IN SHOCK MOVE, BLOG TRANSITIONS TO NEWS

My apologies to all of my readers who are eagerly awaiting Parts Three and Four of A Very Scottish Coup, and especially to all of my readers who are journalists with the Murdoch and Newsquest titles, but I just had to take this short break to let you all know that the events I have been describing in this blog since early September 2020 are now officially news.

Yesterday the Scottish Sun, in a long story headlined “Nicola Sturgeon faces ‘serious questions’…” and today The Herald in a story headlined “… Nicola Sturgeon told ‘buck stops with her’…” (faithfully attributing the story to the Scottish Sun as of course it wouldn’t do to plagiarise without attribution) have lifted wholesale the stories I was pleased to bring to you here and here and here and in various other posts on this blog.

As everyone knows, when such things are written in a blog and ignored by the mainstream media, they are not news. They are irrelevant at best, and at worst – the usual case, actually – they are conspiracy theories, deranged “Trumpian” ramblings or, in a recent SNP formulation, vile “alt-right” dogma.

This is the case, as we all again know, even if they are written by someone like Stuart Campbell, whose prodigious output over many years shows him to be well left of centre on every important issue, or for that matter by myself, an activist in the Labour Party Young Socialists when I was barely out of my teens, a Labour Councillor in my twenties, a campaigner against the poll tax and bedroom tax, veteran of a thousand marches and rallies against illegal wars, nuclear weapons, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, etc, etc, and still now at the age of 58 as committed a libertarian socialist as I’ve been all my adult life.

And of course this is why Nicola Sturgeon and her Government have recently given £3 million of public money to the mainstream unionist media which despises her, and despises the SNP, while simultaneously seeking to make it an offence worthy of expulsion from the Party to read or share pro-independence bloggers of proven commitment like Stuart Campbell.

Because, although in our provision always of evidence, of sources for all claims made, and of rational analysis and argument, it might appear to the uninitiated that bloggers like Stuart and myself are producing news, it only becomes that precious commodity when given that vital seal of approval by the likes of Murdoch and his corporate colleagues.

So thank you Nicola, and thank you Rupert, and thank you whoever gives the journalists their orders at Newsquest for turning the stories on my humble wee blog at last into actual news.

I hope this will serve as an inspiration to all of you other bloggers out there. If you work hard, and be all you can be and dare to dream and never quit – oh, and if it happens to serve their interests for some reason at any particular time – you too might one day find your work anointed by the mainstream media as real live news.

152 thoughts on “IN SHOCK MOVE, BLOG TRANSITIONS TO NEWS

  1. Congratulation Gordon. I’m sure this is like a dream come true for you. 😉

    It is indeed remarkable how long it has taken for these matters to be ‘picked up’ (to be kind about it) by the MSM.

    Then again, given that your motivation for writing is simply to reveal the truth, it is perhaps remarkable that your output reaches the MSM at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s a reason why right now suits them, GeeK. But I think they’ve miscalculated how strong the wider Indy movement is and how little dependent it actually is on the Sturgeon clique. Quite the opposite at this point, in my view.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My own feeling is that the MSM, representing the UK Establishment, were quite content to let Sturgeon carry on as FM as they saw her posing little to no threat to the Union. This stramash was their insurance policy should, despite her reluctance, she be forced to bring another Referendum about. At that point, this would have been used to destroy her and the movement.

        However, as you say, they have miscalculated how the wider movement (and indeed not inconsiderable elements in the party) see Sturgeon herself as the strategic impediment to Independence and have successfully used this episode alongside her GRA / Hate Crime policies to emphasise how catastrophic she has been to the progress of the cause and to start loosening her (and her husband’s) grip on the party.

        As James Mitchell says in Sceptical Scot yesterday (https://sceptical.scot/2021/02/snp-tensions-causes-and-effects/) even if she does manage to secure a win in May, her re-asserted authority is likely to be short-lived.

        So, in that light, it seems the MSM have now decided that this won’t keep until the next Referendum and will deploy it now to damage the SNP prior to the election. The line they have to tread is tricky though because, now Leonard has gone, there is a very real prospect of a Grand Unionist Coalition being able to kick the SNP out of Government if even only a few seats change hands. I think they know that that, combined with an SNP able to cleanse itself in opposition, really would be a huge risk to the Union.

        Make no mistake, the establishment want Sturgeon to remain FM but diminished and with a diminished SNP Group. At any other time it would be very difficult to gauge how to play this but in these times of no on-the-ground campaigning, it is all but impossible to judge how best to thread that needle.

        Or not. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I really don’t think so. It is much more plausible that the MSM simply don’t have the interest/manpower/capabilities to take the SG to account. I don’t quite buy the idea that is some kind of conspiracy, I would call it “apathy”. In turns, that leads towards apathy from the general public. I would imagine it would be exactly the same even if Party X was in power.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Please don’t let plagiarism by the unprincipled deter you from continuing with your excellent blog
    PS why were ‘unionist ‘ media given £3 million? In hope that they can generate votes to ensure no overall majority for SNP?
    Allows the Murrells to continue their reign without inconvenience of try ti sort out Indyref2

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The MSM are so corrupted and dishonest that they cannot even properly attribute the facts and analysis they plagiarise for their despicable comics.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gordon, I am not quite clear what the aim of the post is.
    You said yesterday in the comments that you weren’t that bothered about your content being lifted (I would have…), and now this post.
    I read it expecting a big reveal, but it neve came. So, were you just letting off steam?

    Like

    1. Sorry Andrea, I can’t say any clearer than I have in the post what its aim was. To try to explain it would be like a comedian trying to explain why a joke SHOULD be funny. It didn’t work for you but clearly it has for others, and that’s all fine.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Will you send them a hefty invoice, representative of the huge amount of time and professional forensic skills involved in your analysis of so many documents? And a letter re the laws of copyright? So-called MSM are always feeding off other people’s work and misrepresenting it as their own. In this case it is compellingly obvious and demonstrable whose work they have appropriated without consultation, credit or payment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diz that mean Your coming out of the journalistic closet so to speak chist don’t transmogrify intae something we won’t recognize LoL Stay Safe Gordon .

      Like

    2. Nah, Joan, I’ll sit here and laugh at their transparent dishonesty and self-delusion like I usually do these days. It’s more than enough that there are honest, sensible people like yourself out there who know the truth — thanks for that! — and that there’s more of us all the time…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Gordon, you’ve been very restrained. Your fine work is there in the public record, take comfort in that.

    I’ve had dealings with the reprobates that work for Murdoch. At all costs steer clear and stick with ordinary folk.

    ps I’ve put something up elsewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Bravo Gordon …👏 Transitioning most apt …

    Spent the remainder of the weekend catching up on your threads … just posted comment on the Contrary to LE and JM … Screenplay for you next ,

    Best Wishes

    C

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Brilliant. The SNP who oppose hate Speech have engendered a campaign of hate speech against the Rev Stu for writing robust honest journalism pursuing the truth. NS is not Scotland. She is not Indy 2. She is corrupt. Gordon’s analyses on here has been forensic factual and incisive. He exposes the corruption and lies vividly. Scotland needs rid of corruption in Westminster and Edinburgh. NS has blurred the lines between party and state and must step down sooner or later. Gordon has done a great service to the pursuit of justice. The SNP have become a cult and I know this having been inside their ranks. They hide corruption and even paedophilia inside the party and thats why I left.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. As Orwell said, its the PARTY that counts; its reputation cannot be tarnished by sexual assault on a young boy. The party knew. Its all Wheesht for indy after all. The flag of Freedom flies so who cares of unseeing eyes? Corruption doesnt mind jailing the innocent and hiding the sins of the guilty. Long live The Party! As written in the Dean of Faculty (ballad, 1796) ‘The more invalidity you bring, the more is to their liking’. Or ‘Here’s freedom to him that wad read; Here’s freedom to him that wad write, There’s nane ever fear’d th Truth should be heard, But them wham the Truth was indite!’

        Liked by 4 people

  9. Said media (well Stephen Paton in the Herald) trying to claim the internet is rife with ‘StuAnon’ hashtag users.

    Sadly a google check shows only him and ‘Comfy’ Pete Wishart using it…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. To be very fair, I actually thought that Dan Evers did a pretty good job of condensing the stuff he stole from you, concerning a really complex story, into a summary that could be understood by tabloid readers (and that is intended to be genuine, not condescending) who knew nothing of it previously. And I think that’s a good thing.

    Once I had read through his Twitter thread properly, I was also amused to see a dark and knowing nod to the fact that Geoff Aberdein (who let us remember is now a middle manager in an insurance company) had knowledge of the accusations against AS at a point in time when the First Minister of Scotland is insisting she knew nothing at all about any of it.

    I’m sure Dan stole that off one of my comments… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Gordon, I’m sure that, preparing for, and writing a political blog, is not done for the money albeit that subscriptions may be available and, in some instances, necessary for the blog’s survival. Servers aren’t free!

    I would take it that, being plagiarised as you have been by the mainstream, is reward enough although of course their motivation, unlike yours, is not progressive at all. In my professional life, often acting for those swimming again the stream, their frustrations at the inadequate legal system in providing justice, often led them to implore me to go to “the press”. Their incorrect assumption that “the press’ will be outraged by clear and obvious injustice led me always to warn them that once they give their story to the press, they lose control of the narrative. Once that has happened, “the press” invariably distort and mislead and the client’s credibility is shot. Fortunately, my advice has always been taken and the press avoided.

    What is now unavoidable, because of blogs like yours, Wings and Mr Murray’s, the press has taken up; not that they couldn’t have done so much earlier or weren’t aware of the lies, obfuscations, and general lack of moral standards, but because it didn’t suit the political agendas of their owners and masters. Now they shamelessly steal your output in order to control how it’s used and to suit their timing and agendas. This is not a reason for ceasing. Quite the reverse. Efforts must be made to shine a light on all the supperating filth of this affair, so that their attempts to control the timing and the narrative are defeated by blog posts.

    More strength to your elbow and thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree with all of that, Ingwe, and very much appreciate the support and encouragement. The blog will always be free but I’m very pleased that my occasional mentions of the wee novel (of which you’ve been a much valued reader) have borne fruit with a steady trickle of sales, and some day soon I’m going to make good on my longstanding threat to REALLY start plugging it on the blog.

      More seriously, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the influence of Grassic Gibbon and Wordsworth on the novel, on how and why I came to write it, on why supposedly monosyllabic surfer dudes are actually the poets of our age, on what I was trying to achieve with the music and the politics and the love story, the profanity and vulgarity and utter disregard of political correctness, etc etc with the thousands of smart and insightful people who now read the blog, and to hopefully getting their thoughts and opinions on all of it too. An engaged and thoughtful audience is a writer’s dream.

      Meantime, another wee plug here:

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now, I would love to be in the audience to hear Gordon’s lecture on his novel and all its influences. It was exhilarating to read it but ive raved on its award wining merits on the globalist (shite) site Amazon about it so dinny want to undermine my own praise there by prosaic naivety here! There is a magic in the novel and I pray to live long enough to read your next one Gordon. Sometimes angels come to earth in human form and write for the rest of us and their light shines clearly and shows us the world, the gap between Hell and Heaven. Christ we have a mess to sort out in this wee nation with so much potential mired in corruption. With 1000 hearts of truth we can fix it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ach, now you’re making me blush, Pad. There’s some footage of me doing some readings and Q and A somewhere. I’ll try to lay hands on them and put them up at some point. You come at what lies beyond our ken from a different angle than I do but as a dyed-in-the-wool Wordsworth-and-Burns Romantic, I say bring on the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and the honest emotion recollected in tranquility!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. kiltedsplendour, I’d be delighted to send you a spanking new copy.

