Thursday, 20 February 2020

Glasgow Boy Band (2)



The BBC reports that the Orange Walk moron who assaulted a young woman during last year's march in Glasgow has been sent to prison for four months.

My jaw dropped on reading the following quote from one of the defence lawyers who apparently said in court:

"There is a belief the ranks should not be broken by anyone and when the crossing occurred he reacted in an instant."  

Now this is a big part of the problem, if you ask me - the insane belief that these marchers are entitled to decide who can and who can't cross the public highway while the march is underway.

My suggestion (see posts below) is that any processions on major public roads should be halted, at regular intervals, to allow people to go about their business without being harassed or assaulted by marchers or their supporters.

So I think I'll write to my local councillors again along with the Council leader Susan Aitken - hopefully I'll receive a positive response because this kind of vile behaviour gives Glasgow a bad name.


 


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-51505324

Orange Walk man jailed for spitting on woman in Glasgow


Image copyrightSPINDRIFTImage captionFather-of-two Darren Thompson was told his conduct was "disgusting and inexcusable"

A man who spat on a woman as she crossed an Orange Walk he was taking part in has been jailed for four months.

Sheriff Daniel Kelly told Darren Thompson, 34, that his behaviour was "disgusting and inexcusable."

Thompson, from Drumchapel, Glasgow, previously admitted pushing and spitting on Caitlin McCall in the city's West George Street.

The incident, on 6 July last year, was filmed and appeared on social media.

Later that month, co-accused William Carmichael, 45, admitted pushing Ms McCall, who was trying to get to her work on time.

'Not acceptable'

He was banned from leaving his home in Milton, Glasgow, for two months between 20:00 and 08:00 and placed under supervision for a year.

The accused, both former members of the Drumchapel Protestant Boys Flute Band, were told by Sheriff Kelly: "Taking part in a march does not give you a licence to behave in any way you see fit.

"Participants in marches and members of the public are required to behave in a way that is in accordance with the law.

"The complainer was trying to get to her work on time. She was not trying to provoke a reaction. This conduct is not acceptable."

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard Carmichael pushed Ms McCall on the body before Thompson did the same, causing her to stumble. He then spat on her.

Sheriff Kelly added: "What you did was disgusting and inexcusable."

'Pushed backwards'

The court heard Ms McCall had been travelling by taxi and got out as it couldn't move further up the street due to road closures for the procession.

Prosecutor Hannah Sweeney said: "She stood on the footpath as the band was passing her.

"She identified an opening and took an opportunity to walk through the band.

"As she walked through, Carmichael walked towards her and pushed her backwards.

"She passed in front of Thompson who pushed her causing her to stumble before he spat towards her with the spit ending up on the back of her jacket."

Ms McCall was "shaken" when she arrived at work and was told to contact the police by colleagues.

'Ashamed'

She was "hesitant" but a video of the incident later went viral on social media.

Police were able to identify Ms McCall, Thompson and Carmichael from the footage.

Defence lawyer Tracy Paterson, representing Thompson, said: "He is very ashamed. He is working and would be more than willing to compensate the young lady and apologises to her."

Defence lawyer Sean Flannigan, representing Carmichael, said: "He comes across as remorseful and has apologised for his conduct. He has no previous convictions for assault on his record.

"There is a belief the ranks should not be broken by anyone and when the crossing occurred he reacted in an instant."



People Before Processions - Update (26/09/19)



Here are the three enclosures which accompanied my recent letter to elected Councillors in my Glasgow Calton ward.

I also sent a copy of my letter to the Leaders of the four Party Groups on Glasgow City Council (SNP, Labour, Conservative and Greens) - as well as to my local MSP (John Mason), MP (Alison Thewliss) and the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

Watch this space for further news.

  

1) Letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 23 August 2019.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: Susan.Aitken <Susan.Aitken@glasgow.gov.uk>
Sent: Fri, Aug 23, 2019 2:17 pm
Subject: Re: Glasgow Orange Order March - Saturday 6 July 2019


Dear Councillor Aitken

 Glasgow Orange Order March - Saturday 6 July 2019

Thank you for your letter dated 22 August 2019 along with the Scottish Ministers Guidance note and the GCC Code of Conduct, both of which I found very helpful.

