paraphrased summaries of the rest. The most important and incriminating of these was the top secret correspondence between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, which began with a letter from the President dated September 11, 1939.





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Until May 11, 1940, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty (or head of the British navy). Thus, the exchange of communications between him and Roosevelt until that date was highly irregular because it took place behind the back of the head of the British government, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Officially, heads of state communicate only with their counterpart heads of state, and any communications otherwise are understood to be for the ultimate attention of the counterpart head of state.

In the case of the Roosevelt-Churchill correspondence before May 11, 1940, not only was that exchange designed to be kept secret from Prime Minister Chamberlain, it was indeed something of a conspiracy against him. Churchill wanted to supplant Chamberlain, and Roosevelt himself desired this end. For this reason the exchange was kept especially secret. Until he became Prime Minister himself, Churchill signed his messages to Roosevelt simply, “Naval Person.”

The public revelation of the mere existence of a secret Churchill-Roosevelt exchange behind Chamberlain’s back would have been highly embarrassing to both correspondents. But if Kent had somehow succeeded in making the contents of the exchange known to the American public, there would have been loud demands for Roosevelt’s impeachment.

Kent intercepted and made a complete copy of Churchill’s message to Roosevelt of December 25, 1939 (Telegram 2720) in which Churchill informed the President that British warships would continue to violate American sovereignty to seize German ships within the U.S. three mile maritime territorial zone. However, in order to keep these violations secret, Churchill promised that the seizures would take place out of view from the American shore. “We cannot refrain from stopping enemy ships outside international three-mile limit when these may well be supply ships for U-boats or surface raiders, but instructions have been given only to arrest or fire upon them out of sight of United States shores.”

In his message to Roosevelt of February 28, 1940 (Telegram 490), which was also intercepted and copied out by Kent, Churchill wrote that the British would continue to seize and censor U.S. mail from American and other neutral ships on their way to Europe. “All our experience shows that the examination of mails is essential to efficient control,” Churchill told Roosevelt. This was, of course, a blatant violation of American neutrality and international law.







There was considerable astonishment in the United States when the full extent of Roosevelt’s connivance in the illegal British seizure and censorship of American mail to Europe became known many years after the war. If this message intercepted by Kent had been made public in 1940 or 1941, there would have been a first-rate scandal.

In the secret correspondence between Churchill and Roosevelt intercepted by Kent, the two leaders conspired to insure that the United States government would secretly tolerate British violations of American territorial sovereignty and restrictions on neutral American shipping. The two men wanted to avoid any embarrassing incidents that would provoke public indignation in America over the illegal British actions. They also worked out procedures for joint British-American naval reporting of the location of German surface raiders and submarines which violated at least the spirit if not the letter of United States neutrality.

The fact that Kent’s diplomatic immunity was waived by the U.S. government so that British authorities could throw him into prison is itself proof that the Roosevelt administration was neutral in name only. If Kent had been discovered intercepting dispatches at the American embassy in Berlin, it is inconceivable that the U.S. government would have waived his immunity so that German authorities could imprison him. To the contrary, the Roosevelt administration would have done everything it could to protect him from any possible prosecution and imprisonment by the German government.

In response to a growing clamour in the press and among the public about a possible official government cover-up in the Kent case, the State Department issued a lengthy public statement on September 2, 1944. The cleverly worded document implied, without ever actually making the charge, that Kent had been a German spy. The State Department in effect admitted, however, that it had put British interests ahead of American interests and law in the case.

Kent’s trial had been held in secret, the statement said, “because of the harmful effects to British counter-espionage efforts which were to be anticipated if certain of the evidence became public.” Even more revealing was the official admission that Kent’s extraordinary treatment was because “The interest of Great Britain in such a case, at a time when it was fighting for its existence, was therefore pre-eminent.” At a time, it must be remembered, when the United States was publicly and legally neutral in the conflict between Britain and Germany, the State Department considered British, and not American, interests in the Kent case to be “pre-eminent.”

In 1939 and 1940, the vast majority of the American people wanted to avoid involvement in the European war. They felt that U.S. participation in the First World War had been a catastrophic error and wanted to insure that the mistake would not be repeated. The Congress was likewise committed to a policy of firm neutrality and had passed the Johnson and Neutrality Acts to make sure that America kept out of war in Europe.

The President is constitutionally charged with the duty to execute the will of the American people as expressed through the Congress. The Constitution reserves the power to make war and peace exclusively to Congress. But with brazen contempt for the will of the people, the law and the constitution, President Roosevelt conspired with a small circle of confidants to incite war in Europe and bring the United States into the conflict. He broke his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”




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Over the years, numerous lies have been invented and spread about Tyler Kent. The most slanderous is that he was a traitor to the United States and a spy for Germany. In fact, Kent was a genuine patriot who put the welfare of his nation above his own personal happiness and security. He was never charged with violating any American law. Kent acted on the traditional principle that for United States government officials, American interests (and not those of Britain or any other country) come first. He was sacrificed to foreign interests by his own government.

In London Tyler Kent faced a painful dilemma: What should a government official do when he discovers that his boss, the President of the United States, is breaking the law? Kent felt a greater loyalty to his nation and its laws than to President Roosevelt. His sense of honour moved him to collect documentary evidence of Roosevelt’s treacherous crimes and try to bring it before the American people. Kent paid for his “crime” with five years in prison and a tarnished reputation for the rest of his life, while Franklin Roosevelt, who violated the Constitution and numerous laws, was re-elected President and praised as a hero.

If Tyler Kent had somehow succeeded in making public his collection of intercepted documentary evidence, he would have unleashed an enormous public outcry for President Roosevelt’s removal from office. At the very least he would have temporarily halted Roosevelt’s campaign to get America into war. Roosevelt might well have been so discredited that Wendell Wilkie would have defeated him in the 1940 presidential election.

It is difficult to say whether the Kent disclosures would have been enough to bring about Roosevelt’s impeachment. Certainly the documents provide proof of criminal activity sufficient to warrant removal from office. Congress would have been virtually compelled to begin at least preliminary impeachment proceedings. This much can be said with certainty: disclosure of the Kent documents would have dealt a powerful blow to Roosevelt’s prestige and credibility. Tyler Kent might then have significantly altered the course of American and world history.







More of the Special relationship in action

The Suez Crisis –

The British American Project –

The Atlantic Bridge –

The BBC –







The Snowden Files –

C.G.H.Q. –

The CIA –

The Influence of the media –





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The Labour Party in Scotland – The Pushmi-Pullyu Party – Two Leaders Determined to Take The Electorate in Two Directions at the Same Time







Alex Rowley and Kezia Dugdale






3 July 2016: Scottish Labour at war: Relations between Dugdale and her deputy have “completely broken down”

The relationship between Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and her deputy has completely broken down, according to a senior party source. Her friend’s claim that Alex Rowley has been undisciplined and cannot be relied on to support her.

But her deputy hit back robustly, saying: “I think it’s absolutely shocking. I am not going to get into the gutter. That’s where these people want to be. They are destroying the Labour party.”

The tensions may get worse this month when Dugdale flies to the US for a leadership programme,  creating a potential power vacuum.

Labour at Westminster has undergone a traumatic week after dozens of Corbyn’s colleagues quit their ministerial posts and called on the left-winger to quit.

Dugdale and Rowley, who were elected leader and deputy leader of Scottish Labour last year, clashed on Corbyn’s future. The split became evident last week when the party’s sole MP, Ian Murray, quit as Corbyn’s shadow Scotland secretary. Despite Murray being a close ally of Dugdale, Rowley accused the MP of putting “self-interest before the needs of the country”.

Dugdale later said it would be “difficult” for Corbyn to continue in post – a clear indication she wants him to resign – but Rowley signed a letter backing the embattled left-wing leader.

One senior Scottish Labour source said: “Their relationship has completely broken down.”











About Alex Rowley

Alex Rowley Born in Dunfermline and raised in Kelty. He attended Edinburgh University, graduating with an MA Honours in Sociology and Politics, and an MSc in continuing education. He was a local councillor with Fife Regional Council between 1990 -2012. And was elected in 2012, to the post of first leader of the new Fife Council and served the Council until his election to the Scottish Parliament in 2014. He worked for five years as an assistant, election agent and constituency manager to Gordon Brown MP.





Alex Rowley – The Elephant in the Room

It is entirely possible there will be civil war in the Labour party in England if Corbyn is elected leader. The fallout will most likely spread rapidly to it’s branch office in Scotland where the newly appointed Scottish Labour front-bench team is predominately comprised of “Blairite” members including the leader Kezia Dugdale.

The 2016 Scottish elections are just a few months distant and it is likely Dugdale will insist (without much argument from London) on taking her party forward with a manifesto limited in vision, that will be firmly rejected by the Scottish electorate. In the event this scenario is enacted Dugdale will most likely resign together with many of her supporters. Alex Rowley is an obvious choice in this case, to take up the reins of power. He is an astute politician of conviction who has argued for many years for a fully autonomous Scottish Labour Party. He is, as her unwanted Deputy leader a very serious rival to Dugdale’s leadership. It is of note he is not a member of her Front-Bench team.





Donald DewerGordon Brown







20 May 1999 – Rowley Sacked by Labour Party Bosses in London

He was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party (1 May 1998 – 31 May 1999). Outlining his vision for the future growth of the party in Scotland he expressed a view that having modernised Scotland’s political institutions and introduced a Scottish Parliament, the party needed to change it’s structure including proposals giving the Labour Party in Scotland freedom from London control. All hell broke loose and he was summoned to Millbank in London, where he was told the party had nowhere for him in its future planning. He was then invited to resign from his post as General Secretary of the Scottish Labour party a decision which provoked anger in Scotland.

Senior Labour sources in London denied that the general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party had been sacked on the instructions of London-based officials. They said that Alex Rowley had left the post of his own volition saying his task of helping the party win the Scottish Parliamentary elections had been completed and he wanted to move on to new challenges.

At interview Alex Rowley said “after the election there was a discussion about the future direction of the party. The “discussion” continued for a couple of weeks and I decided it was best for me to leave.” He added “I am not getting into a debate about this now. But there is a discussion for the Labour Party in Scotland to hold. If you modernise the political institutions it is only natural to see how the party organisation has to change. You ask yourself if the party is still in line with the political institutions. All I have ever said is that there needs to be far greater discussion about that.”

Saying it would be wrong to go into detail, he said “a number of factors” were involved in his departure from the party after only a year in the job. “I think the party has to change quite a lot. We have to have a good look at this and also at how policy is made. There must be a real partnership in power in Scotland. We have the Scottish Policy Forum and that can be seen as positive. But we also need to look at the membership and how it can have a greater say. “I point to the fact that 30,000 members is not something to be proud of. We need to increase the membership. “I flagged up at the Scottish conference that there should be a root and branch rethink about the party organisation in Scotland. But it became apparent in recent weeks and months that this was going to be difficult. I won’t go into the reasons, but I decided it was in my best interests to leave. “Now I have a number of things to consider and I have been having discussions with various people. There are several options for me to consider. But in the meantime I will be taking a well-earned rest.”

Rowley said Donald Dewar had been “very supportive”, but, asked about the role of John Rafferty, the strategist who accused of ousting him from the general secretaryship, replied: “I am not prepared to comment on this at all.” He said: “I don’t want any negativism attributed to me. I just want to move on and believe I can still play a part in Scottish Labour politics. I was brought up in the Labour Party and it is bigger than any one individual. The next few years will be a very exciting time of change and I want to play a role in that for the Scottish Labour Party.”








20 May 1999 – Parliament: Scotland: Labour sacks Scots party chief

The Labour Party in Scotland launched a month-long review of its structures yesterday after the dismissal of Alex Rowley, its general secretary. His removal is said to have been engineered by John Rafferty, Labour’s Scottish campaigns director. The sacking, by the party’s London headquarters, provoked consternation in Scotland, where Labour is sensitive to claims that it is run from England.

There were also suggestions Mr Rowley had fallen foul of the continuing battle for power between factions loyal to Tony Blair and those backing the Chancellor, Gordon Brown. Earlier this week, the surprise appointment of “Bully-Boy” John Reid as Secretary of State for Scotland, over the expected candidate, Helen Liddell, was seen as confirmation of the party’s London headquarters strong grip on power in Scotland.




Lord Maxton

Dame  Elizabeth Filkin


26 January 2001 – John Reid at centre of row over intimidation – new Northern Ireland minister “tried to frustrate standards inquiry”

Only four weeks ago John Reid, the new Northern Ireland secretary, was at the centre of a row for threatening and intimidating witnesses who gave evidence to an inquiry by Elizabeth Filkin, the parliamentary standards commissioner, into the illegal use of taxpayers’ cash for the benefit of the Labour party. She claimed that Mr Reid’s conduct amounted to “an attempt to frustrate my investigation”.

The report contained an extraordinary tape-recording showing an increasingly irascible Reid pressing witness Alex Rowley, the former general secretary of the Scottish Labour party, just before he was due to be interviewed by Ms Filkin on the scandal.

The inquiry began after a complaint by journalist Dean Nelson, then with the Observer. He reported that Reid, then Scottish secretary, and John Maxton, Labour MP for Glasgow Cathcart, had employed three researchers, paying their salaries from the MPs’ official allowances. He claimed that the three, contravening the rules governing publicly funded MPs’ researchers, were involved in Labour party campaigning. One was Reid’s son, Kevin.

The parliamentary commissioner upheld the complaint, but MPs on the standards and privileges committee overturned her findings. The money was about £16,000 to pay the salaries of the researchers; and not all their working time was spent on Labour party campaigning. There is no suggestion that Reid misused the money for any other purpose.

