Thursday, February 23, 2017

The timing of political suicide, Panic stricken Nicola Sturgeon begs Nationalists ‘Don’t call second referendum ‘indyref2’, the unpopular SNP leader doesn’t want to be associated or reminded of her last defeat, she has already lost indyref 2, when she loses will she run off to Westminster to join Alex Salmond?

Dear All

It seems that Scotland’s unpopular First Minster Nicola Sturgeon is looking incredibly creepy and old looking, just look at her face, not the look of a dynamic leader but the look of a sick worn out downtrodden sick woman.

When I see people like that my first thought is that their insides are rotting away with some sort of disease or illness.

Nicola Sturgeon is looking like a ghoul!

The clock is ticking on who will be the new leader of the SNP, so far Nicola Sturgeon as I have previously blogged has failed to stop Brexit, and she has failed to deliver indyref2.

Apparently Sturgeon doesn’t want Nationalists calling a second referendum indyref2 as it is a reminder that she failed to win the indyref in September 2014.

‘Don’t call second referendum ‘indyref2’, Nicola Sturgeon cries like a piece of flotsam being sucked down a plughole, if there is an indyref2, Nicola Sturgeon will lost it.

Her continual threats to call a second referendum are as meaningful as a ‘shout on a wet street’, despite the delusion that she can do anything, the reality of Brexit is that she can do nothing. Scotland along with the rest of the UK will be leaving the European Union in due course.

To show how deluded Nicola Sturgeon is she said to a gathering of the SNP Cult that ‘we have a different set of circumstances’, well that isn’t true in my opinion. Brexit isn’t a reason for a new vote; it is also not a mandate either.

An SNP source apparently said:

“She said this is a new referendum, we have a different set of circumstances, different reasons for having one and it is a completely separate matter.”

Scotland is leaving the EU.

The SNP source added:

““She said a new referendum is specifically about the democratic deficit and about being pulled out of the European Union against our will. Brexit demonstrates most clearly that as a country we are not being heard and the UK is not a nation of equals.”

The premise is wrong, this was a UK wide vote, Scotland wasn’t voting as a country so the claim of democratic deficit is entirely bogus, it is an SNP con trick which no one is buying especially the Westminster Government down the road.

I like saying this so here it is again, this is the nub, there is no mandate for a second independence referendum to be held in Scotland.
So imagine this scene; Nicola Sturgeon gets her tired old carcass to a rostum to cry “freedom” and then Theresa May says No!

After a lot of squealing by Nicola Sturgeon, she is then forced into an early election, let’s say the SNP win the largest number of seats but don’t win an overall majority. Next with her ‘win’ she then goes back to Theresa May to claim she has a mandate, May then says no overall majority, the answer is No!

Sturgeon then ropes in the Scottish Green stooges as a plan B, citing the ‘will of the parliament’, at that point it becomes interesting because at point I suspect that Theresa May kicks the ball into the very long grass. There will not be a referendum allowed to run while Brexit talks are proceeding.

You might have noticed that Scotland in Union has been cycling up their activity level recently; I assume this is a backup plan in the event of a second indyref2. Do, I see Better Together being reformed for a second indyref, I doubt it, the operation on the ground was very unsuccessful due to the team being filled with too many Labour staffers who had divided loyalties and use the campaign to further their own careers.

Scottish Labour never really supported the Better Together campaign properly which was a major mistake on their part. Although some people had difficulties in getting stuff and top down decisions which were unworkable, I never experienced that problem myself.

One day I popped into the HQ, to get hold of someone, were I got the standard, ‘who are you’ comment from a secretary as she flipped through papers. After a second I said, ‘I am George Laird and I want to see ….’ Next second the woman jumped out of her chair like she was sitting on a tack and said, ‘wait there I will go get him’. Terribly nice of her I thought, knowing that others had faced a tougher time when they ventured in. Apparently my blog was read by everyone down there which was nice of them, do as I was doing a sterling service on the scribbling front and effectively co-ran the Pollok Campaign which produced a great result despite not having the same amount of volunteers as the opposition. I with a handful of happy campers got 22k votes, the SNP with 30/40 people managed to get 27k votes.