        Drop me a line using the contact form or direct to my email on the “About” page above with the address to send it to, and I’ll get one out to you. Just let me know if you’d like me to sign it!

        Like

  12. Just like to say that I’ve been enjoying your blog for the last year Gordon, and I’m finding it very informative with regards to this whole sorry affair. I’ve pointed a few others this way, so they can get a better understanding of the real story.

    Look forward to reading the next instalments.

    Also, a copy of your book has been delivered to my front door about 10 minutes ago, so I and the other half look forward to reading it. I grew up in 1980’s Bishopbriggs so I should be able to follow the story……

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m totally delighted to hear that about the wee novel, Jim. Please do let me know how you — and the other half — get on with it. The opening pages feature a mention of Bishopbriggs based, as a lot of things in the book are, on something a mate of mine was inspired to say after we saw The Warriors together at the Rio in Bearsden.

      Like

  13. REEad ALLABOUT IT! READ ALLABOUTIT! The NEWS where YOU are! READALLABOUTIT!

    Is that the news where you are or the news where I am?

    I’m SO glad I’ve been reading news all this time, makes me feel SO much more in touch with the outside world. Very satisfying indeedy.

    But,,, what IS a libertarian socialist? I’ve noticed you’ve said that before, and thought to leave the question for later – does this mean you won’t take backhanders from massive neoliberal-advocating press mega-corporations?

    That aside, the satisfaction you must feel, Gordon, at last to be RECOGNISED,,, well, not really, because they didn’t mention your name, but ken, nearly recognised, by a few people that can easily see the entire paragraphs gratuitously lifted from your blog ,,, to NEARLY be recognised, by the TRUE purveyors of NEWS, must be great indeed!

    On giving credit where it’s due, I note you didn’t acknowledge David’s eagle eyes and his laborious hardship of reading an MSM newspaper, to spot this first. Hm? Just saying, like.

    One does wonder, does one not, if Nicola Sturgeon realises yet that it was pointless trying to buy off the unionist press or any British establishment institution? Probably not. *sigh* what a road we have travelled.

    READALLLL ABOUT TIT! PART 3 of the COUP! READALL ABOUTIT! Sometime, in the near-ish future,,, and I wish it wasn’t the news where we are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very nice, Contrary. I use “libertarian socialist” to differentiate me from all the various types of authoritarian lefties — from the Marxist-Leninists and Trotskyists I was at Uni with who told me what a wishy-washy liberal I was for believing in bourgeois concepts like free speech to the “progressive” wokie McCarthyites of today who want to put me in jail for knowing what “woman” and “man” mean, as I have since I was five years old. (I’ve also known what equally complex and nuanced concepts like “tree” and “river” and “table” and “Glasgow” mean since the same age but they don’t seem so fixated on that for some reason.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like the ideas behind ‘Libertarian Socialism’.

        Being an ecological economist I always kind of considered myself to be a social democrat in broad terms, but that was before I understood just how corrupt our power structures actually are – within businesses, government and NGOs. I care about the well being of people, communities, and the planet, but not of organisations. Some may say they are a necessary evil, but perhaps I now understand how they have actually colonised our life and left us to blow in the wind as market forces and the super rich take over the world.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, Achnababan, it’s astonishing as soon as you actually think about it that we’re so brainwashed and unquestioning about these rapacious limited liability corporations which rule us, as if they’re somehow inevitable in our lives when in fact they’re very recent innovations. Adam Smith would turn in his grave.

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  14. The Chicken or the Egg?

    Sorry to bring you back down to earth from those giddy heights among the journos of the MSM but on a slightly different note I was pondering the ‘chicken and egg problem’ when it comes to the Salmond Enquiry…

    I am referring here to the evidence of NS’s private secretary (John somebody) when asked if he had told NS about the complaints from A (or was it B) back in November 2017. He replied he did not because that would have placed NS in a ‘state of knowing’ or some such strange term.

    Now why did the Committee not pursue with him why NS was to be kept in a state of ‘not knowing’?

    The only accurate and truthful answer must have been she already knew and it had been decided that they must pretend to the outside world that she was in a state of not knowing….

    So what came first ‘the knowing’ or ‘the unknowing’?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I didn’t watch the Somers evidence as I was so annoyed, but I did wonder how he had managed to weasel out of that one. Now I can picture the conversation…

      FM: John. Should you ever come into possession of information about things I don’t want to know about, you must on no account tell me about them.
      JS: Ah. Er, yes First Minister. And what might these “things” be?
      FM: Don’t be absurd John. Since I don’t know about them, I obviously can’t tell you what they are.
      JS: Indeed, First Minister…
      FM: I must not be put in a state of knowing about these things John. Do I make myself clear?
      JS: Crystal clear First Minister. I shall carry out your instructions to the letter. You will never be put in a state of knowing about things that you do not want to know about…

      Liked by 6 people

  15. May I add my voice to those commending your excellent work over the last few months, Mr. Dangerfield. It has come to a pretty pass when civic standards in a country once at the forefront of the Enlightenment and a pioneer in a broad education for everyone is essentially reliant on one former ambassador, one ex-computer games reviewer and one practising solicitor-advocate to do their best at the job of exposure and holding to account that larger institutions ought to be doing. It’s frightening to think what slim chance there would have been of letting the light of day in upon the Sturgeon cabal had this been even 20-odd years ago – what ready public platform would you have had before blogs came into vogue?

    From not quite so long ago, I was amused to come across this article from the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. It’s a good overview of problems that still exist and have been painfully highlighted recently:-
    https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/journal/issues/vol-45-issue-03/the-constitutional-position-of-the-lord-advocate/

    The author, Christine O’Neill, writing then as an academic at the University of Edinburgh, has risen further in her field to appointment as first standing junior counsel to those rogues at the Scottish Government. As you and attentive readers will know, she, along with senior counsel, had the nous to call time on the SG’s defence to Alex Salmond’s judicial review, and good on them. I wonder if Ms. O’Neill will be asked to offer advice about Mr. Wolffe rather than to him any time soon…

    Lang may yer lum reek (and keyboard clatter)!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Many thanks, Rhadamanthus, that’s really appreciated. And I totally agree about the vital role the integrity of the Scottish Government’s external counsel played here.

      On a frivolous note, your sign-off made me think of Jack McLaughlin, the Laird o’ Coocaddens, who used to sign off every edition of his Radio Clyde Hoochter Teuchter Show with “Lang may yer lum reek, lang may yer sporran squeak.” But of course I only heard about that second-hand, I was much too busy listening to the sulky Belgian art students on John Peel…

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Gordon, I have tended to think that your previous comments about the SNP/Scotgov all being in an identity cult was a bit too much and thought it was more political as I expressed previously. Now after seeing Barbara Allisons email attached as an appendix to Salmonds final submission and the logos at the bottom I now think you are right and that it is both.

    Allison is caught “bang to rights ” ( I think that’s the right expression ) in that email.

    I’ m assuming that the guy who for a longtime had slipped under the radar – Somers – will feature in your future episodes of the Scottish coup.

    Keep up the good work it is clearly being appreciated by a wider audience – even if it does now include Sun readers.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. So those curious about Gordon’s professed politics as a Libertarian Socialist. Just to add to the discussion. Generally, when you hear the term “libertarian” it’s in the context of awful, trite anti government dogma such as that of Ayn Rand. They focus on the freedom of property rights and what another writer called ‘possessive individualism’. More sophisticated advocates such as Niskanen, Buchanan and Tulloch , argue for a minimalist “night watchman” state, but also freedom from economic oppression at some level ,for example TU’s or universal income. Putting aside the conduct surveillance state being built under Sturgeon, I would say that these objections to the state alone are misplaced. In essence your true liberty is to be free from economic oppression, arbitrary power and claims of possessive individuals which impinge upon your freedom of thought. State oppression can be part of that but only part. Plenty of other “actors” want to oppress us.

    Some of them can appear benign but are controlling and use power disportinately. They have a paternalistic focus but often are what is known in the language of public choice theory which I learned as part of economics “log rolling” or “Pork barrelling”. The first is exchanging favours to cement mutual advantage among powerful groups. So the way part of the justice system has been co-opted in the campaign to smear Alex Salmond is an example of log rolling. The second is dishing out and awarding resources to favoured groups . Westminster PPE scandal is an example as is the SG’’s allocation of money to equalities groups which privilege a minority. This is often designed to call in favours such as the reprehensible role of Rape Crisis Scotland in the Salmond case.

    Generally if things are kept accountable at say the level of your local council or something on a small accountable and democratic scale you Can obviate these problems. But the big deep state is always in play.. Holyrood is an example of that. We put people in power and they become accountable only to a narrow party clique. We end up with well cushioned careerists and bandwagon jumpers who don’t care about independence.

    I think the way lockdown has been deployed for example, without accountability and with arbitrary imposition of powers compromises our freedom existentially. Part of liberty is to take risks as I once did on a surfboard in Devon! I also think people’s attempts to impose their narrow, possessively individual or tribal views of sexuality are a massive threat to liberty. I also think trying to be a corporate parent, allowing people from minorities to wear religious garb as police officers are also troubling, These were some of the things that turned me as a humanist against the SNP., even
    though I voted for Indy and was thoroughly disillusioned with Labour.

    Gordon and I would agree I think that most of the traditional left is (to coin a phrase) intensely relaxed about these sorts of threats indeed they use them to build power bases. Like Gordon I have been through early political battles to combat racism ,sexism and homophobia but I a genuinely scared by the malevolent narcissists who promote a sectarian and divisive parody of these freedoms today. Anyway as my handle here says DavyHumerme. After the great but flawed Scottish philosopher David Hume, who has a lot to say about liberty and free will, and whose statue is being toppled by people who think gestures are more important than understanding why you would condemmHume as a racist and Wagner as a Nazi but still respect their output!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah Davy, I didn’t get the Hume reference in your moniker and very glad you’ve pointed it out. He was a moral as well as a philosophical giant of his time, and I despair of the present-day moral pygmies who presume to judge him by fashion-choice standards that will have been discarded for new ones by next year, let alone three centuries hence. I’m sure you love as I do the story of Boswell, who called Hume the Great Infidel, going to see him on his deathbed as he couldn’t believe he wouldn’t be terrified, as both Boswell and Johnson were, of meeting his Maker, only for Hume to tell him with perfect equanimity that he had no more fear of ceasing to exist after his death than he’d had of it before being born!

      Very nice by you too on leftie libertarianism, but let’s face it Davy, we both know I’m a bloody anarchist, and I’ll be very interested to hear what you think of those bits of the novel where Bakunin and Kropotkin get mentioned, however briefly!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Gordon. Thanks for your kind comments on my musings. First things first. I thought we were living in a temporary public health police state but as the redacting ( I prefer censoring) of AS evidence even when it’s posted virtually everywhere is a sign of how unhinged this unholy cabal have become. We are no longer a nation of laws but of political expediency. When Victor Orban behaves in this way I read about it in the Economist but Sturgeon praised for her Covid response which is equally unhinged and entirely related to the election “roadmap” to use her hackneyed coinage. Where is the challenge from SNP figures? . They are with a few honourable exceptions so bereft they make the Stoneybridge Toon Cooncil look like the West Wing.

