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Wings Over Scotland

Bread and circuses

Posted on January 19, 2013 by

Perhaps we’re being overly suspicious here. But the “sex scandal” incident currently surrounding Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson actually happened over a month ago – December 12th to be precise. Having evaded the attention of the press for so long, there’s no obvious reason for the story to have suddenly broken now.

Except, that is, if there was another story centred on Glasgow City Council – a much more serious one, that the Labour council wanted to deflect attention from with a juicy bit of sleaze gossip. And hey, guess what?

“Career council official Saez was made redundant in 2011 as boss of the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, a charity set up by the city council to help relieve poverty. He was paid a statutory severance payment of around £40,000, pension contributions of around £200,000 and a discretionary top-up of £232,708.

His payout – waved through by Labour councillors – was condemned as “misconduct” by the charity and ‘wholly unsatisfactory’ by Scotland’s charity watchdog this week in an unusually strongly-worded report.”

(Matheson isn’t all that popular within his own council group anyway, which might explain why it could be quite content to offer him up as a sacrificial lamb.)

The Saez story has of course had some coverage in the media. But despite being condemned by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator as a clear-cut waste of quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers’ money on giving an individual a “bung” entirely for his own individual benefit, it’s had vastly fewer column inches than the huge manufactured storm that was generated by the Scottish Government spending less than twice as much sending a full official delegation on a wholly-legitimate trip to the Ryder Cup to generate business, jobs and tourist revenue for the country.

(And it gets odder. The Scotsman did also report the Saez story, but curiously seems to have hidden it from its search function. Enter “Ronnie Saez” into the box and it’ll return no results, suggesting you meant “Ronnie Suez”. Even more strangely, if you Google “ronnie saez scotsman” you still get no results, despite his name appearing in the piece. After its initial appearance we only managed to find the story at all by noticing the fairly distinctive phrase “charity watchdog” in the BBC article discussing what the Scotsman had said, and searching for that instead.)

As we say, maybe we’re reading too much into it. But of all the times the Matheson story could have popped up after being successfully concealed for weeks, it does seem an awfully big coincidence it surfaced right after the same Labour council had been slammed by an independent charity organisation for, in essence, stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds from poor children to feather the nest of one of its cronies – a man with whom the council still happily does business in his new role.

Rest assured, readers, that we shall – as ever – keep a watchful eye on the stories on the inside pages of Scotland’s media as well as the headlines.

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    1. 06 01 15 15:49

      Silence in Sin City Glasgow Part 4 – 2011-2012 Years of Scandal & Massive Pay-Offs | caltonjock

    2. 06 01 15 15:53

      Silence in Sin City Glasgow Part 4 – 2013 A Year of Misconduct and Scandal | caltonjock

    44 to “Bread and circuses”

    1. I should think the council was grateful for another distraction from the mess they’ve made of the George Square proposals, too. And from issues surrounding the release of ‘The Wee Man’, which has been dismissed as violent nonsense in a way that conveniently obscures its significance as a piece of political criticism.

    2. JLT says:

      Excellent piece of journalism, Rev.

      Reminds you of that time during the Twin Towers atrocity, when Labour Spin doctor Jo Moore announced that infamous line – ‘A good day to bury bad news’

      And here we are again! Let’s make no bones about it, its absolutely appalling. How these b****** are not being charged for fraud beats me… 

      The Scottish Labour Party – I hate this party with an absolute passion…. 

    3. creag an tuirc says:

      I wonder what Grahamski’s take is on this? p.s. Rev you’ve said it was Ian Davidson on yir Facebook page, you’d better fix it before you get a doin.

    4. cadgers says:

      You have a very suspicious mind Rev Stu……Thank God!! You are now the first website I visit in the morning and during the rest of the day. Please keep it up.

    5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “p.s. Rev you’ve said it was Ian ‘Doin’ Davidson on yir Facebook page”

      I most certainly have not!


    6. creag an tuirc says:

      Sorry Rev, my mistake, had a look and you are correct

      (cough, cough)

    7. Erchie says:

      When the Purcell thing came out, Kenneth Roy decried the Cybernats asking hard questions on Blether With Brian that ked to a HUGE amount of comments being blocked.

      Someone wrote an article which Mr Roy published saying “err, no, we were just asking how come this is a big story being peddled as ‘nothing to see here, move along’ by Lorraine Davidson and Hamish McDonnell’

      Here we are again. A story killed for a month until it suited someone to have it published.


      Not Matheson?

      Cui bono?

    8. Yesitis says:

      Labour/Scottish MSM – fooling huge swathes of the Scottish population since (add whichever year suits your version of events).
      Vote to Delete.
      I presently have a very, very low opinion of Labour in Scotland, but then again, I always have.

