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The Glasgow Keelie

April 1992

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Scotland’s Future...


Everybody knows it. London rule is an abomination - and not just for Scots, for the great mass of the English population as well. The colonial-type stranglehold of the “dominant pairtner” has to be broken. In economic as well as social, psychological and cultural terms it has been disastrous for the common people of Scotland. But it matters little whether the centre of power moves from London to Edinburgh or Brussels if the capitalist system of exploitation comes with it.

The real ruler, the real evil, is high finance - not a place called England. Multi-national corporations care nothing for national identity. People’s love for their place of origin, their culture and environment are of secondary importance in the profiteer’s boardroom.

Will political independence end the capitalist nightmare for Scots workers and unemployed? Will a devolved parliament eradicate the greed of the multi-nationals?

Will the Labour Party fight the system better in Edinburgh than it did in London? Will the financier, the speculator, the monopolist be hounded out of existence by careerists in sharp suits like Donald Dewar and Gordon Brown? Will there be a radical redistribution of wealth?

Will Sam Galbraith really abolish private and priviledged medical treatment for the rich? Will hierarchy be destroyed and social consciousness liberated by Mike Watson in his cashmere coat? Will John Smith encourage people-power at the grassroots so that we can find and implement our own solutions - in the work-place, the dole queue, the schools and universities, and in the poverty ghettos called housing schemes?

Will tartan socialists like Sillars and Salmond expropriate millionaire landowners (including English royalty) in the name of Scotland’s poor? Will they dismantle all nuclear installations, military as well as civil? Will they revive the Scottish coal and steel industries, reject cheap labour imports of coal from abroad, and seize ownership and control of North Sea oil for the Scottish people? Will independence mean freedom from industrial closure, unemployment, homelessness, poverty and the state-sponsored miseries of the old, the young, the sick and the disabled?

Will these politicians really understand that political independence without real economic equality for all is an illusion?

Will these politicians be the first ‘in the history of the world to keep their pre-election promises? Or is power simply to be handed from one group of political reprobates to another? The Keelie is in there battling. We shall not be slow to expose betrayal.


The coming General Election not only poses the question of the constitutional problems facing the people of Scotland, but also, the relevance of the very existence of Parliament itself. It is now seen by more and more ordinary people as a vehicle for the establishment to cover the brutal oppression by the ruling class in a cloak of legality.

This process has been intensified in the thirteen years under Thatcher and, before the Tories themselves got rid of her, she supervised the sweeping away of almost all the minor reforms that the working people had struggled for. All those social improvements, legal entitlements and trade union rights, so hard fought for by the people, dissolved in the acid of bitter Tory legislation.

With Thatcher as its leader and a massive majority in Parliament, it came as no surprise that the Tory Government would act in such a way. But what ambushed the confidence of Labour supporters was the behaviour of the Labour Party in opposition. Not once since Thatcher’s first ministry in 1979, did the Labour Party depart from playing wholeheartedly in the parliamentary game. Not once, either, was the charade of parliamentary pairing ever challenged in its ridiculous mutual acquiescence of ‘I’ll not turn up to vote if you don’t’.


Despite the extremism of the Tory administration of the 1980s not once was this cosy relationship between Government and opposition ever threatened. Even in less than democratic Japan, the opposition walked out in protest when the government had gone too far.

The extent of Labour’s betrayal of its own people reached a new and unfathomable depth during the Miners’ Strike of 1984. How could Kinnock, himself representing a miners constituency, have stood back to watch while the miners were battered into the ground? Where was he when mining communities were overrun with cavalry charges of mounted police? Why was he silent when the law was being daily broken by the authorities when they sealed off hundreds of roads into and out of mining communities? He was seen and heard to be busy reserving his hatred and venom for the striking miners’ leader Arthur Scargill.

What kind of so-called workers’ representatives participate in passage to law of the glaringly unjust Parliamentary Bill which led to the Poll Tax legislation? Even if it is completely withdrawn there will be years of warrant sales and harassment aimed at the poorest sections of Scottish society. Why doesn’t Kinnock and his local government cohorts push for an amnesty for those who can’t pay? Surely if ever there was a time to stand up and be counted, this is it. Instead, they vow to pursue full payment from all sections of society and sanction local Labour Councils to send in the Sheriff’s Officers while applauding Courts for jailing certain non-payers like Tommy Sheridan of the newly formed Militant Labour.


The expulsion of the Militant Tendency from the Labour Party has a long and bitter history of party members unhappy with the leadership. Through proper democratic process they questioned their MPs and put their heads well above the parapet by standing for office themselves. For many years, Militant members were witch-hunted because they were being too effective and the Party couldn’t handle such democracy. When they became the vanguard of the Anti Poll Tax Campaign, individuals were singled out for personal treatment.

