Mike Watson The Firebrand On Labour’s Front Bench!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins – Greg_L-W.
Fire-raising peer sent to prison
Former Labour MSP Mike Watson has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for starting a fire which endangered lives at an Edinburgh hotel last November.
Earlier this month, Lord Watson had admitted wilful fire-raising.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Kathrine Mackie said a social enquiry assessment had concluded there was a significant risk of Watson re-offending.
However, the sheriff reduced his sentence from 20 months to 16 because of his pre-trial guilty plea.
Lord Watson, 56, admitted setting fire to a curtain after a heavy drinking session at the Scottish Politician of the Year awards ceremony at the Prestonfield House Hotel last November.
The blaze caused £4,500 worth of damage.
The potential for serious injury to guests and staff within the hotel, and for very significant damage to the property, was considerable
Read the sheriff’s statement in full
After being sentenced, Watson was taken to Saughton Prison in Edinburgh. He will be transferred to a prison near his home in the next week.
He had initially denied he was responsible, despite CCTV footage showing him crouching down at the base of a curtain just minutes before it was engulfed in flames.
After pleading guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at the beginning of September, he stepped down as an MSP, triggering a by-election in his former Glasgow Cathcart constituency, and resigned as a director of Dundee United football club.
Sheriff Mackie said: “Fire-raising is a most serious crime.
“By pleading guilty to this charge you have acknowledged that you intended to set on fire property at Prestonfield House Hotel whereby property was damaged and lives were endangered.
“The potential for serious injury to guests and staff within the hotel, and for very significant damage to the property, was considerable.”
The sheriff said that it was due to the prompt action of staff that there was neither injury nor more significant damage.
She said there had been no explanation for his actions.
Outside the court, Watson’s spokesman said: “He just wants to say that his wife Clare has stood by him like a rock during a phenomenally difficult time and she continues to stand by him.
“He would also like to thank what he would term his true friends, who have really stood by him during this time.
Prestonfield House Hotel
The peer set fire to curtains at the Prestonfield House Hotel
“I think when you are close to someone like his wife is, you hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Probably the worst fears were realised today.”
The sentence was announced from the platform at the Scottish National Party annual conference in Aviemore following a debate about the House of Lords, and was met with a large cheer from delegates.
In a statement, a Labour spokesman said: “Mr Watson has been expelled from the Labour Party.
“His sentence illustrates that if you commit a serious crime in Scotland, no matter who you are, you must face the consequences. That is right.”
Scottish Conservative home affairs spokeswoman and deputy leader Annabel Goldie said: “The sentence actually served will not be 16 months.
“Thanks to Labour and Lib Dem insistence of preserving automatic early release, Lord Watson will be out of jail after serving only half his sentence, eight months.”
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There is no truth in the rumour that this may have been the hotel in which Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom was caught urinating in the corridor using the excuse he was trying to put the curtains out! His odious behaviour was to urinate in the corridor of a hotel in Strasburg as one of his drunken antics – antics for which he was well known such as being arrested for copulating with a black prostitute on the bonnet of someones car in a street in Belgium and seeking to claim diplomatic immunity as a representative of Britain as when he left an establishment of ill refute refusing to pay for the services he had received!
It is however an indication of just how staggeringly difficult it has been for Jeremy Corbyn to find individuals of any notable calliber or competence to fill the positions on his front bench asauch that he has sunk to the level of appointing irresponsible criminals like Mike Watson and his ex lovers of little merit and staggering hypocrisy best known for their knee jerk reactive racism like Diane Abbott:
EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Corbyn’s first wife reveals how their marriage really ended after his lover Diane Abbott made a ‘hostile’ home visit and told her: ‘Get out of town’
- Diane Abbott was involved with left-wing Labour leader in the late 1970s
- Corbyn’s first wife, Jane Chapman, revealed their shocking confrontation
- ‘Hostile’ and ‘jealous’ Abbot went to her home and told her to leave town
- Married couple separated months before but were still seeing each other
Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘jealous’ lover Diane Abbott staged an astonishing confrontation with his wife – ordering her to ‘get out of town’, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Ms Abbott, then a young Left-wing activist, stunned her love rival Professor Jane Chapman – Corbyn’s first wife – by turning up on her doorstep out of the blue to demand that she leave London.
