Monday, August 29, 2016

Dugdale at war; Corbynistas are starting to talk about replacing Kezia Dugdale as Scottish leader if she doesn’t sign up to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership post election, there isn’t a lot of unity in the Labour Party kicking about as battle lines appear to be getting drawn up both north and south of the border

Dear All

Never a dull moment in politics as they say, I think it would be entirely fair to say at the present moment there isn’t a lot of “unity” kicking about in the Labour Party. The leadership contest has rolled on and we have seen allegations, counter allegations, abuse and people attempting to put their spin on what the rules of the party actually mean in practice.

I would also think it would be fair to say that this contest isn’t one of the great ones; it isn’t about a battle of ideas, I see it more about factions and how they wish to exercise control in the party.

This has led to some people getting their noses put right out of joint.

Regardless who wins and it looks increasingly likely the victor in my opinion will be the candidate that I voted for, Jeremy Corbyn, this doesn’t settle the matter.

Scottish Labour had a couple of by-elections recently, one in Irvine where Nicola Sturgeon’s father was humiliated and the other over in Fife where Labour again beat out the SNP.

So, who should take the credit for the wins?

Should it be Jeremy Corbyn or Kezia Dugdale?

If you listen to the Owen Smith camp which Kezia Dugdale sits in, Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a good leader, if you look online at pictures of Owen Smith rallies, the turn out is incredibly poor in comparison with the ‘standing room only’ when Jeremy Corbyn speaks.

Owen Smith uses a lot of buzzwords which people find meaningless, if he thought his slick PR would win hearts and minds, he got a rude wake up call when he hit the campaign. His ‘lunatic’ comment was probably the final nail in his campaign; if you have got to keep talking about your opponent then clearly you haven’t a lot to say about yourself.  

I have to say I was surprise when Kezia Dugdale declared for Owen Smith, if I was the Scottish leader I would haven’t done so publicly, there are certain times when a leader has to remain neutral and don’t let someone ‘sell you pup’ about standing up for your principles, this doesn’t fall in that category.

It seems her declaration has not done down well in some quarters, some people are apparently calling for her to be ousted as Scottish leader, some Corbyn supporters want her gone and the party reset back towards socialism because it is viewed as completely out of touch with Scottish voters. Recently I was chatting to three Labour people on the subject of disengagement by voters making the point that when people are being failed you end up with a backlash, people take their vote elsewhere when someone is willing to stand up for them.

As people in the Labour Party now know, the days of heartlands particularly in the urban areas of traditional Labour voters are gone; Scotland’s voters are in flux, if you want someone’s vote you ‘gotta earn it’ the hard way, it isn’t there on a plate. In the old days Labour completely dominated, 2015 and 2016 elections left no ‘first past the post’ elected Labour representative at either Westminster or Holyrood in Glasgow.

When Kezia Dugdale declared for Owen Smith, she made a rod for her own back, and it is known that she is close to Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray, he in my opinion wrongly resigned as Scottish Shadow Secretary.

The Corbyn crowd want Kezia Dugdale put “out in the wilderness”, if she doesn’t accept Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership once he is re-elected next election. Although Jeremy Corbyn has said he would work with her, one wonders if that applies to his followers having the same view.

At the Glasgow hustings just recently Owen Smith said Dugdale was doing a “brilliant job” which was jeered and laughed by the crowd. In the past I blogged on how Scottish Labour’s problems were created a long time ago, Scotland’s indyref was a trigger for the exodus of voters.

The Westminster 2015 election was a wipe out for the party, and 2016 Holyrood election returned the absolutely worst result for the Scottish Labour Party since its creation in 1999.

If you advocate the status quo and there is no possibility of change or a better tomorrow then people will question why they should support you in contrast to others offering hope. Owen Smith’s ‘vote for me’ and I will continue Tory policies hasn’t gone down well with the working class people in Scotland or indeed anywhere else in the UK.

Could Kezia Dugdale face a challenge from her deputy Alex Rowley who supports Jeremy Corbyn?

Personally I doubt it, part of politics is about personality and Rowley doesn’t appear to me to be a people person who can work a crowd like some other people in Scottish politics.

One of the things which are needed is a new generation of leaders, that doesn’t mean youth that means people with ‘vision’ who can work with the left and right wings of the party around common shared goals.

Education and knowledge are essential to the success of that idea; after all if you don’t know what you are talking about, you are doomed to failure once people get wise to your shortcomings.
To show what Kezia Dugdale faces possibly in future, a Corbyn source allegedly said:

“I’ve never seen that level of duplicity by one leader of the Labour Party towards another. It’s despicable. There was real personal duplicity from her with her being aligned to the coup against Jeremy. Ian Murray led the charge within the shadow cabinet against Jeremy and she’s his elected mouthpiece. The left in Scotland is in the process of realignment and that process does not involve Kezia Dugdale. She should be out in the wilderness.”

This statement doesn’t tend to suggest a ‘forgive and forget’, ‘let bygones be bygones’ approach, more like unfinished business for another day.

Bob Thomson, a former Scottish Labour’s chairman in the early 1990s piped up to say on replacing Kezia Dugdale as leader:

“It wouldn’t be sensible to replace the leader now. The proof will be in the pudding in next May’s local council elections. I don’t think she could survive two election defeats.
“Kez has to accept that if Jeremy wins or whoever wins that we have to support the elected leader. The appointment of Ian Murray to her frontbench after he had resigned from the shadow cabinet was in my view an act of sectarian provocation. If they keep up with this type of behaviour then I think she’d be signing her own death warrant.”

Next year, the council elections will be a big test that is certain; the key battle ground will be Glasgow, Scottish Labour will be pressed hard in their attempts to retain the city, the SNP want Glasgow badly. If there is a disastrous result for Scottish Labour then Kezia Dugdale will find that Jeremy Corbyn supporters will certainly be quick to highlight her role in three epic electoral disasters.

I guess that Scottish Labour better pick people who will work their socks off for the win, this time round, the party can’t afford to have any hangers on who try and coast along while leaving others to carry the load.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Right at Glasgow University

Friday, August 26, 2016

A George Laird production: Train passing under Central Station Bridge

Labour hustings: future and returning Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn conquers Glasgow as he promises of a 'different way of doing things' chimes, Glasgow faithful cheer wildly for change, Owen Smith puts his foot in his mouth with his Scottish Labour “backwards” comment

Dear All

Last night was the Labour hustings in Glasgow, Jeremy Corbyn won that event, the Glasgow faithful turned up and listened to what he said and liked what he said. In an earlier event at the Crowne Plaza, he was greeted with cheers and standing ovations.

Owen Smith has made an extraordinary claim in Glasgow; he said that Labour in Scotland has gone 'backwards' under Corbyn's leadership.

Firstly, that statement is rubbish, Jeremy Corbyn had no effect on what happened to Scottish Labour before he was elected or after he was elected, he played no part in the massive defeat of 2015, he allowed the Scottish Labour Party to do its own campaign in 2016.

Labour in Scotland is in trouble, only a fool wouldn’t admit that, and let’s be frank, some people are still living in denial that they are still part of the permanent establishment. 2017 is the year of the Council elections, this will be another tough year for the party, it is also an opportunity if the party takes it to start to reset the party towards the traditional values that swept in into power previously.

Labour has lost something, not just in terms of votes and activists but something at the core of what does it stand for. Lots of people use the phrase, I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me; this is particularly common among the disenfranchised working class in Labour heartlands such as Glasgow which are in political flux.

I think a better assessment is that Labour in Scotland hasn’t gone forward, it has treaded water and this is why other political parties are passing it by in the voting stakes.

Kezia Dugdale isn’t having a good time as leader, part of the huge defeat in 2015 along with Jim Murphy, wiped out and humiliated in 2016 which saw the party pushed into third place at Holyrood and on top of that lost her seat to the SNP by about 5,000 votes.

Yup tough few years there!

