The Salmond Stitch-Up – the Incredible Facts, and why Mackinnon and Evans Must Be Sacked 272

Judith Mackinnon joined the Scottish government in 2017. She was slotted into the highly remunerated non-job of Head of People Advice. That really is her title. I saw it in the Record and did not believe it, but just phoned the Scottish Government and they confirmed it. Judith Mackinnon is Head of People Advice at the Scottish Government. She was previously Head of Human Resource Governance at Police Scotland. A senior policeman tells me that appeared in practice to mean professional feminist.

As might be expected from somebody with such pointless job titles, Mackinnon writes gobbledegook rather than English. Here is an extract from her Police Scotland submission to the consultation on the Scottish Government bill on gender equality on boards.

I confess I got no further than answer 1), my bullshit meter having exploded. I felt very sorry for Jackie McKelvie.

It is vital to note that, in her peculiar non-job at the Scottish Government, Mackinnon had no normal professional contact with the alleged “complainants” against Alex Salmond. It is still more vital to note that the “complainants” did not approach Mackinnon. In January 2018, shortly after starting at the Scottish Government, Mackinnon sought them out and – as it was carefully put in court today (tremendous twitter stream report here), spoke to them in a manner “bordering on encouragement to proceed with formal complaints” against Alex Salmond. It appears this was a process, not just one meeting. Again in the language used in court today, there was a “significant amount of direct personal contact” between Mackinnon and the complainants.

At this stage the complaints were brought to the attention of Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary – assuming she was not the one who instigated Mackinnon to act originally. Incredibly, Evans then appoints Mackinnon as the formal investigating officer for the case.

Even more incredibly, Mackinnon and Evans then together work on a new Civil Service Code which specifically makes the retrospective actioning of these complaints possible.

So Mackinnon instigated the complaints, investigated the complaints and drafted the code changes which made the complaints actionable.

Judith Mackinnon has been a human resources professional operating for over 25 years. It is impossible that Mackinnon did not realise that this method of pursuing a stitch up is absolutely illegitimate, as was today conceded in court. It is equally impossible that the Head of the Civil Service, Leslie Evans, did not realise these measures were completely illegitimate.

The actions of these civil servants are not just reckless, they are a deliberate stitch-up of an individual amounting to the crime of misconduct in public office. It is most certainly a sacking offence and it is Evans and Mackinnon who should be the subject of police investigation. Apart from their deliberate and cold malice towards Salmond, they have cost the taxpayer £350,000 wasted on this case.

Leslie Evans issued a statement today which is breathtaking in these circumstances in its impudence and its tendentiousness. She appears to try to say that she did not know until last month of Mackinnon’s role in instigating the complaints.

After reassessing all the materials available, I have concluded that an impression of partiality could have been created based on one specific point – contact between the Investigating Officer and the two complainants around the time of their complaints being made in January 2018.

The full picture only became evident in December 2018 as a result of the work being undertaken to produce relevant documents in advance of the hearing.

This amounts to an incredible accusation against Mackinnon by Evans. To save her own skin, Evans appears to be alleging that at the time of Mackinnon’s appointment as investigating officer, Mackinnon did not reveal to Evans her role in initiating the “complaints”; and presumably also left that out of the investigative reports, if Evans did not find out until December.

However as a former member of the senior civil service myself, I can tell you that the truly disgusting Leslie Evans is here attempting to give that impression by weasel drafting. She is saying that “the full picture” only became clear in December. In fact, Evans already knew a great deal more than she is here attempting to portray. Perhaps she didn’t know whether Mackinnon and the complainants drank tea or coffee together, hence not the “full picture”.

There is a still more important and extraordinary misrepresentation in Evans’ statement, She claims:

All the other grounds of Mr Salmond’s challenge have been dismissed

I cannot understand this at all. There has been no judgement issued in the case. The Scottish Government caved in once it was ordered to reveal the incriminating emails and minutes that told the above story. The Scottish Government caved in and settled out of court; therefore the case was dismissed by the judge. It is totally false of Evans to claim that this amounts to Salmond’s other claims being “dismissed” in the sense she intends to convey, and indeed is the opposite of what the Scottish Government’s own QC specifically stated in court. He said that the Government disagreed with Salmond on the other points but that this was “now academic”.

