WHAT DID THE FIRST MINISTER KNOW AND WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT?

A redacted version of the Open Record which sets out the pleadings of the parties as adjusted to the time when Leslie Evans and the Scottish Government finally conceded defeat was published by the Salmond inquiry on Friday.

It contains page after page of shocking detail which should put to rest once and for all the lie that the case was conceded on some technicality. The unlawfulness of both the procedure itself and the way in which it was applied by Investigating Officer Judith Mackinnon and ultimate decision-maker Leslie Evans is laid bare again and again.

For anyone looking for a convenient summary, I suggest points a) to o) of the petitioner’s Statement of Facts XXII, beginning on page 82.

Mackinnon is due to answer for her key role in this debacle at the inquiry on Tuesday and surely Hynd, Richards and, above all, Evans must be recalled by the inquiry to answer – properly this time – for their key roles in it too.

Nicola Sturgeon again

However, my focus in the Salmond inquiry posts on this blog has been consistently on the First Minister and on her claims that none of this was anything to do with her. As the facts begin to creep painfully out, these claims that she removed herself from a process in which she should have been front and centre look ever more bizarre.

Specifically, the First Minister’s claim that she knew nothing about the complaints of Ms A and Ms B against Alex Salmond until well after he was informed of them himself on 7 March 2018 looks ever more like a brazen lie.

Consider this passage in the adjusted Answers lodged on behalf of Evans and the Scottish Government in the judicial review:

“Ms Russell, with the consent of Complainer A, shared the fact of the approach by Complainer A and the nature of the information provided by her with the first respondent’s Director of People, Nicola Richards, and Deputy Director of People Advice, Judith Mackinnon….

“Ms Allison, with the consent of Complainer B, shared the fact of the latter’s approach and the nature of the information provided by Complainer B with Ms Richards. Ms Richards advised Ms Russell and Ms Allison to ask complainers A and B respectively whether they wished to speak to the HR team. They did so [i.e. asked them to speak to the HR team] on 29 November 2017.

“On the same day Ms Richards met with the first respondent and, separately, the first respondent met with the interested party to discuss development of the proposed procedure.”

As seasoned Salmond inquiry watchers will know, the “Ms Russell” referred to here is Gillian Russell, the Scottish Government Director of Safer Communities, who had been appointed by Evans as a “confidential sounding board” for complaints on 10 November 2017.

“Ms Allison” is Barbara Allison, who is due to give evidence again to the inquiry on Tuesday. She is the Scottish Government Director of Communications, Ministerial Support and Facilities and was contacted by Ms B on 8 November 2017, when she discussed with her events involving Alex Salmond.

Now for the new bit.

The “first respondent” referred to here is Leslie Evans. The “interested party” is Nicola Sturgeon.

Leslie Evans again

The meeting on 29 November 2017 between Leslie Evans and Nicola Sturgeon “to discuss development of the proposed procedure” appears nowhere in the Scottish Government’s Written Statement to the inquiry nor in its accompanying Timeline.

This is a somewhat startling omission from documents which were supposed to have been prepared for the specific purpose of setting out for the inquiry the role of the First Minister and her officials in the development of the procedure.

The Timeline jumps from 24 November to 12 December 2017 with no events apparently thought worthy of mention in between, and the Written Statement does the same:

“A version of the draft procedure was sent to the First Minister on 24 November 2017. The First Minister and Permanent Secretary discussed a hard copy of the procedure at a meeting on 12 December 2017. The Permanent Secretary wrote to the First Minister on 20 December 2017 formally seeking her agreement to adopt the procedure. The First Minister approved the procedure on the same day.”

So what else happened on 29 November 2017, and why might it be in the interests of the Scottish Government to add this meeting to the long list of things they have conveniently overlooked or “forgotten”?

As readers of earlier posts in this blog may remember, there was a lot going on that day.

The events of 29 November 2017

Firstly, as the Answers acknowledge, Russell contacted Ms A as instructed on that day, and Allison likewise contacted Ms B.

In the cosy, intimate manner which had already developed between complainers and the supposedly impartial senior officials who would be processing their complaints, Russell emailed Ms A: “As agreed I sent your narrative on in confidence to Nicky and Judith. I have now been asked by Nicky and Judith if you would be prepared to speak to them…”

In the same informal manner, Ms A replied: “I’d be happy to speak to Nicky and Judith and will text Nicky as suggested….”

The “narrative” referred to is the same document which, with just a few tweaks, became Ms A’s formal complaint on 16 January 2018. It is the document for which, on the very same date, Judith Mackinnon was appointed as Investigating Officer, believing herself apparently to have had “no prior involvement” in the complaint, as required by the procedure.

Allison’s similar contact with Ms B, as again acknowledged in the Answers, was then noted in a text from Richards to Mackinnon: “[Redacted] the woman who spoke to Barbara – has been in touch to speak…. She hasn’t made a statement but is still in close touch with the one who did. [Redacted] ”

Quite what this meant, and what has been redacted from it, is perhaps one of the many things the inquiry could take up with Mackinnon on Tuesday.

Nicola Richards then had a one-to-one meeting with Leslie Evans, which can only have been for the purpose of discussing with Evans the “narrative” of Ms A – that is to say, her complaint about Salmond – and whatever had been learned from Ms B about her complaint.

That then is the context in which, as we now learn for the first time, Leslie Evans met with Nicola Sturgeon that very same day “separately… to discuss development of the proposed procedure.”

What the First Minister knew, and when

In that context, is there anyone in the country still gullible enough to believe that what was discussed at this newly-disclosed meeting was some abstract development of a procedure which was being developed — at breakneck speed — to be targeted at no-one in particular?

Is there anyone out there who still thinks the Salmond complaints were not discussed at all?

Just in case there is, let me remind readers of one further piece of context.

The procedure for complaints against former Ministers was still in draft at this point, so even if there had been an absolute prohibition – for some unfathomable reason – on the First Minister being told of them, it would have had no application.

Indeed, if the complaints had been about a current Minister – the closest analogy for which actual binding rules were in place on that date – the First Minister would have had a positive right under the Ministerial Code to be told of them and a positive duty as “ultimate judge” of them to put in train immediately a course of action to deal with them.

The notion that these “concerns” about her closest friend and mentor, not to mention her direct predecessor as First Minister, should or could have been withheld from the head of the Scottish Government by an unelected civil servant at this meeting is not just fanciful, it is laughable.

