LIZ LLOYD’S INTERFERENCE IN THE SALMOND INVESTIGATION: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BIGGER PICTURE

Text messages now published in full by the Scottish Parliament show conclusively that Liz Lloyd, Special Adviser and Chief of Staff to Nicola Sturgeon, did interfere in the Salmond complaints process, contrary to vehement denials made on Lloyd’s behalf in March this year.

Lloyd has previously claimed that she only suspected there may be a formal complaint against Salmond some time in March 2018, that she did not know the full details of any complaint, and that she did not tell Sturgeon of her suspicions.

But the messages strongly suggest that Lloyd knew about the Salmond complaints in early February 2018 and that she was acting on behalf of her boss, the First Minister, when she interfered in the complaints investigation at that time.

Sturgeon herself told the Scottish Parliament that she knew nothing of the complaints until 2 April 2018 but later had to admit in her evidence on affirmation to the Fabiani Committee that she had in fact discussed them at a meeting on 29 March 2018, a meeting that she claimed had slipped her mind when she gave false information to the Parliament.

The messages also contradict the evidence to the Fabiani inquiry of top civil servant Barbara Allison, who swore on oath that she had no involvement in the Salmond investigation beyond “early contact” with the complainers in November 2017.

As the messages make quite clear, Allison was still playing an active and important role in the Salmond investigation in February 2018.

The background to the February text messages

In January 2018, Judith Mackinnon was appointed as Investigating Officer for the Salmond complaints. Mackinnon was then Head of People Advice, a very senior position in the Human Resources (HR) department of the Scottish Government. She was personally selected for the role of Investigating Officer by Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, a selection that has, among many other things, cost the Scottish taxpayer well over a million pounds to date, and will probably cost a good deal more in the future.

The complaints being investigated were those of civil servants Ms A and Ms B, both of whom later became complainers (under different letters of the alphabet) in Alex Salmond’s criminal trial. The anonymity of Ms A and Ms B is protected by two separate court orders and to disclose the identities of either would be a serious contempt of court.

On 5 February 2018, a Ms X was interviewed by Mackinnon’s investigation on the basis that she might be able to corroborate aspects of the complaints of Ms A and Ms B. Although she ultimately refused to provide information to the Scottish Government investigation, Ms X later became a complainer herself in the criminal trial (again, under a different letter of the alphabet). Her anonymity too is thus protected by a court order.

In common with other Salmond complainers, and on the basis of information which she herself has chosen to make public, Ms X was self-evidently someone who was close to Liz Lloyd and by extension to Nicola Sturgeon.

Liz Lloyd’s first text message

On 6 February 2018, Liz Lloyd texted Barbara Allison as follows:

“[Ms X] will ask to see you today. Best outcome RE her is that as HR told her yesterday they didn’t need her to corroborate anything and as she told them she doesn’t want to tell her story…that by the end of today HR decide they don’t need to speak to her and cancel it. She won’t say no because she doesn’t want it to look like [she] wouldn’t testify.”

I’ll unpack that message in much greater detail below, but you won’t need me to tell you what it means in essence:

The First Minister’s Chief of Staff who, like her boss, was supposed to know nothing about the Salmond investigation, was directing a senior civil servant in the outcome she – and by clear implication, her boss – wanted to achieve regarding the evidence of a potential witness.

And the outcome she wanted for Ms X was one where Mackinnon’s investigation of her evidence was shut down forthwith – “cancel it,” Lloyd says, “by the end of today”.

On 18 March last year, after fragments of the now published messages were made public, Ms X chose to issue a statement through Scottish Government mouthpiece Rape Crisis Scotland. In that statement, she and Liz Lloyd sought to explain this extraordinary intervention by the First Minister’s Chief of Staff in the Salmond investigation process.

(In a twist appreciated by fans of irony, Rape Crisis Scotland sent out an initial version of the statement which unwittingly disclosed Ms X’s identity to all its press recipients, then issued a second, identity-free version and asked all recipients of the first version to destroy it.)

Ms X began by stating that claims of “interference” by Liz Lloyd in the Salmond process were “fundamentally untrue” and that such claims “deliberately misrepresented” the content of the messages.

Well, we’ll go on to the other messages shortly. But let’s just pause here and consider Liz Lloyd’s message all on its own.

She tells Allison in terms what the “best outcome” of this part of Mackinnon’s investigation process should be.

She tells Allison in terms that she wants this part of the investigation cancelled that very day.

And she is the First Minister’s Chief of Staff, with all the power to influence and direct events that the title carries with it.

If that’s not interference in the Salmond investigation, even in the post-truth world of the Scottish Government and Rape Crisis Scotland, then I truly don’t know what is.

The world according to Ms X

Ms X’s public statement continued:

“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.”

Let’s pause again there. I’ve expressed my incredulity at this last claim in some detail in a previous post, and if it’s possible, I’m even more incredulous now that we have Lloyd’s full message.

We’re asked to believe that Liz Lloyd, a “trusted” colleague of Ms X, who is self-evidently herself a senior figure in the Scottish Government, was both willing and able to send the message above – with all its particular details of the investigation and its specific mention of corroboration of ongoing complaints – without finding out from Ms X any details at all of what she was getting herself into or checking in any way whether her intervention in this mystery investigation was even remotely appropriate.

If that is true, it would be bad enough and, in any organisation other than the Scottish Government, probably enough in itself to get Liz Lloyd disciplined or sacked, but the merest common sense, and everything that now follows, tells us surely that it just can’t be true.

Ms X’s statement continued:

“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.”