Kezia Dugdale backed Owen Smith, my view this was a mistake, she should have sat on the fence given her position.

When mentioning Kezia Dugdale’s quality of leadership, it seemed that Owen Smith didn’t get the reaction he wanted as some Labour members openly laughed at him which apparently taken him back quite a bit, playing to a Glasgow audience as people know can be a tough gig, no prisoners taken, no quarter asked for or given.

Having backed Smith in the leadership contest as I said was a mistake by Kezia Dugdale, however, Jeremy Corbyn said:

“I will work whoever the [Scottish] leader is and am quite capable of forgetting anything else that’s happened.”
Kezia Dugdale has the right to vote for who she wants and she has the right to say who she supports, but in the cold light of day, it is one vote same as an ordinary member, and to be honest, most people who are independent of mind make their own choices who they want to lead them.

If Owen Smith was leader would that mean the voters in Scotland would flock back to the party?


They wouldn’t flock back in Scotland and they wouldn’t flock back in England and Wales, Smith burnt a lot of his bridges when he said that he would attempt to block Brexit.

Just as Smith has his problems so does Jeremy Corbyn, I support the Monarchy, Jeremy Corbyn refused to rule out a holding a poll, saying he would not make the issue a priority in a general election campaign.

If he did, guess what, the Labour Party would lose rather badly and he knows it, you don’t tinker with some things, Britain has a long tradition based on our Monarchy, and it is our Monarchy.

I don’t support any action to destroy this legacy and wouldn’t campaign for it, quite the opposite in fact.

I am open to listening to a debate on the House of Lords but not abolishing it, the Lords could be upgraded but I don’t want some pathetic second chamber full with party cronies because of some people’s prejudice and feelings of petty envy.

In a cheap dig over how Corbyn voted in Brexit, Owen Smith lost the contest last night, Jeremy Corbyn responded by said:

“Owen, Owen, I thought we were grown up and we weren’t any longer going to use those kind of questions or remarks.”

Angela Eagle said she was a strong leader woman, and when the time came she bottled it, and disappeared soon enough, the next challenger Owen Smith came long, ran a poor campaign, he has failed to get the vote and support of the party members.

Finally, I would say that Owen Smith knows nothing about Scotland, he came to conquer; he ended up with his tail between his legs.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, August 25, 2016

SNP now a busted flush politically, Jeremy Corbyn rules out any deal with the SNP as he cites that Nicola Sturgeon and her party would not be reliable allies for Labour, Corbyn is starting to get the hang of the Scottish problem, no deals no discussions no backtracking, Ed Miliband tired sitting on the fence and it blew up in his face in 2015 spectacularly

Dear All

Do you remember Ed Miliband as Labour leader?

His leadership was plagued by gaffe after gaffe and he could not connect with the public at any level, during the Westminster 2015 election, he sta on the fence and allowed talk about doing a deal with the SNP to flourish.

His actions completely undermined the Scottish Party and sent out a message to Scottish voters; it is okay to vote SNP because he would do a deal with them to usher in a Labour Government at Westminster.

How did that work out?

56 SNP MPs returned to Westminster, the worst election defeat for Labour in Scotland since 1918, it left a single MP in the shape of Ian Murray to fly the flag in Scotland. The Labour campaign in Scotland added to the crushing defeat as Jim Murphy used the wrong tack to try and win over voters.

His mini Better Together style campaign which made him even more high profile flopped rather badly.

If you remember my post of February 2015, you get a sense of how bad that campaign was, ‘tat’ doesn’t win election, yapping on about ‘fitba’ doesn’t win elections, getting a beer at a ‘fitba’ match may appeal to a minority but doesn’t win elections.

Can you think of bigger injustices in Scotland?

If you can you could ask why ‘fitba’ was the centre piece of the party’s policies, the jewel in the crown.

Today sees Jeremy Corbyn in Glasgow; he is doing three events I know of in Glasgow so far, the Labour hustings at the SECC, a second event next door early at the Crowne Plaza and a third which is a policy launch somewhere in Glasgow. I don’t know much about the policy launch as I just read the email today about an event in less than 3 hours from now.

