THEY CAME FOR MARK HIRST

On 7 January 2021 my friend Mark Hirst was acquitted of the charge brought against him by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). His alleged crime had been the practice of journalism. The court made clear in upholding the defence submission of no case to answer that comments Mark had made on aContinue reading “THEY CAME FOR MARK HIRST”

SEX AND GENDER: A REQUEST FOR CLARITY

I’ve just sent the following letter by email to SNP Councillor Mhairi Hunter who is, I understand, a close confidante of the First Minister. I’ll let readers of this blog know if I get a response, which I promise to publish here in full. Dear Ms Hunter I have been reading with interest your tweetsContinue reading “SEX AND GENDER: A REQUEST FOR CLARITY”

PETER MURRELL EXPLAINS WHY RETROSPECTIVE PROCEDURES ARE UNLAWFUL

My apologies to readers who have been waiting for the promised expansion of my last post. I’m afraid that is turning into a very long post which I expect to publish this week. Meantime, Peter Murrell this morning must surely be the least impressive witness yet at the inquiry, and that is saying something. HeContinue reading “PETER MURRELL EXPLAINS WHY RETROSPECTIVE PROCEDURES ARE UNLAWFUL”

WHEN BLACK MEANS WHITE: THE ZANY WORLD OF THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT

Yesterday, John Somers told the inquiry that he had no involvement in the development of the procedure which was used against Alex Salmond. This is not true. Somers, in his capacity as Nicola Sturgeon’s Principal Private Secretary, had a key role in developing the policy at a critical time. On Wednesday 6 December 2017, afterContinue reading “WHEN BLACK MEANS WHITE: THE ZANY WORLD OF THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT”

THE INSTITUTIONAL BIAS OF COPFS

In an encouraging display of backbone, the Convenor of the Salmond inquiry has written to the Lord Advocate pointing out that if Barbara Allison and the Scottish Government can use COPFS as their own private data store, then maybe it’s time the Lord Advocate provided the same service for the inquiry. As the Convenor pointsContinue reading “THE INSTITUTIONAL BIAS OF COPFS”

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

A redacted version of the Open Record which sets out the pleadings of the parties as adjusted to the time when Leslie Evans and the Scottish Government finally conceded defeat was published by the Salmond inquiry on Friday. It contains page after page of shocking detail which should put to rest once and for allContinue reading “WHAT DID THE FIRST MINISTER KNOW AND WHEN DID SHE KNOW IT?”

STURGEON: “JE RECUSE”

One aspect of the First Minister’s abdication of her responsibilities which seems to have passed unnoticed in the Salmond inquiry is her decision to “recuse” herself from providing the Scottish Government’s evidence to it. It’s difficult to ascertain exactly when this decision was made or when it was first communicated, so I have submitted aContinue reading “STURGEON: “JE RECUSE””

SALMOND INQUIRY: AN ESSENTIAL QUESTION

In August 2018, in a story breaking the news of the formal complaints against Alex Salmond and the Leslie Evans investigation of them, journalist David Clegg wrote in the Daily Record: “Acting on a tip-off, we submitted questions to the Scottish Government on October 31 last year, in a bid to ascertain if any complaintsContinue reading “SALMOND INQUIRY: AN ESSENTIAL QUESTION”

SALMOND INQUIRY: THE BLUNDER THAT GIVES THE GAME AWAY

In my first post on this blog, I detailed how the Scottish Government procedure for handling complaints against former Ministers was radically “recast” in early December 2017 so that, bizarrely, it now excluded the First Minister completely from any role in it. The “recast” turned over the entire responsibility for investigating complaints and deciding whetherContinue reading “SALMOND INQUIRY: THE BLUNDER THAT GIVES THE GAME AWAY”