Helpfully clear then? Both Scottish Labour leadership candidates confirm their submission to London and trigger sniggering at SNP HQ


Photograph: Getty Images

‘No coalition, pacts, or deals with the SNP. And no second independence referendum.’

Those are the words of Richard Leonard. Leonard means ‘as strong as a lion’. So, he’s Richard the Lionheart II. Coincidence or dastardly English plot? He was educated at Pocklington School in the East Riding of Yorkshire. A private school presumably for people planning a career in pockling (‘cheating’ for non-Scots-speakers)? And that ‘no second referendum’ is a gift to the SNP. He didn’t even have to say it.

‘That’s why, under my leadership, voters will know that our support for Scotland’s place in the UK will never be in doubt.’

Those are the words of Anas Sarwar, millionaire son of a Pakistani regional governor, shareholder in a non-unionised, poverty wage-paying, family business and patron of private schooling. I laugh when he uses the word ‘socialism’.

‘I have never considered myself a Unionist’

Those are the words of Alex ‘Gary Tank Commander’s Dad’ Rowley. I hope he goes for it. He hasn’t rejected independence out of hand but a piece in the New Statesman said of him:

‘Rowley will run,’ says one insider, ‘even though he has ideas above his station.’

Ah, is that because he’s both a Scot and working-class? Though currently Deputy Leader, he’s clearly not the right kind of material for leadership of a Scottish socialist party then? Have you heard his accent? We need a millionaire or at least an Englishman.

Footnote: Remember this on Anas’ dad in 1997?

The fate of Glasgow Govan MP Mohammed Sawar, himself a graduate of Glasgow council, hangs in the balance while Strathclyde police continue their investigation into a charge of bribing an election rival. Mr Sawar has been stripped of his parliamentary party privileges pending the outcome of all inquiries and the Govan constituency Labour party has been suspended.



8 thoughts on “Helpfully clear then? Both Scottish Labour leadership candidates confirm their submission to London and trigger sniggering at SNP HQ

  1. Bryan Weir September 19, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Great post John. The article from 1997 is headed “A very nasty smell in Labour’s backyard”. There is still some rotten meat lying around in that backyard because the smell has clearly not been eradicated.

    Champagne socialists!


  2. Alasdair Macdonald September 19, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    I found Mr Leonard’s statement regarding another referendum on Scottish independence tactically daft. He could still have made his unionist position clear, but showed his democratic credentials by indicating that he was prepared to abide by the decision of the Scottish Parliament. He could also have encouraged debate within the membership about the constitution, including independence.

    However, I am not a Labour member and my last vote for Labour was some years ago.

    All that is in Mr Leonard’s favour is that he is not Mr Sarwar. The photograph of Mr Sarwar’s campaign launch flanked by such as Pauline McNeill, Johan Lamont, James Kelly spoke volumes that the clique intended to maintain its position on the top of the dungheap.


  3. Ludo Thierry September 19, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Hi John – Hi all.

    Gee whizz John – you have been making my memory cells work and I have managed to track down some info from years back which I think is interesting and hopefully illuminating.

    You identify many similarities between these 2 candidates for the vacant sub-brannch manager post with british labour’s Scotland accounting unit – namely:

    Both are products of the curious british ‘Public School’ system (only in britain is an exclusively expensive private education institution called a ‘Public’ school.

    Both are fanatics for the illegal weapons of mass destruction held (here in Scotland) by the british state.

    Both are frothing mouthed in their opposition to the people living in Scotland having the chance to democratically choose their own constitutional arrangements.

    Both were happy to support the ‘official’ labour position at the 2017 Westminster election where the sub-branch manager Kezia advocated a vote for the tories in seats (the vast majority) where labour were not campaigning.

    I recalled that Richard Leonard had been election agent for the dreadful blairite MP Anne McGuire – but couldn’t recall if he was the agent when she first won Stirling in 1997. Fortunately a piece from Simon Pia in the scotsman refreshed my memory:

    Simon Pia’s Diary
    Published: 01:00 Updated: 11:53 Friday 05 April 2002

    That Stirling bridge

    IS IT not time “Justice” Jim Wallace hauled the Stirling Mafia up before the Parliamentary Scotia Nostra committee to explain how they have taken over not just the Labour Party, but Scotland?
    No doubt Jack and the boys would try and “take the Fifth”.

    But while the irresistible rise of the First Minister has been guided by his political Svengali, Professor Mike Donnelly, since he was one of the Prof’s charges at the Fraser of Allander halls of residence, the young Douglas Campbell received the same treatment.

    So, too, did Richard Leonard, who just happens to be chair of the Scottish Labour Party. Richard also did time as president of the Student Association.
    Richard was Anne McGuire’s agent when she won Stirling in the 1997 general election, and there is a photo of him gobsmacked as Anne plants a victory kiss on him.

    Now bear with me. That Stirling election in 1997 involved serious questions about labour’s election spending – as reported in the Sunday observer newspaper on 11/04/99 (see below):

    General election night, 1 May, 1997: As seat after Conservative seat fell to Labour, the tense atmosphere in Stirling’s Albert Hall exploded into joy as Michael Forsyth, the Thatcherite Scottish secretary, fell victim to the new mood sweeping the land.

    Stirling’s new Labour MP, Anne McGuire, a model Blairite, told the cheering audience: ‘The Labour party campaigned on the future and we campaigned on a range of issues which reflected the aims and aspirations of the people of this constituency.’

    One of those issues was Tory ‘sleaze’. McGuire, who was promoted to the Whips’ office within 14 months of her Stirling victory, must now face questions over whether she breached electoral law.

    The Observer has discovered possible grounds which could have triggered a police inquiry into several candidates if the true costs of their campaigns had come to light.

    Stirling Labour Party hired two shops – at 44 Barnton Street, in the town, and 24 High Street in nearby Dunblane – and a third empty premises, and sub-let them to Anne McGuire’s campaign.

    The Observer has discovered that the true cost of using all three buildings would have totalled close to a £1,000 a month. Local estate agents claim the Dunblane shop alone would have cost at least £400 a month. McGuire claimed in her official expenses return that the use of the two shops for six weeks was only £240.

    Interestingly Richard Leonard’s candidate Anne McGuire is not the only labour MP from Scotland mentioned in that article regarding ‘finessing’ election expenses at the 1997 Westminster election – Step forward please Mr.Sarwar (senior):

    One of the charges against Mohammed Sarwar, the Glasgow Govan MP, who was acquitted last month of corruption, was that he had submitted fraudulent expenses because the local Labour Party had hired a shop in Kilmarnock Road, Govan, for £500, but charged his campaign £50 for using it.

    However, after hearing the evidence the judge ruled that there was no case for Sarwar to answer, reinforcing the view of many party election agents and some legal experts that this ruse is lawful.

    One solicitor specialising in election law said: ‘Nobody is being dishonest. Everybody does it because that is the convention that has grown up and they do so on the basis that they think it’s fair and reasonable.’

    Interestingly Sarwar (senior) had a certain Margaret Curran as his election agent at that election. I couldn’t help but smile when I re-read her comments from the herald 25/02/99 (below):

    THE woman who helped Mohammed Sarwar win his Govan seat told the MP’s trial yesterday of her surprise that he had allegedly handed over £5000 to a defeated fringe candidate.

    “It was a bad idea,” said Labour Party activist Margaret Curran, 40, who acted as Mr Sarwar’s election agent.

    Mr Sarwar denies a charge that the money was a bribe to get failed businessman Badar Islam to tell a false story clearing the newly- elected MP of supposed voting irregularities, and blaming a plot by election rivals. Mrs Curran, a lecturer at Glasgow’s Jordanhill College, said the Govan Labour Party was trying to organise a detailed rebuttal of press reports about bogus voters, on the advice of Mr Jack McConnell, then the Scottish Labour Party’s general secretary, who agreed the “drip, drip, drip” of adverse publicity was “undermining our victory”.

    I wonder what ever happened to Margaret Curran and wee Jack McConnell – anybody got any clues?

    Clearly the ‘sins of the father’ etc rule applies – but one can’t help recalling a certain banquet that Sarwar (junior) organised to ‘facilitate’ his candidacy for the Glasgow list for labour’s Scotland accounting unit. So maybe an apprenticeship was served – or something?

    Ah – Britnat politics as applied in Scotland – don’t you just love it?

    Cheers all, Ludo


  4. johnrobertson834 September 19, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    Wow! Thanks very much for all that on Leonard.and Sarwar. If I could afford a Research Officer, no interview would be required. As my site’s revenue is zero, I can’t make the offer


  5. johnrobertson834 September 20, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Is Leonard’s face a bit sneary? Just flared nostrils? Does Anas look a bit gormless?


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