I’ve been angered and saddened at the way the Chair of Stow College in Glasgow has been intimidated into resigning by the SNP’s education minister Mike Russell.
And as Labour’s spokesman on education in the Scottish Parliament I’m now demanding an enquiry into the disgraceful way Kirk Ramsay has been forced to resign from his post.
Anyone who saw Newsnight Scotland last Tuesday would have seen Mr Ramsay reveal the shocking events surrounding his innocent action of recording a speech about college reform made by Mike Russell to a room full of almost 100 people.
The SNP’s Cabinet Secretary for Education took an almighty huff about this and wanted to punish Mr Ramsay for the audacity of taping one of his speeches.
Despite being told by Scottish Government lawyers that Mr Ramsay had done nothing wrong, Mr Russell overstepped the mark by calling the college chief to a meeting and told him that if he could sack him he would do so. The SNP went public with Mr Russell’s criticism of Mr Ramsay who felt he had no option but to resign. Because he didn’t want the college he works for to suffer at the hands of Mr Russell. Staff in Further Education colleges are telling me that Mike Russell is attempting to bully and intimidate them and they are scared to speak out against the SNP cutbacks.
There should be an enquiry into this incident. There are bigger challenges facing Scotland’s colleges than the bruised ego of the Cabinet Secretary. And as an ironic aside to this, why is it that an SNP minister is so quick to seek legal advice on the actions of a chairman of one of our colleges when the SNP Government failed to seek proper legal advice on whether Scotland would get entry into the European Union if it separated from the UK?
I had a busy day in Johnstone on Saturday when I joined hundreds of my constituents as they got into the festive spirit when the town celebrated the Christmas lights switch-on. It was great to bump into some familiar faces and old friends as well as meeting some new ones. There was a carnival atmosphere in the town as music filled the air and happy children got the chance to enjoy the fun and meet Santa. St Vincent's Hospice were also holding their popular Christmas Fayre in the Town Hall and when I popped in to see the staff and volunteers it was buzzing with the usual great support from locals. There was plenty of music from the Clyde 1 Roadshow and performers from Johnstone’s own Splash Productions kept the crowds entertained until boyband Supanova were due to hit the stage before the lights were lit.
We will remember