    9. Bob says:

      The comments section for The Herald story about the charity rip off show that this happened over a year ago. So not really current. Although a scandal right enough.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Bob: the “recent” aspect is the judgement from the OSCR, which came out this week. It officially confirmed that almost quarter of a million pounds of the payment was unnecessary and unjustified.

    11. Appleby says:

      Yet another cover up and whitewashing session. It utterly disgusts me that, as we all full well know by this point, if it there was even a hint of half of this scandal and it was the SNP involved it would be talked about 24 hours a day and on every front page for months and months.
      I detest the Scottish media. They deserve their impending redundancy as sales plummet.

    12. douglas clark says:

      I was looking for a link to the quote I gave from Cllr Kelly. I am 99% sure it wasn’t on the Heralds’ front page – electronic edition – when I looked, but now it’s back. In that case it looks more like SNAFU than some sort of deliberate policy.

    13. mutterings says:

      “Even more strangely, if you Google “ronnie saez scotsman” you still get no results, despite his name appearing in the piece”
      This Google search returns a link to a Scotsman article in position 25. The position within the search result is determined by Google’s ranking. It seems Wingsland, Newsnet, Daily Record rank higher than the Scotsman for this search.
      If you want to search a site, this is the way to do it: ronnie saez

    14. Betsy says:

      I too strongly suspect it has been a rather lame attempt to distract from the Saez story. There’s a lot more to come on that score and it’s vitally important that it’s kept in the public eye as much as possible. If you haven’t already done so write to your MSP and (if resident in Glasgow) your local councillors. Please also support the call by the parents campaigning for OSCARS after school care for Saez to hand back his discretionary payment. 

      Public money should always be spent wisely and in the best interests of the public however the fact that this payment was made during an economic downturn and public cuts of an unprecedented scale makes it even more obscene and unforgivable.

      Please don’t take the ‘shrug it’s Glasgow Labour what do you expect’ attitude. They thrive on that. Apathy and cynicism create the perfect conditions for this sort of misconduct to thrive. Please do something to make your voice heard, it might not change things but at least you won’t have made it easy for them to wriggle off the hook.  


    15. panda paws says:

      I mentioned this case though not the guy’s name btl on Guardian article by Severin Carrell. The post was deleted. Coverup? Couldn’t possibly comment!

    16. Betsy says:

      Googleing Mr Saez is an interesting business. He certainly seems to have his bum on a lot of boards


    17. I note that the local MSP has made a formal complaint about the councillors involved to the ombudsman about the two current and one ex councillor involved in this fiscal malfeasance and so the situation will remain live for a few months yet.
      I wonder what the cost to Glasgow Council will be of the now delayed / cancelled George Square ‘beauty pagent’ which had to be decided ‘last week’, apparently, to ensure it would be completed by the time of the Commonwealth Games. No doubt the entrants will be scouring the bid documents to see what redress they can take from Glasgow Council – though we can assume any brown envelopes will just have to be written off.
      List of current scandals effecting Glasgow Labour (please add to make list complete);
      Information Commissioners (loss of 270+ council lap tops and failure to meet data protection requirements in part or full)
      Matheson’s pink oboe
      Regeneration pay off scam
      Purcell’s Commonwealth Games land deals (still smouldering away)
      Barrowlands land deal
      Glasgow Labour’s links with Glasgow’s Organised Crime Families via known councillors / attendance of known gang members at Labour fund raisers /  contracts to a specific car hire company by the council / Glasgow NHS
      Strathclyde Police report indicating Glasgow Council were paying in excess of £2m of council tax payers money to organised crime front companies used to launder drug and other profits from crime
      Numerous overclaims of parliamentary (Westminster and Scottish) and council expenses (Speaker Martin / Frank McCaveety / Purcell comes to mind)
      Brown envelope culture
      And I know there is more….

    18. MajorBloodnok says:

      Slightly OT (but relevant) but I noticed an interesting article on the Local Government Lawyer website that the estimable Peter A Bell linked to a few days ago.

      Seems the Scottish Goverment is intending to extend FOI provision (via secondary legislation) to Council ‘arms length’ companies.

      Sorry I couldn’t get the embedded link to work but here is a quote:

      Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon …. said: “It is important that bodies which spend taxpayers’ money are subject to scrutiny, including through freedom of information legislation. That is why this Government is committed to extending coverage where it is appropriate to do so, subject to consultation.

      Could get even more interesting in Glasgow…

    19. muttley79 says:


      It would have been good if the SG had introduced this a while ago.  There has been a lot of dodgy stuff going on in Glasgow and elsewhere, in regards to public funds, for decades.  It actually sounds a good idea.  The No parties cannot rationally oppose it as they have been going on about the Freedom of Information Act for ages. 

    20. Dave Smith says:

      Trying to and get state media to cover it will be another matter.
      I don’t think there will be enough jail cells for these vermin if Scotland ever escapes their malevolent clutches. 

    21. Ceol na Pioba says:

      The Scottish media, especially the BBC, needs to be exposed. Is anyone on the case?

    22. G. Campbell says:

      The Scotsman’s search function – like the website in general – is thoroughly hopeless.

      “site:” works pretty well for searching specific websites in Google, though.

      “ronnie saez”

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The Scottish media, especially the BBC, needs to be exposed. Is anyone on the case?”

      Tune in tomorrow.

    24. muttley79 says:

      @Rev Stu

      Have you got something on them?  If you have then we really do need to kidnap you and bring you back to Scotland till the referendum…

    25. ianbrotherhood says:

      Ceol na Pioba & muttley79

      Until Rev reveals what he has, perhaps the following will be of interest, if you haven’t already seen it:

    26. angus mcshoogle says:

      Just to add to the list of Glasgow Labour scandals above, what about Mathieson and the Orange Lodge. Now I know why

    27. Cameron says:

      I phrased it a little differently the other day, but hobbies are hobbies and dipping your mum’s purse is….well.
      Does the MSM think our heads zip up the back?

    28. Cameron says:

      Coincidence or not, the Savile scandal appears to echo the Boystown pedophile ring that went all the way to the heart of the Whitehouse.

    29. Keef says:

      Over on NNS they have a picture of John Mason MSP. covering this same story.

      I noticed in the picture that Mr. Mason was wearing a lapel pin with the Saltire and the Union flag together.

      I asked if anyone could explain why he was wearing a Saltire alongside the butcher’s apron and had my post deleted.  

      When I re-posted with the words Union flag it was marked as pending moderation. To date, it has never been re-posted.    

    30. Roll_On_2014 says:

      Guess this is what Joanna Lament meant when she started her ‘something for nothing’ campaign.

      Only question remaining is Will she do something about it?

      Guess not… she is not available for comment.
      This is just a test!

    31. Cameron says:

      @ Keef
      This might be a stupid question, but which NNS are you referring to?

    32. Cameron says:

      @ Keef
      I got banned from posting there as well, completely. IMHO I think it had something to do me showing them the hypocrisy of NNS adopting the BBC stance and reporting “news” that had been discredited days previously, in their coverage of the Syrian supply ship that was blocked in transit. Suppose that is why I am here.
      I am not trying to abuse the Rev’s mod rules, but is it really unacceptable to suggest we hold award ceremonies and give out Ribbentrop medals or Goebbels Prizes to the best examples of MSM nonsense? I got banned from posting to NNS, immediately after I asked the same question.

    33. ianbrotherhood says:

      Cameron –
      I salute you mister – you are indefatigable. (Impossible to use without Gorgeous George springing to mind.)
      I know what you’re on about. Plenty of others here do too, but daren’t get involved, even when they’ve handles to hide behind.
      C’est la vie…
      The ‘truth’ will always out mister – don’t fret about it.
      More power to ye…

    34. Dave Smith says:

      “Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      19 January, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      “The Scottish media, especially the BBC, needs to be exposed. Is anyone on the case?”
      Tune in tomorrow.”

      Oh, you’ve got my interest with that. Already looking forward to breakfast now! 

    35. Cameron says:

      @ ianbrotherhood
      My name is mud here anyway, at least in the eyes of those who will not consider there might be an alternative explanation. So I’ve got nothing to loose really.

    36. Keef says:

      @ Cameron
      I refer to Newsnet Scotland.

      A month or so ago I also posted a comment that highlighted other pro-union slants on articles they posted and it was swiftly removed.

      It seems NNS is sorely lagging behind breakig news items too. It has become the rule more than the exception that they highlight news after WOS and Bella bring it to the fore.

      IMHO, although NNS is still a great site, it is only a shell of what it was 12 months ago.


    37. ianbrotherhood says:


      Who says yer name’s ‘mud’?
      Not like you’re in Quarantine, eh?
      Seriously man, you contribute a lot to this place – I’m sure even Dr Kerr would admit as much!…(?)
      Hoots mon! 

    38. Cameron says:

      @ Keef
      I think my disagreement happened before then and I never went back. I didn’t see the point in reading news that I considered no more reliable than the “news” from the MSM. I do kind of miss out on sharing ideas and developing an understanding though, as there were some interesting commentators there that don’t appear to show up here.

    39. Cameron says:


    40. Kenny Campbell says:

      Can you confirm if that photo was the one of him running away from the police ?

    41. HenBroon says:

      I really thought that Gordon Matheson had blown it, but no it now seems he has pulled it of, amazing! Can Linn park now be used as a Park n Ride facility?

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