But matters go further still.

As readers of previous posts in this blog may again remember, the latest version of the new procedure which was being furiously drafted at this point provided in terms for the First Minister to be told of complaints against former Ministers as soon as they were made, to remain the “ultimate judge” of them, and indeed to intervene as necessary to secure the co-operation of former Ministers in the investigation of them.

So even if the procedure as drafted to that point had any binding force at all at the time of this meeting – which it did not – it would still have been entirely right and proper for Evans to give Sturgeon a full briefing on the Salmond complaints at that meeting.

So I ask again: Is there anyone out there who still believes that Nicola Sturgeon was not told of these complaints, at the very latest, by the time of this meeting?

If so, I’d genuinely love to know why.

88 thoughts on “WHAT DID THE FIRST MINISTER KNOW AND WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT?

    1. JSM, you’re a regular on Wee Ginger Dug. Perhaps you could courteously invite some of the more vocal commenters on that site to come here and have the wool gently removed from their eyes. They spend a good deal of effort vilifying Wings of Scotland, and that’s not such a difficult thing to do because WOS does employ a rather broad-brush shouty approach,and there’s a lot of background noise.

      Gordon’s work is a lot more reflective and forensic. Based on this piece, it is now incontestable that:

      1. Leslie Evans was aware of specific allegations against Alex Salmond by 29th November 2017
      2. Leslie Evans met with Nicola Sturgeon on 29th November 2017
      3. At that date – because the new procedure was not yet in place – Sturgeon as FM had both a right and a duty to know about these allegations

      So either:

      4. Leslie Evans deliberately and consciously withheld from the FM allegations that she knew the FM had a right and a duty to know about, in a situation where she was working with the FM to create a specific procedure that would deal with such allegations, or:
      5. Leslie Evans and the FM discussed the allegations.

      If 4, then Leslie Evans is guilty of a grotesque level of misconduct. But 4 is not credible.

      If 5, then the FM has lied not once, but twice, about her knowledge of events – the first time when she claimed she first heard of the allegations from Alex Salmond on 2 April 2018, and the second time when she remembered that she had forgotten that she actually heard about them from Geoff Aberdein on 29 March 2018. In fact, it now appears that she knew about them, at the latest, a full five months earlier.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. David, your analysis does not include the recent letter sent by Fabiani to Liz Lloyd, Sturgeons Chief of Staff.

        Sturgeons private Secretary met with a complainer on two occasions in Nov 2017. The second meeting also included an unknown person

        This confirms Sturgeon knew about the complainers in Nov 2017. Thus she has lied to the parliament verbally on more than one occasion and also in her written submission.

        It wasn’t just MacKinnon who was meeting with them whilst at the same time the new process was being drafted.

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      2. Cubby, can you give me a link to the Fabiani letter so I can read it for myself? Are you assuming that the “unknown person” was NS, or is there some clear evidence?

        If Lloyd was there then it’s a reasonable assumption that NS was the “unknown”, but there would be no justification for withholding her name. The only justification I can think of for withholding the name is if the “unknown” was someone who would later make her own accusations against AS and become one of the alphabet sisters.

        Which doesn’t make it one whit less murky.

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      3. David, I can’t find what was sent to Lloyd by Fabiani on the Committee website but the Herald reported last week that it was an email asking for Lloyd’s “insight” on why Salmond’s lawyers were seeking that she give evidence at the commission along with Somers on his two meetings in November with one of the complainers.

        The clear implication is that Lloyd was being called because she knew something about these meetings. The Scottish Government then conceded the case.

        A Scottish Government spokesperson meantime has denied that there was a third person at one of the meetings as claimed by Salmond’s lawyers.

        I know who I believe.

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      4. David and Gordon, the letter to Lloyd dated the 29/Oct was on the website when I looked last week. There was also a letter ( same date )to Sturgeons Principal Private Secretary Somers who has been called to give evidence at the Committee.

        I did actually have a more detailed posting prepared for you David but stupidly accidently pressed cancel reply on my IPad and it was gone. I didn’t have time to write it all again. Hence the brief post.

        David, I do not know who this unknown is but obviously as Fabiani is asking Lloyd she obviously thinks she should know. I do not think Nicola Sturgeons Principal Private Secretary is going to have meetings with a complainer and not tell Sturgeon. So you would expect a Committee member to ask Somers “did you tell your boss Nicola Sturgeon……” so will Somers lie?

        My SPECULATION on who the unknown is – assuming a third person was there – probably Lloyd herself and Fabiani is putting her on the spot by sending this letter. Will Somers lie and say he can’t remember who else was there at the second meeting and cover for Lloyd?

        Lying and forgetting seems to be the order of the day for everyone who has been called to give evidence. I would like to see Ruddick called before the committee.

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      5. I think the overlooked private secretary Mr Somers might be one of the little puzzle blocks that needs to be fitted into place, the letter from Fabiani to him is here

        Click to access 20201029ConvenertoJohnSomers.pdf

        The fact that the judicial review case was conceded before him and Liz Loyd could appear makes their evidence probably very relevant. It really is like drawing blood from a stone isn’t it – and I think you are right Gordon, in your assessment below, about holding the line for as long as possible on each tactic. Even though ‘I forgot’ is now a widely advertised joke, they still persist.

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      6. This is the letter to Liz Lloyd – someone, given her involvement throughout, who should have been one of the first to be called as witness I’d have thought

        Click to access 20201021ConvenertoLizLloyd.pdf

        I’m not sure why that last letter didn’t appear as a link, and not sure this one will show page two – which is where Linda Fabiani asks about what her involvement was in all the numerous judicial review meetings – was it all about media relations?

        Even with all these people being involved, in November 2017, and knowing about the potential complaints that they were allegedly tailoring the procedure for, does the First Minister still have plausible deniability? Would it be inconsiderate for me to note here that Nicola Sturgeon is known for her excellent memory?

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      7. Thanks Cubby and Contrary, you really have to be dedicated to find this stuff! I think it’s clear to us all that these meetings between one of the complainers and Nicola Sturgeon’s Private Secretary in November are just one further confirmation that Sturgeon knew about these complaints from the start — as she absolutely should have done, given that she is the First Minister of Scotland.

        As soon as you apply any serious thought to her declared position of ignorance, it makes no sense whatsoever. Apart from anything else, who was policing this policy of Omerta whereby, extraordinarily, the First Minister was to be kept from knowing what was going on in her own Government?

