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The Glasgow Keelie

Number 18

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Ravenscraig no more, Hoover done and dusted, Gray Dunn broken, Albion Ley-Daf in receivership, Yarrows keel-hauled and Timex striking a warning of ENOUGH!

This is Scotland today where again the people are plundered in the absence of honest leaders. While they play self-seeking games, the worst human tragedy in modem times is growing out of control throughout the U.K.

Never before have elected representatives been so indifferent to working-class people. With real unemployment at 5 million, homelessness over 1 million and thousands living rough, democracy now means something else to ordinary folk.

The T.U.C. endorses Labour’s boast that they can run Capitalism better than the Tories and supports John Smith’s re-definition of socialism as ‘defending individualism in a Government subsidised private economy’ .

This is consistent with Scottish T.U. leaders like Gavin Laird and Jimmy Airlie who sold their members and principles down the Clyde by their silence and collaboration with employers. Their sweetheart deals with no-strike clauses and unlimited overtime in days of mass unemployment are major factors in T.U.C. membership losing 3 million in the last 2 years.


The same T.U.C. that continue to abandon unemployed members in denial of their sworn principles of full employment or full maintainance.

Scottish M.P.s, are no better with S.N.P. voting with the Tories and Labour languishing in spineless indignation.

They would rather play their part in the Tory abolition of 150 year old institutions like ‘Wages Councils’, gained by the struggles of rank-and-file pioneers of the Labour Movement.

’Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition’, having already slept through the sale of major public utilities like Gas and Electricity, now sit as front-bench witnesses as the Welfare State is dismantled.

They also watch as the N.U.R and N.U.M. pension-funds are being set up for looting, in true British Telecom style, to pay for mass redundancies.

It is not enough for Labour Leaders to vote against such legalised theft; cloaking it in legitimacy by playing the Parliamentary game; they must boycott the scam altogether.

They should take William McIlvanney’s advice to Scottish M.P.s and walk out of Parliament rather than sit across from the Tories for another four years as they condemn countless people to endless unemployment and destitution. Time is not on their side and if something’s not done soon, the people must take to the streets and do it for themselves.

• STOP PRESS: Up to 1,000 jobs under threat as Post Office plans for new fully automated sorting office in Springburn. A postie says: “SAVE JOBS-DON’T USE THE POSTCODE.”


Allan Stewart, Scottish Industry Minister, has not visited the Scotstoun works since the start of the Leyland Daf crisis. Thank Christ old Lamb Chop never appeared. The last time a Tory minister came down South Street he shut three factories on the way past.

The amount of people in manufacturing industry in Britain is 4 1/2 million - that means there are less people making things in factories than selling burgers, working in ASDA and beating grouse.

The most tragic aspect of the attack on workers in this area is the sacking of the apprentices at Rolls Royce. This at a time when we are having workfare rammed down our throats. All the rubbish about training for the future is seen in its true light. Why not invest in these young men and women and let them continue to train in the engineering industry doing worthwhile jobs with a degree of purpose and skill involved. This is scrapheap politics at its most odious.

Many of my proletarian companions are of the opinion that the disputes at Yarrows on the Clyde and Timex on the Tay are local and unconnected - untrue! Both disputes were engineered (sic) by the Scottish Branch of the Engineering Employers Federation which is named “Scottish Engineering.” It is rumoured in the industry that at least one of their members served his time with the Hitler Youth Movement. This has been borne out by their organised attacks on the workers at these proud plants.

So we must redouble our efforts to support Timex in Dundee. We cannot let them lose. They can, at Timex, win no doubt, but only if we all put our shoulders to the wheel and build support groups where we can raise solidarity with them to a higher level.

Finally, the Albion workers thank you for your support and hope you keep playing your part in the fight against unemployment and the Tory Jobs Slaughter in Scotland. Whether in your Union, unemployed groups, schools, streets etc., keep the banners flying high.



Tommy Gorman
Senior Shop Steward,
Albion Plant,


The ‘media frenzy’ on knife attacks, currently sweeping Glasgow, is as false as the notion that ‘Operation Blade’ will get rid of violent crime.

No doubt there are many innocent victims of street violence, but serious crime involving weapons is most often specific to certain places and types bearing no relation to age or time.

Yet there seems to be an obsession to convince us that the aggressors are all young folk and the problem has reached alcohol-induced, epidemic proportions because of late-licences.

The police/media invented ‘moral panic’ has hardly borne out its legitimacy when after targetting thousands of likely youngfolk, less than 2112 % were found to be carrying knives.

