Thursday, 7 June 2007

Back soon

Just in case you thought I was dead it is only shift patterns that are dictating the absence of current stuff. I'll be back soon, but you probably didn't even miss me. In the meantime I've added a piece by The Wee Man to Interesting Stuff. I know I shouldn't laugh, but it's funny.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Rayleen Kelly and the SSP : Accusations of Lying

I have been having a correspondence with the peoples princess over on her blog
and she has accused me of lying regarding her censorship of my comments in a prior conversation (see mine on 31st march). Now I don't claim to be a saint, but to be called a liar by a former Renfrewshire Labour councillor takes the biscuit.

She has, however, run away from the discussion by closing the topic (presumably that isn't censoring comment in the Labour party). Giving yourself the last word is, I suppose, your right if it is your blog. This isn't Rayleen's blog but she can add comments without any censorship, and no topic ever closes.
She is struggling to make her earlier comments sensible and has obviously run out of steam . Sorry Rayleen, but your loss of reason is showing. You can't just assume someone is guilty of something because you saw them being arrested on TV. Every day I see policemen in stab proof vests queueing in snack bars to buy their rolls, so no assumptions can be made from the gear that they wear in any given situation as to the guilt or innocence of an arrested person.

If the police thought them worthy of being charged with an offence, and if any police were hurt or in danger of being hurt, then they should have been given the opportunity to prove their innocence in court, we have no way of knowing if their behaviour was lawful or not if they are not tried.

The arrest of the 80 year old woman at Faslane received plenty of coverage, and for Rayleen to suggest that she deserved her treatment is a disgrace to a decent society.

And finally, Rayleen, I didn't get you started on the Iraq shroud waving, you did that all on your own because you were struggling for a point that you could win. But you are wrong there as well, it is the flag wavers who are the problem and your party is full of them or we wouldn't be in Iraq.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Renfrewshire Labour in Opposition

The shift to a one party right of centre state is never more obvious than when we look at Labour in opposition in Renfrewshire.

Maybe I'm wrong and am just being left behind by consensus politics of the soft right, but I was always under the impression that it was the duty of the opposition to oppose. They did this by holding the ruling group to account and offering alternatives to the policies put forward by that group. This ensured that the proposals of the ruling group were properly scrutinised and compared with an alternative model, that of the opposition. That is the strength of an adversarial system of government.

Labour in Renfrewshire (still in shock at their loss of power and smarting under a new ignominy, they are losing their JPs) are offering no new and innovative policies, they are not even promoting the stale old policies which saw them lose power.

Their stated aim is to ensure that the election promises made by the SNP are kept. But surely it is not the role of the opposition Labour party to ensure that the SNP manifesto is implemented, that is just a stupid thing to say. Labour should be offering a different agenda with new ideas (not the ones which were already rejected by the majority of voters) and fighting tooth and nail to prevent the ideas which they opposed whilst in office from being implemented. That is the duty of an opposition, but they still do not understand that they are the opposition, so they will fight to implement the policies of the SNP and try to take credit for themselves for what goes right, rejecting as not theirs anything which goes wrong.

This is a completely sterile approach to the problems of Renfrewshire, and to think that we paid the dead wood thousands to go away and not prevent innovation. What a waste that was. The new lot haven't an idea between them except to ensure the implementation of SNP policy.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Terry Kelly and Social Housing

I've been trying to ignore TKMax recently as he has become something of an irrelevance even within the Labour group, but when he makes a statement like this:-

How about campaigning for a proper social house building programme instead of capitulating to the racists, there's a novel idea, decent socialists in the party now have to apologise for you, for god's sake go !

then I have to remind people that he campaigned against keeping Renfrewshire's housing in public ownership. He bragged about the number of council houses the Labour council had knocked down, and when challenged about the number of council houses they had built (none) and the number of homeless and the waiting lists for council houses (thousands -- see my post on 19th April 2007) he took the cowards way out, did not respond, and barred me from comment on his site.

Well it's his site, so he makes the rules, but we will have to to add hypocrisy to the previous charges of buffoonery (and he is after all McMillan's court jester), and treat his opinions accordingly

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Rayleen and the SSP

Rayleen (the peoples' princess) Kelly has raised some questions about the survival of the SSP on her site. I've posted a reply but who knows if she will publish it.

I can only tell others what I have tried to tell her, and that is that the SSP will obviously have to have a re-think as regards our operational affairs, but we are resolved to be here fighting for working people against their enemies in the Labour, New Labour, Tory, New Tory, Maybe we're Tory but we're not sure Lib/Dem, and Tartan Tory parties.

We are not going away irrespective of how big an embarrassment it might be for Labour to have us reminding them of what they are supposed to stand for and the liars they have become.

Friday, 18 May 2007

The Coronation of Gordon Brown

There was no choir giving us 'Zadok the Priest', but the elevation of Gordon (the big clunking fist) Brown to the status of Prime Minister elect was something of a coronation.

The fact that a left candidate from within the Labour party couldn't even get on to the ballot paper surely tells us that any notional loyalty to the working class, which some Labour supporters were clinging to, has gone completely and forever. There is no way back from this that leads left, the bridge is burnt.

All those, like TKMax, who believe that, as puny district councillors in opposition, they can present any challenge to the inexorable rightward stampede of the Labour party are either liars, clinging to their Labour rosettes in the hope of being able to re-join the gravy train, or fools.

For better or worse we have got Big Humble Gordy, and he has much to be humble about when we consider the growing inequality he has created.

Renfrewshire Labour in Opposition

It looks as if they still don't get it, but just for the sake of clarification, Renfrewshire Labour--you're out on your arse. There will be no more corporate hospitality or freebies, declared or otherwise, you're history, live with it. You made no friends in power and could not form a coalition if your lifestyles depended on it (and they did).

So for Sharkey (the assassin of Rayleen, the People's Princess) to say in the paper that he is committed to working with all of his new colleagues? on the council no matter which party badge they wear is just wishful thinking. They won't let you play because of the spiteful and hateful things your party did while in power. Get it in your heads, you are in opposition, you have a duty to oppose and hold up to scrutiny the policies of the new administration, and to be vilified for it in the same way you vilified the opposition while you were in power.

Iain McMillan, who rules over the ashes of what was once the administration in Renfrewshire, is similarly delusional. He is reported to have hit out at the new coalition for failing to tap into the vast experience of some of his colleagues on the policy boards. He can't really have thought that the duds who ruined Paisley (at least those who didn't take the money and run) were going to be offered convererships and places of influence in the new administration. The arrogance of the man is beyond belief. They still think that they have a right to govern even when they have been shoved out the door by a spirit of co-operation which they could not foster for themselves, and deeply resent in other more progressive alliances.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Renfrewshire Politics, Councillors' Expenses and Hate Mail

One of the local papers the 'Gazette', a weekly, carries a report today of hate mail which has been sent to a Johnstone woman. The letter, which is on what looks like Renfrewshire council letterhead says, 'We would like to thank you from the Bottom of our hearts For the support you gave the SNP Now #### ### and keep your mouths shut.'

The woman who received the letter is married to Tom Gartley and the couple were the focus of attention when they alleged irregularities in Councillors' expenses claims.

Mrs Gartley also says that the local Johnstone police have passed the complaint on to the officer investigating the alleged expenses fraud as ,'they considered the matter to be linked to the fraudulent councillors' claims.'

I'll keep an eye on it and let you all know what happens if anything.

Gordon Brown a New Leader, but How New

'Gorgeous' George Galloway, who gave the US Senate such a battering that I was at one stage (nearly) starting to feel sorry for the US, has described Tony (bye-bye) Bliar and Gordon (big Gordy) Brown as two cheeks of the same arse, so whether we will be able to notice the difference is a matter for some debate.

An arse with two right cheeks is a bit unusual, but it seems like we've got one, so we'll all be watching, I'm sure, to see if it can continue to function. It has been producing crap ok so far.

Terry Kelly (TKMax) and Jesus

I see on our favourite blog that Terry Kelly approves the stance of Jesus and Ron Ferguson on the blessing of same sex partnerships. I was interested to read Ron's compelling arguments in the Herald this week, and I am 100% in agreement with the case he put forward.

He and Jesus must be gratified to know that TKMax also approves.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Harry, the Warrior Prince

I hear in the news that Harry, the warrior prince is not going to be sent to Iraq. What a surprise !!

Frankly I couldn't care less, what concerns me more is getting the poor sods who have been sent out there to fight in Bush's war back home safe and sound. Everyone knew that Harry would't be sent, the real upper classes send out the middle classes to do their duty in foreign climes, and the working classes to be the casualties. That is how it is and has always been. Harry would no more have had to go than I would, and we all know it.

What is less understandable is his wish to go, if that is true. How could a young boy be brainwashed into believing that his duty lay in killing people in Iraq for no real purpose as far as British interests were concerned.

I suppose he might have been suggestible due to his upbringing as his family have a history of being on the right, which is strange when you consider that they are everything that the right hate.

His grandfather was an immigrant who by his public statements showed he had only a passing familiarity with British culture. He never had a proper job living in publicly owned housing off his wife's state payments.

His father was a fox murdering adulterer who flaunted his promiscuity in the face of his young wife, the boy's mother. He also never held down a proper job, which is possibly why his family became dysfunctional to the extent that the boy had to go to a drugs clinic.

