Front Cover

The Glasgow Keelie

Number 6 January 1991

Download PDF


If Kuwait dealt in bananas instead of oil would their lives be worth as much to the U.S. and its allies as were the lives of the tens of thousands of Kurds that Saddam gassed?

Is Saddam’s brutality to be measured less when directed against his own people and more when directed against pro-western Kuwait?

Are U.N. resolutions only to be acted upon when they serve to legitimise precipitate U.S. action and forever ignored when they address the Palestinian question?

Is Israel to be allowed to continue stockpiling nuclear weapons unsanctioned while refusing to allow any examination of their nuclear establishments?

Are pro-western sheikdoms to continue amassing huge fortunes as living standards of the Arab masses deteriorate ever more rapidly?

Why is the Pentagon drawing up plans for a long term policy of containment, whatever the length of the war?

Should high levels of military spending be sustained to appease the powerful defence lobby?

How is it that governments can find the massive amounts of money required for war but can find none when confronted by the poverty of their own people?

Why does talk of peace bring down the price of oil, while talk of war raises it?

All this media hype about the sanctity of the United Nations Security Council is nothing short of a sick joke.

For the past couple of decades the U.S. government has consistently vetoed every U.N. attempt to help the victims of the most brutal terrorist regimes in the world to defend themselves. Where ever democracy appears the U.S. tries to crush it.

In this they have been supported most staunchly by Britain, whose relation to the U.S. is the disgraceful humiliating one of a Client State. When Bush barks Major wags his tail. Kinnock doesn’t enter into it - everybody treats him with the contempt he deserves.

Thus the British people are at war, without ever having had the chance to vote on the subject. It’s what those in control describe as ‘democracy’.


No more credit
Attack Iraq
Block it
Bleed it
Wreck it
Lick it
Sack Iraq
Walk all over it
Give it flak
Wipe it out
Not to forget
You wait
And they’ll turn it all
A desert

Jack Withers


The Sun’s making a killing with its two-editions-a-day Gulf specials. And rumours are current in the city that TNT, the haulage firm, are carrying military supplies, so keeping army convoys off the motorways. Stories also keep surfacing about Collins the printers working on conscription forms. All these commercial concerns have one thing in common: they are all owned by Rupert Murdoch, a man who knows what gross profit means.

* * *

Tommy Graham, Renfrew’s MP hopes to make a career move out of these murderous times. He’s been bragging to the press about how he ‘saved’ the Bishopton explosives factory some years ago, and how it is now on 24 hour a day production. Cold comfort to parents in blitz torn Baghdad, who worry that their children ‘will die of fear’.

A so-called socialist, Mr Graham could have been campaigning for alternative employment for the workforce and the closure of that abomination of a place. The Glasgow Keelie would gladly have provided a padlock for the gates.

* * *

The anti-war movement is growing rapidly in Glasgow, and may soon campaign against army recruitment in schools and ‘job’ exhibitions. Hopefully, we won’t have a repeat of last year when our Labour provost, Susan Baird, took the salute at a military parade.

* * *

Lawrence Peter ken, of the Greater Glasgow Health Board has put Clydeside hospitals on a war footing. An aircraft hangar is being readied as an emergency clearing centre; ambulances are doing test runs from Glasgow Airport to Canniesburn and other Glasgow hospitals. Nurses and staff are being issued with identity passes and the Royal Samaritan, earmarked for closure, has been reprieved, at least temporarily.

We wish the best medical treatment for any possible victims of war; but can’t help wondering why money that becomes available during war cannot be available during peace.


Criminals and Murderers

Ye hypocrites are these your pranks?
To murder men, and give god thanks
Desist for shame, proceed no further
God won’t accept your thanks for murder

That was Robert Burns’ reply to a thanksgiving ceremony for a famous British military victory. Scotsmen have a proud record in opposing war. The long line of dissenters stretch from Burns to George Galloway. In the 1880’s John Murdoch, stormy petrel of the highlands, the scourge of landlords and factors, condemned the British invasion of Afghanistan. Saddened by the use of Scottish soldiers in that dastardly venture he was moved to say: “Our conquests in India were a series of crimes”.

John Maclean, speaking at a meeting in Langside, was uncompromising: “I say here and now that the soldiers themselves are not murderers, but those who sent them to war are murderers.” At his trial on 27th October 1915 he challenged the prosecution: “I have been enlisted in the Socialist Army for fifteen years, the only army worth fighting for. God damn all other armies.”

