May 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

One week on from losing his seat as MP for Glasgow South, Tom Harris admits he’s not used to the idea yet.  ‘My wife, Carolyn, worked for me so it means she’s redundant as well,’ he said. However he – and all the other MPs who are out of a job – have two months to wind up their offices and enable paid staff to move on.

Labour Party's Tom Harris who lost his seat for Glasgow South at the General Election on 7 May 2015

Labour Party’s Tom Harris who lost his seat for Glasgow South at the General Election on 7 May 2015

‘I stopped getting paid on 8 May,’ says Tom, in a matter of fact way.  ‘But I’m not panicking at the moment.  ‘I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. An alert for my regular surgery came up on my phone and I just deleted it. That was a relief.’ He said that the four constituency surgeries each month were never well attended. ‘Most people phoned or emailed me with their problem.’

However, he still gets up early. ‘Our two sons are at primary school and I have to take them there, so that’s a good routine. But I want a new job.’  The family was prepared in advance for defeat and everyone has been ‘nicely supportive,’ said Tom. ‘It wasn’t a shock. Everyone is quite relaxed about it.’

When he goes to London soon to sort out things like the lease on his flat and office, he expects to meet up with some people who may have job offers. ‘Writing or something along those lines,’ speculated the former journalist and public relations professional.

Revising his CV, he commented: ‘It is 16 years since I looked at my CV, so that’s instructive!’ Now he reckons he can add on skills he learned as an MP and Government Under Secretary of State for Transport under Tony Blair, in the Department of Transport under Gordon Brown and as Shadow Environment Minister under Ed Miliband.

It’s early yet, but he’s looking again at the novel he’s been writing. ‘I don’t plan to be a sad act and put all my hopes into writing a best seller,’ he said in his laconic way. But he has had ‘Why I’m Right and Everyone Else is Wrong,’ published. This collection from his popular blog ‘And Another Thing,’ was an easy read of comments along the political way interspersed with thoughts on a wide variety of other, less serious, issues.

At his veledictory constituency Labour Party meeting he told his colleagues he didn’t want to get involved with public debate on the future of the Scottish Labour Party. ‘I’ve a lot of respect for Miliband. I think he would have made a far better Prime Minister than people gave him credit for.  In Scotland, the Labour Party situation could hardly get worse. But I support Jim Murphy. It is difficult to see if there can be recovery. It will certainly take some time to work out. Whatever happens I am for the UK or nothing. I’m not for a Scottish Labour Party.’

Commenting that everything was ‘in a state of flux’ he added: ‘I’ve no truck with nationalism. I don’t think the nationalist route is the way to save Labour.’

Allowing others to debate and dissect the dogma dilemmas, Tom has taken time to catch up on reading, watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and spending time with his family and walking his dog.

He added: ‘I went to the Emirates (where the count was held) early when I’d been alerted to the fact that I was going to lose. To be honest, at that point, it was like a weight had been lifted off me.’





Store opening targetted by local protesters

December 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A group of ‘Say No to Tesco’ campaigners staged a protest outside the company’s latest store which opened on Tuesday 10 December 2013, in Great Western  Road.

While the official opening event was happening inside the new store, protesters made their presence felt outside. Photographs by María Suárez


Said Group organiser Ellie Harrison: ‘It felt very important to mark the opening of the store that we campaigned so hard to stop. We wanted to show that this was going ahead against the wishes of the local community.

‘We got a positive response from a lot of passers-by who understood why we were protesting. But it was amazing how many people just seemed to drift into the shop as though they were on auto-pilot and the store had been there forever. This made me realise what a massive impact this will have on all the other shops nearby – every little sale that multi-national now makes, really will hurt them.’

The group has extended their protest to cover Scotland and has a petition on the Scottish Parliament’s website to appeal for restrictions on multi-nationals developing on the high street to the detriment – and often demise – of small local traders.

Notice for the store augmented by notice from local residents and traders.

