Glasgow City Council may have shied clear of investigating contracts drawn up by Steven Purcell but all is not quiet on that score.
The Major Crimes and Terrorism group is investigating how Ruth Black, a recent convert to Labour, managed to leave her position as manager of the lesbian and gay drop-in Castro centre a mere six months before it went bankrupt for £300,000 and then remerge as head of the phoenix like new Castro centre – again a drop in centre for gay and lesbians with guaranteed funding of £50,000 a year from a committee chaired by Steven Purcell.
Ruth Black, a Glasgow City Councillor herself, appointment raised some eyebrows even amongst the gay community, since the £300,000 that the old Castro centre was forced into bankruptcy over was a loan from the same Glasgow council towards a £1,000,000 refurbishment of the centre.
Not only that, but at the time her bid was accepted, the newly formed Castro bid was unconstituted, so in effect Glasgow Council was granting funding to one of its own councillors to enable it to take over a facility that had failed under her leadership a mere six months beforehand.
Glasgay, yet another lesbian and gay organisation in Glasgow, was bitterly opposed to her appointment, not least because she had banned the centre from distributing copies of ‘Scotsgay’ the monthly magazine designed to inform Glasgow’s burgeoning gay population of the delights that lay ahead of them. Apparently the magazine was somewhat too graphic in describing those delights for Ruth Black’s taste. One of the reasons given for banning the magazine was that the centre opens its doors to children as young as 11, 12, and 13, and we may indeed wonder at the attraction such a centre holds for children as young as this. Are all the centre’s employees CRB checked?
The centre moved to the new purpose designed premises after the old one was wrecked. By the Lesbian Mother’s Group? The Older Lesbians Group? The Bisexual Group? The Cross Dressers Group? The mind boggles.
The Major Crimes and Terrorism group are going to find this a minefield of flying handbags and hysterical counter accusation. I wish them luck; it is at least a start in unravelling Mr Purcell’s network of friends and colleagues.