This, then, is the standard of logic and rationality at the uppermost echelons of the Scottish Government. The clearest possible interference by Lloyd in Mackinnon’s investigation – interference specifically labelled as such by Mackinnon herself, as we’ll come to shortly – is not in fact interference, according to Ms X, because it was carried out “in line with my wishes”.

Next time I have a client charged with theft, remind me to tell the court that it can’t be theft because he was only acting in line with his pal’s wishes.

Enter Barbara Allison

Barbara Allison is the senior civil servant to whom Ms X refers in her statement as “the most appropriate person to discuss the issue with”.

Regular readers of this blog will be all too familiar with Allison and her doings but for new readers she’s probably best known in the present context as the former director of HR who was appointed in secret by Leslie Evans in November 2017 to provide “pastoral care” for potential complainers, and as the person to whom Evans sent her infamous text on the day the Salmond judicial review was conceded:

“Thanks Barbara—battle maybe lost but not the war.”

On receiving Lloyd’s message about Ms X on 6 February 2018, Allison forwarded it on to Mackinnon, along with her own message:

“[Ms X] is coming to see me at [time redacted]. What would you want me to tell her? To corroborate info but agree it can not be used in info sent to him? Or should we ‘stand her down’? B x”

Let’s start with the last sentence of the message, and that highly significant use of “we”.

There is simply no ambiguity here. “We” in this context must comprise Allison and Mackinnon at the very least, and I’d say it extends pretty clearly in the context to the whole of Mackinnon’s investigative team, however large or small that may have been.

When Allison asks whether “we” should “stand her down”, she is not – and cannot be – asking the question as a disinterested third party offering pastoral support to Ms X in a process in which she is playing no other part.

Plainly, unambiguously, Allison is positioning herself as part of Mackinnon’s investigative process, and is asking Mackinnon, as a player in that investigative process, what “we” should do.

It is in that unambiguous context that Allison asks Mackinnon her two earlier questions, and makes her own very specific suggestion of what “we” should tell Ms X about how her evidence will be used:

“To corroborate info but agree it can not be used in info sent to him?”

The “him” referred to here is Alex Salmond, the subject of the complaints being investigated, as Ms X was by her own admission well aware.

Given then that the message being discussed – the one directing Allison as to the “best outcome” – had come not from Ms X herself but from Liz Lloyd, and given that, according to Ms X, Lloyd had no idea of the context in which she was seeking that outcome, might we not expect some intimation of that in this message from Allison to Mackinnon?

Might we not expect Allison to try to to ensure that Lloyd continued to be shielded from this highly confidential knowledge in any further action Mackinnon might take or any reply she might make to Lloyd?

At the very least, might we not expect some kind of warning from Allison to Mackinnon of the need to keep from Lloyd and her boss at all costs the identity of “him”, of the nature of the complaints for which Ms X was being asked to “corroborate info”, and of the proposed agreement with Ms X that such “info”, once used, would not be “sent to him”?

Of course, there is no such intimation or warning, because the idea that Lloyd was not already aware of every salient detail of what this process was, and against whom it was being directed, would have been as ludicrous then to Allison and Mackinnon as it is to the rest of us now.

Apart from anything else, they would both surely have assumed, as any rational person would assume, that the First Minister’s Chief of Staff would not be getting involved in such a momentous and sensitive investigation unless both she and her boss were fully aware of what they were asking of Allison and Mackinnon, and the full context in which they were asking it.

That they were aware of this is yet further evidenced by Mackinnon’s response.

What Allison said on oath

Before coming to that, however, let’s pause again to remember what Allison told the Fabiani inquiry, on oath, on 15 September 2020 about her role in the Salmond investigation:

“I had some early contact with the two individuals who ultimately became complainants under the policy for the handling of harassment complaints. Other than that early initial contact, I had no involvement in the investigation.”

And again on 27 October 2020:

“To the extent that it might be relevant to today’s session, although I had early and limited contact with the complainers, I was not involved in the investigation process.”

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that this evidence, given on oath, is directly contradicted by the terms of Allison’s own message above.

Contrary to her evidence to the inquiry, Allison was involved in the investigative process long after her “early contact” with the complainers Ms A and Ms B.

What is more, her involvement was not in some trivial matter of procedure or “pastoral care” of a complainer.

As is set out in black and white above, Allison was involved on 6 February 2018 in deciding, along with the Investigating Officer, what “we” should do about a potentially important witness whose evidence the First Minister’s Chief of Staff was overtly seeking to shut down and “cancel”.

In her October session of evidence – a session convened in part so that she could now be allowed to “remember” the “battle maybe lost but not the war” text which she had unaccountably denied ever receiving in her first session of evidence to the inquiry – Allison had the following exchange with MSP Jackie Baillie:

Jackie Baillie:… Have you ever expressed concern, or had concerns expressed to you, about interference by special advisers in the civil service complaints process?

Barbara Allison: Could you ask me that again?

Jackie Baillie: Have you ever expressed concern, or had concerns expressed to you, about interference by special advisers in the civil service complaints process?

Barbara Allison: During the investigation, there was some correspondence between me and some other people about somebody who was perhaps going to give evidence or be a witness. In my pastoral care role, I was asked whether I could offer support at that time. That is probably what you are referring to.

Jackie Baillie: I will leave it there for now. Thank you.

I don’t know what Jackie Baillie was referring to, but I do know it can’t have been Allison’s actions on 6 February 2018, at least if her answer to Baillie was truthful.

Because to describe Allison’s actions on that day as no more nor less than giving “pastoral care” and “support” to “somebody who was perhaps going to give evidence or be a witness” is to give up all belief that the English language actually means anything.

