Tag Archives: Pamela Nash

22/04/15 Airdrie SNP Selection Process/ Ode to Alex Neil

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser (Unpublished)

Dear Sir,

Recently you published an ode to Alex Neil written by someone who is clearly a huge fan. The writer, S Robertson, said that we didn’t know how lucky we were to have such a “truly great man” as our local representative. This was virtually the same phrase that was shouted out at the recent secret public/private meeting about Plains railway station by one of the so called ‘happy clappers’ who turned up to cheer on the all SNP panel. I’ve said before that Alex Neil has done some very good work, but I like to keep a balanced view rather than heaping adulation through political party coloured spectacles, so I felt I had to respond to the writers’ final comment, that Alex Neil deserved praise for his moral leadership.

Like many thousands of others I joined the SNP in the wake of the referendum defeat last September. Within a few months the process began to select a candidate to represent the SNP at the forthcoming election. Initially there were four potential candidates (sadly no women) and these were soon whittled down to two. One candidate, Craig Murray, failed vetting. Another candidate was refused due to a paperwork irregularity where despite submitting his nomination form eleven days prior to the closing date, he wasn’t informed of the error (which was clearly not his fault) until a few weeks later, on the actual night of the first hustings. Two candidates remained: Neil Gray (the current candidate) and another. The other remaining candidate clearly surprised the assembled members with a confident, knowledgeable speech delivered without reliance on a written script and demonstrated that he would have been a very capable candidate. Within days of that event, he had been called to SNP HQ in Edinburgh to answer a string of false allegations. As the campaign continued he was maliciously accused of violently assaulting a neighbour (despite the police confirming they had no record of any such incident and the candidate having no criminal record) as well as a further allegation made to SNP headquarters that his seriously ill mother had been fiddling her council tax. This led to North Lanarkshire Council carrying out a full investigation at the request of the candidate into whether there had been a Data Protection breach; the result being that there had been no breach of the Act and that her council tax was all in order. These complaints had been made maliciously and the identity of the people who sent them to headquarters were confirmed by SNP’s solicitor to then SNP Councillor Alan Beveridge as being members of the Airdrie branch.

Despite these clear breaches of the SNP members code of conduct, SNP HQ refused to take action against any individual. I myself made numerous complaints about the selection process which were ignored by SNP headquarters, despite copying emails in to highest levels of the party leadership. To my knowledge no action has been taken by the branch or headquarters to address the irregularities in the selection process or the malicious complaints, and this led to my resignation from a party I had joined only a few months earlier. The final meeting I attended could only be described as a ‘kangaroo court’ where it was made clear to Councillor Beveridge that he would be found guilty of all the ills which the branch found itself facing and that any members who challenged the existing branch regime were ‘a party within a party’ who would be facing expulsion from the SNP.

Which brings me back to S Robertson’s fan letter to Alex Neil. If Mr Neil had displayed moral leadership in this situation he wouldn’t have allowed the bullying atmosphere I witnessed at the branch meeting in February. He would have ensured that the party fully investigate the malicious complaints made about someone who had been with the party a long time, had campaigned for him and others, and had wanted to represent the party and our community. He would have ensured that the other breaches of the selection process were fully investigated impartially, (not, as I was advised by the branch and headquarters, by the very people the complaint was being made about). That’s not moral leadership, not unless your moral compass is broken.

I have long pointed out that Pamela Nash is a truly awful MP and I stand by that. S Robertson stated that SNP candidate Neil Gray has “learned at the feet of the master” which bearing the above in mind does not fill me with confidence. The electorate in Airdrie in my view is being offered the political equivalent of the choice between a punch in the face or a kick in the nuts. The people of Airdrie deserve much, much better and will have to hope that whatever the result of the election is, the rest of the country can give a better example.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy. 

08/04/15 Plains Railway Station and the Happy Clappers

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

I’m afraid that there was an inaccuracy in Ralph Barkers letter of 1st April. I did not use the phrase “happy clappers” to describe the bussed in SNP supporters at the secret public meeting held by Alex Neil in Plains. The man who did use the phrase was standing in front of me, so this may have caused some confusion. I’m not one to take credit for others efforts, and while I agree with the sentiment and laughed along with Mr Barker, sadly it wasn’t me who said it. I feel I must also answer a point raised by Mr Barker about why my letter attacked Ms Nash in relation to the Plains railway station when she is a Westminster MP who has no responsibility over transport. As an opposition MP she of course has no responsibility over anything. As our MP she could have worked to raise the issue wherever possible, maintain its profile and possibly broker a solution. She didn’t. She claimed at the meeting that she was “someone who has campaigned on this for a long time” when in actual fact she has happily used it as a stick to beat Alex Neil with on rare occasions. Over the last few years she has written the grand total of zero letters to North Lanarkshire Council on the subject, she has not raised the subject at all in Parliament, a Freedom of Information request to Network Rail is about to reveal her inactivity on that front and there is a solitary mention of it on her website, dating from four years ago. She has no responsibility over the NHS either, but has started a petition about the out-of-hours GP service and has commented on the NHS regularly, but has been silent on Plains Railway Station, proving she could have done something and didn’t. My own suspicion is that Ms Nash only became available for the meeting when she heard that Alex Neil wouldn’t be attending, and couldn’t resist the chance of a free hit in the run up to an election. Ms Nash is thoroughly deserving of all the criticism that comes her way over this, as she tried to paint herself as a campaigner on this issue when she is nothing of the sort. The facts tell us the truth, unlike Ms Nash who was caught today on BBC Radio Scotland passing off the by now well worn and completely exposed lie that “the biggest party forms the government”.  She truly is an awful MP who campaigns tirelessly for her party and herself, but not the people of Airdrie, and Airdrie deserves better than that. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

