Your Man Finally in the Public Gallery. The Alex Salmond Trial Day 7 288


With the defence opening its case, the Alex Salmond trial finally had a public gallery open all day, and accordingly I was in court with my trusty notebook. I should start by saying that the contrast with the soul-crushing experience of Woolwich Crown Court and the Julian Assange hearing was extreme. Edinburgh High Court is built for public access, not for public exclusion like Woolwich. You walk in straight off the High Street and the entire design of the building is intended to let the public flow through freely. There are literally no fences, no locked doors, no armoured glass, no enclosed glass cage for the accused. The court itself was impressive; Lady Dorrian presided with exemplary fairness, dealing quickly and sensibly with points that arose on admissibility of evidence. The jury of 15 citizens looked engaged and earnest throughout. The impression of my first day is that it is a process that deserves respect and trust, something I never felt at an Assange hearing.

The day was dramatic enough, mostly consisting of Alex Salmond in the witness stand giving evidence. That evidence was startling. He stated that some of the accusations were deliberate fabrications with a political purpose. He specifically accused Ms A of fabrication, and of recruiting and encouraging five of the other accusers also to make fabrications against him. Crucially he described Ms A, whom he accused of orchestrating the fabrications, as extremely close to Nicola Sturgeon, and did so in terms so graphic and detailed that I cannot repeat them as it would identify Ms A.

On Ms A’s own accusations, he stated that it was “ludicrous” for her to suggest that he sexually assaulted her in the middle of a dance floor when she handed him the microphone to make a speech at the office Christmas party, when all eyes would be upon him. The guests were seated all around the dance floor at tables, and there was a meal. He also stated that Ms A’s claims of his assaulting her during the by-election campaign in July 2008 were fabricated. He had always had minders with him during his presence at the by-election. The events described were public. He did recall seeing Ms A there, but the claims that he touched her buttocks or kissed her lips were fabrication.

On 2 April 2018 Salmond had attended a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and discussed two complaints against him, which were then subject to civil service procedures. No mention had been made that Ms A was bringing sexual allegations against him, although Ms A had input into that meeting which I must not specify.. This was the meeting at Sturgeon’s home where Sturgeon had told the Scottish parliament she first heard of allegations against Alex Salmond. Salmond stated under oath that Sturgeon had earlier held a meeting on 29 March 2018 to discuss the allegations with Geoff Aberdein, Salmond’s former chief of staff. That is five days before the date that Sturgeon told parliament she first knew of the allegations. That may have wider political ramifications.

Salmond had only found that out from the police almost a year later that Ms A had made allegations personally against him, despite dealings with her over the Scottish government inquiry into the two complaints.

The other accuser whom Alex Salmond was directly accusing of fabrication was Ms H. Salmond stated categorically that Ms H had not been at the dinner with the actor (whose name for reasons I do not understand the court also does not allow me to mention) in June 2014, after which the woman had claimed that Salmond had attempted to have sex with her in the bedroom in Bute House. Salmond also stated that Ms F had not been in Bute House in May 2014 when she claimed that an earlier incident had occurred. The court spent a great deal of time as the defence team took Salmond though the official calendar, the official diary, and the Bute House kitchen records to establish that there was no Bute House event in May 2014 at which Ms H might have been present.

Salmond stated that Ms H’s description of her communication with Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh about possible attendance at a football match the next day could not be true because Ms Ahmed-Sheikh’s father had died the previous day and she had left for London for the funeral, which had Ms H been present where and when she claimed, Ms H must have known.

Alex Salmond did however say that he had an entirely consensual sexual encounter with Ms H in Bute House approximately one year previously. The encounter had not involved penetration or full undress but had been of a sexual nature. It had been initiated by Ms H. He remembered that the evening was the first time he had heard the word “shots” in relation to alcohol, as Ms H had said “who would have thought I would be drinking shots with the First Minister”. He stated that he had then known Ms H for some years working for the SNP in various capacities, and that this consensual encounter had been a case of old friends going too far, which they had both acknowledged and realised it was a mistake, and parted on good terms.

Alex Salmond testified that subsequently in 2015 Ms H had sought his endorsement for nomination as an SNP candidate in an Aberdeenshire constituency. He had not given his endorsement. (You will recall that the court had during Ms H’s evidence seen texts from Ms H appearing to confirm she had sought his endorsement).

At this point I am going to insert out of turn the evidence of the second defence witness, Mrs Isobel Zambonini. Mrs Zambonini testified that she had been working as an employee in Alex Salmond’s constituency office when Ms H had arrived one day to do some paperwork and photocopying, and she had been told that Ms H was there to seek the parliamentary nomination. She had however been aware that Alex Salmond preferred another candidate.

Some days later Mrs Zambonini had encountered Ms H again by her car. Ms H had asked Izzie how she found it working for Alex Salmond. After an initially pleasant conversation, suddenly Ms H had stated “He needs to remember who he is and how he got there, I was instrumental in making that happen”. Mrs Zambonini stated she had been shocked by how quickly Ms H had changed and got angry.

Returning to the testimony of Alex Salmond, this had started with Alex being led by his counsel through a description of the functioning of the Private Office of the First Minister. It was a very high pressure 24/7 operation and officials from the Private Office accompanied the First Minister on all official occasions, including dinners, conferences etc both at home and abroad. The Private Office had about twenty staff, selected by the Civil Service. These were highly sought after positions that often led on to career promotion. Because of the unusual hours and working conditions the Private Office was like a “big family” and working relationships were more informal than may be normal in the Civil Service.

The First Minister had three sets of offices from all of which the Private Office operated. At St Andrews House, in the Holyrood Parliament and at Bute House, which contained both substantial offices and living accommodation.

Salmond was asked about the complaint by Ms B that he had grabbed her arms and attempted to kiss her, suggesting that they re-enact the scene in Ae Fond Kiss by Jack Vettriano, which picture had been delivered to Bute House.

Alex Salmond stated that he rated Ms B highly, as a civil servant who helped him prepare for First Minister’s Questions. The context was that the painting had been donated by Jack Vettriano for the First Minister’s christmas card, and had been the subject of discussion in the private office all day, mostly focussed on how they would tell Vettriano that the card was inappropriate for the purpose and something more sedate required. In the event Vettriano had been very gracious about it and donated another painting named “Let’s twist again”, which had eventually been auctioned raising £100,000 for charity. “Ae Fond Kiss” had ended up as a charity Christmas card for Shelter.

