According to the latest bulletin from Scottish Government mouthpiece Rape Crisis Scotland, the First Minister’s Chief of Staff Liz Lloyd intervened in the Salmond complaints process on behalf of a woman who later became “one of the complainers” against Salmond at his criminal trial.

The woman – let’s call her Ms X – has used Rape Crisis Scotland, as has now become the norm for the Salmond complainers, to give her untested – and untestable – claims the widest possible public audience while preserving her court-ordered anonymity. Whether that is a legitimate use of such anonymity remains to be tested.

Ms X’s claims

Ms X’s core claims are these:

“In January 2018 I was approached by Scottish Government HR regarding an investigation they were undertaking into a complaint about Alex Salmond’s behaviour during his time as First Minister.

“I had been named as someone who experienced such behaviour in statements obtained during the course of HR’s investigation.

“After discussion with HR, I decided I did not in any way wish to share with them my own personal experiences, however I also did not want to obstruct an investigation.

“I did not know if I was obliged to cooperate after being asked to.

“I decided to raise the matter with a trusted senior person in government, Liz Lloyd, to gain advice and an understanding of my obligations.

“I was extremely conscious of the sensitivity of the investigation and I, therefore, did not tell Liz who the complaint was from, who it was about or the nature of the complaint.

“I informed her I had been approached by HR in relation to a current investigation. I said I had been asked if I wanted to make a complaint and made it clear to her I did not want to, but I was concerned that if I didn’t I may be impeding an investigation.

“She offered to convey my concerns and what I wanted to happen to an appropriate senior civil servant, who was the most appropriate person to discuss the issue with. I agreed to this course of action. This was not ‘interfering’ but acting in line with my wishes.”

We know in addition that Lloyd’s intervention was made in late January or early February 2018 because Ms X’s claims have been made in response to the disclosure by David Davis in the UK Parliament of an email of 6 February 2018 from Judith Mackinnon in which Mackinnon refers to “Liz interference” and calls it “v bad”.

Suspending disbelief (again)

Let me say at the outset that I don’t believe the claim that Lloyd was not informed that this request from Ms X involved the Salmond complaints. It would be quite bizarre for the First Minister’s Chief of Staff to involve herself in any HR matter without insisting on being informed – and informed fully – of all of the relevant details.

A few seconds’ thought will persuade any rational person that this would have to be the case. Apart from anything else, how could the First Minister’s most senior special advisor even have the relevant conversation with one of the Scottish Government’s most senior civil servants unless both of them knew, at least broadly, what they were talking about?

Presumably, we’re being asked to believe that this was yet another of those John Le Carre conversations that seem to occur daily in the senior echelons of the Scottish Government:

“They said it would rain tomorrow, Judith.”

“You can’t trust the weatherman, Liz, not in the summer.”

“Ah great, thanks, Judith. All sorted now.”

It’s ridiculous of course, but suppose we choose to believe it. Suppose the First Minister’s Chief of Staff really did intervene, quite unknowingly, in an ongoing process being run by the Permanent Secretary under the Scottish Government’s newly adopted procedure for handling harassment complaints against former Ministers.

What follows then?

Nicola Sturgeon’s view of intervention in complaints against former Ministers

The views of Lloyd’s boss, the First Minister, on interventions in the complaints process against former Ministers are well known by now, but, for the sake of completeness, let’s refresh our memories.

This is what Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on 8 January 2019:

“I make it very clear that I was not involved in the procedure in any way. I did not intervene in the procedure, I did not seek to intervene and I did not try to influence the course of the investigation. Had I done so, that would have been the subject of absolutely legitimate criticism” (my emphasis).

This is what Sturgeon told the Fabiani inquiry on 3 March 2021:

“Sections 4.22 and 4.23 of the Scottish Ministerial Code seek to guard against undisclosed outside influence on decisions that ministers are involved in, and are likely to have an influence on….

“The situation was, as I saw it, the opposite of that. The terms of the procedure excluded me from any investigation into a former minister. I had no role in the process and should not even have known that an investigation was under way.

“In my judgement, the undue influence that section 4 is designed to avoid would have been more likely to arise had those who were conducting the investigation been informed that I knew about it. I did not want to take the risk that they might be influenced—even subconsciously—by any assumption of how I might want the matter to be handled: their ability to do the job independently would be best protected by my saying nothing” (my emphasis).

A significant intervention in the investigation by the First Minister’s Chief of Staff, however unknowingly, must qualify by any reasonable measure as risking an assumption of how the First Minister wanted the matter handled.

Liz Lloyd’s view of intervention in complaints against former Ministers

It is axiomatic that Liz Lloyd, as chief special advisor to the First Minister, would hold the same view on this matter as her boss, and would be just as anxious as her boss to avoid intervention in such matters for exactly the same reasons. If Sturgeon’s reasoning is sound, then of course any such intervention by her Chief of Staff must be subject to the same “absolutely legitimate criticism”.

But as it happens, we don’t even have to rely on that assumption because Liz Lloyd herself, on 24 November 2017, at a meeting with Cabinet Secretary James Hynd, began the process of advancing exactly these views.

(And at the risk of eliciting more groans from loyal readers waiting for the next instalment of A Very Scottish Coup, I can’t resist a quick preview here. According to a Scottish Government response to a recent FOI request, there was another participant in this meeting who will be of interest to readers of this blog. Sturgeon’s Principal Private Secretary John Somers was at the meeting too – you know, the one who gave sworn evidence at the inquiry that he had no involvement at all in the development of the complaints procedure for current and former Ministers.)

In his evidence to the Fabiani inquiry, Hynd said this:

“During the exchanges that I had with the chief of staff, particularly at a meeting on 24 November, she indicated that the procedure should be developed further to remove from the First Minister the role to decide how to investigate complaints….

“… In the engagements that I had with the chief of staff, she was reflecting what she felt was the First Minister’s view that the First Minister should have less and less involvement in the operation of the procedure at an operational level.”

It could hardly be more obvious, then, that Liz Lloyd was no passive receiver of the First Minister’s line on this. She was, from 24 November 2017 at latest, an active participant in getting this view of the First Minister put as quickly as possible into effect.

As longstanding readers of this blog know, this was achieved in spectacular fashion with the radically “recast” procedure sent out at nearly midnight on 5 December 2017, after a day of frenzied activity and extensive “consultation” with the Salmond complainers.

So when Lloyd was asked by Ms X to intervene in an HR complaints process that was clearly important enough to require such extreme secrecy as to its subject matter and participants, her own very recent crusade to avoid interference in such a procedure at all costs can hardly have faded already from her mind.

An urgent question

When faced with the wholly context-free request from Ms X, then, surely the first thing Lloyd should have done was satisfy herself that its subject matter was at least not one which had anything to do with former Ministers.

After all, as detailed above and exhaustively elsewhere in this blog, both she and her boss had just moved heaven and earth to make sure they had no involvement whatsoever in any such processes.

So why didn’t she?

Maybe someone at the Fabiani inquiry could ask.

Maybe urgently.

214 thoughts on “AN URGENT QUESTION

  1. Sorry if I am being dense again here, but what does this line mean?

    “I was extremely conscious of the sensitivity of the investigation and I, therefore, did not tell Liz who the complaint was from, who it was about or the nature of the complaint.”

    So, Ms X went to Liz Lloyd and said something like: “a friend of mine has been contacted by HR about a complaint, I don’t know what the complaint is about, but s/he doesn’t want to complain”.

    Then Liz Lloyd went “to an appropriate senior civil servant, who was the most appropriate person to discuss the issue with.” and told this person that an unspecified individual’s friend has been involved in an unspecified complaint but doesn’t want to get involved, etc etc..

    Do I read it correctly? If so… it doesn’t make sense at all, does it.
    I mean, are we talking about someone who stole a biro from a desk or someone who is blackmailing the first minister to do their bidding?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrea I think you’e misreading it.

      My understanding is this: When HR told Ms X about the complaint that was taking shape, they also told her that the target of the complaint was AS, and they gave her the name of the complainant (who would have been Ms A or Ms B).

      Ms X is trying to say that when she went to consult Liz Lloyd about what she should do, she told Lloyd that an invetigation was under way, but she didn’t tell her that it was AS who was the target of the complaint, or tell her the name of Ms A or Ms B.


      1. I see what you mean. So, the complaint was not from ms X, but Ms A/B…/Z. Makes more sense. Still, not knowing any detail, how can the “senior civil servant” possibly advise her?


  2. The screed from Rape Crisis Scotland describes MsX as “one of the complainers”. But eventually Ms X didn’t make the complaint!

    If this was the plot in a book I would suggest sacking the editor.


    1. The ScotGov said that the incident did not involve either Ms A or Ms B (in terms of their investigation) but, from what Gordon says, this person went on to participate in the criminal proceedings.

      She may well be the one that Sue Ruddick proclaims as being ‘up for the fight’ again and ‘keen to see Salmond go to jail’.


      1. That’s possible, GeeK. Another possibility is the third woman in the SG investigation who gave a statement and was shown the draft procedure but did not proceed to a formal complaint, leaving Ms A and Ms B only. Call her Ms C.

        Ms C can’t be the RCS woman whom I’ve called Ms X here because Ms X says she was approached in January 2018 whereas Ms C had already given her statement and been shown the draft procedure well before then.


    2. Willie John, all of the press outlets who got the press release from RCS are calling the woman making the claims “one of the complainers” and since, as you say, she was not one of the two complainers in the SG complaints process, that can only mean that she went on to become a complainer in the trial.

      This of course raises a whole new set of questions which could well be answered if we ever see the Vietnam group messages and other evidence which, according to Salmond, show Ruddick, Murrell and others, including at least one SG official, drumming up complaints for the police investigation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Willie John, it’s almost as if they’re TRYING to mislead and confuse. Presumably she means no part in the SG process but a very important part — as a complainer — in the CRIMINAL process.


      2. In all this, has it been established how many complainants came forward after the first two investigated and before the notorious ‘fishing’ attempts made after it was referred to Police Scotland?


      3. Sarissa, if it has, I’m unaware of it.

        We know that from November 2017 there were three SG civil servants with “concerns” about Salmond, with one of the three dropping out and only Ms A and Ms B going forward with formal complaints on 16 and 24 January 2018 respectively.

        We know that as at 24 January 2019, when Salmond was charged, there were ten complainers, and that two of these were Ms A and Ms B, under new letters of the alphabet, as Woman F and Woman K respectively.

        And we now know about the woman I’ve called Ms X in the post above, who was known about since January 2018, and who apparently became one of the ten criminal complainers.

        That leaves seven new criminal complainers coming forward between January 2018 and January 2019, or six if one of them was the civil servant with “concerns” who had previously dropped out of the SG process and was now coming back for the criminal process.

        We should bear in mind that not all of those new complainers were SG civil servants or officials. Woman H, for example, was an SNP worker and Woman C was an SNP politician.

        And of course one of the new complainers who WAS an SG official was Woman A, described by Salmond’s counsel as the “driving force” behind the fishing expedition and by Salmond himself as being responsible for persuading at least five of the criminal complainers to fabricate or exaggerate their criminal complaints against him.