The main body of Ms Filkin’s report, however, concentrated on the way Reid and Maxton – who later apologised – had interfered with four witnesses to the inquiry. They were Alex Rowley, John Rafferty, former Scottish Labour party campaign co-ordinator, Paul McKinney, former Labour party director of communications in Scotland and Willie Sullivan, former Scottish development officer for the Scottish Labour party.

Ms Filkin said “the conduct of Reid caused serious and increasing concern” as her inquiries proceeded. “I was left with the impression that many witnesses felt under considerable pressure as to what they should, or should not, say to me and how far, if at all, they should co-operate with my inquiry.” In a strongly worded conclusion she found that loyal members of the Labour party had been put under enormous pressure not to provide her with evidence that could damage Reid’s explanation.

On Mr Rowley in particular, she said: “It is clear that Mr Rowley felt, and continues to feel, under pressure from Reid to say things to me which he does not wish to say and which he regards as not wholly accurate or even misleading. And so far as other witnesses are concerned, he has told me ‘I have to say to you that I find it quite astonishing that many young people such as Annmarie Whyte [Scottish Labour party office manager] are being put in the position by one of the most senior politicians in Scotland that they are having to give dishonest information to the parliamentary commissioner for standards. I have been told that others whom you have contacted have felt under immense pressure’.”

Ms Filkin commented in her report “I view this conduct by Reid as an attempt to frustrate my investigation.”

She went on “I have, for example, received evidence from Mr Rowley that, during two conversations shortly after my investigation began, Reid made threats of a particularly disturbing kind to Mr Rowley, the thrust of which was that if he “gave evidence which admitted doing wrong” he “could face criminal prosecution and risked not being adopted by the party as a parliamentary candidate.”

She reported “Mr Rowley was so concerned by Reid’s attitude that he decided, albeit reluctantly, to record their next conversation on tape. During these exchanges, which took place during a telephone call .. it is clear, both from his choice of words and the tone he adopts, that Reid is seeking to agree a line with Mr Rowley which falls short of a full and comprehensive account of the events of which they both have knowledge. Thus, at one point Dr Reid says to Mr Rowley “You don’t have to tell any lies. Do you know what I mean?” And later he adds “They cannot prove anything, Alex.” Towards the end of the conversation Reid strongly discourages Mr Rowley from giving evidence to my enquiry on oath.”

She reported “I would add that Mr Rowley’s protectiveness towards former colleagues and his continuing loyalty to the party made him initially unwilling to allow me to treat either his statement alleging threats to him by Reid or the transcript of his telephone conversation with Reid as evidence which I could quote in my report. But after it became clear to him that pressure was being applied both to him and other witnesses and that Reid had impugned his integrity as a witness, he decided reluctantly to change his mind.”

This intimidation of the witnesses was carried out by both Maxton and Reid. Maxton told Filkin that three of the witnesses had been dismissed by the Labour party and alleged that “they apparently bear a grudge against Reid as a result” and he had become “the unlucky and unwilling victim of that grudge.” Reid accused Mr Rowley of only pursuing the case because he had talked to the Observer and that “he may feel he cannot back out from this serious attack on [my] probity.”

Filkin concluded “I have no reason to believe Reid’s explanation of Mr Rowley’s possible motives in giving evidence in support of the complaint. In any case, Reid’s theory begs the question as to why, if they are not true, Mr Rowley should have made the allegations to Mr Nelson in the first place.”

MP’s at Westminster later failed to uphold her complaint on the grounds that it was “not proven.” They said the tape contained no threats, and what Reid said could have had an innocent explanation.




19 December 2014 – MSP Alex Rowley MSP writes off travel expenses

The Scottish Parliament has released figures for MSPs’ parliamentary expenses for 2014/15, which has revealed that Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley had not submitted any personal travel claims. Of his decision not to claim for travel expenses, he said “My place of work is in the constituency and in Edinburgh. I take the view that none of my constituents would be paid to get to their place of work. If people were travelling from Kelty to Glenrothes to work they wouldn’t get paid for that. I just take the view that many of my constituents work in the capital and have to pay the cost of getting there, so I will do likewise.”

His staff travel claims, totalled £334 – He explained it was for one Edinburgh-based member of staff travelling to Cowdenbeath during the summer recess. He continued, “I have two members of staff based in Cowdenbeath and the third is in Edinburgh. During the summer recess I spend most of my time working in the constituency and have him come over to work. The member of staff is being treated the same as in any other place of work – if you were based in Dunfermline and were asked to go to an office in Edinburgh, you would get expenses for that.”

Mr Rowley will be putting up the details of his expenses on his website.  He said, “I have no personal expenses that come to me direct but we run up expenses because we’re there to provide a service for people. In terms of me personally gaining from expenses, I think that’s unacceptable. Politicians are viewed as being at it all the time and that they are greedy but I think I have a responsibility to explain to people where the money is going. The key thing for me is that I can look any constituent in the eye and explain any costs I incur doing my job and be sure that I am not expecting anything more or less than any person I represent. Most of all I think it is crucial that we bring about full transparency for all expenses claimed by politicians and that is why I am using the material published by the Scottish Parliament on expenses and giving more detail on this on my website.” A complete list of expenses can be found on the Scottish Parliament website at



Elaine SmithJim Murphy


12 May 2015 – Alex Rowley and Elaine Smith warn – the Labour Party in Scotland is heading for “disappearance” in Scotland unless Jim Murphy resigns as leader to resign

Rowley, the MSP for Cowdenbeath, quit his role as Labour’s local government spokesman at Holyrood and urged Murphy to stand down. Another Labour MSP, Elaine Smith, backed his call saying the party needs “new direction.” Scotland’s only Labour MP Ian Murray accused those criticising Mr Murphy of “digging knives into the party”. Pressure has been growing on the Scottish Labour leader to step down following last week’s general election results.

Labour lost all but one of its 40 Scottish seats to the SNP in last Thursday’s election. Murphy’s once-safe majority in East Renfrewshire – a seat he had held for nearly 20 years – was eliminated by the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald.

Unison Scotland has also called for a “radical change in approach” from the Labour party in Scotland. The union said it was not its place “to initiate a change in leadership” but said if there was a wider movement proposing change it would “not oppose it.” The call comes after both the Unite union and the train drivers’ union, Aslef, also called on Murphy to resign.


Brian Taylor


Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor commented:

Alex Rowley is a Holyrood new boy, entering parliament via a by-election in January last year. But he is very far from a beginner in Labour politics. He has been at various times a council leader, the party’s general secretary in Scotland and a senior aide to Gordon Brown. So, when he says that Murphy should quit as Scottish Labour leader, he commands a degree of attention. Only a degree, mind. Among Labour at Holyrood, there are as many views about the future of the party as there are group members. By contrast, the Scottish Labour group at Westminster is entirely united. Rowley is adamant that he is not revisiting the leadership contest which followed the departure of Johann Lamont. (He backed Neil Findlay.) And he praised Murphy’s energy and application.

Rowley is a former general secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland and ran Neil Findlay’s campaign for the leadership against Murphy last year. At the weekend, Findlay also resigned from the Scottish shadow cabinet saying the election had been “a disaster.” Before being elected as an MSP, Rowley was a councillor in Fife and worked as an assistant, election agent and constituency manager to Gordon Brown. He was considered by some to be Brown’s “right-hand man and protégé”.

Rowley said Labour needs “a fundamental change in direction and strategy” but he told the BBC Murphy and his aides had focused instead on loyalty to the leadership. He warned that if Murphy remained leader, Labour would be heading for another big defeat at the Holyrood elections in 2016. The MSP’s resignation letter said he thought Mr Murphy’s post-election result speech, in which he vowed to stay on as leader, was “a mistake.” Rowley wrote “I sincerely hold the view that you continuing as leader whilst not in the Scottish Parliament, and not in an elected position holding a democratic mandate, means you will become an unhelpful distraction from the real issues that Scottish Labour must focus on.”

Murphy met Labour MSPs on Monday to discuss the party’s disastrous election performance. Speaking after losing his East Renfrewshire seat, Jim Murphy said the Labour party would “fight on.” Rowley added “It is clear from the discussion yesterday that dissent in public from the leadership view is perceived as disloyalty, but I am convinced we need a fundamental change in direction and strategy and therefore cannot sign up to your leadership as one of your shadow team.” A spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party said “It’s disappointing that Alex chose to resign. The task for the Scottish Labour Party going forward is to work together to rebuild our movement and regain the trust of the people of Scotland.”


Neil Findlay


Elaine Smith, Labour MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, praised her colleagues, Rowley and Findlay, for resigning as party spokesmen. She said “They are putting loyalty to the Labour Party ahead of personal career or position and I think Jim Murphy should do likewise and step down as leader. In the face of the worst result for Labour since 1918 we do need a new direction.” She is a member of the Campaign for Socialism which has already called on Mr Murphy to “stand aside.”

Ian Murray, Scotland’s only Labour MP, hit out at those “digging knives into the party.” The shadow Scottish secretary said the last thing any party should do after a heavy election defeat is make “knee jerk reactions and turn in on themselves.” He said: “Everyone who is looking for a camera and a TV studio to dig knives into the Scottish Labour party should go home, sit in a darkened room, reflect how the election was lost and work together.”

A statement from Unison Scotland’s Labour Link said: “It is unprecedented for a party leader not to stand down after such a defeat, particularly when he loses his own seat. The campaign may have been energetic, but it lacked focus and clearly voters do not regard Jim Murphy as a credible messenger of Scottish Labour values. Scottish Labour has a limited period of time to reorganise itself to provide a credible challenge in the Scottish Parliament elections next year.”

At the weekend, the Unite union said the Labour leader should go “without delay” and warned that, otherwise, “extinction looms” for the party.

After Monday’s three-hour meeting of Labour MSPs, finance spokeswoman Jackie Baillie told the BBC that the “overwhelming majority of MSPs were very clear, they want Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale to lead us forward into the future.”



and her new Blairite Front Bench Team


22 May 2015 – Alex Rowley: Labour in Scotland must become the party of Home Rule or Labour will not survive

AS I watched the General Election results come in on the television in the early hours of May 8, I was not shocked there was a move away from Labour and we were getting beaten, but shocked by the scale of the defeat.

It is clear we need a fundamental review of both strategy and practice. To me, it was obvious this defeat was not just a question about leadership, although the strategy which had been followed by the leadership was an issue that did need to be reviewed. I questioned what had happened after the major review led by Jim Murphy in 2011. We could not say the strategy there was sound. We bounced from focus group to focus group making policies up as we went along with no real clarity of what Labour in Scotland actually stood for. We needed then, as we need now, a proper analysis of where we are and what went wrong.

If the General Election result is to be applied to the 2016 Scottish election, the outcome could lead to Labour losing every constituency seat and seven MSPs and the return of a SNP Government with an overwhelming majority. Even with a disastrous low of 24 per cent of the vote, the PR system would be kinder to us than first past the post and we would get somewhere in the region of 31 list seats while the SNP would have around 74 seats.

However, that does not take into account the fact the Greens and others may do better. Thirty-one seats for Labour may well be very ambitious. The prospect means many in Labour who have their sights set on Holyrood are keen to get onto Labour’s list. But this is a short-sighted strategy which will solve nothing in the longer term.

If it is the case that by May 2016 we have been unable to progress from the current all-time low, my view is we will just sink even lower. Some may well save their careers for a wee bit longer, but the party will not survive.

So what to do? Some were rather annoyed about Johann Lamont’s comment last year about the UK party leadership treating Scottish Labour as the branch office. I have heard many say this is not a description they recognise. However, I am afraid I do and believe it must be addressed in order for Labour in Scotland to move forward with a more progressive approach that sets the future agenda.

We need to move beyond tinkering with party rules and learn the lessons from sister parties across Europe where there is a strong federal system. It is crucial we take a far greater degree of control of the policy and decision-making while remaining committed to being part of a wider UK party where appropriate.

We need to become the party of Scottish Home Rule and our opening salvo to Westminster and the UK Labour Party must be that the current relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK is untenable and will require radical change.

Defining what Labour in Scotland stands for is key. Labour exists to advance the social and economic case of working people across the country through an agenda that puts fairness and equality at its heart.

Labour must fundamentally move its approach to one that focuses on issues and solutions that we represent, as opposed to focusing on what other parties do. The party should exist not to oppose the SNP but to address the issues in our communities and bring about a more inclusive and prosperous country. The attack-style politics is not working.

Where we can work with the SNP, such as finding a long-term solution to funding local government, then we should, and where we think their approach will be damaging, such as ending the Barnett formula, then we should make the case. Where we believe the SNP is not delivering, we must put forward our alternative, not simply attack their failure.

On the constitution, we must move away from the politics of fear to the politics of hope and ambition through pressing the case for further devolution and setting out how we will use the powers, both in Edinburgh and in London, to deliver our vision.

We must build a radical and progressive movement for change in Scotland that embraces devolution, progresses localism and delivers fairness. We must also encourage open debate, whether that is over the renewal of Trident or over the role of the welfare state. Labour in Scotland must reflect the views of members and the communities we seek to serve.



7 June 2015 – Rowley backs Scottish Labour ‘autonomy’

A Senior Labour MSP has called yet again for the party in Scotland to become autonomous to help it to rebuild after last month’s SNP landslide. Speaking at a conference of Labour members in Fife, Alex Rowley called for support for “a transformation of Labour and how it functions within the UK with the party in Scotland becoming an autonomous political party in its own right.”

