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.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Crimestoppers and the Alexanders' Rag time Band

This is part of a 'Parliamentary Report' which is currently being pushed through letterboxes in Paisley by the supporters of the Alexanders' Rag Time Band, a local gang.

I believe I have identified the two ne'erdowells posing with jars of the finest Columbian as Shuggie and Duggie who have been pestering the people of Paisley as bogus callers pretending to be Socialists.

I called crimestoppers but they believe that one of them might be Hugh ' the Hammer' , the last person in Scotland to believe that you can solve the problem of drugs in a community by arresting addicts. The Hammer as we know, for it said so in his publicity, single-handedly ended the problem of drugs in Paisley before moving on to bigger challenges.

The other one always seems to show up at election times, talk a lot and then disappear. He is believed to fly south to team up with his spiritual father and gang leader the Bliar of Westminster.

These people are dangerous and must be stopped before they get even bigger weapons. Some have even suggested that they are trying to get new nuclear weapons and that would be a real distaster.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Terry Kelly Schools Etc.

Just to add to my previous posts on this subject, I am informed by documents obtained from the Council that one of the schools he brags about was delivered so late that the start of term had to be delayed and the contractor was penalised £25,000. Can't be the best way to start the school year, but it gets worse.

I am informed by more that one of the pupils that in the recent wet weather rain water guttering had to be set up inside the school to channel the roof leaks into buckets.

Doesn't it make you proud.?........well it does Terry

Councillor Terry Kelly and the Ferguslie Schools

I am not posting this to Terry because as explained in earlier posts (mine and his) he will not debate the issues with me unless I also allow him to attack me personally. There can be no other reason to insist that I post personal details on the internet before he will engage.

The schools that he brags about are evidence of the disgrace which Labour have brought upon the people of this country. Both income and wealth are so unevenly distributed (and going from bad to worse under New Labour) that we cannot seemingly afford to provide our kids with schools except on the never-never, and this in the 10th (or 11th depending on your measurement system) richest country in the world.

Terry, you and your cronies should hang your heads in shame rather than blowing your own trumpet.

Councillor Terry Kelly and the Ferguslie Schools

I posted the following comment to TK on his blog today, but as he has censored me I repeat the posting below :-

Sorry to rain on your parade, Terry, but aren’t you just leasing these schools under a PFI / PPP deal and wont it be left to the future generations to occupy a school up to 25 years old for which they will still be paying top dollar?

Aren’t the schools designed, built, owned and operated for profit by a contractor?

Monday, 19 March 2007

Councillor Terry Kelly and Renfrewshire Council

As some of you may be aware I have been in some discussion with Councillor Terry Kelly over on his blog.
Because I won't post my personal details on the internet (never advisable) he has decided to bar me from posting to his site, nothing, I am sure, to do with the questions he cannot or will not answer. For the sake of clarity, I will copy those questions here, and he can answer if he has the gall. I wont bar him.

Terry-- in that case can we expect in the fullness of time, that you will address the questions I have posed in respect of housing/homelessness, Trident, the Iraq war, Councillor pay-offs and deprivation (where's the pub, where's the bank, where are the jobs, where are the apprenticeships, where is the policing -- the police station hasn't opened its public office for months and even the police station sign is vandalised -- where is the cleansing dept--there is an old mattress lying in a lay-by not 50 yards off your own street in Drums Ave. and it has been there, to my sure and certain knowledge for at least 3 weeks, I pass it going home every day-- do the council's employees who pass sweeping the streets not report anything. Yes, Ferguslie Park certainly has a lot to thank Labour for.

Terry—I said I would do my own research into the housing situation after our last exchange, so here it is :-

April 1st .............. number on waiting list for council housing

2004 ............... 6534
2005................ 7465
2006................ 6719

in addition, in 2006 there were 2820 on the transfer lists.

Are you still pleased about the number of houses you knocked down and didn’t replace?

Terry- If as you say, 'There is only one etc.' then you obviously believe you already have my ID. For me to post it on your site would be to invite the same people who posted your full address on their site to do the same with me. I don't believe that we should do that. If you want to bar me then that's fine--I'll post on my own blog and be just as happy.

Juat added a new post on TK(Max) site:-

Terry—You’re just not getting it. The old mattress was a symptom of a greater problem, it wasn’t the problem in itself. Getting the thing shifted really shows how effective you are in exercising influence in the council. It might have been more believable if they had shifted the old tyres lying in the same lay-by for the same length of time, however, it’s the thought that counts, and you probably think you are effective.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires Club

One of the problems for the millionaires club in Scotland is that their natural home in the Conservative Party has, for all but ceremonial purposes, ceased to exist.

The strategy seems, therefore, to be to throw all the money they can into the peculiarly Scottish version of the Tories in order to try to stave off the leftward drift in Scotland as people see that Labour are just another party of the right.