    1. Thanks for the link, kiwilassie — very interesting to me and I’m sure to others. It’s actually the Salmond submission to the inquiry that COPFS are trying to censor, though — talk about stable doors and bolted horses!

      As the article points out, they can’t stop anyone publishing what has been said in Parliament — and Davis was careful not to say anything contrary to the court’s anonymity order.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very sharp work Gordon.

    It has been pointed out elsewhere that this latest abomination from RCS actually causes Lloyd more problems than it addresses (although it is difficult to think of a natural number that is not greater than zero!)

    Sooner or later the cover up for the lies start tripping each other up. It is clear from Sturgeon’s performance today that she just wants all this to go away and can’t deal with the fact that folk are not going to let it drop until they are satisfied one way or the other.

    She can’t understand why her marathon at committee has not put an end to matters. But, as Bill McFarlan of Pink Elephant communications put it, you either admit the allegations and take responsibility or you disprove them. She did neither and is facing the consequences of her hubris.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Surely by repeatedly acting in such a blatant political manner RCS are in breach of the regulations governing Charities?

    Assume the Scottish regulator would be either toothless or would turn a blind eye being a SG Quango?


    1. JWT, the same thought crossed my mind. I’d look into this myself if I had time so I’m hoping someone else does — preferably one of the many women’s groups who must be hopping mad at this abuse of this organisation’s time and funds, not to mention the reputational damage its leaders are doing to the very necessary anonymity in sexual violence cases and to the cause of women generally.


  5. Gordon

    Firstly thanks for your analysis throughout this whole saga.

    This statement throws up more questions than answers. To my mind it seems to have been designed to explain why Liz Lloyd’s name appears in the text quoted by David Davis (which is clearly not being denied) but to disassociate her from direct contact with A or B. However, her actions in this statement do not explain the “Liz Lloyd interference, v bad” text. Most of this statement seems to me to be obvious fiction.

    We know that the new procedure was published and publicised across the civil service intranet in a blaze of glory just a few weeks before this. How are we expected to believe that X ( an unnamed civil servant) did not know about it?

    She states that HR had been given her name by A or B and asked if she would make a complaint. This would obviously be against Salmond though the statement is deliberately vague on this. She did subsequently become an accuser in the criminal trial so to suggest it wasn’t about him is absurd.

    This sounds rather like fishing by HR. She declined. But that is not the end of the matter as would be expected.

    Instead she then approaches someone who is not a civil servant for advice on what her obligations are rather than the HR contact who had previously spoken to her. What led her to thinking that the matter is not closed and that she still had “obligations”. ?

    After her cryptic chat with Lloyd, Lloyd (unquestionably as you point out) involves herself by undertaking to tell an appropriate civil servant that X doesn’t want to make a complaint about an unknown matter despite HR already having been told this by X. Clearly Lloyd knows about the new procedure but does not point X in it’s direction to go through the appropriate channels.

    Strangely, this intervention leads to a meeting with an IO ( presumably Judith McKinnon?). Now why would that happen unless circumstance had changed? Perhaps Lloyd had persuaded X to make a complaint in their cryptic chat?

    At this meeting X reiterates that she doesn’t want to make a complaint much to the consternation of the IO. This would make the “Liz Lloyd interference, v bad” make sense. Conjecture on my part of course.


    1. Thanks Stephen, that’s much appreciated and I’ll be surprised if your speculations turn out to be too far wide of the mark. One clarification, though — the procedure wasn’t published on the SG intranet until February 2018 and in fact it was quite deliberately kept under wraps once the two or three known complainers were thought to be safely on board. Richards talked about only they themselves needing to know about it and even had to be persuaded to do a perfunctory inclusion of the unions.

      They also lied about it on the SG website when it was finally published in August 2018, claiming it had gone on the SG intranet in December 2017 when adopted, until Jackie Baillie pointed out the lie at the inquiry and they changed it to an unspecified date in February 2018, which is what it still says.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Gordon for that clarification, It seems i was fooled by the lie about the December 2017 date!

        Hopefully that old saying about lies catching up with you will come to pass.

        On another topic, it seems that the Crown Office are trying to remove Salmond’s evidence on the Hamilton enquiry from the internet just before it’s due to publish. Coincidence?


    2. “Instead she then approaches someone who is not a civil servant for advice on what her obligations are rather than the HR contact who had previously spoken to her. ”

      Why approach Liz Lloyd rather than an HR professional? To my mind that’s in the same mold as Ms A insisting she wants to talk to Sturgeon face-to-face – to negotiate a quid pro quo for her testimony against Salmond. LL is a proxy for Sturgeon. Maybe Ms X is more trusting than Ms A.


      1. BTW what are the chances that one of the 10s of thousands of Scottish civil servants could get a personal meeting with the FM’s CoS in order to seek intervention on an HR matter? Yet another indication that a complainant knew LL on a personal basis and thus was a member of the inner circle within the SG, not some lowly clerk. As I’ve said elsewhere Alex Salmond is a most peculiar sexual predator, apparently restricting his attentions to middle-aged senior civil servants and not to the nubile young office typist. And if you believe that perhaps I can interest you in some swampl…… er, waterfront property.


  6. Why did she not consult her union instead of the FM office?

    More likely to get disinterested advice.

    Of course, my way of thinking is not necessarily the same as others.


    1. Yes iki, just one of a thousand or so more appropriate places to approach than the FM’s Chief of Staff!

      Of course, you can’t count on these folks even being a member of a union. Their “progressive” views often don’t extend to such old-fashioned leftie notions as collective bargaining and workers’ solidarity.


  7. Am I missing something here or did this woman just totally contradict herself?

    “I was extremely conscious of the sensitivity of the investigation and I, therefore, did not tell Liz who the complaint was from, who it was about or the nature of the complaint.
    “I informed her I had been approached by HR in relation to a current investigation. I said I had been asked if I wanted to make a complaint and made it clear to her I did not want to,”

    She didn’t tell Liz “who the complaint was from”, and then said to Loyd, that she had been “approached by HR and asked if she wanted to make a complaint.


    1. Bob, I think what she means is that there was ANOTHER complaint investigation to which she was not a party (and which we know to be Ms A or Ms B or both) and that she told Lloyd about THAT investigation without mentioning Ms A or Ms B or Salmond or “former Minister” or ANY details of the subject matter. She then said that HR had approached her, based on that complaint, to see if she wanted to make her OWN complaint. She didn’t want to make her own complaint (at least at that time) but didn’t want this to hamper the ongoing investigation of the existing complaint(s) so sought Lloyd’s help with that.

      I agree that it’s hard to follow. That’s because it’s bullshit.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. When someone posted the statement to me on Twitter today my response was:

    Why did HR approach her?
    Why did she not ask HR during their discussions if she was obliged to cooperate?
    Why did she risk exposing a sensitive investigation to another member of staff, not involved in the investigation, with links to the person being investigated?
    Why did she think it necessary to have LL talk to someone before informing HR directly she did not want to be part of it?
    These are just some of the questions any person should ask if they are using their critical faculties when they read an anonymous statement like this.

    Their replied was along the lines of look at any HR policy, why you disputing facts, most people would ask someone outside HR for advice, Tories at work here, these are the real facts you should believe them.

    Clearly they were not engaging their critical faculties and after a back forth “debate” about the veracity of this “evidence”, I was basically told to wheesht for indy and if I didn’t I was a unionist. We hadn’t even touch on the subject of independence but that was their conclusion because I was not willing to accept this statement unquestioningly.

    Now I’ve read your most excellent article I have a good mind to go back to the thread and post a link to it. Sadly I very much doubt it would penetrate their bone headed unquestioning loyalty to the party and the narrative it is still trying push about this truly mind-blowing scandal.


    1. Thanks, TKJ, I really do think that is one of the most useful things about blogs like mine and the insightful comments that readers like yourself make on the posts for others to read. It’s very easy to get discouraged, and even dissuaded, by the sheer weight of numbers of people pushing lines like the one you mention, either out of blind loyalty or — sad to say — stupidity.

      And it’ll be great when Sturgeon and her corrupt clique finally collapse under the weight of their own lies and we can begin to get back to applying that sense of solidarity to the unionist establishment and THEIR lies!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see that a contributor over on Wings has identified that the code of conduct that applies to SpAds is very clear they must have no role in the personnel issues concerning Civil Servants.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seems it comes from the UK Government code for SpAds.

        Para 6:

        In order to enable special advisers to work effectively, departments should allocate
        civil servants to provide support of a non-political nature. Special advisers are able to give
        direction to such civil servants in relation to their day-to-day work for them, and their views
        should be sought as an input to performance appraisals on the basis that these are written by
        other civil servants. However, special advisers should not be involved in the line
        management of civil servants or in matters affecting a civil servant’s career such as
        recruitment, promotion, reward and discipline, or have access to personnel files of civil

        Click to access 201612_Code_of_Conduct_for_Special_Advisers.pdf

        I have heard it said that SpAds in the Scottish Govt have to abide by the Civil Service Code but I don’t know if there is an equivalent to this as well.


      1. Don’t tell him, Pike!

        Seriously, though, please don’t name any complainers here. If I see anything that does that or risks jigsaw identification of any complainer, I’ll delete it immediately.


      2. No problem, JWT, there’s a brilliant Wings article on this too — the author of the statement, one of the complainers, was identified in the metadata of her statement, which RCS then sent out as an email attachment, thus identifying her to every recipient in the clearest possible breach of the court’s order. Of course no prosecutions will follow.


    1. This sort of thing may indicate why some of the documents submitted as evidence were submitted as scans of paper documents, possibly then OCR’d to get them back to searchable. A sure way of removing a metadata trail!


  9. “Whether that is a legitimate use of such anonymity remains to be tested.” – is this lawyer-speak for ‘it might not have been ruled on by a judge yet, but you are hurtling down shit creek without a paddle’ ?

    I had thought your Ms X was one of the witnesses, there were 4 for MsA and MsB, but maybe not if she didn’t want to further engage at all. (Agreed that it’s definitely not MsC who had full input into the procedure development then wisely ducked out of the investigation part).

    Trying not to get full on cognitive dissonance feedback pains by looking too closely at the statement – how on earth did Liz Lloyd know who the appropriate person was when she was told nothing of the complaint?? It’s a(nother) quite extraordinary statement – giving the appearance of covering for Liz Lloyd, while doing no such thing. Very disturbing that RCS thinks it’s okay to get involved in political machinations.

    Maybe Ms X was a witness – I’ve long suspected that’s where Judith Mackinnon got her unspecified and unattributed allegations I -K that she’d shoved into her ‘fact finding’ report just for the hell of it (these were immediately called out as nonsense and unanswerable by Levy & McRae).

    I’m not sure the committee does ‘urgent questions’, though, or will, indeed, bother answering our many many questions at all, and they are already leaking things to the press. I realise I’ll miss Ms Baillie’s questioning; I hope the Crown Office doesn’t redact all the oral sessions so I’ll still get the opportunity to look at them again.

    John Swinney, the other morning on the radio, was being asked about the damning Dunlop review into the procedure ‘will it now be revised’ he was asked, well, he says, we still have to hear from the harassment committee and the Hamilton inquiry blah blah.