        As for our wider blether.I studied Hume as part of moral philosophy doing the a PPE type degree and also studied Adam Smith in detail. I studied a lot of ideas I didn’t like and engaged with stuff in economics like the idea of unions as rent-seekers and minimum wages bidding up unemployment which at first appalled me as a mature studentand trade unionist.

        I didn’t ask for a “safe space” or ask for no platforming I got on and engaged and I learned as most of us have in here , that academics love an informed challenge ,which they certainly got from many on here. That’s why we are awake to the skullduggery of Sturgeon and some sceptical of lockdown. I wonder if that quality of enquiry and curiosity can be protected nowadays, as Smith mentioned Hottentots Glasgow Uni Will have been forced to redact him at the very least. Of course historicism was a falling the clueless thick labour students at Stirling who outed Burns as a sexist! Luckily though there were other young privileged English people to say they didn’t’ understand him! Loving the book and your descriptions of during are enchanting and I love the interactions of the Kirkie boys and girls will reflect on the anarchist stuff but you are that Andy boy for sure. By the way one of my favourite thinkers is the taken too soon David Graeber.

        A coffee at the very least soon. D

        Like

      2. Yep, the very phrase “safe space” pushes my buttons, Davy. I’m the proud son of a second generation feminist and if any man had suggested to my mum she needed a “safe space” to vent her ideas in, a swift kick would have been placed to the gonads.

        I’m delighted you’re enjoying the book and the surfing — the politics really begins in earnest when Gillian comes onto the scene. I am pretty much Andy, yes, with these important exceptions: (1) He’s tall and fit. I’m not; (2) He’s good at surfing. I suck; and (3) He passed his driving test first time. I didn’t.

        Will definitely give you a shout for that coffee.

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    2. This is a great post! Thanks. I was a wee bit anxious about the term Libertarian as it is a term I most associate with American neo-cons. I consider myself first and foremost to be a Humanist … but not sure it that fits in political thought or world view ..?

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      1. Achnababan — and others interested:

        For a serious academic – but very readable – introduction to this current of political thought, I recommend this by Noam Chomsky:

        https://chomsky.info/state01/

        And as always, on the simple level of ordinary human decency, you can’t beat George Orwell. This is my favourite passage from Homage to Catalonia:

        “However much one cursed at the time, one realized afterwards that one had been in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality.

        “I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy ‘proving’ that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of Socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men to Socialism and makes them willing to risk their skins for it, the ‘mystique’ of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all.

        “And it was here that those few months in the militia were valuable to me. For the Spanish militias, while they lasted, were a sort of microcosm of a classless society. In that community where no one was on the make, where there was a shortage of everything but no privilege and no boot-licking, one got, perhaps, a crude forecast of what the opening stages of Socialism might be like. And, after all, instead of disillusioning me it deeply attracted me. The effect was to make my desire to see Socialism established much more actual than it had been before. Partly, perhaps, this was due to the good luck of being among Spaniards, who, with their innate decency and their ever-present Anarchist tinge, would make even the opening stages of Socialism tolerable if they had the chance.”

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    3. I’m quite new to the blog of Gordon’s, and have to say I find the comment section a great place. As interesting as the work Gordon has produced. Hud it gan, as we say

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  18. Crumbs that brings back memories of ‘Thingummyjig’.

    Note the Bishopbriggs connection as well, as Bishopbriggs is still home to Gordon Menzies of ‘Gaberlunzie’ fame.

    ‘Freedoms Sword’ still brings me oot in goosebumps even after all these years.

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  19. So there I was, about to complain that the majority of Anne Harvey’s affidavit has been redacted – what a farce. Between Alex’s submission and hers though, we can see that the emails sent to her were sent in 2018 after the police enquiry started, so shouldn’t have been sent. The texts she was sent on the 31st of Oct 2017, were a different fishing expedition, but who can tell when so much is redacted – but she said that much in court, just not from who or what the exact content was. It’s implied the emails Anne received in 2018 were internal SNP witch-hunt ones, but we don’t know if there were others, because nearly the entirety of the affidavit has been blanked out. The Procedure itself seems to say that the gov’t might carry on investigating after the police start investigating – I’m sure that can’t be legal (Gordon? Yes yes you are busy, but I think you might have another 6 months to get part 3 and 4 finessed ‘before Alex Samond appears before the committee’, at this rate).

    Hmm, maybe I’m not allowed to say that much either? Jeez – what is going ON these days? I note that Levy & McRae wrote to the committee suggesting they’re a bunch of arseholes, well, tarted up in legalese it says that, but I’m getting better at reading legalese.

    Wings, of course has kept us up to date on the ever-moving target of accountable Scottish politics – what an EMBARRASSMENT. Do they think no one notices – you know, like the rest of the world? Total embarrassing shambles of government, parliament, prosecution services.

    I noted the very polite and reasonable open letter Chris McElleny has written to the First Minister, published on Wings, which can be translated as ‘Nicola Sturgeon, you are a shambolic embarrassment to each and every one of us, give it a rest, will ye, and sort yourself out. You are a failure and I can’t believe you still think you can take charge of a teacup let alone a country. Yours etc’.

    Gordon, can you not write an open letter to COPFS? Along the the lines of ‘what in all that’s still sane do you think you’re doing you imbecilic cretins, you’ve totally lost the plot. You’re an unmitigated embarrassment & have now taken this much too far: stop taking the piss, we see you’. Maybe dress it up in a bit of legalese, though. I’m not very good at the backward translations. (Assuming I got the forward translations even close!!)

    Everyone KNOWS the redactions have got nothing to do with any complainers/accusers, everyone AND THEIR DOG KNOWS the redactions are just arse-covering for gov’t/SNP/COPFS to wriggle out of taking responsibility – how many more times do we have to go through this repeated pathetic scrambling publish/not publish/redact/don’t redact/ooo legal advice/ooo isn’t it terrible someone made a complaint/ooo etc?! Can’t they just try and retain a bit of pride, put their hands up to it, and step down?

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    1. Yes, the following made-up story equates to what the Crown have done here, Contrary:

      Imagine I don’t know that Ms X was a complainer in the Salmond trial. I publish a piece about people out sledging in the local park with their kids during the recent snowfall and mention Ms X as one of the participants.

      COPFS then contact me to say I must redact Ms X from the piece even though no-one could possibly guess from what I wrote that she’s a complainer, not least since I didn’t even know myself.

      I make the redaction for the sake of an easy life but for some reason both the redacted and the unredacted version stay in circulation and meanwhile COPFS, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Scottish Government all launch a media blitz saying how disgraceful my original piece was for identifying a complainer in it.

      Anyone can now compare my original piece with the redacted piece and thereby discover that Ms X was a complainer.

      I know who is responsible for this jigsaw identification and it ain’t me.

      COPFS, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Scottish Government should all be arrested and charged with contempt for their jigsaw identification of Ms X.

      Like

    2. Aye, but, it’s so ,,,*obvious* – so why would they do it? I thought it was an entrapment ,,, Hm, I suppose it could still be – not to entrap us, but to entrap Alex Salmond – everyone knows a name he should not say now, so as soon as he says it, COPFS can cuff him. Previously, it was just a description of events, involving certain people, but as soon as a name is publicised as belonging to the category ‘complainer’ then that name must never be spoken ever again – maybe?

      Or do you think it’s just to prevent AS testifying at all, like Mr Wings thinks? Or both?

      It goes without saying that COPFS has absolutely no interest in the anonymity order themselves! Can’t the court hold them to task over this? If there is an anonymity order, then it applies to everyone. I’m not even convinced the complainers care that much either.

      I’m just getting frustrated because I want the whole thing over and done with – it really has turned into a farce, and I mean comedy gold farce – this is going to supply hundreds of comedians years worth of material, when they can talk about it. I expect Scotland’s performance and arts industry is going to be booming for years to come – plays, films, documentaries, comedies, soaps, dramas.

      But this political game playing with Fabiani and COPFS pissing on all the Scottish institutions is driving me mad. Not to mention Nicola Sturgeon,,, can any of them make it any more obvious without neon flashing signs and loud hailers blaring ‘I am guilty’ ?!

      I mean, we know the Scottish government acted unlawfully – probably illegally – we know they wrote an unlawful procedure, we know Nicola sturgeon must have, at least, known about the whole thing from the start,,, how long do you think a judicial inquiry would take to reach a conclusion? 2 or 3 weeks? When do you think parliament will just call a halt to his committee nonsense and just appoint one?

      Like

    3. Another good post Contrary.

      In my old list of possible reasons for redactions No. 8 – To cover up Scottish government wrongdoings – does now seem to be the most common reason.👎🏿👎🏿

      Like

      1. Aye – and how we scoffed at your list at the time, ‘be serious!’ we said ,,, well okay we didn’t, but for it to turn out to be the most likely reason for all the redactions is mind boggling.

        I think they read your comment, and mistakenly used that list as valid reasons for redactions – and it’s all getting so ridiculous, I really believe that’s quite possible!

        Just listened to Sir John Curtice on the radio there, his last comment was that NS’s popularity amongst SNP voters is 91% and Alex Salmond popularity is way down. That was what he thought of as the important things to talk about re the committee. As the radio tells me happily, no one knows about it and no one is interested. The radio appears to be oblivious to the fact it’s their fault no one knows about the revelations, about NS’s behaviour, and for a professor in political science to ONLY mention popularity of PERSONALITIES and not address what’s at the heart of this is a quite remarkable exercise in delusion.

        That’s why we have ‘personality’ and cult politics now – the media drives it.

        They are embedding in everyone’s mind that it’s all just an internal spat between Nicola and Alex, nothing to see here, no mention that the FM has been acting unlawfully and destroying the foundations of government and justice, and maybe that Alex Salmond is trying to save that government from certain collapse.

        I can’t believe even the unionists want to see the government and law collapse in Scotland – only the true British Nationalists would be happy to see that – and I hope I’m just thinking of the worst case, but with the population already driven near-insane from the lock downs and restrictions, and the soon to be massive unemployment,,, I see turbulent times ahead. If the Sun is starting to report real news, the bbc’s whitewashing is going to start looking tissue-paper thin, and their supposed control of how we behave is ,,, well, maybe they have further plans up their sleeve, so we can’t predict.

        I could go on for hours about what I think of Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity and her ‘handling’ of the pandemic, her handling of government, her cult of social restructuring, her SNP restructuring, her cancel culture, her ignorance, her lies, ,,, um, even this list is going on too long. Let’s just say, I’m very unhappy with her, and believe she’s leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. We need a way to stop it in its tracks – quicker than is happening now!

        And the answer to our woes is NOT to have Westminster take back control and impose their own version of destruction on us.

        Come on, the Scottish Parliament – your gravy train is about to end if you don’t take take action, and stop this in its tracks.

        Like

  20. Gordon, I noticed in Salmonds final submission page 14 he states that Harvie, Crown Agent , of the Crown Office reported to Evans at the time she passed over her decision report to the Crown Office. That was new info to me I always imagined it was down to Lord Advocate involvement.

    Is this something you are aware of? Are you knowledgeable about the structure/ reporting lines? And why would it be “at that time”? I know some people are suspicious of Harvie.

    Like

    1. Oh yes, I noticed that too, Cubby, he said a couple of times that Leslie Evans was Harvie’s line manager at the time. Interesting.

