2014:The BBC prepare for the upcoming battle against the people of Scotland
A few months before the start of the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign the BBC decided to clear out a number of Scottish based presenters replacing them with reliable Unionists. Broadcaster Sarah Smith, the daughter of the late Labour leader, John Smith, fitted the profile perfectly, and was lured away and recruited to the BBC at great cost from Channel 4 to anchor BBC2’s Referendum programme. Sarah was ecstatic since she and her husband have a very close family relationship with her mother , Baroness Smith, with whom she lives, in Edinburgh.
Her sister Jane, now divorced, was married to Lord John Robertson’s son. A picture of links to the unionist Labour Party so strong it should have ensured she was the last person on earth to be contracted by the BBC to present an unbiased commentary in a referendum which could possibly bring an end to the Party in Scotland of her beloved father and all of her close knit family and friends.
The BBC – A Labour Party Fiefdom and the 2014 referendum
Including Sarah Smith the impartial BBC blatantly foisted a number of other high profile Unionist supporting television and radio presenters onto the Scottish public. Two of the most prominent being Kisty Wark, a close personal friend of the Labour Party ex-first minister McConnell and James Naughtie, a right wing unionist and chief executive of the British American Project. Unfairly, the 2014 “Better Together” campaign was led by a group of Anglos all with a strong unionist leaning, who had long ago deserted Scotland for greener pastures. People whose concept of Scotland and Scots mirrored the village of Brigadoon. Not for them the re-birth of Scotland, as a democratic state taking its place in the world once again.
2014: The Internet Social media hit back
A post “exposing anti-independence bias on the BBC” asserted: “The appointment of Sarah Smith to “assist” the coming referendum debate alongside Jim Naughtie is another instance of London based “talent” being shipped in to make the case for the Union.”
BBC Business Correspondent Sarah Smith reflected on her experiences with the Corporation saying: “I joined the BBC in Glasgow as a 20 year old trainee in 1989. I never saw any underage sex or rapes. But in those days sexist jokes and inappropriate touching were considered normal. That same year the BBC Scotland TV newsroom Christmas party had the theme of “Grape and Vine”. Someone thought it was funny and went around Broadcasting House deleting the “G” on every poster, changing the theme to “Rape and Vine”. A fellow, female, trainee lodged a formal complaint with management, saying she did not wish to work in a newsroom displaying the posters and asked for them to be removed. She was immediately shunned by just about all of the male journalists in the newsroom. In the follow-up she was systematically ridiculed for being unable to take a joke and treated unfairly when assignments were being handed out. The posters stayed in place leaving our only avenue of protest a boycott of the party.
23 Sep 2007: It was the most poignant of walks down the aisle for Sarah the eldest daughter of late Labour leader John Smith yesterday as she was married yards from her father’s grave. Family and friends who travelled to Iona for the wedding included:
Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine. (Mentor of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson and architect of New labour)
Lord Gordon, former chairman of Scottish Radio Holdings.
Lord Robertson, former Secretary General of NATO.
Lord Robertson’s son, Malcolm who married Sarah’s younger sister, Jane, three years before, at Port Charlotte, on Islay.
Jane, 35, was Sarah’s matron of honour while her other sister, Catherine, was a bridesmaid.
Other guests included Sarah’s Channel 4 colleague Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and main presenter Jon Snow.
The traditional service was led by family friend Rev Douglas Alexander, the father of International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander and new Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander.
Butback at BBC Scotland Things were not going well
In the months before the 2014 referendum BBC journalists and staff were at loggerheads with senior management over the role, identity and broadcasting profile of the BBC Scotland News and Current Affairs team.
Management and Staff consultation procedures had broken down on a number of occasions following accusations that management ruled by diktat and pronouncement which rendered fruitful discussion impossible.
Many organisational and programme presentation changes had been dropped on staff without discussion or warning.
An example being the surprise announcement that BBC Scotland “News-night “Scotland’ would be shut down soon. No discussion. No date of Closure. No staff briefing about their future. Staff made to sit on death row for months without knowing their fate.
Other worrying behaviour patterns developed. Scottish based journalists and staff employed for many years by the organisation were increasingly sidelined. Their views and opinions given very little purchase.
Staff became increasing aware that management had turned its face away from Scots who had made a great success of devolution. Preferring to promote retention of the union. The BBC had gone back 10 years.
The placement in the team, in leadership roles, of Unionist supporting presenters Sarah Smith and James Naughtie on very expensive contracts was paid for by the withdrawal of employment from some staff. This caused much consternation and unhappiness. Management and Staff union discussions failed to resolve matters and the unhappiness was manifest for some time.
Smith and Naughtie have qualities but they also have deep seated Labour Party and Unionist roots and backgrounds, and have not been engaged in the Scottish debate, having spent long periods living elsewhere but Scotland.
Their express dismissal of anything positive about the SNP was prevalent in their persona and this has never been challenged by management despite staff unease.
Scottish Liberal Democratic Party Chief of Staff in the new Scottish Parliament from 1999-2001. Press adviser to Fife Council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group and a member of the Dunfermline focus editorial team, working with Dunfermline’s councillors on local issues.
Worked for Scottish communications firm McEwan Purvis from 2001-2006, as an account director helping advise small businesses and charities such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and Asthma UK.
Won the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election on 9 February 2006. Joined the Liberal Democrat shadow defence team. Chairman of their parliamentary campaigns unit, and a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee.
2006: Raytheon Cluster Bomb used in the Lebanon
Westminster PMQ’s were full of Fibdem screamers! Lib/Dem defence spokesperson, Rennie did not want to play second fiddle to his leader, Clegg, so he decided to get in on the fibbing. He asked the Prime Minister:
“After the conflict ended, it was identified that Raytheon cluster bombs used in Lebanon by Israel resulted in 159 casualties, including 23 deaths. In Geneva last week the UK failed to support calls from the UN Secretary-General, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 27 nations for urgent action banning these weapons. In Oslo next year, will the Prime Minister push for a ban on these indiscriminate bombs, or does he agree with the Minister of Defence, who strongly advocates the continued sale and use of these bombs?”
But Rennie failed to mention his close working relationship and lengthy association with Raytheon. He was a top PR man at McEwan Purvis who had the merchants of death as their client. Evidently “Oor’ Willie” is not just a political opportunist but the worst kind of hypocrite seeing as Raytheon is a proud manufacturer of, you guessed it, Cluster bombs.And he had shares in the company!!
Dec 2006: Willie Rennie – for whom the bridge tolls
The Lib Dems finally gave up their fence sitting and pledged their support to the “scrap the tolls” campaign to abolish the toll charge to cross the Forth road bridge. Rennie said he had been reluctant to jump on the anti-tolls bandwagon because of concerns about congestion. Really?!? This wouldn’t be the same Rennie who centred his Dunfermline & West Fife by-election swindle victory on a petition against an increase in tolls, would it?!?!
And the Scottish government official in charge of tolling on the Forth, is none other than Rennie’s Party leader, property marketing guru the ravishing Tavishing Scott. So, Willie, when will you be lobbying your own party hierarchy on this one then? Rather than duping the electorate with a “petition” which always seems to rear its head at election time? http://fibdems.blogspot.co.uk/2006_12_01_archive.html
Lib/Dem petition to scrap the Forth Road Bridge toll charges sunk by the Lib/Dems
The Party carrying the blame for the continuation of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge is the Lib/Dems since the Scottish Transport Minister is the hapless Tavish Scott who said would be bad for the environment if they were scrapped. His opposition screwed up his party’s chances of taking Dunfermline West from Labour but effectively ended Rennie’s future as an MP.
