1 Nov 2018

Grouse Beater
The Deleted Evidence And The Central Issue

As soon as I read the Grouse Beater blog on the GMB Union's role in the Glasgow equal pay dispute, "GMB - Cockney Clique", late on the evening of Sunday 28th October, I knew it was problematic. Indeed, pretty much knew it would end up near exactly where it currently is: Grouse Beater suspended by the SNP, more than a few others also in the soup for sharing it, and the rest of all arguing about it among ourselves.

So I tried to help Grouse Beater. Within an hour of me reading the article, and only a few hours after the problematic article had just appeared, I made the first of three comments  to the readers' comments section of Grouse Beaters blog .

I got a response directly for Grouse Beater, but as I felt it wholly inadequate, I made this further comment 12 hours later.

I got another response from Grouse Beater shortly thereafter, but as it was even more inadequate than his first.  I then made this third, and what turned out to be my final comment

Shortly after this third comment was posted by me , it was deleted by Grouse Beater without response. And were my other two earlier comments, along with Grouse Beater's own two replies to them. Fortunately though, I had prudently screenshoted all three of my comments, though I did not the foresight to also screenshot Grouse Beaters replies.

So these are facts. Provable, undeniable facts.

Grouse Beater Near Certainly Did Know

But I am also asking readers to believe me when I say, in the first reply by Grouse Beater to my first comment, he told me he did in fact know Rhea Wolfson was Jewish when he started writing his blog. I specifically mention this, as I have subsequently seen several of Grouse Beater's defenders, ( but not, to my eyes, Grouse Beater himself), assert that Grouse Beater simply did not know Rhea Wolfson's religious background when he wrote the article.

But, this aside Grouse Beater - real name Gareth Wardell, exposed pretty quickly in the near immediate wake of the controversy - now tells us all, as he had told me in one of his deleted replies, that he was raised in a Jewish family. Therefore, he claimed, he could not be anti-Semitic. Well, anyone. Sadly can be anti-Semitic. Certainly anyone, including people who are not remotely anti-Semitic, can make an anti-Semitic remark, write an anti-Semitic sentence in a blog, add a gratuitous anti-Semitic section to an otherwise largely problematic free article. Just lose all sense of perspective in pursuit of an angle, and morph into the language and territory of the anti-Semite
But. believe me, if you are brought up in a Jewish family you will near certainly know someone called Rhea Wolfson is near certain from a Jewish heritage. Not knowing, is about as likely as someone brought up in a Muslim family not knowing someone called Mohammed Sarwar is a Muslim.

But Grouse Beater, who until outed claimed he lived in California not Edinburgh, did know a very specific quote from Hitler's Mein Kampf,.And he did chose to include it in an article on an industrial dispute in Glasgow in 2018. Part of a 5 paragraph section headlined "Hitler's View"

nb. The second paragraph above is a re-write by Grouse Beater, and different from what he initially wrote. I believe it was principally re-written as a response of sorts to my first comment on Grouse Beaters blog

My Judgement

Now, make of all this as you wish. But here is what I make of that:

1. Post publication edits and re-drafts of blogs are real easy.

2. This article needed much more than the tinkering with one single sentence.

Because, the specific focus of the article was an attack on present lead official of the GMB in the Glasgow Equal Pay dispute, Rhea Wolfson. And the very specific inclusion of 5 paragraphs headed "Hitler's View", including a very specific paragraph centered on a distasteful quote from Mien Kampf, about Jewish trade unionists, forms part of Grouse Beater's attempt to do that.

Because Rhea Wolfson is Jewish. And Grouse Beater will near certainly have always known she was Jewish.

Who is Rhea Wolfson?

Now, I have no particular flame for Rhea Wolfson. I have never met her. Only vaguely heard of her by reputation, and now through reading a little more about her in the wake of the Grouse Beater row. And, it confirmed, what I think near anyone who knew anything about the dispute or the GMB would likely have known for ages: Rhea Wolfson is a member of the Labour Party. And something of a high flyer. A prospective parliamentary candidate for Livingston , and she is only 28 years old. 

And I also found out that she is a Corbynite. Now that did slightly surprise me, as, by reputation, the GMB is run by "right wingers". "Blairites", if one feels the need to divide Labour Party members into two fixed camps. But the GMB certainly is not "Corbynite".