      Like

    2. No, Cubby, I was not aware that Evans is Harvie’s line manager and I’m astonished by it. I’ve known for many years that Crown Office are corrupt but even I was still naive enough to believe that their career structure was wholly independent of the Scottish Government. This is a can that just keeps producing more worms.

      Like

    3. A barrel load of worms squeezed into a very small can, now opened.

      This is one of the things we make assumptions about – and until it’s pointed out couldn’t imagine it would be the case. How can the Crown Agent have the Permanent Secretary as his line manager,,, or more pertinently, why is it not so now? At what point was his line manager changed, and why?

      Someone with a suspicious mind might think that his line manager was changed after Leslie Evans used him to hand over allegations to the police, for the sole purpose of making it look like there was a degree of separation between her and the Crown Office – a dregree of separation that didn’t exist.

      Again, and a million times over, why wasn’t Leslie Evans removed from post straight after the Judicial Review (hah, at ANY time since 2017, in fact?)? If she had an ounce of integrity, she’d have resigned, so we can discount any integrity. Likewise with Nicola Sturgeon – even if you didn’t believe any of the conspiracy part or were determined to remain oblivious to the whole fiasco – the very fact that she has supported and done nothing about this says plainly she is complicit & has broken the ministerial code, and should have stepped down.

      Is there a flaw in my logic? Is there a problem with everyone else that can’t see this? Why the political dancing about it? Are they waiting on the final word of a compromised committee? Or the Hamilton inquiry?

      What a murky world. Come on, Gordon, give me part three of the coup, relieve me from the agony of political shenanigans, let me delve back into details and intricacies of the civil service fiasco – and I’m REALLY interested to hear your interpretation of the supposed 20th Dec sign-off – Alex Salmonds ‘final submission’ is a mighty good read – and says Cabinet knew nothing about the Procedure before it was published in Feb 2018. That’s another thing I’d assumed, that Cabinet would have been involved or informed or whatever they do, but it appears to have been done entirely in secret amongst the small NS coterie,,, Did the trade unions and indeed the rest of HR who continued to discuss the procedure after that 20th Dec date even know the FM had signed it off? Did the Propriety and Ethics Team know they’d been excluded from the procedure?

      I was interested to note, too, that James Hynd was removed from James Hamilton’s inquiry team.

      Like

      1. Contrary, yes, it’s interesting that the “commission” that went out from the Cabinet meeting of 31 October 2017 was for “effective and well understood policies” and that this instruction, as you’ve highlighted yourself in previous comments, quickly turned into: “Well, as long as WE know what the policy is, no-one else needs to know, and better off all round if they don’t in fact.”

        This led, among other things to the disgraceful treatment of the Trade Unions (whose leaders look complicit, it has to be said) and the situation Salmond has highlighted in his submission whereby the previously robust, clear, Trade Union-negotiated and approved Fairness at Work policy is in tatters for complaints against current Ministers, the very thing all the MeToo fuss was supposed to further improve.

        And yes, I remember Jackie Baillie raising Hynd’s conflict of interest over the Hamilton inquiry at an early Committee session and the dismissive response said it all about how casually ingrained institutional bias is with these people:

        Jackie Baillie: I understand that James Hynd has been assigned to that investigation. Is that a conflict of interest?
        Leslie Evans: No.

        Gramsci gave us the term for it: cultural hegemony.

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      2. Good post again Contrary.

        Assuming Salmond is correct about Harvie and Evans, and I did wonder that when I first read it then I thought he wouldn’t have mentioned it unless he was sure. So if Harvie is still there who does he report to now and why, when was it changed.

        The Crown Office by their behaviour, just add every day, to the evidence that backs up Salmonds assertion that they are under political control. Sturgeon changed it when she became FM to have the Lord Advocate back in the Scotgov cabinet.

        With regards to why didn’t Sturgeon sack Evans I have heard two excuses:

        1. She would only be replaced by another one loyal to the British state and perhaps even worse.

        2. She does not have the power to sack her and will have to wait till the Inquiry report is finished.

        Personally the two excuses are pretty pathetic to me.

        Like

      3. Humph, Leslie Evans, when asked about James Hynd’s possible conflict of interest, gave an emphatic ‘no’. Jackie Baillie gave her smug little ‘thank you’ in return. So it turns out everyone else in the universe believe it WAS a conflict of interest. They are a,,, ,,, heh, ‘cultural’ hegemony: that must be what Leslie Evans meant when she said she wanted to change the ‘culture’ in the civil service.

        Yes, the a Trade Unions; their representatives were so incredibly nervous during their committee appearance I immediately thought ‘guilty of something’ – what though? I’ve only paid half-attention to their involvement, and I’d have to know more about how their relationship works with government – they implied they would often ask for things but had no control over what the outcome would be. Except, in the Civil Service, nearly all employees belong to a trade union – and if they knew a policy was illegal, or potentially so,,, hmm. – they should have kicked up a fuss when the saw the Procedure, and they did see it, shouldn’t they? Perhaps?

        As I say, I don’t know their exact role in all this, other than it might damage their reputation.

        Nice deflection by the way, very comforting, but don’t think I didn’t notice your avoidance, again, of getting led into a 20th Dec discussion! I guess I’ll have to be sneakier if I want to get an advocate to reveal anything,,,

        Not being sneakier, but I am curious about what you think of the latest COPFS / committee shenanigans? The last letter from Levy & McRae – well, one of them anyway, I’m totally losing track now – telling COPFS to keep a hold of all correspondence – I’m not sure how to interpret that, was it a dire warning of legal pistols at dawn, throwing down the gauntlet? Or just a gentle insinuation they’ve to uphold their administrative duties? I should have found the link first, I think it was on Wings, hold on…

        Like

      4. Ach, that last bit I was asking about re Levy & McRae was a statement by Alex Salmond – sorry Gordon, I should have checked, as I said, it’s all moving too fast for me, I can’t keep up.

        That last comment was in answer to Gordon – Cubby snuck in one just before me!

        Cubby, yes to the Crown Office behaviour, and even Nicola Sturgeon’s bizarre statements to the press, just seem to keep adding to evidence in favour of there being a conspiracy – I keep thinking ‘just stop digging, just stop, the hole’s just going to get bigger and deeper’. It’s getting quite cringeworthy.

        I might be reading too much into the Leslie Evan’s being Harvie’s line manager ‘at the time’ – I have no idea how we’d go about finding who it is now or when it changed. I need to give Alex Salmond’s submissions a second perusal, I think there are the occasional clues, like I found the Police Scotland submission fairly loaded with clues for all its brevity.

        Heh, I’ve seen those excuses before for why the poor wee dear FM was incapable of firing Evans. No.1 ignores the fact that Evans was in collusion with the FM, and no.2 is rubbish because Evans should have gone straight after the JR, and if she had, there might not have been a committee inquiry! The FM of course has the power to remove the Permanent Secretary from post (she’d just be shuffled elsewhere, not actually fired I imagine), and she certainly had the power not to renew her contract. I wish people weren’t still so delusional.

        I accidentally started reading the last article written on WGD, oh dear, just came to mind while I was mentioning delusional. Exactly the same as the MSM style making it all about personalities, but his is a spat between ‘the supporters of’ the personalities. This isn’t a leadership contest! Alex Salmond’s political career is basically over, so it’s a stupid comparison to make. The division is between people that still have some moral integrity, principles, and/or a desire to retain a semblance of democracy or dignity, and people that walk blindfolded within a cult, is the way I see it. I may be biased, of course.

        Like

      5. Cubby, I wouldn’t dare go anywhere near the comments on that site, haven’t for a while (and I’m speaking as someone that normally loves reading comments) because they tend so much to extremes – I only read the first paragraph occasionally of a post to check the number of times WGD says ‘westminster’ and ‘boris’, this time they were lacking so I skimmed the rest, was horrified, but also noted the large number – over 400 – of comments.

        A couple of years ago WGD might be lucky to get 20 to 30 comments. So there is a demand for his ,,, output, now. What I find interesting is the huge shift in volume of comments – and I suspect that the more offensive elements, as was classicically the case on Wings, has just shifted their offence elsewhere. I find Wings comments section a far more pleasant place now than say, two years ago. That is, I believe there is a small, very vocal, core of cult-like so-called independence supporters, that really can’t handle anyone having an opinion different to them, that is, they are intolerant. I’m not suggesting it’s organised or anything – just that people of like mind do tend to congregate, and these appear to be agressively intolerant of alternative opinions.

        I like lots of different opinions and viewpoints, and lively (polite) debate, and thoroughly enjoy reading the comments on Gordon’s blog here as much as his articles (though the literary stuff is well beyond my ken) – Iain’s blog can be a lively and open place too (unless your pal turns up, haha), and Richard Murphy’s is a favourite of mine as well.

        To digress even further, we had Jackie Ballie on the radio this morning, commenting on her urgent question to the Lord Advocate yesterday. She said she believes in the integrity of our justice system, but ‘public perception’ at COPFS inconsistency (in their mad rambling threats and redactions) may see this as a lack of integrity and they’ll lose the trust of the public, they can’t be seen to be influenced by gov’t. So she says she believes the Lord Advocate, then goes on to say how his position in cabinet/head of prosecution is untenable. She said parliament’s inability to hold the executive to account, and a minority gov’t at that, was ‘worrying’. She said the integrity of the committee is intact, and there is no party political influence (‘internal SNP’ problems being fought using the committee, was roughly the question).

        Very calm and statesman-like Jackie, I thought, but she’s either delusional or, more likely, speaking snake-oil-salesman-speak. A committee appointment is a nice wee extra earner for MSPs, of course, and she thought a judge-led inquiry is for another day, sometime in the future, no rush, to sort out ‘other things’. I think this is a narrow-minded party-political view (a scandal in the SNP can be used to boost Labour’s votes in the short term, of course) – but I see Westminster looming over them, ready to effectively eviserate Holyrood, and a mishandling of THIS, as in ‘obviously you can’t sort out your own problems, so let daddy-Westminster do it for you’ may have more serious consequences than Jackie thinks – that might be her preference, of course.

        Dunno, politicians don’t think like the rest of us, so who knows what’s afoot with any of them.

        But for the committee – she says the aim is to make sure staff have policies that are fit for purpose etc – well, what business is it of parliament how the gov’t staff behave? We have found out Government and parliament are completely separate. It is the responsibility of the FM to ensure staff policies are fit for purpose. The mere existence of the committee inquiry itself implies NS can’t do her job: parliament holding the executive to account? I think they’re going to have to try a bit harder,,,

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    4. I would have thought the Lord Advocate would be the person to whom the CEO and the Solicitor General report, although as the lawyers and support staff are all civil servants I imagine that Hardie as CEO has some sort of administrative link to Evans in her role as Chief of the Civil Service in Scotland. I wouldn’t have thought that meant she could give him orders regarding anything other than the rules about civil service employees eg the Fairness at Work procedures would apply to COPFS staff the same as any other civil servants.

      I’m not clear what the roles of all these people are. The Lord Advocate seems to combine the role of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions ie responsible both for drafting the laws and prosecuting them. What are the functions of the Crown Office CEO and Solicitor General?

      Like

  21. Why has nobody mentioned Humza Yousaf in any of this.
    There is no mention of any participation on his part in publications by Wings, Spectator or any MSM outlet.
    Surely as Justice Secretary he has overall responsibility or am I missing something here?

    Like

    1. But surely you know, IM, that the actions of COPFS are nothing to do with the Justice Secretary or the Scottish Government!