The mother hadn't the bottle to tell her husband 'I dont care who your mum is, if I see you around that woman again her face and yours is coming off'. Any decent working class woman would have done that or something similar, they wouldn't have settled for the position even at the cost of their dignity.

Ah, Kate lass, you had a lucky escape.

Douglas Alexander and the Local Press

Duggie, the golden one and future anointed (I wish he'd resign so I can stop having to type this out all the time) published his regular column in the Paisley Daily Express today, and most congratulatory to the Labour party it was. He didn't, however, mention his part in the elections, only congratulating Wendy (for it is she) Alexander (second trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band) and Hugh (Shuggie the hammer) Henry among others, on their success.

Perhaps next time he will be able to tell us how he cocked it all up, if he's still there, which he shouldn't be.

Smirky the Fishy King, or First Minister Salmond

Well it appears that I was wrong and Gordon (clunky) Brown and Ming (the merciless) Campbell didn't manage to impose a deal on the Scottish Lib/ Dems. Alex (smirky) Salmond is now First Minister.

Great news you might think. I can stop re-paying my student loan (if I ever earn enough to be required to make repayments). I'll stop paying my council tax (surely the income based alternative won't affect people on my earnings). I'll dig out the banners to celebrate our boys coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. There must be some other things, remind me what I'll be free to do now that we have won our freedom that we couldn't do before.

Oh yes, vote in an independence referendum...........or maybe not.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Peoples' Princess and the Election Fiasco

It is good to see in Rayleen (the peoples' princess) Kelly's latest offering that she stands by her previous comments (to which she directs us).

How she can stand by the view which commences with the phrase 'One of the positives of having the Scottish Parliament elections on the same day as the council', when 140,000 people have been dis-enfranchised as a result of that very decision defeats me.

As far as I and many others are concerned there were no positives directly attributable to that decision, and the man responsible, Douglas (Duggie the golden one and future anointed) Alexander should resign if he had any principles or decency. He has robbed the electorate and no amount of delaying tactics, such as appointing a phony inquiry when we all know what went wrong, will allow this to be kicked into the long grass.

Labour should be ashamed, but they have no shame.

Douglas Alexander and the Election Shambles Contd.

So we are to have a Canadian to investigate and find out what went wrong. It will probably cost us hundreds of thousands of pounds to find out that it went wrong because it was a mess from start to finish.

In order to save some money I'll tell them what went wrong.

Postal voting was poorly organised. Ballot papers were designed to be politically expedient to the Labour administration. Little or no help was provided at the polling places, and the staff at the polling places who were appointed to help didn't understand the system themselves. Political parties, well the Nats, tried to capitalise on the confusion by shyster manouvering on the ballot papers. The counting method was not geared up to deal with the sheer volume of spoiled papers it encountered.

Can you not just send me half of the money now that I've told you the result of the Canadian investigation.

The real question is not what went wrong, but what are they going to do about it. We all know what went wrong. Duggie, the golden one and future anointed, should resign immediately and allow someone who is less culpable to examine the problem, because with that amount (140,000?) of spoiled papers, no matter who won they cannot claim legitimacy.

Monday, 14 May 2007

SNP and Lib/Dem coalition

Rayleen (the peoples' princess) Kelly has offered here her latest views on the calamity for Labour in the local elections. She still, like many other Labour supporters and councillors, cannot get her head round the fact that the people of Renfrewshire gave the Nats as many seats as they did Labour, and now wants to re-write the rules so that it is the number of votes rather than the number of seats that count.

Sooner or later they will have to wake up to the fact that it was Labour which formed the rules under which this election (assuming it is worthy of the name) was fought. If anyone screwed it up it was Duggie, the golden one and future anointed.

Labour in Renfrewshire have poured such vitriol on all of the other parties for so long that they had no friends to talk to in coalition talks, and they are still pouring. PR is meant to deny any party total power, and to that extent it has worked. Everyone except Renfrewshire Labour seem to be able to make it work (even Happy Jack the numpty managed to make it work in the last Parliament), so don't tell me it isn't sour grapes.

We didn't do so well ourselves, but we aren't bitching 'it's an injustice' like some Calimero. We take it on the chin and try again, we don't blame the voters for our failure.

We're also kind of glad you didn't get back in.

Romans in Scotland: The Eagle of the Ninth

A report that 'The Eagle of the Ninth' , a story about the Roman legion which disappeared in Scotland and were never heard of again, is to be made into a film brought to mind a story told to us by a teacher in primary school a long time ago (about 50 years).

She maintained that in and around Dumbarton there is a story that the legion settled in Dumbarton attracted by the women there, and that is the reason why there is such a preponderence of Romanesque noses in the Dumbarton area. (See how nice I can be when I really try, but I mean big noses).

Anyone else heard of this or a similar story, because I'm not sure if she was taking the mickey out of us. She was that kind of teacher.

J K Rowling

There was also a piece about J K Rowling, but I,m so fed up reading about her and Harry Potter I didn't bother.

As Fred McAuley says, 'In Paisley jakey rolling is a sport'.

Knitting with a Purpose

I don't suppose I ever expected to be blogging about knitting but a piece in the Herald caught my attention today. It was about knitters in the Fair Isle trying to save their tradition in the face of big business.

I thought I might share a bit of folklore with my readers, since people I spoke to didn't seem to know that nearly every island around the coast of Britain had their own knitting pattern or style, Fair Isle, Arran, Jersey, Guernsey (in the north of England they pronounce it Ganzi) etc.

This was so that if a fisherman was lost at sea, irrespective of the state of decomposition of the body, the lanolin in the wool would preserve the knitwear from the salt water and the body could be identified, or at least returned to the right island for proper burial.

Don't complain about the price of fish.

Sir Sean and Duggie

I see that Sir Sean has called for the resignation of Douglas (Duggie the chosen one and future anointed) Alexander.

Whilst I agree with him on this point, his voice would perhaps have more weight if he were affected by the decisions made in the UK by those he criticises.

We'll leave a light in the window for you Sean, come home and pay your taxes

Glasgow Airport Rail Link and the Racecourse Playing Fields

Renfrewshire Council have received a planning application for new football pitches in the Foxbar area, about 4 miles from the pitches they are meant to replace at the racecourse in Shortroods. The pitches at the racecourse are being ripped up to accommodate the Glasgow Airport Rail Link which will ensure that travellers from Glasgow can get a train to Glasgow Airport (which, for the uninitiated, is in Paisley). The total cost of the scheme is £140 million which will be paid by the taxpayer so that the airlines and BAA can make more money.

But it is the people of Paisley who will bear the social and environmental costs as well as a large part of the economic cost of this project and will be no better off for its completion. This link is meant to serve the people of Glasgow and no others and it is a disgrace that the logical and obvious scheme, to run the link from Glasgow Central through Braehead Centre and Renfrew to the Airport, has been ignored.

Renfrew is the largest town in Scotland without a railway station and the increase in footfall through Braehead shopping centre, if the people of Glasgow didn't have to negotiate the M8, would surely increase substantially.

It is an opportunity lost, and for what reason we can only speculate, but we must doubt the motives of the decision makers. The alternative route is so obviously better that the decision to go through Paisley is distinctly smelly.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Jean Charles de Menezez

The family are calling it murder, and they're probably right, but the Police Federation are one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country and usually have defended their members even to the point of bullying Chief Officers. That is why you can't sack a sub-standard officer. Any allegations have to be proved to a criminal standard before disciplinary action can be taken, so, even in the unlikely event of his partner admitting to seeing an offence by an officer, it is unlikely there will be corroboration so there will be no action taken.

If that system applied to the rest of us no-one could ever be sacked. So we are left in the ludicrous situation where a young man lies dead, and a surveillance officer is going to be given 'management advice'. Presumably that will consist of someone telling him he should manage to point out the right guy.

This man was not mistaken for a suicide bomber. There was no suicide bomber there for him to be mistaken for. It was a cock-up plain and simple and the cover-up swung into operation before the body was cold. The lies that were told as to the young man's appearance (bulky clothing), and whether he was running away (he wasn't) were designed to add to the considerable confusion while a believable lie was found or constructed. If there was another reason for the lies let them come out and say so.

The truth (at least in part) was only told when it was obvious that the papers, and particularly the international press, were on to the story and it was clear that the game was up.

So, for all involved, it isn't too late to do something decent for the mans family and accept your responsibility for his death. 'Management Advice' is either a joke or an insult, and the Independent (another joke) Police Complaints Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service should be ashamed. As accessories after the fact they are as guilty as the trigger men if justice is suppressed..

The Day the Music (or at least the Alexanders' Rag Time Band) Died

Reading the comment in the local and the national press it is clear that Labour are stunned by the fact that the people of Renfrewshire decided overwhelmingly that they did not want Labour to be in a position of power in Renfrewshire. They just can't believe that they have lost their divine right to govern the district.

The voters gave Labour the same number of seats that they gave to the Nats, but in their arrogance Labour couldn't get any consensus on the way forward for Renfrewshire (hardly a surprise when they can hardly get agreement within the Labour group).

Perhaps they now regret that they allowed the politics of the area to become mired in personal and spiteful abuse (a la TKMax) and found themselves with no friends to do business with when they needed them.