The misrepresentations in Leslie Evans’ statement are simply appalling in a civil servant. She has to go.

All documents in this case should now be released. It is a matter of essential public interest, relating to a politically motivated attempt to impact on the bid for Independence of the entire Scottish nation. One thing that those documents will make clear is whether or not the First Minister’s office was as entirely insulated from events as is claimed.

Nicola Sturgeon must now move to demand the resignation of both Evans and Mackinnon. Both fully deserve to lose their jobs. If Sturgeon moves to protect them, she will attract suspicion that she is motivated by keeping them silent about the extent of her own involvement in the sorry process. To avoid this rumour she has to act swiftly and decisively and invite them to resign tomorrow morning.


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272 thoughts on “The Salmond Stitch-Up – the Incredible Facts, and why Mackinnon and Evans Must Be Sacked

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  • MaryPau!

    I got the impression Sturgeon had every confidenceso far in Evans’ methods and integrity. I just wonder why they need to stitch Salmond up like this. Usually when this sort of thing happens, it is the police looking for a scapegoat to pander to the press. But what is behind this?

    • Charles Patrick O'Brien

      The main idea, I would presume, was to get Alex out of the way if an independence referendum was to be started, they fear his abilities. Whitehall or “The Establishment” wanted to sling as much mud as they could hoping some would stick, looks like none has stuck so far.

  • mike

    I wonder if there is any kind of connection here to the Institute of Statecraft. Salmond’s appearance on RT might be a concern to the British state; it is certainly an embarrassment to Nicola Sturgeon. IoS involvement in attempting to ruin Salmond might explain why the Scottish Government has been silent on its existence.

    • mark golding

      Skripal, Douma, White Helmets, Kremlin trolls – raises all sorts of questions which the government has not begun to explore or explain and which most media has not begun to explore or explain. Silence is golden??

  • Clive p

    This has all the hallmarks of a Whitehall stich up of which Craig and I have plenty of experience. The timing of the allegations just after the new procedures are introduced is very suspicious. In addition there must be doubt about how far these allegations were encouraged by the very people who then investigated them. I have the feeling that the permanent secretary is out of her depth in dealing with Whitehall machinations. How can Sturgeon have confidence in people who have acted in such an obviously illegal way? Remember what happened to Parnell in the late nineteenth century!

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Wasn’t Parnell held responsible for the murders the Clan na Gael had committed in Phoenix Park?

      • Clive p

        Letters were published in The Times accusing him but they were forgeries by a man called Piggot. Why did the Times publish them?

        • Rhys Jaggar

          The Times will publish all sorts of inaccuracies.

          The worrying thing is how many people delegate trust to our media in the first place.

          • J

            Parnell had the ear of Gladstone and warmed him to the case for home rule in Ireland. The Times dutifully did it’s part to scupper the possibility by enthusiastically publicising smears alleging his support for the Phoenix Park murders in a letter forged by Richard Pigott. Although Parnell became celebrated once the scam was exposed, the Irish Home Rule Bill ultimately failed and the attacks upon him continued.

            Once his usefulness had expired, so did Richard Pigott, committing suicide in Spain under the watchful eye of two officers from the Met who checked into his hotel shortly after him.

            Some interesting parallels with Skripal/Steele/Russiagate and of course the current discussion.

      • Sinc

        No, Parnell was smeared as being associated with Irish “terrorists” who he ‘accompanied’ on a visit to the House of Commons.

        I’d recommend the book ‘Fenian Fire’ by Christy Campbell for details of the fascinating history (the Met police ‘Special Branch’ arose around this time & they played their part in subjugating the thwart to the Crown powers over the Irish).

        The same secret service/special branch machinations are still prevalent….

    • jake

      Clive p has it just about right. The timings are important. So too the changes made from the old procedures to the new ones. Only under the new procedures was there provision for an FM or Former FM to be the subject of investigation by the Civil Service without ministerial oversight. It’s understandable that it would be quite inappropriate for an FM to head up an investigation into themselves, but this obvious shortcoming in the old procedures wasn’t, I suggest, the result of diligent internal review, but prompted by an external event.