25/03/15 The Election, Labour and Credit Where It Is Due

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir,

I’m afraid I must disappoint Janet Hogg by writing in again. I noticed that the names she complained about appearing on a regular basis were three Nationalist contributors. I suspect that she is perhaps a Labour supporter who is annoyed at the lack of writers supporting the Labour party. I must admit there is a dearth of Labour support in the paper, much as there seems to be a dearth of Labour activism locally. I’m reliably informed that with some Labour councillors refusing to campaign for her, Pamela Nash has so little local support she is having to bring Labour party councillors up from Wales and England to campaign on her behalf. At present we have an MP whose own local party barely backed her in a vote of no confidence and who is barely seen on the streets of Airdrie, and certainly almost never seen outside of election time. Pretty much like every Labour MP we’ve had before you might say. As I’m not a member of any political party I am free to praise or criticise our elected representatives as I think fit. I have praised Labour councillors such as Tommy Morgan and Andrew Spowart in the past for their work in the community. Last week I criticised Alex Neil for his unwillingness to meet with the people of Plains to discuss the proposed Plains railway station. I must therefore give him credit for arranging his own meeting which took place in Plains on Friday night. What a pity he decided not to advertise it in the Advertiser or on social media, which would explain the low attendance, barely into double figures, and that was strangely made up by a large cohort of SNP activists from Airdrie. It’s almost as if Mr Neil didn’t want anyone there, apart from the photographer. Mr Neil and his colleague Neil Gray have just delivered a massive snub to the people of Plains, which one local SNP activist described as a “cynical ploy to attack Alex Neil”. The meeting was a genuine attempt to get everyone in the one room, cut through the rubbish being spouted by some parties and enlighten the people of Plains as to when, if ever, they may see a station in the village. Unfortunately paranoia by the SNP locally, added to what appears to be a serious case of throwing the teddy bear in the corner due to the meeting being organised by ex SNP Councillor Alan Beveridge means the people of Plains are unlikely to get a straight answer.

In the past Mr Neil was very supportive when my family had very bad experiences with Monklands Hospital, but as a politician you are only as good as your last job and at present he is deserving of some criticism. I hope that he can be open enough to accept that criticism and rectify the situation, as he has done some fine work for Airdrie as our MSP. I cannot say the same for Ms Nash though, who in her term of office has achieved precisely nothing. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,

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,

 

Tommy Morgan, Mears and North Lanarkshire Council (Advertiser: 22/01/15)

Published in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser 

Dear Sir, 

I was shocked to hear of the dismissal of Councillor Tommy Morgan from his post on the Audit and Governance Committee within North Lanarkshire Council. It will come as no surprise to many that I am a strong supporter of independence and the SNP, but as someone living in Plains I have often chatted with Tommy and have sought his help on a number of occasions, and have always found him to be very helpful and honest. In my opinion he is a straight shooter and if he says there are irregularities then I would tend to believe him and these should be fully investigated by an outside agency. It’s very sad that his party have seen fit to create a situation where they have had to use what appears to be a trumped up charge to silence him on this subject. It appears that local politics can be a dirty business and I have no doubt that the Labour Party in North Lanarkshire will now be looking at getting rid of Tommy at the next council elections. The fact his opponents have allowed two complainants to vote in a kangaroo court on his future clearly demonstrates how desperate they must be to get him out of the picture, as in any other walk of life those with a personal interest would be barred from such a vote for the sake of fairness and transparency. This will be Airdrie’s loss, as we need councillors, in all parties, who work hard and are willing to stand up and point out wrongdoing or corruption in their own ranks, not ones who stand idly by and let it happen and put their party first. It is a sign of tremendous courage to stand up for what is right when your own party are trying to silence you, and I wish Tommy well in his struggle. The bad old days of the Monklands Mafia with its corruption, where councillors made sure posts went to their family and friends must not be allowed to return. At the time of the original Monklands Mafia scandal Labour MP John Smith refused to acknowledge the dirty goings on in Airdrie in case it affected his chances in national elections. I can only hope that Pamela Nash has the will to do what John Smith did not, and if Ed Miliband gives her permission she should clean up North Lanarkshire Labour. 

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy