The Curse of the Keelie strikes again! First the yuppie shopping arcade, The Briggait Centre, died the death. And now Glasgow’s Glasgow, the glorious flopperama production underneath Central Station is in its last throes. Which just shows Saatchi and Saatchi style and throwing millions about is no guarantee for conning the people. Now what’s next for the Black Spot?
The Queen Elizabeth Square Flats have been declared too expensive to repair and the Council plan to move the tenants out. But rumour is rife in the Gorbals that after the tenants have been decanted, the property will be sold off for development as upmarket, riverside penthouse suites designed by Sir Basil Spence.
Meanwhile across the river, prospective house hunters at “The New Carrick Quay Development” are being turned away and told to come back with a letter from their bank manager proving that they have ‘sufficient funds’ to be interested in the property. Correspondence from the Housing Benefit Office is not deemed suitable.
Our mole in the Town Clerk’s Office writes... Glasgow District Council faces being sued for millions over work done by Lafferty Construction. But a further embarrassment has resulted from the renovation work carried out by Lafferty in the City Chambers some years ago. The stone cleaning method used has resulted in the building soaking up water every time it rains. It would be justice indeed if it were to result in dampness at some point in the future.
The visit of Russia’s Bolshoi Opera has meant councillors being forced to attend all sort of freeby publicity functions. We’ve always said Pat Lally and co. should be dragged around by the Bolsheviks.
The recent occupation by the Mohawks of Canada to protect their land brought to mind an episode during the Glasgow Garden Festival.
The site contained a wigwam complete with the authentic Indian. But the shallow tourist attraction veneer was shattered when a television reporter asked what Glaswegians and American Indians had in common. “We both know what it’s like to be robbed of our culture…” came the reply.
The Chamber-Pots are on the rampage, not to mention the front page, yet again. Somebody must have let them loose on the bevvy, or left them at a your-aw-payin £19.90 junket the other side of midnight. Last time round it was the bald Doolally putting the boot into the last surviving cultural institution in Glasgow devoted to the working class.
This time it’s Janus MacFudgin, proving that two faeces are better than one. On the one ham, congratulations are in order to Mrs Mac, who has just obtained a First Class Honours Degree in Law from the University of Strathclyde. Of course, the Law’s an ass, and the Chamber-Pots are there to see that justice is not only done, but seen to be done.
On the other ham, there’s MacFudgin’s recent press statement in the Evening Timid, where she said that the Council were reluctant to carry our warrant sales, and that “more humane ways of collecting the Poll Tax had to be found, such as benefit arrestment and wage stoppages.” Oh yeah? what about the birch? Surely a few humane judicial floggings would be preferable to warrant sales, which might only serve to endanger the seats of certain smug-faced councillors?
These are just less public, more cowardly and vicious methods of Poll Tax collection. Unlike warrant sales, benefit arrestments and wage stoppages can occur anonymously, saving the Council the trauma of confrontation. Crushing an individual by remote control is easier than facing an angry crowd in a closemouth. What makes Doolally, MacFudgin, and the rest of the Chamber-Pots crack up, is the thought of being kicked unceremoniously out of the Mother Ship at George Square and into the cold light of reality. Goodbye gateau. Farewell freebies. Au revoir awra perks. Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio.
The unofficial strike action this month by North Sea oil workers organised by the Offshore Industrial Liaison Committee, shows the strength of working class power from below.
Proper safety provisions and union recognition are their key demands which have been met by attempted intimidation by the oil companies and some contractors.
The Keelie congratulates the OILC and its paper Blowout on their determined fight.
As with the anti poll tax campaign, it is grass roots action organised independently of the dead hand of the STUC, Labour and union bureaucrats which counts.
Ravenscraig workers please note.
It may be curtains for Stalinist regimes all over Europe in the last year but nobody seems to have told Pat Lally.
The Glasgow District Labour group leader claims, with typical modesty, that his handling of the Elspeth King affair has been “excellent” and his timing “impeccable”. Uncle Joe Stalin thought the same about his purge of the Red Army in 1940.
Lally’s favoured modus operandi is CLOSEDNOST - secret talks followed by heavy political pressure to push his decisions through. This ‘quiet milkman of the people’ likes to be in places like Rostov-on-Don when the flak starts flying and try to tough it out on his return.
Any councillor who dares to speak out against him is threatened with Treblinka or the salt mines.
Only one problem - nobody except city greed merchants supports his plans for Glasgow Green, mistreatment of Elspeth King or his 1990 spend, spend, spend policy.
