Scottish Labour Party in Crisis- Change! What Change?

Scottish Labour Party in Crisis- Change! What Change?

In a brief to the Labour Party in Scotland, (following on from the SNP Landslide victory in the 2011 Scottish Election) Dominic Dowling, (Senior Election Agent) for all Labour candidates in Glasgow. assessed the performance of the party as having been dull and uninspiring.

Other noteworthy comments contained in his report;

1. The Party is perceived by the public to be, “a party principally of English interests, not Scottish ones”.
2. The Party offered no demonstrable opposition to the SNP administration.
3. Voluntary workers were poorly briefed with result that inconsistent messages were imparted on doorsteps.
4. The party persistently failed to give support to Holyrood to demonstrating a lack of commitment to Scottish affairs.

Evidence it’s performance, in the 4 year’s since the election, the Labour Party has failed to address and correct the issues raised. It is time Labour voters demanded the party abandon English Labour Party policies.

I doubt the existing leadership and other heid yin’s are incapable of change so someone within the Labour establishment will need to initiate the process, perhaps using the September Referendum as the impetus for change.

Labour Party Madhouse politics

Johann Lamont, (Labour Party leader in Scotland) in a speech providing support to her colleagues in England, attacked the SNP Government and policies it had introduced, (at variance with England) in Scotland, from 2007.

She went on to assure the full support of the Labour Party in Scotland of their colleagues in England, (who had only recently informed the public in England that a Labour Party UK Government would continue to maintain policies, (Public Sector Pay Freeze and any other austerity measures) outlined by the Tory Party.

She further stated that Scotland and it’s people enjoyed, under an SNP government the only, “something-for-nothing culture in the world” and went on to say that upon the return of the Labour Party in Scotland to power she would reverse the following scandalous policies;

1. Free Personal Care for the elderly to cease. Systems in place in England to be introduced.
2. Tuition Fees for Students, (mirroring those applicable in England), to be reintroduced.
3. The Council Tax freeze, (funded from central funds by the Scottish Government) to cease. Funding to be withdrawn. Councils to set local rates without subsidy from the Government.
4. Free prescriptions to cease. Charges to mirror those in England.
5. She also announced that the Labour Party would establish a, “Cuts Commission” undoing any other progressive policies introduced by the SNP. Namely Road Bridge Tolls.

Anyone, as yet undecided, should be aware of what a no vote in the September referendum will bring. Vote, “Yes” to Independence, preventing any future introduction of, ” madhouse politics” outlined by Johann Lamont and her colleagues who are simply, “cowtowing” to the English Labour Party. A few snippets of confirmatory facts:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/28/scottish-labour-hostility-snp

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/labour-reveal-taxes-will-rise-as-johann-1342878

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/staggers/2012/09/scottish-labours-support-cuts-plays-snps-hands

https://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/oct/johann-lamont-re-writes-history

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20755329

http://www.government-world.com/lamont-challenged-on-something-for-nothing/

http://news.stv.tv/politics/191807-labour-leader-johann-lamont-demands-end-to-something-for-nothing-culture/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-19711805

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Living in the East End of Glasgow in the 1940’s

Living in the East End of Glasgow in the 1940’s

My first brush with the politics of Glasgow came in July 1946. I was a teenager, living, with my family, in a single end in Kent Street, Calton. Myself and two of my friends were returning from a Socialist Party political meeting being held on, “the Green”. Speakers had been extolling the benefits of a new, “inclusive post war nation”.

My mate had been given a leaflet on which was printed the words of the, “Red Flag”. He insisted on singing the song as we entered the, “Gallowgate” and proceeded up the road towards Kent Street. I noted two, “Bobbies” on the other side of the street, standing near to, “the Sari Heid” and told him to stop singing so as to avoid trouble. We still got it. A gang of, “Billy Boys” steamed out of, “Doo-Hill Road” shouting, “Communist Bastards” and gave us a severe beating. The policemen, (who witnessed the incident) did not come to our assistance. We managed to get back to my place and cleaned up.

Later, my father, (a committed communist) offered the reason we were beaten up was most likely my mate’s singing since there were very strong links between, (the Scottish Protestant League), (the Billy Boys), (the Police), (the Orange Order) and the Tories. He went on to say that the only way to bring about change, improving housing, health and wealth and gaining full employment was for, “oor sort” to stick together and gain power through the, “ballot box”. From that time, (the bulk of Roman Catholic Glasgwegians have voted Labour). My father was right, from 1945 -to date, through the ballot box, the Glasgow electorate has been committed to, (a contract of care) under control of the, “Labour Party”.

When Glasgow was declared host to the 2014 Commonwealth Games the urgent need for new sports facilities, accommodation, removal and redevelopment of run down parts of the east end of the city, (where the bulk of Roman Catholics live) exposed a disgraceful lack of progress, over 70 years, under the auspices of Labour councils that had been returned to power unchallenged. Poor health continues to plague families. Early death, (55y) is the sad fate of many Glasgow Eastenders. Poverty is rife. Unemployment remains higher than the national average and housing stock is run-down.

