2007 - 2021

My Brother, Ian Smart – Time to Act Johann



I spent a real good day and night at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday 31st July soaking up the atmosphere and doing a bit of busking both at the SECC complex and later at Hampden.

I love busking. A nice wee earner, but also a great vantage point from which to observe, get the vibe and have a natter with random folks passing by.

And the vibe on Thursday was fantastic. A great day for Jamaica at Hampden, and one of my highlights was playing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song for a group of Jamaicans in honor of the 1,.2,3 their athletes had just pulled off in the 200m, even with Usain Bolt sitting the sub’s bench. And folks of every other country, but mostly Scots, joining in the chorus.

And earlier, down at the SECC it was just as good. England had done fantastically well in the Gymnastics all wee ,and again that day with three golds in the individual apparatus events. But that day Scotland, through an inspired Dan Keatings, had won our first and only gymnastics gold, and that made it that bit special. So special, that I lost count of the many English fans who came up to me to say how pleased they were Scotland had won that Gold, because the fantastic mostly Scottish crowds had cheered their gymnasts from start to finish all week, and they wanted the chance to reciprocate. And they, as visitors from a rival team had been made so welcome all over the city and beyond.

I could detail so many brilliant anecdotes from just that one day I could write a book. But in short, it was fantastic.

When though I arrived home on the early hours of the first day of August, I checked my twitter fed to find it had gone mental. Why? Because some time just after 9pm on that uplifting day, my brother Ian.Smart, the well known Labour blogger and TV pundit had tweeted what must surely be his worst ever offensive and politically calculated comments? And the have been plenty already.
This one read:

“So two black English lassies cheered all the way round Hampden. I suspect Eck is crying into his soup”

Where does he get this toxic drivel from, I asked myself?

Pished that early on a Thursday evening?

Maybe. But sadly it is more calculated than this. This is his well worn script: The First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP hates the English. and he hates black ones in particular.

And of course if this is the outlook of the leader of the SNP, implicitly near all Yes supporters must be like this

And more fundamentally, Scotland as a country must be a real hateful place as its democratically elected First Minister is a racist, and none of us seem to care or notice, except my brother -.and a select band of astute card carrying members of the Labour Party in Scotland.

But not in my Scotland. The real one. The one I saw close up the very moment my brother was tweeting his bile from a sofa in his comfortable home in Kilsyth

So what, some of you are asking? I got a dumb minted brother. Get over it.

But Ian Smart ain’t just my brother. He is the most prominent Labour blogger in Scotland. He is a recent past President of the Law Society of Scotland. He is a former member of the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party. He is a many times wannabe Labour candidate for countless seats at Westmister and Holyrood, for which one has to be vetted and endorsed by the highest echelons of the Labour Party. He is a personal friend of near the entire Labour Party leadership in.Scotland. He is a personal friend of the Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland.

He is “Labour establishment”

No anonymous, youthful, stupid cyber troll. A mainstream figure. In effect an unofficial and endorsed spokesperson for the Labour Party in Scotland.

I used to work in TV journalism and know how it all works. Folks like my brother end up regularly on TV panels as proxies for main line politicians. They don’t speak officially for their party, but they give an implicitly endorsed insight into what their party and its leadership is thinking. Why they get on. Were they not, they would rarely if ever be asked to fulfill the roles of “insiders”

So this is my direct question to Johann Lamont: Is my brother, Ian Smart, someone you have personally known for near on 40 years, still one of your party’s insiders, proxy spokepersons? Do you agree with his tweet? Do you too suspect Eck was “crying into his soup” at the sight of Scottish crowds cheering black English athletes?

And if you don’t – and I hope you don’t – what action will you be taking against Ian Smart, leading Labour Party member, for this latest offensive tweet? His worst , but only one of many he has.made in recent months? Here is a link to a Wings Over Scotland post which documents most of them, if you’ve forgotten

Jack MacConnell, personal friend of my brother for almost as long, and the most prominent Labour voice calling for a moderation in tone from all sides in the referendum debate, what do you think of my brother’s comments, the latest one specifically?

Alastair Darling, who has called on Alex Salmond to speak out on cyber abuse, what are you going to do about this man on your own side and own party? And a fellow lawyer, a recent past President of your own Law Society?

John Boothman, Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland, four decades long a personal friend of my brother, fellow Labour Party student activist from the 1979 devolution era, what do you think? Why, with your journalistic team so apparently keen to highlight cyber abuse ,do you ignore the highest profile serial cyber abuser in Scotland? Indeed, constantly invite him onto your programmes to pontificate on everyone else, but never ask him about his own activities?

I even sometimes wonder if there are two Ian Smart’s: I just re-watched on iplayer Ian on.BBC Scotland’s Scotland 2014 from the evening of immediately prior to his latest offessive tweet about the First Minister and the Commonwealth Games crowd. He was one of two live panel pundits at the end of the programme. He was introduced by host Sarah Snith as “Labour blogger, Ian Smart”. And the first item discussed, the games.