What a craven spectacle the “Gulf Debate” in the House of Commons truly is. Kinnock supports Major. Major agrees with Kinnock. Ashdown supports them both. Sillars and Salmond support everybody. But it was encouraging to hear George

Galloway describe the allied action as “an act of mass murder against innocent civilians”. After being attacked by Labour front bench spokesman, and S.N.P. Jim Sillars, he was, as the Evening Times put it, “still defiant", describing Bush as “an international criminal”.

Meanwhile the arms dealers are jubilant as their weapons wreck havoc. They would prefer a long war. That would create a bonanza for replacements. The Stock Exchange hopes for a quick war so that they can once again report business is buoyant and brisk. Travel agents are downcast at low bookings and cancellations. In the USA a company rushes to complete a defence contract of 16,099 body bags.

These are the hallmarks of the drift to barbarism. It must be stopped before once again we see the “widows’ weeds” and hear the orphans’ cry.

Leslie Forster


Pat Lally

The Labour group have approved a motion condemning Iraq. Clearly we were in a situation in which there was total intransigence on the part of Iraq and we appeared to be on a course that would lead to the use of force.

Donald Dewar

Now it has come to war, the important thing is that the operation should succeed with the precision and speed everyone wants.

Archbishop Thomas Winning

Saddam Hussein had it coming to him.

Noam Chomsky

The greatest drawback to peace in the Gulf has been Western involvement in the area. A major US policy goal is to keep its incomparable energy resources, and the enormous profits reaped, under the control of the US or dependable allies and clients. Britain views matters in a similar light. Throughout history soldiers have fought wars without knowing the real reasons behind the wars. Perhaps if they’d known they wouldn’t have fought. They are the victims as much as the people they kill.


The U.S. and British heads of state needed every bit of help they could get in their heroic rush to disregard the U.N. Charter and save the downtrodden multi-zillionaire, the Emir of Kuwait, and all the rest of that corrupt Arab monarchy. So in the build up to the first strike the media sought to clear the ‘moral’ ground.

Here in Glasgow, next door to Brian Wilson and Brian Meek - the Burke and Hare of political journalism - we had Professor Paul Wilkinson of St. Andrews University writing features for the Herald. Like so many academics of the extreme right Wilkinson conveniently forgets the distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘value’ when it comes to pushing the neofascist line. And let’s make no bones about it, this is the line he is pushing.

The people and organisations this Professor is involved with are extremely shady indeed, up to their neck in so called ‘anti-terrorist’ activities. They get their funding and expertise from all these nice little private enterprise outfits connected to things like the Economic League, the Adam Smith Institute, British United Industrialists, The International Freedom Foundation, the Coalition for Peace through Security, Common Cause, etc. They are supporters of just about every right wing torture and terror regime in the world. They have made a case for the most brutal forces of reaction you can get, and are no doubt linked to the likes of MOSSAD, BOSS, the CIA and MI6.

Wilkinson’s credentials as an ‘objective academic’ were thrown into disrepute a couple of years ago when he was trying to give disinformation to Channel 4, in connection with Ulster and the British Intelligence smear campaign on Colin Wallace. And he was doing it in very peculiar company indeed for a ‘Scottish Academic’, namely John McMichael and Andy Tyrie of the U.D.A. Was the Glasgow Herald aware of this when they took him on as a ‘specialist’ on Middle East and U.S. foreign affairs? Maybe some sharp students up at St. Andrews should start doing their own research on the subject.

A Line in the Sand

This war has nothing to do with human rights and justice for the people of Kuwait or anywhere else. This war has to do with oil and money and the retention of power. Nothing else.

Kuwait is a country which was brought into being by the Western powers drawing a line in the sand and installing an absolute monarchy friendly to Western capitalism. The working class people of Kuwait, like their brothers and sisters in the other Gulf states, have never enjoyed any human rights or social justice.

While Saddam Hussein was ruthlessly crushing all working class opposition inside Iraq, Britain and America had nothing to say about human rights. When he went to war for eight years against Iran, Britain and America eagerly supported him with money, armaments and a naval blockade. When he turned chemical weapons on the Kurdish minority who sought independence from Iraq, not only did Britain and America refuse to condemn him, they continued actively with their support.

