Tag Archives: Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP

Can Someone Tell Elaine (Not C) Smith: Foreigners ISN’T a Dirty Word…

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Letter to the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 16th March 2017
Dear Sir,
There has been a lot of xenophobic sentiment displayed over the last few years in England and this has led us to the point where it is highly likely there will be a referendum on whether Scotland wishes to be an independent nation and EU member or a region of Britain outside of Europe. Last week I was unfortunate enough to see a video released by the British Nationalist campaign group Scotland in Union in which former football commentator Archie McPherson stated that he did not want to see Scotland as a normal country which runs its own affairs as this would make friends and family in England “foreigners”. Unlike Archie, I have no fear of “foreigners”. Over the last few years I have been very lucky to travel across Europe, to France and Italy and more recently to Denmark and Sweden and have to admit that we have much to learn from these countries but we also have much to offer in return. The freedom to move and travel across Europe with the same ease as if I were to travel to Glasgow or Inverness is one which I value and do not wish to see thrown away.
In this weeks Advertiser Elaine Smith MSP complained about how our railways are in private hands and that they are now a “cash cow for Dutch state-owned Abellio” and that they are “passing profits abroad”. I fully agree that our railways should be nationalised, but why does Ms Smith draw attention to which country that money will go to? There are numerous privatised Train Operating Companies operating in Scotland, Arriva and Virgin to name two which aren’t foreign owned, yet Ms Smith specifically singles out the one where the privatised profits don’t go into British pockets. Alluding to foreign companies taking “our” money might resonate with some, but not me. If privatisation of public services is wrong then make your case on that basis Elaine. Not by the nationality of the pocket the money ends up in.
Yours Sincerely,
James Cassidy

SNP 1&2: The Wrong Tactic in the Wrong Area

Here in the Central Scotland regional list area the SNP won every single constituency seat, and as reward gained no list places. Every silver lining has a cloud though, and Yes voters need to accept that the SNP 1&2 campaign was entirely the wrong tactic if you are looking at having a wider pro-Yes representation. The SNP were expected to win every seat, and to do so comfortably. Such was the strength of the SNP vote locally that Labour Elaine (Not C) Smith was beaten by the empty chair candidate Fulton McGregor. So an alternative strategy was a MUST here. Likewise in Glasgow. If the parties are canvassing and the returns are as good as what the polls were suggesting then a softer approach is required to and SNP 1 and AN Other 2. Agreements should be in place about some of the broader issues beforehand.
I think that what must also be accepted is that while many people are supportive of the aims and sentiment expressed by the likes of RISE and Tommy Sheridan, that they are not a realistic option for the receipt of a second vote in such a polarised contest. The YES movement has gathered round the SNP, while the hard NO vote is being gathered round the Ruthless Davidson Party for Ruthless Policy Party. Should that continue then having a number of Pro Yes parties will weaken the case for independence, not make it. Tactical voting only works where the options for choice are limited.
In my opinion the Greens are the ‘AN Other’ party in the above scenario, where they would be the main beneficiary when the SNP sweep the boards on the constituency vote.

I spoiled my paper in the constituency vote. I voted Green on the list. What happened? SNP got in with an increased vote, took all the seats in the central area and therefore got NOTHING from the list.The SNP gained a majority on the first vote alone and they simply weren’t going to get ANY list seats. It made perfect sense to vote for the Greens as the next most likely recipient. In fact it could more likely be said that RISE and Solidarity took votes from the Greens in that respect, with a combined total of all non SNP pro-independence votes being 6.5%. That meant one more unionist and one less pro-indy.
We have to get smarter about there is and adopt regional tactics. A Scotland wide call for SNP 1&2 DOESN’T work.

