No Country in History has ever rejected Independence – Until Scotland in 2014 – What an Unfortunate precedence to Set – We need to Correct the Mistake in 2019

The biggest study yet of how Scotland made its historic decision on September 18 has found that the votes of people born outside Scotland were crucial to the result.
While 52.7 per cent of native-born Scots voted Yes, a massive 72.1 per cent of voters from England, Wales or Northern Ireland backed the Union.

There were more than 420,000 Britons from elsewhere in the UK living in Scotland when the last census was taken.

And if they cast their ballots in line with the findings of the Edinburgh University study,
more than 300,000 of them will have voted No.

That’s a significant number in a contest that ended with 2,001,926 votes for No and 1,617,989 for Yes.

Voters born outside the UK also rejected independence, with 57.1 per cent voting No.

SNP MSP Christian Allard, who was himself born in France, said: “Scotland is the country of everyone who lives here, regardless of where they were born, and we take decisions on our future together.

“The diversity of Scotland’s population is a matter for celebration.

“While we were disappointed with the result of the referendum, this study shows that a
clear legacy has been greater political involvement, particularly among young people.

“And that is something to be proud of.”

Political scientist Professor Ailsa Henderson, who wrote the study, told the Record it showed the importance of “Britishness” among voters born elsewhere in the UK in deciding the result.

She said: “Scottish-born people were more likely to vote Yes and those born outside Scotland were more likely to vote No.

“But the least sympathetic to Yes were the people born in the UK, but outside Scotland.

“We think they are more likely to feel British. They are more likely to feel a continued tie to the UK as a whole – because that’s where they are from.”

Ailsa said it was different for voters who originally came from outside the UK.

She explained: “They have made a conscious decision to move to the UK, and the part of the UK they have chosen to move to is Scotland.”

Ailsa said the trend she found was similar to those seen in other independence votes in places such as Quebec in Canada.

The study, which recorded the attitudes of several thousand voters in a series of surveys, also confirmed that women and older people were more likely to vote No while men and the young were more in favour of Yes.

Researchers found that 56.6 per cent of women voted No while 53.2 per cent of men voted Yes.

he divide was even wider when it came to age. More than 62 per cent of voters aged 16 to 19 backed independence.

The Yes side also had a majority among voters aged 20 to 24, 25 to 29 and 30-39, while voters aged 40 to 49 were split almost exactly down the middle.

But 50 to 59-year-olds, 60 to 69-year-olds and voters aged 70 or older were all in the No camp, with the pro-Union majority getting bigger the older they were.
How the electorate voted (by age)

Nearly two thirds of 70-something Scots voted No.

Wealth and social status also played their part in deciding how the nation voted.

Yes had majorities among people who classed themselves as working class, people at the bottom of the earnings scale and people in rented social housing.

By contrast, the highest earners, home owners and people who described themselves as middle class were more likely to vote No.

Ailsa also found a “stark difference” between the voting patterns of protestants at Catholics, with Catholic voters far more likely to be Yes supporters.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/independence-referendum-figures-revealed-majority-5408163

 

 

 

The 2014 Referendum

In the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum the voter list included anyone over the age of 16, entered on the current electoral roll, whose place of residence was in Scotland, regardless of nationality. The usual caveats about Service personnel also applied.

Voter turnout was 84.59%. The result: Yes, 1,617,989, 44.70%. No, 2,001,926, 55.30%

There is an acceptance within Scotland that in the referendum a majority of the 240,000 EU and Non EU Immigrant voters and many voters of Scottish birth and residence had been persuaded to vote “No” frightened into submission by an incessant campaign of disinformation orchestrated by the UK Civil Service, Westminster politicians, the UK government and opposition Parties and their organs of abuse, the BBC and all other media outlets serving Scotland.

Indeed after the referendum the bodies before mentioned “crowed from the rooftops” fighting each other for media space each claiming their disinformation output had been the most influential in gaining the “No” vote.

The award should go to the Civil Service anti-independence team working out of Downing Street under the guidance of Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service …

790,000 postal voting forms were issued, completed and returned within the notified time period.

But the novel voting procedure, (heavily promoted by the governing authority) was sullied when, just after voting closed, Ruth Davidson and other influential supporters of the “No” campaign boasted they had known before 18 September 2014 that postal votes indicated a win for their campaign.

An incredible claim since the public had witnessed sealed postal votes being added to the other votes to be counted in at the counting stations.

There was a police investigation into the matter but the findings were never notified to the Scottish public who are still waiting for answers.

By result many Scot’s believed the outcome of the referendum had been fixed in favour of the “No” campaign.

 

 

 

Political Events 2015

Scottish voters would not be denied their say and public reaction towards the outcome of the referendum was clear and decisive six months after when, in the 2015 general election the Scottish National Party (SNP) won all but 3 of the 59 seats in Scotland in an unprecedented landslide.

The three seats which went to parties other than the SNP were held by very small majorities and local circumstances applied.

In winning by such a margin the SNP became the first political party in the UK, in sixty years to win 50% of the Scottish vote.

The mandate given to the SNP confirmed a majority of Scot’s wished to be independent and had the leaders of the Party the courage they would have advised Westminster that Scotland would be withdrawing from the 1707, Treaty of Union, quoting the political circumstances that had resulted in its signature, that a small majority of officers of parliament in Scotland had voted in 1707 in favour of the treaty.

This being a settled precedence the ruling would apply since the Scottish political system had returned a majority of MP’s in favour of abandoning the Treaty

But they decided to abide by the rules set out by Westminster and went off to England, bagpipes playing, photo opportunities galore and committed political “hari Kari” on national television.

 

 

 

The Westminster Debacle – 2015 – 2017

To say they were mocked would be an understatement. The corrupt Westminster system brutally ridiculed then destroyed the SNP.

At every turn the English dominated House of Commons imposed its will over the Scottish opposition.

The one single claim to fame by the SNP at Westminster was the acceptance of a one day motion removing VAT from ladies sanitary towels.

 

 

 

Scottish Parliament Election – 2016

The failure of the SNP at Westminster influenced the outcome of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election in which the party in which the SNP won a third term in government but failed to secure an overall majority.

In the election the Scottish Labour Party vote collapsed, to the benefit of the Scottish Conservative Party which increased their number of MSPs, overtaking Labour as the largest opposition party.

 

 

 

The Brexit Referendum – 2016

Just one month later, yet again, the Scottish public confirmed their wish to be independent of Westminster when at the 2016 EU referendum they voted 62.0% to remain with the EU.

But, as before Scotland’s wishes were consumed by English voters and their decision to leave the EU.

Intention to withdraw from the Treaty of European Union was notified to the EU in March 2017.

 

 

 

General Election – 2017

From the beginning of 2017, facing growing opposition to Brexit, the Tory Government decided to “cut and run” and called a snap General Election on 7 May 2017.

The expectation, if polls were to be believed, guaranteed the Tory Party a working majority at Westminster.

But, from an opening 20-point lead, the Tory’s lead diminished in the final weeks of the campaign.

In a result that stunned Westminster, the Tory party enjoyed a net loss of 13 seats, while Labour made a net gain of 30 seats.

Other parties performed badly as England returned to the much discredited “ping-pong” two party voting patterns of the past.

In Scotland, the election resulted in the SNP remaining the largest party, retaining 35 of the 56 seats It had won two years before.

The Scottish Tory Party won 13 seats while Labour and the Liberal Democrats took 7 and 4 seats respectively.

The result provided ammunition for the opposition Parties which they duly used in a sustained “fear” campaign against the SNP, orchestrated by the Red Tory Alliance claiming Scot’s had lost their appetite for independence.

The SNP hierarchy responded by abandoning a fundraiser for a possible referendum sometime after the conclusion of the 2 year Brexit negotiation period at the end of March 2019.

 

 

 

 

Scottish Independence Referendum – Post Brexit – 2019

Looking forward to the post Brexit period it is entirely possible that Scottish politicians will seek to hold another referendum on Scotland’s independence.

It is imperative that lessons are learned from the much discredited 2014 referendum and events since and changes applied.

Voting qualification should be restricted to people, of Scottish birth, aged 16 and over and resident in Scotland.

Usual caveats to be applied in the case of service personnel. Postal voting disallowed.

Voters should be required to cast their votes at polling stations.

Voting by proxy to be permitted, birth certificates or other form of acceptable proof of identity to be produced at the time of placing a vote.

Adoption of the foregoing as policy would provide an opportunity for Scot’s and only Scot’s to express their wish for the future of their country.

 

 

 

26 Mar 2015: The reason voting should be confined to home born Scots resident in Scotland at the next referendum

An extensive study of how Scotland made its historic decision on 18 September 2014 found that the votes of people born outside Scotland were crucial to the result.

While 52.7 per cent of native-born Scots voted “Yes”, a massive 72.1 per cent of voters from England, Wales or Northern Ireland backed the Union.

There were more than 420,000 Britons from elsewhere in the UK living in Scotland when the last census was taken and casting their ballots in line with the findings of the study, more than 300,000 will have voted “No”.