    • Jo1

      I’m wondering if the possibility of very searching questions being asked – under oath – of the complainants in regard to the extent of contact between them and the investigating officer will so horrify them that they will now abandon their complaints.

  • MBC

    I got the feeling (looking at the body language of Sturgeon when this first came up) that she was embarassed that a process she had instigated and been complicit in – i.e., that complaints against ministers could be retrospective – ended up trapping Alex Salmond. Well, surprise surprise. From this I sniffed that Sturgeon had no idea Salmond got up to such capers, and she also apparently trusted to the integrity of the civil service that there was no dirty tricks department. More fool her. I get the feeling they were trying to set up the pair of them. What better than that Sturgeon wielded the knife?

    • Suzanne

      Alex hasn’t been found guilty of “such capers” – currently they are allegations. As far as any embarrassment on Nicola’s part, I think Nicola was simply heartbroken when she heard about these allegations, because Alex is an old and trusted friend. She was very upset, as anyone would be when hearing a friend is being accused of such things.

    • Jo1

      Sturgeon apologised today to the complainants after the judgement was announced. She did not, however, even acknowledge the accused person at the centre of an investigation which a judge had just declared was, “unfair, unlawful and tainted with bias”.

      And she backs such a process and then dares to try and water down the verdict? Even the BBC didn’t try to do that, not when we actually heard what the judge said!

      • Yvonne

        Agreed…very disappointed….but is this the best outcome possible for Westminster? Our disappointment!

        • Jo1

          It will get worse Yvonne. The Herald is spinning today that Sturgeon pulled the court case because Sturgeon’s aides were about to go into the witness box under oath. The clear point is that she had lots to hide. They’re not finished yet. I think they’re seeking to take both Salmond and Sturgeon out. And I’d say Sturgeon is failing utterly to fight back.

  • pete

    Thanks for this post, it puts into perspective the bias account of the case presented on the BBC.

  • Craig D

    “A senior policeman tells me that appeared in practice to mean professional feminist.”

    This quote says all we need to know. Whether we like it or not powerful and not so powerful men have been sexually abusing women for millennia. The outrage every time a man is accused of sexual abuse is marked by the lack of empathy towards the female accuser. Men actively resist any measure that could hold them to account as a witchhunt. They never see any issue with the daily struggle women face in society. Whether that is facing abusers, or being ignored by male collegues or being underpaid for the same role. Women do face a harsher challenge to succeed than men do it’s a fact. Plenty of empirical suggest proves it. Articles like this try to paint male abusers as victims when in fact the real victims are your wives, and mothers, your sisters and daughters. Empirical evidence suggests false complaints occur in less than 5% of accusations. The real problem is many men don’t even recognise that their behaviour borders on inappropriate as they have been socialised in a society that praises red-blooded heterosexuality as the pinnacle and most appropriate behaviuor for maleness

      • freddy

        Cheer up Loony. Generation Z are supposed to be the most conservative since WWII.

        …the new generation of Americans (gen z) are a refreshing surprise compared to the millennials that I have hired in previous years. The Gen-Z youth seem to have a great work ethic and value the rewards of hard work. They also seem to take their education more seriously, which makes them more capable employees. But the most refreshing attribute of Generation-Zs is that they seem to lack that “entitlement” attitude that was so prevalent in millennials.

        Not that surprising really.

    • Ken Kenn

      Fine words Craig D but the thing is – are the accusations true?

      How do we find out the truth or falsehood?

      This is the problem with evidence gathering and who gathers the evidence.

      On the face of it ( to myself at least ) it doesn’t look very fair.

      Maybe it’s a case of who guards the guards?

    • Tom Berney

      Yes much of what you say is true.

      But recognising that “powerful men have been abusing women” should not lead you to a conclusion that ALL men abuse women. You seem to be arguing guilt by association. And that simply being a man is sufficient association with no defence acceptable.

      • Stephen Ambartzakis

        Tom, isn’t this a typical feminazi tactic? All men are evil, you are a man, therefore you are evil.