It is, in short, to enter the wacky, black-means-white world of the present Scottish Government.

Mackinnon’s response to Allison

Mackinnon responded to Allison that same day, 6 February 2018, as follows:

“[Ms X] did not tell us she didn’t want to tell her story or participate. She told us she was concerned and needed to consider. Liz interference v bad – promoting a climate that doesn’t encourage people to be supported to speak out. This contradicts the FMs own public statements about sexual harassment and doesn’t allow Perm sec to fulfil her duty of care. Bottom line is we can’t make her talk to us – but at least we needs reason why she won’t. Not for us to stand her down – she needs to decide she’d rather not and tell us. Think we need her to give us on writing that she doesn’t want to take part. Grrr. Jx”

If we were in any doubt about how Mackinnon viewed Lloyd’s extraordinary intervention, that last “sentence” is pretty unmissable:

“Grrr.”

So let’s unpack the rest.

Mackinnon begins by flatly contradicting Lloyd’s version of Ms X’s meeting with “us” – presumably Mackinnon herself, and one or more other members of her investigative team.

According to Mackinnon, and quite contrary to Lloyd’s message, Ms X did not tell the investigation that she did not want to participate but only that she needed to consider. For this reason, and others to follow:

“Liz interference v bad.”

I don’t often agree with Judith Mackinnon but she’s bang on the money here. It’s outrageous for the First Minister’s Chief of Staff to be interfering in this way with any ongoing HR investigation, let alone the uniquely significant and sensitive Salmond investigation.

Nor is Mackinnon in any doubt that by seeking overtly to shut down this area of Mackinnon’s inquiry, Lloyd is “promoting a climate that doesn’t encourage people to be supported or speak out”.

This is of course the very opposite of what Lloyd and her boss have always proclaimed and continue to proclaim about their motives and actions throughout the whole Salmond business, a point that Mackinnon does not miss either:

“This contradicts the FMs own public statements about sexual harassment and doesn’t allow Perm sec to fulfil her duty of care.”

For me at least, the subtext of this is also quite clear. Mackinnon assumes, as she has every right to assume, that Lloyd would not be taking this extraordinary course if she did not have her boss’s approval for doing so. Hence, it is not just a matter of Lloyd herself behaving improperly but of the “FM” having her own statements contradicted and the “Perm sec” having her duty of care thwarted by the very person charged with acting on the First Minister’s behalf.

So for readers who keep in mind the broader context of this remarkable saga, and who have read some of the other posts on this blog where I go on at length about the determination of the First Minister, her Chief of Staff and her Permanent Secretary to get Alex Salmond, this attempt by two of the three major players to shut down evidence potentially damaging to Salmond will – and should – require to be explained before we continue.

The broader context

In my view, the war fought against Alex Salmond by Nicola Sturgeon and her powerful clique of insiders has to be seen in distinct chapters to be properly understood.

The first relevant chapter for present purposes covers the period of the Mackinnon investigation from January 2018, when Ms A and Ms B made their formal complaints, to August 2018, when Evans issued her report.

For most of that period, the Sturgeon clique had two equally important and mutually compatible goals: (1) to get Salmond via the complaints of Ms A and Ms B; and (2) to keep Sturgeon herself entirely off the record as playing any part whatsoever in what was being done to Salmond with her full knowledge and wholehearted approval.

(Veteran readers might remember that my very first post on this blog detailed the process by which the whole complaints procedure was “recast” on Sturgeon’s behalf in early December 2017, precisely to remove Sturgeon from the central role she had played in previous drafts of that process and thus to insulate her as completely as possible from responsibility on the record for what was being set up for use against Salmond.)

Throughout most of this first chapter, and certainly during February 2018 when the events detailed in this post were taking place, the last thing Sturgeon or Lloyd wanted was for anything to take place on the record in the Mackinnon investigation that would connect the complaints being made in any way to them. Just as important was to make sure that Alex Salmond never got to hear of any such connection, on or off the record.

I’m very limited in what I can say about this for obvious reasons but self-evidently, the involvement of Ms X on the record in the investigation process presented such a danger.

Self-evidently, it was not, and is not, open to the average Scottish Government employee to approach the First Minister’s Chief of Staff for help as Ms X was able to do, nor to secure the kind of extraordinary intervention on her behalf that Ms X was able to command. It’s a mere statement of the obvious that Ms X was not an average Scottish Government employee.

The second relevant chapter begins in August 2018, when Salmond launched his judicial review and extends at least until Salmond was charged by the police in January 2019, within a couple of weeks of winning his judicial review and humiliating the Scottish Government.

During that period, for reasons which I’ve detailed at length elsewhere, getting Salmond at all costs became the only goal, previous concerns about connections of complainers to Sturgeon herself were all but abandoned, the plan to secure anonymity was hatched, and some of the most powerful people in Scotland became Salmond’s accusers.

Ms X was one of the accusers added during that chapter.

Mackinnon’s response to Allison (continued)

Mackinnon’s response to Allison continues:

“Bottom line is we can’t make her talk to us – but at least we needs reason why she won’t. Not for us to stand her down – she needs to decide she’d rather not and tell us. Think we need her to give us on writing that she doesn’t want to take part.”

And then, as we’ve seen, Mackinnon ends with probably the most eloquent comment she ever made on the whole sorry process:

“Grrr.”

The “bottom line”, as Mackinnon makes clear, is that her investigation is not going to do Lloyd’s bidding and let Ms X off the hook of being responsible for her own decision not to participate.

Further, Mackinnon will not allow Lloyd’s false version of Ms X’s interview on the previous day to stand and will insist on Ms X giving her own reasons in writing for now refusing to co-operate.

