Douglas Gordon Ross:
Football Referee and Part-Time Politician: (born Aberdeen 1983). Educated at Forres Academy and the Scottish Agricultural College.
Expected Earnings 2017-18:
Between 110,000 and £115,000 (MP salary and income from soccer).
His early years were spent on a dairy farm near Forres where his father worked as a cattleman. On completing his secondary education he completed a 4 year course at Agriculture College returning to dairy farming to continue his career as a dairyman.
His family are primarily hard line unionists some enjoying well paid influential links with farming and forestry communities in the North East of Scotland.
He was was first elected to Moray council in 2007, representing the Fochabers-Lhanbryde ward, and became part of the Independent/Conservative administration.
He resigned from the council administration in December 2009, but continued as a Councillor.
In 2012 he was re-elected to the Moray council and again became part of the ruling administration group, but was ‘ousted’ from it in 2014, following an acrimonious debate about school closures.
He was unsuccessful when he stood as the Conservative candidate in the Moray constituency in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections.
He was also unsuccessful in his bid for election to the Scottish parliament in 2011 and 2016. But was fortunate to be elected as a list MSP for the Highlands and Islands in May 2016.
In his very short time at Holyrood he was appointed Shadow Minister for Justice and subsequently criticized for being absent from parliamentary duties, skipping a crunch vote and a meeting of the Justice Committee because of his soccer commitments.
He stood again in the 2017 UK general election for the seat of Moray and was elected to office. He resigned his List MSP post soon after having only just been appointed.
Ross – The Local Councillor
6 Feb 2014: Moray Council – Labour Councillor Sean Morton Delivers Emotional Statement On Same-Sex Marriage Law
Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton delivered a statement to the full Council calling on the local authority to show its support for the decision taken at Holyrood earlier this week that made Scotland the 17th world nation to make same-sex marriage legal.
The openly gay Councillor added that he could only have dreamed that one day he would live in a society that allowed loving couples to marry regardless of their sex. He also expressed his thanks to Richard Lochhead for supporting the bill.
Councillor Douglas Ross voiced a different view, saying: “While it is right and proper that we recognize the momentous achievement, that we also recognize that there were hundreds of thousands of people in Moray and Scotland who opposed this.” (inside moray)
7 Nov 2014: Ross Sacked By Moray Council
Ross has been barred from the ruling administration group and is to be removed from his role as chairman of the council’s police and fire and rescue services committee and planning committee.
The convener said the decision to remove Ross from the administration group resulted from the fact that he had “actively canvassed against the administration’s ambitions and had shown no wish to be aligned with the general direction that the administration group had taken”.
In his letter, the convener added: “I regret that this course of action has become necessary, however the group can see no way forward until we have made it clear that the views you hold publicly are not those of the administration.” Councillor Ross’s dismissal comes shortly after the defeat on Monday of plans to reorganize the school estate.
Ross was also a member of the previous council administration following election in 2007 but resigned two years later citing disagreements with their decisions and expressing a desire to be able to speak freely on matters.
Ross – The MSP
May 2016: Highlands and Islands Conservative list MSP Douglas Ross has been named shadow cabinet secretary for justice in the Ruth Davidson’s shadow cabinet and has vowed to fight against centralization.
He said: “At the election we were returned as the main opposition party on a pledge to hold the SNP government to account and I’m looking forward to getting involved in all the areas included in this significant brief.” (Shetland times)
Ross – The MP
8 Jul 2017: Tory MP Douglas Ross warned he must stand up to his party on WASPI after publicly backing them during election campaign
WASPI women — Women Against State Pension Inequality — want fair transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s. The state pension age is being raised from 60 to 66 by 2020, and they say they knew nothing about the change until it was too late and they were planning on draw down the pension.
Tory and part-time referee Ross has been given the yellow card by constituents who want to know why he’s refusing to back an election pledge to support WASPI women.
The Moray MP, posed just days before last month’s General Election with campaigners affected by the pension age change, and promised to “support the WASPI group in Moray as a strong local voice at the heart of government in Westminster.”
But Ross has yet to back a parliamentary motion supporting WASPI women.
The SNP’s Mhairi Black was scathing: “Douglas Ross must sign this motion in support of these women — otherwise his actions reek of hypocrisy. He was happy to pose with these women during his election campaign while seeking votes — now he must show a stand against his party’s damaging policy.
I cannot believe we are still having to argue the case for WASPI women, and that the UK government has failed to listen. For the government to say they can’t afford to pay these women what they are owed is laughable. They can find a billion pounds to cling on to power, but they can’t find the money to give women the pensions that they are due.
These women are guilty of nothing. They have had the misfortune of being female and being born in the 1950s and live under this UK government who refuses to do the right thing. This is an issue of equality.
The UK government must take responsibility and Douglas Ross must do the right thing for these women who are missing out on their pension.”