So we are treated to the smirking face of Salmond as another rich right wing alleged homophobe lends full support to the Tartan Tories, and, ignoring the dubious moral and ethical problems which seem so important between elections, the Nats grasp the dosh, never asking what they are expected to do for it.

The rich and the Nats are around each other like flies round shit and it is difficult to tell which is which.

Advice for Salmond, the Scots might forgive your running away to London at every opportunity and only coming back, like Sir Sean to try to help out at election time and see what you can get, but they will not forgive you for being snidey and hypocritical. You may believe that for Scotland you are a government in waiting, but we all know you are a pseudo-leader in voluntary exile who left the difficult work of scrutiny of Lib / Lab mismanagement to the wee lassie.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Justice Minister and Strathclyde police

In an earlier post I asked where Cathie Jamieson, the Justice Minister was hiding..well I've found her on BBC Radio Scotland with another two comics this lunchtime shamelessly talking football while Justice is a thing of the past. Still, there is an election due so I suppose she has to talk to people about something to remind us that she is still here. It is a sad state of affairs when a comedian's parody of a political figure is better known and liked than the politician herself.

And still with the law, I refuse to believe the scurrilous accusation in respect of Strathclyde Police, on the front page of another nameless paper, until I see an official denial by the Lodge (either one).

Friday, 16 March 2007

Working Class Unity

If anyone is unsure about what Thatcher did to us as a society they should look at this:-

They are all on a bus, so no posh people then. But still someone films a driver's misdemeanor on their phone and shops him. The driver loses his bonus and gets a warning. How sad is that.

They probably think it was the right thing to do, as if the bosses don't have enough spies already, and that's even sadder. When will working people realise that we only have each other, and if we do the boss's work for him we will all suffer in the long run. I'm not saying the driver was right, only that we shouldn't be policing each other on behalf of the bosses --they can do that very well on their own.

Before Thatcher this would never have happened.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Strathclyde Police

I am indebted to the Herald for the story of Scott McEwan.

Scott was allegedly arrested following a robbery after an armed siege at the hotel where he stayed.The siege involved police marksmen and helicopters and must have been a very frightening experience, especially since Scott is partially sighted and had previously been homeless, presumably with some of the vulnerabilities which homeless persons have who live in the sort of hotels where he was living.

He was called from his building with the marksmens' red dots on his chest and arrested. Now, anyone can make a mistake, but Scott was completely innocent and this is the kind of mistake which ends up with innocent people dead.

Almost as bad was the treatment he received subsequently, after he had been cleared of any wrongdoing. According to the Herald he claims that the police 'threw me out of the police station in the pouring rain' and he collapsed in the street whilst trying to make his way back, unassisted, to his lodgings. I repeat that this was a vulnerable young man, partially sighted who had had a severe shock. He ended up in hospital, surprisingly enough.

Worst of all, Strathclyde Police said that they had no comment to make. Now, surely an accountable police force should have to account for its conduct, but who is going to hold them to account. If they will not explain themselves to the public that they are supposed to be protecting then is that not how we define a police state? One where the police do what they like and do not feel the need to answer to the people.

They should be forced to explain and to bloody well explain right now. Cathie Jamieson, where are you hiding. You are supposed to be the Justice Minister in the Scottish Parliament. Tell us where the justice is if the police can act like this with impunity. They are a law unto themselves and you should be doing something about it.

Free School Meals

The Scottish Parliament yesterday decided that it would not provide nutritious free school meals to all children at primary schools in Scotland, despite the overwhelming support of every informed authority on nutrition and education in the country and the strong views of the Scottish Socialist Party, whose MSP Frances Curran was the promoter of the legislation.

More Labour shame

The House of Lords

There was a letter this week in the Herald (a Scottish Newspaper) from the Duke of Buccleuch which opened by saying that he was now denied the right to speak in the House of Lords.

Just as a matter of clarification for his grace, some of us have never had that right, so what makes him so different?

Thank goodness for the open forum of the internet.

Trident and the Westminster Parliament

So Labours paper tigers have roared (or should that be purred). 87 Labour MPs including 15 from Scottish constituencies trooped into the opposition lobbies to oppose Trident. Even as he is on his way out the rest of them are afraid to defy Bliar, but they say the most dangerous time to approach a wild creature is in its death throes. He's done the big clunking fist a great favour since he will not now need to address this problem in the early part of his premiership, but the issue will keep on returning until they can explain who we want to fight with this sort of weapon. It's not a hard question but the answer is hard to find.

To all those MPs who claim to be Labour, but found themselves in the same lobby as the whipped Tories, could you not look around you and see that you had done a bad thing just by the company you were keeping?

