After months of silence Airdrie and Shotts SNP has blown the cobwebs off of its virtually defunct blog to launch a personal attack on me. It lists me as Mr James Cassidy, AKA Jester1970. Desperate stuff, as it’s no secret that the Jester1970 ID is my admin ID for the two WordPress blogs which I publish. It’s also no secret why I resigned.
It states I left around the time there was an unopposed and unanimous motion to take formal disciplinary action against a small disruptive group of individuals who were causing disruption (sic). I was in attendance at this meeting and was disgusted by what I saw. I am aware of some of the now former members who were given THESE letters stating they were suspected of participating in activities designed to undermine the branch and who were told that a file was being held on them, and should they attempt to rejoin this would be used against them. Despite requests, no-one has ever managed to find out what charges the SNP Star Chamber have made, nor what “evidence” they purport to hold.
It goes on to make the bizarre claim that “these fifth columnists have left the branch”. So far we’ve had infiltrators on behalf of Tommy Sheridan and now Fifth Columnists! Whatever next? Aliens?
If you go to the About page on this site you’ll see my name there. The post on the SNP Airdrie and Shotts blog has no such identification. Is it the work of the website administrator, the secretary, the convenor, the MP, the MSP or someone else? It doesn’t say. Perhaps the individual concerned might have the decency to put their name to their handiwork.
A final observation. Virtually ALL the posts (barring the very first one way back in 2012) on the site are locked down so that you cannot comment on them, apart from this one. I shall be watching the comments with interest.
I’ve spoken to a few people over the last couple of weeks about their experiences of what is now referred to in the mainstream press as the Monklands McMafia scandal and there are striking similarities between what has went on locally and the Jimmy Saville scandal which has engulfed the BBC and forever tainted its reputation.
Saville’s behaviour was an open secret at the BBC and he was actively protected, with the reputation of the company on the the line complaints were ignored or swept under the carpet. The report into Saville states that “The review found that senior managers were not told of complaints about Saville because of an “atmosphere of fear” which still exists in the BBC.” For those who did complain they would have felt intimidated, likely to be ridiculed or disbelieved, and that what happened to them was an isolated incident, making it less likely they would be given a fair hearing. It was only afterwards, when the trickle of stories became a flood that the full picture became clear, and that picture is a distressing and disturbing one.
Here in North Lanarkshire I’m seeing the same patterns of behaviour exhibited by the BBC adopted by the SNP. They attempt to ignore the issue. They attempt to rubbish the concerns raised. Like the BBC they are failing. Voices are being heard, and it’s time that those out there with ANY knowledge of the dirty goings on in North Lanarkshire spoke out as one. Single voices can be drowned out. But as a chorus of voices WE are louder, we can make ourselves known and ensure that people see that big picture. Yes, they might try to rubbish you. To paint you as cranks or left wing infiltrators. To say that it’s just sour grapes, or that you are just jealous of their brilliance. But I’d urge anyone out there with experiences of the smear tactics, the dirty tricks, the legal tricks employed by the SNP to silence members, to come forward and speak out.
BE the media and tell your own story. Because to remain silent is to let the situation continue.
Given the front page revelations which were carried by the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser last week, one might think that a newspaper crammed with investigative journalists would be following up on a story that goes from the local SNP group all the way up to the First Minister herself.
You might think they would have published THIS plea from a local councillor calling on the First Minister to suspend the local group and launch an immediate investigation into this scandal.
You might think they would have printed THIS letter where I try to give a different perspective from the one splashed across their pages.
You might think they would be seeking out stories and actively investigating this. I don’t think that is happening.
This weeks recipe in the Advertiser was for some butternut concoction. I hate butternut. Perhaps next week they could have one for succulent lamb.
Letter to the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, dated 29/02/16. UNPUBLISHED.