Down the road, Theresa May has ordered her ministers to go out and drive home the case for the Union. This seems to run in parallel with the activities of Scotland in Union. A Cabinet meeting discussed of the need to “maintain, strengthen and nurture” the 300-year-old bond between the nations of the UK.

The Conservative Government seems to think that this time around a ‘Better Together 2’ can be led by them in a more front foot approach as they set their eye on Holyrood, they may think that with Scottish Labour’s decline, they can take the prize of Holyrood. Nicola Sturgeon losing again in indyref 2, is a clear message that Scotland is saying No to her and the SNP.

Finally, incase anyone thinks that Sturgeon is in charge, Ex-European Council president Herman Van Rompuy suggested Brussels would find it harder to stomach a vote for Scotland to breakaway from the rest of the UK if it hadn’t been authorised by Westminster.

The last gasp of political life of Nicola Sturgeon is about to be breathed out, if there is an indyref 2, the SNP cult will be jockeying for position as she will have to resign, once she loses for a second time.

The timing of her political suicide is to be arranged.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Riughts at Glasgow University

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flemming Rose and Dave Rubin: Muhammad Cartoons, Islamism in Europe, Charlie Hebdo (Full Interview)

Desperate times call for desperate measures; Kezia Dugdale sees Scottish Labour donations collapse in her first year as leader; party donors like activists and voters are deserting the party in droves as Kezia heads towards her third major political defeat in May’s Council elections, Scottish Labour needs to go back to ‘bare metal’, better policies, better trained activists, and better candidates

Dear All

Trouble is a bit like grief, when it comes, it hurts; the Scottish Labour Party is in deep trouble, although they give the public appearance of being confident, they are on a continual downward spiral.

What does a party need to work?

It needs an understanding of what I have blogged on for years, an understanding of the political economy.

So, what is the political economy, the economy is based on people, money and resources. At present, the Scottish Labour Party is going in the wrong direction, Kezia Dugdale for reasons best known to her has made a lot of mistakes, and she keeps making a lot of mistakes.

Here are some of the big ones in no order of preference:

1/ Failed to back Jeremy Corbyn as leader in post
2/ Failed to support Jeremy Corbyn in his leadership bid
3/ Failed to remain neutral during the US Presidential election
4/ Failed to support Brexit
5/ Failed to understand that Trident must be supported by Scottish Labour

You could go and do a list on the minor ones but you would end up nitpicking.

Political Parties rise and fall, that is the nature of politics, some organisations reach and end date, however, it generally isn’t seen as helpful when the leadership is accelerating the process.

People like to be associated with success, and the Scottish Labour Party was a success story in terms of holding onto power, now the downward spiral has started, a lot of “Labour” people have quietly disappeared.

Ask yourself this, where are all the big names in Scottish Labour who sat in the Parliaments of Westminster and Holyrood now?

They have gone; they aren’t out pounding the streets for a Labour victory week in week out, they aren’t contributing to the party in a meaningful sense; they aren’t in the press doing set pieces on issues of the day.

Scottish Labour cannot survive on 15 minutes of FMQs and a few set piece setups promoting various organisations at the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour is too Holyrood focussed as a party because that is where the leadership sits.

Kezia Dugdale has made a huge load of mistakes, but mistakes as we all know are part of the learning process, and the process also involves not repeating mistakes, when you don’t learn, you suffer.

People have walked away from Scottish Labour; I saw this as a Labour activist doing the Holyrood 2016 campaign. It was a surprise to me how few people wanted to support the campaign of Johann Lamont which only picked up in the last week, how few days the Councillors and former MP put into this seat. I thought the Scottish Labour Party would have a slick operation for campaigning on the ground, they didn’t.

Who would have thought that Kezia Dugdale would lose the position as official leader of the opposition?

I did, and I blogged on it.

Just as people have walked away from the party along with me, so has the cash given to the Scottish Labour Party!

Investing in a collapsing market is never a good idea unless you know the market is about to turn, in Scottish Labour’s case, there is no green shoots revival in sight.

Latest poll is 14%, this means 86% of Scots aren’t willing to back a Labour Party in Scotland which is going under the direction of Kezia Dugdale’s policies. I am not surprised that Scottish Labour donations collapse in Dugdale's first year as leader. She has spent too much time relying on the 15 minutes of FMQs as a platform, it is an ineffective media, most Scots don’t turn in, and it is for all intensive purposes worthless.

