Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Nelson Mandela has been honoured by a big statue in Parliament Square, alongside Abraham Lincoln, Jan Smutts and Churchill, a president who freed the slaves, a S.A. Prime Minister who championed slavery and a British Prime Minister who would have embraced Apartheid given the chance.

Mandela recalled a visit to Parliament Square as a young man with his great comrade Oliver Tambo when they laughingly joked that it would be wonderful to have a statue in Parliament Square some day of a black person, now it's come true and it's him.
From the dock as a young man before sentencing he said he was prepared to die for his beliefs, what followed was long years of brutal imprisonment which he of course survived and triumphed over.
He was instrumental in overthrowing the evil of Apartheid and he also inspired people all over the world to fight injustice.

For years we attended marches and demo's as well as boycotting S.A. goods, we wore little blue badges with the simple message 'Free Nelson Mandela' everywhere you went people would see others wearing these badges and exchange a greeting or sometimes just a nod or a smile, it was like some kind of international brotherhood a world wide movement for a great man against a great evil.

I remember that at the time of his imprisonment the Young Conservatives dressed up in 'T' shirts which bore the legend 'Hang Nelson Mandela' some of these braying morons became quite prominent and some still are.
I hope the great man, like me, was thinking about them today.

One of them was the awful Ian Hamilton Tory MP who had a crime named after him, a financial bribe contained in a brown envelope became known as a 'Hamilton' very fitting for the party inspired by Arthur Daly.
Mandela will now always be a part of Britain with this statue, I took my oldest daughter Clare to see him and hear him speak on a wet Glasgow day I held her on my shoulders in the large crowd, and now I'm so proud that I did, some day she might tell her Grandchildren that her father took her to see and hear one of the greatest men of the 20 Th. century.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Here's a little snippet which shows what it's like to be a Palestinian living under the Israeli occupation. An England V Palestine football match was suggested and as a result a three week tour of a Palestinian under 19 team was arranged, they were preparing to come to the UK when the British Consulate in Jerusalem refused their passport applications, This is how the Palestinians are treated by us currying favour with Israel and America, shameful.

The consulate say they were afraid that they might abscond, Britain colluded with the brutal Israel state in creating their conditions which are desperate and now we prevent them from taking part in sport.

Can't you see the cruel shadow created by the USA and Israel over these people's lives, and we here lie down to them, kids playing football for god's sake, I'm ashamed to be British.

As for Israel, they are not concerned by young footballers, this is a state consumed by guilt.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Who else but Bush, someone once said that 'no-one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the average American' ( PT Barnum ? ) I thought about this the other night when Dubya was speaking on TV his insult to Americans this time was not Iraq or illegal torture or even the highest number in the world of people in jail, no this was an insult to savor he spoke about Americas failures in Vietnam. Some 50,000 American lives lost and he chose to use the Vietnam war to bolster his stance on Iraq.

So why is this so bad ? well many of you will be well ahead of me by now, yes that's right the President of the USA George W Bush is a draft dodging coward this dishonourable pathetic excuse of a president used his family's wealth and connections to avoid the war, he now gets away with criticism of how the war was prosecuted, how low can this man get ? how does he get away with it ? are the American people really that stupid ? it would seem so.

The Republican right attacked Clinton for missing Vietnam and elected Bush, conveniently avoiding a slight difference between them which was that Clinton opposed the war, the coward Bush was happy to support it with the proviso that someone else would do the fighting, he was all for fighting those pesky commies as long as he didn't have to get shot at, 'let the little people get shot at' as the late truly awful American Billionaire Leona Helmsley would have said

I truly despair at what this great nation has become, This dreadful President Bush makes Nixon look cuddly, he's a coward, a liar and a crook - all together now join in "God help America, my home sweet home"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Something to be truly proud of, three recent events. On TV - 'The Amazon Heartbeat' told the story of people carrying through a project to take medical aid to some of the poorest people in the world in the Amazon basin. The site of poor disease ridden children being treated with what are sometimes quite simple remedies to us was quite moving and also served to remind me of why I'm in politics and, why I hold the beliefs that are so important to me.

This project was achieved against great odds and the programme resonates with Scottish voices, try to watch the next episode, well done to all of them.

'From the Congo to Motherwell' was another uplifting programme, refugees from that tragic country are being resettled and made welcome by the people of Motherwell who have taken them to their hearts.
These people have fled hunger, poverty and violence and are now making a new life here in Scotland, if you must have something that makes you proud of your country then you should start right here.

The Paisley Daily Express carries the story of two courageous Paisley women who travelled to the Middle East to give medical help and other assistance to one of the most tragic and dangerous places on the planet, 'The Gaza Strip' sometimes referred to as the world's biggest prison.

Palestinians packed into a small cramped area surrounded by hunger and disease, also surrounded by their oppressors the state of Israel who treat them with appalling disregard for the sanctity of human life.

These two women reported their terror at coming under fire from the Israeli military who also used gas to attack them and the Palestinians that they were trying to help, gassing women and children ! that's what the Israelis are now doing, who would have thought that possible ? again if you are looking for a source of pride you have it right there.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Watched Aberdeen V Celtic on TV, good match, goal scored by a 40 yr. old, Craig Brewster' 'well done that man' Nakamura smashed a 30yrd. free kick off the bar, bad by his standards.

4 goals and plenty of football incidents but theee ! incident was a confrontation between the Celtic dug out and the Aberdeen fans behind them, one steward was seen to run down stairs to confront Gordon Strachan in a very angry way, I can't wait to hear what that guy has to say,

This type of thing is far too common and seems to be getting worse.

I would like to suggest a solution - a cop stationed behind each dug out to monitor what is being shouted and if there is vile and poisonous personal abuse as suggested by the Celtic management team then, arrest and charge the culprits. Is that too simple ?

Friday, August 17, 2007


Wendy Alexander will be the new leader of Scottish Labour. Yesterday at the Wynd Centre in Paisley Wendy announced she would stand and along with others, some of them big hitters, I was, as her agent delighted to share the moment with her and other comrades, along with the gaggle of press people who, probably for the last time felt obliged to be nice to her.

I doubt if I could be civil to journalists who vilified me the way they did her over clause 28 but she was. The press of course have been trying for years to find some way of damaging her to no avail and they are now stirring up rubbish about a no contest being a bad thing for a leader.

If you want a real stinker of a leadership story look at Salmond's career, how many defeats (and Sturgeon) how many walk outs and still leader and deputy leader, where are the rest of them ? the truth is that there has never been any Nat. with the courage to face up to the bully Salmond, remember the paper tiger Mike Russell, one of their big names being dragged before the angry boss ? " make the following changes to your new book or you will not be a candidate for Holyrood" said Alex "yes boss" said Mike "three bags full boss" It's Alex's party and no mistake he can come and go as he pleases and lose as many times as he has and he still rules the fainthearts of the SNP - where are the 'fundies' what's happened to them ?

Jack McConnell has fought hard for the cause and been a constant source of strength to members and I congratulate him and thank him, this however isn't the SNP one man band and I know Jack would not have it any other way.

It's time for a change and Wendy will provide that, she brings a commitment second to none as well as a fierce intellect and the stamina of a long distance athlete, I think she will be a force to reckon with and a great asset to Labour and to Scotland when she becomes first minister.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Someone in the Sunday press reminded me of the worst words on TV, that's "except for viewers in Scotland, who have their own programme" this was usually met in our house with a chorus of "whit ? F.F.S. no again" over to the white heather club while the rest of Britain get the live football and , me and my brothers got slapped about the head by our mother for our language.

On one occasion me and said brothers and some mates travelled to the nearest pub where you could choose not to watch Scottish TV, this was in Largs and was mobbed with football fans who wanted to watch the nail biting World Cup game between England and Poland, despite BBC Scotland showing Scotland playing at the same time. Was that unpatriotic ? no, it was common sense, I'm glad I saw the game live, England failed to qualify because of the heroics of one Jan Thomashevski the Polish keeper famously described by Brian Clough in the match commentary as a "clown"

I relate this story because there are people, (Salmond and the SNP) who want to take us back there, the operative word is BACK not forward, think River City, Fran n Anna, kilts, pipes, Shinty, Gaelic, the horror of Hogmanays to awful to mention, likewise Tam Cowan. The Scottish news at six doesn't often take up more than 15 mns. and then it's stories about a cute dog adopting kittens it's a non event and always needs padding out.

This is Salmond TV - " it might be rubbish but by god at least it's Scottish rubbish"

Thursday, August 09, 2007


The visit to Europe was great but far too short - I visited some beautiful cities on holiday, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin were the highlights. All three of course were part of the 'Eastern Block' and that makes them fascinating for me, the most interesting thing is how the people of these places regard their lives now, compared with then.

The cities themselves and their history draw you in, the monuments, squares, Govt. buildings and churches etc all have a story to tell and are mostly beautiful places. Communism doesn't seem to have damaged them, in fact lots of sympathetic rebuilding has gone on since the destruction of WW2 and continues today, today however, particularly in Warsaw and Berlin there are now massive new ultra modern structures cheek by jowl with ancient stunning buildings, this is not a criticism.

I expected to be outraged at the modernist invasion but, surprisingly I found it in a strange way acceptable, structures three times the height of our high flats made of what seems to be coloured reflective glass squares are everywhere and their designs and shapes are incredible, you can sit in an old traditional tram and go along these streets marveling at this blend of old and new and it seems to work. I intend to return to Berlin and spend more time there ASAP - I intend to write more about this trip, when I've caught up with work.