Monday, 19 July 2010

The Funny Old World of the West of Scotland

As reported a few weeks ago the ex-leader of Glasgow City Council has a new job. Well it's not actually a job because his new employers say he won't be receiving any wage so perhaps it ought to be called volunteer work.

Mr Purcell is to work for an organisation called the Stewart and McKenna Foundation. However, it could well have been called the Bulloch and McKenna Foundation.

Allan Stewart, a partner in housebuilders Stewart and McKenna, was banned from acting as a company director for 7 years in the 1990s and twice declared bankrupt. Born Allan Stewart Bulloch, the 53 year old rebuilt his career under a new name. He says he dropped his original surname because of a speech impediment and that there had been no attempt to mislead people. He also dropped it from the electoral roll and official records at Companies House.

In the 80s Allan Stewart (then Bulloch) was a director of Grampian Glazing which was subject to numerous court actions. In 1984, Everest Double Glazing banned it from 'passing off' windows and doors by using a logo with a 'striking resemblance' to its own. The next year two creditors served warrants on the firm to freeze it's assets after it failed to pay for £32,000 of goods.

In 1986 Grampian, Bulloch and his partner Graham Gracie, were sequestrated (the Scots term for bankruptcy). The firm owed 55 creditors £160,000, equivalent to £350,000 today. Both men had to sell their homes but their creditors still lost every penny.

In 1990 both Bulloch and his wife Margaret were banned from serving as company directors after being judged "unfit to be concerned in the management of a company". Bulloch was disqualified for seven years, his wife for five. Just two years later Bulloch was sequestrated again after problems with a new window business.

If he was disqualified, how did he manage to set up another business?

It would appear Mr Bulloch's speech impediment occurred in the late 1990s when he stopped using the surname Bulloch.

In 2006 the council, under the leadership of Steven Purcell, agreed to pay one of Stewart and McKenna's firms £1.7m for land for the 2014 Common Wealth Games - £350,000 more than the company paid for it a year earlier.

In 2008 the 13 firms under the parent company Stewart and McKenna (holdings) Ltd made a profit of £41,586 but a loss of £5.75m in 2009. In January this year HMRC took Stewart and McKenna Ltd to court over an unpaid tax bill of £78,000 and the company was would up in May.

I'm not suggesting for a minute that Stewart and McKenna are anything other than upstanding Glaswegian businessmen who have offered the down-on-his-luck Steven Purcell some work with their charitable foundation, but I am curious as to how Mr Bulloch developed a speech impediment in the late 90s, which deterred him from saying Bulloch - although it would appear he has no problem with Stewart.

Aye, it's a funny old world the west of Scotland, particularly where labour donors are concerned.


Edwin Moore said...

Excellent piece subrosa, glad someone is still talking about Purcell. Some of us have been banging away at the Guardian's Comment is free page trying to to get the Guardian/Observer to cover the Purcell scandal - alas to no avail. The Observer 'Voice of Scotland' is Kevin McKenna (no relation I suppose) who warbles on about nothing very much.

I can't remember who said in the Sunday Times (Ecosse section & Allan Brown now sorely missed) that the SNP & Tories have been curiously muted in their attacks on Labour over this issue - Glasgow is a major European city and this is a scandal of European proportions.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Corruption being the norm, we're no longer aware of moral principles or values

Anonymous said...

Once again Jock=bent.

I'm sure it never used to be that way, but maybe my memory is playing up.

Joe Public said...

Perhaps those without a speech impediment confuse Bullochs with Bolloxs.

subrosa said...

The Guardian won't help Edwin, it protects labour.

I'd agree there has been little noise from the other parties and often wondered why. Do they all know where each other's bodies are buried?

subrosa said...

Aye RA, I think the days of an honest politican have long gone. Remember when we had councillors who gave of their free time freely and for no financial reward? Now it's a very well paid job and a career. Self interest is paramount.

subrosa said...

I don't think it's just the Scots Righwinggit. Maybe you should look nearer home too. :)

subrosa said...

Maybe Joe. Isn't it strange developing a speech impediment which affects only your pronunciation of your surname?

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