Salmond acknowledged that he had grabbed Ms B’s arms and suggested to her that they re-enact “Ae Fond Kiss”, but he characterised this as part of the running joke and “horseplay”. He said that Ms B had replied as she had testified “Don’t be daft”, and he had desisted. There was no intention on his part to assault or to be indecent.

Turning to the evidence of Ms C, Salmond acknowledged that he had given her and her husband a lift from Pizza Express on Holyrood Road to Waverley Station, but categorically denied that he had put his hand on her knee during the journey, though he acknowledged it was possible he inadvertently brushed her leg. He stated that the woman’s husband was an old friend who had worked for him in two different offices, and he had been chatting with him throughout the journey. Salmond stated the car had been the First Minister’s silver Lexus, in which the rear armrest between the two back seats was permanently fixed down as it incorporated a specially fitted telephone. It would be impossible surreptitiously to put your hand on somebody’s leg without being seen reaching over the armrest.

On the accusations of Ms D, Salmond said that she was CENSORED PENDING CONTEMPT OF COURT TRIAL. This was a joke in the office and Salmond said that other members of the office also sometimes tugged at Miss D’s hair in jest. Asked about an incident on an official visit to China, Salmond explained that the visit to China had been extremely important and hard working and had included a meeting with Premier Li and a Memorandum of Understanding on Chinese investment in Grangemouth petrochemical complex and on Scottish salmon exports to China. Salmond acknowledged that he had stroked Ms D’s face while she was sleeping, but said it was as the car in which they were travelling arrived at the internal border with Hong Kong where there would be a document inspection, and he had stroked her face in order gently to wake her up. It had no sexual motive. He also acknowledged that on that visit he had reached out to tug her hair in a lift as witnessed by Donald Cameron, but said this too had no sexual motive.

Salmond acknowledged that he had, as Ms D testified, interlinked arms with her while they were buying ice creams for the team at the Ryder Cup in Chicago. He stated there was no sexual motive and it was an example of the informal nature of the Private Office when on mission. They had been attending the Ryder Cup for meetings as Scotland was hosting the next one at Gleneagles. He acknowledged further that Ms D had shown him a bikini shot of her holiday in Jamaica. He agreed that he had told her that she looked like Ursula Andress in Dr No.

Asked by Defence counsel whether he now regretted his behaviour, Alex Salmond said that obviously from his position in the court he did, and he should have been more aware of intruding into people’s personal space. But incidents which nobody deemed serious at the time were now being exaggerated. His counsel, Gordon Jackson QC, asked him why that might be. Salmond replied that some of the allegations were fabrications for a political purpose, whereas others were little incidents which were now being reinterpreted in an entirely different way in the light of the police investigation of the last eighteen months.

Salmond was next asked about the accusation by woman G that he touched her bottom at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow. Alex Salmond replied that he recalled the incident well. They were late for a dinner where they were meeting with an important figure from the oil and gas industry. He had arrived with Ms G, who was a SNP functionary figure, his wife Moira and one other. The contact had occurred when he gave Ms G a “friendly shove” in the back to hasten her up the spiral staircase, where she was “dithering and talking”. His wife Moira had been between Alex and Ms G when he reached up to give the shove.

Ms G had later moved into the career civil service. She had been present as duty Private Office official at a dinner in George St which had happened rather spontaneously to toast the arrival of Kevin Pringle’s new baby. She had been concerned that, now a civil servant, she ought not be present at what might be seen as largely a political party event, and had been particularly concerned when a picture of her there had been tweeted out.

After the dinner, she had returned with Salmond to Bute House with the ministerial box to go through the papers and correspondence ready for the morning, as ministers do with their private secretary on duty every evening. She had been very upset when there. She had not told Salmond why and he now knew it was because of the tweet. He had known her for over six years, from before she became a civil servant, and had put his arm around her to comfort her and ask what was wrong. There was no sexual motive.

Salmond was then asked about the testimony of Ms F, who was at the time an SNP press officer. He described the evening in question. It was in the final few days before the 2014 Independence referendum. The BBC had just announced that if Scotland became Independent, the Royal Bank of Scotland would move its HQ to England. Salmond had an 8am television interview on Good Morning Scotland the next morning and a major speech at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre at 10am. An opinion poll had just shown a Yes lead, and the RBS announcement had the capacity to derail Independence.

Returning from an event in Glasgow to Bute House with press officer Ms F, arriving after midnight, he had been for a very long time on the phone trying to raise the Chief Executive of RBS for clarification. They also had to amend his speech for the morning to take account of the new development. Ms F had testified that she had found Salmond lying on the floor, and he had invited her to lie down beside him. Salmond stated that it had always been his working method, his whole professional life, to lay out his speeches on the floor to look over them and make changes. He was asked whether there was any physical contact with Ms F, he replied none whatsoever, except that when they finished preparation for the morning, which was about 3am, he had tapped her on the nose when saying goodnight.

At one point when they were waiting in the early hours for feedback from Ross McEwan of RBS to incorporate in the speech, he had taken Ms F on a tour of the state rooms of Bute House as she had not been there before. It was then he had told her the amusing story about the journalist passing out in front of a portrait which they stood before, at a party.

On the accusation of Ms E that he had touched her buttocks during a photograph at Stirling Castle, Salmond denied this, he had been hosting a dinner at Stirling Castle and afterwards all of the participants had taken a photo of him and the lion rampant flag, because it had been the first occasion that Scottish flag had flown at Stirling castle since 1707. Salmond said there was whole series of photos of him on the occasion with his arms around people, and it was standard for a politician. He regretted not having been sensitive to the fact that Ms E had not wished to join in with the picture taking. His wife Moira had been present, and the next day they had travelled with Ms E to Gleneagles.

Alex Salmond was then asked about the allegation of Ms F. He said that Ms F was another excellent civil servant. He said that the alleged incident in September 2013 was true. He had said goodnight to her and gone to kiss her cheek, but as they moved he had made fleeting contact with her lips by accident.

On 4 December 2013 they had returned from Holyrood to Bute House about 8pm with a great deal of work to do in the ministerial box. There was First Minister’s Questions to prepare and the Clutha helicopter disaster had just happened. The White Paper on Independence had just been published and there was a great deal of correspondence and paperwork arising from the China visit.

They did all of this except the Chinese papers and then had dinner at Bute House. As Ms F had testified, the heating in the office floors of Bute House had broken down. It was December and very cold so they went up to the bedroom which had heating and a table and chairs to work at. Ms F had taken her boots off which, Salmond said, she always did when indoors, unless in a very formal situation.

