NEWSFLASH: Sept 11
THE Scottish Parliament's Environment
Committee has been asked to look at
the cow burner crisis by the Public
This is good news. The Petitions
committee could have settled for much
less. Dorothy spoke as a Petitions
Committee member and urged that the
Transport and Environment Committee
be contacted. The Petition by Michael
Kayes prompted the decision to call in
the Environment Committee. September
11 marked the first meeting of the
Petitions committee since June 2001.
Dorothy just beat the clock and no
more (including working by mobile from
polling stations on election day) to
push through the petition in June,
otherwise the matter would have not
been raised until October or later.
From the Govanhill night of fear for local people, with
charging police horses, to trying to stop a cow burner re-opening
at Carntyne, I sure get the glitzy tasks in this Party!
GOVANHILL: POLICITAL USE OF THE POLICE
I was called in by the locals and
remained throughout a shameful night
for democracy under New Labour in
Glasgow. Locals wanted an MSP there
as a witness - and to try to help, as I'd
been involved from the start.
The SNP can be proud of activists who
have helped Govanhill through a long
endurance test. Nicola Fisher, Jim
Byrne, Billy Taggart, etc. did noble
service on the terrible night of August 7
trying to prevent people getting hurt.
And Nicola had of course taken part in
the peaceful protest for 144 days.
The scenes at Govanhill - caused
directly by a council too cowardly to
intervene with a positive proposal -
rang round the world. I got e-mails from
the Middle East to Canada, from people
horrified that the council had struck
such a blow against people protesting
over a swimming pool closure. Yet a PR
for the City of Glasgow was inside the
building all the time that night.
And he refused my pleas to find one
local councillor with the guts to appear
- or even send a positive message
suggesting a meeting in the morning.
While the police are getting much of
the criticism, it was clear they could did
not care a damn about their fate or the
fate of the public.
Jim Byrne and I went into the pool
building with the office in charge and
pleaded with council officials to
intervene to prevent the worst: the
horse charge. The police wanted
They realised they were being used in
a purely political situation. The reply
we got from that official was "We won't
have our councillors compromised.
Someone might throw an egg at them".
As ambulances lined up and stood by, I
even pleaded for a councillor to be
brought to the phone.
My answer was: "People are going to
be compromised into the Royal
Infirmary tonight if you do not do
Make no mistake: the council's actions
were nakedly provocative and against
the interests of public order throughout.
Their last blow was to send in workmen
to board up the pool windows late at
That lit the blue touch paper. No one
vandalised that building - indeed they
had protected it. After that, angry
people broke through police lines and
spilled onto Victoria Road.
I was dodging round the police horses
phoning Labour MSP Frank McAveety
on my mobile and MP Marshall. I left
message appealing for intervention.
The background noise told the story.
No reply came.
The cowardice of the council on the
night of August 7 is the key point.
Once the police went in - automatic
after the warrant was operated on
council orders - there was almost
bound to be trouble.
But the cowardly council were
determined to play "ring and run": call
in the cops up to 300 of them - and
make the efforts of peaceful people
over 144 days end in a scene, while
the council hid.
Mere internal police inquiries are going
right now into that night. The above is
some of what I will be saying. But we
need a public inquiry. That would bring
out the shameful role of the council.
The political use of the police by this
council must be stopped. I think the
police favour that also. There were
virtually set up. This is entirely New
Forgive me for rabbiting on about
Govanhill - it is essential that we
understand just how bad things are
CONTRAST: A SIMILAR OCCUPATION
IN GLASGOW IN 1975
In 1975, I was in the work-in at the
Scottish Daily News. For six months,
we held that building - technically,
illegally. The old black glass Express
building was worth millions.
We were the first newspaper workers'
co-operative and we worked for free for
six months in the freezing and
abandoned Albion Street plant,
producing a rebel paper we wrote and
sold ourselves on the streets.
Throughout, I dreaded the day the
phone would ring to tell us the police
would be sent in to re-claim the
building (then part owned by the
Labour government and with a council
A call came one day from the Lord
Provost, Peter McCann, who was also
"Oh please don't send in the police.
We can't risk violence. This is a
peaceful work-in," I said before he had
a chance to speak. "Police? We could
- but we won't" replied McCann.
"Councillors wouldn't do that to
Glasgow folk who are protesting peacefully. I was just phoning
to say I
guess your work-in must be hungry
since your canteen closed.
So you've all to come round to the
Corporation canteen, get a cheap
dinner and say I sent you if there's any
That was a Labour Lord Provost in
1975 in similar "occupation"
circumstances. What a contrast with
New Labour at Govanhill in 2001.
(McCann today defies Blairism openly)
Gartocher Terrace protesters did a
delightful thing recently. They held a
"thank you" party for all those who had
helped their fight against Mr. Combe,
the dump truck owner who had
created, initially without planning
permission, a curious compound in their
street, surround by razor wire.
