The 2019 General Election Labour Party in Scotland branch office issued a manifesto for government
It contained a commitment that a Labour party in government would end zero-hours and “bogus” self-employment contracts and require employers to work on tackling the gender pay gap or face heavy fines.
But Leader Richard Leonard had no authority to promise or do anything since he was required to comply with instructions of the Labour Party leadership in London and any failing on his part would bring about a speedy end. to his tenure of office.
His commitment to end zero-hours contracts was cynical in the extreme based on his Union’s prolonged attacks on the welfare and pay of women in the employ of Labour controlled councils in the West of Scotland .
Short term employment contracts
Yet another embarrassment was an attack by Ed Milliband on the Con/Dem government over the issue of zero-hours contracts and his solemn promise that the next Labour government would bring an immediate end to the practice. But the strategy was speedily binned when it was revealed that 68 Labour MPs (Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray) employed staff on short term contracts!!! So much for the Labour Party sticking up for exploited workers.
Equal Pay for all employees in Public Service
The equal pay policy commitment was another Labour party joke which was sprung on Scottish workers by the very people they elected, (the Unions) to protect their rights at work.
In Glasgow, from 2007, female workers were denied equal pay with male workers. Their GMB union (led by Richard Leonard) and Labour Party Glasgow City Councillors pressurized them into accepting low settlements by offering them cheques for a few thousand pounds just before Christmas so long as they signed quickly. And many signed away their rights.
But a substantial number held out against the injustice and ill judged advice from the the GMB and took their fight for justice to Action 4 Equality which was owned by Solicitor Stefan Cross. In doing so they had to wait a very long time but were awarded far greater settlement sums than the women who had taken the advice of the GMB. And not only did Cross take on and beat Glasgow City Council, he also sued the Unions for failing to properly represent their female members. Cross was the women’s hero. One said: “I will have to give him 10 per cent but he deserves it. He stuck with us when the unions couldn’t be bothered.”
The incident, which took over 13 years and many court appearances to resolve revealed the duplicity of the Unions who supported the illegal policies of their Labour Party Councillor colleagues assisting their efforts to deny women workers a fair wage.
The election of the SNP to the control of the Glasgow City Council brought an end to the sorry saga when the council accepted all of the recommendation’s of the court and paid the women the money they had been denied for so long. And Leonard claimed his undying love and support of the women.
Jun 2017: The Labour/Tory Alliance of North Lanarkshire Council was forced by the courts to pay pension costs of hundreds of women it underpaid
Not to be outdone by their Party colleagues in Glasgow the Council set about screwing their female staff out of their pensions. Yet again the Unions and the Labour party were complicit in heinous acts against women employees. As events unfolded it became evident that the Council would incur a £1million bill after systematically ducking its pension responsibilities to hundreds of female staff it had previously denied equal pay.
The Council was ordered to cough up after a Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) investigation found it had systematically tried to “obstruct” a fair deal for almost 700 women who had been underpaid for many years earning wages much lower than their male colleagues doing jobs of equivalent worth.
In 2018, after a tribunal forced the authority to award the women their back-pay they negotiated another settlement worth a further £7.1m, after being represented by Stephan Cross. There was no support for staff from the Unions.
The agreed final salary pensions remained below those of their male counterparts, as their contributions had been much lower due to their underpay and the women appealed the judgement.
It was then identified that local government pension regulations required all back pay awards to be treated as “pensionable”, meaning bigger pensions and bigger lump sums for those affected.
The change required the Council to top up their employer contributions to pension funds. However in February, North Lanarkshire once again tried to sidestep its duties to the Strathclyde Pension Fund, which covers the female staff, by claiming the women’s second round of back-pay was actually a form of negotiated “compensation” and therefore not pensionable.
The women’s lawyers appealed to the SPPA pointing out the potential differences would be profound if the back-pay was not made pensionable. Some of the North Lanarkshire women would be denied a pension rise of £1500 a year and lump sums of more than £4000, a lifetime difference of around £50,000.
The SPPA ruled that the council had “misconstrued” the law, and criticised its arguments as “confused and an obstruction to finding an equitable solution to the disagreement” and said that the council had to pay the income tax and national insurance on the second wave of back-pay as well as employer contributions, an estimated total of £1m.
It is entirely possible that the Scottish Green Party will be invited to join with the SNP in forming the next government at Holyrood. An invitation that will be extended to Harvie by Sturgeon so that they will be able to make major advances in their declared social behaviour agendas. Voters need to be alerted to the excesses of a number of their favoured policies. The discredited Yogyakarta principles will be fully implemented and other transrights and GRA policies will be forced onto statute by government without consultation and with the active assistance and support of the all powerful “Equality Network”.
Voters concerned about plans to remove women’s rights and exposure of their families to regulatory imposition of oppressive social norms need to be alerted to the foregoing so that they will be better informed and able to give their vote to “ALBA” a party that fully intends to consult with and gain the support of the electorate before adding any new statute to the Laws of the Country.
23 Apr 2019: Green Party Leader accused of being a misogynist
The blog “A Thousand Flowers” posted a derogatory twitter article declaring Joan McAlpine SNP the winner of its weekly wanker accolade for airing her views about the rights of women and trransgender people.
Patrick Harvie couldn’t resist commenting and shared it with his followers writing: “If the SNP wants to be a safe and supportive place for trans and gender non conforming people, they have to squarely take on those trying to prevent trans people having the same rights as anyone else“.
Twitter users were horrified. A spokeswomen for the Scottish Women’s blog tweeted “Good grief! I’m horrified that Harvie could ever retweet an abusive blog about another politician. Surely this goes against the code of conduct expected from our parliamentarians?” Her comments were echoed by other contributors.
Harvie has form. In a previous twitter exchange he questioned the online abuse Joan had received when he said: “there is a serious debate to be had about such “abuse” but we can’t have it if people react with outrage to complaints from anti-trans campaigners but say nothing of the horrific wave of transphobic hostility, prejudice and violence that’s destroying people’s everyday lives”.
To which Joan responded: “My comments were in response to (male to female) trans activists who called me trash and justified violence against women who disagree with them. And the male leader of the Green Party in Scotland, pins his colours firmly to the she was asking for it mast.”
Harvie replied: “It’s disappointing that Joan McAlpine and a few others in the SNP have promoted anti-trans rhetoric in recent months, and apparently want to roll back trans people’s equality and human rights. Those attitudes and actions should be challenged, robustly but without abuse.”
Joan said: “Patrick Harvie should be ashamed of trying to justify the online abuse of women and indulging in it himself. Women are concerned their rights to privacy, fairness and dignity and safety are affected by proposals which means males can legally become women without surgery, medical diagnosis or gatekeeping. It is not “anti-trans” to question this proposal, but doing so has resulted in women being abused or threatened with violence. That Patrick Harvie seems to think they are asking for it is very worrying but bullies will not silence us.”
23 Jun 2019: Harvie stirs the sh*t at the Edinburgh Pride march
I met up with around a dozen like minded friends aged between 20-60. Some were wearing t-shirts proudly proclaiming “we are Lesbians”. We wanted to ensure lesbians would be visibile yet despite an outward display of confidence we were alerted to an undercurrent of nervousness between the marchers and ourselves. Our apprehension was based on the negative attitude of other groups who did not approve of relationships that excluded men in our choice of partners. Acceptable? Yes!! but only if we conducted our chosen lifestyle in secret.