      At least that’s what Michael Matheson used to tell me when I wrote to him about Tommy Sheridan’s case…

      Like

  22. In order to keep people entertained while we wait for the next installment, I thought readers might like to see the First Minister’s official version of the 29th March meeting, which have been leaked to me by a totally reliable source:

    “The Truth” by N. Sturgeon, First Minister

    Some time in early March 2017, Geoff Aberdein, having long-since left politics to build a career in insurance, decided to make a come-back.

    He fabricated a story about a non-existent meeting with a colleague of mine, at which he claims she told him about the accusations against Alex Salmond. To give credence to his story, he then told Kevin Pringle and Duncan Hamilton about the non-existent meeting and the accusations. And then he told Alex Salmond.

    We need not detain ourselves with questions about how a middle-manager in an insurance company had found out about these accusations, at a time when I as First Minister, and Salmond as the target of the accusations, knew nothing of them.

    A couple of weeks later Geoff engineered a visit to Holyrood. While there, he popped his head round my door. My colleague was also present.

    The participants at this opportunistic “head round the door” meeting were me, Geoff, and my colleague. The minutes are as follows:

    Door opens…

    Geoff Aberdein: “Howser Nixie! Chadoin?“
    Me: “Heyup there!”
    GA: “Just popping my head round the door to say Hi!”
    Me: “Well, Hi to you too!”
    Colleague: “Wotcher Geoff. How they hangin?”
    GA: “Oh and by the way I just thought I’d let you know. Your predecessor, Alex Salmond, is currently under investigation for accusations of sexual assault.”
    Me: “Wha… No way!”
    GA: “Yup. Looks like the old boy’s arse is toast.”
    Me: “Shockerooney!”
    GA: “Well, I’ll be off then. Cheers beers guys!”
    Me: “See ya Geoff!”

    Door closes…

    Me: “So what do you make of that then?”
    Colleague: “What do I make of what?”
    Me: “That meeting.”
    C: “What meeting? I don’t remember any meeting.”
    Me: “That’s funny. Neither do I.”
    C: “In fact I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
    Me: “Neither have I.”
    C: “Oh well. Onwards and upwards…”

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    1. 😀 totally reliable source

      Better watch David, NS is probably lifting this word for word as her defence right this minute!

      Like

  23. Really good that your hard researched, well prepared analysis are now being picked up by the mainstream MSN.

    Like the SNP, the MSN do not have a monopoly on people’s thinking. Yes they can mislead, but with a vibrant committed blog community delivering debate, analysis and reports of what is going on, the truth gets out. And that is why censorious political parties like Sturgeon’s New SNP get so agitated about folks actually having the temerity to read blogs like yours, like Wings, like Barrhead Boy, like Yours for Scotland, Craig Murray.

    They’ll without doubt be voodoo dolls of the lot of you in the First Minister’s doll collection. Evenings alone in Bute House must be a grim affair.

    But to quote, or misquote Hotel California, she’ll be stabbing them with her steely knives, but she just can’t kill the beasts!

    Great stuff Mr D and to all the rest of the alternative free press. Well done, very much appreciated by many.

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  24. I was interested in your self-description as a “Libertarian Socialist”.
    I have been convinced for some time now that the underlying reason for the particularly fractious atmosphere in politics just now is that a long overdue split of traditional political parties along the more important
    (in my view) Authoritarian/Libertarian axis, is imminent.
    That split is coming first to the SNP by the looks of things. It won’t be the last.
    Loving the blog! Like a modern day equivalent of the 19th Century newspaper serialisation of the latest Dickens story. Incredibly, this is non-fiction, however.

    Like

    1. Thanks, neily8oy, that’s true praise indeed!

      And very interesting about the Authoritarian/Libertarian split. Given that the root of all the woke McCarthyism is the poststructuralist nonsense being imposed ex cathedra on young people in universities and, increasingly, in schools as those young people come out and “educate” still younger people, it is totally crossing the left/right split as far as I can see and I’d hate to predict where it will end up.

      I do think, as I’ve always thought, that “uneducated” working class people who haven’t been brainwashed with this nonsense are our best hope. Not for the first time, it’s mature working class women who are inspiring me at the moment, and I’m determined to do my bit too.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Sturgeon certainly had a few meltdowns where she lost her cool at her Coronavirus briefings today when asked questions about the Inquiry. It’s clearly getting to her. Her mask slipped and she lied a lot but most people viewing would probably not realise she lied but they would see her carefully constructed caring persona change when talking about Salmond.

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  26. Gordon. Have you been pondering the significance of Ms A repeatedly asking to meet with Sturgeon? She requested a ‘meet ‘ at least 3 times…. I am thinking maybe little Ms A was after something as her price for making her complaint official. And did she get it I wonder 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does raise another possiblity as to why Somers didn’t tell Sturgeon about the meetings. It’s a bit left-field but it is possible that he said to hiimself “Christ, Sturgeon’s such a #metoo maniac she might actually agree to a deal with this loony. I’d better keep her as far away from the boss as possible…”

      Like

    2. And we should maybe remember, slipped into Alex Salmond’s evidence, that Ms A met John Somers in the First Minister’s office – it doesn’t mean that she saw the FM or anyone else – but I think it’s significant that their meetings were not in some remote location, but actually in that central location, as though Ms A’s reasons for talking to Somer’s, a bizarre thing in itself, was to physically get closer to the FM.

      Like

  27. Good to see you’re still in Scottish Coup mode, David!

    But of course it’s inconceivable that he didn’t tell her of the approach by Ms A, or that she didn’t know about Ms A already anyway.

    Stay tuned for the Scottish Coup version (coming eventually)…

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    1. It’s just all of Salmond’s submissions, only one repeated document and one plank page – that’s an impressive number of pages! I think I’ve read them all already,,, though I’ve probably forgotten the earlier ones.

      I’m now wondering if Jackie Balliie et al in FMQs today quoted as many of the redacted parts so it’s on parliamentary public record – so the committee can now use the material? I’m not sure if it works like that though.

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  28. “It is my recollection that I don’t think that (naming of a complainer) happened,”

    She’s snookered herself, hasn’t she?

    1. An allegation of serious illegality is made against a senior member of staff, under oath in a high court trial.
    2. The allegation is referred to an appropriate authority.
    3. The authority investigates and determines the allegation is found to be baseless.
    4. A copy of the report is sent to the member of staff’s line manager in case questions arise down the line.
    5. When a request comes in, it is stated that the allegation was investigated and dismissed at the time.

    To fail at step 1 of this process …, well?

    — Slop

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  29. Here is an interesting article by Joanna Cherry in the National (which is a newspaper, so it must real news. Just to keep with the theme), archived for easy reading (my old browser here crashes with anything else these days!)

    https://archive.is/0cMZc

    This, alongside Kenny McKaskill’s piece on Wings, and I heard Lesley Riddoch on the radio this morning too –

    They all appear to have only JUST noticed the full enormity of what’s playing out before our eyes. That the perceived injustices by the procurator fiscals office, has a huge impact. Cherry and McKaskill both tell us that the Lord Advocate is a terribly nice chap, and has lots of integrity, and,,, just because it LOOKS LIKE the Crown Office are playing silly buggers, they aren’t,,, um, really. Really? Well, I’d like to see a little more detail and evidence than their beliefs! Because it certainly looks like, and is, that they are obstructing a parliamentary inquiry.

    Neither Cherry nor McKaskill address the issue of why the oh so upstanding Lord Advocate is blocking legal advice being being published, either – something he’s done on 2 previous occasions. He can say that ministers are blocking it, but he’s also a minister,,,

    Lesley Riddoch, on the radio (so the BBC is interviewing her on her opinion), not a SNP fan, but is very very strong for independence, seems to think the SNP can be saved, as ‘the best vehicle to get independence’. Lots of us are deciding, nah, not really.

    I suggest they are nearly 6 months behind the curve, and should have been more alert to the damage Nicola Sturgeon has been, and will be, doing. To me the ‘SNP as a vehicle for indy’ is a lost cause now – the ‘decent’ people (in inverted commas because we are assured there are lots of them) in the SNP are leaving in droves, apparently, because they’ve met the brick wall of the Sturgeon junta. But fair enough if they can salvage something from the mess.

    I watched Nicola Sturgeon on FMQs yesterday. She did lose the plot on quite a few occasions, and managed to angrily blame everything on ‘one man’s ego’ (in answer to Ruth Davidson). The usual riposte of ‘is it collusion or conspiracy’ was only used once, and weakly at that (because all the accusations were of conspiracy this time, perhaps?). What struck me was the wholehearted applause the SNP MSPs gave her on the few rare occasions she managed a clever come-back. All the SNP MSPs back her, and appear to not care if there has been, and is, corruption in government, lending their support to whatever obfuscation and alternative reality Nicola Sturgeon lives in.

    That’s why I think the SNP can’t be recovered – these SNP MSPs should have stood up and asked questions, held the executive to account, regardless of party, long before now. Instead they cheer on obfuscation and misleading statements – and the slander of a citizen – in parliament. They have all lost their way, there cannot be a government with integrity with those people involved.

    What was also interesting, is Nicola Sturgeon insisting that ‘it was the right thing to do’ (investigate the complaints and produce a Procedure to do so) even if she ‘knew nothing’ about it,,, ah, therein lies the problem – because that WASN’T the right thing to do – and if her staff were doing all this behind her back, in secret, they were acting against their contractual obligations and their code of conduct – and so was she then, by association, for not knowing about it. So now she is repeatedly standing up, in parliament, in press statements; saying she fully supports people, her staff, breaking every rule in the book. No wonder we are getting bizarre hate crime legislation and GRA and the redefinition of ‘woman’ in obscure legislation. Anything goes with this government, and NS will stand up and say ‘it’s the right thing to do’ as long it’s one of her ‘preferred’ people doing it.

    National leader? I think not!

    Well, here we go with another day, another frantic scrabbling of who said what to whom, and it wisnae me m’lud, a big boy with a big ego dun it and ,,, um didn’t run away, but is presenting his evidence in a clear and concise manner,,, but, ken, it still wisnae me, even if I canny prove it (flutter of eyelashes).

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    1. Hi Gordon,

      I’ve read your blog for a while now. I think you have done a great service here, more than you maybe appreciate. For those of those who felt this whole thing just didn’t pass the sniff test and were uncomfortable with the hounding of a man, whether you shared his politics or not, at least we could point to a well reasoned and balanced blog.

      For what it’s worth I think he has won. Between the Faculty’s statement yesterday, and the Law society’s I think it is clear the tide has turned. I don’t believe that means the fall of Sturgeon, not immediately, but I do think the sorry bunch around her are for the chop and frankly she couldn’t survive without them.

      I hope this will mean proper reform. If that happens you deserve a hell of a lot more than a plagiarised newspaper article. Good luck and thanks, Scottie

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Contrary, I hate to keep harping on about the Labour Party but those of us who were activists in the time of Kinnock, Smith and Blair, and who have watched what was done to Corbyn, know never to place any faith in the careerists who become MPs and MSPs in any Party.

      By definition, the vast majority of them (damn near 100% actually) will follow any line that furthers their careers because, even if they ever had any principles, they’ve given them up long since — again, by definition — in order to get where they’ve gotten, even if that’s just the back bench of the Scottish Parliament.

      If any of this is going to be put right, it’ll have to be done by activists in the grassroots of the SNP or in a new Party, or both. Absolutely guaranteed that at that point, all the present careerists will say they were secretly with the new line all the time or have seen the light, and of course there’ll be a whole new batch too, ready to get on the new gravy train.