Allison’s meeting with Ms X

According to Ms X’s public statement issued in March last year, her meeting with Allison – which, remember was scheduled for 6 February 2018, the same day these messages were exchanged – then took place as follows:

“I then met with the senior civil servant and relayed my extreme apprehension about being involved in the investigation.

“They offered me reassurance that should I decline to cooperate that I would not be impeding the investigation.”

This surely can’t be right. Mackinnon had left Allison in no doubt whatsoever that she disapproved strongly of the behaviour of both Ms X and Liz Lloyd and regarded what they were now seeking to achieve as a contradiction of the First Minister’s own position and even a thwarting of the Permanent Secretary’s duty of care.

The idea that Allison would, that very same day, agree with, and offer “reassurance” about, the very thing that had driven Mackinnon to the point of growling in print, is surely preposterous.

How it ended

There is then a break in the published messages before they resume two days later, on 8 February 2018, with Mackinnon to Allison:

“Still not heard from [Ms X] – so proposing to send her this – As I have not heard further from you in relation to the investigation, I will take that as an indication that you do not wish to engage further with the process. – ok B?”

If there is any truth in Ms X’s version of events above, this would surely then have been the time for Allison to admit to Mackinnon that she had in fact already reassured Ms X that her refusal to cooperate would not impede the investigation and that this was why Mackinnon had not heard further from Ms X.

Allison’s reply was, however, very different: “Can you hold off a bit? Liz is getting me you a number to call her.”

“Will do,” Mackinnon replied.

“Ta. B,” texted Allison. Then, a bit later: “Hi. [redacted] is texting me now with her number apparently. Bx”

And, finally, Mackinnon to Allison: “Standing by. X”

And that’s as much as we know. It’s clear that Lloyd’s extraordinary interference on behalf of Ms X was continuing, and that the conduit for that interference continued to be Allison, who for her part continued to be thoroughly involved in this aspect of the investigation.

But it’s very far from clear why this was happening or what happened next or how the whole matter came to be resolved. Surely, though, this final sentence from Ms X’s statement can’t be all there was to it:

“I conveyed my decision to HR and had no further part in the process.”

And of course this evidence, on oath, from Barbara Allison continues to be as contrary as ever to the facts:

“I had some early contact with the two individuals who ultimately became complainants under the policy for the handling of harassment complaints. Other than that early initial contact, I had no involvement in the investigation.”

What it means

There is much of importance to be drawn from this episode and I hope I’ve made most of it clear in what I’ve written above.

But, at least for me, the overarching meaning of it is the meaning which looms over almost everything I’ve written about the Salmond complaints on this blog.

The episode is just one more piece in the 1,000 piece puzzle that, when fitted together, provides the most compelling evidence that Nicola Sturgeon knew about, wanted, and directed, the campaign to get Alex Salmond, and that she did so from the very start.

85 thoughts on “LIZ LLOYD’S INTERFERENCE IN THE SALMOND INVESTIGATION: WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE BIGGER PICTURE

      1. Pshew, Gordon!

        It’s difficult to know where to start.

        Clearly Liz Lloyd was interfering in February 2018… Right at the beginning of the shenanigans.

        And if Ms X had given testimony, as some expected, they would have had two complainers and a corroborator.

        That Ms X put up a delicate defence of her privacy and business, and would not be that corroborator… And that JMcK says to BA

        “[Ms X] did not tell us she didn’t want to tell her story or participate. She told us she was concerned and needed to consider. Liz interference v bad”

        She was concerned.

        The two initial complainers did not want to press charges.

        The Scottish Government found a way to bring it to trial by jury, trial by press barons, and trial by public opinion anyway.

        And the three people at the beginning… Cannot help but wonder about the forms of pressure they were under from v, v, v powerful people.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Tombkane, I would put the “concerns” of Ms A and Ms B about coming forward in a different category from the “concerns” of Ms X (and Liz Lloyd on her behalf) later in the process. As you’ll read in the next part of A Very Scottish Coup if I ever get it done, the concerns of A and B were all about HR being historically useless which is why B was so keen to get directly to Evans and A was so keen to get to Sturgeon herself.

        Evans, Lloyd and the rest were only too delighted to use A and B, who were “mere” career civil servants (albeit very senior ones) to get Salmond, but when Mackinnon tried to involve X, who was in a different category and much closer to them, on the record in the investigation, the danger was realised and the shutters went up.

        That policy of plausible deniability for Sturgeon and her clique, begun in earnest on 20 November 2017 after Ms A managed to get directly to Somers, the Principal Private Secretary of Sturgeon herself, was absolute by February 2018, which is why Ms X was seen as way too close to the real forces behind the campaign against Salmond to be anywhere near the formal record of the investigation; hence Lloyd’s interference to get her out of it.

        After August 2018, when it became get Salmond at ANY cost, and when anonymity could be more or less guaranteed because any proceedings would be criminal, all of that changed as I say in the post itself, and now these same people who had been desperately keeping their pals out of it were furiously trying to talk them into it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So this is why Lizzy is on an extended holiday in Ultima Thule.

    Imagine if Nixon had been able to employ a friendly judge to imprison anyone naming his conspirators in Watergate. One day soon the whole charade will be over, names will be named and prison will beckon.

    Liked by 16 people

  2. I have to admit, I’ve read this three times and my head is spinning – I think I need to revert to student tactics & print it out then attack it with my trusty highlighter pens 😁

    Seriously though, why is Craig Murray in HMP Edinburgh right now while these folk walk free? Do you think they will ever get what they deserve Gordon?

