Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The big hall was full as Ed Milliband stood up to make his first speech as the youngest ever leader of the Labour Party: the drama which surrounded his narrow victory had left delegates drained: the fact that the victory was over his older brother David made the tension almost unbearable. By late afternoon the dust had settled and both brothers were bathed in the warmth and love of an emotional conference where delegates were once again taking on a messianic tone: this is of course de rigueur for the election of party leaders yet: there was something fascinating about the spectacle. This guy really did come from nowhere and he looked like the coolest person in the hall.

I had the pleasure of meeting him at the hustings arranged by local MP Jim. Sheridan here in Paisley where I told him he was second vote on my ballott paper and he said “I’ll settle for that: second preference votes are important and there is always time to change your mind” he was relaxed and confident: exactly ‘the kind of guy you would want with you if you went to rob a bank’ as my Da. used to say. On cue we have the siren voices of the right sniping away: my old Glenburn neighbour Andrew Neil did his loyal grovelling best to undermine the moment as usual by sniping in his voice over as Milliband left the hall like Danton leaving the assembly. Do predictable right wing political dinosaur TV journalists like Neil not have a sell by date? Then he was being called a prisoner of the unions and red Ed. Don’t you long for proper debate? we are turning into America listening to these has beens: time for some new blood Rupert! “he owes his election to union votes” who do you think said this? Norman Tebbit? David Cameron? Alex (the spiv) Salmond? Actually it was said by Tory Life Peer Baroness Warsi who despite never having won an election in her life sits in the Lords and helps to rule over us. She is also unusual in that she is a Muslim of Pakistani descent but she could be any old harumphing Tory hereditary oaf, she ran for election handing out blatant homophobic poison but: she has the arrogance which only comes from being a Tory, and that’s what counts.

Ed. Milliband spoke of a living wage of £7 an hour and getting rid of payment systems that see bankers being paid more in a day than the bank cleaner gets in a year. He stated the rather obvious when he said there will be no peace in the Middle East as long as Israeli settlers continue to build on land which they have stolen and the World Court regards as a crime, he said “it is just wrong” why do so many other politicians find that so hard to say? He has shown already that he is a tough customer and he will already know that he is going to have to be real tough and then some. The Rupert Murdochs: Andrew Neils: Adam Boultons and the rest of the reactionary news clan are waiting and these people believe in nothing except who is paying them. It will be like a blood sport and do you know what? I’m sticking my neck out: no doubt some will say it’s wishful thinking but: I think he’s got the right stuff.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


There have always been elements of society who look for someone to blame when things get a little rough; perhaps they can’t resist scare stories in the press and they get upset and angry, it could be major events or trivial, the evil that is bigotry never sleeps and is never far away. Another common trait is for such people to blame those who are in some way “different” from the main stream, in most cases the ones being picked on are not really different at all but that doesn’t stop the abuse which comes their way when the mob mentality takes over, what the mob perceives is what’s important.

A couple of years ago I went on a travelling holiday in Europe, one country in particular; Poland was a wonderful place to visit and while there a guide pointed out to me a camp just outside of the beautiful sophisticated city of Krakow where several hundred Romany people were living: it took a certain shine off the visit to see the conditions they lived in and the hatred that locals displayed toward them. They were blamed for every petty crime in the area and it struck me hard to think that Poland is arguably the most Christian country in the world with an estimated 90% plus Poles attending Sunday Mass. This is what prejudice and bigotry can do. In a country which would claim to be devoutly Christian this was tolerated, most of the good natured generous Poles I met had no problem with it.

Today in Europe we have millions of Romany people who are living in a situation which is fraught with danger and worsening, the harshness of their lives has been part of their existence for hundreds of years yet some people want to make it worse. Some might argue that France and Italy are two of Europe’s most cultured and historic countries: certainly the French and Italians would. These two countries however are leading the way in carrying out what famously in Tsarist Russia used to be called pogroms: when thousands of Jews were persecuted and expelled from their homes. It was barbarism then and it is now and it’s happening in countries which boast the Louvre and the Sistine Chapel: culture indeed eh? Both of these beautiful famous countries are mired in shame, Romany people are protected from persecution by European law and I hope the European Parliament lands on France and Italy hard.

Predictably we here in the UK are guilty as well: the situation is nowhere as big but when it comes to unreasoned prejudice we are guilty as hell. We have Gypsies from northern Europe who regularly face severe prejudice in the South of England and around the rest of Britain we have “Travellers” who get the same bigotry and wretched prejudice aimed at them. Romany, Tinkers, Gypsies and Travellers have been leading their particular life styles for centuries and they will not change now: why should they? As a local councillor I get complaints when Travellers arrive and more often than not they don’t amount to much when investigated, there is no great number of incidents which require action from the Police: check and see. A regular Traveller’s camp appears near where I stay a couple of times a year and they stay for a month or so and move on. Over my time living here I’ve had 2 cars burned out another car stolen, my house broke into twice and none of it was done by Travellers: what does that tell us?