But we displayed our banners and sang our songs. Other lesbians came up to us and said they wished they had known we were marching and bemoaned the lack of Lesbian spaces and community in Scotland. They waved their hand-made purple and black placards, courageously yet quietly proclaiming their Lesbian existence and relieved to have support and solidarity of like minded people. There was an act of physical aggression against our group when an angry young person grabbed a placard and destroyed it screaming “TERF” but the stewards soon restored order.
But what was chilling and caused fear in our group was the content of speeches from MSPs who addressed the crowd at a pre-march rally, from the top of an open top bus. In particular the words of Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, where he said “I am sorry that this parliament very recently was used as a platform for transphobic hatred and bigotry”. And went on to say he felt compelled to apologise for the undemocratic workings of Parliament, and its decision to put a hold on GRA reform until it had been fully considered and deliberated by a broad range of groups who might be affected and, importantly, the conflation of sex and gender that has infested policy making in Scotland. His speech whipped the crowd into a frenzy, since they had already been warmed up by previous similar speeches. And whilst the promoted theme of the “Pride” was “Be Yourself”, the real focus was not about the right to be loved and to express love without prejudice, it was about “transrights” and only that.
Thanks to the spittle infused rhetoric espoused by Harvie our group’s situation was upscaled from hostile to dangerous. We feared for our safety and attack from the mob, since immediately after, a number of people started shouting “get the TERF’s out” They meant us and we had already been blocked in by some very large people with “Trans” and “Non-Binary” flags draped over their shoulders cancelling out our groups “lesbian visibility” banners.
It later transpired that lesbians had abandoned the march after they had been harassed by “transrights” activists who accused them of being bigots for standing up for female rights and forcing politicians to add their support. Lesbians were no longer welcomed at “Pride” marches.
Alex Salmond was invited to appear on Good Morning Scotland to discuss the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary election and the prospects of the Alba Party. But the BBC’s Gary Robertson had a different agenda and unleashed a savage grilling on Scotland’s former First Minister regarding his view on Russian alleged involvement in the death of a former Russian military officer and double agent for the British intelligence agencies, and his daughter in March 2018.
Robertson asked: “Do you think Russia were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury?”
Alex said: “What on earth does this have to do with this Scottish election?”
Robertson replied: “Because you are working for Russia Today which has been condemned by many people including the First Minister. I am just curious as to whether you believe Russia were implicated in the poisoning?”
Alex said: “I can tell you from personal experience, I do not know what your experience at the BBC is, not a single word of editorial, instructional or even suggestion has been made to me by anybody at RT and programme stands on its own merits.”
Robertson asked again: “Do you think Russian were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury?”
Alex responded: “The evidence was presented at the time Gary, but I am struggling to understand what this has got to do with a Scottish election campaign. It is perfectly legitimate for you to ask me about the programme that I produced along with others for its broadcast on RT.”
Robertson interjected: “Which is why I am asking you about Russia’s behaviour.”
Alex said: “I could talk about a range.”
Robertson cut Alex off again, saying: “Or you could you just answer the question which I will ask you for a third time, do you think Russia were behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal?”
Alex replied: “Evidence came forward and it was contested, I said that it should go to the international tribunal and courts. I said that at the time and I think the evidence came forward and people can see it for what it is.”
Putin pulls the strings and the Tory Party dances to his tune
Over the last ten years, around 10,000 super-wealthy Chinese and Russian business investors and entrepreneurs have been issued with “golden visas” by the Tory government providing them with a right of residence in the UK. Indeed so many of Putin’s oligarchs and their wider families have taken advantage of the scheme that the UK capital is now known as “Londongrad”. Assertions that Tory’s welcome inward investment regardless of source is well-founded. The “tier one” investor visa, requires only that the applicant maintain a UK bank account with a balance of not less than £2m. This permits investors full residence in the UK for up to five years. But eligibility for extensions and permanent residence is guaranteed after making further investments.
Scottish Tories have the effrontery to demand a public inquiry into Russian interference in Scottish politics
The Westminster “Intelligence & Security Committee” (ISC) belatedly released its politically delayed Russia report warning that the UK is at risk of Russian exploitation because of the Tory Party acceptance of large amounts of political donations, establishing inappropriate relationships with Russian oligarchs. The report read:
“In brief, Russian influence in the UK is “the new normal” and there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth. This level of integration London means any measures now being taken by the Government are not preventative but rather constitute damage limitation.”
And information released to the public today revealed that 14 of the present Tory government ministers, (including six Cabinet members) have accepted tens of thousands of pounds in donations from Russian oligarchs.
A public inquiry should be conducted without delay so that UK citizens can be assured all measures necessary will be introduced urgently bringing an end to external interference in the nation’s politics. Including banning the practice of politicians taking money from foreigners.
But a 2018 Tory government inquiry giving a warning about Russian influence has been blatantly ignored
The report, published by Theresa May’s Tory government, “Foreign Affairs Committee” accused government ministers of risking national security by “turning a blind eye” to Russian, “dirty money” flowing through the City of London. Concerns were also raised about “golden visas” being issued in ever-increasing numbers despite the alleged involvement of Russia in the Salisbury Novichok nerve agent attack. In its conclusion, the report demanded that the Government get tough on foreign nationals by tightening the rules of the scheme making it more secure. But interestingly, the one voice of dissent from his own committee was from the then Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson who suggested that “there was no real role for Government in the process”.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Speech at the Doors of Westminster
“The SNP will be the principled opposition in this place to the Conservative government. The SNP has worked long and hard in this election to make Scotland’s voice heard. To have people in Scotland in such overwhelming numbers put their trust in us is fantastic, but also is a big responsibility. We are determined to make Scotland’s voice heard here in Westminster, but we are also determined to be that voice for progressive politics that we promised to be during the election. To stand up to policies from a Conservative government that will damage Scotland and to make common cause with others of like mind from across the UK.”
No mention of independence from the Party leader who preferred set the tone by committing the Party to the promotion of progressive politics. Whatever that meant!!!
Beguiled by Westminster Largesse
The House of Commons is a comfortable place to be. The terrace bar, with Big Ben bonging into the night, has the best view in London: to the left, the soaring faux-gothic buttresses of the Palace of Westminster, to the right the London Eye, straight ahead a scene of double-decker buses crossing Westminster bridge. It’s like the opening scene of a Hollywood film set in London. And all around, arresting sights such as Michael Gove drinking heavily subsidised white wine and large groups of men (Tories? Maybe not…) getting in the even cheaper champagne it’s the best workplace ever. There’s a ton of bars and restaurants where MPs hang out at all times of the working day. SNP MPs have colonised the Sports and Social Club, which is where a lot of the parliamentary staff go, and which has a karaoke night. And there are always colleagues around to gossip with. People keep having conversations about “the Tories’ evil plan”, which I only belatedly realise is actually their EVEL plan. It’s only been a couple of months, but the consensus is that the SNP MP’s are fully institutionalised and chastised where needed. Firmly in the past is the “clap-gate” incident when – instead of uttering “hear hear” at something they agreed with, as if they were 18th-century landowners – they broke into the new fangled concept: applause. The Daily Mail piped in: “Show some respect! Furious Speaker Bercow rebuked new Scots Nat’s MPs for breaking strict Commons protocol by clapping during the Queen’s Speech debate.” Portrayed by the Unionist Press as ignorant ruffians unworthy of a seat in the Commons they now comply with all parliamentary traditions and procedures. (Carole Cadwalladr)
The Commons sews its seeds in all who enter it. In an instant raw politicians are made to feel they are no longer simply human. They are “special”. Accompanying their large salary there is a budget for staff hire, generous allowances affording the lease or purchase of luxury accommodation in the most expensive capital city in the World, travel and subsistence and other allowances totalling well in excess of £150k annually. Head spinning stuff!!! Its beguiling influence is addictive and its destructive power has compromised many SNP MP’s who first went there in 2015 .