That’s a significant number in a contest that ended with 2,001,926 votes for “No” and 1,617,989 for “Yes.”

EU and other voters born outside the UK also rejected independence, with 57.1 per cent voting “No.”

 

The political analyst who write the report said the findings showed the importance of “Britishness” among voters born elsewhere in the UK in deciding the result.

She said: “Scottish-born people were more likely to vote Yes and those born outside Scotland were more likely to vote No.

“But the least sympathetic to “Yes” were the people born in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales and any other areas within the UK but outside Scotland.

“They are more likely to feel British and prefer a continued tie to the UK as a whole – because that’s where they are from.”

“There is a difference in voters who originally came from outside the UK, who had made a conscious decision to move to the UK, and the part of the UK they choose  to move to was Scotland.”

Wealth and social status also played their part in deciding how the nation voted.

“Yes” had majorities among people who classed themselves as working class, people at the bottom of the earnings scale and people in rented social housing.

By contrast, the highest earners, home owners and people who described themselves as middle class were more likely to vote “No.”

There was also a  “stark difference” between the voting patterns of protestants and Catholics, with Catholic voters far more likely to be “Yes” supporters. (The Daily Record)

 

 

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North Lanarkshire Labour / Tory Unholy Alliance Fought Tooth and Nail to Deny Women Employees Equal Pay and Pension Rights – But Lost After a Long Battle – What a Shower!! – But the Voters Love Them Just the same!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2017: North Lanarkshire Labour Party Fiefdom

North Lanarkshire is the fourth largest Scottish local authority, located in west central Scotland, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

It covers an area of 47,358 and serves a population of 328,000 people.

Party insiders are on record as saying that: “if Labour lose North Lanarkshire then it would be fair to say in Scotland the party’s over.”

But one party domination of the politics of a region for many decades invariably ends in disaster and this is the case in North Lanarkshire where in fighting has destroyed the party.

Old inter-region rivalries have resurfaced together with accompanying allegations of intimidation and a pervading and intense climate of fear and allegations of wrong doing has diverted councillors away from the business of service provision.

The foregoing is compounded by recently announced police investigations into behaviour reported to involve a number of councillors and businessmen the scale of criminality of which, if it leads to prosecutions is so widespread that it could bring down the Labour party in Scotland.

The report that follows provides evidence in support of my advice that the electorate should abandon the Labour Party and transfer their votes to the SNP.

 

 

 

 

May 2017: Anger in North Lanarkshire as Tories back Labour to form Council

My advice was ignored.

At the May 2017 Council election voters returned a Labour administration to power, but only with the support of 5 Tory councillors.

The joining of the two parties confirmed the enabling “Red Tory” Alliance is still operational in Scotland.

Full report can be found at:

https://caltonjock.com/2017/02/26/north-lanarkshire-district-council-20-million-plus-corruption-report-at-scandal-hit-labour-controlled-council-add-cover-up-of-child-pornography-allegations-and-other-incidences-of-graft-in-may/

 

 

 

12 Jun 2017: North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory Alliance Council forced to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid

North Lanarkshire Labour/ Tory Alliance run Council is facing a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it previously tried to squeeze out of equal pay.

The Council has been ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women.

The 681 women were systematically underpaid for years by the council, earning lower wages than male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.

Last year, after initially forcing the authority to give them back-pay through a tribunal, they reached a second negotiated settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by equal pay experts Action 4 Equality Scotland.

However, their final salary pension deals remained below those of male counterparts, as their contributions were lower while they were underpaid.

According to recent local government pension regulations, all back-pay must 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 in March, 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 has now ruled the council “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement”.

It said the council must pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m. (The Herald)

 

 

Comment:

Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen Councils have been Labour fiefdoms for many decades.

The May 2017 election delivered minority run SNP councils but, in the case of North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen an unholy Alliance with the Tory Party thwarted the change the Region so badly needs.

The electorate of the two regions voted for another five years of self inflicted abuse.

What a crazy world we live in!!!

 


National Farmers Union Suckered by the Tory Party Yet Again After it Contracts a Foreign Company to Sponsor its Annual Conference

 

 

 

 

2 Oct 2017: Kick in the Teeth for the Farmers Union as Tory Party Contracts Foreign sugar company to sponsor its conference

The Conservative Party is under fire from angry farmers after allowing a major US sugar company to sponsor its conference in Manchester.

US sugar company Tate & Lyle Sugars, a major exporter to the UK, is sponsoring the Conservative Party Conference, held in Manchester from 1 October to 4 October 2017.

Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward said: “Disgraceful. Conservatives sponsored at conference by Tate & Lyle, who provide foreign cane sugar. So much for supporting British agriculture.”

The gaffe means that the Conservatives are advertising a brand which is a major competitor to British sugar.

It comes just days after Defra Secretary Michael Gove and Tory MP Robert Jenrick recently visited the British sugar factory at Newark to mark the end of the EU sugar quotas. Jenwick said the visit was made to “start a bright new future”.

Tory Party supporters, the National Farmers’ Union, even set up a ‘sensory farm’ inside the conference, which includes the “pledge apple tree”, where delegates can hang a paper apple on the prop to pledge their support for British farming.

Just yesterday, the NFU President said the conference would give the union the “perfect opportunity” to speak to thousands of delegates about the British farming industry.

But forward one day, and the NFU Vice President quips: “off early to Manchester to help man the NFU stand. First task, change the lanyard on the conference pass. It just isn’t possible to build a country on imports.”

(https://www.farminguk.com/News/-Disgraceful-Foreign-sugar-company-sponsors-Cons-_47544.html)

 

Post Brexit – Food Standards to be Compiled – Introduced and Monitored Through Westminster – History Indicates the Folly of the Policy – But it is Not For Scotland to Decide

 

 

 

 

 

2000: New Labour created a non-ministerial government department – the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

After the collapse in public trust triggered by a number of high-profile outbreaks and deaths from food borne illness including the BSE crisis, civil servants within the then Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries were perceived as having put the interests of producers ahead of those of consumers.

It was felt that it was inappropriate – and dangerous – to have one government department responsible for both the health of the farming and food processing industries and also food safety.

But in the period 2000-2010, the agency lost it’s way, embarking on major investigative projects requiring increasing numbers of staff running head on into controversy about the health claims of organic food and even the role of GM foods whilst being heavily criticised for expensive and questionable research and fruitless public consultation exercises.

It tried to be open to scrutiny with “open board meetings” available for public viewing on the web and even award-winning health advertising campaigns had a short lifespan, with budgets axed.

Ultimately, it was the FSA’s difficult relationship with the powerful food industry which undermined its effectiveness and claims of independence, after manufacturers successfully lobbied in Europe bringing to an end to its attempt to secure a universal system of “traffic light labelling” for food and drink products.

 

 

 

11 Jul 2010: Victory for Food Manufacturers – Food Standards Agency Abolished By Tory Health Secretary

The Food Standards Agency has been abolished by Andrew Lansley, (1) the Health Secretary, after the standards watchdog fought a running battle with industry and the EU over the introduction of colour-coded “traffic light” warnings for groceries, TV dinners and snacks.

The move sparked accusations that the government had “caved in to big business”.

As part of the changes the Tory Minister Lansley reassigned the FSA’s regulatory aspects – including safety and hygiene – to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Its responsibilities for nutrition, diet and public health were incorporated into the Department of Health.

Labour’s  then health spokesman, said: “Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps that show Andrew Lansley caving in to the food industry.

It does raise the question whether the health secretary wants to protect the public health or promote food companies.” (The Independent)

(1). Lansley provoked controversy in 2010 by factoring into public health related bills, representations from fast food companies such as McDonald’s, KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo on obesity, diet-related disease and alcohol, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry.

It later transpired that until December 2009, Lansley had received £134 an hour from a firm of advertisers that represented clients such as Walkers Crisps, McDonald’s, Unilever, Mars and Pizza Hut;

Private Eye suggested a link between these activities and Lansley’s desire to see a more lightly regulated food industry.

The same publication suggested a similar link to a Department of Health report on red meat in which the only products listed in the report found to contain suitable amounts of red meat to merit a “Good” rating were a McDonald’s Big Mac, and a Peperami (manufactured by Unilever). (Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

9 Apr 2014: Salt levels in many foods ‘unnecessarily high’

Many grocery items such as sandwiches, smoked fish and ready meals were found to contain at least a third of an adult’s daily allowance of salt.

A study of 50 products from major supermarkets also found that other items such as soups, meat, salads and “little snacks” contained more than a quarter of the six grams of salt that is the Government’s recommended daily limit.

Some supermarket pizzas contained almost half the daily allowance of salt recommended for adults while snacks contained almost a third,

Experts said that the salt levels in many of the foods were “unnecessarily high”, and called for manufacturers to urgently reduce the amounts to help “save lives”.

They warned that there was a “wealth of evidence” linking high salt intake to raised blood pressure increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes. (The Telegraph)

 

 

 

But the UK public had been told difficulties such as over – salting produce had been resolved in 2000!!

