Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Strathclyde Political Transport - a wing and a prayer...

The SPT has long been a bye word in Scotland as a prime example of Labour's attitude to the people of the West of Scotland and can be summed up in one word - indifferent.

In normal political wonk speak it is a transport Quango, in Labour speak it is an Arms Length Economic Orginisation (ALEO), to other Scots it means 'jobs for Labour's boys and girls', a trough into which Labour backs woods men and women can stick their snouts as a reward for doing what they have been told to do by the Labour West of Scotland Mafia style 'Dons'.

In the last few years the SPT has gained an unenviable reputation for out right corruption and misuse of public money as audit report after audit report shone a searchlight on what were standard SPT practices finally in 2010 Audit Scotland published a report expressing serious concerns about the misuse of public funds by the SPT organisation which included the giving of political donations to the Labour Party's Scottish Region.

The report also highlighted the additional payments made to councilors who were members of the SPT Board over and above the remuneration the councilors already received for being councilors (of which membership of an ALEO was considered part of their duty as a councilor for which they had already been funded) and the honorariums were provided to cover lost income for lay members of the board. This turned out to be common practice across most of the Labour created ALEO's in Glasgow and the West of Scotland and in many cases doubled the councilors income from the public purse. A nice little earner for Labour's back woods men and women.

All this before the issue of SPT jollies around the world by senior board members and SPT executives to look at other public transport networks; of which New York seemed to hold exceptional interest to SPT Board members and SPT senior executives, requiring many, repeated fact finding visits. These visits, in turn, ran up some fairly hefty costs and expenses which Audit Scotland, in 2010, indicated needed repaying.

A couple of Labour Board 'councilor' members were persuaded to fall on their swords and the executives concerned took early retirement, a lump sum and their voluptuous SPT Pensions before they could be sacked - apparently with the SPT board's agreement - which many of us believe was an excellent method of ensuring other SPT and Labour skeletons stayed well back in the cupboard, out of sight - avoiding the messy business of repayment of unjustifiable expenses by councilors. It was all those big boy SPT executives' fault mister - honest.

So today's sudden removal of a paid for advertising campaign on the Glasgow Subway, on behalf of Wings over Scotland (a pro-independence web site), is probably not much of a surprise to us longstanding, West of Scotland Labour watchers - the real surprise is it took SPT that long to find an excuse to dump the adverts.

Severin Carrell's hysterics in the Gruniad, as he churned a Labour press release as 'news' and Wings over Scotland as  'cybernatery', points the fickle finger of fate in the direction of Mr Murphy and his Blairite cohorts. For this Scot the evidence of just how terrified the 'No Campaign' must now be, to shoot themselves in the foot, over an advert on Glasgow's Subway is stark.

Then again Subway's and Scottish Labour have never, ever been a very happy association.

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