Salmond said that as they were working on the Chinese papers it seemed appropriate to take up a bottle of Mai Tai with which they had been presented on the China trip, and they had drunk some of this while they were working. They became tipsy. Salmond said they were both drinking about equally. After finishing, Ms F had gone and sat on the bed in order to put on her boots. Gordon Jackson QC asked Salmond if he had instructed Ms F to get on the bed, as she alleged, and Salmond replied firmly “no”. Salmond had gone across to hand her the folder, and they had embraced goodnight and then fallen in to what he described as a “sleepy cuddle”. Ms F’s feet were on the floor, they were lying on the bed and Salmond had one arm under her and one arm over her. Both were fully clothed.

Asked if the thought this was appropriate, Salmond said no, it was not appropriate, he was First Minister and he ought not to have done this.

After a short time, Ms F said “I’ll have to be going. This isn’t a good idea” and Salmond replied “no, this is a very bad idea” and they got up. She said “Goodnight First Minister”, he replied “Goodnight [christian name]”, and she left. He now knew she finished some work in the office downstairs before leaving Bute House.

Salmond was asked if he grabbed her buttocks, he replied no. He was asked if she struggled, he replied no. “It was a cuddle”.

A few days later, Salmond was approached by his Principal Private Secretary Joe Griffin, who said that Ms F had told him there had been a cuddle and a kiss, and she wanted a meeting and an apology. This meeting had happened very quickly. He had apologised. It should not have happened and was entirely his fault. She had asked if it would affect her career and he had said no, he took full responsibility. He had asked whether she wished to continue to work in the Private Office and she had replied that yes, she did. She had asked for an assurance there would be no recurrence and he had given that.

Gordon Jackson put to Alex Salmond that the charge was an intent to rape. Salmond said never, this was not true, he had never attempted a non-consensual sexual act in his life and never would.

Salmond stated that the accusation had changed over time. Joe Griffin had given a fair account as prosecution witness of what Ms F had alleged at the time. This had now developed into an accusation that he groped her and touched her underwear. This was a new and recent ramping up of the accusation.

After Alex Salmond’s cross examination by the defence counsel had finished, the prosecuting counsel, Alex Prentice QC, stood to cross examine him. The questioning of the accused by the prosecutor is normally the most dramatic moment in any criminal trial, and Prentice plainly intended this should be no exception. He had the Jack Vettriano painting displayed on screens and asked:

“Did you for one moment consider Ms B’s feelings when you grabbed her hands and asked her to re-enact the kiss?”

Alex Salmond replied that it was a joke, part of a running joke that had been going through the day, and he had expected Ms B would understand the suggestion was not serious.

To which Prentice responded:

“Did you for one moment consider Ms B’s feelings when you grabbed her hands and asked her to re-enact the kiss?”

And Prentice continued to ask the same question six times, irrespective of what Alex Salmond said in response. What Salmond said in response included that Ms B was a personality who was particularly partial to jokes and horseplay, and gave no indication of taking any offence at the time.

Prentice then went on to ask why Salmond had done this when nobody else was in the room. He replied that it was towards the end of the working day and people were popping in and out of the Private Office continuously. Obviously he now regretted not having had more respect for Ms B’s private space, but completely denied any struggle or force.

Prentice asked whether Salmond had instilled fear into his Private Office staff. Salmond replied that was neither his belief, intention nor perception. Prentice said they had heard evidence that some people were intimidated by Salmond. Alex replied that he accepted that was true for those people, but it was not the general case. Prentice replied that they had heard from one witness that the stress of working in Private Office had caused mental health difficulties. Salmond replied that he accepted that was true for that person.

Prentice went through the various accusers, asking Salmond in each instance to state the age gap between them, and supplying the answer in each case. He was anxious to impress that in general Salmond was about 30 years older than his accusers. He asked Salmond if he had respect for women. Salmond replied yes, he had equal respect for the women and men he had worked with.

Prentice asked whether Salmond thought tugging hair was acceptable and whether he had not seen women flinch. Salmond said it was lighthearted in context and that had not been the reaction at the time. His behaviour had not been sexual.

Prentice asked whether Salmond’s behaviour with Miss F had been acceptable. He was 58 and she was 29. Did he advance drinking alcohol as an excuse? Salmond said no he did not, and he had acknowledged responsibility for unacceptable behaviour. But there was no struggle, they were both fully clothed, and feet on the floor.

Prentice stated that “you had however, on an earlier occasion, kissed her”. Salmond replied that he had, but he had inadvertently brushed her lips when he had gone to kiss her cheek. Prentice expressed scepticism that this could happen. Salmond replied that in his experience it on occasion did.

Prentice then asked if Salmond realised how demeaning it would be for a woman to be smacked on the bottom. Salmond replied yes, he did, but he had not done that. He had given Ms G a push up the staircase. Prentice asked whether he denied saying to her “what I would do to you if I was 26” when “comforting” her at Bute House. Salmond said he did deny this. He had been telling her she was a talented young woman with a big future in front of her, in order to comfort her when she was distressed. Prentice asked whether Salmond alleged Ms G had misread the situation. Salmond replied yes.

Prentice stated that Salmond had claimed the attempted rape charge by Ms H had been based on an earlier consensual encounter initiated by Ms H on 16 August 2013. He again stressed the age difference. He said that the truth was that Ms H was indeed at the dinner with the actor on 12 June 2014 and that afterwards Alex Salmond had tried to rape her. Salmond said no, it was not the truth.

Prentice said “you did behave as described”. Salmond replied “no, I did not.”
“The truth is, she was there” : “No, it is not”.
“You tried to rape her” : “No, I did not”.

Prentice asked why Alex Salmond had told Ms F a story involving a penis. Did he think that was appropriate, alone in Bute House in the early hours? He was 31 years older than Ms F. Salmond replied that he had explained the context of why he had told the entertaining story about the passed out journalist under the portrait, while they were waiting for more information to come to finish off the speech and interview briefing. Prentice said that Salmond had proceeded to attempt to kiss her on the face and lips. Salmond replied that he had not. It was an extremely crucial night just before the referendum, and he was focused on the RBS leaving story, on his 8am TV interview and on his big speech.

Prentice said that he had grabbed Ms E’s backside because he could. Salmond replied that he had not touched her backside. But he should have been more aware of her personal space and that she was not keen to join in the photograph taking.

That finished the notably brief prosecution cross examination of Alex Salmond, which it is fair to say was very much aimed at arousing the emotions rather than attempting to query Salmond’s version of the facts.

