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The lies of the land

Posted on September 13, 2013 by

Sometimes it’s hard not to salute the Scottish media’s sheer dogged, implacable commitment to misinformation, even in the face of seemingly-impossible odds.


Yesterday’s fiasco at First Minister’s Questions, where Johann Lamont dug herself a great big hole while trying to smear a successful Scottish businessman and imply corruption where none existed, was so farcically absurd and ham-fisted that the Scotsman had to bite its tongue and report it with the headline “Apology demanded over Lamont’s SNP land deal claim”.

Even Newsnight Scotland couldn’t brush it off, with hapless Labour MSP James Kelly wheeled on as the sacrificial bam sent to bluster his way through some rather timid questioning from Gordon Brewer. But no such trifling concepts as basic journalistic integrity or competence were going to trouble Magnus Gardham at the Herald.

The paper’s Political Editor appears unashamed to put his name to a ludicrous whitewash piece leading today’s online edition under the headline “Salmond in row over claims land deal benefited supporter of independence”.


Bizarrely, the article completely omits to mention some vital facts about the story which were uncovered by one of the Herald’s own reporters yesterday afternoon. Let’s see what we know.

1. The Glasgow Airport Rail Link was a project of the Labour/Liberal Democrat Scottish Government of 2003-2007.

2. In 2006, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), under the chairmanship of Labour councillor Alistair Watson (who would later resign amid an SPT expenses scandal, but was then given a new job at a higher salary by Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council), and also including Labour councillors Tommy Morrison and Ruth Simpson on its four-person board, agreed to buy a piece of land required for the project from businessman John McGlynn.

3. SPT agreed to pay £840,000 for the land, because Mr McGlynn was running a car-parking business (“Airlink Security Parks”) on it which required expensive relocation, and because – as noted by surveyor Malawi Ngwira on Newsnight Scotland – the strategic position of the land with regard to GARL made it inherently far more valuable than it would have been in normal conditions.

4. The deal was completed by SPT in 2008 – as revealed by Herald reporter Tom Gordon yesterday afternoon – and the minority SNP Scottish government duly bought the land from the SPT. Scottish Government ministers took no part in the negotiations between SPT and Airlink which agreed the price and made the original purchase.

(One might expect Johann Lamont to have known of the SPT’s involvement, as her husband Archie Graham has been an SPT committee member since December 2008 and presumably could have checked the facts for her.)

5. In 2009, in response to difficult budgetary constraints, the Scottish Government cancelled the £210m GARL project to save money (as it had previously done with the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link).

6. UK Government rules then forced the Scottish Government to sell the land. With GARL cancelled, the property no longer held any value premium, and when it was put up for open public auction it attracted no buyers. A lawyer acting for Mr McGlynn then made an offer (entirely legally) to the auctioneers to buy the land for £50,000. In the absence of any other buyers, the offer was accepted.

These, then, are the facts: a Labour-dominated SPT agreed to pay £0.84m for some land as part of a £210m Labour project for the benefit of Labour-run Glasgow. An incoming SNP-led Scottish Government honoured the deal, but then had to cancel the project and was forced by UK government rules to sell off the land, which was now almost worthless, and duly lost money on the deal.

That’s pretty much the whole story. Johann Lamont stood up in the Scottish Parliament yesterday and clearly implied that John McGlynn had been rewarded in some suspicious and underhand way for his alleged support for the Yes campaign – support Mr McGlynn denies ever uttering (“For the record, I have never expressed support for Yes Scotland or the Yes campaign despite statements made in the debating chamber”) and for which Johann Lamont provided no evidence.

Mr McGlynn’s preferred constitutional option is actually enhanced fiscal devolution within the UK. In June 2012 the Yes Scotland website quoted him to that effect:

“I am saddened that some politicians are not taking this historic opportunity to maximise devolution and be ambitious for Scotland. I am a firm believer in full fiscal autonomy for Scotland (devo max) but I have been impressed by the submission for Devo Plus. I look forward very much to a full and sensible debate on independence for Scotland.”

(He was reported by the Scotsman in the same month saying that he would “most likely” back independence, but only in the event that a “devo-max” question was not included on the referendum ballot paper, and on the grounds that “the worst of all options is the status quo”.)

Johann Lamont and James Kelly have by any reasonable measure defamed John McGlynn (as well as the First Minister and Scottish Government, but that’s a daily occurrence), by suggesting that he was rewarded for his supposed backing for Yes by being given the land back at a knock-down price.

Here’s what the Labour leader actually said in the chamber:

“The land was bought in 2008 for £840,000 from a businessman called John McGlynn, who was then a donor to the Scottish Conservative Party. Since then, of course, Mr McGlynn has been on something of a political journey; he now supports the yes campaign.

Since then, he has been appointed to the Scottish Government national economic forum and he has bought back the land from the Scottish Government for £50,000 and made a profit of £790,000.

Is there some connection here or has Mr McGlynn just benefited from the First Minister’s gross incompetence with public funds?”

(Astonishingly, on the BBC programme last night James Kelly demanded that MORE money be thrown away conducting a full audit of every aspect of the transaction, which is already entirely a matter of transparent public record, annihilating any remaining shred of possibility that Labour were genuinely concerned about a waste of public funds rather than trying to score a point against the SNP with a baseless smear.)

The truth is that the land was offered at an open public auction and nobody else wanted it. Mr McGlynn didn’t even enter a bid, buying it after the auction failed. He told Newsnight Scotland that Johann Lamont had made no attempt to contact him at any point and verify the facts.

We wouldn’t like to speculate on how Tom Gordon feels about the Herald’s coverage, which completely ignored his enormously pertinent revelation that Labour-controlled SPT, not the Scottish Government, agreed the price and bought the land.

But if he wants to conduct future investigations for a publication that won’t brush them shamefully under the carpet, we pay competitive rates. He knows where to find us.

