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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  • Iain

    So far as I can recall, the new procedures put in place by the SG for accusations of sexual harassment require nothing more for initiation than an allegation by an alleged victim.
    I thought at the time that this was a hostage to fortune: that any person could, at least temporarily, smear another’s reputation. And as we know, even conclusive proof of innocence will not stop those in the media who are sufficiently motivated to casually allude to the accusations ever after.

  • Robert Alexand

    I never for a second believed that the man had did any wrong and it was a fit up from start to finish.
    They picked the wrong man and it will be interesting to find out who “leaked” to the Record.

  • Chris Barclay

    It is not just a matter of whether Evans and McKinnon are dismissed but on what terms. I suspect they will resign with ample compensation and pension rights protected.

    ‘Professional feminist’. The use of that term will soon count as hate speech if it does not already. This is the future before us, where a small number of women and people from ethnic minorities are helicoptered into well-paid non-jobs to give the veneer of representation. They will be more even more amenable to doing the bidding of TPTB than the usual Sir Humphreys.

    We need lean government, not ‘lean’ in the Tory sense of cutting resources to the front line but ‘lean’ in the sense that management is slim and efficient so that resources can be channeled to the front line. A review of Gordon Brown’s expansion of government spending is needed as well as the way in which government funded charities and quangoes are used as propaganda fronts for government policy.

    • Jo1

      Actually, I think Craig takes a great deal away from this article by including that quote, from a male police officer, in it.

      • Laura

        Totally agree, Jo. It sounds like a rather typically sexist comment from a man who regrets it’s just not legal or acceptable to be sexist in the workplace any more.

        • john hartley

          It really does depend on what you think it means; to me it intimates someone with a socio-political ideological agenda that prevents them from doing their job properly. Being feminist doesn’t, being a professional feminist does.
          To you it appears you see this as a vile slur from someone who must (i) sexist and (ii) therefore must wrong.

          • Jo1

            No, John. You miss the important point. The terms used by Craig include this quote from a male police officer. The quote just shouldn’t be there so open is it to interpretation. It damages Craig’s article. The subject matter is too important to take such risks.

          • john hartley

            @Jo1: I’d agree with you there that the ambiguity can lead to dismissal by some who should see the wider points.

      • Brian Hambly

        Agree, if she is investigated and past behaviour and practices are such that such a label can be attached then so be it, but, I don’t think this was the time or place. To me if appears counter innuendo and an undermining of credibility (as was attempted against Mr Salmond). If the rest of this item is factual then there was no need for such an inclusion.

  • Compton Arthur

    This whole farce was organised by MI5 and no doubt the Tory government was envolved they all should face police investigation .

    • Charles Bostock

      “This whole farce was organised by MI5 ”

      Cobblers! What’s the basis for your allegation?

    • Deb O'Nair

      The police are zero help when it come to upholding the law as they just do what they’re told to do by their political masters, no matter how criminal.

  • Isabel Cooney

    Great post apart from the suggestion that Nicola was complicit. Shame you felt you had to do that. Your suggestion of quelling a rumour is a strange one. What rumour? This post is the first time I’ve seen any suggestion that Nicola was complicit. What are you trying to do here? Destroy our movement?

    • Jo1

      To be honest Isabel, Nicola has done herself no favours here, particularly yesterday after the judgement was announced.

      1. She backed Leslie Evans.
      2. She watered down the judgement.
      3. She apologised to complainants while ignoring the impact this process had on the accused.
      So, with respect, it’s Nicola who puts a great deal at risk through her own actions.

    • giyane

      NS was complicit in the investigation. No doubt Westminster pulled the wool there. If someone lies to you there’s no blame on the person being lied to. The Westminster establishment is so bent it’s actions are boomerang back. In brexit, in Scottish independence and in Syria.

      This means the break up of the eu , the UK, NATO, and the nasty party in the coming year.

      • Jo1

        Sturgeon has been extremely naïve. That was clear before yesterday when she made her statement. She’s now backed a dodgy process and sought to defend it. I’m sorry, she’s been a very stupid woman.

    • SophiaPangloss

      It concerned me greatly at the time, and again yesterday, when the FM spoke of bringing in these new complaints procedures “in the wake of the #MeToo allegations”

      Without taking a thing away from any allegation ever made I have to ask, is there a list? Which are the #MeToo allegations? Are all allegations #MeToo allegations, or only some? By #MeToo allegations are we meaning the allegations made in America against Harvey Weinstein? Are we including the allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh? Only the ones made in 2016? Only the ones made on Twitter?

      #MeToo is a Twitter hashtag. It is not a list of allegations, it is a ‘campaign’. If we start basing Scottish government procedures on Twitter hashtags it is no surprise we are where we are. #Reactive…

      I’m disappointed in the FM, for that statement. I don’t think she’s perfect. That’s not going to destroy our movement, but I wish it would get on and move on independence rather than allow itself to be diverted.

  • Muscleguy

    The words in that consultation are understandable to me, but then as a scientist I’m used to reading difficult arguments. But it is phrased in such a way as to seek to obscure the point, the make it in such a way as only the cognoscenti can understand it.

    For a public servant to write in such a manner as though the campaign for clear English never happened is frankly appalling.

    As for the substance of this post I thank you Craig for casting your civil services eyes over it and revealing the substance. That Mackinnon sought the women out repeatedly and THEN redrafted the parliament’s complaints procedure to allow them to proceed is worse than I had thought, but not much. I recognised as a stitch up, the degree of the stitch up is the surprise.

  • John Macadam

    Well, who said what to whom, and when? When you get into these cases ask one question;’ cui bono? Who has gained from this? They are the instigators, so, in general, I’m with Craig on this one

  • Sharp Ears

    Rachel Riley from Countdown is in a Twitter spat since she referred to Noam Chomsky (who she calls Chomski!) as an anti-semite and slandered the UK Labour party in the process. She then told Galloway to ‘f… off”. Appalling. Stephen Fry backed her!

    Good at adding and subtracting and displaying her fashion choices but bad on politics.

    • IrishU

      Judging by the 10,000 people who liked her tweet telling Galloway to f**k off, she isn’t that bad at politics!

      • bj

        GG just got his financing for ‘Killing Kelley’ kickstarted.

        GG has a weekly viewer rate on youtube more than the 10k followers of an illiterate on NiTwit — who all just needed a quick dab to be ‘counted in’ don’t you know.; yeah sure.

        U must be ..ah, Irish! to consider that politics.

    • Deb O'Nair

      Calling right-winger Anna Soubrey (wrongly) a Nazi get’s the media types all flustered whereas making false accusations of Antisemitism against the left-wing is not just perfectly acceptable, but is something to be seen as proudly supporting.

      • john hartley

        I’m sure we’d disagree on much, Soubry right winger for example, (personally see her as sozzled anti democratic Corporatist). Taxonomy definitions aside though I think the selectiveness of media “outrage” is more acutely visible these days.

  • Karen Armstrong

    Wow, can’t believe this went on right under our noses, makes you wonder what else goes on that we are unaware of. When Scotland is Independent I do hope we will have a system in place whereby no one no matter who they are, is treated in this way, time to tighten up and respect one another, as human beings. Alex Salmond has handled himself with pride in this matter although I’m sure it will have rocked the man. I will take him a while to trust again, if ever, it’s a hard way to live your life when you\re constantly on guard. These two women need to be removed from Scotland, I for one don’t want such cold callous people living amongst us, as I feel we are becoming more awakened as a nation. Thank you for the honest article, I always thought the whole event was suspicious. Wishing Alex Salmond well, I have great respect for the man.

  • Dave

    The new procedures introduced in Scotland sound like the old procedures withdrawn in England. Remember everything neo-con New Labour did was “double-speak” and their new code of conducts were intended to undermine rather than improve conduct.