Then I found out a bit more, through my personal contacts with some real well sussed Trade Unions activists. And found this out. 28 year old Rhea Wolfson got the job, despite being a Corbynite, not because of it. She got the job, because she was good , real good. And the GMB needed someone like that to come in and sort out the mess it had got itself into back in 2005 when it had in effect signed off on a discriminatory pay deal with then the Labour Party ran Glasgow City Council, more or less to "keep the men happy"

And at that time Rhea Wolfson was a 15 year old schoolgirl.

But in Grouse Beaters article, you would think she was the villain of the feast. The main person responsible for near all the GMB and the Labour Party have messed up on in a 15 year period. But near the opposite is reality. Rhea Wolfson is about the first GMB official over that 15 year period to do her job properly. To put the interests of the low paid workers she represents, at the top of the agenda. Explain to them, that as well as being victims, they have power, Power to put the solution to their long overdue case at the top of the agenda. The very top. Power to rattle cages. Power in particular to rattle the cages of the one body that can deliver them justice; Their employer. Glasgow City Council. A council which now has has an SNP administration. An SNP administration elected on an unequivocal pledge to settle the long running dispute.

17 months ago

"Hitler's View"

But rather than tell us any of this this,  Grouse Beater includes a five paragraph section on "Hitler's View
And quotes a section of Mein Kampf on "The Jew" and trade Unions written in 1923. In Bavaria. By an Austrian fascist. About an equal pay dispute in Glasgow, in 2018. A section he refuses to remove having been informed, early and politely how problematic it will prove, not least to him.

And aside from Nazi Germany, Grouse Beater also tells us that "there is a strong rumour her (Wolfson's) GMB male colleagues advised against striking"

That ( if true) would be most likely be these GMB colleagues who had messed up the entire dispute for near on 15 years.

But, in Grouse Beaters article, these "male colleagues" are the relative GMB good guys, It is 28 year old Rhea Wolfson who is the real villain.

28 year old Jewish, Rhea Wolfson.

The Nub of the Matter

"Unfair, you are a disgrace to the cause, worse than your brother" I hear Grouse Beater's band of defenders shout increasingly loudly. ( I paraphrase, but have had this posted on my fb timeline already. By the usual self-appointed guardians of the nationalist (sic) flame - every one a man.)
No, It is many of these types who are the Yes movement's equivalents of my brother and a few other lost the plot obsessive Unionist bloggers. Because both can see no further than a single cause, An as consequence their entire narrative on every issue has become so obsessed with the cause, nationalist plots, unionist plots, CIA plots, MSN plots. That THEY lose the plot. Start quoting from Mein Kampf in a blog about a Glasgow Council Pay dispute and doing so in an article focussed upon a Jewish Trade Union official. And in so doing, lose the argument, when they started with an otherwise unbeatable hand

So I have not been unfair to Grouse Beater. I have actually been kind to him. ( so far) Pointed out to him as quietly as I could how problematic these paragraphs in his article were. Suggested to him an easy course of action, a damage limitation plan. And one that will save everybody a lot of angst, not least him..
But did he listen? Is he even capable of listening? I fear not.
Because now suspended from the SNP, facing likely expulsion, he still sits with that offending and wholly unnecessary "Hitler's View" section unaltered one his blog . Save the re-arranging of a single sentence..
Because he can do no wrong, He is a champion of the cause against the MSN. Apparently he is the victim of an MSN plot, even though the first time anyone in the media heard about this plot is when the self indulgent and obstinate, ill informed, out of touch Gareth Wardell, who as Grouse Beater was claiming to be living in Malibu, handed it to them on a silver plate some time Sunday evening /Monday morning 28-29 October. At the very time I was trying to helpfully save him from himself. Until he deleted me!
And , even now even when Rhea Wolfson  has herself said it, the notion that a Jewish Trade Union Official might be genuinely offended by Grouse Beater  in effect comparing the trade union she works for to the Nazis, seems beyond his comprehension. No, it is all because she is a Labourite, She is faking it. It is all just an MSN plot. One Nicola Sturgeon is in on.
That Gareth Wardell , retired Edinburgh theatrical producer, our pal, could have posted something both dumb and anti-Semitic, and most likely unconsciously, impossible, So should stand his ground". Is made of "sterner stuff" . And because similarly minded echo chamber bloggers, from Peter A Bell upwards, tell him he is right. Are even running a campaign for him. And in terms that are both laughable and insulting to the entire independence movement, SNP members in particular. Read this hyperbole from "Barrhead Boy".

