Why Leslie Evans Must Resign 495

Scotland’s retention of its own legal system, based on an entirely different legal inheritance to the Anglo-Saxon one, is an important part of its national heritage. Senior judiciary and lawyers held a unique social status in national life for many centuries, as joint custodians with the Church of the residual national autonomy. The lawyers of Edinburgh are still a formidable, and broadly conservative, caste. That caste is collectively astonished by the revelations in the Alex Salmond case, and especially by the Scottish Government’s brazen reaction to the judgement of Lord Pentland and the inexplicable failure of Leslie Evans to resign. Secrets that are sealed and kept from the public are shared in whispers amongst the legal brotherhood. In the corridors of the Court of Session, in the robing rooms, in the Signet Library, in the Bow Bar, in the fine restaurants concealed behind medieval facades in the Old Town, in the New Club, the facts whirl round and round, in an atmosphere approaching indignation.

I think now you should share in some of those facts.

The Scottish Government’s version of events was that in December 2017 a new civil service code was adopted which allowed complaints to be made against former ministers. That new code was published to staff on the Scottish Government intranet, which resulted in two complaints against Alex Salmond being received in January of 2018.

Neither I, nor the collective consciousness of legal Edinburgh, can recall any example in history of a government being caught in a more systematic and egregious lie by a judge, but yet continuing to insist it is in the right and will continue on the same course. Every point of the above official government story was proven not just to be wrong, but to be a lie, because Lord Pentland called a Commission on Diligence.

This is a little known and little used process in Scots Law where one party challenges whether the other party has really produced all the important evidence in disclosure. A Commissioner is appointed who, in closed session, hears evidence on oath as to what documents are available and their meaning.

The Scottish Government had opposed before Lord Pentland the setting up of the Commission on Diligence, on the grounds that there was no more relevant documentation – which turned out in itself to be a massive lie.

Over the Festive period, the Commission in the Salmond case obtained quite astonishing evidence that proved the Scottish Government was lying through its teeth and attempting to hide a great many key documents. The oral evidence under oath, particularly from Leslie Evans given on 23 December 2018, was even more jaw-dropping. It is because of what was revealed behind closed doors in the Commission on Evidence that legal Edinburgh cannot believe Leslie Evans has not resigned.

The truth is that Judith Mackinnon, the “Investigating Officer” in this case, was closely involved in the new and unprecedented procedure for complaints against “former ministers” from at the latest 7 November and had multiple direct contacts with the complainants against Salmond at the very latest from early December 2017 – just three months after Mackinnon took up her job as “Head of People Advice”. On or shortly after 7 November 2017, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans was briefed about the complaint, which fact was minuted, in a manner that very definitely made Evans acutely aware of Mackinnon’s involvement. Evans claimed on 23 December 2018 under oath to have not noticed this, or to have forgotten it.

Evans being informed of the potential complaint against Salmond on or shortly after 7 November, coincided very closely with the initiation within the Civil Service in Scotland of the drafting of a new Civil Service Code enabling complaints against former ministers. This Civil Service activity included seeking the views of the Cabinet Office in London on creating a code enabling complaints against ex-ministers. The Cabinet Office in London did not support the idea. Nevertheless on 22 November 2017 the First Minister agreed the change in principle, as in line with the aims of the MeToo movement.

Judith Mackinnon’s preparation of the complainants against Salmond then entered a higher gear. She had numerous meetings and communications with both complainants in early December 2017. At the same time, she was continuing to be actively involved in the drafting of the new Code to enable the case she was working on. Astonishingly, the two complainants were themselves actually sent the draft Former Ministers Procedure for comment by Judith Mackinnon, before it was adopted! One of them, who had left the Civil Service, also appeared from the records to be potentially encouraged by another senior civil servant with the suggestion of the prospect of employment. Both were told by Mackinnon that she was likely to be the chosen “investigator”.

The Former Ministers Procedure in final form was not adopted and active until 20 December 2017, when it was signed off by Nicola Sturgeon, wweks after Mackinnon initiated action to proceed with complaints against Salmond. The new procedure was not advertised on the Intranet to staff until 8 February 2018, two months after Mackinnon’s first meeting with at least one of the complainants.

Contrary to the lies of the Scottish Government, zero complaints against Alex Salmond were received from staff following the publication to staff of the new former ministers procedure on the Intranet. The only two complaints had both been canvassed and encouraged a minimum of three months earlier.

Leslie Evans was aware of Judith Mackinnon’s role in the process at least from November 7 2017. Evans was repeatedly informed throughout December 2017 of the development of the complaints and of Mackinnon’s – and other civil servants’ -contacts with the complainants. The complaints against Salmond were being developed in parallel with the drafting of the Code which would retrospectively cover them, and being developed by the same people doing the drafting, and even the complainants were consulted on the draft Code. It was not until January 2018 that Mackinnon was appointed as “Investigating Officer” despite the fact that the Civil Service Code stipulated that the Investigating Officer must have “no prior involvement with any aspect of the matter”. She had in fact had intensive contact with the complainers over two months and had been active in the development of the procedure for three months. There is no indication that Mackinnon was keeping that secret from her senior colleagues or the Permanent Secretary, Evans.

Nicola Sturgeon, reacting to her Government’s court defeat, disingenuously described to Holyrood Mackinnon’s contacts with the complainants as merely “welfare support and guidance”. Sturgeon knows for a fact that is not true. The documents the Scottish Government was forced by the Commission to disclose prove that Mackinnon’s involvement comprised, as described in open court:

the substance of the complaint, evidence to support the complaints, circumstances in which they arose, the manner in which they could go on to make formal complaints and a significant decree of assistance to the complainers bordering on encouragement to proceed with their complaints.

Still more of a lie is Leslie Evans’ astonishing and unrepentant statement after the humiliating capitulation of the Government case before Lord Pentland. It is a statement woven through with falsehood and deceit, but the most obviously untrue point of all is her refusal to acknowledge what the documents show, that she knew full well all this was happening at the time.

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.