    Liked by 17 people

    1. Sorry, Molly’s Mum, I tried to make it as clear as I could. Your dedication is much appreciated though!

      I honestly don’t know at this point if Sturgeon and her gang will ever be held properly to account for what they did to Salmond. On the one hand, lots of people, including Scotland’s entire press corps, know what really happened and so they shouldn’t be able to keep it under wraps forever. On the other hand, the very fact that they know and continue to protect her is very discouraging.

      The thing is you just can never predict what might suddenly change everything, from the collapse of McCarthyism to the fall of the Berlin Wall to Milly Dowler and the phone hacking scandal so I believe in chipping away and being ready just in case…

      Liked by 17 people

      1. “On the one hand, lots of people, including Scotland’s entire press corps, know what really happened and so they shouldn’t be able to keep it under wraps forever. On the other hand, the very fact that they know and continue to protect her is very discouraging.”

        Discouraging, up to a point. It is a weapon that she knows they have; one to which there is no defence. It also means the FM is compromised; she knows this and has to tread carefully or suddenly the story will be in the open and she will be exposed.

        Like MacBeth (so many parallels with MacBeth – there seems to be much “screw your courage to the sticking place” going on), in his ‘tomorrow and tomorrow’ soliloquy, the cost will increasingly become a burden to her – it is a Pyrrhic victory.

        Hell mend her

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Yes, I wish more people could see how odd it is, on the face of it, that Scotland’s entire mainstream press corps, who still hate the SNP and loathe the idea of independence, have become fans and protectors of Sturgeon and her Government. As soon as you ask yourself why that is, everything falls into place but until you do, the cognitive dissonance must be all but overpowering.

        Liked by 14 people

    2. Actually, thinking about this, the ‘weapon’ the Scottish press holds represents Mutually Assured Destruction; it will take down NS for sure, but it will also reveal the role of the press in concealing the reality of what went down AND the malign influence of the UK government over the current FM.

      The ramifications of that may be difficult to contain

      Liked by 9 people

  3. Thanks for all the time you have taken in attempting to explainerise this maze of corruption and horror , like MM I had to work hard ( sore heid ) to eventually unwind it , but as you say when unwound the depth of the lies and perjury is unbelievable , and what is even MORE UNBELIEVABLE is not one of these dissemblers of the truth has faced or is facing (currently) any penalty or criminal charge for their BLATANT DEBASING of Scotland’s justice system

    I have said before how can ANY honest member of the senior justiciary with any integrity and belief or pride in their profession sit idly by while an innocent man rots in jail who has attempted to inform the public of a great wrongdoing being perpetrated willfully and deliberately on a former FM another innocent man by a coven of wretches determined through any and all means legal or illegal to denigrate and destroy the integrity and character of that former FM for political and selfish reasons

    The blatant and open failure of the COPFS for which it is now becoming globally renowned for in ignoring multiple cases of deliberate and willful perjury whilst pursuing energetically and passionately proven malicious prosecutions whilst facing no repercussions

    Liked by 11 people

    1. It’s on the To Do list, Tenruh, currently sitting at about number 150. And yes, it does look gloomy but as I said to Molly’s Mum, we all know that things can change rapidly because of events no-one could have predicted, and even if they could have predicted them, would never have thought they’d have the consequences they turn out to have.

      Who’d have thought in late September 2014 that the Indy movement would be where it is now or predicted how that came to be? Things can change just as dramatically and unexpectedly in the other direction.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. Or for a Ken Loach-type film-maker to put it into fiction and reveal all, like ‘A Very British Coup’ revealed the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the British Establishment in politics……oh, wait…..

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Like others above I will have to read this several times. Your writing is very clear so any difficulties are due to my wee heid not being as sharp as I would like!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kind of you to say, peeliewallie, but I will definitely look at ways to improve the clarity of presentation. Meantime, I’m sincerely chuffed that you and others are putting in this degree of commitment and effort. As we all know, that’s not exactly common in this soundbite and slogan culture.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Gordon – fascinated by your description of the complicated facts around this scandal. Do you have any information about the timing of the presentation of Woman H’s testimony into the investigation by McKinnon. It is this testimony and it alone that enabled Evans to take it all to the Police.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Alison. There’s a lot of understandable confusion about this because we all have to be so careful about the identities of the complainers and it really inhibits what would otherwise be quite legitimate, indeed necessary, discussion in the public interest (see my reply to anandprasad) but, still being careful, let me try to make things a wee bit clearer.

        Woman A in the Mackinnon investigation became Woman F in the criminal trial; Woman B in the Mackinnon investigation became Woman K in the criminal trial; Woman H in the criminal trial, as far as I know, played no part at all in the Mackinnon investigation as her complaint in around October/November 2017 was to the SNP Compliance Officer who agreed with her that he would sit on it and use it as necessary.

        Clearly, that then became a police complaint some time after August 2018 when Evans went to the police, Salmond launched his judicial review action and the conspirators got busy drumming up all the complainers they could.

        I think that is about as much as is in the public domain, but I explore it in a bit more detail here: https://gordondangerfield.com/2020/11/06/the-institutional-bias-of-copfs/

        Liked by 5 people

  5. Gordon, what your excellent forensic analysis highlights, is that there should be a judicial enquiry where, under oath, the parties are subjected to cross-examination on their statements and previous evidence.

    For Jackie Baillie to have curtailed her questioning by “leaving it there, for the moment” is in itself, somewhat sinister. Why leave such an intriguing and inadequate reply “there for the moment” and not revisit it further, unless she either didn’t understand the significance of her own question, or was content to let the inadequate response stand.