The Westminster trap – another view
You go there full of cocksure rebelliousness. Stupid rules – who cares about the rules. You get into fights in the playground with the older boys, and take no crap about clapping in assembly. But “Westmonster” as some SNP people call the UK Parliament, has been around a long time. It has seen off socialists like Keir Hardie – who caused outrage because he wore a deer-stalker to parliament. It dealt with Parnell’s Irish nationalists, with Suffragettes, Militant Tendency and grade-A parliamentary delinquents like our own Alex Salmond, the first MP to disrupt a Budget Speech in 1988. And it’s still there, with all its fripperies and anachronisms, like the cloak room hook to hold the Hon Member’s sword. The Palace of Westminster is a powerful institution which uses its own often archaic rules and conventions as a means of diffusing political discontent. You see it with Scotland’s MPs. Suddenly they are wearing ties and suits, speaking respectfully to Mr Speaker, agreeing not to clap and promising to be “good parliamentarians”. (Iain McWhirter)
The Sewel Convention Con Trick
The Sewel Convention, under which Westminster supposedly refrains from ruling on devolved issues without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, is froth, mince, tripe, baloney and codswallop. It has no legal force. The clause in the 2016 Scotland Act, which supposedly placed Sewel on a “statutory footing”, was just there to fool the natives into thinking their Parliament’s powers were “entrenched” and irreversible. Holyrood’s legislative powers are clearly and explicitly on loan from Westminster and liable to be over-ridden as and when the UK Government chooses. No one will believe a word UK ministers say in future about the powers and constitutional standing of Holyrood; not that many of us did in the past. (Iain McWhirter)
English Votes for English Legislation (EVEL)
English Votes for English Legislation (EVEL) breached the fundamental principle that all members of the house are equal . Non-English MPs, by Commons convention, no longer vote on “English” bills. This means that Scottish MPs are excluded from whole areas of legislation where they are denied a vote. A change slipped through by parliamentary sleight of hand and the English Grand Committee will gradually extend its influence. But the Scottish Government opposes the change because many supposedly “English” bills on the NHS or income tax, have financial consequences for Scotland. It also means that Scottish MPs are second-class citizens.
Gerrymandering the Scotland Bill
Scotland’s only Tory MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, Mundell, proposed 80 technical amendments to the Scotland Bill , stating: “some are amendments in terms of the usual changing of commas and apostrophes and these sort of things. However, the bulk of them relate to technical procedures and a rearranging of previous proposals. In three cases the amendments will reserve additional powers to Westminster. Under clause 43, the Scottish Parliament will not be able to raise levies on postal operators, electricity or gas for the purpose of funding consumer advocacy.”
Scotland Bill: the 3rd reading at Westminster Allocated 6 hours of debate to decide on 253 amendments.
The Scotland Bill was rushed through without adequate discussion before SNP MPs parked their bums on the green benches of the House of Commons ensuring that the legislation would be on the statute books well before the next Holyrood elections. The bill as it stands is a stitch-up and places a fiscal time bomb under Holyrood.
SNP Welfare Improvements Rejected
Proposed amendments to the Scotland Bill submitted by the SNP giving the Scottish Parliament the power to design its own welfare system were rejected by the Unionists. Unionist politician and Scottish Secretary Mundell insisted that the Unionist’s stance was fully in accordance with the Smith Commission’s recommendations. The rejection came after the Unionists also voted against proposals from the SNP for an “Economic Agreement” between Westminster and Holyrood which would eventually lead to full fiscal autonomy. They also voted against a proposal for an independent commission to examine the effects of full fiscal autonomy. Responding, Angus Robertson MP said: “This is typical Unionist arrogance. Mundell, the only Tory MP from Scotland arrogantly refuses to listen to the representatives of the people of Scotland and supported by his Unionist colleagues vetoed without reason or explanation every single proposal submitted by the SNP. And this at a time of savage cuts to the welfare state by Unionists causing real hurt to hard working families and vulnerable people, forcing hardship on and driving increasing numbers of Scots to food banks. Welfare powers should be transferred to Scotland honouring the spirit of the 3 Party Leaders’ Pledge to the people of Scotland just before the Scottish Independence Referendum.”
It is Time to Boycott Westminster
I monitored debates, discussions and voting in the House of Commons from the time the 2015 General Election landslide which returned 56 SNP MP’s. Day after day the SNP group took their places on the benches and participated in fruitless discussions and debates. Their presence in the Commons was mocked, abused and ridiculed by the Speaker and Unionist politicians who protected their vested interest by ensuring the SNP group were side-lined and rendered irrelevant. The response from the SNP contingent should be to withdraw participation from all business of the Commons including committees. This should be done while retaining all rights and privileges (office, travel subsistence, staff, etc) the right of MP’s. The boycott of the House of Commons would enable SNP MP’s to spend more time in Westminster resolving their constituents problems and concerns. The foregoing could be implemented without any financial detriment to the Westminster SNP group. Political business between Scotland and Westminster would then be completed through the offices of the Scottish First Minister (advised by the MP group), who would be permitted permanent use of a committee room at Holyrood.
She is strikingly attractive, highly intelligent and gifted with a natural ability to attract attention, unfortunately not always to her benefit. She is fiesty, strong willed and determined to succeed at any task she is minded to take on. She is media savvy and possesses first class skills including the production of excellent graphics for social media presentation and discussion. One of her many character weaknesses is her abject inability to accept criticism and her single-minded approach to her work. She needs to learn that political life is not a Religion and she is not the Pope.
Her partner, is Rhys Crilley, a native of Wakefield in West Yorkshire. A gifted academic, prolific writer and university lecturer at Glasgow University whose primary interests are in war, militarism, scandals and outrage. He also maintains close political relationships with senior SNP leaders and actively supports the policies to which his partner and the SNP are committed.
Joined the SNP in 2011. Jointly founded Generation Yes, the national youth campaign for independence in the run up to the 2014 referendum. National Convenor of YSI for two years from 2015–17. Elected to the SNP’s NEC in 2016. Scottish Parliament Candidate for the Glasgow List in 2016. Elected Councillor for Greater Pollok in 2017. Successfully proposed motions at SNP Conference on all female lists, inclusive education and raising the age of military recruitment to 18. Chairs TIE an LBGTI government funded charity which is remitted to support Scottish Education bodies providing LGBT-inclusive education in Scottish Schools. Actively promoted the #Metoo movement denouncing sexual harassment on campus at University of Glasgow.
She is the driving force behind informal WOKE campaigning individuals, groups, charities and formal groups promoting and implementing WOKE agenda’s in all of the state schools in Scotland. The bulk of WOKE activities, including resources and staffing, (£3-5M) is funded by the Scottish taxpayer through the SNP government. The unhealthy influence of WOKE minded politicians is being planted across all aspects of Scottish society as each day passes.