This is Jeremy Corbyn’s chance to shine and make his pitch to the Scottish Labour movement of why a return to more socialism is needed to bring back voters who have felt abandoned and subsequently gave their votes to the SNP.

The road to a Labour Government in Westminster isn’t a deal with the SNP, they cannot be trusted and they would if they had the chance try and hold the whole of the UK to ransom to get what they wanted.

There are no deals to be done with the SNP, Ed Miliband thought it was possible and look what happened to him. I should mention later in the 2015 campaign he realised his colossal mistake and tried to switch back to a no deal approach.
By the time he got it right, the damage was done and he lost badly!

Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out a coalition with the SNP, he seems to understand what the rest of us know, the question about the SNP centres on several issues trust, competence and lack of understanding how government works. They think they can just present a demand and like a child the parent will dip into their pocket to supply extra money or powers, it doesn’t work that way.

The SNP is clumsy in the way they do their politics, too small minded and backward looking.

Jeremy Corbyn and his rival Owen Smith have pledged to invest £20 billion in Scotland if they are elected to lead a UK Labour government.

£20 billion sounds good but you need to look beyond the sweeping highline and start on the detail, Labour in Scotland has suffered to win back trust the party is desperately in need of a Nye Bevan, something to reset the party in the minds of the voters.

Jeremy Corbyn appointed the shadow Scottish secretary Dave Anderson, Anderson blew it in Scotland when he said that Labour should consider an SNP coalition "if that is the price that we have to pay to prevent another rabid right-wing Tory government".

That went down like a lead balloon, and in my opinion, Anderson has to go from the position of shadow Scottish secretary probably later on when new people come forward closer to the next Westminster election.

I voted for Jeremy Corbyn, he tickes many boxes, I don’t sign up to everything he says but then who agrees with everyone on everything, but he is right when he accused the SNP of pursuing Conservative-style policies. The SNP are not a socialist party, that is the myth they use to get the working class vote, they are all about big business, centralisation and inward looking thought.

Jeremy Corbyn said:

"Just under a year ago I was elected leader of the Labour Party because people could see a need for change. That need for change isn't going away - and neither am I. It's Labour's commitment to making that difference that means that we're not looking for an alliance with the SNP. Let me make it clear. I will welcome support for all or any of our policies from any other political groups or parties ... but I'm well aware that Labour and the SNP come from different traditions and have different goals. I don't see a party that welcomed (then Chancellor) George Osborne's corporation tax cuts, relentlessly attacked local government and is committed to a benefit cap as reliable allies for a radical Labour government. There are many people who have voted for, or even joined, the SNP who want to see many of the changes we want to implement. I don't think these people are always being served properly by the SNP."

And if there is a need for change then Scotland proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt, people in Scotland want something better, and that is why politics is in flux, Owen Smith in my opinion doesn’t provide that to working class Scots.

Owen Smith isn’t the change candidate!

The news of no deal for the SNP will not go down well with Nicola Sturgeon one by one her chances are being cut, and when the people start looking around at her ineffective government, there will be a change in Scotland again.

The SNP based this existence on independence, people know that the leadership of Alex Salmond didn’t deliver it, they also know that Nicola Sturgeon is a sham and she will not be delivering it either, the talk is there, but the talk is rhetoric!

Jeremy Corbyn has a vision of a fairer Britain, but he also has a task equally as big, deliver people who are socialists into front line politics to carry the message on into government.
People don’t want a Labour left wing that ignores the people, we already have had that thrust on us from the right of the party, the future of Labour is at stake, so the party needs to get the right mix for the British economy and the party.

It is true to say that Labour should have no truck with people who fail to deliver even within its own ranks and beyond.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Labour in Crisis: Labour Leadership hopeful Owen Smith says: I'll block Article 50 until (the) Prime Minister pledges second EU referendum, if you want a cast iron reason why you should not vote for Smith, he has given you it, he wants to trick people out of their democracy, this guy isn’t a leader in anyway shape or form

Dear All

Do you ever wonder if you have done the right thing?