Labour Councillors have also, (through a litany of dodgy deals enhancing their personal finances) brought ridicule and anger upon themselves and their offices in Glasgow District Council and the Labour Party. Deals since exposed and banned by the Scottish National Party Government. The referendum provides opportunity for change. I know it will be difficult for Roman Catholics in the East End of Glasgow to vote other than Labour. But there is an alternative. Vote, “Yes” in the independence referendum. In our country, freed from the excesses of the past it will be possible to elect Councillors who will work for their constituents not themselves or the Labour Party in England.

Glasgow City Council and New Labour a Systematic Transfer of Finance and Assets From the Public Purse to the Wallets of Friends of Labour

 

 

 

imgid38478222  McAvetty

 

cash_2285410b       imgid50709322-jpg-galleryPurcell

These two Guys Led Glasgow City Council

 

 

 

The Empire That Was – Glasgow & the Labour Party

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, (GCC) quit office without warning amid increasingly fevered allegations of drugs, corruption and sleaze. The Labour Party, “shut up shop” and said nothing. The Scottish Labour party’s control of life in the West of Scotland is wide reaching across civic life.

This has always been accepted as, “that’s just how it is”. That familiarity, which at times can feel too close for comfort, can also be a benefit but a much darker side was exposed. Politicians, businessmen, media and the law were so interlinked in this tale that it is difficult to see the wood for the trees.

Blair once hailed Purcell as a, “visionary civic leader”, and his rise from, “deprived” Yoker, to leader of the Council at the City Chambers seemed to personify the Blairite fantasy of meritocracy.

 

 

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But the entrepreneurial narrative is implicitly an individualizing discourse: being, “excluded” is at least partly one’s own fault for having the wrong skill set, the wrong character traits or the wrong kind of family life.

In this context, alternative, and more importantly collective models for dealing with one’s personal situation, (workplace or community organizing, grass-roots campaigns, etc.) become inconceivable. To disagree is to be, “against aspiration”, to be recalcitrant and against change, to want to keep people, or one’s self, in the ghetto.

The positivist aspects associated with this discourse have unravelled of late with Purcell quitting his posts amidst cocaine and alcohol confessions; the quoted strain of running the local authority; the pressures of planning the Commonwealth Games; and controversies over Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. The recession has also worked to de-legitimise the modus operandi of the market calculus personified by Purcell’s administration, though hardly as much as it should have.

 

 

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Following Purcell’s fall, the dominant Labour Party within the Council quickly sought to distance themselves from his once venerated Leadership, concerned that, “everything the council achieved during Mr Purcell’s time as leader has somehow been devalued”.

This acute reversal suddenly averred that the, “City is not just about one man”, that the, “transformations” were, “not because of the person who was in charge but because of the hard work and dedication of you and your colleagues” at the Council.

But recriminations over Purcell’s personal life shouldn’t obscure the fact that he’d been heading a local authority caught up in a web of, “cronyism” and an, “elaborate system of political patronage”. The real issue – that which, “scandal” obfuscates – is the restructuring of local government along lines of market largesse at public expense.

Purcell’s, “State of the City Economy” address in 2008 is an exemplary document in that it expresses quite clearly his, “vision” for the city. Regurgitating the dull rote of neo-liberal convention, he promised that, “Team Glasgow” (a self elected cabal of business leaders purporting to represent the wider interests of ‘Glasgow’) would do everything they could to help businesses, “cope with the downturn”, “The first thing that all public bodies, including my own Council, must do, is to examine where we can help business by being more flexible and willing to do things differently.

This is no time for unnecessary rules and processes; this is a time to do everything we can to help”. The message couldn’t be clearer, “My main priority is helping business in the city through the economic difficulties ahead”, he said.

 

 

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Purcell’s, “vision” included a, “flexible” land disposal policy that gave away, “empty” commercial premises owned by the Council to new businesses rent free, so that they can do without, “the burden of rent costs”.

Purcell argued that this showed how Glasgow City Council is, “willing to do things differently, willing to be flexible to help businesses”, willing to, “relax” rules in order to promote development and safeguard businesses. “We are willing to look at deferred payment arrangements, profit sharing, joint ventures and greater risk taking on the part of the Council”, he promised.

One beneficiary of this largesse at the public’s expense are the developers of the Commonwealth Games Village, who obtained the site rent-free, alongside an undisclosed, “profit-sharing agreement” with the Council.

As a commercial property market magazine concluded in March 2010 (under the headline, “Loss of council’s, “Team Glasgow” is huge blow for property’), the scandal surrounding Purcell may grab the headlines but the loss will also be felt by a feather bedded property industry.

Another means by which the City Council has shown its willingness to prioritize neo-liberal enclosure and restructuring has been in the privatization of basic services run previously by the authority.

 

 

purcell

 

 

 

 

Since the council housing, “stock-transfer” in 2003 (the largest transfer in the UK), there has been an acceleration of Council functions carved off to arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs): care services, culture and leisure, catering, construction and maintenance services, parking, community safety and city marketing.

Against a backdrop of diminishing terms, conditions and salaries for those employed by ALEOs, the, “cronyism at the heart of Purcell’s council” ensured friends and allies – sitting on the boards of these companies which met just a few times a year – were being paid enhanced salaries for doing what the Council was already paid to do.