Evans’ blatant attempt to pretend she knew nothing, and thus throw Mackinnon under the bus alone, is morally disgusting. Still more so is her utterly false claim that, the case having fallen after she conceded it on the basis Mackinnon ought not to have been appointed Investigating Officer, all Alex Salmond’s other legal points fell. Evans’ statement reads:

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

That is a total untruth. It was made perfectly plain in Lord Pentland’s Court that, the Scottish Government having conceded the case, there was no point in hearing all the other grounds. This was made specific in court, where the other points were described as “now academic”.

I hope I have managed to make plain to you that Mackinnon’s appointment as Investigating Officer was the least of the many dreadful things of which the Scottish Government was guilty in this case. They naturally conceded on the least embarrassing. In fact, the entire matter is an orchestrated stitch-up.

Finally, I am obliged to consider the role of the First Minister and her subsequent defence of Evans and Mackinnon. I do so with the heaviest of hearts, because I know that any criticism at all of Nicola Sturgeon is considered utterly inadmissible by many of my fellow campaigners for Scottish Independence. Believe me, if I did not feel a strong obligation to truth I would much prefer not to speak of it.

But consider this, with as open a mind as you can muster.

Sturgeon’s defence of Mackinnon, as doing no more in the instigation of the complaints than provide welfare counselling and advice, is completely untrue. Sturgeon knows very well that it is untrue.

Consider this as well. Had the Scottish Government not thrown in the towel, Nicola’s Chief of Staff Liz Lloyd would that day have been questioned under oath about documents that she would have had to produce to the Court. Lloyd may well also not be anxious to be questioned about the leak of salacious details of one of the allegations, to David Clegg of the Daily Record. Lloyd knows Clegg well.

It really is very difficult to look through all the facts – including some I have not given here as they have not been referred to in open court – and conclude that Nicola was unaware of the stitch-up. I have spoken to dozens of sources this last three weeks, including many elected SNP figures, a couple of civil servants, and others who know Nicola personally. This is my conclusion, based on their extensive observations.

It is no secret that feminism is Nicola’s passion. A gender-balanced Cabinet, all-female shortlists for SNP Holyrood candidates, gender balance on boards of public authorities, these and many more are results of Nicola’s feminist activism in government, much of it admirable. Leslie Evans is close to her and a key ally in driving forward that agenda.

Leslie Evans has built a career out of promoting PC identity politics within local authorities and the civil service. In this story of her dishonesty when an officer at Edinburgh City Council, that appears to be her motivation against the project she sought to penalise. Evans frequently states her feminist principles.

And my gender politics too – my feminism – and I am a feminist – dates back to learning about Elizabeth 1st’s speech at Tilbury (‘I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king’)…
Most Permanent Secretaries are male and the product of private schooling and the Oxbridge system. You might have noticed I’m none of these things. In fact I am only the 30th female Perm Sec in whole history of the UKCS and the first female Perm Sec in Scotland has ever seen.

She was chosen, from a shortlist, to head the Civil Service in Scotland by Nicola. I am quite certain that the fact she was a woman with a history of promoting gender issues was a major factor in Nicola’s choice. Precisely the same factors also characterise Judith Mackinnon’s career in human resources, as I previously reported. Here is Leslie Evans on gender equality throughout Scottish government:

There’s another key difference between Scotland’s government and the UK’s – for Holyrood’s a world leader in gender diversity. Not only are the perm sec and the leaders of the three biggest parties women, but also half the cabinet, half the directors general, and 46% of the senior civil service.

As in all fields of diversity, Evans warns, this parity’s fragile: “It only takes one or two people to leave, and you’ve got a completely different balance again. You can never have the luxury of thinking you’ve done it.” And does achieving that balance change how government operates? She’s cautious. “I’d be foolish to say that this government feels very different from others, or that the cabinet operates in a markedly different way,” she replies. “I do think there are some broad themes that I can pick out. I think women tend to be a bit more collaborative; sometimes they’re a bit more thoughtful, and less likely to jump to conclusions. But I’m sure that people would challenge me on some of that thinking.”

This key ITV News article from 2015 was headlined “Sturgeon’s Women Power vs Cameron’s Man Power”

But Ms Sturgeon has also made her mark at the heart of government.
Women now occupy the three most important jobs in Scottish politics.
That’s in marked contrast to the big jobs in Downing Street, all held by men.
As it happens there are also significant educational differences too.
In Scotland the top three women were all state educated.
South of the Border they all went to public (in other words private) schools.
Here’s the roll call:
There’s Ms Sturgeon herself who went to Greenwood Academy in Ayrshire, and on to Glasgow University.
Her chief of staff and senior political adviser, Liz Lloyd, went to Gosforth High School in Newcastle, a state school, and Edinburgh University.
Leslie Evans, newly appointed as the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish government, the most senior civil servant in Scotland, went to High Storrs school in Sheffield and Liverpool University.

That article was briefed by Sturgeon’s office and Nicola sees Lloyd, Evans and Mackinnon as performing key roles in driving her gender equality policies in Scotland. That is why she leaps to defend them. That is her here and now, and has become more real to her than the time before she was First Minister, campaigning for Independence with Alex. She is emotionally attached to Lloyd, Evans and Mackinnon on that basis, to the extent that she is prepared to defend the indefensible.

Nicola sees the criticism of the attack on Alex, an attack made under her MeToo inspired Former Ministers Procedure, as a slur on the integrity of the gender policies which Nicola sees as cementing her place in history. It is also a direct attack on the female team which she hand-picked to implement those policies. It is not irrelevant to the MeToo context that Alex Salmond has been described frequently as, solely in a political sense, being a father figure to Nicola, and perhaps is thus easily associated in her mind with the abusive patriarchy as characterised by the feminist movement. Despite the obvious fishiness of both the allegations against Alex and the way they were dredged up, they fit Nicola’s most valued agenda. In pursuing that agenda, Nicola has simply lost all sight of the notion of fairness to Alex Salmond.

It should be noted that after Lord Pentland’s ruling, Nicola rightly apologised to the complainants for the mishandling. She remarkably did not apologise to Alex Salmond, who was actually the person Lord Pentland had ruled her Government had treated unfairly. That was not an accidental omission.