    Each breakthrough you achieve is a further blow resulting in the cracking of the dam. And before long the wall be breached and the truth will be out. As the late Leonard Cohen sang, “what is done in the dark will be brought to the light”.

    The fact that, ultimately the lies will be revealed in all their awfulness and the liars shamed, is no comfort to those like Mr Salmond, Mr Murray, Mr Hirst and others who have paid, and are continuing to pay, for this foul calumny.

    Please keep going for it is only persistence that will bring about the truth.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Ingwe, Jackie Baillie said that more than once. My sense is that she wanted to ask more questions but couldn’t, so as to avoid jigsaw identification. Either that or to avoid getting into a pointless spat with the convener. Her tone said a lot more than words on a page.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Skip_NC- I take your point about possible avoidance of jigsaw identification. However, I watched almost all the Fabiani enquiry, live, and there were so many times where the questioner (usually but not exclusively, Baillie) had the person on the defensive only to “leave it there for the moment” never to return, that one, experienced in cross-examination, became concerned that there was unexplainable reticence, to introduce the stiletto.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Ingwe, I agree Jackie Baillie’s failure to pursue a definitive outcome to her line of questioning on more than one occasion and with other witnesses, particularly NS, exposed her to justified criticism and devalued entirely the concept of inquiry as we understand it to be. Along with Andy Wightman her role was more aligned with setting clues to a crossword rather than presenting the general public with the indisputable answers.

      There are, I am sure, many who would concur with your view of the need for a judicial enquiry however, for it to have any meaningful consequence it would require to be held within the remaining term of office currently occupied by Nicola Sturgeon. Gordon through his forensic application might yet hasten that day!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agree wholeheartedly with yourself and Ingwe regarding a judicial enquiry , Gordon myself and many others have also expressed a need for such to fully expose the depth and scale of the corruption , lies , conspiracy , involvement of the perpetrators , the level of perjury , the role of the Lord advocate , who determined the level of redactions and what were the reasons behind them , why was the enquiry committee skewed in the SNP favour and who determined that Fabiani would chair
        There are SO many reasons why there should and must be a judge led inquiry , that is why I repeatedly refer to the justiciary , are they content for Scottish Law once revered throughout the world as an example of right and fairness to be debased , corrupted and dragged through a fetid rancid pile of excrement by a cohort of liars , perverts and fraudsters

        Liked by 8 people

      2. I share the concerns raised here by others and also agree about the need for a judicial review. We got the outcomes of two Inquiries just days before Holyrood went into recess. Sturgeon trashed one outcome and claimed the second had “vindicated” her and then, that Parliamentary session was over. (Bear in mind, the Committee Inquiry went on way longer than was intended because of the deliberate delays caused by Sturgeon’s government repeatedly stalling and failing to provide all the information requested.) Another short post-election session has been and gone since then with no move to look closer at the shocking facts which emerged. Why is that?
        I recall Anas Sarwar declaring that Labour would be calling for a “judge-led inquiry”. Where are Labour with that then?
        Like others here I watched the Inquiry sessions at Committee. What I felt however was that Linda Fabiani very much controlled everything. This could have been what made some members hold back. Fabiani, frankly was a disgrace. As for “Party-politics”, no one played that game more than Sturgeons own MSPs who are such nonentities that I can’t even remember their names! The female was Maureen Watt, I think? The sheer hatred on her face and in her tone when she questioned Salmond was embarrassing.
        I’m wondering, if Salmond still intends to go ahead with his legal action against the Scottish Government, an awful lot of stuff which wasn’t allowed to be mentioned during his own judicial review and at the trial, can be raised. HIs announcement about that action was made in March this year but I can’t find anything else since.
        Things move on very quickly. The longer this lies the harder it will be to get any light shone on the mountain of murkiness, from which the stench emanating is pretty overpowering.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. Thanks for pointing out the correct Leonard Cohen verse. I think I may have confused a similar sentiment, by the late Johnny Cash, another favourite.

    Like

  7. Hah! Laughing as I wasn’t suggesting, for a second, Gordon that you were correcting me. Simply pointing out my all too frequent confusions now that I’m an old fart!

    Like

  8. Thanks for all your hard work in this Gordon. I felt that NS was behind the whole corruption of the law from the start. That is why she had the law hanged to allow prosecution of a former FM. It is now my dearest wish that she is eventually brought using this change against her. As you say in the comments here, things can change quickly. I am sure AS and some clever people like yourself are working on finding the chink in her armour that is not being protected by the British state and MSM.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. This is a sickening affair which has poisoned and damaged Scotland. How these people have the nerve to continue in public office is beyond my understanding. Why don’t they slink off into the undergrowth where they belong where they should wait until the law catches up with them. It will, won’t it? Surely those who have committed perjury will not get away with it to live out their lives without paying a price for what they did to Alex Salmond?

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I agree completely. Why has Woman H for example not been charged with perjury? Does it have to be solely the prosecution services that deal with perjury or can Alex Salmond’s legal team do it? Anyone know? And Gordon you say Ms X became a complainer – do we know what letter she became?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would have to be COPFS for any perjury charge, Alison. In theory an individual can bring a private prosecution but in practice it’s a non-starter, not least since COPFS have to consent to it. Re Ms X, I don’t know what letter she became, but we can rule out letters A, C, F, H and K so it’s one of the others.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for this, Gordon. As I once previously responded to a post of yours, OOFT!

    One of the things that made me cringe, and it’s not important, but it shows you how bloody unprofessional these eejits in senior posts are that they end messages with kisses!

