No inquiry, no investigation – no charges



{jcomments on}In June 1976 singer J.J. Barrie took a Country and Western song written by Harlan Howard to the number 1 slot in the UK charts. The song celebrated motherhood and the sacrifices a mother makes for her offspring.


It was written in the form of a mothers reply to her young son who has produced a list of chores he had carried out that week together with his ‘charge’ in dollars for each chore.  The mother responds with her own list; a list of the sacrifices she has made out of the love she has for her son; the song was called ‘No Charge’.

This week saw the latest ‘cover version’ of that same song as the Scottish media quite casually reported that there would be neither an inquiry nor any investigation into the fallout at Glasgow City Council following the Steven Purcell scandal.


There was no media outrage at this announcement and no furious editorials; in fact no serious questioning whatsoever of the decision by Audit Scotland and Strathclyde Police to simply drop the matter.  As far as these bodies were concerned the goings on were nothing to do with them, there would be no investigation which meant no evidence would be uncovered and therefore those involved would face……. ‘no charges’.

It’s almost impossible to envisage a more serious or scandalous series of revelations than the ones that have emerged this last few weeks from Glasgow council.


Here we had one of Labour’s most high profile Scottish based politicians resigning and fleeing the country in disgrace without answering a single question.  An English newspaper reporting that this politician had admitted taking cocaine, that he had been interviewed by drugs enforcement officers in his office and that he had been connected by them to drug dealers.

It is also reported that these officers were concerned that the politician may have left himself open to blackmail from these same gangsters.  If true, then that alone leads one to ask what it was that the police believed could have been used in order to blackmail this politician?  Were they aware of the aforementioned allegations of drug use? If so, why was an investigation not carried out then?  If it wasn’t drug use then what else did the police feel could have been used against this senior Labour politician?


Remember that this individual was in control of an annual budget in excess of £2 billion, he was making decisions that would affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Glasgow citizens.


Subsequent revelations involving local authority owned companies, public cash going to the Labour party and contracts to businesses owned by senior Labour donors led to cross party calls for an investigation into the council.


A more clear-cut case for an independent inquiry in order to restore public confidence in Scotland’s largest local authority is difficult to imagine.


Of course we now that isn’t going to happen, the matter has been dropped and concerned citizens of Glasgow have been told to ‘move along, there’s nothing to see’.


Only media pressure can compel Audit Scotland and the police to change their minds and carry out an inquiry; but that media pressure simply isn’t there – nor is it likely to appear.


Shut Up:

The calls for an inquiry were also dismissed by Labour politician Willie Bain who described them as nothing more than political smears – Bain’s response to concerned individuals was an arrogant “Put up or shut up”.  The Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy subsequently twisted and contorted the justifiable criticisms of Labour over the affair as an ‘attack on Glasgow’.


Murphy made this ridiculous claim in a webcast hosted by the BBC’s political editor Brian Taylor, the comments formed the basis for equally ridiculous ‘Stop knocking Glasgow’ headlines on the BBC Scotland news website.  The Scotsman newspaper also decided that this contrived tripe deserved mention and so told us that ‘Super Murph’ had donned his cape and ‘leapt to the defence of Glasgow’.


The truth of course is that it wasn’t Glasgow that was under attack – it was the Labour party – as these news outlets well knew.  Depressingly, The Scotsman’s publishers will soon be controlling independent Scottish TV news output.  Scotland is about to consolidate her position as the most politically ignorant country of all Western developed nations.


BBC censorship:

Not content with headlining Murphy’s words (again) the BBC in Scotland descended further into the ‘Orwellian pit’ they are currently excavating.


In a worrying escalation of the corporation’s recent fondness for censorship in Scotland the BBC ‘Blether with Brian’ blog was closed to comments at 08:06 AM on Friday morning – the eve of the Labour party conference in Glasgow. 


The comments only re-opened at 13:00 on Saturday afternoon with no explanation for the closure.  It has been claimed that the Scottish comment facility was the only one to be restricted in this fashion.  As has already been reported by this site, the BBC has been systematically censoring comments to the Scottish blog ever since the Purcell story broke.


The Network:

So no inquiry, no investigation, no media outrage and dissenting voices all but silenced.


Delegates and reporters attending the weekend’s Labour party conference in Glasgow will step over a metaphorical chalk outline of two bodies, one is that of the old Labour party and the other is the Scottish media.


There is an ever growing view amongst many that the Labour party in Scotland is now no more than a network of vested interests, political cronyism and patronage – that the old party’s soul has long since been eaten away by greed, avarice and corruption.


The conference will feature prominently in BBC news schedules both UK wide and in Scotland.  This will be in stark contrast to the recent SNP conference coverage which was ‘Purcellesque’ in nature (lack of media interest and almost impossible to find).


Many Scots will watch as reporters and pundits alike tell us that the Labour ‘fight back’ has begun, that the SNP are ‘Tories in disguise’, that the two horse race is neck and neck and that Labour can prevail.


However listen carefully and you just might be able to catch the ghost of old Labour as it sings mournfully: 


Possessing and using cocaine – no charge

Connections to gangsters – no charge

Fleeing the country – no charge

Donating public cash to Labour – no charge

Contracts to Labour donors – no charge

Flipping houses – no charge

Cash for honours – no charge

Illegal wars – no charge

Causing the death of a once proud party – no charge


Meanwhile, the whereabouts and wellbeing of the man touted as the next leader of Labour at Holyrood and a possible next First Minister of Scotland remains unknown.



For those who see nothing wrong with the Scottish media coverage of the whole Purcell affair then imagine instead of Purcell, Labour and Glasgow being at the centre of the scandal that it was instead Boris Johnston, the Conservatives and London that was the focus.


Yep, the English media would still be savaging the Conservatives over this and a posse of journalists would now be closing in on the whereabouts of the ‘Tory Fugitive’.