Sunday, 24 July 2011
The human cost of the Commonwealth Games - the destruction of Dalmarnock’s people by Glasgow City Labour Council - Saturday’s demo and Save the Accord
Thursday, 26 May 2011
The human cost of the Commonwealth Games - the destruction of Dalmarnock’s people by Glasgow City Labour Council
The election has been decisively won - the people of Scotland have spoken, dismissing the Tories and the LibDems as irrelevant to their lives, and dealing what I hope is a death blow to the long dominance of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Scottish Labour is in utter disarray, and is frantically attempting to place the blame for the end of their hegemony on any scapegoats they can find, and sedulously avoiding the real reasons for the decline in their fortunes that began with the SNP’s election victory in 2007. They are a party in denial, and this denial is being consolidated by their defenders in the media, some openly partisan and other trying to pretend that they are objective political commentators engaged in a dispassionate analysis of what went wrong, and how the party may reinvent itself and present a new face to the electorate.
At the heart of Scottish Labour’s problem is the city of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council, a Labour fiefdom for decades that encapsulates all that is rotten about Labour at most fundamental level of government - self-serving machine politics that have been inimical to well-being of the people of Glasgow for two generations.
And now a spectre looms, that of next years local elections, when they face the prospect of losing control of Glasgow and much of their traditional heartland besides.
There are many reasons why Scottish Labour supporters at last realised just what they have been voting for all these years, and shifted allegiance dramatically to the SNP, but one example epitomises the uncaring cynicism with which they treated their loyal supporters - the brutal and unfeeling clearance of the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow for private development and for the Commonwealth Games.
The Jaconelli Case, appalling enough in itself, was simply the most visible example of what was done to many families and small businesses in this travesty of justice. Margaret and Jack Jaconelli have repeatedly stated this fact to anyone who would listen - that they were not alone in this injustice, but simply one family who had been thrown into the media spotlight by the juggernaut of municipal and legal brutality rolling over them. Not one of them to my knowledge has received a penny in compensation or any interim payment. For most, this has been going on for eight years or more.
If anyone who followed the case has forgotten just how the City of Glasgow and the Glasgow Labour Party brutalised its own people, click the link below and watch the Scottish Sun video from inside 10 Ardenlea Street on that awful morning. For anyone unaware of the final denouement of the story, this is a must-view.
(I have appended some of video clips and blog comments at the end of today’s piece.)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ENTRENCHED REGIME LOOKS LIKE LOSING POLITICAL POWER?
Let’s look away from Glasgow for a moment, and consider what happens when any political machine loses power at the local level anywhere in the United Kingdom, indeed in any city in the democratic world.
I will use the term used by Private Eye, that indispensable publication that covers the ground that mainstream media are either too lazy, too complacent or too scared to address - rotten boroughs. Private Eye regularly publishes the sordid details of such rotten boroughs across the UK, where blatant corruption, the self-interest and the personal profit of councillors reign supreme over any concern for the people who have the misfortune to be dependent on them.
The mechanics of such corruption of local democracy across the UK are always the same - the award of contracts in disregard of best practice, failure to declare interest by councillors, nepotism, insider knowledge of land development, so-called consultancy and training contracts, lucrative sinecures for councillors on quasi-independent bodies, revolving door appointments to organisations that have benefited from council largesse. The necessary links with external organisations created by the giant budgets controlled by councils creates a potential for influence that should work for the good of the people, but all to often operates against their interests.
But like all political power, when the continuity of the hegemony is threatened, those external organisations whose relationship with the political power brokers has been less than transparent begin to get jittery, and a process of disengagement begins that is deeply worrying to the politicians involved.
And within the central structure there are three groups - honest employees and politicians, dishonest employees and politicians who are up to their necks in the corrupt practices, and a crucial third group, those who are all too aware of what has been going on, have not participated in, or profited by it, but who have remained silent rather than blow the whistle.
It is this group who begin to break their silence when the power structure begins to look shaky, anxious not to be caught up in a scandal that they have never profited from. Once those first cracks appear, the honest group, often comprising senior professionals, becomes uneasily aware of what has been going on under their noses, and begins to probe the weakest parts of the edifice of corruption.
