Helen walking in famous footsteps in Govan

October 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Tomorrow is Decision Day in Govan.  Those with a vote have 14 candidates to choose from to elect a new councillor in Ward 5. The by-election follows the death of much respected Allison Hunter, SNP Councillor and former SNP Group leader in Glasgow City Council.

Aiming to be her party’s successor  is 20-year-old Helen Walker who has been a worker within SNP for some time.

Here is Helen’s statement:


Helen Walker, SNP

‘After speaking to hundreds of local residents these are the priorities they want me to pursue.

– More jobs and continuing regeneration with better opportunities for young people.

– More effective action and tough penalties to tackle antisocial behaviour, flytipping, littering and dog fouling.

– Action to improve poor roads and pavements.

– Better consultation with residents.

– Better local access to childcare.

– A moratorium on the closure of day centres for people with learning disabilities and an end to disproportionate cuts affecting disabled people and carers.

– Funding for the Riverside Ferry.

– Strong opposition to unfair Tory policies like the bedroom tax.

I will be a strong voice for Govan in the City Chambers and will speak out if the administration takes decisions that are wrong for our area. Without a strong SNP voice, Labour would take Govan for granted- and that would be bad for everyone.’

Govan Christian John aims to be a voice

October 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As time marches on towards polling day for Govan by-election, candidates are now coming forward fast to have their say on this website.

John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party

Today John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship,’ says what he’d do first if elected as a councillor for Ward 5 on Thursday 10 October 2013.

John CORMACK, Scottish Christian Party

‘If elected in Govan my key priority would be to help give local people a powerful voice and the ability to influence the issues which keep them awake at nights. Literally – in the case of those who live near Bellahouston Park where noisy music events run late.

I am interested in promoting individual liberty and freedom of conscience. I’d campaign for localised democracy to ensure the concerns of locals and community councils are being heard and taken seriously. After several years’ experience of sitting on a community council I know first-hand how little consideration is given to their views by planning and licensing committees and city service providers responsible for street cleaning and monitoring dog fouling. I will be a new and independent voice to hold Glasgow City Council to account. I stand against the tide of political correctness, I stand for common sense and fairness.

Election candidates start to state their case

October 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As the Govan by-election hots up, each  candidate was asked what he or she would do first should they be elected to Ward 5 on Thursday 10 October 2013.

This website used whichever social media form each of the 14 candidates seemed to prefer to contact them. The results of the responses will be published as they arrive. The first candidate to reply was:

George LAIRD Independent

George Laird, Independent

As an SNP member in September 2010, I proposed the Scottish National Police Force and Fire Service at the SNP National Assembly. So residents will be getting someone with a decent political track record.

A lot of my ideas – such as social media development – were picked up by the party.

I have been on TV and have spoken in several debates on Scottish independence. As far as I am aware, I am the only candidate to have election videos, so I am taking this election seriously.

I am a local resident and pledging to be a full time councillor. Too many councillors are part time and invisible. For example, 21 people are elected to represent Govan at various levels of government. I don’t think we are getting value for money.

If people want real change then we have to start in our streets and in our community and speak out.


John KANE Scottish Labour Party

John Andrew Kane, Scottish Labour Party

First time candidate, John Kane is 65 and has lived in Ibrox for more than 25 years.

Said John: ‘If elected, my priority will be to ensure the Govan area continues to benefit from the Council’s multi-million pound investment and regeneration programme. Having spoken to thousands of people, I will be focussing on the issues that matter. I want to improve quality of life by campaigning for tougher action on littering, dog fouling and fly tipping and ensuring local people have greater access to employment.’

John believes passionately in Labour’s core values of community, fairness and social justice and will be a constant campaigner to ensure he is fully aware of the local issues that affect the people he seeks to represent. As a sole carer for the past 15 years, John has a deep understanding of the impact that disability has on people’s everyday life.

As other candidates send their 150 word statement to this website, we’ll publish it. Each of the 14 has been asked.




September 25, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The Govan by-election is underway. Each candidate has been invited by this website to send a brief statement saying what they’d do first, if elected. One of them has to be the new councillor to replace the much respected Allison Hunter who had been a local Councillor on Glasgow City Council before her death in July.

Apart from Facebook entries and a pretty modern video presentation for one candidate, there is nothing much on-line.

Hustings of the old fashioned kind don’t seem to work today. On-line is where the action is supposed to be. Just let us know at www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk if you actually come face to face with any of the 14 wannabe Councillors for Govan Ward 5. We’re looking for them all to give each a chance to speak out.

Canvassing takes time.  But it takes a bit of effort to beat one seasoned campaigner who was found delivering his own campaign leaflets on a Saturday morning – dressed in his best suit, collar and tie.  He went on to be a Lord Provost – and a good one too. Times have changed. Now candidates are all but invisible even via social media.

Postal vote deadlines issued for Govan ward by-election

September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

No fewer than 14 people are standing as candidates to replace the late Allison Hunter (SNP) in Govan Ward for Glasgow City Council.

Govan Cross will be rallying point for the 14 people who want to be Councillors for Ward 5.

The by-election vote will take place on Thursday 10 October using the single transferable vote system.

The deadline for applications for postal votes is 5pm on Wednesday 25 September. People requiring a proxy vote because they will be unable to cast their vote personally, must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 2 October.

Application forms are available from the Electoral Registration Officer on 0141 2874444 or hon the website: www.glasgow.gov.uk/elections


The candidates for election are:

Charles Baillie, Britannica Party

Ryan Boyle, Communist Party Of Britain

John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”

Moira Crawford, Scottish Green Party

Joyce Drummond, Solidarity

John Flanagan, No Bedroom Tax – No Welfare Cuts

Ewan Hoyle, Scottish Liberal Democrats

John Andrew Kane, Scottish Labour Party

George Laird, Independent

Janice MacKay, UKIP

Thomas Rannachan, Independent

Richard A Sullivan, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

James Trolland, Scottish Democratic Alliance

Helen Walker, Scottish National Party (SNP)

This website plans to profile each candidate in the run-up to the election.

Currently the sitting Councillors in Govan Ward 5 are: Councillor James Adams (Scottish Labour), Bailie Fariha Thomas (Scottish Labour), and Councillor Stephen Dornan (Glasgow First).

A former SNP Group Leader in Glasgow, and SNP National Organiser before that, Allison was 71 when she died of cancer after a long and unpublicised battle.

In the 2012 Glasgow Council elections, the average turnout of voters was 23.96% with the highest turnout in Pollokshields at 42.70%. Govan Ward 5 had a 30.61% turnout.

On first preference votes cast in 2012, James Adams and Allison Hunter were both elected at stage one. James Adams had 1727 votes and Allison Hunter had 1450 votes. Stephen Dornan and Fariha Thomas were both elected on stage 13 of the preference count. Stephen Dornan had 603 votes and Fariha Thomas had 504 votes at stage one of the preference count.

In that election there were 297 rejected papers the vast majority because the voter had marked 1 against more than one candidate.



August 3, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

There is nothing like a funeral to bring out the best in people. Folk from a wide spectrum of politics and from across the country, paid genuine tributes to the late Allison Hunter, SNP National Organiser for many years and latterly Councillor for Glasgow Govan. Simply by coming together and sitting side by side in a religious setting many would be unfamiliar with, they were showing common cause. For the hour or less of the service and the time drinking tea afterwards, they were able to meet and chat in an empathic way and show respect for the loss of a much loved lady.

Differences were set aside as irrelevant at that moment in time. Scoring points over adversaries was unnecessary. Instead, happy and humourous stories of times spent during campaigns, long election nights and in the corridors of power were shared and chuckled over.

It would be naïve to think this bonhomie could be sustained for much longer than the public farewell required.

But one has to live in hope that it IS possible!

The ability to win over opposition can be revealed in unexpected, human, ways. Politicians of different hues can be excited by the challenge of strongly voiced opinions different from their own. While that might end in the same plight as the moth attracted to the flame, it is possible it could lead to a strong alliance. Only time will tell and frequent gatherings of all kinds – even sad ones – can explore the options.

Johnny leaves them laughing

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Club President Norman Ferguson presents speaker Johnny Beattie with a memento of his visit.