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    139 to “The lies of the land”

    1. jim mitchell says:

      I repeat what I said earlier that JL should be asked to repeat what she said word for word outside of Holyrood, then we can all judge how serious her and her colleagues are with regard to the matter.

    2. Gordon Smith says:

      As I commented last week, we have moved into a new phase in Project Fear, where outright lies are now being promoted, and with the conspiratorial agreement of the SMSM , the likes of Lamont will never be brought to book over them.
      Sad day for Scottish Jounalism – second mark after the Blackout of your Poll.

    3. Mosstrooper says:

      They are liars and they are the enemy and deserve no quarter.

    4. Training Day says:

      An admirable precis of the situation (I’ll not comment on the invitation to Gordon if you don’t mind Rev). 
      We’re now embarked upon the stage of full-on lies to the extent that, if there’s anyone in Scotland who believes a single word the MSM utter by Christmas, then they should be kept away from sharp instruments for their own and others’ safety.

    5. Luigi says:

      The question Johann Lamont should be asking ask is:
      Why were SPT so quick to fork out 800,000 of taxpayers money for a junk piece of land that only now appears to be worth 50,000?
      Surely she knows someone connected to SPT?

    6. heraldnomore says:

      Leave her alone; she brings more signatures to the Yes declaration, and more membership fees to the SNP, every time she opens that horrible gob.
      But as for Gardham, sheech….
      Well done Stu, and well done for keeping Mr Graham’s role in the deal out of it.  Can’t imagine what the pillow talk may be in that household.

    7. Murray McCallum says:

      It’s almost as if “Scottish” New Labour desire Scotland to become some sort of a Banana Colony. Their mission seems to be to smear and tarnish everything. Maybe they have simply given up on the Scottish Parliament and their objective is direct, better together Tory Westminster rule?

    8. David Martin says:

      Lamont disappears for 3 months into her bunker during the Falkirk fiasco and pops up with this gem? She is on borrowed time as leader. It is her SpAds she needs to hold close….

    9. Dcanmore says:

      This is what happens when JoLa has to write her own scripts, utter verbal diarrhoea. It’s clear that her only job is to tear down parliament. There is no other way of explaining her presence in Holyrood. She’s a wrecking ball who would sit gleefully on top of the ashes of Holyrood thinking what a great job she’d done for her masters in London, all for a pat on the back and wee pretendy promotion within the Labour ranks. What a complete brainless fuckwit of person. The only good thing about her is that she doesn’t teach anymore. 

    10. Juteman says:

      The Labour party has nobody in Scotland to hold them to account. They know the BBC and MSM will always back them up.
      This over confidence is leading to only one ouutcome. As they have no need to think about what they say or do, they are slowly becoming the politicians worst nightmare. A figure of fun. When your opponents are openly laughing at you, you are finished.

    11. GrahamB says:

      Another brilliant performance at FMQs by JL, how many more YES votes was that worth. Suspect BT will be hoping she goes off on another summer holiday ASAP. What are the chances now of Mr McGlynn voting YES?

    12. TheeForsakenOne says:

      No surprises from Jamezzzzzzzzzzz Kelly. This is the same man who said in the chamber yesterday that all pro-Independence organisations are just fronts for Yes Scotland and would not take it back despite repeated calls for it. The man is a first-class moron who has been elevated way beyond his level of competence but his complete lack of imagination makes him very suitable to be wheeled out for incidents such as this.
      I don’t see your invite being accepted sadly.

      Oh yeah, my comment has still not been published on the Weekly Wanker articles. I guess party line is the only welcome addition.

    13. Desimond says:

      A few questions/ponderings

      WIth the Get out of Jail Free card of “Parliamentary Priviledge” being hidden behind, couldnt some clever lawyer go after the broadcasters of such lies. Im sure a wily legal eagle with a nose for compensation could soon find a way to get the main players running for mercy, regardless of how safe and sly they think they are. Chip away and split up the cosy New Labour \ Media Circus and watch the house of cards fall apart.

      Is Aquamarine the new Fuschia?

    14. Murray McCallum says:

      By the way, if SLAB see the £50,000 sale price after an open public auction as too low, why didn’t they buy it? We have seen SLAB are losing money – they could have sold it to someone for the price their staffers bought it for in the first place.

    15. Soda says:

      I seriously think I should ask for my donation to YES Scotland back and give it to the Labour party instead as they are doing more for the case for independence then anyone else!
      I can taste the Bitter together crowds desperation from here and its not nice. Just how stupid is Lamont (or just how stupid does she think the Scottish electorate is)? 

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Well done Stu, and well done for keeping Mr Graham’s role in the deal out of it.”


    17. Eddie says:

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of a ‘truthful’ bit of attention grabbing headlines eh?

    18. Dcanmore says:

      O/T … a new development in London today, I see ‘Immigration Enforcement’ vans patrolling the streets, the continuing Nazification of the UK and a reminder to prospective UKIP voters that the Tories are on their side.

    19. muttley79 says:

      I have said previously that Lamont smeared the head of the civil service in Scotland last week as well.  Yesterday’s FMQs was another example of Lamont’s political cowardice.  She attacked someone who could not defend himself straight away.  McGlynn’s response was good, as it showed that SLAB’s intimidation is going to backfire on them.  I see from WoS Twitter that Jenna Mara has attempted to bring Asda into Scottish politics as well.  They will do anything to attack the SG, their judgement and rationality has gone out of the window completely.

    20. Vincent McDee says:

      In order to be more incompetent in her opposition job, she’ll need extra training.
      The Peter Principle should be re-named the Krankie Principle in her honor.

    21. annie says:

      What was the point of Johann’s supposed facelift (possible explanation of her long summer absence)  when she is still left with the same nasty scowling expression – the woman puts my blood pressure up.