Here my bother stated:

“People have been told to keep politics out of the games, and I think this is right”

But he himself had already brought politics into the Games as early as the Opening Ceremony with a widely discussed and wholly tasteless tweet about the Ukranian Malaysian air disaster, made just after Scotland’s First Minister had led a 1 minutes silence for its victims.

Did Sarah Smith not know that? Or, more likely, is there an implicit understanding that a BBC Scotland presenter can ask John Boothman’s chum about anything except his own cyber posts?

And then, less than 24hrs after telling BBC Scotland flagship current affairs programme that politics should be kept out of the games, he posts an offensive, unsupported and highly racially charged tweet about Scotland’s First Minister and the crowd at the blue ribbon venue of the games.

Is my brother even credible?

But he is. He is the Scottish Labour Party’s main proxy spokrsperson in Scotland. Well known to the lot of them, from Johann Lamont down.

One phone call from Johann to Ian could put an end to the bile he spews out. One phone call from Johann’s office to the BBC making it clear that Ian was no longer to be considered a proxy spokesperson for Scottish Labour would soon see his invites dry uo

So how about it Johann?

Scottish media, check it out!
But you might have to wake some of them up first.

Ian Smart. Chair Glasgow University Labour Club, 1978
Margaret Curran, Secretary, Glasgow University Labour Club, 1979
Johann Lamont, Committee member, Glasgow University Labour Club, 1978
John Boothman, Chair, Strathclyde University Labour Club, 1979.
Alan Smart (Me), Chair of Glasgow University Labour Club, 1980

Check oot ma album of Yes Songs at www.citizensmart.net

Comments (29)

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  1. Stuart Miller says:

    Surely this must come into the category of inciting race hatred?

  2. Les Wilson says:

    Well dear Sir,
    you certainly have your cross to bear.

    It IS simply astonishing that your brother gets away with his hugely insulting tweets without any of the Unionist side ever questioning them, at the very least.
    It is though a question more for Slab who seem to allow anything that could attempt to thwart democracy without an inkling of shame , we expect nothing from the BBC or the compliant media et al.

    He should really be held to account, and has proven, all by himself, just how sleazy a person he is. Who will though? who or what entity can put him in his wee place?
    Someone needs to.

    I do though take some heart in your own involvement, I know you work hard to see democracy in our country. Kudos to you.

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      I’m not even remotely astonished that he’s allowed to get away with all those insulting tweets, but I am disgusted, as any rational, fair-minded person would be. Sadly, the British establishment lost the capacity to surprise me with the way it will plumb just about any depths to get its own way. No trick, even one that’s possibly illegal, is too shabby for that lot. I just feel sorry for Alan Smart having such a bigoted and morally reprehensible brother. If Ian Smart were my brother, I don’t think I’d ever speak to him again, unless it was completely necessary. In fact, I’d disown him.

  3. typo in the title by the way, “time to act” I presume? Great article, proof if ever it were needed of the truth in the saying about not being your brother’s keeper

  4. Dan Huil says:

    A very powerful statement from Alan Smart. I fear “Scottish” Labour and the No campaign are riddled with such contemptible opinion-formers as Ian Smart. Why decent people even consider voting No, and thereby associate themselves with such spiteful comments as espoused by Ian Smart, is beyond me. Is there no-one in “Scottish” Labour who realises independence will be of great benefit to their party? Independence will liberate the Labour party in Scotland. Yet it seems the lure of Westminster reward is really what’s most important to Labour party politicians. I almost feel sorry for them.

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      I suspect quite a few of them are switched-on enough to realise the benefits to their party that independence could bring, but they won’t stick their heads above the parapet. I suspect quite a few Labour MPs and senior figures in the party down here in England also realise there are benefits to be gained from Scottish independence, but it’s the same story. As soon as they start making progress within the party machine, any ideas and ideals they might have had go right down the crapper.

  5. Peter A Bell says:

    A powerful piece sadly spoiled by the lack of a bit of sub-editing. Could somebody at least correct the title, It very obviously should read, “My Brother Ian Smart – Time to Act Johann”.

    Great stuff from Citizen Smart. Poor show by Bella Caledonia.

  6. Alan

    Was Johann as woefully bad at Uni as she is now.

    How come she never made the Chair.

    I am a naughty Panda and will not be offended if you choose to give this post a Nelson eye.

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      The reason she never made the chair is that she didn’t major in carpentry.

      1. Oh, she took a degree in Labour Politcis and Petit Point?

  7. suchled says:

    If Ian Smart is a Vote No spokesman then all decent people should automatically vote yes. I would reckon he keeps winning votes for the yes side. I think it’s called kicking an own goal.

  8. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “But Ian Smart ain’t just my brother. He is the most prominent Labour blogger in Scotland. He is a recent past President of the Law Society of Scotland. He is a former member of the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party. He is a many times wannabe Labour candidate for countless seats at Westmister and Holyrood, for which one has to be vetted and endorsed by the highest echelons of the Labour Party. He is a personal friend of near the entire Labour Party leadership in.Scotland. He is a personal friend of the Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland.”