Small wonder Rennie was squirming on Politics Scotland when Isobel Fraser skewered him into saying he had “faith” in Tavish after exposing the lack of “credibility” he now has on the issue of tolls. Poetic justice indeed. Elected on the issue of tolls and exposed and rejected on the issue of tolls.
July 2009: Rennie in sleaze probe
A Parliamentary probe is to be held into expense claims made by Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MP who paid his local party £14,000 for an office rental which cost half that amount to lease. John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, has agreed to Labour Party calls for an investigation. Last month, it emerged that Rennie and MSP Jim Tolson had paid a total of £21,000 in rent to the local Lib/Dem Party who paid just £7,050 to lease the property in the Fife town. Rennie denies channelling funds to his local party and insists that the sums he and Tolson paid were justified as they included bills for telephone and electricity costs which, he said, made up the difference between the two amounts.
Rennie the loser turfed out of Westminster
Rennie unsurprisingly lost his Westminster seat to Labour in the May 2010 UK general election. Appointed Special Advisor (SPAD) to Michael Moore then Danny Alexander at the Scotland Office. Resigned from his special advisor role in June 2010.
May 2010: Former MP Willie Rennie to repay £2,000 in office administration costs
Rennie, the former Liberal Democrat MP, who lost his Dunfermline and West Fife seat at the general election has apologised after he wrongly claimed for office costs on his local office, premises shared with his local party. House of Commons authorities found that Rennie, had claimed £2,647 too much for the upkeep of the office and equipment since 2006. Political opponents said the findings were “deeply embarrassing” for the Lib Dems as they accused him of “wrongly directing public funds towards the Lib/Dem election drive.” Rennie was using a scam, usually difficult to prove but his campaign team snookered him when they canvassed Labour activists in error using a phone number paid for out of parliamentary funds that also appeared on his party letterhead.
Rennie returns to Scottish politics
Returned to front-line politics as an MSP when he won a regional list seat for the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament’s Mid-Scotland and Fife region at the Holyrood elections on 5 May 2011. Appointed Leader of the Party in Scotland unopposed, shortly after the election following the resignation of Tavish Scott, who accepted responsibility for the loss of 11 MSP’s reducing Party representation in Holyrood to 5 MSP’s.
October 2011: Rennie’s unjustified personal attack on Alex Salmond
Rennie was at the centre of controversy after an offensive cartoon was published in his name depicting Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond MSP in Arab dress with his skin apparently artificially darkened. The cartoon, which was published on Rennie’s Facebook page and through his Twitter feed, suggested an independent Scotland would share the attributes of Qatar as an absolute monarchy, the rejection of gay rights and the imposition of the death penalty. He was forced to publicly apologise for the unwarranted attack.
Private donor gives £2.5m to the Lib/Dem’s
The Lib/Dem’s accepted £2.5 million from a donor. It was later revealed later to be stolen money. If the Party leaders had any redeeming qualities they would have returned the money, but the Lib/Dem’s have no such scruples. They kept it.
March 2014: Rennie demands bedroom tax removal but his government introduced it.
Rennie called for the bedroom tax to be axed because the controversial welfare reform wasn’t working as intended. The measure was at the heart of welfare reductions imposed by the Coalition Government and Rennie steadfastly defended it. When asked if the “tax” should remain in place he told the BBC: “The principle behind the spare room subsidy I can understand, but to be honest I don’t think it is working as it was intended and I think it should just go, and it should go quickly.” Meanwhile, his Westminster colleagues continued to support the tax on the poor. Here are the names of 7 Scottish Lib/Dem MPs who voted against scrapping the bedroom tax:
Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Sir Menzies Campbell (Fife North East), Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland), Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk), Sir Robert Smith (Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine), Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East), John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross.)
And the names of 3 Scottish LibDem MPs who abstained from voting against the bill:
Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey), Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye & Lochaber), Alan Reid (Argyll & Bute.)
Apr 2015: Satellite tracking system nails Rennie’s hapless spin as a lie when he leaves it on and records speed limit contravention
Rennie led Fife cyclists in a “Pedal on Holyrood” event using a state of the art tracking application called “Strava” to log his route and time. The application, popular with runners and cyclists, uses G.P.S. technology to map a user’s position and speed. Throughout the event the 47-year-old was logged at an average of a leisurely 11mph. But after returning to Inverkeithing it appears he got into his car to drive home and forgot to switch off his G.P.S. His journey was tracked to his home near Kelty. At one point on the M90, near Hill-of-Beath he was clocked travelling at 81.2mph. A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesman defended Rennie and said: “This is an app for measuring running and cycling, not cars travelling on motorways. Willie always tries to stick to the speed limit and does not believe he broke it on this drive, but it is always worth everyone remembering the importance of driving safely.”
April 2015: Rennie eyes a return to power
Rennie laughs a lot, it is a contagious chuckle, the kind blurted by a duvet-cloaked schoolboy tearing through a Beano annual by torchlight. Contrition, though, is his main thing. An outmoded virtue, perhaps, but the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats happily admits to some old-fashioned values. This is a man worth the watching. He strives to present as affable yet underneath it is a male chauvinist. In debates with Nicola Sturgeon he repeatedly said ‘she’ and ‘her’ as if she didn’t warrant enough respect to be called by her name.
Comment: His Party is poison. Retired leaders, “the boy wonder” Steel and Paddy “pantsdown” Ashdown, protected paedophile Cyril Smith and even got him a knighthood then refused to acknowledge child sex abuse scandals he was involved in.
Apr 2015: Liberal Democrat Party and Rennie’s hypocrisy continues
Rennie is running his Party’s election campaign on double-standards. He is on record criticising English votes for English Laws (EVEL). Yet, in the UK Government paper on the issue, the Lib/Dem section quoted:
“It cannot be right that a future government could pursue policies in England in areas devolved to the Scottish Parliament using the votes of Scottish MPs, even if this was not supported in England. The so-called West Lothian question can no longer go unanswered. The Liberal Democrats believe that English MPs at Westminster should have a stronger voice and a stronger veto over purely English only issues.”
Apr 2015: Rennie appeals to Scots to vote tactically
Rennie backed the Unionist’s anti-SNP tactical voting strategy in the hope that it would shore up his Party’s dwindling support. The leader of the Scottish Lib/Dem’s said that unionist Scots were already backing the party in some seats to stop the Nationalists and he made a direct plea to other Scots who “might oppose a lot of what we say” to use “smart thinking” when they voted.
May 2015: Post election – Rennie “hopeful for the future” after SNP tsunami sweeps across Scotland.
The Lib/Dem’s lost 10 of the 11 Scottish seats they had held at Westminster. The SNP has 56 MPs, with only Alistair Carmichael, who had been the Scottish Secretary in the coalition government, managing to retain his Orkney and Shetland seat. Despite that Rennie said: “Our vision for Scotland is hopeful for the future, founded on opportunity and liberty for all.” Ever the optimist!!!
May 2015: Yet more sour grapes from Rennie
Commenting on news that Alex Salmond had been appointed foreign affairs spokesman for the SNP at Westminster. Rennie quipped : “Alex Salmond’s recent mantle of foreign affairs spokesperson for the SNP is the equivalent of putting Mr Bean in charge of the World Bank.”
Comment: The bile from Rennie knows no end. His blind hatred of Alex Salmond is well known and Scots are fed up with his constant bleating that the “Nationalists are, bad, bad, bad.” He should resign his position as did his predecessor forever tarnished and adorned with the mantle of failure.
The Tory Party has not been shouting from the rooftops about its views on LGBT rights which is not surprising since its policies are decided on by the Tory Central Office in England. The most powerful lobbying group in the Party is the “Cornerstone Group” and its influence and demands will prevail over weaker opposition and be the deciding factor in any policy pertaining to LGBT supporters.
