The End Of the Post Will knock Your Socks Off – The Scandal That should have brought down the First Labour Party Government in Scotland – The Inside Story of the Cover-Up and Perversion of Democracy That Followed – This Is a Very Long Post


_468891_gordonbeattie150Gordon Beattie





Scotland and the Lobbyists

Gordon Beattie left the Evening Times at the age of 26 to set up a news agency. Now he runs Scotland’s largest public relations company.

In its early days the stories the young Lanarkshire news agency would flog to news desks were ‘crap’, according to one tabloid editor of the Eighties. Injuries in traffic accidents jostled alongside weak business stories, but editors admired the sheer work rate.

Beattie Media got into PR. Slowly, editors became aware that the local stories were promoting the same Lanarkshire businesses which happened to be Beattie Media’s PR clients. The clients were paying Gordon Beattie, as were the newspapers who ran the stories. Editors stopped running the copy. It was a neat trick that reveals Beattie’s ability to see a novel business opportunity. ‘He’s a very dynamic guy, into all that American business philosophy,’ says one former employee. ‘PR is all about learning things about people they’d prefer you didn’t know. Gordon’s a great exponent of trading stories,’ says one of the many ex-journalists who have passed through Beattie Media’s doors

The company’s greatest fillip was to come up with the Tory policy of making public agencies outsource services. All the local enterprise companies that make up the Scottish Enterprise network, had lucrative contracts for private firms.

Beattie Media first won the contract for the Lanarkshire Development Agency. Now it has contracts with the Glasgow Development Agency; Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Limited; and Ayrshire Enterprise. It also does much of the PR for Scottish Enterprise, including the SE agencies Scotland the Brand and the Skills portfolio.

This domination of the enterprise sector has already led to concerns that Beattie Media are monopolising the field. The focus is now turning to the question of how Gordon Beattie was so successful in winning big ticket contracts. Other Scottish PR firms were more than willing to give their own explanations.

Beattie Media put a PR team into West of Scotland Water before the contract was advertised for tender. PR rivals say Beattie Media were in place for more than three months, the maximum limit for a public body to retain paid advisers without a competitive tendering process.

A source in West of Scotland Water told The Observer that Beattie Media was originally in the running against Shandwick PR, but ‘it didn’t matter what Shandwick did, Beattie were going to get it’. It caused anger in the company that Gordon Beattie approached senior members of the board offering his services when the in-house team was still operating.

The Observer has been told that ‘Beattie undermined the existing staff’. Scotland is a small place, and who you know counts for a lot. By employing Andrew Livingstone, the son of the chief executive of Lanarkshire Development Agency, Ian Livingstone(5), and Debbie Allison, the daughter of Beattie Media client, Clydeport’s chief executive, Tom Allison (6), the firm can’t have done itself any harm. (The Observer)









March 15 1996: Lanarkshire Development Agency – to put its PR out to tender

The Lanarkshire Development Agency is reviewing its annual £100K  PR account with Beattie Media. The account has been with the agency since the regeneration body was established in 1991.

The review is a statutory requirement rather than a reflection on Beattie’s performance, but matters may be complicated for Beattie as it takes place just as LDA’s chief executive Archie Bethel is leaving to join local engineering company Motherwell Bridge. He is being replaced by LDA finance director Iain Carmichael.

‘Under Scottish Enterprise rules the contract must be put out to tender,’ said Beattie Media MD Gordon Beattie. ‘The decision will be taken on the basis of cost and quality. As far as we’re concerned, if we retain the account it will be down to the quality of the proposal and the team we put in.’ The deadline for the submission of tenders was 8 March. Media relations activity – championing opportunities in and improvements to Lanarkshire – will make up the bulk of the work on the account.

Shandwick Scotland is among those to pitch.Barkers Scotland was also approached but declined because of a conflict of interest with existing client the Glasgow Development Agency. (PR Week)









9 Jan 1997: Quango Blows £100K to Engage a Media Company

A quango was last night accused of squandering almost £100K of public money by hiring a public relations firm for the run-up to the General Election. Scottish Enterprise, set up to attract inward investment, already has a 12-strong press and publicity office. The quango is desperate to reclaim power lost to a network of smaller Local Enterprise Companies (LECs) and has engaged the PR firm at £10K monthly in a bid to win Labour backing. The move means another lucrative contract for Lanarkshire-based Beattie Media which has already won deals worth more than £150K from LECs in Lanarkshire and Lothian. …(High Beam)




Gordon Beattie _458811_reiddewarandblair300  Reid, Dewar and Blair







Public Affairs Europe – Beattie Media and the The Jack McConnell Affair

In April 1998 Gordon Beattie launched Public Affairs Europe, a joint venture with commercial lawyers Maclay, Murray and Spens. Jack McConnell (who later became Scottish First Minister), the former general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party was recruited and employed as a director (for around 9 months) in which time he won no clients and brought in no fees.

McConnell’s links with Beattie Media were later to become central to the Scottish Parliament Standards Committee’s investigation of the infamous Lobbygate affair. He had been recruited by Beattie Media because of his political connections and prospects: Beattie said “We appointed Jack McConnell to head up our public affairs consultancy, in the certain knowledge that Jack would get a safe seat from the Labour Party, and in the hope and expectation that he would also get a cabinet position within the new administration. So we always knew that Jack was going to leave us.”

(The Observer transcript 1999: 2). Our concern centred on the probity of such an overtly political appointment given the recent history of sleaze at Westminster which had brought down the Tory government.
Damian Killeen, Director of the Poverty Alliance in Glasgow, wrote to The Herald expressing his fears “The growth in the number of lobbying companies in Scotland, in advance of the Scottish Parliament, is happening with relatively little critical comment. Some of these companies are staffed by people who recently or currently have occupied prominent political positions. There is little doubt that their access to senior politicians is an important part of these companies’ sales pitch. Government in Scotland has, so far, done little to disassociate itself from these developments. What signals does this send out to those who are looking to the new Parliament to provide a level of accessibility and inclusiveness? (Killeen 1998: 16) (powerbase info Beattie Media)




_460680_jackmcconnellintvu150Jack McConnell








Apr 10, 1998: McConnell quits Scottish Labour party for agency post with Beattie Media

Jack McConnell, general secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland for the past five years, has resigned from his post to head up a new Edinburgh-based government relations consultancy, which will be known as Public Affairs Europe. It is a joint-venture between leading Scottish PR agency Beattie Media and commercial lawyers firm Maclay Murray and Spens. Beattie handles some public affairs, but its main work is in public relations. Public Affairs Europe’s specific aim is to provide legal and constitutional advice alongside traditional government relations counsel, in the run-up to the establishment of the new Scottish Parliament.

McConnell said: ’I look forward to helping the public and private sectors have greater involvement in the democratic process in Edinburgh, Westminster and Brussels. The Public Affairs Europe team will be at the cutting edge of the quality, innovation, ethical standards and success which must be central to the new Scotland’.

McConnell, who will be chief executive, will form part of a six-strong team at Public Affairs Europe, with George McKechnie, head of public affairs at Beattie Media taking the role of chairman of the new agency, Gordon Beattie, managing director of Beattie Media and Magnus Swanson, Bruce Patrick and Alec Barr, all partners at Maclay Murray Spens. (prweek)



_483898_kevinreidhead150Gordon Reid







6 October 1999: Scottish Parliament hit by lobbying scandal

Scottish politics have been convulsed by a row over a lobbying company’s access to ministers in the newly devolved parliament. The Observer newspaper, whose investigation exposed the scandal, has likened it to the row that blew up around Labour Party aide Derek Draper some months ago, and redolent of the “sleaze” allegations that dogged the previous Tory administration, which contributed to their 1997 electoral collapse.

Scotland’s “lobbygate” has undermined the democratic illusions built up around the new parliament and exposed the sordid reality of the Blair Labour government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme. (3)

On August 31, in the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Ben Laurence from the Observer newspaper posed as a representative of principally American investors during discussions with Kevin Reid (4) and Alex Barr of the public relations firm Beattie Media. Reid is the 24-year-old son of John Reid, Scotland’s Secretary of State.

The Observer’s investigation followed rumours that lobbying companies were increasingly targeting the Scottish executive, touting for business. Laurence told the pair that his clients were interested in “PFI stuff over here.” PFI is a means through which private capital is invested in services, such as education and healthcare. Begun by the Conservatives but dramatically expanded by Blair’s Labour government, it has been promoted as the saviour of public services.

In reality it represents privatisation via the back door. Under the initiative, improvements, refurbishment, or the new construction of hospitals, roads, prisons, schools, sewage and water treatment plants can be undertaken only if they can show a long-term profit to venture capitalists. Those unable to do so are ditched, or completely distorted.

The Observer’s bogus businessman was looking at Scotland, Laurence continued, because it has been a major area of PFI and “calculations suggest the sort of returns for PFI projects in Scotland are giving their investors above what they are south of the border [in England].” His clients were aware that the initiative was “politically sensitive” and required a consultancy firm that would help them navigate Scottish politics and facilitate discussions with those political leaders whose approval would be essential for any project.

Invited to present their “USP” (unique selling point) for this role, Barr noted Reid’s parentage and boasted of his company’s relationship with Jack McConnell, ex-general secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland and current Scottish government finance minister. Although no longer officially on their payroll, McConnell was recently head of Beattie’s public affairs consultancy and his personal assistant was formerly employed by Beattie.

Reid was previously head of the Labour Party’s Scottish monitoring and research department. Several other leading politicians and their offspring have close relations with Beattie. Their corporate clients have included West of Scotland Water, Scottish Enterprise and local investment agencies.

Referring to the latter, the Beattie men explained that “we work for them all full-time, so we’ve got our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in business and in construction. Major capital projects don’t tend to happen especially within these areas without us knowing about it.” They made clear that the entire Scottish government is accessible to any company with money to invest: “First of all, it’s been set up so there shouldn’t be a problem with meeting ministers, executive members.”

Reid boasted of his contacts: “I worked for Jack [McConnell] and for Wendy [Alexander—minister for communities] and for Henry [McCleish—Enterprise Minister] and for Donald [Dewar—First Minister] on a one-to-one basis. I worked with the Labour Party media monitoring in the press team and I briefed them every night.”

Reid grinned, then played his ace: “I know the Secretary of State very, very well, because he’s my father.” The father is John Reid, Secretary of State for Scotland, one of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s closest allies and the man widely tipped to succeed George Robertson as Defence Secretary. The son is 24-year-old Kevin Reid, a former Labour Party helper who is now a key player in a “New Labour” lobbying firm peddling claims of influence and access to Ministers.

Whilst Reid said that he couldn’t promise access to people, he went on to explain how informal contacts could be arranged. He cited a meeting with Sports Minister Sam Galbraith in the Rangers football club directors’ box over a youth centre contract, and claimed to have helped win approval for a number of recent contracts involving freight transport from Prestwick and a £60 million tourist development around Loch Lomond.

Whilst such scandals are by no means new, this latest one has thrown the Labour Party in Scotland into crisis. It broke just after its near defeat in the Hamilton by-election. John Reid and Donald Dewar reportedly came close to blows at the Labour Party conference over their differing responses to the scandal. Dewar had called for a full enquiry, while Reid dismissed the revelations as a storm in a teacup. The press has speculated that the spat involves broader rivalries between the two men.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has dispatched a team north to investigate the whole business and Beattie Media has closed down their public affairs wing. The Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee is meeting to discuss the case. The body had originally intended to hold the hearing in camera, but were forced to make them public after the Scotsman newspaper took the Parliament to court for breaching its promise for “transparency” and “open” government.

None of the outrage around the scandal is motivated by opposition to PFI. Despite the social implications of even greater sectors of Britain’s public services being geared towards profit, the initiative has never been mentioned outside the initial Observer article. Alarm has focussed on the implications of the new parliament being seen as the tool of an extremely narrow clique of contract-swinging politicians. This contradicts the image of Scottish devolution as the “rebirth of democracy”.

Writing in the Scotsman, editor Alan Ruddock complained, “The objective has always been to establish that openness and transparency are the first principles of Scottish democracy. It is not enough for MSPs to assert that on this occasion they will allow their affairs to be scrutinised. The public’s right to know should not be in the gift of politicians.”

Leading Scottish National Party member George Kerevan commented, “The incestuous links between politicians, lobbyists—and journalists—means phone calls are returned. Cases are put to the right people. After all, in backward Scotland, trading influence is currency. Some day a politician might need a job or pertinent information or a message passed to the right ear.”

The latest row is not an aberration, however. Labour’s programme of devolved government is aimed at enabling the greater exploitation of Britain’s regions and their workforces by the transnational corporations and global money markets. The Scottish parliament was meant to facilitate these relations by establishing closer, direct links between local politicians and big business. Reid and Barr were simply acting on that mandate. (World Socialist Web Site)



_526349_christinamarshall150Christina Marshall


26 September 1999: More about Beattie media and its role in the Lobbygate scandal

Beattie Media has an alliance with London-based lobbyists APCO (1) Its public affairs wing was set up last year. Beattie has given jobs to the offspring of no fewer than three MPs – two of them, including Reid, Cabinet Ministers. Malcolm Robertson, son of the outgoing Defence Secretary George Robertson, is now working as a lobbyist for the Scottish Airports Authority.(2)

The third is Christina Marshall, daughter of David Marshall MP, who chairs the Scottish affairs select committee at Westminster. She is now personal assistant to Jack McConnell, Finance Minister in the Scottish executive and former general-secretary of the Scottish Labour Party. He is central to Beattie’s lobbying sales pitch, having headed its public affairs wing before this year’s elections to the new Scottish Parliament.

At the Balmoral meeting, Reid said that, in politics ‘relationships’ mattered. And he reeled off a list of the people he had got to know while working in the Labour Party and what positions they now held in the new administration in Edinburgh.

‘Anthony James’ said his ‘American clients’ wanted reassurance before they would invest and needed face-to-face meetings with Ministers. They also needed information about public projects using private finance before they were announced. In response, Barr indicated that Beattie’s status as Scotland’s largest public relations business gave it an excellent information network. Not much happened in business north of the border without the firm knowing about it.

Barr said McConnell’s appointment to head the public affairs wing had been made ‘in the certain knowledge that Jack would get a safe seat from the Labour Party, and in the hope and expectation that he would also get a Cabinet position within the new administration’. During McConnell’s time, the firm, acting for the Scottish Premier League last October, invited Sports Minister Sam Galbraith to a Rangers European Champions League game so that he could meet league chief executive Roger Mitchell. The league wanted to establish youth soccer academies, but needed government financial help. Rangers won (against Beitar Jerusalem). So did the Scottish Premier League: since the election, Labour has pledged £10 million to develop the academies, which Barr described as ‘a tangible example of our work’.

When McConnell was selected to stand in Motherwell and Wishaw, he stood down from Beattie Media. ‘I have always made it clear that I would put the constituency I hope to represent first, and I would never contemplate any potential conflict of interest,’ he explained. But the divorce was in no sense acrimonious. Barr told The Observer’s ‘Anthony James’ that McConnell has remained in close contact with the company. (McConnell said yesterday that he had spoken to the firm only twice since the election.)

But ‘Anthony James’ asked: how could the firm remain in regular contact with McConnell now he was a senior Minister? Beattie Media had allowed Christina Marshall, who worked at the firm at the same time as McConnell, to leave to work with him after the election. According to Barr, the company has been able to place an appointment in McConnell’s diary through contact with Christina Marshall.

Beattie handles PR for the Financial Director of the Year Award, said Barr. He had rung Christina and said: ‘I’d love it if Jack could make the keynote speech.’ It would ‘generate good coverage’ and give him the chance to meet ‘movers and shakers’. He continued: ‘Christina checked his diary for me and said, “Consider it done”.’

Christina Marshall said last week that McConnell had not yet decided whether he would speak at the presentation. But, she said, she does still talk to her former Beattie colleagues. Those conversations are ‘not always on business issues’, she said. The presentation had only been pencilled in to the Minister’s diary.

Barr insisted that he, Kevin Reid and company boss Gordon Beattie were all able to contact the Finance Minister.They had his office, home and pager numbers. As a Labour ‘gofer’, Kevin Reid had briefed future Scottish Ministers on a daily basis and he became close friends with a number of Labour officials who went on to become special advisers to First Minister Donald Dewar’s Cabinet.

Reid implied that, through its connections, the company had influenced government policy on freight shipment rights at Prestwick Airport. The US corporation Federal Express had threatened to pull out of Prestwick because under existing protocols it could not forward goods by air to Europe. Reid said: ‘I was quite pleased with that.’ He added: ‘It’s Lord [Gus] Macdonald at Transport [the UK Transport Minister] – that was very, very useful.’

The decision to give Fed-ex transshipment rights was controversial. British rivals complained bitterly that an opportunity to use the situation to secure reciprocal rights at US airports had been thrown away.
Barr also claimed that ‘we landed’ for a client an environmentally sensitive contract to build the Lomond Shores centre, a £60m tourist development on the banks of Loch Lomond. Enterprise Minister Henry McLeish, lured by a photo-opportunity with a golden eagle, was persuaded to launch the development.

Reid said the company could not promise meetings, but Barr added that its ethos was to fix face-to-face meetings rather than lobby directly. So could they actually arrange a meeting with a member of the Scottish Cabinet then? ‘What time scale are we talking about?’ asked Alex Barr. In the next month? ‘That should be achievable,’ replied Barr. Whom would Beattie approach? The two men looked at each other. ‘Probably Jack?’ Reid asked his senior colleague. ‘I would say so,’ confirmed Barr.

It is less than 15 months since it was disclosed how New Labour apparatchiks who had helped the party to power were now offering their services as lobbyists – boasting that they could secure inside information and had extraordinary access to Downing Street. The Labour administration at first tried to shrug it off, but Tony Blair eventually conceded that ‘we have to be very careful… that we are purer than pure’. With an inexperienced executive trying to develop a new, open style of politics in Edinburgh, lobbyists have once again penetrated the heart of government. (The Guardian)



_460739_threeshot30072645838John Reid, His son and Jack mcConnell



27 Sep 1999: First Minister Donald Dewar has launched a probe launched into lobbying allegations

Scotland’s First Minister Donald Dewar has called for the parliament’s standards committee to investigate reports of links between a lobbying company and ministers. The probe follows allegations in The Observer newspaper that one of Scotland’s largest public relations firms, Beattie Media, touted for business by offering privileged access to Scottish ministers – including Finance Minister Jack McConnell.

The company has denied the allegations. However, the activities of its public affairs wing have been suspended pending an internal investigation and it has apologised for any embarrassment caused to the ministers named. The newspaper’s string of allegations include Beattie Media executives telling an undercover reporter, posing as a businessman, that they had access to ministers, most notably Mr McConnell who used to work for a company part owned by Beattie Media.

It also claimed that Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid’s son was also implicated in the affair. Kevin Reid worked for the Labour Party before joining the PR agency to head its political lobbying arm and allegedly boasted about his contacts with the Scottish secretary. A spokesman for John Reid the politician said the newspaper’s allegations against his son were laughable and without foundation.

Mr McConnell issued a statement before the paper’s publication rubbishing the charges. It says: “I’ve become aware of the newspaper linking my previous employment in 1998 with Public Affairs Europe. “I wish to make clear that neither I nor my staff have regular contact with either of the individuals named in this article or the company as a whole. “I have not in any way abused my candidacy, my election and my position as a minister. “In fact, long before the election campaign, I terminated my employment with the PR company. I want to make it perfectly clear that any allegation would be totally without foundation, I am therefore writing to request that the standards committee investigate these allegations.”

The PR company also defended its position and accused the newspaper of using extreme underhand techniques in an attempt to entrap them. But the journalist behind the story – The Observer’s Scottish Editor Dean Nelson – said there was nothing wrong with the methods used. He told BBC Radio Scotland: “Beattie Media say they are superior. It has refused to join Scotland’s professional association for lobbyists because it believes it doesn’t match up to their high standards. “All we did was to set out to test what they claim.”

A spokesman for Mr Dewar said: “The First Minister and all his colleagues are committed to the standards set out in the Ministerial Code of Conduct. “He expects the same standard from others involved in public life. “He doesn’t believe there’s been any breach of the ministerial code but he strongly supports the proposal that the Standards Committee should investigate any allegations made and consider whether there is a need for further investigations in the light of such a report.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, the leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, said if the claims were true some members of the Scottish Executive were in serious trouble. (BBC News)



18028268-jpg-galleryKevin Reid







27 Sep 1999: Dewar and Reid ‘rift’ widening

There are signs of a widening rift between the Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid and First Minister Donald Dewar over newspaper allegations of improper access to ministers. Donald Dewar has backed calls for a Scottish Parliament inquiry into newspaper reports that a lobbying company, Beattie Media, which employs the Secretary of State’s son Kevin, was offering privileged access to Scottish Executive Ministers. However, while Dr Reid, who heads the Scotland Office, has been vocal in his defence of his son, Dr Reid’s counterpart in the Scottish Executive, Mr Dewar, defended his ministers who were named in the story.