“Political patronage”, at work? Willie Haughey (a good friend of Purcell, key member of, “Team Glasgow”, and the largest Scottish donor to the Labour Party) received £680,000 (plus VAT) for a plot of land in Rutherglen from Clyde Gateway Developments, an ALEO run by Purcell’s former political advisor, Iain Manson.

Haughey had leased the land from the then-Glasgow District Council but bought it outright in the mid-1990s. Despite an independent valuation of £7.4 million, Haughey also received a £17 million compensation package for his business premises, which had to be relocated due to the construction of the M74 motorway.

” a nation of sheep results in a government of wolves”, “For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing.” “The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.”

 

 

crooks-of-the-crown-cover

 

 

 

 

Another ALEO, City Building, was awarded two large contracts to Haughey’s City Refrigeration Holdings, worth £11.2 million, despite his bid being significantly higher than other competitors.

Clyde Gateway’s board includes four Councillors, all Labour, including George Ryan, Mr Purcell’s right-hand man when he became council leader in 2005. The head of City Building is Willie Docherty. His wife, Sadie Docherty, is a Glasgow Labour Councillor. Garnering further accusations of cronyism, Scottish Labour’s former general secretary Lesley Quinn was recruited as City Building’s first business development manager.

City Building’s £20,000-a-year chair, Gerry Leonard, is also a Labour councillor in Glasgow, as are three other board members. Just one board member is an SNP Councillor as with Culture and Sport Glasgow, whose Chief Executive is Bridget McConnell, partner of former First Minister Jack McConnell.

Glasgow’s Labour-dominated Council was also found to be passing public money into party political funds via at least one ALEO run by Labour activists, in the form of buying tables at party fundraisers. City Building treated Labour grandees, including Scottish leader Iain Gray and his wife, to a £2,000 dinner at a party fund-raiser.

David Miller, at Strathclyde University, helped disclose Purcell’s free use of public cash as he used Encore catering service, one of the authority’s spin-off companies, to host lavish dinners for fellow Labour politicians.

 

 

 

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Within days of Purcell resigning lawyers and a PR company arrived on the scene attempting to gag his former colleagues who sought to distance themselves and their Party from Purcell’s personal peccadilloes.

But what exactly, behind the morality tales, might they wish to distance themselves from? It was offered that ALEOs had not been established for the sole purpose of buying loyalty, they, “provided a convenient vehicle for purchasing patronage”.

But to personify the system of largesse in Purcell alone is to erroneously perpetuate the story of, “one bad apple”. Polite press commentary consisted primarily of emotive stories of Purcell’s personal habits, obfuscating the high degree of institutional aggregation at work in Glasgow in marketing the, “success” of Glasgow’s urban renaissance.

What was perceived as a dearth of mainstream media reporting led bloggers to speculate on west-coast failure to hold power to account.

The Sunday Herald, driven to comment, reacted defensively to, “suggestions of a network of powerful figures working behind the scenes to influence the workings of the city … that this so-called network included leading figures from the media [and] threatened to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the Scottish press”.

Responding to, “hints” that some Scottish newspapers had, “pulled their punches on the controversy because editors had been too close to Mr Purcell or, worse, they had been cowed into submission by Peter Watson and PR firm Media House”, these allegations were rebutted but unconvincingly, “Glasgow is a large city but its political and business centre is small. Personal and business relationships meld together, contacts extend and overlap, boundaries blur. Business dinners become social occasions, colleagues become friends”.

 

 

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Herald and Evening Times editor-in-chief Donald Martin told his sister-paper the Sunday Herald: “I was glad to play a role in Team Glasgow along with other individuals who believed in co-operating for the good of the city. Our aim was to encourage actions which would help the city. As a newspaper editor it is an important part of my job to make contacts in the political, business and other spheres and I also believe it is part of my job to work for the good of Glasgow and indeed Scotland”.

This suggests, even confirms, an all-too-cosy political compact between Glasgow governance and certain sectors of the crisis-riven Scottish media. Indeed, Martin was part of a regular Friday afternoon drinking date, dubbed, “The Ritz Club”, which, Holyrood magazine spilled, “included the editors of rival red tops [David Dinsmore], the Herald’s departing editor-in-chief [Donald Martin] and Purcell himself”.

That Martin could be so open about these relationships suggests not a conflict of interests but a convergence of interests, effacing any significant debate of the underlying economic antagonisms in Glasgow. None of the above points to any, “conspiracy” of course, just politics as usual: the same old revolving doors network of legalized looting avid viewers of, “The Wire” have become accustomed to.

No laws, moral or otherwise have been broken – no matter how much money has been channelled into the Labour Party via publicly owned companies, or how many members, relatives and friends are employed in senior positions in such companies.

 

 

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As for multi – million pound contracts and shady land deals being awarded to Party donors, well, that just shows that an entrepreneurial spirit is rewarded in an age of entrepreneurialism. What is perhaps remarkable about Glasgow’s economic policies and system of political patronage is that the dis-juncture between the myth of market provision and, “urban renaissance”, and the reality of a city with 40 per cent of it’s residents living below the poverty line, hasn’t been more consistently and effectively exposed. (Composed by Neil Gray & Leigh French)

 

 

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Probably the main reason the Labour Party is against Independence. Scotland, free of Westminster control will be able to address the excesses of the ruling Labour Cabal in Glasgow and adjacent Councils of similar ilk.