2005: The Cornerstone Group Website Launch.
In his opening address Chairman Edward Leigh MP wrote about the aims and aspirations of the Group: “We represent traditional Tory themes of nation, family, enterprise and compassion, founded on Judaeo-Christian ethics. We keep the flame burning because we believe that a vigorous discussion about Conservative ideas can be of immense value to our party” “We applaud David Cameron’s decision to speak up in favour of marriage.”
The Tory Party Cornerstone Group
A large and influential group of Tory MP’s dedicated to maintaining the traditional values which have shaped the British way of life throughout the country’s history.
It believes in the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, its culture and its nations sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state.
It stands for the Monarchy; traditional marriage; family and community duties; proper pride in the nations distinctive qualities; quality of life over soulless utility; social responsibility over personal selfishness; social justice as a civic duty, not state dependency; compassion for those in need; reducing government waste; lower taxation and deregulation; protection of ancient liberties against politically correct censorship and a commitment to a democratically elected parliament.
It is opposed to gay marriage and is generally fairly homophobic. Abortion should be banned. Sexual abstinence should be taught in schools. Contraceptives should be discouraged. Immigration should be strictly controlled and Liberalism is a disease.
Tory Party Insider Comments:
The group is mono-ethnic, mono-cultural, anti-diversity and anti-homosexual and it commands a major swathe of the parliamentary Tory Party and its membership. It is a good development. The policies they advocate are very sensible. Those who brush them off as reactionaries betray their own bigotry in a way. The Group’s views are held by many Northern voters and there are many more who would like to see extra emphasis on some of the Cornerstone principles. Lurching hard to the right wins more voters in the North. The Cornerstone Group are an important lobbying group who will make sure the Party remains focused on its full policy agenda.
Jan 2016: Ultra right wing Tory Cornerstone founder member Mundell Comes Out the Closet as Gay
Mundell married Lynda Carmichael in 1987. The couple separated in 2010 and divorced in 2012. They have 3 children: Oliver, 28 (elected to Holyrood), Eve 26 and Lewis 25.
He wrote on his personal website: “it is time to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am. I hope that coming out will not change anything about how I am treated.”
In another online post he wrote: “New Year, new start! I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one: Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and came out as gay I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it. I still cannot rationalise my feelings, but they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age.” He added: “Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has have their own journey. I have certainly been on mine, conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel. Over time, I have come to understand that, for me, the only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am.”
Comment: Living a lie is never easy but being a founder member of the Cornerstone Group takes the biscuit.
The 2019 General Election Labour Party in Scotland branch office issued a manifesto for government
It contained a commitment that a Labour party in government would end zero-hours and “bogus” self-employment contracts and require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face heavy fines.
But Leader Richard Leonard had no authority to promise or do anything since he was required to comply with instructions of the Labour Party leadership in London and any failing on his part would bring about a speedy end. to his tenure of office.
His commitment to end zero-hours contracts was cynical in the extreme based on his Union’s prolonged attacks on the welfare and pay of women in the employ of Labour controlled councils in the West of Scotland .
Short term employment contracts
Yet another embarrassment was an attack by Ed Milliband on the Con/Dem government over the issue of zero-hours contracts and his solemn promise that the next Labour government would bring an immediate end to the practice. But the strategy was speedily binned when it was revealed that 68 Labour MPs (Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray) employed staff on short term contracts!!! So much for the Labour Party sticking up for exploited workers.
Equal Pay for all employees in Public Service
The equal pay policy commitment was another Labour party joke which was sprung on Scottish workers by the very people they elected, (the Unions) to protect their rights at work.
In Glasgow, from 2007, female workers were denied equal pay with male workers. Their GMB union (led by Richard Leonard) and Labour Party Glasgow City Councillors pressurized them into accepting low settlements by offering them cheques for a few thousand pounds just before Christmas so long as they signed quickly. And many signed away their rights.
But a substantial number held out against the injustice and ill judged advice from the the GMB and took their fight for justice to Action 4 Equality which was owned by Solicitor Stefan Cross. In doing so they had to wait a very long time but were awarded far greater settlement sums than the women who had taken the advice of the GMB. And not only did Cross take on and beat Glasgow City Council, he also sued the Unions for failing to properly represent their female members. Cross was the women’s hero. One said: “I will have to give him 10 per cent but he deserves it. He stuck with us when the unions couldn’t be bothered.”
The incident, which took over 13 years and many court appearances to resolve revealed the duplicity of the Unions who supported the illegal policies of their Labour Party Councillor colleagues assisting their efforts to deny women workers a fair wage.
The election of the SNP to the control of the Glasgow City Council brought an end to the sorry saga when the council accepted all of the recommendation’s of the court and paid the women the money they had been denied for so long. And Leonard claimed his undying love and support of the women.
Jun 2017: The Labour/Tory Alliance of North Lanarkshire Council was forced by the courts to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid
Not to be outdone by their Party colleagues in Glasgow the Council set about screwing their female staff out of their pensions. Yet again the Unions and the Labour party were complicit in heinous acts against women employees. As events unfolded it became evident that the Council would incur a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it had previously denied equal pay.
The Council was ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it had systematically tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women who had been underpaid for many years earning wages much lower than their male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.
In 2018, after a tribunal forced the authority to award the women their back-pay they negotiated another settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by Stephan Cross. There was no support for staff from the Unions.
The agreed final salary pensions remained below those of their male counterparts, as their contributions had been much lower due to their underpay and the women appealed the judgement.
It was then identified that local government pension regulations required all back pay awards to be treated as “pensionable”, meaning bigger pensions and bigger lump sums for those affected.
The change required the Council to top up their employer contributions to pension funds. However in February, North Lanarkshire once again tried to sidestep its duties to the Strathclyde Pension Fund, which covers the female staff, by claiming the women’s second round of back-pay was actually a form of negotiated “compensation” and therefore not pensionable.
The women’s lawyers appealed to the SPPA pointing out the potential differences would be profound if the back-pay was not made pensionable. Some of the North Lanarkshire women would be denied a pension rise of £1500 a year and lump sums of more than £4000, a lifetime difference of around £50,000.
The SPPA ruled that the council had “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement” and said that the council had to pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m.
It is entirely possible that the Scottish Green Party will be invited to join with the SNP in forming the next government at Holyrood. An invitation that will be extended to Harvie by Sturgeon so that they will be able to make major advances in their declared social behaviour agendas. Voters need to be alerted to the excesses of a number of their favoured policies. The discredited Yogyakarta principles will be fully implemented and other transrights and GRA policies will be forced onto statute by government without consultation and with the active assistance and support of the all powerful “Equality Network”.
Voters concerned about plans to remove women’s rights and exposure of their families to regulatory imposition of oppressive social norms need to be alerted to the foregoing so that they will be better informed and able to give their vote to “ALBA” a party that fully intends to consult with and gain the support of the electorate before adding any new statute to the Laws of the Country.
23 Apr 2019: Green Party Leader accused of being a misogynist
The blog “A Thousand Flowers” posted a derogatory twitter article declaring Joan McAlpine SNP the winner of its weekly wanker accolade for airing her views about the rights of women and trransgender people.
Patrick Harvie couldn’t resist commenting and shared it with his followers writing: “If the SNP wants to be a safe and supportive place for trans and gender non conforming people, they have to squarely take on those trying to prevent trans people having the same rights as anyone else“.