I believe that Travellers should have proper facilities in each council district to accommodate them when they stop there: this happens in many English towns and it works very well, we ought to be doing the same. As you curl up in your warm bed tonight think of those Romany people women and small children included who are out in the elements because of the brutal actions of some countries who like to refer to themselves as cultured and sophisticated. Do what I’m doing and write to your Euro MP’s and complain, demand that the Euro. Parliament protect these people. The law demands it and so does decency.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


When your face appears on a stamp you could say you have made it big time, some people get their image on a stamp or their picture shown worldwide but even then it doesn’t begin to tell the story of their genius their character and the contribution they made to the world. Such a person is Sir James Black the Nobel prizewinning physician and pharmacologist who died earlier this year, he appears on a stamp launched today. A truly remarkable man who happens to have been born in Uddingston and raised in Fife or put another way he was Scottish born. Born in that part of the UK called Scotland and we should be proud of him. I am often accused of being in some silly way anti Scottish which is rubbish and Sir James Black is a hero and should be celebrated as such because of his life and achievements. It’s nice and it’s a bit of a bonus to be able to say “I come from the same country as Black and Alexander Fleming” Etc. as long as we don’t fall into the trap which cod patriots often fall into of associating in some way their greatness with being Scottish. Scotland can no more claim the credit for Sir James Black’s gifts and moral fibre than it can be blamed for the Moors Murderer Scottish born Ian Brady, good or bad they belong to the world.

James Black’s greatness manifests itself to me in two major ways, I can’t begin to understand how his brilliant mind worked but I can appreciate what his mind produced and I can also appreciate how he lived his life. His life outside the laboratory or high academia was unremarkable and identical to millions of people who work marry and raise a family, so what I hear you ask? Well; had he chosen to he could have lived his life as one of the richest people in the world, rich in fame and adoration as well as “wealth beyond the dreams of avarice” Quite literally millions of people avoided death due to his invention of the ‘Beta Blocker’ for heart problems and millions more due to his invention of the drug Cimetidine which treats stomach ulcers. These two inventions saved the health service billions of pounds and continue to do so; millions of operations for these conditions became unnecessary because of James Black and his beautiful inquisitive mind, these are the two major manifestations which make him great his achievements and his lack of interest in making money from them.

I would rather see statues to people like James Black and Alexander Fleming than some of the so called Scottish heroes real or imagined which we see today, these people are more entitled to be called heroes and have our children taught about them than past imaginary loosely researched heroes who beat up the English. A man like Black epitomises what is best about the human race. We should use him as an example to future generations, a man dedicated to science and saving lives without a thought for personal gain. How great would it be if society used people like him to look up to and copied his character but: hold on now this is beginning to sound like Socialism, what a great idea.

Friday, September 10, 2010


09/09/2010 09.30 am and ringmaster Provost Lawson brings the circus to order: Renfrewshire Council is in now in session. The first half is as usual tedious and repetitive except for a minor comic cameo from Cllrs. Eileen Mc Cartin and Bruce McFee the gist of which was a plea for understanding about the serious financial position we are in. Let’s agree they said that when we have to make cuts that no one tries to make political capital out of it. Cllr. McFee and Cllr. McCartin are the kind of people who would stoop to any level: employ any dirty trick and carry out any misdemeanour as long as they were satisfied they would not get caught and here they were trying to ask for understanding and cooperation. The toxic mix of arrogance and stupidity displayed between them is jaw dropping. Every time I am obliged to be anywhere near Cllr. McCartin I can’t help thinking that this woman is a demonstrable exponent of Christianity: in her case I believe it’s the Roman version. Think about her and Mother Theresa of Calcutta together; you have to laugh otherwise you would cry yourself to death. I have never come across a less Christian individual in my life than McCartin: no wonder the churches are all being converted into ‘Cash n Carries’

A Labour motion was put which condemned the Tory/Libdem Westminster Government for its latest proposals to carry out savage cuts which hit the poorest in society. The motion highlighted the proposal to cut Job Seekers Allowance from £65 to £55 a week. Here surely was food and drink to the anti Engurlish rabid SNP knuckle draggers: the dirty Engurlish Tory/Libdem B******s cutting services to the Scottish jobless: everyone waited for the Braveheart spirit to explode: and waited: and waited, “I have an amendment” screeched McCartin to the sound of audible sighs.

We then witnessed the complete collapse of any self-esteem and any dignity that the SNP might have had. McCartin assisted by the truly wretched Cllr. Mackay came to the rescue of the Westminster Tory/Libdem Govt. Let’s look at this again: forget McCartin she is a shameless loud mouthed bully who will do anything for a sniff of power and a few pieces of silver. It’s Mackay who is the story: the leader of the council and the SNP, the crusader for independence the conscience of the Scottish people blah blah blah. He backs an amendment which supports the London Tory/Libdem Govt’s cuts it doesn’t add up does it? Well actually it does when you know the players, this is what happens when “thieves fall out” or in this case when two apolitical opportunist parties like the SNP and the Libdems join together.

The Libdem tail has just wagged the SNP dog because Mackay is politically spineless: his position should have been one of so called braveheart Scottish nationalists refusing to support a British Tory Govt. carrying out cuts in Scotland. What we got was a gutless capitulation to the bully McCartin’s threat to bring down the Renfrewshire SNP/Libdem coalition if he stopped her supporting the British Govt. with her Libdem friends in it. Lie down with dogs Derek and you wake up with fleas.

Was it coincidence that SNP Cllrs. like McFee: Nicolson: Adam: Mitchell sat navel gazing and brooding: these clowns are famous for being unable to stop talking not sitting in silence. There is now clearly another question in the ring: as well as the survival of the coalition there is now the question of the survival of Mackay who is now badly wounded in the eyes of his revenge driven rivals. He made them support an English Tory Govt. and he will now limp toward his inevitable humiliation as his party’s Holyrood candidate, meanwhile McFee and company are left to consider with relish that “revenge is a dish best eaten cold” it couldn’t happen to nicer people.

Last night in Edinburgh Labour won a by election seat with over 50% of the vote and the clock is ticking: it looks more and more like a good: if cowardly idea for Cllr. Mackay to get himself on to the list as well as challenging for a first past the post seat which he is very confident of winning according to his bragging in the local press, so confident that he is on the list as well. Aye right Derek!

"the British Govt. cuts are broadly right" (SNP council leader Derek Mackay) at Thursday's meeting.

To cap it all the (wee spiv) Salmond has binned his promised referendum on independence. How much more can the true believers take? Ochone ochone it will all end in tears.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Of the 3 people in the following article 2 no longer require my party loyalty, something which I have always adhered to, I wish others could have shown the same discipline over the years but; the Labour movement is massive and so is the party so you just have to get on with things and hope others will do the same. Now that Tony Blair has joined Mandelson and published his book I don’t feel restrained in any way about giving my opinions of them I am after all only doing what they have done; with a smaller readership of course but it feels cathartic.

Gordon Brown is doing something right now which consolidates his position as superior to Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson and their supporters, he is doing nothing. To be more precise he is not publishing a book which will damage the Labour Party and he is not doing interviews which are designed to traduce his former colleagues he is; as always; putting the party and the greater Labour movement first. His reasons for entering politics hold as true today as they ever did. Quite simply he is demonstrating that not only is he a far superior Labour politician and a much truer socialist than his betrayers but he is far more of a man than those two and ten more like them could ever be.

Blair; despite his profile and his electoral success has always lived in Brown’s shadow; not to the chattering classes and the media perhaps but to the members of the Labour Party. They were happy to enjoy success under Blair and appreciated him for that but no matter what success he brought while leader he could never emulate the lifelong love affair that Brown enjoyed and still does with the party members, to them he is ‘the man’ and he will dwarf Blair and Mandelson if they live to be a hundred. Their bestselling books and ingratiating TV appearances will forever be stained by the knowledge that they spent their time in the limelight playing second fiddle in the affections of their party to the brooding; honest gut socialist who was their intellectual as well as their moral better, we the members know that and so do they.

Brown is in good company if you consider what he has been subjected to by the media and some people whom he couldn’t turn his back to. He is still standing and I hope/think he has still got a major contribution to make to the Labour Party and Labour Movement. He is the latest in a long line of left wing standard bearers whom the right wing media has tried to destroy; Scargill and McGahey, Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn etc. etc. real socialists who could not be beaten or intimidated by corporate interests and the bought and paid for media who are shameless.

Consider this incident when you compare Blair to Brown; on election British PM’s quickly visit Washington a place much loved by Blair who was completely smitten by it and by the idiot Bush. It was “Tony this and George that and Tony kiss my ass” and Blair like a young impressionable kid meeting his/her favourite rock star. On Brown’s first visit Bush said at a press conference “welcome to America Gordon” and Brown replied casually without emotion or nerves “thank you Mr. President” Did Bush perhaps think “WTF is this; who is this guy; he doesn’t seem impressed by me or the states” or perhaps George being George didn’t feel the knife going in.

Honest true historians will be kind to Brown they will write about the political giant that he was and is.