    What on earth could those two inquiries have to do with any delays to revising the procedure Mr Swinney? Are you suggesting that each inquiry is designed SOLELY to delay the rest, and are you suggesting that, in fact, the procedure was solely designed to wreck the life of one man so you can’t update it until the other committees prove it, Mr Swinney? Because, surely there can be nothing else delaying scrapping an unlawful procedure – how much helpful input do you need to take onboard before doing so, Mr Swinney – or would revising it mean you’d have to admit it’s unlawful, despite EVERYONE ELSE and their dog already knowing it to be so, and you are so thick you don’t realise, even now, that the game is up?!

    What a sad state of affairs – the SG, Crown Office, and complainers are not exactly SUBTLE are they? Denying what’s in front of our eyes – very unionist that technique – repeatedly, until what? We give up and pretend nothing happened? It must be a lot worse than our imaginations can conjure for them to be so dogged about it.


      1. I hadn’t thought of downloading the videos, Ruri! I’m fairly short of hard drive space just now though.

        I thought, of course, because it was parliament info, it would always be available – as it should be – but we are in the alternate cover-up universe with this, and all is nebulous. Given the changing written evidence and uncertain revisions, it could mean the oral evidence will be getting edited too, maybe they’ll just replaced them with various Kirsty Wark productions and pretend nothing has changed.


  10. Gordon and others. The chief complainants if they were civi servants would be members of the elite union the FDA. It’s Gen Sec Dave Penman has been vocal in attacking the Holyrood inquiry for going a wee bit hard on Evans and JMCK. It’s disingenuous but he has been used by the Nicolalies just like RCS and everything else with SG as a customer.

    However though the complainant would be in the FDA.the fact they approached Loyd could mean two things. (1) They were so near the inner circle that they had access.(2). They were steered there by BarbaraAllison whose role as “pastoral care” lead was shoved into her lightweight portfolio so she could be on hand as organisational fixer and consiglieri. Gordon exposed this in an earlier forensic blog.

    Anything of note told to Allison would then be directed to Lloyd as COS.Anyone with any inkling if the machinations of high politics knows that the likes of Loyd doesn’t get involved in any staffing issue outside political appointees unless it’s material to her boss. Allison’s role afforded a certain mani polite to keep the gossamer like pretence of separation between the civil service and government. .


    1. Davy, I’d bet my bottom dollar it’s (1). All of the media who keep enabling this “poor vulnerable women” line know as well as I do that these people (who happen to be women, and who include Ms X in their number) are either very powerful and influential people in their own right or have the absolute inside track with such people, most obviously the First Minister herself. It’s farcical.

      My take on the whole media and political establishment bubble is that they GENUINELY don’t know what the truth is and are constantly trying to remember — to quote the title of William Goldman’s brilliant Hollywood memoir, where the same problem pertains — “Which lie did I tell?”

      So, for example, Sturgeon says — ON SOLEMN AFFIRMATION — that she doesn’t know who all the complainers are, which everyone KNOWS is a lie, but all the media have sat with her when she’s said one thing at a public press conference and then “briefed” them or had them “briefed” in private immediately afterwards that the opposite is really the case, all on the nod and wink basis that we’re all so clever and important that we understand the game. The politicians of all parties on the Committee know they’ve all done the same.

      I think this GENUINELY makes it hard for both media and politicians to decide when the required standard is telling the ACTUAL truth — the standard that all ordinary people like us are held to — and I think even when they decide, for their own reasons, that this standard IS now required in some context, there’s still an air of unreality and arbitrariness about it for them.

      I think you quite often see this in the mixture of outrage and bewilderment shown by the ones who get sacrificed every so often, and I’m sure we’ll see it from Evans, Mackinnon etc in due course. I think it’s a genuine feeling of “Why me?” because they know themselves how arbitrary it all is.

      (And talking of Mackinnon, is anyone else getting the feeling that maybe there’s real animosity between HR and the FM’s people, and particularly between Lloyd and Mackinnon, and that when Mackinnon is sacrificed, she might just react and tell what she knows?)


      1. It’s possible, perhaps unlikely. On the one hand,if Ms Mackinnon goes, forced out,she will reflect that the sacrifice of her professional standards that she made for the cause was not rewarded.That might result in some quiet whistle-blowing.On the other hand, if she has to continue to work, she may wish to say nothing.


      2. It might be that Judith Mackinnon wishes that she had followed due process and used her own training, knowledge and experience as opposed to taking advice from the SG homegrown HR ‘experts’ who feel they are untouchable. No doubt Mackinnon felt she was operating in a safe environment where no one is accountable as it’s all down to ‘the process’. She is in a senior well-paid post but not SCS, she has been very stupid, not followed best HR practice, been unfair and arguably criminal, and allowed herself to be manipulated and it should cost her her job as none of these are the behaviours of the Head of People Services.


      3. When they start going for each other that is when the Queen B will fall. You might ask yourself, who is the Queen B but we all know, don’t we?
        Can’t wait


  11. So the SH HR team were carrying out an investigation based on the complaints made by the women then known as Ms A and Ms B. The woman referenced above as Ms X is approached as part of that investigation. The SG HR team has no right to approach anyone as part of their investigative process, as far as I know, who is not a member of the SG staff in some way. This is an internal investigation remember, SG HR have no power or authority to question anyone who is not on the SG administration payroll.

    The person being investigated also has rights and at this point in no way should allegations against that person (Alex Salmond) have been mentioned to anyone else, not even to someone who the investigating officer thought might have a complaint. When Judith Mackinnon approached MS X she should have asked her if she had experienced any inappropriate behaviour, perhaps given an example of what behaviour she was referring to and asked Ms X if there was anyone she wished to raise a complaint against. In no way should she have mentioned Alex Salmond’s name to Ms X.

    NO average civil servant has access to the FM’s CoS and would never in a million years think about contacting the CoS. And why would the CoS get involved? They would not, they would send anyone contacting them about such an issue to HR. The only reason Liz Lloyd can have got involved was because she was told it was about Alex Salmond.

    Frankly, if you are reading this Ms X, or whoever you are, you need to get back in your box. You have no way of knowing exactly what Liz Lloyd was doing and in what way she was interfering and you believe it is related to you but you cannot know that was all there was to it. Its time to shut up, you have had your say, this is no longer about you.


    1. Fascinating expert insights as usual, LB, and I think Davy’s comment and my reply are relevant to what you say too. There’s an elite inner circle of powerful people acting in concert here in defiance of all rules and protocols to achieve whatever they think is their entitlement and to destroy whomever they please in the process, and if that’s not a conspiracy, then I don’t know what is.


  12. “I did not know if I was obliged to cooperate after being asked to.” Why didnt she ask or given clear guidance?


  13. Dear sir,

    As an interesting aside to recent developments regarding the A Salmond Inquiry and with relation to the historic 
    Proposed Press Release by Scot Gov of Investigation of A Salmond

    As you will be aware a leak of “information” to the Daily Record was made on Thursday 23 August 2018. 

    “on Thursday, we managed to establish with confidence that S.G. officials had conducted an internal probe into the matter and decided to pass on to police details of allegations that amounted to sexual assault.
    realising the importance of the story, we contacted the S.G. and asked for comment shortly before 4 pm. We also made a similar call to Police Scotland to get an update on any criminal investigation.”

    01 – the written submission to the Inquiry by Police Scotland states “At 11.00 hours pm Tuesday 21 August 2018 I met with the CC at the Crown Office Chambers and subsequently met with the Crown Agentwho informed me that following an internal investigation the SG had referred matters for investigation of potential criminality………….I was also informed that SG may be making a public statement in relation to the outcome of their investigation and potentially refer to information being provided to Police Scotland. Both the CC and I voiced our concerns at such a statement being provided.”

    02 – Excerpt from Document LA 14 – JOINT NOTE BY SENIOR AND JUNIOR COUNSEL For the Respondents in the Petition of Alex Salmond, Petitioner, for Judicial Review
    Impact on criminal investigation/prosecution.

    “27  We have been asked for our views on whether the respondents should seek to have the judicial review proceedings sisted pending the outcome of any police investigation and/or criminal proceedings that may follow that investigation.

    28  In the week commencing 20 August 2018, in the course of discussions about the extent to which the Permanent Secretary might publish information about the complaints against the petitioner, it became clear that the Crown Agent was highly concerned about the risk of prejudicial pre-trial publicity that might arise if information about the complaints was put into the public domain.

    29  In particular, he was concerned about the risks arising from a combination of information (a) that a referral had been made to the Police; and (b) as to the findings made by the Permanent Secretary.”

    It is quite clear from both 01 and 02 above, that Police Scotland AND the Crown Agent were both highly concerned about such a proposal ( to release a public statement ) and that both had previously and were still advising the SG that publication of any information in relation to an investigation having taken place and/or its findings was highly inadvisable.

    However, it is the case that the S.G. was still intent upon making a press release IN SPITE OF the advice from both Police scotland and the CA that such a public release should not be made.

    Excerpt from AS Statement – submission on judicial review.

    “12. Despite this, on Thursday 23rd August my legal team was informed that the Scottish Government intended to release a public statement on the fact of the investigation at 5pm that day. That, despite the firm assurances of confidentiality which had been made throughout.

    We replied that such a decision to publicise left no option but to seek an interim interdict against the government that evening preventing publication. That action became the petition for Judicial Review. The Scottish Government agreed to withdraw their proposed public statement pending resolution of the interim interdict application by the Court of Session.”

    It was only the threat of an Injunction from the Salmond Legal team on Thursday 23 August 2018 that prevented the S.G. from issuing their public statement.

    Despite advice from the CA and Police Scotland NOT to issue a press release, the SG were intent on doing so and were only prevented by the threat of a court order.
    Then “the leak” to the DR took place.

    This would appear to be a clear example of the manifest intent of the S.G. to bring this matter into the public domain in defiance of the advice of its legal advisor and its own Police service and without any due regard of the potential implications this could have to both any criminal investigation and/or legal proceedings.

    Indeed it shows scant regard for the two complainants. Were they ever informed beforehand that the SG intended to make the whole affair public? Was their permission to do so ever sought or granted?

    I am not conversant with the Civil service codes of conduct however I would find it extraordinary that it could be permissible to undertake an action which could, either directly or indirectly, interfere or indeed undermine a criminal investigation which that government itself had just instigated, while at the same time overriding the strong advice of its police service and own legal advisor. 

    To give some time frame for context –

    21 August 2018 – Police meet with Crown Agent. CA reports back to SG indicating the Police would NOT accept the SG internal conclusions Report
    22 August 2018 -AS receives Complaint Decision Report

    23 August 2018 –

    The DR has indicated that it received the leaked information. What time? Via email or hard copy?
    AS legal team informed on the late morning or early afternoon of 23 Aug that SG intended to issue a press release at 5pm.
    AS Legal team inform SG that AS shall now seek an Injunction to prevent release.
    The Scottish Government agreed to withdraw their proposed public statement pending resolution of the interim interdict application by the Court of Session.
    The DR contacted the Scot Gov at 4pm.
    SG inform AS legal team that they had been contacted by the Press – DR stated it was at 4pm.
    6.34pm AS Legal team inform SG that an Interim Interdict could NOT be heard that evening
    7.19pm SG inform the DR they could not comment “for legal reasons.”
    [Who in the SG press department was still at work at 7.19pm? Why did they go back to the DR if not being pressed?
    Why did the SG indicate that they could not comment for legal reasons? Why not simply indicate they had no comment at that time or..the old favourite…..there is no-one available at this time to make a comment. ]
    8pm DR contacts AS on phone for comment.
    10pm DR begins to print the story.