A spokesperson for the WASPI campaign told the National they were disappointed — but not surprised — and that Ross was, in many ways, no different from the rest of his newly elected Tory colleagues.
We are of course disappointed when people have signed the WASPI pledge and offer to support their constituents. Having said that, we are not surprised, many Conservative MPs do still remain loyal to the government. (The national)
Addendum: Tory minister Guy Opperman sparked fury in a Commons debate when he said the millions of WASPI women facing cuts, should take up apprenticeships.
Ross – In the Commons
He is a member of the “Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill Committee” which has met and debated issues on a number of occasions. Ross has not spoken at any debate.
Reading of debate contributions is highly recommended since it provides information relevant to the perilous state of HM forces under the Tory government.
Carilion PLC (since gone bust) gets more than a mention being severely criticized for the appalling state of military accommodation and married quarters throughout the UK.
Recruitment and retention is well below target and many experienced servicemen are departing the military having had enough of cuts to weapons replacement programmes and endless deployment to combat missions and “showcase”exercises without adequate rest. The military is in crisis.
Carol Monaghan SNP Shadow Defense Spokesman performs well in committee and her contributions should be given attention.
He is a member of the “Smart Meters Bill Committee” whch has questioned a number of public service managers about the feasibility of a successful uk wide programme targetted at the installation of “smart meters”. A lively forum that revealed much disquiet about the proposal.
Foreign Policy and Defence
He consistently votes against more EU integration
He consistently votes against any future referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
He consistently votes against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK
He consistently votes against UK continued membership of the EU
He consistently votes against transferring more powers to the Welsh Assembly.
He consistently votes against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament.
He has spoken in 49 debates (223 mentions) since joining Parliament.
Many of his contributions comprised the usual Tory banal rhetoric attacking the record of the SNP in Scotland oft referring to devolved matters which have no agenda for discussion in the House of Commons.
But Speaker Bercow, (no friend of the SNP) in his self proclaimed infinite wisdom allows the practice.
Where his contributions are relevant the content is invariably tainted by his right wing views and grandstanding exposing his desire to impress his Lords and masters of the Tory party.
Register of Members’ Interests
1. Parliamentary Salary
2. Other Earnings
Received £1735.70p from the Scottish Parliament for time spent at Holyrood as an MSP.
Projected income from soccer activities £40,000+ p/A
3. Other Financial support
Name of donor: Alasdair Laing: Address: private. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £5,000
Name of donor: Scottish Unionist Association Trust. Address: Glasgow G52. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £7,500. Donor status: Tory party, friendly society.
Name of donor: Stalbury Trustees. Address: London W1J. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £10,000. Donor status: Tory Party Political Company.
Name of donor: John Martin. Address: private. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £5,000.
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Conservative Friends of Israel Ltd. Address: London SW1P. Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): Travel and accommodation with a value of £2,000
Destination of visit: Israel and the West Bank. Dates of visit: 31 July – 5 August 2016. Purpose of visit: Fact finding mission for Scottish Conservative MSP’s.
Ross and the EU Referendum
describing himself as a “reluctant Remainer” he said his agricultural background had led him to disapprove of the “red tape” imposed by Brussels. “I didn’t campaign in the EU referendum at all,” he added, admitting he was “a lot less motivated” to persuade people to back Remain than for Scotland to stay part of the UK. “I wasn’t convinced by the arguments to Leave at that time, but I’m a democrat as well and I respect the view of the UK people. While I think there will be challenges to leaving the EU, I also think there’s opportunities.” (inews)
Ross – Soccer & Politics
He is a professional football referee, who officiates in the Scottish Premiership and in international soccer tournaments earning up to £40,000 a year as a self-employed specialist assistant football referee.
He was widely criticized for missing a House of Commons debate on Universal Credit in October 2017, due to his commitments in Europe as a football referee and undertook to no longer accepting referee appointments during the working week whilst the UK Parliament was sitting.
22 Oct 2017: Tory MP Ross Might quit refereeing after 2018 World Cup
But the tournament starts on June 14, and Parliament does not go into summer recess until the middle of July which means that Ross could miss out on the tournament.
An added difficulty is that his absence from the Scottish team of match officials, led by Willie Collum, would require it to withdraw from the officiating bodies list since team member swapping is disallowed. It is expected he will elect to attend the tournament.
Aug -Jan 2017-18: Payments to Ross from The Scottish Football Association:
11 August 2017, received £97.50 for Buckie Thistle v Raith Rovers.
11 August 2017, received £97.50 for Dundee v Dundee United.
24 August 2017, received £425 for Hamilton Academical v Dundee.
24 August 2017, received £130 for Livingston v Dunfermline Athletic.
07 September 2017, received £130 for Caledonian Thistle v Greenock Morton.
07 September 2017, received £425 for Celtic v St Johnstone.
25 September 2017, received £425 for St Johnstone v Hibernian.
06 October 2017, received £425 for Aberdeen v Kilmarnock.
20 October 2017, received £130 for Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Queen of the South.
03 November 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Hearts
17 November 2017, received £425 for Hearts v Rangers.
17 November 2017, received £350 for Hibernian v Celtic.
17 November 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Motherwell.
01 December 2017, received £83 for Peterhead v Stenhousemuir.
01 December 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Celtic
22 December 2017, received £425 for Aberdeen v Rangers.
22 December 2017, received £100 for Arbroath v Forfar.
22 December 2017, received £425 for Hibs v Celtic.
12 January 2018, received £100 for Arbroath v East Fife.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Celtic v Aberdeen.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Hamilton v Ross County.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Hearts v Hibs.