Soon thereafter, panic sets in among the truly corrupt. Having no allegiance to any person or principle other than that of expedient self-interest, they begin to try to distance themselves from what may be coming their way. At that point, the dam begins to burst- auditing bodies, professional organisations, the police, national government and the media acquire a sudden interest.
SUMMARY and APPENDICES
I make the above points as general observations about corrupt organisations. Glasgow City Council may be entirely free of corruption, especially since the end of the Purcell era, which may itself just have been the personal failings and the personal tragedy of one man. If this is so, then in the Dalmarnock case, they have been simply deeply misguided in the way they pursued otherwise laudable objectives in relation to the regeneration of the East End of Glasgow and the huge opportunity presented by the Commonwealth Games, displaying professional callousness and a total lack of empathy towards an entire community of ordinary working people, and a highly selective view of the law as it relates to compulsory purchase and the acquisition of land for development purposes.
SOME PREVIOUS BLOGS AND YouTube CLIPS ON GLASGOW AND DALMARNOCK
Thursday, 19 May 2011
I now want to engage in a shameless display of self-delusion and misplaced vanity - please forgive me in advance …
From time to time, I notice that ideas and phrases I have used sometimes appear quickly thereafter by the media and politicians. This coincidence allows me to nurture the fantasy that they actually read my blog. An example -
I have used (and defined) the Hebrew word chutzpah in blogs passim and also very recently. It is not a term I have noticed much in use in the Scottish media or by politicians, (someone will doubtless correct me on this) in spite of the fact that our new First Minister is chutzpah incarnate. But Annabel picked it up, and used it yesterday in the Parliament.
I’m delighted, but have to advise her that if she decides to use a word, especially a foreign word that she has not used before, she should learn to pronounce it before uttering it in public. It is not chutt-spa, with the ch as in cheese, Annabel, it is choot-spa, with the ch rendered as in loch. But thanks for the echo …
THE SERIOUS STUFF …
Two weeks ago the Scottish electorate went into the polling booths and confounded the three major UK parties and their strategists, and surprised even the superb SNP campaigning team. Let me quote again the perceptive insight of Ferdinand von Prondzynski -
Referring to a BBC comment that Scots seem to have lost their fear of independence, he said -
“It doesn’t mean they voted for it when they voted SNP. But it means that they knew that, by voting SNP, they were making independence a live issue. They might still voice caution when polled. But they are there to be persuaded, and expect the persuasion to come. They are not yet all in favour, but they are no longer determined to be against.”
That penetrating insight, from a European new to Scotland and Scottish politics, said more about the reality of this extraordinary election, this pivotal moment in Scotland’s history - and about where the future might take us - than most of the heavyweight political punditry during the campaign and immediately after. I hope we hear more from Ferdinand.
In the immediate aftermath of the morning of May 6th, we have seen and heard a range of responses to the results, from those horrified and disappointed by them, from the risible through unrealistic denial and very sour grapes to sober, considered analyses that begin to define what the unionist contribution to the great debate will be. There was one to day that managed to be all three - risible, unrealistic and smelling of very sour grapes indeed.
MICJAEL KELLY in the Scotsman
This reaction may be exemplified by just about anything Michael Kelly says. Why The Scotsman gives column inches to this politician of yesteryear is a mystery to me. They might a least use an up-to-date photograph of the man at the head of his outpourings. But I understand why he wouldn’t want that …
(I should say that some voices in the SNP suggest that party supporters, especially in the new media, should project a new atmosphere of goodwill towards all men in the lead-up to the referendum. I regret that I cannot oblige, although I fully understand that they wish to avoid the worst excesses of abuse that disfigure some online comment, something I deplore and take all steps to kill on my blog and my YouTube channel, TAofMoridura)
Kelly is in typical form today in his piece, Glasgow faces new fight for top spot. He got that right at least. But by Glasgow, he doesn’t mean the great, vibrant city of my birth, and its wonderful, resilient people, but the gruesome excrescence known as the controlling Labour Group in Glasgow City Council that has failed the people of Glasgow for half a century or thereabouts.