        I guess Nicola must have said at some point in early November: “Well I don’t know anything about any complaints against any former Ministers but just in case any come in, make sure no-one tells me anything about them. John and Liz, if you have any meetings with complainers, make sure it’s behind my back and I never know. You too, Gillian and Barbara and Judith and Nicky and Leslie. Oh, and don’t leave anything whatsoever on paper about this instruction or why it was given or how everyone knew about it, and knew not to tell me anything… ”

        I mean, it’s just absurd, isn’t it?

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      8. Well done contrary for posting part of both letters.

        It looks like Fabiani is doing her job so far. She has been put in a very difficult position because a lot of SNP members are well in to shooting the messenger and ignoring the truth. It is very disappointing how many independence supporters just want to look the other way. Very disappointing.

        I did not want it to pan out like this about the current leadership but it is a fools game to ignore the evidence. Sturgeon always knew about the complainers from Nov at least. The whole business has been an abuse of power, by so many people, and a complete misuse of public funds.

        Gordon, you are right, it is absurd to think Sturgeon knew nothing – all the people around her being involved – all the lies and trying to hide documentation – the throwing in of the towel by the Scotgov at the judicial review just as some of them have to give testimony in front of the judge – all these meetings attended by her staff – an insult to anyone’s intelligence to suggest she knew nothing.

        Fabiani is doing a decent job – better than I thought as I suspected she may be put under pressure to look the other way. Time will tell but any rational analysis of what has been revealed so far would mean the ending of a lot of careers at best and possible prosecution in civil/criminal courts at worst for them. Gordon you would know a lot more about the likelihood of the latter than me.

        Will Lloyd and Somers want the same setup as MacKinnon – audio only testimony?

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      9. I have MaggieC over on Wings to thank for flagging up relevant material – I often click the links she gives and keep tabs open in my browser until I get a chance to read them.

        It’s a bit like we have to apply the Moorov (pronounced more-of) doctrine, as outlined by Craig Murray, here – there are just hundreds of tiny little bits of circumstantial evidence here that tell us that either the First Minister hasn’t been doing or job, or she knew all about this right from the start (…what proof would we need to show that she orchestrated the whole thing? We have implication, but we are nowhere near evidence for that,,,). She’s been lying about that – publicly and repeatedly, but then it doesn’t matter if she lies to us (par for the course for a politician). If she sticks to her guns, and her covering up, is the only recourse for removing her to wreck her reputation? Messy. Will the lies in parliament allow her to stand down with a mere ‘it was all a misunderstanding, oops silly me’?

        But then, Alex Salmond and his lawyer have said they have evidence (proof?) that there was indeed a conspiracy – does that implicate the current First Minister? Will we ever find out?

        The confusing intricate nature of this evidence, woven with misdirection and lies, means that lots of people can ignore much of it and still claim there is room for doubt. It is frustrating Cubby that so many people still blindly worship the FM, but we were all well and truly blindsided by her, and some people take longer than others, and many believe in ‘loyalty’ before any rationality – I am in no doubt now that she needs to be totally removed before we can make progress with independence, which puts us in the awkward, and uncomfortable, and unfortunate, position of having to keep telling folk about all the evidence against her – and the implications.

        Gordon – I am so glad you started this blog and are using it to pick apart the evidence as it is revealed, it’s good we have a place to work through all that we see and hear, and to try and put some order to it. The whole of it, once you have enough of the parts, and you see the overall picture, does show all the denials to be absurd right enough.

        We just have to keep going, and be more stubborn than they are, I guess.

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      10. Contrary, thanks for these links. The John Somers one is working but oddly the Liz Lloyd one isn’t. I’m getting a 404. Can you please check it yourself and try to post it again? I’ll post this on the next article too just in case nobody sees this.

        Thanks.

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    2. JSM, of course everyone though better of Sturgeon. I did. I also thought she would lead Scotland to independence. I don’t now.

      The truth and evidence matter.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. There are repeated, fundamental violations of good practice regarding complaints of misconduct by those actin on behalf of the Scottish government. It is not credible that this was happening without the knowledge of those doing and giving instructions for these abuses of rights and good practice. Nor is it credible that those doing the abuses and those instructing such abuses were unaware of the disregard for the Civil Service Code such abuses necessarily involved.

    ‘integrity’ is putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests
    ‘honesty’ is being truthful and open
    ‘objectivity’ is basing your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
    ‘impartiality’ is acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well Governments of different political persuasions.

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/civil-service-code/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is really closing in on Sturgeon. There does not seem to be an alternative to her standing down. She should do the decent thing and go now to allow a reconstruction and proper strategy to be formed to take advantage of next May’s election

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for all this painstaking information. I am now wondering how far, if there has been a danger of Nicola being compromised, the unconstitutional behaviour of the NEC might be involved in that the opportunities for the acceptance of candidates has been pretty much swayed in favour of the candidature of Angus Robertson,( isn’t he another crony?) and others whose claims to fame have been the turning of focus from independence to ‘equality’. Of course the lack of preparation for the election in 2021 might simply be incompetence. But the patterns of manipulation seem similar. But the NEC has certainly not been focussed on independence, and neither has Nicola, despite some stirling work on international recognition.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, my jaw hit the floor on the revelation of the 29th meeting between the ‘first respondent’ and the ‘interested party’, and at the thick-as-thieves plethora of contacts – well, it’s no wonder the procedure was deemed unlawful…

    I haven’t read any of the Open Record as yet, but your analyses have been excellent so far Gordon, I doubt I would find any fault with this post either, let alone be able to pinpoint key evidence as you have done. While waiting for this article I did skim through your previous ones again, and was just thinking these past couple of days – exactly as you have said – there can really be no doubt that the procedure was tailored for the express purpose of trying to ruin Alex Salmond.

    If there wasn’t enough evidence to convince others of this before – surely this does make it beyond doubt.

    Lying to parliament and the public, and continuing to lie, and a conspiracy to cover up all their actions. Vile and underhand, and not good governance, not good administration, and not very clever thinking they’d get away with it. They continue to obfuscate matters and pretend everything is fine – and the ‘true believers’ I’m sure will continue to deny reality. How much was driven from behind the scenes by Peter Murrell too? I didn’t think his part was a major one, but the more we hear about him, the more sinister his behaviour seems.

    But, this is just scratching the surface of written evidence isn’t it? There is much still being withheld? Alex Salmond says he wants access to some of the evidence he had for the criminal trial – and I still don’t quite ‘get’ how it is that you can’t use your own information just because you submitted it to a court, especially when they didn’t even allow it to be used (I re-read your article on COPFS a bit more thoroughly, but it still seems weird) – and is obviously delaying putting in a written statement because of restrictions on what he can say (? Or for political reasons?). They say he won’t be witness until December, which seems a long way off.

    In a way I dread to think what could be revealed if we knew the evidence in its entirety. We have come a long way from squabbling over who knew what and which meeting on the 29th March / 2nd April the next year. The procedure was planned, with malicious intent, to persecute just one person. I wonder if the civil service saw fit to ‘identify a gap’ in their harassment policy so that ministers and past ministers could retrospectively bring complaints against THEM?! Maybe they should be rushing that one through.

    Thanks for translating this convoluted mess, and these long tedious written documents, into plain English for us again – it’s much appreciated.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had kind of forgotten about Judith MacKinnon, probably because she’s no longer in post – and probably because I was supposed to forget her – or, rather, forgotten about her past: how unsuitable she was for the role she had. So I wasn’t paying attention to her central role in all this, and her possible malicious intent: wings has just given me the reminder:

      https://wingsoverscotland.com/return-of-the-phantoms

      There are too many people involved in this and my little brain can’t keep up.

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  4. It is clear that having witnesses attend without all the documents available to the inquiry is not a very efficient or effective approach. The inquiry needs to cut through all the restrictions, legal or otherwise, get the information/documents they need and then interview as appropriate. If they cannot do this then a full public enquiry is needed.

    This scandal has dragged on long enough. The perpetrators are still in post. That to me confirms Sturgeons guilt along with a lot of others who are usually quick to suspend. The whole lot of them need to be removed.

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    1. I agree Cubby, except for the time it would take to do a public enquiry – that could take years. The committee doesn’t seem adequate to the task – but they are certainly pushing to get it done, they are being treated with contempt by the Scottish government, who really is not handing over the evidence while claiming to do so – meanwhile NS has recused herself from any responsibility for it.

      Obviously the committee has some dead wood (why did Murdo just pop into your head?), and you have likes of Alex Cole-Hamilton who is only on a fishing expedition, and a couple of folk not really getting the point most of the time, but there is enough there that are taking it seriously enough to get the job done I reckon. I admit to rather admiring Jackie Baillie’s interrogation techniques – I think she’s a pretty shit politician, but now I’ve seen her in action on this committee I hope she gets to keep her job ,,, um, well, as long as she’s not my MSP.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cubby and Contrary, I’m dismayed too by the way the inquiry is being clerked. This is a matter of the greatest national importance before a Committee of the country’s Parliament and the administration of it would shame your local golf club committee. At a bare minimum, there should be a bundle of documents for each session, arranged thematically and/or chronologically, which every member of the committee should have a copy of, all properly indexed, and the exact same bundle should be in front of the witness giving evidence. If the Committee members struggle to find the document they want, the clerks should help. It’s what happens as a matter of routine in every court and tribunal in the land, and it’s really not rocket science. I’m just amazed that John Swinney complained, as this administrative incompetence has let Scottish Government witnesses off the hook time after time.

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    1. Will get to your longer one later, C. “Quoad ultra” translates as “everything else”, as in “everything else is denied”. I see that Alex Salmond’s counsel has adopted the increasingly trendy practice in his pleadings of translating such legal jargon, in his case to “As for the rest…” but personally I like, and will continue to use, the Latin which looks nice and has a very clear meaning for lawyers that the translation lacks. I don’t say it’s in the same silly league as changing “Director of Personnel” to “Director of People” but I regard it all as part of the same “look at me” bullshit, and it gives me the boak.

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      1. Thanks G! I know generally what Ultra vires is (from reading the likes of David Allen Green and the Secret Barrister, and it took lot of explaining) – and I know what you mean about having a phrase or word that concisely describes something – why drop it just because the layperson doesn’t want to educate themselves? Any speciality has that problem – I have a scientific background, but now work in engineering and both have a plethora of their own special meanings for words, it avoids confusion within the speciality, but causes confusion outwith the speciality. (And, yes, it irritates me that I can’t put the Latin in italics or underline it here!)

        When I found out the English didn’t use ‘outwith’ I was shocked – what on earth do they say for the opposite of within?? Well, they don’t have one word it seems, they have to use lots of words. Crazy.

        You cannot believe how much it annoys me that people use the adjective ‘female’ as though it’s a noun – I know the media started it years ago, because I noticed, and was annoyed by it, instantly. And there ARE actually people that write ‘ect’ instead of etc! I’ll stop now, we’d be here forever if I listed all the niggles.

        To change something just to be ‘trendy’, well, that is in the league of corporate-bullshit made-up nonsense language (which is worse and even more cringeworthy when they inappropriately use one of the speciality words you know the meaning of) for annoyance levels.

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  5. I think we should start considering the wider question of why they tried to hide all this.

    Were they simply trying to cover their backsides because they messed up and knew there would be an investigation into it, or, were they trying to hide proof of a conspiracy to put a man in prison? Perhaps both?`

    Can you comment on Evans’ testimony at the inquiry when she said the “Scottish Government” decided to call in the police on the basis of “three” complaints? This was in a video that someone provided a link to in previous comments – let me know if you want me to provide the link and timestamp. What does she mean when she says “Scottish Government”? It’s perplexing for a number of reasons.

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    1. Hatuey, on my guess at the wider question, see reply to KBJ below. On the “three complaints” stuff, yes, it’s puzzling. It was explained away as there being two complainers giving rise to three complaints but that doesn’t make sense as the Open Record shows there were multiple “causes for concern” raised by Ms A and Ms B between them, so there should either be two complaints or multiple complaints, not three.

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      1. My take on this is that the Scotgov are deliberately trying to confuse everything. Making it all so complicated so that the average independence supporter gives up trying to understand what the hell was going on.

        They are only holding the line at present thanks to the courts/legal system/Lord Advocate restricting what info is available to the inquiry.

        Still no word from Sue Ruddick re the Murrell messages. Did she do what was requested by Murrell? Who were the people she was supposed to get to put pressure on the police. I hope the inquiry call her to answer questions. It is no wonder lawyers are being called in by the SNP.

