Monday, 29 March 2010

More on Steven Purcell

Commenting on the Prime Minister's interview on the Politics Show where he indicated that he has not looked into whether a Downing Street staffer took part in a conference-call in July 2008 which discussed the suitability of Stephen Purcell as a candidate in the Glasgow East by-election, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP, who asked the question at PMQs on 17th March, said:
"Gordon Brown today said he would "investigate" whether a Downing Street staffer took part in a conference-call to discuss the suitability of Stephen Purcell as a candidate.
"However that is exactly what he said he would do nearly two weeks ago in reply to a question at PMQs.
"He now has questions to answer on this matter. Why has he therefore not launched this investigation already? When will he do so? Why is there a delay?
"The Prime Minister's evasiveness in this only raises questions of how much he knows about what has been going on at Labour-run Glasgow City Council."
The SNP MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, also commented on the the fresh set of newspaper revelations to arise from the resignation of Steven Purcell as the leader of Glasgow City Council and said it only raised further the need for a full inquiry into how the council was run.
The latest revelations include champagne bills being billed to the taxpayer, Labour councillors using the council chambers as a party political postal address, the salary of the head of Strathclyde Public Transport still being paid despite the fact he stood down a month ago, and a Labour quango set up by the council awarding lucrative contracts to yet more companies donating to the Labour party.
Commenting Mr Mason said:
“As each week goes by, the questions keep piling up for Labour, and we have had no answers. With Alistair Darling threatening cuts worse than Thatcher, these reports about how Labour politicians use public money are astonishing.
“With more revelations about City Building (Glasgow) LLP – the quango set up by the Labour Council –awarding a lucrative contract to Labour party donor AS Scaffolding, Glasgow City Council must endorse the SNP call for an inquiry when it meets this Thursday. Many other contracts involving taxpayers’ money are suspicious and should be fully investigated.
“There are now too many questions flying around in the wake of Steven Purcell’s resignation - Labour should welcome the chance to prove they have not acted improperly and support SNP calls for a full investigation of the council.”
The SNP's group leader on Glasgow Council, James Dornan, added:
"Glasgow's voters are being treated with contempt. The receptions, paid for by the public purse, raises a number of questions.
"Who attended it? What was it was for? And was there any relation between this event and the famous Friday lunches attended by Steven Purcell and his mates?
"We need assurances there have been no other instances of Labour councillors not declaring receipts of gifts from Labour donors."
This is not worth investigating? Words fail me.

England and the Left

I have had an interesting discussion - off line - with an English nationalist who appears to me to be right on the button. It is obviously nonsense to assume that the SNP, whose raison d'etre is independence would appeal on a tartan note to an Englishman.

However, my new friend saw the sense in the rest of  SNP policies. It is a good thing, I think, that most policies that we have can be subscribed to by someone on the left of UK politics.

So much for the epithet, Tartan Tories.

I hope he reaches a position of power at some time in the future. For what he has to say, and our manifesto, are not very far apart.

Ireland, apparently. The Steven Purcell story - part 100

According to the Caledonian Mercury, Mr Purcell is in Ireland:

He is now in Ireland, a stop-over to prepare him for a return to Scotland soon.

It is the 'soon' that gets me. We were told he was away for a year. And where was he before he was in Ireland? Why is he coming back?