The UK Taxpayer’s Alliance recently published a list of UK Town Hall top earners. Glasgow employed 27 members of staff earning over £100,000 p/a. Of these 5 featured in the top 10 highest paid executives.

Commenting the, ” Alliance”, said, “Residents won’t be impressed when their council pleads poverty then demands more and more council tax, (Glasgow’s annual operating budget is around £3 Billion) only to spend it creating more town hall tycoons.”

1. In second place. Linda Hardie. South Lanarkshire Council, £543,538, (Retired April 2011.)

2. In third place. Thomas McDonald. Former Assistant Director of Land and Environment Services, £520,590 total remuneration inclusive of £342,957 in pension contributions, (Retired.)

3. In fourth place. William Docherty. Glasgow Council (subsidiary company) City Building, £485,698.

4. In fifth place. Steven Kelly. Glasgow Council (subsidiary company) City Building, £481,166.

5. In ninth place. Robert Booth. Former Director of Land and Environment Services, £382,789 total remuneration inclusive of 171,929 in pension contributions, (retired.)

6. In tenth place. Kenneth Harkness. Ex Head of Service development, £371,610.

7. The largest pay package overall, excluding larger than usual, one-off payments, was that of John Sharkey, group chief executive of SEC, (a private company whose majority shareholder is Glasgow City Council) which owns and operates the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. He received £314,553.

The residents of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, (45%+ of whom live below the poverty line) need to abandon the past and seize the opportunities for a much better standard of life independence will bring. Vote, “yes” in the referendum.

 

 

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Johann Lamont & Scottish Labour

Johann Lamont & Scottish Labour

It is a fact that from the time she took up office as leader, (Johan Lamont and the Scottish Labour Party) meekly toe the line sent down by Ed Miliband and his cohorts. Entirely suited only to the needs of English voters, (not Scots) policies are to be foisted upon Scotland, should Labour win the next General Election, (which it is increasingly uncertain.)

Mindful of the foregoing, Johan Lamont and her Labour Party’s support of a, “no” vote in the Referendum is becoming ever more savagely hysterical claiming, “cybernats” are unfairly conducting personal vendettas online against those who might voice disagreement with their views. At long last, “The Sun” has, “climbed off the fence” and sided with the, “Yes” campaign, publishing disparaging comment in regard to the aforementioned concerns, mocking Johan Lamont and her Labour colleagues for pursuing childish witch-hunts on social media outlets. Paraphrasing an extract from, The Sun Editorial;

“The left-wing, (Labour Party) mob on Twitter fuel their self-righteousness, taking offence at their political opponents, whipping up frenzies of phony outrage willfully ignoring the context in which things are said”.

Scots do not take kindly to Labour Party officials warping the truth to suit their political aspirations. Vote, “Yes” in the referendum. Cleanse English control from of Scottish politics.

He is Back Again – Alistair Darling – The Bearded Trot Complicit in the Bankruptcy of Scotland Seeks to Lord it Over Scotland Yet Again

 

 

Marxist Luvvie

 

Darling: A Political Unprincipled Opportunist

Twenty-five years ago, the man they knew as a bushy-bearded ringleader of a loony left council, was a supporter of the International Marxist Group, whose key objectives included the nationalisation of the British banking system as a first step towards full-blown Communism.

 

Back to the Eighties: Alistair Darling (centre) with supporters after the 1982 Edinburgh regional elections
Loony left – Edinburgh District Council

 

 

Ah ! those days of youthful folly so embarrassing to senior politicians and, usually, best left undisturbed.

After all, surely a politician, no less than anyone else, is entitled to grow out of their immature ravings?

True enough, but at the peak of his madcap Leftie days, Darling was hardly a youth  –  he was a qualified solicitor approaching his mid-30s and was just being admitted to the Scottish bar.

 

Where's the beard gone: Alistair Darling as he is today

 

Darling was a classic family rebel, a product of Scotland’s oldest boarding school, Loretto (other old boys include the broadcaster Andrew Marr and former Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont), whose family were staunch Conservatives.

His Tory-voting father was a civil engineer and his great-uncle Sir William Darling was the MP for Edinburgh South for 12 years after World War II.

In 1982, Alistair, aged 29, was elected as a Labour councillor to Lothian Regional Council in Edinburgh, and escalated a war against capitalism that had begun with his feverish distribution of far-Left literature while reading law at Aberdeen University.

It was when the politically ambitious Darling became a councillor that Bob Thompson, another former chairman of the Scottish Labour Party, met him.

“He was a Trotskyist and played the part with his backside sticking out of his jeans and sandals on bare feet, long hair and a beard,” says Thompson, a lifelong trades unionist.

Thus dressed for battle, Darling and his Labour colleagues dug in to take on the biggest capitalist of all  –  Margaret Thatcher.