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      1. Gordon, no worries about mentioning the Labour Party – we all form opinions based on past experience, and it’s worthwhile to relate what that experience was.

        Likes with the Labour Party, I’m sure many political parties are first formed with the best of intentions. Much of what you say there, though, is what puts people off politics – it seems to be designed around false and insincere promises.

        In reality, I think it’s a wider societal problem – it’s the people that are more interested in their own selfish ends, their own career, that are more likely to rewarded, in any walk of life. So what happens when it’s always the self-serving opportunist that benefits and gets promoted – instead of those that are best for the job or are sincere in their beliefs? We just get a constant repitition of what we have – and, in business, that constant boom/bust economy.

        It was accelerated and made worse by the Thatcher/Raegan neoliberal dogma, of course.

        As things currently stand, I believe you are right, there will just be a new or renewed set of opportunists to take the place of the old set, and the cycle continues. If there are checks and balances as the old SNP used to have, then it can work despite the people in post, but without those, it will never work, as we have seen.

        I like the idea of an upper chamber of citizens, chosen in a similar way to juries (fairly randomly, with similar caveats for getting out of doing it) for a year term of national service – say a hundred people – to provide the checks and balances needed on government and parliament. They can have the final say (by whatever majority voting mechanism) on any legislation passed, and can probably have quite a few roles, acting as the actual voice of the people, with the power of veto (but not the power of proposals maybe). A brief would have to be created, but I think, in principle, it could be a good – and fairly simple – electoral constraint. If the parliament truly is representing ‘the people’ they should have no fear of ‘the people’ having a veto over anything they do.

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  30. And when WILL the committee question someone in government about the coaching the civil servants received?

    Are they waiting until they question NS?

    The government must have decided it was needed – for a reason – and contracted and paid a company to do it. Who was it that made the decision, who approved it, and what reasons do they have for seeing it as a worthwhile use of the government budget?

    Given that every scrap of information is like drawing teeth, the committee should have been asking about this before now so they at least had a vague idea of where things came from, before approaching NS – she is being questioned on whether she’s a liar or not, so I thinks it’s fair to say her testimony shouldn’t be taken at face value without evidence.

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    1. It’s rather telling, Contrary, that civil servants need fifty grands worth of coaching to teach them how to tell the truth.

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    2. Well quite so David.

      It’s the REASON behind that decision that’s the most pertinent – it must have had a justification if it was paid for out of the public purse. Unless it came out of petty cash, of course.

      If all is above board, and it was all the right thing to do, and everyone did everything correctly and with the best of intentions – where is the need for everyone to be coached in getting their ‘stories’ to align. They should align naturally, in the main, if everything was right and proper – this isn’t a criminal trial, they aren’t getting grilled by a malevolent prosecutor – so where is the need?

      It just tells us, of course, that their stories are not reality, and won’t align, because very little was done properly! One must assume, anyway.

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  31. Gordon. I am sure you are torturing your keyboard as we speak. Thought Salmond was superb today he performed with dignity and determination, integrity and intellect. I have to say I thought Fabiani was quite fair in her chairing, maybe so she can protect Sturgeon all the more next week. Keeping slippery and not very bright Anglo Cole-Hamilton on a tight leash certainly helped. It was also funny to see SNP hacks trying to be forensically aggressive and being as they say “Shown their arses”.

    A bit of light relief for you watch a brilliant Storyville doc about a young Peruvian surfer called Jonny Guerrerro. It’s a life affirming tale of a boy from the barrio who gets a big chance to attend a surfing academy. It’s about class, crime community, creativity, all the stuff in your book which I am loving. D

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    1. Davy, I’m ashamed to say that this is my first visit to the keyboard — for blog purposes anyway — since watching the whole six hours of it. Just watching it was exhausting enough!

      I watched the Jhonny Guerrero doc on your recommendation, and loved it. Brilliant, and just as you describe it. I only wish there had been a bit more surfing in it. Those turns off the top on some pretty scummy waves were a thing of absolute beauty. Jeez, the boy can surf.

      I’m thrilled you’re loving the book. I’m very curious to hear what you think of the ending, so please do let me know when you get there. You’ll see that a lot of previous thoughts and phrases that may have seemed random pay off there, as they do in a poem, which was my thinking throughout.

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  32. An interesting point that came out almost in passing (it seemed) during one of Andy Wightman’s questions to Alex Salmond – the Crown Office had no objection to the Information Commissioner’s Office having evidence that is apparently so dangerous and likely to identify complainants that it must in other circumstances be withheld or subject to redaction. (The ICO was investigating how Scottish Government material came to be leaked to The Daily Record and the specific evidentiary material mentioned by Wightman was a statement from a Detective Superintendent [Name Redacted!].)

    Double standards? Perhaps the ICO was felt to be more trustworthy than a parliamentary committee or better able to stand up for itself.

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      1. The committee don’t publish everything though, Robert. There is quite a bit missing, that they seem to have access to. The Crown Office shouldn’t refuse one public body and allow another – certainly refusing the elected parliament, supposedly the highest power, seems very wrong.

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      2. The committee is behaving strangely as well though – to my mind, anyway – why isn’t it using the powers that it has to demand evidence? It seems to be employing the wheedling spineless attitude that our politicians have become so famous for – they shouldn’t need Alex Salmond to tell them how to extract evidence! All they’ve been doing is moaning about not getting evidence and pretending there is nothing they can do about it – that’s obviously not true.

        It’s frustrating! But that doesn’t excuse the atrocious behaviour of the crown office.

        I wonder what Gordon is up to? Didn’t he say we’d get part 3 of The Coup before Alex Salmond appeared? Do you think it was him trying to delay Alex appearing before the committee, to give himself more time? (I jest; in case anyone thinks I’m serious! So many conspiracies about these days,,, )

        I note that Alex Salmond was implying there WAS an unprecedented Scottish Coup, by Civil Servants. He doesn’t have the sharp legal mind of Gordon though, and I suspect some of it was politicking rather than belief. One hopes.

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      3. See previous replies, Contrary. The non-appearance of Part 3 so far is just down to basic indolence, I’m afraid, but you and others have sussed the basic trajectory of it pretty well anyway. About to do some work on it now, so some day soon…

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      4. Ah I see my joke fell flat there, oh well: I wasn’t nagging at all, honest.

        I’ve forgotten what all the bits of comments were that that you said were on the right trajectory, so I still need to see it all presented together with your usual style and flair!

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    1. It is double standards, Rhadamanthus, as it was when they just handed over evidence to Allison which wasn’t “hers” at all since she had since deleted that very evidence from her phone and, as I said at the time, was using COPFS as her — and the Scottish Government’s — own personal data bank.

      In one of my early blog posts — I forget the title for now but “COPFS” was in there if you’re searching — I detailed how we lodged in court in Sheridan v NGN evidence that had been disclosed to us exactly as the Salmond evidence has been disclosed to Salmond’s team, and neither the court nor COPFS raised any objection, so a lot of it is just about standing up to them, which the inquiry and the Parliament has failed miserably to do.

      Salmond’s final mic-dropping challenge to the inquiry to order his lawyers to produce the disclosure under section 23(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 makes me think they either now have counsel’s opinion that a section 23 order would trump the prohibition under sections 162 and 163 of the 2010 Act or that they’ve decided to test the conflict in court if need be.

      It would be a brave COPFS who prosecuted a prestigious firm of solicitors for obeying an order of the PARLIAMENT and said that in raising such a prosecution they were acting IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

      (Incidentally, I’ve seen a lot of nonsense tweeted about this by academic “lawyers” who have never got up on their hind legs in a court in their life. The reason you would serve the order on the lawyers and not on Salmond himself is that COPFS make solicitors sign an undertaking as a condition of getting the disclosure to which their clients are statutorily entitled, and which specifically says that you cannot give the disclosure to your client. If Salmond were found to have the material personally in his possession, his lawyers would be in breach of that undertaking.)

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      1. A very helpful explanation, Gordon, thank you. As a convenience to other readers, I think the older post you mention is this: https://gordondangerfield.com/2020/10/05/salmond-inquiry-more-diversionary-tactics-by-copfs/

        At the risk of quoting someone who is an academic lawyer (I don’t know if he was in practice at an earlier stage), Andrew Tickell raises an intriguing question towards the end of this article: https://archive.is/AGqyM

        Tickell notes that Alex Salmond could have tried harder to introduce into his criminal trial the treasure trove of messages among SNP high heid yins that he suggested on Friday could be sought from his solicitors. (It is suggested he tried and was denied by Lady Dorrian but did not appeal her decision.) If I’m thinking of this correctly, it’s perhaps rather a parallel question – even if the treasure trove *had* entered evidence in the High Court, might it still have been wholly or partially subject to some level of reporting restrictions in relation to that case and again in relation to putting it before the Holyrood committee? I assume it would if any of the Alphabet Women had been among the messengers, and perhaps for other reasons too. That being so, Salmond might still end up having to encourage the Committee to approach his solicitors. But I am left pondering why these dynamite messages weren’t more fully litigated at trial: they would surely have been strongly helpful to the Salmond case.

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      2. Thanks, Rhadamanthus, I don’t agree with Tickell on this and don’t hold a high opinion of his powers of legal analysis in general but of course readers should make up their own minds.

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      3. Rhadamanthus,

        ‘Could have tried harder’ to get the evidence into the trial? What a strange conclusion (I won’t read the article and assume your summary is correct) – and one only designed to criticise Salmond I assume.

        I thought Lady Dorrian had a reasonable point about excluding evidence of a conspiracy – it would have widened out and complicated the case, and not really focused on trying the charges being made. The defence had a strong enough case without it as it turned out – but whether it would have strengthened their case, I’m not sure, it would have made it more complicated, and also would have given the impression of trying to avoid addressing the charges themselves. I’m guessing wildly here, but I would think Alex’s defence team had it in reserve for any appeal if it were needed. Luckily it wasn’t needed. But now we are struggling to get the conspiracy into the open.

        If I may venture my opinion on Andrew Tickell – I don’t rate his legal opinion, on constitutional matters anyway. I followed one of the Supreme Court hearings, and generally got explanations from David Allan Green or Secret Barrister links or recommendations, and any of Tickell’s opinions weren’t quite,,, gelling with those. (I had hoped to get a Scottish perspective, but it was sadly lacking, or unenthusiastic). He appears to have chosen to base his legal opinions on a particular political viewpoint, so I use a pinch of salt for everything he says.

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      4. Contrary/Gordon – I too have had my doubts about Tickell’s stance in the past but he seemed to put the question neutrally so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. This is the kernel of his half dozen paragraphs which I condensed into ‘Salmond could have tried harder’ (my phrase) regarding this set of messages:-
        “If you had evidence in your possession which clearly established a conspiracy to make false allegations against you, why would you accept the judge’s exclusion of this evidence? If this evidence is compelling, I cannot understand why Lady ­Dorrian’s exclusion wasn’t vigorously challenged – but it was not, despite the fact that Mr Salmond’s liberty depended on the outcome of the criminal case.”
        I think it’s probably fair to assume that the Salmond defence team, who have served him pretty well so far, had their reasons for not pushing it further. If they were confident that the supporting evidence on each charge was weak and rebuttable (e.g. Samantha Barber testimony: Woman H simply wasn’t there when alleged), it may have been felt unnecessary to bring in notions of some background plot, especially one in which the plotters laboured mightily yet brought forth an evidential mouse.

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      5. When I read legal “commentators” like Tickell who have no actual experience of the courts, I’m always reminded of skiing commentators because if you ever watch the downhill skiing, you’ll see that the commentators have no clue until the split times come up.

        So they’ll say, “Oh he’s too wide on that turn!” and “He went too high over that jump!” and whatever, and then the time comes up showing he’s way ahead of everyone else to that point, and they switch seamlessly to “Oh wonderful form down that straight!” etc until the next time comes up showing he’s now behind, at which point it’s back to, “He’ll lose time for that mistake!”…

        In other words, they pretend they’re commenting on the skiing but actually their commentary is just on whatever the clock says.

        Commentators like Tickell pretend to commentate on the law but actually they just try to guess what the judge is going to say and, whatever the judge says, they then pretend that’s what they thought all along.

        I’m puzzled myself by what we know of Lady Dorrian’s pre-trial decisions but I have bitter experience as a practising lawyer of what judges regard as “collateral”. It’s one of the most arbitrary and unsatisfactory areas of law there is and anyone who says there is some rational, predictable way of knowing what a judge is going to call “collateral” in any given case, or knowing why that decision has been made until the judge tells us, is a liar or a fool or both.

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      6. And, Gordian, Lady Dorrian’s delay on ruling on Craig Murray’s contempt case – what possible reason for this extended delay?

        Other judges are involved. But again she ruled conspiracy evidence should not be allowed – or comparisons with others in the press having held the court in contempt – although that evidence was central to his defence. Her refusal to look outside the narrow confines of where she wants to look, edges onto making the judiciary look as though they unwilling to explore root causes and care little about how the prosecution services might be viewed – as corrupt.

        The delay in any ruling is really not reflecting well on her, and it is surely not a difficult decision for judges of their experience. The delay also implies that they are waiting for certain political outcomes – which makes the ‘independence’ of the judiciary a laughable concept if it were so – which is not a good look either.

        I, of course, believe Craig Murray to be innocent of all charges of contempt, but I’m not a judge. I won’t compromise you, Gordon, by asking your opinion on this case though!

        On a different subject: did you ever get anywhere with finding anything out on Lord Pentland’s reasoning on the Judicial review?

        Another busy week! I think you’ll have to be realistic and say Coup III will not be published until the end of the weekend coming 🙂

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  33. The one body which comes out of this mess shining is the Scottish court system and the legal profession.

    All the others – Scottish Government, Scottish Civil Service, Crown Office – are incompetently and apparently corruptly led.

    Incompetence is obvious – the Crown Office can’t even redact a document in a timely manner.

    “A big boy did it an’ ran away” isn’t a defence when the big boy is one of your own staff.

    I’d tip my hat as well to the whistleblowers who have leaked stuff in the public interest.

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  34. J’RECUSE….
    In a proper independent enquiry process fabiani should recuse herself from chairing nicola sturgeons’ session next week and pass the baton to the vice chair (a tory).

    NS is Fabiana’s boss after all

    Any thoughts any one?

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    1. It’s not really independent, the committee, is it? I think it has been awkward – with the cross-over between government and SNP Party – all along. How could the SNP MSPs interview Murrell with impartiality either?

      Fabiani seemed to be fair with Alex Salmond, (unlike the other SNP members), and hopefully she’ll avoid being too partisan with NS – none of the committee members are even impartial – and shows the need for a proper independent judge-led inquiry.

      Watt and seat-warmer Alan have certainly shown their bias, and shouldn’t be anywhere near a committee that’s meant to having a degree of impartiality – they have shamed everyone with their behaviour.

      So, no I don’t think Fabiani should recuse herself – it’s just more of the same – for NS’s appearance.

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    2. Douglas

      The Inquiry was never set up in the first place in a balanced and equitable way.

      The people being investigated get to decide what evidence is made available and looked at. No reasonable person would think this is acceptable. The fact that Sturgeon chose Fabiani is minor in comparison.

      Would a murderer be allowed to decide what evidence is allowed to be shared with a jury. Would a murderer be allowed to have friends on the jury. Would a murderer be allowed to appoint the judge.

      Fabiani is compromised. You could see that when she kept protecting Murrell.

      The whole thing is an international embarrassment to Scotland and it is all down to Sturgeon. Someone called her a despot.

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  35. Moving on to “lessons learned”, there are few who would disagree with the proposition that the dual roles of the Lord Advocate should the separated. {As an aside, coming out and saying that is the Lord Advocate’s only way out of this with dignity).

    So how do we do it? Does the Scottish Parliament petition Westminster? Could the Lord Advocate go some way himself by splitting has staff – some in the Crown Office building, some at Holyrood, and allocate prosecution decisions to one site and legal advice provision to the other?

    He’s still responsible for both, but the separation of staff would help.

    It could be sorted at independence (and presumably it would be) – but sorting it now would be better.

    Who do I nag?

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  36. I know I’ll probably be accused of being a fantasist but I would dearly love to see the rebirth of Scottish Labour (or New Scottish Labour lol), with the dream team of Jim Sillars, Alex Salmond, Gordon Dangerfield, Tommy Sheridan and a select few others at the helm. (Damn I forgot about George Reid. Well if Biden can I’m sure George can as well.)
    Just for a short term you understand, say for the lifespan of the current monarch.
    Now that scenario really would transform the political landscape and think of the fun you’d have.

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  37. I am puzzled about the silence of the trade union on the failure to involve it in the drafting of the new procedure. No doubt it has a written commitment from the SG to involve the TU in policy development affecting its members.

    I am also puzzled about the behaviour of Judith Mackinnon. Not long in the door and she begins to behavein a way that runs counter to everything she has learned about good practice since she began a career in Human Resources or whatever the hell it is called now. People Something.

    Even the Perm Sec must have had at least an inkling that what was being done was against what she had learned in all her years as a civil servant. Why would she not then offer good advice to the FM?

    Others further down the line would also know good practice from bad. Might the reason no actions were questioned or declined that we know of is because the impetus for those actions came from the very top?

    If there was a desire to meddle by external forces the Perm Sec might need to be fixed, if possible.

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    1. Very nice to see you back commenting, Sam, and good stuff here as always. The way the email correspondence reads, it’s clear that Richards and Mackinnon were in awe of Evans and trying always to be on the right side of her.

      How exactly that came about is hard to fathom given what is now very clear about Evans’s own lack of ability or even competence, but my own guess would be that her obvious closeness to Sturgeon had a lot to do with it.

      And clearly EVERYONE is in awe of Sturgeon.

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  38. I guess, Gordon, in the early stages, some people went home and worried about what they were doing, which they knew to be wrong.They might have worried about the potential consequences. Group think (Me Too) may have played a part in sustaining a belief they had to do what they were doing. An allegation of attempted rape probably had a significant effect on scruples. A constant driver was the power and position of the person in charge of the vehicle. The TU knew pretty early they would just have to accept they would have no voice.

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    1. A fair amount to think about there Sam,

      One of my first thoughts is that: just because someone has years of apparent experience and has been trained in something, doesn’t make them good at, or suited to, their job. And in general, people more intent on their career, ladder-climbing, spend more time on that and sycophantic behaviour towards their superiors, than they do on their job.

      I suspect the TU’s were aware of the potential unlawfulness of the Procedure and didn’t speak up – but this may be overshadowed by all the other wrong-doing by the actual architects – and, in the grand scheme of things, may get ignored. Potentially, it may not be ignored by their members, who might see how little protection the unions actually give, just from their poor performance in this. whether they were aware or not – if not, perhaps they should have been, if they were, they should have spoken up.

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  39. I meant to post this link earlier, Tommy Sheridan, in his usual dramatic style, writing – and a fairly good summary of where we are at too, enough to rival Sun correspondents – after Alex Salmond’s evidence to the committee, worth a read if you haven’t seen it yet

    https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202102271082206541-salmond-evidence-was-compelling–conspirators-fear-the-truth/

    Does Sputnik news count as news? Is it a ‘reputable’ news outlet we are allowed to quote from? I’m not sure what the exact criteria are…

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  40. There are some elements of the work that JM and LE were doing that just don’t get overlooked, however good or bad such people are in the day to day performance of work.

    One is the involvement of the TU in developing policy that will affect the members of the TU. I think the TU will have raised the matter but will have had to accept the absence of involvement because of the power and position of the person/s deciding to exclude the TU. To me that would be either the Perm Sec or the FM or both.

    It is a basic principle, widely known even at very low levels within groups of people in HR/People work, that misconduct investigations need to be done impartially. I feel sure JM knew that. Such is the level of incompetence on display in the application of the procedure that one might think it was being done deliberately with the intention of undermining their own work.

    I am curious why the Perm Sec misled the Committee a number of times before conceding that she had not sent her report to the police but to COPFS. I guess the reason for sending it to COPFS is that the Perm Sec may have had an ally in there that was not the Lord Advocate. I can’t recall the Perm Sec explaining her reason for sending the report to COPFS. I can’t recall either an explanation for memory lapses and sudden accurate recall. Was the use of COPFS envisaged for protecting the SG and,if so, when did that idea first arise?

    Some research, quite old, points to the willingness of men in a TU which they dominate by strength of numbers being willing to illegally discriminate against the women members of the TU. It was also found that, in the few unions where women are more powerful, they are also willing to discriminate against the men in that union. A Tu will not have monopoly on such behaviour Power, corruption.

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    1. My understanding is that LE was the Crown Agent’s line manager. Sending the information to the Crown Agent to be passed to the Procurator Fiscal could have served two purposes. It made available material which could be used in an investigation while allowing a response to questioning that the wishes of the complainants were respected because the police were not contacted. My understanding is that the police refused to accept the material from the Crown Agent since the normal procedure would be an incident is reported, the police investigate and pass the results of their investigation to the procurator fiscal for a decision on whether or not a case should be prosecuted.

      I am having difficulty comprehending the fact that the Chief Executive Officer of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service was reporting to the Permanent Secretary. The government and the prosecution service are/were? one. That does not serve a democracy well.

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  41. OT, apologies for that, but I don’t know where else to ask.

    What is the SNP’s argument about NOT releasing the legal advice they received on the JR? I really don’t understand what the problem (in theory at least) is.

    /OT

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    1. They say it’s legal parliamentary privilege – they don’t have to release it, effectively. They don’t, but can do so if it was in the public’s interest. The Scottish government has done so before – twice I think – so there is precendent,,, and with two parliamentary votes saying they should,,,

      Their refusal to release it is quite remarkable at this stage, and just makes them look guilty.

      They seem to be hoping no one remembers they’ve done it before and are claiming it would ‘set a precendent’ that would be undesirable. But I heard Jamie Greene (Tory MSPs, nearly the thickest of the lot of them) on the radio this morning saying that there is already precedent – and if even he can muster a coherent sentence saying as much, then ScotGov have a very weak excuse.

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      1. Yes, that I know.
        What I don’t understand is why they say it would prevent counsel (is that the right word?) from giving frank and impartial advice in the future. This seems to be their main point.

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      2. Because of the threat of anyadvice being published in the future – then the legal advice might be more,,, circumspect rather than frank.

        Legal advice is privileged, in general. So if Gordon advises you to say ‘You are a bunch of idiots’ to the police; the police have no rights to know whether or not that was your legal advice. If he had to declare what he was advising he might just advise ‘say no comment’.