    The timetable of events seems to point to a deliberate attempt to put this matter into the public domain as swiftly as possible.

    What would be the benefit from doing so and who it would benefit are interesting questions.

    [ Furthermore and I apologise for digressing –
    Was the Investigating Officer informed and their opinion sought?
    Were HR informed of the intent to issue a press release?
    What did they advise?
    Was the first ministers office advised? If so who?
    After all the FM would receive a barrage of questions as soon as this was revealed. ]

    However, I do not think that anyone could argue that it would in any way benefit the complainants.

    Which poses the question as to why the SG were determined to undertake an action which would have potentially significant negative effects upon the complainants and their well being?

    An action with readily foreseeable effects which would be totally at odds with their own health and safety protocols for the well being of staff at work and at odds with a new complaints procedure which supposedly put the well being of complainants at its very heart.

    Separately – 

    In addition, the document LA 14 to the SG from legal counsel clearly states in section  27

    27  “We have been asked for our views on whether the respondents should seek to have the judicial review proceedings sisted pending the outcome of any police investigation and/or criminal proceedings that may follow that investigation.”

    It is my understanding that the SG has repeatedly stated that it had at no time considered sisting the judicial review proceedings. The above statement from senior and junior counsel would appear to totally contradict this and to actually show that the SG had, in late August/early September 2018 actively sought legal advice on this very matter. 

    Indeed, the wording would actually appear to suggest that the SG was actively seeking to sist the proceedings precisely because they had instigated a criminal investigation at that very time.

    If of a cynical bent, some might argue that the SG would then use that investigation as a justifiable reason to pause proceedings while leaving the whole matter swinging freely in the public domain and subject to public and media speculation throughout a police investigation and potentially in the lead up to a criminal trial.

    Or….fortunately for all concerned…..the information fell into the hands of the DR.

    I mean, what potential jurors could become aware of such matters, let alone be swayed by them.

    The timing of all this would appear highly………coincidental. What are the odds?
    That all of these events actually took place over a matter of a few memorable days is certainly……..aaah….. noteworthy!  

     just a little something to peruse in your spare time. Unless something else crops up.

    Please keep up the good work. Your insights are always revealing and your dissection of the facts wonderful and wicked.


    1. Thanks, Al Beta. The information you’ve set out in detail illustrates all too clearly that the only party with a motive for the leak, and the only party displaying a clear pattern of behaviour where the leak was the next logical step, was the Scottish Government.

      I have no doubt that the Scottish Government was responsible for the leak, and the narrative you give here is compelling.

      The proposed sisting of the action is a more nuanced matter that I still haven’t quite resolved in my own mind. It’s true that external counsel proposed it as you say but in fairness the Lord Advocate who could have said okay, let’s at least try it even if the court refuses was quite clear in saying that if adequate reporting restrictions could be put in place, there was no need for a motion to sist, and that was the view which prevailed.

      I honestly don’t know why Evans and crew didn’t push harder to at least try for a sist rather than the tactic they did adopt of hiding information and prolonging the action while waiting for the cavalry to arrive in the form of criminal charges. If I recall Salmond’s evidence correctly, though, he said that this tactic almost succeeded and only failed because his lawyers were able to put off his visit to the police until after the SG were forced by their own counsel to concede the JR. If that hadn’t happened the SG plan would have worked.

      So maybe they were so confident of charges coming quickly that they just didn’t worry about the sist at the outset, and then from the point that their own counsel made them start to reveal the Mackinnon stuff in early November 2018, Salmond’s lawyers had the bit between their teeth and the court was never going to grant a sist, so stalling was the only tactic left.

      Also, I think that, along with all of Scotland’s media and most of the political establishment, they were confident, as soon as the charges did come, that Salmond would be convicted and that the “war” was basically won anyway.


      1. “the Crown Agent was highly concerned about the risk of prejudicial pre-trial publicity that might arise if information about the complaints was put into the public domain.

        29 In particular, he was concerned about the risks arising from a combination of information (a) that a referral had been made to the Police; and (b) as to the findings made by the Permanent Secretary.”

        Wouldn’t “Crown Agent” refer to Harvie rather than Wolffe? I don’t understand the pecking order within COPFS. Surely the Lord Advocate as the Cabinet Minister is the boss of the Crown Agent, Solicitor General and Procurator Fiscal? If so how can Leslie Evans be Harvie’s line manager?


      2. Yes, the Crown Agent is Harvie and the Lord Advocate is Wolffe. I don’t understand myself how Evans could have been Harvie’s line manager as I always thought COPFS had a career structure quite separate from government — as of course it should have.

        The traditional division at COPFS has been between solicitors and advocates, with the two having different career paths. A newly qualified solicitor would join COPFS as a fiscal depute (prosecutor) in the lower courts and then would rise up by either staying in the courts or going into the administration side. On the court side, you might then rise to be the Procurator Fiscal of a whole area, the biggest being Glasgow. On the administrative side, you might rise to be Crown Agent.

        For advocates (the equivalent of English barristers) the career path was quite different. Not many advocates made their whole careers at COPFS and the standard time to spend there as Crown counsel (prosecuting serious crimes in the High Court) was three years. It was often regarded as the standard way to become a QC (move from being junior counsel to senior counsel) if you were an advocate doing criminal work and had sufficient experience as a defence advocate. You’d do your three years at COPFS and then apply and get made a QC.

        The Lord Advocate and Solicitor General (Scotland’s two “law officers” at the head of COPFS) were then outside of both of these career structures and were political appointments of whichever senior advocates the Government of the day happened to fancy for whatever reason.

        This got blurred with the appointment of Elish Angiolini as Solicitor General in 2001, and even more when she moved up to become Lord Advocate in 2006, because she was not an advocate at all but a career COPFS solicitor who had worked her way up through the ranks from depute fiscal. Her Solicitor General was Frank Mulholland, who also was not an advocate but a career fiscal like Angiolini, and he then took over from her as Lord Advocate when she retired. I understand there was much disquiet at the Faculty of Advocates over this state of affairs and Sturgeon restored things to “normal” when Mulholland retired and appointed himself as a judge — which (astonishing as it might seem) is within the gift of all retiring Lord Advocates to do — by appointing the then Dean of the Faculty, James Wolffe, to the job.

        Which is where we are now.


  14. Gordon

    If any of the initial complainants or those who were approached by HR during the course of their investigation like woman X were no longer employees of the civil service or Scottish government in 2018 at the time of HR’s approach would that type of retrospectivity have been allowed in the new procedure?

    It’s the wording of the RCS statement makes me think that may have been the case.


    1. Stephen, it’s an interesting question and I don’t know the answer. On Ms X specifically, I think we can be confident that she was a serving employee, and one with easy access to the FM’s Chief of Staff, which suggests high seniority — and makes the purported need for her to seek advice and intervention from Lloyd even more farcical.


  15. In the JR there were repeated instances where after SG’s counsel had told the court that full disclosure had been made further documents came to light, leading to the holding of the Commission and Diligence. I can’t see the SG producing those further documents of its own volition. After all, if you’d already supposedly conducted extensive searches of the database why keep on searching? ISTM that Salmond’s lawyers must have known that the documents existed but hadn’t been disclosed and the SG only produced them when challenged. That is probably why AS’s team were pushing for the Commission and Diligence, that they knew there were further documents undisclosed. Gordon, is this a reasonable assessment from a defence lawyer’s point of view? Anyone know if further documents were turned up as a result of the Commission?

    AIUI the key element of a Commission and Diligence is that the person possessing a document (the “haver”) is put under oath and required to produce the document(s) and if not be questioned as to what searches they have conducted. Looking at Chapter 35 refers to “the document” so it’s not clear whether the plaintiff has to specify the particular document or whether an open-ended Inquiry is possible ie “we believe they’re hiding more evidence we just don’t know what”. Presumably it was at this point that Wolffe sent his own people in to search Leslie Evan’s office, indicating he didn’t trust LE to produce the evidence. So we have the extraordinary situation where both external counsel and the SG’s own internal legal team believe their client was lying to them. I assume Wolffe and/or the Solicitor General would be in the same danger as external counsel of being disbarred for misleading the court.

    Levi & McRae has stated that the disclosure to the Parliamentary Inquiry included yet more documents material to the JR and the criminal trial that were not disclosed. I would imagine that Lord Pentland and Lady Dorrian would be seriously displeased if this was brought to their attention. (Don’t they read the news?) Is there scope for the judges to haul LE and the LA into court to answer for this?


  16. Some of the Crown Office’s actions, later in the process, have been so bizarre that I wonder if there has been coherent planning behind them. Examples are the attempts to redact documents already in the public domain, and threatening action against the Spectator for continuing to publish a document, even after Lady Dorrian’s ruling that it was OK to publish. (I paraphrase the ruling a bit for simplicity.)

    I have a friend who I’ve know for many years, just retired from a very senior job. Sadly, he’s drifting into early-onset dementia. Last time we met he’d forgotten my surname. But he’s only just retired – he must have been going that way while still in the job.

    I’ve watched James Wolfe answering questions, and (again sadly) I see some of the same signs – trailing into silence in the middle of a sentence, forgetting the question. Yes, he was under stress. I’d be incoherent too – but I’m not a senior lawyer accustomed to thinking on my feet ion court.

    I’m not posting this as an attack on James Wolfe. I’m trying to explain to myself some of the odd actions of the Crown Office – simple cock-up rather than conspiracy. It would be good to think that it wasn’t a conspiracy.


  17. Perhaps Sturgeon will decide to go for a judicial review of the Inquiry and Hamiltons findings and waste more public funds.

    Personally, I find it very depressing how so many independence supporters are in thrall to Sturgeon and can just ignore the mountain of evidence and believe she will deliver independence.


    1. More depressing is the level of abuse they’re directing at genuine supporters of independence who are openly horrified by all that has emerged and reeling over Sturgeon’s increasingly clear and obvious role in all of it. Starting with a corrupt investigation process. She has presided over it all. Documents, not mere opinions, prove this. Yet those devastated by the revelations are now, in the eyes of too many, just “Yoons” masquerading as people who were once pro-SNP. They will not see the facts. They will not listen.
      What a monumental, catastrophic mess.


  18. Its maybe not that much of an issue. There are the SNP staffers and there is the identity politics (anti civil rights) cult. This is the backbone of the online support I would guess, sadscot. I am confident that they feed off the numbers poorly informed folk. That number is only going to go down the way. It is not great that there is silence from many SNP MPs and MSPs again though there are few neyond her clique coming out publicly in support. I am still hopeful that this FM and her allies can be removed from the SNP and politics in pretty short order. I am less depressed about the state of the nation than i was 6 months ago.

