Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Glasgow NE By-election - John Smeaton Q & A

A few weeks ago I offered all candidates in the Glasgow by-election the opportunity to answers some questions set by readers of this blog. John Smeaton of the Jury Team has now supplied his answers.

Q How would you exclusively prioritise the reserved Westminster issues in a manner that you think will improve the lives of Glasgow North East constituents?

A Prioritize the economy, vote on issues/be strong on encouraging investment in Glasgow North East by businesses - take up reduction in employment like the closure of the Diago distillery - targeting unemployed benefit for those who really deserve it.

Q What advantages will your reserved priorities have over Michael Martin's electoral promises and influence to improve the quality of life in Springburn?

A Michael Martin tried his best and is still respected in the constituency. Many think the reason Michael Martin couldn't do as much as he wanted to was because he was held back by party politics. I can vote (the speaker can't) and I will not be constrained by party politics - this already puts me miles ahead in terms of advantage.

Q Should the government take more control of the partially-funded UK banks?

A I would be willing to listen to what the economists and academics have to say and, with fellow MPs, reach a consensus as to the best way forward.

Q What is your opinion regarding the incapacity benefit changes proposed by the Tories and Labour?

A It's all tough talking, but I worry that the people who will suffer are the ones in real need. I think we should punish the cheats, but we should be realistic and accept that maybe that's the price we pay for a humane system of caring for the sick and inform. Saying that though, we should have a proper system of medical panels (but not make people jump through hoop after hoop) to decide whether people are really incapacitated and unable to do any job. For all those who are able to work in some way, they should be given proper training to help them to get a job.

Q Why do you think the socio-economic and health/quality of life indicators in the constituency are so poor?

A With the removal of the very successful manufacturing businesses from the area fifty years ago, nothing was done to replace the employment - unlike in areas where car factories or steelworks were closed. There was sudden massive unemployment with a large group of skilled people being thrown into unemployment. The city council Labour party knew it could depend however on the votes of people in Glasgow North East and therefore helping them has not been a priority as councils tend to always put resources in wards where there are close results and floating. Like in the West of Glasgow here there has been lots of investment.
Benefit payments and weak or low work expectations are trapping people when they are supposed to be helping.

Q What will you personally do to be a catalyst for change?

A I think just being elected will be a high change, not just in Glasgow North East but in the whole of the country. It'll be a high wake up call for the Labour Party and every party that thinks it's sitting on a safe seat will have to sit up and take notice. People won't be taken for granted anymore. People are better informed now and they've had their eyes well opened. Voting for me will change politics in this country forever because the parties will have to go back to representing the people that vote for them.

Q Do you believe Scotland should be given more powers?

A Scotland has had about 10 years of devolved government and it is clear that it is still learning how best to use the powers it already has. Most services directly affecting people are already run from Holyrood and the recent banking crisis has shown that Scotland needs to be part of a larger economic power.

Q What are the reasons you think Paul Martin has chosen not to stand for election as an MP and wishes to remain in Holyrood as MSP for Springburn?

A You'd really have to ask Paul Martin that.

Update 22:32 I've just come across these pictures of Glasgow North East. Please look and see what Michael Martin has done for the area in recent years. Not pleasant viewing.


Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

and the band played

"Believe It If You Like"

He answered these?

subrosa said...

I was liasing with his PR Billy. She sent the copy earlier today saying they'd been very busy but John had answered the questions posed.

RogueTrooper13 said...

I dont like Smeato....he's ugly and his Mum dresses him funny

polaris said...

I wonder what he thinks of Tunnants, The Royal Bink of Scotland, Carin Energy and Bibcock Sporran?


tris said...

Funnily, I just couln't hear these words coming out of his lips. What I will say is that someone, whoever, responded, and, unless I've missed something, no one else has bothered...

Correct me if I'm wrong SR.

subrosa said...

Auch he's quite a handsome lad Rogue Trooper.

subrosa said...

You should have given me that question Polaris. :)

subrosa said...

As I said to Billy, the question list and responses were done via his PR tris. She said John had answered them.

No, nobody bothered. Never mind, I made the offer. I think the steamie pinched my idea because they came up with it about 2 weeks later. :)

RogueTrooper13 said...

ell Sub, as a guy i can just say he's not my type lol

tris said...

Och well SR.... Where Sub Rosa leads, the Scotsman follows...

I wish....

subrosa said...

Tris have you seen these photos of Glasgow NE - the link on my update? Please look.

subrosa said...

Only you would know Rogue Trooper lol. Thanks for dropping by.

tris said...

I've travelled a bit, Eastern Europe, Africa... and I've seen a few places, but seriously srarely een anything as run down as this.

And that was with one of the most powerful men in the UK as their MP. Shame on Labour. Shame on the Rt Hon and Noble Baron, and his palace. Shame on Glasgow Council too.