If Alex Salmond goes ahead to sue the Scottish Government for damages, which I certainly hope that he does, the Scottish Government cannot oblige him to settle and will find it very difficult to stop both the documents to which I refer, and the key evidence on oath, from coming out in open court. I am very confident that anybody who now scoffs or rails at me will look very stupid when that happens.

In conclusion, a senior judge does not describe the Government’s proceedings as “unlawful”, “unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias” without extreme care. Those words carry full weight. That Nicola Sturgeon has simply sought to ignore them is astonishing.

UPDATE at 20.06: This article led to a number of people contacting me to offer more information, or in some cases correction, on various points, plus two lawyers who contacted me with legal advice. I have therefore made a number of relatively minor changes to detail including some dates, but they in no way alter the thrust of the narrative or the argument. If further information comes in, there may be more changes. I will let you know.

*In a previous article I had written that Mackinnon started contact with the complainants in January 2018. It was in fact still earlier, November 2017.

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495 thoughts on “Why Leslie Evans Must Resign

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  • Jack

    So now western states meddling in Venezuela, recognizing another leader and in effect support a coup that could fast turn to violence?
    What a disgusting hypocritical pack of psychopaths ruling the western world.

    • Ingwe

      Indeed Jack. Democracy is the system we promote unless we don’t like the result of the people’s choice. Then it’s interfere, undermine, boycott, destabilise, finance and arm the opposition as much as we like. Truly disgusting g hypocrisy.

      • David

        From the TV coverage of ‘the revolution’ yesterday, it was remarkable how the (mostly) young students marching were (mostly) wearing an identifying color, white, T-shirt. Is this a white color revolution a la Gene Sharp, do we get snipers next?

    • pete

      Our Liz descended from Mohammed? (albeit via Pedro the Cruel) Has cook been sprinkling magic mushrooms on Mogg’s cornflakes again? It’s as likely as Danny Dyer being related to royalty.

      • pete

        Sorry, I went off topic for a moment there, Craig’s post was excellent and well thought out, much appreciated.

      • N_

        The Steinerites to whom JRM is connected all believe in reincarnation too. Got to wonder whether JRM is friendly with the queen’s eldest son, Batshit Charlie, who had a dollshouse village built in Poundbury with real people and is bound to take seriously the notion that he is descended from the prophet Mohammed as well as king David and probably Jesus too.

    • Deb O'Nair

      Thanks for going off topic, at last. 4 pages of comments and people are still talking about the original post – what’s going on?

  • Hieroglyph

    Much to absorb in this article. None of them come off well. The intracies of personal relationships at the highest level are generally hidden from our view, but it looks to me as though the First Minister was being flattered and manipulated by Mackinnon. As Craig says, it was all to push a feminist agenda, in the age of MeToo. However, do they truly understand what the MeToo agenda is about? In the US, there is a huge potential scandal regarding Pedowood, which is filled with Satanists and child-abusers, and poor old Weinstein was MeToo’d as partial cover. Harvey may deserve it, I do not know, but the hashtag ‘movement’ is somewhat murky, and some of those actresses were, and are, selling sex for roles. There is a word for this profession.

    I have worked in a low-level Government role for some time. The SES Execs were, in the main, over-promoted nobodies, and the ‘diversity’ cult was running rampant by the time I left. It is taken as read that we should have equal representation in Government, and in public sector leadership roles. I respectfully do not believe this is necessary, or even wise. A woman should not be excluded of course, but this is different from being actively promoted. Actively promoting someone based on gender, race, ethnicity etc, is potentially negative selection, and leads to long-term crooks like Kamala Harris, et al. Perhaps there is much to say about the old-boys network, and the in-group preferences of the now-hated White Male, I do understand this, but affirmative action is much, much more contentious than the pants-on-head diversity cultist will ever allow. I do not believe Nicola’s record on diversity issues really is all that admirable, it’s ideological, and appears to be much more important to her than the essential reason for her party: independence. This has to be the most scathing criticism of all.

  • N_

    One explanation of Leslie Evans’s non-resignation could be that her old man is on the square.

  • Willie

    Evans and MacKinnon are as guilty as sin in conspiring to ruin the reputation of Alex Salmond.

    But who put them up to it and was Nicola Sturgeon involved.

    From what has emerged thus far Nicola Sturgeon was involved, not least because she was aware of what was going on.

    Was she blindsided by people around her and did not think to deeply about the consequence of destroying Alex Salmond.

    At a time when the UK is in chaos Scotland’s opportunity for independence begins to shine through, and Salmond is the establishment public enemy number one.

    Smear did for Charles Stuart Parnell and smear is the British way of non militarily trying to destroy a movement.

    Did Sturgeon fall into the trap, do the dark arts brigade have something in her or her husband, or do they simply seek to inflame political rivalries.

    Sturgeon may be in a bubble of a coterie of close confidants but she has done a good job. She may also have made a mistake, a big mistake in consenting to trying to destroy her mentor – and in consequence split the SNP and the independence movement. But it has not worked.

    The independence movement is strong. It is fighting back. It will not be split and the enemy here is the establishment, the dirty tricks brigade, the MSM .

    So let us move beyond these blockers, and let us all push now for the goal that we want. Salmond ran them close in 2014. Just think what that means now.

    No wonder the establishment want to encourage a split.