Although the last decade in the U.K. has seen juvenile-crime fall by about 40%, general crime has doubled as society had to take the strain of soaring unemployment. Given this, it is clear the authorities are scapegoating young people for the social consequences of Government policies.

Since 1979, the Tories have deliberately remodelled society to cultivate individualism, materialism and acquisitiveness; put simply, ‘I’m alright Jack but I want more.’

This introduced a spectacularly successful programme of poverty creation and although welfare payments were slashed in general, the knife was thrust into young people most of all. In one ruthless plunge, it severed the financial lifeline of 16 to 18 year-olds by cutting all benefit.

Causing family breakdown, homelessness and poverty, it created a society in which, for too many, crime has become a necessary means of survival. The law and order debate has always been the rhetoric of rightwing politicians in blaming the poor for the poverty that their policies created.

Recently, however, we have seen Scottish Labour M.P.s and councillors join the chorus in enthusiastic condemnation of communities they clearly do not understand. Only 2 years ago the same people were doing somersaults of ecstacy during the Year of Culture when they promoted Glasgow as the sanitized, safe-haven for tourists, touts and investors.

Despite the loud voices warning them against it, Glasgow City Council spent over £50m of the people’s money in attempts to re-model the City’s profile.

There is indeed a desperate need for investment. But rather than focussing on the obvious problems like social-alienation and homelessness, these were allowed to fester in the shadows of the abandoned developments like the Briggait Centre and Carrick Quay.

Instead of tackling this blight the authorities are spending £600,000 on a security system which no other City in Europe would dare introduce.

A street camera network which will spy on the Citizens of Glasgow day and night while a force of 30 wardens patrol the City looking for trouble.

Is it not time Authorities stopped hiding behind ‘Moral Panics’ and ‘Security-Cameras’ and did an honest job?

After all the public-money spent on sharpening up its image and getting rid of the ‘No Mean City’ razor-gang tag, has Glasgow cut its own throat in this latest attack on its people? How does the world see us now?

Bye Bye “Professor” Fred, Good Bloody Riddance!

Fred Edwards has been 17 years as Director of Social Work in Strathclyde. He hung on till COSLA organised a huge wage rise and is now to retire on a pension of £40K. He was proud to be an ‘honorary’ member of Alcoholics Anonymous but he should have been a bona

fide gold card member; all the steps Fred ever took were under cover.

Promotion under Fred’s long rule had simple criteria, females had to smile sweetly, males only had to be brown nosing scab bastards! Thus the senior ranks of the Social Work Dept are thick with hypocrites and crawlers whose only merit lies in their mediocrity.

As in many other walks of life people are promoted who reflect the boss’s image, men and women of integrity applied in vain, and it was back to the area teams if you didn’t play Fred’s games. No doubt his old pals from Cardross will wish him bon voyage as he sails off to the Tory quangos. Well loved by the local hacks, who lazily printed all the guff he ever gave them, they never took a hard look at the bold Fred who made promises to every vulnerable sector in his care and kept them only as far as the next photo opportunity.

His staff will be doing the conga again across his big black leather desk to celebrate his departure after 17 years of undetected crime; or was it uncovered and buried? Maybe Jennifer Cunningham of the Herald and Marion Pallister of the Times should take another look at the “professor” or is that too much to expect?

• Once again Glasgow District Council is attempting to close down the one place in Glasgow where working class people can afford to shop. For two hundred years there has been a market on this site. Paddy’s Market is not a tourist attraction or a trip down memory lane - it is an economic necessity for the people who work there and the people who must shop there.

To the Councillors in the City Chambers the market is not a pretty sight - it undermines the new image which Glasgow is trying to create for itself. The reality is that there are thousands of people in the city centre who rely on Paddy’s for their clothing, their furniture and other essential items which they otherwise could not afford.

Over the last few days the council has attempted to fence off the entrance to the market - thus denying access to people who cannot afford a trip down to Harrods. This is a denial of a basic right, and an attempt to deny the real poverty that exists in Glasgow today. Stall holders have been holding all-night vigils in order to prevent the complete fencing off of the market.


Support Nazir Malik!

A Lanarkshire teacher has been fighting against racial discrimination and victimisation for three years now without any end in sight.

And although Nazir Malik, a maths teacher at Larkhall Academy, proved to Regional Councillors at an appeals sub-committee in October 1991 that he had been racially discriminated against and victimised by his principal teacher and head teacher, Strathclyde Region to its shame is defending the case at an industrial tribunal.

Nazir Malik’s health has suffered as a result of the way he was treated and from the strains of fighting his case for so long, and he has now been without pay for a year.