        • Andyoldlabour

          @Stephen Ambartzakis,

          Have you any idea what you are talking about?
          Do you have any idea about the violence which women face from men?
          The women you refer to as “feminazi” may well have been abused by men, quite possibly by partners, husbands or people close to them, or maybe by a random stranger who wishes to abuse them.
          All men are NOT abusers, but the vast majority of violent crime is carried out by men.

    • SA

      One injustice does not justify an equal and opposite injustice. The new proposed way of dealing with what is widely perceived as male harassement of females needs to be done in the context of the law and with appropriate due process. The open accusation and trial by media of men for behaviour historically, rightly or wrongly perceived as sexual harassment must stop otherwise it sets back the rightful cause for fighting inequality by association with a flawed process. Both the alleged victims and the alleged perpetrators must be treated within the law and allegations must not be taken as proof of guilt.

    • giyane

      Craig D

      Nobody gets to be FM by abusing people.
      Time for the British nation to peek at both female sexuality and what my ex used to call count power. She made quite a good living out of it. Why don’t you? Oh no c@@@.
      There must be some other bits of anatomy you could use.

    • Jo1

      As a woman I disagree with your post.

      We are in a position now where the MeToo movement has declared open season on men. Allegations going back years can now be made via a journalist, a newspaper, a blog or Twitter. A person can be ruined overnight with the pressing of the send button. All without any investigation whatsoever. All without evidence.

      I think that the MeToo movement has done great damage by creating resentment due to its methods and particularly its lack of interest in a fair process. It favours, rather, the behaviour of the lynch mob. Significant sections of the media are on board, even men within it. Presumably MeToo now has so much clout that it’s thought foolish to challenge their methods.

      I cannot see how those methods serve justice.

  • Steven Cairney

    With a big payoff if they resign, so just sack them and give them not a thin dime

  • Tom Berney

    A court has accepted Salmond’s claim that the government have behaved illegally, unfairly and partially towards him in handling the allegations. Yet Sturgeon and Evans have expressed their regrets only to the complainers but not to Salmond! Surely their statement SHOULD have been on the lines of “We express our regrets to all concerned.” ??
    In contesting the challenge I suspect Sturgeon must have assumed that the internal correspondence would remain confidential. Salmond’s success in getting the court access to that settled the case. The implication of that is that the Scottish Government was intending a cover up of their actions. Which makes their actions even more reprehensible

    • michael norton

      What’s he supposed to have gotten up to in his bedchamber?
      How many years ago did these capers happen?
      Women I know say almost all women can deal with any sort of capers, other than at the hands of a maniac.
      Salmond is not a maniac. Why was he not allowed to know who his accussers are?
      Why was he not allowed to know what crimes he was accused of?

      This is similar to what befell Assange in Sweden.

  • Blunderbuss

    The term “human resources” always reminds me of the film “Soylent Green”.

    • jake

      The three biggest lies in the world:
      “The cheque’s in the post”
      “Honestly, Darling, I’ve never so much as looked at another woman”
      “ I’m from Human Resources, I’m here to help”

  • Louise Hogg

    Inclined to agree with you. Nicola must keep clear of criminal investigation, and indeed clear of ‘she said, he said’ internal employment issue. However, attempts to look like she’s merely encouraging harassment victims to be confident of being taken seriously, look dodgy. Instead looks like either hiding personal involvement or bias towards both complainants and both civil servants, whether gender bias or otherwise.

  • Denis Doherty

    Excellent analysis and presentation of the facts which clearly indicate that these two
    ‘servants of the people’ are anything but: they should be sacked immediately. Evil comes in many guises.

    • Dave

      The problem is civil service investigations over breach of Code of Conduct at huge public expense is deliberate state policy to criminalise and bankrupt dissidents/opponents through legal litigation on hearsay evidence in which you are guilty till proven innocent.

      There are thousands of these investigations over as little as hurt feelings due to an ‘offensive’ word that cost £millions and is the device being used in an attempt to bankrupt Labour Party with “anti-Semitic” investigations.

      If people are assaulted it’s a matter for the police, but instead a complainant can make an anonymous complaint and if it comes to nothing can just walk away without even an apology, whereas if they went to the police they could face being charged or at least cautioned with wasting police time.

