The SNP have narrowly taken control of the city council in Dundee, affectionately awarded the title the “Yes” city after it voted to leave the UK in the 2014 Independence referendum together with Glasgow.
But Sturgeons claims that the results in Dundee vindicate her governments approach to independence are fanciful in the extreme.
A review of the voting pattern of those that voted contradicts her euphoric razzmatazz. Her plans for a referendum will founder badly. With luck she might then resign.
A significant number of the Alba Party founder members are former stalwarts of the SNP who became disillusioned with the Stalinist doctrinal centralisation of decision making on the Party leader to the exclusion of wiser council from the NEC and wider membership and decided to take the message of independence to Scots through the medium of a new party dedicated to taking Scotland forward to independence with this aim being the overriding purpose of the party.
Many Scots still have little knowledge of Alba which has only been in existence for a year, despite the sterling efforts of its members and candidates pounding the streets of their constituencies day and night throughout the month of April and early May 2022. The foregoing is coupled with a blanket media ban encouraged by the SNP leadership cabal who call the shots through the provision of significant financial support to newspapers and other media outlets preventing the reporting of ALBA party policies and candidates across all unionist and nationalist outlets.
In voting for the SNP many Scots are sticking with what they believe is a sustained and determined effort by the SNP leadership to gain independence for Scotland even when provided with facts and figures that completely refute this. Why? Fear is the motivating factor!! Many are aware the SNP membership are simply not interested in gaining independence since success would bring an end to the £31-£40 million annual financial gravy train presently transferred from the coffers of the nation to a select group of 800+ SNP politicians many of have been in the employ of the SNP their entire working life and their political careers are riddled with examples of incompetence so gross it is beyond any justification for them to remain in the public employ
I will wind up this article by addressing Sturgeon’s irresponsible claims about the outcome of the local elections which she is purporting to be the launch pad for an independence referendum in 2023. No it bloody isn’t !!!
I had a closer look at the Aberdeen results, see below. A count of first preference votes only is revealing. The outcome of a referendum in 2023 would bring a result unchanged from 2014.
That is the progress Sturgeon has made in respect of independence. Nowt.
Abdul Rauf convicted fraudster and resident of Govan
In 1993, Wheeler and dealer Abdul Rauf signed a 25-year-lease on the Brougham Street, Tollcross Post Office, Edinburgh owned by Post Office Counters Ltd. The annual rent was £9,200.
He was jailed in 1996 for four years for forging signatures on and cashing in 779 Department of Social Security payment orders to a value of £58,264 between June 1993 and July 1994. He did so by forging signatures on the payment orders and cashing them.
Rauf used cash gathered from his fraudulent activities to purchase a flat in Dalkeith Road, for £28,100 in 1996 , value £200,000 at 2010, which provided him with rental income of £10,000 per annuum.
He also purchased a large house in Glasgow’s Springkell Avenue, near Maxwell Park, Glasgow, for £93,000. The luxury home in Glasgow’s southside is valued at around £850,000 in 2022.
He went on to purchase a second flat at Lochrin Place, Tollcross, Edinburgh, near to his post office business for £14,000 in November 1994, which he sold on to his wife Irfana. Mrs Rauf sold the Lochrin Place flat in 1998, for £43,000. It is not known if she had rented out the flat or lived in it herself.
Lord Sutherland jailed Rauf for 4 years and told him: “This case discloses a very serious breach of trust which appears to have been carried on quite deliberately for a period of over a year and involved a very substantial amount of money.”
He was convicted in 2008 on fraud charges for a second time for claiming £80,000 income support from the Department of Work and Pensions while receiving up to £10,000 annual rent from the property in Edinburgh’s Dalkeith Road which he failed to declare. In his defence he told Social Security investigators that the ownership of the flat had “slipped his mind”.
11 Feb 2010: Nicola Sturgeon MSP for Govan
Aware that a custodial sentence for benefit fraud would be the outcome of his trial, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister wrote a letter of support for Abdul Rauf, one of her constituents in which she asked the court to consider “alternatives to a custodial sentence”. Defence advocate Donald Findlay produced the letter of support from Nicola Sturgeon.
In it she wrote: “Mr Rauf has accepted his wrong doing and has experienced the consequences of it through the effect on his health, the distress caused to his family and the impact on his standing in his community. He has already paid £27,000 of the outstanding balance to the DWP and will settle the remainder by selling property. He and his wife are anxious that a custodial sentence may be imposed by the court and of the effect this will have on Mr Rauf’s health and the impact on family life. I would appeal to the court to take the points raised here into account and consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.”
Sheriff Alan MacKenzie told Rauf that a jail term was “at the forefront” of his mind but said he would defer sentence for three months and released him on bail. He added: “I will take into account all that has been said on your behalf, including a letter from a member of the Scottish Parliament.”
11 Feb 2010: Holyrood MSP’s castigate Sturgeon
Sturgeon faced calls to resign after writing a letter in support of a man who could be jailed for benefit fraud. She responded saying she was “duty-bound” as a constituency MSP to make “reasonable representations” on behalf of 60-year-old Abdul Rauf who defrauded more than £80,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions.
But ever loyal First Minister Alex Salmond defended her decision to ask a court to consider alternatives to custody in the case, saying: “This is not a matter connected with her role as Deputy First Minister but, let me be absolutely clear, I absolutely back her.”
Bill Aitken, Conservative justice spokesman, said: “It is extraordinary to describe a second conviction for fraud as a ‘mistake’. Either she didn’t care about his previous fraud conviction or she didn’t check. Either would be unbelievable and a grave lapse of judgement. Ms Sturgeon trained as a solicitor, is an MSP and the deputy first minister of Scotland. Her judgement in this matter is completely flawed and she has serious questions to answer.”
Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said: “If the facts of the case are as they appear and Nicola Sturgeon made such an appalling error of judgement she must resign. Last week she was selling access to raise funds for the SNP. Now she is prepared to give a character reference for a convicted fraudster.”
12 Feb 2010: Glasgow’s Asians deny knowing Abdul Rauf
Rauf, the man at the heart of the benefits fraud scandal, was described by Nicola Sturgeon in her letter of support as being “heavily involved” in his community but Glasgow’s prominent Asians, said yesterday they had never heard of him.
Hanzala Malik, a senior councillor with responsibility for developing overseas links, said he did not know of Rauf or any work that he had carried out. Bashir Maan, a community leader, also said he had no knowledge of Rauf. A spokesman for the Central Mosque, the biggest in Scotland, said he did not worship there and had not been to their Islamic Centre, and he was not known at three mosques close to his home in the Pollokshields area.
16 Feb 2010: Extraordinary developments
It was disclosed that Sturgeon’s plea to the sheriff on behalf of Abdul Rauf was dated the day after businessman Khalid Javid paid £2,000 for a meal in the MSPs’ restaurant at Holyrood with the Deputy First minister. The February 2 auction raised money for Osama Saeed, the SNP Westminster candidate in Glasgow Central.
Labour’s business manager Paul Martin last night said: “this latest revelation adds to the suspicion that there was more to the story. Nicola Sturgeon has failed to answer the question as to why she took up this man’s case in the way she did. She has also failed to tell us who introduced her to Mr Rauf.”
Ms Sturgeon insisted she had acted “reasonably” and admitted she knew about Rauf’s previous conviction. She denied knowing Rauf socially, but conceded she “may have attended the same social events in the constituency”.
In her letter, the MSP stated she was aware of the case in July 2008 when her constituent came to her, saying: “Mr Rauf has accepted his wrongdoing and has experienced the consequences of it through the effect on his health, the distress caused to his family and the impact on his standing in his community. He has already paid £27,000 of the outstanding balance to the DWP and will settle the remainder by selling property. He and his wife are anxious that a custodial sentence may be imposed by the court and of the effect this will have on Mr Rauf’s health and the impact on family life. I would appeal to the court to consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.”
Rauf said in a statement to the press later that he did not know Sturgeon and he had not asked her to intervene on his behalf with a letter to the court.
Sturgeon – a statement of contrition
In a statement to MSPs a few weeks later, Sturgeon said: “I do believe in certain respects the letter could, and should, have been written differently. I regret the use of the word ‘mistake’ to describe Mr Rauf’s offence. On reflection, I should not have asked the court to consider alternatives to custody. Having drawn the court’s attention to Mr Rauf’s personal circumstances, I should have left it there. I should not have gone on to ask the court to specifically consider alternatives to custody. On reflection, that was a request more suited to my former occupation as a solicitor than to my current job as an MSP. In short, I assisted a constituent in good faith and for what I considered to be the right reasons, but in doing so I did get some things wrong and for that I am sorry.”
12 May 2010: Jailed
Abdul Rauf, 60 the convicted fraudster who found himself at the centre of a political storm involving Scotland’s deputy first minister has been jailed for two years.
May 2010: Health Secretary Sturgeon issues a “zero tolerance” warning to fraudsters
Only four months after she pleaded with a Sherriff not to send convicted benefits conman Abdul Rauf to prison she said this:
“Anyone contemplating fraud against the NHS should be aware that they will be caught, and if they are caught, they will have to face the consequences of their fraudulent actions. Fraudsters in any walk of life are opportunistic, tend to be fairly entrepreneurial, and will take the opportunity to exploit any weakness in the organisation they target. Let me be clear today about what is a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and to fraudsters. Fraud perpetrated against the NHS is, in my view, a fraud perpetrated against each and every one of us and that is why it is so important to combat it. So it does make sense for all of us, in our own ways and in our own roles, to act as counter-fraud champions.”
19 Feb 2012: Scottish independence: US debates UK break-up
Alex Salmond’s plans to remove Trident submarines from Scotland are to be raised in the US, in a fresh sign of the global ramifications of Scotland’s independence referendum. The issues will be discussed next month in Washington at a Friends of Scotland caucus, which includes 66 congressmen and senators. Organizers say senior US politicians are only just beginning to examine the implications for America if Scotland was to become independent and the UK to break up.
Senior defense figures have now questioned whether the UK could continue to have nuclear weapons, currently based at Faslane, if an independent Scotland insisted they be removed, because of the cost of finding and maintaining a new base.
On the economy, caucus organizers suggest that the break-up of the UK could shake markets across the world.
The event, entitled Political and Economic Implications for the United States should Scotland leave the United Kingdom to become an Independent Nation, will set out the key US interests.
“The geopolitical ramifications on US foreign and economic policy, and the impact on our national security strategy of an independent Scotland have not been well aired in the USA,” an advance notice states. “Before coming to power, the Scottish National Party long called for Scotland, to include the removal of nuclear submarines from their base at Faslane, in western Scotland. What would be the impact for the US if these things were to happen?”
The notice also says that the impact on global markets of a break-up of the UK could be “quite destabilizing, with ripple effects on the American economy. Few Scottish-Americans have publicly focused on these aspects”.
The event which started on 28 March 2012 with a video address from Alex Salmond was organised by the US National Capital Tartan Day Committee.
It’s chairman Robert Murdoch, a noted Pittsburgh lawyer said “This symposium will be useful for an exchange of ideas on the issues surrounding independence. Will there be a Scottish pound and an English pound, for example. My gut feeling is that independence will not happen. But if Scotland were to vote for independence, it could ultimately strengthen the ties with the US.”
The first signs of US concern over independence came in a report written by a veteran US Congressional defense analyst, Robert L Goldich, which suggested that Scottish independence “might not be too good” for American defense and foreign investment.
Goldich raised questions over how much Scotland would cooperate with Nato; the armed forces, intelligence and anti-terrorism services of “a truncated United Kingdom”; as well as those in other western democracies, including the US.
The SNP spokesman for External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our international friends are watching the debate on Scotland’s future keenly, and those in the US can be sure that an independent Scotland will continue the strong and longstanding bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations.” (The Scotsman)
11 Sep 2014: Congress split over Scottish Independence
The heads of the Friends of Scotland Caucus and the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus are split over whether Scottish voters should declare their independence and break away from Great Britain in a referendum on Thursday.
While the Friends of Scotland Caucus is officially neutral, Co-Chairman John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) broke from many lawmakers and from the Obama administration, which have indicated support for Scotland remaining part of the U.K. when he said: “I think it would be a good thing for Scotland to be independent, because when it comes to government, smaller is better, and closer to the people is better, If they follow free-market, small-government policies, they could become very, very prosperous.”
Duncan’s co-chairman, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), is in a unique position because he also leads the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Duncan and McIntyre introduced a resolution stating that the referendum is a decision that can only be made by the Scottish people and that they believe “a strong and prosperous Scotland is important for United States national priorities.”
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, said: “I personally believe that it will be much better for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland if the United Kingdom stay united. If Scotland were to separate, this will only be a further negative disruption to global stability and the world economy. I hope the people of Scotland vote ‘no,’ but I do not get a vote.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said: “We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about, along these lines,” Earnest said. “But, you know, as the president himself said we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced a separate resolution advocating for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom stating: “It’s clear from this side of the Atlantic that a United Kingdom, including Scotland, would be the strongest possible American ally.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, co-sponsored Sherman’s resolution.
Right winger, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who claims Scots-Irish heritage, said: “To break up what is left of Great Britain, I think, would not be good for their economy, but I’m not going to tell them how they ought to vote,” McCain said. (The Hill)
Comment: The 2012 event contained a number of negative references to the SNP policy of a independent Scotland leaving NATO which is no longer the case. We stay!!! What is of concern is the credence given to a caucus which had only one member in favour of Scottish independence and he has since retired from politics.
What is required of US politicians is a caucus that fully supports the aims and aspirations of Scots, and its name should reflect this. The Friends of Scotland Caucus still functions but numbers are reduced to 18 from a high of 68. (https://www.billtrack50.com/committee/8784)
Following his key role in the success of New Labour in the 2005 General Election Alexander became a confidant of Tony Blair and the year following he was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport and Scotland.
But at the time of the upcoming 2007 Holyrood elections the Labour Government was in crisis. The aftermath of the illegal Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and Westminster scandals, (cash for honours) requiring Tony Blair to be interviewed by the police, gave warning of a humiliating SNP victory in Scotland.
Alex Salmond, fearing skulduggery lobbied Westminster seeking that the election process, in all respects be transferred to the authority of the Scottish Parliament. This was refused and the duty of election supremo was delegated to, “Wee Douglas” who would also run Labour’s electoral campaign in Scotland.
Elections to Holyrood, in 1999 and 2003 had used two separate ballot papers for the constituency and regional lists, preventing voter confusion.
But Alexander and Scottish (Labour) government ministers, without precedence decided that Local Council Elections would be held at the same time as the parliamentary election and both election selections would be printed on one ballot paper.
Civil servants and an independent marketing firm warned that the ballot forms would lead to confusion and a higher-than-average number of rejected votes.
The advice was ignored, Alexander and the Governing, (Labour) party claimed their changes would prove to be extremely popular. Civil servants and the, “Electoral Commission” were silenced.
In the election the SNP won by a single seat and Alexander was praised by Labour Party mandarins since he had just about, “saved the day” for Labour.
The elections, were badly tainted by a chaotic voting process, blamed on the Scottish Office’s design of ballot papers. In excess of 146,000 votes were declared void. The largest in electoral history.
Seventeen MSP’s were elected to Parliament with majorities lower than the number of spoiled ballots in their constituency.
There was a public outcry and, “Returning Officers” voiced their discontent about the election process.
Alexander, “Scottish Secretary”, the accountable person that organized the elections, stated there would be a statutory review of the election under the auspices of the Labour Party loaded Electoral Commission.
The Scottish Electorate was outraged and demanded an independent inquiry and Tony Blair was forced to concede this and an inquiry was commissioned.
Following an extensive, lengthy inquiry, an official report submitted by, Ron Gould, (a senior Canadian election official), heavily censured Alexander and the Labour Party stating that ministers in the Labour Scottish Government and at Westminster together with Mr Alexander’s political, “self-interested” moves, (as the Labour Party in Scotland’s election supremo), had abused their, “offices of state” making decisions about the election on “party political interest grounds”, with voters treated as an “after-thought.”
So be warned. Alexander and the Labour Party are “snakes in the grass”. They care only for the Party. The voter is a means to an end.
Mohammad Sarwar’s peerage blocked by Inland Revenue
No stranger to controversy tax investigators expressed concern about his tax affairs and soon after his election in 1997 he was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations of bribing political opponents, and stood trial for fraud.
Mohammad Sarwar – officially the most expensive MP in Westminster.
The multi-millionaire Labour backbencher, with an estimated personal fortune of £16 million, claimed almost £100,000 to cover mortgage interest that he paid from an account with a Swiss bank.
Sarwar, then chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, also claimed more than £3,000 for ground rent and service charges every year as well as around £1,500 for council tax and hundreds of pounds for home phone bills that included calls to Pakistan.
Sarwar also claimed a total of £174,882 in expenses 2008/2009 but turned up for only 55 per cent of votes, spoke in only nine debates and asked 55 parliamentary questions.
In the period 2004/2009 he claimed a total of £86,497 in second homes allowance (Additional Costs Allowance £600,000 flat in an exclusive building just over the river from the Houses of Parliament. and a total of £638,640 in other expenses, including office and staff costs.
Mohammad Sarwar announced he would not stand for election in 2010.
The ex Govan Labour MP gave up his British citizenship so that he could be appointed governor of Punjab, the largest state in Pakistan. The third most senior figure in Pakistan.
Anas Sarwar – Son of Mohammad Elected.
Sarwar 27, was selected for and elected to the safe Labour Glasgow seat previously held by his father. His rise to the top echelons of the party is spectacular, but not unexpected. He was the head co-ordinator of the, “No” campaign in the 2014 Scottish Referendum. How’s that for nepotism!!!! No end to it, as yet.
2011: Sarwar appointed Deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
In his address to Party loyalists he said ” I will never define my politics by allegiance to the Scottish flag but rather to the values and principles of the Labour movement”.
2014 Relinquishes MSP status transferring his allegiance to the Unionist Labour Party in England taking up the post of shadow spokesman at international development.
Clearly a diehard, “Red Labour” unionist supporter intent on furthering his career in England, piggybacking on his Glasgow constituency.
2013: Sarwar attacked the Scottish Government for its alleged failure to mitigate the worst effects of the Bedroom Tax.
But , during a vote on the said tax being repealed in Westminster on 13 November 2013, Sarwar along with 45 other Labour MPs abstained, with the subsequent vote being lost by 252 to 226 – fewer than the number of Labour MPs who had failed to vote.
The bill was carried with the assistance of the labour party and the Bedroom Tax was imposed upon Scotland. And it was the Labour party that had called for the debate and vote.
Anti-Bedroom Tax Protesters visit Anas Sarwar MP
A few days later, adding insult, Johann Lamont (Labour Party Leader) had the gall to submit a bill, to the Scottish Parliament requiring the Scottish Government to use their, limited fiscal powers to reduce the effects of the tax.
The SNP government, already alerted to the urgent need to provide help to many thousands of Scots had brought forward measures cancelling any negative impact that the tax might have on many unfortunate Scots on welfare in Scotland.
But this required a transfer of finance away from other programmes and would have been unnecessary had Scottish Labour MP’s turned up at Westminster and voted for a cancellation of the Tax.
Feb 2015: Jackie Baillie, ever willing to claim credit for the good works of others had the audacity to make claims in the press that it had been her intervention that had saved the day for Scots forcing the SNP government to find recurring finance cancelling out the effects of the Bedroom Tax. The brazen bid for glory exposed her to the ridicule of the Scottish electorate who were well aware that £30m had to be diverted away from the Scottish health Service to fund the new tax burden. the Scottish electorate.
In 2014, Sarwar came under criticism for choosing to send his son to Hutchesons’ Grammar School, the same exclusive independent school that he himself attended, rather than a state school highlighting the hypocrisy of Labour Party politicians who preached social justice and public services while sending their own children to private schools.
Scottish Labour deputy leader claims Holyrood not democratic.
14 November 2015: No such thing as a free lunch? Ousted MP Anas Sawar throws a banquet for scores of Scottish Labour faithful
Plotting his political comeback, Sarwar, who lost his Glasgow Central Westminster seat in May, contacted parliamentarians, councillors and activists with an invite to hear his “view on the future of the Labour Party and Scotland”.
Guests were treated to a free dinner at the Riverside Palace, one of Scotland’s leading banqueting venues which can cater for up to 500 people and boasts of its high degree of elegance and grandeur. The move raised eyebrows amongst senior party figures, who believe it to be a pitch to re-position himself at Scottish Labour’s top table.
Wary of yet another failure Sarwar ruled out a head-to-head election battle with the SNP as his route back to Scottish politics preferring the safety first approach getting himself onto Glasgow’s regional list, which now must be based on a male and female taking the top two slots.
But in what some colleagues describe as a one-man show, questions are being asked as to why, after four years as deputy, Sarwar is now seeking a fresh platform for his views on the party.
A Scottish Labour parliamentarian said “The present and future of the Labour Party in Scotland isn’t about an individual’s view. It’s a collective approach, a team approach. Do the people on the street want to commit to supporting one person’s vision for the party? People are apprehensive about the ambitions of Sarwar. ”
Feb 2016: Sarwar tops the Labour Party list for Glasgow and is guaranteed a seat through the back door
Scottish Labour’s list for the Glasgow region was topped by former MP Anas Sarwar, followed by former leader Johann Lamont, current MSP James Kelly and former MSP Pauline McNeil.