Court reporting restrictions prevent me from passing much comment on the above. I would have covered the prosecution case in equal detail had the public not been barred from the court during it. I shall contribute another report after the defence continues today.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

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288 thoughts on “Your Man Finally in the Public Gallery. The Alex Salmond Trial Day 7

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  • OnlyHalfALooney

    I’m surprised court cases are still proceeding in the UK. Here in the Netherlands only “extremely urgent” cases are being heard until further notice..

      • Tom Welsh

        In which the prosecution’s opening statements clearly and gravely breached the Dutch court rules.

    • ray

      I have not seen anyone wearing a face mask in London – people are encouraged to ‘stay calm and carry on’ instead of being vigilant and protective. No doctors or nurses have effective protective clothing or masks.

      • Craig Murray fan

        Everybody you have the entire rest of the Internet discussing Covid19. This post is not.

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          Craig, what will happen if Salmon’s trial is “suspended”? Will there be a complete retrial later? Or might the whole thing be quietly dropped? Alternatively, will the case continue until a verdict? If this happens, how will the current situation affect Salmond’s right to appeal if he is found guilty?

          Luckily Salmond is not in prison, but the situation will probably leave Assange in limbo.

  • Bridget

    Brilliant Craig! Thank you so much for the account. It’s so much more complete than anyone else’s.

    • Isabella Malcolm

      Thank you Craig, I have been following Phillip Sim of BBC on Twitter. Yesterday I was so disappointed at what seemed to be a toothless Defence from Gordon Jackson. Thank you again for a fuller and more detailed report on yesterday’s proceedings.

      • Mary White

        Absolutely. The MSM is not reporting this case properly at all.
        So happy because he must be acquitted promptly of this bullshit.

  • Stonky

    I am profoundly grateful to you for producing this Craig, but make sure you’re not risking your health.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Wow, that was waaay more detailed than coverage from any other source. Sounds like the case will be over before the end of the week. The communication between Witness H and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is telling. These witnesses are too clever by half.

    • Jeff R

      The defence stiil have a couple of witnesses, then there are the closing speeches, and the judges summing up. The judge won’t want to appear to rushing the jury to a verdict so the earliest the jury will be sent out is Monday morning (after the judges summing up), We may even have a verdict on Monday. Bet you can hear a pin drop when the verdict is announced.

  • Margaret

    Thanks for the comprehensive coverage, Craig.

    If we relied on the MSM, we would only have selective and slanted coverage, not the nuance and fine detail you provide.

    • Dhuglass

      Totally agree. An excellent, keenly observed account that also demonstrates a proper understanding of what is crucial information in terms of evidence. An ability that virtually no-one in the MSM has … this is ‘War and Peace’ compared to East Enders account of the MSM . Thar barr!

  • Rose Strang

    Far more detail than the carbon copy or deliberately sensationalist reports in MSM. Thank you Craig. This gives a sense of the context and mood of the situation, also of Alex Salmond’s personality. I could say so much more about the picture this builds to my mind, especially since I’ve encountered many similar scenarios in busy work situations when people work closely together out of normal hours, but will await the outcome and very much look forward to your next reports. Brilliant work, thank you.

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    Brilliant work Craig! Will this all form part of the research for your new novel/book?

  • David G

    A general question from someone unfamiliar with the rules in Scotland:

    How much of the secrecy that has restricted Craig’s reporting (both his own access, as well as what he knows but can’t relate) survives the end of the trial? Is it all just intended to maintain the integrity of an ongoing proceeding, or is some (or much or all) of it meant to be permanent? For example, will a transcript of the now-concluded prosecution case be made public later?

    And leave aside voluntary journalistic decisions to conceal names of alleged (and alleging) victims of sex crimes, as well as any possible appeals. *Just, at the end of the day, how much compulsory obscurity remains?*

    (Please excuse me if this has been dealt with in previous comment threads.)

    • Craig Murray fan

      There is a specific court order banning publication its not voluntary and I think its permanent.

        • Cubby

          Nut Brown Maiden

          I don’t see laws in Scotland legally preventing disclosure abroad but it may be voluntary or each state “advises not to”.

          I think it will come down to whether they think their readers are interested enough.

      • David G

        Appalling.

        Thanks for navigating the bizarre situation as best you can. (Goes double for Assange.)

      • Tom Welsh

        Interesting. Doesn’t that provide a way of permanently forbidding discussion of any of a wide range of events, subject to the slight inconvenience of arranging a trial related to the subject of interest?

        This is a Free Country, and we have that great blessing, Freedom of Speech.

        Except…

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    “Goodnight [christian name]”, and she left. He now knew she finished some work in the office downstairs before leaving Bute House.

    Did Alex Salmond state her christian name? Does everyone in court know the names of the accusers?

      • Nut Brown Maiden

        Unless there is a ban on people talking to one another it won’t be long until everyone in Scotland who is interested will know their names.

  • Tatyana

    What is described by:
    – grabbed her arms and attempted to kiss her
    – stroked her face in order gently to wake her up
    – reached out to tug her hair
    – a “friendly shove” in the back to hasten her up
    – he had invited her to lie down beside him
    – gone to kiss her cheek

    I’d say Mr. Salmond should keep his hands by him. He says he is aware he’s “intruding into people’s personal space”.
    If he really understands this, if he apologised, and since no one is raped, I think the case must be closed now.

    Also I’ve got some questions to Mrs. Salmond, but I’d better keep them by me.

      • Tatyana

        pet? I’m curious, is this generally accepted way to address a person, or is it an allusion to something well-known that is unfamiliar to me?

        • Stonky

          Tatyana, women are allowed to call each other ‘pet’. It’s like… er… umm… you know… the ‘n’ word.

          • Tatyana

            Thanks for the clarification, Stonky, I hope this is the correct explanation 🙂
            I met stories that foreign guests were misled for the sake of a joke, and used russian words for “f*ck off” instead of “please, be so kind as to move in and give me the way”

          • Godolphin

            Tatyana; search youtube ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ for clarification, if not understanding.

          • pete

            Re Tatyana at 11.36

            Pet has colloquial usage, it can be good or bad, affectionate or patronising and difficult to pin down – see:
            https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pet

            I assume it is being used in the instance of this response to your comment in a patronising way, instead of using your name.
            It doesn’t matter if we agree with you or not, I would not use it except as a way of belittling the comment it comments on. Just as when I used to respond to the contributor known as Charles by referring to them in the overly familiar form as Chas. It was deliberately disrespectful, but I may be overanalysing Margaret’s comment. Don’t take it personally, some people use the term to anyone.
            I read Craig’s summary as wonderfully detailed, highlighting as he does the weakness of the case against Alex Salmond, it is genuinely surprising that this matter has gone this far.