        That isn’t a good example,,, but he could say ‘I can get you off on a technicality even though I know you are guilty as sin’ – the police knowing that would compromise the defence solicitors position, so what would be the alternative? Just discussing things like what evidence to present or not present could be awkward if known about to all and sundry. It needs to be private – for private citizens.

        So it’s a fair point – but not when it’s a government whose decisions are being questioned. Governments are publicly accountable.

        I think someone else would be better at explaining it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Also, what is being disputed is whether the client followed the advice or not (as it isn’t their money at stake…), rather the quality or the content of the advice itself, isn’t it? If I had applied for legal aid, am I allowed o go against the advice I am given if that means that the state is going to lose a lot of money?

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      4. Yes, (though you – the person receiving the advice – have no obligation to take it, even if it’s legal aid (I’d assume).) The government has said throughout that they ‘followed legal advice’ – unfortunately the paraphrased report says that counsel threatened to resign if they didn’t drop the JR. For it to have gone that far – for your QC team to threaten to walk out – suggests that legal advice wasn’t that they should fight the JR in the first place.

        The suspicion is, they didn’t follow legal advice at all, but of course we can’t know if we don’t see it. For a government – spending public money – they really should have followed advice. But the Scottish government are the final decision makers, so no blame would be on the legal folk (in theory) about their advice, it’s just whether or not the gov’t are lying about it or not. I suspect the actual legal advice is a pile of vague impenetrable fluff that’ll take months of sorting to understand.

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  42. Well well, how did the Sun get a hold of Leslie Evans testimony from the Judicial Review – must have been at the Commission on Diligence – saying that she destroys all her notebooks, particularly after conniving chats with the FM where she’s taken notes.

    https://archive.is/jrowo

    They have just said they ‘have seen’ the testimony. Guess someone must have accidentally left a top secret bundle of papers lying open at that page while on a zoom call.

    So no records of a meeting between the FM and Leslie Evans on the 29th Nov 2017.

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    1. 🙂

      Ahhhh, but you didn’t tell us Leslie Evans burns all her notebooks in a ritualististc manner while sacrificing chicken entrails?

      The story may have become exaggerated with each telling.

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      1. That gory prospect might explain why the Greens are not helping John Swinney out with his No Confidence motion – Patrick Harvie is hopping mad about all the carbon those notebooks have released into the atmosphere and the vegans are up in arms too…

        Plenty of wriggle room in the grudging statement about releasing the judicial review legal advice: “Subject to the mandatory legal checks and processes, we will release the key legal advice.” That sounds like it will be a self-serving summary of dates and carefully edited bullet points rather than the full text.

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      2. Very, very good points Rhadamanthus! It’s all fits now: Leslie Evans regular bonfires of entires written archives and probably entire literary libraries, has taken it too far for Greens.

        My answer to Wings questions of ‘why now?’ Was:
        ——–
        Humph. Timing, it’s all to do with timing. And image.

        Probably because there will be reams and reams of impenetrable legalese, that’ll be vague and mostly indecipherable. The hopeless Committee cannot get through it before NS appears, but she can still say ‘but we have released it ‘all”. It will not be clear cut what it says anyway.

        And it’ll be to distract from the actual juicy stuff that Alex Salmond told them to get a hold of – those 17 meetings held with all varieties of conspirators & counsel – discussing the JR, where are the minutes? Where are the emails discussing arranging the meetings and summaries, and route maps etc etc. ? Why have those not been submitted.

        It’s a squirrell and a distraction, and might reveal something a few weeks down the line – but not before the saintly Nocola Sturgeon appears before the committee and insists she’s ‘done the right thing’ and ensured the committee got everything they needed…

        They’ve done this repeatedly, the Scottish gov’t – released piles of evidence the night or day before a session so the committee has no time to read it all before questioning a witness. But the committee just rolls over and accepts it. Farce.

        It’s got nothing to do with VONC’s I imagine.

        ——–

        Just the same as the technique of misleading in oral evidence only to be correct later – no one pays that much attention to the written corrections, so no one will pay much attention to the, yes probably heavily redacted, legal advice. The hoo-hah will have died down after NS has appeared, and the demands for evidence subdued. And yes, it’ll be a ‘paraphrased’ and heavily redacted no doubt.

        Have the committee used their s.23 Scotland Act powers to extract evidence from Levy & McRae yet? I’m very curious about the government docs that haven’t been revealed to us.

        I’m not relishing the idea of reading more of their disordered barely comprehensible evidence, but I may just be bloody-minded enough to do so.

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  43. Why didn’t the Inquiry demand the legal advice 2 years ago as the first thing they did? Specifically the legal advice:
    (a) initially regarding the legality of the new harassment procedure and Judith MacKinnon’s investigation and thus the SG’s chances of successfully defending the Judicial Review; and
    (b) the ultimatum from the SG’s QCs as to why they considered the case to be unstateable

    In fact, I’d want to see the complete correspondence between the SG and the COPFS and their legal counsel regarding the Judicial Review, not just whatever summary the SG cares to submit. The SG has a history of failing to disclose documents both to the Judicial Review and to Alex’s solicitors for the criminal trial. I’d also want to see minutes of the meetings held within the SG regarding the management of the case including those where counsel were present. Once the Inquiry had the full documentation they could decide which pieces are relevant and publish just those individual documents rather than the whole tranche.

    With the documents in hand the Inquiry could map out the sequence of events and use it to guide their examination of witnesses. The extraction and analysis of documents could all have been done in private session at any time in the last 2 years without in any way prejudicing the criminal trial. That it has been delayed until this late stage is inexcusable.

    Furthermore, I’d demand the SG waive client confidentiality so that the QCs could give evidence in person about the handling of the case. Also I assume that the Solicitor General would have had responsibility for conducting the case on the SG’s behalf. Why hasn’t she been called to testify? This Inquiry really has degenerated into Fabiani’s Farce. Incompetence or deliberate sabotage?

    Another issue: I still fail to understand why Sturgeon continues with the absurd claim that she didn’t know about the allegations about Alex until the April 2 meeting at her house and that Geoff Aberdein just popped his head round the door on the 29th March for a cup of tea and a chinwag. It’s not conceivable that her Chief of Staff would have discussed them with GA and scheduled GA’s 29/3/18 meeting with Sturgeon yet not informed NS of the allegations. Nor that NS would go into a meeting without asking her CoS what it’s about. Why doesn’t Sturgeon simply admit she knew about the allegations 2 weeks before the meeting with Alex at her house? There has to be something about those 2 weeks that she needs to hide, and it’s surely more incriminating than just failing to keep minutes of meetings.

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  44. It’s not only Sturgeon that seems to have a problem remembering when they first heard about the initial two formal complainants and who told them. It’s the Lord Advocate as well. He says he can’t remember this morning. I’ll get back to the Committee if I remember. Yet he also says it was a very special (high profile) case that needed special treatment but he can’t remember who first told him and when.

    Listening to Wolfe always gives me a headache – he can hardly put a sentence together without multiple ums, ehs, ahs, and other assorted grumbles. To then finish off the session with Watt who struggles to put a question together in a coherent way matched up with Wolfe who takes an eternity to say very little padded out with ums and ehs was just horrendous.

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    1. Hard to credit that such a hesitant, uncertain and forgetful individual scaled the heights of advocacy where a clear coherent manner and sure mastery of the facts are essential ingredients in convincing a court of your case.

      Could he be putting on the bumbling facade because it’s currently the least embarrassing option? I can’t be sure without having seen him in court during his glory days as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates but it does make me wonder. A Wolffe in sheep’s clothing?

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  45. Duncan Hamilton, Advocate and Kevin Pringle Submissions now published by the Inquiry.

    Hamilton confirms what Salmond said about:

    1. Aberdein being told who a complainer is and also what Salmond said about the earlier meetings in March 2018.

    2. He also confirms that Sturgeon knew the purpose of the meetings were about the complaints.

    3.Sturgeon did say ( despite her denials) that she would intervene during the 2:4/2018 meeting.

    You have to ask why they did not ask them before.

    You also have to ask why Ruddick has never been asked to provide a written submission or indeed attend for questioning.

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    1. I AM wondering why no mention of Ruddick to provide any evidence, she seems to be mentioned in an awful lot of evidence.

      And, yes, why did they ask for for submissions from Hamilton and Pringle before? It didn’t seem to be difficult.

      Hamilton made an irritating mistake in a date – for when he was asked to provide evidence, either that or he’s just waited a year before submitting it.

      Duncan Hamilton’s evidence was a good read – very straightforward and given in context – and indeed corroborates evidence contradicting the statements given by Nicola Sturgeon.

      I’ve just re-read Nicola Sturgeon’s written evidence because it’s been quite a while since I first read it. I was struck by how unprofessionally it’s written – having read a lot of submissions now, it really is quite stark how poor the quality is (for someone that is FM). But she plainly contradicts how the meetings went, what they were about and obfuscates on the SNP/gov’t business aspect.

      She also nearly always says she ‘agreed’ to meetings with Alex Salmond – as though she did not instigate any but reluctantly went along with them. In a couple of cases, after she says she’d ‘agreed’ to meetings, she goes on to use ‘I wanted to’ ‘I intended to’ phrases, that indicate she desired the meetings.

      Anyway, what she has written cannot be squared with any other evidence.

      Guess we wait to see if the committee actually question her on any of it, or just spent their time fawning over her.

      Well, we know Jackie Baillie won’t do any fawning, or Murdo Fraser – he certainly didn’t use the light touch on John Swinney in Parliament today. I suppose I have to reluctantly admit that Murdo has got himself somewhat up to speed on matters – he looked like he’d be a total waste of space in the first few sessions, but he does ask the occasional decent question now. I doubt he’ll cope with the FM level of obfuscation, but maybe Jackie Baillie will manage something.

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      1. I’d like to retract my almost-kind words I said there about Murdo Fraser, I apologise for any distress it may have caused anyone reading them.

        I haven’t read any of the legal advice yet, but when I saw the bits over on Wings – alongside the arsehole evil shits of Tories proposing a VONC against the FM – well, I asked myself –

        Why would the Tories jump on a VONC just before the FM was about to perjure herself at the Committee?

        I then suspect that Murdo’s little performance with Swinney earlier was staged – Swinney said the Legal advice would vindicate the Scottish gov’t, which it clearly doesn’t. Sham.

        The FM could have stepped down with dignity at any time – and Alex Salmond is still giving her that option, even though she doesn’t deserve the time of day – but no, no dignity in that woman.

        So, what’s the chance the FM doesn’t appear before the committee because of this arsehole Tory VONC tomorrow? Gets out of perjury, defeats the VONC, and just does NOT have even the tiniest space in her diary to go before the committee before the next parliamentary term?

        We’ll see, but I suspect I may be very displeased with all concerned. Democracy my arse.

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    2. Cubby,

      Did you notice in the Duncan Hamilton submission, the quote from Alex Salmond that said ‘…another official’ arranged the 29th March meeting – I’m not sure if I have forgotten something from earlier, or I’m taking that reference out of context – was it someone different that arranged the meeting at the FMs office, from the one that contacted Aberdein in the first place?

      That, of course, would mean that two people, officials, from the FMs office knew about the meeting, and knew it was gov’t business – so where are the minutes, or records in her diary? It’s not just one person arranging things on the fly… I suppose two people could have done it on the fly too, but some people might suggest that looks like a conspiracy.

      Anyway, Nicola Sturgeon is very keen to get her side of the story put on record at the committee, and I’m sure she’ll be able to clear all this up for us; we’ll be all ears.

      Like

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