Over on Monty's blog there's a list of stats that are worth looking at.

And yet, the probability is that they will vote Labour.

On the upside, that lad has made a great wee garden for himself. Some people can make beauty out of hideous ugliness. Talent and, in this case, bravery. I hope he gets a decent place soon. I bet he makes it a Beechgrove!!!

subrosa said...

Aye Tris, I had a smile at his garden. Going off to Monty's blog now. Will forego reading the Scotsman. :)

Stuart Winton said...

"I've travelled a bit, Eastern Europe, Africa... and I've seen a few places, but seriously srarely een anything as run down as this."

Tris, on your travels from the Ferry you should try stopping off in parts of Dundee some time, even if now under an SNP administration ;0)

Aurora. said...

Instead of commenting on whether you like john Smeaton or not (based on whether his mother dresses him???) or wondering whether he actually did respond to the questions himself, why not talk about his responses and the issues raised?
or is that too hard?

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...


Oh for Heaven's Sake, John Smeaton is a sock puppet and, nice enough lad that he is, is out of his depth.

Are you posting from south of Berwick on Tweed perhaps?

You are coming into the debate a bit late and the points made in the post from John's political minder have been the subject of interminable debate here for donkey's years.

John Smeaton has as much chance of being elected as a moth has surviving in a flame. At best he is a spoiler and for a Unionist agenda.

subrosa said...

Aurora, I've already commented on John when I did my initial post.

He doesn't say anything here which is different from the agenda of most of the others.

subrosa said...

Stuart, part of Dundee's problems in the past 30 years was its attempts at social engineering and in the particular area of housing.

The plans didn't work and the houses and people were left floundering.

We see the result of that still today.

AMW said...

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...
and the band played

"Believe It If You Like"

He answered these

lol, I agree. I have watched this guy on the TV and he could not tell the diffrence between a Tesco trolly to an Asda one.
However i suspect he is just another Labour geek.

subrosa said...

It is kind of difficult to believe that John did write these answers. Sadly.

tris said...

Stuart, I don't live in the Ferry. I wish I did. I have worked at community centres in Whitfield, Ardler, Hilltown and Kirkton.

So yeah, I've seen some deprevation in Dundee. I said I had RARELY seen anything like it. Not never.

In fairness to the SNP, they have only had a few months to start righting some of the wrongs of 30+ years of Labour administration in Dundee. With budget constrains all over the UK, I doubt if there is a quick fix to this situation.

My point was that the buildings in Subrosa's piece reminded me of blocks of flats I saw in Romania. With the most senior MP in the country as thier representative, you would have thought that the people of that area might have been a wee bit better placed for housing.

Munguin said...

S/R I don’t think that Smeato wrote those answers either. But I must be honest and say that I once compared John Smeaton to a cabbage, I now realise that this was unfair and cheap. A cabbage has many more uses than John Smeaton.

I suspect his puppet master Alan Wallace wrote them for him.

Stuart Winton said...

My apologies, tris - I was confusing you with your sidekick Munguin, and I apoligise for any perceived slur.

tris said...

I don't have a sidekick Stuart.

subrosa said...

I didn't have any dealings with Alan about the questions Munguin, it was with John's PR who is female.

Munguin said...

It’s possible that the PR wrote the answers SR. But that seems to me to be unlikely, it’s much more likely that Alan who I think is the Scottish Director of the Jury Team (I may have that title wrong) wrote them for her. I know that if I were John’s PR I would have at least had them looked at by Alan and not just written them off my own bat, nor would I have simply sent you an un-edited copy of anything that John had done himself. I understand that Alan arranged John’s less than successful press conference. Based on the unfortunate way that John came over in that press conference it seems unlikely that Alan would make a similar mistake again. It also seems likely that as the answers given suggest a political maturity, I suspect that they came from a source with some political experience, which I believe Alan has as he stood as an MEP in the recent elections (without success). This of course is only my impression and may be totally wrong.

subrosa said...

Munguin at least the questions were answered.

None of the other candidates bothered, but of course the idea was, a week later, suggested on the Steamie.

How's that for coincidence?

Alan Wallace Jury Team said...

Ooh - so much ignorance in one comment thread.

All those who are experts on John's intelligence will of course have met him. Talked to him. Listened to what he has to say?


Maybe you're one of the many people who have been briefing John on the issues of GNE - from Victim Support perhaps? One of the workers at the Red Road Family Centre or one of the lawyers at the East End Law Centre? One of the teachers at Haghill? One of the carers at Alive & Kicking? From the Reidvale Adventure Playground? Maybe East End United - the youth football team formed to keep kids out of trouble?

Oh hold on, maybe you're the police guy that extensively and graphically briefed John on gang culture? Or you're from CHAS? Or the Royal British Legion?

I could go on, but maybe you start to get the point. John has more real knowledge about the constituency and its problems than any amount of keyboard warriors. He's spoken out against Labour's idiotic knife "policy". He's strongly advocated community courts. He's stood up and been counted.

What have YOU done today?

Typed pish at a keyboard.

dziet said...

Hmmmm, did it no-one think that most people write differently to how they speak?

As for claims about John's intelligence. Are all these comments being based on one TV appearance? I know John and I can tell you he is a smart guy. Interested in what's is happening around hinm and actively trying to make changes. He's stood for what he believes in, which is more than most of us do.

And in case there is any confusion; if you heard me speak I sound quite different to how I write.

Munguin said...

S/R: you are of course right it’s certainly to someone’s credit that you got a response. And very much a discredit to the other candidates (including the SNP) that they did not feel that a blog as much respected and subscribed to as yours was worthy of 10 minutes of their time. It is also appalling that the so called national newspaper of Scotland have nothing better to do than pinch your excellent idea. More than a coincidence I would say, you clearly have Mr Maddox as a reader although he wishes to remain anonymous.

P.S. I have too much respect for your blog to turn it into a slanging match with Mr Wallace (I am assuming his last comment was meant for me). My blog isn’t that difficult to find.

Stuart Winton said...

Tris, I thought you were co-contributor on Munguin's blog, hence his sidekick, but I must be thinking of someone else!

subrosa said...

Alan, I've actually done quite a bit today because I am usually out tonight attending to one of my hobbies. I appreciate your description of my blogging efforts.

People are entitled to their views and I for one wasn't impressed with the cheap shot 'keyboard warriors'.

Anyway readers took time to type comments. They obviously read John's answers. They could have ignored the post altogether.

subrosa said...

I would agree dziet that I too would answer such questions rather differently than if I was responding verbally.

That's the sad part about us (the public). We don't shout what we believe in and therefore those who have power walk right over us.

Personally, I don't think the people of around Glasgow have heard the last of John Smeaton trying to enter politics.

subrosa said...

I would agree dziet that I too would answer such questions rather differently than if I was responding verbally.

That's the sad part about us (the public). We don't shout what we believe in and therefore those who have power walk right over us.

Personally, I don't think the people of around Glasgow have heard the last of John Smeaton trying to enter politics.

subrosa said...

Munguin, we're not part of the 'chosen' so of course good ideas will be pilfered.

No I think Alan's comments apply to all of us commenters. I read it that way anyway.

Can't see you having a slanging match munguin. Too much of a gentleman to do that.

Munguin said...

I beg your pardon S/R. I only say that because I have had a disagreement with Mr Wallace,on another site, regarding himself, the Jury Team and Mr Smeaton. I won’t elaborate here. And also I believe I am the only commenter to mention Mr Wallace by name. Perhaps I should have restricted myself to mention of the Jury Team only, but I think there was speculation that Mr S’s PR may have written the answers and. I felt it more likely that Mr W did if Mr S did not. I wanted to share this thought with you and your readers.

subrosa said...

Ah right sorry, I haven't seen any site where you're disagreeing Munguin.

What is it they say in American? Thank you for sharing that with us?

Thank you for sharing that with us. ;)

tris said...


You are correct in your assumption that Munguin and I are co-contributors to a blog called Munguin's Republic.

You are not correct that either he is my sidekick, nor I his.

Alan Wallace Jury Team said...

SR - the comment was not aimed at yourself, nor was it aimed at anyone other than those who cannot rise above inane jibes at Smeaton's intelligence or lack thereof. When such contributors then wander off into their own wee fantasy world of puppet-masters, they cheapen what is an otherwise exceptional blog.

For those that are interested, the BBC made a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the campaign which is being screened on the 18th - "Make me an MP" or something. Of course, such things are made in the editing room and it can be cut to favour or discredit, but if it's accurate your readers may get a real flavour of what happened.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that Alan. I expect you're happy to have a rest for a while now.

I'll certainly watch the programme, in fact I'll record it today.

frances44 said...

Nae wiy did Smeaton write thon. Ah doot he even saw them. Onybody that heard his speirings last nicht wid ken that.

Ah wis there. Ah saw it aw an' ah'm jist scunnered cos Smeaton's a fraud. There were some guid folk trying to help the gowk an' trying tae mak him intae somethin' he isnae. His pals at the tv station tried tae mak him look guid and tae dae the dirty on the Jury Pairty.

Smeaton did aw this tae increase his price on the efter-denner speirin' circuit. There's even blethers abune the same English TV crew makin' a Smeato version o' thon Black sabbath singer's show wi his faimily. "Livin' wi the Smeatos" or somesuch.

subrosa said...

Yours seems to be the general opinion Frances. Such a shame really because a lot of good people were behind him.

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