These were the Loony Leftism years of ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone in London and Derek Hatton, of Militant Tendency fame, in Liverpool.

According to party figures of the time, left-wing councils across the country ‘liaised’ on a range of issues.

In Edinburgh, Darling was a ringleader of the revolt against the Thatcher government’s spending cuts.

Then, as now, he was no firebrand.

He had little charisma and was no orator. But he was a clever fixer, a plotter, a manipulator rather than a motivator.

He was in the thick of it and certainly caught the eye of Labour’s then leader Neil Kinnock, who visited the council when it was threatening to defy the Tory government’s spending cuts by refusing to set a local rate.

Kinnock’s visit helped ‘calm down’ the loonies.

But as he was leaving Scotland he remarked about Darling:

“That bearded trot must never become an MP.”

 

No longer a Trotskyist: Alistair Darling during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

reformed Trotskyist Darling at Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster
The irony is that Darling’s public school upbringing was anything but an advantage among his Labour colleagues.
Bob Thompson, former chairman of the labour party in Scotland assessed Darling:
“His posh background came out in his voice and mannerisms, but it was also apparent in his naivete about working people.”
“He lived in cloud cuckoo land, always talking about the kind of industrial action people should be taking.”
“He didn’t seem to realise that people had to pay their rent and buy food, and that a week without a wage would put them in Queer Street.”
‘He saw himself as the working class’s champion and simply didn’t understand that for trades unions, negotiation is the art of compromise.”
“He was always looking for revolution rather than compromise, always wanting us to push harder and be much more radical.”
“He didn’t really understand the issues facing working people nor the fact that they weren’t always ready to man the barricades.”

According to George Galloway, another contemporary who became a Labour MP Glasgow before founding the Left-wing party Respect, it was Darling who came up with the idea of opposing the government’s spending cuts by refusing to set a rate or even agree a budget, thus plunging the local authority into illegality.

It was left to him and Bill Speirs to “talk Alistair Darling down from the ledge of this kamikaze strategy.”

But Darling’s ideology was far deeper than merely battling with Margaret Thatcher.

It covered a range of other areas of life.  A contemporary recalls he also had an ideological hatred of cars that cost Edinburgh millions of pounds’ (an ideology not apparent as he steps into his ministerial limousine).

As convener of his council’s transport committee, Darling is said to have blocked plans to create car-parking spaces in Edinburgh, as he wanted people to leave their vehicles at home.

In the event, all that happened was more traffic congestion.

Dogmatic in his beliefs, his most controversial act as Edinburgh City Council Transport Convener was to scrap a four-lane western approach road to the Scottish capital after contracts had been signed by the previous Tory administration.

A decision  that cost ratepayers £2 million in cancellation fees.

 

Labour conference: Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, right, gestures to the audience to stop applauding him as Gordon Brown looks on
soaking up the applause of the Labour Party conference in England

 

 

Darling was aware that among many of his colleagues there was irritation and even contempt for his “posh” public school background.

Some thought he was a “public schoolboy just playing at it”.

But others believe it was his privileged background that drove him to be so politically extreme.

He was so eager to be seen as a hard socialist that the joke was that he would carry a blank banner around with him so he could fill in the cause as required.

Naturally, he was in favour of scrapping missiles.

This deep sensitivity about his image did not diminish over the years during his political rise in which he was one of only three ministers to serve for the entire period since New Labour swept to power in 1997  –  the others being Gordon Brown and Jack Straw.

 

 

he never entered the year’s he boarded at Loretto in his Who’s Who entry.

So was Darling a genuine member of the Loony Left or was he merely playing a role in order to gain Left- wing support and political lift-off?

Former Scottish Labour Party boss Bob Thompson again:

“He actually believed in what he was doing. Having come from public school and university, he saw this as the proper way to help the working man. He was just too naive to realise it was the wrong way.”

 

 

So, what happened to Alistair the sandal-wearing, car-hating Loony Leftie, just when did he undergo his political metamorphosis emerging as the bland, smooth, fastidiously attired government minister, a man who could easily be mistaken for a bank manager?

Contemporaries are agreed it was in 1985 when he was 32 and, while still serving on the council, was making his move for a parliamentary seat.

That year, a quietly dressed Darling, beard neatly trimmed, so impressed the selection committee at Edinburgh Central, that he was chosen from 48 applicants.

Two years later, he defeated the sitting Tory MP.

Bob Thompson again:

“He is an opportunist who, when he got into Parliament, refrained from saying anything particularly radical and went along with the party agenda.”

 

 

 

Some time later, at a Burns Night supper in his constituency, Darling introduced the gathering to a rising star of the party  –  Tony Blair, the Shadow Employment Secretary.  Bob Thompson again:

“They were obviously close. What I remember most is that Blair stood and spoke for 20 minutes without mentioning Burns once.”

“So far as I was concerned, Alistair Darling had gone from Trotskyist to New Labour overnight.”

 

 

After the 1997 New Labour triumph, Darling shaved off his beard and presented himself, in accordance with party instructions, as a clean-shaven man of the people. Bob Thompson again:

“Alistair’s problem is that he takes his opinion from whoever’s his boss.”