12 January 2018, received £60 for a pitch inspection ahead of Elgin City v Stirling Albion
Payments received from UEFA:
01 September 2017, received £1,436.35 for NK Domzale v Olympique de Marseille.
16 October 2017, received £1,975.10 for SSC Napoli v Feyenoord.
30 October 2017, received £1,970.19 for Barcelona v Olympiacos.
Payments received from FIFA:
05 October 2017, received £749.57 for Iceland v Ukraine.
19 October 2017, received £751.80 for Bosnia and Herzegovina v Belgium.
Ross and the Gypsy Travellers
He was criticized in the media and by Naomi McAuliffe of Amnesty International for a statement he made during an interview, that if he was Prime Minister for a day “without any repercussions”, he would “like to see tougher enforcement against Gypsy Travellers”.
He subsequently apologized for his use of inappropriate language. The Scottish Football Association launched a disciplinary investigation into his remarks, which did not lead to any formal disciplinary action, but warned him to pay attention to his future conduct.
28 Aug 2017: The new Tory MP for Moray has long sought to crush one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in his constituency.
If you were prime minister for the day, without any repercussions, what would you do?” In reply Ross said: “I would like to see tougher enforcement against gypsy travellers”.
The lexicon of ‘solution groups’ is not new. As history demonstrates, ‘solutionists’ have always been amongst us, always in search of problem groups to scapegoat or further a ‘party’ agenda – as Hitler did.
Europe’s Roma and Sinti people (Gypsies) were targeted by the Nazis for total destruction. Upward of 200,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered or died as a result of starvation or disease. Many more were imprisoned, used as forced labour or subject to forced sterilization and medical experimentation.
In June 1936, a Central Office to ‘Combat the Gypsy Nuisance’ opened in Munich and later that year, Berlin police were given the authority to conduct raids against Gypsies so that they would not mar the image of the city as the host of the summer Olympic Games.
Douglas Ross’ interview with Good Morning Scotland (25th August) did little to redeem his statement. Whilst apologizing “for saying that would be a number one priority as prime minister” he went on to state that [roadside encampments] are a “blight on our community” and current laws and protections make it difficult to get “get rid of them”.
We must assume then that calling for tougher enforcement against Gypsy/Travellers was not a ‘slip of the tongue’ response during a quick fire question and answer session but rather was a topic at the forefront of his mind.
If further evidence is required, a quick internet search reveals that Gypsy/Travellers have long been in Douglas Ross’ sightline. During his time as an elected representative of Moray Council, he consistently argued against planning applications for public and private sites.
In response to Council proposals for a public site, he stated “The local communities have rallied against the councils proposals and this is an excellent result for them, but I believe the money spent on the consultation could have been saved as neither site was ever suitable as a travellers halting site.”
A year later, responding to the outcomes of a planning application for a private site by a local Gypsy/Traveller family, Ross again points to the unsuitability of a chosen location. “This has been a long battle but I’m glad at the end of the day the Scottish Government Reporter has confirmed this is an inappropriate location for a travellers’ site”.
Six years down the line, and now an MSP for Highlands and Islands, Douglas Ross would appear to call for the cleansing of Gypsy/Travellers from the region he represents: “My biggest concern is that, if we keep providing more and more facilities at unauthorized sites, it’s just going to encourage more to set up when we should be doing what we can to discourage them because they are a blight on communities.”
Of course, I may be doing Douglas Ross a great disservice here. It may well be that he is fully cognizant with the depressing Scottish Government and Census statistics which demonstrate that Gypsy/Travellers experience much poorer health outcomes than other communities; are more likely than the general population to have a limiting long-term health problem or disability and that young Gypsy/Travellers have amongst the lowest attainment rates in Scottish education.
Indeed, it may well be that rather than reinforcing dangerous myths and stereotypes he is in fact attempting to create a platform whereby a strategy can be developed to ensure that Scotland’s oldest ethnic minority community can access core services such as health and education with greater ease than a life of constant ‘shifting’ provides for and have a place to ‘call home’ reflective of their culture and traditions.
What I am certain of though is that Douglas Ross is wrong to state “No-one is willing to discuss this important issue”. I am happy to oblige. In terms of Gypsy/Travellers in Moray: if not here, then where? (lynne-tammi – opendemocracy)