Twitter users were horrified. A spokeswomen for the Scottish Women’s blog tweeted “Good grief! I’m horrified that Harvie could ever retweet an abusive blog about another politician. Surely this goes against the code of conduct expected from our parliamentarians?” Her comments were echoed by other contributors.
Harvie has form. In a previous twitter exchange he questioned the online abuse Joan had received when he said: “there is a serious debate to be had about such “abuse” but we can’t have it if people react with outrage to complaints from anti-trans campaigners but say nothing of the horrific wave of transphobic hostility, prejudice and violence that’s destroying people’s everyday lives”.
To which Joan responded: “My comments were in response to (male to female) trans activists who called me trash and justified violence against women who disagree with them. And the male leader of the Green Party in Scotland, pins his colours firmly to the she was asking for it mast.”
Harvie replied: “It’s disappointing that Joan McAlpine and a few others in the SNP have promoted anti-trans rhetoric in recent months, and apparently want to roll back trans people’s equality and human rights. Those attitudes and actions should be challenged, robustly but without abuse.”
Joan said: “Patrick Harvie should be ashamed of trying to justify the online abuse of women and indulging in it himself. Women are concerned their rights to privacy, fairness and dignity and safety are affected by proposals which means males can legally become women without surgery, medical diagnosis or gatekeeping. It is not “anti-trans” to question this proposal, but doing so has resulted in women being abused or threatened with violence. That Patrick Harvie seems to think they are asking for it is very worrying but bullies will not silence us.”
23 Jun 2019: Harvie stirs the sh*t at the Edinburgh Pride march
I met up with around a dozen like minded friends aged between 20-60. Some were wearing t-shirts proudly proclaiming “we are Lesbians”. We wanted to ensure lesbians would be visibile yet despite an outward display of confidence we were alerted to an undercurrent of nervousness between the marchers and ourselves. Our apprehension was based on the negative attitude of other groups who did not approve of relationships that excluded men in our choice of partners. Acceptable? Yes!! but only if we conducted our chosen lifestyle in secret.
But we displayed our banners and sang our songs. Other lesbians came up to us and said they wished they had known we were marching and bemoaned the lack of Lesbian spaces and community in Scotland. They waved their hand-made purple and black placards, courageously yet quietly proclaiming their Lesbian existence and relieved to have support and solidarity of like minded people. There was an act of physical aggression against our group when an angry young person grabbed a placard and destroyed it screaming “TERF” but the stewards soon restored order.
But what was chilling and caused fear in our group was the content of speeches from MSPs who addressed the crowd at a pre-march rally, from the top of an open top bus. In particular the words of Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, where he said “I am sorry that this parliament very recently was used as a platform for transphobic hatred and bigotry”. And went on to say he felt compelled to apologise for the undemocratic workings of Parliament, and its decision to put a hold on GRA reform until it had been fully considered and deliberated by a broad range of groups who might be affected and, importantly, the conflation of sex and gender that has infested policy making in Scotland. His speech whipped the crowd into a frenzy, since they had already been warmed up by previous similar speeches. And whilst the promoted theme of the “Pride” was “Be Yourself”, the real focus was not about the right to be loved and to express love without prejudice, it was about “transrights” and only that.
Thanks to the spittle infused rhetoric espoused by Harvie our group’s situation was upscaled from hostile to dangerous. We feared for our safety and attack from the mob, since immediately after, a number of people started shouting “get the TERF’s out” They meant us and we had already been blocked in by some very large people with “Trans” and “Non-Binary” flags draped over their shoulders cancelling out our groups “lesbian visibility” banners.
It later transpired that lesbians had abandoned the march after they had been harassed by “transrights” activists who accused them of being bigots for standing up for female rights and forcing politicians to add their support. Lesbians were no longer welcomed at “Pride” marches.
Alex Salmond was invited to appear on Good Morning Scotland to discuss the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary election and the prospects of the Alba Party. But the BBC’s Gary Robertson had a different agenda and unleashed a savage grilling on Scotland’s former First Minister regarding his view on Russian alleged involvement in the death of a former Russian military officer and double agent for the British intelligence agencies, and his daughter in March 2018.
Robertson asked: “Do you think Russia were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury?”
Alex said: “What on earth does this have to do with this Scottish election?”
Robertson replied: “Because you are working for Russia Today which has been condemned by many people including the First Minister. I am just curious as to whether you believe Russia were implicated in the poisoning?”
Alex said: “I can tell you from personal experience, I do not know what your experience at the BBC is, not a single word of editorial, instructional or even suggestion has been made to me by anybody at RT and programme stands on its own merits.”
Robertson asked again: “Do you think Russian were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury?”
Alex responded: “The evidence was presented at the time Gary, but I am struggling to understand what this has got to do with a Scottish election campaign. It is perfectly legitimate for you to ask me about the programme that I produced along with others for its broadcast on RT.”
Robertson interjected: “Which is why I am asking you about Russia’s behaviour.”
Alex said: “I could talk about a range.”
Robertson cut Alex off again, saying: “Or you could you just answer the question which I will ask you for a third time, do you think Russia were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal?”
Alex replied: “Evidence came forward and it was contested, I said that it should go to the international tribunal and courts. I said that at the time and I think the evidence came forward and people can see it for what it is.”
Putin pulls the strings and the Tory Party dances to his tune
Over the last ten years, around 10,000 super-wealthy Chinese and Russian business investors and entrepreneurs have been issued with “golden visas” by the Tory government providing them with a right of residence in the UK. Indeed so many of Putin’s oligarchs and their wider families have taken advantage of the scheme that the UK capital is now known as “Londongrad”. Assertions that Tory’s welcome inward investment regardless of source is well-founded. The “tier one” investor visa, requires only that the applicant maintain a UK bank account with a balance of not less than £2m. This permits investors full residence in the UK for up to five years. But eligibility for extensions and permanent residence is guaranteed after making further investments.
Scottish Tories have the effrontery to demand a public inquiry into Russian interference in Scottish politics
The Westminster “Intelligence & Security Committee” (ISC) belatedly released its politically delayed Russia report warning that the UK is at risk of Russian exploitation because of the Tory Party acceptance of large amounts of political donations, establishing inappropriate relationships with Russian oligarchs. The report read:
“In brief, Russian influence in the UK is “the new normal” and there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth. This level of integration London means any measures now being taken by the Government are not preventative but rather constitute damage limitation.”
And information released to the public today revealed that 14 of the present Tory government ministers, (including six Cabinet members) have accepted tens of thousands of pounds in donations from Russian oligarchs.
A public inquiry should be conducted without delay so that UK citizens can be assured all measures necessary will be introduced urgently bringing an end to external interference in the nation’s politics. Including banning the practice of politicians taking money from foreigners.
But a 2018 Tory government inquiry giving a warning about Russian influence has been blatantly ignored
The report, published by Theresa May’s Tory government, “Foreign Affairs Committee” accused government ministers of risking national security by “turning a blind eye” to Russian, “dirty money” flowing through the City of London. Concerns were also raised about “golden visas” being issued in ever-increasing numbers despite the alleged involvement of Russia in the Salisbury Novichok nerve agent attack. In its conclusion, the report demanded that the Government get tough on foreign nationals by tightening the rules of the scheme making it more secure. But interestingly, the one voice of dissent from his own committee was from the then Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson who suggested that “there was no real role for Government in the process”.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Speech at the Doors of Westminster
“The SNP will be the principled opposition in this place to the Conservative government. The SNP has worked long and hard in this election to make Scotland’s voice heard. To have people in Scotland in such overwhelming numbers put their trust in us is fantastic, but also is a big responsibility. We are determined to make Scotland’s voice heard here in Westminster, but we are also determined to be that voice for progressive politics that we promised to be during the election. To stand up to policies from a Conservative government that will damage Scotland and to make common cause with others of like mind from across the UK.”