Yesterday, I got an email from the Labour Party asking me to vote in the Labour leadership contest, I knew who I was voting for prior to that email coming into my inbox.

I voted Jeremy Corbyn.

Did I do the right thing?

Of that I have no doubt whatsoever!

I did the Leave campaign in the recent EU referendum, I was noticed for my contribution and end up being a guest on the Gordon Brewer Big Debate Radio show, I had been before but I was always sitting in the audience so for me it was a real treat to experience life on the other side of the table.

Did I do the right thing?

Of that I have no doubt whatsoever!

The Labour Party needs to shift left, especially in Scotland where the party was wiped in the Westminster 2015 elections, I saw it coming, in fact for years decline wasn’t just restricted to the vote going down and general unhappiness, it also showed in the way that people have drifted away from activism.

No candidate gets into public office with help from the rank and file members who pound the pavements delivering the leaflets, doing the street stalls and busying themselves with community business.

I was proud of the way that the Leave Campaign in Glasgow operated and the passion and dedication of the men and women who gave up their free time to make the case for leaving the EU. They achieved a terrific result in Scotland with limited time, limited resources and personnel, over a million votes was garner in the process thanks to their efforts.

Brexit wasn’t just about standing up for the United Kingdom, it was also about locally standing up for Scotland’s people, those who haven’t prospered in the EU dream, those who can’t get work because foreign labour is brought in to undercut them in their own country.

Where were the politicians standing up for the rights of their own people?

Strangely quiet, the price of being ‘diverse’ was further alienation of the poorest society destroying their life chances, restricting their social mobility and subjecting them to stress in the hunt for jobs that doesn’t exists or are so poor in terms of money and conditions, it is a return to workhouse conditions in places such as Amazon which some people describe as little better than a modern day sweat shop.
Owen Smith is standing for leadership of the Labour Party, he didn’t get my vote, his pitch to Labour voters and members is this in my opinion, if you vote for me, I will reach out to Conservative voters and bring forward policies that keep them happy.

If I want to vote Conservative, I would rather vote for the genuine article.

Owen Smith hasn’t impressed me during this nasty campaign, and this Labour leadership contest really is a nasty campaign, whoever wins will not be uniting the party. If Smith’s side wins which I doubt, he will not be seeing Corbyn activists coming out for Smith/ Progress candidates.

The recent statement by Owen Smith that he will block Article 50 until the Prime Minister pledges second EU referendum is proof to me that I made the right decision in my voting.

Owen Smith like Angela Eagle will fade away into the background; if Smith as leader ordered me to campaign for a general election to approve the final deal to leave the European Union, I wouldn’t even bother will him.

Like a million Scots, I want Brexit to be honour, I don’t want a grubby backdoor deal, I want a clean break so that the United Kingdom can begin again.

Tomorrow I go to the hustings in Glasgow for the Labour leadership contest, I may put my hand up to ask a question or I may just sit and listen, I have voted but it is important to see what is getting said from the candidates as they lay out a future United Kingdom.

Smith said:

"Labour won't give the Tories a blank cheque."

First point, although he may think he is ‘Labour’, he isn’t the party and neither are Progress, Labour went downhill when the careerists took over, you just have to look at how hard they have fallen in Scotland via the ballot box.

Smith said that Jeremy Corbyn was “deeply irresponsible” for his comments on the EU referendum result calling for Article 50 to be invoked immediately. Presumably accepting the will of the people doesn’t sit well with Owen Smith.

If he won’t accept the will of the people, he fails the real test of a leader, so who does Owen Smith represent if he doesn’t represent the will of the people?

Big business?

The same big business which wants to privatise the NHS and asset strip this country and pay peanuts to the people stuck on zero hours contracts?  

Owen smith isn’t the solution to the problems of the United Kingdom; he is party of the problem, part of the class who think they are our rulers and not our public servants. Working people built the Labour movement but it got hijack by the middle class who couldn’t get elected as Conservatives, so opted for Labour and Conservative lite agenda, paid for at the cost of those people who they gave lip service to purport to represent.

He added:

"I'm a passionate pro-European and I will fight tooth and nail to keep us in the EU. Under my leadership, Labour won't give the Tories a blank cheque. We will vote in Parliament to block any attempt to invoke Article 50 until Theresa May commits to a second referendum or a general election on whatever EU exit deal emerges at the end of the process. I hope Jeremy will support me in such a move."

This clearly shows why Owen Smith will not be the leader of the Labour Party, already most of the Labour CLPs have declared for Jeremy Corbyn at a ratio of about 6 to 1.

Brexit is happening, if it doesn’t then there will be a huge bloody stink and considerably amount of anger if people are tricked out of what they voted for, Owen Smith may think he is the man in the high castle, but he is about to come down to earth with a huge bump once the election of Jeremy Corbyn is confirmed.

This is the time of the phoney war, the real battle will be the de-selection of the 172 Labour MPs who led the Labour Party to this position it now finds itself.

One de-selection or removal I am particularly keen to see is the vote against Angela Eagle in Liverpool, if you believe what is in the public domain, her CLP want to get rid of her and I doubt that in other CLPs there will be a similar feeling towards others.

It is easier to clear out the 172 Labour MPs than continue to allow them to fester, some people need to be knocked back down to rank and file member, not activist because the reality of the situation is, once people like these lose public office, they disappear!

Perhaps it is better they disappear from ever returning to front line politics!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University    

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

As the entire World stops over Jeremy Corbyn and Traingate, here is a part of a train I set on fire, lucky for me this is my latest cgi movie clip

We are living in interesting times, former SSP leader Tommy Sheridan is set to get a double damages award of £400,000 from his civil court case a decade ago against the News of the World, could Scotland be possibly the world centre for miracles?

Dear All

When Tommy Sheridan won his civil case for defamation against the News of the World, he walked out of the court into a media scrum, it was like a new year celebration as he punched his fist in the air and declared victory.

Sheridan had used his skills as an orator to convince people that he had been wronged, the News of the World was going through a bad time as allegations of phone hacking engulfed it; the paper was closed down.

I have to say as I did during the time I blogged about this case, a real shame, innocent people lost their jobs as the Murdock Empire was in full fire fighting mode. And the Westminster Labour crowd was out to start rein in Murdock’s power.

A criminal case followed the civil case, in that Tommy Sheridan was unsuccessful, he was found guilty and at the time of that case, I blogged he needed a trial lawyer, but he elected to defend himself.

And he lost rather badly.

Now in the cold light of day in 2016, Tommy Sheridan could receive around double his original £200,000 damages award against the News of the World.

The reason for the extra cash is that between now and then there has been a decade of interest charges.

About 8% a year!

What can you say about this other than wow!

If Sheridan pockets an award of £400,000, it’s a good payday for him and a disaster for the Murdoch Empire, but as they say stranger things have happen at sea!

So, why is Sheridan getting a windfall after doing time in the pokey, well it seems that three judges refused to strike down his defamation win of 2006.

The opinion of the judges was that the jury could have fairly decided that Sheridan was defamed even if they did not believe he was squeaky clean.

The judgment said:

“The verdict of the jury did not necessarily award the pursuer a badge of total credibility, total reliability, or total fidelity.”

I would imagine that Tommy Sheridan will enjoy his £400,000 and also enjoy this victory which may have shocked some people as it came out of the blue.

So, what about his criminal conviction?

Well at present, that still stands and there is no sign of an appeal being successful on that front just yet.

Isn’t law an amazing thing?

I think so, there seems right up there will walking on water and other miracles, so what must the Murdoch Empire be thinking now, I would hazard a guess at, ‘oh for f*cksake’ said loudly while hurling a chair out a plate glass window several stories up!

Hilarious, I think I will ask a Sheriff I know if she can explain this to me on a technical level as I have an interest in law.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University