Gone are the hospitality days of the free bars and functions; they now face years out in the cold after so long being pampered and feted by contractors and others.

I am starting to feel sorry for them, is there no counselling service that can help?

Maybe the new SNP/Lib dem administration could set one up as a kindness.

Friday, 11 May 2007

In Memoriam: Jean Charles de Menezez

This young man was shot seven times in the head at close range by firearms officers of the Metropolitan Police.

The news today that 11 officers involved in his killing will face no disciplinary action fills me with disgust. We had already learned of the whitewash regarding criminal charges, with the Met being charged only with a breach of health and safety regulations. I'll say it was! There is a young man dead and his killing did not even justify a verbal warning for the officers concerned, because that is what today's ruling means.

The poor parents of the young man do not understand, and I do not blame them. They are outraged and so they should be, because their son's only crime was to look like a muslim on a day when muslims were all under suspicion.

As usual, however, no-one in the Government or the police force will take the responsibility for what happened and resign. I don't care what any enquiry says, a young man is dead who shouldn't be and the people who killed him, and their taskmasters, must be held to account and pay the price of their carelessness, because someone must have been careless for this 'mistake' to happen, and in view of the dire consequences that person or persons should go and never again be in a position where their poor judgement means life or death to an innocent person.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Douglas Alexander and Downing Street

Immediately following the Fiasco of the Scottish elections I tried to open a petition on the Downing Street e-petitions web site in the following terms : -

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Remove from
office with immediate effect Douglas Alexander MP following the
Scottish Elections fiasco

I deliberately worded this so that it promoted the interests of no particular political party and offered it merely as a plea from the people of Scotland for accountability in Government and for a higher standard of governance.

As we might have expected no criticism of Duggie, the golden one and future anointed, will be allowed on that site and the petition was rejected on the basis that it was 'party political'.

This only goes to underline the vacuous empty imitation of democracy we have in this country. The e-petition site was supposed to be there so as to bring public concerns to the attention of the Prime Minister. It was meant to be participatory democracy in action, but it turns out to be no more than a sham, another piece of Bliar spin which provided a sound bite at the time and little else.

This is not a party political petition, it promotes the views of all parties that we should have a system of democracy where people have a right not only to vote, but to have it counted. Duggie has denied that right to 140,000 citizens. He must go no matter what party he is from.

There is however some good news. There is a petition up and running at

which I urge everyone to sign asap. There is a difficulty with the link, but if you click on 'Sign Petition' and then put 'scottishvote' in the mini search engine you will get to the page.

Sometimes I wish I was more technical, but it always passes.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Lawyers and their Briefs

Just a wee additional thought further to my rant about affordable justice, has anyone else noticed a curiosity I see in Paisley around about the court every day. There are always lawyers running about with large numbers of files piled up on their arms. I assume you see the same thing in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Now I can't believe that people who earn that sort of money can't afford a carrier bag, disposable, recyclable or one of the new high fashion ones that are not plastic and idiots queue for as if they were going to stop making them.

I similarly don't believe that they lack the gumption to go into a shop and ask for a cardboard box, as an intelligent person would do.

I'm left with the assumption that they are afraid that someone might not notice that they are lawyers and fail to pay them the proper respect (bowing and scraping etc). The pile of files is their badge of office.

So I've got a word of advice for them.

The clue's in the name. Get a bloody briefcase you ponces.

Foreign Visitors

I don't know if this is a terrible breach of blogging etiquette (I haven't been doing this long) but I seem to be getting a lot of hits on the site from overseas. I'm quite curious to know how you found me and what you were looking for. Perhaps you even found it, but I doubt it. So at the risk of a major breach of etiquette as I said, can I ask, if you are passing through or if you were actually looking for this kind of site, if you are an overseas visitor please leave me a comment (even if it's abuse ) . Thanks

Office of Fair Trading and Affordable Justice

The Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates have rejected a call for an enquiry into affordable justice. At the risk of being sued, well its no risk really because I'm skint, I would simply ask readers to go to the website of the Scottish Legal Aid Board and have a root around until you find a complete listing of all of the amounts paid out in legal aid to both firms of solicitors and individual advocates. It's all on the website year by year in their reports but you have to dig deep to get at it. When you do you will see that some of these people are greedy beyond belief.

There is one advocate of distinctive appearance in 2003/4 who earned over £305,000 including VAT according to the legal aid board. I believe he might do a bit of cabaret to make ends meet. I've seen the video if you get my drift (that joke was strictly for Scottish readers in case you are mystified).

Over £100,000 is not uncommon and several others top £200,000 including some who threatened to strike for higher fees in 2005. Now I would normally be inclined to support strikes (it's a red thing) but I think I might not have given that one my best efforts.

The other thing to remember is that these are only payments from the Scottish Legal Aid Board, in other words, this is what they were paid for representing people who had not the means to pay, so I assume it does not include corporate work, work on public enquiries, work for the better off, or work on behalf of the Crown as advocate deputes in charge of prosecutions rather than defence.

We are starting to see why an enquiry into affordable justice might just be a good idea. I wonder how much they earn in total. Some of them must be on nearly a million pounds a year and that is obscene when legal aid is being cut back for poor people who find it increasingly difficult to enforce their rights against corporate bodies who can afford a long strung out defense (such as the tobacco manufacturers have used in the USA for years, don't let it come here).

Douglas Alexander and the Election Shambles Contd.

I see that Duggie the golden one and future anointed is still refusing to resign even although there are 40,000 more reasons than we originally thought. Yes, the figure for spoiled papers is now thought to be 140,000. This guiser has absolutely no shame. He says we need to get answers, but surely the first question we need answered is who was responsible. No doubt some civil servant is getting lined up for the chop even as I write, but, Duggie, you are responsible and that answers the main question. Either the shambles we got was your best shot, in which case you are incompetent, or it wasn't, in which case you are careless. In either case you should not still be in office. You can't investigate what went wrong, because you have a vested interest in making it someone else's fault. Why don't you take advantage of the Bliar resignation and slip out the back door while nobody's looking. You won't be missed for years.

The Greens and the Balance of Power

Following the Scottish election fiasco, which made Florida look intelligent and Zimbabwe look democratic, it appears that the Greens are trying to put together a sort of diddy-coalition with the Lib/ Dems to wield the balance of power in the new Parliament. I think they might be getting ideas well above their station, at least we know we were beaten, but the idea of the Greens in power brings fears to the surface I didn't know I had.

As far as policies went, in the last election they were possibly less envoronmentally aware than we were. They were even using plastic cable ties (perish the thought) rather than proper hairy string (hooray) to put up their posters, and I saw at least one who wasn't wearing brown corduroy trousers. Can we rely on nothing any more?

I'm still tipping Menzies (Ming the merciless) Campbell and Gordon (the big clunking fist) Brown to dash the cup from the lips of Alex (Smirky) Salmond at the last minute, although I am less certain than some days ago

Monday, 7 May 2007

Rationing in the National Health Service

NHS doctors are apparently discussing rationing of treatments in the health service as a way of saving money (or making existing funding go further).

I don't really want to get overinvolved in the healthcare arguments, although it seems as if one of the richest countries in the World shouldn't be in a position where it has to let its old and its ill suffer and die because it is expensive to keep them alive with dignity.

The other thing that this discussion of rationing raises is the very real possibility of patients being divided into the deserving and the undeserving. As the country moves to the right, and it is becoming ever harder to stop that drift, we will hear more and more about treatments being withdrawn from those who have abused their bodies by their lifestyles.

I would not personally exclude the possibility, with the leaps in technology we are making, of some committee examining your supermarket loyalty card to see if you have been eating your 6 portions of fruit and veg. a day and avoiding unhealthy foods before authorising your operation.

Palmprint scanners in some primary and secondary schools are already recording what our children eat. I hope that their records don't come back to haunt them in later life.

We should be opposing compulsory ID cards, but just as invidious are the voluntary ones to which we sign up in increasing numbers. If we are asked for personal information we should be asking why, who will have access, and what happens to it when it is no longer needed .

One Socialist Party for Scotland

The letters in the 'Herald' today include a plea from a Solidarity supporter to get in touch if you want there to be only one socialist party in Scotland.

I have to tell him that this situation already exists. The Scottish Socialist Party are the only really socialist party in Scotland, the other, which purports to support Scottish socialism is largely funded from other places and was never any more than a vehicle for one man's vanity (and the driver seems to be abandoning the vehicle rapidly to try to find a career where his talents will be better placed--in the media presumably, even although he has condemned them up and down, but thats show business, even if it's not politics).

Update on Ferguslie Park

One thing I forgot to mention in my list of outstanding queries was the old tyres lying in the lay-by in Drums Ave. Ferguslie (see mine 19th March) , so just to keep everyone up to date on TKMax's contribution, the old tyres I mentioned are still there, and don't look like going anywhere anytime soon.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Scottish Coalition Negotiations Cont.

I hear from Radio Scotland News at 10 pm that negotiations between the Lib/Dems and the Nats have broken down over the issue of a referendum on independence, but that the Lib/Dems have already excluded a coalition with Labour.

Time perhaps for the really big Westminster boys to step in. My previous post is looking more like prophecy than comment.

Let's keep watching, it's getting interesting.

Scottish Coalition Negotiations

The idea put forward in the Sunday Herald today has a great deal of sense to it.