    22. Roger Mexico says:

      The interesting question is not whether the accusation was untrue, it’s why it was made when  it was so easily proved to be untrue.  As soon as the dates of the two transactions are known it’s obvious that they couldn’t have taken place under the same administration and so any secret back-hander deal just wasn’t possible – different people would have been involved.
      I wonder if the truth is that Labour in Scotland have got lazy in believing that whatever they say will be repeated in the media unquestioningly and indeed spun accordingly by certain parties.  So you can afford to be careless with accusations because they will just be repeated without investigation.  Certainly there’s a similar dynamic at the moment between the Conservatives and the London media.

    23. Ian MacQuarrie says:

      Amazingly clear writing as always. I suppose if this had been some friend of Tony Blair we might have been sniffing around this from the other point of view, but since all the facts are there, it’s impossible to see where any mud can be propelled toward HMSG. This is simple ‘man buys land’ business. I don’t know the minute detail but it also appears that McGlynn’s *business* sold the land, so him as a person buying back a former asset of that company is not a massive earner for him. There are probably a few councillors in Scottish local authorities who have made a few windfall purchases from their own council selling off former assets (vehicles, equipment etc.) and never an eyelid is batted…

    24. jacqui says:

      Don’t let facts get in the way of a very public smear campaign

    25. Desimond says:

      Roger Mexico…thats a good point…such easily swatted stories usually suggest that either:

      a: They have a bigger story to hit back with and are just looking for an invitation to use it

      b: They have a bigger scandal to hide and are hoping it disappears within the deluge of such new stories such as this one.

      I know which of the above i would expect with New Labour. ( Scottish branch)

    26. Tamson says:

      Shouldn’t your headline be ‘Spoof newspaper journalist blows credibility’?

    27. turnip_ghost says:

      I did note the desktop picture on the Surveyor PC when he was explaining about the land value… 😀

    28. Clare Gallagher says:

      How can anyone believe a word that comes out of that things mouth? At every turn she makes gaffe, after gaffe, after gaffe! How people can listen to that claptrap and not have their ears bleed is either a miracle, or they’re too bloody stupid to realise they’re being connsistently lied to! I really do despair sometimes!!

    29. jim mitchell says:

      I have the feeling that Labour have gone to their media friends and asked them to run this as a story, in which they, Labour would be asked for their outraged opinion and then Labour would raise the matter at Holyrood as a matter of public concern.
      The Media have said no, here’s a better and for us, safer idea, YOU raise it at Holyrood and then we will report your comments in our usual ‘unbiased’ manner.
      Actually a good bit of investigative journalism could still bring about a good story from this for any decent journalist, if only they had the nerve and the honesty.

    30. Clare Gallagher says:

      Rev, why are my comments always moderated? 

    31. handclapping says:

      Don’t let Morag click on your GARL link.

    32. jim mitchell says:

      A friend actually asked me yesterday if I thought that Johann Lamont was being set up for a fall.
      Surely not, not the totally in control, boss of bosses of the Scottish labour party!

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev, why are my comments always moderated?”

      They’re not. I haven’t knowingly censored any and there’s nothing under your name in the Spam folder. Why would you think otherwise?

    34. david says:

      james kelly doesnt just sound like a liar, he looks and behaves like a liar, this period of slab politics in scotland will be remembered as intellectually defunct. parcel o gangsters

    35. Beastie says:

      The cynic in me, and I freely admit that this is the vast majority of me being described thus, looks at the coverage this is getting and thinking ‘hmm, why is the daft bat making all this noise?’

      Could it be because the draft budget just came out? Ignore that she’s spectacularly blundered with this; it’s still taking up column inches and tv and radio minutes that could very easily be used for something else. It has all the hallmarks of a media blocking attempt and in spite of the total ineptitude of Lamont it’s apparently doing its job.

      If, God forbid, the Scottish Government pulled a similar stunt the papers would be all over the budget document like a rash trying to spot what they didn’t want us to all to notice. Which makes me wonder; what is it that the Labour party are most keen for us not to notice? Could it be that they are a talentless bunch of third rate politicians that would barely be worth voting onto a community council? Or that Lamont’s only in the job because either no one else wants it or no one else is actually any better? If it’s either of those; too late, we’ve all noticed those already.

      On the subject of her actual claims, does parliamentary privilege actually extend to defamation of a private citizen? I sincerely hope not, because I’d quite like to see John McGlynn take the view that he’s mad enough about this to throw a lawyer at her.  And I also hope it doesn’t cover it because I really, really don’t think it should.

    36. jim mitchell says:

      Anyone else get the impression that the unionist media in Scotland are now running away from the ‘story’? 

    37. Beastie says:

      Rev; my posts always go on with a tag above them of ‘your comment is awaiting moderation.’ Nothing changes and they have all ended up on the thread, but that’ll be where the impression all posts are moderated is coming from….

    38. handclapping says:

      You really have to wonder why the Herald took on Gardham. His opening sentence is that Alex had come under pressure. From whom? Making things up is not a good practice for a so called journalist let alone one dubbed political editor.
      It is a shame that the Scottish political reporting in the Herald is now practically at the same level as that afforded to the hapless English readers of the Daily Telegraph.

    39. david says:

      glad to see a comment like mosstroopers. i agree with him or her

    40. Training Day says:

      ‘I wonder if the truth is that Labour in Scotland have got lazy in believing that whatever they say will be repeated in the media unquestioningly and indeed spun accordingly by certain parties. So you can afford to be careless with accusations because they will just be repeated without investigation’
      This, with bells on.

    41. dodecostanza says:

      Can anyone tell me who the guy behind her in the photo is?
      Saw him on the news clip, shaking his head in a smirky comedy way and saying “shocking” towards the SNP benches.
      Another one of our fine SLAB representatives.

