Front Cover

The Glasgow Keelie

November 1991

Download PDF


Glasgow is in the grip of an epidemic. The latest reports show the plague has now spread from Drumchapel to Clydebank, Whitecrook, Parkhall, Springburn and Penilee, hitting everybody, from infants to elderly folk. But still the authorities hang back. Instead of taking effective action the Charles Grays, Donald Dewars and Pat Lally’s of this world spend their time trying to suppress the information from the public.

Last year the Labour-controlled Region and District Councils spent some £50 million of the people’s money.

’Culture Year’ was a financial nightmare. It was obvious the money had to come from somewhere. Lally is proud he didn’t get any money from the Tory Government. So where did he get it? Simple. Him and the gang robbed and cheated the people of Glasgow. They cooked the books. They’re still cooking the books. And now we see the results. Communities being destroyed. Backcourts littered with filthy sewage. Hospitals, schools and nurseries, care centres, day-centres: all getting closed down. 16 year old kids sleeping rough. No provision for the elderly. The mentally disabled forced to walk the streets. No money for this, no money for that.

After forty years we’ve got ‘rickets’ back among us. And now we’ve got dysentry. Gray, Lally, Dewar and the rest of the cowardly gang say it’s all the fault of the people who’ve kept the fight going against the hated poll tax. Pull the other one. What hypocrisy! What lies!

The Shame of Donald Dewar MP

“I would like to tell you what Dysentry was like for my family. It was horrendous. First your child has horrible gnawing pains in the stomach which gets worse, then comes vomiting and diarhoea, which becomes nonstop. Your child is screaming and begging you for help, help you can’t give because you just don’t know what to do. You phone the doctor and he tells you, ‘starve her for 48 hours’.

The days have gone by when your child’s no better and now another member of your house has the same symptoms. You phone again and the doctor tells you the same as last time, ‘starve them for 48 hours’. The washing machine never stops, you owe Scottish Power a fortune for running the drier, you don’t sleep for days, if you’re not cleaning sick you’re cleaning diarhoea, you’re washing bedding or carpets or washing and trying to comfort your children. You say ‘God, I need help’, but the people who could give you help don’t want to know.”

(Violet Proctor, a Drumchapel mother, August 1991)

Donald “Freedom Fighter” Dewar, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland! What a proud man you must be to read the above testimony from one of your constituents! And how proud the Scottish Labour Party must be to have you as their leader! Another courageous link in the chain of Red Clydesiders who fought and died for the right to a decent life for all people, not just the wealthy upper classes.

Arise Sir Sewer Dewer! MP for Glasgow Garbagescadden, where more children get knocked down and killed than in any other part of Europe. Arise! Go and get your wee medal from Her Majesty, The Queen of England and all the Glorious Empire. Aye, away down out the road and take the rest of the cowards with you. And just stay there. That’ll give us a fighting chance.

Lally’s Fight To Sell Glasgow Green

Despite resounding defeat at every public meeting, within the Labour Group itself, even at “public” polls he organised himself, our Glorious Leader still wants to sell ONE THIRD of Glasgow Green to his pals in big business. He’s wangled it onto the policy draft manifesto for the May local authority elections. No wonder he was thrown out by his own party during the “Cantley-affair”. He brought the party into disrepute then and he’s doing it now. But if Lally and his gang of right-wing cowards think they’ll get away with it, they’re wrong. This time the gloves are off.


The resignation of Elspeth King from her curators job at the Peoples Palace was not unexpected, but the truth must be told some day about one of the dirtiest deeds carried out by the Glasgow District council. She was pushed out of her job after 17 years by Lally and Spalding by their despicable treatment.

Elspeth King and Michael Donnelly’s only crime was their commitment to telling the real history of the Glasgow people and their refusal to distort and portray that proud history of the Glasgow working class to meet and suit the trends of P.R. and market forces.

Elspeth was the first to warn the district council about the cost and the disastrous consequences of falling for Clelland’s Glasgow’s Glasgow exhibition. Meanwhile Spalding, who was a director of the company set up to run it, along with Palmer and Wallace were lauding it to the skies. The whole dirty charade began when Spalding was nobbled by a leading labour M.P. to take on the director of Glasgow Museums long before it was advertised. His main qualification was ruthless ability to payoff ‘embarrassing’ curators, as was shown with Terry McCarthy at Manchester, who had a dedication to social history.

