Wednesday, December 6, 2017

SNP Brexit Clown: SNP minister Mike Russell wants a ‘united’ Holyrood voice for single market bid, is there anyone really that stupid to get behind Nicola Sturgeon’s bungling attempt to sabotage of Brexit other than her Scottish Green lackeys, with the SNP track record of failure on policy and government, anyone for political suicide?

Dear All

We all like a laugh, and one ‘gag’ that is doing the rounds is failed SNP education minister Mike Russell, who has what I would describe as a ‘fake job’ as Scotland’s Brexit minister asking rival Holyrood parties to unite and “speak with one voice” in a bid to keep the UK in the single market.

The SNP like to organise people into little voting clusters with them ‘leading’ them and instructing them how to vote. Although some people like the Scottish Greens will probably tag along in the SNP wake, I don’t see Scottish Labour or the Scottish Conservatives playing ball at all.

At the present moment, there is a lot of political turmoil, a lot of heat, a lot of noise and little clarity on Brexit and where we stand in the process.

This is nonsense, we should be moving towards hard Brexit, and that should be the route for Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).  The EU isn’t a country, it isn’t a ‘super state’, it is a political organisation. Ever since the UK voted for Brexit, many people in power have attempted to undermine the democratic vote and attempt to hang onto EU membership, even by proxy of the ‘single market’.

The SNP market is EU membership without benefits, you have to ask why would these people seek to undermine democracy and the will of the people, well, the answer is clearly nothing noble, it is squalid petty personal gain. A recent piece of ‘noise’ is the threat of legal action by the Scottish Green MSPs, a Labour MEP and an SNP MEP towards the UK Government.

That threat is worthless, both David Martin and Alyn Smith are losing their jobs, and they better get use to the idea because it will be happening soon enough. As always the SNP via Mike Russell said there was “overwhelming support” the SNP position in Holyrood and among the public.

People who don’t understand what the single market means show “overwhelming support” the SNP position?

The ‘bit’ that should interest you is:

“Single market rules require the free movement from one EU member country to another of goods, people, services and capital (the so-called ‘four freedoms’)”.

Under WTO rules, which is the back stop, you still get movement of good, services and capital, but the part the Remainers want is ‘free movement of people’ which effectively would see the UK allowing access to 600 million EU citizens. Already we have seen the effect of negative migration throughout Europe which has caused a breakdown of social cohesion and led to the rise of what is termed by the media as the ‘far right’.

In the Brexit debate, Leave campaigners came from the left and the right, including people who are unionists and Scottish independence supporters, there is more to this issue than is presented by soundbytes of the media and politicians.

Mike Russell is Nicola Sturgeon’s proxy, his job, is a non job, he is merely an interested spectator with a fake title which is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, so him chanting for the European single market and customs union is hollow, his opinion carries no weight.

At present, we have a manufactured ‘problem’ regarding the border between Northern and Eire, Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking urgent talks with Northern Irish leaders after the UK Government’s attempts to settle the Irish border issue failed to reach agreement.

Is the Irish question a big deal, yes and no, ideally, it would be better for Eire to also leave the EU, and come into a trading block with the UK, or join a trading blocking with the US and Nordic countries alongside the UK if one can be setup post Brexit. I support the Democratic Unionist Party that Northern Ireland should have the same deal as the rest of the UK. We are seeing separate deals floated as an alternative but the vote on 23rd June 2016 wasn’t for separate deals for different parts of the UK, it was one out, all out to coin a phrase.

It is not acceptable for any arrangement which sees Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson also pitched in and echoed this sentiment when she made clear the UK should not be divided by ‘’different deals for different home nations’’.

In an attempt to sow division, SNP leader who was on the wrong side of the Brexit debate and vote said on twitter:

“really interesting the number of senior DUP people retweeting @RuthDavidsonMSP...”

This is a dig because the DUP are social Conservatives who hold other views which Ruth Davidson doesn’t on other issues, this is called shit stirring by Sturgeon, as we all know; Nicola Sturgeon lacks class and breeding.

So, Mike Russell says:

“If this chamber were to speak with one voice on membership of the single market and the customs union, I think it would be very effective indeed. Police lack numbers to protect ‘porous’ Irish border under Brexit. Single market membership for the whole of the UK would be the way out of this incredible mess that has been created by Theresa May and I urge it on every member in this chamber.”