        Unfortunately I do not see this as being a case of one or two bad apples. The rot has spread far and wide from Edinburgh to London. There will be no independence with this lot in charge.

        At the same time as independence supporters are going along merrily thinking great the polls are rising the vehicle for getting independence has been sabotaged. The saboteurs need to be removed.

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  6. I think one of the least commented and most scandalous outcomes from this – is that clearly the actual complaints procedure is not fit for purpose – and any future complaint brought under it will always fail based on the evidence produced to date. That itself – though not the biggest – is a scandal!

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    1. Agreed, Alistair. The complaints procedure for former Ministers is dead in the water of course, and will never be used again (despite their ludicrous claims to the contrary) but with these people drafting and running the procedures for current Ministers and, much more importantly, for Scottish Government employees, I’d be very, very afraid of getting accused of anything if I worked there. As Molly’s Mum points out below, they don’t seem to have even the most basic grasp of procedural fairness or natural justice.

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  7. Gordon, first, thank you for following this disgrace.you are doing us all a great service.
    I read some of the written evidence, where as they developed the “procedure”, bouncing it back and forward as they sought a form of words to catch “a former minister”. After, I think, the sixth rewrite, the sole male in the plot, whose name escapes me just now, reading between the lines, gave up and packed in, my impression was that perhaps he had a conscience, and it was playing up, and leaving it to the female civll servants to cobble it together.
    Of course, in all this excitement, one question is, who would benefit if Mr. Salmond was out of the political way, or just disgraced. Certainly not a civil servant.
    But the part I cannot understand is, why would a plethora of civil servants put their careers on the line by these actions, especially when head office advised against it. what would their reward be.
    Or was it actually for no reward, well beyond a huge pay rise, just hatred for some past slight (s), and getting revenge. If so, best served cauld, six years on since demitting office.

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    1. KBJ, my guess — and it’s only a guess — is that belonging to the cult that gives rise to things like the GRA and the Hate Bill is like belonging to any other cult in that you become fanatically devoted to the beliefs of the cult and lose all perspective in those areas while often continuing to be a smart, reasonable person in the rest of your life (if you were that pre-cult, that is!) There’s a brilliant documentary on Scientology where the smart, insightful, humane, highly talented writer and director Paul Haggis describes how he and his wife functioned in this way for much of their adult lives as Scientologists, and cults don’t get much more dangerous and creepy than that. I suspect something similar is at work here.

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      1. I think you are absolutely spot on with this Gordon. A lot of people trying to find rational explanations simply haven’t recognised the vile seductive power of this kind of cultist belief system. I would bet my last dollar on the fact that several of the people involved in this were motivated by literally nothing more than an obsessive desire to be able to swagger around in public basking in glory and revelling in the adulation of their “sistahs” because they had taken a major #metoo scalp…

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      2. David, yes this is what is so worrying because these are grown adults in responsible positions who really should know better. In a way, I feel sorry for the students and other young people who’ve been caught up in this cult because once upon a time you did this kind of thing at Uni for a few years and it was very intoxicating and then you quietly forgot about it with no real harm done. Now, because of various dramatic changes in the culture you really are doing harm, most notably to feminists and other activists on the Left who’ve been fighting the real fight for decades. I’m always reminded of the scene in Nineteen Eighty Four where Winston meets his neighbour in the cell, and the neighbour is all delighted because it was his own wee boy who turned him in for thought crime, showing what a great Party member he is. That’s what has already been built in Canada and what the Scottish Government want to bring here.

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  8. Reading who the interested party was at that November meeting was like the big reveal in a crime series – but unfortunately for NS she’s already used up her lapse-of-memory card

    I’ve just read through the whole document, and though I may have got lost at parts of it I can honestly say it’s a complete train wreck – that would be enough to get an entire HR dept sacked in the real world, so why oh why is Leslie Evans still on the payroll? Or any of them, do any of them have any qualifications or do they have a rota for the Higher in Sociology?

    And you are right, it wasn’t just the fact the IO had previously spoken to the alphabet complainants – it was all of it, from start to finish, basic human rights just flung aside in their pathetic desire to see a man brought down

    And NS? As your first poster says, I don’t want to believe it but…….. how many meetings can one woman forget? How many meetings can one woman have yet not discuss the man whose life they are plotting to destroy?

    This is painful stuff but it’s not what I joined the Party for – something has to give

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This is damning stuff. It is quite hard to follow because I don’t understand the system at all but the group who contrived everything should not be in post anymore- for everyone’s sake, The reek associated with that “new procedure” set up and instigated/ signed off just before they went for Alex made it seem rotten from the beginning. The malice and vicious conspiracy are beyond doubt in my opinion. But I am still one of the people who believe Alex was not the only target. Because they were playing on Nicola’s well-known caution. adherence to the law/ rules/ procedures it still seems possible that she was either used/ targeted to fall into the same trap with Alex …. or both. Imagine……2017 Cabinet Office Westminster- special guests from Scottish Office- and “others” . Agenda: How to demoralise the YES campaign…..One certain outcome of the poisonous mess is currently running- who in their right mind would trust any member of the Westminster appointed civil servants at Holyrood – with ANYTHING????

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    1. For goodness sake Mullwharcarcom, you would have to believe that Sturgeon has absolute no control over the people who work for her, people she appointed – all of them. This nonsense of Westminster appointed civil servants – this is a pure mental prop for people like yourself that just cannot handle the truth. The one thing you can never say about Sturgeon is that she is not someone that is not in control. She is a very competent smart person. It is some mental stretch to say she is this great leader but all these people were working away without her knowing anything about it. If she didn’t want it to happen she would have stopped it. If she thought it was wrong she would have disciplined the people involved. She is either the FM of the Scottish government or a bloody idiot who has not got a clue what is going on.

      Mulwharcarcom, do you think her hubby just went and did his own thing as well re the messages he sent to Ruddick.

      Finally, believe me, if you know who the alphabet women are then you have absolutely no doubt.

      Not one person has been disciplined for the civil case or the criminal case.

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      1. Cubby and Mullwharcharcom, without speculating on the identities of the alphabet women, WHICH WE ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT DO, it’s clear from what was widely reported during the trial that they are likely to have been people Sturgeon knew. As soon as she was informed of their complaints, and who they were against, there is no doubt that she would have been in a difficult and unenviable position where anything she did would either look like taking sides or abdicating responsibility.

        If she had come clean about when she knew about the complaints, and when she was therefore put in this difficult position and had to choose between a rock and a hard place, I think there would be a lot of sympathy, including from me, for whatever difficult choice she made.

        The fact is, though, that she continues to insist that she acted as she did from early November 2017 onwards WITHOUT HAVING ANY IDEA about these complaints — that is to say, no idea who was making them, no idea who they were against and no idea what that person was accused of.

        This is what makes absolutely no sense as soon as you examine it. She can’t say BOTH that she took herself out of the picture because she was in such a difficult and conflicted position AND that she didn’t know anything about being in that position. I believe it’s that fundamental contradiction that will unravel in time.

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  10. I’ve read and digested thoroughly and considered extensively the forensic analysis carried by Gordon Dangerfield, Wings Over Scotland and Craig Murray of the First Minister’s statements, evidence to the Scottish Parliamentary Alex Salmond inquiry by various parties including the First Minister and the SNP Chief Executive, disclosures by the Scottish Government in response to Freedom of Information requests, evidence given under oath during the trial which acquitted Salmond of all charges. Having done so, I’m persuaded not merely on the balance of probability but beyond reasonable doubt that the First Minister, aided and abetted by others including the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, is guilty of:

    1. Ochestrating a campaign to persecute and prosecute the former First Minister Alex Salmond;
    2. Being instrumental in the development of processes to facilitate such a persecution;
    3. Colluding with others to obscure the First Minister’s part in the development of these processes;
    4. Repeatedly lying to the question of when she first became aware of complaints against Alex Salmond;
    5. Lying to the Scottish Parliament that she first became aware of these allegations on April 2, 2018 at a meeting at her homewith Alex Salmond;
    6. Subsequently lying that she first became aware of these allegations on 29th March 2018 at a meeting in Holyrood with Geoff Aberdein.

    What I cannot explain without reverting to wild conspiracy theories is why the First Minister is being given such an easy ride by the mainstream media. There is plainly a scalp there for the taking and they are not usually slow to chase it. The Scottish media may be cowed by the prospect of an SNP government for the forseeable future. The Times would not usually be scared off so easily.

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  11. Anyone know where I can view the procedure in question: particularly the remedies it proposes should a former Minuister be found at fault?

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    1. Paragraph 16 – it seems to be saying that Sturgeon should have been notified if the former minister is not cooperating. So was Salmond deemed to have not been cooperating? I would have thought that would have been the conclusion. If so, then Sturgeon should have been told according to this paragraph. Why has this not been mentioned in the submissions re when Sturgeon knew? Personally, I think this never happened because she already knew right from the beginning.

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      1. Interesting point, Cubby. They didn’t invoke paragraph 16 at any time, and I think if asked they’d say he was judged to be basically co-operating and that it was within Evans’s discretion not to invoke the provision. The effect was yet again to insulate Sturgeon from any involvement on the record.

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    2. Thanks – and thanks for your blog.

      I don’t see what the “remedy” would be if a former Minister were found to have offended. No knuckles officially rapped or the like. Nor does the procedure say whether the report is to be kept private or is to be public.

      Mind you, I can’t see what the remedy might be for effecively a former employee.

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      1. Robert, on the basis that the details of the complaints were leaked to the Daily Record and the fact that the Scotgov are trying to get the report released to the inquiry and then probably leaked or officially made public by the inquiry I feel very confident in suggesting that the report would have been made public.

        The whole point of the exercise was to smear Salmond and this continues to this day 3 years on.

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  12. Some very insightful commentary here. A number of folk have commented on the bizarre situation that the ‘disciplinary process’ at the centre of the storm is still actually in place!

    I had a thought that this may be because they (the cabal) have adopted a WWI gaming strategy, where the first trench in the Scot Gov’s defensive line is the policy itself. The hope being, from their perspective, that throwing the policy to the wolves rather than the culprits will appease the majority of critics including the faux critics?

    For example, after publication of the damming Scot Parl. enquiry report they come out with something along the lines of…. ‘We have listened and have learned from the mistakes made and have therefore decided to withdraw our policy etc etc/’

    Then in a year or 2 the main culprits leave post/retire etc under the radar?

    Just a thought…

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    1. My understanding is that the civil case was based mostly on the procedure not being followed, rather than the procedure not being wrong. Others (eg Craig Murray) have suggested that this part of the procedure was written as a “one-shot” to get one person, and was never expected to be deployed agian.

      I can see as well that there does need to be some procedure in place. Though that wouldn’t preclude a revision.

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      1. Robert, no other country has a process for a FORMER minister.

        No it was more than just not following the procedure correctly.

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  13. There is an external review of the procedure itself I think – by Laura Dunlop QC? I think the committee asked when it would be concluded, but I never looked to see if there was an answer.

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  14. If I read any of this shocking saga properly, Sturgeon decided to conduct an act of willful vengeance upon Salmond.

    She coerced & enabled her inner circle of kinky, extreme feminists to quickly cobble together a modified process by which they could have him not only publicly disgraced but jailed.

    Simultaneously, she orchestrated events to make it appear that she had no part to play in this spiteful retaliation whatsoever & instead, defended the potential outcome (Salmond’s incarceration) as a consequence of “improved” rules of conduct.

    She is also central to a phony sub plot where she appears to give the impression of wanting to achieve independence for Scotland but quietly has absolutely no intention of risking the status, power, influence & money that comes with an unchallenged, devolved administration.

    Have I missed anything?

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    1. G2 – your last paragraph is profoundly disturbing but I think gets to the heart of the problem… I perhaps would have also mentioned the ‘opportunity to pursue personal projects and vendettas’ ?

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  15. To me, it’s more like appointing the wrong person to a job, then being loyal to these appointed subordinates, while frantically trying to be distant from the mess. Smells as though there was an intention by someone to cause difficulty to AS (maybe even as well to keep it quiet), but then the intention got out of hand.

    But who was the original “someone”?

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  16. This is from the 26th Oct letter from John Swinney to Linda Fabiani, where he’s answering specific questions from the committee:

    ‘Update on the search to establish whether Barbara Alison received a specific text from the Permanent Secretary.

    The Committee sought an update on the efforts Barbara Allison has made to establish whether she had received a text from the Permanent Secretary. I understand that Ms Allison has written today to the Committee to clarify this matter following searches conducted by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.’

    So, wait a wee minute…

    She has written ‘today’?

    That’s the 26th October i.e. Monday.

    She appeared at the committee on Tuesday and delivered the spiel about not remembering sending anything to Leslie Evans which could’ve resulted in the infamous ‘Lost battle/win war’ text.

    But she had already written to the committee the previous day ‘following searches by CO and PFS’?

    Huh??

    What did those searches find that she was required to clarify in a letter on Monday which she couldn’t remember the next morning?

    Here’s the Swinney letter:

    Click to access 20201026DFMtoConvener_(JR_and_also_corr).pdf

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    1. Ian, firstly thanks for coming in with a comment as I’ve been wanting to thank you very sincerely for some time for all you’ve done to get the word out there about the blog, and for your kind comments on the content. Wish I’d thought of calling it “The Dangerfield Files”! I saw a wee bio you did of yourself and I suspect we’re kindred spirits in more ways than one. I don’t think I’ve quite grasped your point here but I’m hoping to get something up soon about Allison’s use of COPFS as her own wee data bank — a service not available to Craig Murray or Mark Hirst or Alex Salmond — so we can maybe come back to it then.

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      1. So sorry about those blank spaces. Wasn’t making a cryptic point of any kind – I was trying to post the link to the Committee webpage where John Swinney’s letter has been added to the Written Evidence page. I don’t understand why it won’t copy.

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      2. That would be great Gordon. It seems to me very strange that Allison can ask the police to see which texts of hers they have. At least 2 issues for me:

        1. As you suggest there is the issue of using police evidence as a personal databank…..

        But also…

        2. How can texts be selectively recovered by the police? Surely the police would have secured all texts including deleted ones from the phones of all main parties as part of the legal proceedings? How can some of the texts be available but not others, for example, why don’t they have the initial text sent to Ms Evans from Ms Allison? Seems very bizarre to me and smacks of the police covering the backs of the conspirators!

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      3. Achnababan, you’re right that this is all about as clear as mud. Unfortunately, the questioning by Committee members is so terrible, and in general so unmotivated by any real desire to uncover the truth, that things which could easily have been clarified were not, just for want of asking.

        I doubt very much that COPFS went to the trouble of recovering deleted messages so my guess is that Allison’s initial text was already deleted when COPFS got Allison’s phone and only the two texts we’ve now been given were extant.

        Allison subsequently deleted those from her phone too, and “forgot” about all of it before being reminded by Jackie Baillie, who somehow knew about the two extant messages, causing Allison to panic and act as she did from that point onwards.

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    2. Typo in the date?

      “The Committee sought an update on the efforts Barbara Allison has made …” seems to refwer to the events on Tuesday. If this is correct, the letter was written on or after Tuedsay.

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    3. Ian, I remember reading this comment on Wings and I thought you may be mixing up two messages.

      The first is that Barbara Allison said she couldn’t remember getting the ” Thanks Barbara,lost the battle winnning the war” message from Evans at a previous committee meeting and then at the recent meeting she confirmed verbally she had found it now and confirmed it in writing.

      The second is that she then said she couldn’t remember (under questioning at the recent meeting) the contents of the opening message she sent to Evans and had also deleted this message.

      Hope this helps.

      A lot of poor memories and deleting/ not submitting paperwork amongst these senior people.

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  17. Just a shout out of thanks to you Gordon for taking a vastly complicated process and breaking it into digestible bite-sized pieces. Having a legal background I could probably plough through the source material myself and follow it, but it would take up huge amounts of my time. So it’s a massive plus being able to come to this site and get an updated understanding of what’s going on in just a matter of minutes.

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    1. David, in these covid times I have had the time to look at most of the original docs and the screening of the committee meetings and have found Gordon to be spot on. With the quailification that other than some legal courses at Uni I do not have a legal background.

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      1. I actually posess a proper law degree Cubby, from a proper university but from many many years ago. In a similar spirit to you, one leisurely summer I took it upon myself to read all the publicly available documentation on the Megrahi case – the whole lot from start to finish. I was left with the conclusion that to convict Megrahi on the basis of the evidence that was presented against him would have shamed a retarded baboon.

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  18. Gordon, there is one interesting aspect of the affair that only occurred to me yesterday. Subsequently, I went back and watched the whole Ridge-Sturgeon interview on Sky News.

    Previously I had only been able to watch half of it. It made me cringe with embarassment to see a woman I had respected and admired for so many years reduced to this mealy-mouthed babbling. At the time I assumed that all the nonsense about November 2017 was just an attempt to get out of answering the question about the Aberdein meeting in March 2018.

    In the light of these new revelations it takes on a different hue. At the time of the interview Sturrgeon must have known that eventually the information about her November 29th meeting with Evans was going to become public. The mealy-mouthed babbling may have had nothing to do with the Aberdein meeting. It was a clumsy attempt to begin constructing some kind of alternative narrative that would allow her to “explain” what she had been told in November 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David, I think you’re right in general about this tactic (for example, I think it lies behind the co-ordinated evidence of Evans, Lloyd and Sturgeon that yes, Sturgeon did have SOME idea about complaints against Salmond in early November via the Sky airport enquiries) but I don’t think they’ve advanced to it yet in this specific case.

      The tactics they’re using are straight from the standard playbook as used, for example, by Murdoch as he progressed from “rogue reporter” to “zero tolerance” to “we’re sorry” to “we’re humble” and eventually to safety as everyone just tired of the effort needed to keep going, and the mainstream media remembered where their true interest lay.

      Similarly, Sturgeon, Evans and Co will hold one line as long as they can, hoping it will hold forever, then retreat to a new line, try to hold that, and so on and on.

      If they do eventually get caught, people will wonder how they ever thought they’d get away with it. The answer is that they think that because they almost always do.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. David,

      Someone on Craig’s blog noted that Sky’s archived (YouTube?) version of he interview was edited to miss out some of what Nicola Sturgeon said – I can’t remember the actual parts now – I could look back and try and find the comment maybe, there was nothing big of scandalous, it was just noteworthy. Just to make you aware that the live version was a bit different.

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    3. Ah yes, here it is,

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/10/lord-advocate-launches-war-on-twitter/comment-page-4/#comment-960408

      Beware the Leopard noticed the difference, and gives a little transcript of where the differences lie (they exclude the very catty parts that make NS look too bonkers). Beware the Leopard’s theory was that it was a divide and conquer tactic – not enough of a difference for people to notice, but enough to give a different impression from the interview – so people would argue over it based on two different edits without realising it.

