Wednesday 17 February 2010

Glasgow Labour drop the ball

After being caught with their fingers in the till, Glasgow Labour appear to have been in plotting overdrive over the past few days. The Evening Times announces that there will be a reshuffle, with Jonathan Findlay making a hasty exit from the very challenging Education brief to head up SPT.

According to his declaration of interests, Jonathan's a qualified Lawyer, currently employed part time at East Dunbartonshire Council. In other deck-chair shifting, Councillor Paul Rooney will switch from Convener of the Strathclyde Police Board to take over Education (sure there's some transferable skills there...) and Councillor Stephen Curran will replace Rooney at Police. It's unclear whether that means he gives up the very controversial cuts (sorry, I meant Service Reform) portfolio, which I would have thought would require his full attention given the number of staff involved. It's a lot of change in some very high-profile portfolios.

*UPDATE* The Sunday Times, in a rather excellent and detailed double-page spread, mention that Councillor Findlay was also at the Rangers - Zenit UEFA Cup Final on corporate hospitality.

How can he possibly be sent in to clean up SPT when he's part of the same football/hospitality merry-go-round? What is it with Labour Councillors and football anyway? Can't they buy their own tickets like the rest of us?


Anonymous said...

Maybe this is what Chris Grayling meant when he said Britain was becoming like The Wire.

Anonymous said...

Glasgow twinned with West Baltimore

Anonymous said...

Mike's blog - Duties of care

This afternoon, Scotland’s First Minister made an extraordinary legal claim at FMQs (First Minister’s Question Time) in the Scottish Parliament. He insisted that his Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, had been obliged to back a serial convicted fraduster because she owed a ‘duty of care’ to her constituent. If that were so, the legal ramifications would be far reaching.

Consider this. Any criminal constituent, no matter how nasty or dangerous to the public, would have a legal right to insist that his or her MSP provided them with a letter of support to avoid a custodial sentence. Any constituent would be entitled to insist, on any civil or criminal matter, that their MSP backed them, regardless of how unreasonable or unjustified their cause.

And get this. Because there was an absolute or strict ‘duty of care’ if the MSP failed to provide his or her support, the constituent would be entitled in principle to sue their politician for damages for breaching that duty. Before we all start wondering if Alex Salmond MSP has identified an unknown sub-branch of Scots delictual law, it might be helpful to remind ourselves of some basic principles.

There is no general delictual duty which arises at Scots common law, or from any Parliamenary Code of Conduct, on our politicians. It’s absurd to suggest that the law of delict applies to MSPs as a matter of course or in such absolute terms as the First Minister has suggested. From Donoghue v. Stevenson 1932 AC 562, 1932 SC (HL) 31, 1932 SLT 317 to Mitchell v Glasgow City Council [2009] UKHL 11; [2009] WLR (D) 65, it is clear that a duty of care can only arise in very limited circumstances, and when it does, it is a ‘reasonable duty’ that arises.

To suggest that it was compulsory and routine for a politician to support someone who had previously served a four year custodial sentence for serious fraud, and was now convicted of second serious fraud over a five year period, was a falsehood. No reasonable MSP would or should have advocated for a serious repeat offender in the public interest.

The only ‘duty’ which our politicians must adhere to is upholding the rule of law, and safeguarding the rights of decent, hardworking and law abiding citizens. We all make mistakes. And from the available evidence it would that appear that Nicola Sturgeon has made a serious error of judgment. The solution is obvious. Apologise for your mistake, and withdraw your letter from Glasgow Sheriff Court. Scotland deserves no less.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I agree with the implication behind that remark, but ain't you a bit behind the times?

Ted Harvey said...

Alec, he or she is just a twit, twittering on anon about things not relevant to the topic:-)

Meantime, back on topic, I see that the new chair of SPT is already coming under the spotlight.

I also question the relatively good press that Stephen Purcell is getting on this; I hear others saying that Stephen, like all of Glasgow Labour, were very well aware of the Watson/Culley SPT scenario (and Govan Initiative before that) over many years. It was only recently with London appointee Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy taking up part-time residence in the City Chambers, that there was 'pressure' on our Stephen to get the finger out and do something about it - the something turned out, of course, to appoint another Labour loyalist and trusteee to be the new SPT chair... round and round the underground went on, just like the Glasgow gravy train.