Tag Archives: North Korea

Put The Sweet Sherry Down and Step Away From The Keyboard…

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 240517

I was taken aback at the Advertiser editorial this week; it was, on so many levels, weapons grade nonsense. In recent years we’ve become more used to minority governments, coalitions and the like; indeed Scotland’s electoral systems are designed to create consensual governments which reflect the broad picture. So to see the Advertiser paint Labour taking control of North Lanarkshire Council as somehow akin to North Korean politics was utterly jaw dropping; indeed it read more like a drunken late night Facebook rant than an actual newspaper editorial which left me wondering how it actually made it in to print.
Some actual analysis wouldn’t go amiss here, and as The Advertiser has singularly failed to do so, let me help. Labour and the SNP were within one seat of each other, with the SNP having the slimmest of margins over their rival, but far short of a majority. To have a workable authority the SNP would have to rely on support from somewhere, and for that they would have to make concessions. SNP group leader David Stocks said that he had written to Jim Logue offering an SNP/Labour coalition. I’m sure that I’m sure if they had been willing to come and go on the names being put forward then that may have been an acceptable compromise. That offer was not accepted and we are left to draw the conclusion that the SNP’s proposals were so poorly thought out that Jim Logue was left either with the option of taking a gamble that the Tories would back Labour to block the SNP out of hand, or with entering a formal coalition with the Tories. Given that there is absolutely no evidence of the latter, except in the fevered mind of Alex Neil, we have to conclude that Labour didn’t form any such coalition. Pointing to the Tories being given the Audit convenorship as proof doesn’t stack up either. The previous Convenor was David Stocks of the SNP, and this was because the post goes to someone from outside the ruling body and as the SNP refused to take any of the posts offered by Labour they had to be filled by Tories! So Megan Gallacher left the council chambers £30K a year better off thanks to the SNP’s petulance and David Stocks left £30K worse off. Is it any wonder he’s bitterly complaining?

Councillor Stocks was quoted as saying “We won the election but people ask why we are not in power.” That’s a very good question and I’m glad he asked it, however I don’t think he’ll like the answer. The SNP were expected to romp the election, but didn’t. The Labour vote collapsed, but not primarily to the SNP. Hard core British Nationalists were seduced by Ruth Davidson’s rhetoric, abandoned any working class principles and sold out to a party ready to stick the knife into pensioners, the poor and the disabled at the earliest opportunity; never mind the policies, smell the flag. They then used their second and third votes to vote for Labour to block the SNP; quite simply Tory voting strategy was well briefed out to their supporters. But these voters were never going to vote SNP in any case, so what about those who were among those who could be persuaded?

Independent Councillor Alan Beveridge hit the nail on the head when he said that the SNP were fighting like rats in a sack, and it is this reason and this reason alone that the SNP did not gain the convincing win they should have done. Councillor Stocks apparently didn’t campaign at all during the election and actually came second to his novice running mate Nancy Pettigrew who preceded him alphabetically on the ballot paper. That shows a clear lack of voter management strategy. Airdrie South was no better where the Team Coyle leaflet campaign undermined actual SNP candidate Paul Di Mascio. Airdrie North was struck by a social media debacle and Coatbridge was racked by internal disputes too. The only part of North Lanarkshire to deploy an effective voter management strategy was in Cumbernauld, where the SNP swept the boards, and it raises the question: why aren’t they in charge of the group? They know what they are doing, are cohesive and work well as a team, everything North Lanarkshire SNP isn’t under David Stocks.
The SNP now have five years to get their party in shape to win convincingly in North Lanarkshire. It will require them to honestly appraise themselves and they must be prepared to clear out the dead wood and hangers-on who cost them victory. The current plan seems however to be not to carry out that self critical analysis but to fashion a narrative of a secret Tory/Labour coalition and to shout it for the next five years. As a plan of action it is unsustainable and is reveals a complete lack of self belief and vision. If I were an SNP member I would be asking these critical questions at every opportunity, as clearly the elected representatives will not. If they don’t, they’ll be asking in five years time, and that’s five years too late.

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Pamela Nash, Nukes and Gender Inequality (Advertiser 27/01/15)

 An edited verion of this letter appeared in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

Was I alone in spotting the delicious irony displayed in last weeks Advertiser, where on one half of the page Labour MP Pamela Nash was bemoaning the plight of women across the UK suffering due to the gender pay gap, while on the other half of the page it detailed how Labour run North Lanarkshire Council was dodging its responsibilities and trying to diddle women out of money they were due as they had been paying them less than men? Labour MPs and MSPs are on a daily basis appearing to be a parody of the well known Iraqi Gulf War Information Minister Comical Ali, who was well known for making statements completely at odds with facts. Take Pamela Nash (someone PLEASE take Pamela Nash!) for example. Stuck on transmit, she never responds to questions from difficult constituents and has actually closed off the facility to comment from her website. She has in the past claimed that she voted against the bedroom tax (she was in Austria at the time), that she has voted against the Tories austerity (she voted for it) and that she has voted against fracking (she abstained). I honestly am starting to feel embarrassed for her. Every time she takes to social media the public are shooting down her claims within minutes. I’m just waiting for her to state that “there are no claims of impropriety between North Lanarkshire Council and Mears…”

These pronouncements pale into insignificance when you read her website where she has made a statement regarding why she has done her bit to rid the world of nuclear weapons by voting to buy more. Her conscience, last seen many years ago heading off in the opposite direction, would not let her leave the people of Airdrie and Shotts at the mercy of the Russians and the North Koreans. I wasn’t aware that Vladimir Putin had his eyes on Airdrie. Perhaps he’s after the football stadium, while Kim Jong Un is after the John Smith Pool. It certainly can’t be for our heavy industry, our manufacturing base or our rich mineral wealth. As any old military hand can tell you, the threat comes from capability combined with intention. Russia has capability, but no intention. North Korea perhaps has intention, but no capability. Ms Nash is selling us a lie based on the creation of a climate of fear. The retention, and indeed renewal of the UK’s nuclear arsenal is intended to keep the UK at the top table internationally, nothing else. This was at the heart of the Better Together ideal, a nuclear capable UK strutting on the world political stage. If continued austerity is the price they have to pay, then they will happily pay it. And by “they” I mean “us”. Any thoughts of the SNP propping up a Labour government in exchange for their scrapping of Trident can therefore be put to bed now, as I have no doubt that the Labour Party would see a coalition with the Tories a more acceptable venture. Pamela Nash and her colleagues will tell you that they are aiming to win a majority government. I could tell you that I will be crowned Mr Universe. Truth is, neither of them will happen, and the latter looks more feasible. We have a simple choice in May. Vote Labour and get an opposition who repeatedly fail to oppose, or vote SNP and get an opposition who will be speaking up for us at every turn. As for me, I’d best get to work on my abs… 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,