I would have thought that as a former Monklands Labour member, SNP Councillor Michael Coyle would need no lessons in how the term ‘Monklands Mafia’ originated. In case he has forgotten it would be worth reminding ourselves of how the term came into use. It was to do with the Labour run Monklands District Council having adopted, or being perceived to have adopted practices where jobs and funding were allocated based on your membership of the Labour party, your support for elected Labour councillors, your family relationship to councillors or friends and colleagues of councillors. Encapsulated as “Jobs For The Boys” this was a morally bankrupt system of supporting a power base by giving favours and expecting votes in return. The term “Monklands McMafia” now being used in the mainstream media is simply a reflection that the SNP are indulging in these and other distasteful practices also and was never an allegation of criminal activity. One only has to look at Alex Neil MSP and Neil Gray MP to see the practice of employing friends and family has been embraced by the SNP, indeed it is a matter of public record that Councillor Coyle works for both, in addition to them having employed their wife and brother-in-law respectively.
I’m sure that until Councillor Coyle drew the media’s attention to them, most people would have been unaware of the allegations Councillor Coyle claims were made against him in regards to organised crime and also to the arson attack on my car which he raised prominently in another newspaper. I would like to state that having only seen the very brief extract carried in the Advertiser I cannot comment on the scope of the thorough and extensive enquiry into Councillor Coyle, but I am concerned at two things. There is an element of the letter which reads more like a friendly character reference than a summary of the facts. Secondly it is not normal practice for Police Scotland to issue letters of this sort. I contacted the investigating team and a senior officer regarding the arson attack on my car and was told that “no suspects were ever identified” in relation to this. When I asked if I could have that confirmed in writing I was told that Police Scotland aren’t in the habit of providing such letters. Perhaps I would have had more luck if I was employed by a cabinet minister and an MP!
I believe that the front page of today’s National was a turning point in the Monklands McMafia saga and that the allegations of SNP links to organised crime, illegal payments for support on planning applications and bungs for public service contracts can no longer be branded by many on social media as simply the Unionist press attacking the SNP. These revelations come on top of the stories of bullying, fear and intimidation which have been circulating for some time now and which have also been completely ignored by Nicola Sturgeon. Given that the SNP suspended Julie McNulty on the basis of a “he said, she said” report which is now looking less credible by the day, it would be completely wrong of the SNP to not suspend anyone who is subject to the investigation mentioned in the article. Precedents have been set: Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson being the most high profile. It is time that Nicola Sturgeon stopped tiptoeing through the Tulips and takes the decisive action which is required to deal with this scandal.
With an election coming up Nicola Sturgeon MUST reassure voters in North Lanarkshire that the SNP are a party with the courage to deal with difficult internal matters head on if they are to retain any credibility in the eyes of the public. This matter is not going away and will likely have a great effect on the council elections in 2017 as well. Nicola may sweep this under the carpet for now, but to paraphrase Quint in the movie Jaws, She’s going to need a bigger carpet. Focus on Europe may deflect for a while, but that too will soon be history. I believe that the party immediately suspending all candidates in North Lanarkshire and imposing candidates from outside the area would be the first step in showing a commitment to regaining that trust.
As regards your mention of Councillor Michael Coyle, I’m sure that until Councillor Coyle drew the media’s attention to them, most people would have been unaware of the allegations he claims were made against him in regards to organised crime and also to the arson attack on my car which he raised prominently in the Sun last week. I would like to state that having only seen the very brief extract carried in the local press I cannot comment on the scope of the thorough enquiry which took place in the last few weeks into Councillor Coyle, but I am concerned at two things. There is an element of the letter which reads more like a friendly character reference than a summary of the facts. Secondly it is not normal practice for Police Scotland to issue letters of this sort. I contacted the investigating team and a senior officer regarding the arson attack on my car and was told that “no suspects were ever identified” in relation to this. When I asked if I could have that confirmed in writing I was told that Police Scotland aren’t in the habit of providing such letters. Perhaps I would have had more luck if I was employed by a cabinet minister and an MP!