I will indeed take up my wider concerns directly with Police Scotland, but I would like to pursue the specific point I raised with the City Council regarding the ability of Glasgow's citizens to cross major roads safely, without undue disruption, while these large marches are underway.

I refer to the Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers and the City Council's Code of Conduct which highlight 'public safety' and 'disruption' to local citizens as major issues.

The guidance from Scottish Ministers states:

"The challenge now for elected members, chief executives and council staff is to make sure that their local authority is ready to cope with the changes and implement the good practice highlighted in this guidance. It is vitally important that all local authorities continue to work with the police and the communities they serve. They need to build on their good relationships with the organisers who want to hold processions in their areas and create a stronger bond with communities so they are better informed of the decisions being taken. Sharing information with local people is vital as it ensures that everyone is prepared for the events that may be taking place."

Para 2.3 of the Glasgow City Council Code of Conduct states:

"Where representations have been received from the Police or a local Councillor(s) or concerns raised by local residents or businesses, the Council will make every effort to meet and negotiate with the Procession Organiser to resolve concerns to the mutual satisfaction of all involved. These negotiations may result in it being necessary to submit a revised and mutually agreed notification."

As you know, my original letter referred to the recent case of a young woman being assaulted and spat upon while trying to cross the High Street on 6 July 2019. Indeed, I had a similar experience in 2017 (which I raised with Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland at the time) and also had similar difficulties in trying to get across the High Street this year, in July 2019.

My suggestion is that these marches should be halted, at regular intervals, to allow people to go about their business without being harassed or assaulted by marchers or their supporters.

As a resident of the Calton, I note that it took an assault on the priest at the local church for concerns to be taken more seriously by the Council and Police Scotland, and for the streets near the Church (where I live) to be protected. People are frightened to cross the road which is clearly wrong. Yet with some common sense, political will and professional support we should be able to ensure safety and dignity for people living in Glasgow, or visiting the City, without undermining anyone’s rights to free speech.

In my view, this requirement should become a 'condition' for the Council authorising the march which means that members of the public, Police Scotland and the march organisers would all know where they stand since the rules would be written down and made perfectly clear. On a practical level, I suspect the police would need to be seen to be in charge of these crossing points and not the march organisers, for obvious reasons.  

I believe my experience is shared by many Glasgow Citizens and that this is a reasonable and sensible way of improving the situation for everyone involved regardless of their political views or other affiliations.

I would be grateful if my proposal can be given consideration by Glasgow City Council as per Paragraph 2.3 of the Code of Conduct and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards



Mark Irvine


2) Letter from the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 22 August 2019   
-----Original Message-----
From: Aitken, Susan (Councillor) <Susan.Aitken@glasgow.gov.uk>
To: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
Sent: Thu, Aug 22, 2019 11:08 am
Subject: RE: Glasgow Orange Order March - Saturday 6 July 2019

The issues raised in your email fall under the auspices of Police Scotland and their role in relation to processions and you should raise your specific concerns with them directly.
However, it may help to clarify how notifications are dealt with in the Council, and the limits of the law in relation to the powers that the Council has.  Glasgow City Council, along with all local authorities in Scotland, manages Public Processions in accordance with legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2006. 
The Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers sets out that Councils must take into account four factors when considering a procession notification – public safety, public order, damage to property, and disruption of the life of the community. 
The Council does not give permission for processions to take place and is not permitted by the legislative and human rights framework within which it must operate, to make decisions solely based upon the views promoted by the organisation seeking to hold a parade in Glasgow.
A procession may give offence to persons opposed to the ideas or claims that it is seeking to promote. However, the right to process is well established in international human rights law and participants are able to hold a procession as long as they observe the Council’s Code of Conduct and there are no significant concerns raised by the Police in relation to public order, public safety, damage to property or disruption of the life of the community.
Upon receipt of a notification from a procession organiser, we share this with our statutory consultees, Police Scotland. As the experts in relation to the impact of processions on public safety and order, it is for them to determine what impact a procession could have. Case law from across Europe is clear that a high bar has to be met in order for restrictions to be placed on a procession.
If it is deemed that the notified procession could impact on the four criteria above, the Council has limited powers to place restrictions on the procession. This has  happened on several occasions over the past year where a number of processions (on a range of issues) have had conditions placed on them – usually in relation to a rerouting of the march.
Police Scotland continue to monitor the on-going situation in relation to processions in the city and when they provide information to the Council regarding their concerns about procession routes or timings, it is acted upon. 
Yours sincerely,
Councillor Susan Aitken
Leader of the Council
SNP Councillor for Langside
0141 287 3751

3) Letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 16 July 2019
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: susan.aitken <susan.aitken@glasgow.gov.uk>
Cc: greg.hepburn <greg.hepburn@glasgow.gov.uk>; John.Mason.msp <John.Mason.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; alison.thewliss.mp<alison.thewliss.mp@parliament.uk>
Sent: Tue, Jul 16, 2019 9:49 am
Subject: Glasgow Orange Order March - Saturday 6 July 2019
Dear Cllr Aitken
Glasgow Orange Order March - Saturday 6 July 2019

I would like to raise my concern at the policing arrangements and wider handling of the recent Orange Order March through Glasgow City centre on Saturday 6th July 2019.
I wrote to you on this subject 2 years ago, but never received a response to my letter. Sadly, the latest March was bedevilled with the same issues of anti-social, alcohol fuelled behaviour along with the inability of local people to go about their business without being harassed and unduly inconvenienced.
I witnessed several anti-social, alcohol fuelled incidents this year, as I live in the city centre, but in 2017 I complained to you specifically about the lack of police control over the march and the difficulty Glasgow citizens have in crossing city streets while the march is underway.
In my view, this is completely unacceptable and I know from media reports that this year a young woman was assaulted and spat upon by one of the marchers, echoing the ugly incident involving Father Thomas White at St Alphonsus Church.
So, what I would like to know is how local people like myself can have some input into the arrangements for these marches in future?
I wrote to my local councillor, Cllr Greg Hepburn, in November 2017, but again my letter received no response.
The key issue for me is that the policing arrangements seem inadequate for the scale of the task and numbers involved. In which case I would restrict such large scale events taking place in Glasgow city centre until agreement can be reached with the march organisers regarding the behaviour of the marchers and their ‘followers’.
Unlike other marches I have taken part in, the 'followers' do not actually follow the march, but walk alongside the marchers (on the pavement) until the march reaches its final destination which this year was Glasgow Green.
I enclose a copy of my previous letters to you and Cllr Greg Hepburn for information and hope to receive a proper response from you on this occasion.
Kind regards
Mark Irvine

4) Letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 1 July 2017
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Irvine <markirvine@compuserve.com>
To: susan.aitken <susan.aitken@glasgow.gov.uk>
Cc: greg.hepburn <greg.hepburn@councillors.glasgow.gov.uk>; John.Mason.msp <John.Mason.msp@scottish.parliament.uk>; alison.thewliss.mp<alison.thewliss.mp@parliament.uk>
Sent: Sat, Jul 1, 2017 3:13 pm
Subject: Glasgow Orange Walk - Saturday 1 July 2017
1 July 2017
Dear Cllr Aitken

Glasgow Orange Walk - Saturday 1 July 2017

I would like to register a complaint about the stewarding and policing of the Orange Walk in Glasgow earlier today.
I left my house to do some shopping in town at 11.20am and planned to cross the High Street at Glasgow Cross, as normal.
Unfortunately, I could not cross the road because of the Orange Walk which I knew about already, of course, but I waited patiently for a break in the procession so that I could go about my business in town.
After several minutes and with no sign of an opportunity to cross, I spoke to a police officer who said I would need to wait until the procession stopped or until the whole thing was finally over which seemed completely absurd to me, but rather than make a big fuss I set off for Morrisons on Barrack Street to pick up a few things.
Fifteen minutes or so later I returned to the corner of High Street and Bell Street with the intention of continuing my journey into town, but again my path was blocked by the procession and looking further up the High Street there was no sign of a police vehicle or likely pause in the line of marching bands.
So I decided that 'enough was enough' and that I would cross the High Street to continue on my route into town, in between two of the bands which had come to a halt nearby. As I did so one of the band's uniformed members tried to accost and prevent me from crossing the road, but I avoided his rather ungainly and unsuccessful attempts to block my passage, so to speak, before arriving safely on the other side of Bell Street a few seconds later.
I spoke to a police officer on the west side of Bell Street and shared  my experience to him in the hope that he would feed this back to his senior officers. The officer told me that occasional police vehicles accompanying the marchers were supposed to stop the march periodically to allow pedestrians cross the road at sensible intervals.
But if this policy was in operation on the day, then I have to say it was not working properly; in effect, the rights of local Glasgow citizens to go about their normal business, without undue interference, took second place to the Orange Walk - a case of the tail wagging the dog, if you ask me.
So my suggestion is that these processions should be stopped at regular intervals, at designated crossing points which are under the visible control of the police, so that local citizens and other pedestrians can go about their business.
In my experience, the 'system' that was in operation on Saturday plainly did not work and, left to their own devices, the organisers of the walk and their marching bands seem to think that they - not the police - are in charge of the public highway.
I am copying this letter to my local councillor (Greg Hepburn), MSP (John Mason) and MP (Alison Thewliss) as well as the Chief Constable of Police Scotland (Philip Gormley).
Kind regards

Mark Irvine  

People Before Processions - Update (19/09/19)



I said in a previous post that I was doing my own bit to make processions in Glasgow safer and more civilised, as far as the long-suffering public is concerned. 

So here's a letter I've written to my four local Councillors which asks them to raise these issues with Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland on my behalf.

I'll be interested to see which Councillors agree with the points I've raised because, in my experience, some politicians are only happy to pass correspondence on to other bodies such as Councils, Health Boards, Police Scotland etc - without explaining exactly where they stand. 

I'll share the various enclosures referred to in my letter, in a separate post, when I get a minute.

   

Dear Councillor

Glasgow Processions and Public Safety 

I am approaching all four councillors in my local Glasgow Calton ward to ask for your assistance regarding the management of public marches which pass through Glasgow city centre.

My concerns apply equally to all big marches, in principle, but personally speaking I have only ever experienced a difficulty in safely crossing public roads during Glasgow's Orange Order Marches. 

I have no idea why this should present such a problem, but the fact is that these marchers and their supporters seem to resent people crossing the road while their event is underway. As you know, this led to a recent incident in which a young woman was physically accosted and spat upon by one of the marchers.

I have encountered similar problems myself in the past and raised my concerns with the Leader of Glasgow City Council in July 2017 and did so again in July 2019 (copies of both letters are enclosed for your information).

In the latest exchange of correspondence the Council Leader helpfully provided me with a copy of Scottish Ministers' Guidance on Public Processions along with the City Council’s own Code of Conduct - both documents emphasise the importance of community engagement and the need to strike a proper balance between the rights of different groups of citizens.

I would like to highlight the following clause of the City Council's Code of Conduct  for your information and reference:

Para 2.3 of the Glasgow City Council Code of Conduct states:

"Where representations have been received from the Police or a local Councillor(s) or concerns raised by local residents or businesses, the Council will make every effort to meet and negotiate with the Procession Organiser to resolve concerns to the mutual satisfaction of all involved. These negotiations may result in it being necessary to submit a revised and mutually agreed notification."

I am asking my local councillors to raise this matter of public safety on my behalf with Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland.

My request is that a condition of future marches is that people should be able to cross the road at regular intervals during these marches and that Police Scotland should be visibly in charge of these designated ‘crossing points’ - not the march organisers.

In my opinion, this small but important civilising measure would be of great benefit to everyone involved.

I also believe that my concern over the level of disruption caused and the inability of people to cross the road safely during such marches is very widely shared.

I look forward to hearing from you in response to my request and would be happy to meet with local councillors individually, or on a cross party basis, if that would be a helpful way to take things forward.

Kind regards



Mark Irvine 


NB

Individuals letters sent to Cllr Greg Hepburn, Cllr Jennifer Layden, Cllr Robert Connelly and Cllr Celia O'Lone

Letter also sent for information to John Mason (MSP) Alison Thewliss (MP), Party Group Leaders on Glasgow City Council and the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Iain Livingstone.

Enclosures x 4

1) Copy of letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 23 August 2019
2) Copy of letter from the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 22 August 2019


3) Copy of letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 16 July 2019
4) Copy of letter to the Leader of Glasgow City Council dated 1 July 2017