Saturday, April 29, 2017

Wiped off the Map of Scotland, Scottish Labour is targeting major resources at just three seats in Scotland according to party sources, there seems to be a lack of ambition that out of 59 seats only 3 seem viable, Glasgow isn’t selected for help which comes as no surprise, the activist base has been effectively destroyed by neglect

Dear All

Targeting resources is nothing new, some political parties struggle to find resources, which is why I talk about what I term the ‘political economy’, basically this is made up by three things, people, money and resources.

In Scotland, the Scottish Labour Party is said to be targeting just 3 seats in Scotland. The seats are Edinburgh South, East Renfrewshire and East Lothian, you might be tempted to say that the Labour Party was lacking in ambition, especially when you consider that there are 59 seats up for grabs.

If the Labour Party was some lesser mainstream party you might think, short of cash, done the sums, maybe worked the area, could be a possibility. The Edinburgh South seat is Ian Murray, last time; he was successful so perhaps his claim for resources could be done on merit.

As to the East Renfrewshire, this is a classic three way fight, the SNP took it off Jim Murphy, by all accounts he put the work in the area but he was wiped out in 2015 along with the rest of Scottish Labour’s MPs. The ‘good’ went out with the ‘bad’ because Scottish Labour has done too much damage to their party to remain viable.

The SNP’s Kirsten Oswald has a majority of 3,718 but the real contender according to polling is the Scottish Conservatives. This is a seat that they are targeting and given Jackson Carlaw won the Holyrood seat, and given the collapse of Scottish Labour, it seems that East Renfrewshire is a tricky proposition for the Labour Party. One thing about the Labour candidate Blair MacDougall is that he in my opinion is an administrator, and not a campaigner. Although, he was the former Better Together chief, the organisation wasn’t running as people hoped. You may remember the spin doctor statement when ex Labour MP Frank Roy was appointed to lead the Remain Campaign in Scotland, citing he could ‘talk all day about the mistakes in that campaign’.

Personally speaking if I was to pick a campaign to get the most viable pro UK politician into Westminster at East Renfrewshire, I would have to go with the Scottish Conservatives. It isn’t just that their support is on the rise, it is more to do with Scottish Labour effectively doing nothing for months on end. A by-product of the nasty spat that was the Labour leadership contest and the closure of Labour branches and CLPs for basically six months.

A decision which was utterly stupid!

One of the seats where Scottish Labour can also ‘forget it’ is Perth and North Perthshire currently held by Pete Wishart, his direct challenger is Ian Duncan Conservative MEP, Ian stands a decent chance, this is based on his record at the European Parliament, also the Perth area is a happy hunting ground for Conservatives in terms of voters. This seat is one of the seats in Scotland that I have an interest in, although I have nothing personal against Pete Wishart, he maybe out. If you are into campaigning, then Perth and North Perthshire like East Renfrewshire would be an interesting campaign to go into for a laugh.

It is said that the Moray seat held by SNP depute leader Angus Robertson, as I mentioned, if he gets slotted this would be marvellous for Scotland, this as I mentioned could be the ‘Portillo’ moment of the night. In this seat, it is a straight fight between the SNP and the Conservatives.

At the present moment, the numbers of seats parties will end up with is anyone’s guess, but the news for Scottish Labour remains the same, it is said that they are going to get wiped out yet again. Electoral Calculus, the political forecasting website, has predicted Labour will experience a complete wipe-out in Scotland.

If that happens, the sustainability of Kezia Dugdale as continuing as leader will become a matter of internal and external discussion. How many wipe outs will Kezia Dugdale lead Scottish Labour to and then accept that the party simply isn’t in a fit state to campaign? Jim Murphy famously said when leader that he had ‘fixed’ the Labour Party in Scotland, this surprised me as I thought he hadn’t a clue what he was talking.

Scottish Labour isn’t fixed at all.

If things pan out then the SNP could win 46 seats, the Tories might get anywhere between 7 and 11 seats, the Liberal Democrats securing two, up one. One thing I came across today in Pollok was a sign in someone’s window, which said ‘No Labour Party propaganda, no Tory propaganda; no Liberal Democrats propaganda’, the sign was printed off, not hand written in big type!

Finally, I have to say that I am surprised that in Glasgow which was considered a Labour heartland and where Scottish Labour has an HQ in Bath Street, there appears that no one was able to make a case for securing extra resources for at least one of the seven seats in the City. Do you think that anyone down there has the intelligence to divert the entire Glasgow Labour activist base into one seat?

