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Davidson Must Answer To Tory Links With Cambridge Analytica

SNP MSP George Adam has written to Ruth Davidson demanding that she explains whether reports linking the Tories and Cambridge Analytica are accurate – and confirm whether and when the UK party has met the firm and if Cambridge Analytica or SCL have done work for the UK Conservative party.

 

After the First Minister listed a series of well publicised and unchallenged links between the Tories and the controversial firm, Ruth Davidson dismissed them as “allegations”. Mr Adam has now challenged the Tory leader to set out which if any of these reports she disputes and on what basis.

 

In addition – the Conservative party continue to fail to answer questions on whether the party has met or worked with Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL at any point – the same questions the SNP has already answered.

 

The now former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix told the Westminster Culture Committee in February that they had spoken with “every” political party in the UK, naming the Tories.

 

In a letter to Ms Davidson, Mr Adam wrote:

 

“At First Minister’s Questions, you dismissed links between Cambridge Analytica and your party as ‘allegations’.

 

“Cambridge Analytica have themselves confirmed that they have at least had conversations with the Conservative party – and we know that the UK government has given parent firm SCL public contracts.

 

“Given your apparently interest in transparency, can you tell me which if any of the following reports you dispute and the factual basis on which you dispute them and can you working with the Conservative party provide the answers to the questions about Conservative meetings with SCL and Cambridge Analytica that have so far gone unanswered.

 

“It is true that the UK government gave these contracts to SCL?

 

“Is it true that SCL Group was reportedly granted provisional ‘List X’ status by the Ministry of Defence granting access to secret documents until 2013?

 

“Is it true that SCL used to be run by a former chairman of Oxford Conservative Association?

 

“Is it true that SCL were founded by a former Tory MP, and that your party accepted over £700,000 in donations from an SCL director?

 

“Is it true that a Cambridge Analytica executive reportedly advised the Foreign Office on lessons gleaned from the Trump election?

 

“Do you agree that former Scottish Tory candidate and party vice-chairman Richard Cook who is the public face of the Constitutional Research Council, responsible for a £425,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign which was then partially spent on AggregateIQ, who are reportedly linked to Cambridge Analytica should reveal the source of this donation?

 

“And – crucially – is former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix correct to have stated in a letter in 2010 that he had worked with the UK Conservative party?

 

“When Alexander Nix told the Westminster Culture Committee in February that they had spoken with ‘every’ political party in the UK, was he correct to name the Conservatives as on party they had spoken with?

 

“During First Minister’s Questions you very carefully qualified your claim that your party hadn’t had any communication with Cambridge Analytica – referring only to the Scottish Tories, rather than the parent organisation.

 

“As you have demanded transparency from others, will you now confirm whether the UK Tories – and not just the Edinburgh office – have met with Cambridge Analytica?”

Geroge Adam MSP

My Constituent Was Sanctioned For A Heart Attack!

DWP Boss Ignoring Real Life Impacts Of Tory Policies

DWP boss Esther McVey today struggled through a Holyrood committee meeting as the real life impact of Tory welfare policies was laid bare.

 

SNP MSP George Adam raised the case of a constituent who had been sanctioned after suffering a heart attack – but was met with a brick wall as Ms McVey insisted the system was working.

 

After Ms McVey said that Universal Credit was fit for purpose, Mr Adam told her “with the greatest respect, that’s completely devoid from the real world.”

 

He continued: “In my constituency, I’ve got people who’ve been suffering constantly because of the roll-out. We’re not even a full roll-out area.

 

“What about people like my constituent, who ended up getting sanctioned because he had a heart attack and was in the Royal Alexandria Hospital?”

 

Commenting, George Adam said:

 

“That was like speaking to a brick wall – despite the overwhelming evidence of the negative impact of the Tory welfare agenda, Esther McVey just insisted that all was well.

 

“The fact is, the botched Universal Credit roll-out is having a devastating impact on many across the country – and that’s just the latest in a long line of Tory welfare cuts.

 

“With our limited powers over welfare, we’re building a Scottish social security agency with dignity and respect at its heart – and we’ve refused to use the discredited sanctions regime in our new employability service.

 

“But the extent of Westminster cuts to the welfare state show why we need full powers over social security in Scotland – not in the hands of the Tories

George outside Paisley Museum

Paisley’s MSP Calls On Tory MSP’s Representing The West Of Scotland To Condemn Family Cap And Rape Clause

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam has called on Maurice Corry, Maurice Golden and Jamie Greene Tory MSPs for the West of Scotland to stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK government and oppose the shocking and inhumane two child limit and rape clause.   

 

 

The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.