No mention of independence from the Party leader who preferred set the tone by committing the Party to the promotion of progressive politics. Whatever that meant!!!
Beguiled by Westminster Largesse
The House of Commons is a comfortable place to be. The terrace bar, with Big Ben bonging into the night, has the best view in London: to the left, the soaring faux-gothic buttresses of the Palace of Westminster, to the right the London Eye, straight ahead a scene of double-decker buses crossing Westminster bridge. It’s like the opening scene of a Hollywood film set in London. And all around, arresting sights such as Michael Gove drinking heavily subsidised white wine and large groups of men (Tories? Maybe not…) getting in the even cheaper champagne it’s the best workplace ever. There’s a ton of bars and restaurants where MPs hang out at all times of the working day. SNP MPs have colonised the Sports and Social Club, which is where a lot of the parliamentary staff go, and which has a karaoke night. And there are always colleagues around to gossip with. People keep having conversations about “the Tories’ evil plan”, which I only belatedly realise is actually their EVEL plan. It’s only been a couple of months, but the consensus is that the SNP MP’s are fully institutionalised and chastised where needed. Firmly in the past is the “clap-gate” incident when – instead of uttering “hear hear” at something they agreed with, as if they were 18th-century landowners – they broke into the new fangled concept: applause. The Daily Mail piped in: “Show some respect! Furious Speaker Bercow rebuked new Scots Nat’s MPs for breaking strict Commons protocol by clapping during the Queen’s Speech debate.” Portrayed by the Unionist Press as ignorant ruffians unworthy of a seat in the Commons they now comply with all parliamentary traditions and procedures. (Carole Cadwalladr)
The Commons sews its seeds in all who enter it. In an instant raw politicians are made to feel they are no longer simply human. They are “special”. Accompanying their large salary there is a budget for staff hire, generous allowances affording the lease or purchase of luxury accommodation in the most expensive capital city in the World, travel and subsistence and other allowances totalling well in excess of £150k annually. Head spinning stuff!!! Its beguiling influence is addictive and its destructive power has compromised many SNP MP’s who first went there in 2015 .
The Westminster trap – another view
You go there full of cocksure rebelliousness. Stupid rules – who cares about the rules. You get into fights in the playground with the older boys, and take no crap about clapping in assembly. But “Westmonster” as some SNP people call the UK Parliament, has been around a long time. It has seen off socialists like Keir Hardie – who caused outrage because he wore a deer-stalker to parliament. It dealt with Parnell’s Irish nationalists, with Suffragettes, Militant Tendency and grade-A parliamentary delinquents like our own Alex Salmond, the first MP to disrupt a Budget Speech in 1988. And it’s still there, with all its fripperies and anachronisms, like the cloak room hook to hold the Hon Member’s sword. The Palace of Westminster is a powerful institution which uses its own often archaic rules and conventions as a means of diffusing political discontent. You see it with Scotland’s MPs. Suddenly they are wearing ties and suits, speaking respectfully to Mr Speaker, agreeing not to clap and promising to be “good parliamentarians”. (Iain McWhirter)
The Sewel Convention Con Trick
The Sewel Convention, under which Westminster supposedly refrains from ruling on devolved issues without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, is froth, mince, tripe, baloney and codswallop. It has no legal force. The clause in the 2016 Scotland Act, which supposedly placed Sewel on a “statutory footing”, was just there to fool the natives into thinking their Parliament’s powers were “entrenched” and irreversible. Holyrood’s legislative powers are clearly and explicitly on loan from Westminster and liable to be over-ridden as and when the UK Government chooses. No one will believe a word UK ministers say in future about the powers and constitutional standing of Holyrood; not that many of us did in the past. (Iain McWhirter)
English Votes for English Legislation (EVEL)
English Votes for English Legislation (EVEL) breached the fundamental principle that all members of the house are equal . Non-English MPs, by Commons convention, no longer vote on “English” bills. This means that Scottish MPs are excluded from whole areas of legislation where they are denied a vote. A change slipped through by parliamentary sleight of hand and the English Grand Committee will gradually extend its influence. But the Scottish Government opposes the change because many supposedly “English” bills on the NHS or income tax, have financial consequences for Scotland. It also means that Scottish MPs are second-class citizens.
Gerrymandering the Scotland Bill
Scotland’s only Tory MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, Mundell, proposed 80 technical amendments to the Scotland Bill , stating: “some are amendments in terms of the usual changing of commas and apostrophes and these sort of things. However, the bulk of them relate to technical procedures and a rearranging of previous proposals. In three cases the amendments will reserve additional powers to Westminster. Under clause 43, the Scottish Parliament will not be able to raise levies on postal operators, electricity or gas for the purpose of funding consumer advocacy.”
Scotland Bill: the 3rd reading at Westminster Allocated 6 hours of debate to decide on 253 amendments.
The Scotland Bill was rushed through without adequate discussion before SNP MPs parked their bums on the green benches of the House of Commons ensuring that the legislation would be on the statute books well before the next Holyrood elections. The bill as it stands is a stitch-up and places a fiscal time bomb under Holyrood.
SNP Welfare Improvements Rejected
Proposed amendments to the Scotland Bill submitted by the SNP giving the Scottish Parliament the power to design its own welfare system were rejected by the Unionists. Unionist politician and Scottish Secretary Mundell insisted that the Unionist’s stance was fully in accordance with the Smith Commission’s recommendations. The rejection came after the Unionists also voted against proposals from the SNP for an “Economic Agreement” between Westminster and Holyrood which would eventually lead to full fiscal autonomy. They also voted against a proposal for an independent commission to examine the effects of full fiscal autonomy. Responding, Angus Robertson MP said: “This is typical Unionist arrogance. Mundell, the only Tory MP from Scotland arrogantly refuses to listen to the representatives of the people of Scotland and supported by his Unionist colleagues vetoed without reason or explanation every single proposal submitted by the SNP. And this at a time of savage cuts to the welfare state by Unionists causing real hurt to hard working families and vulnerable people, forcing hardship on and driving increasing numbers of Scots to food banks. Welfare powers should be transferred to Scotland honouring the spirit of the 3 Party Leaders’ Pledge to the people of Scotland just before the Scottish Independence Referendum.”
It is Time to Boycott Westminster
I monitored debates, discussions and voting in the House of Commons from the time the 2015 General Election landslide which returned 56 SNP MP’s. Day after day the SNP group took their places on the benches and participated in fruitless discussions and debates. Their presence in the Commons was mocked, abused and ridiculed by the Speaker and Unionist politicians who protected their vested interest by ensuring the SNP group were side-lined and rendered irrelevant. The response from the SNP contingent should be to withdraw participation from all business of the Commons including committees. This should be done while retaining all rights and privileges (office, travel subsistence, staff, etc) the right of MP’s. The boycott of the House of Commons would enable SNP MP’s to spend more time in Westminster resolving their constituents problems and concerns. The foregoing could be implemented without any financial detriment to the Westminster SNP group. Political business between Scotland and Westminster would then be completed through the offices of the Scottish First Minister (advised by the MP group), who would be permitted permanent use of a committee room at Holyrood.
She is strikingly attractive, highly intelligent and gifted with a natural ability to attract attention, unfortunately not always to her benefit. She is fiesty, strong willed and determined to succeed at any task she is minded to take on. She is media savvy and possesses first class skills including the production of excellent graphics for social media presentation and discussion. One of her many character weaknesses is her abject inability to accept criticism and her single-minded approach to her work. She needs to learn that political life is not a Religion and she is not the Pope.
