Category Archives: The SNP Files

Deselection Day: The Monklands McMafia Row Rumbles On

On Saturday The Herald and The National both printed articles, (the Herald also printed an editorial by senior political editor Tom Gordon) regarding the deselection of four SNP councillors, including two in the Airdrie branch; Michael and Agnes Coyle. The release of this news came a week later than I expected, however the timing was exactly as I anticipated. A late Friday release for such news means it will escape the attention of most of the papers, Reporting Scotland and Newsdrive, so there’s no embarrassing TV or radio coverage to contend with.

On reading the Herald article I was struck by the following passage:

The ‘McMafia’ councillors who failed vetting were husband and wife Michael and Agnes Coyle and Dr Imtiaz Majid, while the councillor close to Mr Boswell was David Baird.

Nicknamed “Don Coyleone”, Mr Coyle last year denied being linked to organised crime after a former SNP member’s car was destroyed in a fire, and claimed the police had exonerated him.

He said: “I’ve been accused of gangsterism and having links to organised crime. It’s outrageous. The police conducted a thorough investigation then sent me a letter saying the allegations are not true.”

I’m concerned that this is being presented as one of the major reasons for the decision which has been made to deselect these councillors, and it could be seen to overshadow the many allegations made to HQ of bullying, cronyism and nepotism across Airdrie, Coatbridge and Bellshill. The article makes no mention of the numerous complaints made about the Westminster selection process which saw Neil Gray installed as candidate for MP and saw Councillor Alan Beveridge resign in disgust. There have been other complaints from many other now ex-members and the vetting process which led to the deselection of these councillors no doubt considered all these factors plus much more which I am not privy to.

In regards to the attack on my car, I have nothing to add to this letter which I wrote last year, and as I said to  in response to a post I made on Facebook, the only person to link the damage to my car with Councillor Michael Coyle was Councillor Coyle himself in an article in the Scottish Sun.

I’m glad that SNP HQ has finally addressed the issues raised by myself and others. It’s unfortunate that to have action taken many members had to resign, and they had to take their grievances to the press rather than have the SNP deal with them fairly and honestly. For my part, I have to say that I am utterly disappointed in Nicola Sturgeon as a leader. I contacted many people at SNP HQ regularly during and after the Westminster selection process debacle, and Nicola Sturgeon was copied into emails where possible and mailed by hand, directly to SNP HQ. My attempts to have this issue acknowledged on Twitter saw me blocked by her, and for me this action in deselecting a few councillors is in some ways too little, too late, and she must share a huge portion of the blame for the shambles in North Lanarkshire. If she is to go any way towards redeeming herself she must take a far quicker, fairer and firmer grip on rogue branches. The removal of Alex Neil, Michael Coyle and Agnes Coyle is a positive step in the right direction. I now hope that those decent members remaining in the Airdrie branch have the balls to step up to the mark, seize the day and show everyone that they want a fresh start, though they will need to rid themselves of the remnants of the old guard such as Councillor David Stocks to do so. They can still salvage something from the wreckage if they have the will to.

Eat Your Cereal

Letter to The National, 14/03/16
Dear National,
In the article in Satuday’s National Silent protest to make point about the Monklands McMafia it quotes the Airdrie and Shotts SNP blog which said that “People generally join an organisation because they identify with it, and not to radically change it”. I think this speaks volumes about just how unprepared Airdrie and Shotts SNP were in taking on the surge of new members who joined post referendum and how unwilling they were to adapt to a massive influx of people who joined, not because they slavishly supported SNP policy, but because they believed in independence. This smacks of an “eat your cereal” attitude where new ideas are unwelcome, and where the positive changes which could have seen the party grow locally were abandoned to maintain tight control. More ‘No You Can’t’ than ‘Yes We Can’…
Yours Sincerely,
James Cassidy

Monklands McMafia Saga: Airdrie & Shotts SNP Break Their Silence

Airdrie and Shotts SNP Official Blog: Screenshot 1
Airdrie and Shotts SNP Official Blog: Screenshot 1
Airdrie and Shotts Official Blog: Screenshot 2
Airdrie and Shotts Official Blog: Screenshot 2

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.

Monklands McMafia Saga: Time To Speak Out

(c) Express Newspaper
(c) Express Newspaper

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.

#MonlandsMcMafia

Monklands McMafia Scandal: What’s On The Menu?

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 240216
Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 240216

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.

Monklands McMafia Scandal: The comment they DON’T want you to see

Letter to the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, dated 29/02/16. UNPUBLISHED.

Dear Sir,

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! 

James Cassidy

#MonklandsMcMafia

Letter to The National: Monklands McMafia

Letter in The National: 010316
Letter in The National: 010316

Dear Sir
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!


Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

The Monklands McMafia Saga: Julie McNulty calls in the Police Counter Corruption Unit

Scottish Sun on Sunday, 28/02/16
Scottish Sun on Sunday, 28/02/16

I was gobsmacked to see the latest instalment of the Monklands McMafia saga played out in the national press today. I believe events in North Lanarkshire have taken an interesting turn. Given that the SNP suspended Julie 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 that carpet is getting awfully bumpy. Focus on Europe may deflect for a while, but that too will soon be history. I believe that the party imposing candidates from outside the area would be the first step in showing a commitment to regaining that trust.

I think the time has come for the good councillors within the SNP to stop pretending that there is going to be a happy ending here. With the allegations which have been made against them I think it safe to say that neither Julie McNulty or David Baird have a future within the SNP. Having seen friends fail the vetting process I think it a safe bet to say that any councillor with even the merest whiff of the suspicion of their loyalty and reliability will find themselves surplus to requirements as 2017 approaches. Better they leave with dignity at a time of their choosing than to be cast aside later when the publicity has died down.

#MonklandsMcMafia

http://archive.is/dovym

Monklands McMafia Saga: A New Development

The Sun on Sunday, 27/09/15
The Sun on Sunday, 27/09/15

I have today been contacted by a Journalist as a follow up to the story which appeared in the press last September regarding the attack on my car and the masked thugs who threatened me at my home.

A follow up story is due to appear in The Scottish Sun tomorrow. I await its publication with interest.

As I have continually stated I am unaware who carried out these cowardly attacks. If anyone has any information regarding them I would urge them to contact Police Scotland.

The Monklands McMafia Saga: New Voices

I think the hardest thing about what is now being referred to in the media as the Monklands McMafia affair/crisis/saga has been getting other voices heard. I have felt that this has been easily deflected by Nicola Sturgeon and her staff at HQ as it could be put down to one or two disaffected individuals.

That has all changed.

Patterns of behaviour are emerging and people are talking about this openly on social media and in the comments section of the Herald and The National. They are certainly worth reading, it’s eye opening stuff to see just how far this stretches and for how long it has been going on.

It’s worth noting that some of the comments backing the local party are on the face of it from vague, generic and unimaginative names, while those speaking out are real verifiable people. It’s also worth noting that these one or two individuals are making what appear to be very personal references to some individuals, about their jobs, their families, their history. Given that none of the people referred to know the accuser(s) it appears that a sock-puppet account is in play here. All very mysterious but par for the course in this affair.

12th February, The National: Hundreds Have Quit Our Branches

13th February, The Herald: SNP urged to reveal secret report into Monklands McMafia

14th February, Sunday Herald: Secret Recording reveals depths of SNP infighting

16th February, The National: Turf War at the centre of racism row

17th February, The Herald: SNP members refuse to vote for own party

19th February, The Herald: SNP threaten legal action against own councillor

#MonklandsMcMafia