 

The Tories railroaded through these policies without a parliamentary debate or vote – leaving many outstanding questions with regards to womens’ rights, the impact on child poverty, as well as how the hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals will be trained to assess evidence of rape.  

 

Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape.

 

SNP MP Alison Thewliss has led the campaign to scrap the grotesque two child policy and rape clause.

 

 

Paisley’s MSP, George said:George outside Paisley Museum

“The Tory policy that has become known as the rape clause, requiring women to disclose deeply personal information and prove that a third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape in order to claim tax credits, is both disgraceful and disgusting.

 

“Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories should be thoroughly ashamed of their party but instead they are defending the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster.

 

“The two child policy will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families – driving up child poverty after the UK government scrapped their child poverty targets.

 

“I will continue to fight these heartless policies and I would like to believe that the Conservative MSP’s for the West of Scotland will join me with opposing the two child limit and rape clause. By doing so, I am asking them to stand up for the dignity and human rights of Women in Scotland and condemn these utterly appalling Tory Government policies.”

 

 

 

 

 

Minister Denies Google Maps Jobcentres Bungle

A CABINET minister has denied that the DWP used google maps to identify jobcentres for closure in Glasgow, despite officials admitting it on more than one occasion.
Damian Green, work and Pensions Secretary told MP and MSPs that was not how the department operated and agreed it was not the right way to do business.

Mr Green was giving evidence to a special joint session of the Westminster and Holyrood Social Security committees in the House of Commons.

He was quizzed over the plans to shut half of Glasgow’s jobcentres and was asked about using google maps.

 

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

Damian Green being presented with a signed I, Daniel Blake book by George

 

 

George Adam, Paisley SNP MSP asked about DWP officials using google maps to determine which offices should close and which remain open.

He said: “Surely that’s not the right way to do business?”

Mr Green replied: “It’s not and we don’t do it that way.”

 

 

However Denise Horsfall, Scotland work Director for the DWP who is in charge of the process to shut Jobcentres in Glasgow previously admitted they did.
She said in January in an interview with the Evening Times, when asked if the routes between centres had been tested by staff in person, Ms Horsfall said: “I would love to say I sent my team out but they have got other work to do. I did use maps and the traveline website.”

The House of Commons library also records Ms Horsfall and Neil Couling a fellow official in giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament social security committee stating: “In determining travelling distances, DWP had used Traveline and Google Maps.”

 

Mr Green was also challenged on the justifications given by the DWP for closing eight Jobcentres in the Glasgow area.JobCentre_778x436

Pauline McNeill, Glasgow Labour MSP, asked Mr Green about his comments that more people were using services online and told him that the situation in Glasgow was not the same as in other cities.

She said: “Glasgow is one of the poorest cities in the UK with huge pockets of deprivation.

“One in four people do not have access to the internet. You cannot compare Glasgow to cities like Leeds without looking at levels of poverty.”

Rutherglen SNP MP, Margaret Ferrier, had told the Secretary of State, that Glasgow was being treated disproportionately with 50% of centres being closed compared to 20% across the UK.

Mr Green said that there was too much unused space and the tax payer had to get better value for money.”

The plan is for seven of the 14 Glasogw Jobcentres to close and also for Cambuslang to shut and services moved to Rutherglen.

The Evening Times Hands off Our Jobcentres campaign has called for the plans to be halted and Jobcentres to be retained in the communities where they are needed most. the campaign has attracted widespread support across political parties and from churches and trade unions.

 

_92246155_cwvfyd4wiaafwduI, Daniel Blake film director, Ken Loach also supported our call to stop the closures.

Mr Green said that the proposals for Glasgow were still under consideration.

He said: There is a consultation going on. We haven’t yet come to a final conclusion of what we are going to do in Glasgow. I would ask everyone to be patient.”

 

Evening Times – 21/03/17 – Stewart Paterson, Political Correspondent

UN to Investigate Bedroom Tax in Scotland

George outside Paisley Abbey

It has been revealed that the United Nations (UN) have launched a probe in to the Bedroom Tax due to concerns about human rights.  The tax which targets those on housing benefit affects over 80,000 households in Scotland, a huge proportion of which are homes with a person who has disabilities.

 

Speaking on the news, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

 

‘I do not receive housing benefit but my wife Stacey is a wheelchair user.

 

‘I know the space her equipment takes up and this Bedroom Tax is a bare faced attack on the disabled.

 

‘The Tories want disabled people to move in to homes that cannot possibly store the equipment needed for them to have a relatively normal life.

 

‘They expect disabled people to live in homes that are 24hr obstacle courses for people with mobility problems.

 

‘No wonder the UN are investigating. 

 

‘This week Ed Milliband stated once again that Labour will not abolish the Bedroom Tax.

 

‘To my total disgust Labour MSP Iain Grey stated in Parliament this week that the reason there was a Scottish Parliament was to combat such policies at Westminster.

 

‘No Iain, the reason for the Scottish Parliament is to represent the people of Scotland and the nation’s best interests.  That is what we should be doing, not battling an uncaring Westminster that has no interest in Scotland or those in need.

 

‘If Better Together means turning the Parliament in to an organisation to protect Scotland against Westminster then Labour needs to have a hard look at itself.

 

‘Independence is the only way we can deliver for the people of Scotland without the need to protect ourselves from another parliament that in no way shows that we are better together.’

 

 

More information can be found here in the Guardian.

 

MoD mandarins waging a secret war on Scotland

George Adam MSPGeorge was mention in an article by Joan McAlpine in the Daily Record.  The story is outlined below.

 

 

 

JOAN argues that it’s time Scotland controlled the future of civilian defence jobs north of the border – rather than decisions being made in London.

 

 

 

MANY folk were shocked at the proposed pay rise for MPs at a time when most public sector wages are frozen.

But it’s not just politicians in Westminster who live in a parallel universe to the rest of us.

Whitehall bigwigs enjoy salaries that dwarf even those of MPs.

Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel, earns £220,000 PA plus access to a £49,000 car and chauffeur perk.

Gray was brought into government as a Labour adviser and hit the headlines last year when he charged £23,000 for hotel stays, including the £360 a night Sofitel near Buckingham Palace.

His track record does not suggest much sympathy for the ordinary bloke. But next week Gray will decide the fate of Scottish civilian defence workers.

They are based at the UK National Codification Bureau, who catalogue defence equipment for Nato from a base in Glasgow and were set up in 1986 as part of a programme to disperse UK government jobs to areas of high unemployment.

The workers are skilled, many with degrees and HNCs in engineering. They have helped hundreds of UK firms win export sales. The MoD want to move their jobs to Bristol.

When Paisley MSP George Adam, wrote to the UK Government to protest about the proposed transfer, he was told it was part of a savings drive to cut the national deficit.

But a value-for-money survey for the MoD found it would cost MORE to move the jobs to Bristol.

A leaked document obtained by myself also shows the MoD’s equipment and support operation in Bristol are about to spend millions recruiting 1300 staff – while throwing Glasgow workers on the dole. It seems based on nothing more than prejudice.

Last month Major General I M Copeland, who is based in Bristol, told unions he was determined to press ahead with the move.

He claimed a “geographically dispersed workforce” would not ensure “coherent working practices and outcomes”.

The unions refused to accept this and the final decision will be made by Gray after they meet next week.

Naturally the workers in Scotland feel they are being discriminated against. What other conclusion can they draw?

They are also used as political footballs by the anti-independence campaign. The Glasgow workers approached Labour politicians for help, including Richard Simpson, MSP for central Scotland.

Simpson told them that their jobs would disappear with independence and passed the matter to a Westminster colleague.

Scotland remains very much part of the political union and these workers are still staring redundancy in the face.

Concentration of political power in the south of England will always work against Scotland, even if we deliver better value for money.

The MoD’s own statistics show that between 1997 and 2012 there was a defence underspend of £7.4billion in Scotland.

That means we paid £7.4billion extra tax to support jobs elsewhere, mainly the south of England.

So when the No campaign next moan about an independent Scotland having to set up “costly” new institutions, think about it this way. We already pay a great deal for institutions such as the UKNCB.

We will continue to pay the same for it after all the jobs are transferred from Glasgow to Bristol.

An independent Scotland as a member of Nato would need its own national codification bureau, like every member of the alliance.

We would pay about the same and keep skilled workers like those in Glasgow.

 

The full article can be found here.

 

 

15% Pay Increase for MPs – What Planet are they on?

George on Paisley High Street

News that MPs at Westminster are expected to receive a bumper pay day have been criticised by Paisley’s MSP.  It is expected that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will announce that MPs’ pay should be increases from £66,000 to £76,000 an increase of 15%.  The IPSA was established to prevent MPs deciding their own salaries.

Speaking on the news George Adam said;

‘What planet are these people on?  This body was meant to take the decision on pay away from MPs but when everyone else in the public sector has had to deal with pay freezes and recently small 1% increases, this is a slap in the face to every single one of them.

‘This represents an increase of 15% in just one year.

‘Westminster is out of touch.  This is not just unacceptable, it is an act of incitement towards the public sector.

‘One of the major causes of the situation that we find ourselves in regarding the current financial position is the action of MPs.  Who remembers the complacent boast by Gordon Brown that there would be ‘no return to boom and bust’?

‘These MPs are partly responsible, they must play their part and be an example to others.  That is the way to lead.

‘The Westminster ‘bubble’ has no relation to the everyday lives of people.  It is time to give them a bit of a reality check and for all of us to save a fortune by making them redundant by voting for Scotland to be independent next year’.

 

Paisley’s Welfare Penalty Discussed at Parliament

 George Adam MSP

The Scottish Parliament was the venue for the latest round in the debate of the welfare reforms coming from Westminster.  Today Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, highlighted how the reforms were hitting the most vulnerable in society, removing millions from the economy of Renfrewshire and showcased how people with long term conditions were being dis-proportionately targeted.

 

Speaking on the debate, George said:

 

‘It is really difficult to see constituents every day telling me about how these changes are damaging them.  The Bedroom Tax and changes to Disability Living Allowance are hammering those that need help.

 

‘It is an absolute disgrace that at this time when disabled people are being hit, millionaires are receiving a tax cut of over £100,000.

 

‘This is not the fair society I want;  this is what we currently have being part of the UK.  A government looking after the rich and to hell with the rest of us.

 

‘Nowhere is this felt more deeply than with those with long term conditions.  My wife Stacey has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and I myself am a member of the MS Society.  I know the difficulties those with MS face every day.

 

‘MS Week will be launched in the Scottish Parliament next week when I host a reception on Wednesday on behalf of the MS Society.  This will highlight the challenges that those with MS have to deal with and now there is a new challenge.  Being targeted by a government that has little interest or knowledge about their condition or how to help.

 

‘There is only one way to get rid of these discriminatory practices and that is for the people of Scotland to have the government they vote for, not a government forced upon them looking after those with money. Thankfully we will have that opportunity on September 18th next year.’

 

Westminster Pension Grab a Disgrace – says George

fire brigade 002

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has voiced his support for firefighters in Scotland, and all the other public servants that are going to be hit by increases in pension contributions due to the Tories and Lib Dems in London.  George joined firefighters outside the Scottish Parliament today to show his solidarity against the introduction of these increases.

 

Outside the parliament, George said;

 

‘Again we find ourselves in a strange position.  Westminster states that we have to administer these increases or they will cut the Scottish budget by £100, 000,000 every year.  Not the nicest place to find ourselves but as a result of the financial decisions about Scotland being made there we have to put up with them.  For now.

 

‘The Scottish Government is wholly opposed to this action by Westminster.  For the past 30 years Scotland has been in a budgetary surplus, in direct contrast to the rest of the UK and the claims made by the unionist parties. 

 

‘Let me make myself clear – if you want to stop decisions like this and the bedroom tax and having nuclear weapons on the Clyde and having our disabled and infirm targeted – there is a choice.  We will have that choice on the 18th of September next year.  Make sure that you will be happy with the choice that you make.’

‘Bedroom Tax’ Attacked in Parliament

imagesCA4Q5Z5L

Westminster plans to remove housing benefit from anyone who has an extra bedroom has been attacked in Parliament.  Tory and Libdem plans to charge those least able to afford it have been branded ‘crazy’ by Paisley’s MSP George Adam.  This ‘Tax’ will see family homes being targeted if some of the family has moved out leaving an extra bedroom.  Plans include removing 14% of housing benefit from those with one extra bedroom, to 25% removal for those with two or more rooms.

 

 Speaking on the plans, George said:

 

 ‘I cannot underline the total ineptitude of these proposals.  Let’s take one example, if someone is on housing benefit it means they are not financially well off.  Then they are told to pay up for an extra room if they have one.  If they cannot afford this will local authorities throw them out?

 

 ‘This means they will be classed as homeless, with local authorities responsible to rehouse them.  So they waste money throwing them out, then having the responsibility to rehouse them.

 

 ‘No, that isn’t the end of it.  In Renfrewshire there are around 2,000 tenants that will be affected, with only 114 one bedroom homes available from the council.  I think everyone in their right mind agrees that 2,000 in to 114 does not go.  The downsizing is just not going to work.

 

 ‘This would sound like the script from a Carry On film if it were not so serious.

 

 ‘This is a direct attempt to target and punish those least able to defend themselves. 

 

 ‘This is Mr Cameron’s idea of the ‘Big Society’.

 

 ‘This is what we get with Westminster while Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister has promised to banish the  ‘Bedroom Tax’ in an independent Scotland.  Better Together?  Aye right.’

 

 http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/feb/snp-questions-rancid-bedroom-tax