Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Money’s too tight to mention: Scotland’s unpopular SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is forced to rely on state public funds as big donors dry up, even the SNP membership are unwilling to stick their hands in pockets for Sturgeon, I guess the staged managed attempt to make Nicola ‘likeable’ has died a slow painful death, I wonder is she willing to consider the very popular and organised Romanian style begging for funds?

Dear All

It seems with unpopular Nicola Sturgeon at the helm of the Scottish National Party, a raft of scandals involving elected representatives and supporters, people don’t want to back the SNP with their cold hard cash.

This is good news, but not for Scottish Labour, major donors are simply refusing to back them as well, this is party of the political shift in Scotland, were people are looking around for a new party of the centre right, the void in Scottish politics is becoming so obvious.

The SNP as we have yet again seen from the nurse scandal is a group of small minded nasty little people. The fact that money is drying up for them is a good sign, the SNP in power, in government has been a bad thing in an overall fashion, but there have been some plus benefits.

It can’t have escaped your notice that some parties have been politically wiped out over several elections, 2015 and 2016 were watershed moments in Scottish politics, although the disaster was mostly at the expense of Scottish Labour, it was an event that as I mentioned needed to happen.

Scottish politics is desperately in need of more choice, a more rainbow colouring which allows voters more value for their vote. Two party politics might have been replaced by three party politics but still that isn’t enough.

The wider public seeing that the SNP has not declared a significant cash donation from a member of the public in six months and has to go cap in hand to the State for funding to operate tells a story. The Nationalists brag how big their membership is but clearly under Nicola Sturgeon’s inept leadership, even the members are unwilling to put their hand in the pocket.

It kind of puts the fake staged managed popularity of Nicola Sturgeon into perspective does it not?

Data from the Electoral Commission figures shows Nicola Sturgeon’s party had the lowest donations of any major party in the first quarter of 2017, at just £3300. It seems that the ‘Bank of Weir’ just isn’t there anymore and as such the SNP need “Short money” from the House of Commons to keep the ball rolling.

If you don’t know what ‘short money’ is, it is cash given to all opposition parties to help their costs and is based on MP numbers, we have an opportunity in Scotland by using tactical voting to help drive this funding stream downwards. In Scotland, groups like Scotland’s Big Voice have developed the tactical voting wheel to help show people which candidate is the best person to stop in the SNP. In Glasgow, that would be voting Labour, in places like Perth and East Renfrewshire, the best bet is to vote Scottish Conservative.

I urge all people who are pro UK in a seat where the political party isn’t traditionally the one they usually vote for to consider the tactical vote, already polling suggests that 15% of Scots are considering and will do this option.

One of the other things which isn’t talk about much is the use of tactical activism, people helping and assisting various people in different parties to get into public office. Kezia Dugdale called for “tactical voting” from Conservatives to help win seats for Labour but didn’t follow through with urging Labour voters to vote Conservatives. Kezia made another blunder political blunder, in fact, her plea of just asking Conservatives to vote Labour without asking Labour voters to do likewise is just risible.

I will be tactically voting in Glasgow South West for Scottish Labour.

On the other side of the financial coin, the Scottish Conservatives seem to be doing okay for cash, Scottish Tory fundraiser Sir Jack Harvie gave the Conservatives £20,000 in his own right and another £20,000 through a business.

The ‘blue team’ is doing well, the smart money, voters and activists seem to be sensing that the Conservatives are doing well, in fact you have to wonder what some Labour candidates whose campaigns are little better than paper would pay to even get a sniff at those resources.

Finally, as a public figure, I am announcing that the agreement that I had to do campaigning in Glasgow South West for Scottish Labour no longer exists, I have contacted Matt Kerr, the candidate and his election agent John Kane to inform them that I will not be back and to wish them good luck.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Pisses Me Off About The Ariana Grande Terrorist Attack, do you want to be popular or do you want to live, Stefan Molyneux asks a question in wake of Manchester terror act

Manchester Terror attack, 22 innocent people dead and 59 injured as suicide bomber goes on massive killing spree at pop concert, a year ago, I was blogging on how Islamic terrorists would target large soft targets such as concerts, my next prediction is that they will move on to target schools, terrorists show they have no concern about murdering children

Dear All

Last year, I wrote a blog post, on how terrorism would evolve in Europe, as I also previously wrote, the terrorists would make much use of vehicles in terror attacks, by doing so; they could hide in plain sight till they stuck.