Further Steven Purcell and all that jazz

Purcell admits cocaine blackmail fear

Steven Purcell
Steven Purcell resigned from the council citing stress and exhaustion
The former leader of Glasgow City Council has admitted using cocaine and told of how this may have left him open to blackmail.
Steven Purcell told The Scottish Sun newspaper that he had taken the drug a "handful" of times.
He also said police warned that there could be video footage of him using the drug which might be used for blackmail.
Mr Purcell resigned as leader of the authority on 2 March, citing stress and exhaustion as the cause.
The 37-year-old told the newspaper he had used cocaine on several occasions after being first offered it at a party.
He blamed his own "stupidity" for his decision to take the Class A drug and explained how it eventually led to a visit from police.
He told the paper: "Two officers from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency came along.
I was contemplating suicide. I thought to myself - life isn't worth living like this
Steven Purcell
"They told me that during the course of an investigation they came across information that could mean I would be subject to blackmail because of the use of cocaine.
"They said there might be a video of me using cocaine and that could be used to blackmail me.
"The last time I used it was a year ago, a few weeks before the police came to see me. I told close colleagues at the council about it because I think it's important to be honest."
The former Labour councillor for the city's Blairdardie ward also said that he had problems with alcohol before he decided to step down.
He told the newspaper he had suffered from "increasing feelings of loneliness" in the months before his decision to step down as council leader.
'Rock bottom'
He said he started to drink heavily at the beginning of the year, using alcohol as "crutch" to help him cope when he was "low or stressed".
"I had gone from being normal to hitting rock bottom. I was basically having a nervous breakdown," he said.
"I was contemplating suicide. I thought to myself - life isn't worth living like this.
"It was at that point I called my family and told my family how I was feeling and that I was considering resignation."
I must apologise to my family, my constituents who loyally elected me, my friends and my colleagues who may feel I ran away from things
Steven Purcell
He told how he decided to seek professional help and booked himself into the Castle Craig clinic in Peeblesshire, from where he tendered his resignation as council leader by telephone.
He said: "I must apologise to my family, my constituents who loyally elected me, my friends and my colleagues who may feel I ran away from things."
Mr Purcell was first elected to Glasgow City Council in May 1995.
He served as convener of development and regeneration, then education before becoming leader, at the age of 32, in 2005.
He was named as "Councillor of the Year" at last year's Scottish Politician of the Year awards for his role in delivering the Commonwealth Games to Glasgow and for promoting a "living wage" for workers in the city.
Following his resignation, there have been calls for Strathclyde Police and the public spending watchdog, Audit Scotland, to investigate allegations about how council contracts were awarded under Mr Purcell's leadership.
Both bodies confirmed last week that they would not proceed with any investigation

What the heck is going on here? It is obvious that the BBC and others have chased Steven Purcell down. We are left in the dark as to where he is. Perhaps that is legitimate, as he may be a witness against corruption, or summat. We can be relieved that he is still alive. The more ridiculous conspiracy theories can be put to bed.

Steven Purcell - More Information

It seems odd to me that an organ I have never heard of before, has this information:

Steven Purcell tells of ‘gangster fears’

Former Glasgow leader tells of booze and drugs hell

Published: 29/03/2010
FORMER Glasgow City Council chief Steven Purcell turned to alcohol to fight pressure and loneliness, it was reported today.
Mr Purcell, Glasgow’s ex-Labour leader, also revealed that he had suffered a breakdown amid fears that gangsters had a video of him snorting cocaine.
Mr Purcell, 37, quit politics earlier this month.
He reportedly said today: “I must apologise to my family, my constituents who loyally elected me, my friends and my colleagues, who may feel I ran away from things.”
Mr Purcell said responsibility for the £2.4 billion annual Glasgow budget and the upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2014 had increased the stress he was under.


It seems to me that George Galloway and other big beasts of our shared sphere of the blog are willing to sue at the drop of a hat.
It seems to me that it ought to be obvious that a fund ought to be set up to defend bloggers such as Simon Singh,  and damn my eyes, David Taube.

For the attack legal dogs will take your rights away. They will legalise your opinions. They will attempt to make money out of your ideas. By suing you. Thus, they will take your breath away. For who will not look over their shoulder, at the legal ramificatiions, whenever they post a comment?

That is what they do. Lawyers will take away your rights, as quick as cheese.

It is perfectly possible to counter argue on the internet. It does not require  lawyers to follow an ambulance.

It seems to me that that is what lawyers do. It also seems to me that the exclusion of lawyers from internet debate is probably a good thing.

A friend and a reasonable proposition.

I do not know who 'Jai' actually is.

However,  he or she seems to talk sense

Music has often been termed the “universal language” of humanity, something that touches all of us and which we can all connect with irrespective of our backgrounds, in many cases even if we don’t understand the actual words. The music itself often conveys the message by the sheer power of the emotion. However, there is another essential point, embodied by the historical & contemporary individuals discussed above and also perfectly symbolised by the musical performances that the singers amongst them have been involved in :
There are far-Right groups such as the BNP, EDL and SIOE in Britain, their fringe Hindutva counterparts the Shiv Sena, RSS and Bajrang Dal in India, and Islamist extremists such as Al-Muhajiroun and Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain, the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Al-Qaeda globally; all of whom promote hatred, bigotry and persecution, in many cases taking their fanaticism to the extent of not only viewing their targets as literally subhuman but actually dehumanising them completely.
Conversely, there are also people who refuse to limit their perceptions by such divisive attitudes, for whom the words “we” and “us” mean the whole of mankind, who have the strength and mental clarity to be able to perceive our common humanity beyond artificial notions of “race” or religion, who understand that such differences are superficial, whose empathy and decency towards others is not limited or defined by such notions, and whose priority is to unite people, not tear them apart.

That is the point, is it not?

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Is Steven Purcell alive or dead?

Well, is he?

He strikes me as Schrödinger's cat. Alive or dead, or dead or alive, until the box is opened.

I'd have assumed someone has to find him. So far, the question is not being addressed.

Correct me if I am wrong...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Oliver Kamm and his enemies.

I believe Oliver Kamm writes editorials for the Times.

I believe he also has ideas floating around in his head that I cannot map onto my conscience. I also believe he was, at least once upon a time a member of the Euston Manifesto gang.

He has a simplistic idea about death.

He believes it should be inflicted on others.

Specifically and exactly on Germans and Japanese. Iraqis and perhaps Afghanistanis. Maybe Vietnamese, although I have not caught him out yet on that particular and dreadful dreadful calumny. It is there in his ammunition. He can fire it off when he likes.

And who, pray tell, could argue against this hero of modern thought?

This incicively, what shall we call it, barbaric arsehole, occupies a place at the high table of UK opinion forming - Times editorials no less - when the only suitable place would be somewhere in Dantes circles of Hell.

There has been a fascinating discussion about this, clearly careful, clearly motivated arsehole over here . There are people there that I weep for. They are not so chewed up on the 'might is right' shit.

Och, go and read it for yourselves and make your own mind up.

Crooked Timber -v- The Times Editorial Content. 6/4 -v- 100/1.

A subject of some amazement - Lee John Barnes as a subject of debate between Iain Dale and Nick Griffin

The link is here

I have had, shall we say, an acquaintance with Lee John Barnes (Llb Hons) off and on for quite a while. He 'comments' on Pickled Politics sometimes, and I managed to get so under his skin that he determined that, when the BNP became the government, I would be for the off. Chucked out of Blighty without a care.

I thought that was rather extreme at the time. But I wore it as a sort of badge.

It is interesting, and will raise his profile miles higher than his tiny spat with me, that he is now the subject of a discussion between Iain Dale and Nick Griffin.

Frankly, I am not at all clear whether Nick Griffin idolises Lee John Barnes, or not. I think it is pretty obvious that you have to work with the hired help you can attract. Seems to me.

Anyway, this is a sample of the discussion, specifically the bit about LJB LlB. The rest is quite fascinating too:

To clarify, I have added [ID] before Iain Dales comments and [NG] before Nick Griffins'. Neither were in the original text:

[ID] You present yourself as a moderniser. But a blog written by your legal officer Lee Barnes is all about how ethnic minorities and the Jews are awful. He reckons Britain is controlled by Zionists and their media puppets. There's just no way that if he's a national officer of the BNP, you can present the party as being anything other than obsessed by the usual issues.

[NG] Lee is a very strange and complex character. He's also regarded by all of Britain's Nazis as a leading treacherous pro-Jewish liberal, who's taken control of the BNP.

[ID] If he's liberal, I'd love to see someone who wasn't.

[NG] Lee is one of the people who believes that if you say that there's a Zionist influence in Britain, that does not make you antisemitic. We've got Jewish members. We've got a Jewish council group leader.

[ID]So some of your best friends are Jews... I see.

