Friday 13 September 2013

When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain?

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
GARL has become a political Banquo, rising to haunt Labour's Macbeth.  GARL, once Glasgow Labour's greatest friend now looks as if it will be the spectre to haunts that party into madness (OK, that's a wee bit dramatic, but give me a bit of licence).  Yesterday JoLa tottered onto her pins in Parliament to spin an outrageous untruth that the Government had bought land for GARL and later sold it back to the chap who had originally owned it at an enormous loss which was, of course, a gain for the chap who had sold it and bought it back again and that there was something dodgy about it.

Well, JoLa was protected by the absolute privilege afforded MSPs during Parliamentary proceedings, which is lucky for her because the businessman involved, John McGlynn, was beelin that his honesty had been called into question and was ready for a battle.  I know nothing much about the chap at all but he certainly looked angry when he was interviewed for the news broadcasts which made it all the more surprising to see the way that James Kelly represented Labour on Newsnicht.  In the gallant JaKe rode to defend the honour of someone or something or besmirch the honour of someone else or something else (it wasn't quite clear, you see) and he flung caution to the wind, casting out aspersions (never aspirations) hither and thon, wantonly throwing his own career on the pyre that JoLa had built.  He appeared at some points to suggest that the Scottish Government was credulous and Mr McGlynn had taken nefarious advantage of it.

Given that Newsnicht doesn't offer privilege to guard against an action for defamation, JaKe may be in a spot of bother and he can be fairly certain that his good mate JoLa won't be repeating her allegations outside of the protection of Parliament.  Good luck there, JaKe, we salute you, brave and senseless soldier.

Glasgow Council
I'm told that there were claims similar to JoLa's made in the rarefied atmosphere of Glasgow Council where the heady intoxification of debate led Councillor Alastair Watson to make the same criticisms of the Government and, I suppose, thereby of Mr McGlynn.  That surprised me because AlWa should have known better - he was on the board of the organisation that actually bought the land.  Not really a bit-part player, either, he was Chair until he stood down for health reasons in 2010.  Good to see he recovered quickly enough in 2010 to take a senior role and to stand for re-election in 2012 and take up a senior post as Executive Member for Sustainability and Transport, allowing Glasgow to benefit from his enormous experience on the board of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

The land at the centre of the hoo-ha was actually bought by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport in 2008 when AlWa was Chair, so how did he not know about it?  Well, let's be fair, there was a lot to do on the board of SPT in the spring of 2008 when the purchase was made.  They had to prepare for the trip to Manchester to watch Ranger in the UEFA cup final, for example, and there was an awful lot of expenses claims to be made for all kinds of busy trips abroad.

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing
It could all have been avoided, you know, if only Labour had asked someone in the know.  AlWa's memory is obviously a bit suspect but they could surely have asked someone at SPT, some friendly face or other.  JoLa could have asked, she could have asked Archie, Archie's on SPT on behalf of Glasgow Council, she could have asked him - Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of the Council, Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, SPT board member.  He wasn't there at the time of the land purchase but he's there now and could ask.  Why ask Archie?  She's married to him - it would be easy.

Instead the day was foul but not fair, Labour's horses will be wild and eating each other.  I'm sure JoLa will be looking forward to a time when the hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won.  She could just resign as leader of the opposition now and make it easier on herself.


Anonymous said...

I'm informed by one who might know that there is NO parliamentary immunity in our Scots parliament.

Calum Cashley said...

Section 41 of the Scotland ACt 1998 for defamation, section 42 for contempt (qualified privilege for contempt)