    They set up the standards board of England which allowed politicians to accuse each other and make complaints of “disrespect” that required compulsory investigations, costing thousands, with the outcome determined by a standards committee presided over by those from the party than made the accusations, with the power to suspend a member for 3 months, let alone any bad publicity (often a branding exercise) accompanying the case.

    This led to an avalanche of complaints that was bringing local government into disrepute, which was done on purpose to excuse the proliferation of Quangos and the centralisation of power to No.10 with everyone aware they could face arbitrary and anonymous accusations that could ruin the career.

    Thankfully due to Lib Dem influence in the coalition government the regime was changed, localised and with the draconian punishments withdrawn to that of an apology. Now most complaints are dealt with early and ended with an invitation for the complainant to contact the police.

    A necessary change because the complaints procedure was wide open to political abuse, with officers acting at the behest of their political masters. In Scotland civil servants appear to have made the changes, but they would have been following political advise, but from whom?

  • writeon

    This remjnds one of the strange initial stage of the notorious ‘Assange Affair’ in Sweden, where another, to use Craig’s words, ‘professional feminist’ the policewoman conducting the first conversation with the two women involved, accused Assange of ‘rape’ literally putting words in the mouths of the two women. Then, instead of turning on the tape recorder and removing herself from the room, because the ‘professiona feminist’ a person with a strong femist agenda as she was the Stockholm police’s ‘gay face to the world’, taking part in multiple gay pride events… and she knew one of the women involved, who partied at the same gay club… instead of stepping back she continues the interview and the entire foul snowball begins to roll and gather speed and size, way, way, beyond what the cold facts and evidence could bear.

  • Ewen A. Morrison

    Mr Craig Murray is an exceptionally well-qualified person who is entirely accurate in his opinions and statements… while he talks based on his own personal experiences, rather than being just political opinions and/or preferences only! Our Scottish electorate has been blessed by a wide range of qualities and styles, which has become increasingly more enriched since that 2014 era… thank goodness!

    • Jo1

      I could not disagree more about your assessment of the Scottish electorate. Indeed, the reaction to the judgement in Salmond’s court case illustrated only too well that many in Scotland now are completely incapable of viewing anything without basing their reaction on their Party-political affiliation. Considering what the judge actually said, that is deeply worrying.

      What is even more worrying is the role of the Scottish media in championing such an approach. I’m sorry to say that a paper which was once as respected as the Herald is now the worst of the bunch. Its response to a judgement which highlighted an, “unfair, unlawful process tainted with bias”, is woeful to say the least.

      The conduct highlighted by the judge refers to those who controlled this investigation. The Civil Service. The language used is not soft language. It is damning.

      Tainted with bias.

      One would expect a responsible media, and particularly a paper like the Herald, to be demanding answers from the Permanent Secretary about this assessment of her investigation, and even her resignation. But no. Incredibly no such response was forthcoming from the Herald. Instead we’ve had claptrap and Party-political drivel.

      Today at FMQ I listened to Richard Leonard bleating about these, “two courageous women”, (the complainants) and attacking the FM. There was no mention of the, “unfair, unlawful, tainted with bias”, Civil Service investigation or the roles of Ms Evans and Ms McKinnon in the process. There was no acknowledgement either that, as well as complainants in this case, there was an accused person too who had been denied a fair investigation.

      Jackson Carlaw chose to interrogate the FM about her meetings with Salmond. (Incidentally, this made for uncomfortable viewing indeed!) But again, no reference whatsoever to the assessment of the judge on the conduct of those who led the seriously flawed investigation. Quite extraordinary considering the pay grade of the person at the head of it. Presumably, had the process followed by Evans and McKinnon endangered the position of the complainants, Messrs Leonard and Carlaw would have had more to say! That is disgraceful.

      When a process as flawed as this is damned by a judge, Party-politics has no place in our response. It is a pity that we have reached a point in Scotland these days where our media is utterly contaminated with it as are so many Scots.