This means lets create a ‘rule’, situation or treaty to ignore the wishes of the British people, as to the ‘porous’ Irish border , the SNP solution is to ignore problems, along time ago, I said ‘the solution to a problem, is not the creation of another problem’. This ‘fix’ by the SNP is more to do with undermining the UK and their failed attempts to engineer another independence bid, the last one was based on deception, thuggery and lies, and we well remember that result.

Scottish Labour has a new Leader, lucky for them it isn’t Anas Sarwar who in his election literature said he was backing the ‘single market’, when I read this, I immediately chucked his election leaflet in the bin. Richard Leonard has been asked by the SNP to move towards the SNP position thus undermining his leadership position; I doubt he is that stupid, well I hope he isn’t for his sake.

Mike Russell said on Scottish Labour:

“The whole of these islands should be in the single market and the customs union - we urge that upon all, but particularly upon the Labour Party. If the Labour Party were to adopt that to be a standard; that would move this on very considerably indeed”.

I would just blank this, why involve yourself with an idiot and get dragged down, the SNP position is doomed to failure and as the polls show and their record in government, everything is going in a downward direction of travel.

In life, don’t waste time pandering to idiots!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, December 4, 2017

SNP’S ticking election time bomb, support for Scottish Labour grows after party elects left-wing leader, Professor John Curtice says “Scotland has gone from being a land of safe seats to a land of marginals”, SNP MP Chris Stephens better get triple ply toilet paper on Westminster expenses, his arse must be about to collapse just as his re-election chances are looking rather bleak

Dear All

One of the things which needed to happen and was most important in the recent Scottish Labour leadership contest was the election of Richard Leonard as leader in preference to Anas Sarwar. If Anas Sarwar had become leader, it would have been a gift to the SNP, although the press love to use the term ‘moderate’ when describing the right wing of the Labour Party, these people aren’t.

If you have any doubts why you should have voted for Richard Leonard, then this story tells you all you need to know.

Anas Sarwar’s campaign was a disaster, and this final cherry is the tin lid in my opinion, Anas can’t ever again try and attempt to be the ‘man of the people’ because patently he isn’t and never was, his window for being leader like Ken Macintosh has gone.

The news of Richard Leonard is bad news for the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, the tale of the tape in a recent poll shows why, support for Scottish Labour has grown under the new leader. The revelation may have taken some people by surprise but not me, after being dropped to being the third party of Scottish politics the polls, the Scottish Labour Party has moved into second place.

This means that a raft of sitting SNP MPs right across Scotland face losing their seats when a Westminster election happens, such as Chris Stephens in Glasgow South West and David Linden in Glasgow East.

Imagine going into Xmas and thinking, in a few short years, they could be facing the bitter taste of defeat and unemployment. Of course, we are a good while away from either a Westminster or Holyrood election so in theory there is everything to play for; the Scottish Conservatives now have a problem.

In the last couple of elections, they did rather well, especially at Westminster but the thing in politics is momentum, and the Conservatives need to address an obvious flaw in their thinking, you can’t win Holyrood if you take your ‘foot off the gas’, although the Scottish Conservative MPs fixed the vat problem with Police Scotland, they need to go a lot further, so far, the evidence isn’t there to see Ruth Davidson win in 2021.

Westminster support for the SNP sits on 37 per cent, the same as the party polled in June so after six months, they still haven’t made an impact, although Labour has increased by one point to 28 per cent, the direction of travel isn’t certain, Scottish Labour still isn’t in a fixed state to campaign, despite various factions popping up claiming that they are the future. What is interesting to me is that the Scottish Conservatives are down four to 25 per cent, it seems that Scottish Conservatives need to be doing ‘things’.

In case you don’t know what ‘things’ are, this is things for the poor and disadvantaged, what they will probably grasp is that they have a need in Scotland for social conservatism rather than liberal conservatism.

Although Scottish Parties are fixated on Holyrood due to their leaders being elected there, the Scottish Labour Party has a mountain to climb, SNP lead on 39 per cent for constituency voting intentions, followed by Labour on 25 per cent. As things stand at present, we are looking still at minority SNP government in my opinion unless events change, and currently, I see no evidence of a shift that see Labour being installed with a minority at Holyrood but by the same token, I don’t see the SNP with the help of the Scottish Greens pulling off a majority coalition either.

Professor John Curtice said even a marginal change in support could have a big impact on future elections and he is right, ‘one man can make a different’.