          • Crabbit Geezer

            How do we know Margaret’s a woman? God knows, or someone does, that gender’s difficult territory these days. Either way, I agree with Tatyana, “pet” is a rather derogatory term when it’s used on man, woman or someone else.

        • John A

          It all depends on which part of England you come from. In the northwest, people call female strangers ‘love’ and male strangers ‘cock’, even if they have never seen them before. In the north east they say ‘pet’, in the midlands ‘duck’. Not sure about London and the south east but probably nothing as they don’t speak to strangers there.

          • Tatyana

            I don’t mind, it’s fun. But I’d rather ‘pet’ than ‘duck’ 🙂
            An englishman shares his experience of living in Russia on russian forum. Craig Ashton. I read his posts like exciting adventure book 🙂 there are similar situations that make him surprised here in my country. He says he already learned to wash hands immediately on returning home and to take off his glove before handshaking 🙂

    • Terry Edge

      I’m troubled by this too. I’ve always felt deeply that it’s wrong to touch someone else, or stand too close to them (unless it’s unavoidable) without it being entirely mutual. Yes, it’s quite possible Salmond’s accusers are now exaggerating these physical encounters for various reasons but even if they were exactly as Salmond stated, he seems to have frequently crossed a line.

      “This was a joke in the office and Salmond said that other members of the office also sometimes tugged at Miss D’s hair in jest.”

      Case in point. It’s hard to imagine that Miss D would also be in on the jest especially when Salmond does it in front of David Cameron. Surely a real leader would make a stand to protect his staff from this kind of “jest” instead of joining in with it?

      • Cubby

        Terry Edge

        It was not David Cameron the ex UK Prime Minister it was Donald Cameron a civil servant who currently works for the Scottish permanent secretary, Leslie Evans who lost the judicial trial to A Salmond.

        So if you think people are friends you never ever go near them. You should be fine re coronavirus and social isolation.

        • Terry Edge

          Thanks for the correction re the Camerons; my mistake – although I don’t think it changes the issue much.

          I find it interesting that you should choose to interpret me saying that touching must be mutual as meaning I don’t ever go near my friends. (And your assertion that I will be fine when socially isolated is of course an insult.) Yes, I have physical contact with friends, family, partner, etc, but it’s mutual; that’s the point. This varies across traditions and individual types. For example, when I go to my local Turkish restaurant, I and the owner always give each other a huge hug but in my local Indian restaurant, it’s just a handshake. Different physical encounters but again the key is that they are mutually agreed to.

          My point was that it doesn’t look as if Alex Salmond’s various touches on different women were always mutually agreed to.

          I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your inaccurate assumptions about my behaviour do not mean that you are in fact in favour of non-mutual touching.

          • Cubby

            Terry Edge

            Terry my mistake also. I should have posted and meant to post distancing rather than isolation. So I can understand you feeling insulted. Apologises.

            “My point was that it doesn’t look as if Alex Salmonds ALLEGED ( my insertion) various touches on different woman were always mutually agreed to. ”

            Terry so you always know that all your physical contacts are mutual – how exactly do you know that – do you ask permission each time. Do you remember actually asking permission for anyone. No you make assumptions. They are friends.

            The women in this trial are all people Salmond worked with in the environment that is described for years. Not strangers. Not people he just met.

            Do you think the level of touching that is different in different cultures is always inappropriate. Italy for example. Not all people see things the same. Not all societies see things the same. One society may see another as cold and standoffish and the other far to touchy feely hugging.

          • Terry Edge

            “Terry Edge
            Terry my mistake also. I should have posted and meant to post distancing rather than isolation. So I can understand you feeling insulted. Apologises.
            “My point was that it doesn’t look as if Alex Salmonds ALLEGED ( my insertion) various touches on different woman were always mutually agreed to. ”
            Terry so you always know that all your physical contacts are mutual – how exactly do you know that – do you ask permission each time. Do you remember actually asking permission for anyone. No you make assumptions. They are friends.
            The women in this trial are all people Salmond worked with in the environment that is described for years. Not strangers. Not people he just met.
            Do you think the level of touching that is different in different cultures is always inappropriate. Italy for example. Not all people see things the same. Not all societies see things the same. One society may see another as cold and standoffish and the other far to touchy feely hugging.”

            Cubby – for some reason there is no ‘Reply’ button on your message, so I’m replying via my own posting.
            * * *
            Apology accepted; no problem. You raise some interesting points.

            I agree that it isn’t always possible to know 100% for sure that every touch between you and another is totally mutual. But two things on that: first, the intention that you want it to be mutual is very important, rather than doing what you like with someone else until they tell you they don’t like it. Second, it means you need to observe, have respect for others and basically operate from the desire to communicate as fully as possibly with someone that you like. To use my examples again: in the case of our Turkish resturant owner, I observed him regularly hugging guests – not always; not for example with new guests, but I could tell that was his preferred approach. I and my partner were also invited to his daughter’s wedding (which was a great experience) where we again were able to see that hugging is common. The fact I like hugging of course helps. If I’d got it wrong and he didn’t in fact like hugging me, I’m pretty sure I’d have been able to tell by his reaction and not make the same mistake again.

            In the case of the Indian restuarant owner, who we have known for a long time and like very much, we observed that he does not ever hug customers. He shakes the hands of the men but not the women. I am not judging that but it does mean that for me to hug him would be inappropriate and possibly for my partner even more so.
            I agree with you therefore, that different cultures have different approaches to physical contact. I think that’s what I’ve been saying.

            But I don’t think this applies to Salmond’s interactions with female colleagues and staff. He wasn’t pulling her hair because he’d observed that that is a cultural practice. He was doing it because he says everyone else did. We aren’t told if she liked it but chances are she would not.

          • Cubby

            Terry Edge

            Apologises again about posting isolation. I have a 91 year old family member who is not happy with this corona virus isolation and it was obviously on my mind.

            The case you mentioned the incident in a lift is not one of the charges but an attempt to demonstrate a pattern of behaviour. How upsetting or annoying it would be for the woman involved is difficult for us to ascertain but it is clear from the evidence that she is far from a stranger and it was not carried out furtively. It is worth noting in my opinion that despite massive publicity by the media in Scotland and elsewhere no other women have come forward other than over this relatively short time period for someone who is 65 and all the accusers are in the SNP Scot gov world.

            More statements from witnesses today contradicting the testimonies of the accusers eg a businesswoman who attended the dinner in Bute House that one of the accusers said she was there and the attempted rape followed on afterwards says that the woman was not at the dinner and was not there at all.