Actor Johnny Beattie MBE delighted Glasgow Business Club members at their final meeting of the season on Tuesday 18 June. His light touch and laughter approach went down well. ‘My jaws are sore with laughing,’ said President Norman Ferguson in his vote of thanks. Born in Govan on 9 November 1926, Johnny happily speeded through his life as an actor. The renowned Thespian – who was honoured by the Queen and by Glasgow City for his services to entertainment – said: ‘I’ve had a ball!’ He said his role for the past ten years in Scottish tv soap ‘River City’ is ‘my pension.’ And pointed out when his gags were ‘vetted’ and indeed, erased, by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in the 1950s. ‘At that time I was earning £12 a week in a Scottish show touring the country. But the fabulous Moxon Girls – who were the dancers – only got £3 a week,’ he pointed out. A notice at the stage door in the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr – his favourite theatre – instructed all performers to remember it was a family theatre and ‘only clean and wholesome material’ was to be used. While he started life working in Fairfield shipyard, Johnny said he quickly got attracted into acting because ‘that’s where all the pretty girls seemed to be.’ He first watched, then joined a local amateur theatrical group and soon progressed into becoming a full time professional. Now Honorary President of the Scottish Music Hall and Variety Theatre Society, Johnny has performed with most of the famous names of show biz. He gave interesting insights into the stars he revered and sometimes worked with, including Rikki Fulton, Stanley Baxter, Billy Connolly, Chic Murray and his great idol, Duncan Macrae. Said Johnny: ‘Duncan Macrae was a great actor. But people always associated him with ‘The Wee Cock Sparra,’ because his recitation of that poem was a highlight of tv hogmanay shows in the 1950s and 60s. But he hated it!’ Modestly, Johnny mentioned he was an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Rothesay for his work in promoting the Winter Gardens in the town. ‘The only other honorary member is Prince Charles, so that says something for democracy!’ Johnny also expressed his profound surprise that Glasgow had not exploited its connection with Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame. ‘Laurel was one of the funniest men in the world. The first time he performed on stage was in Glasgow at the Britannia Panopticon just before his 16th birthday in 1906. His father was the Theatre’s manager. Laurel went to Alan Glen’s school. But no-one seems to know that. I’d have expected big billboards and his face on the gable end of buildings to celebrate that connection.’ In time, Johnny’s face may be on those gable ends, but meanwhile the Club members ended their busy season with a smile, thanks to him. With a membership of 113, the Club with it’s new name of Glasgow Business Club is growing, reported Club President Norman Ferguson to the annual general meeting (AGM) which preceded Johnny’s entertaining talk. The President said that the Club going around a variety of venues in the city as it expanded from it Glasgow South Business Club roots in Ibrox Stadium, had been a success. This strategy was planned to continue next year. Treasurer Alan Haldane, reported a healthy position ‘well ahead of last year.’ His report and that of Secretary Angela Sampson had been emailed to members well in advance of the AGM. Two new members were voted onto the committee: Liam Bonthron of Abica and Carlos Alba of Alba Media. There were three other contenders for the voluntary posts. More information on the Glasgow Business Club can be found on its website. The new session starts on Tuesday 17 September 2013 at 12 noon in Ibrox Stadium.

Santa due in court tomorrow

May 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Santa, who was arrested for blockading the UK Borders Agency offices in Govan, preventing a dawn raid some months ago, is due to appear in Glasgow Sheriff Court tomorrow – Thursday 30 May 2013.

Santa was up the pole for many hours but still managed to deliver to the little ones on the due date!

Unity, the independent support service for refugees and asylum seekers, invites any of Santa’s little helpers who might be available to show their support by meeting outside the Court at 9.45am.

Thousands say ‘Axe the bedroom tax.’

March 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Wheel chair and mobility carts headed the march from Glasgow Green.

The biggest protest rally Glasgow has seen in years had more than 3000 people marching from Glasgow Green to George Square,  united in their opposition to the bedroom tax.

Seasoned campaigners, families with their children and baby buggies, trade unionists, people in a wide variety of mobility carts and folk walking their dogs, took more than an hour to wend their way to the city centre. Many of them shouting: ‘Axe the tax.’

Facing the City Chambers, a series of speakers explained why their campaign was part of a wide strategy to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

Labour MP Ann McKechin, MSP Frank McAveety and Glasgow City Councillor George Redmond were among the group who marched. Arriving in George Square, Westminster MP Ann McKechin said to this website’s reporter: ‘I’m not surprised at this turnout. People are shocked by the scale of this unfair and unjust tax. The Westminster government doesn’t understand the full impact it will have.’

