Thursday, April 26, 2007


Today saw the last full council meeting of the present Renfrewshire Council and the last meeting for the seven people pictured below. All seven are retiring as councillors after 140 years of service between them. Longest server 35 yrs. shortest 8 yrs.

Barbara Adams 8 yrs a councillor and daughter of two MP's Irene and the late Allen, mother of Mirin 8yrs. A dynamic young woman with energy, and commitment to the cause, we will here more of her in the future.

What makes her different from the others apart from being an attractive young woman is the fact that she has her own teeth and doesn't have a deaf aid. A fierce intellect and a tongue like an adder - a go ahead business woman, lecturer and politician, a right clever clogs in fact - we will miss her.

John ( papa ) McDowall reputed to be around 70 yrs old, claims that the dead sea was only sick when he was a boy, life long member of the 'Paisley Man Society' ' puts a fork in the sugar bowl ' before having a hip replacement he asked the surgeon if he could have the old bone for the dug. 35 yrs a councillor with Paisley Burgh, Strathclyde Region and Renfrewshire Council, ex taxi driver who once took suit cases to Glasgow and left their owner standing at Glasgow Airport. Ex Provost and Mr. Popular ( he knows where the bodies are buried ) a good natured and genial old buffer with a permatan and an outrageous dress sense, in a previous age he would have been referred to as a 'dandy' sometimes gives the impression that he doesn't have both paddles in the water but many have found to their cost that he's as sharp as a tack - we miss him already.

Bob McGerty 'BIG BOAB' to everyone, 19 yrs. no remission, another survivor of the Strathclyde Regional Gulag, an honorary Renfrew man originally from the wild Northern Glasgow area of Springburn. A musician and singer of some repute, his neighbours have been known to smash his windows when he is practicing, the better to hear him says Boab. One of the genuine 'good guys' I haven't met anyone who doesn't get along with 'big McGerty'. A survivor and gourmet who leaves at a time when everyone was convinced he was trying to burn down the building with his cooking in the wee council kitchen. He wears the same size clothes as he did 40 yrs. ago despite putting away grub like a starving dug in a black puddin factory, like his fellow Renfrew man Cllr. Alex Murrin he never leaves the house without his knife and fork in a wee case in his pocket. He has been a constant fighter for the rights of workers, race and sex equality and many more good causes he typifies the good decent Labour man and is a Socialist to his fingertips. He intends now to spend time with his wife Joyce, at the caravan with her and the dog 'jooking' out for a pint then into the bookies, back for a wee hauf, we are all jealous. Good luck big man.

Burns, 'Ronnie' - Provost of this parish, over seventy since you ask, reputedly of Glaswegian origin now domiciled in Linwood, old style trade union fixer with a long memory, 20 yrs service. Clings to Glasgow roots by regularly visiting well known football shrine in the east end, possibly Shettleston Juniors ? Known for getting the job done and no nonsense, could easily have been a stand up comedian, you wouldn't dare not laugh. A comrade of the old school who knows the score, you can't replace experience like that. His motto was "Genghis Khan didn't become great by calling meetings, he did it by killing all his opponents" Happy Retirement.

Jim ( Tony Soprano ) Harkins - ( The Boss ) - ( Big Jim ) ( Mr. Johnstone ) and the leader of the council and of the Labour Group, a well nigh impossible task carried out with aplomb by him, 23 yrs. service. Known for his prodigious memory and his habit of swatting aside his political opponents in the chamber like flies, could have been 'done' for cruelty many times against the hapless SNP leader Cllr. Mackay and the bumbling Lib. Dem. leader Cllr. McCartin both of whom are destined to carry the mental scars and bruises that he has inflicted on them, they beamed with content and relief as Jim said farewell today. His whole family are Labour stalwarts and they make up a formidable team. Jim leaves a legacy of New Schools, New Elderly Homes, New Respite Centres, A smoke free council, and much more, he has left his mark, when the Queen visited Johnstone locals were heard to say "who's the wee wumman talking tae big Jim" Happy retirement.