Her partner, is Rhys Crilley, a native of Wakefield in West Yorkshire. A gifted academic, prolific writer and university lecturer at Glasgow University whose primary interests are in war, militarism, scandals and outrage. He also maintains close political relationships with senior SNP leaders and actively supports the policies to which his partner and the SNP are committed.
Joined the SNP in 2011. Jointly founded Generation Yes, the national youth campaign for independence in the run up to the 2014 referendum. National Convenor of YSI for two years from 2015–17. Elected to the SNP’s NEC in 2016. Scottish Parliament Candidate for the Glasgow List in 2016. Elected Councillor for Greater Pollok in 2017. Successfully proposed motions at SNP Conference on all female lists, inclusive education and raising the age of military recruitment to 18. Chairs TIE an LBGTI government funded charity which is remitted to support Scottish Education bodies providing LGBT-inclusive education in Scottish Schools. Actively promoted the #Metoo movement denouncing sexual harassment on campus at University of Glasgow.
She is the driving force behind informal WOKE campaigning individuals, groups, charities and formal groups promoting and implementing WOKE agenda’s in all of the state schools in Scotland. The bulk of WOKE activities, including resources and staffing, (£3-5M) is funded by the Scottish taxpayer through the SNP government. The unhealthy influence of WOKE minded politicians is being planted across all aspects of Scottish society as each day passes.
2008-2014: Glasgow Unversity
Speaking about her experiences from 2008 until 2012 at the University of Glasgow where she was a Creative and Cultural Studies student said, “My experience of university was that rape culture was commonplace and male sexual aggression was normalised. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it since, trying to come to terms with that environment, and it has been a long process. I was sexually assaulted. I had naked pictures taken of me while I slept which were shared in group chats. That was common for girls, and people don’t realise how common it is. Hyper heteronormative shows of masculinity by young men in their late teens and early 20s fuelled by lots of alcohol and a need to perform in front of friends. Groping hands, pulling off clothes and men exposing themselves to you on the dance floor in the union were all part of a night out. Then there were the darker things that happened behind closed doors which were definitely not consensual that I am only now coming to terms with. At one event a guy dragged me into a cupboard, exposed himself to me and demanded I had sex with him. I remember saying that I didn’t want to touch him, and I wanted to get out. I did get out and I wanted to report it at the time, but I knew there was no point. Then there was waking up to a guy having sex with me, I was sick as soon as I realised what was happening. I am only now able to call that what it really was.” (Glasgow Evening Times)
Young Scots for Independence
Young Scots for Independence (YSI) (SNP Youth) is represented on the SNP National Executive Committee and sends delegates to meetings of the SNP Annual National Conference. Many YSI activists have since risen to prominence in the SNP, including: Rhiannon Spear, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and Fiona Hyslop. In 2012, Humza Yousaf then a member of the YSI, was promoted to Government as Minister for International Development. The YSI first flexed its muscle at the annual conference in 2012 when the Party debated NATO membership. The YSI decided on opposing membership because it was a nuclear alliance. Despite gaining 48% of the vote, the anti-NATO group lost and the SNP policy is now pro-NATO membership.
Jan 2014: Generation Yes
Generation Yes was established in January 2014 by Rhiannon Spear and Kirsten Thornton to campaign for a yes vote amongst young voters in the referendum on Scottish Independence. Despite defeat a poll taken after the 2014 referendum showed 71% of teenagers had voted yes. Spear said: We will continue to campaign for full enfranchisement in all elections for people aged 16 and 17.
Time for Inclusive Education (TIE)
2015: Founded by Jordan Daly (now with Stonewal) and Liam Stevenson, TIE raised awareness of the isolation and bullying faced by young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland. In 2017, the Scottish Government launched a TIE led working group with the task of embedding LGBTI-inclusive education in the schools curriculum of Scotland.
Nov 2018: Scotland became the first country in the world to include compulsory LGBTI issues in school curricula, after the government accepted in full a report from Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) outlining 33 recommendations on how to tackle LGBTI bullying in schools.
Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that state schools across Scotland will be required to educate pupils on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues, including LGBTI history, terminology and identities, and ways of tackling homophobia and prejudice. Other recommendations include providing training programs for teachers and offering new teaching materials to tackle LGBTI issues.
The First Minister gave the group her personal endorsement at Holyrood, telling MSPs: “I am a supporter of the TIE campaign, not just in their objectives but in the spirited way they go about trying to make sure that their objectives are taking forward. They will work with decision makers, produce curriculum resources, and deliver services for teachers and pupils to raise awareness and heighten knowledge.” Swinney promised funding for the new programmes and new teaching resources to support LGBTI-inclusive education.
All state schools now have to teach LGBTI equality and inclusion as part of the curriculum, including the teaching of LGBTI terminology and identities, tackling homophobia and prejudice, and the history of the equalities movement.
TIE was granted charitable status and appointed a Board of Trustees led by Rhiannon Spear who on her appointment said: “The campaign has challenged us all to think about what is possible. Although The Scottish Government’s announcement to Parliament, that LGBT-inclusive education will become a reality, has been the culmination of three years work – it is truly just the beginning.”
2019: TIE, the charity launched less than a year ago is in deep financial trouble as it prepared to upscale its operations. A spokesperson said that funding promised by the Government had not yet been provided and money was needed to fund the “massive demand” for its services. The dissolution of TIE is a certainty without sustainable funding, of staff and resources. Expectations are that the charity will need to be supported by recurring annual funding of around £500,000. A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are fully aware of the funding difficulties currently being experienced by the TIE Campaign. We are carefully considering all options to further support the TIE Campaign in its important work with schools in Scotland.” The charity got its money and some.
Aug 2018: Loud, white men must get with the times
In a Tweet, Rhiannon Spear said: This week, I pointed out that an all-male panel at a political event was inadequate and called for at least one woman to be a voice. In response, I was called sexist and a fraud, sworn at, accused of being a BBC plant and labelled anti-independence by a online cohort made up overwhelmingly of white, older men. Apparently, being an elected representative of the SNP and dedicated campaigner for Scottish independence doesn’t meet the bar set to be a Yes voter.
Jan 2019: Rhiannon Spear, SNP Councillor scolds Andy Murray’s mother for Sharing a Pro-Women’s Rights Article
Scotland’s most eminent Women’s Tennis Coach, posted a link to an article on Twitter from Scottish newspaper, The National, about the importance of learning the lessons about the impact of transgenderism on women in Canada. Responding Spear took Judy to task for sharing a “transphobic and 14 years out of date article” hinted that she had not read the article in its entirety.
Spear’s response was met with an onslaught of criticism, for the sanctimonious and patronising tone of her tweet (for implying Murray shared something she hadn’t read) and the implicit ageism (suggesting she was out of touch with modern Scottish atitudes) and misogyny (assuming she didn’t fully understand what she had tweeted because, if she did, then presumably she wouldn’t identify with it because of the fact she’s a woman) in her tweets. She was also admonished for being out-of-touch with, and completely failing to comprehend, the relevant legislation she accused Murray of being out of step with. Her response to to criticisms was less than acceptable.