He said:

"Scotland has gone from being a land of safe seats to a land of marginals. Even a change of just one per cent could see some seats change hands."

Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said:

“As we saw in the General Election, voters are coming back to Labour. The SNP and the Tories offer nothing but division and despair at Holyrood and Westminster. Labour in contrast has inspired voters across the country with a vision of hope and real change.”

He added: 

“It is no surprise to see people in Scotland thinking the Tories will not make a success of Brexit, with Theresa May’s negotiations in Brussels lurching from bad to worse. This unstable and divided government is increasingly being pulled apart by hard-right Tory MPs who are determined to deliver Brexit at any price to working people. Labour is determined that our economic future should be at the heart of Brexit negotiations, offering businesses and workers the certainty they need that their rights and protections will not be traded away.”

This may sound interesting to people who don’t know better but in Scotland, Scottish Labour need to be focused on the SNP rather than trying to cast their nets too wide, the ‘story’ gets diluted when you have too many parties in the mix, and to be honest it just sounds too much like poor political spinning.

Although uncertainty over Brexit has some people worried, these people need to cool their jets, Brexit despite the press hype of doom and gloom is ticking along nicely; high drama may look good on the telly, but when it comes to real money, a deal is on the cards.

So, the verdict is as John Curtice says:

Scotland has gone from being a land of safe seats to a land of marginals”.

I think this revelation when it starts to sink in might mean that SNP MP Chris Stephens along with his office dug, Jonathan Mackie start buying triple ply toilet paper, their time to start shitting themselves starts now.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, December 1, 2017

‘That horrible cow is here’, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon heckled at homeless shelter by furious poor people as screams of ‘publicity stunt’ ring in her ears, the SNP have form in using poor and disadvantaged people as pawns for self advancement, isn’t it time that Nicola Sturgeon dropped the act, she isn’t the ‘mother of the nation’!

Dear All

Jingo bells jingo bells, jingle all the way, it is that time of year, it is getting near Xmas, a time for politicians to do the traditional stunts of ‘caring’ for the homeless and disadvantaged, it is time to get that much needed ‘photo op’ standing beside someone poor!

The poor are useful to politicians in several ways, either as a stick to beat the current government or as a way of saving money since they shy away from taxing the rich who avoid paying tax, plus there is the added bonus of using them to get elected. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, SNP MP Mhairi Black did a ‘stint’ of helping the homeless.

In a speech, she highlighted one man who didn’t eat or drink for five days to afford to pay the bus fare to the job centre. Well, this is either a lie or this person is one dumb bastard, you see there are places to eat for free in Glasgow, such as LHM at the Barras, the Glasgow City Mission and at Cadogan Street, there are even roving soup kitchens in Glasgow now where people go to the places where people rough sleep to give them hot food.

Having got elected, why didn’t SNP MP Mhairi Black come back to continue to help at Glasgow City Mission?

I don’t know, I am just asking the question!

Having used the people, they were now surplus to her requirements, it seems ‘caring’ is only for Xmas or getting ‘elected’ because it is important to tick the box that ‘you know what the conditions are like for the poor’, but the reality is Mhairi Black knows nothing about the poor.

SNP MP Mhairi Black is just another SNP politician using people, I can’t take this middle class clown seriously as she plays at being working class, it is to me offensive; her act is like watching a monkey at a chimp’s tea party.

SNP MP Mhairi Black is a career politician, nothing more.

It seems that what is good for Mhairi Black is good enough for her boss, the fake and charmless hypocrite Nicola Sturgeon who has no problem being shacked up in Bute House or indeed a five star hotel. That being the case, it seems that others have seen through Nicola Sturgeon as she was rightly heckled by the poor as she announces new action on homelessness. Visiting a homeless shelter was another opportunity to try and foster her ‘mother of the nation’ but it seems that the shelter’s customers weren’t having it as Sturgeon wanted her photo op.

One brave homeless woman, who was bundled away by shelter staff, as she called out:
“This is all publicity. The minute they go away this will all disappear and it will be back to we get nothing, again."

There is now an ‘industry’ of professional helpers who get the funding such as Edinburgh’s Streetwork homelessness charity; presumably the SNP thought a few poor people hanging about would increase the credibility value of Nicola Sturgeon, but that turned sour as she was met with shouts of “publicity stunt”.

Since Nicola Sturgeon has effectively abandoned Govanhill to its fate, child prostitution, slum housing, place looking like a favela or midden, and rampant crime, and landlords screwing the poor out of their cash, what the hell is Nicola Sturgeon doing hanging around the poor?

It is over three weeks plus till xmas!!!!!!!

After being called out for the fake she is, Sturgeon said it was “absolutely understandable and legitimate” if some homeless people were sceptical of the SNP Government’s commitment.

She added:

“But the recommendations we are talking about today haven’t come from Government, they’ve not been dreamt up by us. We asked a group of experts to come together – not to look at something in the long term, but to look firstly at what can be done this winter. And that’s what we’re talking about today. And then, we’ll look in more detail at what we can do longer term. So there’s a determination and a seriousness of intent and additional investment behind this. But rather than stand here today and seek to persuade with words those in these predicaments who are understandably sceptical, I think what I want to do is prove it through the actions we’ve taken.”

The key part of what Sturgeon said to take note of is:

“they’ve (recommendations) not been dreamt up by us.”

I never doubted that the SNP would dream any ideas of how to help the poor, I just accept that as a given, unless there was an election in the offing for Westminster, the use of the foodbank gag in 2015 was quite noticeable, especially in Glasgow South West/ Pollok.

Isn’t it refreshing that poor people managed to heckle Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of us plebs get to hear about it, of course the poor were bundled away immediately but the damage was done, it is time the SNP stopped using the poor as their political plaything, people really are sick of it.

Finally, this pathetic attempt to turn Nicola Sturgeon into the ‘mother of the nation’ is really insulting to the intelligence, she really is a quite despicable individual without an ounce of human compassion or humanity; she is a ‘user of people’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, November 30, 2017

France’s Man in UK, New French ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet says Brexit is "not a good thing" for UK or EU, 50% right, Brexit makes the UK a sovereign nation unshackled from the EU project which has ripped the UK off more less since the day we signed up in 1973, leaving wasn’t just a financial necessity, it was a moral imperative

Dear All

Have you heard the expression, ‘he would say that’, well it appears the new French ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet is saying Brexit is "not a good thing" for UK or EU. Well, for the UK, it is a good thing and it is a long overdue thing, you see Europe is in chaos, not just financially but also in terms of social cohesion.

The rise of the ‘right’ in Europe which is constantly dubbed the ‘far right’ is actually in the main ordinary citizens who are angry about the way the political both elected and unelected are acting in their own personal interest.

The EU is finding that the new governments in Europe aren’t willing to support them, or their anti sovereignty policies which have undermined their authority for too long. The UK leaving the EU has created a massive problem for the EU, 20% of their budget comes from the UK, and we are only one of the twenty eight member states. What is the UK to the EU, basically we are just their ATM, a cash cow to milk and in return, we get back some of our own money, yes; our own money is returned to us in various ways under the largesse of EU grants towards education, farm payments and building etc etc.

As the new French ambassador’s takes up his post, we get told that he previously has went from washing dishes in a Watford works canteen as a student in the 1970s to the elegant grandeur of the French ambassador’s residence in up-market Kensington.

Rags to riches, everyone likes this type of story, very fairy tale like, however check out his wiki.

Once upon a time, washed some dishes, big deal, hopefully he didn’t get dishpan hands or suffered PTSD from the experience, the rest of his life appears to be more silver spoon than wooden spoon to me.

I fought for Brexit, was a campaigner and a Glasgow spokesman, it was a campaign which I am proud to have been involved in, it was at its heart a people’s campaign. The result in Scotland was better than expected and it was a shock for the SNP and the other political parties which all rallied against Brexit.

At present, we are reading that the Brexit divorce bill is rumoured to be £60 billion, which is £60 billion for nothing in return, this is unacceptable, and too high a price to get an urbane, friendly, touchy-feely mandarin such as Jean-Pierre Jouyet in return.   

Jean-Pierre Jouyet said:

“I have known the UK for a long time. When I was a student I was in the UK to earn my living. It was close to London in Watford and I washed all the dishes in a restaurant; it was a canteen for a British company, I don’t remember the name. At the end of the day with British friends, I learned one sport; to launch the darts. I remember each evening we played darts.”

He added:

“When I was in the European Commission with Jacques Delors…I organised a European summit just after Maastrict Treaty in Edinburgh Castle. We spent the night in Edinburgh Castle; so there are some things worse in life. I remember very well this European summit in Edinburgh. Since this time I have liked Edinburgh. I went with my children there 10 years ago.”