Asking everyone nicely of course!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Terror arrest near Houses of Parliament, armed man carrying several knives arrested due to an intelligence-led operation, the big question which many people will want an answer to is why someone who is known to Police is able to walk around armed and get so close to Westminster, will new laws be needed in the next parliament?

Dear All

Yet again, in London there has been another incident which some people are calling a ‘terror arrest’ near Houses of Parliament. In a previous attack, 5 people lost their lives, one of whom was a serving police officer. The latest arrest is a concern as police detained a man as part of an intelligence-led operation. This raises some interesting questions, in regards to people suspect of being possibly active in terrorism. The biggest one being why such people just free to roam about the place when they are considered such a threat?

Today’s arrest of the person was on suspicion of terrorism offences, the knives he was carrying although they would be lethal were just ordinary kitchen knives, this tends to suggest the man wasn’t trained and was more likely an amateur. You can get killed with a large bread knife however because of the lack of a hilt, a person’s hands could just as easy slide forward and they might end up cutting themselves.

As someone who has been a victim of knife crime, I know how quickly a huge amount of damage can be done in a relatively short time. Being stabbed produces a whole lot of blood which if not stopped very quickly can lead to serious problems and possible death.

In this case the man carrying knives near the Houses of Parliament was wrestled to the ground by armed police and no one got hurt. The officers acted very bravely in tackling an armed man and such situations are very high pressure and stressful, this operation was a success.

A police statement said:

“The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. Knives have been recovered from him. Detectives from the counter-terrorism command are continuing their investigation, and as a result of this arrest there is no immediate known threat.”

When arrested an eyewitness said that the man apparently was “very calm”, I assume given the speed of the police arrest operation, he may have been taken totally by surprise. Witnesses say the man was not shouting, or acting aggressively however if he had been taken when he was, one wonders what his plans actually were. Given the previous terrorist incident, it was incredibly stupid to go walking about the place carrying knives especially in a high security area like Westminster which is covered by CCTV, armed police at the Commons and roaming armed units.

Although the man is said to be a British passport holder, the press have commented that he was born in the UK, obviously more details about him and his past will emerge.

One thing which will be reviewed in light of this incident is whether current security measures are robust enough around Westminster. Given the number of government buildings and their staff, they must wonder if this is part of a campaign or just someone acting randomly. Awhile ago on the blog, some of the things I thought might happen appeared to have done so, like the use of vehicles as weapons and the targeting of politicians. Open access to politicians has always been consider normal as constituents go see their MPs, however in the past there have been attacks, so it would seem logical that within the parliamentary allowances that it may be deemed necessary for the employment of a security officer for MPs Offices.

The BBC's home affairs correspondent June Kelly said:

“It's understood that the man was detained as part of an ongoing operation by Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command. Officers working on intelligence moved in on him in Whitehall. He was then searched and arrested.”

I would suspect that many people will be shocked that the suspect arrested today had been under surveillance for some time. It maybe the case that new legislation is needed so such people can be tagged so that their movements can be tracked by GPS, but this is a stop gap measure. I suspect that down the line government policy will be such that people who gain British Citizenship who aren’t born here will end up facing withdrawal of such citizenship and be deported back to their home country.

Finally, no one died today, but as we have seen previously we cannot always expect the Police to be there in time to save the day, that just isn’t possible. It maybe in the next parliament there will need to be a Bill which seeks to address the issue of people suspected of being involved in terrorism just being able to walk around, something which goes beyond current measures.

What that maybe be will be the subject of long discussions between Ministers because we know we have a serious problem.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The imploding SNP; Nicola Sturgeon is rattled as polls show Scottish Conservatives are making too much headway, 12 SNP seats are at risk as one in three Scots prepare to give Sturgeon a bloody nose over her failures in Government, Brexit and second indyref, the SNP deserve everything that's coming to them

Dear All

Do you remember the SNP tactic at the 2015 Westminster election?

To refresh your memory, the tactic was talk up the Conservative Party in order to crush Scottish Labour, in the hope and knowledge that people would vote SNP.

The tactic worked, Scottish Labour was roundly defeated, left with just a single MP in Scotland, along with a Conservative and a Lib Dem.

Now that Theresa May has called a snap election, it seems that early on the Nationalists were going to trot out the same tactic, after all if it worked once, chances are it could work again. One slight huge problem, Scottish Labour’s polling is dire, the 14%, the mistakes early on, failing to back Corbyn, failing to get the right policies and upping their game is still plaguing the party north of the border.