2008-2014: Glasgow Unversity
Speaking about her experiences from 2008 until 2012 at the University of Glasgow where she was a Creative and Cultural Studies student said, “My experience of university was that rape culture was commonplace and male sexual aggression was normalised. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it since, trying to come to terms with that environment, and it has been a long process. I was sexually assaulted. I had naked pictures taken of me while I slept which were shared in group chats. That was common for girls, and people don’t realise how common it is. Hyper heteronormative shows of masculinity by young men in their late teens and early 20s fuelled by lots of alcohol and a need to perform in front of friends. Groping hands, pulling off clothes and men exposing themselves to you on the dance floor in the union were all part of a night out. Then there were the darker things that happened behind closed doors which were definitely not consensual that I am only now coming to terms with. At one event a guy dragged me into a cupboard, exposed himself to me and demanded I had sex with him. I remember saying that I didn’t want to touch him, and I wanted to get out. I did get out and I wanted to report it at the time, but I knew there was no point. Then there was waking up to a guy having sex with me, I was sick as soon as I realised what was happening. I am only now able to call that what it really was.” (Glasgow Evening Times)
Young Scots for Independence
Young Scots for Independence (YSI) (SNP Youth) is represented on the SNP National Executive Committee and sends delegates to meetings of the SNP Annual National Conference. Many YSI activists have since risen to prominence in the SNP, including: Rhiannon Spear, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and Fiona Hyslop. In 2012, Humza Yousaf then a member of the YSI, was promoted to Government as Minister for International Development. The YSI first flexed its muscle at the annual conference in 2012 when the Party debated NATO membership. The YSI decided on opposing membership because it was a nuclear alliance. Despite gaining 48% of the vote, the anti-NATO group lost and the SNP policy is now pro-NATO membership.
Jan 2014: Generation Yes
Generation Yes was established in January 2014 by Rhiannon Spear and Kirsten Thornton to campaign for a yes vote amongst young voters in the referendum on Scottish Independence. Despite defeat a poll taken after the 2014 referendum showed 71% of teenagers had voted yes. Spear said: We will continue to campaign for full enfranchisement in all elections for people aged 16 and 17.
Time for Inclusive Education (TIE)
2015: Founded by Jordan Daly (now with Stonewal) and Liam Stevenson, TIE raised awareness of the isolation and bullying faced by young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland. In 2017, the Scottish Government launched a TIE led working group with the task of embedding LGBTI-inclusive education in the schools curriculum of Scotland.
Nov 2018: Scotland became the first country in the world to include compulsory LGBTI issues in school curricula, after the government accepted in full a report from Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) outlining 33 recommendations on how to tackle LGBTI bullying in schools.
Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney said that state schools across Scotland will be required to educate pupils on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues, including LGBTI history, terminology and identities, and ways of tackling homophobia and prejudice. Other recommendations include providing training programs for teachers and offering new teaching materials to tackle LGBTI issues.
The First Minister gave the group her personal endorsement at Holyrood, telling MSPs: “I am a supporter of the TIE campaign, not just in their objectives but in the spirited way they go about trying to make sure that their objectives are taking forward. They will work with decision makers, produce curriculum resources, and deliver services for teachers and pupils to raise awareness and heighten knowledge.” Swinney promised funding for the new programmes and new teaching resources to support LGBTI-inclusive education.
All state schools now have to teach LGBTI equality and inclusion as part of the curriculum, including the teaching of LGBTI terminology and identities, tackling homophobia and prejudice, and the history of the equalities movement.
TIE was granted charitable status and appointed a Board of Trustees led by Rhiannon Spear who on her appointment said: “The campaign has challenged us all to think about what is possible. Although The Scottish Government’s announcement to Parliament, that LGBT-inclusive education will become a reality, has been the culmination of three years work – it is truly just the beginning.”
2019: TIE, the charity launched less than a year ago is in deep financial trouble as it prepared to upscale its operations. A spokesperson said that funding promised by the Government had not yet been provided and money was needed to fund the “massive demand” for its services. The dissolution of TIE is a certainty without sustainable funding, of staff and resources. Expectations are that the charity will need to be supported by recurring annual funding of around £500,000. A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are fully aware of the funding difficulties currently being experienced by the TIE Campaign. We are carefully considering all options to further support the TIE Campaign in its important work with schools in Scotland.” The charity got its money and some.
Aug 2018: Loud, white men must get with the times
In a Tweet, Rhiannon Spear said: This week, I pointed out that an all-male panel at a political event was inadequate and called for at least one woman to be a voice. In response, I was called sexist and a fraud, sworn at, accused of being a BBC plant and labelled anti-independence by a online cohort made up overwhelmingly of white, older men. Apparently, being an elected representative of the SNP and dedicated campaigner for Scottish independence doesn’t meet the bar set to be a Yes voter.
Jan 2019: Rhiannon Spear, SNP Councillor scolds Andy Murray’s mother for Sharing a Pro-Women’s Rights Article
Scotland’s most eminent Women’s Tennis Coach, posted a link to an article on Twitter from Scottish newspaper, The National, about the importance of learning the lessons about the impact of transgenderism on women in Canada. Responding Spear took Judy to task for sharing a “transphobic and 14 years out of date article” hinted that she had not read the article in its entirety.
Spear’s response was met with an onslaught of criticism, for the sanctimonious and patronising tone of her tweet (for implying Murray shared something she hadn’t read) and the implicit ageism (suggesting she was out of touch with modern Scottish atitudes) and misogyny (assuming she didn’t fully understand what she had tweeted because, if she did, then presumably she wouldn’t identify with it because of the fact she’s a woman) in her tweets. She was also admonished for being out-of-touch with, and completely failing to comprehend, the relevant legislation she accused Murray of being out of step with. Her response to to criticisms was less than acceptable.
Spear leads the government funded TIE campaign in Scotland, which promotes gender ideology in our schools and the thought of this woman having any influence on school children is of increasing concern to many parents. Also of concern is her oft repeated assertion that feminism is wack because it reduces womanhood to genitalia and reproductive ability. Then when a Scottish journalist offered that reducing womanhood to genitalia was already happening as a direct result of trans activism, not feminism, she accused the journalist of whipping up mob hysteria by fear. https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3489880-Glasgow-Councillor-Tries-to-Scold-Judy-Murray
Jan 2019: Comments: Moll
This is very much her modus operandi with respect to every political topic she gets involved with: You’re either with her or against her. The last time she publicly maligned a popular pro-Scottish independence blogger as a transphobe and got exactly the same reaction. She maligned his 56k followers as being “part of the problem”, a huge portion of which belongs to her own political party and share her political ambitions. She’s very much of the view that if you don’t agree with her, then its because you need to reflect more. In my view, she’s a toxic extremist. And for all her qualms about not being reduced to her reproductive capacities, she wasn’t above using her miscarriage to garner up sympathy for herself and get her sycophants to go after a man she couldn’t have a reasoned discussion with.
Apr 2019: SNP politician accused of “promoting” sex work
Councillor Rhiannon Spear, chair of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign which has successfully lobbied for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender education to be embedded in Scotland’s schools sparked claims from SNP colleagues she was “advocating” prostitution by posting a controversial tweet and a selfie with fellow SNP Councillor Christina Cannon, dominatrix Megara Furie and another unnamed woman at Glasgow City Chambers, saying “brilliant meeting Megara Furie + bringing sex workers into the City Chambers. Sex workers rights are human rights.”
Following up on social media she added, “Yesterday I met with Megara Furie to talk all things sex work. Did you know Sex work includes trixs, submissives, cam work, phone + text services, dancers, masseuses, porn, escorting etc it’s not all street based sale of sex.” Another tweet from Spear enraged colleagues who said it questioned the law on pimping. She wrote “It’s currently illegal for workers to work together. It is illegal for a man (but not a woman) to live on money earned through sex work. So it would be illegal to live with your boyfriend. Does that sound safe?”