  9. Ian Smart is the personification of the “look there’s a squirrel” deflection so beloved by the Naw team.

    Treat him with the disdain and detachment he deserves.

    He serves our case well.

  10. macart763 says:

    Great post Alan, but ultimately those responsible won’t do a damned thing. They are all just as guilty of sowing social division, from Johann’s virus speech to Darling’s blood and soil inaudible mumble. They would hardly hold one to account for indefensible actions whilst being guilty themselves. Only the electorate will do this and the best way we can make our voice heard is to show the establishment the door on September 18th.

  11. Asking for Johann to act? First someone would have to find her.

  12. Haggis Hunter says:

    Brilliant. Loved reading the honesty of this article, great read Alan. It must be difficult to have to write as you did, I admire you for it, and love your humanity thru music and respect for others, including for the unionist’s much hated ‘Johnny Foreigners’, who they think are all here as benefit cheats.

  13. gonzalo1 says:

    What a repulsive individual your brother is. And what an embarrassment. This is vile stuff. Where are his facts on any racism within the SNP?

  14. Juteman says:

    Just think. All this can stop with a simple Yes.

  15. macfhionn says:

    A relevant campaign verse (copyright-free) to add to “Parcel o Rogues”. See Corries version of original song here: http://tinyurl.com/mgk9sbw

    Yes shall prevail, as Truth made plain
    Does win the population.
    But lies and spin remain our bane
    (And those Labour eyes on ermine).
    Should gross deceit bring false defeat,
    We’ll shout this condemnation:
    The Press was vile. Most foul betrayal –
    British Broadcasting Corporation.

  16. juuxjuux says:

    Bit OT, but could someone fix that headline by adding a comma or two?

    Unless, of course, the intention is to get Ian Smart to start doing Johann Lamont impressions in which case, carry on!

  17. YESGUY says:

    Well said Alan.

    The depths that any of the SLAB supporters will go will only justify a whitewash when they offer themselves in an iScotland.

    Days to do are getting few . Not long now and we can rid ourselves of these types once and for all.

  18. marylockhart says:

    The Scottish Labour Establishment has gone out of its way to ensure that Ian Smart has never been elected to either Parliament, and most recently that he was unsuccessful in being selected to stand in Paisley. Why?

  19. Tog says:

    Can’t help but find this article a little strange and it leaves me feeling a little uneasy.

    1. Colin Mor says:

      I know what you mean. Alan Smart seems to be disguising a personal grievance as a political issue here.
      We don’t need to exploit family schisms to win in September, our cause is bigger and better than that

      1. Charles says:

        Personal or not this is a brave man who is prepared to speak out about his brother and the vile remarks he made . Would that all those he mentioned were half as brave.

  20. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Alan, as far as the general public are concerned he’s a non-event, as the Labour party in Scotland are becoming.

  21. tony keogh says:

    Alan,Do not get yourself too concerned.I was at GU during this period and challenged the orthodoxy(with others)of the trad politics you refer to.The persons you identify,were a closed little chapter.Scared of their own skin at the time of Kinnocks moderation.Their MO being career politics.Not,,i’m clear, ideology.Sadly they became the manifestation of Blair/Brown/conservative, market/populist approaches to power.Power at any cost.Check out Mandelsonns analyisis of voting patterns.A means to an end.Power only,no ideology….Ultimately Blair(ten p tax Brown,’oh it wasn’t risk assessed’,err!)….This as Frank Dobson says,No competition for leadership!,Which takes us to Iraq.More recently Kazakhstan as a highly paid consultant and his role in middle east conflicts.
    My point being:Unless Labour politicians divorce themselves from Westminster and re-engage the politics/ideology of early twentieth century.Scotland. This Scotland,this modern Scotland will continue to push the barriers and demand self determination;economically,culturally,demographically and in the context of resource,linked to economic validity.
    This will not go away,regardless of the referendum outcome.Regardless of UK legislation;reviews,inquiry’s,reports,green and white papers.
    The current leadership of the SNP,based on the ’79 intent.See a very positive way forward in a properly modernised Scotland.Its not dependence.Its’ conceited Independence.We know better.We have better values and we demand an address on inequality within our sphere of influence.
    Do you get it?
    Vote Yes……If only for our children

  22. Ken MacColl says:

    The anticipated eerie silence from official No spokespeople out there in the boondocks continues but for how much longer? Where is the Big Red Bus today? Let them not pretend they are unaware of the noxious poison spread by the likes of Iain Smart and carefully ignored by their spineless friends in the media.
    As was famously said by the late Oliver Brown when Mrs Ewing won at Hamilton and ignited the present conflagration -I paraphrase- “a shiver of fear raced along the Labour benches looking for a spine to traverse.” Still looking it would appear!

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