The final humiliation for Elspeth came when her own job was upgraded and an nonentity called O’Neil, was promoted over Elspeth. It should be made known that O’Neil not satisfied that he had taken a woman’s job away, proceeded to monitor her mail and said that all her correspondence should be checked with him first. One of his final acts was to demolish the outstanding stain glass exhibition at the Peoples’ Palace that Michael Donnelly built and was sponsored by U.C.A.T.T. the builders union.

When some of the supporters of the Peoples Palace were picketing the annual conference of the Museum Curators Association being held in May, some of the delegates who signed the petition in support of Elspeth said they had been attending their annual conference for years and had never seen people on the street supporting a curator.

One thing is for sure, when the Spaldings and O’Neils leave Glasgow, as they will, because of their complete lack of ability and more important their lack of dedication to a noble cause, there will be no people on the street asking them to stay. It will be a case of saying good riddance to bad rubbish.

The fight is now on to save the outstanding collection at present in stores of the Peoples Palace. Most of it was donated and collected by the supporters of the Palace; it now is under threat. It is the property of the ordinary people; it is not museum director Spalding’s to dispose of as he likes. Vigilance is the name of the game.

One of the most outstanding directors of Glasgow’s Museums who was instrumental in obtaining the Burrell collection and purchasing the Salvador Dali painting, Dr Tom Honeyman said:

“A city or a nation which ignores or silences or intimidates men who have something fresh and original to contribute will become second rate. It will be unimaginative in its social legislation and throw enthusiasm away.”

The decision of Mr Spalding the Director of the Glasgow Museums to restructure his department is par for the course when any bureaucrat takes charge. One of his main proposals is that the number of keepers be reduced from seven to three and all those employees over fifty years of age be encouraged to take early retirement.

Apart from Elspeth King and Michael Donnelly many more have not waited for the edict from on high but have packed their bags. Morale is at a low ebb with all sorts of manoeuvring for position and looking over one’s shoulder; Anne Donald the keeper of Fine Arts retired suddenly.

One of the most farcical aspects of this situation is that the proposals go before a committee convened by Councillor Charles Davidson, eighty three years old.

They better be careful that no precedent is set and no age limit set for the council itself.

North West Passages

QUESTION: How does the Springburn MP Michael Martin suppress any debate or dissent amongst community groups that may, however slightly, question his handling of local affairs?

ANSWER: An unnamed Member of the Public (our capitals) complains to the Community Work Department that their resources are being used to produce libellous minutes of the community group’s meetings and demands action.

RESULT: A top level investigation by the Community Work Department find nothing libellous in the community groups minutes - only real members of the public exercising their rights to free speech and debate - but decide however, to examine future minutes from the community group before photocopying and releasing them. In effect the Community Work Department will censor the groups minutes. This all results in the community group - who have no resources of their own - becoming very wary of whatever they say in case the services of the Community Work Department are withdrawn. Therefore any debate over Michael Martin’s role, or lack of it, in community issues is squashed. Thanks Michael! You know where you can shove your bagpipes.

* * *

Strange stories reach us from Maryhill constituency Labour Party over the suspension of that well-known dough heed, Coonsiller Gaffney. The whole affair has been quickly hushed up, but it seems that at a constituency meeting the afore mentioned Coonsiller walks up to the Treasurer (who is not one of the Coonsiller’s close personal friends) and demands to examine the group’s bankbook. The bankbook is duly handed over to the Coonsiller who walks to the back of the room with it and sits down. At the end of the meeting the book has not been returned and the members ask the Coonsiller for it back - he promptly denies all knowledge! The members say that if the book is not returned the services of P.C. Plod will be required. The Coonsiller says that they can call the Polis if they want but he’s offski. The Polis are called but the Coonsiller, who is true to his word - for once - has shot the craw. Is this man the full shillin?


All the tabloids had a field day slagging the successful Anti Poll Tax rally against the first attempt to hold a warrant sale in Glasgow. They really plumbed the depths when they described a very representative and peaceful crowd as an unruly mob. Of course this is par for the course on the part of the media; they have a vested interest in ensuring that any opposition to blatant unfair policies like the Poll tax, whose aim is to switch the burden of local taxation from the rich to the very poor, is confined within the apparatus of the system.

Obey the capitalist law, use the courts, listen to your elected representative local or national. Across the board, Labour councillors, M.Ps., trade union officials are involved in the biggest betrayal of working class interest since the 1926 general strike. They claim credit for the defeat of the poll tax yet condemn the non-payment campaign and the non-payers and discipline anyone who openly support it be they M.P.s. or councillors.