“In the early Eighties, it was John Mulvey (his Lothian council boss), then it was Tony Blair and then it was Gordon Brown. He’s a man with no opinion of his own.”

 

 

 

 

Other reading:

https://caltonjock.com/2015/05/05/blair-brown-balls-miliband-darling-the-real-story-of-the-new-labour-finance-team-that-brought-the-uk-to-its-knees/

https://caltonjock.com/2015/03/08/blair-brown-darling-were-warned-in-2004-that-the-british-economy-was-about-to-go-bust-they-did-nothing-to-avert-the-crisis-then-had-the-audacity-to-blame-the-royal-bank-of-scotland/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/09/10/gordon-brown-and-alistair-darling-architects-of-the-uk-financial-crisis-of-2007/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/31/flipper-darling-a-disaster/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/31/darling-private-lectures/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/31/the-salmond-darling-debate/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/30/mervyn-king-farting-against-the-sound-of-thunder-brown-darling-and-balls-had-cloth-ears-in-the-face-of-adversity/

https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/30/the-basket-case-economy-the-uk-or-panama-darling-hopelessly-wrong-again/

 

 

 

 

The Queen elevated Darling to the House of Lords in 2014 awarding him a life peerage in recognition for his long service and good conduct in the service of her Unionist governments of every political persuasion.

The man who sold out his nation then gained another reward for his incompetance.

A job with Morgan Stanley attracting a salary of around £230,000 plus bonuses.

A pointer, the chairman was paid £11.8million in 2013. (Daily Mail)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scottish Labour Party Doesn’t Exist

The Scottish Labour Party Doesn’t Exist

At the time of the Falkirk candidate selection debacle Johann Lamont, (supposed leader of the Scottish labour Party) was instructed to keep her silence, by the Labour Party in England. The difficulty was referred to Ed Miliband who undertook to direct the outcome. The Scottish branch of Labour, (for that is what it has been reduced to) is divided, demoralised and unable to agree a unified approach to any matter of consequence, witness the bedroom tax debacle.
It is the case that Westminster not Holyrood, (Johann Lamont) that retains the authority to remove wayward MSP’s. Confirmation that the Scottish Labour Party is no more. Vote, “Yes” in September. Free the Labour Party in Scotland from the dead hand that is Ed Miliband and his ilk.

Nose Back In The Trough – Prescott Returns – The Ultimate Insult – The Smell Of Largess Pervades – His Record Stinks

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John Prescott, (the Baron) has been asked to return to frontline politics providing inspiration and a large front to the Labour Party May  2015 general election campaign. I thought we had seen the last of Teflon Tony’s sidekicks but it seems, “The Reluctant Baron” has other plans.

Reflecting back to his time at Westminster and the many financial fiasco’s he presided over I chose the, “Millenium Dome” disaster and associated financial mismanagement to present for study and comment since this is the one that was never properly put to bed to the satisfaction of the public who witnessed the waste and frittering away of many £Billions which would have been better spent improving the infrastructure of the UK.

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The Millenium Dome

The debacle described below is yet another example of the excesses of Westminster governments. A project, to cost under £500m over-runs resulting in a spend of about £4billion. To add insult the government then gives everything away to private enterprise for nothing.  If ever anyone in Scotland needed a reason to vote, “Yes” to independence, the Millenium Dome is it.

 

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1994:  Conservative Prime Minister John Major sets up the Millennium Commission and hands responsibility for the Dome to his deputy, Michael Heseltine.

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1996

January :  The site opposite Greenwich is selected over bids from Birmingham, Derby and Stratford in East London.

May:   Feasibility study into the business sector’s contribution to the Dome shows a huge financial shortfall.  £144m raised from industry, leaving project still short of £150m.

December:  Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine announces the government will UNDERWRITE all Millennium Exhibition costs,  despite an undertaking the year previous that it would be paid for entirely with private money.

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1997

January:  Labour announces that if it wins the imminent general election, it will back the project.  Once installed in Number 10, Prime Minister Tony Blair – against cabinet resistance – gives it the go-ahead.

June:  Peter Mandelson is made sole shareholder of the New Millennium Experience Company.

July:  German company wins commission to build the dome after the only British company to bid pulls out due to the size of the project. But the contract eventually goes to the American,  Japanese-owned, company Birdair.

July:  Labour minister Clare Short refers to the dome as “a silly temporary building”.

July:  Controversy over ex-civil servant Jennie Page’s £500,000 salary as head of New Millennium Experience Company. The figure is eventually amended to £150,000,  but with significant built-in performance bonuses.

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1998

December: Mandelson forced to resign from the government  after The Guardian revealed he kept a £373,000 loan from the  Labour Party Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson secret.

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1999

January:  Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Tony Blair’s former flatmate, replaced Mandelson as, “Minister Of The Dome.”

May:   First tube train to serve the Millennium Dome came on stream, 14 months late and £1.2bn over budget.

June:  Dome’s external structure,  finally, completed.

September: Tickets on sale for opening ceremony.  Sales disappointing.  Over priced admission.