    42. Alastair Naughton says:

      JL should count herself lucky she’s not being sued for libel. Or is it the case you can say anything you want to in the chamber and then claim parliamentary privilege?

    43. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev; my posts always go on with a tag above them of ‘your comment is awaiting moderation.’ Nothing changes and they have all ended up on the thread, but that’ll be where the impression all posts are moderated is coming from….”

      Now, that’s weird. You show as “0 approved”, which means Akismet always thinks you’re a new commenter. I’ve never seen that happen to anyone else. It’s not the case with Clare, who shows as “8 approved”. Odd.

    44. david says:

      he looks and acts like a wee puppet, tells lies. his name must be pinnochio

    45. BobW says:

      JoLa`s photo-
      A face like fizz, comes to mind.

    46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can anyone tell me who the guy behind her in the photo is?”

      I believe that’s Paul Martin, most famous for calling Alex Salmond a “bare-faced liar” over the EU legal advice issue.

    47. creigs1707repeal says:

      The Labour Party in Scotland must be thinking that its hapless, bumbling leader, Johann Lamont, is an agent provocateur for YES Scotland. Perhaps she spent 3 months in hiding, hatching this cunning plan?
      YES Scotland.

    48. dodecostanza says:

      Thanks Rev, so he’s the son of Baron Martin of Springburn, never knew that.
      Another fine example of Labour in action.

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Thanks Rev, so he’s the son of Baron Martin of Springburn, never knew that.”

      Blimey, nor did I until you said it just then. Glasgow Labour really is a nest of nepotism.

    50. david says:

      nest of vipers more like

    51. Dramfineday says:

      More mud slung, another “Salmond accused” headline, job done.
      Don’t expect an apology from Lamont, we’re still waiting for one for misleading parliament over the faux rape case.
      The parliamentary authorities really do need to get it together regarding this type of behaviour and clamp down on it. I’m afraid that it is bringing the parliament into disrepute, with people being turned off by this constant aggressive stance and abuse.
      I recall when J Lamont got the job there was much boasting and jollity about “what a bruiser Lamont is” and that she’d soon sort out Salmond.  Well  I’ve news for her, don’t believe your own or your friends publicity – all you have revealed is how totally unsuitable you are for the job.
      Over to you Mr McGlynn, perhaps you’ll be more successful in extracting an apology; something that our parliament has previously failed to do on a number of important occasions.

    52. Morag says:

      There was an SNP activist called Paul Martin when I was in London Branch, so I always get confused about him.

    53. david says:

      how many hereditary positions are there in labour ?

    54. Morag says:

      What was the point of Johann’s supposed facelift (possible explanation of her long summer absence)  when she is still left with the same nasty scowling expression – the woman puts my blood pressure up.
      Actually, I don’t think she’s had major surgery, though she might have had some minor non-invasive procedure.  She has her hair really short and tucked behind her ears, and these wee earrings aren’t covering enough to make any difference.  I don’t think it’s possible to fool a close-up TV camera this soon after and actual facelift, without doing something artful with your hair.

    55. Adrian B says:

      Labour in Scotland – the words small and insignificant spring to mind.

    56. Morag says:

      AN actual facelift….

    57. david says:

      a facelift. modelled on the incredible hulk rage look

    58. Jeannie says:

      No, I don’t think she’s had a facelift.  I actually think she looks as though she’s maybe been ill. 

    59. bunter says:

      I put a comment on The Herald to the effect that Mr McGlynn should take all those who are inferring that there was something underhand going on, (including Gardham), to task.
      I hope he does.

    60. Mchaggis says:

      Ah! Gardham!
      he is the only reason I neither buy or subscribe to The Herald, who without his input actually does provide a semblance of better balance than the other unionist comics in Scotland.

    61. Tris says:

      Yes. That is indeed The Hon. Paul Martin. His father, of course, is the noble lord the Baron Martin of Springburn (known for a time as the Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northolt, when he resigned as Speaker and MP on the same day rather than face a vote of confidence). He is perhaps best known for being a disgraced Speaker of the House of Commons.  
      Interesting Paul’s pa is he only Speaker (normally automatically ennobled on retirement) to have his ennoblement questioned by the House of Lords. 
      As son of a peer or the realm, Paul Marin is aristocratic himself, and entitled to The Hon before his name.

    62. annie says:

      Surely Johann wont get away with this – if she can’t be reported for breaking the ministerial code  (or does that not apply to shadow ministers ) she should be censured for bringing the Scottish Parliament into disrepute.  There must be some standard of decent behaviour that applies to MSP’s.

    63. Mchaggis says:

      Gardhams position couldnt be any clearer –
      Lamont makes statement/question in Scottish Parliament.
      Within just an hour or two, members of the public uncover all the facts surrounding her statement.
      The facts are all public record so no rocket science involved.
      The facts demonstrate Lamont was either incredibly just wrong, or incredibly stupid.
      A full 24 hours later, Gardhams spin appears… His own personal agenda has taken precedence over any attempt to report the facts. Is that what a journalist’s role is? He is single handedly dragging The Herald to its death.

    64. HandandShrimp says:

      Lamont Gardham
      They both permanently look as if someone has just told them their dog has died. Miserable Unionist miseries who would lie to God himself if they thought it would extract one atom of favour for the Labour Party and their careers.

    65. mr thms says:

      If there was a ‘cancellation of the branch line element of the Glasgow Airport Railway Link project’ – – and the rest of the project, the Paisley Corridor Improvement (cost £169m) went ahead –
      The saving will be the difference between £210m – £169m = £41m.
      Am I missing something?

    66. Krackerman says:

      Tris – he may be entitled to it… but I’ll be bloody damned if he ever gets it from me.

    67. JPJ2 says:

      (Mis)Reporting Scotland at 1.30 pm today (Friday) had not a single word to say on the land deal-that counts as clear and unambiguous evidence of the defamation by Lamont.
      If her lies and distortions had legs it would have led the bulletin.