Squirrels, Big Numbers, Apples and Oranges and the Girl Who Cried Wolf…

Letter to The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 05/02/16

Talking P: With Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP

Talking P: With Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP

Dear Sir,

I see that M Wilkinson engaged again in that well known political technique of deflection, or “Look, Squirrel!” as it is sometimes referred to. I wrote in to this newspaper about reports of alleged bullying within Airdrie SNP which have been already reported in the national press and he tries to deflect this by focusing on something else entirely. It’s all too easy to be deflected so that the topic initially discussed, alleged bullying, quickly becomes forgotten.
Another popular political technique is to throw big numbers at people in the hope the sheer size of the number will stun the voters into thoughtless acceptance. I don’t know about anyone else, but start adding noughts on to numbers and my eyes usually start to glaze over. Couple this with the “Apples and Oranges” technique of trying to compare two apparently similar figures which are actually completely different and you usually have a sure-fire winner. Take last week’s column by Coatbridge MSP Elaine Smith. In it she bemoaned the current housing crisis and belittled the Scottish Government’s record, citing that in 2013 they had presided over the building of a mere 14,885 homes, the lowest number since 1947. What’s more she said, Labour have a plan to build 60,000 houses over five years to help end the crisis. We’re all saved! Hang out the bunting! Haud on a minute…
Like most things Labour say these days, things just don’t add up. I first wondered whether Mrs Smith’s figures were accurate and went online to investigate. I read that house building figures in Scotland peaked in 2007, just before the banking crash and have never regained those heady figures achieved under the umbrella of the boom and bust Blair/Brown government. Since then completions have risen and fallen slightly; in 2010 it was 16,911, in 2011 it was 15,226, in 2012 it was 14,981, in 2013 it was 14,885, in 2014 it was 15,562. Complete figures for 2015 are not available yet, so the total for the last 5 complete years is 77,565.
Mrs Smith’s column shows both “Big Number” and “Apples and Oranges” in action. Having thrown the big, shiny number of 60,000 in, Mrs Smith is relying on you not doing some basic maths; that 60,000 over 5 years is only 12,000, way below the 14,885 all time low she complained about. She’s also compared an annual housing figure with a five year target, rather than compare like with like; five yearly target versus five year figures, and so on. So Labour’s answer to the crisis in housing is, if I am reading this right, to build 17,565 LESS houses than the SNP, and to berate them in the process. One has to admire the sheer brazenness of it. Unfortunately that’s all there is to admire about Labour these days. They have become the political equivalent of the Boy Who Cried Wolf; one day they will actually tell the truth and no one will believe them.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

 

As an Aside, I did try to clarify this with Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP. She failed to respond:Talking P2

Link to Housing Completion Figures

British Nationalism: Good, Irish Nationalism: Good, Scottish Nationalism: BAD!

Submitted to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 16/01/16

Tweet by Elaine Smith MSP

Tweet by Elaine Smith MSP

Dear Sir,

The name Airdrie is believed to be derived from the Gaelic An Àrd Ruigh, meaning a high pasture. The high ground near Blackhill transmitter is Duntilland, Dun being Gaelic for a fort, and this area would may well have had such a fortification in the vicinity. One only has to look at an Ordnance Survey map to see examples of Gaelic in use across the country: An Teallach, Stob a’Choire Odhair, Meall na Tarmachan; to those who know them they are expressive names which their English language equivalents cannot match. For hillwalkers across Scotland they also provide a constant source of argument as to their pronunciation! The Gaelic language has roots here and while not in common everyday use in Airdrie, is still very much part of our heritage. I was therefore pleased to see the recent commitment by North Lanarkshire Council to recognise Gaelic as a living language and their publication of a five year plan to that end, as well as beginner’s classes in the language. I was less pleased to see Coatbridge Labour MSP Elaine Smith attack the Labour run North Lanarkshire Council when they advertised Gaelic classes with the slogan “Interested in learning Scotland’s native language?” Mrs Smith appeared to take offence at the claim Gaelic was Scotland’s native language. She then responded to criticism of her stance with concerns about NLC funding of this project. This really is beyond belief! Mrs Smith has been a loud and vocal champion of Irish cultural events in Scotland. In March 2012 in an article about the St Patricks day celebrations in Coatbridge it was reported that she had said that “I have called on the Scottish Government to look at ways of assisting cultural festivals such as this to grow and develop.” She has also said that she is “proud of my Irish heritage”, and that “the Irish Catholic vote in Scotland has remained unconvinced of Scottish nationalism.“ Why is it that Irish culture is good and should be funded, but Scottish culture should be sneered at and it’s funding questioned? Why should she try to create a religious divide on the subject? Is it because Mrs Smith is a committed British nationalist, and that a Scotland divided by sectarian and religious lines is less of a threat to the British state than a united one? Similarly, the eradication of one of our native languages by starving it of recognition and funding would be just another tactic in the process of destroying a sense of Scottish national identity and replacing it surreptitiously with a common British identity. That must not be allowed to happen.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

Elaine (Not C) Smith and The Unionist Theory of Splitting Hairs

 Published in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 02/12/15 in response to the letter in this photo:

Letter from Elaine (Not C) Smith. Deflect, deflect, deflect!

Letter from Elaine (Not C) Smith. Deflect, deflect, deflect!

 

Dear Sir,

In response to Elaine Smiths letter in last weeks Advertiser, I accept that despite claims to the contrary by her colleague Siobhan McMahon MSP, Mrs Smith was not a cheerleader for Better Together. You can forgive my confusion as she made all the same arguments that Better Together did. She/they claimed that coming out of the union would put the NHS at risk. Labour then told us that it was at risk (in the union) from the Tories. Mrs Smith told us that our pensions were at risk in an independent Scotland, only to see them under assault on a near weekly basis, and it

s now reported that people born today will now not get their state pension until they are 77! She told us that jobs were at risk if we went independent and that established companies would leave Scotland. They have and we stayed in! Tax jobs, steel jobs, the list goes on; all either defunct or relocated to England. Anyone would think that the UK government was asset stripping so that in future there would be no infrastructure left and the costs of setting up an independent Scotland would be even greater.

Mrs Smith promised that all we had to do was vote No and Johann Lamont and Ed Miliband would sweep to power and we could all live happily ever after in a socialist union. Miliband was never going to elected, he was unelectable, and Lamont and the Red Tories are now utterly toxic.

