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 …