Having declared themselves to be
"Gartocher Free State" these valiant
locals now fight all major potential
It looks like Mr. Combe will never move
onto the site, which he claimed was to
be used for a mobile home for himself -
as a retirement spot (next to a
cemetery. Apparently the retirement
plans of dump truck owners include
massive razor wire fencing, tarmac and
installations, which look nothing like
anyone's idea of a gnome-splattered
Dorothy, Jamie Williamson, Sean
Clerkin and others who had helped in
the fight against Mr. Combe were
guests of honour at the Gartocher
"thank you party" and special mention
was made of the enormous help given
by Paul and Isobel Smith.
The latest alarming
report on dumping by the UK Small Area Health Statistics Unit
includes Paterson's at Mt Vernon among 9,000 dumps studied.
Once again, links between toxic dumps and birth defects were
And once again, the Scottish Executive tried to brush 500,000
tonnes of waste under their plush carpets. That is Paterson's
licensed intake in a built up area.
Dorothy says that the only way that the truth about toxic
dumping can be uncovered is for house-to-house checks by researchers.
She is calling for each occupant of the thousands of houses
in Baillieston and Shettleston to be questioned about their
state of health.
BSE COVER UP AT CARNTYNE
"The above has taken up umpteen hours of time over the recess.
One time, I worked for 36 hours without sleep on this dire
situation. It's complicated. At first, it was denied by
SEPA and others that the cow burner, next to houses, schools
and playing fields, would have anything to do with BSE cattle.
But Michael Kayes, a local resident, and I worked together
and dug out statements from MAFF in England and from the
Scottish Executive confirming that the new burnings would
be for cattle under the BSE Surveillance Scheme. The East
End burner would be taking cattle at "high risk" of BSE:
fallen stock. And Glasgow would be the only city to have
incineration in a built up area.
We found a planning condition meant to prevent any BSE animals
being incinerated at Carnytne and we are demanding that
the City Council prevents this plant re-opening.
I wrote submissions to SEPA and the Executive and achieved
one breakthrough: holding off the Executive signing contracts
with the burner owner. But watch this space. Who can trust
what they get up to?
CAMPAIGNS : HIP REPLACEMENT AGONY LIST
Dorothy is now trying to get hip replacement waiting times
down. The first case (a Garrowhill pensioner who approached
her) was successful. He had waited almost a year to see
a consultant - never mind get on the operation waiting list.
Scandalous. Dorothy had noticed that his condition had deteriorated
in the last few weeks.
She wrote a stormer to the hospital and the patient's GP
backed his case strongly. The patient has now been told
he would see a consultant within a week.
Other appalling delay cases are coming in thick and fast
from Baillieston and other East End people, including a
pensioner in such pain he cannot wait for the NHS and is
being forced to spend his life savings on a private operation.
We can't have this.
The Greater Glasgow Health Board's claims to be tackling
these ops within a few months have been blow out of the
water. The biggest deception is that the waiting lists don't
usually include the time waiting to see a consultant.
Dorothy is representing the Party on a
committee visit to Berlin for two days
just after Conference. Members have
asked a few questions in the past
about German issues, including hospital
treatment for British patients. Let her
know if you have any questions you
want asked, as she'll be meeting
Dorothy has been on two marches and spoken at two rallies
held by Glasgow's underpaid medical secretaries. No wonder
the waiting lists are huge: the NHS won't even pay enough
money to attract the secretaries who have to do the real
work in sorting out the patients.
THEY take the strain of complaints from the public more
than many of the doctors. At present, it takes up to 20
weeks to replace a medical secretary when she leaves because
few will accept the lousy wages and it's specially trained
highly skilled work. ?
||Speaking at a meeting
of Glasgow chronic pain patients, Knightswood
||Speaking at hospice
fundraiser at Strathcarron Hospice, Larbert
for Baillieston, Shettleston and Springburn
||Fighting two evictions
of single parents with Billy McAllister (we succeeded)
||Attending visit by
Benazir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan with Muslin
protests - speaking at two large rallies and one march
in Glasgow in August
|| Meeting Japanese ambassador
||Working with senior
pupils at Strathclyde University Summer Academy
||Attending Wallace Day
Meeting with Danish journalists
|| Visiting "Hope" prison
visiting scheme in the Gallowgate
Children's Fund Raising Trust meeting.
|| Fighting cases for
||Visiting Glasgow College
of Building and Printing regarding gas installation
|| Attending SNP events
- Hustings at Maryhill, Business for Scotland meeting,
John Swinney night, Jo Docherty's barbecue night.
How to contact Dorothy
Dorothy can be
contacted in a number of ways:
7th Floor, Telfer House,
74 Miller Street, Glasgow, G1 1DT.
Tel. 0141 204 1749 Fax. 0141 204 1762
email Dorothy in Glasgow at
George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH99 1SP. Tel. 0131 348 5683.
Fax: 0131 348 5945
Alternatively, you can also email Dorothy in the Parliament
Dorothy also does surgeries EVERY month of the year, including
Christmas and holiday times.
If you write or email, please be assured that every effort
will be made to give you a prompt reply.
In the case of an URGENT ENQUIRY please call, write or email
the Constituency office first.
No. 18, Feb 2001
Newsletter No. 19, Jun 2001