Scottish Labour isn’t expected to do well; in fact, there is talk that they might get three seats which puts them on course yet again for another electoral disaster. Some people will of course try to win their seats but other people know in their heart of hearts they are just ‘paper candidates’.

They are going to get humped senseless!

Although the press focus on the active election campaign which is called the ‘short campaign’, the real work of building support isn’t done here, the long campaign in an area worked over years is crucial. And as we have painfully seen, in some areas the Labour vote has imploded, especially in places deemed heartlands. Some MPs sat back and didn’t work their areas, now they don’t have an area.

As the election was called, it seemed that Nicola Sturgeon was going with the same old tactic of last time, however, the polls have shifted and now the Conservatives in Scotland are seeing their support rise. Professor John Curtice, the polling expert thinks that the SNP could lose 12 seats to Ruth Davidson’s party. In Scotland there are a million Leave voters who want to see Brexit pushed through, and logically they would want the Conservatives to handle the franchise.

Awhile ago, I blogged that Jeremy Corbyn falls down big time on two issues, defence and foreign affairs, something which the Labour Party needed to address as a priority. Jeremy Corbyn does well on domestic issues, this is his real strength but to get to Number 10, he needs the whole package to work. No one expects the Labour Party to do well; it is reckoned they could be down to 150 seats after the 8th June.
In Scotland, if the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon fail to win all previous 56 seats, this will be seen as a personal disaster. It seems that the Nationalists in an attempt to be clever have rather shot themselves in the foot, time will tell. If the Scottish Conservatives do get 12 seats, they will be doing so continuing their message that they are the party of the Union in Scotland. This led to their successful Holyrood campaign which they became the official opposition.

It is looking increasing obvious that Nicola Sturgeon has hit panic mode, there she was babbling about the threat of the Tories as norm, talking them up, only to find that she is actually talking them straight in Westminster at the expense of some of her deadbeats who maybe about to hit the bricks! Now that the expectation of a political gubbing has travelled across brain cell to brain cell, it seems that Sturgeon is now back tracking. This is why she is suggested Theresa May called a snap general election before the alleged Tory expenses fraud in 2015 “catches up with her”.

To be blunt, Nicola Sturgeon is by default now talking up Scottish Labour without actually saying so. 

The alleged Tory expenses fraud in 2015 is in the hands of the Crown Prosecution Service, and they will do what they are going to do in due course. If some people have broken the rules, they will be held to account. This election is not however about this as Nicola Sturgeon wants you to think, it is about Brexit talks, and having the Government in place doing the job so these talks don’t have a distraction of a Westminster election.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) in Aviemore in the Highlands is just an attempt to play to the crowd and hype up her party.

Sturgeon said:

“A campaign called by the Prime Minister last week for one purpose and one purpose only: to strengthen the grip of the Tory party and crush dissent and opposition, and to do so before possible criminal prosecutions for alleged expenses fraud at the last general election catches up with her. Whatever else happens in this election, we should not allow the Tory party to escape the accountability for any misdemeanours that may have led to them buying the last general election.”

Rhetoric, but note the use of the word ‘may’, as in she doesn’t have proof.

According to polling one in three Scots is preparing to vote for Ruth Davidson’s resurgent Conservatives, this would unseat a host of SNP big names, people like Pete Wishart who faces a real challenger in the shape of Ian Duncan MEP, who has done a really decent stint at the European Parliament. One other person whose seat is under a bit of pressure is Angus Robertson, the SNP Deputy Leader, him getting put to the sword would be a Portillo moment of the election.

The poll figures have rattled Sturgeon’s cage, as she issued a strongly-worded press release ramping up the SNP’s anti-Conservative rhetoric to a new level.

She said:

“The election in Scotland is a two-horse race between the SNP and hard-line Tories. The Tories have taken an extreme position – demanding an end to any opposition at Westminster if they win the election. The more Tory MPs there are, the heavier the price Scotland will pay. They’re already cutting nearly £3billion from the Scottish budget. They’re hitting family incomes hard by cutting and removing child tax credits. They want to remove Scotland from the European Single Market – which will cost thousands of jobs. They’ve done all this with a small majority. Now they want to crush any opposition. The bigger the Tory majority the more they will think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it.”