Kelly attempts to conflate Glasgow and Scottish Labour with Celtic Football Club, mixing his metaphors and examples in a blatant appeal to ancient tribal political loyalties, while condemning sectarianism. I have little interest in football or indeed in spectator sport of any kind, and in this, I am wholly unrepresentative of my countrymen. But I do know the place Celtic holds in the hearts of its supporters, and I know the history of the club, because it was founded by Brother Walfrid, of my primary school in the Calton, St.Mary’s Abercromby Street.
(For the hardcore bigots out there, always keen to seize on names and schools to stereotype, let me say that I am an atheist, and was married in the Church of Scotland in Drumchapel village in 1960 to the love of my life, who came from a staunchly Presbyterian family. Make what you will of that, boys and bhoys …)
For the record, I believe that Celtic Football Club should exert every endeavour, while respecting its history, to escape from its associations with a specific religion, Labour politics and the Republic of Ireland, and Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland, and that Rangers Football Club should break similar links. If either club wants to fly a flag, let it be the saltire - the flag of Scotland. If they want to sings songs, try Scotland the Brave, or Flower of Scotland, or Ae Fond Kiss (that would be something the hear!) or make some up that are about the club or the game.
Michael Kelly devotes his first column to football, to the degree that I thought I had strayed on to the Sports page. But it is in fact an extended Scottish cringe, presenting the Scots as inveterate losers, leading to the following first sentence of his last paragraph in column one - “Contrast this approach with that of successful nations, like, say, England.”
I will resist the temptation to examine England’s history over the last half century, especially the Blair/Brown years, but find myself agreeing with him that Scottish Labour, the Scottish Tories, the Scottish LibDems and Glasgow City Council do fit the description of losers - loser of values, of integrity, of direction, and of the trust of the Scottish voter and the Scottish people.
A few more gems from yesterday’s Glasgow politician -
“The party workers … who spent hours on phones being lied to by former Labour voters. The grass roots don’t fall for the pap that the voters are always right.”
“Rather, they ” the party workers “are angry that the voters are so easily fooled.”
Michael, let me explain reality to you - the former Labour voters were fed up being lied to by your party for two generations, and made a clear-eyed shift to a party they believe they can trust - the SNP. And the SNP will not betray that trust, as your party has done so cynically and contemptuously.
Michael is actually looking ahead to the local council elections next year, hoping that Labour councillors can look up from the trough long enough to see what’s coming to get them. More unintentional humour here -
“Labour has nothing to beat here. What has the SNP government done for Glasgow?”
It’s the way you tell ‘em, Mikey …
“And it was a friendly match - a no-risk election with voters taking out their frustration on Labour knowing that they were not voting for independence.”
Have a wee word with Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Michael - he’ll put you straight …
I could go on, but it would be like pulling the wings off a bluebottle - sorry, greenbottle …
Saturday, 19 March 2011
The Herald report today by Helen McArdle was much more balanced, fair and accurate - and human - than most of the Herald’s previous coverage has been. Some misconceptions have been corrected - the GCC lie on the offer of accommodation, for instance. (They have never offered permanent rented accommodation to Margaret, and in any case such an offer was irrelevant to a house owner seeking financial compensation for having her house taken away from her.)
But Helen McArdle accepted at face value GCC’s deliberate misrepresentation, with partial information, of the facts of the mediation offer.
This ready acceptance of one side of an argument from the powerful without checking the other side from the vulnerable is dangerous, especially when the facts are readily available, and have already been reported by other news media.
The facts, Helen, are these -
1. Glasgow City Council rejected a formal written request by Margaret Jaconelli for mediation, a fact stated by her lawyer subsequently at a court hearing.
2. On Thursday evening, a representative of the Scottish Government made an offer to GCC to supply a mediator in the dispute. GCC rejected this offer out of hand.
3. On Friday, faced with a glare of publicity and media interest in the Jaconellis, and the widely publicised news of the Scottish Government offer, GCC suddenly gave the Jaconellis an time-limited ultimatum - vacate the property immediately and we will accept mediation, a bullying tactic that this vulnerable family, playing the only card they have in the face of the might of Glasgow City Council, the Labour Party, the law and law enforcement agencies, refused.
