Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 15 March 2010

What exactly is an "education services apprentice"?

This is a genuine query, not a flippant comment. It relates of course to the job-title of the late Danus McKinlay, a young gentleman who collapsed and died outside the headquarters of Glasgow City Council, where he had been employed in that role. His boss, and the person who apparently hired him, Stephen Purcell, the former leader of Glasgow City Council, resigned that day for what at the time were said to be 'stress-related' reasons, without further elucidation, but which it has since been alleged (I am not sure if the reports are accurate or mere tittle-tattle) related to an addiction to the drug cocaine. It is being said that Mr Purcell and Mr McKinlay were 'close pals', which seems to be a euphemism related to the fact that Mr Purcell is apparently gay.

Glasgow politics have always been somewhat mysterious to me - Labour's dominance of that city's politics for DECADES left it with huge stocks of poor-quality, poorly-maintained public housing and major debt. The usual way that socialist regimes founder. It is also a place where 'cronyism' seems to be an established way of life. Glasgow has always struck me as being rather like Chicago - a largish city run by an entrenched clique with a lot of murky issues under the surface. In this particular case there are allegations flying around that donations to the Labour Party 'machine' in the city were related to large contracts awarded by the city to a donor's company, mingled with suggestions that 'blackmail' may have been involved.

As for the suggestion by one blogger that '18-year olds don't simply drop dead' for no reason, in fact this is is not so. I know of a number of cases where young men have collapsed and died suddenly for seemingly unexplained reasons; it is rare, but it does happen. I haven't heard of the same kinds of incidents happening to young women, but perhaps they do for all I know. In any case, none of the querulous argy-barging between Labour and SNP supporters about that particular aspect of this case should mask the fact (which I suspect Labour badly wishes not to be the focus of attention) that Glasgow politics are decidedly dirty and murky with a lot of vested interests coming into play, if reports I have read over very many years are true. Will the bulk of the good citizens of Glasgow ever vote anything other than 'Labour'? One of the great mysteries of the universe is why they have stuck with these shysters for so long - probably they know no better. I'm not mad enough to think they might ever vote in numbers for the Conservatives of course (too much 'folk history' and myth there, I'm afraid), and naturally I don't relish the thought of them ever going SNP, but even the pallid LibDems would be a somewhat less self-destructive option I'd have thought. As I say, one of the (to me) great mysteries of the known universe ...

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