Spear leads the government funded TIE campaign in Scotland, which promotes gender ideology in our schools and the thought of this woman having any influence on school children is of increasing concern to many parents. Also of concern is her oft repeated assertion that feminism is wack because it reduces womanhood to genitalia and reproductive ability. Then when a Scottish journalist offered that reducing womanhood to genitalia was already happening as a direct result of trans activism, not feminism, she accused the journalist of whipping up mob hysteria by fear. https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3489880-Glasgow-Councillor-Tries-to-Scold-Judy-Murray
Jan 2019: Comments: Moll
This is very much her modus operandi with respect to every political topic she gets involved with: You’re either with her or against her. The last time she publicly maligned a popular pro-Scottish independence blogger as a transphobe and got exactly the same reaction. She maligned his 56k followers as being “part of the problem”, a huge portion of which belongs to her own political party and share her political ambitions. She’s very much of the view that if you don’t agree with her, then its because you need to reflect more. In my view, she’s a toxic extremist. And for all her qualms about not being reduced to her reproductive capacities, she wasn’t above using her miscarriage to garner up sympathy for herself and get her sycophants to go after a man she couldn’t have a reasoned discussion with.
Apr 2019: SNP politician accused of “promoting” sex work
Councillor Rhiannon Spear, chair of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign which has successfully lobbied for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender education to be embedded in Scotland’s schools sparked claims from SNP colleagues she was “advocating” prostitution by posting a controversial tweet and a selfie with fellow SNP Councillor Christina Cannon, dominatrix Megara Furie and another unnamed woman at Glasgow City Chambers, saying “brilliant meeting Megara Furie + bringing sex workers into the City Chambers. Sex workers rights are human rights.”
Following up on social media she added, “Yesterday I met with Megara Furie to talk all things sex work. Did you know Sex work includes trixs, submissives, cam work, phone + text services, dancers, masseuses, porn, escorting etc it’s not all street based sale of sex.” Another tweet from Spear enraged colleagues who said it questioned the law on pimping. She wrote “It’s currently illegal for workers to work together. It is illegal for a man (but not a woman) to live on money earned through sex work. So it would be illegal to live with your boyfriend. Does that sound safe?”
But SNP sources angrily claimed the tweets “promoted” sex work which SNP policy condemns as a form of violence against women. An SNP insider who withheld her name hit out at the tweets, saying they were “advocating prostitution”. and added “her views are not the views of the SNP nationally, or Glasgow’s SNP group.” and another said: “Given her youth education role with TIE, it is not appropriate to be promoting S&M.”
Feb 2019: Joan McAlpine is an unlikely rebel against the Scottish political establishment. The SNP MSP is chair of Holyrood’s culture and external affairs committee and a former parliamentary aide to Alex Salmond. She is gender-critical, or, in the prosecutorial terms of her detractors, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF). Recently she began asking awkward questions about the campaign to give force of law to relatively new and largely untested theories about sex, gender and identity only to be denounced by SNP councillor Rhiannon Spear, chair of the LGBT education lobby, TIE. Who accused her of “stoking a fire” and “wilfully ignoring the advice of service providers who have been working in the industry for decades”.
It is not the first time McAlpine has fallen foul of the SNP gendarmerie who police the views of feminists and other gender dissenters. In February, her committee recommended that the sex question in the Scottish census “should remain binary” and posted a Twitter thread outlining their concerns, which were:
Including a “non-binary” option risked devaluing the data on a protected characteristic (sex) under the Equality Act. They also wondered why so many women’s groups, especially those in receipt of taxpayers’ money, had dogmatically adopted the transgender ideology while failing to represent women who disagreed.
This prompted an extraordinary 1,400-word open letter in which some of Scotland’s leading third-sector groups took her to task over the Twitter thread. Signatories to the statement, which rebuked her for “sharing an inaccurate, partial, and negative assessment” of their work, included Close the Gap (which received £205,000 from the Scottish Government in 2018/19), Engender Scotland (£225,350) and Equate Scotland (£331,019).
Even in the unforgiving world of Scottish politics, the backlash against McAlpine was vicious. She told the press: “They try to shut you up by labelling you and othering you, by using extremist language. This isn’t just about trans people’s rights; they have the same human rights as everyone else and extra protections in the Equality Act and hate legislation, and that’s quite rightly so. This is about women’s rights and how the changes being pushed for impact women.” McAlpine may be a Nationalist bomb-thrower but on gender she has been moderate and measured. No one sincerely interested in a debate can credibly dismiss her thoughtful interventions or her temperate tone, including on proposals to amend the Gender Recognition Act to abandon medically-supported gender recognition certificates in favour of self-identification.
For the most part, her campaign has been a lonely one. Other MSPs agree but have hitherto been reluctant to invite controversy. No wonder. Only a few days before, the contents of private messages between three female SNP MSPs were leaked, exposing them as critics of Nicola Sturgeon’s breathless enthusiasm for the trans agenda. The backlash served as a warning to other women not to step out of line if they don’t want their political careers jeopardised. The trans movement has co-opted the gay and lesbian struggle to convince doubters they are on “the wrong side of history”. The tactic is a parallel of their ideology’s efforts to conflate sex and gender but the two are not the same. Maleness or femaleness is a fact of biology while masculine or feminine identity is the product of social conditioning and performance. Sex is data, gender is narrative. (https://twitter.com/JoanMcAlpine/status/1101251118611525633)
Aug 2020: Councillor Rhiannon Spear to spearhead the new SNP women’s mentoring programme
Women make up over half of the population in Scotland but only 35% of those elected to the Scottish Parliament. That needs to change. Women are impacted by every decision that is taken in any parliament or local authority in Scotland. To allow decisions to have the best outcome for women our elected members should be representative of the communities they represent and made up of as many diverse voices as possible. So in order to encourage more women to stand the SNP has put in place measures that will remove the barriers that women face when they stand for election. Starting now any woman thinking of standing will be supported through the candidate self assessment process through the SNP Women’s Mentoring Project. The project that I am leading is specifically for women who are interested in standing in the Local Government Election in 2022. The aim is that by the end of the project they will be confident enough to successfully stand to be selected and elected. (Herald)
Apr 2021: The Equality Network is a government funded lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity. Its influence over SNP policies and many areas of Scottish society, is absolute. Political Party’s will be expected to conform to the LGBTI agenda or face oblivion at the ballot box. But the electorate may not subscribe to the changes without consultation of which there has been very little, to date. People are afraid of change and this might well be reflected in the way in which they cast their votes on 6 May 2021. In response to the possibility of dissent the commitment of political parties in Scotland to social and changes in the laws of Scotland their network is being monitored so that conformity can be maintained.
14 Apr 2021: The Equality Network is a government funded lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity.
Its influence over SNP policies and many areas of Scottish society is absolute. Political Party’s will be expected to conform to the LGBTI agenda or face oblivion at the ballot box. But the electorate may not subscribe to the changes without consultation of which there has been very little, to date. People are afraid of change and this might well be reflected in the way in which they cast their votes on 6 May 2021.
The network which represents around 0.4% of Scotland’s population is monitoring the commitment of political parties in Scotland to social and changes in the laws of Scotland advocated by the network and has reported the applicable agenda for change in the Green Party manifesto, which states:
“We will ensure that health and social care services throughout Scotland, including mental health services, are fully inclusive of LGBT+ people and designed to remove barriers and tackle health inequalities.”
“Implement the Time for Inclusion Education (TIE) campaign recommendations, including the delayed delivery of promised funding to assist this important
“Deliver long overdue reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, including statutory self-declaration, recognising non-binary identities and all genders, and providing access to health care for trans minors with parental or guardian consent.”
“Introduce an informed consent model of trans healthcare, and in the meantime continue to push for access to Gender Identity Clinics within 18 weeks, in line with NHS standards for other services.”
“Ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’, which refers to unethical and unnecessary interventions that seek to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT+ people or alter a person’s sex characteristics without their consent.”
“Ensure LGBT+ inclusion in Scottish Government international development policies, and enshrining the Yogyakarta human rights principles into Scots law.”