These are the facts. But perhaps it was too much to expect the Herald to report that an SNP Government had offered to help resolve this needless and damaging dispute, which is casting a dark stain over the Commonwealth Games, especially when the Labour-controlled GCC are rolling like a juggernaut over the lives, hope and dreams of an ordinary Glasgow family.
Another fact worthy of mention is that although the Jaconelli’s home is immediately adjacent to the Athlete’s Village site, in fact their land will be used to build private housing for sale by the developer Mactaggart & Mickel.
I don’t want to be grudging, Helen McArdle - this was the fairest Herald account of the Jaconelli’s long purgatory that has been given so far, and it captured some of the human reality of their plight. Just a little more fact checking and attention to detail, and you and the Herald will be almost there.
Thanks, Helen and the Herald!
Friday, 18 March 2011
The following points have been repeated ad nauseam in the media and press about the Margaret Jaconelli case, fed by Glasgow City Council’s publicity machine. They are either untrue or highly partial and distorted versions of the truth. They are, in the true original sense of the word coined by Norman Mailer - factoids: things which everybody thinks are true except they ain’t.
Let’s nail them one by one …
Factoid 1. Margaret Jaconelli is refusing to give up her home, thus holding up the development of the Athlete’s Village for the Commonwealth Games, a desirable and necessary part of the regeneration of Glasgow’s East end.
Untrue: Margaret Jaconelli supports the regeneration project, recognises the inevitability of giving up her home, but has refused to do so until she is adequately compensated for its loss, her costs and the disruption to her life.
The Athlete’s Village is not being built on the site of MJ’s home - it is being built nearby. MJ’s home is required to allow Mactaggart & Mickel, a private developer and housebuilder, to build private housing for sale on the site.
Factoid 2. Margaret Jaconelli demanded £320,00 compensation for her home from Glasgow City Council, (GCC and media subtext: “…and is therefore greedy and unrealistic”)
Untrue: In one instance, a calculation was made contrasting two investment decisions - MJ’s decision to buy her house back from Bridgeton and Dalmarnock Housing Association in 1998 for a sum of £30k (a 1990 valuation) and a developer’s decision to buy two parcels of land of vacant land between 1988 and 1989 for £45k. It showed that GCC, armed with the same compulsory purchase legislation and legal rights to acquire both, freely negotiated a price with the developer, Grantly, of £5.5 million pounds, yielding a profit of almost £5.5.m, yet offered MJ the 1990 valuation of £3ok, and refused to negotiate or use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve the dispute.
As an illustration of the gross inequity of these two approaches by GCC, a calculation was made showing that, on an investment versus investment basis, an argument could be advanced that MJ should have been offered £3.5m , but even taking a realistic fraction of this because of the difference in land occupied by MJs home and the developer’s plots, a figure of £320,00 could be advanced as a figure.
This figure was never intended as anything other than an illustration of the gross inequity of treatment being meted out by GCC, but somewhere along the line, the figure appeared as a negotiating demand on GCC, without MJs knowledge or express authorisation, and was seized upon by GCC, the tabloids and the media. MJ would have happily settled in 2006 for a figure of £90,00 - a figure ultimately and belatedly only offered verbally this year - 2011 - by GCC, and never formalised in writing. (An earlier formal offer of £85,000 was made late last year, 2010.) Between 2006 and late 2010, no offers were made by GCC, contrary to a statement made yesterday by GCC and reported in today’s ‘Sun’ that “we have been negotiating with her since 2007 over mutually agreeable compensation terms and a new home for the family.”
Factoid 3: Glasgow City Council offered permanent alternative accommodation to Margaret Jaconelli and negotiated on the the location and nature of that accommodation.
Untrue: MJ was only offered temporary accommodation, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis and was expected to pay rental of around £400 per month to GCC for such temporary accommodation. Leaving aside the suitability of such temporary accommodation and its location, this offered no financial solution to a house owner who owned her property free and clear.
Factoid 4: Margaret Jaconelli is being unreasonable in rejecting a verbal offer of £90,000 for her home (which has never been formalised in writing with terms and conditions) in full and final settlement of all her claims, an offer that would have satisfied her in 2006.
