An open letter to Michael McCann
From: Duncan McLean, Secretary, East Kilbride SNP
Dear Mr McCann
I understand from the East Kilbride News of of 26 March that you hold what you assert to be a transcript of a ‘Meet the Candidate’ event held by East Kilbride SNP in the Murray Lounge on Thursday 12 March. This recording was made without my knowledge as organiser of the event and, if such a recording exists, I have been recorded without my approval.
Please note that I assert ownership of any of my personal data contained within that unauthorised recording, and in any transcript or re-recording of that event. I am issuing you with notice under Section 10 of the Data Protection Act that you should cease processing my personal data and should not pass to others any further personal data of mine, or data that you assert to be my personal data obtained without my consent.
According to the Act, I must provide you with a reason for serving this notice. My reason for issuing this notice is as follows:
My objection to your processing or transmitting my personal data is that it is being used as the basis for false and misleading statements about East Kilbride SNP, and the SNP Candidate for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow in the General Election, Dr Lisa Cameron.
As an example, your statement “SNP activists have infiltrated local schools in a bid to brainwash pupils into supporting their political brand.” has no basis in reality, and certainly not in any statement made at this meeting.
The only SNP supporters who have ‘infiltrated’ schools are pupils required to attend by law, or have stayed on beyond the leaving age to advance their education. Your attack on them as ‘infiltrators’ is bizarre from someone who claims to be a serious politician. It is even more bizarre from someone who regularly attends local schools and young persons’ voluntary groups in a political capacity.
That you continued to make these visits after being charged with Breach of the Peace for a confrontation involving a school pupil raises serious questions. If the charge is no longer outstanding, your constituents are entitled to know the basis on which it has been discharged.
On their website, Scottish Labour Students say, “We are active on our university and college campuses, in our schools and in our local communities, helping to take Labour’s message to wider society and spread Labour values wherever we go.” (my emphasis) I look forward to receiving by return your condemnation of this infiltrationist, brainwashing organisation, or a retraction of your ludicrous allegations against East Kilbride SNP.
The Herald newspaper has already carried a response to your claims “Jim Gilhooly, executive director of Education Resources at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “It is worth noting that these allegations are anonymous, so must be treated with caution. Furthermore, our secondary schools have all confirmed that there are no such political meetings organised within school premises at lunchtime or any other part of the school day.””
Had you taken the allegations seriously, you would have made immediate contact with Mr Gilhooly or with local schools before making such outrageous statements. Your misrepresentation of decent SNP members and associated attack on Lisa Cameron’s character are unwarranted and intolerable, and you do not have my consent to hold my personal data and to use it in this way.
The use to which you have already put selected extracts from the transcript of this event you say you hold may well be a breach of Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act, the terms of which you can find online.
A defence to the charge of making a false statement is that you show you “had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, that statement to be true”. You say that you made your statements based on a transcript presented to you by Andy MacMillan. It is reasonable to expect that you would have satisfied yourself as to his character and suitability to be your sole witness for these allegations, and therefore a key plank in your campaign against East Kilbride SNP and its candidate. Your comments in the EK News reveal how little you knew about Mr MacMillan and the nature of his business.
Whilst selling ‘Clubwear’ is a perfectly defensible business, another strand of the company’s business – the sale of dresses for strippers – was made clear by the company’s Twitter account. This account was closed down as soon as attention was focused on it by your allegations. However, the ‘pinned tweet’ shown in the EK News article, posted almost a year ago, linked this Twitter account to the world of online pornography. There was no discernible warning on the home page of the account that this was the case. The voters of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow will be amazed that you are continuing to link your campaign to such activity.
You claim that your record is ‘transparent and unblemished’. It is certainly transparent, but to call it ‘unblemished’ while dragging your campaign into the gutter in this way and with an unresolved charge of Breach of the Peace in the public domain is a serious error of judgement.
I insist that you stop associating my name and what you allege to be my personal data with your sleazy and underhand campaign.
Please note that you are required to respond to this request to stop using my personal data within 21 calendar days. I reserve the right to make public that this notice has been served and your response, or failure to respond, to it.
This notice is served without prejudice to any other rights or remedies I, or any other party, may have.