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July 06, 2008

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Jennifer

Well I've lived in the East End of Glasgow for my whole 47 years. I was born in Shettleston, brought up in Easterhouse, spent seven years in Cranhill and now live in Baillieston.

It simply is no longer true that sectarianism is a political force in Glasgow East.

I accept that it is still strong around football but much of it is the usual football related violence and hatred with a religious twist. If we're such a divided city then why are so many families a mixture of Catholic and Protestant? The truth is that there is a hell of a lot of ninety minute bigotry in Glasgow but it's thankfully pretty shallow.

Anyone who campaigned politically along sectarian liners would be lucky to keep their deposit. Sectarian voting is dead in these parts. In any case for any party to hope to benefit from sectarianism real or perceived is as low as hoping that the racist vote will get on side.

paulflynn

Thanks Claiwil. That's a fair point. Glasgow East like Welsh Valley Labour strongholds has atrocious health outcomes. Mostly because of lifestyle of obesity, smoking and poor diet. It was horrific to hear a Valleys AM opposing the smoking ban a few years ago. We should have done better.

I know both Jimmy Wray and David Marshall well. They both represented this part of the city.

Whether Jennifer likes it or not, Sectarianism is still a political force in parts of Scotland as it is on the football field there . Happily it's disappaered in most other places but it was a significant element in Wales in my lifetime.

Claiwil

'Labour 'til I die'

Well with life expectancy in the Labour controlled constituency of Glasgow East at only 63 for men they sadly don't have long to wait. Incidentally when do the Labour voters of Glasgow get to see some reward for their loyalty?

Will

If the SNP had selected Humza Yousaf, who was on the shortlist, would you be singling out his Islam as a reason why the people of Glasgow East would keep voting Labour?

Jennifer

The vast majority of people in Glasgow east are decent folk who would no more vote on religious lines than they would racial lines and to suggest otherwise is grossly offensive.

To try and secure a few votes by trying to appeal to bigots is unworthy of a party that has in recent years shown leadership and a real commitment to eradicating sectarianism in Scotland. I sincerely hope that remarks like this will be a one off and sectarian tensions do not continue to be exploited in this way during the campaign. Until reading your remarks I was completely unaware and uninterested in the religious backgrounds of any of the candidates and believe that is is true of most of the electorate.

It is my intention to vote on the issues, however if this is the level the campaign is going to be fought on then I will be giving serious consideration to a one off protest vote.

paulflynn

That's exactly correct Huw as I understand it. I put down a parliamentary question tonight asking for Government confirmation. Amazing.

rwendland

Unusually, I might have a little sympathy with the nuclear clean-up consortia here, if they have to take on responsibility for the worst of the shambolic legacy from day one. An accident would be a combination of the state of the inherited equipment and ongoing work - and I can see they would not want to fully cover the inheritance. The challenge is separating the responsibility between the two.

e.g. The First Generation Magnox Storage and De-canning Facility has an appalling slurry of corroded Magnox fuel:

http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?storyCode=2038060

You can understand a contractor not wanting to pick up full liability for that from day one - getting proper insurance would probably be a nightmare.

On the other hand too little contractor liability is a financial incentive to take short-cuts. I'd have thought an increasing liability over the first 5 or so years might be the right thing to do - and would be an incentive for the contractor to sort out, or at least fully identify and control, the worst things in the first few years.

Huw O'Sullivan

So let me get this straight, we're offering contracts worth billions of pounds to companies to clean up nuclear waste.
If however they have an accident through any set of circumstances including their own carelessness they will pay a maximum of 5 million from their profits while we will pick up the rest whether it costs another 5 million or 5 billion.
Aren't we good.
I never quite understand how there are people who will howl with outrage at people getting social welfare or disability payments but even when opposed to stuff like this which many aren't, the outrage is dialled down considerably.

paulflynn

It is a world wide trend. Consultants rarely replace the middle and lower rank civil servants. they usually duplicate manangement. My select committee will shortly have a chance to question ministers on the lost information on discs. Any consultants involved?
I notice only 9 lobbyist companies registered on the voluntary register. Lesson for us here?

Jon Worth

Paul, I agree that the amount spent on consultants is awfully high in the public sector, but I think the reason is a bit different than how you've outlined it. Brown as Chancellor from about 2002 onwards was set on a headline reduction in the number of public sector employees, and consistently spoke about that openly and publicly. But if you slash back civil servant numbers you need someone else to do that work, and consultants fit the bill - you can hire them and fire them easily.

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