Sunday, 14 March 2010

Purcell - The Lid Blows Off

Many in Scottish labour won't be feeling too cheery this morning, in fact, when they read the headlines some will be feeling decidely uncomfortable.

Stephen Purcell resigned as leader of Glasgow City Council on the 5th of March. The reason for his sudden department was 'stress' and it was strange not one senior labour politician made any public comment regarding the hurried exit of one of their brightest members.

However, the lid was bound to blow off sooner or later and today's papers have exposed the questionable relationship Purcell had with Willie Haughey, one of Scotland's most successful businessmen, a complex network of councillors, other businessmen and public sector chiefs, most with connections to labour. Haughey is one of labour's biggest donors and an ally of Gordon Brown.

Haughey chaired a quango called Scottish Enterprise Glasgow (SEG) and one of the firms given support by SEG was Haughey's own company. He received £970,000 of support from SEG. It was part of a £17m compensation and relocation package for the headquarters of his Glasgow business, which was in the path of a planned motorway due to be built by the Scottish government, Glasgow city council and two other councils.

He owned two properties on the proposed route that he had bought for £1.3 million. The independent valuer offered £7.4 million for them but it seems Haughey wanted Jack McConnell, then the First Minister, to intervene when dealings with the valuer ground to a halt in December 2003.

That month Haughey gave £330,000 to labour. The property offer was subsequently raised to £13.3 million. Jack McConnell denied any interference in the independent valuation.

One of Purcell's initiatives was a construction quango called City Building which is a construction company created out of the council's former building services. An investigation revealed that the wage bill for senior employees doubled in just two years. Some of those who benefited were labour members closely allied to the former leader. The same quango also spent thousands of pounds on hospitality, including paying £2,000 for a table at a labour party fundraiser where, among several labour figures, it entertained Scottish labour leader Iain Gray.

One of Haughey's companies had a contract providing heavy-duty vehicles for City Building.

We already know Purcell is understood to have had a cocaine habit and was warned by police he was a blackmail risk. Glasgow labour closed ranks once Purcell resigned but surely they realised it was only a matter of time before the truth started to trickle out.

This is very possibly just the beginning of Glasgow city council and labour's domination of the city. Formal investigations should be initiated so as Glaswegians can be made aware just how much money has been 'misdirected' by Mr Purcell.

Could this be one of Mr Purcell's ideas? It's a report stating Glasgow city council officials are in talks with a private company about taking over major services such as refuse collection, cleansing and the running of public parks. Senior council officers have planned to travel to England next week for further talks with the company Enterprise plc.

The only example of privatisation which affects me is the care and maintenance of our trunk roads. There is a definite reduction in the standard of winter care such as gritting. Where profit and shareholders are involved something or someone has to suffer the consequences. It could be the people of Glasgow if this proposal goes ahead.


Alex said...

Thanks for this.
You know, many people still have no idea that this is what Labour is all about. Corruption is what it does. People should have known this decades ago. I guess the press and media cover-ups does the trick..

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Watch Strathclyde Police. They are up to their eyeballs in this. It will get nasty.

Suspended4th said...

It's nice to see The Herald up to its usual standards. Only article about Purcell has been relegated to 'other news. It even turns out to be a rebuttal from Haughey to the accusations in the other papers.

Have they no shame??

"Top donor: I’m no friend of Purcell’s"

subrosa said...

It's been well-known in the east here that this is how labour behave Alex. Many years ago Dundee was a mini offshoot of Glasgow but gradually the labour hold there was finally broken.

It's so unhealthy and I hope this will blow the lid off the lot and allow Glaswegians a council and MPs of which they can be proud.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the tip WW. The nastier the better as far as I'm concerned. Clear the rot out.

Dramfineday said...

The Herald - the mouse that squeaked.

And since the police haven't taken action, I assume SP is now an untouchable?

Come on Mr MacAskell light a fire under them

subrosa said...

Ah Suspended, that doesn't surprise me. I wrote this before going to bed and thought they'd be updates this morning.

All doing their best to cover their tracks. Will it work? Let's hope not.

CrazyDaisy said...


Perhaps a root and branch clear out is about to follow a full investigation of the books, time for an external audit of GCC me thinks!

We just cannot have this in a modern society, polis, politicians and plundering pals all looking for handouts favours and taxpayers dish for nowt.

I predict a riot

Bonnie here, Happy Mothers Day x


Oldrightie said...

"Alex said...
You know, many people still have no idea that this is what Labour is all about. Corruption is what it does. People should have known this decades ago. I guess the press and media cover-ups does the trick."

Spot on, Alex.

subrosa said...

Labour will do everything to stop that CD. I'm sure you know that.

April showers here. Thanks for the good wishes. x

subrosa said...

Aye he is OR. I've just read your post. Spot on too. It is drifting southwards.

Allan said...

"Could this be one of Mr Purcell's ideas? It's a report stating Glasgow city council officials are in talks with a private company about taking over major services such as refuse collection, cleansing and the running of public parks."

Well... yes. Purcell when he ran Glasgow City council turned certain council departments into "arms-length companies" which is a possable first step to privarisation. As I pointed out in my post about Purcell, this has the potential to undermine democracy in the west of Scotland.

Alex & Oldrightie. What we are seeing is that New Labour is just as bad as the Tories at this corruption lark. The Tories are certainly in no position to enjoy any schadenfreude at New Labour's expense.

Jess The Dog said...

Softly softly catchee monkey....

The Sunday Times clearly believes there is enough scope to dig deeply into this story.

The compensation deal over the M74 extension always stank....although that was not a direct Glasgow City Council responsibility.

Definitely one to watch as it unfolds, given the central role that Haughey plays in Glasgow. But caution is needed as any wide-of-the-mark accusations just muddy the waters.

subrosa said...

Allan I read your post about the creeping privatisation. It would undermine democracy throughout the whole of Scotland.

subrosa said...

Indeed Jess, I won't be opining anything other than what is reported in the MSM.

Dramfineday said...

Dare one wonder if the "outrage" at the GARL cancellation was in part due to unknown people missing out on the brown envelopes they thought they might be due?

Allan said...


That might be an interesting spin on the outrage, but it ignores one fact. That the GARL proposal never really enjoyed huge support here in Paisley, where most of the construction work would have taken place. There were protests over the prospect of a railway bridge cuting St James Playing fields in half.

It might explain why New Labour presented GARL so much as a fait accompli, but there was no-one at our end to placate but angry voters.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Considering anybody with mental health problems cannot commit themselves to a legal contract, it could be worthwhile considering who did commission the PR firm and the Solicitors to cover his resignation.

Who benefited most from the damage limitation exercise?

subrosa said...

One dare Dram but one ought to have allegedly in there somewhere. :)

subrosa said...

Ah now RA, you're beginning to dig deep. Will we ever know the answer to that?

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