When I wrote the above post, I was keen to stress that the terrorists would look for large soft targets in order to maximise the death toll they wanted to inflict on innocent members of the public. No one would be safe; men, women and children would all be seen as enemies.

So, here are some things I said back then:

“I stated in my post of 19th July that violence in Europe would escalate upwards, and that you could expect attacks at large soft targets, football matches, concerts and ultimately schools”.

Last night in Manchester, there was a terrorist attack which so far has killed 22 innocent people, and 59 others have been injured according to reports.

I said in various blog post that ultimately schools would be targeted because I recognised that the terrorists would wish to single out children to be killed. The concert last night in Manchester was attended by a great many children and young people.

So, what is the terrorist goal?

The goal is to bring the war in the Middle East directly into Europe to make it like Lebanon, create potential battlefields all around. The terrorists have been assisted in their aims by Angela Merkel who opened the flood gates to Europe and allowed direct importation of Islamic terrorists onto the mainland.

Europe can never be safe now, not while politicians like Angela Merkel hold political office, when Wilders and Le Pen failed in their bids to lead their countries, I wasn’t surprised, as I remarked at the time to various people; their bids are too early. Europe will travel further right politically, just as the Islamic terrorists kill, bomb and main, the next big step due to the failure of the political class will be……. domestic indigenous terrorists, race and religion based.

If you happened to have studied the Second World War beyond the war movies, the likelihood is that ‘resistance’ groups will be formed, they will get weapons, training and murder will be paid back with murder.

Everyone is shocked by the attack in Manchester, so many dead and injured; everyone’s immediate thoughts are what assistance can be provided for them, which is the right thing to do. In the aftermath, things may go on as normal, but they aren’t normal, Berlin, Nice, Paris, London and now Manchester should prompt people to challenge the political class for their failures right across Europe.

I would say that Europe is looking for a leader, not someone who is a unity leader but someone to reset Europe back to a time where people felt safe. In order to do that, the measures that are needed to be put in place will end up draconian. It was said that in times of trouble, the Romans would select a man to be charged to defend the city, whatever needed to be done wasn’t questioned, it was simply acted upon.

Normally, on a day like this a few people would be out campaigning in the General election, in light of Manchester, and  as a sign of respect, all General Election campaigning has been suspended, which is the right thing to do.

When, it comes to security, although you can take lots of precautions to defend a fixed position, those plans become weakened in open spaces because you can defend everywhere. Security at the Manchester Arena was mostly joe public types acting as Stewards with SIA badges, ordinary people making a few quid showing people to seats, checking tickets, providing information and first aid, but they aren’t geared up for this type of security.

In various security agencies in Britain, they will be working flat out in connection with the police; we can only hope that they get all the resources they need to get to the bottom of this terrorist incident. We live in an age, an age which is dangerous, although the terrorist plan for a war in Europe is crude, it could be effective on many levels. They want Muslims born in European countries to join their murder campaign in Europe, so that multiple solo acts of terrorism can be carried out to heighten fear and distrust.

The Prime Minister has announced that the security services believe they know the identity of the bomber in the suicide attack, the investigation into this will hopefully find out if he was solely involved or acting with others who may have assisted him. The suicide bomber deliberately chose the place where he could cause "maximum carnage" and because it was a pop concert, he knew he was killing children. Reports mention a 23 year old man has been arrested at this point in an operation carried by police.

Britain mourns today for the victims and we wait to find out further details of who is responsible.

Finally, you may remember in the past when I trotted out my idea for a national Police force back in 2010; stage two was arming the police. Britain needs to move to an armed force, and policing needs to evolve due to the nature of terrorism. We should have an armed officer at all schools at key times, because sooner or later, we can expect the terrorists to turn up there to catch children out in the open.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon squirms during nurse's tirade on pay (21May17)

The leadership Question: Kezia Dugdale’s got a series of major problems; as Scottish Labour donors don’t want to give party any donations during the General Election, members failing to turn out to be activists, not enough help and support given to candidates, and non party members of the public leading Labour sessions, and worse is to come, we haven’t had the result of GE17 yet

Dear All

It isn’t a huge secret that Scottish Labour is struggling in this election, this election caught them on the hop, I am sure given the choice; the party would rather not be fighting it at this present time. I have said it before and I will say it again, the Scottish Labour Party is in no fit state to campaign. I am not going to go into certain people’s campaigns because that would be unfair to them, but the overall picture is of a party that has simply lost its way.