Kezia Dugdale, favourite to be elected to the post of Scottish leader, contradicted his call and warned against separating Scottish Labour from the UK party. She argued that the independence referendum had been won on the basis of pooling and sharing resources across the whole of the UK and that the same logic applied to the Labour party.

Unsurprisingly the SNP welcomed Rowley’s comments, calling on Labour to have an “open discussion” about full fiscal autonomy. This followed last night’s votes on the Scotland Bill in the House of Commons where Labour twice failed to vote on full fiscal autonomy, abstaining on both votes.
Commenting, Stewart Maxwell MSP, said “Alex Rowley’s comments on the merits of Scotland being in control of its own finances are to be welcomed – now the other candidates to form the next Labour leadership in Scotland should follow his lead. At Westminster last night, Labour twice failed to vote against full fiscal autonomy – despite attacking it week in and week out in the Scottish Parliament. That is the sort of incoherence that has landed them in their present crisis, and it begs the question – what are Labour now for?

“Labour are all over the place on more powers for Scotland – they are facing an identity crisis, but they should use this confusion as an opportunity for change. In the aftermath of Rowley’s comments – and the bizarre performance of Labour MPs in the House of Commons failing to vote against something they continually attack – Kezia Dugdale should now commit, at the very least to Labour having a full and open debate the merits of full fiscal autonomy, which is about growing the economy and delivering better policies. The alternative is leaving George Osborne and the Tories in charge of Scotland’s resources.”





8 June 2015 – Kezia Dugdale rejects calls for a separate Scottish Labour party

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has dismissed calls for a separate Scottish party. Her comments were in response to Cowdenbeath Labour MSP Alex Rowley saying the best way to rebuild after May’s election defeat was to free the party from the “constraints” of UK Labour. Dugdale said: “I’d like to see us on more regular occasions have a slightly different, a more nuanced position on the issues in Scotland, standing up for Scotland’s interests. We can do that with greater party autonomy, that doesn’t mean we are an independent party, that would mean completely separating ourselves off from our UK colleagues and I don’t want to do that, I don’t think that’s right.” Dugdale, further said she believed a separate party would go against the logic of the result of the independence referendum.

Dugdale accepted responsibility for her role in the general election debacle that saw Labour lose all but one Scottish seat, and admitted that Scottish Labour’s problems can not be fixed overnight. But she believed she is the best qualified person to turn Scottish Labour’s fortunes around.

At a UK Labour leadership hustings at the weekend, candidate Andy Burnham agreed with Dugdale position despite saying last month there was a case to be made for two separate parties. This position was also backed by deputy leader hopeful Tom Watson.

At the same hustings Jeremy Corbyn was the only leadership candidate not to dismiss the notion of a separate party, pointing out many Labour supporters had voted yes in the referendum and for the SNP in the general election.


Dugdale and Gray



16 June 2015 – Labour Scotland’ should be open to full fiscal autonomy, says Alex Rowley

Scottish Labour deputy leader front runner threw down a challenge to his opponents that the party must fully embrace devolution and be open to discussions about full fiscal autonomy. Alex Rowley, MSP for Cowdenbeath and former shadow spokesman for local government, said Labour needed to turn the political debate around and focus on what powers should stay at Westminster, rather than on what powers should come to Holyrood. The powers that come with Smith need to be delivered to the letter and we need to make sure that happens, and post-Smith – as I don’t see Smith as the end of devolution – we need to take that agenda forward. Rather than arguing for what powers should come from Westminster to Scotland, we should instead be arguing what powers should be kept at Westminster.”

Rowley, former general secretary of the Scottish Labour party, sensationally quit his front bench role last month following Murphy’s failure to stand down after the devastating General Election defeat. He has since drawn up a strategy for the future of the party, arguing for it to become independent from UK Labour. He has also written a discussion paper on the subject, calling for a new “Labour Scotland” to become the party of Home Rule. “Labour Scotland needs to lead the agenda in terms of devolution and we can’t lead the agenda when we continually have to check with UK Labour about what we can or cannot say. An autonomous Scottish Labour party would be driving the agenda in Scotland,” he said.

“Our focus should be on what powers we need for success as a nation, and then argue for those based on that premise. We need to set that out in our 2016 manifesto agenda. We should not be talking Scotland down and telling Scotland what it can’t have. Post-Smith we need to have an open discussion, including about full fiscal autonomy. However, Rowley denied his position amounted to a split from the UK party. He said: “I want to work in a devolved country in a strong Scottish Parliament but remain in the UK and have an autonomous Scottish Labour party which is setting the agenda in Scotland for Scotland. There is a big difference in that and breaking away from the Labour party in the UK. I am not arguing for a breakaway party and I think people who interpret my position in that way are trying to muddy the waters.”

Rowley’s views are likely to be popular among grass roots Labour members – many of whom were opposed to the party standing alongside the Conservatives in the Better Together alliance. Last night party members welcomed Rowley’s stance. “Alex is a serious politician and deep thinker who recognises the serious trouble the party is in and is giving some clear answers about how it should move forward,” said one. Another added “I like what Alex Rowley is saying. His views may alienate some, but get the support of others. He is also the only politician who appears to be coming up with something fresh, something apart from ‘we need to listen to what people are saying’.”

Meanwhile, in the party’s leadership contest almost three-quarters of Scottish Labour’s parliamentarians have backed Kezia Dugdale to be their next leader. Dugdale, now has the support of 27 MSPs as well as Labour’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray and the party’s two MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.

Rowley is among a group of MSPs throwing their weight behind Dugdale. Dugdale said: “Politics in Scotland has changed fundamentally and the Scottish Labour Party have only one chance to get it right. But this leadership election isn’t just about transforming Scottish Labour, it is about stepping up and regaining the trust of the people of Scotland.”

It was recently yesterday that the party had around 13,000 members north of the Border, about a tenth the size of the SNP membership.





13 July 2015 – Alex Rowley – Scottish Labour deputy leadership candidate condemned Labour leadership for abandoning commitment to tax credits.

The announcement by Harriet Harman that Labour will not oppose the Tory attack on Tax Credits left many Labour members confused and angry. Alex Rowley said “We must unite in our condemnation of her stance which as so many are now saying #notinmyname.”

For many, being in work is not a safeguard against poverty. A recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed of the 920,000 people living in poverty in Scotland on average in the three years up to 2012/13, 41 per cent were working-age adults or children from working families.

The report highlighted the scale of low pay in Scotland – 600,000 were paid below the Living Wage in 2013/14; 250,000 men and 350,000 women. These numbers represent 23 per cent of male employees, 31 per cent of female employees and 27 per cent of employees overall.

In Scotland today under employment is also a real issue with substantial numbers of Scots who are in work but who would prefer to work more hours than they do. Over 215,000 (216,500) people in Scotland in 2014 were deemed ‘underemployed’, and although the rate slightly decreased from the previous year it still effected 8.6% of the workforce.

And although the Scottish Government hold no official records on the numbers of people employed on zero-hour contracts, it is estimated that there are currently 80,000 workers in Scotland suffering these insecure working conditions.

It is vital that we continue to focus on the issue of in-work poverty, alongside tackling unemployment and the associated poverty. Tax credits – now under threat from a Tory Government committed to ending them – are key to fighting in-work and child poverty.




Tax credits, introduced by Gordon Brown when Chancellor of the Exchequer, played a major part in one of the biggest improvements in poverty alleviation seen in Britain since the war. Child poverty had rocketed between 1979 and 1997. When Labour came into office in 1997, 33 per cent of Scottish children lived in relative poverty, after housing costs.

This had fallen to 21 per cent by 2010, which represented a fall of over 30 per cent. After housing costs, relative child poverty in Scotland fell from affecting 360,000 children in 1996-1997 to 210,000 in 2010-11. Since 2010, as recent figures confirm, the gains made in tackling child poverty have stalled and the number of children in poverty has remained at 210,000.

Overall in 2013/14, 18 per cent of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty after housing costs. This equates to almost 1 million Scots (940,000) living in poverty and is at a higher level than in 2010/11.

Today in Scotland, 350,000 people receive tax credits, 71 per cent of whom – 250,000 – are in work. So make no mistake, the majority of those who receive tax credits are on low paid work.

When the financial crash came, tax credits were what enabled families to get by, and now they persist at a time when the working poor outnumber, for the first time, those out of work who are living in poverty.

So we must recognise the importance of tax credits in supporting low paid workers and whilst I agree that our ultimate goal must be to end poverty low pay, that will not happen immediately but removing tax credits or elements of the entitlement will hurt children and drive people out of work.




18 August 2015 – Alex Rowley will push for more “devolution” for Scottish Labour to set own agenda

Alex Rowley will continue to fight for a more autonomous Scottish Labour in his new role as deputy leader of the party north of the Border. Rowley, (who significantly has no role in Keiza Dugdale’s newly appointed front bench team), believes shaking off the perception of the party in Scotland being ‘‘branch office’’ of the UK Labour Party is necessary after its disastrous General Election. That would mean the party’s MP Ian Murray and any future MPs would take direction from north of the Border, even if this contradicted stances taken on those issues at the UK level.

Launching his deputy leadership campaign message in The National in June, Rowley said: “We must build a radical and progressive movement for change in Scotland that embraces devolutions, progresses localism and delivers fairness. We must also encourage open debate and discussion, whether that is the renewal of Trident, the role of the welfare state and how to build a fairer more equal society. Labour in Scotland must reflect the views of members and the communities we seek to serve and we will do that by engaging in an open and transparent approach rebuilding the trust that once made Labour the workers’ party and put us at the heart of every community.”

Last night a source close to Rowley said in his new role he would be pushing for a more autonomous Scottish party. “He very much believes that policy for Scotland has to come from Scotland and the party needs to be completely run by the leadership in Scotland. In terms of MPs, he is very much of the view that they should be taking their direction from the party in Scotland. It might take time, but he knows that is the direction the party has to move in and there is no going back from that. The branch office label will not be acceptable any-more. Alex will be saying ‘yes, we are united with our Labour comrades across the UK, but if the party members in Scotland are thinking a certain way that is the approach MSPs and MPs should take’.”

Rowley, MSP for Cowdenbeath and a former aide to ex-prime minister Gordon Brown, defeated fellow MSP Richard Baker and Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson to win the deputy leadership race on Saturday, while Dugdale beat Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh to become leader. The contest followed former leader Jim Murphy’s resignation in June, following the loss of 40 of the party’s 41 MPs at the General Election. Rowley quit Murphy’s front-bench team in protest at the leader continuing in his post for several weeks after the defeat.

Murphy’s predecessor Johann Lamont resigned following last September’s referendum, accusing her London bosses of treating the party in Scotland like a “branch office”. Rowley said “Some were rather annoyed about Johann Lamont’s comment last year about UK party leadership treating Scottish Labour as the branch office. I have heard many say this is not a description they recognise.” However, I recognise it and believe it must be addressed in order for Labour in Scotland to move forward with a more progressive approach. We need to become the party of Scottish home rule and our opening salvo to Westminster and the UK Labour Party must be that the current relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK is untenable and will require radical change.”


Scottish Front Bench Team August 2015




19 August 2015 – Kezia Dugdale unveils new Scottish Labour frontbench

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has unveiled her new “Blairite” gender-balanced team – but there are no front bench seats for any of the party’s MSPs who are backing Jeremy Corbyn in the race to be UK party leader.

Prior to choosing her cabinet, Ms Dugdale said: “I want a Scotland where power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. I want a country where a young person’s ability to get on in life is determined by their potential, work rate and ambition, not by their background. The idea of simply shadowing government ministers is outdated. Of course we must hold the SNP government to account for its failings on schools, our NHS and policing – and we will do that. But I want to shake things up and have a fresh start. We need to be out and about across Scotland. The key focus of every single member of my front bench team will be setting out a positive Labour vision of transforming Scotland.”



22 August 2015 – Scottish Labour deputy backs Trident referendum and says Corbyn would make “first class” leader

Scottish Labour’s new deputy leader, Alex Rowley has called for a referendum to decide whether Britain renews the Trident nuclear deterrent and said left winger Jeremy Corbyn would make a “first class” boss of the UK party. Rowley, who became party number two last weekend, also revealed that he is putting his political career on the line at next year’s Holyrood election by pledging to quit his new job if he is not re-elected in his Cowdenbeath constituency.

In his first major interview since winning the deputy contest, the former Fife Council leader warned that it was “obvious” that his party must change and regain trust or face annihilation in Scotland. On Trident, he said he did not believe the case had been made for renewal, potentially signalling a split at the top of the party. Party leader Kezia Dugdale has said a debate over Trident at October’s party conference is “not impossible”, but is known to favour multilateral disarmament meaning international agreements would be struck before Britain’s nuclear arsenal is reduced or eliminated.

While Labour has not supported unilateral disarmament since 1987, Rowley said party members should have their say over renewal of the Clyde-based weapons system, believing the decision is so significant it should be put to a national vote. “It’s a massive issue, and there’s been no debate within Labour, or within the country. It is a military issue, with serious question marks over whether it is the best way to defend the country, but it’s also a moral issue. On such a massive issue, there should be debate across the party, the country, and a referendum. I have not seen the case made as to why we would renew, but the most striking thing is a complete lack of debate.”

Mr Rowley is to push ahead with plans to create a far more autonomous party north of the border, saying he recognised the stinging criticisms of former leader Johann Lamont when she described Scottish Labour as being run like a “branch office” from London, with previous attempts by Jim Murphy to emphasise Scottish Labour’s independence seen as “a gimmick”. He will move to give members a greater say over policy, in line with a pledge from Ms Dugdale, saying one of the “tragedies” of the New Labour era was that internal debate had been “shut down.”

He would not publicly reveal who he is backing for the UK leadership, saying he would work with whoever won. However, he strongly hinted that he supported Mr Corbyn, despite Ms Dugdale warning that a victory for the MP risked leaving the party “carping on the sidelines”. He added “All I would say is that I’m very encouraged by the type of debate taking place within the Labour Party at grass-roots level… I want to see a progressive Labour Party, and we need change. On the question of Jeremy Corbyn and attacks that have come his way in terms of electability, I have no fears whatsoever that if the Labour membership elect him, he [wouldn’t be] be a first class leader. I have read his policy agenda and there is not a lot in there I would disagree with.”




Mr Rowley has already promised not to take the automatic place at the top of the party list he is entitled to, which would guarantee a Holyrood seat. But he went further by revealing he has no intention of seeking a list slot at all, saying it would be “defeatist” and that his position signalled his determination to win back trust. He said Labour would set out a clear policy platform to address unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality in the months ahead, with homelessness, housing, health and social care and youth unemployment key concerns. He did not rule out proposing to use new powers for Holyrood to increase taxes on the rich to fund better public services.

Mr Rowley added that he was unconcerned at reports that Ms Dugdale privately backed Richard Baker for the deputy leadership, saying she had his complete support. The 51-year-old dismissed suggestions that a poor performance next year would lead to pressure for her to resign, saying Ms Dugdale would remain leader for “many, many years” meaning he would be too old to stand for the leadership when she eventually stood down.

On the issue of further devolution, he said measures set out in the Scotland Bill would not be “the end of the journey”, and called for a “friendlier, open discussion” about what should remain under Westminster control. He added: “I campaigned for a No vote because I believed it was in Scotland’s best interest to have significant devolved power. Whether it’s full fiscal autonomy or other powers, if it can be demonstrated it’s in Scotland’s best interest to go down that road then that’s what I’ll support. We can’t keep closing the debate down, and end up with a country divided.”


Nicola SturgeonBill Kidd




22 August 2015 – Scottish Labour deputy leader calls for referendum on Trident renewal

On Friday, the First Minister became the latest high-profile figure to sign a statement calling for plans to replace Trident to be cancelled. Nicola Sturgeon added her name to the “Rethink Trident” statement, which is organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Compass. The statement says the country can “ill-afford to be spending in excess of £100 billion on replacing Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons.” Labour leadership front runner Jeremy Corbyn and Deputy Leader of the labour Party in Scotland Alex Rowley also supported the aims of the “Rethink Trident” statement. Rowley also said the veteran left winger would make a “first class” boss of the UK party. He said “I have no fears whatsoever that if the Labour membership elect him, he wouldn’t be a first class leader.”

SNP MSP Bill Kidd, co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, said “I very much welcome Alex’s rethink on Trident – he joins a coalition of voices from across politics, civic Scotland and military experts calling on the UK Government to abandon its plan to waste £100 billion replacing these morally abhorrent nuclear weapons. I hope now that Alex will join the First Minister in signing CND’s “Rethink Trident” statement. With Labour’s support, Scotland could speak with one voice on this issue and form a powerful collective voice against spending billions on obscene weapons of mass destruction.”




25 August 2015 –  Dugdale’s cringe-worthy interview. Clearly Alex Rowley has hit a nerve

It’s beyond belief that she’s the party leader in Holyrood, another startling selection. It’s so disheartening that in the UK system we have a party that has completely abandoned the people they continuously lie about representing. It’s shameful. I want full nuclear disarmament, I want jobs, I want investment into the NHS, not a new class of nuclear submarines.

Jim Murphy’s pro renewal answer was insulting, Labour want ‘unilateral disarmament of nuclear weapons around the world’ but seek the renewal of our own weapons of mass destruction.

Kezia Dugdale’s going to ‘create more space’ for a debate around the issue. It sounds like, ‘she’s buying time’, because our better together, red Tory labour branch office is in disarray about the idea of Jeremy Corbyn becoming the new leader.

Dugdale has no credibility left, she’s a career politician, she says only plans to stay in politics for 10 years. She’s already passively vilified the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn. I hope he’s elected and gets shot of her right away.

Dudgale is a Red Tory, shamelessly discrediting her own father. Ultimately, she’s leading labour to another wipe-out in Holyrood next year, a split party with the Tory’s being elected again in 5 years time.





James Kelly MSP – Scottish Labour Unionist Party’s – Mr Bumble – What a Tumshie!!





Introducing James Kelly

James Kelly grew up in Rutherglen and stays in Cambuslang with his wife Alexa and their two daughters.

He is a Scottish Labour Co-operative politician and Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Rutherglen constituency from 2007.

He is the current Scottish Labour Party Business Manager in the Scottish Parliament and the party’s election co-ordinator for the 2016 Scottish Elections.

He has mastered the art of appearing at just about every positive photo opportunity and sound bite interview, keeping his profile high in the public eye, whilst always ensuring he has available enough  “non-stick teflon” to spread around enabling protection of his political persona in a cloak of invisibility.

He is a very poor public speaker possessing a delivery akin to Mr Sleepy.



14 June 2007 – Scottish Parliament Motion – Trident Debate

Whilst recognising that decisions on matters of defence are the responsibility of the UK Government.

This Parliament nevertheless calls upon the UK government to reject the proposed replacement of Trident.

71 MSPs voted for the motion.

Including all SNP, Liberal Democrat and Greens,  1 independent and 5 Labour (Bill Butler, Malcolm Chisholm, Marlyn Glen, Cathy Beattie and Elaine Smith).

16 Conservative voted against.

39 Labour MSPs, including James Kelly abstained.

3 MSPs did not register a vote.



1 December 2009 -Labour MSP James kelly criticised for not declaring he is the brother Tony Kelly the lawyer defending the release of Lockerbie bomber Mohmed Al Megrahi’

Labour’s James Kelly is a member of the the Holyrood committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi’s release from jail.

In that capacity he questioned  Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on a number of issues.

Kelly told the convener he had no declarations of interest at the time he joined the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee.

But this was untrue. His brother Tony Kelly is defence lawyer for the Lockerbie bomber!!!

Kelly insisted criticism of him was “frankly ludicrous” and that his family relationship was “well known”.

But SNP committee member Stewart Maxwell said:

“In the interests of transparency I am surprised that Mr Kelly did not see fit to declare his personal relationship to Mr Megrahi’s lawyer. In a case which has caused such controversy  any cloud over the hearing is deeply unfortunate.” (The Herald)


Kelly’s love of media exposure ensures there is a steady stream of  UTube videos  exposing him as the Scottish labour Party’s Mr Bumble

23 August 2009 – Kelly’s rambling speech of little substance in the debate about job losses at Vion Foods.

23 August 2009 – Kelly’s speech in the Scottish Parliament debate on a UK general election.

16 June 2012 – Kelly waffling about the Olympic flame passing through Rutherglen. 

12 September 2013 -Kelly’s audacity seeking to defend Lamont’s FMQ attack on Scottish businessman.

13 September 2013 – The Johann Lamont Land Deal  fiasco.

Kelly to the rescue of his leader without mention that it was Labour’s Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)  who forked out £840,000 of taxpayers money for a lump of land worth £50,000. And who was head of (SPT) at the time?  OH!!!! it was Johann Lamont’s Husband.

27 November 2013 – Kelly drops a clanger over Labour’s house building record.

10 June 2014 -Kelly hasn’t a clue about Airport Passenger Duty.

10 October 2014 – Johann Lamont tries to make political capital out of a rail contract, awarded to a Dutch firm. Alex Salmond explains, but it all goes over Johann’s wee head. Seeking to add hilarity to the proceedings and oblivious to all that had gone before Kelly rides to the rescue of his leader offering confused and contradictory arguments in his inimitable lugubrious style.

31 January 2015 – The Chilcot report debate. Kelly demonstrates abysmal levels of debating skills, and rhetoric.

24 March 2015 – Asked repeatedly Kelly fails to answer the question. Would  Labour allow the Tory Party to rule as a minority government?







Air Pollution – Tens of Thousands of Early Deaths in the UK – Not Our Problem – Say the Captains of Industry




29,000 early deaths each year in the UK directly attributable to air pollution. But the Tory (greenest ever government)  government refuses to meet the EU standards

Greenpeace’s head of energy, Daisy Sands said “To protect the profits of a few coal-burning energy firms the self titled “greenest government ever” is lobbying to “water down” air pollution rules that could save hundreds of lives and many millions in NHS costs. Not content with locking consumers into higher bills by undermining the cheapest clean energy sources and home efficiency, ministers are now putting their health at risk by letting big polluters off the hook.” But it’s all about our profits say the carbon production “Captains of Industry.”



Water vapour from power stations in Europe. Limits on emissions from power plants have been weakened due to industry lobbying, says Greenpeace.




5 March 2015 – UK Industry lobbyists in Westminster weakened Europe’s air pollution rules

New limits on air pollution in Europe have been watered down because governments are allowing some of the worst polluters to help draw up the rules. Despite UK claims to the contrary, energy industry representatives repeatedly and forcefully pushed for weaker pollution limits at meetings in Brussels. As a result of ongoing lobbying, the proposed European Union standards on toxic emissions from coal plants will be less strict than in China.

An analysis of the backgrounds of hundreds of representatives appointed by governments to sit the official group charged with formulating new limits on air pollution across Europe found that out of 352 members of the technical working group, 183 are either employed by the companies that are being regulated, or by lobby groups representing those companies.

Documents released under the “freedom of information act” show that the companies helped to formulate Britain’s position, which was adopted and submitted to the European negotiations two years ago. The UK government maintains that industry representatives did not negotiate but at key meetings in Brussels, they forcefully pushed for weaker pollution limits. Five out of the UK’s nine-strong delegation in Brussels work for companies that are responsible for large-scale emissions, including coal power plant operators RWE, EDF and E.ON. The remaining members of the British delegation are civil servants who are committed to the policies of the UK government.

Officials from energy firms repeatedly complained about the cost of clean air improvements, and a perceived lack of analysis of the economic consequences. They also lobbied to eliminate measures such as ‘coal washing’ from consideration, which would have reduced emissions of ash and sulphur dioxide. Other measures advanced by energy firms included weaker limits for nitrogen oxide emissions from gas plants, and using more polluting plants as the baseline for limits set under the new rules.

Christian Schaible, a senior policy officer for the European Environment Bureau said “Operators of energy utilities shouldn’t sit in the official member states delegation to avoid obvious conflicts of interest in the setting of environmental performance benchmarks that they will themselves have to meet.” But business representatives, members of delegations from Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, France and Spain stand accused of being the driving force behind the weakening of proposed controls.

Lawrence Carter, a campaigner for Greenpeace said “This is a classic case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Toxic emissions are killing thousands of people across Europe every year, but rather than clamp down on polluters, politicians are allowing them to prioritise profit over public health. People in the UK could now end up paying with their health for our government’s sell-out to the coal lobby on a vital issue like air quality. By leaving the big polluters to write new air quality rules, EU and UK ministers are guilty of a collective dereliction of duty.”

The industrial emissions directive rules were originally proposed in June 2013 and could still be further weakened in a formal proposal which the commission hopes to have ready by the end of July 2015. If implemented across Europe, they would cut sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions. But an EU source confirmed that this would still be much less robust than in other countries.

The new rules govern ‘best available techniques’ for curbing emissions under the directive, which is intended to prevent or reduce pollution. However, a clause in the directive allows rules to be implemented in an “economically viable and technically reliable” way. Some countries argue that the benefits of cleaner air are outweighed by the cost of technologies such as selective catalytic reduction, the most effective way of controlling nitrogen oxide emissions.

Industry groups say that the top 20 energy utilities have already lost €500bn since 2008 because of EU clean energy targets. “Looking at the potentially high number of power plants which we will still have to close and the very limited scope for investing in this area, I think it is logical that industry should have expressed a strong interest in keeping their ability to supply much-needed balancing power alive,” said Hans ten Berge, the secretary-general of Eurelectric, which represents Europe’s electricity companies.

On Tuesday, the European Environment Agency warned that air pollution will still cause hundreds of thousands of people to die prematurely in Europe in the next two decades because of governments’ failure to act.
Comments: With some exceptions, most political parties are funded by corporations of one sort or another – & thus in turn are open to the sort of abuse noted in the article. In the UK, 50% of the people working in DECC come from power companies such as EON, EdF RWE etc. It is they who set government energy policy – which naturally suits the power companies. The Tories and Labourites are highly influenced by the power sector lobby – which cruises around giving money to whoever is in power (or looks as though they will get into power).

Playing with peoples’ lives for profit seems to be part of what big business is all about. A responsible government wouldn’t allow such cynical views to infect their policies and drive their actions, but the Westminster government seems to share the corporate perspective of seeing pound signs where they should be seeing people, fellow human beings.

It’s not simply putting profit before People to say “we want softer targets regardless of what harms our products and actions incur”, it’s treating people AS profit; treating humans as fodder, units of expendable cost against the potential to make money. It’s disgusting, and it has to stop.

I’ll bet there are a number of politicians and highly placed mandarins receiving bungs or later “moving on” to highly paid “jobs” in the companies they helped. This is not just corruption, it’s the kind of corruption that kills tens of thousands of people every year.



The role of industry experts on European countries’ delegations in power plant pollution negotiations is to be curbed.




28 May 2015 – Brussels moves to limit coal lobby’s influence on pollution standards

European countries must not allow industry experts in their national delegations to lobby for weaker coal standards, the European commission’s top environment official has said.

The move follows revelations that big energy lobbyists included in British delegations to Brussels mounted a sustained and aggressive drive for weaker limits on toxic pollutants that are responsible for over 20,000 deaths a year in the UK alone.

The new instruction by the commission’s director-general for the environment, Karl Falkenberg, was outlined in a letter to his counterparts in all 28 EU countries, dated 20 May 2015. Falkenberg said that lines dividing national representatives, industry experts and NGOs should be strictly adhered to in the technical working groups (TWGs) that negotiate emissions standards.

“Whilst nothing precludes that the industries concerned or NGOs can assist member state representatives in exchanging information, it must be clear that during TWG meetings and indeed, in all other TWG proceedings, a member state representative presents the views of its national authorities,” he wrote. Industry experts and NGOs in national delegations “should ensure that their expressed views are fully consistent with the views of their member state,” he added.

An analysis earlier this year found that most of the 352 working group members tasked with drawing up new air pollutions controls were either employed by the companies being regulated, or by lobby groups representing those companies. Five out of the UK’s nine-strong delegation worked for big energy firms such as RWE, EDF and E.On.

Although such members are not supposed to negotiate, in practice it was discovered that they made multiple comments, requests and lobby pushes, focused on the purported costs of tighter pollution standards for their businesses. They also advanced measures to weaken limits for nitrogen oxide emissions from gas plants.

Louise Hutchins, a campaigner at Greenpeace welcomed the commission’s rebuke to practices that could allow lobbyists to pose as government representatives. “Thanks to this infiltration, proposed limits on toxic emissions are now so weak they would allow Europe’s coal plants to pollute more than some of their notorious Chinese counterparts,” she said. “The damage has been done, but government officials are still in time to reverse some of it.

With tighter rules, thousands of lives and billions in health and economic costs could still be saved in the EU every year.” A recent study found that the EU’s draft rules for coal plant emissions could result in 71,000 deaths and £52bn in health costs across Europe in the next decade, compared to the best available techniques.


Coal is moved by heavy machinery at the Lodge House surface coal mine operated by U.K. Coal Plc., in Ilkeston, U.K., on Wednesday, Aug 4, 2010. U.K. Coal Plc., is the country’s biggest producer of the fuel.




12 August 2015 – The UK government is lobbying for even weaker EU air pollution laws

The Conservative government is arguing that already watered-down laws (expected to be agreed early next year, before coming into force in 2020) limiting toxic pollution that causes tens of thousands of deaths each year, will cause job losses in the coal mining sector. Leaked documents show the UK is pushing for already watered-down EU air pollution laws to be weakened still further, arguing they would cause pit closures leading to substantial job losses and the need to import coal. The EU rules could help curb toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, although campaigners criticised them following revelations that they were partly drafted by the same companies they were meant to regulate.

But a confidential Westminster government submission to Brussels says that the UK would have to import coal from Russia, Colombia and South Africa to meet the new standards, because British coal has such a high sulphur content which would prevent indigenous coal being used in any new power plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. This “would therefore lead to the loss of the principal market for UK coal and the closure of the UK’s coal mines,” the paper says. The mine closures would also lead to substantial job losses – directly and indirectly within the supply chain – in areas of the UK with significant levels of unemployment and socio-economic deprivation.” (But carbon capture and storage is not yet ready for operational use. It remains a myth)

However, air pollution is a reality which hits poor people in urban areas and ethnic minorities hardest, and the true early death toll could be even higher than statistics suggest.

Greenpeace’s head of energy, Daisy Sands said “To protect the profits of a few coal-burning energy firms the self titled “greenest government ever” is lobbying to “water down” air pollution rules that could save hundreds of lives and many millions in NHS costs. Not content with locking consumers into higher bills by undermining the cheapest clean energy sources and home efficiency, ministers are now putting their health at risk by letting big polluters off the hook.”

In April 2015, the UK supreme court gave the government until the end of the year to present a plan for cleaning up the country’s polluted air, which is responsible for 29,000 early deaths every year. The government is expected to announce its plan for bringing the UK into line with the EU’s existing air quality directive next month. The UK has been in breach of the EU’s nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution limits since 2010 and will not meet them until 2030 on current trends, according to government figures, raising the spectre of fines of up to £300m a year.

Alan Andrews, a lawyer for ClientEarth, which brought the supreme court case against the government, expressed dismay at the pro-coal stance in the leaked papers. “It suggests that they are not taking the supreme court decision seriously and are not making a genuine attempt to achieve the emissions reductions as soon as possible,” he told the Guardian. “We would seriously consider further legal action if that is the case, after we have analysed the new plan.”








Prince Charles Enjoys Enormous Influence In the Westminster Corridors of Power – He Wields It In His Own Protection


01.11.11: Steve Bell cartoon

Copyright ©Steve Bell 2011



25 June 2010 – Prince Charles opposition to development unwelcome says judge

A high court judge today dealt an unprecedented blow to the Prince of Wales’s ability to interfere in public life by describing his opposition to a major planning application in London as “unexpected and unwelcome”.

Mr Justice Vos ruled that Charles’s intervention in plans for the £3bn Chelsea barracks redevelopment in the capital placed the rulers of Quatar, who owned the site, in “an impossible position” and had an impact on the views of the elected politicians charged with deciding on the plans’ merits.

In a historic judgment, Vos found that Qatari Diar, a property development company wholly owned by Qatar’s royal family, changed its plans for the prime London site as a result of the prince’s direct complaint to the emir that he did not like the designs by the firm of Lord Rogers, a leading modernist architect with whom he has clashed on several occasions.

Charles had voiced opposition to the plan for more than 500 homes on the former Ministry of Defence site at a teatime meeting with the emir at Clarence House last spring, and also wrote to the prime minister of Qatar attacking the designs as part of a “gigantic experiment with the very soul of our capital city”. He said it should be scrapped in favour of something more “old-fashioned” like the buildings in “Bath or 18th-century Edinburgh”.

The judge ruled that by withdrawing the application shortly after his intervention, Qatari Diar breached its contract with co-developer CPC Group, owned by Monaco-based businessman Christian Candy, clearing the way for a claim for costs and damages.

However Vos did not support Candy’s claim for an early payout of £68.5m, which would have come if planning consent had been granted. He said that Qatari Diar was “caught between a rock and a hard place” as a result of Prince Charles’s impassioned demands for an alternative scheme and had been “doing the best it could in difficult circumstances” involving “diplomatic and political implications” to continue the planning process as normal.

The judgment exposed the prince’s powerful influence and how he was prepared to go to great lengths to lobby not only fellow royals but also to consider putting pressure on the mayor, Westminister city council and the media to ensure that the scheme would never be built.

Vos said both Qatari Diar and CPC Group “were faced with a very difficult position once the Prince of Wales intervened in the planning process in March 2009”. He said Qatari Diar executives had to try to “calm the political waters and prevent royal feathers being further ruffled”.

“Qatari Diar was in an impossible position,” Vos said. “It could not pretend that the Prince of Wales had not written to its chairman. It could not do nothing. It was, in modern parlance, caught between a rock and a hard place. If it did nothing, it would have risked exacerbating the position with the Prince of Wales, thereby risking that he might take his opposition further by contacting the mayor, the WCC or even the press.”

The case has raised serious questions over whether the prince overstepped his constitutional role by becoming involved in a democratic planning process, and today Ruth Reed, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, said Charles’s actions had been “an abuse of privileged position” and had “failed to engage with the planning process entirely openly and appropriately”.

“The UK has a democratic and properly constituted planning process: any citizen in this country is able to register their objections to proposed buildings with the appropriate local authority,” she said. “The message that this affair sends to overseas investors considering working on UK projects is very concerning.”

In his 98-page judgment, Vos said changes were already being negotiated on the scheme through the mayor’s office when the prince became involved because Boris Johnson objected to the repetitive design in one area, but not because he objected to its overall modernist premise. “This process was interrupted before it had reached its natural conclusion,” he said.

Clarence House declined to comment today. The prince’s spokesman, Paddy Harverson, has previously said: “The prince has every right to express an opinion privately, which he does with passion, because he cares.”

Vos said: “I formed the clear view that the intervention of the Prince of Wales was immediately recognised … as raising a serious political issue that needed to be dealt with at the highest level.”

He also ruled that even after the Qataris had decided to pursue an alternative scheme, the prince’s position continued to have an “impact on the views of the officers and politicians (but primarily the latter) at Westminster city council and the Greater London authority”.

The judge said what might have been regarded as a relatively simple dispute “appeared at times to be all-out war”. Both sides made “overblown” allegations of bad faith. He asked them to try to work together to achieve planning consent, but that seemed a dim prospect. A Qatari Diar statement said “CPC’s claims have been a complete waste of time” and that it had lost “a future business relationship with QD as a result of its conduct”.

A new design is being drawn up by Dixon Jones, architects of the Royal Opera House, fellow architects Squire & Partners, and Kim Wilkie, a landscape designer who has proposed a market garden, beehives and nut trees. Ben Bolgar, senior design director at the prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, sat on the judging panel and  Prince Charles continues to be briefed on the design. Plans are due to be submitted to Westminster council next month.



Artist's impression of Chelsea barracks proposal




25 June 2010 – Case exposes secret strategies used by ‘meddling prince’ to intervene in public affairs

The Chelsea barracks case has offered a rare glimpse into the otherwise secret strategies used by the Prince of Wales when he wants to interfere in public affairs.

From the typed letters on Clarence House notepaper underlined in his own hand, to the clever blend of courteousness and implied threat used in his own correspondence and by his righthand man, Sir Michael Peat, the case has revealed in detail how the prince wields his power.

The high court ruled today that the Qatari royal family’s property company breached its contract with a partner company when it withdrew a planning application for the £3bn Chelsea barracks development after the prince’s intervention. In describing the prince’s intervention as “unwelcome”, Mr Justice Vos said the Qatari royals immediately recognised that the prince’s complaint “raised a serious political issue that needed to be dealt with at the highest level”.

His verdict on what happened next sheds new light on how tea with the emir last March at Clarence House was conducted in a uniquely royal way, without any of the senior protagonists doing anything as gauche as issuing a demand or an instruction.

“I am sure that in their meeting, the Prince of Wales expressed his dislike for the Rogers Stirk Harbour Partnership’s design, and the emir politely concurred,” said Vos. “It seems likely to me that the emir would have said something more nuanced than that ‘he would have the plans changed’, but I am sure he gave the Prince of Wales and Sir Michael the impression that that would be the outcome.”

At a subsequent meeting between the emir and the chief executive of Qatari Diar, a company which at the time boasted a $40bn (£27bn) investment portfolio with 60 projects in 32 countries, there was no “blunt instruction” from the emir, but the judge said “he was not happy about upsetting the Prince of Wales and that he [the chief executive] should find alternatives to the existing design”.

For others though, the prince’s tactics may seem familiar. For almost three decades Charles has developed a reputation as, in his own words, “a meddling prince” who has waded into issues including farming, genetic modification, global warming, social deprivation, planning and architecture.

Given the inherently political nature of such topics, the prince has established a network of 20 charities as a key tactic for circumventing the convention that the royal family, especially the heir to the throne, should stay neutral. Some people have complained that they push the prince’s beliefs much too aggressively.

One of Charles’s most active charities has been the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, which promotes his belief in more traditional forms of architecture and planning. In the Chelsea barracks case, the court heard how the prince, the charity’s president, encouraged the Qatari royal family to use his charity to make alternative plans.

Recent history shows the same charity also helped carry out the prince’s campaigns against other developments. It became involved in the redevelopment of Smithfield Market after Charles declared himself “confused and bewildered” by earlier plans and wrote about his worries to the then-chairman of English Heritage, a government body that advises on which historic buildings to protect.

Charles also offered the charity as an adviser to Francis Salway, the chief executive of Land Securities, one of the biggest developers in London, when he objected to the modernist design of its office scheme beside St Paul’s Cathedral.

In the controversial area of complementary medicine, the now defunct Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health became involved in trying to change government policy. The charity was paid £1.1m by the Department of Health to advise on the regulation of massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and other complementary therapies as Prince Charles personally lobbied health ministers to use the treatments across the NHS.

It engaged in a public row with the professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, Edzard Ernst, after Ernst attacked its draft guide to complementary medicines as “outrageous and deeply flawed”.

The Charity Commission was asked to launch an investigation into allegations that the foundation may have breached charity regulations by pursuing a “vendetta” against Ernst. A separate police investigation then saw the former finance director, George Gray, arrested and subsequently charged with theft, fraud and money laundering.

The trustees have now closed down the charity, a sign perhaps that the strategy of devolving the prince’s campaigns to his charities could be damaging his reputation.

The Chelsea barracks case also showed the prince’s use of hyperbole to make his case. In his letter to the Qatari prime minister, he called the designs “a gigantic experiment with the very soul of our capital city”.

Such extravagant claims will be familiar to the scheme’s architect, Richard Rogers, whose designs for the office development beside St Paul’s Cathedral in the 1980s were torpedoed when Charles implied in a public speech that the plans were more offensive than the rubble left by the Luftwaffe during the blitz.

Sometimes, the prince chooses to be more discreet. He was said to be “very unhappy” that his complaint to the Qataris had been leaked, perhaps because he knows how effective he can be pulling strings behind the scenes.

When Rogers, a frequent foe of the prince, was bidding to redesign the Royal Opera House, he believes the prince wrecked his chances using covert pressure.

“We got a phone call from the people at the Royal Opera House one evening, about 9pm saying ‘good scheme, but you’re too risky’,” Rogers has said. “I was basically told: ‘the prince does not like you.'”