The online petition has been augmented by other signatures gathered at various protest and public points including Tuesday’s.  The petition will be presented in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday 28 January 2014. The group invites people who’ve signed it, and other supporters, to join them on the day. For more information see:

And on facebook:

Photographs by: María Suárez

Another by-election in Glasgow

November 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Twelve candidates will contest the by-election in Shettleston ward 19 of Glasgow City Council on Thursday 5 December 2013. This follows the death of Councillor George Ryan in October.

Nominations have closed and the candidates are:

Charles Baillie, Britannica

Tommy Ball, Scottish Socialist Party – People Not Profit

Jamie Cocozza, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Laura Doherty, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alasdair Duke, Scottish Green Party

John Flanagan, No Bedroom Tax – No Welfare Cuts

Raymond McCrae, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Victor Murphy, Scottish Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’

Martin Neill, Scottish Labour Party

James Speirs, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Arthur Misty Thackeray, UKIP

James Trolland, Scottish Democratic Alliance

The by-election will be run on the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system and the count will take place in Wellshot Hall, 350 Wellshot Road, Glasgow G32 7QR.

Electors have until 5pm on 19 November 2013, to apply for a postal vote. Those who cannot vote in person have until 5pm on 26 November 2013, to apply for a proxy vote.

Application forms are available from the Electoral Registration Officer on 0141 287 4444 or on Glasgow City Council’s website under: Elections and Voting

Retraining promised with shipbuilding restructuring

November 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Govan BAE Systems yard from the river which is dead to shipping.

As the 835 jobs loss at BAE Systems in Govan, Scotstoun, Rosyth and Filton in South Gloucestershire begin to register, the Scottish Government has stepped in with support for re-training.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with Finance Secretary John Swinney, met BAE Systems management today to offer help. She said: ‘The Scottish Government has well-established arrangements to access training to those affected by redundancy. We want to send out a strong message about what is there and both management and unions are receptive to that.’

A meeting next week between BAE Systems and the unions will work on the fine detail of which jobs will go, progressively, through till 2016. ‘When we know that detail we will know how our Government support can be best targeted,’ said MSP Sturgeon.

The announcement this week of major restructuring of the naval sector of BAE Systems plc was not unexpected but will have a dramatic effect around the country and has sparked a political row.

A total of 1775 jobs will be lost including 940 next year in Portsmouth where a 500 years tradition of shipbuilding will cease. Work which would have been carried out there on elements of the second Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier will be done in Glasgow.

The cost of the restructuring will be borne by the Ministry of Defence and follows the tapering of work towards completion of the aircraft carrier programme, the six Type 45 destroyers and two export contracts.

BAE Systems and the UK Ministry of Defence have agreed that Glasgow would be the most effective location for the manufacture of future Type 26 ships. The company proposes to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in the city with investment to create a world –class capability. Meantime, three new ocean-going offshore patrol vessels will be built in the Glasgow yards for the Royal Navy to bridge the gap.

Glasgow South West MP Ian Davidson said when the restructuring was first announced, said: ‘This has been an excellent day for shipbuilding and industry on the Clyde, tempered only by the inevitable job losses and the lack of binding commitments to the Type 26 until after the referendum is settled. Access to all this future Royal Navy work would not have been possible were Scotland not within the United Kingdom. It is inconceivable that work would have been transferred from Portsmouth to Glasgow were Scotland a separate country.’

Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, said that the UK would find it ‘difficult’ to award the contracts for the new Type 26 frigates to Scottish yards if there was a ‘yes’ vote in the Referendum in September 2014.

Westminster SNP group Leader, MP Angus Robertson responded by saying it was ‘quite absurd’ for the Scottish Secretary to suggest this. ‘It is plain daft for the UK Government minister to say it would be difficult to have ships built in Scotland just because we exercise our democratic right to vote Yes, when the Ministry of Defence has procured vessels from Korea.’


Another Govan by-election candidate steps forward

October 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The fourth of the 14 candidates in the Govan by-election to take up the social media invitation to contribute to this website is Charles Baillie of BRITANNICA the party for a United Britain.