Last Thursday, I wrote a blog post on the suspending of the 9 Labour Councillors in Aberdeen by Scottish Labour, at the time, I said this was a bad judgement, and it would be felt and go into the Westminster campaign.

“Kezia Dugdale just dropped a huge rock into the Labour pond which will have consequences for her and the party outwith the Labour Party”.

If you are familiar with the Law of Unintended Consequences, there has been some for Kezia Dugdale. 

I will give you the short and blunt version, Scottish Labour fucked up big style!

One of Scottish Labour’s biggest donors has said he will not hand over any money for the General Election campaign, if there is a price for stupid, the wider Labour Party are paying for it in spades via the leadership. Another unintended consequences; more in the shape of ammo is that Momentum (Corbyn support group) will benefit enormously as Kezia’s decision goes well beyond internal party politics; it affects the governance of Scotland.

What Kezia Dugdale should have done was allowed Aberdeen Labour Councillors to chart their own course and not interfere in local democracy, you could add that her action, an unintended consequence shows Scottish Labour doesn’t support local democracy or trust its elected officials.

Alan Massie, the North East tycoon bankrolled Kezia Dugdale’s leadership campaign, whether he regrets that investment is open to speculation, prior to getting elected leader, Alan Massie knew Kezia’s track record in the disaster of the 2015 Westminster campaign, and things haven’t got better, they only get worse.

If you read my blog, I talk on occasion about ‘the political economy’, this is made up for 3 key ingredients, ‘money, people and resources’, people aren’t willing to be donors to the Scottish Labour Party, people aren’t willing to vote Labour, members of the party aren’t willing to be activists, and resources are scarce and talent hasn’t been developed. Some candidates also haven’t been getting the logistical support they need and should have readily available from HQ.

It is a right fucking mess!

I have no problem with Alan Massie speaking out and what he does with his money is entirely his business, but there are decent candidates for Labour, perhaps, he should consider directly funding them rather than a general contribution, to me this makes sense in the short term.

Long term, I said before, Scottish Labour needs to go back to bare metal, and some people need to be removed from various positions because they are just crap, they are seriously getting in the way of any possible revival.   

Massie said Labour’s decision to ban a coalition with the Conservatives is “ridiculous”, this was my immediate thought. Labour needs to reach out across constitutional lines, and has failed to do so. Either they are so stupid in their understanding of politics (they could make that argument) or the leadership is just effectively and actively supporting the SNP by default, Labour indy supporters aren’t coming back, Scottish Labour has let the people down.

The public spoke in 2015, spoke in 2016 and spoke in 2017, and they will be speaking twice this year, and the message was loud and clear, you aren’t supporting the public, supporting the UK and aren’t behaving like a credible party.

Massie said:

“I am not going to give any more until we see the direction of the party after June 8.”

The direction of the party after June 8 in the short term is to go nowhere, elections are years away, and because candidate selection starts at the wrong time, effectively the party’s activists base will simply disappear. Of course there will be the odd by-election here and there, but the gap in campaigning will probably not be used wisely. Without leadership, there can’t be teambuilding, and without teamwork there can be no prospect of returns to Holyrood and Westminster.

Some of the office staff needs to be removed, maybe given the option of being retrained or simply sidelined totally.

When Kezia Dugdale kicked out the Aberdeen 9, she said:

“This isn’t about positions or gold medals around the necks of councillors, this is about the job Labour councillors are elected to do – to protect public services, to invest in and defend public services.”

Question to Kezia, why is a Glasgow Labour Councillor asking me as a member of the public to deliver his newsletter, effectively doing part his job in the ward he supposedly represents?

There are several hundred members in his CLP, but he wants a member of the public to work for him?

Where are the members?

Why won’t they come out for him?

Is it because they have no faith that he will defend public services?

One of the other really big donors to Scottish Labour is businessman Willie Haughey, he is loaded and seen as Labour’s most generous donor from Scotland. Haughey has come out and blasted the SEC decision Dugdale staunchly defends.

He said:

“It is ridiculous the SEC never supported the deal.”

He added the Labour/Tory agreement ensured all the party’s manifesto commitments would be implemented:

“I think the party has got this so wrong. The criteria were all met and they have erred on their own policy.”

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: 

“Labour’s approach has been clear and consistent: we absolutely cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities”. 

