Nov 6th

Hustings

By Jaki Paterson

Once again a Hustings has been held in Glasgow North East and John Smeaton wasn’t invited.  According to the SFHA’s website the five main candidates in the election were invited, Labour, SNP, Conservative, Lib Dems and Greens. 

At the moment both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have John Smeaton sitting in third place with odds of 25/1 and 33/1 respectively.  Ladbrokes have Con,  Lib and Greens all on odds of 100/1.  Paddy Power has odds of 80/1 for Con and Lib Dem and don’t even mention the Greens. 

The results of the last election in the constituency were 1. Labour, 2. SNP, 3. Socialist Labour, 4. Scottish Socialist, 5. Scottish Unionist Party, 6. BNP and 7. Independent.  Although Con, Lib Dem and the Greens didn’t stand in this seat at the last election. 

So by the last election and by the odds being given at the bookies why are Conservative, Lib Dem and the Greens considered the five main parties?  I certainly wouldn’t put money on those parties being in the top five positions other than Labour and the SNP. 

So why are none of the other candidates being asked to the Hustings?  If you look at the election results for the last General Election in Scotland the party that should of had the fifth place would of been the Scottish Socialist Party as they polled almost 18 thousand votes more than the Greens. 

So I’m wondering if they just pull names out of a hat when will it be John Smeaton’s turn?  Because as far as I can see there is no logic in the parties being called to the Hustings outwith SNP and Labour.; 

Nov 6th

Knife Crime

By Jaki Paterson

Willie Bain the Labour candidate has an idea to cut knife crime.  On his action plan it says “Willie is running a "carry a knife - go to jail" petition to get automatic jail sentences for jail criminals and will build support for an amendment to the SNP’s Criminal Justice Bill in the Scottish Parliament”  I think he means automatic jail sentences for KNIFE criminals. 

Where is the money going to come from for more jails?  Last time I looked jails in Scotland were already over crowded. 

Beside which do we really want sentencing in the hand of politicians?  These issues should be dealt with by the courts not by politicians with agendas.  Mr Bain has a law degree surely he can see that. 

What if you have to use a knife in the course of your job?  A factory I worked in it was mandatory to have a knife to trim flashing off the plastic moulding coming out of machines.  If you left your knife in work it wouldn’t be there when you came back. So everyone would take them home and back again the next day.

So if Mr Bain’s election promise came to be law anyone in that situation with a genuine reason to have a knife about their person would automatically be sent to jail.  I don’t think this would be the case if you had a chance to be heard in court.    

Being tough on Law and Order may seem like a great vote winner but  taking powers away from the courts to do it is in my opinion a crazy idea.  One with ramifications that could affect us all. 

Nov 4th

Willie Bain’s pledge is a joke.

By Jaki Paterson

He promises not to claim a mortgage for a second home, well as he lives with his parents when in Glasgow that would be a little hard.  Or should be, didn’t stop Tony McNulty though. 

He’ll never claim for food bills even though he stood by and watched the Speaker claim £1,050 for food over the summer recess.   

He won’t claim for gardening, seeing Gordon Brown hand back £12k must of tipped him off that was a bad idea. 

And where is he going to publish his expense claims monthly?  John Smeaton has said he’ll publish them in the Big Issue. 

 

He promises to open a constituency office when he was Michael Martin’s  election agent he was happy for the constituency office to be in The Speakers front room, funded by the tax payer of course. 

He’ll have regular surgeries in the constituency although when he was Martin’s agent again he didn’t do this. 

He’ll  have home visits for those who can’t get out to the constituency office.  Is there a reason he didn’t have this bright idea when he was Martin’s agent?

 

Finally he promises to stand up for Glasgow NE.  Against whom?  The Labour council in Glasgow?  The Labour government in London?  Is he saying he’ll refuse the whip at Westminster? 

Nov 4th

Think local.

By Jaki Paterson

The biggest news story today surrounding the Glasgow North East by- election is where David Kerr the SNP candidate was born.  Ridiculous as this might be, it’s no more daft than the fact that both candidates seem to have an inability to discuss issues directly relevant to the communities they hope to represent. 

Both candidates policy is directed nationally rather than on the local level.   

Willie Bain wants to see mandatory sentencing for carrying knifes and yet  MORE CCTV cameras. Exactly where the  money will come from to build all these new prisons is a mystery.  He says he will oppose the SNP’s funding cuts this year.  As he is standing as an MP rather than an MSP he will have no say in this.  Increases to minimum wage year on year would be great but this just seems like the Labour party campaigning for the General election not a by election.   

David Kerr’s policies also seem to be surprising non local.  It’s great that  Hillhead High School is being given £10k of grant money so that pupils can learn about Chinese culture but what does this have to do with Glasgow  NE?  From a list of 7 topics the SNP are serious about the only local issue I can see is that they are redeveloping Glasgow North college.  It’s great that Glasgow is getting a new Southern General hospital  but what does that have to do with the people of Glasgow NE? 

Why not vote for a candidate who actually took the trouble to find out what the people of Glasgow NE wanted.  No one’s told John Smeaton that they want Chinese lessons in Hillhead.

Nov 1st

Parties distrust the People

By Alan Wallace
I see Tavish Scott of the Lib Dems has whipped his members back into line. No doubt harsh words were exchanged at anybody daring to speak their minds. The issue at question was that of giving the people of Scotland a referendum on a constitutional matter. The Nationalists have maintained for years that Scots want Independence, despite the evidence of opinion polls.

Why don't we just hold the referendum? Now. Next month. Do it and get it done with.

What are politicians so scared of? Why do the Nationalists want to rig the question and hold a referendum at an exact time of their choosing? Why do the other parties fight so hard to make sure that Scots do not have a say in the future of their country?

This is the 21st Century. The days of sending off some member of the landed gentry to far-off London to take care of our interests are long gone. We are better educated, better informed, better capable of reaching a rational decision on our own than at any time in our history.

We've seen what comes of trusting politicians - they screw us for every penny they can get, then give themselves ermine & grand titles. Politicians are intrinsically untrustworthy, or so it seems. Given all the evidence, isn't it outrageous that THEY don't trust US?

Jury Team believes in putting the whip back in the hands of the people. Politicians work for US. They've managed to twist democracy into some perverted feudal system which sets them up as our lords & masters.

No more.

A vote for Jury Team is a vote for freedom.
Oct 30th

BBC influencing elections

By Alan Wallace
Away from the canvassing, the shaking hands and the snogging of babies by wannabe politicians in Glasgow North East, there's an important battle going on that affects the basic democratic nature of this country. Last week, the BBC held a hustings on a radio show. A hustings is always understood to be an event where all the candidates have a chance to address an audience and answer questions. Well, the BBC version is different because the BBC pick & choose which candidates they will allow on the stand. Whereas the Electoral Commission treats every candidate equally, the BBC feel they are above such equanimity.

Back at the Euro Elections, the BBC made an important policy decision. They decided to award airtime to political parties on the basis of past electoral performance. Because of this, the BNP were given the same airtime as the Greens. UKIP were given the airtime befitting a party that did well at the Euros last time round, totally ignoring the fact that their vote had collapsed in the interim. We saw the result. UKIP went from around 6% in the polls to a resounding success at the ballot box and the BNP gained their first seats.

It's as if the BBC don't understand the effect of the media.

They meddled in politics again last week with a botched hatchet job at Question Time. Whilst I personally agree that the BNP had earned the right at the ballot box (with BBC assistance) to appear on QT, they hadn't earned the right to have the show turned into a soapbox for their policies. And the result? The BNP bounced to 22% in one opinion poll.

Back with the John Smeaton campaign in Glasgow, the BBC continue to play favourites. At their "hustings", they invited Labour, SNP, Conservative & Lib Dem candidates. When Jury Team questioned the omission of our candidate, we were told "Only the top parties were invited". By what measure do they arrive at "top"? John Smeaton has been a comfortable third in the polls since his hat was thrown in the ring. The BBC say they base such decisions on "Past Electoral Performance". Well, because this was the Speaker's seat and convention says honourable parties don't contest against the Speaker, it's 12 years since the Conservatives or the Lib Dems had a candidate here. And when they did contest it over a decade ago, they were utterly trounced.

If we were allocating airtime according to the last electoral test, the Euros, the BNP with the same number of MEPs as the SNP would have to be given equal airtime. Indeed, if only four candidates were to appear on the BBC on the basis of past performance, last week's Brian Taylor "Big" Debate would have featured Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Greens.

The truth is, all this chicanery shouldn't be happening. It isn't for the BBC to pick & choose who the public gets to hear, it's the Electoral Commission. Chatting with the Returning Officer, I remarked how his office were scrupulously fair in ensuring that every candidate gets exactly the same treatment. Be it an Independent or the ruling Party, every candidate is equal in the eyes of the law.

We've seen how the BBC can throw elections and lead the public by the nose. The BNP & UKIP owe much of their success to the BBC. This is something that Jury Team is arguing vehemently against with the BBC and it's an argument we will pursue doggedly for the sake of this country.

Jury Team is about better governance. We cannot hope to succeed whilst the State Broadcaster is allowed to meddle in politics and influence elections.
Oct 30th

John Smeaton v Ponsonby round 2

By Steve Lawrence

John Smeaton getting railroaded by Ponsonby of the Scottish sun.

 

When asked does he agree with the JT's policy of MP's pay being linked to civil servants pay and at what level he thought it should be set at.

I would have replied by pointing out that maybe the jury team holds that opinion but as the jury team isn’t a party and all its members are independent candidates it can it be a policy.

I as an independent candidate believe that an MP should be paid a set amount and possibly limited expenses the amount has to be set to a level that best enables an MP to do their job and represent his constituents to his full ability. I’ve ever been an MP so I don’t fully know the costs of doing the job, ie: travel allowances, rent for a flat in London should he live outside a set radius of parliament.

 

These are things that need to be discusses and addressed by all members. The Jury Team has been set up to facilitate getting more independents MP's into parliament and although the Jt is bankrolling my campaign, I won’t be towing the Jury Teams policies only those of my constituents and what is right for our country irrespective of which party suggests it.

Oct 22nd

The culture of greed and sleaze

By Dominic James
So let me get this straight:

Margaret Doran, who's the wife of the fifth highest claiming MP in the UK - Labour's Michael Connarty with £156,207 (not including travel costs) between 2007 and 2008 - is to be paid £278,000 for quitting her job as director of education and social work services!? And we're paying for it?


Is this a joke? She was only in the job for two years, how could she possibly be entitled to such a sum? Do you know how long it takes a teacher to earn that kind of money?

Again, call me cynical, but I can almost picture the happy couple sitting around laughing and plotting how best to exploit the tax-paying citizens.

Why aren't we up-in-arms?

And regarding the 'council spokeswoman' (wonder who that was) who said such payoffs were: "standard practice." Aye, we know! Therein lies the problem.

This sort of shit is wide-spread. There's far too much sleaze and corruption amongst the governing classes. It's time to clean up politics. A vote for the mainstream parties is a vote for the continuance of this culture of greed and sleaze.

Vote for John Smeaton in the upcoming Glasgow-East by-election. Support The Jury Team's principles of:

Politics without Parties, Politics with Principles and Politics for the People.

Oct 21st

New internet surveillance measures are a step too far

By Dominic James

Government plans to spend a breathtaking £200m annually on intrusive internet snooping - whilst deeply worrying – are hardly surprising given the ludicrous misallocation of funds across the political spectrum.

The money (which equates to roughly £380 per minute) is due to be paid to internet service providers and phone companies to facilitate more a comprehensive surveillance of citizens’ online activity.

While the sum itself is enough to raise eyebrows (and hackles) amongst the increasingly pissed-off electorate, the method behind the madness is all too familiar. If the governing political elite wish to preserve the status quo, spying on voters is vital to their endeavours.

Far from being just another example of nanny-state interventionism, this appears to be a genuinely sinister attempt to monitor and weed out voices of dissent, all under the risible pretence of keeping us safe from crime.  Let’s face it, if you ask anyone in the street to list their major safety concerns, internet phishing scams and the fiscal fortitude of benevolent Nigerian dignitaries fall pretty far down the list of priorities.

The travesty is particularly pertinent in the Glasgow North-East constituency, where in the run-up to the up-coming by-election, Jury Team candidate John Smeaton - himself no stranger to (real-world) threats facing the country - has again registered his support for the implementation of community courts, a move that would make a tangible difference to the lives of constituents by providing local sentencing reform, and one that was shamefully dismissed by the political classes on the grounds of - you guessed it! - cost. 

Considering the relatively paltry sum projected (reported to be less than £4m to build the community court and a further £4.2m during the first five years of operation) are we really to believe that the government has our best interests at heart?

Where is the outrage? Why aren’t we taking to the streets in protest? Why - in a week that saw the Twitter crowd lauded for their supposed championing of civil liberties – is there not parity of discontent amongst mainstream journalists regarding the upsurge in internet surveillance?

Would it be cynical to think that the lapdog press exists in a state of sad symbiosis with the purveyors of putrid party politics? One thing is certain, a vote for any of the mainstream parties in the Glasgow North-East by-election will ensure more of the same – cynical career politicians implementing sinister draconian measures under false pretences.