Sadly this was not the case. Successive Tory, Labour and Con/Dem Westminster politicians got huge donations from wealthy individuals in return for honours.

Big business got its reward in the form of contracts, lax government regulation and, most importantly, governments that implemented a pro-big business agenda, ideologically insistent on privatisation, cuts and anti-working class measures.

David John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Turville, served as the Chair of Sainsbury’s, the supermarket chain from 1992 to 1997.

He was made a life peer in 1997, and sat in the House of Lords as a member of the Labour Party.

He served in the government as the Minister for Science and Innovation from 1998 and 2006 and gifted Tony Blair’s New Labour Party a vast amount of money over the period 1996-2006 (£15m).

What did he get in return? A peerage and the post in government as Minister of Science were just two rewards of note.

Elected in 1997 the Blair government continually backed down on attempts to protect the health of the UK population by regulating the food industry.

In 2006 the nation witnessed yet another government climbdown on a solemn promise to force food manufacturers to cut salt levels in our food.

The plan was to reduce personal daily intake by 10gm to 6gm over the period ending in 2010.

Responding to pressure from the food manufacturing industry the daily target was revised upwards by the government to 8gm, where it remained at March 2015.

According to health experts, an extra 126,000 UK citizens died in the period 2006-2015 as a direct result of the revised policy .

Unsurprisingly the Food & Drink Federation representing Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets greatly welcomed the relaxed targets.

Companies such as, Somerfield, Safeway, Waitrose and Tesco also donated money to Blair and New Labour.

So it is not only over Iraq and Afghanistan that Blair and New Labour have “blood on their hands”.

 

 

 

2015: Food Standards Scotland Act 2015

In terms of food standard controls the UK, was to be returned to before the year 2000.

All measures considered necessary and put in place as a result of recurring failures by the food industry to ensure the safety of the public were to be set aside and replaced with the original inadequate control systems.

Supermarket profits were under pressure, for many reasons and this brought with it an ever increasing need to reduce manufacturing costs, placing food standards at risk.

A number of unacceptable incidences were exposed, horse meat sold as beef and unacceptable levels of Campylobacter in chickens caused public concern.

The Scottish SNP government, responding to public pressure was of the view that existing arrangements introduced by the Tory government were unacceptable to Scottish consumers and, following a period of intense discussion gained approval of Westminster to set up a food standard monitoring body which would report to the Scottish parliament.

The Food (Scotland) Bill set up a stand-alone food safety, standards and nutrition body in Scotland.

The Bill received Royal Assent from Her Majesty the Queen on 13th Jan 2015 creating the Food (Scotland) Act 2015 paving the way for Food Standards Scotland to operate as a legal body.

Food Standards Scotland, a non-ministerial government department of the Scottish Government became operational from 1 April 2015.

It took over all of the responsibilities of the former UK-wide organisation responsible for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection in Scotland. (Wikipedia)

http://blogs.scotland.gov.uk/newfoodbodyforscotland/2015/01/16/food-scotland-act-2015/

 

 

 

05 Dec 2016: UK pushes ahead with sugar tax

Excess consumption of sugar was officially linked to several health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

Consumption of sugar imposes health costs on individuals (lower life expectancy) and the rest of society (higher health care costs + lower productivity).

A tax on sugar will discourage consumption and raise tax revenue to fund improved health care.

Yet, critics argued that it would be a regressive tax taking more from those on low incomes.

The Tory government delayed on a decision but eventually it was forced by public pressure to act.

Draft legislation was put in place introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks from April 2018.

Two bands are proposed – one for soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and a higher one for drinks with more than 8g per 100ml.

Many companies have already begun cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks.

Pure fruit juices will be exempt – but health officials stress people should limit consumption of these beverages to no more than 150ml per day.

Likewise, sugary milkshake and yogurt drinks will also be excluded.

Ministers were concerned that teenagers, particularly girls, were not getting enough calcium and so taxing these drinks might be counterproductive.

The government has said it expects the levy to raise £520m in the first year.

The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the levy could add 18p to 24p to the price of a litre of fizzy drink if the full cost is passed on to the consumer.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health representative said: “We are very pleased to see government moving forward with this draft legislation.

The sugary drinks that will be affected by this tax have no nutritional benefit and often contain levels of sugar that are above a child’s daily recommended limit.

These drinks are a major contributor to the high sugar intakes of children, particularly teenagers, and we are in no doubt that they are, in part, contributing to this country’s obesity crisis.”

The restrictions:

Sugar in fizzy drinks. 35g

The amount of sugar in a 330ml can of Coca-Cola (7 teaspoons). 30g

The recommended max. intake of sugar per day for those aged 11+. 30g

Cancer Research UK estimates a 20% tax on sugary drinks could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next decade.

 

 

 

24 Aug 2017: Tesco named as supermarket at centre of hepatitis scare

Tesco has been named as the supermarket chain which may have infected people with hepatitis E from contaminated pork.

Public Health England confirmed that the UK’s biggest retailer was the supermarket identified in a study as the potential source of the virus in the UK.

Hepatitis E, or HEV, (1) is thought to have entered the country in pork imports from the Netherlands and Germany.

British pigs are not infected with the G3-2 strain of the hepatitis E which is thought to be behind most infections. (The Independent)

(1). Tens of thousands of Britons are being infected with a ‘potentially deadly liver virus’ in pork products, mostly imported from Europe.

According to the reports, the strain of hepatitis E, linked to pig farms in France, Holland, Germany and Denmark, is infecting more than 60,000 people in Britain a year.

While most cases are not serious, figures from Public Health England (PHE) show an increase in serious illnesses, from 368 in 2010 to 1,244 in 2016.

Transplant patients and pregnant women are considered especially at risk.

Dr Harry Dalton, a gastroenterologist at Exeter University said:

“I call it the Brexit virus, It attacks the liver and nerves. It is particularly dangerous for people with suppressed immune systems such as those who have had organ transplants and possibly cancer. ”

The reports also quoted a study showing the virus had spread to more than 90% of British pigs.

They also referred to research suggesting 10% of sausages could be affected.

In the UK, sausages with the “Red Tractor” logo are not permitted to include liver or offal, reducing the risk of contamination compared with countries where liver and blood sausages are popular.

The National Pig Association (NPA) issued a statement: “Research at Public Health England has shown that the subgroup of hepatitis E causing the majority of human infection in the UK is not the same as the subgroup found in UK pigs.

“The NPA agrees with the conclusion of the researchers that if people in this country have contracted hepatitis E virus from eating pork, it is likely to have come from imported pork, rather than British pork.

Further research and surveillance is required to determine the true cause of the rise in hepatitis E cases in the UK.

“NPA recommends that consumers follow the advice from the Food Standards Agency that pork and sausages should be cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout, with no pink or red in the centre, to greatly reduce the risk of infection.” (pig-world.co.uk)

 

 

 

30 Sep 2017: 2SFG – owned by food tycoon Ranjit Boparan – the largest supplier of poultry meat to United Kingdom supermarkets has been accused of altering sell by dates.

United Kingdom supermarkets have been forced to launch investigations into their chicken supply chain after undercover footage emerged that allegedly showed workers at its West Bromwich site dropping chicken on the floor before returning it to the production line.

The footage also showed workers repackaging mixed meat of different ages and changing source codes on crates of meat that had been returned to the factory by supermarket distribution centres, returning chicken to the production line that had been dropped on the floor, and altering records of where and when chickens were slaughtered.

It also emerged that packs of Tesco’ s “Willow Farm” fresh chicken were bulked up with unsold chicken returned by Lidl.

Food Standards Agency (England) announced it had launched an investigation into the claims, which include older birds being dumped in with fresh stock but given the same sell-by dates.

 

 

 

2 Oct 2017: Foreign sugar company sponsors Conservative conference

The Conservative Party has come under fire from angry farmers on social media after allowing a major US sugar company to sponsor its conference in Manchester.

US sugar company Tate & Lyle Sugars, a major exporter to the UK, is sponsoring the Conservative Party Conference, held in Manchester from 1 October to 4 October.2017.

Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward said: “Disgraceful. Conservatives sponsored at conference by Tate & Lyle, who provide foreign cane Sugar. So much for supporting British agriculture.”

Naomi Langford-Wood tweeted: “Back British sugar. No choice. Tate & Lyle is imported.”

The gaffe means that the Conservatives are advertising a brand which is a major competitor to British Sugar.

It comes just days after Defra Secretary Michael Gove and Tory MP Robert Jenrick recently visited the British Sugar factory at Newark to mark the end of the EU sugar quotas. Jenwick said the visit was made to “start a bright new future”.

The National Farmers’ Union even set up a ‘sensory farm’ inside the conference, which includes the “pledge apple tree”, where delegates can hang a paper apple on the prop to pledge their support for British farming.

On the weekend, NFU President Meurig Raymond said the Conference will give the union the “perfect opportunity” to speak to thousands of delegates about the British farming industry.

But today, NFU Vice President said: “Early off to Manchester to help man NFU stand. First job, change the lanyard on the pass. You won’t build a country on imports.”