In an exclusive interview, Prof Chapman was scathing about Ms Abbott’s ‘hostile’ behaviour which she thought was fuelled by resentment over her continuing contact with Corbyn, the new Labour leader, even though they had separated months earlier.
Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘jealous’ lover Diane Abbott staged an astonishing confrontation with his wife – ordering her to ‘get out of town’, The Mail on Sunday can reveal
‘I was shocked – she didn’t want me around,’ said Prof Chapman, speaking days after Corbyn chose Ms Abbott for his Shadow Cabinet.
‘She told me to get out of town. That was basically how the conversation went. She told me because she wanted a clear run. I was in the media a lot then because of my political work and she wished I wasn’t.’
Asked if she thought Ms Abbott harboured feelings of jealousy towards her, she replied: ‘I think she did. But I was still a councillor. I still had responsibilities. I was still going to meetings and Jeremy and I were still seeing each other there.’
Prof Chapman, who only months before the confrontation had lost narrowly as a Labour parliamentary candidate, also told The Mail on Sunday in an exclusive interview how:
The breakdown of their marriage and Corbyn’s affair with Ms Abbott still holds ‘painful’ memories;
Ms Abbott, then a young Left-wing activist, stunned her love rival Professor Jane Chapman, pictured – Corbyn’s first wife – by turning up on her doorstep out of the blue to demand that she leave London
She was disappointed Corbyn had failed to promote more women to his Shadow Cabinet;
The Labour leader’s attitude to women may have been influenced by growing up in an almost all-male environment as the youngest of four brothers;
She had been unaware of Corbyn’s trip with Ms Abbott to East Germany.
The revelation of the women’s frosty encounter in 1979 not only exposes the volatile personality of Ms Abbott, the new Shadow International Development Secretary, but also raises fresh questions over Corbyn’s judgment in appointing his former girlfriend to the Shadow Cabinet.
Asked if she thought Ms Abbott harboured feelings of jealousy towards her, she replied: ‘I think she did. But I was still a councillor. I still had responsibilities. I was still going to meetings and Jeremy and I were still seeing each other there’
It comes after a disastrous first week for the Labour leader. Corbyn has already faced criticism in his choice of hardline Left-winger John McDonnell – who once spoke of ‘honouring’ the IRA – as Shadow Chancellor. He has also promoted Lord Mike Watson – jailed for arson in 2004 – to an education job and union stalwart Ian Lavery, once convicted of football hooliganism, to Shadow Charities Minister.
Referring to the appointment of his former girlfriend, Prof Chapman said: ‘He’s probably making life more difficult for himself. There are a whole number of women who are really well experienced who could have had senior posts. I think Angela Eagle could – Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper. It would have been a unifying gesture to have had Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.’
Prof Chapman was unimpressed with Ms Abbott’s attack on new MP Jess Phillips for daring to question Corbyn’s failure to give top jobs to women. She said: ‘I think Jess was right to ask the question.’
Last night, Ms Abbott did not return calls from the MoS.
‘Diane was hostile and jealous. She came to my flat – I was shocked. It’s still painful’
As Cambridge graduate and rising star of the Left Diane Abbott strode purposely up to the door of her love rival Jane Chapman
The year 1979 was a bleak time for Labour activists, consigned as they were to the political wasteland following Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in the General Election.
But as Cambridge graduate and rising star of the Left Diane Abbott strode purposely up to the door of her love rival Jane Chapman, politics was the last thing on her mind.
The rented one-bedroom flat above a jeweller’s shop in Crouch End, North London, was the bolthole of Councillor – now Professor – Chapman after leaving her husband Jeremy Corbyn just a few months earlier.
But it seemed that mere separation was not enough for Ms Abbott, who was intent on banishment.