    • Lorna Campbell

      There is a deep problem with the ‘Nicola knew everything and she wanted to tarnish Alex’ slant and that is that she, personally, would not have come out of this well; Alex Salmond would not have come out of this well; the SNP would not have come out of this well; the independence movement, as a whole, would not have come out of this well; and Scotland would not have come out of this well. So, either we have a woman so determined to feminize that she will stop at nothing at all or we have a woman who is determined to destroy her predecessor who might or might not come back into front-line politics, or we have a woman who trusted the wrong people and has been pushed into the spotlight, with Mr Salmond, at just the right time for the Brexit debacle to play out in the Tories’ favour. The timing of this is just too pat, and, if we would all stop and think, we might just begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. Grave mistakes have been made, but who do they favour? Neither Ms Sturgeon nor Mr Salmond, and certainly not the SNP. Who is the greatest threat right now to Brexit, whether by a second indyref or a second EU ref? I think it might just be Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond. When did Leslie Evans pass the new procedure by the Cabinet Secretary? Heard that Boris Johnson is now supporting the PM’s deal, with a few tweaks, and that she might present it, in a slightly revised form again. He’ll bring others on board, too. I said, with others, a couple of weeks ago, this might well be the end case. She has also stated that she will not agree to a second S30 Order. Odd happenings in NI, too – bang on time, and no pun intended.

      • Ian

        Good points. Quite agree that the motivation Craig ascribes to Sturgeon does not make any sense, and is too neat by far. Not to mention fitting in with quite a lot of people’s anti-feminist agenda. He spoils an excellent piece with his amateur psychology over Sturgeon’s character and motivation, and doesn’t convince me that he has any insight into her.

        • Blissex

          «Nicola rightly apologised to the complainants for the mishandling. She remarkably did not apologise to Alex Salmond, who was actually the person Lord Pentland had ruled her Government had treated unfairly. That was not an accidental omission.»

          In the current political climate there are no “alleged” abusers or rapists who can be treated unfairly: there are victims who are the witnesses to the crimes they have suffered, and criminals whose crimes are proven by the testimony of those witnesses, and such witnesses are rarely mistaken and never lie (or that the victims have a right to be presumed innocent of lying), and the only unfair treatment of those criminals is not to convict and punish them

          «Quite agree that the motivation Craig ascribes to Sturgeon does not make any sense, and is too neat by far. Not to mention fitting in with quite a lot of people’s anti-feminist agenda.»

          In the Salmon affair some or many people will see a major miscarriage of justice: that by lawyering up and exploiting mere procedural mistakes a serial abuser has gotten away with two nasty reported events (and who knows how many other have gone unreported), and two victims have been denied justice, and N Sturgeon’s actions seems to me consistent with that point of view.

          • craig Post author

            Blissex, I can’t quite follow whether you support what you have written, or are illustrating current beliefs as self-evidently rdiculous:

            “In the current political climate there are no “alleged” abusers or rapists who can be treated unfairly: there are victims who are the witnesses to the crimes they have suffered, and criminals whose crimes are proven by the testimony of those witnesses, and such witnesses are rarely mistaken and never lie (or that the victims have a right to be presumed innocent of lying), and the only unfair treatment of those criminals is not to convict and punish them”.

            I do hope you are writing that as self-evidently ridiculous, or you really ought to go for a nice lie-down.

          • Blissex

            «I can’t quite follow whether you support what you have written, or are illustrating current beliefs as self-evidently rdiculous»

            I have just described the current cultural climate as I understand it, and kept that deliberately neutral, as it can be quite brave to challenge it as ridiculous. Thanks for confirming that I have succeeded at not being brave :-).

        • Philip Cross

          “anti-feminist agenda”…..don’t mae me laugh….the only agenda here is the feminsist agenda….women run pretty much everything nowadays….mainly childless career craving women, with no soul….and you wonder why everything is a mess….and when it goes tits up, they’ll play the anti-feminism card again…..maybe if they stopped being feminists then things might move on for the good…but the universal law of physics has always been “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”…..so let’s sit back and wait for the ‘reaction’ to come along and negate the ‘action’….which will come…..could it be ‘masculism’ perchance??….or is that already been labelled ‘toxic masculinity’….you know, the toxic masculinity that saves the weak from aggressive ‘aggressors’….while the new man of today stands by and does nothing??

          • Squeeth

            Oh bugger off Cross, you give misogyny a bad name. The people who went for Salmond failed in their civil action so they’re trying the criminal law for size; this is standard bourgeois liberalism.

          • Philip Cross

            [ Trollwatch: ‘Philip Cross’ = ‘Hagar’ = ‘Tom’ = ‘Paedo Hunter’ = ‘Gladio_322’ = ‘Alan Mackay’ ]

            and there we are…out of the closet comes Squeeth without actually acknowledging the facts….you’ll be calling me an anti-Semite next…or Islamaphobic…typical retort of a low IQ SJW….no credible argument…so resort to slur tactics…enjoy your seat on the moral high ground

      • craig Post author

        I don’t agree with you Lorna. Nobody would like to have found this was a unionist plot more than me, but it just isn’t. And when Evans ran the new former ministers policy past the Cabinet Office in London (Dec 2017 from memory) their response was negative. It is only hurting Nicola because it failed. The idea was for it to succeed, Alex to go into political oblivion quietly, Nicola to cry some crocodile tears about idols with feet of clay and abused women, then onwards and upwards to the glorious new era. They did not cock it up on purpose.

        And you need an alternative theory that fits the facts of Sturgeon’s defence of the indefensible Evans and Mackinnon conduct, which defence went far further than being studiously neutral, which she should have done, and the extraordinary failure to apologise to Alex when she apologised to everyone else, but he was the one who had been treated unfairly and with bias.

        I am sorry Lorna. I come at this from where you come. But you are using blind faith to ignore the facts.

        • Random Person

          I totally agree with your assessment of the fundamentalist, America-like feminist aspects of this case, Mr. Murray. The thing is, these days you are not, especially as a man, allowed to voice any disquiet towards feminism, or any aspect of things involving women, or you are instantly labelled a misogynist and your opinion written off. But women will have no problem whatsoever criticising anything a man does, volubly and with ridicule.

          It’s a disgusting, sexist way to stifle debate and opposition, and, no matter how valid a man’s opinion on things may be, these days, in Nicola Sturgeon-led Scotland, it will always be regarded as (sigh) ‘patriarchal’ or ‘oppressive’ or such drivel, even when a man is quite simply trying to point out how not to drive a country and its government off an extremist sexist ideologue cliff. I am sick of all this, I really am. It’s divisive, and, in this case, has done Scotland a helluva lot of damage. It’s depressing, quite frankly.