Early in the campaign all the candidates were invited via the social media format they appeared to be using, to send 150 words setting out the first thing they’d do if elected. A former electrical contractor in the construction industry, Charles, 62, has been a candidate for the Britannica Party at previous elections.

Charles BAILLIE, Britannica Party


Charles Baillie, Britannica Party for a United BritainI would revitalise Govan as a hub for British shipbuilding. Britannica wants to expand naval shipbuilding on the Clyde, bringing the Royal Navy up to a level capable of defending the two new aircraft carriers under construction.

We need to build:

12 Type 45 Destroyers

18 Type 26 Frigates

18 Corvettes

This long term programme will provide jobs and prosperity for the local area and apprenticeships for young people.

We believe that the young people of Govan should be first in line for the new apprenticeships which this programme will create.

Our vision for Govan shows that British defence contracts are vital.

I believe that this is a practical and positive way to revitalise all sectors of the Govan economy.

College mergers produce Clyde built possibilities

August 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Clyde-built takes on a new meaning. It is the opening day of Glasgow Clyde College – a 20,000 strong student body formed by the merger of Anniesland, Cardonald and Langside Colleges.

The logo for the new Glasgow Clyde College

Led by Principal and Chief Executive Susan Walsh, the super collage is the result of a year’s merger negotiations. Said Ms Walsh: ‘This new college has already benefited from the great people who work here and the many supporters we have outside who have helped us achieve our merger so successfully.

Susan Walsh, Principal and Chief Executive of Glasgow Clyde College

‘We have a proud tradition of excellence in education to maintain and I know we have the skills, expertise and commitment not to let ourselves, our students or our predecessor colleges down. We are innovative, creative and professional and most of all we focus on what we need to do to get it right for our students. This is the start of something inspirational and aspirational, a place people want to be part of. From now on being “Clyde built” means something new and something very special.’

Glasgow Clyde was the name chosen by students. A competition to create the new college logo was won by Craig Black, a BA student in Creative Industries. The new Glasgow Clyde Student Association will have three full-time sabbatical officers, making it one of the best resourced in the country. The campus is spread over the three existing sites of the three previous colleges.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, said: ‘Glasgow Clyde College will build on the strong records of Anniesland, Cardonald and Langside colleges and represents the sector’s pivotal role in delivering the Opportunities for All pledge to offer all 16 to 19 year olds a place in education or training. The scale and influence of these new colleges, and the combined expertise on which they will be able to draw, will provide a real stimulus for economic growth.

Merger talks began in early 2012 in response to the Scottish Government’s reform of post-16 education in Scotland. The merger was approved in June 2013. This is one of several college mergers which create the biggest changes in Further Education in a generation.








MSP tries selling Big Issue

February 4, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Peter and MSP Humza Yousaf stand in solidarity outside Morrisons

Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf spent Monday afternoon with Peter, a Big Issue vendor as part of International Street Paper Vendor Week. He stood outside Morrisons store in Crossmyloof, to find out what it’s really like to sell the magazine.

Vendors buy the magazine themselves at 50% of the cover price, and then sell the magazines on to earn money.

As well as a number of other ‘guest’ vendors to raise the profile of street vendors and the challenges that they face, International Street Paper Vendor Week will also see the International Network of Street Papers, a Glasgow-based charity, organising a variety of events from photography to vendor parties.

Said Humza:“Today I was able to experience first-hand the work of a Big Issue vendor, and had the opportunity to understand how important selling the magazine is to vendors.

“For Peter, the Big Issue offered him a lifeline and has allowed him to turn his life around. Selling the Big Issue allows the vendors to help themselves, and take control of what is essentiall, a small business.

“Today’s experience has shown me what a massive difference it makes when people take the time to stop and chat with vendors, even if they don’t buy the magazine. Peter has a great relationship with the staff and customers at the store. It was a pleasure to work alongside him.

“I encourage everyone to find out the name of their Big Issue vendor and to have a chat with and buy the magazine.”

