Saturday, 5 January 2019

Glasgow's Shameful Secret

Here's a great story by Tom Gordon in The Herald which spills some embarrassing information from newly released records about the 'inner workings' of the Scottish Government back in 2004.

I'm sure that lots of people had a good laugh at Jack McConnell's fashion gaffe, but did you know that while the whole world is able to read about the trials and tribulations of 'Dressed to Kilt' - Glasgow City Council is refusing to release much more significant information regarding its discredited WPBR pay scheme which was introduced in 2005-07.

Now the WPBR isn't funny because the scheme was condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, back in August 2017. 

Glasgow City Council spent millions defending the WPBR in the courts until the Court of Session rejected the Council's  appeal in December 2017 - to take their defence of the WPBR to the UK Supreme Court in London.

The resulting equal pay claims will cost the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds to settle - yet the Council is arguing that to release information on the WPBR and the role of senior officials will prejudice the 'good conduct' of public affairs.

Much more to follow in the days ahead - so watch this space.


National Records: Clue to McConnell fashion faux pas

By Tom Gordon - The Herald
Former Scottish Labour Leader Jack McConnell sitting exclusively for the Sunday Herald at the Scottish Parliament. PHOTO: JULIE HOWDEN.

A CLUE to one of the worst moments of Jack McConnell’s premiership has been revealed in newly released Scottish cabinet papers.

In April 2004, the then Labour First Minister became a laughing stock after appearing in New York in a bizarre white blouse, an event from which his reputation never quite recovered.

Mr McConnell donned the baggy New Romantic-style chemise for a Dressed to Kilt show at Sotheby’s during Tartan Week.

Official papers show a possible inspiration for the decision - another Labour minister previously attended a Dressed to Kilt event and gave a highly positive report to the cabinet.

Then culture minister Frank McAveety told Mr McConnell about in in November 2003.

The cabinet minute states: “Mr McAveety said that he had attended the ‘Dressed to Kilt’ event in Los Angeles.

“The event received a lot of coverage and Mr McAveety had met a number of senior people involved in the ‘Friends of Scotland’ initiative, and made good contacts to help develop Scotland as a venue for film production.”

Mr McConnell later explained his fashion gaffe was caused by being overweight.

After putting on two stones as First Minister, he couldn’t squeeze into the jacket he hoped to wear with a designer striped kilt that night, forcing him to go out in a shirt alone.