    If the SNP are going to be of any use to the cause of Independence and political parties in general be of any use at all in representing Scotland’s people then the parties need to be fully democratic and policy making has to be under the control of the members. A contemptuous political class can form like lightning it seems. I would like to see the wage of an MSP be no more than double the average wage in Scotland and no minister receiving more than 3 times the av. wage. The wages of MSPS and government ministers should only rise when the average wage in the country rises.

    I am not as down as I was last year about all this. We are still a colony, still have the world’s most corrupt, treacherous and generally shite press and a nutcase as FM. Get rid of the FM and rebuilding can be done.


    1. I agree totally, AB. If I had a magic wand and was allowed just one wave of it, I’d make it compulsory for every elected politician to have to live on the wage of the average skilled worker, live in “social housing”, use only public transport and health care, and be absolutely barred from profiting in ANY way from having held office after leaving it. I’d have to change my own lifestyle a bit to conform to that but I’d be happy to for the time I served (one term only, thank you!) and so would anyone with a genuine commitment to public service, I think.


  19. How good is this mans blog though? I actually check it a couple of times a day just to read any new comments that are on it. Just to see if I can learn something.

    More than that though it lifts my spirits because I know that many folk on here care about their country and the people who live in it. I want to thank G Dangerfield for his work and skill but most of all for being a man who likes the truth and isnae afraid to put the facts out there in a way that helps us understand what is going on



    1. Many thanks, AB. This and your previous comment are both beautifully expressed and I’m very encouraged by your praise. I think so much of what we’re facing now — including the narcissism of identity politics posing as “progressive” — is Thatcher’s legacy. It’s amazing to think that when she said there was “no such thing as society”, we laughed at her because we still had a strong and vibrant labour and trade union movement that was actually based on solidarity and struggle. (The leaders were crap, of course, with a few honourable exceptions, but as trade union and labour activists we were organised and working together in every part of the country, and we assumed things like public ownership of the NHS and the utilities and transport and what we now call “social housing” — not to mention freedom of speech and assembly — had been won forever.)

      Thatcher’s greatest victory, if you ask me, is young people sitting atomised on their own or in wee random groups and believing they’re doing their “progressive” bit because they vote online for Caitlin Jenner (the very rich and self-obsessed former Olympic Men’s Decathlon champion) as Woman of the Year or can’t wait for the next episode of Love Island or Naked Attraction (don’t ask me why THEY’RE “progressive”, I just know that they are).

      So your praise is very meaningful to me because anything we can do to help each other be less isolated and more part of an actual society — not a cult — is something we should take pride in.


      1. Cheers Gordon. I agree strongly. Representation has to be representative and the unions may have corruptible leaders (like political organisations) but they are good and necessary things both in principle and in practice.

        Interested to hear you equate the Thatcher years as laying the ground work for the identity politics/culture of today. I hadn’t made the connection. It makes logical sense to me that argument now that I have heard it. it worries me where its going but we have but a short time on this earth so we keep going.

        Hopefully if the younger folk will eventually see who is sponsoring their ‘cultural’ movements. They would maybe have second thoughts about hate crime and the GRA. Take a grass roots campaign, use your vast access to marketing men and lobbyists to make it global then use it to restrict the civil liberties of the ordinary people. A corporate takeover of human culture and a continuation of the Thatcher doctrine of undermining society.

        I bought that book of yours by the way. Will let you know what i think. I am half way though Alf Baird’s book and another one called Allah’s Mountains, both crackers then I’ll be on to your own.

        All the best.


      2. We’re totally on the same page, AB, and thanks so much for getting the book. Please do let me know how you get on with it. All the stuff we’re talking about here is in it, plus first love, punk music, surfing, poetry, lots of politically incorrect teenage vulgarity and (I hope) plenty of laughs.


    1. If it’s true that he’s going to be found guilty, JWT, then my feelings are pretty much the same as set out by Stuart Campbell in his excellent Wings article today. The court refused to consider all the journalists who are in the same position as, or a worse position than Craig on the basis that this is a matter for COPFS and that they just judge what is put in front of them, so if he is found guilty then we MUST continue to protest the outrageous victimisation of Craig by COPFS.

      I also think he’ll be successful on appeal. Our contempt laws are a human rights disgrace.


  20. Gordon what do you think of Lady Dorrian’s proposal to do away with jury trials in sex crimes cases. As a defence lawyer I’d imagine it sends a shiver down your spine.

    Apparently the juries are acquitting too many of the accused – what would be an acceptable percentage, 100% maybe? And if too many of the innocent are being allowed to go free, why not abolish juries for all criminal trials then we can be like China where it’s sufficient to be accused by the Police to be convicted. She also proposes legislating anonymity for the accusers but not for the accused, so just as in Salmond’s case you will see anonymous accusers making false and malicious claims so that even if they fail to convict the accused’s reputation is permanently smeared. There ought to be provision for a court to lift the anonymity where it is being abused to continue smearing the accused after an acquittal as Salmond’s accusers are currently doing.

    Judges too often think that they’re so much smarter than the ignorant citizens that make up juries. Here in Australia I can think of at least two well-publicised cases where appeal judges overturned jury verdicts on the basis that the jury got it wrong. One was the recent quashing of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for child sexual abuse, the other was the fraud conviction in the 70s of Harry M Miller. Miller was a successful showbiz promoter who persuaded several major companies to back him in a computerised ticket booking venture using a software program licensed from a successful South African ticketing company. What the other shareholders didn’t know was that Miller had siphoned off $1 million into his own pocket. This was 40+ years ago remember, $1 million was big money then.

    The venture duly failed because of under-capitalisation. The CEOs of the investors testified that they would never have invested if they had known of the $1 million or that Miller didn’t have his own money at risk, “skin in the game” as it’s known. There was no doubt in my mind as a professional accountant that he was guilty of fraud, his whole scheme depended on deceiving the other investors. The jury agreed and convicted Miller. That on appeal he was acquitted was bizarre, but senior judges frequently show that they are complete ignoramuses about business matters.

    One of the things that has come out of Julian Assange’s travails is that Sweden isn’t the enlightened paradise that it is often portrayed. The Swedish prosecutor can have suspects arrested and held without trial purely for the purpose of interrogating them. Sex crimes trials are held in secret without benefit of a jury. Be afraid, be very afraid – this could be coming to Scotland one day soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stuart, you guess correctly. A shiver down the spine is putting it mildly! As you say, it seems we might as well just dispense with due process altogether and just proceed straight to conviction where certain offences are concerned, and it seems judges are just as prone to the madness as everyone else. Soon, criminal lawyers will be the only people left on the planet with any actual understanding of what civil liberties are.

      I have recent bitter experience of judges deciding in one of my own cases what a jury would have made of startling new evidence according to what THEY thought a jury SHOULD have made of it (nothing) so I’m broadly with you on that too.


      1. Sounds like Lady Dorrian excluding the WhatsApp messages and emails showing collusion among the Salmond accusers: move along, nothing to see here, don’t bother your pretty little heads with irrelevant information.

        If the messages are as damning as those who’ve seen them say then no wonder the LA and Fabiani are so desperate to keep them buried. Conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact.


  21. Well, it’s all go this week – or just another week in Scottish politics; that which seems to be trying to squeeze in to a few months all the events missing from 5 years of inertia.

    Did I miss a leak from the committee? In fact, did I miss that they interviewed the two complainers? I mean, I’ve been busy, but I still thought I was keeping up with news and events,,, maybe I dismissed it as irrelevant and didn’t pay attention?

    Yesterday was the Hamilton report published, fully redacted – did anyone else start twitching in that PSTD kind of way while reading any of it? Maybe it’s just me – I didn’t feel strong enough to read the whole thing, but reports say that it didn’t exactly exonerate the FM – as she claims, of course. But then, she claims she’s innocent & it’s everyone else’s fault on everything, so that’s not a surprise.

    There was a good suggestion by Meg Merilees who said she’d put “REDACTED” on her constituency ballot – I will see how things pan out over the next few weeks, but if all is lost, and it needs a spoiled constituency ballot, this is DEFINITELY the one I’ll use. Ah the irony.

    We should be getting the committee report today, soon, and I’m sure whatever it might say, that we’ll be told it exonerates the FM too. I really detest being treated like an idiot and being misled. Though I’m not expecting much of substance from it, I’ll be most interested to hear their recommendations – will they suggest further investigation or not?

    Gordon – on Craig Murray – did you watch his video (of despair)? He talked about the meetings with Somers & a complainer – but he didn’t seem to have the right events related to the right individuals, or have I got it wrong? It doesn’t take away from his main messages in the video, but I was a bit confused about that aspect.

    And how does this work, that the prosecutors are picking and choosing who to prosecute – not the court itself – not applying the contempt ruling equally and fairly – and at the same time we see those protected by the court order for anonymity make PUBLIC politically motivated statements, yet they don’t get any kind of criticism let alone criminal prosecution? The cross-over between political and criminal seems very unhealthy. Do we just have to accept COPFS is corrupt, and the body politic is powerless to fix it – or lack the will?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Contrary, I did watch Craig’s video, and he did indeed get a few important things wrong as well as making some excellent points. He acknowledged in an update one of the main ones about it being Ms A and not Ms B who met Somers but another important one is that it was Evans’s civil servants with input from Hynd, Lloyd etc who drafted what became the Sturgeon letter of 22 November 2017 so Craig’s speculation that it was Somers is wide of the mark too.

      Craig has acknowledged himself the awful personal toll that all of this has taken on him and, as a friend, I wish he’d now think only of himself and his family for a while and just get through this as safely and as sanely as he can. He’s done way more than his share and paid a high price whatever happens now, and all that he — and we — should be thinking about is his welfare.


    2. Agree with you there, absolutely Gordon, that Craig should be looking to his own health first and most importantly. I’m not sure he can easily do so, he has such a strong sense of social justice that he’ll find it very difficult to step back. I’m sure he has plenty of caring people around him that will encourage him to do so. He has done a great service to Scotland, and the fight will continue – and will likely still be ongoing by the time he’s ready to get back into the thick of it!

      I’m still hoping there is no custodial sentencing & that Lady Dorrian also steps back, she appears to be a bit TOO invested in getting continued publicity for sexual assault cases, and I’m not sure she can be thought of as impartial.

      I hadn’t seen the update correcting what Craig had said – what I found interesting after watching, though, was that it’s remarkable that he can still be charged with contempt of court when he has confused matters all the more (as to who might be who and which complaint might be whose) making it LESS likely to anyone could identify any of the state-protected identities. Some of the court reporting might have been a bit mixed up too. The charges are just so unreasonable anyway, though, I doubt any reasonable extra supporting evidence would make a difference. What a sad state Scotland is in.


  22. Funny, isn’t it, how the cross-party committee is ‘partisan’ and ‘politically motivated’, while the Scottish gov’t, a one party body, isn’t?


    1. Don’t worry, Contrary, there’ll be plenty of time to read the report and other new stuff because this whole thing isn’t going away any time soon.

      I don’t know if you, and other readers of the blog, have read The Final Days by Woodward and Bernstein but a recurring theme in the Nixon White House was congratulating themselves at regular intervals that they’d put Watergate behind them.

      Nuh-uh. Too many people knew too much about what had been done. Ditto here.

      Also, as Chomsky often points out, Watergate wasn’t like COINTELPRO and other (much worse) US Government operations where the victims were the Black Panthers or the American Communist Party and didn’t matter. Watergate was crimes against powerful political enemies who had the means and motivation to fight back. Ditto here.

      Sturgeon and her gang have, dare I say it, won the battle, but as for the war…


      1. Unfortunately I haven’t read much about Watergate at all, I only have a vague notion of what happened. I’ve seen people make parallels before though, and they chime with the little bits I do know. Like you say there – the continuing cover-up in the face overwhelming liklihood of full exposure,,, well, a precedent has been set by Mr Nixon.

        The Tories’ stupid VONC yesterday was a strange move – I can only assume that they are putting in a show for the look of it. Whether that show is to allow them to do nothing (and claim to have tried) and Nicola Sturgeon retains power, or to play for time to expose her nearer the election in the hope of collapsing her vote; I can’t tell. The SNP don’t seem to be aware they come across as being just as toxic as the Tories, they really are very unpleasant people.

        I have no illusions about it all going away soon – that IS my worry!! It would be nice to have time for other hobbies.

        Nicola Sturgeon has won the battle indeed, briefly, but as for the war,,,

        3 reports: the review of the procedure condemning it; the ministerial code inquiry report fudging words and too redacted to be comprehensible but hardly an exoneration; the committee report condemning the government behaviour. The only thing they miss out is direct blame and condemnation of NS herself – it is inferred though. I think the committee were definitely reading your blog Gordon 😀 , but they’ve concluded A Very Scottish Coup is the most likely scenario. Not sure they understand irony.

        Did you note the quotation from one of the complainers in the committee report? That she got zero support from the SG after the judicial review – they were effectively abandoned by the government: while the SG tell us about their holier than thou ‘duty of care’ and how the complainers are being ignored in all this – the only people ignoring them is the SG themselves! Yet the ‘news’ hasn’t bothered to report this dichotomy.

        With the BBC suddenly becoming very respectful of the first minister, we have lots of battles to go – a year ago the fear would have been that any exposure could have been devastating with the press tearing the SNP apart, now we face the difficulty of trying to get anything reported that makes her look even mildly dodgy! Yet so many hardline NS supporters don’t see anything suspicious in this,,,


      2. BBC radio Scotland news headline at 8am: “with the First Minister home and dry…”. Not, I note, ‘Sturgeon dodges the scandal’ then questioning if she can stay squeaky clean, or does it put a black cloud over her reputation. No questions in fact, just ‘home and dry’, and not ‘Sturgeon’.

        Just in case anyone needs an example of the step change in style of reporting.

        Oh – apologies – Gary is now asking about “is the integrity of Parliament in question?”

        Not the government??!!

        I need to stop listening now – I’m getting more furious.


  23. Reading the BBC website article “Salmond committee criticises ‘serious flaws’ of Scottish government” (, I’ve picked up on “And they (the committee) said they found it hard to believe that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was not aware of concerns about Mr Salmond’s alleged behaviour before November 2017.”
    Am I being naïve when I ask that If there were concerns, how is it that he was acquitted or found not proven on all counts? Or is this the committee gently putting a boot in on behalf of the FM?


    1. That’s stright from para 718, and is indeed interesting. On first reading I’t taken it as an interpretation of her always-had-doubts. But that’s not what it says.

      However, Mr Salmond was found not to have done anything criminal. In a job situation behaviour could be non-criminal but sufficient harassment to be a cause for concern. I guess even putting flowers on someone’s desk every morning could be interpreted as harassment.

      I with the BBC and others would refer to the Fabiani committee, not the Salmond committee.


  24. I’ve read or skimmed through the whole of the report. I’m not that interested in who knew what when, but there’s serious other stuff here. Despite the “Nicola’s cleared” hype in the papers, it’s a pretty damming report. It heavily censures the Scottsh Government for withholding and unnecessarlly redacting information (and who’s in charge of the SG?), and it strongly criticises both the office and the person of the Permanent Secretary (and which minister is responsible here?).

    It supports Gordon’s scenario of a coup by out-of-control civil servants. But even if that is what happed, there’s someone who’s job it is the know what’s going on and fix it.

    To me, any one of those is a bigger sin than getting dates wrong, and any one requires resignation by the FM.

    I didn’t listen to the VoNC today: was the question asked of the FM: “Do you still have confidence in thr Permaent Secretary?”.

    As an aside, I think James Hamilton should have been running this enquiry as well.


    1. I’m afraid James Hamilton’s findings have left me pretty dismayed. How can he say something wasn’t deliberate? He doesn’t know and that’s not his job in this matter. Further, he went on to disagree that there was anything amiss in rejecting legal counsel and pushing ahead with a case that wouldn’t hold up in court, costing the taxpayer around £600,000!
      So, no, I have to disagree.


    2. Robert, James Hamilton the man who did the same sort of whitewash job report in Wales for Drakeford. Drakeford then had to resign 5 days later despite Hamiltons whitewash report.

      Sturgeon and Swinney delayed the Inquiry findings right up to the days before the Parliament stopped for the election so that they could say the people of Scotland will have the final word in the election. They looked at what happened in Wales and went for the cynical delay delay approach.

      James Hamilton is not independent. His report is a joke.


  25. Another thought – the remit is “To consider and report on the actions of the First Minister, Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints about Alex Salmond, former First Minister, considered under the Scottish Government’s “Handling of harassment complaints involving current or former ministers” procedure and actions in relation to the Scottish Ministerial Code.”

    I don’t see any report on the actions of special advisers?


    1. Gordon as Robert and others says Hamilton body-swerved even the narrow remit he was given. Then with the cowardice of Wightman they were able to fudge Fabiani. But still Sturgeons official puppet and laughably enquiry chair, put the press right that she didn’t agree with the majority findings. They may have forced the lid back on the can of worms but some will still squirm beyond the rim. Hubris is a vice of political mediocrities who win over a pliant member base funded stakeholder ,and media.

      Sturgeon will make further miss-steps and she will put her red stilettos into somewhere unwelcome for the powers who are currently enabling her. For example by being pushed too far on independence, or some gesture on defence. And she will show that droit de seigneur when she faces criticism from bodies like Audit Scotland and Rowntree over educational performance and child poverty. Unlike like Rape Cris Scotland and “Equality” Scotland they are not her mouthpieces, and won’t be silenced. Pride always comes before a fall.


  26. James Hamilton is not going to keep getting gigs as “Independent this or that if he keeps finding the boss guilty” much easier to take the safe Kop out even when your own words in your own reprint scream guilty as the natural conclusion.

    Mind you he doesn’t seem to happy about his report being redacted. Perhaps if he had listened to Salmond more he wouldn’t have trusted Sturgeon not to mess about with his report.


  27. Mr Dangerfield, there’s something that’s always troubled me here, something that’s critical to the whole government story, indeed it represents the very start of the story and arguably everything else that followed was contingent to it. Sturgeon and others make reference to this repeatedly, over and over, and rely on it.

    So, this idea that the complainers came forward, has anyone ever challenged that or found evidence that the approach was in the other direction? As I see it, if it turned out that this whole process started with someone acting on Sturgeon’s behalf contacting the complainers and asking them to meet for a chat, about a new procedure they were drafting, for example, well, that would change everything, wouldn’t it?

    Of course, you might say there’s no evidence and that we are unlikely to see any, that it’s just another possibility perhaps, but it seems to me that someone could just ask them. Didn’t Craig Murray say he was in contact with one of them? Why not simply ask?


    1. This is something that I don’t properly understand. The narrative I’ve read is that complainant A had been apologised to at the time and continued to work for Salmond long afterwards. What year was this incident?

      Was the case only dealt with informally rather than whatever formal process was in place for serving ministers at the time.? Perhaps there was no formal process at that time?

      If it was dealt with how could it have been allowed to become the fulcrum of the new harassment procedure?

      It’s seems obvious that this incident would have been widely known in certain circles though I don’t recall it being in the media. Enough for then Deputy Sturgeon to have known about it which makes her statement that she had never heard of concerns regarding Salmond prior to Nov 2017 all but impossible to believe.


      1. Stephen, the incident happened in December 2013, and was dealt with informally rather than formally under the Fairness at Work procedure. As I understand it, Salmond made a face to face apology in his office to Ms A, as well as offering her an equivalent posting away from his office at the same salary and seniority level. the latter part was declined.


  28. Stephen.

    “Was the case only dealt with informally”

    Most formal procedures accommodate and encourage informal resolution. The distinction between formal and informal isn’t as clear as you suggest.

    If I was to tell you the date then I could be accused of assisting you in identifying the person. It goes without saying this was more than 7 years ago since Salmond left office in late 2014.

    They had the ‘Fairness at Work’ Policy in place at the time that generally covered various forms of harassment.


  29. Thanks Hercule for that careful answer regarding jigsaw identification which hadn’t occurred to me when I asked the question.

    From your answer it sounds like the matter was resolved by the fairness at work policy in place at the time.

    How then can it be that the same matter becomes the subject of another complaint system many years later? Is it because the complaint materially changed from the original?


    1. Because it was resurrected for a specific purpose by those who sought to use it for other ends.

      That’s why there was a trawl by the SNP.

      That’s why 200 police officers were deployed to dig dirt (none found).

      That’s why the Scottish Government/Crown Office involved the police against the express wishes of the women concerned.

      That’s why, in the words of one of them given to the enquiry, they were “left to swim” by the SG after they had served their purpose.

      This was NEVER about these women; it was never about crime (there was none); it was never about’ justice for women’.

      It was about 1. Getting Alex Salmond

      2. Effectively destroying the SNP as an instrument for independence

      3. Causing major disarray in the wider Independence Movement

      So far it has worked admirably – but is coming undone because they only wounded Salmond. Now he is coming back to get them.

      Only item 2. above has succeeded. The SNP is now merely an vehicle for Ms Sturgeon’s ego and the ambitions and bank accounts of its carpet-bagging ‘parliametarians’.

      Many years ago the Labour Party fell into the trap of thinking there was a ‘Parliamentary road to socialism’

      The SNP has fallen into the same trap regarding independence.

      A bourgeois parliament serves only the interest of its owners and sponsors – the ruling class.

      If the Scottish people really, really want independence, they will be unstoppable.

      But we have to really want it – and really want it for the right reasons – to take back Scotland for its people and their interests.


      1. Got to disagree with you here. The objective was clearly No 1, to eliminate Alex Salmond as a potential rival to Sturgeon’s position as First Minister for Sturgeon’s personal benefit. Nos 2 & 3 have simply been the unintended consequences of that bungled attempt to frame an innocent man.

        If you look at the total lack of any planning for independence during the last 6 years and the failure to grasp the golden opportunity provided by Brexit it is obvious that Sturgeon never intended to push for independence. The risk of failure is too great for her. Having pushed for Alex to resign after failing to have achieved a majority in the 2014 referendum she could hardly have avoided resigning herself should she similarly fail.


