Friday, 25 September 2009

Vote for change or stop complaining.




Alan Wallace

Glasgow North East Campaign Launch Speech

25th September 2009

City Inn, Glasgow

Good morning. I am Alan Wallace and I am the Scottish Chairman of the Jury Team. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you today a fantastic candidate to become the next MP for this constituency of Glasgow North East.

Scotland led the world when we announced through the Declaration of Arbroath that our rulers answered to the people. The principle of ordinary people having a say in important matters has worked through the centuries in the Jury system. We trust a random selection of people that is representative of the community to deliver justice and make wise decisions.

This is how Parliament was intended to work. A cross section of common society represented in the House of Commons was a Jury on a grand scale. But Parliament has gone awry and we believe it is because the Jury in Westminster is no longer representative of wider society. The Party system has created a narrow clique professional politicians.

We believe that politicians should serve their constituents and the country, not themselves or a political party.

The Parties do not even have any real popular support. Less than 1% of the UK population belongs to a political party. Only about one-fifth of the electorate actually voted for the current government.

Our parties are now just glorified employment bureaux for career politicians. These careerists depend on being politicians for their income and status. Many of them would find it hard to get so much money in any other job. That is why they milk the expenses system while they are there.

If they want to get ahead they have to obey the party whip. They become lobby fodder and patsies. They stop representing you and start representing their party and themselves.

The government always has the majority of MPs. So the whips can coerce their lobby fodder to vote for war or identity cards or countless regulations and taxes.

This is not the Parliament the Scottish people deserve.

The Jury Team was set up to get real change. As our first action we had an open online primary to select candidates for the recent European elections. People registered their interest on our website. Then we had a vote by the general public. I won the vote in Scotland.

The Jury Team is about encouraging new people to go into politics to become MPs. We support normal people with normal lives and normal jobs. There are lots of them and what they have in common is that they are fed up with the fraud and spin of the current political class.

They are brave. They stand up to be counted and to make a real difference. They are a feisty group. They are on your side. They can make Parliament representative again. They can form a great jury.

We believe in three principles:
• championing independent MPs
• improving the running of government
• allowing the people to decide major issues through referendums.

We firstly want to get more independent MPs into the House of Commons to hold the government to account. The expenses scandal has accelerated the idea of a new style of politicians going into parliament. Esther Rantzen has confirmed her candidature for Luton South. In Totnes the Conservatives used an open selection process which chose the politically inexperienced Dr Sarah Wollaston as their candidate.

Secondly we want government departments to be run for the people they are meant to be serving: the patients, pupils, students, pensioners, soldiers and the community. At the moment ministers are moved far too often for party political reasons and not for the national interest.

Thirdly we want to let people have a real say in the big issues of the day. We promise to ask the voters through a series of annual referendums. In addition, we know that people want to be able to choose subjects for referendums so we shall allow referendums to take place whenever 5% of the people ask for them.

We have already identified the following eight policy areas where we pledge to have a referendum to find out whether the electorate agree with the following:

- Giving courts the ability to sentence violent criminals to “army style” punishment and training courses.
- Preventing banks that are benefiting from government guarantees from using depositors’ funds to support their own market trading.
- Limiting the number of British troops sent to Afghanistan to the average number sent by other NATO countries (relative to their size).
- Setting up an English Parliament to decide matters that relate solely to England.
- Changing the voting system in the House of Commons to direct proportional representation
- Limiting the amount the government can borrow each year to no more than 10% of its total expenditure.
- Allowing state schools the option of becoming independent state funded charities outside the control of the local education authority if a majority of parents agree.
- Complete withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

We have a programme to clean up politics. We want to replace the current political class with people who will look after their constituents.

The good news is that despite all the sleaze in our parliaments, we still live in a democracy. We have the opportunity here in Glasgow North East to send a message to Westminster that we are fed up with the sleaze and expenses.

The Labour government in London has so far refused to let the people of Glasgow North East have a by-election. Gordon Brown has made the people of this constituency wait at least five months before they are allowed to have a new MP after Michael Martin’s resignation over the expenses scandal. He resigned in June but the by-election will probably only be held in mid-November.

Then the people of this constituency can send the Westminster Parliament a message. Tell them you are fed up with them. Make it clear how disgusted you are. Generate a landslide. Don’t let the politicians get away with it again.

Who should you vote for? In Scotland it’s Labour or the SNP. Voting for either only encourages the politicians to carry on the same.

Take Labour. Michael Martin protected MPs’ expenses and then had to resign. He was at the very epicentre of the sleaze and corruption. A good man. A nice man. But a man who became blinded by the baubles around him. To take his place Labour have selected Willie Bain as their candidate. Willie was Michael Martin’s agent. He must have known what was going on. He was also secretary of the consituency Labour Party but Labour cares so little about the people of Glasgow North East that he had not updated the website since 2006. Anyway he has already given up on Glasgow as he moved down to London several years ago and works as a lecturer at London South Bank University.

What about the SNP? The SNP have selected David Kerr. He was the SNP’s fourth choice as candidate. He has been in trouble for rubbishing Glasgow Caledonian University and Paisley College of Technology - now the West of Scotland University. His views on abortion and other sensitive issues are not ones held by most of this constituency. Only last week the SNP stuck the knife into Glasgow when they cancelled the rail link to the airport which they had pledged as part of the Commonwealth Games. They are still an East Coast party for the wealthy and the priviledged. And they are guilty of expenses fraud. The SNP showed that they are as endemically corrupt as any party. Given a whiff of the gravy train, they were in like Flynn.

These actions are unacceptable. They would be condemmed for people in any other walk of life. If you tried to fiddle your social security or expenses like that you could end up in prison.

It has to stop.

With opponents like those and with the hatred of old style politics, we therefore believe that we can win this by-election.

A vote for an existing tainted party will be a vote for more of the same. The only way to get a general election is for the traditional parties to be humiliated in this by-election.

We get the politicians we deserve. We deserve better. Vote for change or stop complaining.

So I am now very pleased to welcome the Jury team’s candidate. A Scottish icon. A Scottish hero. A man who showed the truth of “no messing”. A man of the people. A man who will stand up for Glasgow North East. A man who understands what it is like to be poor and unemployed. A man who cares. Please welcome the hero of Glasgow: John Smeaton.

Thank you.

Please visit the Jury Team website


  1. Agreed - a good piece, well written.

    (shame none of the bookies were taking bets on 'anyone else' a couple of days ago ;-)

  2. Bill Barnett, Swindon25 September 2009 at 15:39

    Caught this on the evening news - nice move Al.

    It'll be an interesting by-election - can a well-known, local candidate break through the tribalism of UK (and particularly Scottish) politics? I don't know, but I wish you well - every vote taken is a kick in the bollocks to the traditional parties

  3. Outstanding speech. I'm not in Glasgow so I can't vote, but I'll be looking for candidates supported by Jury Team here in Edinburgh at the General Election.

    Good Luck


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