          • Aris

            Terry, who likes having their hair pulled? It hurts. It was something girls did at school when they were having a catfight.

      • Tom Welsh

        I’m inclined to agree with you, Terry. But politicians and civil servants have a strong tendency to be extraverts, who are (broadly stereotyping) much more comfortable with informality and contact.

        Moreover, within families and among close friends it is often quite normal and acceptable for people to touch, embrace and even all-in wrestle.

        Much depends on whether Mr Salmond’s description of the “family” atmosphere within his team is accurate or not. And, even if it is inaccurate, whether that is his honest perception.

        One thing is certain: if people start to be found guilty and punished by law for such behaviour as Mr Salmond has admitted, this country is going to become a very cold, restrained, unfriendly place. Bearing in mind, of course, that exactly the same rules hsould apply to women as to men.

        That is, a woman who touches a man’s hair, face or buttocks should face trial for… whatever the charge is, I forget.

        • Terry Edge

          Tom – good points. I agree about politicians tending to be extraverts but I think the informality and touching of others can be a power/control device also, if possibly unconscious for the most part (but not always). Families: again, this will normally be mutual, which is key; but not always: I’m sure power games go on in families too.

          Perhaps what it comes down to is you either see any other person you encounter as completely the same as you – in terms of being human – or you don’t. If you do, your natural instinct is respect; if you don’t, then unconscious feelings of superiority will manifest physically in one form or another.

          I agree about perception. However, if Alex Salmond has honestly perceived that touching others was appropriate within his “family” but in fact it wasn’t, that does raise questions about his ability to lead. Albeit, that I think is a separate issue to the political manipulations of those who may be trying to destroy the threat he represents.

          • Tatyana

            Terry Edge and Tom Welsh,
            any touch is OK if it can be returned. E.g. I can squeeze my friend’s backside saying “hi, old fart” and he may do exactly the same to me. We are both ok with it. Mutual, in this sense of the word.

            It’s not the same with a senior boss touching my face to wake me up, or pulling my hair, or kissing me – I cannot return the touch, it’s not THAT type of relationship.

            I also agree, that apology and firm promise to stop doing that, is quite enough to establish the line with which everyone would be comfortable. A trial in the court looks beyond overreaction.

          • Tom Welsh

            Tatyana and Terry, thanks for your replies. I quite agree with everything you say. People of good will can agree on such things with a little patience and the willingness to listen.

        • Cubby

          Tom Welsh

          Alex Salmond is well known in Scotland for being tactile and welcoming. If he was a politician in Italy he would probably be seen as a bit boring and cold.

        • terence callachan

          I disagree with you , there are many many touch people in society , they touch your arm when speaking to you it’s very common and in the workplace friendly encounters are very very common indeed, not all such encounters are sexual but some are, those thar are will sometimes be considered sexual by one party but not the other and it could be the touched or the toucher that considers it not sexual

          That is people for you
          Generalisation is not possible

        • Red Pill

          What about the bloke who was jailed for two years for merely talking to women in the street? Didn’t lay a finger on them, didn’t invade their ‘personal space’, but still, two years in the slammer.

      • Ros Thorpe

        I agree with that. He’s crossed a line of decency but I don’t think he’s broken any laws. By the way Johnson has done the same and far worse but he’s untouchable

      • Westie

        You mean people that sit too close to people and crush them, squeeze them into the wall on the sidewalk, etc, That sort of thing?. They do it on purpose because they know it annoys people. I detest them. Jeez, when we were kids we had a 20 stone aunt that used to sit on us until our lungs nearly exploded. Bullies.

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    ‘Prentice asked whether Salmond’s behaviour with Miss F had been acceptable. He was 58 and she was 29.’

    This is a weird question considering the age difference between partners of UK PM, US & French presidents
    and Alex Salmond & his wife.

    • Margaret

      Exactly. BoJo getting Carrie up the duff was greeted with universal jubilation in the MSM.

      • Paul

        It’s an interesting coincidence that the leaders of the USA, the UK and France are all 24 years older or younger than their partners!

    • Stonky

      Prentice asked whether Salmond’s behaviour with Miss F had been acceptable. He was 58 and she was 29…

      This odious shit has no more place in a criminal trial involving sex offences than questions about a victim’s mini-skirts. But because it’s only ageism, it’s fine…

      • Andrew Mcguiness

        “This odious shit has no more place in a criminal trial involving sex offences than questions about a victim’s mini-skirts.” Agreed. Fancying, approaching, making love to someone younger than yourself who is above the age of consent is not illegal, nor should it be. No prosecutor should be trying to work up emotions on that basis.

        • Rufus Henry

          Why did no-one mention this in respect to Derek McKay the 40-year-old former finance minister caught texting the 16-year-old? What did the 16 year-old’s age have to do with it?

    • Tom Welsh

      It’s a weird question because it appears to suggest that friendly relationships between people of different ages are improper.

      Why isn’t that form of discrimination every bit as improper and prejudiced as racism or sexism?

    • James G

      Agreed.

      If A 25 year old carried out the same actions as Salmond to a another 25 year old, would that then make it acceptable according to the prosecutors logic?

  • Sue Varley

    Craig, thank you so much for all these accounts,you have been so committed to give us.

  • Stevie Morrison

    Interesting view of the overall proceedings otherwise hidden due to MSM focussing on the “creepy sexaul predator politician” angle! Thanks…

    • Tatyana

      Mr. Salmond doesn’t look like a macho man who is running around with his ahem … weapon ready to ahem … stab it in the first person he meets.
      Actually, it’s hard for me to imagine Mr. Salmond running at all, or doing any other physical activity, given his physical form. The words “creepy sexaul predator” amuse me incredibly 🙂
      I’m sorry!

  • MBC

    Wee typo. Alex was no longer FM in December 2014. Don’t you mean December 2013? Clutha was November 2013.

    Thanks for this full report.

  • Magic Robot

    Lot of public money wasted on a lot of salacious nonsense.
    I got halfway, then thought what a waste of time.
    See them all, in their true environment, kicking and screaming to get to the greasy pole that will lead them to power.
    Disgusting.

    • Magic Robot

      An excellent report Mr. Murray. Thank you for taking the time to expose a case that should never have gone to trial.

  • Cubby

    An excellent achievement getting this article finished and on line in such a short space of time.

    You only have to read this article and look at the reporting by the Britnat media to see their bias staring you in the face. Sarah Smith reporting for the BBC, daughter of ex Labour leader John Smith whose mother is a retired spook at a very high level.