    On the important stuff, this is truly damning evidence and, furthermore, evidence that these people appeared under oath before the Parliamentary Committee and lied! That’s known as perjury. Why are they getting away with it?

    Others, along with you, have noted in this thread the utter failure of the Scottish media to scream from the rooftops about this whole shocking affair. That’s the real scandal. It sends out a terrible message, one which suggests that the Scottish media are even more bent than the politicians. For, throughout, the Scottish media backed Sturgeon to the hilt even when she was not being honest herself in front of the Committee, even when her government had reneged on its commitment to provide all information required to the Committee and even when, after saying she would abide by the Committee’s findings, Sturgeon utterly trashed those findings publicly and repeatedly! (There was certainly some idiotic behaviour at times by some members of the Committee but that in itself did not give Sturgeon the right to trash the Inquiry altogether.) The media let her away with that and also stayed silent when, following the publication of the separate (heavily redacted) Inquiry findings, Sturgeon declared she had been “vindicated”. My view is that the media backed her for one reason only. They hated Salmond more and delighted in the feast before them as his character and reputation were being utterly destroyed. They were actually hoping he would go to jail for many years. The actual truth didn’t matter to them.

    What will happen now is difficult to predict and I can only speak for myself. I did not vote, as usual, for the SNP in May and I will never vote for them again. It isn’t just Sturgeon, there are many others around her who should be speaking out and are not doing so. For me, they are as bad as she is. The damage she is also inflicting on the domestic front grows by the day. It would make you weep. When you think how refreshing new SNP policies were back in 2007 and look at what’s going on now it is terrifying. She admitted herself that they had taken their “eye off the ball” on the drugs issue only months ago yet, still, the priority is this Trans rights business. Yesterday Shirley-Anne Somerville announced that SEVENTY pages of guidance were being sent to schools regarding support for trans-gender pupils. Separately, a “trans-woman” heading Rape Crisis in Edinburgh announced that “rape survivors” needed to be educated (during counselling) about “bigoted and transphobic” views. The path Sturgeon is taking us down is one where women in her own Party who opposed it were attacked, threatened and rubbished. The MPs and MSPs who failed to stand up and condemn this behaviour disgust me. I just see the whole Party as utterly contaminated and the unwillingness to do anything about it is deeply worrying. I don’t know what the answer is.

    Liked by 11 people

      1. sadscot and ruri, I’m furious about all of these things too. A phrase you often hear from the activists behind the “gender identity” and related madness is that they are on the “right side of history” and I suspect that this is genuinely a big motivating force for Sturgeon and her clique.

        They know that they are not going to deliver independence, nor do they even want to at this point, and they must at least suspect that no-one is ever going to remember or celebrate them in years to come as the tepid managers of rampant UK neoliberalism that they now are.

        That just leaves the reality-denying gender and related policies which I think they really do believe (because they’re cult-captured idiots lacking the common sense they were born with) are “progressive” and for which they’re falling over themselves to be remembered, and thanked, by future generations.

        Nothing motivates me more at present than helping to ensure that doesn’t happen.

        Liked by 7 people

    1. “Why are they getting away with it?”

      My own research (for my book ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’) suggests that Scotland is effectively under colonial rule. This implies that Scotland’s social institutions will tend to be colonial in nature and purpose; hence any ‘native’ campaigning for independence should not expect much from such a justice system – as we see in the increasing volume of ‘political’ prosecutions.

      George Osborne alluded to the notion that UK control of Scotland rests in the hands of what he termed ‘the arms’ of the British state in Scotland, which are Crown (i.e. COPFS + Police) and Civil Service. These are the principal state entities and actors behind the Alex Salmond cases, and other prosecutions, and who appear to have a degree of immunity from prosecution, as also seems to be the case with secret service personnel/activity. This immunity would also seem to reflect the colonial (i.e. adversarial) reality of the situation and in particular the ‘threat’ which Scottish independence is perceived to represent to the ‘integrity’ of British state, and the latter’s ongoing response to that ‘threat’.

      I would be interested in Gordon’s and any other views on this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Many thanks Alf, I’m an admirer of your work and agree completely with what you say here. I too would be interested in the thoughts of others.

        I think we see the ideological effects of it playing out every day in the “Scottish cringe” of the middle and political and media classes, from their disdain for working class people waving Saltires and refusing to support the English football team right up to their anxious acquiescence in the colonial control of “Scottish” institutions as you say. When a figure of the stature of David Hume was writing letters to pals about how well he was doing in eliminating “Scoticisms” from his writing, you know it’s been an integral part of our culture for a long, long time…

        Liked by 4 people

  11. Gordon,
    Is the legal action against the SG, announced by Salmond back in March, still ongoing? I do hope so for that is the only way I can see certain facts being able to emerge.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Gordon,

    I cannot thank you enough for the application and detail you lay out here it is very helpful.

    Since the Fabiani Enquiry is now dormant, even though that which you reveal here is not unimportant. Significant officers of the SG and the State are now moving on gives it the feel ‘its over ‘ with.

    I have a sense that Holyrood all to easily can ‘mark its own homework’ this is very bad for the Scottish People….and its not our starting point……sadly unless something changes it could be our destination.

    Many thanks again…..Jimmy

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Sturgeons Scotland

    Liars under oath before the Scottish parliament and liars under oath in a criminal trial go unpunished.

    Craig Murray tells the truth and is imprisoned.

    A corrupt COPFS.

    As one of your ” veteran readers ” who said Sturgeon was behind it all from day one the problem is getting independence supporters to engage with the reality not the fraudulent image put out by Sturgeon and her gang.