Manser, Richard - Able Seaman in a former life, once boarded a Chinese Junk in Hong Kong Harbour to search for contraband and, while struggling to climb the boarding net he passed his rifle up to the smiling wee Chinaman who was watching him with bemusement, thanks China said he when he got on board, it's bloody well true, honest to god it is. Hard line Marxist Socialist who has never taken a backward step in his life, incredibly hard political worker with a brain like a gin trap - generous to a fault and a talented scribbler - by contrast can become a big sixties softy hippy with an encyclopedic knowledge of the beatles but, above all, a loyal and faithful friend and comrade - the Labour Party needs more like him, he doesn't want or need your sympathy or even your agreement, he settles for being allowed to put his argument, which I can assure you is formidable. The first name on the team sheet when the going gets tough.

McNally, 'Rab' 12 yrs. a 'trustee' - an Erskine man but, sound for all that, originally frae Partick, ex trade union convener in Babbies and a fan of Partick Thistle nil. All time winner of the award for the funniest heckle I've ever heard, we (Labour) pulled a stroke in the chamber which caused the SNP Cllrs. to explode in fury, shouting, swearing, threatening, foaming at the mouth and chewing the carpet, amid all this uproar and hullabaloo McNally was heard to shout "they don't like it up em captain" cue chaos, everyone, including those who think themselves above this kind of thing were completely undone and fell apart at the hilarious brilliance and timing of Rab's intervention ( I still wonder if he had it planned, was he saving it up ? ) Everyone, including the most senior of senior executives gave in to laughter, as chief whip responsible for discipline I also gave up and laughed myself into a black knot. When Rab isn't singing (his description ) he is working out ways to wind someone up. Best of luck to him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Some time ago I reported that I was receiving hate mail, filth and racist abuse, really terrible stuff which targeted my family as well.

Some of the right wing libertarian thugs who were attacking me on my blog accused me of making all of this up, particularly the coward who hides behind the nom de plume 'right for Scotland' He went so far as to call me a liar, I accused him and the others of encouraging this kind of thing and indeed indulging in it, I still stand by these remarks.

Over the past six months or so the police have been investigating this hate mail, I have met with them on several occasions and today I had a meeting with them again.

Today they confirmed that they are unable to pursue the matter further because they say it is extremely difficult to prove these things, they went on to confirm that the hate mail had been sent from such diverse places as the Philippines, Holland and Russia.

I now invite 'right for Scotland' to contact the C.I.D. at Strathclyde Police K division at Mill St. Paisley and they will confirm to him and anyone else who wants to call that I was not lying.

Who knows maybe 'right for Scotland' will comment further when he has done this, but I won't hold my breath.

Monday, April 23, 2007


The gay hate figure, bus tycoon Brian Souter rejoins the SNP and gives them £500,000, weeks later the SNP's pledge to re-regulate buses has gone.

"Brian Souter is one of Scotland's greatest entrepreneurs I'm delighted to have his support" ( Alex Salmond )

The SNP shames Scotland, again.


Who is that do you think ? yes of course it's Salmond, why do I say this again ? The Scotsman Newspaper on Saturday carried an article by prominent Scottish businessman Brian Dempsey, in this article Mr. Dempsey stated that Annabelle Goldie, Jack McConnell, Nicol Steven and Alex Salmond were all capable of doing a good job as first minister, nothing wrong with that you might think, notwithstanding my own antipathy to Salmond, Mr. Dempsey is entitled to his opinion.

So, what happened next ? well, Salmond then attended a business breakfast where he told the assembled press that he had been endorsed by one of Scotland's best known business leaders, the hapless and blameless Mr. Dempsey which of course he had.

He deliberately misled everyone however by not mentioning the endorsement by Mr. Dempsey of the other three party leaders, what kind of man carries on like this ? what kind of charlatan is Mr. Salmond ? can he get any lower ? can you vote for someone as deceitful as Salmond ?