[NG] Lee is one of the ones who has taken most flak from Britain's Nazis, as he's taken the anti-semitism out of the BNP. But he's still fiercely anti-Zionist.

[ID] But if you say: 'Britain is controlled by Zionists and their media puppets,' there is only one way to read that. I would say that's a grotesque exaggeration. So you don't share any of those views at all?

[NG] No.

[ID] But you've allowed someone who's obsessed by Jewish issues to hold national office in the BNP.

[NG] I do, yes. As I say, if you look at his blogs and his arguments with people in the round, you will see that he's one of the people who's taken the obsession with Jews out of the BNP. It was there. But he's one of the ones who've taken it out by putting it in context.

This is mendacious. Lee John Barnes certainly is no friend of anyone that doesn't subscribe to his own philosophy.

For instance, you can see what he thinks:


If that is friendly to Jews, then I'm the Flying Dutchman.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Steven Purcell - WTF?

Yesterday, or day or two ago, it was not exactly clear what was a-going on here. It has become a little bit more obvious. See my previous post.

I'd like to know how anyone defends Mr Purcell, or Glasgow City Council as Mr Black appears to do?

There, it seems to me, to be corruption allegations to be faced up to. It is for George Black to answer that.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Strange weather lately?

The Steven Purcell show.

The Sundays.

From todays Sunday Times:


And also, Joan McAlpine:


Scotland on Sunday:


Sunday Herald:


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Gordon Brown link to Steven Purcell


This moves up and up, doesn't it?

The Glasgow Media - Blackout or What?

Another day, another revelation in the Steven Purcell affair here

Shorter version - City Building, an arms length, but wholly owned subsidiary, of Glasgow City Council gave a £2000 donation to the Labour Party. And this is legal?

We hear about it from the Scotsman?

The main two newspapers that appear to be treating this as a newsworthy story are the Scotsman and the Sunday Times. The Glasgow press corps seems to be always 'behind the curve' on this whole affair.

Hat tip to Stuart Dickson in the comments here

Monday, 15 March 2010

Sunday, 14 March 2010

SNP Tactical Voting - a weird factoid

Jeff Breslin is a very good guy.

He has had the decency to link his site to mine, and I thought that my infinitesimal traffic should  flow back to his, clearly better, web site.

And so I discovered the joys of The Link.

But it didn't link me to his front page. It linked me to something he hadn't cared to publish. Something about an old card pretending to be SNP.

This seems to me to be wrong.

Mr Breslin should not be hacked, and I assume that this is what this is, by back door tactics. And me as an innocent dupe.

I intend to try to post this on his very own web site, as a warning to him and to others.

The Steven Purcell Story - Part Three

I'd like to know the outcome of the autopsy on Danus McKinlay.

Why has that  become something no-one is talking about?

Did an autopsy actually take place?

We were told it would, but where is it?

I'd have thought his mother and father would have liked this all cleared up.

If you turn you eyes away from this, much like most folk seem to do, you are not asking to be told a truth. Whatever that might be.

Steven Purcell - The story moves along - Part 2

I sometimes wonder how closely we are expected to read newspaper reports before we can arrive at any sort of conclusion.

William Haughey has apparently said this to the Sunday Herald. It includes this apparently throw away indirect quote:

"But Mr Haughey insisted he not spoken to or helped Mr Purcell since his breakdown."

Yes, the grammar is theirs, not mine...

On the other hand, The Sunday Times claims this

Which says, inter alia:

NINE days ago Willie Haughey, one of Labour’s biggest donors and an ally of Gordon Brown, was spotted at a secret crisis meeting in a pub car park in the south of the Glasgow. He was flanked by two smartly dressed businessmen. Nearby, a plump man sat in a car, clearly agitated.

Haughey, the Scottish businessman, who built his £100m fortune out of a refrigeration business, was in a sombre mood as he spoke to the two men. The outcome was clear: the career of Steven Purcell, the plump man in question and one of Labour’s brightest stars, was over.

Purcell, 37, afraid and tearful, had already stood down as council leader of Glasgow, Britain’s fourth largest city. Friends had urged him to stay on as a councillor and rebuild his career.