Last year the Guardian used the Freedom of Information Act to find out that since 2006 Charles had written to ministers in at least eight Whitehall departments – Food and Rural Affairs, International Development, HM Treasury, Foreign Office, Work and Pensions, Education, Communities, and Culture, Media and Sport. The content of the letters was withheld, under laws which protect royal correspondence (see box).

The royal household insists that Charles will become far less involved in his causes if and when he becomes king, but sources suggest otherwise.

In late 2008, after the prince’s 60th birthday, it was reported that aides at Clarence House and Buckingham Palace had begun informally considering redefining the sovereign’s role to “allow King Charles III to speak out on matters of national and international importance in ways that at the moment would be unthinkable”.

The claim was made by Jonathan Dimbleby, the prince’s close friend and biographer, but Clarence House insisted no plans were being made for the prince’s accession to the throne.



Prince Charles visits a Duchy farm


30 October 2011 – Prince Charles and the ancient charter that calls for his consent to certain bills

The title and property of the Duchy of Cornwall were created in 1337 by Edward III, and were given by royal charter to his son, the Prince of Wales also known as the Black Prince.

Under the charter, the duchy always belongs to the sovereign’s eldest son who is the heir apparent. If the heir apparent dies without leaving children, the property of the duchy reverts to the crown. So although the duchy belongs to the Prince of Wales, who is also the Duke of Cornwall, there is a theoretical possibility that it could revert to the sovereign, who therefore has a contingent personal interest in matters that affect the property of the duchy.

Bills in parliament that would affect the sovereign’s private interests (or the royal prerogative) require the Queen’s consent; by extension, therefore, bills that would affect the duchy also require consent, and since the Prince of Wales administers the duchy he also performs the function of considering and granting relevant requests for consent.

Queen’s consent and prince’s consent are fundamentally different from royal assent. The consents are required as a matter of parliamentary procedure, as a method of protecting crown prerogative and private interests.

Royal assent is a feature of constitutional law rather than merely parliamentary procedure: it is the method by which a bill that has passed through parliament becomes an act, and it amounts to a formal assent given by the sovereign.

Apart from the special position of property belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall, the Duke of Cornwall has no special constitutional position; he is a subject of the crown like any other. The sovereign and the Prince of Wales are the only members of the royal family whose consent is required for bills that affect their private interests.



Prince Charles


30 October 2011 – Prince Charles has been offered a veto over 12 government bills since 2005

Ministers have been forced to seek permission from  Prince Charles to pass at least a dozen government bills, according to a Guardian investigation into a secretive constitutional loophole that gives him the right to veto legislation that might affect his private interests.

Since 2005, ministers from six departments have sought the Prince of Wales’ consent to draft bills on everything from road safety to gambling and the London Olympics, in an arrangement described by constitutional lawyers as a royal “nuclear deterrent” over public policy. Unlike royal assent to bills, which is exercised by the Queen as a matter of constitutional law, the prince’s power applies when a new bill might affect his own interests, in particular the Duchy of Cornwall, a private £700m property empire that last year provided him with an £18m income.

Neither the government nor Clarence House will reveal what, if any, alterations to legislation Charles has requested, or exactly why he was asked to grant consent to such a wide range of laws.

Correspondence seen by the Guardian reveals that one minister wrote to the prince’s office requesting his consent to a new bill about planning reform because it was “capable of applying to … [the] Prince of Wales’ private interests”.

In the last two parliamentary sessions Charles has been asked to consent to draft bills on wreck removals and co-operative societies, a freedom of information request to the House of Commons has revealed. Between 2007-09 he was consulted on bills relating to coroners, economic development and construction, marine and coastal access, housing and regeneration, energy and planning.

MPs and peers called for the immediate publication of details about the application of the prince’s powers which have fuelled concern over his alleged meddling in British politics. “If princes and paupers are to live as equals in a modern Britain, anyone who enjoys exceptional influence or veto should exercise it with complete transparency,” said Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives in Cornwall. “The duchy asserts that it is merely a private estate. Most people will be astonished to learn that it appears to have effective powers of veto over the government.”

“We should know why he is being asked and the government should publish the answers,” said Lord Berkeley, who was last month told to seek Charles’ consent on a marine navigation bill. “If he is given these powers purely because he owns land in Cornwall it is pretty stupid. What about the other landowners who must also be affected by changes to legislation?”

Revelations about Charles’ power of consent come amid continued concern that the heir to the throne may be overstepping his constitutional role by lobbying ministers directly and through his charities on pet concerns such as traditional architecture and the environment.

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales would not comment on whether the prince has ever withheld consent or demanded changes to legislation under the consent system. “Communications between the prince or his household and the government are confidential under a long-standing convention that protects the heir to the throne’s right to be instructed in the business of government in preparation for his future role as monarch,” he said. Daniel Greenberg, a former parliamentary counsel and now parliamentary lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: “It is something of a nuclear-button option that everybody knows he is not likely to push. But like the nuclear deterrent, the fact that it is there, influences negotiations.”

Graham Smith, director of Republic, the campaign for an elected head of state, said it was “an affront to democratic values” that citizens had no right to know whether Charles was insisting on changes to bills. “We know Charles has been lobbying ministers, but this is evidence he has the power to instruct them to alter their plans and that gives him leverage,” he said.



What’s on your mind?: Prince Charles gets it off his chest. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP


31 October 2011 – Reveal Prince Charles’s input on planning law, government urged

The government is facing growing pressure to reveal how the Prince of Wales has used his power of consent over draft legislation after it emerged ministers asked him to approve planning and construction laws because they might directly affect the private £700m property empire that provides his annual income.

Documents reveal that in 2008 Lady Andrews, a Labour communities minister, wrote to Sir Michael Peat, his private secretary, seeking Prince Charles’s consent to law changes that would “affect the interests of the Duchy of Cornwall” and were “capable of applying … [to the] Prince of Wales’ private interests”.

The draft local democracy, economic development and construction bill proposed to change laws about handling disputes and payments in building contracts and to introduce a new regional strategy for planning permissions. The duchy is a leading builder and has spent more than £18m on property development and improvements in the last two years, according to its accounts.

It also has large developments under way that require planning consent, including 500 new homes at Poundbury, Dorset.

Prince Charles relies on duchy profits to fund his lifestyle and work, and last year received £18m in profits from the estate. Charles has been granted the right to veto draft bills because they might affect his interests or those of the Duchy of Cornwall in what constitutional experts described as the equivalent of a royal “nuclear deterrent” over public policy. On Monday details emerged of five more bills to which the Prince has been asked to grant consent since 2005, bringing the total over the period to at least 17. They covered subjects such as marine navigation, retail development, company law and charities, parliamentary records show.

On Monday night Labour peer Lord Berkeley, who was ordered to seek the prince’s consent over a bill on marine navigation, formally called on the government to “publish all correspondence between the Prince of Wales and the Queen and ministers in connection with bills for which their consent is sought” and to say “whether any bill in the last five years has been altered as a result of comments from Prince Charles or the Queen, and in what way”.

Clarence House and Whitehall seemed to be divided over whether such transparency was a good idea. Clarence House declined to say how the Prince responded to the draft local democracy, economic development and construction bill. A spokesman for the Department for Communities said on Monday “no changes were requested and as such none were introduced”.

Asked if David Cameron – who last week agreed with Commonwealth states to change the rules on succession to the throne – had any plans to reform the system, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “I know of no plans at the moment to look into it.”

Clarence House insisted any correspondence was a “private matter” but said the convention was not about seeking the prince’s personal opinions. “Parliamentary procedure determines that the Prince of Wales in his capacity as the Duke of Cornwall may be required to give his consent to bills directly affecting the interests of the duchy,” the prince’s spokesman said. “This is not about seeking the personal views of the prince but rather it is a longstanding convention in relation to the Duchy of Cornwall, which would have applied equally to his predecessors.”

Graham Smith, director of Republic, the campaign for a directly elected head of state, said the loophole was fundamentally anti-democratic. “Charles is quite capable of doing the right thing by refusing to exploit his position for personal gain – yet he refuses to do so,” Smith said.

The government and Clarence House have repeatedly refused to disclose correspondence detailing the application of Charles’s power.

The justice, education and food and rural affairs departments are among those to invoke an exemption to freedom of information laws that allows correspondence between Charles and his aides and government to be kept secret, claiming that to do otherwise “would undermine the Prince of Wales’s privacy” and “could have a chilling effect on the way in which he or his representatives correspond with government ministers”.

In a rare exception, the Department for Communities agreed to release its letters to Prince Charles over the local democracy, economic development and construction bill, providing a unique insight into the application of the otherwise secretive protocol. Lady Andrews’s three-page consultation with Charles on draft planning and construction laws begins: “I write to formally request the consent of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to provisions to be included in the … bill.”

It includes 12 detailed paragraphs on how the new legislation will change laws on adjudication procedures in contractual disputes with builders and laws affecting how contractors must be paid.

Andrews explained: “Granted that these proposed changes … will apply to construction contracts entered into by or on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, we should be very grateful to receive the consent of the Prince of Wales.”

Turning to changes to regional planning law, she spelled out proposed new regional planning strategies and warned Charles that this section of the bill “is capable of applying to the Crown and the Queen and Prince of Wales’ private interests and therefore that consent is required”.

“They were trying to tell him in 2008 that, like everybody else, he will be subject to statutory development plans,” said David Lock, a former government planning adviser. “This was an attempt to make the crown estate and duchy subject to the same planning rules as everyone else, which means they would not get any privileges over any other land owner.” A Clarence House spokeswoman confirmed the duchy enjoys some exemptions from normal planning laws but “has chosen not to exercise these rights since the change in legislation”.

“Since 2006 the duchy has been subject to planning control in the same way as any other landowner and prior to that voluntarily complied with planning laws,” the spokeswoman said.

Labour has called for “complete transparency” about the views, if any, that Charles has expressed in the process of granting consent to bills.

“Most people will be taken aback by what  has been highlighted,” said Wayne David MP, Labour’s spokesman on constitutional reform. “There needs to be a mechanism so that the if the Prince of Wales is expressing a formal position he can do that an open way. We live in a democratic society so any views expressed should be disclosed and should be open to scrutiny and analysis.”


Prince Charles



31 October 2011 – Prince Charles’s veto: bad heir day

In many ways, Prince Charles has an unenviable public role. No one would actively seek out a 60-year career as understudy to a globally famous act, although the remuneration might be some compensation. It is to his credit that while his predecessors left a variety of examples of how to conduct himself, he has mostly avoided them. That makes it all the more extraordinary that letters like the one from the communities minister Baroness Andrews to Prince Charles’s private secretary Sir Michael Peat, seeking the prince’s consent to a change in the planning law, did not set off every warning bell in Clarence House. To almost every citizen in Britain, the idea that the Prince of Wales has the right to veto government legislation – even if it relates only to a handful of bills over a decade or more – is an astonishing discovery. But to those in the parallel universe occupied by communications between government and Prince Charles, it seems not to have been worth a second thought.

That speaks volumes about the magical realism of the relationship between crown and parliament. There is even a constitutional defence, weird it is true, but internally consistent with the vestiges of royal prerogative that thread through the law of the land. This is it: when there is no heir apparent, the Duchy of Cornwall – a large business that is the source of most of the prince’s income – reverts to the throne. Consequently, it retains the protection of royal prerogative and thus the right to be consulted, in areas that might affect its interests, on changes to the law. Those who came across this anomaly perhaps dismissed it as one of those quaint footnotes to our island story. Certainly the royal advisers failed to register that – after the public disquiet at mounting evidence of Prince Charles’s political activism, of the ministerial lobbying and the infamous letters in black spidery writing – disclosure of this meddling prince’s powers of veto would cause genuine alarm.

Or perhaps they thought no one would ever find out. Earlier this year, the information commissioner accepted that, in order to defend the constitutional fiction of his political neutrality when he becomes king, the prince’s correspondence with government should be exempt from Freedom of Information requests. There was talk of the “chilling effect” if correspondence could be published. Yet how much more chilling to the political processes, surely, that the prince can lobby ministers who know – even if he has never exercised it – he has the power of veto. Both Clarence House and Downing Street insist it is the merest constitutional accident. That is a relief. It should be easy to



The Queen and Prince Charles


31 October 2011 – Prince Charles in trouble Again? Two cheers for the Queen

Whenever Charlie Windsor gets into hot water, it reminds me of what a good job his old mum has been doing as she props up the monarchy almost single-handed against the odds.

The Prince of Wales’s cack-handed political interference,  serves to underline just how deft his mum has been in these near-60 years in keeping out of trouble – resolutely dutiful, cheerfully unfashionable, shrewd. It’s always a tightrope act: one bad slip and you’re gone.These are modernising days for the monarchy, no more immune than the rest of us from having to adapt (no need to feel too sorry for them), having to work well past 65 and, technically qualifying as a “fuel poverty” family because the senior Windsors spend more than 10% of their income heating all those draughty palaces and castles.



Prince Charles wrote to ministers about subjects from farming to herbal medicine


31 October 2011 – Prince Charles is not the people

The monarchy is probably more secure and popular than at any time in the past 25 years. Amid the cacophony of adulation, republicans cannot hope for a hearing, particularly now the Queen and her consort have reached the age where, even if they were found to be running a brothel at Windsor Castle, their status as national treasures would protect them from all but mild popular rebuke.


As disclosed on Monday, however, our elected representatives still need to beg consent from the Prince of Wales before passing legislation  deemed to affect his private interests. Which, given the amount he owns through the Duchy of Cornwall, encompasses a pretty wide range, including road safety, the environment, gambling, the London Olympics, and marine and coastal access. For example, consent was requested for changes in laws governing regional planning and contractual disputes with builders. Consent, please note, not assent: the latter (which the Queen gives to all legislation) being more of a formality. There could be no clearer illustration of the underlying truth about our country: we are subjects, not citizens.