The American government has always wanted a military presence in the Gulf. Whether he intended to or not, Saddam Hussein generously provided the USA with the opportunity to move in. With both America and Britain in deep economic recession a war was just what was called for. Remember Thatcher and the Falklands. Wars not only boost the armaments industry, and enable the military machine to test its capability, they divert people’s minds from the harsh realities on the home front - severe unemployment, DSS poverty, poll tax arrears, incipient racism, health service cuts and all the other miseries the working class have to endure daily.


Unlike Glasgow District councillors and senior officials who were first found out then forced to admit their own incompetent gullibility in falling for the £6 million scam on Glasgow’s Glasgow - the Observer newspaper has every confidence in Touche Ross, the self-same accountants Lally & Co. Ltd. are now trying to blame for the worst financial disaster in the city’s history.

In fact the Observer has just appointed one of the Touche partners, Mr Brian Jenks, as a regular columnist in their money pages. The Keelie wonders why they didn’t feel the need to check it out with the George Square financial ‘Wizards of Loss’, Bill English and Jean McFadden? Maybe like the rest of us the Observer knows fine well where the full blame should lie, with the officials and councillors responsible, not to mention the Silent Majority, i.e. the cowards who sit on the Labour benches inside the City Chambers; that mob would make a sheep blush.

* * *

Saatchi & Saatchi, former PR team for Margaret Thatcher and among the Tory Party’s staunchest supporters, were maybe as surprised as the Scottish rank and file when Pat Lally, Danny Crawford, Eddie Friel, Bob Palmer and the gang hired them to do the advertising.

But business is business for the George Square Mafia: who cares what your politics are as long as you know how to screw a buck. Plenty of pickings for everybody in ‘Rip-Off The People Year’. But good old fate and the capitalist bogeyman are waiting. The Saatchis are now battling for financial survival.Their shares were at 23p a throw the other day, looking set to drop to 10p.

The grim brothers themselves are now back working in a wee office and poor old Charlie Saatchi is having to sell off some of the multi-million art collection, hoping big-leaguers like Lord Rothschild will bale them out of trouble. By the way, how much did the Saatchis actually screw the Glasgow people for? More questions for the George Square ‘Wizards of Loss’.

* * *

That same ill-wind’s blowing for neofascist Rupert Murdoch, publisher of some of the most obscene so-called newspapers in the world - the kind that ‘Little Tory’ Graeme Souness, and ‘ex-Little Socialists’ Jim Sillars and Jimmy Reid see nothing wrong in writing for. If 150 (aye 150!) BANKS don’t come to some agreement with Rudolph Hitler, his News Corporation won’t have enough dough to pay off their $8 BILLION bank debt. The Keelie wonders if the Silent Majority on the City Chambers Labour benches had any inkling of this when they allowed ‘John Friendly’ Lally & Co. Ltd. to give Murdoch - neofascism and all - the Cultural printing contract. When will these cowards regain some self respect?

The Leader

The great one
swaggers easily
to the dias.

Wearing that gravity -
enhancing dark blue suit
and certain smile.

Staring far ahead
well beyond
our limited view
at the goal
our goal, our tomorrow.

I voted for him,
did you?

The clapping stops
our play begins.

In the bunker
mysteries are resolved
the enemy is

Our future can be re-drawn

by the very people

in this hall -

the chosen.

There must be
no doubt
no thought
of doubt
no admission
of doubt.
No doubt.

The broad brush
of principle slaps
each one of us
as we clap and laugh,
absolutely right.

There can be no doubt.
As our great one
streams to the door,
taking everything we have.


A Room With A View

Every room in my house has one - not very pretty, but a view.

From the front of the house you see the street, some other houses and people; children, adults, neighbours, workers and strangers. You see cars, delivery vans and the occasional bus. And if you are really lucky, you can see a fight - usually between passing drunks.

The back of the house looks onto the back courts, more houses and the obligatory high steel bins. There are always dogs, sometimes children and the odd grown-up. In fact we have some very odd grown-ups.

If you’re not careful you start to think of your house as a home, which is a big mistake. Only people with money have homes and the right to decent views, like flowers, parks and plain simple space. We have houses which look into each other and onto big, open midden bins.

If we keep fighting hard, we may just get a play area for our children. But don’t get too excited - it might interfere with the landscape. What kind of view would that give us?