Maybe he should go while the Ceausescoing is good.
Ladbrokes the Bookmakers pride themselves on giving odds on anything under the sun. But a Glasgow punter was knocked back recently. His bet? ... that Pat Lally would not survive as the District Council Labour Leader into 1991.
Do Ladbrokes know something that we don’t know? Do we know something that Ladbrokes don’t know?
Concern is growing about the financial cost of 1990 to the people of Glasgow.
“When all the arithmetic for the whole year is completed the figures are going to be truly frightening, have no doubt about that.”
Observer Scotland 5/8/90
“Glasgow’s Glasgow, the main event, is a financial disaster.”
Glasgow Herald 30/7/90
The people of Glasgow want to know the answers to questions like:
• What is the full cost of the District Council’s 1990 spending? £15 million, £30 million, £50 million?
• How much has been “milked” from other Council department budgets to pay for this?
• What are the full financial details of the Glasgow’s Glasgow flop including the salaries paid to architect Doug Clelland and his wife?
• How, at one of Councillor Lally’s committees could a three and a half million loan to bale it out suddenly become a grant?
We already know a few things eg. that:
• the huge Garden Festival site went for a song to Laing’s Homes.
• other land and buildings are also going cheaply, like that at Monteith Row to Barratts for £10,000.
• former Museums and Galleries Director got a £100,000 golden handshake to make way for Julian Spalding whom someone ‘headhunted’.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We still don’t have anything like a full picture of all the municipal land and buildings which have been sold off cheaply to private developers in recent years.
We still don’t know whether the sale of one third of Glasgow Green is to help pay for the 1990 spending spree or even what Saatchi and Saatchi did for their multi million PR fee.
The secrecy surrounding the financing of 1990 and the backstairs property deals must stop!
Open all the District Council’s books to public scrutiny now!
Glasgow’s people have a right to know.
The fight is on to save Glasgow Green from private developers. Over 200 people lobbied Glasgow District and Strathclyde Regional councillors at the City Chambers on 10th August demanding “Hands off Glasgow Green” and “No more Dirty Deals”.
For the first time in living memory Labour councillors were forced to hold their meeting of the East End Management Committee in the full Council Chambers and to allow all the protesters to take part. They also had to listen to the news of working class people, all of whom were totally opposed to any privatisation of any part of Glasgow Green.
Regional councillor Dougie Hay who chaired the meeting tried unsuccessfully to interrupt speakers and limit discussion. But at least 15 protestors, including Alice Mosely of Glasgow for People, Philip Glass, a veteran East End campaigner, Hugh Savage and Brendan McLaughlin of Workers City, spoke in favour of retaining completely free access to the Green.
The councillors had held a private pre-meeting for damage limitation purposes and came in with a prior decision to recommend no action on the three developers’ proposals for Flesher’s Haugh and to propose that there be further research on other options for leisure activity on the Green.
Speakers from the floor strongly opposed market research on the basis of past experiences, and under pressure Councillor Hay said that the integrity of the Green with no charges for entry would also be recommended.
This powerful lobby had been called by an equally successful public meeting on 3rd August, attended by over 200 people, which set up a broad-based campaign committee. Its job is to step up the campaign before the District Council makes final decisions and to ensure that all of Glasgow Green is kept out of the clutches of both motorway builders and private developers.
At the best attended meeting ever held on the future of the Glasgow Green, over 200 people from all over Glasgow and many districts in the West of Scotland expressed their disgust not just at Glasgow District Council’s decision to allow private development on the Green, but the complete lack of consultation in a serious matter.
The meeting was opened by Bill Kidd on behalf of the Workers City Group who made the point that it was the group’s intention to extend the campaign to include everyone from every organisation and any political point of view who see the Glasgow Green as a symbol of the past struggles and not a piece of prime real estate.
The other two speakers briefly exposed the dishonesty not only of Glasgow District Council but Strathclyde Region’s continual attempts to extend their road schemes still further into the Glasgow Green.
The point was made that the lease of Flesher’s Haugh, which was nearly a third of the Green, for a period of one hundred and twenty five years when the life of the so called leisure complex would not extend beyond twenty years, showed that the real intentions of the developers was to extend the ownership of expensive private housing with a riverside position.
The road plans of Strathclyde Regional council were also exposed; if successful they would not only isolate the Glasgow Green and the Peoples Palace but would also cut off the Gorbals and the Calton and create a ghetto within less than half a mile of the city centre. The argument that the Green had the only suitable riverfront available was shown to be a tissue of lies. From the other side of the Main Street bridge there are nearly ten miles of land right along the banks of the Cyde lying derelict. It goes as far as the old Clyde Iron works and beyond on each side of the river and even includes the old Westhorn cycling and athletic track which now lies in an abandoned state due to the failure of the Council to maintain it.
The main thrust of the discussion at the meeting was over the secrecy with which the District Council conducted its meetings with the developers over a period of three years without involving the people of Glasgow.
It was unanimously agreed that the fight had to continue based on the petition that was accepted by the meeting, and over ninety people signed up to help in the campaign to start on the 10th August at a lobby of the District Council.
It was emphasised at the meeting several times that the Workers City Group has no desire or intention of controlling any campaign, that it is the job of the people involved, the group’s work is to participate. We have no desire to seek office or positions. The fight can only be won by the ordinary workers uniting to challenge the District Council who no longer even pretend to represent them.
They’re known to Council workers as the Goon Squad; Councillors Chatham, Dingwall, Lally, McQueenie, McNichol and Macrae. These are the Union busters who are trying to privatise 60% of the District Council’s Park Workers. They’re trying to out-Thatcher Thatcher. Even she only asks for 20% privatisation.
But what are they really up to? Are they trying to break the most militant sector before they declare mass redundancies in the Council?
Or, do they reckon they’ll need 60% less workers after they’ve sold our Parks to their contractor pals?
Glasgow’s Glasgow sets out to be different things for dissident people. There’s bound to be something that raises your hackles and sets your teeth on edge. Don’t miss it for where else would you find:
*The latest lolly-less Lally-lie-detector
*A mass chorus of Labour whistle-and-we’lI-run-tae-Lally neigh-nay King-singers.
*Made to measure mouth-clamps for all deviant councillors
*At a price season tickets for Lally’s long-running barefaced robbery Glasgow Follies
*People’s Palace purifying pollutants, palliatives and protest-sprinkler
*Videoed launching of the new milk-it-for-all-it’s-worth mean machine
*Several rare stuffed dilettantish, plonk-wanking, doon-oan-their-uppers, well-oiled Glasgow west-end authors.
*Live auction for the last few remaining going-for-a-song Merchant City prime sites while the going is good though the smell is still vile.
*Framed picture of the famed Saatchi & Saatchi - Glasgow District Cooncil golden handshakes.
*Automaticket machine cl990 for shredding the masses of unused theatre tickets
*Calton Art Decko spittoon
*Whips used by Glasgow tea-merchants on their West Indies slaves
*Never-say-boo last chance to win a comprehensively insured trip to the Costa Da Earth along with illustrious senors Ardas Nailus Dul Woolus and Roberto Reads Palmus of the Fu-and you too!
Patients on the waiting lists for certain types of operation e.g. removal of cataracts, have received in the post, letters informing them that because of the backlog for these operations the Greater Glasgow Health Board has received extra monies to help clear some.
The letter then goes on to state that these operations may be carried out in the Nuffield/McAlpine Clinic/Hospital. Therefore because their is no longer adequate theatre time available in Glasgow’s overworked and understaffed National Health Hospitals, these operations will be carried out in the Private Sector using public money. The irony is that these operations will probably be carried out by the same Doctors and Surgeons who would have performed the operations in an NHS Hospital. A nice little earner for them.
Conversation overheard in Yorkhill Hospital. “I hear that Fergie is coming to visit us. I wonder what parts she’ll visit?” The answer comes back; “Obviously just the clean bits.”
An unexplained fire in one of the old listed buildings at Woodilee Hospital two months ago means that the building has to be knocked down instead of money having to be spent on it. No comment.
Like many other Glaswegians, we have often wondered exactly WHAT all these “service industry” jobs we’ve been promised consist of.
Glasgow may posess the biggest MacDonalds restaurant in Europe but even that can’t employ every school leaver.
The answer came in one of the very few jobs in Situations Vacant: GROUSEBEATER. We’ve all got to head for the hills and beat bushes for tourists and South East England Yuppies. That is the “upstairs downstairs” future envisaged for us by our Labour Council.
Our architectural correspondent, Charles Windsor, writes: Fingers are being pointed at Glasgow’s new International Concert Hall also known as Lally’s Palais, also known as the Albert Speer Memorial Hall. It bears a striking resemblance to a style current in mid Europe in the 1930s. Foreign visitors have been overheard muttering “Fascisti”. Has the joke architectural entry been chosen yet again?
On occupying the premises of Sheriff Officers Stirling Park in Bath Street, Glasgow, Anti Poll Tax protestors were somewhat surprised when they spotted two pairs of handcuffs. The Keelie can firmly deny the rumour that these are now being supplied by Strathclyde Regional Council to assist the Sheriff Officers in their more hazardous duties with non-payers of the Poll Tax.
But I doubt if Mr and Mrs Cunningham of Bellshill would have been too surprised if the Sheriff Officers who ‘visited’ them on Friday 3rd August, had been dangling hand-cuffs. After refusing entry to two Sheriff Officers intent on Poinding for PoIl Tax purposes, Mr Cunningham was later that day confronted with not two, but six persons who claimed to be Sheriff Officers with a back-up team of four policemen. The visits had been unnotified, and taken unaware, Mr Cunningham eventually admitted the posse to his home. The ‘Hooligans in Suits’ then proceeded to put a price on almost everything within sight, now forcing Mr Cunningham to complain to the Sheriff Court about the essential goods which have been poinded.
In protest at these actions, on Monday 6th August, 39 people, nine of them women, occupied the premises of the firm who had called on Mr Cunningham. (Stirling Park, 102 Bath Street, Glasgow. 041-332 5765).
It is said that when the handcuffs were first shown to Tommy Sheridan during the occupation even he found it difficult to understand why Sheriff Officers should be in possession of them. However, later that night ‘the occupiers’ having run out of songs to sing and being somewhat bored, set about guessing possible uses for the handcuffs. Many suggestions were put, all of which are unprintable here, but eventually these were grouped under the heading ‘kinky’ and after much discussion, proposals, motions, counter motions, and amendments, a democratic hand-count was taken and it was unanimously agreed that the handcuffs were for ‘kinky’ purposes.
Meanwhile out on the pavement in Bath Street, supporters of ‘the occupiers’ happened to find lying on the street, a copy of a letter from Strathclyde Regional Council’s Depute Director of Finance, I. Henly, to Sheriff Officers, referring to meetings which had taken place between the Region, the police and Sheriff Officers and sympathising with the Sheriff Officers in the hazards they were facing in the course of ‘work’. Photocopies of this letter can be had on application, but the last paragraph makes interesting reading.
“You may be aware that a recent occupation of D.S.S. premises ended with a number of the occupants being charged by the Police, and I trust that you and your colleagues will draw some reassurance from this action and the fore-going comments.”
Even people who had read this letter, couldn’t believe their eyes at the size of the police ‘Task Force’ which arrived about 1 am on Tuesday 7th August to evict those inside. The Keelie is prepared to give prizes of Golf equipment - silk ties, tee-shirts etc., all with a Sheriff Officer motif, to the reader who comes closest to guessing the cost of the mass operation undertaken by the police to remove the Anti Poll Tax protestors from the premises of Stirling Park and company. Clues to assist readers in their calculations: Clue number one is that the police stated that 59 policemen (which did not include the 10 or so policewomen drafted in at the end) and nine police vans were used to remove the 39. The second clue is that these vans made several journeys to and from Stewart Street Police Station and there appeared to us onlookers to be more police than protestors in each of the vans. The whole operation took approximately one hour.
A ‘booby’ prize will be given to the reader who comes closest to guessing the cost of releasing the ‘prisoners’ , later that day. The clues here are that this time, only two policemen were allocated the task, and that the whole process took some four to five hours!
Meanwhile, ‘back at the funny farm’, Regional Councillors far and wide, weeping crocodile tears and calling press conferences to proclaim that they will protect the poor and non-payers from the evil ways of the Anti PoIl Tax Federation, have now passed warrants to the D.S.S. to make deductions for the PoIl Tax from claimants receiving Income Support. (Prices of silk ties with Sheriff Officer golf mottos will also be given to any reader who can enlighten The Keelie and letting us know who is more needy than claimants receiving Income Support.)
But Income Support victims are fighting back! The decision to make deduction can be appealed against - a simple procedure and the Federation will help. The cost to the Government of each appeal - between two and three hundred pounds - is more than three times the amount they can hope to recover from a claimant. So if deduction for arrears of Poll Tax is made by your D.S.S. contact your local Anti Poll Tax Group or go to the Federation premises at 69 London Road and get your letter of appeal.
The Poll Tax is being defeated and together we can win.