          • kathy

            As a woman and a bit of a feminist myself, I aso hate these feminazis. If it is any comfort to you they aso hate women like me who are not so extreme as they are.

          • Rose

            “The thing is, these days you are not, especially as a man, allowed to voice any disquiet towards feminism, or any aspect of things involving women, or you are instantly labelled a misogynist and your opinion written off. But women will have no problem whatsoever criticising anything a man does, volubly and with ridicule.”

            Yes, by many leading voices in the media who want to provoke because it serves their interests. Women in general ‘everyday’ life, also many feminists, are more likely to actually debate the pitfalls of certain areas of feminism, or the counter productive aspects of the MeToo movement.

            I don’t know what the truth is in this depressing morass around Salmond, but I know that his reputation will probably never recover, even if he is found innocent of the charges. That’s yer MSM, and it’s why despite being fully cognisant of the fact sexism exists, I’m skeptical of the charges against Salmond.

        • kathy

          She is too under the spell of Hilary Clinton for my liking and I was shocked when she supported the government over the Skripals carry on and also seemed to be not too unhappy about the unfair attacks on Alex Salmond because of his RT show and has made several negative comments about it.

          • Lawrence Anderson Burley

            I remember a UN type women’s rights working session in NY where she was the Star. It was shortly after the SNP had swept the board with 56 MPs and Nicola was revelling in international attention. Nothing wrong with that and she did a good job for Scotland on that US trip. But I was struck by the full throated admiration she expressed for Hilary Clinton at that meeting, as the woman she most admired. I felt it a jarring note

          • Andyoldlabour


            I think you have hit the nail on the head, and I wonder how many women supported Nicola and Hillary simply because they are women, rather than look beneath the surface to see what they are really like.
            I always saw Hillary as a warmonger who was being influenced by the Neocons, and I saw and still see Nicola as a person who has one game plan – independence for Scotland.

        • alasdairB

          #MeToo movement has succeeded in moving women to the forefront both in Scottish Politics, Scotland’s civil service, and Holyrood candidate selection. All progressive moves which makes for a more gendered balanced workforce. What bothers me is that to achieve these goals there appears that a positive #MeToo bias has been introduced in the selection process and that it may not always be the better candidate that is elected for a specific position .Prime example might be Leslie Evans, MacKinnon and Director of People Nicola Richards. Unless their cover stories are 100% watertight on all and every charge agains Alex Salmon then their repudiation will be traduced and Scottish Government looking for suitable replacements in the not too distant future
          with #MeToo movement set back years .

          • Jo1

            I think you’re giving MeToo too much credit.

            The position of women was already changing in politics and in other workplaces long before #MT came on the scene. #MeToo only started around November 2017! Hard to believe that it’s barely a year old.

            The coming of this vile movement, and I say this as a woman, has brought a mob-rule, lynch-mob mentality that shocks as many women as it does men. It’s speciality seems to be attacking men, prominent ones, and hurling allegations around designed to do maximum damage.

            Changes have come for women in workplaces which were needed. Nothing to do with #MeToo. There is nothing sinister about equal opportunities or a level playing field. Let’s not confuse these things.

    • Squeeth

      To be fair (!) to the establishment, Salmond did say he would remain in the sterling area….

  • shugsrug

    The big issues of the day are not Brexit or Scottish Nationalism, significant as they may or may not be to you. Worry more about climate change and population growth.

    • kathy

      Scotland has a problem of population decline which will only worsen with Brexit. Also, the Scottish Government prioritises green energy but doesn’t have the full levers of power to effectively tackle climate change so Scottish independence cannot be viewed in isolation from the problems you mention and a one size fits all approach is just silly and is the way Westminster runs the country.

      • kathy

        I should have added except for London and the south east which do indeed get special treatment to the detriment of the rest of the country (most of the tory voters live in that region after all) I would suggest that it is that region that suffers from over-population and climate change.

        • N_

          You’re talking total crap about London and the South East of England. Much of that area is as impoverished as most of the rest of Britain. Hackney is as poor as Handsworth and in the wider area Margate is as poor as Mansfield. Do you think multimillionaires from say St John’s Wood ever go anywhere near say Brixton or Walthamstow? You should travel about some more. Go to those places in London that I just mentioned and find out whether they’re getting especially favoured treatment and are full of Tories wearing top hats and carrying walking canes.

          More than two thirds of MPs in London are Labour.

          Talk about how the British economy is like a Portugal or a Greece surrounding the Square Mile of the City of London (and its offshoot in what used to be Docklands) as an analogue to Singapore and you’ll be getting somewhere.

          • N_

            In the 2017 general election 13.6 million people voted Tory. Of those, only about a quarter, 3.8 million, were in London or the South East of England. (Source.). So your premise is wildly wrong. And so is the belief that you try to explain with reference to it.

          • N_

            Out of the 9 English regions (Yorkshire and Humber, NW, NE, SW, SE, E, East Midlands, West Midlands, London), the one with the smallest percentage of voters voting Tory in the 2017 general election was London.

          • kathy

            I am aware that there is also a lot of poverty existing side by side with obscene wealth but I think overall it is true what I said.

          • kathy

            Are you trying to say that the home counties are not tory? Judging by your post NOBODY votes tory down there. Why is it mostly tories in power?

          • N_


            Judging by your post NOBODY votes tory down there. Why is it mostly tories in power?

            You can’t rightly point to one particular area and say “Aha – this is where the Tory MPs were elected who gave the Tories enough seats to stay in government”. About three-quarters of Tory voters in 2017 were outside London and the Southeast of England, using the official statistical definitions for those two regions. I’m not sure what definition of “Home Counties” would be appropriate, but taking away Hampshire and adding Essex wouldn’t make much difference to that figure.

            Agreed the filthiest of the rich are concentrated in certain parts of Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and London, and some parts of Hampshire and a few other counties. Within London they are concentrated in places such as St John’s Wood, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and Belgravia, and the richest streets in London are Kensington Palace Gardens and Eaton Square – districts and streets which socially seem a million miles from most of the rest of London. Outside London but near it there are small areas in Leatherhead and Weybridge which are both in Surrey.

            As for Theresa May, she is not filthy rich but she lives in Sonning in Berkshire which is one of the richest villages in the country and is also where Boris Johnson lives. I’m not trying to say politicians rule us or that they are mostly super rich, because they aren’t, and as far as I know those two in particular aren’t. Still, it’s kind of interesting where those two live. Another person who lived in Sonning until recently was Uri Geller, who recently left. What does he know? 🙂

          • Squeeth

            As a denizen of Mansfield (Woodhouse) 1962-1983, I can’t complain about you using it as an example of poverty but to be fair, Renaissance was there in the 90s. On the other hand, I haven’t been there for a couple of decades.

      • N_

        Scotland does not have a problem of population decline. Its population has been increasing since about 2000.

        It’s been growing at roughly half a percent each year.

          • kathy

            Also inward migration from England by retired people moving here because of the better welfare provisions such as free prescriptions and free personal home care as well as cheaper houses.

        • kathy

          Yes I know London is largely labour but they don’t seem to be a lot better than the tories.

      • J Galt

        “Problem with population decline”.


        So why not discourage family life, persuade women to look down on and disparage women who choose to concentrate on raising children, encourage childless materialist career couples etc, etc.

    • Clark

      Shugsrug, January 23, 21:21:

      “The big issues of the day are not Brexit or Scottish Nationalism, significant as they may or may not be to you. Worry more about climate change and population growth”

      Very true. It matters little whether we roast and starve in or out of this union or that. We are on course to end up all murdering each other.

      Shugsrug, I notice that you received not one on-topic reply. I suspect that people and politics are in denial, and creating massive displacement gestures rather than face up to the terrifying facts.

    • Philip Cross

      the climate is always changing…don’t be fooled by the Davos crowd who meet up to talk of climate change to tax us more…..1500 private jets were used to fly them all in…funny that eh?

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Strewth! Craig it’s disturbing, to say the least.
    The truth will out.
    Regardless of politicians.

  • N_

    The US government is supporting a right-wing coup against President Nicolas Maduro and two decades of social reforms in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has responded by breaking diplomatic relations with the US and ordering all US diplomats to leave the country within three days. This is not exactly the first time the US has backed a right-wing or fascist coup, and not the first time in Venezuela either. F*** the Guardian for reporting the events as “recognition” of the “opposition leader” as “president”. It’s an attempted coup and the existing government under Nicolas Maduro needs all the support it can get.

    C’mon Nicola, turn the electricity and water off to the US consulate-general in Edinburgh.

    • able

      Before you get too excited, a gentle reminder that this is all about China propping up the regime of Nicolas ‘Maduro’ Moron, which was about to collapse anyway, so that it can get its greedy hands on Venezuela’s resources (oil and gold) and establish a strategic foothold in the region against US interests.

    • Ingwe

      And the UK’s Bank of England, at the USA’s order, is confiscating Venezuela’s gold held there. Don’t you just love our British sense of fair play?

    • able

      “Two decades of social reforms”

      Good one, N_ ?

      If you mean tanking the economy of one of the most resource-rich nations on earth so that the starving masses can now look forward to eating their own pets… If you had bought a million dollars of Venezuelan Bolivars in 2013 it would now be worth $3.40. That’s socialism, folks. But, hey, at least Chavez never went short – the fat cunt croaked it with a $billion in the bank.

    • Dave Lawton

      Donald Tusk
      ✔ @eucopresident
      “I hope that all of Europe will unite in support of democratic forces in #Venezuela. Unlike Maduro, the parliamentary assembly, including Juan Guaido have a democratic mandate from Venezuelan citizens.”
      But does not want to support the democratic forces that want to leave the EU.

      • Jack

        Jesus, EU openly support a coup!
        Remember this time this same polish EU dictator whine about russian interference in the EU!

    • Tatyana

      We need an international law prohibiting ‘support’ or ‘recognise new president’ – any type of estimating statements made by foreign governments on the countries, where revolution takes place. Just let people to sort it out for themselves! No help, until asked for!

      Those ‘supports’ and ‘recognitions’ make certain powers too much inspired. While inspiration must come from own people, not from a foreign government, only popular support shows what the population itself wants.

      We need an international law prohibiting to back up revolution forces, prohibiting finance help, political help, military help, any help, until population itself recognises new government as legitimate government.

      • Jack


        There are already laws against this illegal behavior. The thing is, the laws is not respected by the western states.

        • Tatyana

          Jack, I’ve got little experience in management, but I remember the basics of it very well.
          Any rule is an algorithm according to which people must act.
          Good manager sets clue points, at these points we check if it works correctly.
          So, any rule (or law) must go along with a control mechanism.
          Control mechanism prevents the algo from breakage and insures fulfilling the rule.

          You can see, in the case of illegal behavior we have no control mechanism. In simple words, there is no punishment for it.
          Russian proverb for it is:
          The severity of law is compensated by the lack of enforcement.

  • N_

    Lest anyone doubt that Britain is a gangster state: Kingdom Security Limited, a company that collects fines for local councils and keeps some of the proceeds (no prizes for guessing how they proceed, given that the public authorities have given them that position) has basically beencaught mugging. “The 57-year-old said two officers had approached her car in a supermarket carpark and accused her of dropping a cigarette. The woman said the company had only dropped the complaint after she obtained CCTV from the supermarket proving she had not thrown away her cigarette.

    Data obtained by the Guardian shows that the company has issued thousands of fines for cases including littering, dogs being off leads, dog-fouling and breaches of public space protection orders.

    My advice: if you ever get hassled by these scumbags, don’t tell them your name and don’t even talk to them. Stick two fingers up at them.

    They are no better than the muggers who go from door to door running heating boiler scams, saying they’ll inspect your boiler as part of some “free” “government scheme” and then either breaking something or in any case flogging you some new piece of shit boiler that soon breaks down – a scam that is going on from one end of the country to the other – or private-company car park scammers who “issue” scammy “parking charge notices” (because they can’t say “penalty” charge notices) that are best ignored however threatening they eventually become.