But SNP sources angrily claimed the tweets “promoted” sex work which SNP policy condemns as a form of violence against women. An SNP insider who withheld her name hit out at the tweets, saying they were “advocating prostitution”. and added “her views are not the views of the SNP nationally, or Glasgow’s SNP group.” and another said: “Given her youth education role with TIE, it is not appropriate to be promoting S&M.”
Feb 2019: Joan McAlpine is an unlikely rebel against the Scottish political establishment. The SNP MSP is chair of Holyrood’s culture and external affairs committee and a former parliamentary aide to Alex Salmond. She is gender-critical, or, in the prosecutorial terms of her detractors, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF). Recently she began asking awkward questions about the campaign to give force of law to relatively new and largely untested theories about sex, gender and identity only to be denounced by SNP councillor Rhiannon Spear, chair of the LGBT education lobby, TIE. Who accused her of “stoking a fire” and “wilfully ignoring the advice of service providers who have been working in the industry for decades”.
It is not the first time McAlpine has fallen foul of the SNP gendarmerie who police the views of feminists and other gender dissenters. In February, her committee recommended that the sex question in the Scottish census “should remain binary” and posted a Twitter thread outlining their concerns, which were:
Including a “non-binary” option risked devaluing the data on a protected characteristic (sex) under the Equality Act. They also wondered why so many women’s groups, especially those in receipt of taxpayers’ money, had dogmatically adopted the transgender ideology while failing to represent women who disagreed.
This prompted an extraordinary 1,400-word open letter in which some of Scotland’s leading third-sector groups took her to task over the Twitter thread. Signatories to the statement, which rebuked her for “sharing an inaccurate, partial, and negative assessment” of their work, included Close the Gap (which received £205,000 from the Scottish Government in 2018/19), Engender Scotland (£225,350) and Equate Scotland (£331,019).
Even in the unforgiving world of Scottish politics, the backlash against McAlpine was vicious. She told the press: “They try to shut you up by labelling you and othering you, by using extremist language. This isn’t just about trans people’s rights; they have the same human rights as everyone else and extra protections in the Equality Act and hate legislation, and that’s quite rightly so. This is about women’s rights and how the changes being pushed for impact women.” McAlpine may be a Nationalist bomb-thrower but on gender she has been moderate and measured. No one sincerely interested in a debate can credibly dismiss her thoughtful interventions or her temperate tone, including on proposals to amend the Gender Recognition Act to abandon medically-supported gender recognition certificates in favour of self-identification.
For the most part, her campaign has been a lonely one. Other MSPs agree but have hitherto been reluctant to invite controversy. No wonder. Only a few days before, the contents of private messages between three female SNP MSPs were leaked, exposing them as critics of Nicola Sturgeon’s breathless enthusiasm for the trans agenda. The backlash served as a warning to other women not to step out of line if they don’t want their political careers jeopardised. The trans movement has co-opted the gay and lesbian struggle to convince doubters they are on “the wrong side of history”. The tactic is a parallel of their ideology’s efforts to conflate sex and gender but the two are not the same. Maleness or femaleness is a fact of biology while masculine or feminine identity is the product of social conditioning and performance. Sex is data, gender is narrative. (https://twitter.com/JoanMcAlpine/status/1101251118611525633)
Aug 2020: Councillor Rhiannon Spear to spearhead the new SNP women’s mentoring programme
Women make up over half of the population in Scotland but only 35% of those elected to the Scottish Parliament. That needs to change. Women are impacted by every decision that is taken in any parliament or local authority in Scotland. To allow decisions to have the best outcome for women our elected members should be representative of the communities they represent and made up of as many diverse voices as possible. So in order to encourage more women to stand the SNP has put in place measures that will remove the barriers that women face when they stand for election. Starting now any woman thinking of standing will be supported through the candidate self assessment process through the SNP Women’s Mentoring Project. The project that I am leading is specifically for women who are interested in standing in the Local Government Election in 2022. The aim is that by the end of the project they will be confident enough to successfully stand to be selected and elected. (Herald)
Apr 2021: The Equality Network is a government funded lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity. Its influence over SNP policies and many areas of Scottish society, is absolute. Political Party’s will be expected to conform to the LGBTI agenda or face oblivion at the ballot box. But the electorate may not subscribe to the changes without consultation of which there has been very little, to date. People are afraid of change and this might well be reflected in the way in which they cast their votes on 6 May 2021. In response to the possibility of dissent the commitment of political parties in Scotland to social and changes in the laws of Scotland their network is being monitored so that conformity can be maintained.
14 Apr 2021: The Equality Network is a government funded lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity.
Its influence over SNP policies and many areas of Scottish society is absolute. Political Party’s will be expected to conform to the LGBTI agenda or face oblivion at the ballot box. But the electorate may not subscribe to the changes without consultation of which there has been very little, to date. People are afraid of change and this might well be reflected in the way in which they cast their votes on 6 May 2021.
The network which represents around 0.4% of Scotland’s population is monitoring the commitment of political parties in Scotland to social and changes in the laws of Scotland advocated by the network and has reported the applicable agenda for change in the Green Party manifesto, which states:
“We will ensure that health and social care services throughout Scotland, including mental health services, are fully inclusive of LGBT+ people and designed to remove barriers and tackle health inequalities.”
“Implement the Time for Inclusion Education (TIE) campaign recommendations, including the delayed delivery of promised funding to assist this important
“Deliver long overdue reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, including statutory self-declaration, recognising non-binary identities and all genders, and providing access to health care for trans minors with parental or guardian consent.”
“Introduce an informed consent model of trans healthcare, and in the meantime continue to push for access to Gender Identity Clinics within 18 weeks, in line with NHS standards for other services.”
“Ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’, which refers to unethical and unnecessary interventions that seek to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT+ people or alter a person’s sex characteristics without their consent.”
“Ensure LGBT+ inclusion in Scottish Government international development policies, and enshrining the Yogyakarta human rights principles into Scots law.”
Yogyakarta human rights principles: To avoid gender discrimination, in whatever area, full provision must be made for all those people who experience discrimination because of their gender role, gender identity or gender expression. In particular, provision must be made for those with an absence of intimate conviction as to being a man or a woman.
The Yogyakarta Principles: Women’s Rights Were Not Considered
Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law at Kings College London, is an expert on anti-discrimination law and sexual orientation law, and was one of the co-authors of the influential “Yogyakarta Principles”.
He now says the international human rights community got it wrong in merging lesbian and gay rights with the idea of a right to have “gender identity” replace sex.
The Yogyakarta principles, developed in 2006 built on the UK’s Gender Recognition Act, presenting it as international best practice. Principle 3 argues for a right to have gender identity replace sex on all identity documents and in all situations
On Inclusive Education: Fully implement the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group, underpinned by new statutory guidance on the conduct of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education for schools.
On healthcare: Ensure that all NHS healthcare professionals can meet the needs of their LGBTI patients by incorporating training that addresses barriers faced due to both sexual orientation and gender identity.
On mental health: Commit to funding mandatory training for mental health professionals, including front line CAMHS staff, on supporting LGBTI people, and ensure mental health and suicide prevention training delivered to NHS staff is inclusive.
On social care: Ensure that LGBTI people can access welcoming and inclusive social care services, by providing targeted training for staff with a focus on those working in residential care settings.
On reproductive health & fertility services: Ensure that NHS reproductive health and fertility services recognise, and address, barriers and health inequalities faced by LGBTI people, particularly by lesbian and bisexual women.
On Conversion Therapy: End the harmful practice of sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy in the next parliamentary session, working with the UK Government where necessary.
On the Gender Recognition Act: Improve laws on gender recognition in line with international best practice to allow trans people to change the legal gender on their birth certificate with a simple process based on the principle of self-determination.
Recognized worldwide as one of the most talented politicians of his and other generations Alex had a high-profile in Scottish politics even before winning two historic Holyrood elections as SNP leader and securing a mandate to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.
Born in Linlithgow in 1954, he graduated from St Andrews University and took up a career in economics working first for the Scottish Office before moving to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
He began his parliamentary career as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, building a small team of dedicated supporters who would remain loyal throughout his time in politics.
He served as Party leader from 1990, standing down after 10 years but was persuaded to return and rescue the Party that was near collapse under the uninspired leadership of John Swinney.
Portrayed by Unionists as arrogant and self-serving, he confounded his critics when under his stewardship Party fortunes recovered dramatically and on a platform of fighting for Scottish independence he led it into government in 2007 and in a barnstorming election campaign in 2011 he achieved the impossible getting the Party back into power with an overall majority of MSP’s.
The 2014 referendum
The result of the 2014 Independence Referendum shattered Alex who had led a hard-fought campaign for a “Yes” vote. And the day after the result he dropped the bombshell announcing he was standing down as first minister and S.N.P. leader.
The 2015 General Election
At the time of his unexpected resignation Alex could not have foreseen the SNP landslide victory only six months later in the 2015 General Election. The momentous change in the fortunes of the party was brought about by the disgraceful backsliding after the referendum of “Unionist” politicians interested only in containing Scots within the existing political constraints. The much touted joint Unionist commitment to fully implement their “Vow” !!!!……to devolve substantive new powers to Scotland, just short of independence proved to be yet another a “big lie” that broke the hearts of many Scots who had voted to remain in the Union on the substance of Unionist promises.
Alex, had been persuaded by his supporters, in the Gordon constituency to remain active in Scottish politics, but this would be at Westminster in a role that did not impinge on Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of the Party. But in an extraordinary turn of events the Party leadership did not embrace the wishes of local Party activists believing the election of Alex to Westminster would undermine the authority of Nicola Sturgeon who was enjoying the fruits of successful politicking handed to her on a plate by Alex when he stood down from his leadership role. But the local Party team prevailed and Alex was selected as the Party candidate for Gordon. He went on to win the seat. Putting the boot into the Unionists Fifty-five other SNP candidates were also elected.
The SNP at Westminster
After leading the large contingent of SNP MP’s into the House of Commons Angus Robertson who was appointed leader of the team at Westminster, said:
“Westminster is going through culture shock in coming to terms with the fact the SNP did so well in the election. That we are here in such strong numbers, elected as Scots who support independence, is also not lost on them. We were elected to pursue an anti-austerity agenda and more devolved powers for Scotland and we will do just that.”
The final sentence in his statement dictated the approach and conduct of the SNP at Westminster. It should have read:
“We were elected to pursue independence for Scotland and we will do just that.”
The large block of SNP MP’s were rich with talent and enthusiasm but lacked political experience and badly underestimated the strength of the bias against any challenge to the Unionist dominated Westminster political system.
The one shining light was Alex Salmond, who having accepted his place at Westminster would exclude his direct input into Scottish matters took on the duties of “Foreign Affairs” spokesman for the Party. It was a role to which he was well suited and he was able to deal effectively with a truculent “Speaker” and a truculent Unionist majority. It was satisfying to witness him commanding the stage when he spoke to his brief, but there was a sadness observing him sitting on the fringe near the rear of the SNP group watching the ineffectual efforts of his leader Angus Robertson..
2017 General Election
The unexpected 2017 General Election brought with it unwelcome efforts by the Party leadership to pressurise Alex to retire from politics. The advice being that, as an elder statesman of the Party he would be better suited to less taxing work in the media through the many contacts who had provided him with numerous television and radio appearances over the years. But, spurning the opportunity of a new direction Alex decided to stand, once again for a seat at Westminster, representing Banff and Buchan.
Peter Murrell’s cock-up
The SNP leadership had not expected another election so soon and failed to inspire Party activists to get out and support the cause with result that some candidates failed to be re-elected. There were also issues about the lack of financial and campaigning support for candidates who were not seen to be fully committed to the ideals of Nicola Sturgeon and her team within a team at Party headquarters.
The Unionist’s were well ahead of the political game and introduced “tactical voting” to Scottish politics setting aside their political differences and jointly campaigning in a number of Scottish constituencies, (in particular the North East) where the incumbent SNP MP would be vulnerable to a low percentage swing in the voting.
Another factor was the ineffective performance of the large body of SNP MP’s at Westminster which had exposed the futility of sending SNP MP’s to Westminster. Unionist politicians enthusiastically seized the opportunity given over to them by the inexperienced and complacent SNP leadership and planted seeds of confusion and apathy among Scots voters. Faced with these drawbacks Alex and a number of other SNP candidates failed in their bids for re-election.
Alex Bows Out of Front-line politics
Alex accepted a need to change direction and considered a future in the media, the most promising of which was as the editor of a major Scottish tabloid newspaper. But the new venture failed to materialize, due to the political pressure of Unionist supporting financial backers with result that he became increasingly dependent on appearance invitations from the right wing media and BBC. But shock and horror, he was also denied that platform through Unionist controlled entities. Lesser persons would have given up the ghost. But not Alex, who turned to the English language television and radio station, Russia Today (RT). And having been given written assurances there would be no censorship or any other pressure applied to himself, his guests or content, he signed up to produce and present a weekly current affairs television show. The show proved to be a hit with viewers (it still is) and with his future assured Alex was a happy bunny once again. All’s well that ends well!!
Not quite. Nicola Sturgeon had not long before returned to Scotland from the US where she had been feted and fawned over by influential women’s political groups. The politics of the reborn Sturgeon had changed. “Independence” was out replaced with the buzzword “accommodation”. And her philosophy did not extend any accommodation to Putin and Russia. She joined with the Unionist and criticised Alex for taking up the offer of free airtime with RT. A real stab in the back for Alex from a person he had guided and mentored for many years.
The Whigs fared badly at the 1724/5 election and lost many supporters but Cock-a-hoop with their malt tax victory over the Scots Walpole’s new government put the boot in and forced even more commodity taxes on Scotland. The recently increased Scottish presence at Westminster counted for nothing since with a built-in majority guaranteeing its power England cared nothing for Scottish opinion.
Mindful of General Wade’s attack on Glasgow and the murder of civilians just a year or so before Scots were well aware of the threat of the English military should any violence occur and took a new tack by forming into political groups. These, in turn, merged and over the next ten years of the Whig government, the movement developed into a potent political force at Westminster. But victories were not so significant as to cause Walpole to worry unduly.
But England was not without its problems on the political front as an increasing number of Whigs became disillusioned with Walpole’s authoritarian style of leadership and his foreign and economic policies which alienated the United Kingdom from Europe and the world. Adopting the title, “The Patriots” a new political grouping evolved and claiming to be the protectors of the unwritten English constitution attracted a significant following and the support of the Scottish politicians at Westminster.
Around this time the English press was just taking off with its reach extending outside London into the provinces and the “Patriots” were quick to use the new medium to inform the public of their aims and aspirations. But achieving change was a slow process and political guerrilla tactics adopted by the “Patriots” took time to wear down Walpole and his ultra-right-wing English centred supporters who had ruled the roost for so long years.