Light start to Paralympic Torch Relay

August 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty welcomes the Paralympic Flame which was brought to Glasgow by Flame Ambassadors Maggie McEleny (left) and Jodie Taylor (right)

Families enjoyed an exciting Flame Celebration at Glasgow’s Tramway on Sunday as part of the nationwide Torch relay to mark the Paralympic Games which start in London on Wednesday 29 August 2012 till Sunday 9 September.

Glasgow’s two Ambassadors, Jodie Taylor and Maggie McEleny, collected the flame from the lighting ceremony in Edinburgh and brought it, safely, to Glasgow where it was officially welcomed by the Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty.

Visual artists helped waiting families at the Tramway and its Hidden Gardens, create torches and flower garlands to line the route of the torch procession. They also made a collage inspired by The Flame and The Games. Sporting events included boccia, basketball and other sports.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost said: ‘We have provided an amazing welcome for the flame. Sport and activity is for all. Now we will be cheering on our Team GB athletes.’

Locog chair Lord Coe said: ‘Created at the summit of Ben Nevis, the Scottish Flame represents an achievement of human endeavour, which is something that every Paralympian represents.’

Four scouts and climber Kevin Shields lit the flame on Ben Nevis. It was then placed in a lantern, brought down the mountain and taken to Edinburgh. It will continue around the UK – including visiting the home of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville – before being carried in a 24-hour relay into the opening ceremony.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: ‘The talents, dedication and hard work of Scotland’s torch bearers and Paralympians GB is, quite simply, inspirational. I’d especially like to send my best wishes to the 26 Scottish Paralympians.  I know the whole country will be cheering them on throughout the Games.’

Scottish sport minister Shona Robison added her welcome: ‘I have no doubt the Paralympics will encourage disabled people’s participation in sport and significantly transform disabled people’s lives, leading to a more inclusive society for everyone.’

Performances at the Tramway included the Limelight Band and Maggie Riley. Visitors also heard Joseph Delaney, the first disabled musician to graduate from a University music course in Scotland.

Indepen-dance brought all weathers to the Hidden Gardens with their beautiful performance of Forecast and Solar Bear’s Deaf Youth Theatre signing choir performed a brilliant rendition of Sunscreen.

Red carpet for the Film Office

May 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Working on WWZ in Glasgow.

What better way to celebrate 15 years of Glasgow Film Office (GFO) bringing stars of screen to the city than having the latest film which has used the place for locations, up for an award at Cannes Film Festival.

‘The Angels’ Share’ directed by Ken Loach, will know on Sunday 27 May whether it wins an accolade or not. It will have its UK premiere in Glasgow next week.

The producer, Rebecca O’Brien, said: ‘Ken Loach, Paul Laverty and I have made four films in Glasgow in the past 15 years and have had the support of the Glasgow Film Office on every one. They’ve been terrifically helpful and often made difficult things happen for us. So we salute the GFO on their 15th birthday and will raise a glass in celebration!’

Offering a free service to all types of productions from feature films to tv commercials, the GFO works closely with other council services, Strathclyde Police and the productions to make sure their activities have minimum impact on local residents and businesses while delivering maximum economic impact to the city.

Established in 1997, the GFO has attracted around £200 million worth of film business to Glasgow.

Last year was a vintage time when major productions World War Z, Cloud Atlas and Under The Skin alone, brought in £20.15 million with stars such as Brad Pitt, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson working in town.

Other notable film which have used Glasgow for a backdrop included: Burnistoun, Gary: Tank Commander, Lip Service, My Name Is Joe, Rab C Nesbitt, Red Road, River City, Sony Bravia ‘Paint’ commercial, Still Game, Sweet Sixteen, Taggart,  The House of Mirth.

Gerard Butler was named GFO’s Ambassador in 2009 to help raise the city’s profile and demonstrate its capability as a production base. Around 50 organisations have now signed up to the Glasgow Film Partnership –  to promote Glasgow’s ‘film-friendly’ reputation – details at :

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: ‘Glasgow Film Office has been a tremendous success over the past 15 years, bringing more than £200 million to our economy. The list of familiar productions, shows how it has been an industry hub since 1997. We look forward to its continued success  in bringing many more productions here.’

Seeing Scotland on film or television was important in the decision of 1 in 5 visitors to come here.  With more than 530  locations in its database, the city can serve all types of companies.

Senior figures in the film industry – such as Jeremy Kleiner, the producer of World War Z – have praised the work of the GFO in facilitating the smooth running of their productions.

For more information on the Glasgow Film Office, see:


Retiring Councillors receive farewell plaque

May 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Jean McFadden who left Glasgow City Council after 41 years' service.

Of the 21 people retiring as Councillors from Glasgow City Council, around ten attended a poignant farewell  earlier this week.   Hosted by Lord Provost Bob Winter, who is, himself, standing down, it brought closure to many of the participants.

Said Jean McFadden who represented Garscadden-Scotstounhill and has served the city for 41 years: ‘Everyone felt it was a really nice touch to honour those of us leaving. Each person was presented with a personalised plaque which has the city’s coat of arms and the dates they’ve served. I have similar plaques from Glasgow Corporation but this is the only one which has my name on it.’

She has no plans to retired. Among her many ongoing activities she is an official examiner for work submitted by honours law students at Strathclyde University; she will get back to studying Advanced Italian for herself; she will mentor girls in a secondary school to help them achieve their potential; and she might go for an HGV licence!

‘I’ve always fancied driving one of those heavy goods vehicles round a tight corner!’ she said quite seriously.   These are all outwith her commitments serving on the Legal Services Clinic and the Scottish Planning and Environment Law’s editorial board among others. She has also set herself to correct fundamental errors in some newspaper archives about who did what and when in the revival of Glasgow. ‘I just want to put the record straight. I was council leader from 1979 to 1986. That is when the team decided to change the direction of the city to move it into the creative industries and the financial sector.  The minutes are there so I want the facts to be known.’

One of her future students will be former Drumchapel- Anniesland Councillor Matt Kerr, who leaves the Council to read law at Strathclyde University.  He was selected after the resignation of Steven Purcell. He also attended the Lord Provost’s farewell event and said it was a very pleasant occasion.

Councillor Alex Glass who represented Greater Pollok for 13 years, told this website: ‘The evening and the presentation of the plaques was a good way to close off my time as a Councillor.’ Latterly he had been business manager for the city, overseeing many of the negotiations which kept Glasgow’s coffers from being emptied. One of the ways he saved the city money was to recommend cutting the fresh flowers budget. ‘That saved £50,000,’ he said. ‘ Stopping newspapers for every Councillor saved another £30,000 and at least that was saved on print bills when we cut back on paperwork.’ Aged only 52, he said this will be the first time in his life he’s been made redundant and he has, so far, no job offer.  ‘I’ve work to do at home which I’ve long promised to complete for my wife,’ he said with a smile. ‘So I’ll do that and wait and see what happens. Everything is in the hands of fate,’ he commented philosophically.

Latterly a Bailie, Councillor Catherine McMaster  has served Glasgow North East for several terms and said: ‘The event was not an obituary! It was really important to have something to say you’ve been here. Our training records were also included for every Councillor was expected to have extensive training in many areas of the work we do. That is the kind of record that was ignored by the Labour Party and dismissed in our interviews with them,’ she said pointedly. She was one of the Labour Councillors who did not take it kindly that she was de-selected by the party. She admitted she was still angry with the party for deciding she was ‘past the sell by date’ – ‘that is pure ageism,’ she commented.  Her  plan is to re-commence her private practice as a psychotherapist. ‘I’ll update my accreditation first,’ she added. The leading thinker behind the celebration of Glasgow’s medieval history, which has excited much attention and creative talent, she plans to continue to use her history knowledge within her local community in Easterhouse where Provan Hall Trust operates a building considered to pre-date the Provand’s Lordship on High Street. She said that her community had been generous in their appreciation of her work for them. ‘It has been a great privilege to serve this community. I’ll leave the new team to get on with the job and hope they will work to ‘let Glasgow flourish.’  But that will depend on how many voters turn out on Thursday.’



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