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  19. Thanks for writing about the inquiry, it’s really helpful.

    As you suggested I read points a) to o) and I am not surprised to find that the process/rules applied in the case of AS are exactly those applied to anyone accused under the ‘fairness at work’ policy in the SG. I hope this high profile case will eventually help reform the processes used by the SG HR which are unfair and downright cruel. They use an approach where you are guilty until proved innocent…and very few are (proved innocent) because of the reasons cited at a) to o).

    Most of the senior women involved in this have been with the SG a long time, for example, Allison used to be Head of People, although it had a different title (SG likes to change post titles a lot), Richards was her deputy. They all know each other very well indeed.

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      1. Gordon, They have become part of the problem in that they want to keep the ‘excellent’ relationships they have with the SG HR and legal team. Partnerships, as they are called in the public sector. Therefore the TU’s do not stand up and fight but use a much more subtle approach that does not protect and defend their members as rigorously as it should. It is well known by the SG HR and the TU’s that the ‘fairness at work’ process is often used to get rid of people who are no longer wanted. It’s all dreadfully corrupt and will continue to be so until people like Evans, Allison and Richards are removed, not to mention the very powerful senior grade staff who work for them.

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      2. A sadly familiar story, LB, and an utter disgrace of course. It almost makes you miss the old days of right wing cosying up to management to keep them in a cushy job for life. At least those guys didn’t pretend to be cutting edge and “radical” when they were helping the bosses shaft you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Of course, in a similar vein the Scotgov did float the idea of dispensing with juries earlier in the year using the virus as an excuse. That was an absolute shocker for me when I heard that. It should ring alarm bells about any government that wants to move in that direction.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Within the SG HR there is also a process known as the Yellow Card, which is a pretty appalling process and I have often wondered if Alex Salmond was first accused as a part of that process as many of the words used in the allegations against him are so familiar.

    Basically, SG HR can go into any work area within the SG and run training sessions on ‘behaviours’ where HR tell dreadful stories of the abusive bullies they have unearthed within the organisation. Stories like the woman who was so afraid she went to work with a pair of scissors taped to her wrist. After the ‘training session’ all staff are invited to submit a Yellow Card. On there they can write what they like about anyone they like, anonymously. Anyone accused of wrongdoing via a Yellow Card has no right to know who has accused them, or even of the exact events they are accused of in case that enables them to identify their accuser. They are considered guilty and the Yellow Card report on them is taken as truth. They have no right of reply, and no means of defending themselves as they are told they are bad in some way without ever knowing exactly what they are said to have done and when. They are told their behaviour is wrong without any specific examples.

    Even as I write that it’s hard to believe that this sort of thing happens within our own Scottish Government but it most definitely does. It’s all tied up in the same twisted HR process that was used against AS. I know many think there was a plot at a high level against AS but I think it started much lower down in the HR team and gained momentum from there.

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    1. LB, I’m genuinely shocked by this. I’m up to my eyes at the moment but at some stage I’ll have to look at the Fairness at Work policy and try to put something up about that, and about what you say here. It’s straight out of Nineteen Eighty Four. Is there even at least a pocket of resistance to it at the grassroots level of the unions?

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      1. You won’t find anything about the YC process in the FAW policy. As far as I know, it’s not recorded anywhere that it even exists, nor is the process it uses written down. I had never heard of it in almost 20 years until it was deployed in a work area I know of. It is led by the SG diversity champion, a woman who has the ears of those in power and despite being a middle grade is very powerful as a result. I would be completely shocked if she was not involved in what happened to AS. The SG HR is a truly corrupt despicable part of the organisation where no one is in charge and they are uncontrolled and out of control. As the AS case has clearly demonstrated.

        I wonder if the FM’s office had a Yellow Card event? Perhaps an FOI? TBH, the process is so dodgy and against all natural justice that I suspect it might be something else they have chosen to forget.

        As for the TU’s, as I said previously they play a soft ball, but frankly even when they try to get tough they are simply ignored and SG HR does what they want anyway. I believe that the TU’s were unaware of the YC process and had not been consulted on its content or implementation.

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    2. They aren’t actually human at all, are they?

      Yellow Card ,,, that sounds like some kind of sick game. An HR out of control; and along comes a First Minister that allows them free rein if they do her bidding, must have all been a jolly old wheeze for them all.

      Thanks for your info Lulu Bells, though getting any kind of insight into that world makes me feel a bit ill – they really don’t have any concept of conscience do they? Or fairness, or, indeed, humanity. No wonder none appear to be in the slightest bothered at having had a part in trying to ruin a man’s life, to put him in jail – you have to wonder how many lives they have already ruined, ones with less of a high profile.

      And that leads to the thought, that if Alex Salmond was ever to try and sue any of the civil servants, maybe he could put out an advert/appeal to anyone else that has been wronged by those people? And Westminster can pick up the tab this time for any compensation.

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  21. And right on cue today Sarah Davidson, Director General Head of SG HR at the time, tells us she was cut out of the loop. That a work area she was responsible for was dealing with a very important matter and she was not included in those discussions. ‘Quite normal’ she says, ‘no I was not at all troubled by my staff having meetings on significant matters I knew nothing about’. Even though I am responsible for HR and the buck stops with me, is what she did not say. I have regular catch-ups with my staff and ensure they are doing things properly she says, except HR it would seem. No one was making sure they were doing things properly. I actually think Sarah was one of the better DG’s and if she had been allowed to be involved in the work of her HR team things might have turned out differently. She was actually asked that question today and made a careful response. Unfortunately, she also seems to have developed a memory loss, which is not at all her style, she has forgotten nothing.

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    1. I found Sarah Davidson’s written evidence interesting – she was twice asked to do a review of the procedure and was stopped from doing so twice (first because of the JR, and second because of the criminal case – that second I didn’t think a reasonable excuse). She makes clear she didn’t receive any legal counsel that was claimed at first by ScotGov. Then the report she ‘urgently’ wrote for Leslie Evans on ‘advice received’ and submitted on the 28th Dec 2018, she makes clear there was no advice from her attached to it – yet the government timeline on JR events states she did give advice – and she says Evans sought ‘additional legal advice’ on the 31st of Dec 2018, before advising government to concede the case on 2nd January. Her timeline of events seemed much clearer than anyone else’s anyway!

      Like

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