(https://www.farminguk.com/News/-Disgraceful-Foreign-sugar-company-sponsors-Cons-_47544.html)

 

 

 

1 Oct 2017: Loss of Control of Scottish food standards – Post Brexit

The UK Government’s intention is that all powers that are currently exercised at EU level will, at least initially, transfer from Brussels to Westminster.

This includes powers in fields that are otherwise devolved to Scotland, Wales and/or Northern Ireland, such as the environment, agriculture and fisheries.

This has prompted accusations by the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers that the Bill is a “naked power grab”.

That dispute essentially concerns the interpretation of the devolution settlement.

The devolved administrations look at policy areas that are currently devolved and take the view that all ‘repatriated’ powers in those areas should be exercisable by the relevant devolved institution, and that to do otherwise would be to place restrictions on the current devolution settlement.

By contrast, the UK Government looks at the current responsibilities of the devolved institutions, as limited by EU law, and takes the view that there will be no reduction in the power of the devolved bodies if those issues currently dealt with by the EU are handled at UK level instead.

The Bill as currently drafted takes the latter approach, proposing to amend the Scotland Act 1998 (the 1998 Act) so that the Scottish Parliament, rather than being unable to legislate in a manner that is incompatible with EU law, will instead be forbidden from modifying “retained EU law”.

The UK Government would expect the effect of this to be maintenance of the existing limits on the devolved institutions’ competence, by denying them the ability to depart from retained EU law (including UK and devolved legislation) even in subject areas that are not expressly reserved to Westminster.

Interestingly, “retained EU law” is defined to include not just EU-derived law as it stands on exit day, but also that body of law as it is “added to or otherwise modified by or under this Act or other domestic law from time to time”.

The UK Parliament or Government will be able to alter retained EU law in future, with the law as amended remaining outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Essentially, the effect will be to ensure that things that are currently outside the competence of the devolved institutions because of EU law constraints will remain outside their competence, without the Bill taking the potentially more controversial step of expressly changing the list of reserved matters set out in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998.

The UK Government has nevertheless stated that it expects there to be a significant increase in the decision-making powers of the devolved institutions over time, though the Bill is silent on when and how a further devolution of ‘repatriated’ powers will take place, or which powers will be repatriated.

The UK Government paper on Brexit and devolution does, however, say that decision-making powers returning from the EU should be allocated within the UK “in a way that works – ensuring that no new barriers to living and doing business within the UK are created” (concerns have also been expressed by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, that powers should not be devolved in a way that would hamper the UK’s ability to enter into trade agreements). (1)

Subject to that overarching principle, the UK Government envisages “intensive discussion and consultation” with devolved authorities on where lasting common frameworks are or are not needed. Full article here: (http://www.brodies.com/binformed/legal-updates/the-european-union-withdrawal-bill-the-impact-on-scotland)

(1). Consumer protection laws and enforcement to be transferred to Westminster to ensure prevention of any barriers to UK trade.

This will include replacing Food Standards (Scotland) (FSS) which was put in place in 2015 to ensure that information and advice on food safety and standards, nutrition and labelling is independent, consistent, evidence-based and consumer-focused.

With its primary concern being consumer protection the agency is tasked with making sure that food is safe to eat, ensuring consumers know what they are eating and improving nutrition.

With that in mind, its vision is to deliver a food and drink environment in Scotland that benefits, protects and is trusted by consumers.

FSS develops policies, provides policy advice to others, is a trusted source of advice for consumers and protects consumers through delivery of a robust regulatory and enforcement strategy.

FSS was established by the Food (Scotland) Act 2015 as a non-ministerial office,     part of the Scottish Administration, alongside, but separate from, the Scottish Government.   (http://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/)

 

BBC Environment Podcasts – Informative If Biased – Well Worth Listening In – Kirstine Hair MP at it Again – Foot ‘n Mouth Disease

 

 

 

 

 

Environment reporting by the British Biased Corporation (BBC)

Audio podcasts covering the daily news of food, farming, fishing, the countryside and the environment with analysis and context from the BBC’s experts in the field.

An extract of podcasts reporting on subjects relevant to Scotland.

Listeners should track to the subject matter where needed.

 

 

 

 

19 Sep 2017: Kirstine Hair Tory MP for Angus – Calls for the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board to be abolished, and wages cut.

 

 

 

 

28 Aug 2017: Scottish community land purchase

The Highland Clearances of the early 19th century saw thousands of crofters moved from their homes in Scotland to poorer, lowland areas, allowing landowners to shift land use to large-scale sheep farming.

Called ‘improvement’, it was often anything but that for the crofters’ families.

Many were forced to emigrate, others stayed in Scotland but led poorer, harder lives, powerless to improve their lot or take charge of their own futures.

So when Sutherland Estates decided that it would make business sense not to continue their ownership of 3,000 acres of land on the east coast, at Helmsdale, and offered it for sale to the local community, there were obvious parallels with the fate of their ancestors, cleared to the area by the first Duke of Sutherland.

After a local ballot and many grant applications, the £300,000 they needed was raised – and the sale has been agreed.

Moira Hickey visits Helmsdale and hears why it’s important for local people to take charge of the four townships to which the 19th century crofters were moved.

They are, of course, a powerful reminder of the powerlessness of former generations, but also offer a practical opportunity for local people to create jobs, improve the land, apply for further funding and make it more likely that future generations will be able to stay in the area, if they choose to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

14 Aug 2017: Brexit and its impact on Scotland’s wide and diverse farming community.

 

 

 

12 Aug 2017: Salmon Farming in Scotland – Loch Leven near Glencoe.

Salmon farming in Scotland is only around 40 years old, but in that time the sector’s grown from producing 14 tonnes of farmed salmon back in 1971, to around 170,000 tonnes today.

But the industry is not without its critics: there are environmental concerns about the effect of sea lice, which can proliferate in densely stocked salmon cages, and the impact of pollution on sea lochs.

Many opponents also question the sustainability of the industry, and want to see fish farmed in closed containers rather than open water.

 

 

 

 

 

20 Jul 2017: Devolved Powers Post Brexit

A new report from the House of Lords has warned Westminster against trying to requisition powers currently held by the EU – such as those regarding farming, fishing and the environment – after Brexit, saying such a move could create instability.

The UK government had suggested such powers should return from Brussels to Westminster, but this week’s Brexit and Devolution Report slammed the suggestion, calling on them to instead give devolved authorities more influence in Brexit negotiations.

 

 

 

 

27 Jun 2017: Women in Agriculture in Scotland

A survey by Newcastle University, commissioned by the Scottish Government, has suggested that women aren’t sufficiently recognised or represented within the agricultural sector.

Now Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the launch of a new task-force to ensure females are properly acknowledged in the field.

It’ll be co-chaired by Joyce Campbell, a working farmer based in North Sutherland, and Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity – who’s shared his views on the report and the task ahead.

 

 

 

 

15 Jun 2017: Scottish Creel Fishermen call for ban on inshore trawlers

Creel fishermen in West Scotland are demanding a big change in the way fisheries are managed.

They want the Scottish government to ban trawlers from inshore waters and they say the move would create hundreds of new jobs.

But Scotland can’t control it if authority is with Westminster post Brexit.

 

 

 

 

13 Jun 2017: Michael Gove Gets a Leg up from Theresa May But is it a good move for Scotland

Michael Gove appointed Defra Secretary.

We have reaction from the Scottish fishing industry, Greenpeace and the National Farmers’ Union.

 

 

 

 

7 Jun 2017: George Monbiot starts a rammy about Trespass

The environmental author and journalist George Monbiot has started a heated debate about access to the countryside by posting a tweet encouraging people to trespass.

His comment has raised hackles in the farming world, but support from others.

Mr Monbiot clarified in another tweet, saying “To those reacting against my call to trespass, all I want is the same rights to walk in England and Wales as there are in Scotland.”

Malcolm Combe, lecturer at Aberdeen University’s school of law, outlines the difference between Scottish and English land access law.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Jun 2017 Game bird shooting in Scotland and how the fisher-folk intend to vote

There is to be an independent inquiry into licensing game bird shoots in Scotland.

The move, announced by the Scottish Government, follows the publication of an independent scientific report into the disappearance of satellite-tagged eagles.

Plus, reports on where Scotland’s fishing communities stand on the upcoming General Election.

 

 

 

 

3 Jun 2017: Three Young farmers have their say ahead of the General Election

Interviews with the agriculture and rural affairs spokespeople from the main political parties, ahead of next week’s general election.

A panel debate in which three young farmers (one from Kinross) discuss promises made by the politicians in their election manifestos.

As the next generation of people who will run farms and rural businesses, what do they make of the politicians’ pledges?

Note: The Scottish National Party are not included in the discussion. Unbalanced biased reporting by the BBC.

 

 

 

 

2 Jun 2017: SNP agriculture policy briefing

In Scotland much of agricultural policy is devolved and ballot box pledges are being weighed up, now that all the political parties in Scotland have published their manifestos.

 

 

 

 

 

22 May 2017: Oysters Return to Scottish waters

A special report from Scotland where wild oysters are back in Scottish waters for the first time in a hundred years.

 

 

 

 

18 May 2017: Scottish students have their say about farming policy post brexit

Farming today visits Scotland’s Rural College just outside Edinburgh and talks to staff and students there about their concerns as they look ahead to a post-Brexit agricultural future.

 

 

 

 

12 May 2017: Video evidence admissibility – forestry management

Wildlife crime is at the centre of a row in Scotland over the way video evidence is dealt with in court.

The RSPB is voicing its frustration at cases being dropped by the Crown Office.

The charity says films of attacks on birds of prey are evidence of cruelty but the independent prosecution service insists they are surveillance footage which is inadmissible.

Timber is big business in Scotland and now the Government in Edinburgh wants to change the way Forestry is run.

It has announced plans to fully devolve the work of the Forestry Commission north of the border.

But what will that mean for the future of research and disease prevention?

 

 

 

 

3 Mar 2017: Westminster is reneging on its promise to devolve powers Post Brexit

The Scottish National Party is complaining that promises to devolve powers over agriculture and fisheries after Brexit are already being watered down.

 

 

 

 

28 Jan 2017: UK fisheries post Brexit

What is the likely impact of Brexit on UK fisheries?

Peterhead is the UK’s largest fish market, in north east Scotland.

Reporter attends the early morning fish market at Peterhead, humming with activity, as 7,000 boxes of freshly caught fish are sold.

Among the twenty varieties under the hammer are some huge halibut’s, one of them over 100kg in weight, caught as far north as the Faroe Isles.

Jimmy Buchan of BBC2’s ‘Trawler men’ series reflects on the long term impact of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, which led to Peterhead’s fleet being cut by over 40% ten years ago.

But he’s optimistic about the opportunities for fisheries beyond Brexit.

The reporter also speaks to Fisheries Minister George Eustice who lays out his plans for ‘reclaiming UK waters’.

Meanwhile, the Peterhead Port Authority is undertaking a £50M infrastructure project that will reshape the port’s facilities and fish market for the future.

 

 

 

 

25 Jan 2017: English and Scottish fishing quota disagreement

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations in England has criticised Minister George Eustice over a deal which handed over 1,500 tonnes of north east Arctic cod quota from England to Scotland.

However, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation say the deal is fair, because it offsets issues caused by the EU ban on discarding fish.

The English group believe Mr Eustice caved in to political pressure from Edinburgh.

Farming Today brings together Barry Deas, leader of the NFFO, which represents the industry in England; and Bertie Armstrong – chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

 

 

 

 

19 Dec 2016: EU fishing fleet will still be given access to UK waters Post Brexit

British fishing fleets have been expecting Brexit to be good news for them but a House of Lords committee warns that continued access to the European market is vital for the industry and to get it ministers may have to give more European access to British waters.

Last week on Farming Today Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s federation outlined the deal he’d like and Lord Teverson, chair of the lords EU fisheries and agriculture committee explained why the fishing industry is so important to the UK.

 

Tales From the Backside – Lies Spies and Naked Thighs – News and Current Affairs Through the Medium That is the Most Corrupt Corporation in the World – The BBC

 

 

 

 

 

20 Sep 2017: BBC News and Current Affairs Scotland Staff and Presenters Are Guilty of Presenting Information Biased Against Scotland

Eleven years after exposure to the public that blatant bias is doctored into news bulletins and documentary reports the BBC News & Current Affairs Division of the corporation still actively embraces the policy despite a barrage of criticism from Scottish viewers / listeners, before, during and after the 2014 Independence referendum.

Balanced reporting and impartial presentation, (a requirement of the BBC charter) was abandoned and the Corporation silently decided upon implementing a programme of unqualified support for the “Better Together” Campaign.

Additional finance (£5m) was allocated, to the Scottish BBC News and Current Affairs team, in Glasgow many months before the referendum so that a restructuring programme could be put in place.

 

     

 

 

 

“The presenters, including BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, are shown attacking the fairness of the SNP’s proposed referendum question and claiming that Alex Salmond is ‘not impregnable’.

He also said Alex Salmon wished to include a devo-max option on the ballot paper in order to give him a ‘parachute’ should Scots fail to back independence.

In the presentation, Scotland is described as being in financial deficit and requiring subsidy.

Claims are also made that the SNP are ‘changing policy in order not to frighten the horses’.

Brian Taylor is shown claiming that Alex Salmond wants to delay the referendum in order to ‘sow dissent’ amongst Unionist parties, and saying “He [Salmond] wants a contest as close as possible to the next UK general election because he believes that by then his Unionist opponents will be fighting each other rather than fighting independence and Alex Salmond.

He wants to sow dissent among them”.

Taylor also claimed that the Scottish government’s proposed referendum question was not straightforward and simple.

The BBC Scotland man suggested it was designed to elicit a positive response.

On the proposed question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

Taylor said “Straight forward, simple – except it’s not.

The word ‘agree’ according to psephologists is a welcoming word, it draws people in.
People like to agree, they don’t like to disagree so the word there is good.

He added “Why does Alex Salmond favour a second question, devo max, and devo plus, why not just go for independence, which is the one he has the mandate for?

He wants a fall-back, he wants a parachute should independence fail to win”.

Also featured on the videos is BBC TV political commentator, Andrew Neil, a former editor of The Scotsman and the Sunday Times, BBC TV’s UK political editor, Nick Robinson. and BBC TV’s economics editor, Stephanie Flanders.

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/04/16/leaked-bbc-presetations-lead-news-website-question-impartiality-bbc-presenters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IepO9cnIk-w

 

 

 

 

21 Oct 2006: A Look Back – We are biased, admit the stars of BBC News

It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years.

The BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

At a secret meeting in London, hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

A leaked account of an ‘impartiality summit’ called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

A veteran BBC executive said, “There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.

Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.”

In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, (known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat) was a guest on the programme Room 101.

On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran.

Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show’s actual producer and the BBC’s head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.

Debating whether the BBC should interview Osama Bin Laden if he approached them, it was decided the Al Qaeda leader would be given a platform to explain his views.

Senior BBC figures queued up to lambaste the corporation for allowing TV newsreader Fiona Bruce, to wear, on air, a necklace with a cross.

The BBC’s ‘diversity tsar’, Mary Fitzpatrick, said Muslim women newsreaders should be able to wear whatever they wanted while on TV, including veils.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a ‘very senior news executive’, about the BBC’s pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: “The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.”

Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to work but was rebuked with: ‘You can’t do that, that’s like the National Front!

Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was full of intellectuals who: “would rather steal from a poor box than stand to attention during God Save The King”.

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to “correct”, it in his reports.

Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it “no moral weight”.

A lot of heat was generated when the debate addressed whether the BBC was too sensitive about criticising black families for failing to take responsibility for their children.

Head of news, Helen Boaden (1) disclosed that a Radio 4 programme blaming black youths at a young offenders’, institution for bullying white inmates faced the axe until she stepped in.

But Ms Fitzpatrick, who has said that the BBC should not use white reporters in non-white countries, argued it had a duty to ‘contextualise’ why black youngsters behaved in such a way.

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411846/We-biased-admit-stars-BBC-News.html)

(1) Helen Boaden was the BBC director of news who was the subject of heavy criticism for her poor handling of the Jimmy Saville debacle, and offered the job of running radio, with no loss of pay, instead.

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9858270/Helen-Boaden-offered-BBC-radio-job.html)

 

 

 

 

14 Jun 2014; BBC Scotland in breach of its editorial and commercial guidelines for allowing “Better Together” to use its headquarters, crews and other facilities to produce promotional cinema advertising

The BBC has denied there was any breach of its guidelines and said that political parties can use facilities on a commercial basis, but concerns have been raised by former BBC broadcaster Derek Batemen that the BBC is operating in a “grey zone”.

Better Together commissioned creative agency BD Network to make the ad, The Scotsman newspaper reported.

The agency sub-contracted work to production firm Early, a company co-founded by former executive producer at BBC Entertainment, Martyn Smith.

The advert was shown in cinemas last month, but cinema chains including Odeon, Cineworld and Vue later decided to ban all referendum advertising from outlets.

BBC guidelines state: “Any activity involving a third party that could potentially undermine the BBC’s editorial integrity must be referred, in advance to the editorial policy department.

Examples of such organisations include: political parties, government departments and foreign government; lobbying organisations.”

Guidelines also state that the: “value and reputation of the BBC brand may be damaged if any part of the BBC is seen to be associated with inappropriate third parties”.

The revelations will fuel speculation over the state broadcaster’s impartiality in Scotland ahead of the independence referendum.

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/06/14/bbc-scotland-facing-questions-allowing-pro-union-better-together-group-use-crew-and

 

 

 

 

11 Sep 2014: Nick Robinson hijacks conference to berate Alec Salmond

Nick Robinson BBC reporter was provided with fully comprehensive answers to a number of rambling questions by an always patient Alex Salmond.