What interests me is when Mr Jouyet said:

“I am a pragmatic man and I try throughout the course of all my work to serve the European public interest and the French public interest. It’s clear in France I am the friend of business and finance.”

I don’t see in there, any reference to the people which is supposed to be the prime motivation for a public servant, he reminds me of a New Labour sell out clone who in the final phase of his career has been given a cushy plum job by his pal, the French President, somehow I don’t see to feel all fuzzy and warm towards him, even although he did mention his dishwashing job.

Finally, it seems that as a keen sports fan Mr Jouyet has a dream:

“My dream is to see the derby between Celtic and Rangers.”

A mini Brexit negotiation with a football!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy: Scotland's councils to run out of cash reserves 'within two to three years', 10 years of mismanagement, lack of vision and reform are coming home to roost, the SNP are too ‘Holyrood’ focussed on keeping their MSP jobs to the detriment of local government, constant denial of problems is not governance or management

Dear All

Under the SNP, the government in Scotland at national and local level has been mismanaged, you could put forward many reasons but the chief reason is a lack of vision by the leadership of the SNP under both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

The reasons that Councils suffer greatly is down to what I would suggest is the ‘Holyrood’ focus, the SNP MSP leaders are focussed on protecting their seats and clinging onto power that Councils are being staved of funds. A long time ago, I blogged on how councils should be allowed to take the money from the Scottish Government in their poll tax freeze but also have a 3% increase to build up reserves.

You may remember my idea for a City Sovereign Fund?

If not then please take the time to read the back post.


2011, at this point, I was still in the SNP, but when I tried to publish the idea on the SNP forum, the post I put up was disallowed, it seems that as a rank and file member, I wasn’t allowed to have ideas above my station.

So, here we are in 2017, six years on from my original idea and Scotland's councils are said to be going to run out of cash reserves 'within two to three years'. The lack of vision by Nicola Sturgeon for big ideas of a radical nature comes home to roost like chickens.

Why are cash reserves at some councils risk running out “within two to three years”?

They have been forced to dip into the ‘piggybank’ as they struggle to cope with funding cuts and increasing demand for services, the joined up thinking which we assume is supposed to happen just isn’t there. SNP thinking is and always will be short term because instead of being driven by vision, they are driven by events, which is why you have money flung at Govanhill. Not to help the residents of Nicola Sturgeon’s slum ghetto, but to get the spotlight off Sturgeon herself.

It is a complete nonsense that the 20 local authorities have had drawn on financial reserves for day-to-day spending in 2016/17.

It isn’t like this is a new problem, cash reserves should be there for emergencies, and ‘daily spend’ should not fall into that category.

So, what is the SNP plan to fix this scandal, well, nothing is the modius operandi, as the SNP push through their 7.6 per cent cut in Scottish Government funding for councils since 2010/11. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP used the lie of efficiency savings onto councils which translates into poor services, longer waiting times, denial of service and job losses, all so they can say they are ‘managing’ the government funds prudently.

A report shows the scale of impending disaster just waiting to happen, with local authorities’ net debt now standing at £14.5 billion.

The Accounts Commission added:

“Councils tell us that they are finding the situation more serious than ever, with savings becoming increasingly difficult to identify and achieve.”

When you are devoid of vision as the SNP are, they use the tactic of fostering the decisions onto councils under the guise of ‘they make decisions on their budget priorities’.

The truth is the SNP mismanaged the money they were given.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"We are already hearing reports of councils contemplating extreme measures like moving to monthly bin collection or closing every library in the local authority.
"Councils are burning through their reserves at a rapid rate. This is not sustainable."
The Accounts Commission’s financial overview for 2016/17 found councils were showing signs of “increasing financial stress”.

Another idea of mine was to use people who went through the justice system to do community service in councils, two main reasons, one to add additional human resources and two, to reduce the prison population which cost the taxpayer about £42k a year to lock someone up.

There would also be the added bonus of opportunity for rehabilitation of offenders which would benefit them, if they seize the opportunity. Local authorities are facing a “growing range of budgetary pressures”, including funding cuts and “ongoing demand pressures” such as an ageing population but solutions can be found as well as money. There hasn’t been the will to fix councils because the parties fix on a ‘policy’ rather than structural change.

In the last financial year alone, councils slashed 2,200 jobs, this places an added burden on the staff left who see increased workload, we should be protecting public services especially councils which are the first direct contact for many issues by residents. The debt levels have increased by £836 million, with councils spending almost ten per cent of their revenue budgets servicing these bills.