  • David Forbes

    You have unwoven this tangled and disgraceful web with your characteristic forensic precision. This was very clearly a premeditated smear campaign, and this scandal needs to be placed, and kept, in the public domain. Was Evans taking “guidance” from anyone else? If so, who? – we already know why. I am stunned by the posture of NS throughout this ridiculous but damaging pantomime; I think she needs to take the actions you identify above, and she also needs to make a public apology to AS on behalf of the Scottish government. This affair is as sinister as it is ludicrous…

  • Sue Nason

    Not much of this reported South of the border, but then, list of stuff no doubt swept under that particular carpet as Government meltdown Re: Brexit

  • Tony O"neill

    I do think that indeed this is a smear campaign, orchestrated by yoons as an attack on the independence movement.

    • Jo1

      Yet Sturgeon has backed Evans, Tony.

      How could she do that after that assessment by the judge? No apologies for repeating it again.

      Tainted with bias

  • Sharp Ears

    The secret state.

    It has been revealed today that, as long ago as last April, the government paid a total of £75m to nine major consultancy firms such as PwC and KPMG. The individual contracts are over 200 pages long and are heavily redacted.

    All that is known is that the contracts are concerned with the UK leaving the EU.

    Meg Hillier, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, has revealed this information.

  • Colette Greig

    They must both resign, no choice. Their bias and deliberate malice toward Alex Salmond is obvious.
    A failed attempt to undermine our aim for independence.

  • remember kronstadt

    The shiny new non-business corporatism, like the exposed vatican, with its own jargon, prejudices and lies, is ascendant. Albeit lucrative and fragrant and speaking of fairness and opportunity it is rotten. Exit via the revolving doors and don’t stop at HR.

  • JIim Mccaffrey

    I haven’t heard anything from our first minister, but I would like to think she will,or have done the right thing and take action against, this absolutely disgracefull, stitch up.

  • Hamish Kirk

    I am always pleased to hear another say “THE EMPEROR IS NAKED!” Still hoping to get Craig to come and talk in Rothesay

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘Opposition suspicions have been fuelled by the disclosure that Sturgeon’s private secretary, John Somers, and her chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, were due to appear in court on Monday to be questioned by Salmond’s lawyers about the case.

    That appearance was cancelled after the Scottish government decided late last week to accept defeat. Salmond’s legal team believes more evidence about the government’s mishandling of the case may have emerged but a Scottish government spokesman said it was “ridiculous and utterly unfounded” to suggest the two were linked.’

    Sturgeon under fire for discussing harassment claims with Salmond
    Scottish Labour and Tories say private talks raise questions about government’s botched investigation
    Severin Carrell Scotland editor
    Wed 9 Jan 2019 18.47 GMT

    This is not going away.

    • MaryPau!

      I have twice posted a link here to an account of court case in the Guardian by Severin Carrell. Been deleted at once on both occasions. Yet troll gibberish stays. Go Figure.

        • MaryPau!

          I met Severin Carrell some years ago when I was involved in a countryside campaign and he was a London based environment reporter following it. He reported my comments and our campaign entirely fairly and was scrupulous in checking the facts with me. He is not a Scot and I would be surprised if he has any political allegiances in Scotland. His reporting to date about the Salmons affair has seemed to me to reflect fairly what little we do know, eg what was reported in court. He does report for the Guardian of course, do they have an editorial position on the SNP.?

          • Jo1

            SC is often criticised as being a sorry excuse for a Scotland correspondent in the Guardian and frequently comes across as anti-SNP and Scottish independence. The Guardian is as well, very pro-Union. They reserve the same contempt for the SNP which they direct at Corbyn.

          • Jo1

            Further, MP, I just read Carrell’s report on FMQs today. He writes that Sturgeon admitted to having been “lobbied” by Salmond. She actually said no such thing. The word lobbied wasn’t used by her.