They welcome mass action in Eastern Europe and Russia, be it strikes or massive street demonstrations. It’s alright as long as it leads to stability says Kinnock. Thatcher says it must carry on as long as it leads to a market economy. They should be reminded that over a hundred years ago the workers and peasants set up the Paris Commune long before the Russian 1917 revolution.

But now our leaders have arrived they are welcomed in the corridors of power. So it was not unexpected to see the manipulation of the T.U.C. and Labour Party conference with the whole set up being stage managed to ensure it would not interfere with the leader’s career prospects and embarrass arch Thatcherites like Lord King of British Airways who appeared quite at home when he strolled through the Labour Party conference at Brighton.

The present economic slump is not of the workers’ making, it never is. But despite Kinnock’s promises as usual it is always the poorest section of society that will have to bear the cost of reviving the weakest capitalist economy in Europe. We have had six labour governments in Britain and it is the workers that are always asked to make sacrifices by accepting wage cuts, unemployment, social service cuts on the pensioners, the sick and the poor.

The only real guarantee that there will be no more sellouts again is that we do not put our faith in leaders who are not with us on the streets. As the workers of Eastern Europe have found out the streets are the real birth place of democracy.

Stop Press: Gray and Mullin Fly the Kite

From information received we can now tell you that a secret memo has reached the Chief Constable. It comes from ‘Der Fuhrer’ Charles Gray and James ‘Attila the Hun’ Mullin. They were so angry at the police’s ‘softly-softly’ approach at the recent aborted Warrant Sale that they’ve demanded two seats on that new helicopter when the next one takes place.

The two of them want to make sure the police “do their duty” and batter the hell out of the families who resist Sheriff Officers. They don’t want to carry batons themself and get on the front line where they can hit elderly women and men over the head. They say they’ll be more effective leading from the air, just like Generals. They’re so damn brave, that’s what gets you.


Chaos In The System

The system referred to is the housing allocation system. At October’s Waverly Tenants Association meeting, held in the Kingdom of Waverly, a salubrious shite, dysentery, fly and rat infested area of Drumchapel.

The District Councillor for the area, Ian Cruikshank, informed a tenant with 31 years tenancy that the reason she couldn’t get a house in the Knightswood area of Glasgow was due to the government’s Right-to-Buy scheme, which is outwith Council control.

Councillor Cruikshank “the right-to-buy scheme causes chaos in the allocation system, people are buying their grannies council house, so tenants like yourself can’t get through the bottleneck and you can’t get a decent house”.

What Councillor ‘Crooked Wank’ didn’t tell the lady was the fact that he had recently purchased a council house at 140 Kirkton Avenue in the Knightswood area in Glasgow, causing further chaos to the system, an absolute disgrace that should be fully investigated by his colleagues, as it stinks of corruption councillor.


As Glasgow shivered in the ill-wind that swept the 1991 TUC conference into the City, the sharp suits and blunt principles were matched only by the venue in which they convened. With echoes of the 1990 CBI conference still clinging to its recesses, the S.E.C.C. seemed awkward being host to the Trade Union movement. Contemptibly indifferent to the unemployed, the poorly paid and the victims of industrial accidents and diseases, they toasted the pathetic posturing of the Red (rotten) Review.

In an attempt to stay with the principles of socialism, Tony Benn held a fringe meeting in the Central Hotel. Having resolved its socialist future this gathering was making its way out when it bumped into the leaders of Glasgow District Council, making their way to the S.T.U.C. annual ceilidh. Full of free spirit, they were led to the ball by Pat Lally of City Chamber Corporate Charities plc and Jimmy Mutter of Crown Street Holdings. Grinning like gremlins, they stumbled right into a kith of Glasgow Keelies and Mutter shouted ‘arseholes’. Lally said ‘Aye Jimmy, I’m drunk myself’. ‘Naw, ah mean they arseholes there’, pointing to the Keelies. Clearly looking for a fight, he put up his fists and shouted ‘Ahm no’ a cheating’, crawling’, slimy, sleeking bastard that everybody says ah ahm, sure ahm no Pat?’ No answer: Lally was off as usual. Finding himself alone in the incredulous gaze of a circle of raised eyebrows, he threw his head in his hands ... and missed.

As he was being bundled into the ceilidh by his red-faced fellow councillors, the S.T.U.C. bouncers were refusing entry to Bob Gillespie, national officer of G.M.P.U. (Sogat). Maybe they were still annoyed at him losing the Govan by-election to the Scottish Nationalists. But it wasn’t Bob who couldn’t get the Govan folk to vote for Labour. It was the disgraceful abandonment of the people’s interests and the poverty of principle within the Labour Party.