The row has reignited speculation of a deep chasm between the two political leaders, with rumblings of discontent reported between the two arms of government throughout the summer. While Dr Reid said his son has nothing to apologise for, Mr Dewar pointed out that ministers had been cleared of blame because Beattie Media has apologised. Mr Dewar said: “The situation has been clarified, of course, by the public and unreserved apology from the company. “That has cleared the names of ministers who were put into the frame by the whole affair and I’m very relieved and pleased about that.”

Mr Dewar said it is now up to the Scottish Parliament’s Standards and Privileges Committee, which meets on Wednesday, to establish the ground rules for lobbying companies. The first minister denied he had over-reacted to the story and added: “I’m not in the business of confrontation and I don’t think there is confrontation. “I don’t think anyone is denying that this story is unimportant. It’s not something that could have been ignored by any of us an isn’t being ignored by any of us.”

Senior ministers have said they are dismayed by Dr Reid’s reaction and Mr Dewar and his executive have asked the standards committee in the Scottish Parliament to examine the affair and the role of lobbyists. Dr Reid and Mr Dewar were pictured together smiling when they met the prime minister at Labour’s annual conference on Sunday evening but the indications from Bournemouth were that relations were at an all time low.

The controversy had clearly overshadowed what was being hailed as a triumphant conference appearance by Mr Dewar – the first since the opening of the Scottish Parliament. Mr Dewar told the conference that Labour was building the “the sort of Scotland we have always wanted” through devolution and fulfilling its promises to the people of Scotland. (BBC News)










29 Sep 1999: Finance Minister Jack McConnell – former member of Beattie Media staff denies wrongdoing

Finance Minister Jack McConnell has broken his silence to deny any wrongdoing in the Scottish Parliament lobbying row. Mr McConnell, who had worked for the company at the centre of the controversy, said allegations in The Observer newspaper were completely false.

The Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee was due to receive transcripts of the conversation between two employees of Beattie Media and a newspaper reporter who posed as a potential client seeking to use the company to gain access to ministers. One of the Beattie officials was Kevin Reid, son of Scottish Secretary John Reid. The PR company staff were secretly filmed allegedly telling the reporter they could influence Mr McConnell’s diary – the minister is a former employee of Beattie Media.

But Mr McConnell said the allegations were completely untrue and he was glad to receive an apology from the company which made that clear. He said the reputation of the parliament and the good name of Scotland were of key importance to him. Mr McConnell said the standards committee was the right body to investigate the matter and he had immediately sought contact with its convener when the story emerged. Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: “My immediate reaction was to write a letter to Mike Rumbles to tell him what was being said about me was completely untrue and to ask him to deal with the matter through the standards committee. “I regard the reputation of the parliament and the good name of Scotland as vitally important and a top priority for me and everybody involved.” First Minister Donald Dewar has said he was convinced none of his ministers did anything wrong.

But on Tuesday Alex Salmond, Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), said the whole parliament should discuss the so-called “Lobbygate” affair as the first item order of business on Wednesday. “The ‘Lobbygate’ allegations are extremely serious. The job of the Parliament is to investigate these allegations,” said Mr Salmond. The SNP called for the diaries of ministers to be made public in order to ensure there had been no wrongdoing and said the parliament should ban all lobbyists from its precincts.

BBC Scotland Chief Political Correspondent John Morrison said it was thought the standards committee would receive The Observer’s transcripts on Wednesday but had decided not to consider them in-depth immediately. One committee member said they had to consider the matter correctly and would not “dance to the tune of a newspaper”. (BBC News)





29 Sep 1999: Lobbyists Out of Control

Lobbyists work in the bars and restaurants near the Holyrood parliament. Their aim is to influence the decision of parliaments by meeting MPs and ministers to put across their client’s points of view. They may try, as has been alleged in the case of Kevin Reid, to set up meetings for their clients with those in power. But they have come under fire on occasions and when the Scottish Parliament was being set up moves were made to limit the lobbyists’ power.

In particular, Scotland’s politicians were keen to prevent any repeat of controversies like the “cash for questions” row which have marred Westminster politics in recent years. They decided not to give official recognition to lobby companies and to limit their access to the parliament. But still the lobbyists can be found in the bars, cafes and restaurants of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile where they seek the ear of the powerful to press their clients’ case. They seek to meet the politicians because they believe access can change policy.

Julia Clarke, of the Association of Scottish Public Affairs, believes the controversial business has its place when conducted in a reasonable manner. “Lobbying is entirely legitimate in all its different forms,” she said. “You always do have to identify who you represent when you are in contact with the parliament, it’s only fair. “They have got to know where you are coming from, who you represent. You have to got be very honest and transparent in your dealings with them. “You couldn’t offer inappropriate hospitality. It’s really common sense, it’s about what the man in the street would think is reasonable.” The corridors of power in Scotland are easier to control than those of Westminster, according to some analysts.

But Joyce McMillan, who was on the Consultative Steering Group which helped establish Scottish Parliament procedures, believes that lobbyists may have limited power. “Lobbying companies like Beattie Media only gain whatever value they are perceived to have from the perception that they are able to offer access to MSPs and ministers,” she said. “And if ministers and MSPs make it clear that they cannot offer that then really their market value is going to plummet.”

After their employees were filmed allegedly offering improper access, Beattie Media said they had no influence over ministers. That admission begs a question, according to BBC Scotland Chief Political Correspondent John Morrison: “What’s the point of lobbyists?” (BBC News)










30 Sep 1999: Beattie Media Debate – Holyrood

Donald Dewar: would like to make a statement about Beattie Media and the activities of professional lobbying firms. I learned last Friday, 24 September, that there was to be a report in The Observer of the following Sunday about the activities of the public relations firm Beattie Media. The report duly appeared. It has been widely read and a matter of much comment. The report was based on a conversation between two employees of Beattie Media and an employee of The Observer who was posing as a representative of clients who were seeking public relations and lobbying assistance. I think it is fair to describe the exchange as being essentially a sales pitch by Beattie Media.

The circumstances raise sharply ethical issues. But my particular concern, which I will deal with in this statement, is the claims that were apparently made during the meeting about the conduct of Scottish ministers. Although I was aware from newspaper reports of the principal allegations, the full text of the transcript was not made available to me until late yesterday afternoon. I am grateful to you, Sir David, for agreeing at short notice to allow me to make this statement.

Full transcript of lively debate here: “”

Full transcript of the meeting in the Balmoral Hotel between Beattie Media and the Observer: ” ” “”









Lobbygate Scandal – “Reports said evidence was destroyed”

Newspaper reports said records of contacts between Mr McConnell and his secretary and the lobbyists at the centre of the controversy would not be available to the parliament’s standards committee. However, Mr McConnell has issued a statement in which he described the allegations as “totally untrue” and said he was the victim of a smear campaign.

The committee is due to hear evidence on Monday from Mr McConnell and his secretary Christina Marshall following allegations that lobbyists from Beattie Media were offering improper access to ministers and Mr McConnell in particular.

It was reported that a notebook containing details of a contact between Mr McConnell’s secretary and the lobbying arm of the public relations company, and which would have been presented to the committee, had been destroyed. And there were further allegations that a constituency diary entry containing details of a Beattie – organised event was blotted out.

But in a statement Mr McConnell said he had provided more information to the committee than was asked for, including the specific note relating to the event in question. The minister said constituency case notes which had not been given to the committee contained confidential information which could put lives in danger if they were to be made public.

Mr McConnell said: “The suggestion that any evidence has been destroyed is totally untrue and the person responsible for this disgusting lie is bringing the whole inquiry into disrepute. “I provided more information to the committee than was asked for including the specific note relating to the event in question. “My constituency case notes contain confidential information which could put lives in danger in the wrong hands. I urge all concerned to stop playing politics with those lives.” Mr McConnell, who once worked for a Beattie Media-related company, has been the main focus for the inquiry.

The standards committee launched its inquiry after two Beattie Media executives, including Kevin Reid, son of the Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid, told a journalist posing as a potential client that they had influence with ministers. It is alleged that Mr McConnell was invited to attend an awards ceremony on behalf of one of Beattie Media’s clients and the entry was placed in the notebook by his secretary, who used to work for the company.

It is reported that the minister would face questioning under oath over an entry in his constituency diary which has been blotted out.The entry, it said, related to a financial awards dinner which the lobbyists said had been arranged with the minister without having to use official channels.

The omission had been highlighted by Malcolm Duncan, the independent adviser appointed to the Lobbygate inquiry. The revelations have led to concerns among Labour ministers over leaks from the standards committee. It is thought the Scottish Executive will call on the committee members to take an oath denying they have been responsible for leaks. (BBC News)    “”     “”







30 September 1999: Worst aspects of the old politics

It was, we may suppose, too good to be true. The swift decision by Donald Dewar, the First Minister, to refer allegations involving the Beattie Media lobbying firm and members of the Scottish executive to the parliament’s standards committee was like a light cast on shadows. Mr Dewar was under considerable pressure to duck the issue; to his credit, he chose the only honest course.

Now, in a style that is wearyingly familiar to observers of the Scottish political scene, the committee, guardian of the parliament’s probity and guarantor of the public’s right to open government, responds in a manner as dilatory as it is inept, apparently more interested in hunting for excuses than in demanding answers. (High Beam)






October 1, 1999: Beattie Media affair There is no sleaze to be found (The Herald)

Now that the evidence has been produced, examined, and dissected it is clear that the pursuit of sleaze in the Beattie Media affair has produced nothing of the sort. That judgement might also be made of the behaviour of the executives from the lobbying organisation which has now been disbanded, but apart from their juvenile boasting there appears nothing untoward to be found.

The First Minister, Mr Donald Dewar, was right to conclude that none of his Ministers has broken any code. His decision to investigate the extent of private- sector PR contacts across all Scottish public bodies makes obvious sense. We do not share the view that Mr Dewar was seeking to draw a line under the whole affair and discourage the back-bench Standards Committee from proceeding any further with its own inquiries. (High Beam)






October 6, 1999: Beattie Media Horror Matinee Made a Star of Tenacious Trish Marwick

Better late than never, Scotland has a real Parliament and MSPs who have suddenly grown up. In a dramatic reversal of form, the Standards Committee confounded us all by NOT acting like hypnotised rabbits. Instead, they became a watchdog with bark and bite. They saw off the Scottish Executive, established the Parliament’s authority and made it clear they will be called to heel by no one.

They held a morning matinee of the horror Lobbygate video with a bogus businessman and Beattie Media lobbyists Alex Barr and Kevin Reid, son of Scots Secretary John Reid. A star was born – tenacious Trish Marwick, the SNP list member for Mid-Scotland and Fife, who is one of the real finds of the Scottish Parliament got stuck into a wavering chairman Mike Rumbles (lib/dem)





Friday, Oct 8, 1999: Alex Barr – One of the public relations executives embroiled in the Beattie Media Lobbygate row admitted he “over-stated” his company as part of a sales pitch.

Mr Barr was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s standards committee’s investigation into claims that the agency said it could arrange meetings with ministers. A meeting was attended by Alex Barr and another Beattie employee, Kevin Reid – son of the Scottish Secretary Dr John Reid.

Mr Barr was questioned by committee members on Friday along with Mr Reid, Beattie Media boss Gordon Beattie and two journalists. The next step in the investigation will take place in a fortnight’s time – after the parliament’s recess – when it is expected that Finance Minister Jack McConnell’s diaries will be examined. Members have also requested to see a full Beattie Media client list.

Reading from a prepared statement, Mr Barr said he “deeply regretted” the impact the controversy had had on everyone involved. The same words of apology were read to the committee by Mr Beattie. The firm’s boss also took the opportunity to criticise the newspaper referring to its undercover reporting as a deliberate “sting”. He was stopped halfway through his statement by committee member Tricia Marwick who said: “We should not allow a rant against The newspaper by Mr Beattie.”

Gordon Beattie called the investigation a “sting” When he was given permission to carry on, he returned to his notes and outlined what he believed was Thereal motive of the newspapers. He said: “The paper wanted to entrap the son of the Secretary of State for Scotland and thus embarrass him and Beattie Media.” then Mr Beattie was questioned for 40 minutes about his firm’s recruitment policy and his personal contact with Finance Minister Jack McConnell – a former Beattie Media employee.

In an earlier session, Mr Barr told the committee that he was so concerned following the meeting with the undercover journalist that he wrote to him on the same day to make his company’s position clear. He added: “I also made it clear in my letter that it would be both unprofessional and immoral for any public relations consultancies to promise access to ministers.”

Questioned by the committee, Mr Barr said he thought he had been in a competitive situation, bidding for business against other agencies. This, he conceded, had made him “over-state” his company to the prospective client. “I went to sell public relations and not public affairs and if there’s been any dubiety caused as a result of that, then that’s the explanation,” said Mr Barr. When asked about his links with Mr McConnell, Mr Barr said he had several contact numbers for the minister, including a pager, and read one of the numbers to the committee. Mr Barr also agreed several times to hand over his entire personal contacts book for the committee to scrutinise.
Reid outlined his recollection of the undercover filming before the committee. He said: “I explained who I knew and I explained, or what I was trying to explain, is that it doesn’t go against me that I used to work in the Labour Party. It gives me an understanding of political issues, it gives me an understanding of the politicians, it doesn’t mean I provide access.”

The Observer’s Scotland Editor, Dean Nelson, said the investigation began after the newspaper was approached by concerned politicians. He said Beattie Media was targeted because it had employed Dr Reid’s son although he had no previous experience of lobbying. Mr Nelson repeated allegations that Mr Barr and Mr Reid said they could influence the diary of Mr McConnell and had close contacts with other ministers and advisors.









10 Oct 1999: Jack McConnell, the Scottish finance minister

faces the embarrassment of an opposition campaign to highlight the “obvious flop” that was his short-lived business career – a career in which the lobbying company he headed attracted no clients and had no revenue.Members of the Scottish parliament’s standards committee are clear that their Lobbygate investigations into Beattie Media’s claims about access to ministers have focused even more sharply on McConnell’s role. The prospect of other ministers being called before the committee has receded – particularly for First Minister Donald Dewar and for Sam Galbraith, the schools, children and sports minister. (High Beam)






October 15, 1999: Gordon Beattie refuses to let the Lobbygate scandal bring his company down

Gordon Beattie refuses to let the ’lobbygate’ scandal which has engulfed his agency in the last three weeks bring him down. ’We have not lost one client since the publicity,’ he asserts confidently. But two minutes later comes a sheepish qualification: Beattie Media has actually lost two clients – a charity he refuses to name and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, both previously on the books of the fledgling public affairs arm Beattie had to shut down earlier this month.

But two minutes later comes a sheepish qualification: Beattie Media has actually lost two clients – a charity he refuses to name and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, both previously on the books of the fledgling public affairs arm Beattie had to shut down earlier this month.

This retraction is classic Beattie: an overwhelming belief in brash self-promotion as the only way to propel clients – and now himself – out of a crisis, even to the point of skating over minor truths. By all accounts, it worked two years ago, when Beattie spun the Lanarkshire Health Board out of Scotland’s e-coli crisis – a case made much of in Beattie’s promotional literature.

Applying this blind promotion-as-panacea doctrine – floating as it does somewhere between arrogance and naivete – Beattie himself has risen from small-time reporter to the head of Scotland’s largest independent PR agency in 17 years.

He started his career as a reporter on the Wishaw Press, ’breaking my parents’ hearts’ by not taking a place at university to read history and politics. Ten years later, after several years floating in and out of various local Scottish papers, he set up his own Lanarkshire-based news agency, Beattie Media. In 1987, ’a businessman came along and said: ’would you write me a press release?’ I said: ’no, I’m a real journalist, I don’t do press releases.’ But he offered me pounds 300, and I said: ’wait till I get my pencil’.’

So, Beattie sold his hack’s soul to the PR devil. He managed to keep the news agency running in tandem with what blossomed into a PR business for 12 years, before Scottish news editors started raising their eyebrows at Beattie – generated copy about Beattie clients appearing unadulterated on their pages. He resolved this minor crisis in his business by selling the news agency in 1994.
And Beattie has not looked back since, using the same business nous which led him into public relations to capitalise on the outsourcing boom among Scottish local enterprise councils in the 1980s to gain a foothold in public sector PR.

He is a notoriously hard worker – and those who fail to meet his expectations have felt the brunt of a temper he says is now ’a lot more mild than it used to be’. But almost all former colleagues testify to Beattie’s media relations skills. ’His approach is different from other Scottish PR companies: he offers a press release that can almost be lifted straight onto the pages,’ says Scotsman journalist Alison Hardie. The results are impressive: an agency which expects to hit a pounds 5 million fee income this year, with over 150 clients. Beattie’s only apparent concessions to the high life are a Jaguar XK8, a holiday home in Florida and indulging in his passion for food – ’I don’t cook it, I just eat it!’

During his rise, Beattie has sailed close to the wind before – the dubious news-cum-PR operation is an example. But he is now caught in a far bigger crisis – a political scandal with potentially huge implications for Scotland’s nascent parliament that even the most generous dollop of PR may not stave off. It is ironic that, as Beattie admits: ’I am not interested in politics. I’ve never been a member of a party and I’ve only voted once in my adult life.’ He admits with open humility: ’In hindsight you could say it was an unfortunate decision to go into public affairs. If I’d been more interested in politics, I would have paid more attention.’

This attention deficit enabled two of his public affairs consultants to make ill-judged claims about the closeness of their connections to Edinburgh and Westminster politicians before an Observer camera. These claims themselves should not bring Beattie Media down, especially if they prove to relate more to Draper-style braggadocio than true access. But they have triggered media and political interest in Beattie’s stranglehold on public sector PR contracts for agencies which compete for public money and inward investment.

Jack Irvine, founder of rival Media House, says he has been invited to pitch for just one of the four juicy contracts Beattie currently holds. It is these allegations which may prove more damaging in the long run.As Beattie himself has admitted in the past, his agency would have to close if its public sector contracts were pulled out from under its feet. Scotland’s political coming of age would then have found its first victim. (PR Week)
1982: Sets up Beattie Media news agency

1987: Sets up Beattie Media PR division

1994: Sells news agency

1999: Closes Beattie Media’s public affairs division










24 Oct 1999: Lobbygate firm boasted of Cabinet ties

Beattie Media, the firm at the centre of Scotland’s Lobbygate scandal, boasted openly of close ties between Kevin Reid, head of its lobbying arm, and senior members of the UK Cabinet when it bid for new business, The Observer has established. This latest revelation, ahead of tomorrow’s session of the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee inquiry into the affair, further undermines Beattie’s insistence that it hired employees for their abilities alone, rather than their contacts through friends and family with figures in the political hierarchy.

On 8 October, Gordon Beattie, head of Beattie Media, told the Standards Committee that ‘people are employed by the company because of their abilities and skills, full stop.’ The growth of the company had ‘not happened because of political contacts,’ he said. Beattie maintained he had ‘no interest in politics’. But biographies of Beattie staff sent out to potential clients and obtained by The Observer show that the political contacts of Kevin Reid, the son of Scottish Secretary John Reid, and Gordon Beattie were highlighted as key attributes when the firm was trying to win new business.

Beattie is described as ‘one of Europe’s leading communications professionals with contacts at the highest levels of political and business life’. Reid, who was recruited from his job monitoring the media for the Scottish Labour Party to head Beattie’s political lobbying operation, is described as having ‘extensive contacts in the Tony Blair Cabinet and throughout the Scottish political party network’.

Reid met senior Scottish political figures in his Labour Party job. Former colleagues say his only contacts with the UK Cabinet were with his father and any Ministers he might have met through his father. John Reid was a Transport Minister when Kevin Reid was interviewed for the job with Beattie and later became Scottish Secretary. Giving evidence under oath to the Standards Committee, Beattie said: ‘I will tell you why I recruited Kevin Reid. I was extremely impressed by Kevin when he came along for an interview. I gave him the hardest interview that I have ever given anyone, because I was not going to recruit him just because his father was the Minister for Transport.’ He went on to say: ‘I do not ask people whom I recruit who their daddy is.’

Beattie Media’s lobbying arm was closed last month after the disclosure of details of claims made by Kevin Reid and Alex Barr, a Beattie director, when they pitched for business to a reporter posing as a businessman. At that meeting, Reid volunteered a list of the people he had dealt with in Scottish politics and said he knew the Secretary of State ‘very, very well because he’s my father’. He was careful to say that his contacts did not mean that he could promise access to the Scottish Executive.

Kevin Reid claimed to the Standards Committee inquiry that he had listed who he knew in Scottish politics only because he ‘was constantly being asked who I know and what access I could provide.’ But today’s disclosure about written material given out by Beattie shows that the firm was exploiting Reid’s claimed contacts with the Blair Cabinet as part of the firm’s formal bidding process. According to one former client of Beattie’s public affairs wing, Reid pointed out verbally that he was the son of the Scottish Secretary while pitching for an account. In a meeting with The Observer’s businessman, he volunteered the information, unprompted. (The Observer)






26 Oct 1999: McConnell faces quiz under oath over Lobbygate

Scottish Finance Minister Jack McConnell will be quizzed under oath tomorrow over the Holyrood Lobbygate scandal. He will be the first Scottish Executive Minister to face MSPs on the Standards Committee over the cash-for-access claims. McConnell and his constituency secretary, Christina Marshall, will be grilled by the committee over an invitation the minister received from PR and lobby specialists Beattie Media to speak at an awards dinner for financial directors next February. Reports at the weekend said that a notebook containing details of conversations between Marshall and Beattie executive Alex Barr had been destroyed. However, yesterday, McConnell denied that records linked to the invitation had been destroyed or had gone missing. …(High beam)









28 Oct 1999: Who’s telling the truth? MSPs to decide on Lobbygate.

Finance minister Jack McConnell and his secretary Christina Marshall appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s standards committee – and flatly contradicted claims made by Beattie Media executive Alex Barr about their conduct. Speaking under oath, McConnell said there was no truth to claims that Beattie – his previous employers – could influence which events he attended as a minister.

The committee’s inquiry was set up after a reporter with The Observer, posing as a businessman, was offered access to ministers by Barr and fellow Beattie executive Kevin Reid, son of Scots Secretary John Reid. But McConnell told the committee nobody could make such promises and added: “I give a categorical assurance I have never at any stage breached the Ministerial Code. “There is no evidence to suggest I have ever been, or would be, improperly influenced in conducting my ministerial duties.”

Miss Marshall was questioned about Barr’s claim before the committee earlier this month that she had agreed to accept an invitation from Beattie Media for McConnell to speak at a dinner next February. She insisted she had given no such indication. Committee convener Mike Rumbles reminded her: “Alex Barr in his evidence on several occasions made it quite clear that he understood this would be confirmed.”

But Miss Marshall, 22, the daughter of Labour MP David Marshall, said: “I cannot comment on Mr Barr’s evidence. “My version is different from Mr Barr’s. I never gave any indication that Mr McConnell would attend.” She said the shorthand notebook she was using at the time of Barr’s phone call had been destroyed two or three weeks before the Observer story was published as she routinely destroyed her used notebooks. She said her only other contact with Beattie Media, other than through personal contacts with junior members of staff with whom she had worked, was an invitation to McConnell to attend a Scottish Premier League match. The committee did not pursue this.

McConnell backed Miss Marshall’s version of events and claimed he had told her not to follow the matter up unless there was a formal invitation. It was the type of event he might like to attend, but had already decided to keep his diary clear in January and February because he would be responsible for piloting the first budget Bill through the Parliament. He said that since he had become an MSP, his only contact with Beattie Media had been two phone calls from owner Gordon Beattie – one to congratulate him on his election and the other about a mutual acquaintance who had taken ill And he insisted that he had had no contact what-soever with Kevin Reid or Alex Barr.

The committee will meet again tomorrow to examine Miss Marshall’s record of her conversation with Observer journalist Dean Nelson, as well as a record of the question and answer session with McConnell and First Minister Donald Dewar on the affair. (Daily Record)






28 Oct 1999: Chirpy Jack Will Survive Lobbygate but This Inept Investigation into Sleaze Is Failing Badly to Live Up to Any Standard

As Jack McConnell defended his role in the Lobbygate affair before the Standards Committee yesterday, it was possible to see the ground hardening beneath his feet. As he spoke it became apparent that he was not going to lose his job over the scandal. But at the same time, it also became clear that a glass ceiling was slotting into place above his head. Jack, the chirpy Finance Minister, will survive this murky business.

He will keep his job, but as each week passes it becomes increasingly difficult for him to shake off the Lobbygate affair. It may well prevent him him scaling the political heights in the way he, and others, always assumed he would. The Finance Minister’s problem with Lobbygate is that, although, no one has actually been found to have done anything illegal, the seemingly interminable nature of the investigation into the affair in many ways only serves to sustain a climate of sleaze. … (High Beam)









29 Oct 1999: How Jack McConnell’s girl stole centre stage – Lobbygate reveals real star of Holyrood

She is the woman who has taken centre stage on the Scottish political scene. Although never having stood for election, Christina Marshall has become a household name in the last few weeks. That was never her goal – but as constituency secretary to Finance Minister Jack McConnell, she has become the focal point of the Lobbygate scandal consuming the Scottish Parliament. She’s been accused of destroying a notebook and using Tippex to conceal information said to provide evidence confirming allegations that lobby firm Beattie Media could guarantee clients access to senior politicians. And earlier this week, she was forced to give evidence under oath to the standards committee about her role in the affair.

It’s all a far cry from the 22-year-old’s previous life as a dancer, gymnast and sometime model for wedding dresses. She used to work for Beattie Media and, while there, posed in a wedding gown to publicise the Live-wire Scottish Start-Up awards at Hearts’ Tynecastle ground. It was during her time with Beattie that she met McConnell – another former employee of the PR firm. But in his evidence to the standards committee, he stressed that link had nothing to do with her getting the job in his constituency office. He said she was offered the post after an “open, fair and professional” selection procedure and insisted she was “the best candidate for the job”.

But Christina is no stranger to politics. Her father is David Marshall, the Labour MP for Glasgow Shettleston for the last 20 years. And she mounted an impressive display as she denied culpability for any wrongdoing in her appearance before the committee. Her performance showed a clear understanding of political manoeuvring – no doubt inherited from her father. But she also displayed nimble footwork fielding questions on the matter and diverting attention back on Beattie executive Alex Barr as she contradicted his claims that she had arranged for an engagement to be placed in the minister’s diary.

Not that Christina is any stranger to nimble footwork. The ex-pupil of Eastbank Academy in Glasgow is a former dancer who trained in a variety of disciplines – tap, stage and modern. She also trained in gymnastics and has a student teacher qualification. She kept up her dance routines until she graduated from college when she found that work and dance just could not mix. But she still likes to keep fit and tries to keep in shape with aerobics and swimming although these have been curtailed during the last five weeks since the Lobbygate row broke.

Christina, who has two older brothers, is a home bird and still lives with her parents. Yesterday, she was maintaining as low a profile as possible, agreeing to speak only briefly about her ordeal in front of the MSPs. She would only say: “Before the committee hearing I was very nervous, but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought.” Christina left school in 1995 and spent two years at Bell College in Hamilton where she graduated with an HND in Information and Office Management. She then spent six months working in her father’s office in Westminster. From there, it was on to the United States for three months as an intern with the Financial Times in Washington before returning to Scotland. It was at that time she started work as an assistant PA to Gordon Beattie, the head of the Lanarkshire-based PR empire.

A few weeks ago, it was the over-enthusiastic “sales pitch” from Beattie executives’ to an undercover Observer journalist posing as a businessman which sparked off the Lobbygate row. One of the key allegations against McConnell was the claim by Beattie executive Alex Barr that they could gain access to government ministers including Sam Galbraith, Henry McLeish, Jackie Baillie and McConnell attendance at a function just by making one phone call to Christina – but she insisted to the committee that his allegations were completely wrong. The evidence of the two witnesses, both given under oath, showed glaring discrepancies.

But the committee did not pursue them further, and instead concentrated on McConnell’s conduct.On the question of the missing notebook, Christina told MSPs it had been destroyed two or three weeks before the Observer story broke. She said she routinely destroyed notebooks when they were filled. When challenged by a committee member over whether the missing book had been filled, she showed a thrifty streak when she replied : “Yes, I wouldn’t destroy a book that wasn’t full.”

It has been a high-pressure period for Christina who wasn’t to know when she started working for McConnell that he would rise to a top post in the Scottish Executive. The former general secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland has found himself in the firing line over Lobbygate – and Christina has had to take her share of the flak as well. During the committee hearing, she was at pains to stress her professional skills. She now wants to develop these skills in the relative obscurity of her relatively anonymous job. But first, she and her boss must wait for the standards committee to decide where the truth of Lobbygate really lies. (Daily Record)





1 Nov 1999: Police to probe Holyrood “perjury” MP’s daughter facing inquiry into evidence

MP’S daughter Christina Marshall could face a police investigation after her evidence to the Lobbygate inquiry. The secretary’s testimony didn’t match statements made by Alex Barr, an employee of the Beattie Media PR firm at the centre of the probe. Now the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee, which is investigating the affair involving Gordon Beattie’s lobby company, is expected to highlight the contradiction between Barr’s and Marshall’s evidence. That would open the way for the Procurator Fiscal to launch a perjury investigation.

The committee cleared finance minister Jack McConnell of any wrongdoing when it met on Friday but also highlighted differences in evidence between Barr and Marshall, McConnell’s constituency secretary. Their accounts of a telephone conversation had appeared to be at odds and Scottish Nationalist member of the committee Tricia Marwick MSP said Marshall had called it “a difference of recollection”. Marwick added: “In my view, there was a difference of fact. “I don’t think it is the role of this committee to decide who, between Christina Marshall and Alex Barr, was not telling the truth.”

Labour member Adam Ingram said: “I think a message has to be sent out loud and clear from here that if individuals do not take the oath seriously, then there are implications that follow from that.” Yesterday committee convenor Mike Rumbles said: “There are major concerns by committee members that we have conflicting evidence given under oath. “It is obvious in the view of members that one of these two people was not telling the truth.”

There have already been calls from the SNP and Tories for an independent watchdog to be appointed who would advise and adjudicate on future allegations of misconduct among MSPs in the wake of the lobbygate affair. Yesterday a spokesman for First Minister Donald Dewar said: “We have some sympathy with the view expressed but it is a matter for the committee and we will wait and see what they recommend.” The committee is currently drawing up a code of practice for MSPs and one of the options it will consider is appointing an independent commissioner. But Dewar last night came out in favour of a commissioner being appointed.

He told BBC’s Holyrood programme: “I think there is a very strong feeling across the parliament that the procedure was clumsy and if there had been someone to sift the evidence and gather the facts before the Standards Committee then we would not have seen so much damaging speculation and difficulty.” (Daily Record)





10 Nov 1999: Lobbygate -The McConnell Affair

In April 1998 Beattie Media launched Public Affairs Europe, a joint venture with commercial lawyers Maclay, Murray and Spens. Jack McConnell (who later became Scottish First Minister), the former general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party was recruited and employed as a director for around 9 months in which time he won no clients and brought in no fees, as was also George McKechnie, a former editor of The Herald

McConnell’s links with Beattie Media were later to become central to the Scottish Parliament Standards Committee’s investigation of the Lobbygate affair. He was recruited by Beattie Media because of his political connections and prospects: ‘We appointed Jack McConnell to head up our public affairs consultancy, in the certain knowledge that Jack would get a safe seat from the Labour Party, and in the hope and expectation that he would also get a cabinet position within the new administration. So we knew that Jack was going to leave us. (Observer transcript 1999: 2).

Concern centred on the probity of such an overtly political appointment given the history of sleaze at Westminster.

Damian Killeen, Director of the Poverty Alliance in Glasgow, wrote to The Herald expressing his fears “The growth in the number of lobbying companies in Scotland, in advance of the Scottish Parliament, is happening with relatively little critical comment. Some of these companies are staffed by people who recently or currently have occupied prominent political positions.

There is little doubt that their access to senior politicians is an important part of these companies’ sales pitch. Government in Scotland has, so far, done little to disassociate itself from these developments. What signals does this send out to those who are looking to the new Parliament to provide a level of accessibility and inclusiveness? (Killeen 1998: 16) (powerbase info Beattie Media)









3 Oct 1999: Beattie Media – Is This How they Corner the Market in Scotland

Gordon Beattie left the Evening Times at the age of 26 to set up a news agency. Now he runs Scotland’s largest public relations company. However, within a week a tale of hard work has turned into a crisis. The company’s lobbying arm has been closed down since The Observer revealed its employees boasting of special access. The Scottish National Party is calling for every contract Beattie Media holds with public sector agencies to be suspended pending a full inquiry.

In its early days the stories the young Lanarkshire news agency would flog to news desks were ‘crap’, according to one tabloid editor of the Eighties. Injuries in traffic accidents jostled alongside weak business stories, but editors admired the sheer work rate.

Beattie Media got into PR. Slowly, editors became aware that the local stories were promoting the same Lanarkshire businesses which happened to be Beattie Media’s PR clients. The clients were paying Gordon Beattie, as were the newspapers who ran the stories. Editors stopped running the copy. It was a neat trick that reveals Beattie’s ability to see a novel business opportunity. ‘He’s a very dynamic guy, into all that American business philosophy,’ says one former employee. ‘PR is all about learning things about people they’d prefer you didn’t know. Gordon’s a great exponent of trading stories,’ says one of the many ex-journalists who have passed through Beattie Media’s doors. The company’s greatest fillip was to come up with the Tory policy of making public agencies outsource services. All the local enterprise companies that make up the Scottish Enterprise network, had lucrative contracts for private firms.

Beattie Media first won the contract for the Lanarkshire Development Agency. Now it has contracts with the Glasgow Development Agency; Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Limited; and Ayrshire Enterprise. It also does much of the PR for Scottish Enterprise, including the SE agencies Scotland the Brand and the Skills portfolio. This domination of the enterprise sector has already led to concerns that Beattie Media are monopolising the field.

It also allowed their employee, Alex Barr, to boast to The Observer ‘that major capital projects don’t tend to happen without us knowing about it’. The close links between Beattie Media and enterprise agencies is now causing concern amongst the Scottish Executive.

A question-and-answer briefing document for Donald Dewar obtained by The Observer reveals that an informal investigation into the firm’s influence is to be undertaken. The briefing poses the hypothetical question: ‘Will you require Beattie Media’s Scottish public sector clients to terminate their contracts with the company (West of Scotland Water, Scottish Enterprise, LECs)?’.

The First Minister’s suggested answer is: ‘These are matters in the first instance for the bodies themselves. But I have arranged for further enquiries to be made by my Department of the use by any public authorities for which Scottish Ministers are responsible of external public relations or professional lobbying organisations.’ The briefing goes on to ask if it is possible to distinguish between PR firms and lobbying activities, with a suggested answer of ‘this is something the enquiries I am making will address’.

The focus is now turning to the question of how Gordon Beattie was so successful in winning big ticket contracts. Other Scottish PR firms were more than willing to give their own explanations.

Beattie Media put a PR team into West of Scotland Water before the contract was advertised for tender. PR rivals say Beattie Media were in place for more than three months, the maximum limit for a public body to retain paid advisers without a competitive tendering process. A source in West of Scotland Water told The Observer that Beattie Media was originally in the running against Shandwick PR, but ‘it didn’t matter what Shandwick did, Beattie were going to get it’.

It caused anger in the company that Gordon Beattie approached senior members of the board offering his services when the in-house team was still operating. The Observer has been told that ‘Beattie undermined the existing staff’. Scotland is a small place, and who you know counts for a lot. By employing Andrew Livingstone, the son of the chief executive of Lanarkshire Development Agency, Ian Livingstone, and Debbie Allison, the daughter of Beattie Media client Clydeport’s chief executive, Tom Allison, the firm can’t have done itself any harm.

However, Gordon Beattie may now regret employing the son of Secretary of State for Scotland John Reid. Kevin Reid boasted to The Observer that Beattie Media helped win the ‘open skies’ policy for Prestwick airport. APCO UK, Beattie Media’s former London associates, say the company had no involvement whatever in the deal.








19 Nov 1999: The son of Scottish Secretary John Reid has resigned from his public relations job following the Lobbygate controversy.

A spokesman for Beattie Media stressed it was Kevin Reid’s own decision to leave. Mr Reid was secretly filmed with a colleague by a newspaper, which reported that the company said it could provide access to government ministers. The Scottish Parliament’s Standards committee has published its final report on the affair, which cleared ministers of any wrong-doing. No evidence was found that any MSP had breached any code of conduct.

But the report expressed concern about a conflict between the evidence of Alex Barr, an employee of Beattie Media, and Christina Marshall, the secretary of Finance Minister Jack McConnell, who was at the centre of the most serious allegations. The committee’s remit only extends to MSPs and its investigation can go no further.

It will now focus on drawing up a code of conduct for MSPs which will include appropriate safeguards against the influence of lobbyists. The report also recommends the Ministerial Code of Conduct should be re-examined as it makes no reference to lobbyists. Negotiations are under way to appoint an independent commissioner for parliamentary standards. The move won widespread support when proposed last month as it would allow allegations against MSPs to be vetted by a legally-trained official, to weed out the trivial, malicious or politically motivated claims.

The standards committee would still have authority to investigate allegations of a serious nature, but a process of pre-scrutiny, similar to the one which operates at Westminster, would ease the committee’s workload. (BBC News)





5 Aug 2001: Beattie Media looks for some private time after a rather public battering

His company has gained many public sector contracts. But now, the tide may be turning for Gordon Beattie. He used to boast to new employees that his first- ever PR contract was with a slaughterhouse owner who paid Beattie to keep his name OUT the newspapers. Beattie, who has since built up a company that employs 140 people, could do with a personal PR man at the moment to keep his own name out the papers.

The problem is that Beattie has become as well known in Scotland as most of his clients – but for the wrong reasons. Beattie Media’s many contracts with public sector organisations down the years have long been the subject of scrutiny by former colleagues in the newspaper industry. The company effectively grew on the back of contracts with public sector organisations like local enterprise firms, but has since expanded successfully into the private sector in a big way. …(High Beam)



End of Lobbygate report – Not Quite There’s an Epilogue









16 Aug 2007: Jack McConnell too slick for his own good

He left his General Secretary role in 1998 to work for 9 months at a lobbying firm Public Affairs Europe Ltd, which was a joint venture between Beattie Media and Scottish law firm Maclay Murray & Spens. In 1999, he entered Holyrood as Motherwell and Wishaw MSP

History will not be very kind, I suspect, to Jack McConnell, always assuming that it acknowledges his presence at all. He insists that he saved devolution, after the death of one First Minister in harness and the resignation of another in unhappy circumstances, by “doing less, better”. However, I’m very much afraid that posterity will probably judge that he didn’t do much of anything. And if he was the saviour of devolution, did he save it only to hand it over to the nationalists? After all, it was on Mr McConnell’s watch that the SNP marched to their first-ever election victory.

All of this may well be a cruel verdict on a man who led his party for six years but Jack McConnell failed massively to live up to the promise of his early career and for a ferociously ambitious man he will surely, in his heart of hearts, feel a keen disappointment this morning that he missed a great opportunity. Denounced by his opponents right from the start as the archetypal machine politician, because of his background as a local council leader and then general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party, Mr McConnell could have been – indeed should have been – much more than that. He saw, earlier than most in the hide-bound and ultra traditionalist Scottish Labour Party, the huge advantages and public appeal of the New Labour project. He was an enthusiastic proponent of change but if he made a crucial error it was to plump so obviously and dedicatedly for Tony Blair instead of Gordon Brown as Labour leader on the death of John Smith in 1994.

As Scottish general secretary he was immediately accused, whether rightly or wrongly, of organising the party north of the border against Mr Brown – seen as a heinous crime in a party and country where the man who is now Prime Minister has long ruled the roost. The upshot was that it was not until recently that the two men could be said to be comfortable working with each other. Perhaps because of a reputation for being a bit too much of an ‘operator’, Mr McConnell was never a confidante of Donald Dewar, the first First Minister, although he held the finance portfolio in the first devolved Scottish ‘cabinet’. He staked his claim for the top job by challenging the ‘Brownite’ candidate, Henry McLeish, after Dewar died in 2000 and was thus a virtual shoo-in one year later when McLeish was forced to resign after a row over his office expenses.

His coronation came to pass then when Wendy Alexander, a close friend and supporter of Gordon Brown, pulled out of the contest. Although he had initially been in the vanguard of attempts to force Scottish Labour to adopt a more progressive agenda, especially in terms of health and education provision, strangely it was when he finally took charge of that agenda that Mr McConnell began to disappoint. Determined to calm things down, he actually set in train a period of stagnation where there was no big idea, no vision – merely a plodding determination not to make mistakes and an increasing focus on his own persona. And even the manner of his going was last night mired in murky controversy.

Alex Salmond, who beat Mr McConnell in the May 2007 election, wasn’t far wrong, in his message of good wishes to his vanquished opponent last night, when he singled out the last administration’s achievements as the smoking ban, the determination to improve Scotland’s health record and the former First Minister’s aid efforts in Malawi. Creditable perhaps, but not exactly earth-shattering. Major gaffes – such as initially refusing to attend the D-day celebrations in Normandy and wearing ‘that’ kilt in New York, as well as a row over his spending a Christmas holiday with Kirsty Wark, the News night presenter – led to a cooling of relationships between Mr McConnell and the media.