Untrue: Since 2006, Margaret Jaconelli has been forced to pit her slender resources of money, time and energy against a giant City Council, one of the largest in the UK, with formidable resources of money, political influence, and able to call on the services of highly-paid professional, and legal advisors, including QCs.
She has incurred legal fees that she cannot afford, and heating and electricity bills way in excess of normal because of GCC’s actions in the vacant flats that surround her, actions that turned her once bustling, lively neighbourhood into a grim wasteland.
MJ could have bought a comparable property to the one she is losing in the middle of the price range for such properties in 2006 for £90,000, but she cannot do so now, because, prices have risen in that period, even in the face of the property slowdown after the crash.
Margaret Jaconelli’s settlement figure, which is a matter for her and her new, highly-capable lawyer, Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre, must now reflect those changes and her costs if she is to put her life back the way it was before Glasgow City Council, the law and the media attempted to roll over her little family life like a Juggernaut, to a shameful and deafening silence from every political party in Scotland.
That settlement figure must be separated from GCC’s last offer of £90,000 by a sum that is tiny in relation to GCC’s resources and the millions they have put into the pockets of speculative property developers. It probably represents a few months’ wages for a professional footballer, including those of Celtic Football Club, a stone’s throw away from 10 Ardenlea Street, a club that has maintained an equally shameful deafening silence over this Glasgow granny’s plight, in spite of their boast to be ‘Celtic in the Community’.
The outcome of today will be a sordid and depressing spectacle as this little Glasgow family have their doors broken down and are forcibly evicted from their home of 34 years.
But even at this eleventh hour, the great City of Glasgow could show some humanity. This needn’t happen!
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli Are the Commonweath Games in Glasgow going ahead, while burying the hope and dreams and lives of ordinary Glaswegians?
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli A tragedy for the little people is unfolding while money, celebrity sport and naked greed roll over them, uncaring.
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli Do the Labour Party and SNP want to enter a Holyrood electoral campaign with a brutal injustice on their consciences?
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli Where are the rich sporting personalities who will profit hugely from the Games when ordinary Scots need their help?
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli What in God's name is the SNP doing for these ordinary Glaswegians? Does big money roll over the little people?
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli The profit made by a developer on 1 deal (£1m), courtesy of Glasgow City Council, could have settled with all 5 claimants
moridura Peter Curran
#MargaretJaconelli She may get crippling costs awarded against her by GCC. If this is the price of Commonwealth Games, it is too high
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
I have done my best in blogging and twittering to raise some political and media interest in the Margaret Jaconelli case – the Glasgow grandmother who is apparently being forced out of her home by a compulsory purchase order that does not recognise the true value of her property before it was hit by the Commonwealth Games redevelopment. I say apparently because I have never met Margaret, and have had only two short telephone conversations with her. I therefore only have her version of events, but she seems sincere to me, and under acute emotional and financial pressure, and I believe that she has told me the truth as she knows it.
I have already contacted the two SNP councillors involved, Bob Doris and Alison Thewliss. Bob Doris has replied to me - so far Alison Thewliss has not. I have sent the details as I know them to people who at the very least should know what is happening, and who may be able to help.
Based on an admittedly partial, and perhaps superficial knowledge of the case, I have offered Margaret Jaconelli the following advice -
1. You cannot fight your corner on the law alone. The law does not guarantee justice - it is a process that sometimes delivers justice and equity, but often doesn't.
2. You must raise the positive media profile for your case by regular press releases to the main Scottish media outlets - The Herald, the Scotsman, the Record, (and maybe the Sunday Post), STV, BBC Scotland and Radio Scotland.
3. Your case can be won if the media perceives firstly, a story 'with legs' and secondly, can present it as an injustice - the bullying might and legal clout of Glasgow City Council and the developers against one vulnerable Glasgow granny, fighting for a fair deal. There must be sufficient embarrassment for all concerned, including the political parties facing a Holyrood election in May 2011, to make them reach a no-precedent equitable settlement that ideally recognises
a) a fair price for your home
b) a fair price to compensate you for stress and loss incurred, including meeting all legal costs and expenses.