  • Gary

    I disagree on your point on Sturgeon. Politically speaking, were she to act against the two in question, it would be seen as retribution. I am, of course, looking at how this would be perceived OUTSIDE of the SNP or those who support independence.

    She has always been particular not to give the opposition any ammo against her. And should she take an immediate and strong position on this it would be ammunition. Some might even suggest she herself helped to sabotage it!

    It might be better if someone else investigated this, she could then be ‘arm’s length’ and simply carry out any recommendations and have a ‘lessons learned’ outcome. The Civil Service could clean up their own mess and leave it (looking at least) apolitical.

    But they definitely should be sacked, if they’re not on ‘garden leave’ by Monday I’d be shocked. This should give them the time to resign, although I tend to think they’ll hold out for a settlement…

  • Willie

    Every instinct tells you that this is a stitch up. The UK state fear Salmond as being a politician able and capable of taking the nation forward to indeoendence. Smear to discredit such a politician is part of the UK states modus operandi. It is the way they do things. Look at history and it tells you so

    At a time when the UK state is tearing itself apart, and in the light of this possibly being the greatest opportunity for independence, the independence movement needs to do everything possible to make public the actions of these partisan quisling civil servants

    Salmonds’s Court of Session action was collapsed because the SG, or someone in the SG did not want details emerging into the public domain.

    Nicola Sturgeon to her discredit, has not been forthcoming in issuing detail. She must forthwith come clean because if she does not, she will increasingly become viewed as a tarnished and compromised leader.

    The nature of the complaint, the actions of the senior civil servants, the decision of the court, and the timing of this all, and to who it was being applied, point to one thing and one thing alone which is a state inspired smear.

    It is how Britain works and we disregard it at our peril.

  • Vronsky

    I heard from a source who had reason to know and no reason to lie that this smear on Salmond originated at the highest levels of the SNP, leading this person to reconsider their SNP membership.

    • craig Post author


      I know a great deal more than I am publishing at present because people simply won’t believe it until the evidence can be revealed.

      • Vronsky

        I also believe that the same people attempted to remove AS before, and it may be a matter of record if we knew where to look. Whether they act for their own reasons or are pensioned, I don’t know.

  • John

    Great analysis , Evans and McKinnon have to go , if Nicola is sqeaky clean she has to be rebust in telling the public of that fact! .

  • Jean Macaulay

    I have a suspicion that this trumped up charge was a means to an end, namely to get to the FM through Alex Salmond. I think the expectation was that FM would jump to his defence and therefore be tainted by association. The civil servants employed by U.K. Government severely underestimated FM.
    The fact that when the ‘procedure’ was shown to be flawed shoulders were shrugged and they were allowed to keep their jobs is indicative of the U.K. Government’s lack of respect for the law.

  • MaryPau!

    The process so far – special procedures rushed through to be able to formally accuse Alex Salmond, followed by Sturgeon offering sympathy to the complainants, would suggest she believes them. I am not saying that I do, just that is the interpretation I take from her actions and those of Evans.

    Salmond has said there is not a shred of truth. He could challenge the accusers to come forward and then it would be worked up into a sordid mess by the msm whatever the truth really is. The accusers would be hounded, Salmond would be hounded and we would see the sort of unedifying expose which that poor couple who were fairly accused of flying drones over Gatwick had to suffer. It would likely also throw unwelcome light on the Scottish political establishment at a time when they are positioning for independence after Brexit and want to appear statesmanlike.

    The tendency now is to take all accusations by women of sexual harrassment at face value and condemn the accused male, however slight the accusation. The man is guilty until proven innocent and a very unsavoury public row here could follow. So I assume this is all an attempt by Sturgeon Evans et al to close it down at the outset and keep it out of the public eye. A very cack handed attempt at that but these often are when the authorities are attempting a cover up. I do wonder just what Salmond has been accused of and why they came forward now.

    • michael norton

      I have no idea if Salmond has done anything amiss.
      If you want to smear someone, you must first know their proclivities,
      then pick one and smear them with that, otherwise there would be little ring of truth.

  • tony

    For me the article misses the analysis of why the SG instigated the unlawful inquiry. It would be irrational to believe that the SG was unaware of the illegal nature , thus the obvious question is why .