His own backbenchers and ministers began also to turn against him, too, thanks in no small part to his ‘kitchen’ cabinet of special advisers, who owed their loyalty only to him. He mounted a spirited fight-back during the May election campaign but there was nothing like enough affection for him among the voters to counteract either the appeal of Alex Salmond or the determination to punish Tony Blair. Too clever by half is an epithet thrown at many politicians, often unfairly. Too slick for his own good will probably be the judgement on Jack McConnell.   Comments:
K Monaghan:

Jack McConnell – or Joke MhcConnell – as he is also known is a prime example of the poor quality of career politician that functions in Scotland today. Never happier than when at his beloved Celtic Park, Joke’s sole function for Labour was to pander to the RC vote (traditional Labour voters in Scotland) at election time – he would trot out the same old its “Scotland’s shame” when heaping all of Scotland’s sectarian problems on one particular section of Scottish society (and it isn’t those who favour Celtic Park!). He and his party had 8 years to address Scotland’s real shame – endemic alcohol and drug abuse; sink estates with rampant violence and an economy that has 25% of the working population reliant on the state for their living; and finally the generations of families on benefits from cradle to grave(Labour voters of course). How the man can look himself in the mirror after this announcement goodness only knows. Does Joke have dirty pictures of the PM or some other high-ranking Labour lackey?


Greville Warwick :

What your article confirms is the dire situation in Scotland under Labour. Let’s face it, Scotland was never supposed to be anything other than an obedient client of Labour in office at Westminster. The rewards on offer for those willing to go along with this were of the personal sort. Nowhere in any of Labour’s manifestos or agendas can one spot what is the real purpose of Scotland’s independence. It has taken The SNP to define and demonstrate what is independence and that definition is different to the Westminster version of Scotland being run as a sort of glorious Quango by appointment and favour.

It is hard to see why the connection with Labour in Scotland has endured. Scotland as a nation has lost out all the way. In economic terms Scotland is severely deprived and one of the lowest performers in the EU and in several other comparisons with other states. All of this horror despite Scotland being a major oil and gas producer. Added to this Scotland should be a major ship builder in a time of an international shortage of shipping. Scotland used to be pre-eminent in engineering and the sciences. Scotland was a well educated nation with good schools and top universities. Tell me, what use has Labour in Scotland made of any of these advantages?

An independent Scotland could attract the sort of international firms and financial establishments that presently go to London for financials and to Ireland and elsewhere for technology and innovation. Wake up! You owe Labour and government by diktat from Westminster absolutely nothing except your contempt. It is odd that Westminster insists on appointing a Secretary of State for Scotland. Who is also the Secretary of State for Defence. What is a part-timer doing for Scotland and why is he needed in addition to Alex Salmond the elected First Minister? The SNP has a lot to do but I feel a good start has been made and imaginations have been fired. This is excellent for starters. (The Telegraph)






And there is even more. Remember Jack McConnell’s Personal Assistant The Lady that backed him to the hilt and denied Beattie media’s claims to have open access to Jacks diary – Well it turned out her well mentioned honourable member MP for Glasgow East was a bit of a naughty boy who struggled with the truth


article-0-01c7142700000578-772_224x423David marshall






29 Jun 2008: Labour’s Marshall in shock resignation after rumours over expenses

Scottish Labour MP David Marshall’s shock resignation came after rumours swept Westminster that he was about to be engulfed in a row over expenses payments to family members.

Senior Labour sources dismissed reports that the Glasgow East MP’s resignation was entirely the result of his health problems. They said privately that former bus conductor Mr Marshall, 67, was quitting his safe seat to avoid becoming the latest MP to be embroiled in allegations of misuse of expenses. During the past three years he has claimed nearly £220,000 to pay for staff, plus £7,000 for their travel expenses. He lists one member of staff on the Commons’ register of secretaries and research assistants – Christina Marshall.

But last night it was unclear whether that was his wife, known as Tina, or his daughter Christina. The mystery deepened when it was disclosed that he had not made any mention of relatives working for him on the new official register listing family members paid by MPs out of their Commons staffing allowance.

The list was introduced in April in the wake of the row over MPs employing close relatives at huge cost to the taxpayer. Yesterday, neighbours of Mr Marshall at his semi-detached home in Glasgow’s East End said they believed his wife Tina worked for him. Separately, former Labour Minister Brian Wilson told The Mail on Sunday that Mrs Marshall had ‘always been his constituency secretary’.

Mr Marshall’s daughter Christina, 31, is a former assistant to former Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell and is understood to have previously worked for her father at the House of Commons. Four years ago she found herself at the centre of the so-called ‘Wishawgate’ affair, which embroiled her then boss.

Christina, then 26, had been Mr McConnell’s personal aide and found herself having to answer questions from the fraud squad about £11,000 which was missing from his local party funds. Local Labour bosses called in the police after unearthing the shortfall and, as one of only three signatories to the fund, she was closely questioned.

Also, a charity she was working for at the time asked her to leave, telling her that it did not want its reputation to be tarnished by the affair. The missing money was from the Red Rose Dinner Account, which managed cash raised at a Labour fundraiser attended by Mr McConnell and the then Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid.

Mr McConnell also had to explain why one of three accounts under investigation had paid £168 for a five-star room for Mr Marshall at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel during a Scottish Labour conference in March 2000.

Christina met Mr McConnell when they both worked for Beattie Media, a public relations company. In 1999, she was also forced to testify during the Scottish ‘cash for access’ scandal when Mr McConnell was accused – and later cleared – of facilitating special access to Ministers for Beattie Media’s clients.

Her evidence was key to Mr McConnell’s reputation being cleared after she denied that the company had ever been able to place an engagement in his diary. Asked to comment on reports that Mr Marshall was about to become embroiled in allegations concerning payments to members of his family from Commons expenses, a Scottish Labour spokesman said: ‘There is nothing further that we want to add. The health issue is genuinely there and he is receiving treatment and advice on that.’ (The Mail online)







Well – Well – Well  that’s it then!! No just a little bit more- Jack McConnell survived to Lobby gate scandal for the single reason that his Personal Assistant supported him and denied there had been open access to his diary.. Had she confirmed the allegation made by Mr Barr her boss would have been forced to resign and the future of Scotland would have been so different. The inquiry gave credence to her evidence. After all she was the daughter of an Honourable member of the Westminster Parliament. But was the inquiry willingly conned by a young ladies.  I believe so. But just to confirm my thoughts are based on fact and not supposition read on;



james-doyleDoyle’s car sales






4 Dec 2011: Christina Marshall (she of the Lobbygate and Wishagate scandals) and her “top of the range” car fraudster husband take up the business once again

A convicted car fraudster is back in business selling second-hand motors to unsuspecting customers. James Doyle, 47, is the man behind the Glasgow Motor Company, based in Paisley. The father-of-two runs his new showroom with his wife Christina, 34, who is the daughter of former Labour MP David Marshall. They sell second-hand and luxury motors, including Maserati’s, Rolls-Royce’s and Audi’s. But people who flock to his forecourt will be unaware that Doyle served time in prison for duping past customers.

In February 2007 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court he admitted defrauding 57 people out of pounds 89,000 worth of deposits at his UK Vehicle Solutions Business in Clydebank and was jailed for eight months. The 57 victims had paid deposits in August 2005 for top-of-the-range luxury cars – but never received them. Trading standards investigators from West Dunbartonshire Council received 150 complaints about his firm the next month from furious customers. They passed the file to Strathclyde Police who launched a major fraud probe. But it took officers 18 months to bring Doyle to court because he disappeared after UK Vehicle Solutions shut down.

He was eventually traced and appeared in court on February 22, 2007, charged with 57 fraud offences equating to more than pounds 136,000 worth of stolen deposits. But the value of the fraud was reduced to pounds 89,493.95 after he agreed to plead guilty. It’s thought the total value of the cars ordered by customers was around pounds 1million. But it is not known how many of the cars were Doyle’s to sell.

Company boss Stuart Green, from Birmingham, paid a pounds 1176 deposit for a pounds 40,000 Porsche Boxster in August 2005 to Doyle’s company. But when he phoned the next month to check on his delivery date, the lines to the firm’s offices were dead. He realised he had been duped and called the trading standards department, who told him of other victims. At the time Doyle was offering people the chance to acquire the luxury cars through a leaseback arrangement, paying so much a month for the first three years. After that they had the option of buying the car or trading it in.

Stuart, 39, said: “I felt very stupid being ripped off but Doyle and his firm seemed so genuine. “It is ridiculous that he can set up a car business after being sent to jail for defrauding previous customers. “There is surely a greater need for some sort of licensing or regulation. “I never saw a penny of my money but he doesn’t seem to be out of pocket.” A West Dunbartonshire Council spokeswoman said: “Officers are unaware if any consumers received a refund for deposits paid.” Doyle declined to comment when we contacted him at the Glasgow Motor Company offices. (Daily Record)









1 Jul 2012: Convicted fraudster James Doyle does vanishing act after luxury car business goes bust

Luxury car fraudster James Doyle is being probed by police after his latest business went bust. Customers of the Glasgow Motor Company looking for their cars or payment last week found the doors locked and Doyle nowhere to be seen. A notice said the firm had ceased trading. Scores of luxury and second-hand cars, including Maserati’s and Rolls-Royce’s, had ­disappeared overnight.

Police have been inundated with complaints from angry customers. Many had been sold faulty cars and were waiting for them to be fixed. Some of the victims had given Doyle cars to sell but haven’t been paid. Others had paid for cars but couldn’t collect them. Strathclyde Police said: “We are investigating a number of complaints from the public about the Glasgow Motor ­Company. ” Detectives and plain clothes police searched the premises in Ralston, Paisley, on ­Tuesday.

Renfrewshire Council trading standards officers are also probing complaints from people whose cars were faulty.And it’s been revealed the council are owed £82,000 by Glasgow Motor Company for three years of business rates. A few staff had been left to handle customers. One said: “We’ve been told to refer calls to police.” Dad-of-two Doyle, 48, ran the showroom, which he took over in 2010, with wife Christina, 35, the daughter of former Labour MP David Marshall. Records at Companies House show Christina resigned as a director on June 15 – 10 days before the firm shut down.

On Friday, Campbell Dallas were appointed liquidators. The manager of Scots rock band Twin Atlantic, Andy Dunlop, is one client affected. Andy, 30, bought a second-hand BMW from Doyle six months ago for £2500 but the handbrake, power steering and engine were faulty. He arrived at the Glasgow Motor Company, having sent it back for repair, to find the car abandoned in a back garage. Dunlop said: “It was one of only a few cars remaining. It doesn’t look as if I will get my money back.”

In 2007, Doyle was jailed for eight months at Dumbarton Sheriff Court after he admitted defrauding 57 people of £89,000 at UK Vehicle Solutions ­Business, Clydebank. (Daily Record)



james-doyle-glasgow-motor-company-643980325James Doyle


31 March 2013: Car fraudster sets up new business just nine months after last firm went bust

Luxury car fraudster James Doyle is back in business only nine months after his last firm went bust with debts of £190,000. In July, we reported how Doyle did a runner at his Glasgow Motor Company business in Paisley, leaving customers out of pocket and 13 staff out of work.

Now Doyle has set up a business called the Maryhill Motor Company in the north west of Glasgow. He advertises a range of cars, including an £18,000 Jaguar, a £19,000 BMW and a £60,000 Ferrari online through Auto-trader, using the name Jim Smith or Maryhill Motor Company.

We posed as a customer to meet 48-year-old Doyle, who uses the name Mr Smith on his new lot in the city’s Maryhill Road, near Partick Thistle’s Firhill ground. The new premises have no signs marking out his new venture –keeping him disguised from former staff and creditors. When we confronted Doyle about his latest business, he refused to comment.

One victim of Glasgow Motor Company Andy Dunlop, the manager of Scots rock band Twin Atlantic, was stunned when we told him that Doyle was back in business. Andy, 31, bought a second-hand BMW from the Glasgow Motor Company in January 2012 for £2500 but the hand-brake, power steering and engine were faulty. Andy said: “I find it astonishing that this man is still able to sell second-hand cars.”

When Glasgow Motor Company went bust in June last year, scores of cars, including Maseratis and Rolls-Royces, disappeared from the forecourt overnight. Customers had been sold faulty cars and were waiting for them to be fixed. Some had given the firm cars to sell but haven’t been paid. Others had paid for cars but couldn’t collect them. One creditor gave a car to Glasgow Motor Company to sell, never got the money or the car back, and was then landed with the existing HP payments.

Renfrewshire Council trading standards officers also investigated complaints of faulty cars. The council were also owed £82,000 by Glasgow Motor Company for three years of business rates. Doyle ran the showroom, which he took over in 2010, with his wife Christina, 36.

In 2007, dodgy dealer Doyle was jailed for eight months at Dumbarton Sheriff Court after he admitted defrauding 57 people of £89,000 at UK Vehicle Solutions Business, Clydebank. Strathclyde Police recently completed their investigation into Glasgow Motor Company. (The Record)


Now do you believe her assertion that she told the truth to the Lobbygate inquiry???     The end



steve please find enclosed pictures from red rose dinner at dalziel country club JIM DONNELLY 116 MORVEN AVE BLANTYRE G72 9JS TEL 07774.636318

















(1). Nick Deluca, chairman of APCO, Beattie Media’s London partner, said his firm was suspending its partnership with the company pending an investigation.”In the light of the allegations which have been brought to our attention by The Observer , we are immediately suspending any relationship with Beattie Media as a matter of urgency.” More info: “”

(2). Dunblane Massacre  March 1996: Malcolm Robertson has nothing but happy memories of his school days. “It was a kind of idyllic childhood in many ways,” he says. “The gym [which was quickly demolished] was my gym. I can still see it clearly the way I remember it. You know what it’s like. When you look back, you remember the good times. In my memory, the sun was always shining in through windows.”On the day of the tragedy, Robertson remembers being pulled out of a meeting by someone who knew of his connection to the town. “Like everyone else, I just headed home; we sort of closed the doors. There was a horrible period when no-one knew exactly what had happened. But there was also a dignity. I would never try to articulate how the people most intimately affected felt, but amongst the people I knew there was a resolve to not let it beat us.”

George Robertson travelled to Dunblane with Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth, the MP for Stirling. For the next few weeks, he acted as a spokesman for the victims’ families. “Listening to my dad’s speech in the House of Commons [the following day] was really difficult, one of the hardest things I had to do because he talked about us having gone to the school,” Malcolm Robertson says. As a child he had been pulled out of Hamilton’s boys’ club because several parents, including his father, were uneasy with the way in which it was being run. This led to an angry confrontation with Hamilton on the family’s doorstep. More info:

Readers comment: And the report into this atrocity will be locked away for another 80 years. The report needs to be released immediately, no matter who in high places wants it to remain secret.

Two Labour political dynasties are to be joined today when the daughter of the late John Smith marries the son of Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, the former Secretary General of NATO.

Jane Smith, 32, and Malcolm Robertson, 31, are to marry on the Hebridean island of Islay, famed for its peaty malt whiskies and scenic beauty. The island has a special significance for both families. Lord Robertson was born on Islay and the family has a holiday home there. Miss Smith’s father spent the first two years of his life in Islay and the late Labour leader’s father once taught in the local school. Miss Smith’s sisters Sarah, 34, a news correspondent, and Catherine, 30, will be the bridesmaids at the ceremony to be held in St Kiaran’s Church. Mr Robertson’s nine-year-old son Michael (from his previous marriage) will be a page boy.

A handful of prominent Labour figures including Jack McConnell, Scotland’s First Minister, will be among the 150 guests. Miss Smith is the head of events at Napier University in Edinburgh and Mr Robertson is the head of Scottish public affairs for BAA. Mr Robertson said: “The fact that it is an island wedding means that the celebrations could go on for some time.” The event will be poignant for the Smith family coming one month after they gathered for a service marking the 10th anniversary of John Smith’s death.His widow Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill was joined by Lord Robertson and his wife Sandra at the ceremony on the island of Iona, where Mr Smith is buried. But read my 2015 post which exposing the hypocrisies of the Labour Party in Scotland:

(3).  PFI in Scotland Massive financial rip off of the Scottish nation organised and delivered to their financial masters by Blair, Brown and the rest of the Labour Party in Scotland. Full story here:

(4). Kevin and his dad appear to impervious to criticism. Father and son were 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 forbidden 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 Mr 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. Full story here:   “”    and here:    “”  and here “”  and here  ””

(5) Ian Livingstone – Power broker North Lanarkshire from 1990. His career path:  “—categories/corporate/former-chairman-of-lanarkshire-health-board-receives-uws-honour/”


(6) Tom Allison: Businessman and a non-executive director at Celtic:built a reputation as one of the most astute businessmen in Scotland, with a public profile to match. Clydeport is in its fifth year of profit rises and last September Mr Allison revealed the company’s ambitious 500 million plan to regenerate the River Clyde. More info here:  “”







North Lanarkshire District Council – £20 Million Plus Corruption Report at Scandal Hit Labour Controlled Council – Add Cover-up of Child Pornography Allegations and other Incidences of Graft – In May 2017 the Voters Should Turf the Lot of Them Out of Office








North Lanarkshire District Council Meltdown

North Lanarkshire is the fourth largest Scottish local authority, located in west central Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It covers an area of 47,358 and serves a population of 328,000 people. Party insiders are on record as saying that: “if Labour lose North Lanarkshire then it would be fair to say in Scotland the party’s over.”

But one party domination of the politics of a region for many decades invariably ends in disaster and this is the case in North Lanarkshire where in fighting has destroyed the party. Old inter-region rivalries have resurfaced together with accompanying allegations of intimidation and a pervading and intense climate of fear and allegations of wrong doing has diverted councillors away from the business of service provision.

The foregoing is compounded by recently announced police investigations into criminal reported to involve a number of councillors and businessmen the scale of criminality of which, if it leads to prosecutions is so widespread that it could bring down the Labour party in Scotland. The report that follows provides evidence in support of my advice that the electorate should abandon the Labour Party and transfer their votes to the SNP.









29 Feb 2016: Labour HQ asked to probe unexplained income and spending at Motherwell & Wishaw branch

Scottish Labour officials are being urged to investigate alleged financial irregularities in one of the party’s most marginal seats. A recent internal audit raised a series of concerns about the records of the Motherwell & Wishaw Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in North Lanarkshire.At a CLP meeting last week, activists heard around £4500 of unexplained income entered the branch’s account in 2015 and £2100 of unexplained spending left it. (The Herald Scotland)







6 Mar 2016: Scottish Labour general secretary Brian Roy and father, ex-MP Frank Roy, in party cash row

Kezia Dugdale’s top official is at the centre of a cash row that has split one of Labour’s most marginal seats. Scottish Labour general secretary Brian Roy is facing questions over how his dad Frank Roy spent around £1400 owed to Scottish Labour HQ on his own re-election campaign. The money represented two years of affiliation fees owed to Labour HQ by Frank Roy’s constituency Labour party (CLP) in Motherwell & Wishaw.

First elected an MP in 1997, Frank Roy stood again in the seat again last May. At the time, Brian Roy had newly taken over as Scottish general secretary and treasurer. However a leaked internal audit shows the Motherwell & Wishaw CLP hadn’t paid its annual subscription to Labour HQ since 2013, despite having funds to do so. The report states: “No Labour affiliation fees have been paid since 2013 despite having a balance of £8737.70 in the CLP account in 2013. This leaves the CLP in debt of around £2000. The balance of the CLP account on 28/9/15 was £109.48.”

Although failing to pay the fees to HQ didn’t disqualify Frank Roy from standing, it did leave more in the CLP account to spend on the election. The fall-out from the audit is now dividing the CLP and the Labour administration on North Lanarkshire Council, with many members furious at Frank Roy’s election agent Paul Kelly, who has been accused of failing to explain the state of the CLP’s finances.

Kelly, last week elected the council’s deputy leader, was CLP chair during the election. The audit report says that in early 2014, the CLP’s general purpose bank account of around £3200 was merged with a previously separate election account of £2800. “There are no minutes recording that this change of policy was agreed by the CLP,” it says.

The resulting single account was then cleaned out in the election – again without any minutes of the CLP agreeing to it – as Roy defended his 16,800-vote majority. The report states: “There are no minutes of the CLP agreeing to the level of expenditure to be used on the General Election.” Roy’s campaign cost £13,701, compared to £6,852 for the SNP’s Marion Fellows, who nevertheless won by 11,900 votes.

Roy got £4703 worth of staff support from Scottish Labour HQ, but the bulk of his campaign money, around £8600, came from draining the CLP account. The total outlay was twice that of the 2010 election, when Roy’s campaign cost £6766. The political co-ordinator of Better Together, Roy is now campaign director of the Scottish arm of Britain Stronger in Europe.