The election of 1734 provided the opportunity to challenge Walpole’s Whigs and the “Patriots”, in an alliance with Scottish peers did just that making maximum use of the media to get its message across to the nation. And the message was!! That there was nothing wrong with the recently formed United Kingdom. The way forward was to embrace and enhance a fully integrated nation-state under a Protestant monarch. Scots peers responded positively and support for Walpole’s Whigs in Scotland began to waver. A new newspaper, the “Thistle” published weekly, was widely circulated in the central belt, less so in the highlands who had not been persuaded to the “Patriot” cause preferring a return of the Stuart divine-right monarchy. The political message, “there is another way” resonated well with Scots. The problem for many was “which way”.
The “Patriots” agenda promoted the message that a victory for them would bring a return to a political system true to the content of the Acts of Union ensuring equal rights for all. The strategy failed because of the limited reach of the campaign and the “Patriots” changed tack and concentrated their efforts in the professional sectors of Glasgow and Edinburgh and failed to extend it to the rest of Scotland. So not enough people got the message!!! But they did make inroads in the cities!!
In England Walpole’s Whigs took a beating but retained power which meant that Scotland was bang in the firing line for more harsh treatment at their hands.
The Porteous Crisis 1737/38
The crisis brought Scots of all political persuasions together under the “Patriot” banner to protest against Whig government abuse and disrespect of Scottish legal and political autonomy. It began in the spring of 1736 when two habitual burglars were done for breaking and entering and robbing the Collector of Customs building in Kirkcaldy. A crime for which they were sentenced to Hang. While awaiting their execution both prisoners escaped custody. And their exploits brought support from the public who considered the sentence to be unjust. But authorities ignored their pleas and went ahead with the execution. The public execution in the Grassmarket was attended by a large crowd who were vocal in their protests and when the deed was done a few of them started to throw stones at the hangman and his helpers. This was not an unusual occurrence and usually passed without further incident. But on the occasion, there was an immediate and brutal response when city guard leader, Captain John Porteous fired into the crowd and ordered his men to do the same. When the shooting stopped there were eight dead and much more seriously wounded. The public protested vehemently and Porteous was charged with murder, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging in the same Grassmarket where he and his men had committed the atrocities.
The incident would have been closed had the execution been carried out, but Whig peers petitioned the Queen Regent Caroline to suspend the sentence so that appeals could be gathered and presented to the courts. She duly consented to their request and ordered the Scottish Lords of Justiciary to suspend the sentence for at least 6 weeks. Edinburgh citizens, sorely aggrieved that they were being denied justice took matters into their own hands, dragged Porteous from the Tollbooth and hanged him in the Grassmarket.
News of the “riot” reached the Westminster government who immediately ordered General Wade and his English forces to Edinburgh to assist in the “speedy and exemplary punishment’ of the riots” “ringleaders and abetters”. A second large body of English soldiers was moved into Edinburgh castle to patrol the area and to conduct “stop and search” patrols and enforce curfews. The Westminster Whigs also took the view that the Edinburgh city authorities were at fault. Opinions that were strengthened in the weeks that followed when no-one had been brought to account. General Wade complained that: “the magistrates had conspired to allow the murder of Porteous and aided their escape from justice”. His unfounded assertions provided the catalyst the Whig government had been waiting for and it speedily introduced a new act, the “Bill of Pains and Penalties” and used it against Edinburgh, with the charge that the City authorities had “insulted the royal prerogative”. Edinburgh’s Lord Provost was arrested and many “Royal” privileges were removed adversely affecting traders and the city was placed in purgatory. Edinburgh citizens were angry at the actions of the government and questioned the legality of the English moves against the city. The question most raised was, “what right had been bestowed on Westminster that gave it the authority to punish Edinburgh for a crime involving Scottish citizens, that had taken place on Scottish soil? Scottish politicians set aside their petty partisan quarrels and protests were raised at Westminster strongly condemning the Whig government for its, “contradiction to the express Articles of Union”. But their protests fell upon deaf ears. Edinburgh was made to pay a heavy fine to the exchequer and every church minister in Scotland was forced to read out a proclamation apologizing for the behaviour of Edinburgh citizens.
The Porteous affair was one of many incidents in which the Walpole government protected the military from its excesses through the imposition of “Martial Law” and acts of public violence against the people of Scotland. What was particularly galling was the unequal treatment of Scottish protestors when rioting in English cities had never been subject to military occupation and martial law. The Whig victory was pyrrhic since it confirmed what many Scots knew in their hearts that Scotland was not an equal partner in a Union of countries but a colony of England. The indignities inflicted by Walpole’s Whigs drove some Scots to seek the overturn the British and to invite the return of the Stuart’s to Scotland, but people in the Central belt and lowland parts of the country preferred to remain with the Union hoping for the removal of Walpole’s Whigs and a return to the ideals of the Acts of Union. Wishful thinking indeed!!!
2010:The Sarwar Dynasty in Central Glasgow – Anas Sarwar – Son of Mohammad Elected to Holyrood
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: Sarwar 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.
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.
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.
Nov 2015: Ousted MP Sawar buys himself a safe seat in Holyrood
Plotting his political comeback, Sarwar, who lost his Glasgow Central Westminster seat in May, contacted MSP’s, councillors and activists with an invite to hear his “views on the recovery of the Labour Party in Scotland”. Guests were treated to an expensive 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. A Scottish Labour parliamentarian said “The 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 really want to commit to supporting one person’s vision for the party? People are apprehensive about the ambitions of Sarwar. I think he is looking to make a comeback in Scotland”
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.
This Is Anas Sarwar
Sarwar was shown the exit door at Westminster in 2014 by his Glasgow constituents who judged him to be a sleazy disingenuous political beastie seeking his own attainment milking his constituent’s misery with the goal of attaining political stardom and personal gain.
His popularity in the Party is not mirrored in the community who rejected him when became clear he was a charlatan who enjoyed a life of capitalist excess whilst representing many of his constituents whose existence was dependent on food banks.
Sarwar uses his wealth to enhance his political ambitions exploiting the staff of his “cash and carry” by employing them on wages well short of Scotland’s Real Living Wage.
At the time company accounts showed he and his wife received more than £500,000 in dividends from the firm down the years thanks to his 23 per cent stake. The revelations led to Sarwar transferring his shares worth roughly £5million into a trust for his children.
Sarwar’s parliamentary register of interests previously revealed he accepted £40,000 from a non-family firm ultimately controlled from the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.
Mar 2019:Nuclear weapons Doon the Clyde
Sarwar clarified the Labour Party in Scotland and his own position on the continued harbouring of Polaris submarines and many hundreds of nuclear weapons. He stated: “The Labour party in Scotland took a policy position that we didn’t support the renewal of Trident, but the UK party takes a different view.” So that’s it then?
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 was an Act of the Scottish Parliament passed on 19 February 2014. The legislation was part of the SNP Government’s “Getting it right for every child” policy implementation. The scope of the act made provision for the rights of children and young people. The provision of services and support for or in relation to children and young people. Children’s hearings, detention in secure accommodation and consultation on certain proposals in relation to schools.
The provisions of the act gained the support of parents, professionals involved in childcare provision, childrens organisations and charitable institutions and implementation of the new measures was scheduled to be implemented from 2015.