And, to anyone thinking of foolishly buying into this, some serious questions.
What did introducing a Mein Kampf quote on "The Jew" add to our knowledge on the Glasgow Equal Pay dispute?
And who did it particularly offend?
And you want to back a campaign to defend the right to keep it there?
And you genuinely think this is any way to win independence for Scotland?
People, Yes minded bloggers,  are really going to spend these months, crucial months for the independence cause running a "defend the Grouse Beater Campaign", essentially against the SNP?
They are actually going to appeal to Yes campaigners in an already over stretched indy movement crowdfunder market to help pay for it?
When the whole row could more or less be ended at any moment by a "sorry, I called that one wrong" plus a 30 second "paste and delete" job of five wholly irrelevant paragraphs on "Hitler's View" by Grouse Beater? The guy who gratuitously started the whole row, handing Labour, who were totally on the back foot of the Glasgow Equal Pay issue, a propaganda gift in the process/.

But keeping them there, and despite Rhea Wolfson and many, many more having said they find them offensive, would that be anti-Semitic?

Yes. Absolutely.

But not in the classic, evilest of forms. But anti-Semitism, none the less, Because, having firstly wrongly and unfairly targeted her as the villain in the GMB, , in order to undermine Rhea Wolfson further, Grouse Beater , gratuitously plays "The Hitler card". And how he plays it is subtle. And, giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe even a sub-conscious play. But play it, he does.

Because implicit in all of this, why the entire "Hitler's View" section is there, is an attempt to show, Rhea Wolfson, a Jewish trade unionist, is unaware of the lessons of history on Hitler's treatment of Jewish Trade Unionists. So must be generally unaware. And a hypocrite with it.

And, were Rhea Wolfson anything other than Jewish, Grouse Beater would never have played his "Hitler Card".  Would never even of thought of it. 

Yet when this is suggested to him, Grouse Beater digs in, still digs in . Insists his "Hitler's View" five paragraphs, including the fourth one with the Mein Kampf quote in it, stay in. And all five paragraphs are still there, are still all there (as I write around 7 am on Friday 2nd November) .Even when it had been politely pointed out to Grouse Beater how problematic, and unnecessary they are five days ago, And in a five day period in which these friendly warning have been proven entirely predictive.  And that, in my judgement, is because in Grouse Beater's mind, they are central to his argument. Central to his article that that targets Rhea Wilson.

Anti-Semitism, 2018, Yes Movement style.

And , just as easily, No movement style too. This could have been a trade Unionist who is an SNP member and happens to be Jewish getting targeted. And it could have been some Labourite blogger under investigation. For just going way over the top. Crossing the line

Because anti-Semitism is still out there, in even some of the most "liberal" of places. In every party. And it is, as in the past, if much less brutally, used to score a political point over a political opponent. And needs to be faced down, called out. Without fear or favour, And in a non partisan manner, And not excused, explained away, just because the offender is making other points you agree with. Just because he is a chum. A "good guy"

So well done Neil Findlay the senior Labour MSP who raised this matter with our First Minister. Scotland's First Minister, not just the SNP's. My First Minister.

And well done the SNP, for responding so decisively and unequivocally..

And that Defend the Grouse Beater crowdfunder campaign?

I can think of a thousand more worthy causes. 

And one is the Glasgow Equal Pay Campaign.

Alan Smart, the author of the AyeWeCan blog, was born in Paisley Renfrewshire in 1959, and has a 1st Class Honours Degree in Modern History and Economic History from Glasgow University. He also has a Teaching Diploma in History and Modern Studies. He was Chairperson of Scottish Labour Students 1981-2, and President of NUS Scotland 1984 - 86.  A former Head of Current Affairs at Scottish Television and thereafter Head of Broadcasting at the Scottish Parliament, he is currently a freelance Musician. As Citizen Smart he was heavily involved in the largely successful 2013-4 Anti-Bedroom Tax Campaign and wrote and performed the "Bedroom Tax Song", a parody of Matt McGinn's/Adam McNaughton's "Jeely Piece Song". As of this moment he is working with fellow musicians on a project to celebrate the life and times of John Maclean. A member of UNITE Communities, and since 2016 a member of Clackmannanshire SNP.