            As we can both agree, the collapse of the case was for very serious reasons surrounding the conduct of the Civil Servants involved in the investigation. Few politicians or journalists appear to care about that! They want to focus instead on taking Sturgeon out, launching a Parliamentary Inquiry into Sturgeon while Leslie Evans’ conduct hasn’t yet been mentioned. I find that bizarre.

          • MaryPau!

            Sturgeon has said she met Salmond at her home and spoke to him on the phone and on each occasion told him she could not intervene so it does sound like he was lobbying her to do so. I am interested to hear the Guardian is very pro-unionist. After all it is the Tories who are the Conservative and Unionist Party. I am surprised an avowedly Left wing newspaper like the Guardian would adopt a high Tory position on Scotland.

          • Jo1

            The Union is supported by both Labour and the Tories. The Guardian was against Scottish independence and backed the Better Together campaign at the time. The Guardian isn’t so much left these days as supportive of the Blairites still in the PLP. And it’s very anti-Corbyn.
            I don’t agree at all that Salmond was “lobbying” Sturgeon. As former FM himself he would have known she couldn’t intervene but I don’t think he would have asked her to. He’s always fought his own battles.

          • MaryPau!

            I have so many political causes to follow that, apart from generally supporting Scottish iindependence, I do not study the more local disputes. I can see that the Scottish Labour Party would likely be pro-Union in a general sense, as socialism is for international brother and sisterhood and against ” narrow” national self interest and nationalism . So as a left supporting paper I might imagine the Guardian would take this stance while displaying an underlying symathy for the Scots, and their desire for independence, up against perfidious Westminster. Where I am surprised is that the Guardian should be fervently pro-unionist. I assume the Guardian doesn’t sell many copies in Scotland then?!

  • Hieroglyph

    I’m afraid these are the new realities, and if that sounds vaguely SS, it should. Male politicians will all – ALL – run the risk of being #MeToo’d, if they displease a vengeful feminist operative, or otherwise fall foul of powerful interests. The shamelessness with which the Democrat party – instigated by female leadership – attacked Kavanaugh was, to this poster, an eye opener. When ruining someone’s life is considered a legitimate political strategy, we have entered the Soviet Union.

    Sturgeon must indeed demand their resignation. She will, however, refuse to do so. At best, they will resign ‘voluntarily’ with pensions intact. Because, I suspect, Sturgeon herself would have no qualms using such Soviet tactics, if she deemed it necessary. I’ve never had much time for her, for reasons I can’t quite explain. Hopefully I’m wrong this time though.

    Sadly, men are being forced to adapt. I’ve noticed the discussions online already, and this will permeate down into the meat-realm. I personally am not in a position of authority, if I were, I’d basically just avoid women. Not kidding. Never be in a room alone, don’t flirt, avoid office parties, be professional at all times. Senior execs already do this, apparently. But male politicians basically have to be paranoid now, which is just a little sad really.

    • Laura

      The fact that you bring up Kavanagh as an example of some sort of feminist conspiracy against men in politics allows me to utterly dismiss your entire rant.
      There was only one credible person in that process & it def wasn’t Kavanagh.

  • Bill Caxton

    Sturgeon has come out on the side of the Civil Service. It was Scottish Government thst instigated the drawing up of the new investigstive rules and were approved by them. Stitch up maybe but who is pulling the strings? Methinks the Chief Mammy knows more than she’s telling. More entertainment to come.

  • Graham Ennis

    Great to see the truth.
    The apir of them are guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and criminal collusion, misrepresentation, and outright lies. The pair of these women were foisted on the Scottish government and this was done from London. apparently, the Scottish government is directly controlled, via its civil service, from london. Devolution is an illusion. These two should be dealt with. Crowd funding for a private criminal prosecution is required.

    • Jo1

      Well Graham, in its wisdom the Scottish Parliament wants to have its own inquiry….but that will be into the FM’s conduct. She was today accused of breaching the Ministerial Code by meeting with Salmond. I think the Tories and Labour smell blood.

      Incredibly, the conduct of the Permanent Secretary and her sidekick or the judge’s assessment of their investigation were not even mentioned!

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