It speculates that while the Nats and the lib/dems are negotiating in Edinburgh, down in London, Gordon ' the big clunking fist' Brown (who can't stand Alex 'Smirky' Salmond) and Menzies' Ming the Merciless' Campbell are quietly sorting out a deal which will be imposed on the Scottish Lib/dems.

Watch out for sparks.

Outstanding Queries: Can Anyone Update Us

I saw an incident on Saturday night which reminded me of why I started to Blog in the first place (see my first post) so I decided to go through the blog and look for the unanswered questions that I will have to chase up via freedom of information since we have lost our MSPs.
So can anyone update us on the following (dates as per my blog) :

8th March Did West Yorkshire Police ever discipline the officers who beat up the young girl

15th March Did Strathclyde Police or Jamieson ever explain or apologise for the police actions

4th April Did anyone from the airlines ever explain how flights could take off with the baggage reconciliation not correct

9th April With the Nats being the biggest party has Sir Sean Connery announced when he is returning to Scotland to take up residence (pay his tax)

24th April Has anyone accepted responsibility for the sewage spillage into the Forth and resigned

25th April Has Tesco made any announcment in respect of its proposals for the Love Street site. I'm getting anxious to know if we were screwed in the election by a lie (but I suppose to say that the people of the area are looking forward to their new supermarket isn't really a lie even if it never arrives), and finally

4th May Has Duggie offered his resignation for the voting system fiasco

Feel free to comment if you can add any enlightenment

Friday, 4 May 2007

The Election Results

This is a painful one to write, but I said that I would comment on our own showing in a later post, so I suppose I can't run away from it. The only caveat I would add is that this is my personal opinion (as is everything else in this blog)
The result for us was dreadful. Our parliamentary base has been wiped out and the Scottish Nationalists with their capitalist puppet masters have become the biggest party. It could hardly be worse.
But it is worse. Some of our failure, as Clairwil comments earlier today, was due to the general squeeze that was felt by all of the smaller parties, which, in their rush to give Labour a good kicking, just supported the most likely boot boys. It would, however, be hypocritical to ignore the mutually assured destruction which Tommy 'tangoman' Sheridan forced the left wing parties into.
He has deprived the people that he purports to represent of a voice of any kind in the Parliament by an act of triumphalist self aggrandisement. Who will speak for the poor and the disenfranchised now. Tangoman has deprived them of a voice and is trying to give them just a mouth. He has become a disgrace to socialism and is now everything a socialist should not be.
He should be ashamed of what he has done to his own people who trusted and believed in him. It is the right of everyone to form a party and to stand in election, but to target your highest profile candidates in places where there is a sitting socialist member is either malicious or just plain crazy. It isn't as if the result was unpredictable, he knew exactly what he was doing when he set out to destroy what he had created for no other reason than that it had survived without him. I repeat--he knew what he was doing because he has been in politics long enough, and every pollster and pundit told him.
There are 100,000 more people disenfranchised today than there were yesterday because of Douglas 'Duggie' Alexander's Westminster imposed voting system and not a solitary damned MSP of the left to represent them .I hope you're proud Tommy.
There is nothing more unseemly than a fall out within the left (Peoples Front for Judea etc) and as my old mum used to say 'The more you stamp on a skitter the further it spreads.' so it is not my intention to make any further comment at all on this, but I will not censor comment. I've given it out, so I'll have to take it. And yes, I am bitter.

Jim Bollan SSP Councillor West Dumbartonshire

I've added a link to Jim Bollan's blog in 'Other Views From the Left.' Jim is a highly committed activist and his local reputation for helping the less advantaged is the stuff of legend. He's world famous in Renton and I'm delighted he has been returned to the council to continue to expose the erosion of the rights of the ordinary people of west Dumbartonshire.

Douglas Alexander and the Election Shambles

I'll get to our own performance in a later post once it all sinks in, but for the moment I can only say that I am very disappointed by the result. TKMax has held on to his place, but the People' Princess has gone. Labour and the Nats are tied with 17 seats apiece on the council, so we will need to wait and see how coalitions form, if they do.

The real problem is that we now have an electoral problem that I thought could only exist in a third world dictatorship. If an election in an African country had resulted in 100,000 (yes 100,000) spoilt papers we would be screaming electoral fraud and demanding that they re-run it. The Electoral Reform Society has called it unacceptable in early interviews, but no doubt when pressure is applied from the big parties it will be accepted.

The real story to come out of all of this is that Douglas 'Duggie' Alexander has really blotted his copybook. The golden one and future anointed presides over what can only be reasonably described as a total effing fiasco. This system of holding 3 elections simultaneously was a Westminster decision by his office. A man of honour would resign, so no doubt he wont, but it wont be because nobody asked him to. I can see Smirky Salmond foaming at the mouth already aboutWestminster's involvement, except that he is, of course, part of the Westminster system

Duggie has made Scotland a laughing stock throughout the whole world and he should be hung by the chads

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Election Day is Here at Last

All of the trekking around the streets is done, now we just have to sit back and watch the votes roll in ;-).

Obviously I only want there to be one winner, but I wish everyone who has been involved in campaigning all the best.

I'll be at a polling station tomorrow so lets keep it friendly, I'm too old for anything else.

The Best Wee Numpty in the World

I'm never sure whether I'm the only person on the net who has'nt seen these things so maybe you have all seen this You Tube I have added under 'Interesting Stuff' links.

If you haven't, it is well worth a look

Terry Kelly's Conspiracy Theory

I'm not sure what I've done to be characterised by being SSP as one of a 'vicious bunch of thugs' by TKMax, but just to clarify my record, I've never been reported to the police or the standards commission for any offence apart from speeding and that was 30 years ago.

I've never been thrown bodily out of an election count for trying to pick a fight with a political opponent, and just to cap it all, TKMax has never in all of his life spoken to me or to any of my family, and that's a promise, so how can he smear me as if he knew me.

Desperation is a terrible thing, but if he sees me as part of a right wing conspiracy then he has lost it completely.

I note that he has not denied the story about the free entry to the fairground reported on 'Terrywatch', and whether he paid for it or just got it as a favour from a grateful fairground operator (who needs the local council on side to be able to get the prime sites) then it is morally and probably legally suspect.

I look forward to the outcome of any police enquiry.

The Virtues of Teamwork and Synchronised Rubbish

My blog receives few comments (I flatter myself that it is because my prose is crystal clear and my logic beyond critique) but last night I had 5 different comments in the space of 16 minutes. They came at 23.09 -- 23.15 -- 23.17 --23.20 -- and 23.25.

Four were anonymous and the other came from someone calling themselves 'Jodie'. One supported my attack on the Nats while the others opposed my attacks on Labour and Bliar. One, from Jodie who says she lives in Seedhill, launched a completely out of context attack on the SSP and their candidate in Seedhill. another, from anonymous, tells me that they have lived in the Love Street area all of their lives.

It's all a bit transparent.

I think I've upset somebody. I wonder who it can be?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Smirky and the SNP

I don't often agree with Terry (TKMax) Kelly, and I think I'm going to have to get therapy for it, but I also think it a bit strange that the Scottish Nationalist Party are not standing any candidates in the elections and instead supporting this strange 'Alex Salmond for first minister' splinter group because let's face it, he was not the unanimous choice of his party for leader.

It's insulting to his party because it doesn't mention Scottish, Nationalist, or any other post barring first minister.

It's insulting to the voters to ask them to vote for a slogan rather than a party with a worked out approach to taxation, spending and independence. 100 days, 1 year, 1 term, all have been proposed and sacrificed on the altar of expediency and Smirky's ambition to be a dictator in absence. They have no joined up approach to public policy because they never expected to get this close. Smirky must be crapping himself at the thought that he might have to return from exile , although he will probably offer some excuse about staying on in Westminster until the General Election, at which time he will hand over to the wee lassie to run the show, and stay on in London saying that his job is done because he delivered independence and it is time for others etc. You know , the usual crap. They thought that they only needed one policy, independence, and they are now scrabbling around for a raison d'etre because they are terrified that they might have to put their money where their mouth is.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Linwood for the Linwoodians?

A friend of mine from Linwood has just given me a copy of an election leaflet which he (and I ) thinks is strange.

This woman from the local Lib/ Dems thinks she should have your vote because she has lost 6 stones in weight and lives in Linwood. She believes that people from Paisley, Renfrew and Crosslee might not be able to be trusted. It has overtones of the Wicker Man.
I am impressed by her slogan, 'Vote and regain our community back' (sic), but I think I am more tempted to try to protect her from all of that municipal hospitality that has wrought such havoc on the figures of Terry (TKMax) Kelly and Rayleen (the Peoples' Princess) Kelly.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Departure of the Seven Dwarves: Just a Thought

While I was thinking about the seven retiring Labour councillors a thought from something I read (I think it was Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath) crossed my mind. The character says that when he was young he met a farmer taking a cow to the bull to be serviced, and that ever since then, whenever he hears the word 'service' he wonders who is getting screwed.

I think we, the people of Renfrewshire, should, as Terry says, thank all of these councillors for their years of service.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

St. Mirren FC, St. Mirren Park, Love St and Tesco

Another day and still Tesco refuse to tell us their plans for Love St. I suspect the worst, but I hope I am wrong and that they have a brilliant plan for the site

Terry Kelly and Hugh Henry Campaign against themselves ?

Terry (TKMax) Kelly and Hugh (Shuggie the Hammer) Henry are on the front page of the Paisley Daily Express today campaigning against the building of a new prison in Paisley.

This is a bit surprising since
  1. Labour are in power at every level in this country so it is their proposal
  2. Hugh (Shuggie etc) Henry is the justice minister and in charge of policing
  3. Renfrewshire Labour councillors sit on the Strathclyde police board so they are responsible for the proposal
  4. The Labour majority council can deny the planning application if they wish, so clearly they don't
  5. It is Labour policy on crime that has filled the jails with usually the wrong people
  6. They don't say where the jail should be built if it is needed
  7. If they had been tough on the causes of crime as they promised at election after election then the jail wouldn't be needed

The result of this policy failure is Labour out sucking up to voters by pretending that they are not responsible for their own decisions and policies.

In terms of sheer two faced hypocrisy and opportunism this one has got to take the biscuit.

I have to ask the question (again). How stupid do these numpties think the voters are. Labour should stop acting like low life con men and accept responsibility for their cock-ups.

Wendy (for it is she) the second trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band is very quick to get her face in the papers when they think (not very often) that they have done something right, even if it is years too late. Still, it brightens up the paper when you see someone smiling but you just know that the smile is so insincere that they will never have laughter lines. That's why Wendy (for it is she) looks so young.

Departure of the Seven Dwarves: GOOD RIDDANCE

I've just been on Terry (TKMax) Kelly's blog where he is singing the praises of the Renfrewshire Labour Councillors who have decided that they have done enough damage to Paisley and are now going to run away (but not before trousering a large wad).

To read Terry you would believe that these people had made a contribution apart from running Paisley into the ground, but they were always only political cannon fodder for the Labour party, they voted for the most part with no real thought for local people, only party instructions, or Paisley wouldn't be in the mess they have left it in.

The bold new initiative from Labour is to reverse the changes that these numpties made to the town centre traffic and parking arrangements and to hope that the damage isn't irreversible. Yet they are allowed to walk away with the money leaving others to clear up the mess. They have not even the decency to apologise to the businesses which had to close or the workers who lost their jobs as they turned Paisley town centre into a desert. I can only say good riddance to bad rubbish.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Colin Fox , Tommy Sheridan, and Bernard Ponsonby

I've just watched the interviews by Colin Fox and Tommy Sheridan with Bernard Ponsonby, and I wonder why TS keeps refusing to grasp the olive branch and talk about some sort of electoral arrangement with Colin and the SSP.
Tommy Sheridan keeps alluding to 'backstabbers' (at least he has dropped the dread word 'scabs') who, he says, he was warned about. while leader of the SSP. It is clear that the SSP has the thought out agenda, which might be because Solidarity are new in the field, but CF seemed much more like a serious champion of working people, and TS more like a personality politician who would demand to be leader in whatever he joined.

Well I'm sorry TS, its time to put up or shut up. Who were the backstabbers? What did they do to you? Who warned you about them? And what was their issue, because it surely, by your description of the events, pre-dates your problem with the NOTW ?

Johnstone Town Centre and the Labour Party

I want to send my sympathy to the people of Johnstone. Labour have decided to re-develope your town centre, according to a piece of election propoganda dropped through my door today. Seeing what they have done to Paisley there must be a dread running through all of Johnstone.

Hugh 'Shuggie the hammer' Henry, the man who single handedly solved Ferguslie's drug problem? has fixed it for you to have all of the skill and expertise which ran Paisley into the ground, and forced it to go back about 10 years and start again with its town centre.

I've had a brilliant idea about how Hugh could solve the drug problem in Johnstone as well. If we let him and the other trumpets in the Alexanders' rag time band run the illegal drug industry then it will be ruined and in crisis in about a fortnight.

St. Mirren F.C, St. Mirren Park , Love Street and Tesco

Why won't Tesco let us into their plans for the re-development of St. Mirren park at Love Street. It would set many minds at rest if they would confirm that they will not merely knock down the existing stadium and add the land, which would then be lying derelict, to their land bank in order to stop another supermarket chain opening a supermarket to compete with the new Tesco planned for Linwood. i.e. to preserve a monopolistic market

If the council know, and we will not be told before the election, then I think it might be fair to assume that the news for the people of Mossvale and Shortroods is bad and that they are to have another scene of dereliction to add to the ones where council houses have been knocked down and not replaced. Why not ask Labour for a straight answer when they come round looking for your vote. Have they made it a condition of planning for the new stadium that a supermarket actually appears on the Love St. site within a specified time, or have they sold out the North End of the Town and sweetened the deal by withdrawing that committment, to save their own face after the other proposed buyers all walked away from the proposals.

Labour's Plans for Paisley Town Centre

Labour's new 'cunning plan' for the centre of Paisley defies belief. They propose to open up the High Street to traffic and stop charging for parking and provide more spaces. This goes against all recent thinking on reducing carbon emissions which they are so keen on, but I seem to remember that their last 'cunning plan' was to close off the High Street and reduce spaces and charge for parking.

How stupid do these numpties think the voters of Paisley are. It is as well that we are rid of some of them even at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Roll on May 3rd and we can get rid of the rest of the useless articles.

There is not a word of apology for the businesses which closed or the people who lost their jobs when the High Street was closed off to traffic. No sorry for the frail and elderly who couldn't walk up to their shops and couldn't be dropped off by car. They couldn't have cared less as long as they were catered for in the manner which they thought befitted their status.

These are the same Council who I'm told, when asked under freedom of information legislation about the amount of champagne they bought in the six months before the housing stock transfer ballot, were unable to tell because it was bought 'on consignment'. Quite how much champagne is in a 'consignment' I'm not sure, but I'd imagine it might be considerable and that someone would have to order it, check it in, authorise the payment and draw the cheque, so it was clearly out of control if the means to be exact don't exist. Still, they didn't need it then so it must still be lying in stock, and it will be a long time before they will find anything to celebrate with this lot running the show..

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Cost Cutting Contractors and Workers' Health

While I'm on the subjects of cost cutting contractors and the health of workers I want to remind everyone that Friday is Workers' Memorial Day when we remember workers who have been killed or injured in the course of their work.

Many of these deaths and injuries result from unsafe working practices in the pursuit of greater profits for shareholders, but many die prematurely of work related illnesses after retirement, and how many will die in future from uncontrolled environmental damage by major corporations is only to be wondered about.

Forth Estuary, Thames Water, and the Sewage Spill

Having been brought up on the Firth of Forth I feel a bit distressed about the estuary being polluted with untreated sewage as a result of a pump failure in a treatment station operated by Thames Water.

My first reaction to the reports was that the Forth is a long way from the Thames, and if you want to operate local resources perhaps it is better to operate them by means of local authorities, rather than PFI booty capitalists, who have at heart the interests of their shareholders in the City of London rather than local people.

Mechanical breakdowns in machinery are not unforseeable, they are inevitable and predictable given proper inspections and maintenance, and if the back-up systems are not in place to deal effectively with these failures then it is because someone decided not to have these systems. It wasn't an accident, it was a conscious decision motivated by minimising cost and maximising profit.

Sickness Absence and the CBI updated

Just an update to my post on 10th April regarding sickness and absence, did anyone else notice in the Herald yesterday, tucked away at the bottom of an inside page a report that 'Millions of Staff Turn Up for Work Despite Feeling Sick' even at a risk of further and more severe illness. This represents millions of man hours to which employers are not entitled, and millions of pounds which they save on statutory sick pay. So when they tell you about the cost of fraudulent 'sickies' ask them to offset the cost and see who are the winners and losers in the sickness stakes.

Monday, 23 April 2007

PFI / PPP and the Larbert Hospital (specialising in the treatment of burns caused by 'pants on fire'

We were at a demo today at the Falkirk wheel, where Laing O'Rourke, one of Labour's donors and a major player in the £300 million contract to build the new Larbert hospital, were holding a Jobs Fair. We were noisy, but for Laing O'Rourke to fabricate a complete lie about applicants being man-handled and ask for us to be moved on because of it only shows how rattled they were by a group of very wet protesters. All I can say is they must have been easily upset, but for the record, not a hand was laid on any applicant or member of Laing O'Rourke staff. Not a single person was approached in an intimidatory way. They were offered leaflets, most accepted, some refused them, but no one was touched or even shouted at directly. The PA system made shouting unnecessary.

Laing O'Rourke were asked to meet us and explain their allegations (by PA and by invitation via Wheel staff) but refused to meet us or to repeat the allegations which Wheel Staff said were given to them second hand.

I have no hesitation in stating that these allegations were LIES told by LIARS, and if anyone thinks people like that should be running healthcare in this country, then they have my sympathy.

Their profits, their practices, and now it seems their people are obscene.

As for the jobs fair, I've seen more interest in watching paint dry.

Scottish Nationalist Millionaires' Club Membership List

I see from the paper today that the Nats have decided to publish the membership list for the millionaires' club, and what a veritable who's that of Scottish business it is.
It's worth noting that the only one whose business is not stated is Souter (feeling a bit guilty?)

Surely no one can go on refusing to see that where the Tories have been unable to get the sort of power which will allow them to screw the people of Scotland they have decided that their natural home is the Nats. Tartan Tories right enough. But you can't fool all of the people etc.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires' Club Again

Well there we are then. It's out in the open as predicted. We know now what Souter wanted from the Nats and it wasn't a positive favour, it was a negative one. No return to public ownership of buses. I was assured that the policies of the Nats would not change to suit the millionaire backers. This policy was unanimously adopted at their conference but where is it in the manifesto. Posted absent. I was assured that the party members of the Nats would have to approve any change to policy. Where did that consultation go? It was not expedient.

It is a grim reminder of the dark days of the Labour Party when we were told that we could vote for whatever we liked but it would not bind the parliamentary party. That's a bit like caffeine-free diet coke. What's the point? The career politicians are completely cynical , both Labour and SNP, and care only for their personal power and pockets and the smirking fish is a first order user of people. Everyone knows that including the wee lassie, but they will suffer any indignity to be able to keep their jobs and enhance their incomes.

The stink of hypocrisy is palpable, but never mind, we'll be there for the Scottish people when Salmond and Sturgeon let you down and you find that the increase in prosperity which they forecast is their prosperity, not yours or mine
It's good that the disenfranchised millionaires living at home or in tax exile have someone to look after their interests in Parliament. The Millionaires' Club wing of the Nats. But someone has to look after the rest of us and keep on fighting for a fairer society.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Honesty's the Best Policy ?

There is just one other thing I forgot to mention about last night's hustings. That was the honesty of the SNP candidate who when she couldn't remember what her party's policy was on one particular issue admitted that she couldn't remember and simply refused to offer an opinion at all.

Remarkable honesty, for a Nat, but God help the next Nationalist who tells me that I'm a Stalinist who can't think for himself and simply follows the party line. I might be able to reply without referring back to HQ.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

At the Election Hustings in Paisley

I had never attended a hustings before and I was assured that it would be interesting. I wasn't disappointed'

Like everything in politics we started with a tea break before a blow had been struck, and whilst it was very good (fair trade) stuff, and a credit to the churches which provided it, perhaps they should have asked the candidates to do some work first.

As to the parties, well Labour did not show up due to illness, which disappointed a lot of the audience who had clearly come to give the Labour candidate a good kicking, so perhaps his illness was tactical. If not then I apologise for my cynicism; Labour made me this way.

The Tory was a revelation. I had heard rumours of their existence in Scotland but had never before seen one in the flesh as it were. I believed that they existed like unicorns or yetis. Something to frighten children with who won't behave. He was clearly under some pressure on the issue of Trident when he told us that we had to have nuclear weapons to defend ourselves from the U.S.A. I rather switched off at this point and pretended not to be listening because I didn't want to embarass the man any further. I hope his carers managed to find him because he seemed nice, if unhinged.

The Lib/Dem, in a typical Lib/Dem compromise, torn between nuclear and non-nuclear, decided that she would get rid of half of our nuclear weapons and keep the other half just in case (of what I'm not sure).

The Scottish Nationalist candidate decided to promote their new 'ethical foreign policy' which considering their attitude to the English and the fact that their domestic policy is ethically questionable (they took the Souter money) seemed to be just a bit opportunistic. She also mentioned on two or three occassions how her party's policies were fair and just. She talked a lot about economic growth and increased prosperity, but she didn't tell us how this new found wealth would be shared out. I think she is just offering a rich boss with a different accent and all of her blethering about just and fair society is a smokescreen. There will be increased prosperity with independence, but if the Nats have their way it will all go into the same pockets it goes into now because the Nats offer no real social change. That's why the rich love them. This is not my kind of independence.

Solidarity put up a good candidate with really sound socialist policies, but they didn't seem to be very well fleshed out with specific policy committments. Perhaps it is early to be looking for that, but their man looked uncomfortable and I think he knows he has backed the wrong horse.

The Greens were green, what else can I say.

The Scottish Socialist (and my loyalties are no secret) was an old hand at hustings. He played his cards with some style, and he had the big cards for this audience. End trident, stop the war, build council houses, free public transport, scrap the council tax, and challenge big business to accept their share of social responsibility--I think we had the best of this evening.

The Chairman, parachuted in from the University of Paisley did a fine job.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Day of Action on (Free Public) Transport

For my sins I have been given the dubious honour of getting up early tomorrow and going to the railway station to accost innocent members of the public on their way to work and force our free public transport policy on them. It is the policy which has been best received in this campaign so far and people seem to engage with it for more than selfish reasons, which is always a good sign.

So if you should see us at your local station, because this is a nationwide action, have some sympathy. Seeing as how Terry Kelly (TK Max) believes that we are all middle class, property owning intellectuals who have never done a day's work in our lives, 8 am seems awfully early, still I'll give it a try. It will be a change from my usual 7 am start and 12 hour shift. Some day when I'm a worker? like TK (Max) not an intellectual I can swan about the council offices all day eating £7 free lunches while denying a nourishing free lunch to schoolchildren, instead of working my ass off.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Scottish Tories (the Blue Ones, not the Tartan Ones)

I've just noticed that in my election update I forgot the Tories. Nothing new there then.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Election Update : Bliar Visits Paisley

My apologies but shift working has meant I've been neglecting the blog.
While I've been away Paisley has had a visit from Bliar and his entourage. You would imagine that, with an election in the offing, he would be keeping a low profile. He is not the asset he once was especially in Scotland. I don't remember seeing his smiling face on any of the candidates' election leaflets, but if I'm wrong no doubt someone will correct me.

Hugh 'Shuggie the Hammer' Henry has apparently decided that, after years of opposing Catholic schools, he is now their champion. My own view will remain my own, but there is a distinct smell of hypocrisy about everything Shuggie does these days.

More shady dealing over Labour election broadcasts with party hacks being drafted in to pose as real people. As if no-one would know that a Scottish Bliar supporter had to be a plant (or some other kind of vegetable).

The smirking fish has been quiet, presumably letting Labour self-destruct.

What else is new, well, the Greens are being green, the Lib/ Dems are being all things to all men, and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party are deciding where to exercise grey power. The Scottish Christian Party are hoping for a miracle, Solidarity are furiously promoting the cult of multiple personality and the SSP are fighting to hold the line after a bad year.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Scottish Socialist Party Election Broadcast

The link to the Scottish Socialist Party has been updated to include the you tube version of the party's election broadcast on free public transport.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Sickness Absence and the CBI

I've just been listening, on BBC Radio Scotland, to some hooray henry from the CBI moaning about the assertion that 1 in 8 days lost through sickness is based on a false claim.

First then, why don't they discipline their employees who make such claims if they know which are the false ones?

Second, I have never lost a day due to sickness unless I couldn't possibly have worked in my state of health. If employers provide jobs and working conditions which are conducive to attendance then people will turn up to work, even when they would be better advised to stay at home, and we all know that this is true.

And finally, where an employee goes genuinely sick ( and that is 7 out of 8 days even by their own figures) the employer very rarely provides cover, he just expects everyone else to get their heads down and do the work of the absentee for nothing, zilch, nil, not a lot. Do they deduct the cost of that free labour provided by the employees from the figures they quote as the cost of absence? Not bloody likely, because they manage to screw the work out of the other employees for free.

They should think themselves very lucky, they wouldn't work for nothing, but that is the rich and unelected. All of the money in the world wouldn't be enough for the greedy sods.

Scottish Socialist Party Manifesto

The Scottish Socialists launch their manifesto at Hampden today (although if Terry is at the launch he'll probably think it's someone else).

I've added a link for those who want easy access for whatever purpose. Any support / critique is welcome and unmoderated (so keep it clean, my kids read this....or so they say, but I don't believe them).

Monday, 9 April 2007

Follow My Leaders

One of our local MSPs Wendy (the number 2 trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band) has today announced that she has no plans to run for the Scottish Labour leadership after McDonnell's ?? election debacle. We can therefore look forward to her announcing her candidacy on May 4th./5th

In the other camp, has anyone seen the new poster for the Nats campaign. I only saw it quickly as I drove by, but is the smirking fish sitting on a white couch with the wee lassie on his knee. That's what it looked like --a ventroloquist and his dummy.

Terry Kelly Football Expert

Terry (TKMax) Kelly is in the local paper today addressing the real issues facing the Scottish electorate. Yes, he is going to improve the quality of the BBC's Scottish Football commentators. This from the man who watched the Scotland Georgia game believing he was watching Croatia. Check out 27th March on

We're in real trouble now. Lunacy is taking over the world if Terry thinks this is an appropriate issue for election time.

Sir Sean and the Nats: Return of the Hero

I see from the Scotsman today that Sir Sean Connery (a rich exile) is set to return from the Bahamas when Scotland is 'granted' independence. This is no more than another 'leader' of the Scottish people prepared to sit it out in another country (ring any bells, Alex ?) until the hard work is done before returning to take advantage of the situation he had no hand in creating, except to run off at the mouth about how Scottish he is.

For your information, Sir Sean, independence is not being granted, it is being fought for while you are tanning your fat arse in the sunshine. If you want to help the fight is here (where were you?) but we don't need you to win it. Stay where you are and annoy somebody else, you and your kind, who think that they can waltz in after the work is done and try to turn Scotland into a tax haven for the rich (because that is why you are not here, you don't want to pay your share of tax) are neither wanted nor needed except by the Tartan Tory friends of the rich.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Interesting Stuff

I've fixed the link

Interesting Stuff

Readers might notice a new list of 'Interesting Stuff' I am going to post in here any quirky little thing that amuses me in the hope that others will find it interesting.