Shame on you all.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Trident and the Scottish Parliament

Its good to see the protesters from the base at Faslane (where the new Trident will be based if we are foolish enough to let them) bringing the protest direct to the Scottish Parliament by climbing onto the roof and unfurling a banner.

We know that defence is not devolved, but our own Parliament is the place for us to make our feelings known in the first instance if we are to get the message across, and the message for Labour is ringing loud and clear. If you go ahead with this ill-reasoned and despised nuclear escalation then you will be its first the ballot booths of the Scottish elections on 3rd May.

And to those in the Labour Party who believe that they can fight this policy from within that party, that's like sh*gg*ng for purity, fighting for pacifism, or joining the Ku Klux Klan to fight racism. It simply can't be done

Trident and the Labour Party

Well, today's the day all of the frightened rats have to make the decision whether to make a principled stance and risk the wrath of the great clunking fist or to follow like sheep through the lobbies and impose on the people of Scotland (because it will not be based in the Thames now, will it?) a nuclear weapons system they cannot afford and do not want.

We are in a real mess if we have to rely on the honesty and integrity of Labour to prevent us becoming a prime nuclear target, but we will find out around 7 p.m.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Nurses' Pay

I see from the BBC that nurses in Scotland are to receive their full pay rise from 1st April rather than having it phased in as Brown suggested.

I can't help but think that perhaps Andy Kerr is more concerned about keeping his seat than about his advancement.

The big clunking fist is not a man to be upsetting but noising up the nurses this near to a close election is similarly inadvisable. Tricky decision!

Monday, 12 March 2007

Trident and the Labour Party

Whoops, there goes another one...and a big splash too!!

Nigel Griffiths (deputy leader of the Commons) is the latest rat to leave the sinking 'Good Ship Trident'.

This is a policy in disarray. It should be abandoned now before the UK becomes a complete laughing stock. Our national defence based on American nuclear technology is a joke. Bliar's reliance on Bush is pathetic. How can we rely on nuclear technology provided by someone who cannot pronounce nuke-you-lar?

Bishop Bashes Labour ??

It is unusual for me to agree with a Christian, but the suggestion by the Bishop of Motherwell that Labour might not be the best party to vote for seems reasonable.

I suspect, however, that we might disagree as to who is the best party to vote for !!

Trident and the Labour Party

Sorry this is a very short post. I can hardly concentrate for the sound of splashing as the Labour rats desert the sinking ship of Trident.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Trident and the Labour Party

Surely we aren't seeing an outbreak of scruples in the Labour Party? More likely is that the rats are fleeing the sinking ship of Trident.

We note that Jim Devine is not standing down from the Labour Party but only from the unpopular Labour Government in opposition to the policy on Trident. Why doesn't he get some bottle and do the right thing?

There must be an election due and we can look forward to more Scottish Labour party figures, both national and local, deciding that Trident policy is a threat to their comfy Westminster lifestyle. More and more they want to spit the dummy of Bliar but carry on feeding off the tit of Labour's former principled opposition to nuclear weapons. Their cynicism insults their electors.

British Telecom Charges

I see British Telecom are planning to surcharge customers who don't pay by direct debit. I left BT a long time ago and went to NTL because of this high-handed attitude, but BT customers might want to look at

This is just another attack on the less well off many of whom don't have a bank account (and even those who do shouldn't be letting third parties access it).

I would tell BT where to stick it and go to another provider.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Council Housing

Isn't it great to see Midlothian building council housing when other councils are trying to privatise theirs.

We must keep up the pressure on Government to release the housing improvement funding and debt write off for local authorities of those sensible tenants who voted to keep council housing.

We know that this money is there because it was going to be given to the new housing associations (until the tenants became difficult). As councils pointed out during stock transfer ballots a very substantial part of all rents goes to pay interest on housing debt, which means that if the funds earmarked for the crony housing associations was to be released then rents could fall.

The May elections will be a real opportunity to let the Scottish Executive and the Westminster Government know how we feel about it.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

West Yorkshire Police Violence

I have just been watching TV coverage of the West Yorkshire police captured on CCTV punching a young woman five times in the course of arresting her, and it is very scary.

A mealy mouthed senior officer is trying to say that the footage was out of context, but its difficult to see any reason why five burly policemen couldn't restrain one wee lassie who was already drunk and on the ground without punching the hell out of her. Even if it was her arm, and she was kicking as they allege, how much power can a drunk 19 year old girl put into a kick from a prone position. Why was it necessary to punch her at all, far less five times on any part of the body. She was unlikely to escape and it was not time critical. They had her surrounded. This was macho gone mad and utterly inexcusable.

It was also distinctly unprofessional. Real macho men (like Strathclyde Police) would have made sure that the cameras were off and she was handcuffed. At least that's what my son alleges that they did to him, and a knee to the groin is much more effective. Complaints in his case got nowhere, and I suspect that the West Yorkshire case will result in a similar whitewash.