Yogyakarta human rights principles: To avoid gender discrimination, in whatever area, full provision must be made for all those people who experience discrimination because of their gender role, gender identity or gender expression. In particular, provision must be made for those with an absence of intimate conviction as to being a man or a woman.
The Yogyakarta Principles: Women’s Rights Were Not Considered
Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at Kings College London, is an expert on anti-discrimination law and sexual orientation law, and was one of the co-authors of the influential “Yogyakarta Principles”.
He now says the international human rights community got it wrong in merging lesbian and gay rights with the idea of a right to have “gender identity” replace sex.
The Yogyakarta principles, developed in 2006 built on the UK’s Gender Recognition Act, presenting it as international best practice. Principle 3 argues for a right to have gender identity replace sex on all identity documents and in all situations
On Inclusive Education: Fully implement the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group, underpinned by new statutory guidance on the conduct of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education for schools.
On healthcare: Ensure that all NHS healthcare professionals can meet the needs of their LGBTI patients by incorporating training that addresses barriers faced due to both sexual orientation and gender identity.
On mental health: Commit to funding mandatory training for mental health professionals, including front line CAMHS staff, on supporting LGBTI people, and ensure mental health and suicide prevention training delivered to NHS staff is inclusive.
On social care: Ensure that LGBTI people can access welcoming and inclusive social care services, by providing targeted training for staff with a focus on those working in residential care settings.
On reproductive health & fertility services: Ensure that NHS reproductive health and fertility services recognise, and address, barriers and health inequalities faced by LGBTI people, particularly by lesbian and bisexual women.
On Conversion Therapy: End the harmful practice of sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy in the next parliamentary session, working with the UK Government where necessary.
On the Gender Recognition Act: Improve laws on gender recognition in line with international best practice to allow trans people to change the legal gender on their birth certificate with a simple process based on the principle of self-determination.
Recognized worldwide as one of the most talented politicians of his and other generations Alex had a high-profile in Scottish politics even before winning two historic Holyrood elections as SNP leader and securing a mandate to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.
Born in Linlithgow in 1954, he graduated from St Andrews University and took up a career in economics working first for the Scottish Office before moving to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
He began his parliamentary career as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, building a small team of dedicated supporters who would remain loyal throughout his time in politics.
He served as Party leader from 1990, standing down after 10 years but was persuaded to return and rescue the Party that was near collapse under the uninspired leadership of John Swinney.
Portrayed by Unionists as arrogant and self-serving, he confounded his critics when under his stewardship Party fortunes recovered dramatically and on a platform of fighting for Scottish independence he led it into government in 2007 and in a barnstorming election campaign in 2011 he achieved the impossible getting the Party back into power with an overall majority of MSP’s.
The 2014 referendum
The result of the 2014 Independence Referendum shattered Alex who had led a hard-fought campaign for a “Yes” vote. And the day after the result he dropped the bombshell announcing he was standing down as first minister and S.N.P. leader.
The 2015 General Election
At the time of his unexpected resignation Alex could not have foreseen the SNP landslide victory only six months later in the 2015 General Election. The momentous change in the fortunes of the party was brought about by the disgraceful backsliding after the referendum of “Unionist” politicians interested only in containing Scots within the existing political constraints. The much touted joint Unionist commitment to fully implement their “Vow” !!!!……to devolve substantive new powers to Scotland, just short of independence proved to be yet another a “big lie” that broke the hearts of many Scots who had voted to remain in the Union on the substance of Unionist promises.
Alex, had been persuaded by his supporters, in the Gordon constituency to remain active in Scottish politics, but this would be at Westminster in a role that did not impinge on Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of the Party. But in an extraordinary turn of events the Party leadership did not embrace the wishes of local Party activists believing the election of Alex to Westminster would undermine the authority of Nicola Sturgeon who was enjoying the fruits of successful politicking handed to her on a plate by Alex when he stood down from his leadership role. But the local Party team prevailed and Alex was selected as the Party candidate for Gordon. He went on to win the seat. Putting the boot into the Unionists Fifty-five other SNP candidates were also elected.
The SNP at Westminster
After leading the large contingent of SNP MP’s into the House of Commons Angus Robertson who was appointed leader of the team at Westminster, said:
“Westminster is going through culture shock in coming to terms with the fact the SNP did so well in the election. That we are here in such strong numbers, elected as Scots who support independence, is also not lost on them. We were elected to pursue an anti-austerity agenda and more devolved powers for Scotland and we will do just that.”
The final sentence in his statement dictated the approach and conduct of the SNP at Westminster. It should have read:
“We were elected to pursue independence for Scotland and we will do just that.”
The large block of SNP MP’s were rich with talent and enthusiasm but lacked political experience and badly underestimated the strength of the bias against any challenge to the Unionist dominated Westminster political system.
The one shining light was Alex Salmond, who having accepted his place at Westminster would exclude his direct input into Scottish matters took on the duties of “Foreign Affairs” spokesman for the Party. It was a role to which he was well suited and he was able to deal effectively with a truculent “Speaker” and a truculent Unionist majority. It was satisfying to witness him commanding the stage when he spoke to his brief, but there was a sadness observing him sitting on the fringe near the rear of the SNP group watching the ineffectual efforts of his leader Angus Robertson..
2017 General Election
The unexpected 2017 General Election brought with it unwelcome efforts by the Party leadership to pressurise Alex to retire from politics. The advice being that, as an elder statesman of the Party he would be better suited to less taxing work in the media through the many contacts who had provided him with numerous television and radio appearances over the years. But, spurning the opportunity of a new direction Alex decided to stand, once again for a seat at Westminster, representing Banff and Buchan.
Peter Murrell’s cock-up
The SNP leadership had not expected another election so soon and failed to inspire Party activists to get out and support the cause with result that some candidates failed to be re-elected. There were also issues about the lack of financial and campaigning support for candidates who were not seen to be fully committed to the ideals of Nicola Sturgeon and her team within a team at Party headquarters.
The Unionist’s were well ahead of the political game and introduced “tactical voting” to Scottish politics setting aside their political differences and jointly campaigning in a number of Scottish constituencies, (in particular the North East) where the incumbent SNP MP would be vulnerable to a low percentage swing in the voting.
Another factor was the ineffective performance of the large body of SNP MP’s at Westminster which had exposed the futility of sending SNP MP’s to Westminster. Unionist politicians enthusiastically seized the opportunity given over to them by the inexperienced and complacent SNP leadership and planted seeds of confusion and apathy among Scots voters. Faced with these drawbacks Alex and a number of other SNP candidates failed in their bids for re-election.
Alex Bows Out of Front-line politics
Alex accepted a need to change direction and considered a future in the media, the most promising of which was as the editor of a major Scottish tabloid newspaper. But the new venture failed to materialize, due to the political pressure of Unionist supporting financial backers with result that he became increasingly dependent on appearance invitations from the right wing media and BBC. But shock and horror, he was also denied that platform through Unionist controlled entities. Lesser persons would have given up the ghost. But not Alex, who turned to the English language television and radio station, Russia Today (RT). And having been given written assurances there would be no censorship or any other pressure applied to himself, his guests or content, he signed up to produce and present a weekly current affairs television show. The show proved to be a hit with viewers (it still is) and with his future assured Alex was a happy bunny once again. All’s well that ends well!!
Not quite. Nicola Sturgeon had not long before returned to Scotland from the US where she had been feted and fawned over by influential women’s political groups. The politics of the reborn Sturgeon had changed. “Independence” was out replaced with the buzzword “accommodation”. And her philosophy did not extend any accommodation to Putin and Russia. She joined with the Unionist and criticised Alex for taking up the offer of free airtime with RT. A real stab in the back for Alex from a person he had guided and mentored for many years.