  • Mochyn69

    The past week has seen a significant change in Sturgeon’s tone. Last Thursday, she told the Scottish parliament that she would set out her plans for a second independence referendum “in the coming weeks,” even if Article 50 is extended, having previously insisted that she wanted to wait for the “fog” of Brexit uncertainty to clear.

    On Wednesday she referenced the SNP’s “cast-iron” mandate to hold a second independence referendum: “Theresa May fears she would lose an independence referendum and is clearly running scared of the verdict of the Scottish people, who must be sick and tired of being told what the prime minister wants.

    “Frankly, what Scotland needs is much more important than what the prime minister wants.”



    • craig Post author

      Yes, I am hopeful that the fallout from this horrible affair may actually spur her on to be more active on Independence, as a deflection. That would be an extremely good result to a bad business.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Alex Salmond has just been arrested, according to BBC news.

        Sounds like Sturgeon has doubled down, not backed off.

  • Chris Barclay

    Alex Salmond had many resources to call on in order to defend himself: his own wealth, his knowledge of the legal and government systems, contacts within both and his strength of character. Imagine what would have happened, if the victim of false allegations had had none of these.

    This case is a sign of what’s to come if radical feminists get their way. A woman would be allowed to state in court what is ‘her truth’ and not be charged with perjury even if ‘her truth’ is incompatible with any objective analysis of the evidence and even if the variation between ‘her truth’ and the evidence happen to coincide with her personal interest.

    Credit to you, Craig, for looking objectively at the evidence, when ‘your truth’ would have been to continue to see the accusations against Salmond as a Unionist plot.

  • Paul Barbara

    Craig, on the subject of Scottish Justice, it might be interesting to run the Hollie Greig case past your legal friends. It involved Elish Angiolini, Hollie’s Uncle being murdered but the case fobbed off as a car crash, Robert Greens imprisonment and Sheriff Graham Buchanan.
    I realise you won’t be able Blog on the subject, but if you check those two links I think you may wish to find out for yourself what the ‘word in the back rooms’ is on it.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Paul Barbara January 24, 2019 at 08:46
      And also Elish Angiolini, last but not least.

      • Philip Cross

        oh my….I never knew that someone would write an article to disparage this….if it came from the Herald, owned by some elitists, then it must be true….thank you thank you for making me take the Blue pill so things can go back to normal….I heard jimmy Saville was let in through the Pearly gates with no charges brought against him….how convenient….a Knighted superstar and friend of Blair and The Windsor’s whilst living….and now a dead necrophiliac….surely it’s not true?????…..maybe a trip on Morning Cloud will be your prize for this

        • Kempe

          If you believe in SRA, a fantasy dreamt up by evangelical Christians in the US for which no shred of evidence has ever been found, or that people not yet born or who were in their 20s can be the victims of child abuse then the Hollie Grieg hoax might have some credibility. Otherwise keep avoiding the issues and stick to the ad hominem attacks.

          • Philip Cross

            eh….you came to me mate….not me to you….and Mr Saville was involved in the 9th Circle Satanic sect so don’t tell me SRA doesn’t exist….keep living in your dreamworld of kittens and fluffy clouds and whatever sugar coated dreams you have….”SRA doesn’t exist”…..hilarious….especially after Saville….. a true believer in Crowley….or did he not exist either…..?

          • Clark

            “Mr Saville was involved in the 9th Circle Satanic sect…”

            Takes one to know one – or he who smelled it dealt it. Obviously in on it, how else would he know?

  • Sharp Ears

    “Where the law ends, tyranny begins.” to paraphrase John Locke.

    Skim through this Hansard report from yesterday and see what a shambles we have in the courts and justice system, thanks to Tory cuts and the ‘services’ of Atos and Microsoft. Gauke, ‘the very model of a modern Lord Chancellor’, left it to a junior minister, Lucy Frazer, to respond. in the Commons.

    UK’s courts system ‘on its knees’ following major IT failure, lawyers’ association says
    ‘Short-term savings often result in wider costs to public purse,’ barristers’ union says
    1 day ago

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Surely the aim of the exercise is to bring the justice system to its knees? Then the rich can do what they want…

  • Sharp Ears

    Breaking news on Sky News.

    Alex Salmond has been arrested and will appear in court this afternoon. Charges unknown.

  • Willie

    ” If Nicola had one game plan – Independence for Scotland – she would have my unswerving support ”

    Absolutely bang on Craig! There is no doubt in my mind, and that of many others, that Nicola has taken her eye of the independence ball.

    That however, to the relief of many in the SNP and the wider independence movement is now changing.

    It is one thing to keep your powder dry and play canny, but if the time is not right now, it never will be.

    Hopefully we are now on the pedal to move forward. The time is now. We have done enough in the Westminster Brexit game.

    As to the smear on Salmond, and a smear at the time when the SNP and the independence movement could be poised to secure independence, I suspect that most folks will understand why the smear originated.

    It is one of the oldest tricks in the colonialist’s Trick Book to undermine
    Independence movements from within and it would be foolish for anyone to fail to understand the extent of the establishments dark arts brigade.

    Salmond ran them close in 2014 and they got a fright.

    Read Brigadier General Sir Frank Kitson in the matter. This should be mandatory reading as it gives an insight into how agents in country’s seeking independence infiltrate every aspect of that society’s life from community groups, to trade unions, to political parties, up and to symmetrical warfare.

    No wonder they pulled his books for thirty years on national security grounds.

    Low Intensity Operations, Gangs and Counter Gangs, was originally published by Faber and Faber.

