The Tea Boy and Back Room Deals

I was in my 30’s before I became involved in politics because of the independence referendum.
Since then I’ve been a councillor and worked in the Scottish Parliament.
That’s why what’s happened in North Lanarkshire today isn’t a surprise to me. The Labour Party teaming up with the Tories to control the council should be shocking, but I didn’t expect anything else. 
Today the 23 year old Tory group leader in Lanarkshire was given an important convenorship and thousands of pounds more on her council salary by the labour led administration. By teaming up with the Tories labour in North Lanarkshire have managed to keep power despite winning less seats than the SNP.
The last few years have been a real eye opener for me. The labour leadership has shown that it will do anything to stay in power. The reasons for this go to the heart of something very wrong with our politics. Labour in North Lanarkshire are full of young and relatively young people to whom politics is a job. For many it’s the only job they’ve ever had. They’re in politics, not because they care about public service or care about improving their communities, they’re in politics because they see it as a good job. They went to college and uni to study politics & have wanted to be elected since they were at school!

The Labour councillors in North Lanarkshire are friends with and socialise with their Tory counterparts. They are smart enough to not be in a formal coalition with each other, but make no mistake about it, the Tory leader is getting the best part of ten grand a year to support her mates in the Labour Party. 
Worse than that, a failing leadership who have no experience in leading and who’s party fell apart at the seams, defectors almost weekly) used backstabbing to get a few months as leader and deputy. A deputy which members of his own current group say that he is nothing better than a tea boy. 

Labour will spin this not as a coalition but the deal was done the moment they offered Audit to a Tory. Good luck REDTORYBLUE. I will not be letting this rest with the media, voters of your leadership.

I’m gone from the chamber but not from holding you to account 

“I am not corrupt!” Oh yes they were……

I’ve not been on much as my family is currently looking after a beloved member. However, I thought before tomorrow’s council election (if you would permit me) I’d like to encourage you all to get out and vote. 

Someone said to me the other day “no one really bothers about the council elections do they?” While we stand in the shadow of a general election don’t be kidded into thinking these elections don’t matter. The councils are at the front line of most things you do in life. The road outside your house has a pothole? Council. You’re worried about the number of teachers in your kids school? Council. Your friends new business is waiting on a licence. Council. Your elderly relative needs home care? Council. You want to have a discussion about bins? Council. The lists could go on. 

Growing up in North Lanarkshire people often spoke of corruption and made jokes about the Labour “Councillors free holidays”. It was almost accepted that it was all part of the job, but no more. People across Scotland have had a political awakening and we now know that these councillors are answerable to the public. They are servants of the people and guardians of public money. No longer will it be a passive job while officers do all the work.

The Labour Party constantly ride the hobby horse of “Govanhill” because it’s in the constituency of the First Minister; what they fail to say is that Govanhills resources when it comes to cleanliness, environment and community are tied up in a budget controlled by a labour council. The don’t even seem to realise how utterly shameful and hypocritical they’re being when criticising the FM for their catalogue of errors. 

GCC, NLC, SLC, all of which are around me and my life, in one way or another. Never have I understood, since becoming a councillor, how ineffective these local governments have been in looking after those who put them there. Point scoring, personal gain, positions of power – that’s been the order of the day for these guys. I tried to start a uniform bank in NLC. Shut down. We tried to save the One Stop Shop for Autism. Shut down. The Citizens advice bureau. Money cut while Councillors received lobbying letters from other firms, signed by the deputy leaders partner. Reports on sackings. Neatly stowed away from the opposition group. Questions asked. Never answered. Education department executives fired. Claims that the convenor, now the leader knew of the “fiddling”. Kicked into the long grass. I served on that Council for less than two years and this is only some of the scandalous behaviour that members of the public and some officers brought to my attention. I can only imagine what went on in the years before. It’s all “accusations” but it seems to me the new councillors will have a lot of digging around to do before they can start either a clean slate.

So why is change so important? Because our communities will be crippled if we stay under the same leadership. It’s time to be rid of alleged corruption, of incompetence and of the jobs for the boys. Get out and vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. 

SNP 1 2 and maybe even 3! 

Dear Katie

Dear Katie,

I’m writing to ask you to stop. Just stop. Your beating down of women and using their looks to demean them may get you attention (such as this letter) but what it also does, is unravel years of hard work done by women who realised the only way for us girls to succeed in a mans world is to build each other up.