    68. HandandShrimp says:

      The fact that it didn’t and is dropping in the list of web stories under the sub-heading Politics suggests that they are quietly moving away from the story so Lamont can do her usual trick of hiding in a bunker till everyone forgets what a moron she is and hoping that some of the lies have stuck.

    69. G H Graham says:

      The Herald headline should leave no one in any doubt now that this newspaper is a parody of journalism, where comical headlines above articles which contain almost no truth are printed to satisfy a corrupt Unionist agenda.
      I may even send Gardham some flowers (I’m thinking of a bunch of Triffids) once he’s started collecting his unemployment benefit after the newspaper is liquidated.

    70. Mchaggis says:

      Yup, the BBC news online doesnt appear to feature much,if anything on his latest jojo revealed ‘scandal’.
      if there were any legs to this at all, the press in Scotland would have dined on it for weeks.
      the silence (outwith Gardham) speaks volumes.

    71. Training Day says:

      Yup, it’s job done for BBC Scotland then.  Connive, smear, misinform, omit, retreat and then repeat the process for a new story. 

    72. Tris says:

      I only ever use these antiquated titles to poke fun at the vapid pompous idiots that crave them or use them…
      I remember when ffoulkes, the wee daft baron was in Holyrood, Alex used to always call him ‘Lord’ George Foulkes… I thought it did a good job of belittling him in a room full of ordinary people, and him a “socialist” ! pffff.

    73. Tris says:

      I see Lamont has taken to wearing blue now. She must have been raking through Maggie’s wardrobe.

    74. muttley79 says:

      Good old BBC Scotland.  If we get a Yes vote then one of the major jobs of an independent Scottish media has got to be to hold all politicians in Scotland to account, whether in positions of authority, or opposition.  It is now blatantly obvious that we have never had a proper democratic system in Scotland.  This needs fixing immediately after a Yes vote is achieved. 

    75. Patrick Roden says:

      There was mention of some Labour MSP receiving a written response about this deal just last week.
      The deal was cut in 2008, so it seems to be that Labour have some ‘researchers’ trawling through Scottish Government documents, looking for any smear stories that can be concocted.
      So can we infer that Labour were sniffing around for some scandal, but the response from the Scottish Government Minister, showed them their was none…..
      ……But Lamont went ahead with the smear anyway?
      If she has knowingly lied in chamber, smearing a high profile businessman in the process, then the presiding officers must get involved.
      Oh yes MSM Paul Martin who’s father Michael, who the Westminster shower called ‘Gorbals Mick’ in distain of his Scottish accent,( Better Together ? yer aving a larf) who shredded Tony Blairs expenses claim sheets, when the MP Expenses scandal broke. That Paul Martin?

    76. MajorBloodnok says:

      Regarding the GARL business, I was involved in the Parliamentary process of the Bill in 2005/2006 so I have some direct knoweldge of this.
      The main point of the GARL Act 2007 (or indeed any Railway or Transport and Works Act) was to justify the compulsory purchase and/or temporary use of land (e.g for access during constuction) needed to build the railway.  The Airlink site was particulary important as it was right at the point where the branch line diverged from the main Gourock line at Paisley St James.  I remember that Airlink was not particularly co-operative at the time.
      However, an important point is that any landholder whose land was identified as requried for GARL was only entitled to the going rate for the property as defined by the (supposedly neutral) District Valuer and that he could therefore not ‘name his price’ or hold anyone to ransom, as the Act provided a means of compulsory purchase.  In addition, in law the land when bought could only be used for the reason for which it was purchased.
      Therefore, a) SPT would have paid the going rate at what was then the height of the property boom and b) as soon as the GARL scheme was dropped the land could not be used for any other purpose (e.g. housing or flats) and would have to be sold off, again at the going rate, which in this case much lower.  Well, let’s face it, who would really want to buy a piece of potentially contaminated and under-mined land next to a railway in a small industrial estate in Paisley in a property recession?

      The attempts therefore to smear the current Scottish Government with this are clearly the usual lies aided and abetted by the MSM, the fact that the land was purchased by a Labour dominated SPT under a perfectly reasonable law passed by the previous Labdour/Lib-Dem adminstration should not be ignored.
      And yes, I think that this is yet again one of those manufactured stories specifically intended to draw attention away from something important and difficult to argue against, such as the budget.  They think they’re so smart, but we know what they are up to.

    77. Morag says:

      Great additional info, Major.
      The thing that bothers me is that none of the government ministers who’ve been trotted up to explain this have actually explained it as clearly as RevStu and you have done.  A little bit more straightforward, detailed exposition would have gone down a treat.

    78. Linda's Back says:

      Well done Major
      The Scotsman also has Salmond in land row  but no mention of SPT involvement or UK Treasury rules on disposing of land.
      Giving the BBC and MSM the benefit of doubt, there seems to be no  investigative journalists left but surely a few simple questions would have established the very basic facts on the deal which are ignored by BBC / MSM  as it didn’t suit their agenda.
      It is the same with the Scotsman’s letter columns these days are several Yes supporters are saying that their letters are now ignored whereas previously they were generally printed.

    79. Linda's Back says:

      I think Stewart Maxwell tried to explain it in cogent terms but was always interrupted by either Kelly or Brewer on Newsnight last night as was the guy from North of England when he was about to extol the virtues of the Scottish government.
      However in the latter case this was down to lack of time and shows that Newsnight Scotland is not fit for purpose as a serious current affairs programme when it only lasts 20 minutes.

    80. Ron Burgundy says:

      The Herald after a probationary period over the spring and summer have now joined the Scotsman in the MSM Hall of Shame.
      Their editor is either “incompetent or corrupt” as Kranckie might say in giving Gardham a free reign to his own Unionist cheer-leading prejudices.
      Despite the interventions of Ian Bell and Iain McWhirter, Gardham today has convinced me that when the chips are down, the Herald and Sunday Herald detest the SNP government and are pathologically unwilling to offer fair or balanced political comment.
      I Have been buying it and the Sunday Herald regularly, contributing comments and seeking to persuade my Scotsman buying brother to change over.  But after today that stops. I WILL NEVER BUY EITHER AGAIN.
      USE ARCHIVE.IS for both the Scotsman and the Herald group – they have to be made to feel it and a collective effort like this is the only way

    81. Mchaggis says:

      Interesting at The Herald comments…
      Mr OBE continues to troll freely and at will (whilst others continue to be moderated).
      A person called Sophie from Edinburgh has gotten past moderation with a comment which is critical of Gardhams piece and asking for corrections to be made!

    82. Brian milligan says:

      Did this guy Kelly, on Newsnight Scotland last night say ” all transactions of the accused by J/L should, with the Scottish Goverment be exposed” Was this not a further accusation of misadventure requested.
      Joan hasnt had a face lift was a brain lift gone wrong.

    83. Alex Taylor says:

      Sacrificial Bam
      Genius Stuart

    84. Iain says:

      Re Gardham: I suspect he’s working for Whitehall/MI6. His earlier life seems a bit shadowy, and maybe I’m making too much of one or two snippets from one source, but you have to ask yourself: why would someone from Grimsby, an English lawyer with a degree from Oxford, move to Glasgow in his late 30s/early 40s to be a journalist for the Daily Record? Not being a Record reader, I wasn’t aware of him from the start, but from what I’ve heard since, he certainly seemed to have arrived with an agenda.  

    85. Cath says:

      This is actually great news in a way. Thing with very obvious attempts at smears and intimidation is that they don’t work with people who aren’t easily intimidated: in fact they tend to backfire. Now Westminster politicians and the media might find many people are easily intimidated by them because they can’t fight back, or because their career depends in some way on those people who can make or break them. Business people are generally not like this. Sure, as politicians and business people prove time and again, there can be back-scratching, corruption and all the rest. But this issue is different because there’s so much more at stake.
      If this is the treatment now being meted out to those very many people who are not nationalists and not long term SNP or independence supporters, but people who understand that Scotland needs a lot more fiscal powers and were previously supporters of devo-max, then the NO campaign is losing badly. We’ve already had such treatment given to Martin Syme of the SCVO last year. If business people who dare speak out are given – and seen to be given – this kind of treatment by Scottish Labour and the Scottish media, that speaks volumes but not in the way the bullies want. It just looks desperate. You can maybe silence one or two people that way but you can’t silence whole sectors of the economy, or half a country. At some point, people will start to see the emerging picture and fight back.
      Add to that the fact that Labour in Scotland look ridiculously weak at this point – almost as much of a joke as the Tories in Scotland. And this kind of tactic against those with a very genuine argument looks very misplaced indeed.

    86. Andy-B says:

      Surely Mr McGlynn must now sue, Johann Lamont for defamation, the sorry excuse of a Labour leader, will imply anything to smear the SNP and the independence campaign.
      I think Mr McGlynn is acting in a very reserved manor and should take further action, as for Mrs Lamont she should get the facts first, or put a sock in it, the buffoon.
      I also heard on the radio this morning BBC Scotland, that Mrs Lamont was indeed well aware of the facts, as long as a week ago, but still preceded to blurt out her smears.
      No doubt these false allegations, were aired, just for that very purpose.

    87. Juteman says:

      Their tactics seem to show a complete lack of understanding of the Scots, not just the business folk.
      We may not take to the streets in the numbers of Catalonia, but we don’t like being bullied, or folk taking the piss.
      This will be a quiet revolution.

    88. Morag says:

      The trouble with ideas about suing for defamation is that a lot of what La Lament said was couched as questions.  That’s actually quite clever, as it allows the allegations to be made while still hiding behind the “I’m just asking questions” fig-leaf.  You’d have to get a lawyer to look at the exact phraseology, because thet’s what any judgement would turn on.

    89. The Rough Bounds says:

      My guess is that the Labour Party in Scotland was pissed off when this GARL business was scuppered because it meant lots of wee Labour cooncillors and their pals had to take their hands out of the till. Boy, were they looking forward to all that potential loot coming their way? You bet your bottom dollar.

    90. Jim Lamb says:

      How much lower are they going to stoop?
      Funny, Arthur Scargill warned me that Westmonster would do this. After hacking-gate we have smears, surely this cannot be allowed to go unchallenged?

      When are the Yes campaign going to fight back? 

    91. CameronB says:

      how many hereditary positions are there in labour ?
      Sorry for sounding like a scratched record, but to paraphrase former Tory PM Benjamin Disraeli, on the subject of ‘working class leaders’;
      They must be co-opted to ensure they serve the interests of the Establishment.

    92. Juteman says:

      Wasn’t there a bit of fuss over a CPO with regard to the Commonwealth games? I vaguely remember something about ‘ex’ Labour folk being involved in a company looking to eject sitting tenants.

    93. Mad Jock McMad says:

      I think Lamont had McGlynn mixed up with one of the major donors of the Scottish Conservatives who recently told Cameron he would not get a further hapenny from him as the best future for Scotland’s economy was as an independent nation – Laurie Clark, owner and managing director of Anglo-Scottish Concrete.

      It is easy to see how Clark and McGlynn sound the same to the Berserkers in Anas Sawar’s office of desperate claims.

    94. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      We have to find a way to get these lies exposed to a wide audience very quickly.
      I know exactly the way.
      Online radio. We need a Wings Over Scotland Online radio aimed particulrly at the young audience which is virtually all online. It is easy to do and can be put together for about £2000 (or less)
      All an online radio needs in equipment is a computer, a broadband connection and some mikes.
      I’m part of one broadcasting from a medium sized table ina small room in Dunoon. As we do musical programmes mainly and light entertainment we also pay for streamed music.
      All any one has to do is put Argyll Independent Radio into search on a computer, go to “listen Now” and press the appropriate box when that comes up.
      I’ve got a little chat and music show on tonight from 7 to 8 followed by my weekly Rock’n’Roll hour. We get listeners all over the world as long as they are on broadband.
      The potential is infinite 

    95. Albert Herring says:

      Well, that story disappeared off the airwaves pretty quickly.

    96. Juteman says:

      I don’t think your idea would work, Dave.
      My car and house radio are set on certain stations. I never change them.

    97. Smudge says:

      The liars and idiots of Better Together have persuaded e to change my mind towards voting for Independence.

      I don’t think the Scottish Government is perfect but since they’ve been in power they’ve tried to benefit the Scottish people.

      So I’ve gone from devo plus to Independence

    98. John Lyons says:

      If Lamont wants to discuss scandalous wastes of public money, perhaps she could discuss P.F.I.

    99. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      You don’t get online radio except through a broadband connection on a computer. You can be doing anything else you want on the computer and listen to the programmes at the same time 

    100. Firestarter says:

      “how many hereditary positions are there in labour ?”
      Pardon my naivety ……. but can anyone tell me why there are any hereditary positions AT ALL?
      Oh, and yes, “sacrificial bam” …… LOL …….. absolutely top-drawer stuff 😀

    101. Juteman says:

      I hear what you are saying Dave, but who do you expect to search and listen?
      Just being realistic.

      Any action needs to be in your face.

    102. muttley79 says:

      Welcome to the indy gang!..
      @John Lyons
      No chance of that happening.  The SLAB script is that they have never made a mistake, or have ever wasted public money.

    103. David McEwan Hill says:

      Anybody with even the lightest ability on a computer.
      Try it
      Put Argyll Independent Radio in your search bar (google or whatever) and it wl l take you directly to Argyll Independent Radio. Go to “Listen Now and press on it. Another box will come up with two options to get into the programme. You will hear the streamed music at the moment. You can put Argyll Independent Radio into “favourites” for instance which provides instant access
      I assume your computer has media player or the equivalent

    104. Grant_M says:

      @ Dave McEwan Hill
      Cheers for the info.
      You know, there might be some as yet untapped potential for this, because…
      this also works on an Android smart phone using the tunein app (and quite possibly different smart phones and other app combos too).
      Listening to Music For The World, Barbara Dickson – Van Dieman’s Land 🙂

    105. Silverytay says:

      Dave McEwan Hill   
      Thanks for that link , it works a treat , you get as far as googling Argyll Ind and it comes up .
      Will listen in to your show at 8pm .

    106. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I have just been made aware of this over on National Collective. I started to read the article but really had to stop. Talk about spreading the manure thick and fast! Do they actually have people in Westminster who are actually PAID to write this garbage?

    107. call me dave says:

      Radio Free Scotland
      Posted by Aaron Giuntini on May 22, 2013 · Flag

      Scotland ORIGINAL Pro-independence Radio station!
      Reborn online in 2007 and running weekly every Tuesday night with Occasional specials available for download.
      The show can be listened to on any browser, operating system and mobile device.
      With Host Pax and Norrie and regular guests Nick Durie,Gordon S Kerman and YES Scotland monthly updates from John Thomson.
      Often tongue in cheek but always informative RFS exists to give the tools of debate to Scottish civic nationalist everywhere.
      Our goal is also to assist in peeling the cataracts of unionism from the eye of the people of Scotland so we can ALL see Scotland through independent eyes.
      No music or light entertainment……though.
      Listened in myself a few times but mainly forget its Tuesday.

    108. Juteman says:

      @ Arbroath.
      It’s a ‘Bateman’. 🙂

    109. Albert Herring says:

      It’s not real, it’s art or something.

    110. Morag says:

      Arb, what with you and John, I’m beginning to wonder if half the cybernats on the globe have had an irony bypass.

    111. Juteman says:

      No offence Dave, but how will you get folk to listen?
      Most folk listen to the radio to break the boredom on the commute to work.
      Get a hacker to flood the airwaves between 6 and 9 am.

    112. Silverytay says:


      While it is a Bateman type spoof it really is the type of scares stories that project fear have been spinning us .
      I reached the end of the article before I realised it was a spoof .

    113. Morag says:

      I reached the end of the article before I realised it was a spoof .
      Oh dear.  Some of you guys need to wise up a bit about this sort of satire.

    114. Grant_M says:

      Ooh, that document has ‘Top Secret’ stamped on it.
      It must be real, then.

    115. Silverytay says:

      I think I will have to join John and Arbroath in the naughty corner for being taken in .  lol

    116. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Oops! looks like I fell for it ……..AGAIN! 😆
      Never mind I’ll head of to the Darkened room for an hour or two now shall I? 😆

    117. Morag says:

      The red “Top Secret” stamp in the picture at the head of the article was a dead giveaway even before you started reading.

    118. Dramfineday says:

      Mchaggis says:
      13 September, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Ah! Gardham!
      For some reason Mchaggis your remark reminded me of this – a slightly longer Ahh, but with a very satisfying outcome that I hope you enjoy:

    119. The Flamster says:

      Dave – I’m listening now – Peggy Sue 🙂

    120. Kevin Lynch says:

      I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. My only reservation about independence is the shamefully shallow pool of political talent in Scotland. This is a serious issue. If we are to have a successfully democratic independent country, we need an opposition on the debating chamber floor that’s actually capable of holding the government to account on policy.
      What we have instead are the “also rans re-enactment society” and a fucking muppet that looks like a pissed off shrivelled up prune with half the intellect and worldly awareness of a dried lentil. Surely someone in the Labour party could have paid a small child a few bob to do some basic fact checking before they let this retarded lentil loose in Holyrood?

    121. gordoz says:

      Stu : As a way of getting back at the old BEEB and turning the screw ….
      Linked to what Dave McEwan Hill was saying about online radio idea, is there any mileage in seeing if Derek Bateman would want to do certain special wings podcasts ?
      Are there mixed signals coming out of the Daily Record these days ? Heard they had another go at WoS but missed it. However I’ve been listening and reading David Cleggs reporting format recently and seems to be less of the venom & dagger these days and a slight leaning towards balanced reporting …. any thoughts on this ?
      Maybe Im wrong?

    122. Derick Tulloch says:

      Paul Martin MSP (hereditary).  That would be the fellow that was in with the bricks in a despicable campaign to stop social housing being built at Auchinairn Drive.  People’s Party my hairy Shetland erse.  Would’t water the fellow if he was on fire.
      Agree about Gardham

    123. RodneySofa says:

      Saw this fiasco on iPlayer yesterday. Lamont’s performance was execrable. Somewhere a council is missing a shoddy councillor. Wasn’t Ruthie a tad aggressive though but?

    124. ianbrotherhood says:

      Perhaps we should ask someone who knows about such things who the next leader of ScotLab is likely to be. I don’t believe for a nano-second that anyone seriously considers Sarwar as a possibility, but we really need to hear from someone who is au fait with Labour in Scotland…what about Hothersall? He probably wouldn’t share it with us, but no harm asking.
      Anyway, reminds me of the one about the wee rabbit taking a quiet moment to unburden himself in the woods. He’s settled, doing his business, when there’s a rustling beside him and he turns to see an enormous grizzly bear squatting, readying himself to do likewise. 
      ‘Alright pal?’ says the bear.
      The quivering rabbit squeaks, ‘Aye. No bad. Yersel?’
      ‘Sortit man,’ says the bear.
      The rabbit suddenly finds himself unable to complete his business, while his much larger companion noisily performs the task and asks:
      ‘Here, wee rabbit, mate, tell me something, eh?’
      ‘Aye?’ responds rabbit.
      ‘Dae ye ever have problems wi’ bits ay shite clinging tae yer fur?’
      ‘Eh, no, no really,’ replies rabbit.
      Whereupon bear wipes his arse with rabbit and flings him over his shoulder. 

    125. gordoz says:

      @ ianbrotherhood
      Put this question to Alan Grogan & Alex Bell the other night, (not flavour of the month but still have connections), they both shook their heads (Said few  members generally could stand Lamont  / Baillie / etc ; wouldn’t have any of the high office group at all ) & said theres so few to choose from and in general the organization is a mess.
      The ex Police chief guy ??

    126. ianbrotherhood says:

      By ‘ex Police chief guy’, do you mean the bloke who keeps cropping up on Kay-With-A-Knee Adams’ Radio Scotland show? Him? Is he a Labour heid-yin?

    127. ianbrotherhood says:

      Is it Les Gray?

    128. Angus MacC says:

      Forget about Johann L., she is there to keep the referendum cheap.

    129. Cath says:

      “I don’t believe for a nano-second that anyone seriously considers Sarwar as a possibility”
      He seems to be the only possibility being considered. He’s the one that keeps being sent to speak for Better Together, or Labour NO or whoever the fuck he’s supposed to be speaking for.
      Trouble is, he’s a Westminster MP. You can just tell the Westminster crowd and head office are itching to put one of themselves in charge – they already are anyway, pulling the strings. Question is would they be willing to send that message so openly? It would also leave issues with who does FMQs if they took that route. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they did before 2014 though. I have a distinct feeling Labour regret the Scottish parliament and want rid of it in favour of the Westminster control that was always supposed to remain.

    130. gordoz says:

      @ ianbrotherhood
      Dep chief sorry – Pearson ?

    131. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Anas? We can but pray

    132. gordoz says:

      Think they were talking about Dep chief cons Pearson ?

    133. MajorBloodnok says:

      Come independence there will be a quite number of Labour MPs with Scottish constituencies that will be looking for jobs (they can’t all be elevated to the Lords, surely), so it could all get very interesting in Scotland.  Personally I think Anas would be the perfect man to fill Johann’s boots (for obvious reasons), if he’s not off filling them somewhere else, that is.

    134. theycan'tbeserious says:

      There must be evidence out there of connections/meetings/planning/strategy between SLAB/lamont and gardham/MSM. Highlight this and No are finished!
      Aquamarine is the colour of scum sucking bottom dwellers!!

    135. David McEwan Hill says:

      Gardham is keeping up the story minus most of the facts in today’s Herald. It has disappeared everywhere else.
       A leaflet 
      “The Herald and Labour Lies”
      is called for.

    136. Bzzzz says:

      I replied to a number of ridiculous posts on The Scotsman (I know) in response to the lies and accusations flying about accusing the SNP etc etc with the facts of the matter and guess what? ALL of them were deleted. I was neither rude or insulting I just stated that facts of the matter and also asked why Lamont didn’t know the processes involved considering she is supposed to be the leader of Scottish Labour AND her husband, Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council is ALSO on the board of SPT!?
      Now is this her just being stupid or deliberately misleading and lying in parliament? 
      The thing that is annoying me the most about all this is the fact that it is going largely unmentioned by the media and they are getting away with what is nothing short of disgraceful… I sincerely hope that the woman is taken to task on this, it is disgraceful beyond belief and shows that these people are getting away with murder and it MUST be stopped! 

    137. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      I got myself a spare wee motor yesterday as my main one leaves a lot to be desired in the realms of street legality. The letters on the registration read “S… LAB”. I deny that I have been a member of nor have had any affiliation with the Scottish Labour Party..:D

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