Hi Everyone. I’ve been following the Scottish Independence referendum campaigning for some time. Most of the fallacious arguments I’ve seen have been pretty well knocked down, but there’s one in particular that keeps cropping up which is absolutely ridiculous and needs to be dealt with.
I live in Washington DC and I do policy work. Since no other foreign policy and government policy geeks have knocked down the NATO argument and the defense spending argument, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence.
My main reasons to hoping you go for independence have a lot to do with the military issues I’m about to discuss. Scotland didn’t want to go to war in Bosnia or against Iraq and Afghanistan, but your soldiers ended up in the desert with ours anyway.
Scotland didn’t want nukes in the Clyde, but because of decisions made in London, ended up with them anyway, including the hosting and maintenance of visiting American nuclear subs.
These sorts of events create a lot of distrust, and a lot of friction that just doesn’t need to be there between Scots and Americans.
If we had a direct relationship with the Scottish people through Edinburgh instead of a second hand relationship through London, none of the foregoing would have occurred.
I guaran-damn-tee you that even though Americans are fighting hard to bring an end to the aggression there will soon be another warmongering President sitting in the White House. So if you elect to remain in the UK, I can’t guarantee you that something like Iraq or Afghanistan will never happen again. Sometimes my country just loses its damned mind.
But enough of that. The main thing I wanted to dispel was this myth that somehow if you don’t want Nuclear Weapons in the Clyde, NATO and the US will have a tantrum, and then will decide to punish Scotland somehow. Let me say that this is complete and utter bullshit.
First off, the only NATO program that obligates a country to store nukes is what’s called Nuclear Sharing, which is a fun way of saying America gets to park our nuclear weapons in your country. The current NATO policies that exist in the UK exist ONLY because the UK already has Nukes.
Most NATO Members do not participate in nuclear weapons sharing. The ones that do are Germany, Turkey, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. The rest of the 28 nations don’t have any American nukes sitting in their territory or their ports.
Thanks for your informed contribution. With Westminster and the UK media, who are supposed to be ‘leaving the decision to those living in Scotland’, resorting to subterfuge and lies against the case for independence, it raises the spirits to read an honest, intelligent opinion.
I have great admiration for the 13,413 Dumbarton voters who on 5 May 2016 supported the SNP candidate, Gail Robertson. So close to defeating Jackie Baillie who enjoyed a pyrrhic victory by 106 votes.
But her victory was achieved at great cost to the party she purports to support. Her stance also further confirmed the deep divisions within the Labour Party in Scotland. The shaky truce between, “New Labour” supporters and the Corbyn team is now well exposed and unfortunately the further demise of the Labour Party will continue for some time yet.
26 October 1999: Minister Jackie Baillie Backs Scrapping Trident
A Minister in the Scottish Executive has admitted publicly to being in favour of scrapping Trident, it was confirmed last night as the Opposition SNP moved to exploit Government concern at the controversial judgement of a Greenock sheriff who ruled that Trident was illegal.
In the wake of Sheriff Gimblett’s ruling that the nuclear deterrent based on the Clyde contravened the law as viewed by the International Court, the Opposition SNP last night asked if ministerial collective responsibility in Scotland applied to reserved as well as devolved areas.
Ms Jackie Baillie, Deputy Minister for Communities, replied to a CND questionnaire posted on the Internet before the Scottish Parliament elections saying she supported the scrapping of Trident. (Highbeam)
27 February 2007: The Pork-Barrel Component of Trident
I suspect there is only one job Jackie Baillie is anxious to protect at the moment. Mrs Baillie has put on a bravura performance pretending to be concerned with employment while actually defending Scotland’s place as a humble cog in the US military industrial machine and her own interest in the pork-barrel arrangements which flow there from.
Trident is about the British taxpayer subsidizing the US defense industry and providing, gratis, an ICBM submarine squadron to the US Navy.
The pork-barrel part is that impoverished / Labour – dominated (same thing, really) areas like Mrs Baillie’s constituency (20% of households living in poverty) get very few relatively well- paid, ferociously subsidized defense jobs. (Highbeam)
19 October 2007: Reasons to be cynical
Jackie Baillie tabled a question at Holyrood about the cost of the summit “Scotland Without Nuclear Weapons” convened by the Scottish Government. Her concerns, (related to the cost of the hire of a hall and some sandwiches) is in stark contrast to her support of political policies forcing the Scottish taxpayer to fork out billions of pounds being the nations share of the Trident renewal programme. This new charge being, added to the billions already paid for Trident system. Ms Baillie has become Scotland’s most vociferous supporter of nuclear weapons, no doubt in the hope of continuing to save her political skin as MSP for Faslane. (Highbeam) comment: But she said she was anti-Trident ?
Jackie is “New Labour” to the core
28 October 2012: Jackie Baillie Trident job loss claims challenged by official MoD figures
Claims by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie that the Trident nuclear weapons system sustains 11,000 Scottish jobs have been called into question following a Freedom of Information request by Scottish CND. Figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence by the nuclear disarmament group show that the total number of jobs directly linked to Trident is a mere 520. According to official figures only 159 are employed by the Ministry of Defence and 361 are employed by contractors.
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has been a regular critic of the SNP’s policy over the siting of nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Ms Baillie has repeatedly claimed that having Trident creates 11,000 jobs, with thousands more set to be generated through plans to expand the naval base. Speaking on her official Labour party website, Ms Bailie said: “There are over 11,000 jobs dependent on the base.
The SNP would remove Trident, devastating our local economy and turning Helensburgh into a ghost town.” Ms Baillie also claimed that the renewal of the nuclear weapons system and the expansion of the base would create thousands more jobs and added: “The SNP also fail to acknowledge that almost 3,000 new jobs will be created with the impending expansion of the base. These too would be jeopardized by the SNP plans to scrap Trident.”
Scottish Referendum: Baillie and her Unionist Tory colleague Jackson Carlaw at Better Together fundraising event in Gartocharn, January 2014
19 November 2015: First Minister Holds Shameful Jackie Baillie to Account
You need to look no further than Labour’s Jackie Baillie to see why the people of Scotland have rejected this unionist party in their droves. Baillie shamelessly prodded Nicola Sturgeon by saying “She hopes the FM will eventually agree with Labour in restoring the cuts to tax credits”. When asked in a recent interview how Labour would pay for restoring the cuts, her answer was ridiculous gibberish that insulted the intelligence of every Scot.
The hypocrisy of Baillie is breathtaking…as the First Minister pointed out, Labour voted with the Tories against devolving tax credits and voted for spending £167 Billion on “independent” Trident nuclear missiles, that we can’t use without America’s permission, while children go hungry and homeless. Needless to say, the First Minister held her to account in no uncertain terms and exposes her shameful hypocrisy.
22 April 2016: Jackie Baillie Goes Rogue on Labour with support for Trident Nuclear Weapons Upgrade
The Labour politician currently MSP for the Dumbarton constituency is standing for re-election. She is also at the top of the party’s West of Scotland regional list. But questions are being raised about her suitability as a Party (list) candidate after she publicly vowed to defy the Party’s official policy on Trident.
In refusing to back her party’s manifesto commitment opposing the renewal of the nuclear weapons system she provided support to the GMB union who represent defense and shipyard workers at Faslane and also voted to retain Trident. Their representative also rebuked the conference stating that the debate was a nonsense and utter indulgence and the GMB was standing against “Alice in Wonderland politics.”
Baillie, whose Dumbarton constituency includes the naval base, said: “Faslane is the biggest single-site employer in Scotland. More than a quarter of West Dunbartonshire’s full-time workforce are employed there in good quality, well-paid jobs.” She then hit out at the SNP, who want to move the Trident submarines from the Clyde, describing their stance as “nimbyism on a national scale and “the worst kind of gesture politics”. Baillie’s husband Stephen, a high ranking officer with the GMB union did not contribute to the debate but was no doubt pleased with his wife’s contribution.
A report published last year by union umbrella group the STUC and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated just 520 civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde are “directly reliant on Trident”, 132 of which are held by workers from Argyll and Bute and 178 by staff from West Dunbartonshire. The STUC, which calls for the establishment of a Defence Diversification Agency, says alternative roles can be found or created.
At the STUC congress in Dundee this week, Jane Carolan of Unison said her union has a “proud record of defending quality employment”, but argued replacing Trident would be “catastrophic”. She said Government figures show no jobs would be lost for 15 years, adding: “For the cost of Trident we could have 100,000 more firefighters, 120,000 nurses, 120,000 teachers. It is a gross misallocation of taxpayers money, our money, where there are so many more vital and constructive ways in which it could be spent.”
South of Scotland region Labour MSP Claudia Beamish told delegates there was a firm commitment to protect defense workers’ jobs regardless of Trident renewal.
Speaking for the locals a Councillor said: “Night and day, the Ministry of Defense is transporting nuclear material through our streets. Jackie Baillie’s view has nothing to do with local jobs, it is to do with her protecting her own job. Her argument has always been the local economy is so reliant on it, but the Helensburgh economy has almost collapsed. It has empty shops. It is a fallacy.”
In denying the Scottish public their right to active promotion, through broadcasting of cultural diversity with other parts of the United Kingdom the UK government and its centrally controlled BBC is in breach of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – Article 11 – Freedom of expression and information.
A well respected and truly impartial journalist was asked if the perception that BBC Scotland was anti-SNP was, in his view, justified said “Put it this way, it probably comes more naturally to them to attack the nationalists than to attack the union.”
A wee bit of history;
From 1946 to 1991 media affairs in Scotland were subject to the moderating influence of a BBC Scotland Controller who effectively reported to the, “Broadcasting Council for Scotland”, on which many distinguished Scot’s served over the years.
But following a reorganization control of BBC output in Scotland was transferred to the Board of Governors of the corporation in England then onto the BBC trust in London.
What’s the problem?
The way in which BBC Scotland is run, the quality of care it shows for the many good people who work for it, the standard of what it does, the public service in Scotland ethos it supposedly represents are some of the more important questions facing the Scottish nation.
But it is doubtful they can be successfully addressed within the control systems that prevail at the present time.
The result is that the BBC is failing Scots when they need it most.
The primary blockages are firmly implanted the minds of those who retain control of the state media output:
1. That the BBC, is part of the glue that holds together the concept of a United Kingdom.
2. Weaken the corporation and the United Kingdom will fall apart. So weak is the quality of the paste.
3. The BBC dictates the daily agenda for the Queens subjects, how they talk to each other and what about.
4. It is of prime importance that Scots trust the BBC and feel they have a personal investment in it, otherwise it will be lost and the United Kingdom with it.
Is the bias in BBC Scotland endemic or confined to a few employees?
The huge number of unresolved complaints and public demonstrations all voicing concern and anger about a blatant lack of impartiality by the news reporting/discussion teams in the course of the 2014 independence referendum and since gives support to the public perception that there is an on-going agenda within BBC Scotland ensuring support to Labour Party ideals, to the exclusion of other political parties in Scotland.
BBC Scotland needs to be taken away from London so that it can be truly independent and the over arching Scottish body, including members of the public, should be re-established.
Up Yours – BBC Scotland senior managers refuse to meet with MSP committee
Ken MacQuarrie, Head of BBC Scotland and his enforcer, Head of News and Current Affairs and Labour Party supporter bully boy Boothman refused to appear before the Scottish Education and Culture Committee at Holyrood stating that the BBC in Scotland was not accountable to the Scottish Government.
They were subsequently ordered to appear by the Chairman of the BBC Trust and finally did so but stonewalled every question put to them.
Boothman (finally exposed as a bully) was later removed from his post as Head of News and Current Affairs after a protracted struggle with staff and trade unions and transferred his employment to the private sector.
BBC Scotland News & Current Affairs Team
A Labour Party pedigree is a predominant requirement within the BBC Scotland senior management team and line managers and reporters in place are appointed through nepotism.
This needs to eradicated so that the BBC can be enabled to be truly impartial and accountable to the Scottish public.
The current “modus-operanti” cannot be allowed to remain in place.
There needs to be a cull of management and media correspondents that have abandoned the “Journalist’s Code” in favour of their politically minded colleagues. (https://www.nuj.org.uk/about/nuj-code/)
Nepotism/Cronyism within BBC Scotland & protection of the Labour Party (1991-2017)
John Boothman headed News and Current Affairs and was the Editor of Elections and Political Output.
In 1979 he was the Chairperson of Strathclyde University Labour Club, Chairperson Scottish Organisation of Labour Students in 1980 and Chairperson of the National (UK) Organisation of Labour Students 1981.
According to former BBC broadcaster Derek Bateman, Boothman questioned the political output of radio broadcasts after receiving complaints from Paul Sinclair.
Sinclair, (SPAD to Johann Lamont) was said to enjoy a special relationship and regular contact with Boothman through both men’s links with the Labour party.
Writing on his blog, Bateman claimed that Boothman was “famous for his unrivalled network of contacts in the Labour movement”.
Adding “Sinclair had a name for trying to interfere in BBC news decisions to influence output.” and, according to the former BBC presenter, Sinclair and Boothman developed an unhealthy relationship with the Labour advisor calling the shots.
Bateman added: “But what I didn’t like about Sinclair – Boothman relationship was the informal and insidious way it developed, so instead of old pals, it became almost one of master and servant. Sinclair seemed to assume the right to call the BBC head of news to account”.
Bateman also claimed that Boothman had, on more than one occasion, questioned him about the political content of his radio programme after receiving complaints from Sinclair.
John Boothman is married to Susan Deacon: Former Chairman of Scottish Labour Students.
She served on the Scottish Labour Party’s, National Executive. MSP and was a Scottish Labour Party government minister.
Boothman, Margaret Curran and Johann Lamont when students were actively and closely involved in Labour Party politics at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities.
Curran is a Labour Party Executive member and MP.
At university she was Secretary of Glasgow University Labour Club, Secretary of the Scottish Organisation of Labour Students, Chair of that organisation, and Vice-Chair of the Labour Club (the biggest of its kind in the UK) at the time.
Lamont is an MSP and former leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
At university she was an active member Glasgow University Labour Club.
Sarah Boyack; Labour Party List MSP also attended Glasgow University and active in politics as a student, she was mentored by Margaret Curran (Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students in 1985-86)
Catriona Renton: Reporter for the BBC Politics Show and BBC Presenter.
Renton is a former Glasgow Labour Councillor, who represented Kelvindale before losing her seat to the Lib/Dems in 2003.
She was “Glasgow’s Youth Tsar” and is a product of Balliol College, Oxford.
She was a Labour Party candidate in the 2003 Holyrood election and the 2004 European election.
She was recruited by BBC Scotland’s parliamentary unit in 2006, when Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer.
Her Facebook account lists as friends: Jackie Baille Labour MSP, Yousuf Hamid Labour Activist, Tom Harris Labour MP, Mike Dailly Labour Activist, David Martin Labour MEP, Frank McAvetty Labour MSP, John Robertson Labour MP John Park Labour MSP, Steven Purcell Labour Glasgow Leader, Dave Watson Vice-chair of the Scottish Labour Party.
At the centre of yet another bias storm in 2009 when attending the SNP conference in Inverness, she claimed on BBC Scotland’s Politics show that Alex Neil had confirmed the SNP’s desire to see David Cameron become the Prime Minister at the next general election. Views he had not expressed.
The BBC were forced to issue a personal apology to Alex Neil.
Tom Connor; BBC Head of Online News and Sport.
A friend and colleague of Boothman he was responsible for introducing and enforcing the continuation of censorship and blockage of comments to BBC Scotland political blogs.
No viewers comments or contrary views with the likes of Brian Taylor or Douglas Fraser accounts any-more.. Yet, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland BBC blogs actively encourage viewer feedback.
Conner and Boothman were censured a number of years ago for providing Labour candidates with media training using BBC Scotland facilities.
The compliant Scottish Media & Glasgow – the labour Party Fiefdom
The Labour Party in Scotland’s abuse of Glasgow citizens was finally revealed to the public in March 2010 by newspapers published in England, the East of Scotland and Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt (http://www.variant.org.uk/37_38texts/1ed_2manifest.html) who headlined the very public downfall of Gordon Brown’s protege Steven Purcell.
The dearth of mainstream media reporting had led to online speculation of Purcell’s very cosy relationship with sectors of the Scottish media and its failure to fulfill its elusive role of holding power to account – namely, the press’s part in a regular Friday drinking date, dubbed ‘The Ritz Club’, which, Mandy Rhodes, the editor of Holyrood Magazine toyed,
“Did a misguided loyalty to a regular Friday afternoon drinking date, dubbed ‘The Ritz Club’, which included the editors of rival red tops, the Herald’s editor-in-chief and Purcell himself…influence reporting of the unravelling scandal?”
So there is no news in the truth / no truth in the news.
But still the complex network of Councillors, businessmen and public sector chiefs, all with connections to the Labour Party, in Glasgow’s iconic ‘redevelopment’ misadventure went for the time largely untroubled.
A prickled Sunday Herald driven to comment, responded to the suggestion of acquiescence towards the Labour Party;
“The absurd suggestions of a network of powerful figures working behind the scenes to influence the workings of the city and that this so-called network including leading figures from the media is now threatening to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the Scottish press”
“The hints that some Scottish newspapers pull their punches on the controversy because editors have been too close to Purcell or, worse, they have been cowed into submission by Peter Watson and PR firm Media House.”
And what about Bridget McConnell?
In 2006, she spearheaded the controversial devolution of Glasgow City Council’s Cultural and Leisure Services to form the company/charity known as Culture and Sport Glasgow with a separate trading arm, Culture and Sport Glasgow (Trading) CIC. Since March 2007, she then held the post of Chief Executive of both companies.
In 2008, Culture & Sport Glasgow were awarded a long term contract to catalogue and manage the text archive and research department for Newsquest (Herald, Sunday Herald, Evening Times).
Another link established.
Those interested in the rudiments of democracy might wish to ask how a notionally privatised arm of Glasgow City Council could be allowed to become so tightly interconnected with Glasgow’s dominant media group.
More remarkable with the NUJ’s Vice-President-come-President also being the head of PR for spin-off Culture & Sport Glasgow at the time?
I previously researched and published a comprehensive report cataloging the disgraceful abuse of the Glasgow electorate by the Scottish Labour Party aided and abetted by the BBC and Scottish Press in the first decade of the new millenium.
Careful reading will reveal conspiracy, at all levels of those involved in the financial asset stripping of the poorest people in Western Europe
Contains a commitment that a Labour party in government will:
End zero-hours contracts and “bogus” self-employment.
Require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face fines.
But Richard Leonard has no authority to do anything. He must comply with the instructions of the Labour Party leadership in London. Any failing on his part will bring about his speedy end.
And, in regard to his commitment to end zero-hours contracts he is remiss in his recollections of recent past events.
In April 2015 Ed Milliband attacked the Con/Dem government over the issue of zero-hours contracts and promised the next Labour government would bring an immediate end to the practice.
But his strategy failed when it was revealed that 68 Labour MPs Employed Staff on Them? So much for the Labour Party sticking up for ordinary workers who are being exploited.
This is what he said:
“Less than a week ago, you may have heard the Prime Minister say that he couldn’t live on a zero-hours contract. Well, I couldn’t live on a zero-hours contract either. I’ve got a simple principle – if it is not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you and it’s not good enough for Britain. “That’s the way I will run our country. One rule for all.”
But there was one small problem for Milliband. It was revealed by the pay and expenses watchdog IPSA that a large number of Labour MPs (68 in total, including Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray) employed workers on “zero-hours” contracts.
The equal pay policy commitment is most certainly yet another Labour party joke, to be pulled on Scottish workers by the very people they elect, the Unions, to protect their rights at work.
In Glasgow, women involved in the pre-2007 pay claims recall how the GMB union and the Labour Party council pressurized them into accepting low settlements by offering them cheques for a few thousand pounds just before Christmas so long as they signed quickly. Many signed.
But many more held out against the injustice and badly judged advice from their Unions and took their cases to another source of advice. Namely, Action 4 Equality – Scotland managed by Solicitor Stefan Cross.
In doing so they had to wait longer but received far greater settlement sums. Not only did Cross take on Glasgow District Council, but he also sued the unions for failing to properly represent their female members, forcing them to up their game.
In so doing, he made himself hugely unpopular and many still regard him as an ambulance-chaser who got rich off the back of driving English councils to the brink of disaster.
To the women, however, he is a hero, which explains why Cross retained 80 per cent of the claimants. “I will have to give him 10 per cent of the payout, but he deserves it,” one woman tells me. “He stuck with us when the unions couldn’t be bothered.”
It reveals the duplicity of the Unions who unconditionally supported the policies of their Labour Party Councillor colleagues assisting their efforts to deny women workers a fair wage.
12 Jun 2017: North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory Alliance Council forced to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid
And, not to be outdone the North Lanarkshire Labour/Tory Council set about screwing their female staff out of their pensions.
Yet again the Unions and the labour party were complicit in heinous acts against women employees.
As events unfolded it became evident that the Labour/Tory Alliance run Council would incur 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 was ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women who 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, (note the absence of Union support).
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.