4. Your strong sound-bite elements include -
a) the value placed by the CP process appears ridiculous, and has been pulled down by the very process of planning blight caused by the development.
b) your personal circumstances - woman with ill husband and terminally ill brother fighting for justice and the future of her family (sorry to put it so starkly, Margaret, but you must use the reality of this to help your case.)
c) the apparent misrepresentation by Glasgow City Council and the planners - according to your account - of a meeting, presented to the Press as a hearing when in fact it was an informal meeting, and the apparent misrepresentation to you of it as being one where you didn't require legal representation, when, in fact, the Council were legally represented.
d) correction of the apparent error in the press and media claims that you have been offered alternative accommodation four or more times, when you say you have not, and have only been offered temporary accommodation for 12 weeks, and that offer made under an acceptance ultimatum just before you entered a meeting.
e) the fact that Scottish Enterprise, a publicly funded body, set up to encourage enterprise has recently been paying thousands of pounds to Scottish media presenters to front up meetings aimed at business development, when you and your husband have been entrepreneurs and have run your own business for years.
f) Emphasise strongly that you are not refusing to move, not blocking a necessary development, but seeking a fair deal for events that have disrupted and come close to destroying you and your family's life.
g) Refer to the fact that the Crichel Down Affair of some sixty years ago was a gross injustice over compulsory purchase and land valuations that caused a major political scandal that led directly to the reform of the legislation to its present form.
NOTE TO THE SCOTTISH PRESS AND MEDIA
If there are still investigative journalists out there with a nose for a story and some human concern for the little person facing the might of government and big finance, please give some time to examining the fact of this case. If you have already looked at the facts, please look again – don’t wait for a human tragedy to make your story …
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
I’ve pulled these comments out on to the main blog page because both viewpoints deserve an airing.
You are completely wrong on Trump and obviously have no idea on the natural environment and treat one area the same as any other area.
Trump is an arrogant wealthy bullyboy full of his own self importance. He thinks he knows better than nature in stopping naturally shifting/living sand dunes from continuing there natural flow. Can you please enlighten me to the economic benefits other than filling real estate developers pockets with taxpayers cash. The local taxpayers will end up paying for all the infrastructure needed to service this real estate development to satisfy this man's ego. A blight on Scotland.
As to the lady in Glasgow I believe that this has been ongoing for over a decade and cannot comment on her plight.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Thanks for posting, cynicalhighlander - now try hard to be realistic highlander.
Donald Trump is a hard-headed American businessman who is bringing jobs and tourism to an area that desperately needs it. Instead of sentimentalism about sand dunes, start thinking about jobs and economic activity. We've never needed them more than today.
I worked for an American company for 14 years, Goodyear. It was part of what used to be the Scottish car industry, now vanished like snaw aff a dyke. There were many complex reasons for that, but among them was a complete dissociation from reality by many Scots and some trades unions.
Scots need to wake up to the real needs of this country, and sentimental longings won't cut it. Neither will this poisoned United Kingdom, which sucks all power south.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Recent information received on Margaret Jaconelli’s attempts to get a fair price and compensation for her home, a Glasgow granny facing compulsory purchase to acquire land for the Commonwealth Games development, leads me to believe that there is a major injustice in the making here, and that a relentless, pitiless legal juggernaut is in the process of rolling over this Glasgow grandmother and her husband.
Her case has, in the main, been presented in unsympathetic and in some cases inaccurate terms by a Scottish press too lazy to find the real story underlying the superficial, Daily Mail-type headlines that have unfairly portrayed her as greedy and unreasonable. There is greed and unreasonableness at work here, but it is not coming from Margaret Jaconelli but from those seeking to force her into accepting major disruption to her life on manifestly inequitable terms.
I intend to find out more, and so should any journalist worth their salt - and any local politician. It will be sad indeed if the justifiable pride of Glasgow and Scottish politicians in hosting the games is marred by an injustice.
Remember this, when you consider the facts as previously presented, some of which are appear to have been inaccurate - Margaret Jaconelli is not refusing to move, not trying to halt the progress of the work; she is trying to get a fair, negotiated price for her home of many years and for the stress and disruption she and her family have been put through by this relentless and implacable legal and commercial juggernaut.
Some individuals and some firms will make very big money indeed from this work, but even at her most ambitious price, which was simply an opening bid, Margaret Jaconelli will not.
Given the record of British politicians – with the honourable exception of the SNP – in exploiting property, property loopholes and expenses, and with some Scottish Labour politicians facing criminal prosecution for their activities, it behoves the honest politicians of Glasgow and Scotland to at least investigate this woman’s case more closely, and ideally champion it.
EXTRACT FROM 5th October 2010 BLOG
TRUMP and the GLESCA GRANNY
Let me nail my colours to the mast – I believe that if a development – international golf and hotel complex or Commonwealth games facilities are manifestly in the wider public interest, some people may have to lose their homes, property and land if they stand in the way of that, providing there has been full consultation and all relevant environmental, social, economic and personal arguments have been properly heard and adjudicated on.
If it happened to me, I would be sad, but I would recognise its inevitability and focus on getting the best price.
The objectors in Aberdeen on environmental grounds have been heard, and they have lost the argument. If such arguments had been accepted throughout the centuries, we would have no cities, no roads, no industry and no modern infrastructure in Scotland.
God knows, we are not short of wild unspoiled places, vibrant with animals, fish game and species in abundance, much of it regrettably in the grip of private landowners. I have no wish to turn Scotland into a concreted-over theme park, but neither do I want to see thousands of families condemned to unemployment and penury because of lack of work.
Those who are refusing to sell their homes are in another category entirely. I sympathise with them and I want them to get a price that reflects the hardship and emotional upheaval that the loss of their homes will visit on them, but I do not support their right to veto a major project by refusing outright to sell. So I have little sympathy for the Aberdeen protesters.
But I do stand up for Margaret Jaconelli, the Glasgow grandmother who has fought to get her idea of a fair price for over a decade for her two-bedroom flat in Dalmarnock. Unlike the Aberdeen protesters, who appear to have elicited public sympathy by virtue of the Scope-Severity Paradox (see above), she is well on her way to being demonised, together with her lawyer, for asking £300,000 for the land the Games authority wants to acquire and £60,000 for the inconvenience of being evicted.
Glasgow City Council plans to evict her for refusing to accept the £30,000 figure assessed by the District Valuer, a UK government agency under the compulsory purchase order.
When I was teaching negotiating skills in the early 1990s to managers and businesses of all kinds, I was introduced by Professor Gavin Kennedy, an international expert and best-selling author on negotiation, to the concept of ransom strips in property dealing, i.e. often small piece of land, privately owned, that stood in the way of a large, multi-million development. I used one of Gavin’s cases when I worked for him as director of Negotiate Ltd. to show how both ends of such a negotiation worked, the clear objective of the seller being to maximise the sale price and the buyer to minimise it.
No one, then or now, ever suggested that there was something immoral in recognising that the value of the land was determined, not by comparison with similar plots that were not the object of development, but by the particular circumstances of them being positional goods in the development context.
Governments don’t like such negotiating clout and good fortune to be in the hands of small property and landowners, however, hence the compulsory purchase legislation. While the UK government is totally reconciled to paying enormously inflated prices for armaments, defence contract, consultancy and IT projects based on market circumstances and leverage, they don’t like the idea of a Glesca granny trying to exploit her once in a lifetime opportunity.
Well, I do – go for it, Granny Margaret (she’s 23 years younger than me!) – get the best deal you can.
Do I think £300,000 for the land and £60,000 for the inconvenience excessive? Well, it’s an opening bid, and Margaret and her lawyer would, I’m sure, settle for a smaller amount in negotiation if she and her lawyer are permitted to bargain. But of course, they won’t be – the steamroller of local government and UK law will roll over them, in a city where municipal corruption has been endemic for generations, where dirty land and property deals have been the order of the day and where corrupt council officials who would have been sacked in any just society have been quietly retired with massive settlements and pensions over the decades.
But you’ve lost nothing by trying, Granny Margaret, and if there is any justice, you’ll still get the price offered, a new home, and with luck, tell your story to the tabloids and media and make a few bob.
Meanwhile, if there is a petition to protect you, I’ll sign it most willingly. But I won’t support your Aberdeen counterparts in their efforts to stay put.