Awhile ago, David Cameron floated ‘Big Society’, an idea that I agreed with but the SNP rubbished it because it was a Conservative idea. Good ideas aren’t the province of any one party but to turn this idea down out of prejudice was wrong.  

Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Alexander Stewart wants the SNP to do something and wants them to provide “far more support to councils right across the country”.

He said:

“Under the SNP government, the financial health of Scotland’s 32 councils has deteriorated rapidly. Debt levels are eye-watering, and millions upon millions of pounds in taxpayers’ cash is now being used just to service it. We’ve even got to the stage where local authorities are dipping into the rainy day fund routinely just to stay afloat. And as auditors say, if that continues, there won’t be any reserves left to call on.”

So, having shouted the odds, the Scottish Conservatives need to take the next step, what would you do?

That is the ‘tricky’ part for them.

Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the report “lays bare the impact of Tory and SNP austerity on our local authorities”.

She added:

“After a decade of SNP government in Holyrood, our councils are at breaking point with rapidly shrinking budgets and sky-high debts. The truth is this is what happens when we have a government in Edinburgh happy to sit on their hands and pass Tory austerity onto our communities, with the SNP cutting local government budgets by £1.5 billion since 2011.”

It is worthwhile pointing out that no political party that has held power at Holyrood comes out of this with any glory, but rather than accept their part, the SNP Government are defended its funding record.

He said:

“We have treated local government very fairly despite the cuts to the Scottish Budget from the UK Government. Including the extra £250 million to support the integration of health and social care, the overall reduction in local government funding in 2016/17 equated to less than 1 per cent of local government’s total estimated expenditure. The 2017/18 local government finance settlement, including the increase in council tax and Health and Social Care Integration funding, means that local government have an extra £383 million, or 3.7 per cent, in support for services compared to 2016/17.”

Everything you need to know about why the SNP need to be removed from government is right in front of your face, day in and day out, councils are failing, and rather than rebuild the council reserves, the SNP are still playing in their sandbox, playing at government, playing with Scotland’s future, and ultimately the well being of you and your family.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, November 27, 2017

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the Crumbling Media (Scott Adams Pt. 2)

Scotland’s ticking health time bomb, apparently we are a nation of couch potatoes despite £500 million a year ploughed in to taking part in sport, the lack of tuition, lack of instructors and cost of tuition puts exercise beyond Joe Public, politicians might ask the questions but in this case at Holyrood, they don’t know the answers

Dear All

Back in the day, in my youth by a quirk of fate, I ended up as a fitness trainer; my first teaching experience was at Bellahouston Sports Centre where I taught karate to kids. The reason I was teaching was there was apparently a shortage of instructors, so I ended up with the task of teaching a class and getting the kids ready to pass ‘gradings’.  As it happened, I had a flair for teaching and patience, when you teach a class of kids, you need patience.

After awhile, I ended up at Glasgow University, and as fate would have it, a friend asked me to take her to the gym because she didn’t feel comfortable about going alone, and since I was training at the time, I said okay I will show you how to use the machines, and the free weights.

Next thing I know I am knee deep in women apparently I was thought to be brilliant, prior to coming to university, I trained in the gym at Bellahouston in the days of Bobby Preston, who was quite a character and lifter. The powerlifting club there was regarded as one of the best in Glasgow and beyond.

When you get serious about anything you want to find out as much about it as possible, so as well as training and teaching a large part of my time was spent reading up on the technical aspects of weighting. I used a system called EDIP, which if you have been in the military this word is familiar to you.

EDIP, Explain, Demonstrate, Immitate, Practice, this is a tried and tested method of teaching which a lot of other systems use a version of to impart knowledge.  

After awhile, I realised that although my training partners were regarded as pretty good, there was something else that they needed as well to understand the core subject properly, they needed to learn how to teach themselves. University has a wealth of IQ floating around the place but that doesn’t always translate into practical application. My training partners were regarded very highly in the gym due to them being the elite of the University. Later on, I would end up getting fitness qualifications which are always useful because certain people value the ‘piece of paper’ rather than the experience of the individual, however I had in depth knowledge and the paper to back it up.