    • Philip Cross

      She does it for vote grabbing…she doesn’t care if you’re independent or not…..the EU does not want nation states, they said so in 2014 on the independence vote….they don’t want Brexit…..yet all the William Wallace’s wanting independence fail to realise they are being led by a Cultural Marxist group called the SNP with your very own Lenin in the guise of a ginger turnip…..get real folks….SNP are setting Indy up to FAIL….for their masters in Brussels….so you will never get another chance for 2 decades or longer……why don’t you get this…..hence the demonization of King Alec, the one true believer worthy of Independence ….cut off Wallaces head then the rabble will be under the Kings rule….the Kings of Brussels….jeez, you guys make me laugh how shortsighted you can be regarding the machinations of Nicky Nacky Noo and her allegiance to the EU super-state and hounding of Alec, the one true believer and leader

  • djm

    So how does the arrest of Salmond tie in with all this ?

    Or was he just drunk & disorderly in public ??

    • michael norton

      I expect he has been trying to find out who has been making allegations against him,
      the people who are intent on pursing Salmond are getting twitchy, they don’t like fight-back.

  • Sharp Ears

    Cllr Donnelly in Aberdeen is facing charges of sexual assault. Who next? Is there a purge?


    I didn’t know that Nicola Sturgeon went to No 10 yesterday. Unproductive by the sound of it.

    May repeated herself in yesterday’s PMQs. Almost shouted it back. Kerr is a Con from Stirling. She will give him a job in double quick time.

    ‘Stephen Kerr
    May I associate myself with the comments that the Prime Minister made in relation to Holocaust Memorial Day? May I also say as a proud Scot that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the most successful political union that the world has ever known? That said, does the Prime Minister agree that, when Nicola Sturgeon demands a second independence referendum, only four years after we had the last one, the UK Government should side with the majority of the people of Scotland and firmly tell her no?

    The Prime Minister
    My hon. Friend is absolutely right. As he points out, Scotland held a referendum in 2014. It was legal, fair and decisive, and the people clearly voted for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom. More than that, at the last general election, the people of Scotland again sent a very clear message that they do not want a second divisive referendum, but the SNP sadly is out of touch with the people of Scotland and has not yet heard that message. The last thing we want is a second independence referendum. The United Kingdom should be pulling together, and should not be being driven apart.’

  • ADKC

    Alex Salmond is one of the great Scottish politicians (if not, then the greatest ever). We are witnessing a rare sight; the destruction of a great politician by vested interests and lesser politicians.

    It is not just Salmond that is being destroyed but the entire independence movement.

    It seems to me that a no deal/WTO brexit is being prepared for and that while Northern Ireland leaving may not be prevented, steps are being taken to ensure that Scotland will not be able to piggyback.

    The next election (coming soon) will likely see the SNP reduced to the 3rd largest party returned by Scotland to Westminster. A similar fate awaits the SNP when the next Holyrood elections take place. Independence will then be dead for 20 years or more.

    Years in the future, everyone will remember the tragedy of Salmond, no-one will remember Sturgeon, and there will be quiet gatherings of old Scots sipping drams if whiskey bemoaning the lack of someone like Salmond to lead the independence movement.

    • kathy

      Don’t be too sure. It might have the total opposite effect and be a huge boost to the independence movement. I for one am furious.

      • ADKC

        I hope so. But I was also hoping that far more people would be taking issue with me. Scots need to be more like the French.

        The implications are horrendous; that Scotland will never be allowed ever to become independence.

        • Los

          No. It looks like another one of the those Reichstag Events designed to take our minds off of Brexit, along the lines of those mysterious non-existent Gatwick drones, car bombs in Northern Ireland and the like.

          May will probably also dissolve Parliament to stop it getting in the way of Brexit.

    • Squeeth

      A WTO exit would be a good thing and scrificing Scottish interests would be the icing on the cake; perhaps the craven unionists in Scotchland might even vote for independence and give the English what they want, even though they are not franchised to vote on it.

  • Philip Cross

    I don’t mind saying it, or suffering any SJW backlash….but there are too many women in position of power, put there by cultural MeToo movements and no thought given to suitability for the role…..yet we still hear of how unjust this world is towards women….errr…Nichola Sturgeon, Theresa May, The Queen, Angela Merkel, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton…..the list is endless…..as shown by the top jobs in the Military Industrial Complex and Intelligence Services in the US and UK……Gina Haspel, Cressida Dick, Stella Remington….etc etc etc…..I see only one sided bias and sexism here….and it’s favouring women…..the majority of which are childless

    • michael norton

      Andrea Ledsom claimed Theresa May should not be primeminister because Theresa was childless, therefor had no stake in the future.

      • Philip Cross

        and rightly so….like many others with no vested interest in the future and who will live in the future….the youngsters…..so many of them come to power, and then tell us it’s for the future generations….of which they have none of…..they seem to be all for illegal immigration too….whilst blocking all the legal immigrants where possible….makes no sense, unless you view it with suspicion, then it ALL makes sense…Sound Bytes for the masses….for the pursuit of their career…not for the future generation

  • Prosdocimus de Beldemandis

    Dreghorn Doris throws another of her “friends” under a train. How the world laughed.

  • Graham

    “Nicola Sturgeon, reacting to her Government’s court defeat, disingenuously described to Holyrood Mackinnon’s contacts with the complainants as merely “welfare support and guidance”. Sturgeon knows for a fact that is not true.”

    “welfare support and guidance” from this short phrase it cannot be concluded that the guidance was exclusively related to welfare issues.

    “orange juice and coffee” what colour or flavour is the coffee?

    So it appears to me you are clutching at straws, possibly because you still bear a grudge against the SNP for rejecting your candidacy.
    Rightly so imo, you’re no team player and can’t be trusted to keep your mouth shut.
    It is my firm belief you are being played as a useful idiot by the very establishment you rail against.

  • ronald mcneill

    I am totally with you on Nicola’s feminist agenda. I wrote to the National on this but my letter was not published
    Ronnie McNeill, Strachur, non SNP Scottish Nationalist

    • Jo1

      Ooft, Ronnie, there’s a few feminists there! Maybe one of them spiked your letter.

      I remember when these allegations first broke last year. Scotland Tonight wheeled out Shona Craven who proceeded to say the main parties entitled to support were the accusers! I phoned the National the next day to complain about the lack of balance throughout her spiel. The guy I spoke to said that Craven wasn’t a spokesperson for the paper, only a columnist!!

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