    It is worth noting that the last time I looked at the SNP website and its HISTORY of the SNP section all trace of Alex Salmond had been removed. Other less notable personalities in the SNP did get a mention. Why and who authorised this soviet style revisionism and will it soon be reversed…

  • giyane

    Thank you so much Craig for sacrificing your time and energy to reveal the enourmous warmth, sanity and humanity of Alex Salmond in this case. Contrast that with the photos on your previous thread of the new FM with Labour spin doctors and Tories with their feet politically embedded in concrete over Brexit.
    Sorry, I was busy concreting a floor all week. Words fail me how anybody could abuse a leader’s creation of a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in an incredibly busy and important organisation, by twisting trivia into a major court case. Two betrayals, one political and one personal. But at least I enjoyed the humour and friendliness you relayed from the court , in the middle of the sandwich.

  • Geoff

    Obviously the more serious allegations look very flimsy indeed, and will surely come to nothing in a legal sense.

    However, my reading of it so far shows enough material to be twisted into a final public burial of Alex Salmond. The jury may well consider each event on the merits and facts presented, but the media won’t. The red tops will print whatever they like, but the more genteel, respectable liars in the broadsheets or tv will phrase it such as “Alex was forced to concede that witness x, y and z were intimidated by his actions”, “Alex regretted sexualising a meeting in bedroom with staff”

    Now he has ‘admitted’ to touching staff and conceding that it may have made them uncomfortable, forever after, the media can dismiss anything he says and does and thank god for Nicola Sturgeon for rescuing Scottish politics from this Weinstein-esque dinosaur.

    He clearly has been advised, and probably wisely by his defence team that he mustn’t go after the character of the accusers, describing each one of them as a star, which is one of the key weaknesses in trials such as this, as the defendant gets damned in different ways whichever tack they take.

    I’d say its mission accomplished for SNP/Team UK wherever this goes from here, as long as there’s nothing introduced to drag the current leaders name into the orchestration.

    • Geoff

      on the weinstein-esque part, the broadsheets probably won’t directly make a comparison, but I bet they’ll find a way to shoehorn the name in, in a separate paragraph, alongside the words ‘unacceptable’ and ‘#metoo’ in their time-honoured traditions of conflation.

    • giyane

      Geoff

      ‘Now he has ‘admitted’ to touching staff and conceding that it may have made them uncomfortable,’

      You must be reading Craig’s report with MSM lenses on. Fortunately the MSM are unable to penetrate my consciousness. He has not said that he intended to make them feel uncomfortable. He has treated them too much like family, and then realised they might have not liked it. Ebullience is a good thing and much needed in boring occupations like politics.

      As a Muslim I’m not supposed to shake ladies hands but i do because not to might cause offence.
      Am I now to not shake ladies hands because they might possibly expect me as a Muslim not to?
      Thank God for a politician who thinks straight, not in feminist quadrupo-think.

      • Tom Welsh

        “You must be reading Craig’s report with MSM lenses on”.

        That, indeed, was Geoff’s declared intention. The quotation marks around ‘admitted’ make this clear.

      • Geoff

        giyane, two points…

        firstly, I was indeed doing my best to view this through MSM lenses, It wasn’t my personal opinion of how events really unfolded. My point was trying to be about how the case may well fail legally but the media had the soundbites they needed to bury him. Either I was not clear in making that out, or you were too quick to rush to judgment on what I wrote. Apologies if it was the former.

        Secondly, I never wrote a single word about him ‘intending’ to make anyone uncomfortable. I said he acknowledged that they may have been made uncomfortable. That’s more than a little different.

        Actually, one last point. You said something quite interesting when you said “Fortunately the MSM are unable to penetrate my consciousness.”. Now this is not aimed at you but rather anyone at all who believes this but that statement is utter nonsense and quite dangerous. Everything to which we are exposed, helps shape us to greater or lesser degree. The best defence against their propaganda is to realise this, and remain vigilant, not to complacently declare you are immune.

    • Tom Welsh

      Well, now that the powers-that-be have discovered an infallible one-size-fits-all method of discrediting any man… what will be their technique for coping with uppity women?

      Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
      Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
      Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
      Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude.
      Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

      – Martin Niemöller, Der Weg ins Freie, (F.M. Hellbach, Stuttgart, 1946)

      When the Nazis arrested the Communists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.
      When they locked up the Social Democrats, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
      When they arrested the trade unionists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist.
      When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.
      When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest.

      – translated by Bob Berkovitz ([email protected]). Revealingly, often quoted without the first line (or even the first three lines).

      • Geoff

        Good question. I don’t know of any automatically damning accusation that they can lay in the same way, but from seeing how a few have been treated, it seems the accepted tactic is in your very framing. – Uppity. Get some kind of epithet like bunny boiler or allusions to jealousy, show them as unstable. Doesn’t need the inconvenience of a trial and letting them mount a defence.

    • John A

      ‘Alex regretted sexualising a meeting in bedroom with staff”

      The reason apparently was the completely logical, the heating had failed downstairs and it was a cold night in December. I am sure there would be official records showing if this was the case, ie a heating repair invoice just after that date.

      • Geoff

        While there may well be good reasons or mitigating circumstances behind any or all of it, good luck finding it fairly reported. My point was that kind of sentence is likely to be all that will be portrayed. The background info to make sense of it will not be.
        Newspapers are a platform, not a debate (as anyone who ever engaged with the guardians comment section and its censorship will attest) and they selectively choose what to publish/broadcast. In my reading of Craigs article, they now have what they need to frame him as a monster.

        • mogabee

          The ones who will portray him as a monster already do so. No-one here will be shocked at what they print or say.

  • Baalbek

    He was anxious to impress that in general Salmond was about 30 years older than his accusers.

    There is good reason for this.

    Brilliant American feminist scholars have discovered that adult women in their mid to late 20s are just as naive and impressionable as 15 year-old schoolgirls when in the presence of “older men” with higher social status.

    Thus, a gainfully employed man in his mid-50s having a consensual sexual relationship with a, say, 26 year-old woman is in fact taking advantage of a helpless “girl” who is unable to resist his hypnotic power over her mind and body. In light of this, even if the woman initiates sexual contact, the “older man” effectively bears full responsibility for her actions. /s

    This is nonsense on stilts of course, but infantilizing adult women and denying them their agency is one of American feminism’s many contributions to the farcical tragicomedy known as late-stage western civilization.

    Prentice is no doubt aware of this trend and is attempting to leverage it by repeatedly bringing up Salmond’s age relative to his accusers.