But the public became increasingly concerned about the wisdom of a “Named Person” when press coverage revealed the propensity for the abuse of children. Press Report:
Dayna Dickson-Boath was appointed one of the first Named Persons in Scotland, but is now banned from working with children for the rest of her life. She had held a senior position at a secondary school in Moray, but yesterday consented to being struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland on the charge that, between 8 August 2014 and 10 September 2014, she “did send, by means of a public electronic communications network, messages to another person that were grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, in that you did converse regarding the sexual abuse of children”. Dickson-Boath was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and ordered to undergo treatment when she was convicted in Elgin Sheriff Court.
A trickle of protests reached tsunami strength at the start of 2015 as concerns were raised about aspects of the legislation which were draconian, poorly drafted and “Big Brother State”.
The SNP government ignored requests for a dialogue and forced the new measures through. But the public would not be denied and a number of Scots parents and Christian organisations took the SNP government to court in an effort to get parts of the act repealed. They failed in their efforts and all appeared to be lost. But they gathered strength from increasing support of Scots who had been alerted to what the SNP government was seeking to impose on the nation. They appealed to the UK Supreme Court.
2016: The Supreme Court Judgement – The Named Person Scheme
In their summary ruling against the introduction of the scheme the Supreme Court judges noted that the appropriateness of the novel new legislation hinged on the government’s assertion of a need to ensure the “wellbeing” of the child. But “wellbeing” was not defined and reliance on SHANARRI indicators (standing for Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included) were also not defined and were in some cases notably vague.
A unanimous ruling of Supreme Court judges also stated: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.
They were also agreed that the idea that parents must comply with any advice given “could well amount to an interference with” Article 8 of the ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life). The Court also held that the legislation’s data sharing provisions, which they held were central to the role of the named person, “are not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”.
And yet, In his 2016 speech to the Scottish Parliament following receipt of the judgement Swinney insisted that the judgment itself did not require current policy to change. His message to local authorities and health boards was to continue to develop and deliver the named person service. Encouraging the disregard of the Supreme Court ruling set a dangerous precedence since in continuing the development of the named person provision, its information gathering and sharing processes the Deputy First Minister encouraged unlawful practice by state bodies.
Dr Jenny Cunningham, a recently retired community paediatrician from Glasgow said that the named person scheme was “illegitimate and illiberal” and argued that an open democracy depended on the principle that “parents ought to be autonomous in relation to their own families”. he continued saying: “The underlying assumption by the SNP government is that adults are unable to identify vulnerable children – so the state has to intervene! This belittles parents. She concluded: “We should strongly resist and argue against this idea that parents are incapable of assessing children’s wellbeing needs and accessing services – parenting is about establishing good relationships with children and establishing parental authority.”
Maggie Mellon, an independent social work consultant said: “It’s important that we understand the rationale and the ideas underpinning the legislation. The SNP government has made it clear it thinks the Supreme Court judgment is purely technical and they’re going to plough on regardless. But there is no duty under the Act to consult or collaborate with parents. It’s just not there. We’ve been treated to flights of complete fancy about the voluntary nature of the scheme. We were told it was in response to parents’ demands – then we were told it was to save children from their parents. A Named Person can’t provide a hot meal, a pair of shoes, a warm home but they can spend time doing SHANARRI somersaults with 300 wellbeing outcome signifiers and 200 risk indicators! It wont work.”
Aug 2018: Plan B to by-pass MSP’s and implement the Named Person Scheme by the Backdoor
The SNP Scottish Government is considering controversial proposals to implement the detested named person scheme “by the back door” even if MSPs refuse to support changes to the law. Discussion of a so-called “Plan B” is revealed in documents which were only made public, after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request was submitted. The papers were produced following a meeting of unnamed top level government officials and advisors in February 2018. An annex under the headline “CONTINGENCY” stated: “Contingency plan? What if the legislation is not passed?” And adds: “Plan B for if Bill fails to make sure parts 4&5 can be implemented without information sharing.”
The scheme has been riddled with problems and last month a further delay was revealed. Swinney set up a panel to produce a Code of Practice by September 2018, after Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee said it would not pass the legislation without one. But Professor Ian Welsh, chair of the panel, wrote to Mr Swinney to inform him that the panel would not be able to meet this deadline.
Lesley Scott of the TYMES Trust, said: “These worrying documents show the focus is clearly on implementing Named Person Scheme by the back door, regardless of whether the new Bill gets through Parliament. Clearly, we are now dealing with a Government which is ignoring the UK Supreme Court, has no regard for the elected representatives of the Scottish people and is determined to shun public opinion. They are riding roughshod over the democratic system in pursuit of a flawed, failed and discredited project.”
Lesley asked to be provided with details from three key meetings of the Statutory Guidance Framework Group tasked to review the named person scheme in October and December 2017 and in February 2018. Subsequently only one set of minutes was released and was useless since the names of all persons in attendance had been redacted. An appeal was submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office seeking a review of this decision to withold the documentation.
Maggie Mellon, former chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre, said: “The names of all present including the chair are all redacted. So much for open government. There is no way of identifying which agencies are providing wrong advice or whether the persons present represent their colleagues and agencies properly. Is it now so toxic to be associated with the named person scheme that people are not willing to have their names made known”? Adding: “These are presumably many of the same people who advised the government so badly first time round, that breaching confidentiality is ok even when any concerns fall well below the proper threshold. What is so important about this flawed scheme that it has to be pushed through” ?
Sep 2019: Named Person Scheme Scrapped?
Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced in the Scottish Parliament: “We will now not underpin in law the mandatory named person scheme for every child. We will withdraw the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill and repeal the relevant legislation. Instead, existing voluntary schemes that provide a point of contact for support will continue, under current legal powers, when councils and health boards wish to provide them and parents wish to use them.” Swinney’s announcement led to widespread media coverage, with some containing misleading content. So here we set the record straight.
The July 2016 UK Supreme Court judgment stated: “the sharing of personal data between relevant public authorities is central to the role of the named person scheme” and concluded that the information-sharing provisions:
Were incompatible with the rights of children, young persons and parents under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights:
May in practice result in a disproportionate interference with the article 8 rights of many children, young persons and their parents, through the sharing of private information:
Were “not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”, deeming the legislation “defective” and blocking it from coming into force:
Bizarrely, Swinney responded to the ruling at the time saying: “I welcome the publication of today’s judgment and the fact that the attempt to scrap the named person service has failed”. But three years down the line he was forced to admit that the mandatory Named Scheme, with legal powers to grab and share private information at the low level of wellbeing, cannot work without breaching the human rights of children and families. It had to be scrapped.
So, where do we go from here? Swinney, in his statement yesterday said: “Instead, existing voluntary schemes that provide a point of contact for support will continue, under current legal powers, where councils and health boards wish to provide them and parents wish to use them.” A voluntary single point of contact. So if you still see a Named Person service being offered, it will now be on a strictly voluntary basis. It will be up to councils and health boards to decide if they wish to offer a voluntary named person or some kind of voluntary single point of contact for parents, and it will be up to parents to decide if they want to use the service.
The ‘voluntary single point of contact’ will not be able to share information on “wellbeing” concerns at will. Instead it will have to adhere to current data sharing frameworks. There will no longer be a statutory Named Person service imposed on every child in Scotland. Parents can feel confident that when they are given advice or offered a service by a voluntary “Named Person” or “voluntary single point of contact”, they do not have to accept it. As the 2016 Supreme Court judgment stated: “Care should therefore be taken to emphasise the voluntary nature of the advice, information, support and help which is offered”.