Clearly Scottish Labour cannot continue to suffer catastrophic drops in donations because the party needs to go through a revival, not just of policies but equally of people. The Blair faction control Scottish Labour, they are the gate keepers but with donations continuing to fall, some of the staff and party officers need to be removed.

Last year, the lack of cash severely hampered their ability to fight the Holyrood  election; in Pollok, they spent a pitiful amount on leaflets and I am not sure if they even had a budget for media, or even thought of the idea.

This week is the party conference in Perth, I got a thing asking me to go but as I am standing as an independent, I really couldn’t attend, could I?

Figures published show that Kezia Dugdale’s first full year as leader was the party’s worst for donations since 2009.

In 2015, the party had donations of just under £600,000.
In 2016 it was just over £100,000

Scottish Labour ended 2016 with a deficit of £104,000, and the bad news continues as the party’s reserves also slumped below £160,000, their lowest level since 2003.

The numbers are bad, but what is equally bad is the denial of where the blame lies, a Labour source stated:

"Donations to the party across the entire UK have dried up since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Scottish Labour is no different. People are not donating while Jeremy is leader."

I don’t believe that Jeremy Corbyn is the reason for the continual decline in donations to Scottish Labour, nor do I believe that the rot started with him in Scotland. Scottish Labour’s problems had festered for years as Jim Murphy aptly mentioned when he took over as Leader in Scotland.

The real reason which Scottish Labour has to address, is their failure to develop not just the organisation but the policies, but they want to be autonomous and they effectively got their wish, we now see that they are having ‘start up’ problems.

The party’s latest accounts, which cover the year to 31 December 2016, show that the party’s slide in the polls mirrors a massive deterioration in its finances. It also makes it pretty clear that a sharp loss of confidence among donors in the party in Scotland under Ms Dugdale and her deputy Alex Rowley watch is really their fault.

If it wasn’t for the polling and sharing of resources by the UK Party, then the situation would be even worse for Scottish Labour than it is at present.

It is time that Scottish Labour started producing policies at Conferences and have a rolling agenda for Government in waiting.

Do you know what Scottish Labour stands for?


Join the club; you are in the same boat as the membership, not just the rank and file, even senior people who have been candidates!

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said:

“Every Labour politician who is elected fights for working people”.

That isn’t true, and by just trotting out this patronising statement, they insult the intelligence of the people of Scotland which is why they have been wiped out in the last two major elections.

Why did people vote to get rid of Scottish Labour?

Because they weren’t representing ordinary people, the tipping point was reached, as one Labour report stated, there isn’t a core vote anymore for the Labour Party.

Kezia Dugdale needs a narrative, not a series of short term populist statements and not allowing the status quo to continue of people failing to produce, she needs to get better activists, and she needs policies to sell on the doorstep and not rhetoric. The Scottish Labour Party has traded off the legacy of the political giants of the past whop created the welfare state and the NHS, but these people are gone, and what replaced them aren’t Nye Bevan or John Smith figures.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Demise of SNP ‘civic’ Nationalism: the race to be the next leader of the Scottish National Party has just begun, Scottish Sec David Mundell says ‘even a Yes vote cannot stop Scotland leaving EU under Brexit’, Nicola Sturgeon has failed to stop Brexit, she has failed to deliver a referendum, the question now is, when is she stepping down as First Minister?

Dear All

The race to be the next leader of the Scottish National Party has unofficially just begun, you ask why, what happened?

Scotland’s unpopular First Minster Nicola Sturgeon failed to stop Scotland from leaving the European Union!

Quick tally to get you synced in.

1/ Lost the Scottish independence referendum 2014
2/ Lost the Brexit referendum of 2016.
3/ Failed to stop Scotland from leaving the European Union!

The question is when will Nicola Sturgeon stand down, will see go after the May Council elections?

The reason for speculation is that Scottish Secretary David Mundell has stated point blank, that even a Yes vote cannot stop Scotland leaving EU under Brexit.

It seems that everybody in the UK is coming out!

The threat of calling an early Holyrood election was threatened by the Nationalists as a date in 2018 was floated by people like Alex Salmond, but the political landscape of Scotland has moved past the SNP.

The SNP is yesterday’s party; it is a party without a future, without a real leader and without a purpose.

When Mundell said that Scotland will be taken out of Europe by Brexit even if there is a vote for independence, he was saying anything new, but the timing of his announcement and the language used is significant.

The SNP have fought two referendums and on each occasion, they have lost! They have lost because they don’t understand or have the ability to cope with ‘direct democracy’ or if you prefer, ‘will of the people’.

A possible future contender for leadership after an interim leader to steady the SNP ship is probably Alex Salmond. Earlier this month, Salmond claimed there could be a referendum in 2018 to ensure “continuing uninterrupted membership of the European Economic Area”. Although Salmond gets a lot wrong, this time…. He is still wrong!

There will be no “continuing uninterrupted membership” of anything, in fact you can see a situation where Westminster looking at the EU offer simply turns round and says WTO to them and walks off.

WTO is World Trade Organisation.
As things are starting to move fast, it is clear that the Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are not part of the process, they are completely irrelevant.   

Mundell is to say in his opening statement to Holyrood’s European committee about Brexit:

“I think it is important to be clear because there has been a lot of public debate on this point - that Scotland will not be in the EU at the end of this process. There is no set of circumstances in which Scotland could remain a member of the EU after the rest of the UK has left. If Scotland's constitutional position were ever to change, it would have to apply to be a member of the EU afresh - and we should not make easy assumptions about the length of time this would take, the process Scotland would have to follow or the terms of membership that may be on offer.”

If independent, Scotland would be at the back of the EU as a new State, there would be no the UK opt-outs, no opt-out on the euro and it would see an end to the rebate which came to Scotland as part of the UK.

The recent nonsense by two leading academics had said an independent Scotland could be fast-tracked into the EU; potentially by 2023 is in my opinion fantasy politics. It kind of looks like two Pro EU friendly academics has been engaged in ‘day dreaming’.

Scottish Tory MEP Ian Duncan said the pair had relied on a series of generous assumptions about EU reactions. Like the SNP, they have assumed that Scotland would get a great deal when there is no real evidence to support this.

Ukip MEP David Coburn pitched in and said it would be “catastrophic” if Scotland had to accept the euro. On that score, he is right. The Euro would break Scotland much in the same way that it has destroyed Greece.

He said:

“This would present insurmountable difficulties as Scotland’s national debt is approximately £15bn thanks to the SNP, which is higher than that of Greece. Scotland would have to suffer a greater austerity than Greece. Mad Sturgeonomics.”

If you like a flutter then you might want to see about getting a bet down on who the next leader of the Scottish National Party is, the only undeclared ‘runner’ is Alex Salmond, perhaps SNP MP Tommy Sheppard might throw his hat into the ring.

The countdown to the end of Nicola Sturgeon in my opinion has started, the clock is counting down, when is she saying she is going to go?

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Return of King Alex, Scotland unpopular First Minister Nicola Sturgeon creates public anger by an unjustified tax grab by milking business rates to death, the SNP have created the new ‘poll tax in Scotland, Sturgeon went for the tax grab, Salmond going for the leadership?

Dear All


Scotland’s unpopular SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has certainly racked up a huge massive problem as people are dubbing her business rates grab the ‘new poll tax’ in Scotland.

The SNP are making Scotland the highest taxed part of the United Kingdom and it isn’t just ordinary people they want to tax the hell out of, it is businesses as well.

The tax grab can has only one purpose in my opinion, to attempt to fill the hole created in Scottish finances circa £15 billion. It goes without saying that a ‘tax grab’ only gets the Nationalists part of the way there, the other side of the coin is attracting business to Scotland.

Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond admits business rate rise ‘a genuine concern’ because the rises in business rates are quite frankly in some cases ridiculous in nature. Having seen Salmond break ranks, one has to ask has Alex Salmond just fired the first shot in a bid to regain the leadership of the Scottish National Party.

Nicola Sturgeon isn’t just seen as a bad leader outside the SNP, she is also seen as a bad leader inside the SNP as well, some people aren’t happy with her performances and her failure to deliver.