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘Thus, a gainfully employed man in his mid-50s having a consensual sexual relationship with a, say, 26 year-old woman is in fact taking advantage of a helpless “girl” who is unable to resist his hypnotic power over her mind and body.’

      While, at the same time, any woman is at least the equal of any man; women mature much earlier than men; women have more empathy and emotional intelligence than men; and, last but not least, it is a capital offence to refer to any woman as a ‘girl’.

  • Andrew Sharp

    Having been a candidate in the past, with some (mercifully limited) contact with the then press office, I think I can identify at least two of these witnesses, whom I will not name. If Miss A is or was “extremely close to Nicola Sturgeon”, then there is potentially a huge problem here for the SNP.

  • Doug

    Thank you, Craig, for the information you supply concerning this trial. Essential reading.

  • Athanasius

    “Goodnight [christian name]”? Notwithstanding the lower case “c”, thank you for resurrecting this wonderfully courtly antiquated form. As it happens, I myself possess a Christian name, not just a first or given name. People don’t seem to have “Christian names” any more.

  • Margaret

    So far from the twitter feeds on this (I know – pinch of salt as big as a Siberian salt mine) the defence witnesses aren’t being cross examined by the prosecution, only by defence counsel. Is this actually the case?

  • Frank mckenna

    Alex Salmond has always seemed to me to be a somewhat gregarious and tactile person on television when out and about meeting the general public.
    It’s what politicians do during elections, shake hands kiss babies etc.
    This was a man who brought Scotland to the very edge of independence setting us free from the Westminster cabal.
    To say the atmosphere must have been euphoric at the time is an understatement.
    What I can’t get my head round, is why is it the SNP who seem to be attacking him, what are they to gain from it, surely it can’t just be the “ me too” bandwagon.
    I fear there are darker forces at play.

  • mary mackenzie

    Craig, can you find the lady who was the BA rep who you met at the AUOB march and who told you of her experiences with politicians and Alex Salmond at the dinners she attended?
    She would be a very good witness for his defence in that 1. she was often at these occasions, 2 she had colleagues who agreed with her,3 she had problems with other politicians behaving badly, 4 she is not in the cabal who are testifying now from the same hymn sheet, and she sounded clear and strong about his good behaviour.
    Then I would contact AS or his counsel and let them know about her, as it sounds to me she should be in the witness box for the defence.
    Thank you for your descriptions of the proceedings, it’s wonderful that you are there.

    • craig Post author

      Mary,

      Yes, I did this of course. Unfortunately it falls foul of the strict Scottish law against “collateral evidence”.

  • N_

    24/7, high-pressure dinners, a special telephone in the armrest in the car, and a visit to China that was “extremely important and hard working”. Really sometimes you have got to laugh. Imagine if that was a local government figure in an area with twice the population, such as London. I doubt the mayor of London has three separate residences for himself in one city.

    And Salmond touches women all the time but there’s never any untoward motive, he doesn’t get a hard on, it’s not sexual (perish the thought), and some of it is horseplay or a joke, or didn’t happen, and anybody who says otherwise is a liar at best and a conspiratorial fabricator at worst.

    No wonder the prosecution didn’t cross-examine him for long. They didn’t need to. They already had sufficient from him in his evidence in chief.

    When the verdict comes in, the guy is unlikely to be walking out the front door of the courthouse.

    • Cubby

      N

      So speaks the ultra Britnat just like the Britnat media – evidence is unimportant. Smearing is all important.

      • giyane

        Cubby

        I was listening to one of those failed old Tory leaders between Major and May on Radio 4. I can’t remember the idiot’s name on Any Questions, but when the supermarkets are missing some essential items normally supplied super cheap by China, he couldn’t stop himself taking a swipe at China for having a strong centralised government. Unlike us of course whose leaders took 4 months to realise that the virus was going to come to us. Alex Salmond comes through as overflowing with enthusiasm while Nicola Sturgeon seems to have fossilised into a pillar of Presbyterian salt by this case,

    • Nut Brown Maiden

      ‘I doubt the mayor of London has three separate residences for himself in one city.’
      LOL!

      I think the former Mayor of London may have had more than three separate residences in London where he spent the night!

    • FranzB

      N – “I doubt the mayor of London has three separate residences for himself in one city. ”

      This is what actually appears in CM’s blog above:-

      “The First Minister had three sets of offices from all of which the Private Office operated. At St Andrews House, in the Holyrood Parliament and at Bute House, which contained both substantial offices and living accommodation”

      • Cubby

        Franzb

        It is hard to trust anything N posts as he misleads by misrepresenting text to suit his own views. A bit like the Britnat media.

    • mogabee

      You aren’t Tony Blair by any chance? He likened the Scottish parliament to a council too.

      Pathetic and revealing…

    • terence callachan

      In the workplace friendly and sexual encounters occur regularly but sometimes people see them as friendly or sexual and others see those encounters as neither friendly nor sexual.
      Women wearing short skirts that show their knickers if the bend even a slight amount or if they sit on a chair.
      Women wearing see through blouses
      Women wearing low cut blouses boobs just about hanging out
      We have all seen it, it’s common , I’m sure some think it’s sexual and some don’t
      Not all people think the same way about the same thing
      It’s just people

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    ‘Prentice replied that they had heard from one witness that the stress of working in Private Office had caused mental health difficulties.’

    That just means working in the Private Office was stressful for this one witness all others may have been able to handle the work without getting stressed.

    The person involved in the Mark MacDonald case had to be hospitalised & was off work for 6 months which I presume was due to ‘mental health difficulties’.

    Initially I wondered if it could be the same person but then I remember that the person involved in the Mark MacDonald case worked for James Dornan. James Dornan seemed to imply that the ‘stress/mental health difficulties’ were all down to harassment by Mark MacDonald which is hard to believe.

    My experience of people who are stressed is that they react in a totally different way to situations than the non stressed. First thing to go is a sense of humour. I’ve always felt that I had to walk on eggshells around people who are stressed.

  • joel

    Difficult to avoid concluding that Salmond is being persecuted for his heretical views on the NeoCons, as Assange is for exposing their crimes.

    This will become even more obvious in coming months as liberal opinion (including Sturgeon) lauds ol creepy Joe as the best person to restore dignity and morality to the White House, even though he has been captured repeatedly on camera groping little girls.

    Watch from 6 min mark (and bear in mind these are occasions when Biden knows cameras are present.)
    https://mobile.twitter.com/vicbergeriv/status/1222688896145747969

    The times are growing more Orwellian.

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