Strathclyde region has an agreed policy of tackling racist incidents and disciplining staff who behave in a racist way, but in practice is spending thousands of pounds in legal costs defending a case at an industrial tribunal which its own councillors have accepted as proven.

The long-drawn out sufferings of Nazir Malik must call in question the willingness of Strathclyde Region to tackle racism amongst its own employees. The outrageous public statement of Senior Depute Director of Education David McNeill regarding genetic and nutritional ‘causes’ of so many black and Asian children being at special schools shows the extent of racism at the highest levels of Strathclyde’s education department.

It also demonstrates the inadequacy of existing methods of seeking redress for injustice. The maximum compensation payable by an industrial tribunal is £10,000 and Nazir Malik has already lost double that amount in pay, not to mention the personal health anxieties caused. It is long overdue that the law is changed to increase substantially the amount payable in industrial tribunal cases.

Not only that it now seems that the Chairman of the three members of the tribunal panel hearing the case had previously been consulted as a solicitor by the principal teacher whom the case was against. What chance does Nazir Malik now have of a fair hearing and a speedy end to injustice when a new tribunal restarts in May?

The time for paying lip-service to fighting racism is over. Nazir Malik urgently needs financial help and political action now to win his fight.


Occasions of sin

The story about Bernard Connolly’s Parks & Recreation vandals tearing up trees and bushes in Kelvinside Park reminded us of Oliver St John Gogarty, Irish politician and wit, who, when hearing of the plan to cut down the trees along Dublin’s Royal Canal because the local working ladies plied their trade leaning against them, exclaimed, “Gentlemen, I implore you, do not cut down these trees, they are more sinned against than sinning!”

* * *

Death Becomes Us

Greater Glasgow Health Board plans to close down Stobhill, a hospital covering some of the worst affected areas for health in the city.

The local MP, Michael Martin, has promised to fight the closure. He’s the man that saved the Caley Railway Works, solved the environmental disaster area of the ‘Stinky Ocean’, sorted out the Red Road flats and stopped them ripping the heart out of Springburn.

FAT CHANCE! That useless lump of lard will just sit pontificating at his favourite social club as per usual.

* * *

On Jenny-Lang-Gab

Gab Jenny owns a million books
Ha! Ha! The thinkin’ o’ it!
They tell o’ politics and crooks
Ha! Ha! The stinkin’ o’ it!
Though Jenny reads in every Art,
Ha! Ha! The readin’ o’ it!
She’s jist a mooth and bleedin’ heart
Ha! Ha! The bleedin o’ it!

She finds it hard tae rin the hoose
Ha! Ha! The rinnin’ o’ it!
For dinner she wad skin a moose
Ha! Ha! The skinnin’ o’ it!
She an’ her man were twa M.P.’s
Ha! Ha! The squabblin’ o’ it!
Their gobs just babbled fu’ of lees
Ha! Ha! The babblin’ o’ it!

Hawf her riches has gang away
Ha! Ha! The startin’ o’ it!
Tither hauf’ll gang some day.
Ha! Ha! The partin’ o’ it!
Her epitaph will wend like this,
Ha! Ha! The wendin’ o’ it!
“Whit was I but wind and piss?”
Ha! Ha! The endin’ o’ it!

The ghost of Sandy Rodgers


You might have thought it impossible to build a motorway through a city without anyone noticing but this is what is happening as Glasgow doesn’t brace itself for the latest assault from the motor lobby, their allies in local and central government, planners, construction firms and their car-driving dupes.

The plan (if madness follows a plan) for the M74 extension was quietly put to one side some years ago following public outrage at the stupidities of twin bridges over the Clyde at Kingston and a 5 mile knife wound from there to Rutherglen, a deliberately destructive route. But the plan is very much alive; construction is underway to form the east link between the M74 and Rutherglen (and already falling to bits at Carmyle due to totally unsuitable ground conditions). The west link will begin in 2000.

What can we look forward to? A three-storey high flyover at Eglinton Toll, demolition of the St. Andrews Works (a listed building), relocation of an electricity sub-station (estimated cost £5m), demolition of the first Glasgow tenements to be renovated. Also in the path of ‘progress’ are BR’s relatively new servicing depot at Polmadie, Dixon Blazes industrial estate plus further industrial units, houses, shops and listed buildings.

The cost of building motorways is made deliberately difficult to estimate due to money for different aspects of the project, such as compulsory purchase, being drawn from different budgets. Estimates for the M8 put the cost at £15m per mile. At today’s prices this would present a figure of at least £100m for the 5 mile M74 extension. The real cost, which goes beyond mere cash, cannot be estimated nor reconciled; motorways equal blight.