Robinson acknowledged answers by nodding his head in agreement at the end. Video length 6 mins 52 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp8gYWUnKCc

 

 

 

 

11 Sep 2014; Same conference different approach by “Better Together supporting media” – Alex Salmond goes to war with BBC over RBS ‘leak’

Daily Telegraph article together with a heavily edited video, (2 min 02 secs).

An irate Alex Salmond today declared war on the BBC after the Corporation disclosed Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to move its headquarters to England if there is a Yes vote.

The First Minster accused Nick Robinson of heckling him and demanded the Corporation cooperate with a leaks inquiry over RBS’s announcement.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11089702/Alex-Salmond-goes-to-war-with-BBC-over-RBS-leak.html

 

 

 

 

11 Sep 2014; Same conference Robinson’s take on events – BBC bias and propaganda at it’s finest

Nick Robinson caught Lying about Alex Salmond not answering a question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_XhTALHQzI

 

 

 

 

12 Sep 2014; Balance failure in BBC Scottish independence referendum coverage ‘wrong and unacceptable’ says Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove

Stuart Cosgrove, has slammed the lack of journalistic scrutiny of Scottish independence referendum ‘scare headlines’ and called for a re-think at the BBC on the nature of balance and due impartiality.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Cosgrove said misreporting over claims the Royal Bank of Scotland would move jobs to England in the event of a Yes vote had been shown to be lacking substance and scrutiny after RBS issued a clarification to the media confirming any move would be relevant to “operations, not people”.

He told BBC presenter John Beattie:

“I think elsewhere in the media and elsewhere within this organisation, the last 24 hours have allowed people to assume that this is about job losses in Scotland and the loss of great, significant investment.

It’s clearly now is not, and yet another story when investigated the day after is proved to not have anything like the substance [it seemed].

The lack of scrutiny of this and the idea that people just wanted scare headlines I think is an outrage, particularly at this stage in the referendum when there’s so much to talk about and where journalism should be coming alive.

Let’s just take the BP example; we are being told that BP are moving to London.

Really?  What exactly are they going to do given the £200m they’ve recently invested in offshore drilling technology – where are they going to be drilling? Hemel Hempstead? Of course they’re not.”

He added that following the referendum there should be an examination of how the BBC measured balance and impartiality in its coverage, saying that applying election coverage models to the referendum when the main parties are unionist could limit time given to voices from the Yes side.

“One of the things I’d like to challenge, and I think it’s something we’ll need to talk about once the referendum’s over – and I think it has a significant impact on this institution, the BBC – is the nature of balance and due impartiality,” he said.

“Yesterday, I was watching the rolling BBC News very closely and it was clear that notions of balance were being predicated on a party political basis.

The camera panned from Cameron to Miliband to Clegg and back.throughout the programme.

“If you look at it as a different premise – it’s a yes/no question – then Patrick Harvie of the Greens, who is not the leader but is a significant political person within the Yes campaign, should have had exactly the same coverage as Ed Miliband.

Do you think for a second he got that? Of course he didn’t.

I think there’s been a failure of the understanding of the nature of balance and due impartiality. It’s simply wrong and not acceptable.”

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/12/balance-failure-bbc-scottish-independence-referendum-coverage-wrong-and-not

 

 

 

14 September 2014: BBC insists independence campaign coverage was ‘rigorously impartial’ as campaigners protest outside Pacific Quay offices

As a crowd demonstrated outside of the headquarters of BBC Scotland on the afternoon of Sunday 13 September, with a banner being used to call for the sacking of the corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, the BBC released a statement to deny the accusations that its coverage was biased.

A BBC spokesperson told The Drum: “We believe our coverage of the referendum has been rigorously impartial and in line with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality.”

The Yes campaign reacted following a clash between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Robinson earlier in the week during a press conference where Salmond demanded an inquiry into who leaked the decision by the Royal Bank of Scotland to relocate its headquarters to England in the event of Scottish independence.

Robinson had attempted to push Salmond for a response on the economic significance of such a decision by the bank, which led to Salmond accusing him of ‘heckling’.

Speaking afterwards to BBC Radio Scotland, Salmond said of the leak: “What concerned me is not the impact on jobs because there will be none…what really concerns me is how this information was released to the BBC.”

BBC reporters have also faced further accusations of bias in their reporting directly through social media.

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/14/bbc-claims-scottish-independence-campaign-coverage-rigorously-impartial-campaigners

 

 

 

 

 

People of Influence – Richard Leonard – The Likely Lad From Yorkshire Thinks his Boats Come In Confirming his Destiny is to lead the Labour party in Scotland

 

 

 

Richard Leonard

 

 

 

Family Background – Richard Leonard – Labour Party (List) Member of Scottish Parliament

Richard’s 3rd Great-grandfather, (Roman Catholic), Francis Leonard, his wife Jane and 4 children left Co Tyrone around 1850 and took up residence in Whitfield, Yorkshire.

Francis was a stone cutter to trade.

His two girls Ellen B1833 and Mary B1837 gained employment in cotton weaving.

Richard’s 2nd Great-grandfather, Peter, b1839 in Ireland was employed in an Iron foundry.

Living in Leeds in 1863, he married Yorkshire born widow, Frances b1835.

They had seven children (5 boys and 2 girls).

Richard’s Great-grandfather, (Church of England), Arthur, b1874 in Leeds was employed by Leeds Corporation as a sewage worker.

In Leeds in 1896 he married Yorkshire lass Esther b1879.

They had six children (3 girls and 3 boys)

Richard’s Grandfather, John William, b1908 in Leeds was employed as an engineer.

In 1930 in Bramely, W Yorks. he married Lily b1912.

Richard’s father Yorkshire born, Derek (1932-1999) married Janet in Leeds in 1939.

They had three children (2 girls and Richard b1962)

Richard was born in Buckrose, Yorkshire, England.

An intelligent boy he was fortunate in receiving a local authority scholarship which allowed his education from 1973-80 at Pocklington School, an independent school in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

After School he studied for a degree in politics and economics at the University of Stirling.

Information available provides no record of his gaining a degree from his time at University.

He married Kathryn in 1989 and had one son b1995 in Paisley.

They divorced in 2000.

He married divorcee, Karen in 2011.

The couple reside in Paisley together with his son and Karen’s daughter from her previous marriage.

Karen is a senior office holder with the GMB ensuring Richard is able to keep his finger on the pulse of Union politics

 

 

 

Political Career

Leonard worked as a research assistant to Alex Falconer MEP from 1985 for six years, before moving on to become Assistant Secretary of the STUC where he was responsible for economic affairs in a post he held for five years.

In 1996 Richard left the STUC to take up the role of an Organiser for the GMB union representing workers in manufacturing, commercial and public services across Scotland.

The GMB’s Political Officer in Scotland, he served as Chairperson of the Scottish Labour Party between 2002 and 2003.

First elected to the Labour Party Scottish Executive Committee in 1997 he is its longest serving member.

For many years Richard has been a regular writer and campaigner on the economy; contributing to various publications.

He has served on the Board of the Govan Initiative in Glasgow and then the Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency since 2000.

He was a Friends of the Earth (Scotland) Board member from 2005 to 2008.

He stood as the Labour candidate for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, coming second.

Then, in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election he gained a seat in Holyrood as a List MSP.

 

 

The Keir Hardy Association

Inspired politically by Labour’s first leader Keir Hardie Richard co-founded, together with Joe Culliane, (Leader of North Ayrshire Council) the Keir Hardie Society in 2010.

He is the Secretary of the Society and Vice Chairperson of the Scottish Labour History Society.

Other significant Scottish Labour party followers of the Keir Hardie doctrine include Ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Scottish labour party Deputy leader, MSP Alex Rowley and former Leadership front runner MSP Neil Lindsay.

Historical biography of keir Hardie here: (https://gerryco23.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/keir-hardie-a-message-for-today-from-labours-past/)

 

Comment: I doubt Keir Hardie would have been a member of the present day Labour Party since the bulk of its policies conflict with his attitude to social justice.

That being the case it is clear that the Labour party abandoned the values of Keir Hardie many years ago in search of the Yankee dollar.

In a number of public addresses extolling his virtues, Richard Leonard exercised selective amnesia claiming the Labour Party had been founded by Hardie, which is not the case.

The facts are that at a meeting in Glasgow, in August 1888 the entirely autonomous “Scottish Labour Party” was formed by kindred spirits, Keir Hardy,(Party Secretary) and Robert Cunninghame-Graham, (President).

Cunninghame-Graham went on to found the “National Party of Scotland”, later the “Scottish National Party” (SNP).

 

 

 

The Early Years in Politics

Leonard was at the peak of his powers in the Labour Party in Scotland, in the period 1996-2004.

His inner circle of like minded colleagues included Jack McConnnell, Alex Rowley, Neil Lindsay and Gordon Brown.

Events have gone full circle and it appears his time has come again.

A number of noteworthy incidences occurring between 1996-2002 provide example of the simmering conflict between Blair and Leonard.

 

 

 

2 Sep 1996: At the Beck and Call of Cardinal Puff; the Humbling of Scottish Labour over Devolution Underlines Tony Blair’s authority over His Party

When I was young, we used to play a pub game called Cardinal Puff.

The person elected as Cardinal Puff commanded the company to perform a series of rather ridiculous actions.

For instance, it might be: `Cardinal Puff says: `Place your beer-mug on your head.”

The first person who failed to follow instructions or broke sequence bought the next round. Cardinal Puff himself never paid.

The Labour Party has been playing Cardinal Puff ever since it elected Tony Blair as leader, and this weekend it has been the turn of the national executive of the Scottish wing of the party to jump obediently through the hoops at Cardinal’s Puff’s behest

Naturally they have done so like obedient poodles.

Some may have jumped with gritted teeth, but they have jumped nevertheless, submitting their will to his.

 

Richard Leonard and wife Karen

 

 

8 Feb 1997: Blair’s wild bunch. The Scottish Labour Party

In most of Britain, politicians are obsessed by the general election, now no more than 12 weeks away.

Many Scottish Labour politicians, however, have their minds on another election at least two years away: the election to the Scottish parliament which Labour has promised if it wins power at Westminster.

Some senior Labour figures are seriously worried by the power struggle already under way in the party north of the border.

Unchecked, it might imperil devolution, and rekindle the movement for full Scottish independence.

Turmoil in the Scottish Labour Party may come to a head at its conference on March 8th.

For it is here that annual elections to Labour’s Scottish executive take place, and the committee elected this year will draw up the rules for choosing candidates for a Scottish parliament.

These rules will largely determine which Labour politicians obtain a seat in Edinburgh.

In Scottish politics, New Labour does not yet rule.

 

 

 

4 Jul 1998: Dewar’s distress: Scottish Labour Party and its secretary, Donald Dewar, face challenge from Scottish National Party

In Tony Blair’s impending cabinet reshuffle, one unexpected problem is suddenly looming large: what to do about Donald Dewar, the Scottish secretary.

Unexpected, because a few months ago, no minister’s stock was higher.

Mr Dewar had delivered an emphatic Yes in the referendum on the Scottish parliament and has been skilfully steering through Westminster the highly complicated bill to set it up.

But back in Scotland, everything seems to be falling apart.

Disgruntled Labour Party members who failed to be selected as potential Labour candidates for the Scottish elections demonstrated outside the party’s offices in Glasgow on June 29th.

 

 

 

10 Feb 2002: As Blair battles with Labour’s oldest allies, Jack McConnell faces a harsh choice in Scotland: follow the UK way or nail his colours to the traditional mast.

The case for Scottish home rule was based on the idea that the nation was different.

Yet, less than two years after devolution, it is England that is turning into the foreign land.

With the Prime Minister leading the charge for reformers against wreckers, the dominant part of the UK is changing fast while Scotland is becoming a bastion of stability – or stagnation.

The past week found Tony Blair doing what he does best: taking on the movement he nominally leads.

Hostilities were meant to be opened with the speech he was supposed to make to the TUC on September 11, a date that could have gone down as a watershed in British politics but ended up taking on far greater symbolism.

Instead, February 3 will be seen as the day that defined Blair’s second term.

 

 

 

30 Sep 2002: Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour Party Chairman Signals Split With Blair Policies

The chairman of Scottish Labour has called for socialism to become the party’s rallying-call during next year’s Holyrood elections – signalling a deep and damaging split with both Tony Blair and the party in England.

Richard Leonard, an ally of Jack McConnell, has said the party needs to go to the polls being “less apologetic and less defensive about our socialism” and needs to “rediscover its soul”.

His comments will infuriate Mr Blair, who vowed yesterday to press ahead with controversial public sector reforms – despite damning criticism from union leaders.

The Prime Minister faces embarrassment today at the party conference in Blackpool over the issue, but both he and Alan Milburn, the health secretary, signalled their determination yesterday to continue with changes including extension of Private Finance Initiatives.

 

 

 

22 Apr 2014: Leonard Supports Labours Campaign Against Independence – But Loses the Argument

Nation-wide branch Skills Development Scotland held a Yes/No debate at their 2014 AGM.

Richard Leonard, GMB’s political officer represented the “No” campaign, United for Labour, and went head-to-head with Richie Venton of Trade Unionists for Independence.

Yes emerged the popular choice of the night.

Skills Development Scotland branch secretary, Derek Cheyne, said: “It was a really good debate – I think a lot of people really engaged and we had a great turn out as well.

I’ve got to say, I think that most of the questions from the floor were very pro-yes.

We’ve not canvassed on whether our members are yes or no, but I got the feeling tonight Yes was dominant.

I hope it has energised our members, that they become more involved whether it’s yes or no – that’s entirely up to them, because my union has taken a more neutral stance, adding, But as I said – tonight seemed to be quite positively on the Yes side.”

Richie Venton said: “It was an excellent debate – there were some forceful arguments, but very respectful.

For me, probably the most significant factor is that trade unionists spelt out that the struggle for “Yes” is driving towards the conclusion that we need radical change in society.

And that will build the basis for a future shaping of Scotland in an entirely different direction – to favour the working class.”

 

 

 

Trident – Scottish Labour Party Decide the Policy

Conference debated Trident.

In an active debate discussion centred on trade union concerns about the threat to jobs that non-renewal would create.

The carefully worded composite saying that “prior to any decision to cancel Trident firm commitments should be made to retaining defence workers jobs”, was sufficient to attract UNITE’s support.

The GMB remained implacably opposed, saying that diversification would never deliver well paid secure jobs and that it was “pie in the sky”.

In his summing up speech a delegate from Glasgow South-side CLP remarked he would rather have pie in the sky than a mushroom cloud.

In the end, Conference voted 70% to 30% in favour of “not seeking a replacement for Trident and abandoning plans to spend billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons.”

Note: The Labour Party’s current policy is to support Trident, backed by its party conference.

Corbyn has said that the policy would be reviewed by any future Labour government.

Leonard supports the GMB position which is to retain Trident

 

 

 

Leonard’s Bid for the Leadership of the Scottish Labour Party

His bid for a starring role in Scottish politics so late in the day raises the question. Why now?

His answer might well be, why not?

Everyone else has had a go at it and failed!!

An added incentive included the early withdrawal from the race of Leonard admirers, Alex Rowley and Neil Lindsay who publicly pledged their support.

The Party in Scotland is bogged down at a crossroads and going nowhere.

A wrong turn now might well bring about its final demise and it is important that the new leader should be able to motivate party members closely empathising with the politics of the Labour party in England.

Leonard fits the pattern.

He is highly intelligent and greatly experienced politically through his long service with Labour stalwarts from the past and many years working in the industrial sector with the GMB union.

The very fact that party members respond, Richard who? to mention of his candidacy is a gift to his campaign since it confirms he is carrying no negative political baggage.

As was Keir Hardie, Leonard is a federalist,(stopping just short of independence) a belief that has wide support within the party.

In this respect he will insist the party in Scotland maintains autonomy whilst retaining full membership of the Labour movement within the British isles.

Press releases have Jeremy Corbyn supporting home rule within the UK and this bodes well for the party in Scotland.

He has a firm grasp of economics, through his many years as the economics policy advisor for the GMB and will propose radical solutions to economic, financial and social areas of concern.

But, as is the case with Corbyn and McDonald.

The devil is in the detail and how do we pay for it? will be the question asked many times but rarely answered.

By result stretching credibility beyond an acceptable level.

Alex Rowley’s daughter, Danielle Rowley, MP for Midlothian is to lead Leonard’s campaign.

 

 

 

Hows the Campaign Going so Far?

Pundits have Leonard pulling ahead in the race as Corbynites grab control of Scottish Labour.

Rival Anas Sarwar’s support is evaporating fast as his colleagues come under pressure from the, “Campaign for Socialism” group which has members in just about every control level of the party.

De-selection beckons for any councillor, MSP or MP not onside as left wingers within constituencies assert their authority.

A Sarwar supporter said: “It’s a coup. They know they will face reselection and a Corbynite candidate could easily be moved up the list at the next election.

They want to save their jobs and that means we’re looking at an Englishman nobody outside the union movement has heard of leading Scottish Labour.

The divisions within the party emerged as Labour MSPs met for an “away day” excursion at the Holyrood MacDonald hotel, in the shadow of the parliament.

The event had been arranged before Dugdale quit but the battle to succeed her dominated discussions.

A source said: “it’s now clear elected politicians are moving behind Central list MSP Leonard.

I am resigned to seeing trade union votes move solidly behind Englishman Leonard, thanks to his 20 years’ service as a GMB official.

 

 

 

17 Sep 2017: Leadership Candidate Leonard Vows Party Will Rediscover Socialism

Leonard believes in a wider labour movement beyond Scotland.

He is an internationalist believing the labour movement to be built on the principles of solidarity and collectivism.

His goal in life is to actively participate in the construction of a society based on the, human, social and economic values of democratic socialism.