Scottish Labour jumped into bed with the SNP which has imposed austerity on communities, either the spokesman is unaware of politics in Scotland or they are just stupid and helping to bury the party in Scotland.

Finally, when I stood for selection to be a Labour Candidate, I was told I didn’t understand leadership, yesterday as a member of the public; I was leading a Labour Team which came out to do Pollok. I even setup and pre-planned the next event so that it could be done in the most effective and efficient way possible for the CLP..... they then went to Parkhead for the fitba, I went to Glasgow North East to work as a team player to do a canvass.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University    

Friday, May 19, 2017

The long grass: Theresa May rules out second Scottish referendum for at least another five years, for the entire next term of Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon will just be a depressed ‘wallflower’, is this the end of Nicola Sturgeon’s career now that the momentum has been effectively stopped dead in its tracks

Dear All

Like me you are probably someone who values straight talking, you might not always like what you hear but you can certainly value the truth.

A home truth which has just come down the pipeline is that Theresa May has signalled that if on the 8th June, the Conservatives win the Westminster election, there will be no second Scottish independence referendum going to be allowed for the entirety of the next Westminster Parliament.

This statement is huge.

Theresa May has also dropped another gem that any referendum would also need public consent.

Nicola Sturgeon is now someone who is treading water, the news effectively kills independence campaigning stone dead as you would see in a short campaign, and a long campaign of 5 years plus is too long to sustain interest. Politics by its every nature requires the agenda to move on.

And the only game in town is……….. governance!

Years ago, I highlighted the need for the SNP to use their second term for National and Local government reform, and as indy is out the window, the Nationalists who are on the slide will be forced to do the day job.

A recent poll sees all parties having a rise in their vote for Westminster; however, no one who is a back marker in their constituency has effectively leapfrogged over others by this revelation.

If nothing happens next term, the date of the next possible chance slides to around 2022, then you have talks about when, where and who gets to vote. EU Nationals still here will not get the vote, Brexit will be done and dusted by then and as such they will be excluded from the franchise. I assume I will in 2022 be writing a post on the SNP leader whoever that is squealing of rigged vote.

The reason for Theresa May dropping the bombshell is to court traditional Labour supporters to her cause but also to set in motion what I suspect is a plan to win the Holyrood campaign, so that the Conservatives form the administration in Edinburgh. There will be a few years before the next big election which means that all efforts by the Conservatives will be geared towards that aim.

Although the SNP will want to keep talking indy, this will bomb with the public, everything has its time, and if you miss your chance, you can’t guarantee a second shot.

Although the Conservatives have a plan, in many places in Scotland, they are still not able to operate effectively on the ground, it isn’t a secret, you by even casual research can see which constituencies have just ‘paper candidates’.

How do you do that?

Take a candidate’s name, and then cross reference that with the nearest key target seat for the Conservatives. What you will see in places like twitter is that the candidate in the ‘paper’ area is campaigning a lot in the key marginal. Then check for evidence of them campaigning in their seat, the results might surprise you.

Resources are scarce and putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t new, on the blog I said that Scottish Labour needed to adopt a similar policy in Glasgow. James Kelly, their campaign manager flagged up two seats for Labour in Glasgow, Glasgow South West and Glasgow East.

There hasn’t been a huge influx into Glasgow South West to assist the Labour candidate and I doubt Labour even had a meeting to make a policy for activists to work in other areas.

Basically, it seems it is every man for him or herself; time to start swimming!

I bumped into Thomas Haddow, Conservative Candidate last night in town, he told me, he was happy enough the way his campaigning was going, and he had roped in his family to help out. In Glasgow South West, it comes down however to a two horse race despite a Conservative rise in the voting intentions.

This campaign is a short campaign so if you haven’t got a lot of people and resources, you are down to relying on the brand. In Glasgow South West, although the brand for Conservatives is established as a name, they need to go door to door which is very time consuming and there isn’t enough of that left before the vote. I would say good luck to Thomas, he is willing to give it a go and that is the important thing, areas have to be developed, so reality is that there needs to be a Conservative Councillor first to open expectations for Holyrood and Westminster.

Finally, the news that Scottish independence is effectively gone till beyond 2022 is a huge body blow to Nicola Sturgeon, perhaps much more than she knows, expect her to scream long and loud, gnashing of teeth, knickers to be twisted, collective whines as the ‘cult’ gather round Nicola’s feet expecting a miracle.

And miracles are off the menu!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University