And this crime is being perpetrated at a time when the tide is turning against private car ownership and in a city that can ‘boast’ about having the only through-city centre motorway in Europe, more miles of motorway per head of population than any other city in the UK, along with the lowest figures for car ownership in any city in the UK (two-thirds of Glaswegians have no access to a private car).

Doubtless, backhanders abound as planners and councillors get off on pictures of American slip roads, multi-junctions and flyovers. But, it is in America, ‘the home of the car’, that biting restrictions on private car use have been brought in and in Europe we

have recently seen cars being banned in Athens’ and Prague’s city centres.

The corrupt idiots who dream up these nightmares patently cannot grasp two simple and proven truths: building more roads simply sends more cars onto the roads; and the growth of private car ownership has actually cut down on the total distance any individual can travel throughout the world - it is impossible to support a private car industry at the same time as an efficient public transport system. In other words, the fool grinning at a rain soaked you from his/ her stinking metal box is directly responsible for your bus not turning up and the extra rent it will cost you should it ever turn up.

At present is this nowhere better illustrated than on the West Coast main railway line, the busiest inter city line in Britain, with 200 passenger trains, plus a lot of freight, using it every day. The line is now 30 years old and feeling its age. Last year the government knocked back the loot (our loot) to bring it up to shape and to prevent its imminent closure on safety grounds. Total investment in the whole railway system has been halved to £945m, half of that going towards the

political expediency (for the Tories) of building the ridiculous Channel Tunnel.


£482m for the whole railway network and a minimum of £100m plus is thrown at a wholly unnecessary 5 mile motorway extension through the south side of Glasgow, with more devastation planned for the sensitive Kelvin Valley, north of Glasgow. Handy for nuclear convoys, handy for the destruction and ghettoisation that motorways inevitably wreak upon communities.

Of course, the car owners’ smug, stock retorts to anyone questioning their right to destroy, blight, poison, maim and kill inevitably follows the ‘cars are necessary and they can’t be disinvented’ line. If cars are necessary then how do two-thirds of Glaswegians manage to exist without them? The car cannot be disinvented; there is a limited role for personal transportation, such as for hill sheep farmers in Sutherland but there aren’t many of them living up the Pollokshaws high flats, not unless they are incredibly adept at getting their flocks up and down the lifts to the traditional grazing lands (that aren’t there anymore) without anyone noticing.

Private car ownership is an addiction; the dope pushers the motor lobby; the government, councils, planners and builders their runners on the streets. What’s left of the streets that is.

* * *

Additions to the M74 and M8 motorways are not the end of the story; the lunatics are also running amuck through Pollok Park with an M77/Ayr road project and poised to wreck the Calton, tunnelling from the Cathedral to the College Lands at High Street, which will be graced with a seven lane roundabout, from which one lane will tear south, through Calton, over the Clyde on a new bridge between the weir and Stockwell to join up with the M74 extension after having ripped pieces off Glasgow Green and Gorbals. Glasgow, the boxed-in depot.

Strathclyde Region obviously favour this, all their aims about their preference for Public Transport are hypocritical; their freezing of funds for various railway projects; their duplicity in front-paging the Evening Times about the St. John railway link, which already exists and could be reopened at a fraction of the cost of the Calton road project which will follow the same same route! The Region, in common with most employers, actually forces people into cars.

• C.F.S. works in the insurance industry, she fears for her job if she continues to refuse to become a car user. A better position in her firm is ruled out if she doesn’t learn to drive. She feels her present position is now under threat, “I don’t want to drive, I’m terrified of driving. I don’t want to but I have to.”

• C.A. works for Strathclyde Region, she has a car under their leasing scheme. She is required to drive a set number of miles every year, any less and she loses money on the following year’s lease, any more and she saves money. “It’s crazy. It can happen that I have two appointments in the same area. Rather than combine the two journeys I return to the office after the first appointment, turn around and go back to the second. Madness. The Region pays me a fuel allowance. Not only is this wasteful and polluting it also reinforces the differential between manual and professional workers - the poor pay for all the needless miles I am forced to do, they pay for the run down in public transport, they pay for the filthy air.”


Strathclyde Regional Council have just announced that they will defrost your funds for three different railway projects. This follows them seeking assurances from the government that your input will be safeguarded following privatisation.

SRC have obviously bowed to Keelie pressure but why do they accept the ‘assurances’ of a mawkit gang hell-bent on destroying the railway system?