    1. Stuartm99,

      I agree with your above post (on motive getting Alex Salmond) absolutely in the case of Sturgeon’s motives (although as Gordon has pointed out these changed as things moved along).

      Neither should you estimate the virtue-signalling me-too element of Sturgeon’s motive – but at core you are correct that this narcissistic woman wanted a better leader, and one more intent on actually achieving independence, out of her way.

      But there were other players with other motives into whose hands Sturgeon played.

      Lesley Evans shared Sturgeon’s me-too motives, but as head of the Brit civil service in Scotland, she must surely have been involved in the overall aim of the Brits to undermine the Independence movement.

      There were undoubtedly Deep State players in this too – including the MI5 man who is the Crown Agent – and who played a pivotal role in escalating this matter to the criminal courts. The destruction of the SNP was a prime aim and causing disarray among the wider Independence movement is a bonus. Others lurk in the shadows, including in senior positions in the SNP.

      There were also at least some (one?) of the alphabet women who were motivated by revenge and perhaps in furthering their own political careers and the political careers of those close to them.

      There is also the interests of the large number of careerists and troughers now ascendent in the SNP, who have no desire for, or interest in, a speedy move to independence.

      This is a complex picture with many facets – but the fundamental point I wished to make is that the last thing this was about (except perhaps for one or two of the women) was “the interests of the women”.

      The women were largely the means, rather than the end.


      1. Hamish, they are not wee lassies. They are adults who made their choice. Whether they were bullied in to joining in or given promises of career advancement or revenge for other slights it was ultimately their decision. They deserve no sympathy only condemnation.


      2. I agree Cubby, but the fact that at least some of them were willing – and even enthusiastic – participants in stitching-up Alex Salmond, does not negate the fact that they were being used by bigger people in a bigger game.

        In expressing such a fact, I am not expressing either sympathy or support for them – and in at least two cases that I am aware of they were both complainers and coordinators of the plot – and hence utterly and doubly despicable.

        My point is merely to highlight the fact that they were pawns in a bigger game – the results of which lie in tatters before us.

        Result – for the Brit State.


      3. Hamish, if enough people vote for Alba then it may turn out to be not such a good result for the British State after all.

        Now wouldn’t it be good to see Salmond pulling up Sturgeon for inaction on independence in Holyrood.


      4. Cubby,

        I joined Alba within an hour of its launch. I resigned from the SNP today after nearly 40 years membership.

        I am ecstatic at this development.

        Saor Alba (in every sense)


  30. There’s a saying that you can’t change the past, but you can change the future. The whole process can and could only be justified to improve the environment for future women, not to try and go back and change what happened to the two who complained. Clearly, the complainers should have been better protected, and clearly they should have been able to feel that they were part of making a better future.

    I don’t think the original complainers were seeking revenge (I certainly hope not). But much of the comment seems to suggest that somehow revenge would have been justified.

    Where the complainers have been failed is that their identities have not been well protected, and they don’t have the satisfaction of having contributed to a better procedure. The Dunlop review of the procedure was done without reference to them.


    1. Robert, a lot of the comments seem to forget that justice should be available to the the accused and the accusers. The NEW Scotgov process denied any justice to anyone accused. Indeed they never even told ministers that the new process had been introduced.

      This one sided interpretation is taking us down the Sandy Brindley route whereby an accuser is always right. That being the case the logical extension is to do away with any trials and just declare the accused guilty. The move to pilot the changes suggested by Lady Dorrian – no jury and the accused doesn’t have to appear in court to be cross examined is a step on that same road. Defence lawyers will soon be redundant.

      Personally, I was sick of hearing from Inquiry members that the 2 women were let down – not one ever said Salmond was let down by a process that denied him any rights. The 2 women had their day in court and were found wanting. That is why they didn’t want to go to the police – they were lying.


      1. You are right Cubby on that last paragraph – I found it very disturbing that the committee joined in with the one-sided lack of justice already demonstrated by,,, well, by everyone nearly ,,, in this. They might think he’s big enough to look after himself, but that doesn’t mean he should be denied justice – and it doesn’t put women in a good light when they are all portrayed as poor helpless creatures.

        And, yes, equally disturbing are the Lady Dorrian proposed changes to do away with due process – that she seems to have a vested interested in such changes implies, too, that her,,, judgement (on, say, contempt of court charges) may not be wholly impartial.

        I can see this all ending very badly for everyone – meanwhile I can only hope it doesn’t get that far.


      2. Cubby
        Indeed. Above all, a fair process was required. Instead, a corrupt process was put in place by Evans with Sturgeon’s approval.


      3. Cubby
        I agree that justice should be available to all, and that the SG process didn’t provide justice to the accused.

        What I’m banging on about is the idea of “justice for the accusers” in the context of the HR process. I’m not getting my head around what this “justice” would look like. I know that revealing of identities is an injustice – but what’s justice? Part of “justice” is being heard, obviously, but beyond that … what?

        What would “justice for the accusers” look like? If they’d not been let down, what would an ideal and perfect process have provided to them?

        My own view is that an ideal and perfect process should result in people in the future being safer from harassment – that’s all. A HR process can’t seek to punish a former employee. It could at most record concerns, that record to be used if the employer were considering re-employing the person. It might as well be part of a reference if a potential employer were, with permission from the accused,to ask for a reference.


    2. Robert, following on the theme of my other post the Dunlop review didn’t reference Salmond either – did it.

      The British media have hardly mentioned the Laura Dunlop trashing of the process report. This is the process that Sturgeon and Evans continued to say, for years, was just fine.

      The British media are going soft on a Sturgeon.

      The British media are sticking the boot in to Salmond and his new party – Alba.

      That tells me who wants independence and who is happy with devolution.


  31. Gordon
    Looks like we need your input on “misfeasance in public office”!

    As a general question, if the alleged misfeasance is in public office, is it the defendant or the public purse (ie me) that funds the defence?


    1. Robert, misfeasance in public office is essentially an English tort (“torts” being the English name for the civil wrongs we call “delicts” in Scotland) but there is longstanding and venerable Scottish authority that “the categories of delict are never closed” so if we need to come up with a new one or import one from another jurisdiction to deal with an obvious wrong which does not fall under an already well-recognised particular delict then the courts are willing (if not exactly anxious) to do that.

      For those interested in more detail, the English tort was discussed in a 2010 Scottish case as follows:

      “The claim is for loss resulting from abuse of power in the exercise of a public office or function. The applicable law is derived from authorities both north and south of the border. In Micosta SA v Shetland Islands Council 1986 SLT 193 at 198 Lord Ross, after stating that, if conduct complained of amounts to a wrong, the law of Scotland will afford a remedy even if there has not been any previous instance of a remedy being given in similar circumstances, expressed the opinion that

      “‘…deliberate misuse of statutory powers by a public body would be actionable under the law of Scotland at the instance of a third party who has suffered loss and damage in consequence of the misuse of statutory powers, provided that there was proof of malice or proof that the action had been taken by the public authority in the full knowledge that it did not possess the power which it purported to exercise’.

      “He said that he had reached that conclusion on a consideration of inter alia English authorities relating to the tort of misfeasance in public office. In dealing with a claim involving that tort in Watkins v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others [2006] UKHL 17, [2006] 2 AC 395, at paragraph 29, Lord Hope of Craighead said that it is normal practice for rules regulating the conduct of public officers in Scotland to be the same, or at least substantially the same, as those by which the conduct of comparable public officers in England and Wales are regulated and that it would be a matter for regret if the remedies for a breach of these and other rules regulating the conduct of public officers were not the same on either side of the border. I agree with both counsel that it is appropriate to look to English authority on misfeasance in public office for assistance in identifying the elements of abuse of power in the exercise of a public office or function.”


  32. The way things are going under the cult of Sturgeon, I can see the US regime of Mass Torts a la John Grisham becoming mainstream in Scotland.
    Suppose they’ll be called Mass Delicts though.


  33. The Crown Office has been getting more stick from a court. The ruling in the Craig Murray case throws out one of the charges for being brought too late.

    It contains as well: “The court, and more pertinently the respondent, is entitled to expect that the basis for the
    allegations of contempt will be set out clearly and specifically in the petition.”


  34. That’s me sorted for the election.

    I will be writing REDACTED across the name of the SNP constituency candidate.

    I will be voting Alba on the Regional list.


  35. Vegans read no further.

    I am going to have a nice sirloin steak with a red Rioja reserva wine to celebrate hope being on the horizon in the shape of Alba.


    1. Well, no vegan me, so I hope your steak was as good as anticipated (it can be difficult to not make it too chewy so I avoid even trying to cook one these days – and I hope it was good Scottish or foreign beef – England hasn’t been cleared of BSE yet, remember!

      Alba Party is a good move – and well done to Alex for making that move, a master strategist and tactician: first, to be seen to be going something (taking Evans to court and putting in the complaint to the police), and then saying to let matters rest (for now, I took as unspoken), and well-able to field any of the dirt slung in his direction. The Alba party boosts the profile of independence and gives the movement some positivity, someone to vote for. His inclusion of Indy bloggers as well as the unionist press at the launch, another clever move – to make the ‘inclusive’ aspect a reality from the start (and in sharp contrast to the SNPs lack of inclusivity).

      The 6 weeks left timing is very tight though – it’s going to take a lot of effort to get them polling well among the general population too. And with the SNPs initial negative reaction that may be an uphill struggle. Good initial response from the rebel Indy bloggers sites posters though – large initial sign-up to the party, and that can only encourage others to do so too. (I won’t be signing up, probably, but will likely give them a bung). (I’m not party political)

      It certainly gives us hope, some kind of future to look forward to, and it was a political move badly needed.

      I’m putting [REDACTED] over my constituency ballot though – I feel that the square brackets make all the difference, and adds a bit of class.

      What strategy to take now, though? It looks like everyone critical of NS are willing to leave matters to rest for the duration, but again we have the unpleasant hardline Sturgeon supporters unwilling to see reason – a desire to keep stirring the pot with unsubstantiated and nebulous ‘he’s a wrongun’ , for what purpose? It will be difficult to stay silent, or put aside for now, criticisms – valid criticisms – of what the SNP has done.

      It looks like we won’t clear out NS et al before the election, but I suppose if the Greens are wiped out and Alba takes its place as the pro-Indy supporting party to an SNP minority Government, the SNP will have a much harder time getting their nonsense legislation through, and the parliament might have a better chance of holding the government to account – though that’s still an issue that needs to be rectified, and one that won’t be with NS in charge. If the SNP get a majority with NS in charge,,, that’s something I dread.

      But then, maybe we can put some reliance on the court action against Evans – if the court finds against her, we know Sturgeon will soon follow.

      The Alba Party – I can only see good things coming out of it with Alex Salmond’s backing (and it’s noble of AFI to stand aside – I wonder if that was with a touch of relief too).


      1. Contrary, The Steak ( Scottish from Aldi) and Rioja were very nice thank you. I like the [REDACTED] square brackets – so I’ll do that as well.