18 Jun 2013

The Bedroom Tax: SNP - Earn The Right To Be Free

I see SNP supporters and others are enthusiastically sharing an article from Inside Housing reporting Alex Salmond's pledge to abolish the Bedroom Tax in an independent Scotland, Good news. But big deal?

Because the very earliest this can be done is 2016, and more realistically it will be 2017-18 before any law changes are enacted. So over four years from now. Does anyone really think any but a tiny minority hit here and now by the Bedroom Tax will survive by then? So a near meaningless pledge. And a real cheap one, given the numbers by then involved

So tokenism. As token as the pledge from all SNP Councils (and some Labour ones) not to evict any council tenant for bedroom tax arrears in year one of the tax, And note, this pledge only apples if a tenant “co-operates”, however that is defined by a Council official. But, co-operation or not, it takes about a year to evict someone anyway.

And more fundamentally, many of the Councils committed to this pledge have near no social housing to evict anyone from. SNP Argyll and Bute for example has not a single council house – all transferred to local Housing Associations years ago, and all Housing Associations are completely exempt from local council non-eviction pledges.

So SNP folks and others, you are being sold mince here. Scottish mince – but mince.

What the Scottish Government can and must do, beyond the extra £5m already allocated to advice welfare advice services centres, is as follows:

(1) Increase significantly the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funds to Councils over and above the £10 million allocated by the Westminster Government to help those worst affected by the Bedroom Tax. The Scottish Government can legally top this fund up by up to one and a half times, so immediately the fund could rise to £25 million – near on half the amount Scots are set to lose as a result of the Bedroom Tax 

(2) Increase by a similar or greater amount central grant funding to social landlords to enable met to more realistically carry, and in some case write off debt incurred by their Bedroom Tax affected tenants, Many of these tenants simply can't pay, and widely available statistics are now showing they are not paying in significant numbers 

(3) Give serious consideration to The Govan Law Center proposed amendment to the Housing Scotland Act which would offer enhanced increased legal protection from eviction to tenants in rent arrears incurred as a result of the Bedroom Tax. And SNP whips could make a start by telling its committee members who control the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee, which meets on Tuesday 25h June to consider the GLC amendment, to allow the main petitioner, Mike Dailly, Director of the Center to speak to his own petition. Hardly a radical idea. Kind of a self-evidently sensible one. And totally cost free.

But the first two elements of this three part package, they would cost. Around £50 million would be my estimate, much the same sum as calculated by Shelter Scotland and the Scottish TUC. Not a trivial sum. But a findable sum for sure. Less that 0.1% of the Scottish Government's total block grant. A block grant SNP and previous Labour administrations have succeed in underspending by this amount and more in near every year since devolution.

So do this Alex, and poor people – real poor people, amongst the poorest in Scotland - might warm to your pledge to abolish the Bedroom Tax altogether come independence: The final step in a process you will have already started with them. And can start tomorrow.

In the words of one of my recent songs, “Earn the Right to be Free”!


28 May 2013

Margaret Curran's Strangly Disfunctional Memory

DEREK BATEMAN ( BBC Radio Scotland): What do we make of Denis Healey admitting that when [North Sea] oil was discovered, Labour – a Labour government, ahead of a referendum, interestingly, on the constitution of Scotland – misled, deliberately misled the Scots about the value of oil?
MARGARET CURRAN MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland) : Well, Derek, I don’t know anything about that, those times, I don’t know the basis on which Denis Healey said that, I don’t know the argument, I don’t know the papers around that.
DB: But you’re the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland! You’re a senior Labour figure, I mean, he was a Labour chancellor.
MC: I know I’m getting on a bit, but I wasn’t around in Denis Healey’s days.
Oh yes she was.

Unless it was another Margaret Curran I met who was Secretary of Glasgow University Labour Club, the biggest in the UK, when Healey was Labour Chancellor in the Callaghan Government. This would have been in 1978, two years after Healey had made global front page news and labour movement noteriety after he went to the IMF for a bail out in exchange for huge public spending cuts.

Indeed not only did 20 year Margaret know who he was, but was sufficiently angry with him to be calling for his resignation. Because, difficult though it may be to imagine, Margaret was at that time was a prominent supporter of the Labour left opposition . And her, "not around" line is as credible as David Cameron claiming he was "not around" when Thatcher introduced the Poll Tax: As credible as would the current Secretary of Oxford University Conservative Association claiming in 30 years time he was "not around" when George Osbourne slashed welfare budgets.

So what is it about today's Scottish Labour Party that makes decent enough people, spout such untruths on Scotland's national radio station? Deny their own past? Be "not around?"

I think on this one it is obvious. Because Margaret well remembers that, in addition to being in the middle of an economic crisis in 1978, the Labour Party in Scotland, and grassroots activists like her in particular, were under immense political pressure from the SNP, which with 11 MPs at Westminster and opinion poll rating s touching 40% threatened to wipe Labour out whenever the next UK General Election came around. It had already near done it in the Council elections on May 1977, where for the first time in decades Labour had been swept from office in Glasgow. Or were you 'not around" for that either Margaret?

Like, me she will certainly remember spending the best part of the Spring of 1978 campaigning for Donald Dewar in the knife edge Garscadden by-election, where the SNP started as clear favorites to take Labour out in one of its west central Scotland heartland seats, a success that would have left every last one of them vulnerable. The SNP rallying cry at the time? "It's Scotland's Oil", backed up by detailed proposal on how a national oil fund in an independent Scotland could transform our country and deliver prosperity and social justice for folks in places like Garscadden and beyond. Folks like Margaret indeed.

Scottish Labour, with an able candidate in Donald Dewar, set about the nationalist claim with some gusto and effectiveness, and as a participant, I went along with this, genuinely believing the SNP claims were way over-hyped. I am sure Margaret then was little different from me in this respect.

But we now find - 36 years down the line -  not only that the SNP was correct, but that the entire Labour Cabinet at the time, Healey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer especially, knew this but decided not to tell anyone, including Labour activists like me and Margaret.

Now I am long out the Labour Party, and have been lied to so often by Labour that I feel I am kind of immune to being shocked or outraged. But this one is so close to the bone, so central to my first experiences of serious political campaigning that it has shocked even me.  "I spent all that time, all that energy, money I barely had, took all those early morning buses to Drumchapel, missed out on all these social events, that Elvis Costello concert in Edinburgh, to campaign on a lie, a lie known to the people who led that campaign?" And not just the 1978 Garscadden by-election, but the 1979 Referendum too. Our best argument was denied to us - by our own side.

But Margaret was "not around".

Yet she most certainly was. Because I do remember, even if she chooses not to. At that time Glasgow University Labour Club, with over 300 individual members, was the largest in the UK by far. It was "on the circuit". Everyone who was anyone spoke there - Tony Benn, Neil Kinnock, Michael Foot all regulars, as were all the leading lights in the Labour Party in Scotland. And Margaret, as Labour Club Secretary was their first point of contact, the facilitator. But according to her"not around". Maybe she organised it all on the internet!

One other detail I must mention before I conclude. Margaret was a leading light on campus in the "Labour Yes" campaign for the 1979 Referendum. The "Labour Yes" campaign mind, not "Yes for Scotland", the all party campaign, where those pesky "nats, liberals and commies" were also involved. But her direct university and Labour club comrade and friend, Johan Lamont was not. She was a leading light in the "Labour Vote No" campaign. You read that right: Johan Lamont, in 1979 actively campaigned against the ever so modest measure of devolution her own Labour Government offered the people of Scotland.

Go ask Johan. Or maybe she was "not around" either.

But believe me, they both were, and very much so. Key Labour student activists, earmarked as ones to watch by Helen Liddell the then Scottish Secretary of the Labour Party, situated in Keir Hardie House just 5 minutes walk away from Glasgow University. And Margaret and Johan, even in these days were on relaxed first name speaking terms with Donald Dewar, John Reid, Brian Wilson, Robin Cook, John Smith, George Foulkes, Bruce Milan......the list goes on. "Not around?"  They were part of the show.

Which comes back to my initial question. Why is Margaret denying this?

Simple to answer: Because she needs to. Without that denial, her credibility and the credibility of her entire generation that is now running the Labour Party in Scotland is shot. They were mugged. We were mugged - because I was part of it too. Scotland was mugged. Poor working class people in Garscadden were mugged.