Mr. Dempsey actually went on to say that he would be voting Labour and guess what ? the slippery Salmond didn't mention this either. I wonder how Mr. Dempsey feels about Salmond as first minister now, is this suitable behaviour for a man who wants to lead the country ? you must decide.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Blacksburg Virginia joins Columbine, Pennsylvania etc. etc. not only in America of course but it seems, in a strange inexplicable way, less dramatic when it happens there.

Americans must be used to it you might think but you can't in my opinion get used to this, it's not possible, even in the USA where murders are so commonplace and guns are so easy to get, over 3,000 children alone die by gunfire each year. The stories about how easy it is to buy guns are scary, Bush publicly prayed but didn't mention gun ownership, the Republican Party receives millions and millions of dollars from the rifle association, yes really, they commented that 'if the students had all been armed, this would not have happened' ( ponder that )

In a Guardian report we learn that at the time of this incident in a broadcast interview John Bolton former USA ambassador to the UN was asked 'by what right does the USA impose it's values by force on foreign states' he replied simply "Try and stop us" he's a senior American politician ( ponder that ).

Can anything good be said about this ? well actually, yes it can, consider the students who acted on impulse to rescue their wounded friends, at great danger to themselves. Consider the elderly teacher, an Auswitch survivor who blocked the gunman's path by holding a door closed, he payed with his life, we would all like to think that we would show this kind of courage in such a desperate situation.

Will anything be done about guns in America ? While the firearms industry continues to make billions of dollars and give millions to the Republican Party the answer is no.

Picture the scene a guy walks into a gun store and walks out again with a military style heavy machine gun, capable of killing hundreds in seconds. The guy lives quietly with his family goes to church and works in a local factory and no one asks 'what's that all about' ?

In America, money doesn't talk, it shouts and bawls.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I urge everyone who reads this blog to read all of the recent comments. I want you to know what the far right anonymous thugs are like. They certainly like to talk tough, have a look and see what you think of your fellow humans, some of this mob crawl out occasionally and shout abuse and then run off and hide under their stones. Steel yourself and read it, these people are real and could be living near you, what a thought !

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The beastly Iranians pulled a dirty trick and captured 15 of our brave British sailors. They then subjected them to unspeakable deprivations too horrible to recount, and made them lie to the world, as always our heroes stood up to their evil captors with the good old bull dog spirit which has made our proud country the ruler of the waves, god bless her and them etc. etc. They faced the 'bumping pitch and blinding light' like true British Sailors.

An easy victory and publicity triumph was achieved by the Iranians when 15 British sailors surrendered to them without a fight, our lot acted like a bunch of bloody 'Johnny Foreigners', everyone of them should go before a court martial and be drummed out of Her Majesty's Navy. They now have the audacity to sell their stories to the press, how dare they, it will take a long, long time before the British Empire lives this down.

Who wrote which of the above accounts ? Actually, they both come from right wing sources, the same people who immediately started flag waving several days later turned on them with a vengeance.

From heroes to cowards in the British Tory press only takes a day or two, how typical of the right, no real loyalty to anyone except themselves, what a mess they've got themselves into.
The armchair combatants and ringside fighters are apoplectic and it is an extremely ugly site.

I hope everyone is having a good hard look at them, Biggles and Colonel Blimp how are ye ?

Monday, April 09, 2007


IRAQ MANIPULATORS - I suppose I should have expected it, my article on the Iran captives has been seized on by the raging right wing fanatic ' right for Scotland ' who accuses me of doing them down because of my reference to the Monty Python sketch 'the Spanish inquisition'
I urge everyone to read it and consider what goes on in this guys head, if he feels obliged to write to me like this he is going to be a very busy boy indeed considering the deluge of criticism hitting them now, guess where from ? yup, knuckle dragging reactionaries just like ' right for Scotland' it will be interesting to see where he now goes with this.