November:  New Millennium Experience Company received £50m public subsidy loan to cover cash flow difficulties. Pay-out from Millennium Commission first of a number of large hand-outs to keep the attraction solvent.  Ticket retailers report low or non-existent ticket sales for opening event, despite £4m advertising campaign.

December:  Tony Blair gives strong backing to the Dome,  claiming it will be,  “a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness,  excellence over mediocrity”.

31 December:  Dome’s big day massive flop.  Problems at Stratford Station where 3,000 guests were forced to queue for hours as their tickets fail to arrive through the post due to an administrative error.

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2000

January:  First members of paying public view the Dome,  feedback generally positive.

January:  MPs decide to launch inquiry into problems blighting Millennium Dome, including complaints about two-hour queues to view the most popular attractions.

February: Figures reveal only 344,620 people visited Dome in January. Just  3% of  projected annual target.

February:  Chief Executive,  Jennie Page forced to resign her position. Replaced by frenchman, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau.

 

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March: Millenium Dome project BORROWED a further £9m of lottery money. The finance, from the Millennium Commission, is additional to £32m already loaned to the project, to stave off cash-flow crisis caused by low attendance and booking numbers.

May:  Management of Millennium Dome project asked for a further cash injection – on top of a total of £110m given in previous loans – to cover losses due to disappointing visitor numbers. Dome’s management forced to admit it will not meet the required ten million visitor target,. More subsidies needed to stay afloat.

Following unfavourable comparisons with the London Eye Millennium Wheel,  Dome is embarrassed by the recently-opened Tate Modern, which attracted 120,000 visitors in the first three days of opening – in contrast to figures showing the Dome struggled to admit 20,000 visitors daily.

May:  Millennium Commission agreed to grant ailing attraction a,  ‘final’ emergency hand-out of £29m worth of Lottery money.   Chairman Bob Ayling forced to quit post.

 

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June:  Recently sacked, Jennie Page levelled part of blame for the Dome’s poor performance and low visitor numbers at government ministers.

July:  Lord Falconer announced the government would sell Millennium Dome to Japanese finance house, Nomura.

August: Dome received fierce criticism of the running of the attraction in a scathing report published by the Culture Media Sport Select Committee.

 

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August:  Newspapers accused Mr Gerbeau of breaking his word not to approach the Millennium Commission for more hand-outs, after news is released that Dome chiefs are to receive £43m in advance from the sale of the Dome.

Newspapers claim decision to proceed with the Dome project was backed by only five members of Tony Blair’s 22-strong cabinet.

Ticket prices for Dome reduced by up to 50% in a final attempt to reverse slump in visitor numbers.

 

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September:  Dome receives an extra £47m from the Millennium Commission to stave off an early closure.

Nomura announced they were pulling out of  the  £105m deal to purchase the troubled attraction and it’s surrounding land.

Tony Blair finally stopped defending the Dome and admitted it had failed to meet public expectations.

London Evening Standard reported Dome chiefs had been given two warnings that their predicted visitor figures of 12 million would not be met some months before it opened.

Michael Heseltine, who commissioned the Dome admitted it should not have been built.

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November:  Police foil audacious attempt to steal £350m worth of diamonds on display in the Dome.

National Audit Office published a report indicating visitor numbers had been,  “ambitious and inherently risky” while there had been a failure to put in sufficiently robust financial management.

Legacy Plc appointed preferred bidder with a plan to turn the Dome into London’s very own silicon valley with hi-tech offices, workshops, retail outlets and leisure facilities.

 

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December: Dome’s year-long exhibition closes – with a surge of visitors in its last days.

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2001

February: Legacy Plc, with a bid of  £100m, failed to meet government expectations and was stripped of preferred bidder status.

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December:  Meridian Delta Ltd  appointed, “exclusive partners” with government agency English Partnerships to regenerate the Greenwich peninsula. Agreement included plans to convert Dome into a 20,000 seat sports and entertainment complex.

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2002

April:  News leaked that taxpayers had paid more than £28m to maintain Dome in the year after it had closed.

May:  Deal with Meridian consortium and American entertainment giant AEG confirmed. But details slow to surface.

May: News release: Proposal handing over Millennium Dome to Meridien Delta for nothing set to be the subject of an inquiry by government’s financial watchdog. Announcement scheduled for later in the week.

Lord Falconer issued statement of support stating, “it’s got to be the best deal available and it is a deal that regenerates that part of London”. But refused to reveal precisely what the deal included.

National Audit Office, which had already conducted two inquiries into the Dome in recent years, including one only a month before,  planned to launch a third investigation after the sale was completed.

Deal involved purchasing Dome, (for nothing) – plus up to 200 acres of prime development land. In return, government would receive a share of any profit from the development of the site with a proposed, £4billion, “mini city” of offices and houses.

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Shadow culture secretary Tim Yeo called for an immediate announcement as to how much the Dome deal would cost. “At present, after almost £1billion has been spent, there is still no certainty about whether, when, and how much will be recovered,” he said.

Meridian Delta spokesman denied any deal would be dependent on a new river crossing – a suggestion made in a Sunday newspaper report. “Our plans for the Dome to host a superb 20,000 seat arena and regeneration immediately around the Dome are also not dependent on a third river crossing,” he said.

