Wednesday, December 28, 2011


“The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"(Oscar Wilde on Fox Hunting)
Oscar got it right, the hooray Henry’s are raising their ugly heads again about Fox Hunting. According to reports hunts have been out hunting foxes and ignoring the law safe in the knowledge that the other hooray Henry’s in the Tory Government will do nothing about their law breaking. A great many of these people would like to take us back to the days of hunting catching and killing terrified innocent animals, these are the people that the great Nye Bevan described as lower than vermin. If you teach your children that it is OK in fact it’s a legitimate sport to kill animals what do you expect them to grow up like? Take a look at the Tory Government and the great and powerful in this country and you will see what they are like. Vicious, cruel, greedy parasites who care only for themselves, I would prefer the company of the fox myself.

Is it now the case that when an elderly person has a suspected heart attack that they get air lifted 60 miles to a famous heart treatment hospital? If that’s true then we must be doing better than I thought. Or is this treatment only provided for someone who is regarded as a national treasure like the foul mouthed ignorant parasite Prince Philip. He once shot and killed a tiger which had been captured and tied up yards away from him, a base and cruel thing to do. To kill such a magnificent animal and to do so while it is tied up is the action of a poor excuse for a human being. He has spent his life living high on the hog and all for free and he insults people at will and is also known to be a racist and boor yet we let him and the rest of the royal gang away with it, when will we learn.

Went against my better judgement to see Robinson Crusoe starring John Barrowman and the Krankies and it was a fantastic show despite a script that read as if it had been co written by Benny Hill and Jim Davidson, lurid doesn’t begin to describe it but the performances were incredible. Barrowman is a big star and he is a great entertainer but the Krankies simply blew him away. Wee Jimmy Krankie in particular was born to play pantomime, he/she is a force of nature and very very funny. They had to stop sometimes to let the audience catch up they were laughing so hard at wee Jimmy‘s antics. The special effects were amazing particularly the 3D effects which were scary, honestly they were, oh yes they were! I understand that the same people are coming back next year and I would advise everyone to go see them but, be prepared to answer some awkward questions from your children when you get home about some of the dialogue.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


19/12/11 to the full council where we were treated to a carol concert by kids from St. Charles’s primary school and a Christmas greeting by Father Oliver from St. Fergus’s church in my ward of Ferguslie park. He stunned everyone by getting them to join with him in singing “I wish it could be Christmas every day” in his deep lovely Irish brogue, no Herald angels or mangers here, a bit of a character is father Oliver and he can carry a tune as well.

Labour had a motion on the table designed to put to bed for good the daft and dangerous policy of cutting teaching time in our primary schools. This was the policy of the SNP/Libdem council, it was completely destroyed by parents, pupils and opposition councillors including us in the Labour Group in an unprecedented campaign which caused the SNP ’tae think again’ the Libdems are incapable of thought but they ran away as well.

Some SNP and Libdem councillors did not take kindly to such a humiliation by the electorate and either refused to comment at the time or in some cases still mumbled that the idea was still a good one. It is no surprise that Cllr. Eileen McCartin made it known that she still saw merit in the plan, not really a surprise from a woman who has never made a mistake or got anything wrong in her life. Here at this meeting we witnessed something different from the bellicose McCartin she actually said nothing! a rare event from a woman who will quite happily lecture anyone who will listen to her on brain surgery and rocket science. I tried to get her to repeat her insulting claim that she received approx. 100 letters/emails supporting the plan to cut primary school hours but the Provost came to her rescue and ruled me out of order, I will continue to ask her to do this, perhaps she could show us the emails and letters but I suspect she would claim to have binned them what do you think?

We also tried to get the SNP/Libdem cabal to give schools more money based on growing evidence that teachers are paying for materials from their own pockets, a scandal which has been going on for some time. The SNP led Council refused to do so and also refused to accept that teachers were in fact doing this, in fact they treated the teachers with the same contempt that they showed when they tried to reduce teaching time in our primary schools and when they got rid of some 300 teaching posts since they came to power, this is what we can expect under Nationalism.

They also overturned a motion to re regulate the buses proving if proof were needed that they prefer market forces and naked profit to providing services, we should call this “The Souter Doctrine” £500,000 buys an awful lot of SNP principles doesn’t it, as the great Groucho Marx once said “these are my principles, if you don’t like them I have another set you could try” That should be the SNP/Libdem slogan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As Oscar Wilde stood outside on his release from his sentence of hard labour at Reading Gaol he was a broken man physically as he stood in the torrential rain and driving wind his indomitable spirit prompted him to say “If this is how Her Majesty treats her prisoners, she doesn’t deserve to have any.” This applies equally today.