Some folks learn from history.

Others deny it. Repeat it.

One is the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

Alan Smart. Glasgow Univesity Labour Club, 1976-82. Chairperson Glasgow University Labour Club, 1980-81, Chairperson of Scottish Organisation of Labour Students, 1981-82. President NUS Scotland 1984-86, (elected on Labour Student ticket)

Margaret Curran: Glasgow University Labour Club, 1975-80. Secretary Glasgow University Labour Club. 1978-79. Chairperson Scottish Organisation of Labour Students 1979-80)

For Margaret (That history degree she got don't seem too have done her much good) :
Denis Healey. Chancellor of The Exchequer, 1974-79. Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 1980-83.

Here in full is what Dennis Healey told Holyrood Magazine in May 2013:

Footnote: Many have commented that, with the exception of the bold Derek Batemen on his BBC Radio Scotland programme, and unlike the rest of the media, including STV,  BBC Scotland's coverage of this major admission by arguably the most important Labour politician of the late 1970s early 80s period has been near non existent, especially on TV. There may be many explanations for this. Here is a possible one:

John Boothman, Present Head of News and Current Affairs, BBC Scotland: Chairperson of Strathclyde University Labour Club 1979, Chairperson Scottish Organisation of Labour Students 1980-81. Chairperson of the National (UK) Organisation of Labour Students 1981-2.  Around at the time? For sure.


20 May 2013

Galloway - Plays the Sectarian Card Once Again

"I’ll tell you what would happen when an independent Scotland proved to be a chimera. Scots would turn inwards, turn on the English and turn on each other. First they would come for the ‘unionists’ as they describe people like me. We would become a ‘fifth column’. Soon other scapegoats would have to be found. Catholic schools, judging by the cyber-nats-speak, would have to succumb. Then it might be the immigrants, brown as well as white who would be ‘taking our jobs’, ‘our houses’, ‘marrying our women’ and the rest. We would become an embittered people, the very opposite of the Scottish internationalist we have been for so long"  George Galloway, Red Molluca, 19th May, 2013

Sound familiar? The same shit spouted on Twitter by my bother Ian Smart in his disasterous Twitter foray barely a week ago. I am just waiting for Jack McConnell to directly join in: He is supportive enough to re-tweet their musings.

Because it is no co-incidence that these old chums spout the same smear. Their evidence-free and baseless assertions come from failed generation of Scottish Labour activists who, having delivered near nothing - but managing to enrich themselves in the process - will now spend their later years attacking all things nationalist. The irony is though, nationalism was a horse they themselves were happy to ride, until the good people of Scotland clocked they could do better than be led by these self-serving poseures, who only played the card to gain them some tactical leverage in their internal battles within the Labour Party. Self-determination for them always meant to be on their terms and within parameters of the British labour movement.

This more than anything else explains their later day extreme unionism, so extreme that even the Better Together campaign has all but disowned them: I do wish though Better Together would just do this in quite unequivocal terms. Tell them this is just unacceptable. Slap them down, so as the rest of us can have a sensible debate on Scotland future, uncontaminated by these sad and time-warped sectarians. How about it, Alastair?

Because as I said in my last blog about my brother, this stuff really is the gutter. The politics of Enoch Powell: Stir up a sectional fear for a cheap headline and narrow political gain, not remotely thinking through the potential implications and consequences of your spoutings.

Galloway's latest article is written under the pretext of defending Nigel Farage's right to free speech, following the over-zelous harassment of him by members of the Radical Independence Conference last week in Edinburgh. Now you can view this incident in a number of ways, and certainly I can think of better ways of combating UKIP in Scotland than confronting its leader having a quite pint in a Royal Mile pub. But Galloway don't just make that point, but rather goes into altogether murkier territory, which amounts to a smear on the entire national movement in Scotland.

We are told "cybernats" - and I presume I am one - are " the mirror image of the Faragists"  But he get worse.....

"It was once said that anti-semitism was the socialism of fools. So too is the idea that Scotland broken from the rest of this small, island of English- speaking people will somehow lead to some kind of progressive beacon of hope for the world"

So a man who has spent a lifetime dodging the unsupported smear that he is himself anti-semitic, equates supporters of independence, and the left leaning ones in particular, as being little better than anti-semites. Just how low can you go George?