But Labour politicians were castigated by different speakers. Said one: ‘They might have marched near the front but it is inconsistent with what they are doing to the families they are victimising in the learning disability community in Glasgow. Glasgow City Council has these families on its hit list by closing three of the seven day centres they use.’

Campaigners against the closure of Glasgow's day centres were out in force.

Another speaker put it more bluntly: ‘Glasgow City Council should be ashamed of themselves. They have influence and power. They should tell all Housing Associations in Glasgow and Glasgow Housing Association that there must be NO EVICTIONS in the city. We need to know who’s side they are on.’

The same speaker highlighted the £100 billion cost of the Trident refit and warheads for Faslane nuclear base. She urged people to support a March on Easter Monday from Glasgow to Faslane which they intended to shut down for the day. ‘All these things are connected. They say there is no money, so attack the poor. But they can spend billions on weapons which can wipe out half of humanity. If we stand together we have the power, strength and determination to stop evictions and end this bedroom tax policy.’

Alan Wyllie of the West of Scotland Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation summed it up for most of the speakers: ‘I’m an ordinary guy and don’t see this as a political fight. I ask what is right and what is wrong? I believe it is wrong that the most vulnerable people are the hardest hit. It is wrong that fuel and food costs are rising while wages and benefits are going down. It is wrong to have this tax on bedrooms when millionaires are having their taxes cut. We are all in this together and must stop evictions. I urge Labour and SNP to protect all Scots. It is your duty!’

He said he’d read all the 2010 election manifestos. ‘There was no mention of the bedroom tax. The Westminster government has no mandate for this,’ he claimed to loud applause from the crowd. ‘We didn’t ask for this. We don’t want it. But the Government is attacking the most vulnerable in our communities. Mark my words: We will unite and we will win.’

He led the way for many different groups to work together against the bedroom tax, by launching a Facebook campaign several months ago.

More than 3000 people were estimated to have marched against the bedroom tax.

Speaker John McFarlane said the first round of the battle had been won by Dundee City Council declaring there would be no evictions in their city as a result of the tax. ‘Every council should do the same. MPs and MSPs are supposed to represent us but we have to ask – do they stand for us or do they stand for the Tory bankers? If they do we must remove them!’

Black Triangle speaker David Churchley said: ‘This bedroom tax is unworkable and unmanageable. It’s better for us to get off our knees and fight than not to fight at all.’ Calling for a 24 hour strike he added: ‘It is up to us to keep what has been ours for 100 years. We didn’t cause this crisis but we’re being made to pay for it.’

Daniel McGarrall from the Glasgow against ATOS campaign said that 73 people die each week after being found fit to work by ATOS. He invited listeners to join the demonstrations on the last Friday of each month outside ATOS offices and the Commonwealth Games offices because ATOS is a sponsor of the Glasgow 2014 Games.

He outlined how he and another campaigner face a court trial for campaigning. ‘We are defending the right to protest. And we will not be beaten.’

A spokesman from Govan Law Centre said that the bedroom tax was bringing misery to 100,000 people in Scotland. ‘Around 80% of those affected are disabled. It is wrong that the Government is targetting the most vulnerable people,’ he said, voicing his support to axe the tax and for no evictions.

Mary Lockhart reminded people of the Govan women who fought against the rent increases in 1919 when their menfolk were fighting in the war. ‘They fought the landlords so that their children wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor. They took a stand, got the shipyard workers on their side and said: ‘I will stand by you, if you will stand by me.’ Everyone today needs to be ready to protest and take action and stand by each other.’

As the marchers assembled at Glasgow Green, David Churchley was proudly holding the leading banner with his one good hand – the other being unusable because of a stroke. He said: ‘ I’m on the march because of this appalling, vicious vindictive bedroom tax. If you thought Thatcher’s poll tax was bad; Cameron’s is worse.’ A former IT worker, he has been unable to work since his stroke. He added: ‘My benefit will be reduced by £12 a week. I use my spare room for equipment like my treadmill so that I can do the exercises that keep me reasonably fit.’

Said worker Michael Collins with son Finn (8): ‘We work and pay our taxes so that people can get help when they need it. We don’t want our money to be given to bankers.’

Said student Jennifer Dornan: ‘We must fight to oppose the injustice of the bedroom tax and convince people to do something about it. This attack is on the most vulnerable. We should be gunning for the people in government who can afford it.’