The biggest drawback in getting Scots involved in sport is and always will be availability of tuition. One of the guys who I taught at University works in London, his time is expensive; he charges the going rate which is £50 a hour. In council facilities and in private gyms, a basic personal trainer charge can set you back £25 per hour, the cost of learning isn’t cheap. Most people unless they have someone like me tend to adopt the sink or swim approach, and when they get going for a while ask other members how to do exercises or just watch someone and then try to copy them. This leads to a high turn over in gym memberships as people without the access to learning and instruction simply don’t see progress and therefore the gym becomes just another thing to them.

A lot of money has been ploughed into making Scots active, £500million a year, but despite throwing cash at the problem, and building facilities which some ‘ignorant’ politicians then claim is ‘world class’, most Scots claim too embarrassed to take part in sport or worried that it’s too elite.

Too embarrassed by lack of knowledge and no real help, and think it is too elite is also a myth as well, training is something which can be learned, what is the first step?

Getting people to turn up!

My classes at University were always full, this is because I as a coach in the GUSA taught for free, and I also taught students for free elsewhere. Politicians don’t understand the problem, if they did they would realise that facilities need instructors and instructors build the gym community, so the pool of knowledge spreads outwards. Pumping hundreds of millions of pounds of public cash into physical recreation and then finding out that the number of Scots taking part in sport or recreational activity has stagnated is an old story.

Although politicians and others talk about the creation of a “legacy of sport” after high profile events like the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it is the person who teaches who comes in on a Friday night in the pissing rain to teach a class for free or paid that is the real legacy which should be helped and supported. Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee

This lot don’t know what they are talking about and never did, which is why explaining anything to them is a waste of time and why there will always be a lack of public response to the massive investment. Imagine the amount of money that could be saved if people had the mental tools (knowledge) to lead a healthy lifestyle, the NHS would certainly benefit as would other services which the public access.

Convener Neil Findlay MSP said:

“We are disappointed that overall participation figures have remained fairly stagnant over the past decade. We look forward to a response from the Scottish Government to tell us what its plans are to increase participation rates and to hear what lessons have been learned over the past decade".

Lessons learned?


As well as the cost of tuition, to be decent, you have to add in the cost of buying the equipment or clothing for the activity that you want to engage in, sport isn’t cheap. If add in the cost of membership, you are paying a good bit of money. Here is an example which I selected at random.

This gym charges £46 a month, and that doesn’t include tuition however you do get a very basic induction usually done by a young person who might be a sport science graduate who needs a job.

Holyrood is good at generating paper but when it comes to solutions, their knowledge just isn’t there, the Sport for Everyone Phase 2 report looked into why some Scots adults were failing to achieve the Chief Medical Office physical activity guidelines of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise a week, 150 minutes of moderate intensity or a combination of both.

Just as some people don’t have the will for different reasons, there is a lack of political will, as to council facilities, they cater to the lowest common denominator, much like the equipment. Although Councils like to say their facilities are world class that is in the main just risible.

Feedback to the committee revealed many Scots who opt out of physical activity do so because they are too embarrassed and worried they might “look foolish, especially in large leisure facilities or palaces of sport.

Basically as I said; no knowledge; cast adrift and left to sink or swim, getting a trainer or coach is a serious business especially when you can get one for free and they are half decent. A lot of time and energy is needed to get someone trained up, it doesn’t just happen, it is planned out and training outcomes established.

So, what is a training outcome in exercise, let’s use weight training as an example, it could be more knowledge, lifting more weight, doing more repetitions, cutting down rest time between ‘sets’.

Sets are a series of repetitions ranging from one rep and upwards.

When I was at school, I wasn’t interested in sport, the reason was the school wasn’t educated much beyond fitba and netball. The PE teachers were old men who were basically passing their time until retirement; they had lost their ability if they ever had it in the first place.

There is a theory that sport is elitist and is lacking in positive role models, we see the Olympics and marvel at this, but getting someone to the Olympics isn’t cheap, these people needed to be funded, and that is why it is seen as elite. It seems that ‘yahoo okay ya’ mob always seem to get to the front of the queue when the cash is handed out, not the wee guy down the end of the street.

And it is usually the wee guy down the end of the street who then goes onto teach others for free but generally without the support and recognition.

The problem is knowledge, the solution is provide instructors, the mechanisms to get that in quantities required to make an impact aren’t developed, if you can’t get taught and access tuition, you don’t have the same connection as those who do.

In my entire time teaching at Glasgow University as an instructor, I wasn’t paid a penny, not even expenses but I did turn out an elite product unlike the university paid staff that turned out an inferior product, so much so some ended up asking my trainees for help.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University