So, this leaves Sturgeon with a real problem, the problem being how does she talk up Scottish Labour as a credible force to try and suck some of the wind out of the Scottish Conservatives?

And without putting any Labour MPs back into Westminster!

Elections are funny; Harold Wilson famously said that a week is a long time in politics, and the 6 weeks till polling day will see Nicola Sturgeon on the back foot. The Scottish Conservatives will have to work really hard, but this is their best chance to crack Westminster.

And as another poll recent showed on Scottish independence voting intention:

Yes: 37% (-4)
No: 55% (+8)

Finally, you can expect the Nationalists to get really nasty in this campaign; being dumped back on the unemployment register is going to put a real kink in some people’s social life.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thrown under the Nationalist bus, SNP blocks the odious Natalie McGarry from standing as an SNP candidate, where was her ‘good pal’ Nicola Sturgeon to come to her aid with a passionate defence, it seems the pretence that the SNP is presented as ‘squeaky clean’ instead of a ‘ratship’ is all that is important now!

Dear All

Last year, I did a post among several on Natalie McGarry, formerly of the SNP, and elected to Glasgow East.

The general premise was that the conduct of McGarry from my personal experiences of her, led me to believe that she was unfit to be an MP. Unlike some people who obviously held a similar view, I had no problem expressing my thoughts publicly.

Natalie McGarry is an odious little excuse for a human being, and as many remember, if I had my chance, I would have publicly named in a criminal trial in October 2015 relating to Tommy Ball who ran a malicious hate campaign against me. Ball pled guilty to get a reduced sentence, so McGarry’s part wasn’t widely spread as the press focused on Tommy Ball.

Here is what she wrote:

I've made it! At last I've been designated non-Jedi by the great sage that is @georgemlaird Want a laugh? Here ya go:

Natalie McGarry linked my blog to a hate account setup by someone she knew and socialised with, Ball’s hate account was all about labelling me among other things a ‘paedophile’. This little ditto above was Natalie’s contribution!

McGarry went on to win Glasgow East, it seemed that justice wasn’t going to catch up with her as she and others lived the dream. Sadly for her, pride comes before a fall, and McGarry was to fall several times, JK Rowling spat and Alistair Cameron spat were other twitter incidents where McGarry failed to engage brain before coming a cropper.

Then big fall happened, investigated by Police Scotland!

McGarry, who effectively had to resign the whip is facing fraud charges after a pro-independence group, Women for Independence reported a potential financial discrepancy in its accounts. Next up, the SNP Glasgow Regional Association raised concerns about its finances, so, in total McGarry is now facing five criminal charges, however, she denies any wrongdoing.

After the SNP chucked Natalie McGarry under the bus, and according to Nicola Sturgeon, she was a ‘good pal, it didn’t seem likely that the SNP could pick her again to stand in the Glasgow East seat. One thing the SNP like to do is to bury their mistakes to give the impression that everything and everyone is above board.

The Scottish National Party is a rat ship, I have commented on this often, and unlike most people as a former member, I saw these people up close and personal, everyone who is anyone from Salmond downwards.

The other dud who has been removed is Michelle Thomson, she wouldn’t be missed either, personally, I couldn’t care less about Thomson as I had no dealings with her, first came across her in the nonsense that is Business for Scotland, the nod dug for the SNP during the 2014 referendum.

Now, that Natalie McGarry has been cast adrift, I think we have seen the end of her career as a front line politician, which incidentally wasn’t much cop anyway. She leaves political office a damn sight sooner than she thought she would and that is a good thing.

I am really grateful to Theresa May for pulling the plug on Westminster as she did; obviously it wasn’t for the same interests as me, but hey silver linings and all that! So, who should get the opportunity to be the candidate in Glasgow East, given the two declared Rosa Zambonini and David Linden, Linden is the better choice this is based on his prior knowledge of the area, and Rosa Zambonini’s history.

I have no interest who wins the nomination but I am sure that other parties would love it to be Rosa Zambonini.

Finally, do you think that Nicola Sturgeon keeps in touch with Natalie McGarry, or is Nicola constantly unavailable for chit chats?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University   

Friday, April 21, 2017

Paris shooting: Gunman was 'focus of anti-terror' probe - BBC News

France suffers yet again; ISIS terrorist shot dead in Paris attack was a known extremist arrested two months ago for threatening to kill police, previously he had served 15 years for trying to murder two officers, he murdered a policeman and seriously injured two others before his end

Dear All

The ‘War on Terror’ has been fought for many years, to most people, the war was fought out in the streets, cities and towns in the Middle East and Afghanistan, it was a distant war.

A war that was too remote until now!

France has suffered greatly due to terrorism; the first Paris attacks sent shockwaves through the country, then the Nice attack, which left a nation angry again at the political failure to protect its citizens.

Yet again, France is reeling after an Islamic self radicalised terrorist decided to go on a murder spree.

Here is a sample of what the France has endured.

7-9 Jan 2015 - Two Islamist gunmen storm the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 17 people. Another Islamist militant kills a policewoman the next day and takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket in Paris. Four hostages are killed before police shoot the gunman dead. The other two gunmen are cornered and killed by police in a siege.

13 Nov 2015 - IS jihadists armed with bombs and assault rifles attack Paris, targeting the national stadium, cafes and Bataclan concert hall. The co-ordinated assault leaves 130 people dead, and more than 350 wounded.

13 Jun 2016 -A knife-wielding jihadist kills a police officer and his partner at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris. He declares allegiance to IS, and police later kill him.

14 Jul 2016 - A huge lorry mows down a crowd of people on the Nice beachfront during Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86. IS claims the attack - by a Tunisian-born driver, later shot dead by police.

26 Jul 2016 - Two attackers slits the throat of a priest at his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy. They are shot dead by police.

3 Feb 2017 - A machete-wielding Egyptian man shouting "Allahu akbar" attacks French soldiers at Paris's Louvre Museum - he is shot and wounded.

20 Apr 2017 - A known terror suspect opens fire at police on the Champs Elysees in Paris, killing one and wounding two. He is shot dead - and the assault is claimed by IS.
In this latest attack, the gunman is said to be known to security services, and deemed a threat, but despite this, he was able to get hold of weapons, plan and execute a terrorist act. The person has been named as Karim Cheurfi, 39, from the eastern Paris suburb of Chelles by the French media but the authorities haven’t as I understand confirmed this yet. One person is dead, and it is said that two others are seriously wounded, the gunman didn’t managed to get away; he was shot dead.

This case like many others will renew calls for a new direction for France to take in terms of security measures. It will put into sharp focus that Europe yet again is safe, it will also raise issues regarding freedom of movement. I believe that Europe must as a matter of priority re-instate hard borders. More must be done to stop the flow of illegal weapons across Europe coming in from places like the Balkans.

This attack may have an effect on the French Presidential election; the campaign of Marine Le Pen will certainly get a boost as she proposes to fix the problems of France and extremism within its borders. Depending on the mood of the country, France could decide that Marine Le Pen is a price worth paying if she can safeguard people.

After the attack, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted:

"I strongly feel for the policemen killed and wounded and their families. Terrorist attacks will never go unpunished, accomplices never forgotten."

Planned events by candidates have been cancelled this Friday as a mark of respect and also security concerns.  

National Front (FN) candidate Marine Le Pen said in a press conference that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners on security watch lists. I agree with her analysis that the border checks should be immediately reinstate; it is a measure I blogged on at the start of the migrant crisis. 

Her second proposal may find opposition from the other political parties who are scared of being seen as racist. The inaction by authorities in France and elsewhere due to lack of political will is truly shocking; it is one of the major scandals of this century. It isn’t enough to clean up the mess after a terrorist attack and make speeches of punishment; clearly what is needed is to reduce the risk.

How do you reduce the risk?

You remove the risk from society; deportation is going to become a hot topic not just in France but in other European countries as well. The political elite have failed Europe, their failure cannot be forgotten which is why they must be replaced by new political leaders.

It might be the case that if you want a safer society, you may need someone in charge who isn’t so understanding, who can set aside empathy and do what is needed to be done. The reason most of us sleep well in our beds at night is because men stand ready to do violence on our behalf, in France, the security forces shot the Paris attacker dead before he could do more harm.

Finally, Islamic terrorists want to bring the battlefield to the streets of mainland Europe where they can hide, be supported and operate in plain sight until they strike.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Theresa May drops the biggest political MOAB ever to hit Westminster, the entire country is going to the polls on the 8th June, Conservatives have decided to take their 21 point lead over the Labour Party out for a spin, everything is literally up in the air, and this election isn't just about Brexit, is it also about can the Scottish Conservatives take Holyrood in 2021

Dear All

It seems that there is to be a snap general election for Westminster, Theresa May has pulled the plug and the country is going to the polls. In Scotland, people are a bit election and referendum weary.

Firstly, hats off to Prime Minister Theresa May for playing a blinder, the opposition is in a bit of a state at present, especially the Labour Party who has a huge mountain to climb, 21 points behind in the polls. The Lib Dems are making noises about a revival which is frankly ludicrous, they have 8 MPs, and in Scotland, they have a single MP.

There are good reasons to go now:

1/ To get a clear mandate, always handy
2/ To strengthen the UK position at the Brexit talks
3/ To outflank the SNP who made noises about dissolving Holyrood then backed away
4/ To use this election to see if the Scottish Conservatives can take Holyrood  

Obviously there are probably other reasons, such as not wanting to get distracted near the end of Brexit talks with an opposition threatening mischief.

So, is Theresa May as some people suggest taken her biggest gamble?

There are still unhappy remainers but the direction of travel for the United Kingdom is towards Brexit, politically since the Labour Party is in a bad place, there is talk of huge losses for them, a figure of 140 seats was being banded about the place. Elections however are funny things, and snap elections are in a way a little like by-elections, they are specials because you don’t get the normal run in time of year. After Westminster folds its tents on May 3rd, we get what is called a ‘short campaign’, this means the election is called and running. Ideally, short campaigns favour mainstream parties who have the resources and personnel to mount a proper campaign as we traditionally know it.

To stand for Westminster requires a good few thousand pounds, if you want to do a decent campaign and you have go full time. Quite simply the logistics is staggering especially if you are unclear what support if you can expect in terms of money, people and resources, which I call the ‘political economy’. If you take a constituency of 60,000 voters, call it 30,000 homes, divided by the number of activists, let’s say 10 for an example. That means an activist has to deliver 3,000 leaflets, roughly 200 a night which takes some people 2 hours; that works out to 15 work days, multiple that by 3 leaflets, this rolls out at 45 workdays. This is based on them doing every day, not doing canvassing and street stalls, that is more labour intensive.

As well as the Westminster in Scotland, there are the council elections, that is an additional huge drain on resources, money and people, running two campaigns at the same time is possible but not easy, somewhere the time factor kicks in. Everyone party needs to prep for Westminster, not just in the office but also in the CLPs or branches and they have to do it now. Running a campaign on the hoof isn’t easy, especially when no one else has a bloody clue what anyone else is doing in the same campaign.

Planning is still critical and so being flexible because the best campaign plan can fail if you can’t execute it, so you have to be creative. When other people are looking to you, you need to have a clear idea that everyone can get onboard with. The last thing you want is people feeling left out because they don’t feel part of the team. This why short campaigns are high pressure, so much done over the course of a year is literally crammed into 6 weeks.

If you have done a bit of campaigning, you know what a good campaign is, a good campaign is the person in charge putting everyone before themselves; this is leadership. It is important that the activists are treated with respect and you understand they are going the extra mile for you, so you go further for them. Winning is better than losing, but having a badly run campaign has a ripple effect in your CLP, people don’t feel they want to get involved in future events if treated in an offhand manner.

This election is being dubbed “the Brexit election”, with Theresa May saying:

“I trust the British people.”

A point which will no doubt come up is that this election will also be billed as an election to show national unity to Europe, despite many differences, the country must present a united front, obviously leaving out Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP who have no interest in doing so.
Theresa May said:

“In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill. The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain's membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.”

She added:

“If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election. Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country. So we need a general election and we need one now. Because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

I was surprised that Theresa May has called a snap election after ruling this out earlier, but we are where we are as General Mike Jackson used to say, so we have to get on with it. The Conservatives have a 21 point lead which is huge, and if things pan out, they stand to increase their majority. In Scotland, things aren’t so rosy, the Scottish Conservatives face a few problems, although they can find the money for the campaigns, will be able to access resources, they don’t have enough personnel on the ground, and certainly not enough prep time to mount the kind of challenge that they would wish for to gain seats.

Yesterday I was saying that the Scottish Conservatives would like Ruth Davidson to have a crack at being First Minister in 2021, so luckily for her this election gives the Scottish Conservatives a rough idea if that is viable. Let’s face it if you are considering ploughing a massive amount of cash into a future election, you don’t want to wet your finger and stick it in the air, you want something a bit more robust in terms of empirical evidence.

Finally, I wonder how many of the SNP MPs are feeling a bit uncomfortable about their continued employment prospects at Westminster?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University