Vowing Labour would not form a pact with the SNP or back a second independence referendum under his leadership he admitted his political views have gone in and out of fashion over time but drew parallels with Corbyn – a success story he hopes to emulate.

If elected First Minister, he vowed to pursue policies redistributing power, including an industrial strategy for full employment, tough rent controls, a workers’ right to buy their companies and to nationalise failing public services such as Scot Rail and Royal Mail.

He also backs the UK Labour leadership’s view on Brexit, for a long-term transition period with Britain in the single market.

Launching his leadership bid, he promised that Labour would “rediscover our ethical socialist roots”. (highbeam)

 

Comment:

As a member of the Labour party Leonard has to take and abide by the instructions of his his party whip.

This means that he can never support or devise policies that are not agreed by the UK Labour party.

Therefore, if successful in his leadership campaign he can only aspire to be a branch manager for Labour in Scotland.

Economic policies that primarily benefit voters in England are the only policies that he or any other candidate for the leadership of the Scottish labour party will be allowed to promote.

Economic policies designed to meet Scottish needs and circumstances can only be committed to by a party answerable to Scottish voters and he isn’t a member of such a party.

 

 

 

14 Sep 2017: Aspiring Labour Leader Richard Leonard Fears Scottish Parliament Hasn’t Lived Up to its Potential

Richard Leonard helped set up the Scottish Parliament – but 20 years after the referendum he fears it hasn’t lived up to its potential.

In an interview, he claimed an air of complacency has replaced the early optimism of Holyrood.

Now the Jeremy Corbyn ally is determined to become Scottish Labour’s next leader and bring about “radical change”.

Leonard might lack a big public profile – he was first elected just last year – but his party credentials stretch back decades.

In the 90s, Leonard’s role at the Trades Union Congress gave him a steering hand in the creation of the parliament in which he now represents Central Scotland.

“The whole point about that whole campaign was we wanted a parliament to do things differently, bring about some radical change,” he said.

“The document we worked on at the time was called ‘power for change’ so it was a vision of a very different Scotland, based in the context of Thatcherism, John Major, and ideologically driven Tory government and how we could do something here to act as a bulwark.”

Almost 20 years to the day since the Yes-Yes vote for a parliament with tax-raising powers, is he pleased with what he sees?

“Yes and no,” Leonard said. “It’s done some great things like legislation on land reform and Legislation on homelessness was world-leading.

The creation of a co-operative development agency was an important step forward.

We’ve got a resilient labour market and our NHS waiting times are better than in England but is that really the limit of our ambitions?

A lot of the potential has not been realised.

If I look at areas where there have been powers from the creation of the parliament, whether it’s housing, education and training policy, industrial and manufacturing policy.

In those areas we haven’t realised the potential. “The reasons that drove me to stand was, frankly, a sense of frustration that the hopes and aspirations which led us to campaign for the Scottish Parliament haven’t been realised.” (Daily Record)

 

 

 

Leonard Intends to Do a Corbyn on Scotland

Leonard campaigned to remain in the EU but says he respects the UK-wide referendum decision.

He raised eyebrows, however, by ignoring the party whip in a symbolic Holyrood vote against Theresa May’s decision to trigger EU exit negotiations.

“For the SNP this was all about a second independence referendum so that was a reason why I voted against it,” he said.

Predictable questions have also been raised by anonymous party figures about an Englishman leading Scottish Labour.

But Leonard believes Scottish politics needs to shake itself out of an obsession with geography. He said:

“All my experience of all these years in Scotland is people are tolerant and welcoming, it shouldn’t be an issue, It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going to.

Politics should be about political principles, not geography.

And one of the problems about politics in recent years is that people have been far too mesmerised with geography and not concentrated enough on political principle, and that’s something I’d aim to change, adding, I see great opportunities for transforming Scotland.

The best way to do that is leading the Scottish Labour Party. And on the platform of that, to be the next Labour first minister.”

 

Leonard, a member of CND he supports retention of Trident

 

 

6 Sep 2017: Neil Lindsay (MSP) Answers Questions. Who is Richard Leonard?

Q. Neil, many thanks for making time for us. Tell us about Richard Leonard.

A. Richard may not be famous to people outside the party yet, but he’s very well known within Scottish Labour.

He studied here, worked for the Scottish TUC and then for Alec Falconer when he was an MEP.

Alec was well-known, a former dockyard worker and a huge character.

Between them, they ran every left organisation and campaign for years and they were formidable – ‘a pair and a half’.

They both used to share an office with Gordon Brown – they always got along well but from time to time there were good-natured differences!

For the last 20 years Richard was a trade union official, latterly political officer with GMB Scotland [union].

He’s intelligent, thoughtful and consistent in his politics.

He’s never aligned himself publicly with any group or faction in Scotland but he’s always been supportive and worked closely with the left.

He’s also savvy – he didn’t get involved in the Better Together campaign, recognising what a disaster that would be for Labour in Scotland and he was proved absolutely right.

He’s a thinker. He’s written extensively about public and employee ownership and recently developed Scottish Labour’s industrial strategy; he’s a real Labour historian and founding member of the Keir Hardie Society.

But he’s got real-world, practical intelligence – as a union man he’s negotiated with angry employers and knows how to handle people.

Q. And he’s a Corbyn supporter?

A. Look, Richard is his own man – but he has the courage of his convictions.

He signed a letter with me, Alex Rowley and others last year supporting Corbyn’s leadership when that was very unfashionable in Scotland.

Whilst he hasn’t been a member of the CFS [Scottish, ‘Campaign for Socialism’] he most certainly has never been a member of Progress either. I regard him as politically a very close friend.

Q. Unfashionable?

A. During the leadership contest last year, more full Labour members backed Owen Smith than Jeremy.

However, when you included registered supporters, Scottish Labour backed Corbyn.

It’s a different electorate now even compared to last year and it’s been changing for a good while.

When I stood against Jim Murphy, there were only about 15,000 members and the party was on its arse – but even then I got 35% when I was fighting the entire party Establishment and a well-resourced candidate. Sarah [Boyack] took 9% and Jim 55%.

That meant that even in 2014 45% of Scottish Labour members supported left candidates. Now we have around 22,000 members and 9,000 registered supporters.

Q. So registered supporters will participate in this contest too – will they have to pay again to register?

A. Yes, they’ll have a vote – there’s a meeting on Saturday to agree the rules.

Q. How do you see the contest unfolding?

A. I think it’s wide open and all to play for.

We’re planning a campaign based on policy not personality and I hope that will be the same for both candidates.

Neither Richard nor Anas are the kind of people to do personal attacks.

The key issue is going to be resources. Anas’ campaign will be extremely well resourced with no shortage of funds

Q. Now, I have to ask: what about accents? Is it going to matter that Richard’s originally from England?

A. I think the accent issue is hugely overplayed.

There’ll be a flurry of interest and then it’s over. Richard’s one of us and he’s been here over thirty years since he was at uni, but we’re going to be concentrating on policy and vision. That’s what sets him apart.

Q. Are you playing a formal role in his campaign?

A. No, I’ll be helping in whatever way is needed.

The head of his campaign has just been appointed and there’ll be news about that shortly but people will be very pleased with the person who’s going to be running things for Richard There’ll be an announcement shortly.

Q. How would you like to round off the interview?

A. Policies and vision are the key. If people want a Scottish Labour leader who won’t just help restore the party’s fortunes in Scotland but will bring a genuine vision for the whole country, they’ll vote for Richard.

Conclusion: The SKWAWKBOX has already endorsed Richard Leonard for the Scottish Labour leadership, but our conversation with the highly-regarded Neil Findlay has only reinforced the conviction that, while his opponent Anas Sarwar represents a step back to the bad old days for Labour in Scotland, Leonard can be the leader who takes the party forward – and is good for the country.

 

 

 

21 Sep 2017: More unions want Leonard for leader

The left-wing candidate in the Scottish Labour leadership contest received the support of two more trade unions yesterday.

Central Scotland MSP Richard Leonard was backed by train drivers’ union Aslef and Unite Scotland in his bid to defeat “moderate” candidate Anas Sarwar.

Mr Leonard, who was a GMB union organiser for 20 years, received support from rail union TSSA last Friday and is expected to gain further labour movement endorsements over the coming weeks.

Since entering the contest Leonard, an unwavering supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has put forward a manifesto that includes rent controls and an industrial strategy involving public ownership of rail and mail.

Unite Scotland chair Scot Walker said: “We want Labour to take the radical socialist road in Scotland.

We support Richard Leonard because we believe he would take us on that journey.

We urge Unite members to follow our lead and vote for Richard in the coming election.”

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We’re proud to support his campaign. He’s a committed trade unionist and recognises that the people of Scotland are hungry for change.

I know that under Richard’s leadership, train drivers will have a robust voice in Scotland.”

Aslef’s Scotland organiser Kevin Lindsay said: “I’ve known Richard for many years. He wants to ensure Scotland’s railways are run for the people, not to subsidise the fares of our European neighbours or to be given away as dividends to line the pockets of private company shareholders.

He’ll represent the vast majority of Scottish people who are fed up with the status quo.”