Whether or not you agree with the Militants, they represent a mass popular movement of discontent that does not see the present Labour Party as a Parliamentary solution. Right or wrong, they are guilty of only one thing and that is not running away from their political principles the way their party leaders have. The Kinnock factor has left large numbers of ordinary people with no faith in Labour’s policies and a smell of sell-out in their nostrils.

Guy Aldred, in one of his excellent pamphlets, quoted the one time Labour Prime Minister, Bonar Law, when he was asked what he would do with the left-wing MPs that were being elected: “Nothing, they are safer in the House of Commons than outside”. Bonar Law, like Guy Aldred, always knew that politics on the streets were always more effective than in Parliament.

During the 1926 General Strike, when the strike committee in charge of the County of Fife refused to let blacked traffic into their territory, there were cries of fury in Parliament. These were raised because the strikers were seen to be setting up an alternative form of government. The political leaders of Britain have always been terrified of such a notion. Recent experiences in Russian and Eastern Europe, when ordinary people took to the streets to make their just demands, confirm the reasons for their paranoia. The success of these popular campaigns has conclusively shown that any genuine struggle must be led by ordinary people in the streets.

One glance at the Labour front benches in the Commons is enough to see the calibre of MPs who represent the ordinary people in Scotland. The majority never open their mouths and with few exceptions they have no independent point of view. They are largely there because the dictatorial process now operating in the Labour Party, ensures that only ‘safe people’ are approved by the Labour Party Executive.


How would Kinnock have dealt with an MP like Cunningham Graham who had been jailed for making seditious speeches? On his return from jail to the House of Commons he was met by Prime Minister Gladstone who said “What can you expect if you urge the mob to burn down all the houses in the West End?” “But I didn’t”, replied Graham, “I told them to burn the hovels in the East End and go and live in the houses in the West End”.

It would seem that nothing has changed. The MPs who are supposed to represent the people are not only clueless as to the needs and wishes of their constituents, they appear not to care less either. THE QUESTION IS, WHY SHOULD THE PEOPLE KEEP VOTING FOR THEM?


Heh, c’mere tae ah tell ye; D’ye know Glasgow City Council’s got no money for houses and services, but it can find £6.5 million to turn the Stirling Library into yet another art gallery. Well, who wants to lend out books when you can gie away paintings for nothing?

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An’ if ye’s think that’s bad, jeest wait tae ye hear whit’s happening to the Garden Festival site. Glasgow District Council in partnership with Clyde Port Authority sold it to the Scottish Development Agency who sold it back to The Glasgow Development Agency which is the new name for the Scottish Development Agency working in partnership with Glasgow City Council which is the new name for Glasgow District Council who’re waiting to find out what the newly privatised Clyde Port Authority want to do with it once the new owners have been allocated their grants by the Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow Development Agency.

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Smelly eh? But not as smelly as the two year hold up that held up the publication of the ‘Contaminated land Register’ which lists 100,000 sites that have been polluted with some of the most persistent and toxic chemicals known to science and on which many developments in Glasgow are built on.

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Aye Glasgow, where a good percentage of the million people who haven’t paid their Tory Poll Tax will be excluded from the ‘contaminated election register’.

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Know whit ah mean, that Tory Party whose ex-Scottish chief and chairman is lord Goold, a prominent member of The Aims of Industry and chairman of the Scottish National Opera who’re singing more trade union songs than opera songs recently.

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Aye but nae wonder, there’s no’ enough in the funds to pay their wages an’ that. But talkin’ aboot funds and aboot fundraisers and aboot the Lowrie painting worth £150m which was stolen under Julian Spalding’s nose at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Aye an’ the £150m that went missing fae the Cathedral Square ‘Visitors’ Centre’ fundraising campaign whose treasurer was Susan Baird the Lord Provost of Glasgow.

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That’s the Glasgow whose Greater Health Board are using the same lorries to transport food, rubbish and soiled linen even from the hospitals for infectious diseases.

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Talkin’ aboot diseases, did ye hear the wan aboot the neo-fascist organisation called ‘The Movement’ that are holding public meetings in the Glasgow Universities?

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By the way, the reason all youse have tae trundle they wheelie bins out at 7 on a freezin’ morning’ is to get rid of 300 jobs in the clenny. We only need 3 men on a bin lorry since youse mugs are doin’ half the job. That’s what we call progress. Get your hip replacement claims in now.

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Aye that same Glasgow that planned as one of the events of the doomed ‘City of Visual Arts’, a ‘Takeaway Art Show’. Looks like they’ve been beaten to it with the Lowrie painting and the McCulloch mural. See Glasgow, some toon eh?

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I see that our pal leslie Sharp, the Chief Polisman has been getting himself intae a wee bit of bother. It seems he was doing some awareness training at a fancy cricket club do, something about black people all being theives and muggers. But never mind, Ballies all know that the extra 110 bobbies that Charlie Gray has given him will treat black folk just the same as their boss does.