She had embarked on a relationship with Corbyn, since nicknamed the ‘Sexpot Trot’ by Westminster wags baffled by his unfathomable attraction to women.
Because both Prof Chapman and her estranged husband were Labour councillors in the borough, a certain amount of contact was inevitable, but ‘jealous’ Diane was not happy about that.
Prof Chapman said she had heard rumours that the pair were dating from Labour Party colleagues.
She had recently separated from Corbyn – whom she married five years earlier in 1974 at the age of 24 – after tiring of her husband’s intense focus on Left-wing politics. Instead, she desired some youthful fun. But absolute confirmation that her recently estranged husband had taken up with someone else only came when Ms Abbott, a rising star in Left-wing Labour circles, who she had never met before, turned up unannounced on her doorstep one evening late in 1979.
Prof Chapman recalled that the young solicitor’s sudden appearance at the flat came as ‘quite a shock’.
Describing Ms Abbott as ‘nervous, tense and slightly hostile’, she invited her into her home where she said they had a short and unpleasant exchange.
The rented one-bedroom flat above a jeweller’s shop in Crouch End, North London, was the bolthole of Councillor – now Professor – Chapman after leaving her husband Jeremy Corbyn just a few months earlier
Reluctant to go into the exact details of their conversation, Prof Chapman said: ‘She wasn’t very nice when she called on me, but I’m not going to go into that.
‘She told me to get out of town. That was basically how the conversation went.
‘But I was still a councillor. I had been elected for years and that hadn’t expired, so I still had responsibilities. And I was still going to meetings and Jeremy and I were still seeing each other there.’
Prof Chapman was herself well regarded in the Labour Party at the time. She stood as a candidate in two General Elections under the name Mrs Jane Chapman.
But it seemed that mere separation was not enough for Ms Abbott, who was intent on banishment
In 1974, she received 9,714 votes in Dorking, Surrey, and in 1979 came second in Dover and Deal in Kent with 22,664 votes, leaving the Conservative candidate with a majority of just under 8,000.
She said: ‘I was more senior than Jeremy at the time.’
It is partly this success, as well as an inevitable degree of continuing contact with her former husband at meetings, which she believes drove Ms Abbott’s attempt to get her out of the picture by confronting her about Corbyn.
Prof Chapman admitted that while suggestions Ms Abbott had scuppered her hopes of reconciling with Corbyn were untrue, memories of the whole episode and breakdown of her marriage were still upsetting.
‘There was no talk of reconciling,’ she said. ‘But I still feel a bit sensitive about it. Even after all these years, it’s still very painful.’
Prof Chapman initiated the split, saying: ‘I felt like I wanted a different work-life balance. It was difficult for him.
‘He stayed in the flat and bought out my share. We’ve remained friends, but we don’t see each other very often.’
It has been reported that Corbyn and Ms Abbott, both local Labour activists in North London, got together in 1979 after being thrown together at late-night political meetings. The lovers are said to have taken a romantic motorbike holiday behind the Berlin Wall to Communist East Germany.
There was even talk of naked alfresco romps together in a field in the Cotswolds – an episode Ms Abbott once described as her ‘finest half-hour’, though she did not actually name her companion.
But Prof Chapman, who enjoyed a number of trips abroad on Corbyn’s motorbike when she was married to him, said until last week she had been unaware he had taken Ms Abbott on a break too.
‘I didn’t know about them going on holiday together,’ she maintained.
Miss Abbott had embarked on a relationship with Corbyn, since nicknamed the ‘Sexpot Trot’ by Westminster wags baffled by his unfathomable attraction to women
In common with many Labour supporters, Prof Chapman feels that her ex-husband has missed an opportunity to promote women in the Shadow Cabinet.
She finds it surprising because she says he’s always been well read in feminist literature.
‘He believes very strongly in women’s equality. When I left him, one of his final words was to tell me to ‘read Simone de Beauvoir.’ It’s not that he’s a chauvinist. I think the issue is attaching enough importance to women at all levels.’
She believes that Corbyn’s attitude to women may have been shaped by his lack of sisters when he was growing up.
‘I’m sure he believes in the principles of women’s equality – it’s just got to be higher on his agenda.
Because both Prof Chapman and her estranged husband were Labour councillors in the borough, a certain amount of contact was inevitable
‘He was one of four brothers. Maybe that makes a difference. So maybe he didn’t see sufficiently certain aspects of femininity that we as women think are important.
‘If you’re in an all-male environment apart from just your mother – even if you go to a co-ed school – you probably don’t get enough input of women’s ways of doing things.
‘At a formative age, the female approach was in the minority because he had his brothers.
‘I would like to see a woman Chancellor and a woman Home Secretary.’ Prof Chapman believes Corbyn needs to sharpen up his act when dealing with the media. She said: ‘I think he does need to engage with the media more, but in a very thoughtful way.
‘He shouldn’t see that as sacrificing his authenticity. The public appreciate that.
‘I think a better communication strategy can complement his natural authenticity. There is an amount of anti-media feeling in the Labour Party historically. That’s always been the case and for good reason – the press have always been very damaging to Labour, so I can understand that antipathy to the media.
‘But this is the 21st Century and we’ve got to accept that the media won’t go away.’
When asked if Corbyn should have sung the National Anthem at last week’s Battle of Britain memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Prof Chapman said: ‘As leader of the Opposition, the spotlight is on him and he needs to appear patriotic.’ Asked about him leaving his top shirt button undone at the service, she said: ‘I think he needs to improve his image and I think it’s considerate to the organisers of such events if you wear the right kind of things that fit in.
‘Gone are the days when you could be outrageous.’
I do incline to the opinion that both in calliber and competence not to mention track record, it is all too clear why Labour were so clearly trounced in the last General Election – it is clear that Labour have never since the war held office with anything but disasterous consequences, starting with the Labour post war Government where the champagne socialist from the valleys Anuren Bevan under the extreme Communist influence of his wife Jenny Lee made such a mess of implimenting Lord Beveridges Report to introduce The National Health Service as agreed before the election by the Tories who were the Government of the day.
It was the tampering with and politicisation of Lord Beveridge’s Report by Bevan that has led to the problems of today where the NHS has become a political football, a condition exacerbated by the 13 unlucky years of Labour misrule that led to selling off much of the NHS into private bondage and debt with PFI & the belief that populist management would lead to buying Labour votes that has brought that brilliant concept to its knees.
I fear that were jeremy Corbyn ever to gain any real power he would follow in the steps of his fellow extremists and do to Britain what Derek Hatton did to Liverpool! The Labour Party has been an unmittigated disaster for Britain even in the short periods during which it has been in Government, where without exception it has left the Country in virtual bankruptcy and massive debt necessitating that the Government following on has had to clear up their mess with long periods of unpopular austerity.
Clearly nowhere in the world has either Communism or the neo Communism of the extreme left wing Socialism been anything other than an unmittigated disastertn for tjhe peoples upon whom it has been imposed – Extremism of any type has a long history of proving it is without exception an unmittigated disaster.
I dont know about Jeremy Corbyn as the ‘Sexpot Trot’ but I fear for the Labour Party and the damage they may well do to Britain and our peoples, now and in the future, with the ‘Crackpot Trot’ ideas of the extreme left who have risen to power in the party as Labour collapses with the realisation of so many of its members past and present that time and again Labour have proved catastrophic whether with Atlee, Wilson, Callaghan, Blair, Brown or Milliband all of whom were a catastrophy for our Country.
It does rather look as if this latest desperate throw of the dice by Labour in an effort to do anything for its rump members to get their rumps on what they see to be the gravy train of power and access to unlimited borrowing and endlessly printing money to reward themselves may destroy the Labour Part and reduce them to the risible ranks of nonentities alongside the Lib.Dems. and with the same disasterous consequences for Britain, that will clearly befall Scotland, were they to emulate the rise to power displayed by the SNP.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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