I've started with a site called Political Compass which looks at the modern approach to the left / right dimension and adds another to try to explain some seeming anomalies.

Take the test and let the rest of us know how you do.

My own result ----- left / right -7.25 authoritarian / libertarian - 5.85

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Gordon Brown and the Iraq Hostage Crisis

Maybe I missed it, but it just occured to me that we saw nothing at all of 'the big clunking fist' during the recent days when our unfortunate service men and woman were in Iran. Anybody help with suggestions as to big Gordy's whereabouts?

Friday, 6 April 2007

Terry Kelly, Iran, Iraq, and Labour's American Allies

I've sent this to Terry today, don't hold your breath to see it on his blog.

Funny thing about Labour. Everyone with any sense accepts that they are now a party of the right (don’t listen to the rubbish they talk, look at what they do), But Terry, you still believe that there is a right wing conspiracy in the press against them. It only goes to show that they are as useless at rewarding their support as a right wing party as they were when they were part of the Left. Too busy rewarding themselves, so nothing new there then.

The hypocrisy of believing the polls when they favour you and denying them when they are against you is not new, but you and I were both at McDonnell’s ?? visit to Paisley High Street and we both know that he was roundly abused from one end of the street to the other, not by activists but by shoppers.

As for the problems of the captives in Iran, any decent leader would not have been negotiating their release because he wouldn’t have sent our forces to an illegal war in the first place. If you want to deal with it by black humour then why not consider that we have invaded a sovereign nation, occupied it by thousands of troops, and patrol their waters so that other countries do not meddle in their affairs….now that is funny in a black sort of way.

The treatment of our forces who were the victims of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (which we support in principle as being legal) from Iraq to Iran is that our respected allies would have put them in orange boiler suits and tortured them before making them strip and parade in dog leads before publishing their naked pictures in the press and on the internet. Then they would have taken them to place where international law cannot reach them and local law is denied them, and imprisoned them with no prospect of either trial or release. That is not speculation, that is what they admit to, so how bad is it really?

So you can complain about the captive marines being taken illegally and put on television. You can laugh at them being given clothes and cigarettes, and being well fed and clothed, and it might not make you a bad person, but it must come close when you can make it a cause for your triumphalism. I don’t think the captives in Guantanamo would see the joke. It’s a good job that the marines were not captured by your friend Bush’s forces, or even more dangerous, supported by their air power.

I don’t suppose I will see this comment on your site. You seem happy to publish other anonymous correspondents so I will pay myself the compliment that you find me a bit harder to deal with than them. Only local knowledge can expose your claims as false so I must be a danger.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

PFI / PPP Schools and Hospitals : BBC Poll and Brown's Lies

Looking at the results of the BBC poll here
it seems that the Scots don't have a very high regard for PFI / PPP as a means of providing public services.

They seem to recognise a pig in a poke when they see one, but to explain the reasoning I offer this.

1. The stated aim of the Government in PFI / PPP is to bring private finance into public projects
2. Contractors are so stupid that they will make a net input to the project
3.The treasury will have a net benefit

No, that doesn't make sense so let's try again

1. The stated aim of Government in PFI /PPP is to bring private finance into public projects
2. Contractors are so cunning that they will manipulate the contracts to make a profit thereby taking money out of public projects
3. The treasury will have a large net loss which taxpayers up to 25 years down the line will have to pick up

Yes, that seems a lot more likely, but the present lot will be long gone by that time, so they don't care about anything but the next election down the line.

But voters (as the poll shows) are not so stupid as politicians think they are. They know that contractors , far from having their money levered into these projects are tripping over themselves to get involved because of the large amounts of money that they can take out. To believe otherwise is just plain silly.

If you want to get this money from big companies into public services, why is company tax about as low as it has ever been in modern times? I await an explanation from Gordon 'the big clunking fist' Brown or even someone more local if Scottish Labour still have any say in the matter.

Benefit Claimants , Lie Detectors and the Tory Media

Just another example of a right wing biased media headline that creates a false impression, and misleads without telling direct lies.

If we read past the headline we find that it is not 'Benefit Cheats' but Benefit Claimants who face Lie Detector tests, but the headline is designed to label all benefit claimants as cheats by implication. It is quite scary what the right will do to turn working people against each other, and this tabloid style is becoming more common even in the BBC.

Why do we not have lie detector tests for people who donate large amounts to political parties and coincidentally receive an honour?

Why do we not have lie detector tests for our MPs and MSPs when they submit their expenses claims?

It is because these groups are presumed to have honour and dignity whereas working people and unfortunate people on benefit are presumed to have none. They can be subjected to any indignity on the grounds of protection of public funds, provided the public can be made to believe that all benefit claimants are cheats.

It's time we had a hard look at the whole system; some of the 'honourable members' of the last Tory Government aren't that long out of jail and some people are seriously thinking of electing the Tories again.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Courtly Dress: Contempt for the Court

Just another rant about people who think they are better than the rest of us (I'm told that symbolic violence is the correct term).

A sheriff in Greenock yesterday told a person appearing in his court that if he appeared in court in a football strip he could be jailed. This raises a number of uncomfortable issues.

First, we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, among other things, because people (mainly women) were being hauled before unelected judges and imprisoned for what they were wearing.

Second, why are the sheriff's cultural values more valid than the person he is threatening? The football strip may well have been the best and costliest item of clothing the person had. If he had dressed in his best for a court appearance, what was the problem? Is it because he earns more, and have a look at this if you want to see the scale of the earnings legal eagles have (bearing in mind that these are only his fees for those who can't pay).
Why could justice not be administered to the person irrespective of what he was wearing? They managed to jail the naked rambler. Why was it an issue at all?

Third, why does this sheriff have the right to imprison a person without a trial simply because he disapproves of his dress sense? Is this not third world justice?

Of course the real answer to all of this is that members of the bar believe themselves to be a superior breed, and having gone mainly to public schools are de-sensitised to sado masochistic bullying, and this sheriff is a bully, flexing his muscles and trying to impose his supposedly superior system of values on a minor being. They defend a legal system brought into disrepute by their own greedy conduct and pompous superiority.

I am reminded of what I think was a Mae West line. When challenged that she was showing her contempt for the court she replied, 'I'm sorry, your honour, I was trying my best to hide it.'

Pensions Crisis Etc Continued

One of my friends tells me that he doesn't think I have really addressed the case of the money purchase pension schemes. I thought that I had done that in the opening of my previous posting, but for the sake of clarity I'll spell it out loud and clear. If you can afford to buy the pension you should be able to pay the tax. No party is going to re-instate that relief so stop whinging and pay your tax. If we can get the rich off welfare it will help us all, except the moaning middle classes.

The other problem is with public sector pensions. The impression that the papers give is that somehow public servants are going to get their state pensions 5 years ahead of the rest of us at age 60. They wont, thet will get that at 65 like the rest of us. What they will get at 60 is what in other occupations would have been an occupational pension. They forfeited income every week in order to build up that entitlement to a pension at 60 and that was the deal. Everyone involved knew that was the deal, it was part of their wages. The money held back from them was not, however, invested by their employer, the government, because they believed that current taxpayers would be able to pay these pensions when they became due. The economics of the madhouse.

Now, as the chickens come home to roost, they do not want to lose votes by burdening current taxpayers with the bill for these pensions which people have been working for for 40 years in some cases. So they think that they can just walk away from the problem by telling their employees that they have changed the rules because the agreement that they had is too expensive (politically) to honour. They want to delay the payment of these pensions which these people have worked for for 5 more years. and damn the agreements. Well you can't treat people like that and expect them to just suffer it, so you have a dispute. That's hardly a surprise, but if you can get the papers to put out your mis-information it will help get the public on your side, and it might not be noticed that this is a government with neither honesty nor honour. .

Pensions Crisis and the Financial Services Rip-Off

It is well known that I am no fan of Gordon ‘the big clunking fist’ Brown, but the current obsession with pensions crisis needs a more simple explanation, so it will be my cause to give it a try

Firstly, private pension provision is only available to those who can afford it, but speaking to some less well off people they believe that it is the state pension which is under threat. They do not appreciate, because the papers do not properly explain it, that if the better off pay more tax, then the less well off might be required to pay less. The papers try to give the impression that what is good for the middle classes is good for the whole country. Obviously in their agenda the less well off who may have no private pension don’t matter.

Secondly, the crisis arises because the financial sector of the economy by buying and selling stocks and shares at ever higher and unjustified values and trousering the profits put themselves in a position that, because of the high value (completely notional) of those shares as assets on their books, they believed that they were financially sound and their pension schemes were in surplus.

Because they imagined a surplus they gave themselves a ‘contribution holiday’; in other words, the money that they should have been investing in the pensions of their employees was paid out to their shareholders. The employees were never told that they had too much money in their pension fund and that they didn’t need to contribute for a while. Not bloody likely.

Now they find that they were too greedy and since their bubble has burst and shares have fallen to more realistic levels it is everyone’s fault but theirs. But who will suffer as a result of the fact that workers’ entitlement was given to shareholders. Well, not the shareholders. Certainly not the greedy directors and financiers. Yes, you guessed it, the employees.

Just another disgraceful episode in the world of high finance (grand larceny) that is capitalism.

I hope that this clarifies my views on the subject, I certainly feel better for getting it out

Airline Security and Lost Luggage

Reports today that BA lose more luggage than its European rivals prompts a moment of extreme disquiet.

If you look at the policies of the airlines it is clear that baggage reconciliation is the backbone of airline security. Roughly speaking it means that if your bag is on the flight then so are you. Not 100% certain in an age of suicide attacks, but still adequate as the main strand of deterence.

How then can a bag go on the wrong flight, because that would mean that 2 flights would have taken off with their baggage reconciliations wrong?

Perhaps someone from the airlines could enlighten us

Smoking and the N H S: An Ex-Smokers View

I see that NHS Highland are to ban smoking anywhere on their grounds. As a smoker for 40 years, who gave up only 2 years ago I would not oppose any measure which encourages people to quit, but some of the measures being put in place (not just in health boards but all over) only bring the non smoking lobby into ridicule. Perhaps 2 examples of the thing I am talking about which only make smokers dig in their heels and stubbornly refuse to stop.

First, I can personally vouch for the truth of the story that doctors and nurses at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, which sits in its own grounds at the top of a hill, arrange to park a car near to the main doors, and at break time they all drive to the bus stop at the bottom of the hill outside the grounds for a smoke. This is stupid and pointless and only makes the smoking community harden their attitudes by forging a bond of perceived mutual hardship which acts as a support group encouraging smoking.

Second, there is a story I am told, but cannot vouch for personally, about the retail park at Govan, which even if it isn't true is an example of the sort of thing that happens when the nicotine fascists flex their muscles.
If it's true, smokers working in ASDA are not allowed to smoke in the ASDA car park and smokers working in Toys R Us next door are not allowed to smoke in theToys r Us car park. There is no fence between the car parks so Asda's car park is used as a smoking area by the staff from Toys r us and vice versa.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tony Bliar, Jack McConnell and the Scottish Nationalists

'Happy' Jack McDonnell ?? has had another setback in the run-up to the May elections. He must be absolutely
devastated to hear that Tony Bliar has given him 100% backing. No doubt the Nats are rubbing their hands with
glee. If ever there was news that McConnell could have done without, this was it. The wee lassie and the
smirking fish must be delighted, working on the assumption, by no means certain, that smirky wants to
leave his beloved London and re-join us lesser folk, until he can respectably resign and go on a lecture tour (to London).

Rayleen's World of Severance Pay and Censorship

It really isn't sporting for Rayleen to censor my latest post and then post anonymous comments criticising me. She either posts anonymous comments or she doesn't and I had thought that it was my anonymity that caused her to censor my comments but it looks now as if it is only because I disagree with her.

The spave (sic) betweem (sic) my ears which her anonymous post complains of probably isn't as well used as it might be, but it is difficult to claim credit for 35 years of service only to retire and leave Paisley the way it is. He must be a broken man.

As a matter of interest, how long do you think that Labour can keep on blaming Thatcher (not that I would exempt her from blame but she's been gone a long time).

What have Labour done to try to re-build our industrial base ?

Monday, 2 April 2007

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires Club 3

A bit in the front of the Herald today might throw some light on the attraction of the Nats for the millionaires club.
It reports that a leading financier, one Ben Thomson, chairman of the investment bank Noble Group, backs the Nats because a Nat win would rid the finance sector of 'over-regulation from London'.

He obviously sees an opportunity for the financial sector to benefit from a reduction in regulation, and while I support the independence cause I am not sure that the Nats., who seem to have some unsavoury friends, are the right people to take us there. I hope that this is just a coincidence and not another under the counter deal done in advance of an election (a 'Souter' ? )

Looking back over the recent past it might even appear, when we think about Farepak, illegal bank charges, endowment mis-selling, millions lost in tax avoidance schemes, and the general bolox the financial sector has made of pensions with the assistance of 'the big clunkin fist' that a lot more regulation and scrutiny is required, not a lot less irrespective of whether it comes from London or Edinburgh.

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires Club 2

It seems, if we are to believe the tabloids, that certain supporters of the Scottish Nats. are unhappy with Souter and his ilk and are now proclaiming their support for the Scottish Socialist Party. I'm sure that any defectors will be made welcome if they want to walk 500 miles to the left.

As for the wee lassie, she has been allowed to sit in the driving seat of dad's new car and play with the wheel, but not with the engine running. Dad is coming home from London (or is London his home now ?) to do the real driving so she'll have to shuffle over to the passenger seat of the Natmobile.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Councillors Severance Pay : A Message to Rayleen

Rayleen decided to publish my last post, but she isn't happy about it. She says that it doesn't deserve a response and that is always a prelude to censorship, so just in case I will post a copy of my response below :-

Rayleen—I can’t think why my comments should not deserve a response but think of these questions
First . At about 18 years of service the severance would be as follows :-

‘The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Severance Payments) Regulations 2006
Section 5 . 1 . (c) £20,000 for a member of a local authority who shall, at the date of the next ordinary election, have served for a period of 15 complete years or more.’

I invite you again to ask your constituents if they believe that the retiring councillors deserve this amount of money

Second The remuneration committee looked at the question of pensions and decided as follows :-

‘Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee

Current arrangements

4.1 There are no arrangements currently in place to allow councillors to be part of an occupational pension scheme. Councillors who wish to make pension provision must make private arrangements, using part of their basic and special responsibility allowances’

So the pension was built into the allowances and councillors were expected to make provision themselves.

Third The payment is not a thank you for service to the community, it is a direct bribe for dead wood time-servers to go away and stop preventing innovative people from advancing better ideas and programmes. They must leave government totally (if they go into the Scottish Parliament then they will not be eligible) and the reasons are in this BBC report which says

‘Critics are likely to portray the severance scheme as a way of placating Labour councillors in the central belt likely to lose their seats under the new electoral system.

The executive argued, however, that it would be a one-off move that would provide some incentive for long-standing councillors to stand down and make way for fresh blood in Scotland's town halls.’

It could hardly be clearer without being downright insulting.

Finally, I am also grateful to the councillors for retiring, because they let the problems in our communities flourish for so long. I am not on the sidelines sniping, I am and have been actively trying to remove them (in line with your own policy) for some length of time. I only regret that I couldn’t embarrass them into going sooner and without a large wedge of public money that they scarcely deserve.

Rayleen's Fantasy World of Dinosaur Councillors

I've tried before to publish to Rayleen Kelly's site and been censored, I don't know if its because I'm anonymous or because of what I say, but I've left this comment on her piece about retiring councillors.

Rayleen—I really can’t let you away with this one. Six retiring councillors with 110 years service between them means an average of about 18 years each.
Look at the changes in Paisley in the last 18 years and we will see their legacy.

Traffic flow is monstrous. The town centre is like a graveyard for old unused shops with many of the major retailers who are left wanting away. Local taxation is higher than it has ever been and services are in decline. There is no major industry to speak of. Drugs and crime are rampant in the housing schemes, and councillors are arranging congratulatory dinners in the midst of a child poverty crisis (let them eat cake). It’s sick.

As for the severance awards (pay-offs) which these people are being awarded, ask the people at your surgeries what they think those councillors deserve. I’m sure the answer won’t surprise you.

Just to clarify, because you either don’t or won’t understand. These pay-offs were not for work done. These people were overpaid every year for that. These pay-off were not needed as a pension; millions of people are expected to get by on the state pension unless they buy an extra one for themselves, and if the state pension isn’t enough whose fault is that! These were ‘get lost’ payments to dinosaur councillors, paid out only on condition that they go away from local government and never come back. If we can get back to a situation where councillors serve the community instead of their own egos then it might have been worth it, but I doubt that will happen under this present lot, and you shouldn’t mislead people.

I don't know if she will publish it because Renfrewshire Council knows no shame. Even the Paisley town hall clock has a red face.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Terry Kelly & Immigration, immigration, immigration

As I don't get published on TK (max)'s site I repeat the comment I have tried to post to the great one below:-

Terry- Perhaps you hadn’t noticed but it is the Labour Government, of which you are a cog, that is crushing refugees, incarcerating asylum seekers and bringing ‘shame on this country’. Your immigration tribunals are so bad that one refugee burned himself to death rather than face any more Home Office interrogations. And you still dare to write about how you would champion the rights of these unfortunates.

Your self- righteousness is beyond belief. I don’t know how you can hold your head up when you accuse others of cowardice when you bend to accommodate every criticism of the party you belong to with the wistful moan that its everybody else in the Labour party except you who is responsible and that you are somehow fighting on your own to bring the Labour party back to socialism and decency. It’s bollocks.

You are the worst kind of coward, because you pretend to be brave, just a self-serving blowhard. As for your criticism of Rosie Kane, at least she is honest and has the courage of her convictions, in every sense of the word. If she can raise the profile of the plight of refugees in this country, by whatever means, then good luck to her. If the refugees and asylum seekers are waiting for help from Labour they are in for a long wait.

Perhaps if you were to take the approach of the real socialists and stop bragging about how many people support you, and try to focus on how many people you support and how well, then you might be in a position to criticise, but your party occupies the moral low ground.