        I value my independence so I’m not normally one for joining political parties but I have decided this is a special circumstance so I will join to give the party a boost along with a financial contribution. Most of the SNP purchases I have bought have been binned. Only one remains a yellow SNP mug ( mug seems to be very appropriate) sitting unused at the back of the cupboard for a quite a while. The mug is now getting binned as well – sick to the stomach of Sturgeon and her gang.


      2. I agree – the abuse of power by the SNP is too much to stomach for me too, but I won’t naysay those that do want to vote for them either. Though I have just suggested the [REDACTED] on Wings for others that may be looking for spoiling suggestions.

        Mug as appropriate made me chuckle, but it’s not a fun thing in reality to realise we have been taken as such. I’m not a party political person either – I value my freedom too much – but I did note that Alex Salmond promised, pledged even, in the strongest terms, that all members and representatives will always be allowed to voice their own opinion. That’s a strong message after the SNPs behaviour.

        So I’m tempted to join – to add to the numbers, at least – but I’ll wait until the hoo-ha has died down a bit. (And the website isn’t so clogged, and we get to hear more on policies maybe in case there is something dreadful in there – I doubt that, but you never know).

        I hope there are enough voters that hear the message through all the dross and mudslinging – who’d have thought it from the so terribly ‘inclusive’ SNP of yesteryear – from the SNP and their sycophants. I suppose ‘Indy supermajority’ just needs to be repeated over and over again – why some people think this isn’t good for the cause of independence I can’t fathom. Folk can really be total weirdos at times.

        At least we have a real battle to fight for now! 🙂


      3. Sturgeon on the telly again smearing Salmond today saying he isn’t a fit person to hold office. As if she is a fit person to hold office herself. What a brass neck!

        I had considered voting SNP in the constituency but Sturgeon and her gang are just too crooked and nasty for me. If others can hold their nose long enough and vote SNP well fine but that’s not for me.


      4. Well, I always thought withholding a vote from the SNP was going to be a drop in the ocean anyway – more influence with a lower voter turnout – but more of a protest vote. The SNP are still very popular with the general population and it’s no longer the case that they ‘need’ our votes.

        Though, Nicola Sturgeon isn’t doing herself any favours with her continual bad-mouthing. But you see so many people following her lead, oblivious to the fact that it sounds snide and vindictive – not just ‘sounds’, it IS snide and vindictive – thereby upping the liklihood of putting people off (anyone with a conscience anyway) voting SNP and at the same telling them where to go if they DO want to vote independence – our brand new Alba Party.

        The Alba Party isn’t expecting votes from the general population anyway – and shouldn’t, I hope, need them – it’s about getting all the already Indy voting people on board.

        No, I won’t be responsible for voting a known corrupt government back into power, and certainly not for the promise of a nebulous referendum sometime ‘after economic recovery from covid’ (2050 ,,, 2060? I’m not sure what the current estimates are at). Alex Salmond has been clever by essentially promising to hold the government to account if he’s elected (so: vote SNP is okay) and also put in motion court action against Leslie Evans (so: vote SNP is okay, because Sturgeon will be sinking with the Evans ship). And I understand his reasoning, the Indy movement needs to use the general popularity of the SNP to keep up parliamentary numbers, and it’s the most prudent political move. But the most I will do towards that is to not advertise just how despicable Nicola Sturgeon is.

        I’ve already said on Iain Lawson’s blog, that I will not say anything about the SNP leadership, IF the sycophants give up with their unfounded and vague accusations levelled at Salmond; THEY have a choice to make. I think it’s time to start nipping this ‘personality politics’ in the bud, and get on with real political debate. Hah, if only.

        Anyway – what we do in the polling booth is between us and that polling booth only – I like the ultimate privacy and anonymity that affords.


      5. Thanks, Contrary, Cubby and others for keeping the discussion going on here while I’m off attending to other matters. Now that we’re all wheeshting for indy again I did wonder if I should even complete the Coup series but I’ve been very encouraged by people contacting me (though admittedly they were telling me to move my lazy arse) to demand the remaining instalments so they definitely will appear.

        I have no problem with voting pragmatically in principle but in practice I just can’t bring myself to vote Tory (the only constituency section Party with any commitment to free speech and women’s rights in Scotland) and nor can I bring myself to vote, even though I know it’s the pragmatically correct thing to do, for an SNP Government that I know to be absolutely corrupt AND committed to destroying free speech and women’s rights.

        So, like you Contrary, I’ll be spoiling my ballot in the constituency section and voting for Alba or ISP in the list section, depending on whether polling shows ISP to have a realistic chance of a seat or not.

        All other things being equal, it would be ISP hands down for me as they are a genuine bottom-up party with great, democratically decided policies whereas Alba for now are totally top-down — that is to say, Salmond-down — which is not an auspicious start. Of course folk will say Salmond had no alternative but to do it this way because of the need for secrecy etc. To which I say, well, we’ll see.

        So if anyone was wondering why I describe myself as a libertarian socialist or anarchist, and don’t share in the general euphoria on “our” side for the Return of the King, that’s why.


      6. Excellent! Glad to hear it Gordon – and I did wonder myself about the stalling of speaking out – yes, move your lazy arse, and get the rest of the Coup out to us as soon as possible,,,

        We know Leslie Evans will be getting sued in court soon enough, and it’ll be nice to be prepared: I also envision that being the start of the downfall of the covering-up team.

        Politically – yes, I hope the ISP keeps going as a party, they have really done well in getting themselves established, and it’s a bit sad that prominent politicians didn’t give them backing. Their policies are good, and their sentiment very good.

        I understand your concerns (uh-oh a PTSD-trigger word, I need a new word to use!) about the Alba party – and Alex Salmond can take the biggest blame for structuring the SNP in such a way that ended up leading to this impasse, but judging by some of his statement, I believe he has learnt lessons as well. What we have with Alba though – and as you say it’s top down, but that’s needed – is the boost to the yes movement after years in the doldrums, of being sidelined and used, and is absolutely necessary (there was never going to be inspiration from the SNP camp.)

        By heading the party and speaking for it – obviously a risk from the reputational sniping point of view – he has guaranteed it can be trusted to be pro-independence, people don’t need to guess.

        People trust Alex Salmond – and what we have is a master political strategist as guidance – his inclusion of grassroots cleverly done. People need that rallying leadership style & he will (and is) attract(ing) experienced politicians with level heads – and a bit of rebellion about them – for candidates. It is a last ditch ‘make use of the brexit protest – and the Sturgeon populist – votes’. Alba doesn’t even need him to get elected to parliament, in reality – it’s the rallying that’s needed, and the known factor that he CAN be trusted to have independence and Scotland as his first priority.

        For the long-term I’d like to see real parties like the ISP as part of a real democracy, but in the short term right now, to get independence, Alba, even with the top down structure, is the best thing to have – there will be a new vibrancy in the campaigning of the yes movement. I don’t share your scepticism about the ‘personality’ politics, of the populism that might arise – or maybe that’s me being too generally dispassionate and non-populist?!

        Allow folk their hope, and we’ll see how it pans out – I hope the ISP don’t stand aside, or if they do, it’s only for this election,,, also – who’s to say Alba will get enough candidates in time? ISP may be required too.

        Anyway – let’s get back to finding out how badly corrupt our current Scottish Government is – absolutely remarkable, was it not, that Nicola Sturgeon did not immediately fire Ms Evans after the committee report was published? Politically, a very bad move from NS, so can we only conclude one thing? That it’s imperative, for her, that nothing changes – including her getting back into the head of government? And the reason for that is the cover-up falls apart otherwise?

        I think those of us that have looked into matters of the SG behaviour in any depth – disagree though we might on which parts we find the most condemning (the fact that there IS a choice should be the most worrying part though!) – will find it near impossible to vote SNP in the current election.

        (Now I’m going to have to worry you’ve read this and I’ve delayed publishing the next episode by several minutes!)(and, no, I’ve not got much further on the spreadsheet – though it is shaping up to give a more coherent tale – I’m lazy too)


  36. My dilemma is very similar to yours. My MSP is Humza so there is absolutely no way I will be voting SNP with my first vote. I wonder about spoiling the ballot though. Labour might have a chance of actually unseating him and we wouldn’t have to suffer his wan looking coupon and disregard for human rights any longer.

    It’s a very sad state of affairs that someone like me is looking to the Tory back benches in Westminster for inspiration. If the Tories had a chance of winning Pollok, however contrary they might be to my sensibilities, I might consider voting for them. That would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago.

    It’s a conundrum all right. Wheesht for eff all I say.


  37. Scott, I’d personally vote Labour in a heartbeat in Humza’s constituency, as I would for Sarwar if I was in Sturgeon’s constituency. Because of the SNP’s insane and unlawful system of candidate ranking for the list, there’s a genuine likelihood I think that Sturgeon would fail to get in as second on the Glasgow list if she loses in the constituency and that would do more for the cause of independence, free speech and women’s rights than anything Salmond or anyone else can do.

    I’m in the Glasgow Provan constituency where I asked Ivan McKee straight if he would go along with the GRA, which I know he opposes, and Hate Crimes Act if elected. He said he’d vote in accordance with Party policy, which means he’d vote for HCA and GRA, so I told him he’d lost my vote.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gordon, Salmond couldn’t announce his candidacy for the Alba Party until after Hamilton and the Fabiani Committee had delivered their reports since it would have distracted public attention from those Inquiries. If those Inquiries had been concluded in a timely fashion (say by February) there would have been time to conduct a vote by Alba members for candidate selection. As it is with 6 weeks till the HR election that’s impossible so there’s no option but for Salmond to pick the candidates. Inevitably that means that the lead candidates have to be recognisable “names” like Salmond, McAskill and Hanvey. Unless the Alba candidates are recognised by the voters they won’t get any votes. Also contrast the news coverage that Alba has received in just 2 days with the virtual blackout that has greeted AFI and ISP. There may be more defections from the MSP in the next few days. Alba has cleverly spaced out the defections so that Alba stays in the news each day, Hopefully there’ll be a few more in the next few days.

      I haven’t lived in Scotland for 50+ years so I’m not overly familiar with SNP history but what I’ve gathered from the blogs is that the most critical changes to disenfranchise the members have occurred since Sturgeon became Party Leader – stacking the NEC with non-elected members, a Party rule suppressing dissent, rigging National Conference, etc. Salmond may have centralised some decision making but he doesn’t seem to have been undemocratic.


    2. I had a similar conversation with Ivan (whom I like and respect), and came to the same conclusion about voting. I sent him an emotional farewell, quoting: “Bad things happen when good people like yourself keep silent”.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. I think many are underestimating Alex Salmond ; he is irrespective of my own political sway , a significant strategic and tactical opponent , his years at Westminster will bear fruit .
    In relation to Women’s Rights , ALBA already have a Women’s Conference and have former head of Equalities of the SNP defect .
    Really pleased to hear that you will complete part 3+4 of A very Scottish coup Gordon 👏👏👏


  39. Gordon it’s really important that you finish the Scottish Coup series. It’s vital that there should be a complete account of the story that people can refer to in the future.


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