I’m a different type of feminist, you probably don’t care, but in some ways I’m like you. I say what I think and I have opinions BUT I realise that sometimes you’ve got to wrap it. Today I saw you criticise my First Minister, now firstly you slagged her ginger hair which is inaccurate as she’s kind of a dirty blonde. A nice ashy colour. Her spikes at conference were amazing. Then you tweeted that Mhairi Black should maybe learn to use shampoo. She does use shampoo. Although I think when she or Nicola are speaking out for the abused, the impoverished and the vulnerable; I don’t really think they give a fu*k about the condition of their hair. You see they might have a different opinion from you but they never ever do anything unless they are sure it will go a mile to build others up. Mhairi Black may be young but she has radically changed the face of politics for young people across the country, and I don’t care if she achieved it wearing a Patrick Thistle top. I care that she tried. Not only that she is succeeding. 

Now Katie, you’ve been in the papers for more than your vocal opinions. Your sexual exploits, your weight etc and I thought “you go girl”. If you like a hedge then go get em. Cause that’s what feminism is. It’s saying to others “do what you want because that’s what makes your world turn”. You say jobs should be given on merit, that’s true but equality isn’t pie. It doesn’t run out. There is enough room for everyone. It doesn’t matter if they like ginger hair, shampoo or canoodling in hedges.

Mental health. You’ve had a lot to say about that today. I can tell you this, I would never wish it on anyone and I hope you feel the way you do because you never have to see it break people the way I have.

While you may set feminism back a hundred years, you also hurt people. I believe you have been hurt too. You must have been. So why do you never stop for one second to think, actually that’s rubbish from me… In Scotland we’d say this “gie it a by hen and don’t talk shite”. (You may have seen this demonstrated by Mhairi herself)

So I’m asking from one lippy blond to another, please just leave it alone. You’re harming women, feminism and most of all you’re slagging my pals. Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black are forces of nature and forces for good. Right now I’d like to know what do you want to be a force for? Because it seems the only force you care about is the British main stream media, and let me tell you that’s the one force which is like the dark side. It’s on its road oot! 



Pencils for Progress

Today on my Facebook memories the passage bellow came up. It was a year ago and yet we did it. We gave every single kid in ward 20 primary schools the tools to learn. So proud….

April 20th 2016

This is long put please read and share. Today I was at the SNP manifesto launch and Nicola Sturgeon made a comment that’s really stuck with me all day. She said a B for some high school kids is kind of like an A for others. For example some kids in Wishaw live in over crowded houses with no quiet study place, they have jobs to support low income parents, some can’t afford equipment and many families can’t afford tutors. I was really keen to hear that universities will have to look at this and take it into account. See the thing is every child is unique, special and completely different. For example verbally my own daughter is insanely smart but we just found out she has severe brain damage which limits her ability to get it down on to paper. So Wee Skye will benefit from this. Then there was talk about the baby box. Every single baby in Scotland will get a box filled with essentials. Every single one. There are also financial changes too but the baby box is a symbol of the value that each baby holds.

Every child in my ward is more than just a number or a pupil in a school. Every child is potential. A potential teacher. A potential doctor who could save your life. A potential first minister. A potential scientist who will cure cancer.

So I’ve thought about it and what can I do for our young people? Labour administration seem to be blocking my uniform bank but I’m going to fight it, but in the mean time I want to start collecting a pencil cases filled with pencils, rubbers and rulers. There are thousands of kids in ward 20 but let’s do this. A Wee token of our support for their learning. That’s one less burden for parents and one Wee pat on the back for our kids, especially those who turn up without any tools to learn. So who can help? Who’s in?? 💛🌈🦄

Ridiculous Labour Electioneering Over SDL March

My local paper and members of the opposition parties have criticised my local MSP Clare Adamson for campaigning when we marched against the SDL. I’ve been very vocal standing up against racism but I can tell you I was delighted that Clare passed a motion to condemn the SDL rally and carried on with her business as usual. By carrying on with her business, campaigning and life she fights in a different way. Who has the monopoly on the best way to stand up for others? Do we shout? Do we stand up? Do we carry on with the day job? All of some or one are equally as effective and the statements by some Labour Party members reek of capitalisation on what was a tough day for our town. All that should be remembered was the hard work of the counter demo organisers and those who were vocal in THEIR OWN WAY!

I wasn’t going to say anything but I walked a long side people from unions, political parties, campaign groups and many more who just wanted to solidarity and what was heard over and over again was the crassness of the Motherwell and Wishaw Labour Party marching with their banner right at the front of the line. Can they carry it? Yes. Did it have to be front and centre? I don’t think so. I was deeply disappointed and approached by memebers of several organisations who asked me why they were doing it. I didn’t say. It wasn’t about Labour or the SNP. However it seems to me that’s what it’s been developed into once again.

Clare Adamson MSP was out knocking doors to win over our councils. She was asking for the public to look at an alternative. As a sitting Councillor no one more than me understands why we need this. I was mortified last week to read that while the Labour group continuously shout and ball about cuts, they are paying execs almost half a million pounds. More than the  Prime Minister.

So my thought is this. Labour get your own house in order before throwing stones. Capitalising on an issue such as the SDL and racism is beyond ridiculous. I will not sit back and watch it. As a lefty. A Councillor, or a resident of Wishaw. 

When Sleep is Lost

Yesterday was a big day for me. I decided to move into the next phase of frontline politics. Many of you have asked why, especially as I “stepped down” but I never stepped down, I’ve always been working away as a councillor and activist; I just had to be sure I was ready for the next step. To be sure that the next step would be right not just for me but my party, and most importantly for any person I sought to represent. 

I often lay awake at night and think of decisions I’ve made, wondering if they were right or wrong. I think of all the nights I’ve spent awake worrying about issues in my ward, dealings with the media, how people perceive me. I’ve spent hours awake worrying as a single mum that I’ll be able to pay the bills, manage my work, life, balance. I’ve sat up into the wee hours contemplating the lives of my children and their future, worrying that the issues surrounding them won’t affect their wee lives. I’ve peered into the darkness and often thought is there a place for me. There is.

Tonight, as I’m awake in the dark, I can’t help but think that I can use all the worries of previous sleepless nights and turn them into experience; experience which I can use to serve others better. A wise woman once quoted the late Bashir Ahmad and his words were along the lines of “it doesn’t matter where we come from, what matters is where we are going”. I will take my worries over money, disabilities, health, gender and use them to find an affinity, an affinity with the people of  where I’m going….. 

Use your dark nights and find something light in them. 

A Woman’s Right To Lipstick

When Emily Davison stepped in front of the horse at the Epsom Derby on the 4th of June 1913, she did it for all women. If you look at photos of her she wore feathers, she wore hats and she was very glam. She never once said “in order to be equal you have to look a certain way”. Her funeral was paid for and organised by the “WSPU” (women’s social and political union). It was pretty with flowers and the women all dressed beautifuly. 

When I first got into “politics” it was more about seeing my community improve. I was already hooked on makeup tutorials, botox and shoes. I love women and all things girly, and particularly wanted to see things improve for us females. Someone said to me you’re such a feminist. Immediately I was thinking “naw mate cause I’m wearing a bra”. However, very very quickly I realised that I was indeed a feminist and that a feminist could come in all forms; and there is a place for EVERY woman in the movement. What there wasn’t a lot of was tolerance for my sort of “feminism”.

Many men (not all, I know there’s a few good yokes out there) have it ingrained in their head that if a woman is “sexy”, possibly blond, wears makeup and loves an over priced piece of footwear then she must be there for the taking. Pretty but thick? Marilyn Monroe is a classic example of how this is a) myth and b) a tool some women employ to get a head. Marilyn read a book called “The Thinking Body”, she used this scientific book to build a “walk” that would mesmerise men and women alike. She changed her hair, she changed her voice and she changed part of her personality; but underneath it all she was a shrewd woman who knew it would get her a head. She is one of the most famous women to have ever lived.

A woman who billed herself as a “feminist” once told someone not to employ me because of  what she’d heard, how I looked etc. She had never met me, didn’t know me but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t keen on seeing me flourish. GIRLS we must be BETTER. If we want to see others flourish then we must build them up with the bricks that people throw at them. One of my best friends never shaves her arm pits, mine are as baldy as a babies bum. We love each other’s pits!!! It’s called inclusive feminism. Wear yer bra, chuck it in the bin. Let your fake boobs be cradled in la perla or let your wee swingers flow free. None of this matters in the fight for equality. 

It’s what you fight for, not what you look like while you do it, that matters. Take your lipstick and paint the world a million shades of gorgeous.