Paul McLaughlin of Glasgow West GAP which has been providing welfare support and advice for 13 years, said: ‘We have to show our real anger and opposition to these charges. People of good conscience can’t let this happen. Everyone must stand up and be counted because individuals are being isolated and made scapegoats. We’ve got to waken people up to the need to organise.’ The advice centre is now located at Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall Street, near Kinning Park underground.

Frank Doyle of Glasgow Against Atos said: ‘This is an unjust society. The bankers get off but there is an assault on the most vulnerable.’

A 23-year-old banner last used in protest against the poll tax, was dusted down and on display by Dundee Fintry fighters.

The Fintery fighters recycled their old banner.

Said Albert Mitchell: ‘I’ve got a two bedroom house. My benefit of £141 will be reduced by £41 a fortnight. By the time I pay things like my gas and electricity I’m left with £10 a week to live on.’ Colleague Michael MacGregor, who brought the banner out of his cupboard, said: ‘We have the same threat of evictions and bailiffs now as we had in the days of the poll tax.’

Another marcher, called Sarah, of the West of Scotland Anti-bedroom Tax Federation said: ‘There are an awful lot of people worried about the consequences of this terrible tax. A separated couple with joint custody and where the woman receives the child benefit, will find that the man will be penalised for having a bedroom for his own child.’

Supporting a 'no eviction' strategy, Margaret Jaconelli knows what it is like to be evicted.Fighter Margaret Jaconelli, who was evicted from her East End property because it was in the way of Commonwealth Games development and who wouldn’t accept £30,000 compensation for her home of more than 20 years, was also on the march. ‘This bedroom tax will mean that people will be evicted – just like me. I’m still fighting for justice two years on and haven’t received one penny of compensation.’

Mum Sharon with her two-year-old, was protesting on behalf of a friend who also has a two-year-old. ‘My friend has the wee one and a 14 year old. The two children will have to share one bedroom. Their dad, who is in a new relationship, will have to move into a one bedroom place from his present two bedroom house. He’ll need to sleep on the sofa when his kids come to stay. But where is his new partner expected to sleep? Families aren’t static today and there is no thought given to that.’

Lots more campaigns to march for too.

Another woman in the crowd told this website’s reporter: ‘I’m not paying the bedroom tax. I’ll put the money by and hope that stops them evicting me. But I’m not paying it.’

Supporters were urged to turn out ‘in your hundreds’ at every local council chambers and Housing Association headquarters on Wednesday 10 April. ‘Give them holy hell,’ said the speaker. ‘Tell them in no uncertain terms we say ‘Axe the bedroom Tax’ and ‘NO’ to evictions.’


Seasoned campaigners included former MP Marie Fyfe (centre)



December 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Christmas is coming so fast some of us will blink and miss it! But the man in red is busy, busy, busy. Traditionally he’s been the friend of little children – if they’ve been good. If they’ve been bad, then across Europe there are tales of him carrying off the offending little ones.

In Britain,  the United Kingdom Borders Agency, (UKBA) has taken on the role of carrying off the children AND their parents.   Entire families are locked up in detention centres such as Dungavel.  Some people have been in Dungavel for more than a year.

They have committed no crime, received no trial but been judged to have no good reason to be in the UK. Therefore they are waiting to be sent back to their country of origin. One man now living in Glasgow said he spent longer in detention in the UK than he did in prison in his own country. He was tortured physically in his own country. The torture in the UK was mental and, in his instance, lasted for seven years of cat and mouse tactics.

Fortunately, he had some friends who fought long and hard to ensure his safety. Other people are not so fortunate.

When the Unity Centre in Govan knows of asylum seekers they invite them to register with them before going into the reporting centre at Brand Street and again when coming out of the grime place.   If a person doesn’t come out, the Unity volunteers can raise the alarm. But many people don’t find their way to Unity and some of them have certainly been transported back without any fuss.

Santa Claus comes silently in the night.  UKBA personnel come in the cold light of dawn and break down doors, enter bedrooms of sleeping adults and children and take them out of their beds. Sometimes they do not even allow people to dress properly before forcing them into a  van and transporting them for hours to a detention centre.

The old fables of Santa taking away children are still told.  The 21st century twist is that it is the United Kingdom Borders Agency that is spiriting away people today.

That’s why a man in a red robe spent nine hours up a pole blockading the Brand Street headquarters of the United Kingdom Borders Agency.


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