Tim Yeo insisted inclusion of a river crossing, in any deal would, “materially alter” the value of the site. “If other prospective bidders had been aware that a couple of hundred million pounds was going to be poured on top of the £700m that has already gone in, to provide a river crossing, that may indeed have attracted many more bidders who would have made a much better offer than Meridian Delta has.” He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme,  “As usual with Lord Falconer, we never quite get the full truth.”

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Meridian Delta, subsidiary of, “Anschutz Entertainment Group” (AEG) subsequently awarded a 999 year lease, (free of any charges). Backers reported to include Australian property developer, Lend Lease and British developers, Quintain.

Lord Falconer advised deal was a “joint venture for the Greenwich peninsula and the running of the Dome as an arena”. Both arrangements involved profit sharing. He said, “It’s got to be a value-for-money deal. It’s got to be the best deal that is available.”

Government admitted £4m of public funds had been spent maintaining and securing the Dome since it closed at the end of December 2000.

Total cost to the UK of developing the whole Greenwich Peninsula area between 2002-2006 estimated to be £4billion.

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Hows this for a follow up;  2006

28 April

Mr Prescott admitted having an affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple as the Daily Mirror splashed photos of them cavorting together at a Whitehall party.

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30 APRIL

Ms Temple published her diary of the affair in a Sunday newspaper, with Prescott saying many of her recollections were “simply untrue”. Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said there were questions about whether Mr Prescott had broken the ministerial code.

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1 May

Labour backbencher Stephen Pound said Prescott should consider his position and said news of his affair is causing “huge problems” for Labour in the run-up to the local elections.

 

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2 MAY

Conservative leader David Cameron says Mr Prescott “clearly looks a fool” and has a “woeful record” in office.

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4 MAY

Mr Prescott’s department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, promises significant changes after criticism of bullying and discrimination. In a staff survey last year, one in 10 workers claimed to have been victimised and 22% had witnessed some form of unfair treatment of colleagues.

 

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5 MAY

Labour suffers heavy losses at the local elections and in the ensuing reshuffle Mr Prescott is stripped of his department but keeps his Cabinet job, his £133,000 a year salary and his two grace-and-favour homes.

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8 MAY

Tony Blair defends Mr Prescott’s new role, saying Willie Whitelaw and Michael Heseltine performed a similar role as deputy prime minister.

 

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28 MAY

The Mail on Sunday publishes photos of Mr Prescott playing croquet with staff at his grace-and-favour country residence, Dorneywood, while Mr Blair is away on an overseas trip.

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30 MAY

More Labour backbenchers question Mr Prescott’s position, with Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt saying it is not tenable for him to keep his official residences or chairmanship of Cabinet committees.

 

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31 MAY

Mr Prescott gives up his official country residence, saying: “I have accepted that my continued use of Dorneywood is getting in the way of doing my job in government.”

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28 JUNE

The Conservatives claim Mr Prescott costs taxpayers £2m a year – using figures from parliamentary answers and reports on wages paid to his staff.

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1 JULY

The newspapers reveal that Mr Prescott visited the ranch Philip Anschutz, the owner of the Dome who is bidding for the UK’s first super casino to be located there. Mr Prescott says the visit was during a nine-day official trip to the US and he was discussing a film about former Hull MP William Wilberforce.

 

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3 JULY

The Conservatives complain that Mr Prescott may have broken MPs rules and the ministerial code, as he did not register his stay with Mr Anschutz. Sports Minister Richard Caborn rubbishes the claims in the Commons and says Mr Prescott has no responsibility for planning casinos.

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4 JULY

Parliament’s standards watchdog, Sir Philip Mawer, says he is making preliminary inquiries about whether he needs to investigate. Mr Prescott writes to the Tories saying he met Mr Anschutz seven times over three years but denies discussing either the sale of the Dome or casino licences.

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5 JULY

Mr Prescott declares his stay with Mr Anschutz in the MPs’ register, although says he does not actually need to as it was an official trip and was covered entirely by public funds.

 

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A row erupted after it emerged Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and some of his civil servants stayed at tycoon Philip Anschutz’s ranch in July last year as part of a nine-day trip to the United States. He only declared the trip in a belated report to the Commons, 11 moths later, after some pressure.

The Commons standards committee who were asked to inquire suggested its role – and that of watchdog Sir Philip Mawer who carried out the initial investigation – had no remit to conduct an inquiry into whether a minister had breached the ministerial code since this was retained by the Prime Minister.

And that is precisely what Mr Prescott’s critics have been demanding and what the prime minister – who is the only one with the power to order that probe – has steadfastly refused to do. It would certainly represent a far more serious investigation and throw a major new question mark over Mr Prescott’s future. If it found the relationship between Mr Prescott and Mr Anschutz did lead to a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, it could be a lethal blow to the deputy prime minister who has protested his innocence throughout this affair.

 

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Mr Blair’s office spokesman stated their would be no further inquiry and the issue was now at an end.

The Commissioner on Standards in Public Life, Sir Alistair Graham applied pressure, (without success) on the Prime Minister to change his mind. Mr Blair went away on holiday.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5197572.stm

 

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