    With the inevitable court challenges that would follow , along with disclosure it is difficult to agree with the conspiracy of smear.
    I am left to wonder if the actual aim is to discredit the claimants. By initiating an unlawful inquiry, it has allowed A Salmond to be seen as the victim of a smear campaign. The 2 claimants by association perceived as the co conspirators.

  • Sharp Ears

    Meanwhile five days of debate on Brexit loom in the House of Commons, ie the European Union (Withdrawal) Actl. What more can be said on the subject?

    Yesterday, 20 Tories, some former cabinet ministers, voted against the Government.

    Brexit: 20 Tory rebels inflict no-deal defeat on government

    • Ian

      Yes, we know that. Do you think we need the mainstream news conveyed to us here, as if the big bad MSM is so scary, and we are so feeble, that we need it to be filtered by your fearless forays into it? Or is this just your obsessive diary of your reading and watching habits?

      • SA

        Why do you constantly target Sharp Ears? She does a god job providing a running commentary to relevant news and sometimes she pits her own slant to it. Be that as it may your choice is just to skip over it but why these comments? At least what she posts is factual, many opinionated people on this website write a lot of rubbish that reflects true bias but I have never seen you constantly targetting them.

      • pete

        I love Sharp Ears comments and snippets of news, I feel that the odd injection of off topic developments in other news are good because they encourage a broader range of opinions, and we get to see a wider spectrum of possible ways of seeing or understanding relationships in the procession of world events that, otherwise, we might miss. I get to see web-sites I might never have noticed and grasp aspects of history I had hitherto ignored. Plus, on top of this, Craig sees fit to allow some dissident voices, to show us that some people see events in a very different way. Craig’s blog and the comments section is a valuable educational tool, provided we read it critically and would be missed, certainly by me, if he should ever call it a day.

  • Sharp Ears

    In November, Sky News named Angus Robertson as the person to whom complaints about Salmond were made. He was the then leader of the SNP at Westminster.

    Alex Salmond allegations: Nicola Sturgeon ’emphatically’ denies being part of ‘cover-up’
    Female Edinburgh Airport staff complained of inappropriate behaviour by Mr Salmond, claims which were relayed to a top SNP figure.

  • Catherine Victor

    I have to agree with all comments made. There is no question in my mind that this has little to do with Alex Salmond’s actions when in office and more to do with the ‘establishment’ attempt to stop or disrupt the Independence movement. History shows to what lengths they will go to prevent Scotland’s freedom to rule. I have no doubt that, in years to come, when papers are released, we will find out who is behind these accusations.
    Nicola Sturgeon is in a difficult position but I cannot see how these two women can continue in office in Scotland. However, this is possibly a ploy to make our FM look bad so let us not give them the satisfaction of succeeding. Give our FM the benefit of the doubt to make the right decisions, she is a clever woman and I am sure will handle this in the correct manner.

  • Simon Boddy

    Our collective willingness to entertain claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault depends on our collective confidence that such claims are not spurious, manipulations or worse. “Victims should be believed” entails that “victims can be believed”. There’s no need to explain this to Evans and Mackinnon. So here they are, having built successful well paid, publicly paid, careers on values in which they believe, visibly, not a bit. Disgusting.

    • Willie

      A court has found MacKinnon and Evans guilty of compromised and biased process in the prosecution against Alex Salmond.

      They should be sacked for that and that alone.

      And as to the alleged poor hapless wronged women who made the complaint, and who years after the allegedly incident needed welfare from MacKinnon and Evans, have they not been compronised ( or should I say exposed ) in participating exposure in the outrageously flawed process of secret complaint against Salmond.

  • Yr Hen Gof

    Of course Evans and Mackinnon should be sacked, however the cynic in me suggests that they’ll be quietly sidelined until all goes quiet, then promoted; rather like Cressida Dick and so many others guilty of a gross misjudgement when in public office.
    It’s quite impossible to have any faith or confidence in those that govern us. Indeed it’s barely credible that they were ever elected by fair means.

  • RuilleBuille

    The Establishment has a long history of smearing opponents they are frightened of.

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