Haughey, who has given more than £1m to Labour, and the two other men ordained a more drastic option. It would be announced later that Purcell’s career in local politics was over. “By then he will be out of the country,” said one of those present."

Well, even if both stories are completely accurate, they don't actually contradict each other, do they, dear reader?

The joys of go betweens and deniability, or a load of hooey? Spotted by whom, for instance, seems a reasonable question? Is it not the case that before a story like this is run there ought to be two independent sources?  Or do have we a local version of Deep Throat in play here?

And who, exactly were the two smartly dressed businessmen? The way it is written it would seem that they were a party to the decision.

It seems to me that the steam is still building on this story.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Hmm.. This is not Part Two...

Here is an interesting aside on this case:

To quote from the above, Jack Irvine allegedly says, inter alia:

"It has made allegations about the PR strategy but it has no idea about the hidden issues involved."

As a bear of very little brain, it seems to me that the public has a right to know what the 'hidden issues' are?

UPDATE: 14.03.10

Seems I am not the only one calling for some clarity here:

Oh! And 

And, most astonishingly:

The Steven Purcell Story - A post modern tale - Part One

And then it all went wrong, didn't it? I'd like help in filling in the gaps, some of which are down to my ignorance and some of which may point to what is really going on here. You decide, or help make this a better narrative. I will modify the narrative as comments or news arrives. This is supposed to be politically neutral, though Labour supporters may not see it as such. That is their cognitive dissonance, not mine.

For those that do not know, a few weeks ago it seemed that Steven Purcell, the first (?) outright gay Leader of Glasgow was heading towards the stratosphere of Scottish Labour. He was well respected, even by his opponents, including me, and had managed to bring the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow.

A bright and shiny future seemed to await him. He had been headhunted to stand against John Mason in the Glasgow (East) by election, and would probably have won. But he rejected that opportunity, perhaps because he wanted to see the Commonwealth Games project to a conclusion. On balance, I think that was true. There have been few occasions for this city to stand on a global stage and it would have been kudos all the way. It might not, exactly, have been a platform as strong as a certain Mr B Johnsons, but it would have been a credible rising tide on which to enter Parliament.

Would it not?


It is quite difficult to understand how someone on the cusp of that much potential could have blown it so thoroughly.

Who are these 'pals' that The News of the World said he had?

It all seemed to start to go wrong at the dog end of an evening out. February 26th, described as a 'convivial night out'.  It was a night that our beloved leader - to quote Private Eye - was in attendance. (OK, G Brown.). That appears to have ended rather oddly, as  Steven Purcell was, apparently, huckled out of the joint by 'pals' and taken home. What had the 'rising star of Labour Politics' done to result in this 'I'll get your coat' treatment?

No-one is saying. Correct me if I am wrong, but no-one is saying.

It gets more weird.  February 26th is a Friday. The weekend starts here, and all that.

What happened to Steven Purcell over that weekend?

Apart from unsubstantiated comments that 'he was getting worse' or the like, issued by pals, apparently, very little. We do not hear from his family, we do not hear from him.

Who hasn't hade a tit of themselves late on a Friday night? What degree of embarrassment would be enough to make you walk into work on the Monday morning and resign? Well, he was so embarrassed that he didn't even turn up. He just resigned over the phone from, probably, the most important post in Scottish Local Government.

What could he possibly have said or done on the Friday that made resignation necessary on the Monday?

Occams razor kind of cuts through most speculation. It is not obvious that he even spoke to Gordon Brown.

So what was said, that was enough for him to firstly give up his authority and then his job. I do not believe it was just a cocaine habit, which is comprehensively denied, he merely 'dabbled'. There is something else going on here, and I think it is darker and deeper.

More later....

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Steven Purcell

It is all becoming a bit mad, isn't it?

There are folk that think tomorrows' papers will reveal all.

Frankly, I have no idea.

I don't know about you, but I'd really like to see tomorrows headlines. And an analysis of whether he has been strung out to dry, or not. It could be a game changer in Glasgow.

This could be a big deal politically, or a damp squib....