While the best councillors ‘money can buy’ celebrate the Myerscough Report on Glasgow 1990, the city has gone strangely quiet. Just like the current round of industrial closures in Scotland, the cultural bogeymen have been hiding behind the blizzard of election blithering. A tiresome farce of fogeys farting about with the parcel that the rogues of our Ancient Nation left behind for us to pass. When the wraps are taken off the Glasgow package, a similar treachery is exposed. The abandoned development sites; the empty, overpriced riverside houses; the selloff of the Clyde Port Authority, the Gorbals and any other Council properties that can help pay for the major costs of 1990. The list is endless.

At a great distance from, and even greater attraction to the cheque-book gold-diggers, are the huge schemes of below-standard houses. Once the areas not to touch, they have become the main attraction. The policy of Glasgow City Council to sell-off whole schemes to associates in private consortiums, hides the real design of handing over the lucrative house-refurbishing market and the surrounding green-field sites to private hands. These are the very Labour leaders who are asking us to vote them back into power, to tie us up and sell us off. They are also the same Lallywags that asked John Myerscough to document the fankle of 1990 facts and figures. No analysis was asked for. It was simply to be a monitoring exercise. To quote John Myerscough: ‘I was not asked to evaluate the 1990 programme. At no time was the objective to be an assessment of long term effect although a certain degree of implied judgement could not be avoided.’

Not surprising when his figures were collected within a ready-tuned fanfare reminiscent of fascist brainwashing methods and persecution of nonbelievers. Ask Elspeth King, Michael Donnelly and Jude Buckhauser. Dodging all questions about the disastrous financial losses of Glasgow’s Glasgow, the Sinatra concert and Bolshoi Ballet, the Lallyrati spout their boastful spittle.

With insipid smiles, they tell us that for an investment of £32.7m, there was a turnover of £400m producing a neat profit of between £10m and £14m, and that there was a 40% increase in arts attendances. They will also tell you that it brought around 5,700 people years of employment. They might not say that it cost the City £7,000 per job, most of which were temporary, but they won’t miss telling you of the New Infrastructure and new Cultural Precincts for visitors and tourists. The Entertainment District on the Cowcaddens Ridge, The Design Quarter in the Merchant City and The Museum Quarter up in the west-end.

You might ask what on earth all this means to you never mind what it means for you. What they won’t discuss are the communities of interest and the hidden agendas among private business groups, developers, promoters, public administrators and elected representatives. What with Michael Kelly’s promotion of the Glasgow’s Miles Better Campaign, his appointment as Lord Provost and his P.R. company winning the contract for the new Glasgow logo. Well well what a smell?

As for implied judgements, Myerscough makes the same assumptions as his paymasters; that the seeds of cultural tillage have been sown for Glasgow’s future. How can this be when the 1990 revenue tills have been emptied by the hoteliers, caterers and other retailers who contributed least to the paltry £4.3m cash input from private business? Like the U.S. owned Holiday Inns and MacDonalds who creamed the profits and deposited them straight into foreign and English owned banks. It is clear to anybody who wants to look that the city has been plucked of its best and has long since gone to seed.

The real legacies left in the cultural pay-dirt of 1990 are the huge bills to pay for the big cultural fraud.

The self-appointed judges of the Year of Culture have instructed the Jury to return a positive verdict. But Glaswegians will ask, positive for who? And they have a stubborn habit of making up their own minds.

It’s their judgement that matters. It’s their vote that counts.



Ravenscraig and now this. What a mess. Crisis. Glasgow in a fix as it’s been bombed-out for the ARTS 2000 box of expensive tricks. No coming big-spending spree for all the culture-lovers of the bourgeoisie. No do or die for the new penny-pinching Third Eye. No new contemporary gallery. Nothing but the same old boasting, whingeing and wild spending. No more artistic accolades so maybe it’ll be back to the barricades. And anyway, according to Lally, the prize money was peanuts, and he of course should know as he’s now an expert in spending other people’s dough. Remember Glasgow’s Glasgow? And now come the cuts. Here we go towards a yo-yo sick-bag archipelago. We must be fucking nuts.

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The slogan Glasgow’s Alive made us scratch our heads a bit as there’s mice and there’s lice and all other things not too nice.
Alive alive o, alive, alive o
There’s fat cats and rats in old Glasgow.

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Donald Sewer as Scotland’s future prime minister? Sinister. Stinks.

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The difference between culture and business is a dead loss. Right?

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A little weak fart was the Liarscough Report. Or in other words fuck-off Myerscough. Who’s kidding who?

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Heel, O’Neill! Heel! Best little poodle in the business and in the bullshit ring Spalding building. And first choice as his master’s voice. Heel O’Neill! Heel! You nice little lap dog you.

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If Palmer and Wallace were in real business they’d be a dead loss.

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Local government a terminally ill patient?

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Possilpark Secondary School to close? Pupils to be bussed to NK and Albert Secondary? Now there’s intelligence and efficiency for you.

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Gorbals tae be flattened and restored yet again? Christ it’s becoming like some eternally recurrent migrane.