* * *

As the S.E.C.C. bagged the left-over T.U.C. rubbish, the director of the centre called in the police to shift a couple of Glasgow Keelies from its door. Chief Inspector ‘Scunner’ Skinner being unavailable, a law abiding constable upheld the right of the keelies to hand out their newspaper.

Such irony reminding him of his previous job organising Trade Exhibitions in Iraq, the director fled upstairs to resign. However there is no news yet of the resignation of Bob Palmer who is responsible for yet another bout of squandering. This time he decided to bring ‘West Side Story’ to Glasgow and plonk it in the S.E.C.C. Having more important things to spend their money on, the Glasgow folk gave it a miss. Little did they know the District and Regional Councils, Bob Palmer and the publicly subsidised private company which runs the S.E.C.C. had arranged that they would be paying for it anyway. Perhaps this was the same Council enthusiasm which arrested people’s wages and seized their bank accounts.

So the company got its money after all, £700,000 and rising, straight out of the public purse. Bob had put his reputation on the line for this one but considering that it includes the £6 million plus loss-making Glasgow’s Glasgow, nobody should be surprised.

But money is no object to the Council when it goes into the hands of the right people. They plan to spend as much as it takes to fix the roof of the Burrell, which it is claimed leaks when it’s dry but doesn’t when it’s wet. Sounds as likely as big audiences at West Side Story, but the Council is taking it seriously. After all the ornamental booty of the Burrell Collection wouldn’t stand up to dampness. Not like the folk in the Glasgow Council House Collection, who have to tolerate horrendous dampness and unsanitary conditions.

Unfortunately for them, they will have to put up with these conditions for a long while yet as the Councils stubbornly continue to ignore them in favour of lining private pockets with the public money necessary to carry out essential repairs and maintenance.

Not Bad For Lallygrad

We understand that Lallygrad’s top brass has been inundated with requests from the recently liberated eastern European countries for urgent help in establishing themselves as free-market democracies in our Utopia of capitalism, consumerism and big-time multi-nationals.

Lallygrad’s fame grows and Salvador’s theme-tune “Open the door, Pat, open that fucking door and let us in” is paying dividends at long last. I mean, where would we all have been without that lost garden festival and hollow crown of Euraqueery in City of Rapture and Rupture where the corn is still as high as a rattlesnake’s eye and morale is as mystical as a mural in the royal hall of this municipal mental hospital? Nowhere, that’s where, instead of somewhere where we now are on the map and in the lap of big business who have been directly instrumental in getting us out of that once miserable mess as exploitation is the only road towards emancipation and liberation.

Let that be understood and especially here in Lallygrad where certain factions are still disillusioned enough to plan for action and even revolution, yes revolution, for when there is no intelligent evolution then revolution is the only solution, as is exploitation and competition as opposed to co-operation, and in particular when one is a true democ-rat - right, Pat? - and honest Glaswegian.

So much to teach and preach travelling on that freedom-train from the stricken Ukraine to Vladivostok beach. Listen, comrades to our exciting song and we’ll sing to you what’s right and what’s wrong. No need to feel depressed and lost when you hear the great ideas and thoughts that come from neverstreika and Glasgonost. Dish out the orders and close all borders and your lips as you follow our ten-year plan towards certain apocalypse as we sell our soul to big capital and those enterprising Japs.

Gravy-train, gravy-train
going so fast
gravy-train, gravy-train
bury our past
driving on to another horizon
where the con-men take you on

There’s your end-solution. Think about it, you great proletariat, and that some day over the rainbow you could end-up as free as we are here in enterprising go-go Glasgow.

Ho-chi Menzies

BE A KEELIE: Fight Back

A quantity of the last issue was ‘confiscated’ by the police who weren’t pleased by the photographic reference to Chief Inspector (Skinner?) not giving “three fucks” for the anti-poll tax demonstrators. Suppression happens everywhere in this Great Free Country. But what it does prove is the power of the pen when it tries to report honestly about the stuff that “mysteriously” doesn’t get into the daily newspapers.

In this issue we carry a story about ‘Dysentry City’, Drumchapel; in the last we had one on corruption in Castlemilk, before that corruption in Gorbals. So this is a call to Milton, Possil, Pollok, Easterhouse, Garngad, Govan, Shettleston, Pollokshields, Ruchill, Springburn. And everywhere else corruption is taking place. Get in touch with The Glasgow Keelie through your distributor and he or she’ll pass the word on.