    Great work Gordon. I would like to say more but have no desire to join Craig Murray in jail.

    Sturgeon The Betrayer will be her legacy.

    Liked by 10 people

  14. If a book was written with all the names revealed along with their ahum, multiple roles and it was published abroad, would that ever be feasible? Isn’t there a spy book which was released that way?
    It is really not possible for the ordinary person to grasp the significance of all this without names and job descriptions. These essays are absolutely brilliant, but it still feels like Gordon has one hand tied behind his back even though many of us know what he can’t say here. I hope that is not perceived as a criticism, it certainly isn’t meant to be. I consider Gordon’s work on this as heroic.
    Even with the Rape Crisis Scotland news this week, we have to tread ever so lightly and that again dilutes the corruption.
    It is these double, and triple threads which tie the knot. Without them the deniers and guilty parties just scream ‘conspiracy theory’.
    Scotileaks where are you?

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I remember the Spycatcher case well, anandprasad, because the brilliant Australian lawyer who fought it in the Australian courts, and won against all the odds, was Malcolm Turnbull, who went on to be Aussie Prime Minister, a job at which he was, er, not so brilliant.

      That case also gave the world the wonderful phrase “economical with the truth” when used by the then Cabinet Secretary, meaning that he’d told the truth but maybe not quite ALL of the truth (the reason, incidentally, why the oath or affirmation is to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth).

      I honestly don’t know what the current law is on publishing abroad, though, and I must admit that I’m not really curious to find out. In my view, there’s one proper way, and one proper way only, to tackle this issue, and that is by way of an application to the High Court to vary or recall Lady Dorrian’s section 11 order preventing the Salmond complainers from being identified.

      Reading between the lines of the court’s decisions in the Spectator application and Craig Murray’s case, I’d say the court is most unlikely to be sympathetic at present but that can change depending on how much we can bring to light about the conspiracy against Salmond, and about perjury in his trial. (Personally, I think there’s a good case to be made already about the very marked chilling effect the order continues to have on what would otherwise be legitimate and necessary discussion in the public interest of high level government corruption as against the value of, say, someone who said she got her knee touched in a car not being identified, but that case can ONLY be made to any useful effect in the High Court of Justiciary.)

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Reading your comments about the only proper way forward being the High Court of Justiciary it struck me that justice has been stolen by despots and charlatans. Your profession is diminished, and but for the contributions of such as yourself, appears self serving and self preserving.
        If we as a people cannot trust justice to be done by the Justiciary, then what worth has that Justiciary. This is how lawlessness begins.

        Liked by 5 people

  15. Excellent once again Gordon, Every time you write I see the house of cards teetering on the edge of collapse, with the Hoker quaking in her jimmy Choo shoes. Can’t wait to see all the fallen cards spread out on the table. Thank you

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Great play has been made of the waste of public funds by the Scottish gov in the persecution of Alex Salmond. This amounted to approx £500k (probably more in practice). A Parliamentary Committee was set up to look in to the matter.

    COPFS are now well on the way to wasting £30million with a lot more to come. Why no investigative inquiry at present from any source? Is it because of ongoing cases? If so how long must we wait and how high do we let the bill get before some of those chancers in COPFS are held accountable.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Thanks for that Gordon. ” So it will happen” – but when?

        I read Duff and Phelps are now looking for over £100 million in compensation.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Owing to interruptions, this is my 3rd attempt to read from beginning to end this amazing blog plus comments I am just so thankful we have honest, highly intelligent people like Gordon Dangerfield willing to take the time to bring to light the corruption perpetrated by many of those in our Scot.Gov.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Isn’t it depressing that “the media”, the people actually paid to bring us the facts, don’t want to know and are actually pretty corrupt in their own right?

      Liked by 4 people

  18. Of course, re the ms x statement, “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.” Lloyd already knew the origin of the complaint, so there is no need to inform her.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Hi Gordon, just wondering if the Lord Advocate has replied re Mark Hirst. I believe the deadline you set was the 12th August.

    Like

  20. Amazing and shocking read – a couple of reads just to get my head round it all.

    I do not understand why those involved were granted anonymity in perpetuity , particularly as Alex Salmond was found innocent. Surely there was then a time to name those involved?
    Why should those found slightly less than truthful be allowed to remain unnamed?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ‘Slightly less than truthful’- I would have to say in the case of Woman H that is a serious understatement! Her testimony was proven to be a complete lie from start to finish. Hard to attempt to rape someone who was not just in the building but not even in Edinburgh on the night in question. Surely this must be taken back to court to remove her anonymity and start a prosecution for perjury.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. They should be allowed anonymity for the sake of future potential complainers – that’s the whole point of anonymity. In my view the anonymity should continue until a verdict on perjury happened.

        That way all the doubt stays on the “right” side, and “we” have the moral high ground.

        “We” should be trying to publicise the actions of the civil servants and politicians – there’s enough material around to fix then as it is anyway.

        Like

    1. This is a reply to Robert. So, if you are accused, and found not guilty, you may not publish your defence openly without fear of imprisonment, and your accusers, and anyone else — including BBC journalists, the entire main stream press, MPs, MSP’s and even the First Minister can write and speak innuendo about you with complete impunity? The only way your proposal for anonymity could be just, would be if anonymity for the defendant also continued until the court delivered a guilty verdict against the accused.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Excellent work Gordon, thank you.
    As alfbaird mentioned above UK control of Scotland rests in the hands of the Crown (i.e. COPFS + Police) and Civil Service.
    Is it any wonder they will do anything to prevent Independence?
    They must be aware that after Independence there will be a reckoning and it will not be pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

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