Protesters, wanting to shut down Dungavel Immigration Detention Centre near Strathaven, will descend on the prison on Saturday 30 May.
Organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) the demonstration is supported by the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, the Muslim Council of Britain, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, and community activists from across Scotland.
A recent STUC motion said: ‘Detention is a blight on our asylum system. People being held indefinitely in Dungavel have committed no crime.’ The UK is the only European country which has no limit on the time permitted to detain people seeking sanctuary.
According to the BBC in January, 185 people were detained in Dungavel. Two had been there for more than a year while 32 had been there for more than six months and a further nine for more than three months. Children are not supposed to be detained in Dungavel but fears were expressed at a meeting in Glasgow a few days before the demonstration, that they were being held there before being send to detention centres in England.
Church and human rights authorities have been refused permission by Home Secretary, Theresa May, to visit the prison to see if reports of people detained there being on hunger strike over the conditions and over their unlimited detention, were true.
Speakers at the rally are expected to include Glasgow Girl Amal Azzudin who, as a school girl, along with her peers, challenged the removal of one of their class mates whose family was seeking asylum. Their challenge was successful and the story of their fight was later made into a successful stage musical.
A former home of the Dukes of Hamilton, the Dungavel property is run by the Home Office via a £25million, 5 year contract with GEO, part of the company which runs Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre and private jails in the United States.
For more information and to book a place on the bus: www. stuc.org.uk/dungavel #ShutDunga
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.
‘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.’
On a 65.99% turnout in Glasgow South Constituency, SNP’s Stewart McDonald won over Labour’s Tom Harris who had been local MP for 14 years.
Tom Harris (LAB) 14,504
Ewan Hoyle (Lib Dem) 1,019
Stewart McDonald (SNP) 26,773
Brian Smith (Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition TUSC) 299
Kyle Thornton (CONSERVATIVE) 4,752
Alastair Whitelaw (GREEN) 1,431
Total valid votes 48,778. Electorate 74,051.
In Glasgow South West Constituency the turnout was 40,965 representing 61.87% of the electorate. Incumbent Ian Davidson of the Labour and Co-operative Party lost his seat with 13,438 votes compared to the 23,388 cast for Christopher Stephens of the Scottish National Party.
Bill Bonnar Scottish Socialist Party 176
Ian Davidson Labour and Co-operative Party 13,438
Sarah Hemy UK Independence Party (UKIP) 970
Gordon Alexander McCaskill Scottish Conservative and Unionist 2,036
Isabel Nelson Scottish Liberal Democrats 406
Christopher Stephens Scottish National Party (SNP) 23,388
Sean Templeton Scottish Green Party 507
In Glasgow North 36,987 of the 60,169 electorate actually voted – representing 61.47%. The result was a win for Patrick Grady of the SNP over Ann McKechin (LAB)
Martin Bartos, Scottish Green Party 2,284
Russell Benson, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol 154
Patrick Grady, Scottish National Party 19,610
Lauren Hankinson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist 2,901
Angela McCormick, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 160
Ann McKechin, Scottish Labour Party 10,315
Jade O’Neil, Scottish Liberal Democrats 1,012
Jamie Robertson, UK Independence Party UKIP 486
Glasgow East showed that 60.31% of the Constituency’s 70,378 people registered, voted.
Margaret Curran (LAB) 13 729
Kim Long (Green) 381
Natalie McGarry (SNP) 24 116
Liam McLaughlan (Scot Socialist ) 224
Gary McLelland (Scot Lib Dem) 318
Andy Morrison (Scot Con & Unionist) 2,544
Arthur Misty Thackeray (UKIP) 1,105
Total votes cast: 42,417
Glasgow North East showed that 56.91% of the Constituency’s 66,678 people registered, voted.
Willie Bain (LAB) 12,754
Eileen Baxendale (LIB DEM) 300
Jamie Cocozza (Scot Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 218
Geoff Johnson (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 225
Zara Kitson (GREEN) 615
Anne McLaughlin (SNP) 21,976
Annie Wells (CON) 1,769
Total votes cast: 37,945
Glasgow North West showed that 64.25% of the Constituency’s 68,418 people registered, voted.
Moira Crawford (GREEN) 1,167
James Harrison (LIB DEM) 1,194
Roger Lewis (CON) 3,692
Chris Mackenzie (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 213
Carol Monaghan (SNP) 23,908
John Robertson (LAB) 13,544
Zoe Streatfield (Scot Communist Party) 136
Total votes cast: 43,961
Glasgow Central showed that 55.51% of the Constituency’s 70,945 people registered, voted.
Simon Bone (CON) 2,359
Andrew Elliot (Scot Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 119
Cass MacGregor (GREEN) 1,559
James Marris (Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol) 171
Stuart Maskell (UKIP) 786
Katie Rhodes (Socialist Equality Party) 58
Anas Sarwar (LAB) 12,996
Alison Thewliss (SNP) 20,658
Chris Young (LIB DEM) 612
Total votes cast: 39,381
All of Glasgow Labour MPs were made redundant last night. Each of the city’s seven constituencies voted for the Scottish National Party to represent them at Westminster. But Conservative David Cameron remains secure in No 10 Downing Street. In the early hours of the morning he said he wanted to: ‘Bring Britain together and build on the sure foundations this government had created.’
The senior Labour figures who are now jobless in Glasgow are: Margaret Curran(Glasgow East) Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) Ann McKechin(Glasgow North) Willie Bain (Glasgow North East) John Robertson (Glasgow North West) Tom Harris (Glasgow South) and Ian Davidson(Glasgow South West).
Said Ian Davidson: ‘I regret very much letting down Labour in the rest of the UK.’ He criticised Labour’s strategy in Scotland and added: ‘It needs to be clearer what Labour stands for. Labour is about challenging wealth and power. We’ve not been doing that strongly enough. We need to get back to our roots.’ He added that Jim Murphy’s position was untenable. Asked what he’d do himself, now, Mr Davidson replied: ‘I’ll not go to the House of Lords. But I’ve no idea really.’
Tom Harrison was clearly shocked at being out of a job after years representing his area but said: ‘That’s democracy. But I doubt that an SNP Scotland will welcome a former Labour MP looking for work.’ And he added: ‘That’s not a criticism. But that’s not the kind of politics I want to be involved in.’ However, SNP Stewart McDonald who won Tom Harris’ old seat, paid generous tribute to him in his victory speech.
The full results for Glasgow’s seven constituencies are recorded on this website.
A triumphal arrival awaited Nicola Sturgeon at the Glasgow count. Although no seat had been declared at that point, it seemed clear that the Scottish National Party had made a clean sweep in the city’s seven constituencies. The whole SNP team turned out to welcome her with total surround sound.
A seemingly buoyant Margaret Curran who has been Labour MP for Glasgow East and Shadow Scottish Secretary, looked set to lose her seat as did Tom Harris for Glasgow South.Margaret was brought into the counting hall tightly surrounded and supported by her party colleagues.
Tom Harris who had been Labour MP for Glasgow South for more than ten years, admitted defeat before the count was declared. ‘That’s democracy,’ he said. ‘I’m looking for a job now. But I doubt that an SNP Scotland will welcome a Labour MP looking for work.’ And he added: ‘That’s not a criticism. But that’s not the kind of politics I want to be involved in.’
At that stage, there was no sign of Anas Sarwar who followed in his father, Mohammad’s footsteps in Glasgow Central for Labour. But there was still hope that Willie Bain in Glasgow North East or Ann McKechin in Glasgow North might survive the cull.
As the candidates begin to arrive at the count at the Emirates pavilion in Glasgow, the first votes are being counted. Early impressions favour the SNP, but the night is young. Exit polls wider in the UK appear to show that the Conservative and Unionist Party has the number of seats they need for David Cameron to remain in No 10.
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) were ahead of the vote at their hustings meeting in the Jurys Inn Hotel. They are planning for the Scottish elections next year. Each candidate emphasised that the progress towards a better future would only come through hard work and socialist principles. This general election campaign was a good opportunity to get their issues such as public ownership, anti cuts and anti racism, across to more people. TUSC are fielding 10 candidates in Scotland, four of them in Glasgow Constituencies. Said Glasgow South candidate Brian Smith: ‘We need to get busy on Friday morning. That’s when the real work starts.’ Jamie Cocozza, TUSC candidate for Glasgow North East said: ‘ We don’t agree with the SNP but Labour needs a kicking.’ Angela McCormick, TUSC candidate for Glasgow North said: ‘The rich are completely out of control. It feels as if we’re being ruled, not governed,’ adding ‘It would be nice to win a few seats in 2016.’ Andrew Elliott, TUSC candidate for Glasgow Central was unable to attend because of his trade union duties, said Chairperson Louise Donegan. Before the candidates took the floor, shop steward, Chris Sermanni and Stewart Graham, case worker for the homeless in Glasgow, informed the well-attended meeting of the progress of their six weeks strike for fair pay.