His real problem of course is, that the Govt. has handled the situation well and no one has lost their life, that's what he and the right wing press and the retired military types are angered by.
They like nothing better than a good bloody conflict as long as they are far enough away from it. This is exemplified by poor old prince Harry who will now spend whatever time he does in Iraq worrying that one of his body guards might get hurt.

A young recruit lost his nerve and ran from a battle in a blind panic, when he collapsed exhausted and terrified he saw a big pair of shiny boots, looking up he saw an officer to whom he blurted out " I'm sorry corporal I couldn't help it I was scared " the officer said, "don't call me corporal laddie I'm a general"
"Christ" said the distraught lad, " have I run that far " ?

Good luck to the freed captives and I hope they make plenty from it, if all kinds of upper class retired military nonentities can write memoirs, why can't the poor bloody infantry ?

Friday, April 06, 2007


Friday March 6Th. 07 what has been going on ? all these polls showing the loonies about to take over the asylum. We in the Labour Party have been canvassing as we always do and when we meet up to swap stories we all express amazement at the polls, we all report positive responses and no sign of any SNP surge, are the right wing press up to their dirty tricks ? probably, but today's Herald shows a dramatic leap for Labour into a 4 point lead, maybe McConnell, Blair and Brown aren't as unpopular with the people who matter as the press try to tell us they are.

I was with Jack McConnell in Paisley and the response was great, people were glad to see him and they were quite willing to argue but they were friendly and well disposed to Labour, all three also put on an excellent press conference on Wed. which was shamefully played down by the media and here lies a serious malady. It's ten years since the wretched Tories and even longer since the war criminal Thatcher was in power, some journalists who don't remember those dark days are bored and want excitement by trying to elect the SNP.

They do this with a completely cavalier attitude to the consequences for the people who would have to pay the price, they make me nostalgic for the times when journalism was a respected profession, not now, not with this lot, they are a disgrace. I wonder what they tell their families they do for a living, child slave traders perhaps to avoid the shame of admitting to being a Scottish journalist.

Scottish Journalists ( not all of them ) remind me of an old American cartoon where the newsroom boss wearing his visor and shirt sleeve garters is jumping with joy because he's just heard that a plane full of people has just crashed into a packed orphanage !

IRAN - Blair played a blinder in dealing with the hostages didn't he, oh yes he did. Hundreds on both sides would be dead by now if Thatcher had been in charge and we would be further entrenched in another conflict which will cost us dear and will not be won.

I sat watching some of the scenes in the pub ( you're shocked eh ? ) with some mates who are irreverent to say the least all of them about my age and Monty Python fans, one took up the sketch about the Spanish inquisition yelling ' my god, how cruel, they are making them smoke cigarettes - making them eat food - now they are forcing them to wear suits and shirts - making them smile and shake hands, the beasts etc. etc. black humour ? laughing at trouble ? of course it was but today, the day after their return there are newspapers saying that the sailors captured were too compliant and one or two crusty old armchair commandos are calling for them to be court marshalled, and that, is not funny !

Monday, April 02, 2007


On Sunday evening we got a glance of what life would be like under nationalism and Alex Salmond 'we saw the future and it smirks' ( apologies to Bert. Russell ) This is a man who is difficult to like, this man can strut while seated. snide comments and sarcastic laughter are his debating tools and the whole package oozes arrogance, not a pretty sight.

The SNP would have us believe that they are very confident, cocky even, why is it then that they still find it necessary to orchestrate applause for Alex Salmond's every word and heckling for Jack McConnell, the cack handed way this was done on Sunday had everyone cringing with embarrassment, except of course Salmond who is immune to insult he is impervious to everything but blows, the king of the brass necks. Each time the camera showed the audience clapping it was the same people doing it, with two demented looking gnats actually heckling McConnell highlighting very poor chairmanship.

Incidentally one of the 'poles' which didn't get much publicity was Ladbroke's and William Hill's who both have Labour as favourites to win the most Holyrood seats, how often do they get it wrong ?