The prince’s previously hidden veto might be a mere technicality if we didn’t know that Charles uses every ounce of influence and access to advance his views and interests, and that the deference of our political leaders virtually guarantees him a polite, if not always sympathetic, hearing. All other lobbyists and interest groups – from unions to animal welfare charities and arms manufacturers – compete for access, desperately hoping a minister will read their submissions or spare five minutes. Access is a precious commodity, causing companies and voluntary bodies to spend millions on professional lobbyists and sumptuous dinners.  Prince Charles gets privileged access to any minister’s ear. Automatically, gratis. Moreover, he gets it secretly, since correspondence between ministers and royals is exempt from freedom of information laws.

This is the tip of a very large iceberg. To an extent unprecedented since his great-uncle David (later Edward VIII) held the title Prince of Wales, Charles seeks an active role in public affairs. His private handwritten letters to ministers, known in some quarters as “black spiders”, have covered subjects as diverse as genetically modified food, the Royal Ballet, fire exits in old people’s homes and, inevitably, the countryside, particularly hunting.

His campaign against the redevelopment of Chelsea barracks was described by a judge last year as “unwelcome interference” in a planning application. His private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, responded that the prince’s duty was “to make sure the views of ordinary people that might not otherwise be heard receive some exposure”, which echoes the tyrant’s age-old claim that he embodies the will of the people. Not that Charles has any immediate prospect or even intention of becoming a tyrant, but you see the drift of his thinking.

The most egregious example of how he abuses his position rarely attracts comment. Since 2007 his Prince’s Teaching Institute has promoted “the importance of in-depth subject knowledge” in English, history, science, geography and maths. Schools are invited to show “a clear commitment to subject specialism”, to state “objectives” for improving provision, and to report on progress. Those that satisfy the institute – subject department heads attend a summer school and submit themselves, a year later, for interview – receive its “school programme mark”, allowing use of the Prince of Wales feathers on their notepaper and website. More than 100 schools have passed muster, with the institute’s website currently describing Bexley grammar school in Kent (a county that still has the 11-plus) as “school of the week”.

With schools competing fiercely for parental custom, such branding carries real value. Charles has set himself up as an accrediting body, giving him direct influence over the curriculum. Many educationists question the merits of heavily subject-based teaching, and even more would question the emphasis on traditional academic subjects rather than, say, design and technology or media studies.  Ther is no doubt what the prince was up to when the scheme was launched: it was “a fightback against trendy teaching”, and schools that wanted the royal imprimatur should “shun fashionable education theories”.

The prince’s views on education – he takes much of his advice from conservative figures such as the historian David Starkey and the journalist Melanie Phillips – may or may not reflect those of “ordinary people”. But it is hard to argue they are uncontroversial or lack “exposure”. The same can be said of his opinions on architecture, planning, the countryside and “green” issues generally. You may say his views can be ignored or dismissed as the ravings of an ageing and frustrated eccentric. But as well as access to ministers, all interest groups crave, and often buy, celebrity endorsement. Charles is among the biggest celebrities of all.

It is hard to blame him for trying to put the world to rights. Most of us would do the same if we had the chance and, through no fault of his own, Charles has very little else to do. Without a talent for sport, music, sculpture, scientific discovery or something of that sort (even bricklaying would do), an heir to the throne will be at a loose end, and Charles is not the first to attract criticism for how he occupies himself. But that is all the more reason for constraining him, and closing every little constitutional quirk that allows leeway. Republicanism might then finally triumph as future heirs decide to abdicate rather than die of boredom.



BBC Intends To Retain and Gather Yet More Money To It’s Moneypit Through An Increased Licence Fee – The Joke Is On the Public – Nothing Changes




Graham NortonGraham Norton is on nearly £3million annually





9 May 2014 – BBC presenter Graham Norton earned £2.3m in fees and salary last year

BBC star Graham Norton earned £2.3m in fees and salary last year, for services including fronting BBC1’s The Graham Norton Show and BBC Radio 2’s Saturday morning programme.

Norton took home the payments for “presenter fees, production fees and royalties” from his production company So Television in the year to the end of July 2013. In total Norton received £2.33m, the year previous he received £2.61m.

He is also due a further £564,000 as a creditor of the company. So Television, which was acquired by ITV Studios two years ago in a deal worth up to £17m, made pre-tax profits of £1.8m. Revenues were £11.9m.


Ken MacQuarrie – Director BBC Scotland






10 September 2014 – Salaries of BBC’s senior management revealed

In an effort to increase transparency, the BBC has today published the salaries of its senior managers and their expenses for the period January to March 2014.

The report shows that many of the 116 senior managers on the list are paid more than £200,000, with the Corporation’s director general, Tony Hall, being paid £450,000. Helen Boaden, director of radio, receives total remuneration of £352,000, James Harding, director of news and current affairs, receives £340,000 and Danny Cohen, director of TV is on £327,800.

Other senior staff on six-figure salaries include Bal Samra, commercial director and managing director taking £322,800, James Purnell, director of strategy and digital, on £295,000 and Ben Stephenson, controller of drama commissioning, on £247,800.


Director General Lord Hall is paid £450,000 annually



3 December 2014 – Revealed: The 91 BBC executives who are paid more than the Prime Minister and 11 bosses get more than double his salary

The BBC pays 11 of its most senior bosses twice as much as the Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday. A further 80 executives take home more than David Cameron’s £142,500-a-year salary. The 91 bosses are taking home a combined £19million a year including bonuses. MPs said the figures would make hard-pressed families question the licence fee especially when programmes are facing the axe.

Top earners include Director-General Lord Hall, who earns £450,000, Anne Bulford, managing director of finance and operations, who is paid £395,000, and Peter Salmon, Director of England, who takes home £375,000. Those recruited to the top pay grade increased by almost 100, from 328 to 426 over the same timespan.


BBC 1 – Charlotte Moore, is on £240,000 


The figures do not cover on-air stars, 39 of whom are paid more than £250,000 a year. These include Graham Norton, who is reportedly paid £2.6million for presenting his BBC1 and Radio2 shows, and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who is said to take home as much as £2million. Even Paul Hollywood is paid a better wage than the Prime Minister, earning £300,000 for his work on The Great British Bake Off and its various spin-offs.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘The BBC has recently said they have cut their senior management to the bone and there are no more savings to be made there but it’s only at the BBC where you could cut senior management to the bone and end up with more people paid more than the Prime Minister than before you started. ‘It’s just extraordinary and goes to show how much fat there is. ‘What the BBC should do is be cutting out all of these managers, most of who if they disappeared no one would notice, and start delivering some value for money to the licence fee payer.’


Head of radio, Helen Boaden,  is paid £352,900


Angie Bray, a Tory member of the Commons culture committee alongside Mr Davies, said: ‘It will be difficult for the BBC to continue to feel loved by the public if it continues to put licence payers’ money on salaries rather than on what people want them to spend the money on, which is good programming. ‘It does make it difficult for everybody to go on justifying this kind of funding if it’s just disappearing into managers’ pockets.’

An efficiency report published last week said the BBC has made savings of £1.1billion and would save a further £400million annually by 2016/17. Miss Bulford said no more savings could be made through cuts to pay, staff and property and that ‘tough choices’ would have to be made over which services were sacrificed. Through the licence fee, the BBC collected more than £3.762billion tax free last year, an increase of £70million from the previous 12 months.



Managing director, finance and operations, Anne Bulford, earns £395,000-a-year


Graham Norton


15 July 2015 – BBC stars push wages bill close to £1bn

The BBC’s annual wage bill moved closer to the £1 billion mark last year, fuelled by a rise in staff numbers and salaries paid to its stars. Corporation bosses launched a counter-attack against government attempts to limit the BBC’s remit and funding yesterday, but it came as its annual report showed that the total salary bill increased from £955 million in 2013-14 to £976.5 million in 2014-15.


Clockwise from top left: David Attenborough, Claudia Winkleman, Judi Dench, Chris Evans, Lenny Henry, Miranda Hart, Daniel Craig and J K Rowling


16 July 2015 – BBC organised celebrities’ protest letter

The BBC secretly helped to organise a celebrity letter warning David Cameron that plans to reform the corporation would damage Britain’s global standing, one of its top presenters has revealed. The BBC’s press office initially denied it had “anything to do” with the open letter, which was delivered to the prime minister on Tuesday and signed by stars including Dame Judi Dench and Sir David Attenborough. It warned “that a diminished BBC would mean a diminished UK” and was endorsed by over two dozen figures from the world of arts and entertainment including som of the BBC’s highest paid stars!


Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, with his wife, Noreena Hertz

Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television, with his wife, Noreena Hertz, is said to have orchestrated an open letter to David Cameron


18 July 2015 – All-star attack backfires on BBC

The starting pistol was fired this week on a debate over the BBC’s future, but the corporation’s “unusually aggressive” campaign of self-defence risks backfiring before the conversation has truly begun, experts have warned. MPs and media commentators, including voices within the corporation, have accused BBC executives of “over-reacting” to a green paper from John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, which this week set out the parameters for the government’s ten-yearly review of the BBC charter, which expires at the end of next year.


Sir Tom Jones on The Voice Sir Tom Jones. Paid via an independent company




21 July 2015 – BBC ‘hid’ salaries of stars paid more than £500,000

The salaries of some of the highest-paid stars on the BBC, including Sir Tom Jones and James Nesbitt, were left out of the corporation’s annual accounts because they are paid by independent production companies or the BBC’s commercial arm, it emerged yesterday.

The BBC said in its 2014-15 annual report that only nine stars are paid between £500,000 and £5 million, but this includes only those paid directly by the BBC. Not included are people paid by independent companies commissioned and paid by the BBC, even though their salaries still ultimately come from the corporation’s coffers.


BBC The BBC is happy to send between 50-100 people to jail each year.


16 August 2015 – Licence fee prosecutions overburden courts, argues Michael Gove

Michael Gove, the justice secretary, has raised concern that prosecutions for non-payment of the BBC licence are overburdening the courts. He has discussed the issue with John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, who is considering whether evasion of the licence fee should be decriminalised.

Before the election Whittingdale’s predecessor, Sajid Javid, set up a review to look into the potential impact of decriminalisation, and just after the election Downing Street indicated that it backed such a change, potentially replacing the offence with a civil fine. However, since then Whittingdale has had second thoughts over the possible impact on the BBC’s finances, after receiving the official review. The corporation has argued that it could lose up to £200m a year in extra non-payment.

In a sign of a possible cabinet split, it is understood that Gove has now made his case to Whittingdale about how decriminalisation could ease the caseload of magistrates courts. TV licence prosecutions account for 180,000 out of 1.5m magistrate cases each year. In evidence to the justice select committee in July, Gove said: “To what extent can we lift the burden on magistrates by taking some work out of court? One area which is a live area of debate is whether or not, at the bottom of the magistrates courts’ work, television licence non-payment should be decriminalised.”

No decision on whether to decriminalise the licence fee has yet been taken by Whittingdale. A spokesman for Gove declined to comment. But a BBC spokesman said: “The government’s own evidence-based review found that licence fee evasion should not be decriminalised and that the current system is broadly fair, proportionate and provides good value for both licence fee payers and taxpayers.”


Fun & Games in the Tory Party in Scotland – Scotland Does Not Need Nor Want Thatcher Mark2




Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be??

In a previous article I advised that all was not well within the Scottish Branch of the Tory Party. The problem for Ruth Davidson is that she has wrapped the party in Scotland around her own personality, which is a strategy doomed to failure should the positive public perception of her show a reverse. There are divisions within the party partially attributed to her forced clear-out of, “deadwood” in favour of young SPADS with little or no political nor work experience outside politics. There is every chance she will be allowed to continue in office until after the 2016 election. But there might well be a bloodbath thereafter. It is noteworthy that her Chief of staff, Lindsay McCallum resigned last month resultant of a number of major policy and personality disagreements. See previous post’s:





15 Sep 2011 Tory MSPs will be forced to stand down before the 2016 Scottish Elections

Long-serving Conservative MSPs will be forced to stand down from the Scottish Parliament at the next election if they fail to win a constituency seat, under a radical plan by a leadership candidate to introduce fresh blood into the party. They would only be able to serve three or four consecutive terms as list MSPs, who are elected using a complicated system of proportional representation to represent one of eight regions of Scotland. Significantly, Mr Jackson said he would apply the change retrospectively, meaning a series of the party’s most high-profile figures would have to win a constituency at the next election or step aside if a three-term limit was imposed.

They include Murdo Fraser, the bookies’ favourite in the contest to succeed Annabel Goldie as Tory leader, who is serving his third full term as a Mid Scotland and Fife regional MSP. Mr Fraser has not come close to unseating John Swinney in his Perthshire North seat, with the SNP Finance Minister increasing his majority in May to more than 10,000. Among the other long-serving Conservative MSPs who would be forced out are Alex Johnstone, Sir Jamie McGrigor and, should they not decide to retire, Nanette Milne and Miss Goldie herself.

The changes will apply in the 2016 election and be retrospective. Only three MSPs in the Conservative group at Holyrood have constituencies of their own, with the remainder relying on the regional list for their seats. Some have used the system to win re-election since devolution started in 1999.


24 November 2012 – Scottish Conservatives launch Union Saltire logo

The Scottish Conservatives have launched a new party logo, which aims to reflect both the flag of Scotland and that of the United Kingdom. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “Our new Union Saltire logo is bold, fresh and easy to recognise.” She said it was “distinctly Scottish but with colours which clearly reflect our pride in the United Kingdom”.

Reacting to the change, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “There’s something strangely appropriate in the Tories choosing a ‘double-cross’ to represent whatever it is they stand for, but I’m not sure it’s the message they were aiming for. “The remnants of the Tories in Scotland might understandably want to distance themselves from their colleagues in Westminster, but the truth is a leopard can’t change its spots.”




July 2014 – Tory Party Clearout Continues Unabated

The steady progression of Scottish Conservative MSPs announcing that they have decided to stand down at the coming Scottish Elections in May 2016 continues to escalate. Those standing down are nationally known names, who have carried senior roles in opposition at Holyrood and in public life. They are – in order of announcement to date:

Baroness Goldie – who led the party between 2005 to 2011, said “I will focus my efforts on the House of Lords” following her elevation to the peerage two years ago.

Gavin Brown – Lothians MSP and Finance spokesperson said “I will have served nine years by 2016 and would like to seek a fresh challenge going forward”. He is standing down with immediate effect as Finance spokesperson.

Nanette Milne – North East MSP and Public Health Spokeswoman said “As an MSP over the last 12 years, I am most proud of my behind-the-scenes work which I have undertaken as an MSP on behalf of my constituents.”

Alex Fergusson – Galloway and West Dumfries MSP and former Presiding Officer [the third] for four years from 2007-2011 who has served in the Scottish Parliament since its creation in 1999 said “Someone once said that a week is a long time in politics, but I have to say that the last 17 years have simply flown by.”

Mary Scanlon – Highlands and Islands MSP and Education and Lifelong Learning Spokeswoman and Deputy Convener of the Public Audit Committee said “I am proud of my working class background.” An MSP since 1999, she has previously held shadow posts for her party in Health and in Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.

Cameron Buchanan – Edinburgh and Lothians MSP and Local Government Spokesman “There’s a lot of new blood in the party and a new talent waiting in the wings, so it’s time to give others a chance. I’m also looking forward to spending more time with my family – if they’ll have me.” Buchanan has been an MSP only since 2013, standing for his party to fill the gap left by the sudden death of former Scottish Conservative Leader, David McLetchie.


August (Summarised) 2015 – Ruth Davidson should resign if the Tories fail to improve in 2016

Many Tory party members are inclined to the view that if the Scottish Conservatives fail to improve their share of the vote in the 2016 Scottish elections, Ruth Davidson should remain as leader. She has injected much needed steel, into the backbone of a party, content to exist but not to thrive. Whilst resigning on her own terms or in electoral disgrace would be a devastating blow to the Scottish Conservatives. It would not be a fatal blow. The party has mastered hanging on when the electorate and even some of its own members and representatives keep trying to give it the final nudge.

The Scottish Tories are not alone. All polls are predicting a bloodletting from Scottish Labour to the SNP. That the ‘natural party of government’ in Scotland for the last fifty years represents a stark foreboding for the Scottish Conservatives.

Davidson has had longer to establish herself in the public consciousness, even completing a major policy u-turn grasping the English political zeitgeist with her zealous and sincere performance during the referendum.

It might well be political suicide for the Scottish Conservatives to get rid of Davidson. But, whilst she brought an energising zeal to bear on a party that desperately needed it, the party has not responded in step. Their logo has changed (the quickly jumped upon “double cross”) but there is little to suggest that there is a new intellectual reformation has taken grip to support the imagination that Davidson exudes. The party as a whole is still Thatcher-lite: there is little dissent and very few policy forums.

This begs the question as to who is carrying who. Are the Scottish Conservatives semi or totally autonomous from the Conservative Party down south? Are they one entity when it suits them and miles apart when they differ? Do the Scottish Conservatives wait to be told what to think by London, or is the Party in Scotland not giving Davidson the ideas and infrastructure support? Whatever the arrangement’s are Davidson evidently does not have the freedom to do as she pleases.

There’s a peculiarly Scottish dimension to her “Blue collar Conservatism” that makes her liked across the political spectrum, both north and south of the border and Cameron is giving out signals he is prepared to set aside his much vaunted One-Nation credentials in favour of welfare reform. But that sounds better on paper than in the reality. One wonders if the Scottish Conservatives had total autonomy with no accountability to London how they would position themselves.


In years past former Deputy Leader Murdo Fraser flirted with the idea of a breakaway centre-right party to give the party a new chance at attracting voters. It’s not the first time this had been suggested. The Scottish Conservatives only formed out of a merger with the Unionist Party and the Conservative Party in 1965.

Fraser’s detractors considered the move as treacherous and a capitulation to circumstance, despite the proposals being met with enthussiasm by members, the public and other MSPs. The practicality of it was and is however more Ship of Theseus than anything else: if you change the name won’t the operations and members simply move across, and how would you create a brand truly different to launch a new membership intake? With Davidson’s selection, the debate went away.

Davidson has lead the party through the 2012 Scottish local council elections, the 2014 EU elections, the 2014 Scottish Referendum and the 2015 general election. There was no marked change the share of the vote received by her party. The fault should not be left at her doorstep. Yet four years and four elections is long enough time to consider that the game is up, if not for her then her party.

If, as polls predict, there is an SNP surge further reducing the number of MSP’s in Holyrood conclusive changes must be made rather than simply returning to sinply ticking along.

Her resignation might well be the catalyst turning once more to the innovation Murdo Fraser suggested and would at least pump some ntellectual action into the malaise that is disappointing members and depriving the electorate of a real alternative.



16 August 2015 – Tory leader Davidson loses chief of staff as election looms

Tory leader Ruth Davidson has lost a key aide ahead of the 2016 elections. Chief of staff Lindsay McCallum unexpectedly quit amid a rumoured rift with her boss. The 29-year-old, considered a future party high-flier, had been in post less than a year. Her duties included giving Davidson strategic advice, writing briefings, and liaising with UK cabinet ministers, as well as managing Davidson’s diary. It is understood she left last month.

After a dry run at the general election, when she stood in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat, McCallum had been expected to run for Holyrood next May on the Highlands & Islands list. However, faced with the prospect of dedicating her 30s to life as an opposition MSP, she decided not to stand, ending a key reason for her to remain chief of staff. McCallum, who comes from a farming family in the Black Isle, where her mother is an independent Highland councillor, has now returned to London, where she spent three years in public affairs before taking the Scottish Tory job in August last year. “I heard there had been a furious bust-up with Ruth,” said one Tory MSP.

The loss of her chief of staff has added to Davidson’s recent problems as Tory leader. Despite high hopes, the Scottish Tories failed to make progress at the election, holding on to their single seat, as their vote share fell from 16.7 to 14.9 per cent. The Tories’ vote share in England was 41 per cent, and 36.9 per cent UK-wide.

Davidson, a Glasgow list MSP since 2011, has also been accused of “carpet-bagging” after announcing she would try to become a Lothian MSP next May. Glasgow has one Tory MSP, whereas Lothian has two, increasing her chances of election. An SNP spokesman said: “First Ruth Davidson gives up on Glasgow – with the prospect of the Tories failing to win any seats there next May – and now her chief of staff quits as a candidate. “It’s no surprise that even members of their own party are now running away from the Tories ahead of the Scottish election next year. “The truth is that the Tories have absolutely nothing to offer Scotland other than austerity and a narrow, negative agenda which will once again be roundly rejected at the ballot box in May.”

A LibDem source added: “It seems even the Tories are now refusing to buy Tory spin on their election prospects. After decades of calling for one last push they should start listening to the public and scrap their right-wing illiberal agenda.” McCallum said her decision to go had been a “personal choice”. She said: “I wish Ruth well. I hope that the party increases its MSPs next year. I think they have a good opportunity and Ruth is a good leader.”




So you wanted to know the truth – Blair and regime change in Iraq – MI6 agent Sir John Scarlett – compiler of the dodgy dossier – appointed strategic adviser major Iraq oil job


Criticised: Sir John Scarlett has taken a job with Norwegian firm Statoil as a 'strategic adviser'Sir John McLeod Scarlett






20 May 2011 – The Spy Who came in For the Gold – Dodgy dossier’ helper Sir John Scarlett takes top Iraq oil job

Tony Blair’s former spy chief has been criticised for taking a job with a multi-national company which has won a lucrative contract to drill for oil in Iraq.

Sir John Scarlett, who helped draw up the so-called ‘dodgy dossier’ which accused Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction which could be deployed within 45 minutes, has been hired by Norwegian firm Statoil as a ‘strategic adviser’.

The 62-year-old former MI6 chief, right, who retired two years ago, was one of the intelligence officials most closely associated with the Allied invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was accused of being unduly influenced by Alastair Campbell, who was then No 10’s director of communications.

The 45-minute claim was one of the key assertions that convinced MPs to take Britain to war. Labour MP Paul Flynn said last night: “There is a bad smell about this, worse than oil. If senior officials are involved in a particular area during their professional lives, there should be no chance of working in that same area when they retire. This would avoid any danger of them being distracted by the prospect of retirement riches.”

Norwegian-owned Statoil is one of the world’s largest oil and gas suppliers. It is a leading member of a consortium awarded exploration rights in the vast West Qurna oil field, west of Basra, in December 2009. The field is expected to yield 150,000 barrels of oil a day by 2013, making it one of the most productive in the Middle East.

Despite the controversy over the ‘dodgy dossier’, Sir John was knighted in 2007.

Norwegian-owned Statoil is one of the world’s largest oil and gas suppliers. It is a leading member of a consortium awarded exploration rights in the vast West Qurna oil field, west of Basra, in December 2009. The field is expected to yield 150,000 barrels of oil a day by 2013, making it one of the most productive in the Middle East. The consortium of which Statoil is a member beat off several other bidders for the Iraqi government contract, including BP.

Statoil declined to say how much Sir John would be paid. A spokesman said: ‘He will be on an advisory board to help us understand the geopolitical context in which we operate.’

The appointment has been approved by the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets jobs taken by senior civil servants after they have left office to ensure there is no conflict of interest.



Alistair Campbell






Sir John McLeod Scarlett – His role in the decision to go to war in Iraq

Sir John McLeod Scarlett, is a retired British senior intelligence officer. He was Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 2004 to 2009. Prior to this appointment, he had chaired the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).

The normally secretive intelligence services were thrust into the public gaze in the Summer of 2003 after the death of the eminent government weapons expert, Dr. David Kelly. Kelly had been found dead in the Oxfordshire countryside near his home, after being exposed as the source of allegations that the government had “sexed-up” intelligence regarding existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The “classic case” was the claim that Iraq could launch Weapons of Mass Destruction “within 45 minutes of an order to do so” – Dr. Kelly had privately dismissed this as “risible”.

Scarlett gave evidence at the Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Kelly’s death. It became clear that Scarlett had worked closely with Alastair Campbell, then the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications and Strategy, on the controversial September Dossier, with Campbell making drafting suggestions which the inquiry found may have “subconsciously influenced” Scarlett and the JIC.

This influence may have had deleterious effects on the quality of the assessments presented in the dossier. For instance, the Intelligence and Security Committee made several criticisms in their report “Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction — Intelligence and Assessments”:

“As the 45 minutes claim was new to its readers, the context of the intelligence and any assessment needed to be explained. The fact that it was assessed to refer to battlefield chemical and biological munitions and their movement on the battlefield, not to any other form of chemical or biological attack, should have been highlighted in the dossier. The omission of the context and assessment allowed speculation as to its exact meaning. This was unhelpful to an understanding of this issue.”

Scarlett became the head of SIS on 6 May 2004, before publication of the findings of the Butler Review. Although the review highlighted many failings in the intelligence behind the Iraq war and the workings of the Joint Intelligence Committee, it specifically stated that Scarlett should not resign as head of the Committee and SIS.

On 8 December 2009, Scarlett gave evidence to The Iraq Inquiry. He denied he was under any pressure to “firm up” the September Dossier, and claimed there was “no conscious intention” to mislead about Iraq’s weapons but it would have been “better” to have clarified battlefield munitions not missiles were meant.

On 26 June 2011, The Guardian reported on a memo from Scarlett to Blair’s foreign affairs adviser, released under the Freedom of Information Act, which referred to “the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional”. The memo has been described as one of the most significant documents on the September dossier yet published as it is considered a proposal to mislead the public.

On 28 January 2011, Scarlett was appointed to the board of Times Newspapers Ltd, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, which publishes The Times and The Sunday Times.




Image result for Sir John Scarlett images





31 December 2006 – The award of a knighthood to John Scarlett was described as “utterly astonishing” by MPs yesterday.

Sir John, who oversaw the production of the so-called “dodgy dossier” which claimed that Saddam Hussein could launch a missile attack in 45 minutes, is made a Knight Commander of the Order of St George in the New Year honours.

But Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan An Iar, said Tony Blair had shown “breathtaking arrogance” in approving the award.

“John Scarlett has been awarded an honour for services to diplomacy. Services to creative writing might have been more appropriate,” he said.

Sir John’s role in the production of the infamous dossier was exposed in Lord Hutton’s inquiry into the death of the weapons scientist Dr David Kelly.

Lord Hutton said that he might have been “subconsciously influenced” by political pressure that caused him to strengthen the wording of the dossier.

The Conservatives, however, refused to be drawn on the knighthood for the man who is now head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). David Cameron’s New Year message pledges to give “wholehearted backing” to measures to “enhance our security services”.









Previous articles posted to my blog can be found here: (why is this taking so long?) (the failures of the military elite) (Heywood the master or the servant?) (Who run’s Downing Street?) (correspondence between US and UK. Damming evidence)


David Kelly