Mrs Smith has saved the union she so desperately craved. The biggest gamble on staying in the union was that it would be a Tory one, and that s what Labour helped deliver. She denies being part of Better Together. Please amend my previous letter regarding Mrs Smith. Sentence one: delete words 14 and 15 (Better Together), insert new words (The Union). It means exactly the same thing.

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

 

Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP, Calmac and Hypocrisy

Letter to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 15th November 2015 (This is an edited version of a fuller letter sent to RMT News, on the same date).

Dear Sir, 

I see that Coatbridge MSP Elaine (Not C) Smith, a vocal cheerleader for Better Together, is now silent as the 2000 jobs which would have been secure running Scotlands tax system are lost to Croydon. She is silent now that Scotland is about to say ta-ta to the last of its steel industry. She is silent on the subject of her party siding with the Tories to deny Scotland the chance to operate it’s own tax credit system, and instead implementing a system where we can use our Westminster pocket money to top up the benefits they are about to cut. She has however not been silent on the alleged privatisation of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry contract. As people across the country who are not afforded the same airtime as Ms Smith have repeatedly pointed out, this is not privatisation. In fact it’s the same tendering process that the Labour/Lib-Dem Scottish Executive followed when the contract was awarded to Caledonian MacBrayne in 2006. Back then the SNP claimed this was privatisation by the back door, a charge denied by Labour then, yet employed by Labour now they are in opposition. So if we can take that hypocrisy away we are left with the argument as to whether Calmac or Serco should be awarded the contract. From a moral point of view you could say that Serco should be discounted, having as they do a horrendous record across the world in workplace relations. They are involved in almost every sphere of life, from office cleaners to atomic weapons, and at the end of it all the money they generate goes to private shareholders; they have the global financial clout to outbid anyone, anywhere, should they wish to do so. Calmac know that they must put a bid in which is sufficiently within the same ballpark that the Scottish Government can point to aspects of the bid which will compensate for what will undoubtedly be a poorer bid in strictly monetary terms. I hope they are successful in doing so because I feel that at present we are seeing the asset stripping of everything that a future independent Scotland will need and It would be far easier to nationalise a Calmac owned ferry service than a Serco owned one. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,

 

Caledonian MacBrayne and The Politics of Hypocrisy

Letter to RMT News, 15th November 2015

From RMT News, November 2015

From RMT News, November 2015

Dear RMT News, 

I was disappointed to see that Coatbridge MSP Elaine (Not C) Smith given considerable space in Novembers RMT news and I was more disappointed to see that Mrs Smith remains convenor of the RMT group of MSPs. Mrs Smith, a vocal cheerleader for the pro UK Better Together campaign, is strangely silent as the 2000 jobs which would have been secure running Scotlands tax system are lost to Croydon. She is silent now that Scotland is about to say ta-ta to the last of its steel industry. She is silent on the subject of her party siding with the Tories to deny Scotland the chance to operate it’s own tax credit system, and instead implementing a system where we can use our Westminster pocket money to top up the benefits they are about to cut.

In the Scottish Parliament she has however not been silent on the alleged privatisation of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry contract. As people across the country who are not afforded the same airtime as Mrs Smith have repeatedly pointed out, this is not privatisation. In fact it’s the same tendering process that the Labour/Lib-Dem Scottish Executive followed when the contract was awarded to Caledonian MacBrayne in 2007. Back then the SNP claimed this was privatisation by the back door, a charge denied by Labour then, yet employed by Labour now they are in opposition. So if we can take that hypocrisy away we are left with the argument as to whether Calmac or Serco should be awarded the contract. From a moral point of view you could say that Serco should be discounted, having as they do a horrendous record across the world in workplace relations. They are involved in almost every sphere of life, from office cleaners to atomic weapons, and at the end of it all the money they generate goes to private shareholders. They have the global financial clout to outbid anyone, anywhere, should they wish to do so. Calmac know that they must put a bid in which is sufficiently within the same ballpark that the Scottish Government can point to aspects of the bid which will compensate for what will undoubtedly be a poorer bid in strictly monetary terms in order to give them the contract, and I hope they are successful in doing so because I feel that at present we are seeing the asset stripping of everything that a future independent Scotland will need and in my view it would be far easier to renationalise a Calmac owned ferry service than a Serco owned one.

But I for one will not be standing alongside Mrs Smith and parroting her reasons for campaigning, which in the main are that anything the SNP does is bad, nor shall I share anything with a logo created by the treacherous Daily Record. The RMT, in aligning with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and the Daily Record appear to have chosen to ally itself with two organisations which are entirely out of step with the mood of, if not outright destested by a huge proportion of the Scottish electorate. I understand that the RMT has for the last few years campaigned on an anti EU stance, but I am sure it would not share a platform nor give a column to the odious UKIP politician Nigel Farage, even though his stated aim of a UK outside the EU is in line with this unions. Its apparent endorsement of the Labour Party’s Scottish branch is therefore viewed with equal distaste by this member. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy