On the April the 5th 2010 the Daily Record – of all papers – carried the following:
“DETECTIVES launched an investigation last night into cocaine shame council boss Steven Purcell. Strathclyde Police had been weighing up the case against the 37-year-old since he admitted in a newspaper interview taking the class A drug. It is believed the inquiry will also cover allegations surrounding contracts awarded by the council.”
Later in the year the Sunday Herald linked the Glasgow Council member of ‘City Buildings’ Councillor Todd as working for Network Private Hire - a firm Strathclyde Police suspect is used to ‘launder’ one James Baxter’s (a member of the McGovern Syndicate) ill gotten gains as Baxter still draws £5,000+ a year from Network Private Hire according to the police. David Meikle, a Tory councillor in Glasgow, said: "We already needed a full debate on the decision by the Labour-run council to increase its work for Network Private Hire, but the revelation that the taxi firm employs a Labour councillor means it is vital we get answers on the links between the party and this company."
Baxter’s son in law, the new owner of Network Private Hire claims it is all a police vendetta because of who his father in law is and the company’s shady past. Surely the police can not suspect anything given all the previous owners of Network Private Hire had criminal records and he does not - is his line.
Then there is Lewis 'Scooby' Rodden, who went to a New Labour pre-election fund raiser at Glasgow's Thistle Hotel. He sat only yards away from the then Cabinet member, Scottish Secretary, Murphy who was alongside former Defence Secretary Dr John Reid, the main speaker at the evening. Ms Cunningham, the organiser, when asked whether Lewis Rodden had attended the fundraiser, told the Sunday Herald: “Louie was there, aye.” Later Ms Cunningham a member of the Strathclyde Police Authority tried to retract her earlier statement to something more politically bland but it came out more ‘biblical’ - “I know Louie, in the sense of I’ve met him.” She said. Murphy screamed ‘indignation’ at the presence of Rodden. Rodden said: “Can a man no just go and have a drink where he wants!” The unanswered question remains: why were the Glasgow Gangs looking to cosy up to Murphy?
This was not the first or last time Glasgow’s Gangs have been represented at Labour fund raisers - in 2002 Justin McAlroy, head of a Glasgow drugs gang, attended one of Jack McConnell’s ‘Red Rose Dinners’ – it did not do him much good, though, as he was shot dead within weeks.
Then there is the fall of Stephen Purcell which it appears includes a business relationship with one of Glasgow’s Drug Barons - Jimmy Bryce – and the attempt by one of Bryce’s ‘boys’ to blackmail Purcell. As yet whether the attempt was successful or not and what any ramifications may be are still under investigation by Strathclyde Police.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is not exempt from the mix of Labour Councillors and known Gang Bosses. Take Inter Guard Security which was run by two known gang bosses: Faulds, who was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow in 1986 and his brother Robert, 59, a co-director in another security firm, who also has a series of convictions. Their cousin is George Redmond, Labour councillor for the city's Calton ward. Having been refused a bid to provide ‘security’ because of both Inter Guard Security director’s criminal past didn't stop Faulds from trying to bypass the official process and win the work by turning up on site and the fire bombing of the odd £40,000 digger by person or person’s unknown is thought by Strathclyde Police to have been an attempt to persuade the main contractor to change to their security company. Company House is currently proposing to strike off this entity for non submission of accounts or director’s details.
Strathclyde Police are trying to sort the mess out with their Organised Crime Initiative. Their spokesman said in June 2010 that: “Councils are paying “millions” of pounds every year to front companies run by Glasgow crime groups. Detectives have long warned that major gangland figures have been cashing in on local government contracts for everything from taxi travel to security work and we estimate it is worth millions of pounds to Glasgow’s gang bosses.”
To what extent potential ‘informal’ contacts between Labour councillors, clearly established in the case of Ms Cunningham, and local Gang Bosses by members of Strathclyde Police Authority means the authority is in the pockets of Glasgow’s Gangs and to what degree that hampers Strathclyde Police’s attempts to reign in corruption and organised crime in its ‘patch’ must be of concern to the citizen’s of Scotland.
What about ex Glasgow Councillor Walker’s book – Halls of Infamy (2008) where he alleges corruption in Glasgow City Council planning committee: "The more I experienced the planning committee, the more convinced I became that corruption was involved. The old story of brown envelopes being thrust into sweaty palms is not a fiction.
I have received phone calls from architects and publicans who confirm that councillors and officials in some cases have a price list for a favourable vote in committee. Some councillors just come out with it, no beating about the bush, and some are obviously more circumspect.
I heard from a publican that it cost £2,000 to get a licence."
Glasgow City Council threatened legal action but clearly Mr Walker must have had some hard evidence as nothing came of it while the Labour spin machine and MSM successfully smothered the story.
We come to Councillor Black and ‘City Buildings’ being caught out bunging £4,000 to Labour then another £2,000 a few months later before the Scotsman on Sunday broke the story of how a chunk of the ‘arms length’ company’s PR budget had been use to wine and dine Labour councillors to the value of some £20,000 according to the paper. Over on the East Coast when Labour lost control of East Lothian Council a similar tale of council departments chucking money at Labour came to light leaving Iain Gray looking very stupid, even more than usual, as he tried to defend the sums and methodology involved.
Welcome back again to City Buildings and their contract with City Refrigeration Holdings run by one of Purcell’s pals, Mr Haughey. The main question is: How did a company with no track record of car or van hire get a contract which stipulated that longstanding experience of such contracts was a requirement? A whistle blower claimed to the Sunday Times that CRH was charging City Buildings 120% more than its rivals best bid. The Sunday Times article went on to say: “Local authority sources said there was disquiet about Haughey’s access to Purcell and that council planners recruited or promoted by Purcell were alleged to be associates of the businessman.”
The Sunday Times further reported that: “CRH also won another contract worth up to £8m in 2007 to supply heavy plant machinery for City Building. The company won other council work. In June 2008, Purcell chaired a meeting where CRH was shortlisted to supply vehicles including executive cars, vans and minibuses. Officials were unable to confirm the contract’s value and said no vehicles were supplied.”
Then there is the disgrace that was the SPT expenses merry go round and KPMG’s scathing interim report on SPT’s financial machinations. KPMG were reported in the Herald as having queried spending on overseas trips which appeared to have little practical value, singling out one to New York in November 2008 which cost the public £17,499. Two of the three people on the trip – chief executive Ron Culley and vice-chairman Davie McLachlan – stood down in February when details of SPT’s spending first appeared in the media. The Official Audit Scotland report did not find directly against Mr Culley in any respect but the man is clearly angry and in his book ‘I belong to Glasgow’ is lashing out at the likes of Charlie Gordon as a - “machine politician of the old school” who was regarded at the highest levels of Scottish Enterprise National as a “bogie man”. He is none to pleasant about Scottish Enterprise Chairs Robert Crawford and Jack Perry either. The Audit Scotland minute 4/11/10, appendix notes that:
“The Commission finds serious deficiencies in the way the authority (SPT) managed and controlled travel expenses. These gave rise to a number of instances giving cause for concern about the judgement of those involved. We are particularly concerned that these deficiencies appear to show a culture and behaviour by some of the most senior elected members and officers of the authority at the time. This behaviour fell well short of what is expected of those holding public office and overseeing public funds.”
The then SNP Transport Minister wrote to the SPT to request Mr Culley did not get his golden goodbye, of some £61K according to the Scotsman, and the Transport Minister in question? Well it was the late Mr Stevenson.
This would be bad enough if it was, as ‘Go Lassie Go’ described it, just Glasgow’s Tammany Hall activity alone but the Sunday Times highlighted that this behaviour runs right through the UK Labour Party, top to bottom, quoting Margaret Moran – “...the Labour MP who decided to stand down after being asked to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted that she could ring her “mates” in the “girls’ gang” for a client. She named them as Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, Caroline Flint and Harriet Harman.” - For a price: of course.
Pride of place, though, must be given to one of the Glasgow Herald’s more incisive pieces of investigation into Glasgow City Council when in April 2010 they showed clearly how Purcell and the Labour Party used Glasgow’s ALEO’s to reward Glasgow Labour ‘Backs woods’ men and women in a way that more than doubled their councillor’s salary and kept them tied into the Glasgow Labour machine. The Herald put it succinctly when they asked: “.....one Labour councillor about rumours of the defection of a colleague to the SNP. The response was: "What, and lose £12,000 for the sake of ideology or principle?"
Yet this is what Iain Gray wants us to buy into, again, this May to save Scotland from the ‘Nasty Nats’ and save the Union.
Labour in Scotland; the party which only knows how to butter its own bread – on both sides.
For other corroborative data have a look at: Lallands Peat Worrier