The latest outrage from the SNP Scottish Government is to abolish Prison Visiting Committees and replace them with an advocacy service. The advocacy service will visit once every 4/5 years and be responsible to the Scottish Prison Service while the Visiting Committee visits every week and is answerable to local authorities, or put another way they are not influenced by the prison authorities. The word to describe them in a rather ironic way for the SNP government is “independent”

The Government review stated that the committees played a crucial role in the welfare of prisons and were an asset but they are still getting the chop. Visiting Committees have been carrying out their duties for 120 years and I am proud to say that I spent approx. 6 years as a member of the service. It is a difficult job and can be depressing when you see the conditions that prisoners live in and the effect that prison has on them but I firmly believe that Prison Visitors do a vital job by shining a light on treatment of prisoners and their conditions which is bad in some cases and good in others, the SPS however would not agree with the former description which is one very good reason for keeping the Committees.

The SNP Scottish Government intend to leave Scotland as the only country out of the UK and Ireland without Prison Visitor Committees and that worries me greatly, they will in effect police themselves. Extra supplies of bars of soap have already been ordered for prisoners to slip on, 60 organisations were asked to submit answers to the consultation and only 1 out of the 60 advocated the ending of PVC’s guess who? Yes you got it in one, the Scottish Prison Service were the only ones who wanted to abolish them. Having spent time with the PVC’s I could have confidently predicted that. On visits to prisons you are treated by staff as if you are a carrier of a serious infectious disease, the atmosphere is constantly hostile and you get the message that you are considered a nuisance and a “do gooder” I will give 2 examples of what I mean. I had spent some time researching the extent of mental health issues in British prisons and the Guardian Newspaper did a week long series of thoroughly researched articles by experts on the same subject which concluded that in most prisons treatment was poor and sometimes ignored, this in the face of 80% of prisoners suffering from 2 or more mental health problems.Yes readers you read that right the investigation stated that 80% of people in prison were suffering from 2 or more mental health conditions.

I decided to ask the Governor of Barlinnie Prison about this at our next meeting , I quoted the article which he didn’t seem to know about and asked if that alarming figure of 80% was consistent with Barlinnie and he said “no it’s more like 35%” I slowly repeated to him Barlinnie has 35% and the rest of the prisons have 80% and he said “yes give or take” and moved on I was aware that he was treating me with contempt so I just said,“that’s some achievement” 'if looks could kill' no wonder they don’t want the public wandering around their jails. The second incident was on a kind of induction day for new members of the PVC we were being shown round the prison by a senior officer when we came to the visiting hall where prisoners get to meet their family and friends on visiting days, it was busy mainly with women and children. As he went to open the door to take us in I asked if I could have a word and I told him I did not intend to enter the hall, he rather abruptly asked me why and I politely explained that I did not want to impose on meetings between family and friends and prisoners and that I considered it humiliating for them to have total strangers ogling them like exhibits in a zoo. He thought for a minute and called a young prison officer over and said “please escort Mr. Kelly to the exit door at the other side of the visiting hall" which he duly did, that is not the way to treat people but he really couldn’t care less.

A spokeswoman for the Government said that “the new system would help prisoners to deal with offending behaviour and to contribute to reducing reoffending”
That was never the remit of the PVC our remit was to deal with prisoners complaints and help them with any worries they might have the prevention of offending behaviour and prevention of reoffending is the job of the prison professionals.

Prisons are hellish places full of despair and misery and sometimes the only non hostile face a prisoner sees is that of the Prison Visitor. I have spent many visits listening to the most appalling stories and been thankful that at least I was able to listen and talk to them without seeing fear and hatred in their eyes. Prison conditions are a good way of judging a society which calls itself civilised and that alas is a judgement which we fail, the SNP is about to make an already bad system worse they should think again and start by getting rid of the wretched Justice Minister MacAskill tear up the present system and start again .

Saturday, December 03, 2011


Today's newspapers carry the disturbing story of a British soldier in Afghanistan who smuggled in booze to his base and got so drunk that he was in no state to go out on patrol the next day. He went out anyway and during his patrol he confronted an Afghanistan man and his 10 year old son, this confrontation resulted in the boy being stabbed in the kidneys by a bayonet wielded by the soldier.

The family were compensated with £800 while the child was unable to walk properly for a year, the soldier? He got discharged after serving an 18 month prison sentence. Is it any wonder these people hate us? This does not sound like justice to me but the real question is how was this allowed to happen and what kind of penalty is this for such a crime?