What does it say about Nicola Sturgeon’s credibility as Alex Salmond, admitted some Scottish businesses have a “very legitimate” case against business rate rises? Is he trying to head off wide spread anger which could see many small businesses claiming they could go out of business altogether as a result of crippling increases in the levy.

This is no joke; this measure is on a par with the ill fated poll tax which was to become widespread in its popularity and hatred of the then Conservatives Government.

Salmond said:

“In the north-east there’s a very legitimate case because the date the independent evaluation officers made their valuations was at a time when, a couple of years ago, the economy was much stronger than now. That’s why I welcome Aberdeenshire Council’s initiative to put £3 million into additional rates relief to try and take some of the edge off for the hardest cases.”

Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:

“Alex Salmond says there is a legitimate case for action. If Derek Mackay won’t listen to thousands of affected firms, perhaps he will listen to his former boss.”

The way things are looking will Nicola Sturgeon do a U turn, will she be pressured into surrendering to calls and then see her moral authority of leadership disappear or will she chart the same course and see disaster befall her down the line.

Trouble now or trouble later!

In order to attempt to distance themselves from their actions, the SNP have been quick to use the theme that the rates revaluation was carried out by independent assessors, but the decision to implement was a political decision by the SNP.

The current line by the SNP is that they aren’t for turning, and trying to give the impression that Salmond is onboard and a signed up member of the ‘sheep’, but looking at his comments, is he?

To add to the outcry of foul, a leading nationalist hotelier has said the business rates backlash will be as fierce as against the Poll Tax and bring down the SNP in government.

Sandy Fraser, owner of the Oak Tree Inn on the banks of Loch Lomond, said:

“This will be like Margaret Thatcher’s Poll tax and could bring down the Government. I am a Nationalist at heart so I am very disappointed. My vote will depend on how we are treated over the next few weeks”.

It seems to me reading this that Nicola Sturgeon has lost another voter!

Fraser added:

“For somebody that has always voted SNP I am bitterly disappointed that we are in this position. Our rates are proposed to go up by over 100 per cent from around £60,000 to £140,000, which is staggering. We’re the biggest employer on the east side of Loch Lomond, employing between 60 to 85 people”.

Over 100% rise, that would be crippling to any small of medium size business, in the old days, John Swinney was seen as the financial guru figure in the SNP, once Sturgeon took over, he was shipped out as Nicola Sturgeon brought in her ‘B’ Team, ever since the change the direction of Government has gone backwards noticeably.

Fraser concluded:  

“We will have to lay people off and cancel people that we usually have coming in from Lithuania and Poland in the busy season. It’s complete madness. Why continue to hammer tourism, which is the only success story that Scotland has got as far as I’m concerned. If the Scottish Government were minded to take an interest they would be speaking to us. They’re killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Fundamental, Sandy Fraser doesn’t understand the SNP, they aren’t able to look at the big picture, it isn’t a feature of their politics, never has been, the evidence?

Constant whingeing and uber grievances with Westminster; coupled with the total inability to get on with people or organisations.

Can you imagine the SNP starting a second Scottish independence bid with their business ‘poll tax’ hanging round their neck like an albatross?
The list of the disenchanted is growing:

With uncertainty flying about the place about the call for a referendum in 2018, which is possibly smack in the middle of the Brexit talks, you have to wonder why Westminster would grant a Section 30 order for a new vote.

The buzzards maybe circling but perhaps their meal with Kentucky Fried Sturgeon as ‘King Alex’ moves from his London Court to Scotland in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon failing to deliver indyref 2!

The slippery slope to disaster has already started for Nicola Sturgeon.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, February 17, 2017

Getting the Band of Hate back together again: Nationalists take to Twitter to start a smear campaign against George Laird standing as an Independent Candidate, is the hate campaign the start of a warm up act for Scottish independence referendum 2, is Nicola Sturgeon worried about not winning the Council?

Dear All

It is the night before Xmas and all was quiet!

Well, there are a few problems with that sentence as you can guess, it is February for a start, and it is never really quiet.

Smearing and hate are the Nationalists stock in trade; they follow the classic pattern of the regressive left….. smear smear smear, hate hate hate!

I was on twitter and I came cross this piece of bullshit which is a continuation of the attempts to brand me homophobic, so I wanted to share it with you as my readers.

First, let’s get the tweet for you to read to set you in the mood, it has since been deleted.

“Butterfly Rebellion liked a Tweet you were mentioned in
6h: Ahhh! My old friend George Laird!…/snp-activist-faces-disciplin… ……/elect-george-… … how ye doing George!? Long time no see! @GeoLaird4Pollok …
Butterfly Rebellion”

The first part is the Daily Record story about me, if you wonder how the press got hold of that story, let me set your mind to rest; I walked in and gave it to them.

Hardly the actions of someone homophobic don’t you think?

After I filed complaints about an alleged smear campaign with the SNP Chief Executive Peter Murrell against me, which he ignored, I then found myself facing a complaint by the then National Secretary William Henderson.

Henderson as well as being the complainer was also involved in running the hearing against me and speaking to the ‘judges’ outside the process.

Never believe that the Scottish National Party are the party of equality, fairness and social justice, never believe it is run by kind exceptional people, Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrell are scum.

After I outed this piece of shit William Henderson in the press, he “disappeared” as National Secretary to be replaced by Patrick Grady who is now an MP. It became clear to me fairly quickly I was being cheated out of a fair hearing so I walked away from the SNP.

Here is a letter which I highlight the double standards during the process.

One of the key parts of that letter for me was pointing out the double standards between people who are rich and people like me who are poor working class. Read the whole thing but read this bit to show you what I mean.

“SNP MP Dr. Whiteford claimed she was threatened at Westminster and received the backing of the First Minister Alex Salmond and the SNP within hours of making an unsubstantiated complaint with no witnesses and George Laird after 8 months is still waiting for SNP ‘justice’”.

Whiteford gets help immediately within a few hours and I get none in 8 months, after I contacted the senior SNP leadership.

The second part of the tweet is my post which contains my rather catchy election video, I am standing for Councillor in the 2017 Glasgow City Council Elections, so that lets you know that this tweet is designed to send a message, don’t vote for George Laird because he is homophobic.

If you read the 2012 post in full, then take the time to read the 2015 post, what do you see?

Names that appear in one post appear in another, with an added addition of one of them getting a criminal conviction.

Elected SNP MP Natalie McGarry also played a part in this tale but due to Tommy Ball pleading guilty, McGarry wasn’t named in open court. Since then McGarry’s career has taken a turn for the worst.

The third part of the tweet is a WTF moment; it has nothing to do with me, why that appears is a mystery but perhaps it was added in for general ‘effect’.

If I was homophobic, I would have no problem saying it openly because I wouldn't give a toss who knew.

I am signed up to where I get petitions on all manner of things which are an injustice; some of the campaigns I am asked to support are LGBT campaigns. I found some time ago that keeps a record of which campaigns I have supported in the past, right from the start when I first joined it.

Some of those campaigns concern LGBT people were an injustice occurred, again, is this the actions of a homophobe?

Several LGBT politicians such as Ruth Davidson and Annie Well follow me on Twitter, would they if they thought I was a homophobe?

At the Jo Cox vigil in Glasgow, one of the few people I spoke to on the night was Annie Wells of the LGBT community, is this the actions of a homophobe?

I also follow Milo Yiannopoulos on youtube, the LGBT activist and presenter, LGBT presenter David Rubin of the Rubin Report, again the actions of a homophobe?

It seems the smearing season is starting early this year before the official gun has been fired in the Glasgow City Council election, against me by the Nationalist community.

They say that if there is a second Scottish independence referendum it will be a thoroughly nasty affair, it seems that the Nationalists are using the 2017 Council Elections as a ‘warm up’.

The idea of a poor working class guy like me getting elected so angers the rich middle class Nationalists that they would stop at nothing to smear me.

Finally, to those in the SNP like Nicola Sturgeon who maybe deeply upset about a commentator like me standing for public office, I am reminded of the words by Milo Yiannopoulos:

"quite frankly madam fuck your feelings".

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Unfinished business, Conservative MPs have started down a slippery slope as 'Not a single member of Cabinet' will support John Bercow in no confidence vote, their actions now undermine the Chair of the Speaker of the House of Commons and leave any Speaker as ‘fair game’ to a lynch mob of malcontents who can take umbrage for a perceived slight

Dear All

There have been some great Speakers of the House of Commons in the past, the most outstanding person to hold the chair was Betty Boothroyd, now Baroness Boothroyd. Betty Boothroyd served as a Labour MP from 1973 to 1992. From 1992 to 2000, she served with distinction as Speaker of the House of Commons. She was the first, and to date only, the female Speaker of the House of Commons.

A full list of Speakers of the House of Commons can be found on wiki, but for easy, here is the link.

Another great Speaker of the House was The Right Honourable Edward Algernon FitzRoy who served the House during the War years of WW2, he was present when Anthony Edan gave his speech in 1942 on the Holocaust.

Fast forward to present day, we have John Bercow, he was formerly a Conservative MP before becoming the Speaker. As the Labour Party were in their death throes in 2010, they decided to annoy the Conservatives by backing John Bercow as Speaker, this led to the Speaker facing angry Conservatives on the backbenches running little better than a hate campaign against him. David Cameron, the then Prime Minister at the time far from stamping this out allowed it to continue with sanction.

However, it wasn’t always an uphill struggle and here is a clip, I would like you to watch.

David Cameron is now gone, but the anti Bercow brigade in the Conservative ranks still have a ‘score’ to settle, they may feel they have a grievance but their conduct is bring the reputation of the House of Commons and politicising the Chair in a really disastrous way.

The Chair of the House of Commons must be neutral, seen to be neutral and respected by MPs inside and outside the Commons. When Michael Martin was Chair of the House, he allowed his tenure to be tainted by the expenses scandal and eventually was forced out by the Tories. Bercow was the Labour Party’s revenge on the actions of the Tories.

It appears that a Conservative MP James Duddridge, has tabled a "no confidence" motion in the Speaker. Duddridge has a point when he says that it is not for the Speaker to decide who comes to speak to Parliament, this latest incident flared up as Bercow said that President Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed to speak in Parliament.

Was Bercow in the wrong to make his Trump comments, as an individual, I would say no, but as the Speaker, it was inappropriate to do so. If there is a witch hunt against Bercow, he just gave them a gift. Just before the last election, William Hague tried to force out John Bercow, it was a dirty trick on his way out of Parliament and entirely unworthy of him.

If you never have felt sorry for Bercow before, then view these clips.

Conservative MP Charles Walker’s comment that he would rather be an honourable fool than a clever man was aimed directly at William Hague.

I don’t agree with John Bercow saying that he would bar Donald Trump from addressing Parliament during his planned state visit to the UK.

I also don’t agree with he should have publicly proclaimed himself a ‘remain voter’ in last year’s EU referendum.

The Speaker of the House of Commons must remain neutral, John Bercow has allowed his judgement to be clouded by events, given what has happened and what he has been subjected to this is understandable but not right. When Theresa May assumed the role of Prime Minister, she should have held a private meeting to stamp out the group that feel they are justified in running an open sore in Parliament. This isn’t good for democracy and it isn’t good for the Commons.

Should May and her Cabinet support John Bercow?

This is entirely a matter for their conscience, but I think they should, the wider picture is more important than what is increasingly looking like a petty witch hunt.

Duddridge told BBC Radio 5 Live's Emma Barnett:

"Put it this way, I don't know any Cabinet ministers that aren't supporting me.  I think some people may abstain. I would expect the Prime Minister to abstain. I had expected David Lidington to abstain given that he's a parliamentary neighbour and kind of chief interlocutor with John Bercow as leader of the Commons. But he was quite robust at the weekend about not offering John Bercow his support. I don't think there will be a single member of the Cabinet that will support John Bercow. I've not spoken to every single one but I've spoken to a number of Cabinet ministers, ministers, private secretaries, backbenchers and people from all over the party."

Downing Street position is that they have no position on John Bercow's future, as they kick the ball into the long grass to say that this is a "matter for MPs".

I don’t support Conservative MP James Duddridge who has tabled a "no confidence" motion in the Speaker; I think that Bercow’s Trump comments were unfortunate considering who else has been invited to Parliament.

I suppose the question is do we want to go through the same unedifying spectacle that we all witnessed in 2015 in the House of Commons?  If we do that means a pattern has developed that if a group dislike the Speaker then they are fair game to be picked on and forced out.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University