The failure to pay affiliation fees emerged last week after an audit into Motherwell & Wishaw CLP, which found “total unknown deposits” of £4474 were paid into its bank account last year without explanation, and “total unknown expenditure” of £2108 left it.

The auditor noted: “These matters were raised by CLP members on several occasions from July 2015 and as far as I am aware the issues have not been properly addressed.” A senior Labour source said the draining of the CLP account in election, including affiliation fees, had left the local party struggling going into the Holyrood election,

When Labour MSP John Pentland is defending a 587-vote majority in Motherwell & Wishaw. The insider said: “There are very unhappy people here. The council Labour group is very fractious. We can’t even pay our bills far less run an election campaign.”  (The Herald Scotland)




untitled-design-1-jpg-galleryJim McCabe




29 Mar 2016: Labour slammed for backing candidate

The former depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council has slammed the Labour Party for allowing a Motherwell councillor to take the job. Jim Smith believes his former colleague Paul Kelly shouldn’t have been in the running to succeed him because of an inquiry into alleged financial irregularities. Councillor Smith says Labour’s failure to take action against the Motherwell West councillor was the reason he quit the party earlier this month. He dismissed new council leader Jim Logue’s claim that Councillor Smith and three colleagues resigned for “selfish, personal reasons” after missing out on top jobs during a reshuffle. Councillor Kelly, who was elected by Labour colleagues as Councillor Logue’s depute, is a former chairman of Motherwell and Wishaw Constituency Labour Party.

An internal audit of accounts during his time in charge raised concerns about unexplained income and spending. Much of this related to last year’s general election campaign when Councillor Kelly was the agent for MP Frank Roy. The matter was passed to Scottish Labour officials. Councillor Smith said the party had blundered by not preventing Councillor Kelly from standing for a senior council post while the investigation was taking place. He pointed out that the SNP suspended Coatbridge councillor Julie McAnulty pending an investigation into alleged racist remarks she made.

In his letter, Councillor Smith wrote: “The Labour Party has been in free-fall in Scotland for several years now and and it would seem to be gifting the opposition ammunition ahead of next year’s council elections.” Councillor Smith denied quitting because he didn’t get a key post under Councillor Logue. He said the “sole reason” for his decision was the party’s “lack of integrity” in sanctioning Councillor Kelly as a candidate for depute leader.

A Labour source said there was “disbelief” that Councillor Kelly had not stood aside. Councillor Kelly refused to be drawn on the comments, saying only: “I was pleased the Labour Party were assisting the CLP in this matter and I look forward to the report back to the CLP.” Three other Labour councillors quit the party following the new leader’s reshuffle. Helen McKenna, Sam Love and Peter Nolan were all conveners under former leader Jim McCabe, but lost their posts. ( Motherwell Times)



paul-kelly-2-jpg-galleryPaul Kelly





16 Apr 2016: Labour kingpin fears scandal over accounts

One of the giants of Scottish Labour has warned that claims of “electoral irregularities” in last year’s General Election could bring his party in to disrepute. Lanarkshire kingpin Jim McCabe is one of more than a dozen party stalwarts to warn the Labour leadership of the finances of a local constituency group in what some insiders describe as a “smear”.

The former North Lanarkshire Council leader – who stood down in February after 18 years in post – is one of several councillors to sign a letter to his party’s Scottish HQ flagging up concerns over discrepancies in the accounts of the Motherwell and Wishaw Constituency Labour Party (CLP).

The letter, written by Councillor Frank McKay last month, refers to reports that there were nearly £4,500 of donations to the CLP during the General Election year that it could not account for. That has sparked fears in the party that Labour could have breached spending limits as it fought, unsuccessfully, to save the seat of its MP, Frank Roy. However, an investigation ordered by the party’s Scottish general secretary, (who also happens to be Mr Roy’s son Brian) found no problem with election expenses.

Party sources, nevertheless, stress the the very fact a figure as prominent as Mr McCabe signed the letter reveals the “sheer depth of animosity” inside North Lanarkshire Labour. The main targets of the letter are Mr McCabe’s successor, Jim Logue, and his deputy leader, Paul Kelly, a previous chairman of the Motherwell and Wishaw CLP.

It accuses the new administration of “hypocrisy, aggression and cynical self-interest”. The letter, dated March 15, adds: “We are of the opinion that there are very serious question marks around the depute leader. We believe that the severity of these threatens to bring the party in Scotland in to disrepute. “As you are aware the Motherwell and Wishaw CLP has raised questions about the conduct of the accounts while he was election agent. “While we do not allege misappropriation, we do allege severe incompetence. “We are concerned that the deputy leader was allowed to stand… at a time when opposition colleagues are speculating on the possibility of electoral irregularities.”

This letter came after Mr Logue carried out a radical reshuffle of the council’s leadership, prompting four councillors to quit the party. Sources close to the administration described the allegations about the CLP finances as a “smear” by some of those who had lost out in fractional infighting. Asked about the allegations, Paul Kelly said “I was happy that the Labour Party offered to assist the CLP in this matter and I look forward to the report back to the CLP. “Understandably, a number of colleagues were unhappy at the radical but necessary changes within the council, however our number one priority must be to our local communities.”

Brian Roy, in a response to Mr McKay’s letter, also seen by The Herald, offers to mediate between the two sides in the North Lanarkshire party. Mr Roy said he had already verbally assured the new chairwoman of the CLP that he was “confident that once all expenditure and income was reconciled… that the accounts would be accepted”. The local party, however, had not been able to pay affiliation fees to the national party, Mr Roy confirmed. The CLP, he said, had therefore agreed to forego payments it would have expected to receive from HQ to make up the shortfall.(The Herald Scotland)








27 Apr 2016: North Lanarkshire Council – Labour split over ‘corruption’ claim

Deep divisions within Labour have emerged again after an investigation began into alleged corruption at North Lanarkshire Council. Claims that councillors and officials benefited when authority contracts were being awarded to companies have been made in an anonymous letter. Council leader Jim Logue said the “detailed allegations, if true, are extremely serious”. He added: “An investigation, led by the council’s internal audit team, is already underway. Should the auditors find anything which substantiates these allegations that evidence will immediately be handed over to police. “It is essential the people of North Lanarkshire have full confidence in the way the council conducts its business and I am determined that we are transparent at all times.”

However, the decision by Councillor Logue to go public with the allegations was slammed by a Labour colleague who branded it “unprofessional”. The councillor, who claimed many Labour members are unhappy at the way the situation has been handled, said: “I’m disgusted. It’s crazy to give an anonymous letter such credence. People’s credibility is being sullied by an unnamed individual without any investigation having been done.”

The councillor said the position was in stark contrast to what happened two years ago when a member of staff made detailed allegations of misconduct within NL Leisure, the body which runs sports facilities for the council. The council dismissed those as “unsubstantiated and defamatory” and said it wasn’t policy to comment on anonymous claims. A Motherwell Labour councillor said any probe into the corruption claims should be carried out by an external agency and not “in-house”.

Councillor Logue has had a difficult start to his term as council leader after succeeding Jim McCabe. Last month four senior Labour councillors quit after his reshuffle of committee chairmen. A senior council source supportive of the leader said: “There was a great deal of animosity towards Jim Logue and Paul Kelly becoming the new leadership team by certain individuals. This was because people knew they would be very pro active in dealing with any serious allegations regarding the council and no stone would be left unturned. “Staff are no longer afraid to come forward with concerns.” (Motherwell Times)






6 Oct 2016: North Lanarkshire Labour party District Council accused of cover-up over child porn charge councillor

Labour has been accused of hushing up a child pornography charge against one of its councillors ahead of a high-profile by-election. Airdrie councillor David Fagan was arrested over alleged child images on September 7, while his party was fighting a close-run by-election in neighbouring Coatbridge. North Lanarkshire Council last night said its chief executive learned of the arrest and “broad nature” of the alleged offences on September 8 and then informed council leader Jim Logue. Mr Logue then informed deputy council leader Paul Kelly, the council said.

Scottish Labour General Secretary Brian Roy was also told about Cllr Fagan’s arrest and the seizure of computer equipment – but not specific charges – on September 8, and wrote to Police Scotland for more information. However Labour did not suspend Cllr Fagan for another three weeks, until September 29, after the party had won the by-election on September 22.

The SNP last night said the sequence of events was “staggering”. The contest in Coatbridge North and Glenboig was a trailblazer for Labour, as its strategy was to defeat the SNP using local health cuts – a trial run for the 2017 council elections. Labour candidate Alex McVey gained the seat from the Nationalists by less than 200 votes. A North Lanarkshire Labour source said most councillors were kept in the dark until this week. “There was nothing said at all about David Fagan to the Labour Group. If that had come out before the by-election, the SNP would have won it hundreds of votes.”

The win was seized on by Labour as evidence of a revival against the SNP. UK leader Jeremy Corbyn, who posed for campaign pictures with Mr McVey in Lanarkshire a week after Cllr Fagan’s arrest, tweeted his congratulations following the victory. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale cited it in her UK Labour conference speech. “When people say that the Scottish Labour Party can’t win elections, I say look to our victories in Coatbridge, in Fife and in Ayrshire this summer,” she told delegates in Liverpool. .” (Greenock Telegraph)








19 Oct 2016: The leaders of North Lanarkshire Council have been told to quit over the alleged cover-up of a child pornography charge against a Labour councillor on the eve of a by-election

Labour boss Jim Logue and his deputy Paul Kelly are the subject of a no confidence motion promoted by one of their former party colleagues, Councillor Sam Love. It was recently revealed how David Fagan, a councillor in Airdrie, was arrested over alleged child images on September 7, but not suspended by Labour until September 29. At the time of the arrest, Labour was fighting a bitter by-election in neighbouring Coatbridge.

The council chief executive learned of the arrest and “broad nature” of the alleged offences on September 8, then told Mr Logue, who in turn told Mr Kelly. However most Labour councillors were not informed for another three weeks, when Mr Fagan was suspended by Labour HQ, fuelling speculation that the matter was kept quiet until after Labour had won the by-election in Coatbridge North on September 22.

The ward fight was a high-profile one for Labour, with Jeremy Corbyn appearing with the candidate and Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale boasting about the win in her UK conference speech as evidence of Labour’s ability to defeat the SNP. Labour beat the SNP by fewer than 200 votes – a margin that would have been wiped out by bad publicity over Mr Fagan if his arrest been widely known, opposition parties claim.

Cllr Love, a former housing convener who resigned from the Labour group in March, is now asking other councillors to sign a no confidence motion in Mr Logue and Mr Kelly. It calls for their “immediate resignation… for a wilful breach of trust and for failing to act in the best interests” of the council, and claims they “withheld information” given to them by the chief executive “regarding charges brought against a North Lanarkshire councillor”. It goes on: “It is entirely wrong that a serious disciplinary decision appears to have been delayed in an attempt to gain political advantage. As elected representatives we have a duty to be open and transparent. We therefore request that an emergency council meeting is called immediately and [Cllrs Logue and Kelly] should resign from their council positions forthwith.”

The council Labour group is due to discuss the situation next Monday. A Labour source said: “Monday is going to be a big day for the group. It’s going to be volatile. None of us came into public service for this kind of nonsense.” In a leaked statement, Cllr Kelly told other Labour councillors that Cllr Love’s motion was “pathetic” and “disgraceful”, and urged them not to respond. He said the statute under which Cllr Fagan was charged was not known until September 29, adding: “Even now, we are still not aware of the precise allegations against him. When we were informed that he had been charged – but not what he had been charged with – on September 8, both myself and the Council Leader sought assurances from the Chief Executive that he had taken all necessary measures. We were assured that this was the case. “David Fagan is subject to live legal proceedings.

It is pathetic that some would seek political opportunity when those proceedings are ongoing. It is disgraceful that those same people would suggest that either the council leader or myself would seek political advantage in the actions we have taken.” A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Procurator Fiscal has received a report concerning a 52 year old male in connection with alleged incidents said to have occurred between 25 and 30 June 2016. The report remains under consideration.” The council declined to comment. (The Herald Scotland)








24 Oct 2016: Row brews as Labour ends careers of senior councillors

Labour has pulled the plug on the political careers of some of its longest standing front-line figures as it bids to retain power in the former stronghold of North Lanarkshire. Jim Brooks has not been selected as a candidate for next year’s local government elections. He has served as a councillor since 1974, led Monklands Council at the time of its 1990s cronyism scandal and been a kingpin in North Lanarkshire since it was formed.

Brooks was one of eight sitting members who were due to be informed at the weekend that they had been deselected. In a highly symbolic move, Jim McCabe, who led the council for almost two decades until standing down in February, has failed the party’s selection process, even though he had already decided to quit politics. His former chief whip, Tommy Curley, another who is standing down, has also failed. The others deselected include Cumbernauld’s Bob Chadha, John Higgins who represents Coatbridge, Wishaw’s Frank McKay, Peter Sullivan of Airdrie and John McLaren of Strathkelvin.

A senior source said the decisions were taken by a local forum of officials and factored in local ward work, adding most of those axed were “malcontents” and “lieutenants” of Mr McCabe during his time as leader. But Brooks said the decision had the “grubby hands” of council leader Jim Logue “all over the decision”, and that he had not yet been informed it. It will almost certainly intensify the deep political and factional divisions within North Lanarkshire.

Earlier this year, six other Labour councillors in North Lanarkshire, including ex-deputy leader Jim Smith, left the party after being demoted by Logue when he took the reins in March. The move comes amid more turbulence at the authority. Both Logue and his deputy Paul Kelly have faced calls to quit in recent days over the alleged cover-up of a child pornography charge against fellow Labour councillor David Fagan on the eve of a by-election.

The no confidence motion is being promoted by former colleagues Sam Love, one of those who quit in March. Kelly has described the move as “pathetic” and “disgraceful”. Earlier this month three officials were suspended as part of a corruption probe instigated after Logue received a whistle-blowing letter detailing a string of allegations. The letter named also McCabe, the 75-year-old telling The Herald: “Under no circumstances am I corrupt and I have never been corrupt. No way.”

A senior source said: “You’re talking people who’ve treaded water for too long and when they do have an input its to agitate against the leadership. We won an important by-election last month, the SNP are all over the place in Lanarkshire and we have a chance of winning. That’s only if we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

Another source said: “This will make things fraught internally, but it was always going to be anyway. It probably does Logue, Kelly and Labour in the area more good than harm if they’ve any chance of holding on to flush this out now.” But Brooks said: “This is like the old German show trials. It has Logue’s grubby hands all over it. He’s Airdrie and there’s always that enmity with Coatbridge. “He’s already made a statement that ‘yesterday’s men are finished’. “But I need to find out what’s going on.”

A spokesman for Labour’s local campaign forum in North Lanarkshire said: “Whilst some will, of course, be disappointed not to have made it through the initial selection panel of local party members, being a councillor is a privilege and not a right. “All unsuccessful candidates will be given the chance to appeal the decision.” (The Herald)








27 Nov 2016: Revealed: £20 Million Corruption Report at Scandal Hit Labour Controlled Lanarkshire District Council

North Lanarkshire’s auditors reveal the sheer scale of multi-million-pound unsanctioned overspend at the authority, through massively inflated public contracts. One contractor was paid more than £9m on a contract valued at £1.5m. These contracts were awarded under the previous leadership of Jim McCabe and his deputy Jim Smith, who were ousted earlier this year. The authority is now led by Airdrie councillor Jim Logue. (The Herald)








4 December 2016: Rebel Labour MP’s fail to bring down North Lanarkshire Labour Council in “no confidence” motion

Calls have been made for SNP Group leader David Stocks to resign after he opposed a motion to bring down the Labour administration in North Lanarkshire.

Independent councillors including former Labour members Sam Love, Gary O’Rorke and Frank McKay were set to back a motion of no confidence against council leader Jim Logue and his deputy Paul Kelly. But in a sensational twist at the SNP’s Group meeting last Monday night, SNP councillors led by David Stock voted 12 to six against the motion with one abstention. It is understood that Wishaw SNP members Rosa Zambonini and Jim Hume voted for the motion.

Former SNP councillor John Taggart, who became an independent last year, has called for Councillor Stocks’ to quit. He added: “David Stocks should resign as the leader. “The SNP had the opportunity to bring down the regime in North Lanarkshire by supporting a motion of no confidence and they didn’t do it. “The vote would have been carried by a maximum of four and minimum of two. I am afraid this time they bottled it. The reason came out with is they couldn’t trust the independents. “I don’t know why. It is an excuse. “The SNP have been saying for years they want to take over the administration in North Lanarkshire. They had an opportunity and bottled it.”

Councillor Sam Love also called on Stocks to stand down as leader. He said: “David Stocks’ own members in the SNP are telling me he is not up to the job and that he is a lackey for Labour leader Jim Logue. “His own people say that he is not fit to be leader of the opposition. “He should resign. “The SNP had the numbers with a four or five majority to take over the running of the council. “They had a chance to reverse decisions like the £5 per week community alarms charge and the huge hikes in the Garden Assistance Scheme which has gone up from £40 per year to £140.”
SNP leader David Stocks insists they do not want the support of ‘malcontented’ former Labour councillors.

Now the SNP are targeting a new administration in May next year. Councillor Stocks said: “The SNP Group on North Lanarkshire Council has no confidence in the current, ramshackle, Labour administration. “Every week they are in crisis, whether it be the sudden imposition of up to £15 on community alarms and day services for vulnerable pensioners, the 60 per cent cut in support for Citizens’ Advice Bureaus, the heartless closure of the One Stop Shop for autism or the cuts in four libraries and seven community halls. “However, the SNP decided not to push an actual ‘no confidence’ vote because we would have been relying on support from rebel Labour councillors who have themselves let North Lanarkshire down in the past.

“The SNP Group hope to form a stable administration serving the people of North Lanarkshire after May 2017 and running an efficient council. And 22 SNP councillors running a 70 member council would be numerically challenging at this time. “We would have to rely on 14 malcontented Labour councillors – the same people who have let down the people of North Lanarkshire over these past five years. “Labour are in a complete mess – six resignations, others threatening to stand as independents next May and accusations of corruption and police investigations. “They are no longer fit to run this council. There’s a complete breakdown in trust. “We want a clean break for the residents of North Lanarkshire,with a clear SNP administration coming in after May next year. The fresh-start prospects are good. “Back in 2012, the SNP took 40 per cent of the North Lanarkshire local election first preference vote. The dramatic rise of the SNP nationally over the last two years and Labour’s decline all points to big SNP gains next May.” (Daily Record)










Independence – The Sweet Smell of Success Gladdens the Heart




Keir Hardie founded the Labour Party and championed the cause of the working class who had been badly governed for many years. But political power in Scotland was vested with the Tory and Liberal Parties for nearly 240 years until the advent of change in the political scene, brought about by an awakening of the working class after WW2.

In the period 1945-1979 Party growth in Scotland was spectacular as factory workers, coal miners, shipyard and steel workers flocked to its banner. In the same period the Party sent many able politicians to Westminster ensuring Scotland’s voice was heard in Parliament.

Scotland became a one Party state as Labour dominated the political scene. In the West of Scotland Labour votes were weighed not counted. In heavily industrialised Lanarkshire it was said that the Party could put up a donkey for election to office and it would win.

But the first past the post voting system of the UK had ensured Scotland would be governed by the Tory Party ( apart from brief periods between 1960-79 when Labour governments were elected but often with small majority’s preventing effective policy delivery.)

The eighties brought twenty years of extreme right-wing government, introduced by Margaret Thatcher ending in 1997 with John Major.

Thatcher (misusing the oil revenue) set about asset stripping Scotland of its industrial base, (transferring it to England and Wales) since Scots refused to embrace her “dog eat dog” society.

Unemployment soared in the West of Scotland and many hundreds of thousands of workers aged over 30 would never work again. A lifetime on the dole, families at the mercy of the welfare state initially a safety net which she soon even denied the children.



Twenty years in the political wilderness was not encouraging for aspiring Labour politicians. The Party in Scotland failed to attract students of politics of the grade it had previously and yet the Labour heartlands of Scotland persisted in voting less able individuals into office believing the alternative to be unpalatable. The capable “old guard” was no more being replaced with incompetent corrupt regimes akin to those in place in Eastern Europe.

The Thatcher years rekindled the fires of desire to be free of a political system that had eclipsed Scotland to it’s detriment. The Scottish National Party (SNP) started to make an impact at local and national level, But not in the West of Scotland which remained in the grip of the “Red Flag.”

In 1997 Tony Blair and Gordon Brown introduced “New Labour” to Britain and inspired the electorate to get rid of a Tory government mired in scandal and corruption. The motto of the party was “things will only get better” and people believed it.

But major policy divisions soon emerged shattering the media hyped illusion of unity and harmony within labour yet the Tory Party was still in disarray and unelectable and the electorate returned New Labour to office in 2001 and 2005.

The world financial crash in 2007-8 sealed the fate of the New Labour government which had proved to be a “basket case” entity controlled by a warmongering elite who took Britain to the gates of hell in just about every aspect of an abuse of the power gifted to them by a gullible electorate.



In Scotland the SNP finally recaptured its purpose under the inspired leadership of Alex Salmond who had heeded the call of its members and returned to Scottish politics replacing the uninspiring John Swinney.

The response was electrifying and Scottish Parliamentary elections delivered an increasing number of MSP’s. Disappointingly the changes in the fortunes of the Party were largely in the the rural areas and in the East of Scotland. The Labour Party maintained it’s dominance over the West of Scotland.

The breakthrough came in 2007 when the SNP was returned by the Scottish electorate as the largest Party but without a majority and no offers of a coalition. Overcoming many obstacles placed in his way by truculent Unionist politicians Alex Salmond formed a minority government which performed admirably and completed a full term in office.


In 2010 many self penned Labour Party men of the people left their offices of state in a state of financial chaos contrasting their own futures which were guaranteed as peers of the realm holding positions of power and influence in big businesses (often linked to their previous employment as ministers). Multi-millionaires one and all and no looking back at the people of Scotland that they had promised to represent faithfully but cynically betrayed.

But lessons had not yet been learned by Scots and in the 2010 Westminster General Election the electorate in the West of Scotland sent a bunch of incompetent Labour MP’s back to Westminster.

The red coloured political mapping in areas such as Motherwell, Hamilton, East Kilbride, Airdrie, Coatbridge, Bellshill and Glasgow stood with the labour Party.

Scottish Independence Referendum Odds | 6/1 For 2021 Vote


The Scottish electorate was impressed by the competence of the government of the SNP and in 2011 the Party was returned to government with an unprecedented overall majority.

Once more it provided good governance despite the imposition by the UK government of  brutal financial austerity cutbacks which destroyed the hopes and aspirations of many thousands of Scots.

Poll: Support for independence hits historic high of 58% - STV News


The 2014 Independence referendum was lost by a small margin due to the Unionist Party’s joining together with other interested groups to deny Scotland its independence.

But Scottish desire for independence had been reawakened by their near success and the revelations of Unionist skulduggery in the 2014 referendum and the electorate was no longer accepting of mistreatment by Westminster politicians.



The 2015 General Election just 6 months later provided Scots with the opportunity to send a message to politicians in England giving warning that any betrayal of the commitments made by Unionist politicians in the 2014 referendum “Vow” would be unacceptable and in a shot across the bows they sent 56 SNP MP’s to Westminster.

Unionist politicians at Westminster gave the impression that they recognised the new reality and reluctantly granted Scotland increases in the very limited devolution powers it already had in the belief that the measures would bring about the demise of the newly discovered national identity of a nation that had been absorbed by England in 1707 and was only recognised as a country by other nations of the World as a quaint wee place occupied by haggis eating, bagpipe playing, whisky drinking layabouts who existed only with the guarantee of financial handouts by the benign and ever generous English nation. 

Scottish Independence equals record 58% high in new poll – Business for  Scotland


The Scottish General election in 2016 provided opportunity for the people of Scotland to stand up for their rights and get rid of the corrupt, incompetent, crime ridden Labour controlled councils in the West of Scotland and Aberdeen. 

The lack lustre performance of the Party in the course of the campaign provided the Tory Party under the hi-profile leadership of Ruth Davidson with the opportunity to  take seats from the labour Party which was in meltdown. Which she duly did. Seats that should have been won by the SNP were lost to the Tory’s.

 Nicola Sturgeon indecisive  leadership very nearly brought an end to the SNP government but with the help of the Green Party it was returned to government but only after making significant concessions. Hardly inspiring!! and things would get worse.

The feud between Sturgeon and Salmond could derail Scottish independence |  Scottish politics | The Guardian


The 2017 General election was a disappointment for the Party.

The 56 MP’s elected only 18 months before had achieved absolutely nothing at Westminster.

The Unionist dominated House of Commons mocked, ridiculed and contemptuously dismissed the opinions, views and contributions of SNP representatives as irrelevant nonsense at every televised sitting of the House.

The embarrassing spectacle and daily humiliation of Scottish MP’ in the Commons was witnessed by viewers worldwide and  many Scots at home and the absence of any decisive leadership action by Nicola Sturgeon was reflected in the loss of 21 MP’s.



In the UK 2019 General election campaign the SNP told Scots it was firmly committed to and would demand the right to another independence referendum if  the electorate indicated a desire for it by returning a majority of Scottish MP’s to Westminster.

The SNP subsequently gained a 45% share of the vote winning 48 and claiming second place in the 11 other seats. Nicola Sturgeon told Boris Johnson he had no right to stand in the way of another Scottish independence referendum adding that the overwhelming victory  reinforced and strengthened the mandate for  another independence referendum.

It is now 2021 and two years on from the General election and there is no indication a second referendum will be held

Boris Johnson hits out at Nicola Sturgeon and SNP over Scottish independence  | HeraldScotland





Good People Of Edinburgh Conned by Ruth Davidson and Her Tory Ratpack – The Poor Sods Will Learn the Hard Way – Never Trust a Tory








Ruth Davidson Fails the Scottish Electorate who sent her to Holyrood

Gaining seats at the last Scottish election was paramount in the thinking of Ruth Davidson and Tory activists in Scotland. This entailed a public denial of Westminster Tory policies and (as did Judas) the Party Branch in Scotland embraced Davidson’s policy with gusto. An examination of Tory Party electioneering literature in Scotland confirmed party insiders statements that: ” Davidson distanced the Scottish party from the UK Tories in several key policy areas including campaigning in the recent Holyrood election under the banner “Ruth Davidson for a strong opposition” rather than the Conservative name. The gullible Edinburgh public and others in Scotland believed the hype, to their and Scotland’s cost.

In the EU referendum 74.44% of Edinburgh Central voters supported Davidson’s oft stated policy that leaving the EU would be a catastrophic mistake, very possibly leading to a sea change in the attitudes of Scots resulting in Scotland voting to leave the Union. Her decision (after the referendum) to strongly support the Westminster government and it’s Brexit policy revealed Davidson’s own personal agenda did not and never has included supporting the wishes of the people of Scotland that elected her and her Tory cronies to office.




In support of the remain campaign Mundell said:

“those of us who are elected to positions of responsibility and who support these political institutions should be put on our mettle to defend them. Whether it is the United Kingdom or the European Union or whatever – if we believe sincerely that they are in the best interests of our country and our people, we should make the case for them with clarity and honesty.

The benefits which Scotland and the rest of the UK gains from EU membership are clear. Stepping away from the EU would be backwards step. We would be forfeiting our genuine freedom for a false freedom, which would impose real risks and dangers. In the end, it makes sense to be a part of the things which influence you. So let’s make the case for the real freedom which Scotland in the UK, and the UK in the EU gives to us all.



EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MARCH 31:  Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, joins activists campaigning on March 31, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scottish Conservatives reveal new figures in relation to the Scottish Governments widely criticised changes to stamp duty, during the second day of general election campaigning.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


In support of the remain campaign Ruth Davidson said:

Davidson savaged Boris Johnson when she argued that: “a Leave Vote would be a conscious decision to make Britain poorer which would hurt the poorest the most Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage would be OK; The wealthy are always able to fall back on their pension pots and savings. It would be ordinary workers who would suffer: the “Easyjet” air hostess who could lose her job because, after Brexit, the airline would be priced out from flying within Europe; the dad on the factory floor at one of our many car-makers whose job disappears because Europe has slapped a new tariff on British-made motors; the single mum on a zero-hours contract whose job is extinguished to cut costs.”






Davidson: A few days after the referendum – In support of EU nationals being allowed right of residence:

“That’s an assurance that I want from the Government, and I want it pretty quick. It’s not enough to say to people who have come here and made a home here, and have made their life here, that we want your labour, that’s all we want. We have got to be able also to say we want your brains, we want your culture, we want your passion, we want you in our country, making our country better, and giving these people security. This result is testing this country’s sense of unity. In Scotland, where people voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, the result is testing the binds of the Union as well.”







President Putin Eats babies – The Magnitsky case – A Tale of Espionage Fraud,Murder and Attempted Regime Change – And UK Spooks are at the Centre of it.






Sergei Magnitsky




2007: The Magnitsky case

The case involved the theft of US$ 230 million from the Russian Treasury and is one of the largest tax fraud cases in Putin’s Russia. The crime was uncovered in 2007 by Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was working for Hermitage Capital Management, hedge fund, then the biggest foreign investor in Russia.

Magnitsky was arrested by the same police officers whom he accused of covering up the fraud. He was thrown into jail, where he died of mistreatment and inadequate medical care. Despite his death, the government of Russia continued to prosecute him.




President Putin




2012: The United States passed legislation named for the dead tax attorney that cited the “Magnitsky List” of implicated Russian state officials.

Until the Ukraine and Syria crises, even during the so-called reset period, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act constituted the Putin government’s single biggest grievance with Washington.

More diplomatic energy was spent by Moscow on efforts to block or penalize passage of the bill than on any other part of bilateral relations with the United States. Russia, for instance, passed its own “counter – Magnitsky” suite of sanctions on U.S. officials.

But the core of the Putin strategy was to shift the blame completely. The Kremlin accused Browder of orchestrating both the tax fraud and Magnitsky’s murder.

In “The Browder Effect” documentary, Browder is depicted as no longer just a cynical accomplice to a crime against the Russian people, but now a shadowy agent of Cold War-style intrigue, and it would seem to be the CIA, rather than Russian authorities, that somehow denied Magnitsky life-saving medical treatment in prison.

The film also contained the accusation that, Browder, codenamed “Solomon,” had been working for MI6 since 1995. In 2006, he supposedly recruited Navalny, codenamed “Freedom,” and proceeded to disburse upwards of $1.5 million to him. With that slush fund, Navalny was supposed to engage in minority shareholder activism to expose graft in state-owned companies such as the energy giant Gazprom. Navalny was also supposed to focus on Russian officials, such as General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika. Towards this, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation had suggested, in a “YouTube” video exposé that went viral that the General Prosecutor had accumulated a vast family fortune.




William Browder (CEO Hermitage Hedge Fund Capital)



24 Apr 2016: Once the leading British  spymaster in MI6 – Andrew Fulton has new clients. He Works for Team Putin and a Mobbed-Up Russian Lawyer

A Russian prime time news programme showed a documentary film “The Browder Effect,” which was about Alexey Navalny and his mentor, or handler, William F. Browder. It claimed that William Browder, (the CEO of Hermitage Hedge Fund) had been recruited by MI6 in 1995. His long term mission, to destabilize the Russian government.

Browder determined Navalny to be “the most suitable candidate for future political leader of Russia” given his creativity, new media mastery and speaking skills on politics, law and economics. He subsequently recruited him to MI6 in 2006.

That’s where Andrew Fulton enters:

In the film “The Browder Effect” the key source lending ostensible credibility to the allegations was named as Andrew Fulton, a former high-ranking MI6 spy. His opinion was presented on air as that of an independent analyst who verified the authenticity of documents. In fact, email correspondence leaked online and independently verified, shows that Fulton has been working as a private investigator for Andrey Pavlov, the lawyer for the alleged Russian mafia types accused of committing the crimes the television channel is seeking to pin on U.S. and British intelligence.

In a panel discussion following the showing of the documentary the presenter said:

“just so as you understand we have the results of an independent forensic study completed for us by an Agency in England headed by Andrew Fulton. Who is a well-known British specialist who for a long time headed the analytical department of MI6. This person, more professional than you or me, knows how documents are written. I have a written study report signed personally by him that the documents are authentic.” Fulton currently chairs GPW & Co., a private investigations firm based in London.

Unmentioned by the media is the fact that GPW & Co. are also subcontracted to the American white-shoe law firm Debevoise & Plimpton on behalf of their client Andrey Pavlov.

Pavlov is also the legal representative of the Klyuev Group. And he has spent a small fortune in the United Kingdom waging a PR counter offensive against accusations made by Browder against him, mainly to keep his name off any impending Magnitsky legislation in Europe. So far, he’s had little success: a non-binding European parliamentary resolution, urging the EU’s Council of Ministers—the policy-making body in Brussels—to sanction Klyuev Group members including Pavlov, was passed in April 2014.

Email correspondence between Pavlov and Debevoise & Plimpton, which was leaked on the Internet, contains a “letter of engagement” between GPW and the London office of the U.S. law firm.

It is dated Sept. 26, 2014, and signed by Andrew Wordsworth, a founding partner of GPW:“We will need to conduct an in-depth investigation of the schemes, the legal proceedings surrounding [the allegations made against Pavlov] and the involvement and make-up of the so-called ‘Klyuev Organised Criminal Group,’ of which your client is accused of being a part,” Wordsworth wrote. He continued by explaining that he will personally oversee the Pavlov investigation while drawing on “the experience of my Partners and Chairman Andrew Fulton.”

To date, Fulton has not publicly acknowledged any role whatsoever in vetting or confirming Sokolov’s documents, nor has Fulton made it clear whether this was in conjunction with his compensated work on behalf of Pavlov. When reached for comment he replied “Thank you very much for your questions. It is not our policy to comment on speculation regarding the identity of our clients, or our projects. I’m sorry not to be more helpful.” (thedailybeast)


8 Feb 2017: In a trial just under a year later – Alexei Navalnay found guilty of fraud – Kremlin critic gets 5 year suspended sentence in retrial, which bars him from running for President in the next election. In a hearing on Wednesday a Judge handed down a five-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of about $8,500 to Navalny for embezzling timber worth about $500,000. (Aljazeera News)




Alexey Navalny




Andrew Fulton’s mission (in the couple of year’s he was in Scotland) included defeating the SNP in the 2014 Referendum. He did as he was tasked. But the projected meltdown of the SNP following on from defeat failed to materialise. Full story on another post





Ruth Davidson and the Tory Party Surge in Scotland a load of Tosh – Yet Another Media Manipulative Headline Created by the BBC Assisting Their Westminster Paymasters







11 Sep 2011: Only 6% of Scots think Scottish Tories put Scotland first

Polling of 1,500 Scottish voters for the Tory Party in Scotland before the Holyrood elections asked whether certain parties put mainly English, Scottish or British issues first. The Scottish Conservatives were seen as the most English and the least Scottish… and by some distance.

Murdo Fraser (MSP) said the finding strengthened his argument that the Scottish party needed a new identity: “No problem was ever solved by brushing it under the carpet. We have watched our vote decline at every election since the inception of the Scottish Parliament, and this polling tells us exactly why.

We have been fooling ourselves for almost 15 years and we must not allow it to go on. There is a belief amongst some that if we bide our time for another 10 years, things will get better. But we said that 10 years ago. It hasn’t got better, and it never will without radical change.

The anti-change approach will ultimately drag us down to a single-figure vote share, a single-figure number of seats in the Scottish Parliament, no seats at Westminster and effectively the end of the centre-right in Scotland. (conservativehome)




10 August 2012: Ruth Davidson Castigates lazy Scots for being content to live off handouts from Westminster

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party claimed that nearly 90 percent of Scots households are currently “living off state’s patronage,” reports. At a Tory conference on Monday, Davidson cited that only about 283,080 households in Scotland – 12 percent of the total number – pay more in taxes than what they receive in public services from the state. In addition, due to the dominance of the public sector in Scottish life, she said that state spending now represents at least one-half of Scotland’s wealth.

She thundered: “It is staggering that public sector expenditure makes up a full 50 percent of Scotland’s GDP and only 12 percent of households are net contributors, where the taxes they pay outweigh the benefits they receive through public spending. The rotten system of patronage, which denies so many people real choices in their lives, has created a corrosive sense of entitlement which suits its political gang masters.”

Referring to the exalted 12 percent who are “responsible for generating Scotland’s wealth,” she rhetorically asked: “I wonder how many of them work on public sector contracts.”

Citing data from the Office for National Statistics, Davidson said that the average Scottish household uses £14,151 more in public services every year than it pays out in taxes. Even middle-income Scots, she noted, consume £20,000 more in state spending than they pay out. Only Scotland’s wealthy, that is, those who account for the top 10 percent of earners, pay £17,205 more in tax than they receive in public services.

She also alleged that over-dependence on the public trough has created a generation of Scots who are hopelessly loyal to the Labour and Scottish National Party, at the expense of the Tories. “If the gang master state is the only provider people can see for their housing, education and employment, it’s no surprise those who seek to break the stranglehold find barriers in their way,” she declared.

It contradiction, the Telegraph reported that on the whole Scotland paid 9.6 percent of the United Kingdom’s total tax bill, while accounting for only 9.3 percent of British public spending. (IBTimes)




20 Jan 2010: Ruth Davidson, ex BBC journalist was shortlisted for the Ultra-Safe Bromsgrove Worcestershire, England seat. But was not selected as the candidate.

17 Apr 2016: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson quit her well-paid job as a popular drive-time radio presenter with the BBC in 2009 in order to stand for Holyrood. (The Guardian)

Comment: The written word condemns the Tory party spin, Ruth Davidson’s political career was focused on gaining a seat at Westminster for an English constituency. Her failure to gain the trust of English Tory party activists altered her thinking and prompted a return to Scotland to stand for election to Holyrood an institution she had previously slagged off for being all spend and no accountability. She eventually managed to gain a place as a list MSP.




12 May 2016: The Tory Party Surge- Yet another BBC fantasy designed to manipulate the outcome of the election

Using the 2014 referendum as a bench mark it is evident that Scot’s polarised their vote’s around one of two banners. The Green Party and the SNP voted “yes” and the Unionist party’s voted “no”.

Utilising the same benchmark, assessing the performance of each of the parties in the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election is relatively straight forward.

The “New Labour ” element of the miscalled Scottish Labour Party returned to the Tory Party they had deserted (in preference for Tony Blair) nearly 20 years before.This had the effect of increasing the Tory Party vote by nearly 19%. No great effort was demanded of Davidson since voters had decided upon their choice of party some two year’s before.

Tory claims of a massive surge in their support enhanced by the popularity of Davidson is abject nonsense and they know it. The electorate had simply returned the Tory Party base vote to the pre-Thatcher days – between 24-25%.

The collapse of the Labour Party seems to be terminal, with their support amongst the electorate being reduced to a rump 18-20%. Two decades before, the base vote would have been much enhanced by voters loyal to the Party.

A resurgent SNP benefited from good governance and in retaining the confidence of the electorate laid claim to a substantial 49% of the overall Scottish vote and a historical third term in office.

The decline of the other Unionist Party, the Lib/Dem, by nearly 4% confirms well established pattern of rejection by Scottish voters, with only Orkney, Shetland and the largely rural North Fife sticking with it.

The Green Party’s common sense approach to opposition politicking ensured it’s love affair with the electorate also continued with a near 5% increase in their vote.

Applying the outcome of the election to the 2014 referendum provides the following result:

SNP + Green (Yes)  53.5%

Tory, Labour & Lib/Dem  46.5%

Ruth Davidson, in her after election victory speech made the silly claim “The increase in the Tory Party’s share of the vote sends a clear message to the SNP and their supporters that there is no appetite for another referendum.”

But her speech and that of other Unionist Party leaders betrayed their fear of another referendum since the SNP manifesto had not included any reference to another referendum.

The outcome of the election (without any campaigning by the SNP) also gave every indication that another referendum would result in a “yes” vote.

The first use of the term “Tory surge in Scotland” was introduced into the election coverage by the BBC in it’s balanced election coverage a couple of weeks before the election.

And was speedily picked up and given maximum coverage by the compliant Scottish Press. Another example of the blatant misuse of the power of media manipulation by the Westminster government and the BBC.

It was incredulous to many voters that the party of rampant “austerity”, and ever increasing levels of family and child poverty, had gained votes in Scotland despite the wanton freezing of the elderly fuel allowance (against a 20% depreciation in the allowance purchasing performance), and the reviled bedroom tax, ruthless attacks on the disabled and health and welfare benefits so much admired by many countries worldwide.

There is still hope that members of the Labour party in Scotland will “grasp the nettle” and get onside with their fellow Scot’s taking up the mantle of freedom, rejecting the “federalist” policies of Kezia Dugdale which will only result in total rejection of the Labour Party by Scot’s.

In any event the future is now much clearer, the polarisation of Scottish politics is complete. The die has been cast. The Unionist Party’s have been exposed as a bunch of bully’s with no interest in the Scot’s except as a source of income and armed forces. The future is ugly (without effective representation), for Scot’s unless they vote with their hearts and minds and break free from the oppressive yoke of Westminster.









Another Independence Referendum is on the Horizon – Next Time Scots Should Heed the Opinions of Those Who Believe in an Independent Scottish Nation








David Cameron: English Politician: “It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another successful, independent country.”




James A Froude: English Historian: “No nation in Europe can look with more just pride on their past than the Scots, and no young Scotsman aught to grow up in ignorance of what that past has been.”




Michael Fry: Historian: Broadcaster: Political Activist: “Scots can only solve their problems once they rule themselves and take responsibility for their actions as an independent nation.”




Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun- Opponent of the 1707 Union: “I knew a very wise man who believed that if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of the nation. The Scots deserve no pity, if they voluntarily surrender their united and separate interests to the mercy of a united parliament, where the English shall have so vast a majority.”




Daniel Defoe: English Author: Spy: ” The Scots are as diligent, as industrious, as apt for Labour and Business, and as capable of it, when they are abroad, as any People in the World; and why should they not be so at Home? and, if they had Encouragement no doubt they would. Scotland has had many an ill picture drawn for her in the world; and as she has been represented in False Draughts, no wonder the Injury’s she has suffered are intolerable. All the Spies sent hither have carried back an ill Report of the Land, and filled the World with weak Banters and Clamour as they know not what.” A spy repents: Written on his return to Scotland (a few year’s before his death) where he witnessed the abject poverty and starvation of a once proud Scottish nation living under the brutal yoke of the Westminster brokered Union.




Professor Nial Ferguson: Historian: “Devolution gives Scots the illusion of self-government but not the reality of it. The parliament cannot flourish while it acts as a mere channel for aid from England. Independence would be preferable to this half-way house.”




Winifred M Ewing: Politician: “We must push the Parliament to campaign for more powers and we must campaign for those powers out in the country. The concept of fiscal autonomy is one that is easy to understand and one which attracts widespread support already. The control of our own resources is essential for we are the only country to have discovered oil and still to have become no better off. We also have vast supplies of the key resource of the twenty-first century – water – whilst there is a scarcity of it elsewhere, including England, and we have a huge ability to generate power by wind and other methods. Far from coming to the end of our riches, we are just coming into them.”


Sir Thomas Farmer: Businessman: “Nobody in the C.B.I. nor any other organisation is in a position to say independence would be bad for Scotland. At the end of the day these comments are an insult to Scots and Scotland as a nation.”




Craig Ferguson: Television Presenter: “I’m more comfortable here in America than I was in England. America is a natural place for a person from Scotland. Culturally, it didn’t feel like that much of a leap for me. It just kind of works for me. But for better or worse I’ll always be Scottish. Perhaps I would never have exceeded my expectations if I had been born somewhere else.”




Winston Churchill: English Politician: “as to the future, we have to secure for Scotland a much more direct and convenient method of bringing her influence to bear upon her own purely domestic affairs. There is nothing which conflicts with the integrity of the United Kingdom in the setting up of a Scottish Parliament for the discharge of Scottish business. There is nothing which conflicts with the integrity of the United Kingdom in securing to Scotsmen in that or in some other way an effective means of shaping the special legislation which affects them and only them. Certainly I am of opinion that if such a scheme can be brought into existence it will mean a great enrichment not only of the national life of Scotland, but of the politics and public life of the United Kingdom.”




Sean Connery: Actor: “Over the centuries the Scots have accepted the fact of English domination. You’ve only got to look at the figures to realise Scotland is a perpetually depressed area. Why else do the Scots have to leave Scotland to make a good living?”




Sean Connery: Actor: “I’ve always been hopeful about Scotland’s prospects. And I now believe more than ever that Scotland is within touching distance of independence and equality. The first step towards this was winning Scotland the right to a separate parliament in 1997 and the second was electing an SNP Government last year. I believe we have what it takes to take the third step, and I am convinced it will happen in my lifetime.”




Edward J Cowan: Historian: “The Declaration of Scottish Independence, 6 April 1320 is the first articulation of the idea that a king is elected by his subjects and if he steps out of line he can be deposed by them. It appeals to universal values. It appeals to the freedom and dignity of the individual but it also appeals to the freedom and dignity of the nation.”




Donald Dewar: Politician: “And there shall be a Scottish parliament. I like that. For me, for any Scot, today is a proud moment. Another stage on a journey begun long ago and which has no end. This is not just about our politics and our laws.It is about who we are, how we carry ourselves. “




Robert B C Graham: Politician: Author: “I regret, as a Scotsman, because we have always had a good name for business, that those traitors who sold our country [in 1707] got so little for themselves. £26,000! Why, their patron saint, Judas, got almost as much, taking into consideration the greater purchasing power of money when he did his deal.




Voltaire: “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.”




Irvine Welsh: Novelist: “Swedes, Norwegians and Danes remain on amicable terms; they trade, co-operate and visit each other socially any time they like. They don’t need a pompous, blustering state called Scandinavia, informing them from Stockholm how wonderful they all are, but (kind of) only really meaning Sweden.”




Kevin Bridges: Comedian: “I think we should have an English vote first and let England make the first move – if they want us to leave, then we’ll stay.”




Frankie Boyle: Comedian: “I think half the country will have had their dreams and hopes destroyed, so it will be pretty much business as usual for everybody.”




Frankie Boyle: Comedian: “For 3 million you could give everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we could dig a hole so deep we could hand her over to Satan in person. (on Margaret Thatcher)”




Winston S. Churchill: English Politician: “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.”




James W. Robertson: Journalist: “But I do like Scotland. I like the miserable weather. I like the miserable people, the fatalism, the negativity, the violence that’s always just below the surface. And I like the way you deal with religion. One century you’re up to your lugs in it, the next you’re trading the whole apparatus in for Sunday superstores. Praise the Lord and thrash the bairns. Ask and ye shall have the door shut in your face. Blessed are they that shop on the Sabbath, for they shall get the best bargains. Oh yes, this is a very fine country.”




Samuel Johnson: Writer: “Oats. A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.”




Samuel Johnson: Writer:  “Freedom is an idea that no tyrant will ever crush.”




William McIlvanney: Poet Politician: “Son, it’s easy tae be guid oan a fu’ belly. It’s when a man’s goat two bites an’ wan o’ them he’ll share, ye ken whit he’s made o’. Listen. In ony country in the world, who are the only folk that ken whit it’s like tae leeve in that country? The folk at the boattom. The rest can a’ kid themselves oan. They can afford to hiv fancy ideas. We canny, son. We loass the wan idea o’ who we are, we’re deid. We’re wan anither. Tae survive, we’ll respect wan anither. When the time comes, we’ll a’ move forward thegither, or nut at all.”





Robert Burns: Poet and Political Commentator: “My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.”




Benjamin Franklin: US Politician: “Did not strong connections draw me elsewhere, I believe Scotland would be the country I would choose to end my days in.”




Evelyn Glennie: “Scotland has never ceased to amaze the world with its forward vision, bold action and great educational institutions. Nothing makes me more proud than to promote this wonderful land with all its richness and diversity wherever I go.”




Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908): Politician: “Even good government can never be a substitute for government by the people themselves.”




Robert Carlyle: Actor: “The Stone of Destiny is about being Scottish. It’s not about moaning, complaining or crying about the fact that Edward stole it in 1296. It’s more about what it means to the Scottish psyche.”




Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881): Writer and Sage: “It is noteworthy that the nobles of the country (Scotland) have maintained a quite despicable behaviour since the days of Wallace downwards – a selfish, ferocious, famishing, unprincipled set of hyenas, from whom at no time, and in no way, has the country derived any benefit whatever.”




Andrew Carnegie: Industrialist: Philanthropist: “America would have been a poor show had it not been for the Scots.”









King RobertThe Bruce




Westminster and the City of London – Nests of Financial Vipers Plundering the Nations Wealth – Consigning the Poor to Early Death – Sacrificed on the Alter of Austerity



darling10aAlistair Darling    gold1Gordon Brown





Alistair Darling – His Unmitigated Disastrous Treasury brief from 1992-98 and 2007-10

Darling was central to the economic calamities of the New Labour Government. His record included a fixation with financial services and a property boom – which drove growth, but at the expense of manufacturing and production. It also facilitated an ever increasing disparity between the North and South within the UK – as the wealth division between the City of London and the rest became a gulf. And it included a record of poor financial oversight and regulation which led to the banking crash and contributed to the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Critics further highlight the desperation of an economic clique in Whitehall to provide tax support to hedge funds and financial capital above the overall health of the economy. Darling was very much in the forefront of this.

His response to the banking crisis was an extension of this economic strategy. He sought to deflect criticism from himself onto Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and Mervyn King at the Bank of England. But he cannot separate himself from the decisions that led to the crisis. He was Labour spokesman on Treasury Affairs and then Chief Secretary to the Treasury across the period of 1992-1998. Together with Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Ed Balls, he was an architect of – if not at least heavily complicit in – the deregulation and tax cuts which let the financial sector spiral out of control.

In his time as Chancellor serious errors and misjudgements on his part led to the banking crisis. Not least his proclamation of an extended period of UK austerity, proclaiming the need for cuts “deeper and tougher” than those instituted by Margaret Thatcher. His “new deal” also resulted in a massive cut in capital investment when it should have been expanded in the wake of credit crisis to boost growth, jobs and revenue.



graphic__the_rbs_fal_22646aFred the Shred Goodwinquote-printing-money-is-the-last-resort-of-desperate-governments-when-all-other-policies-have-george-osborne-68-96-01

Darling – His Indecision – Incompetence and Reliance on Advice From Fred (the Shred) Goodwin

In May 2012, the former Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King criticised the lack of action by Alistair Darling and the last Labour government when, in September 2007, (in the earliest days of the banking crisis) the first UK Bank, sorry English bank, Northern Rock, failed, which King said could have cost up to one million people their jobs. Decisive action would have at least mitigated the problems encountered by other Banks including HBOS and RBS a year later.

Darling learnt no lessons from the collapse of Northern Rock and his March 2008 Budget speech just six months after the first UK bank collapse makes embarrassing reading today: “…we have maintained confidence and stability in the banking system … We have turned welfare into work and borrowing into wealth creation.”

It was the UK regulatory authorities headed by Chancellor of Exchequer Alistair Darling that had the powers to investigate the RBS / AMRO take over but ignored the fact that no due diligence was done by RBS on a deal worth £49 billion before they gave its approval for the world’s biggest bank take over deal that brought about the collapse of the Royal Bank.

Incredibly, the FSA overlooked the rules on capital by allowing Goodwin and RBS to dip below 4%, below the minimum regulatory requirement on capital, to do the ABN Amro deal.

So much for relying on the UK regulatory body and compounding the errors Fred Goodwin ( at that time) was still an adviser to Alistair Darling as Chancellor, and a member of a key Treasury body advising Labour months after the banking crisis and quitting RBS.

Additional Information at:




Ten Years of Unnecessary Austerity – The Rich Grow Richer and the Poor Die Earlier

In 2007 the UK had urgent need for a leader capable of resolving a banking crisis brought about by the greed of bankers and investors The country were blessed with Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling when it desperately required a figure of the status of US President Andrew Jackson who when confronted with greed and avarice of a similar scale shut the entire system down and introduced a banking system that catered for the needs of the citizens of the US.

Jackson made many speeches but this one to the bankers and investors is most apt in this circumstance:

“Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the bread stuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, (bringing his fist down on the table) I will rout you out!”

On September 10, 1833, Jackson removed all federal funds from the Second Bank of the U.S. and redistributed them to a number of state banks. Jackson succeeded in destroying the bank. Problem solved.








Darlings Solution Let the Rich Get Richer Those Most In Need Can Carry the Burden of Debt

UK Alistair Darling abused his office when he instructed the Bank of England to print money (with no gold reserves to back it) and to flood the financial markets with £billions through a system called “Quantitative Easing”. The vast bulk of the new money was simply handed over (without precondition and minimal interest charge) to banks whose finances were in dire straits. When this initiative failed, in some circumstances e.g.. The Royal Bank of Scotland, he purchased all the banks bad debt (at the expense of every UK taxpayer) placing the country at greater financial risk as the major shareholder in banks with no future.

From that time, bolstered many times by newly printed money through further quantitative easing the UK stumbled from one financial crisis to another and incurred fresh debt, measured in £trillions to a number of financial institutions.

It is accepted in financial circles that the UK may never be able to balance the books despite an ever expanding period of austerity (now 10 years) imposed on the 95% of taxpayers who can ill afford the loss of income.

Pensions are at risk of default and poverty is widespread and growing relentlessly. A recent report placed 30,000 early deaths firmly with austerity measures.

But austerity does not extend to the bankers, investors and hedge funds who maintained their place of business off-shore. Despite carrying massive financial debt, (largely guaranteed by the taxpayer) many thousands of bankers and staff attract obscene and unjustified huge annual bonuses so that they would not be inconvenienced by the austerity measures in place throughout the country. What a kick in the teeth for the vast bulk of the electorate.

I expect Andrew Jackson would have allowed the banks to default, whilst insisting that banks honour payment of protected savings. There might have been many losers but they would have been heavily outnumbered by the winners. And the bankers, investors and Hedge Funds would have taken a massive hit. The rich and greedy, having dug themselves into a hole would have been required to get their shovels and dig themselves out.

But, the beast that is Westminster protected the few at the expense of the many. And Scotland still rejected independence. I despair.




A Look at the US and President Trump

Within days of taking up the Presidency of the US President Trump ordered that statues of Winston Churchill and President Andrew Jackson, (consigned to the basement at the start of President Obama’s term of office) would be returned to their rightful place in the entrance to the White House. The order may appear to be of little significance but time might reveal the importance of the change.

I expect their are many in the UK who look across the pond and wonder at the springtime madness that seems to be gripping the political scene in the US. In particular the wanton violence in the streets and university campuses of States favouring the Democratic Party.

The violence is not spontaneous being organised and funded by faceless individuals, groups and organisations pursuing agenda’s designed to wear down the newly appointed President Trump and his administration.

The recent furore over a temporary (3 month) executive order banning the free movement of individuals to and from a small number of countries (previously proscribed by President Obama) had a single purpose, to challenge law and order and embarrass the newly elected President. And the women marching in protest against Trump (for allegedly giving voice to a liking for “pussy”) should be ashamed of their conduct and protests, which would have served better purpose had they been directed at the barbaric treatment of women in Saudi Arabia and many other Islamic States.

The insidious agenda of disruption, protest and release of privileged information is being orchestrated by parties under threat from President Trump and his Administration.

It is rumoured that the Federal Reserve (the President has no control over it’s decisions) is planning to undermine President Trump’s much lauded infrastructure improvements through a process of interest rate hikes and other anti-inflationary measures. Money and Credit will dry up. And the UK will suffer from the fallout.

The video “Storm Clouds Gathering” provides an excellent brief in support of the foregoing. I highly recommend a viewing:





Chinese Inward Investment in Scotland Snookered – Another Victim of Davidson’s – Dugdale’s and Rennie’s Whimsical Persecution – A Long Read But Important to the Cause For Scotland’s Independence









2010: Chinese Inward Investment Potential

Chinese worldwide investment expansion from 2009 attracted many entrepreneurs who wished to grasp any business opportunities which might arise. To facilitate this Sir Richard Branson formed the “E2Exchange” a network of talented budding and established business people.

This in turn spawned the “88Initiative” a company which specifically targeted young Chinese students for business skills development (founders, Sir Richard Heygate and Sir Paul Judge.)

The initiative led to the formation of the Chinese “Sinofortune Group”. It was this company that intended introducing up to £10billion of inward investment to Scotland. Details below:





2011: E2Exchange Network – President Richard Branson

Founded in 2011, E2Exchange has developed into an exciting, thriving and powerhouse network of ambition, investors, and innovation; exchanging ideas and opportunities within a trusted community driven by a motivation to help entrepreneurial businesses prosper.

They are a hub for 10,000 scale-up and established entrepreneurs, sophisticated investors, world-class corporate service providers and experienced non-executive directors driving economic growth in the UK, with ambitions to expand this globally.

“I am delighted to be the Honorary President of E2E. Supporting entrepreneurs who do not have access to networks and other resources to grow their businesses is critical to helping build a prosperous, equitable world for all.” Richard Branson





28 Nov 2013: The 88 Initiative: Putting guanxi into Great Britain

Two of the City’s most prominent ‘knights’ have joined forces with an entrepreneurial network to create greater ties between UK businesses and Chinese investors. Millionaire and City veteran Sir Paul Judge is having a party round at his on 20 December and it promises to be a Christmas party with a mission.

High up in east London’s ‘The Panoramic’ building, Chinese entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, representatives from Chinese family businesses, Chinese students, local entrepreneurs and private equity professionals will all be chatting over a few glasses of eggnog, as they look out over the Thames. It’s the second event by the 88 Initiative and building ties between UK and Chinese businesses is the aim of the game.

The 88 Initiative, a venture designed to improve relations between Chinese businesses and investors and their UK peers, is not the brainchild of Judge though; his long-time friend Sir Richard Heygate (former partner at McKinsey and inventor of the online ATM, no-less) came up with the idea. Sir Richard has joined forces with E2Exchange, an organisation for entrepreneurs, for which another Sir Richard (Branson of course) is the honorary president – in order to launch the 88 Initiative.

With its inaugural event in September in the bag and the second one speeding towards it, the 88 Initiative is close to clinching investment deals for a number of UK-based companies.

Why now?‘ There are many ultra-high-net worth Chinese investors who want to invest into British businesses but don’t have the relationships in the UK to do this,’ explains Shalini Khemka, chief executive of E2Exchange.

Central to Chinese business culture is trust, so we are helping Chinese investors build relationships in the UK to gain that trust to facilitate investment flows into SMEs and help accelerate their growth.’

After leaving McKinsey, Sir Richard worked on a number of start-ups and soon realised there was no institutional funding for UK entrepreneurs,’ he said. ‘I came across fantastic British inventions which had simply run out of money and died off or been sold for a fraction of their value. ‘I was talking with a friend, one of the biggest immigration lawyers in the UK, and he pointed out China has the largest pool of venture capital in the world. And while the UK is keen to attract Chinese wealth, China needs UK innovation.’ Sir Richard, like many a British businessperson and politician before him, realised China could hold the answer to many of our investment problems.

But the classic problem when it comes to doing business with the Chinese is their emphasis on trust and building strong relationships before signing any deals. It’s not as easy as rocking up and swinging your start-ups around. ‘The generation in power in China is not easy to deal with,’ explains Sir Richard. ‘Mostly, they don’t speak English and rely on something called guanxi – business trust.

There’s no point in heading over to China, organising meetings and going to cocktail parties unless you have a high level of guanxi.’ While lecturing at the Said Business School, Sir Richard came up with what he thought might be a solution.

He was lecturing at the college and met a swathe of Chinese students – he was vastly impressed with their entrepreneurialism and saw this generation as holding the key to doing business with the older generation. ‘I was so impressed with what an inspiring bunch the Chinese students were,’ he says. ‘Many have three or four degrees each, they’re very hard working and open minded.

I realised maybe these people were the bridge and so I decided to work with the younger generation. I’ve become friendly with six or seven groups of young entrepreneurs, building guanxi, and through them gained access to high net worth individuals and venture capital firms in China.’

Together the E2Exchange and Sir Richard are hoping to use the 88 Initiative to do a number of things; identify, mentor and fund new ventures in both the UK and China; seek out suitable UK brands who can branch into the Chinese market and build long term partnerships with Chinese family businesses; encourage UK venture capitalists to open their portfolios to Chinese investment banks and corporations. Phew. That’s no mean feat.

The initiative is currently on the verge of three deals involving UK businesses; a wine brand, a healthcare company and a hotel deal and ‘there are lots more in the hopper’. It is formalising the 88 incubator for joint China/UK entrepreneurs, setting up two agencies in China (one west coast, one inland) and launching a new venture capital firm with Rob Wylie of Wheb Partners as chairman.

All stations are go. The timing of the 88 Initiative couldn’t be better. Thanks in no small part to some tussling on George Osborne’s part, London is due to become the designated trading outpost for the Chinese currency – the renminbi – at the end of 2014, early 2015. According to commentators, this will open the floodgates for Chinese investment in the UK.

The odd Lloyds building here, Manganese Bronze there, will pale in significance. Organisations such as the 88 Initiative will hopefully smooth this change of gear and help entrepreneurs as they try to do business with the Chinese. ‘For UK SMEs looking to expand overseas, China is a huge market and there are significant benefits for Chinese investors who want to invest into UK businesses,’ explains Khemka ‘Chinese investors are keen to invest in UK businesses if they can see that the companies have high quality brands, with real potential in their home market.’

Khemka’s experience of dealing with UK-based entrepreneurs has taught her that although the opportunities are out there – our home-grown start-ups and small businesses aren’t taking them.‘Many UK entrepreneurs still do not realise the huge potential that the Chinese market offers their businesses,’ says Khemka. ‘With those entrepreneurs who are aware, there is some inertia because of the language and cultural barriers and also the lack of understanding regarding how Chinese investment and business operates.

We can support companies by giving them more confidence, through introducing them to the right people and helping them build relationships with the most influential networks and investors.’ Eighty-eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture but it looks like the success of the 88 Initiative will have little to do with luck and a lot to do with guanxi – something we bet we’ll all be hearing a lot more of… (management today, 88-initiative)






2016: Sinofortune Group – Linked to 88 Initiative and E2Exchange

Sir Richard Heygate, a member of the E2Exchange, founded the 88 Initiative in 2012 with Sir Paul Judge, a City of London boardroom veteran and former director general of the UK’s Conservative Party, and set out to bring to the UK some of the billions of private and public money that China was looking to invest across the globe.

Peter Zhang was a research associate at York University’s Management School – and was a founding committee member of the China Innovation and Development Association which received Chinese embassy-level support from 2009. It seems to be something of a hothouse conduit for the billions of investment that came after President Xi’s visit to Britain in 2015.

The Group is a Chinese company and has been taken as a model for China’s state-run capitalist strategy. It was incorporated in London in July 2015. The joint majority shareholders are managing director, Peter Zhang and the Liaoning Fortone International Investment Group, a subsidiary of Liaoning Fortone Group, an engineering- and construction-focused conglomerate based in the north-eastern Chinese city of Shenyang that lists its main business activities as “mega project investment.” The “Sino” part of the “SinoFortone” name comes from Sinolinks, a company formed by Peter Zhang in Hong Kong in 2012.

Professor Yu Xiong, the Chair of Technology and Operations Management at Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School, knows Zhang from his university days and also has, he says, advised SinoFortone and the British and Chinese governments on joint cooperation business strategies (indeed, he is also a director of a SinoFortone business).

According to Yu, SinoFortone relies heavily on State funding but because of a slowdown on the release of funds – caused by a very real fear of corruption and tightened due diligence – the majority of this funding is not actually secured. “From my understanding they have signed some deals and secured some funding but Sinosure have not yet approved most it.”

Sir Richard Heygate, former company director who resigned from the group in December 2016, said SinoFortone’s commitment had fallen apart when China’s state export credit agency, Sinosure, refused to provide finance.






In the Autumn of 2015 Chinese investment in the UK increased markedly. Scotland attracted new opportunities some of which were sourced through ” Asia Scotland Institute” a charitable company of repute based in Edinburgh. One such company was SinoFortone (UK).

After many months of quiet diplomacy (required behaviour when dealing with Chinese businessmen) in April 2016, Scotland’s First Minister signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) with SinoFortune committing government to further discussions which it was anticipated would lead to significant inward investment to Scotland.

The understanding was concluded within the General Election “Purdah” period and this prevented any major announcement. But the anti -SNP Scottish press decided to “go for the Kill” and broadcast news of the venture widely each day adding a series of “spoilers” designed to discredit the Scottish government.

Opposition group leaders in Holyrood “climbed aboard the bandwagon” claiming ignorance of any discussions with Chinese companies, lodging a series of unfounded outrageous allegations of misrule by the Scottish government. The sequence of events is detailed below:





Oct 2015: Asia Scotland Institute Chairman’s Letter To the First Minister of Scotland – Infrastructure Funding Opportunity from China – Chinese Investment in Scotland

I was in touch with your office last week and you may recall had written to you prior to your visit to China earlier this year. Although currently in the United States, I return to Edinburgh by the end of this month and am writing as agreed with your office to resuscitate my original communication, particularly in view of the successful and recent Chinese visit to England.

Prior to your own visit to China Sir Richard Heygate wrote the following:- “I will say that there has not been a single private conversation I have had with senior Chinese figures that has not ended up discussing how the RMB will replace the Dollar as international currency.

I doubt if top politicians will admit this, but it has an overwhelming feeling in the business community. How this will play out in the international world, I cannot predict, but all trends show that China will be overtaking the US in GDP in the near future.”

Sir Richard added this piece of advice for yourself and remember he knows the Chinese well and has great relationships with some very significant Chinese individuals and companies. “Keep answers simple. The Chinese hate smart complexity as they feel one is trying to fool them. They also love “visions” and “dreams” in a way we have long forgotten. You should emphasis your dream for Scotland and stress how the Scots traded so heavily with China in the past and that you are committed to get people to do the same today”.

Focusing on moving matters forward, I have encouraged Sir Richard Heygate (copied on this email acting for the two Chinese potential funding companies, to allow you and your colleagues to address the question of what major infrastructure projects might be explored with the Chinese in the coming months.

The recent announcements of significant transactions in England during the Chinese State Visit have prepared the ground for similar large projects in Scotland. I look forward to hearing back from you and arranging a meeting in Scotland in early November to see how we can take the initiative forward. (Roddy Gow, Asia Scotland Institute)





8 Apr 2016: Letter from the Scottish Government to SinoFortone (UK)

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) does not commit the Scottish government to any specific projects and that full due diligence would of course be undertaken should the MoU ultimately result in any projects. It is also emphasised that the MOU is not a binding legal agreement and emphasised that this had been made clear in public statements.
Note: In the period 27 October 2015 – 9 April 2016 there was a copious exchange of correspondence between various parties, the bulk of which appeared to be directed to the need for clarification of matters arising from a proposed investment of Chinese capital into Scotland. Full details are to be found at: “”





14 May 2016: Holyrood questions lodged about China firms agreement

Dozens of questions about the Scottish government memorandum of understanding with Chinese firms were lodged during the first session at Holyrood. Wullie Rennie lodged a total of 28 questions, all on the topic of the China agreement and government memoranda of understanding.

He asked a series of questions about whether government officials were aware of the Norwegian blacklisting, their assessment of the firm’s human rights record, what advice was taken before signing the memorandum, and whether the government would suspend the memorandum until it had investigated concerns.

Ms Sturgeon said no firm investment plans had been made and insisted that due diligence would be carried out. (BBC News)






31 May 2016: Scottish government China Deal Correspondence Released

In a chamber debate about the economy, Wullie Rennie said it was now clear that aides had tried to “Tippex” China Railway out of the deal after “devastating revelations” from Norway’s pension fund and Amnesty International, which he said had “condemned” the firm. He said “no due diligence” had been done on the company before the memorandum was signed, and said the Scottish government should be “embarrassed”.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said the SNP had “dodged and weaved for weeks” over the deal. He said: “Finally when forced to publish the facts, the SNP blames opposition parties for asking questions. It’s classic SNP: duck scrutiny and then go on the attack when challenged.”

And Scottish Labour said the SNP had “misled people” about Mr Souter’s involvement in the deal, with Jackie Baillie calling for a parliamentary statement from Mr Brown and an investigation by the Economy Committee.


‘Unfounded assertions’

Responding for the Scottish government, Mr Brown said the papers “show how misguided opposition politicians have been about the China investment memorandum, exposing their assertions as unfounded.

It is clear that while all potential investment has to be considered carefully, opposition parties should be wary about deterring potential investment. The full set of papers we are releasing shows the approach taken by the Scottish government to potential investment in Scotland was entirely appropriate throughout the process.

The papers confirm that the interest from Chinese investors with the potential of up to £10bn of investment in a range of private and local authority projects was serious and credible, but that discussions remain at an early stage, with no specific projects or any investment whatsoever agreed.” Full details: “”


Scotland will work with Chinese partners to bring about infrastructure projects with a potential value of £10 billion following the signing of an agreement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.



Britain was expected to benefit from Chinese inward investment as a result of the visit to Britain by the Chinese President in the summer of 2015. It did but suffered a sharp reverse due to a number of unexpected events. These are detailed below:


In this Wednesday, July 28, 2015 photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, left, talks with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Beijing. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi/Xinhua News Agency via AP) ) NO SALES


May 2015: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Formed in China

In recent years the Chinese economy boomed due to a worldwide free trade agreement resulting in the accumulation of substantial cash reserves. The Chinese Central Bank authorised foreign inwards investment and also looked abroad, to other countries for opportunities to enter into joint business and infrastructure projects.

The UK government was not slow to respond to the Chinese initiatives and announced a new era of open trade. China then created a new funding structure the “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.”

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, went off to Beijing to sign up to the new arrangement and during his visit announced that the UK would be a founding member of the new bank.

The US authorities were furious that he had placed the US/UK alliance at risk. Not to be put off George then advised his hosts of the new HS2 rail link between London and the North of England and the opportunity for joint China/UK major infrastructure investment.
Note: Following his defeat in the 2015 General Election Danny Alexander was repaid with a peerage for his loyalty to the UK Chancellor, George Osborne. He was further rewarded with the appointment to the post of vice president and corporate secretary of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. In this position he would have been fully conversant with developments in Scotland.

Wee Wullie Rennie’s claim, in the Holyrood parliament that he had been kept in the dark about the initiative by the Scottish government beggars belief. The number of questions he raised in Holyrood betrayed the level of his knowledge of events. It is entirely possible leaks published in the Scottish press originated with the Lib/Dem Party






Jul 2015: Chinese President In First Visit To The UK For Over Ten Years

During the official four-day visit President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan stayed at Buckingham Palace as guests of the Queen and attended a state banquet. Mr Cameron and the President held two days of talks, including Chinese investment in UK infrastructure and business ventures for British companies in China.





Jun 2016: Britain Votes to leave the European Union

The unexpected referendum vote (on June 23) to leave the European Union caused much anxiety in Beijing who had expected to use the UK as a base to expand into Europe.




Jul 2016: UK Prime Minister Theresa May delayed approval of the nuclear power station at Hinckley Point

The shock decision (July 28) by the newly appointed UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, to defer approval of the nuclear power plant at Hinkley (part-funded by French/Chinese investment) caused consternation in France and Beijing. It appeared the US had voiced concerns about the project and others in the pipeline would be compromising the security of NATO.

China’s response was to highlight the huge inward investment of Chinese finance into the UK economy, the planned expansion of trade and that diplomatic and trade links had existed years between China and Britain for many hundreds of before the creation of the USA.

They also highlighted that the vote in the June referendum to leave the EU had been assisted by a vision of Britain outside the EU with closer links to new markets such as China.

Also that Inter government discussions had been held exploring new trade deals and it was imperative that open trade arrangements were put in place so as to ensure active participation in the “Made in China 2025”, initiative which addresses China’s declining competitive advantage in manufacturing by encouraging Chinese companies to make better-quality products. The scheme presents a golden chance for British firms to manufacture and supply high-tech equipment, design and consultancy.

Reference was also made to arrangements currently in place which include British employees working with many Chinese companies world wide on multi-billion pound projects forming part of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative which is designed to revive the ancient silk roads, connecting China with its neighbours and beyond, through investment.

And failure to sign off the nuclear power station agreement could also jeopardise the HS2 infrastructure development. She signed the agreement. But the damage had been done.






Aug 2016: Blow to UK Economy As China Clamps Down on Overseas Investment

Chinese overseas deals worth almost $75 billion were cancelled last year as a regulatory clampdown and restrictions on foreign exchange caused 30 acquisitions with European and US groups to fall through.

A quarter of the value of commercial property deals that were in the market on 23 June, the day of the EU referendum, have since fallen through as investors tread cautiously amid uncertainty around Brexit negotiations. (Himanshu Singh: Citywire)





There is early promise that 2017 will be a better year for Britain and Chinese relations. Red Rock Power Ltd has been established in Edinburgh and the Chinese Console wrote to a Scottish newspaper clarifying China’s commitment to inward investment worldwide. Details below:





15 Nov 2016: China-Scotland Inward Investment – Renewable Energy Development

On 15 November, Red Rock Power Limited, a subsidiary of Chinese “State Development and Investment Corporation” (SDIC), officially opened its office in Edinburgh.

Managing Director, Mr. Wang said that with the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit to the UK, a “Golden Era” of the relationship has begun, providing a strong support for the offshore wind power cooperation between China and Scotland.

As Scotland has rich marine resources, excellent investment environment, comprehensive offshore operating experience and outstanding professionals, the Chinese side has full confidence in the investment and development of Scottish offshore wind power projects, and wishes to work together with its counterparts to make a role for business cooperation between China and Scotland.

SDIC looks forward to participating in Scottish economic development in more areas for mutual benefit.

First Minister Sturgeon expressed her warmest congratulations on the office opening of Red Rock Power Limited. She said China is an important partner to Scotland, and the both sides are strongly complementary with each other in economic cooperation.






17 Nov 2017: The Chinese Consul General in Scotland replied to an article entitled “Questions over China Deal Remain”, raising doubts about Chinese investment.

At the beginning of this millennium, Chinese investment is widespread throughout the world. For consecutive years, its outbound direct investment (ODI) has kept the third place in the world.

2015 saw China’s non-financial ODI reach a record $118.02 billion and over 30,000 Chinese enterprises operate in 188 developing and developed countries and regions. From January to September this year, its non financial ODI has already overtaken last year’s figure with an accumulative investment of $134.2 billion, up 53.7 percent year-on-year.

As the world’s second largest economy, China has become the second biggest trading partner of the UK outside EU, with the latter as a main destination for Chinese outbound investment.

For the past five years, Chinese investment in Britain has surpassed its combined investment in Germany, France and Italy. A recent example is the significant breakthrough in the Hinkley Point nuclear project with Chinese investment.

Meanwhile, Chinese investors aren’t sitting idle in Scotland with some large enterprises already setting their foot here in the fields of oil and gas as well as renewable energy. This year saw another major Chinese investment in offshore wind farms.

As a major player on the global stage of investment, Chinese enterprises work hand-in-hand with their counterparts in the spirit of mutual respect and trust, achieve wins for both sides and contribute to global economic and social development. In doing so, Chinese investment enjoys a good reputation and warm reception worldwide. (Scotsman 17 Nov 2016)


Wee Wullie His nose is always in the trough





UK Minister of Defence Ratchets Up the Hard Talk – Russia Exercises Its Right of Reply – Very Perplexing for the UK Electorate – Is It All Really Necessary?




fallon5 Sir Michael Fallon, Minister of Defence





The Last Honest Journalist in the UK

“In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it. The vast clandestine apparatus we built up to prove our enemies’ resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that vast army of clandestine personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences for them and us.” Malcolm Muggeridge.








12 Aug 2015: The British Army is to be sent to the Ukraine to train the Ukraine Defence Forces

The United Kingdom Secretary of State for Stoking up Conflict, Michael Fallon, just announced (during a visit to Kiev that the British Army) is going to be investing more UK taxpayers’ money into training the Ukrainian army, increasing the number of soldiers in the programme from just over 1,000 to around 2,000 by the end of the year. Another Battalion of the Highlanders Regiment is being deployed

But Article 10 of the Minsk II Accords states the following: There will be a pull-out of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.

Judge for yourselves: Is this in compliance with Minsk II? Or is it a flagrant violation of it?

During his visit he told Ukrainian Prime Minister that the visit “reaffirmed the UK’s support”. and went on to say: “Seven thousand people have already died in the Ukraine, right on the doorstep of Europe … This is not a frozen conflict, it’s still red hot. We are not going to turn our back on Ukraine.”

Of course he conveniently forgot to mention that the majority of those 7,000 or so dead people are civilians in the South East of Ukraine (they are Ukrainians too), who died at the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, or the so-called volunteer battalions such as the one led by arch Nazi Stepan Bandera.


Three questions to Mr Fallon:

1. Is the UK Government going to sanction itself for violating the Minsk II Accords?

2. In reaffirming the UK Government’s support for “Ukraine”, do we include those “Ukrainians” who have been shelled relentlessly by the “Ukrainian” Government?

3. Are we going to be training any of those nice chaps with the SS runes?


azov-batallion-1024x640 Stepan Bandera’s Ukraine’s irregular force




29 Sep 2016: Uk to Take up Leadership Role of the European Nations Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017

UK armed forces are building a stronger relationship with Albania by working side-by-side on NATO exercises improving mutual effectiveness meeting security challenges in the Balkans.

Soldiers from the Army’s Grenadier Guards and Royal Marines from Kilo Company 42 Commando joined Albanian troops and personnel from the US, Kosovo and Montenegro in Biza in a combined field training exercise.







8 Oct 2016: 2,300 UK maritime forces take part in exercise with Albania

An amphibious task group, the Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime comprising Royal Navy and Royal Marines joined Albanian forces for an exercise in the Adriatic and the Gulf, reinforcing the UK’s relationships with allies, ensuring the task group’s response readiness.

the UK force was led by the warships HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark supported by Navy vessels RFA Mounts Bay and MV Eddystone, a Tailored Air Group made up of Chinook, Merlin, Wildcat and Apache helicopters, and lead elements of a Royal Marine Commando group, Royal Navy divers and Commando engineers.A small number of Army and Royal Air Force personnel also took part.

The Minister of defence, Sir Michael Fallon said: “The contribution of maritime forces as well as two Royal Navy warships underlines the UK’s strength at sea and our strong defence partnership with Albania. The UK is committed to work with Albania meeting security challenges in the Balkans and demonstrates the ability the UK has to deploy highly effective maritime forces at short notice, anywhere in the world.

In addition to this exercise, the UK has over 3,000 military personnel deployed on operations around the world, underlining Britain’s global military footprint.



albania-752Albanian army unit





9 Oct 2016: Russia must be held accountable for its war crimes, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said today.

Sir Michael said “a much more aggressive Russia” had made the decision to be a “competitor” to the West, as he accused it of murder and war crimes in Syria. He said: “The regime is bombing its own people, its own children, its own women, and it’s being aided and abetted by Russia. There’s increasing evidence that Russia is party to the slaughter that’s now going on. We hoped Russia would become a partner to us in the West, but clearly Russia has decided to be a competitor.

They said that right at the beginning they were going to come in and help us fight Daesh (ISIS), they haven’t done that. They’ve been helping (Syrian president Bashar) Assad bomb his own people, they’ve been flexing their muscles in the Black Sea, they’ve been militarising in Crimea, we’ve seen this pressure on the Baltic states, and they’ve tried to interfere in elections — they even tried to interfere on the Dutch referendum on the Ukraine association agreement.””



14624452_1599607603668761_4094347531062870016_nAlbanian Soldier


28 Nov 2016: Sir Michael Fallon has warned NATO is “prepared to defend” any of its member states amid rising tensions between Russia and the West.

Fallon, said Vladimir Putin has been testing the alliance’s resolve with recent military manoeuvres, which included stationing nuclear weapons in firing distance of Europe. He said Nato had to respond to Moscow and is fully “prepared” to come to the defence of any member state.

He continued: “Testing, that’s what he’s [Putin] been doing. We’ve seen long-range aviation, Russian bombers flying down the edge of our flight region, more submarine activity, manoeuvres on the borders outside the Baltic states and across the border from Poland, more maritime activity in the Baltic, we’ve had this cruiser group sail through the English Channel. So, Putin, I think is testing the alliance and we have to respond.”

The Secretary of Defence also called for NATO members to increase military spending to meet the guidelines which say nations should spend two per cent of their GDP on defence as the alliance “pulls itself together”.”






4 Feb 2017: Michael Fallon – The Nutty Brit

Enter Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary of the Poodle-in-Chief, the United Kingdom, who insinuates that Russia is launching a campaign of cyber attacks targeting democracy in the west, “weaponizing misinformation”.

Is he nuts? Firstly, Russia is a democracy and has a President who enjoys an 80%+ approval rating . Secondly, Fallon should publish any supporting facts in public for all to see. Thirdly, what is this nonsense about “misinformation”? Misinforming whom about what?


gjader-air-base-abandoned-albania-stored-aircraft-2Albanian airforce



About Misinformation:

Who forged papers falsely linking Saddam Hussein to yellow-cake uranium produced in “Nigeria” (in fact it is from Niger and the document was forged by guess who?)

Who provided “concrete intelligence” to the UK’s bed-master about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (in fact a thesis copied and pasted from the Net and sexed up by Blair and his spin doctors)?

Who was it that invaded Iraq based on shamefaced lies?

Who supported terrorists in Libya that they had listed as proscribed?

Who lied about Syria, claiming that the elected government was using chemical weapons against their own soldiers?

Who supported terrorist groups in Syria who cut the heads off small boys?

Who Staged an illegal coup in Ukraine, backing a motley bunch of fascists, terrorists and murderers.

Who perpetrated massacres of Russian speaking Ukrainians and threatened to clear the Ukraine of Jews?

Who copied and pasted photographs from the Net from two decades before and relating to another country claiming President Assad was murdering civilians (when the photography pertained to a NATO massacre in Iraq two decades before)?

Who conducts 24-hour-a-day cyber terrorist attacks against western publications?

The international community is fast losing patience with the UK and its partner in crime across the Atlantic. It is a fact that the world does not need the UK or USA. They need the World.

If the US and UK wish to do something worthwhile, they could assist other countries resolving the contamination of the Worlds oceans. Today a whale beached itself in Norway trying to die because it had so many plastic bags in its stomach it was driving the poor creature…to suicide. When a whale decides that death is better than the living hell humankind has created, then something is wrong.

So instead of bickering and threatening other nations, the US and UK could do something in tune with the hearts and minds of humankind.. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru