The murky Glasgow Action Group reared its ugly head again yesterday to demand the council “tidy the place up” and get rid of the homeless from Glasgow city-centre.
The group is led by the multi-millionaire James Mortimer and his wealthy cohorts including Donald McLeod, the owner of the Cathouse and Garage, and Kevin Maguire, owner of the Metropolitan. They exist solely to drive beggars and rough-sleepers off our streets and maximise the profits from their own businesses.
Yesterday they held an emergency meeting and used their influence to have a representative from Police Scotland in attendance. Afterwards Mortimer spoke to Glasgow Live and urged the council tidy up the city centre and moaned that they don’t listen to his demands.
He again stated that his group have given away millions to charity in the past. That sort of cheap public relations tells you everything and should have died with Jimmy Saville.
The Glasgow Action Group do not represent Glasgow or her people. The reason the council are not driving the homeless out of the city centre were explained to them weeks back by the Poverty Alliance, Shelter Scotland and Glasgow Homeless Network but they don’t seem to want to listen.
We all want solutions to the homeless crisis but criminalising them is not the way forward.
The Glasgow Action Group tried to dance around the issue of criminalisation in the past and have never came out and explicitly said this is their intention but make no mistake this is what they are after. It is implicit in everything they have said on this subject since they first started talking in September.
Speaking to Glasgow Live yesterday Mortimer said: “The First Minister and Susan Aitken need to get together and give people the rights to sort this out. It’s got to come from them. Police hands, everybody, they’re all tied up. They don’t move them.
“Staff are locked in, can’t get out. They can’t get into their work because people are sleeping in doorways.
“We’re supposed to be Glasgow’s Style Mile. We’re kidding ourselves on.”
Despite their spin it is easy to see what they are all about. He wants the police to move on rough sleepers and beggars and to sweep the issue under the carpet in order for businesses to profit from this Style Mile veneer.
It was also suggested at their meeting that rough-sleepers and beggars were previously moved on during the Commonwealth Games. This chimes in with what we know and it is utterly shameful.
The Commonwealth Games were an exercise in gentrification and ordinary Glaswegians were ostracised, or worse as the people of Dalmarnock will attest, but to now have this Action Group crowing about how great it was that the homeless were hidden away is especially galling to read.
People should not be mistaken for one second that this group of individuals are motivated by anything other than their own profit margins. They already knew – and were reminded weeks back – that there already exists a working group made up of members of the police, third sector and council that seeks to solve this issue, but they chose to scupper all that good work and go alone with this cheap publicity campaign.
We urge all you Glaswegians not to buy into it and to continue on with your kindness to the most needy among us.