I am kind of aware Galloway's stock in Scotland is now about as low as Farage's - that 2% of the vote in Glasgow in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections took some doing. But I am also aware that beyond Scotland, near universally amongst people who have never worked with him, he retains a significant cult following. So for their benefit, it might be useful to end with a simple list:

Parties in Scotland who support Scottish Independence

The Scottish National Party
The Scottish Green Party
The Scottish Socialist Party
The Socialist Workers Party
The International Socialist Group
The Scottish Republican Socialist Party

Parties in Scotland Who Oppose Scottish Independence

The Scottish Labour Party
The Scottish Liberal Democrats
The Scottish Conservative Party
The British National Party
The Scottish Defence League
The Orange Order

Figure that out..........


We've Earned The Right To Be Free


7 May 2013

Ian Smart, My Brother

My brother Ian Smart is not a racist. He is worse than that. 

A racist is normally someone with a grievance, who out of ignorance, and fuelled by urban and media myths, wrongly blames ethic minorities who have absolutely nothing to do with whatever their problem might be. My brother Ian has few problems, is rather well healed, well educated and mixes amongst the very highest echelons of the Scottish establishment. So when he asserts that there will be some sort of pogrom against the Polish and Pakistani communities (and presumably others) in a post independence Scotland, he is not doing this out of ignorance or prejudice, but out of political calculation. The calculation that if he asserts it loudly and often enough Scotland's ethnic communities and others can be scared into voting No.

This is called playing the race card. It is one of the most dangerous things an individual can do in any context, and of course normally done by politicians of the far right. But for a Labour blogger to do it in Scotland, where there is a hard worked for  and commendable cross-party and cross-society consensus against racial prejudice, and inject it into the highly charge debate on independence is despicable.

No better that Enoch Powell in 1968: Allow fair non racial immigration into the UK and there will be “rivers of blood” he predicted, with no evidence and no basis in reality as events have proven. Vote for Independence in 2014 and my brother predicts something similar for Scotland.

And what has been the reaction of the Scottish Labour establishment to the gratuitous playing of the race card by one of their own? At best silence, and in the case of old chum Jack McConnell supportive. Because sadly, Ian, the leading Labour blogger in Scotland and a regular TV pundit on this basis, is an outrider for more than a few of them.

Apologise and retire. All the advice I can offer.

And Ted Heath sacked Enoch Powell, Johan and co please note.

A Postscript: This is my first blog post here for near on a year, My last one below is on a similar theme. A response to George Galloway playing the Green Card in a near identical context. Same time warped and unsupported bullshit from a washed out "lefty" And hear that silence from the Laborites on both occasions.


28 May 2012

George Galloway - Sectarian

For the second time in three weeks George Galloway has used his column in The Daily Record to attack independence. No problem with that, if that is what he chooses to speak on.  But he is wholly wrong, and miles out of kilter with the vast majority of Scottish socialists, including most of those who campaigned for him in last year's Scottish Parliament elections.

He came, he lost, he learned nothing.

But in today's column, Galloway does more than attack independence. As in his previous Record column, he deliberately introduces the politics of religious sectarianism to advance his case, something no one else in the Unionist camp has done.

Galloway writes that, (in an independent Scotland), "who knows who the finger of ­suspicion would be pointed at? Maybe Scottish Roman Catholics from Irish immigrant stock, with their peculiar ways, names and schools. Why not? It's happened before, Comrade Canavan, hasn't it?"
And it gets worse. In an otherwise predictable attack on independence supporting Brian Souter, Galloway writes;

"I share neither faith nor political values with him

Political values, OK. But what has his faith got to do with anything? And to be clear, they are both Christians - they DO share the same faith. What Galloway is blatantly saying here is that he is a Catholic and Brian Souter is a Protestant. And this is something George Galloway, "socialist", consciously brings up in a newspaper column read primarily by West of Scotland working class people in 2012.

Quite appalling

And appalling too that the Daily Record prints this, even  pays Galloway to write it.

What is going on here?

And will there be an rebuke for the NO Campaign? Will any Scottish journalists raise this matter? Will the Daily Record do the decent thing and drop immediately this sectarian as a columnist

I thought we no platformed fascists and racists in this country?


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