Monday, 8 February 2016

Now That is Funny!



Scots comedian Janey Godley was at the centre of a minor Twitter controversy the other day as one of a number of celebrities booked to appear on a 'Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister' musical tour.

Or JC4PM for short.


Except that Janey is a committed SNP supporter and the prospect of a 71-year old Jezza as PM in 2020 didn't quite fit with the nationalist project of an independent Scotland.


So a bit of fancy footwork was in order to explain that while Janey would never want to see a Labour Government in Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn would be 'great' in England.


Puzzled at this comment and Janey's assertion that she wanted to see a decent opposition at Westminster I posted the following tweet:   


"If you support a decent opposition, what are you doing hanging around with Jeremy Corbyn? Boom boom!"

Which, to be fair, Janey re-tweeted.


North Lanarkshire Update



I'm having some 'issues' with my broadband at the moment which mean that the blog site may not be operating as normal for the next few days.

But to keep the pot boiling in relation to North Lanarkshire Council I thought I'd republish some posts from the blog site archive which deal with NLC's behaviour in relation to equal pay.

In the meantime, any queries about arranging local meetings in North Lanarkshire over the next few months should still be sent to my usual email address at: markirvine@compuserve.com

Council Bombshell (21/12/14)



The latest revelation to emerge from North Lanarkshire Council is that senior officials awarded themselves an extra £2 million (on top of their normal salaries) during the period when they were making a complete hash of equal pay.

Here is the information provided by the Council in response to my recent FoI request asking for a breakdown of the 'performance bonuses' paid to the Council's most senior and highest paid officials:

2003/04 - £73,127

2004/05 - £178,542

2005/06 - £165,889

2006/07 - £223,509

2007/08 - £150,586

2008/09 - £172,787

2009/10 - £184,630

2010/11 - £188,745

2011/12 - £185,607

2012/13 - £167,861

2013/14 - £191,932

2014/15 - £112,487 


GRAND TOTAL - £1,995,702

Now the big picture is really quite shocking if you ask me, but two years in particular are worthy of further comment.

2006/07 was a 'bumper' year with £223,509 being paid in bonuses despite the fact that this was the same year in which North Lanarkshire implemented new local pay arrangements reinforcing the historical pay discrimination against female dominated council jobs.  

2013/14 was the year in which the chickens finally came home to roost and the Council's defence of its actions began to fall apart at the Glasgow Employment Tribunal, yet still its chief officials were paid a whopping £191,932 in bonuses for 'good' performance.

Now I happen to think that the practice of paying these bonuses is a highly questionable use of public money. Because in any well-run organisation the leadership figures are required to show 'selflessness' and integrity', yet these additional payments continued to be made while the rest of the Council's workforce had to put up with a policy of public sector pay restraint.

In replying to my FoI request the Council provided me with a document explaining the details of the performance pay scheme which I will be studying over the course of the next few days, following which I'm sure there will be much more to say.

In the meantime I will also be passing this information on to Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who I wrote to the other day highlighting North Lanarkshire Council's scandalous behaviour in relation to equal pay.

Friday, 5 February 2016

North Lanarkshire Update


I've had lots of enquiries about arranging local meetings in North Lanarkshire to discuss a variety of ongoing issues on equal pay.


Just to be crystal clear, I am not organising and advertising these meetings myself - as in the past people are making local arrangements to suit themselves and, of course, the various staff groups involved. 


Because folks on the ground know when and where is best to meet using suitable venues such as: community centres, church halls, social clubs, miners welfare clubs, etc etc.

So let's go to it and really start to raise the political temperature in North Lanarkshire over the next few months. 

North Lanarkshire Update (04/02/16)



I promised the other day to re-publish some posts from the blog site archive regarding the pay and rations awarded to North Lanarkshire Council's chief officials.

In the weeks ahead I aim to turn up the heat on the political leadership of the Council for its spineless behaviour over equal pay for the past 10 years and more.

But 'many hands make light work' and it is vital that as many people as possible get stuck in between now and the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

If you ask me, the Council needs a change of leadership.

As well as an independently-led inquiry into the terrible mess that the current Labour administration has made of its pay arrangements and its behaviour over equal pay.



  


Weirdo and Narcissist



The ridiculous Julian Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London despite being a fugitive from justice and being wanted by the UK and Swedish courts. 

The latest twist in this sorry tale is that an anonymous United Nations 'panel' found that Mr Assange is being 'arbitrarily detained' even though he has skipped bail after promising to surrender himself if the UK courts agreed that he should be deported to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault.

The BBC reports on the decision of the panel, but not their reasons for arriving at such a conclusion the 'evidence' on which their recommendation is based.

If I had my way I'd close the Ecuadorean Embassy and send the whole lot packing back to South America which would force Mr Assange to give himself up as he is not an accredited  member of staff and therefore  unable to claim diplomatic immunity.

Not least because the man is an insufferable weirdo and narcissist. 

Julian Assange is being 'arbitrarily held', UN panel to say





A UN panel will conclude Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained" in the UK, the Swedish foreign ministry has said.

Mr Assange, 44, claimed asylum in London's Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. He wants to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape claim, which he denies.

The Met Police says Mr Assange will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

Swedish prosecutors said the UN panel's decision would have "no formal impact" on its ongoing investigation.

Mr Assange earlier said his passport should be returned and his arrest warrant dropped if the UN panel, due to deliver its findings on Friday, ruled in his favour.

The Australian was originally arrested in London in 2010 under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden over rape and sexual assault claims.

In 2012, while on bail, he claimed asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge after the UK Supreme Court had ruled the extradition against him could go ahead.

Swedish prosecutors dropped two sex assault claims against Mr Assange last year. However, he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.

'Avoiding lawful arrest'

In 2014, Mr Assange complained to the UN that he was being "arbitrarily detained" as he could not leave the embassy without being arrested.

The application claimed Mr Assange had been "deprived of his liberty in an arbitrary manner for an unacceptable length of time".

The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has been investigating the issue.

The Press Association said key factors in the panel's decision would include the inability of Mr Assange to access political asylum, the fact he has never been charged, and changes to UK law and procedures since he arrived at the embassy.

Wikileaks earlier tweeted it was waiting for "official confirmation" of the UN panel's decision.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," a spokesman said.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden."

The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

The statement added the legal process for Mr Assange's case would be handled in court by Swedish prosecutors. 


Per Samuelsson, Mr Assange's lawyer, said Swedish authorities would be "morally" wrong to continue the investigation if the UN panel found in his favour.

"The ball is in Sweden's yard, in the prosecutor's yard. She is not formally bound by the decision by the UN, but morally it is very difficult to go against it."

The journalist John Pilger, who is a friend of Mr Assange, said "the ball is now at the feet of the British government", whose international legal "obligations" were represented by the UN panel.

"They did something in terms of supporting the tribunal in all the other celebrated cases, and Assange now joins them because the UN jurists have clearly found this is a case of arbitrary detention," he said.

Mr Assange's Wikileaks organisation posted secret American government documents on the internet, and he says Washington could seek his extradition to the US to face espionage charges if he is sent to Sweden.

In the statement, published earlier by Wikileaks on Twitter, Mr Assange said: "Should the UN announce tomorrow that I have lost my case against the United Kingdom and Sweden I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal.

"However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect the immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me."

Last October, Scotland Yard said it would no longer station officers outside the Ecuador embassy following an operation which it said had cost £12.6m. But it said "a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him" would still be deployed.
Julian Assange: Key dates
  • August 2010 - Swedish prosecutors issue an arrest warrant for Mr Assange
  • May 2012 - UK Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning
  • June 2012 - Mr Assange claims asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London
  • September 2014 - Mr Assange submits complaint against Sweden and the UK to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • August 2015 - Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations - one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion - but say he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.
  • October 2015 - Met Police announce officers will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy

Weirdo and Narcissist (11/02/14)



I'm not sure how long the ridiculous Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, but I thought it worthwhile reminding readers that this whole saga goes back a number of years - and that the Wikileaks founder is, in fact, a fugitive from justice in both the UK and Sweden.

To my mind the behaviour of the Ecuador Government is outrageous because Assange is clearly a not a refugee, political or otherwise, so why not suspend diplomatic relations with Ecuador and close its embassy in London?

And as Julian Assange is not a diplomat, but someone who is effectively on the run from the authorities in Sweden and the UK, he would have not alternative but to give himself up or face arrest, but either way he deserves to face his accusers in Sweden and the courts in the UK for breaking his solemn promise not to jump bail.  

As Monty Python might have said - 'He's not the Messiah, you know. He's just a very naughty boy!'. 

WikiWars (9 February 2011)

The WikiWars saga continues.

Julian Assange is back in court trying desperately to prevent his extradition to that widely despised rogue state - with a supposedly weak legal system and poor track record on human rights - more commonly known as Sweden.

The celebrity legal team defending Julian Assange has flown over a retired Swedish judge - Brita Sundberg-Weitman (a woman) - to give evidence against the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny.


The retired judge reportedly criticised the prosecutor for being a "radical feminist" and described her behaviour as "malicious", "peculiar" and displaying a "bias against men".

But when cross-examined - the retired judge admitted that she had no direct knowledge of Ms Ny's (the prosecutor's) conduct.


Confused - because if so, you're in good company?

Instead of this ridiculous legal circus - Mr Assange should do us all a favour and hop on the next plane to Stockholm.


Where he can deal with the case allegations made against him - in a proper manner.


Narcissist and Weirdo


The BBC caused something of a fuss the other day when it handed editorial control of the flagship Today (Radio 4) programme over to a guest editor, PJ Harvey, who is apparently a successful, famous and very left-wing musician - whose work an career I know nothing about, I have to concede.  
 
Now I don't really care whether PJ Harvey's political views are left-wing, right-wing or a bit AC/DC, if you know what I mean - because as a public service, public funded broadcaster the BBC is supposed to reflect all walks of life. 


But where I'm at odds with PJ Bailey is her decision to give the ridiculous Julian Assange a platform to spout his views - because the man is a wanted fugitive who has escaped justice by sloping off to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in an effort to evade questioning by the authorities in Sweden for alleged sexual offences against two separate women. 

Not only that Assange gave his word to the courts in this country and various friends and acquaintances in this country that he would abide by the legal process and not jump bail while the judicial process considered a properly made request for his extradition to Sweden.

Yet he lied and jumped bail anyway, so I would say he is a dishonest and scheming little man who is completely lacking in integrity - which is why PJ was daft to allow this weirdo and narcissist to present himself to the world as some kind of martyr.

Anyway, maybe PJ's music is better than her politics - I must find out.

Narcissist and Weirdo (18 October 2013)

The narcissist and weirdo also known as Julian Assange has had a complete 'hissy fit'  with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch - because he has apparently been portrayed in a not very flattering light in the new film 'The Fifth Estate' which tells the story, so far, of WikiLeaks.

Here's an extract of Julian's angry letter to Benedict Cumberbatch whom he refused to meet, according to news reports, while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy to prevent his extradition to Sweden where Assange is wanted on charges of sexual assault. 

Extracts: Assange’s letter

“You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth. Not because you want to, of course you don’t, but because, in the end, you are a jobbing actor who gets paid to follow the script, no matter how debauched.

Your skills play into the hands of people who are out to remove me and WikiLeaks from the world. I believe you should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise. Consider the consequences of your cooperation with a project that… marginalises a living political refugee to the benefit of an entrenched, corrupt and dangerous state.”


In other words the only real truth is the truth according to Julian Assange and if that's not a perfect description of a 'narcissist' - then I'm the Foreign Minister of Ecuador.  

Escaping Justice (25 June 2013)

The increasingly ridiculous Julian Assagne - founder of Wikileaks - is still holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London - having fled there a year ago to escape being extradited to Sweden where he faces two separate charges of sexual assault.  

A meeting was held recently between the UK Foreign Secretary - William Hague - and Ecuadorean officials following which Ecuadorean foreign minister - Ricardo Patino - announced that Assange is prepared to stay in his bolt hole for at least five years.

For some reason, Ecuador seems to believe that Assange is entitled to claim asylum when - in fact - he jumped bail in the UK, having lied about his intentions to abide by a court ruling to face the music - if his extradition to Sweden was subsequently found to be lawful and justified. 
    
Which it duly was, but instead of justice for the two women in Sweden who have complained about Assange - what we have is a complete farce with a supposedly friendly country in Ecuador thumbing its nose, diplomatically speaking, at both Sweden and the UK. 

Offering asylum to people in need of protection has a noble history down the ages - but it was never intended as a safe sanctuary for people suspected of criminal behaviour.

Sweden, of course, has a good track record on upholding human rights that would compare favourably with most countries in the world.

For example I'm pretty sure Sweden would knock Ecuador into a cocked hat over human rights - yet Foreign Minister Patino is prepared to make a fool of himself by arguing that the whole business represents a "total injustice" to Julian Assange.

If I were the UK Government I would let Mr Assange stew in his little hideaway for as long as he likes - because he's bound to get fed up sooner or later.

In the meantime I can't imagine it's a whole lot of fun - and I suspect that in some strange way Ricardo and Julian probably deserve each other.

New Assange Lawsuit (9 October 2011)


The latest edition of Private Eye does a great hatchet job on the notorious narcissist and weirdo - Julian Assange.

The magazine pokes fun at the self-serving comments made by Assange in his auto-biography - in which he suggests that the two Swedish women who acccused him of sexual assault - did so out of spite.

Because he is - or was - a chauvinist pig and not a thoughtful boyfriend.

What a nutter!

NEW ASSANGE LAWSUIT

by Our Media Correspondent

Jonathan Wikileake

"Julian Assange today announced his determination to sue the author of the new book about him, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography.

A spokesman for Assange, who looked very similar to himself, told journalists, "Mr Assange has had enoughof these vile slurs against his charatcer and to say that women accused him of rape because he didn't phone them is clearly the mark of a diseased mind.

"I - by which I mean my client, Mr Assange - will be suing JUlian Assange as aggresivelky as possible, to show that the good name of Assange will not stand for these vile slurs about himself."

The author, Julian Assange, is said to be considering a counter-suit based on his allegations that Assange is part of a Jewish conspiracy.

If found guilty of defamation and bearing false witness, Mr Assange will either have to pay himself £10 million for loss of earnings and emotional damge, or go on a four month journalism course in AMerica, depending on whether he is judged by the Crown or Andreas Whittam-Smith."

Calling Fife



Thanks to readers of the blog site several more of the 'missing' A4ES clients in Fife have been in touch to update their contact details.

The total number has now been whittled down to the following 4 claimants who run the risk of losing out altogether, if they don't get in touch soon and that would be a great shame after all the hand work that's gone into getting firm settlement offers on the table.

So if readers in Fife are in touch with any of the following individuals, please pass the word and ask them to make contact with the A4ES office in Edinburgh, as quickly as possible.

Because time is definitely running out.

1 David Adamson

2 Carol McInnes

3 Avril Sidebottom


4 Jane Stevens



Action 4 Equality Scotland


Image result for contact details


Here are contact details for Action 4 Equality Scotland - including a new telephone number. 

Action 4 Equality Scotland
10 York Place
Edinburgh
EH1 3EP

Email: enquiries@action4equality.co.uk

Phone: 0131 659 9958