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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  • Deepgreenpuddock

    As always these things are difficult to judge. Clearly h the prosecution exaggerates the guilt and the defence exaggerates the innocence,One senses that truth is a casualty in such cases.
    I spent a working life in an environment which required scrupulous attention to appearances. The working environment was one where there was an inclination to find fault ,and one had to be hyper vigilant about proprieties and the result was that I became extremely cautious in order to not create any hostages to fortune.
    In a highly charged political enviromment one might expect that a person in a position of power might be at pains to be scrupulous in their behaviour. On the other hand it seems unreasonable to hold a particular person to a higher standard than normal.
    For instance a shove on the butt seems inappropriate even when in a crush when it would have been safer to say ‘ get a move on’.
    One senses (intuits) that AS may have strayed from the strictest standards but that it is also a very poor reaction to try to use relatively mild errors to this kind of corrosive scrutiny and it is highly suggestive of political advantage being sought or scores being settled. I was quite interested in the idea in the previous comments that NS could have been recruited into the British establishment while at university. That seems plausible and is a well established M.O. of the security services

    • Tom Welsh

      ” Clearly the prosecution exaggerates the guilt and the defence exaggerates the innocence…”

      I beg to disagree. Sometimes the prosecution exaggerates guilt and the defence depicts innocence accurately.

      Your argument reminds me of the long debunked idea that virtuous behaviour lies midway between good and bad. Some accusers may sometimes lie; one cannot safely infer from that the accused in the same cases is also lying.

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        Oh just come off it. The respective legal representatives use every rhetorical trick they can muster. In a case like this the arguments are given emphases intended to influence the jurors.It is quite tricky to draw a line between ‘leading’ and influencing. Don’t let your obvious sympathy for AS cloud your judgement. Craig makes no secret of his sympathies (and bias) although I personally am very grateful for his considerable effort to provide an alternative narrative to the mainstream.There may be something to what he suggests-that there has been a concerted attempt to undermine the AS credibility (another rhetorical device) but wqe cannot let our sympathies cloud our understanding. However I also think that AS self undermined when he took the RTmoney .If he wanted a platform he could have begun a blog or youtube channel.I simply think that the first minister must be squeeky clean and scrupulous in his/her behaviour especially in relation to personal contacts. I seriously doubt that AS behaviour has been scrupulous.It is no secret thatsome men and some women have difficulty in keeping their sexual desires in check.AS is simply one of many who has probably failed to hold to the highst standards and left himself vulnerable to the peculiarly hostile attitude of many women at this time, due to a considerable recent history of primarily male predatory sexuality eg Weinstein and numerous others.

    • J R Tomlin

      Mr. Salmond clearly stated that he shoved her on the small of her back, not on her butt — right in front of his wife at that. One of them is lying and one is telling the truth. It is a matter of deciding who is telling the truth, not ‘exaggeration’.

      • Giyane


        My wife occasionally pushes my bottom which I find annoying because it is my personal space. She does it in a way you get a child moving. It is neither exclusively male nor at all sexual. It does however slow me down because on top of the ordinary things that are slowing me down like remembering my wallet I also have to control my annoyance at an action that was intended as affection.

        Imho it has got to be the definition of misconstruction to construe an annoying act as a sexual advance.
        My wife’s cousin had a remedy for this. We were in a scrap yard, looking at a faulty engine in Stoke on Trent
        He said ‘ somebody touched me and if it happens again I’ll punch you and then your nose will be sticking out of the the other side of your face. ‘ Like a Picasso methought. Nothing like telling it straight.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The BBC had just announced that if Scotland became Independent, the Royal Bank of Scotland would move its HQ to England”.

    After, naturally, changing its name to The Royal Bank of England.

      • Tom Welsh

        “It is for the most part rebranding itself as NatWest”.

        An admirably anonymous – indeed, meaningless – sobriquet. But still in no way calling to mind Scotland or anything Scottish.

        • Cubby

          Tom Welsh

          I believe this fuller answer is correct.

          In Scotland the RBS brand is to be retained.

          The Group holding co. is still to be RBS.

          Everywhere else it is to be branded NatWest.

    • William Purves

      It would not be able to issue notes. RBS notes say it will pay the holder £1 Sterling (silver), the Bank of England notes does not say that on. therefore their value is only the paper they are printed

  • Tom Welsh

    “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”.

    Mr Prentice seems to be suffering from a virulent case of ageism. What possible difference can the ages of the people involved make to anything?

    • Robby

      Absolutely correct.
      ” Mud slinging” and “clutching at straws” springs to mind.
      The only relevance of age would be If the accusers were of vulnerable age. They were not. They were mature enough to hold job roles of great responsibility.

  • Baron

    If the accusations were made when Lord Denning was around, the women would be told politely to grow up, stop wasting police and court time, or else.

  • Baron

    And also many thanks, Mr. Murray, your wordsmithing is extraordinary considering the pressure you’re under, it reads almost like a mystery novel, you may like to consider publishing it as such after it’s all over.

  • Soothmoother

    Sounds like a sleazy individual. Is it any wonder common people despise the political classes. Who tugs people’s hair as a joke? Who pushes them on the behind to get them to hurry up? What’s wrong with “could you get a move on, we’re late!” Married man get’s drunk with a thirty years his junior colleague and they accidentally fall onto the bed embracing! What about your wife? Do marriage vows count? Appropriate behaviour? Honesty? Integrity? SNP no different from Labour, Lib Dems & Tories etc.

    • Tom Welsh

      ” Who tugs people’s hair as a joke? Who pushes them on the behind to get them to hurry up?”

      Normal people.

        • Republicofscotland

          Christ its Mary Whitehouse resurrected, you must be a right barrel of laughs at work, or you’re one of the new ultra woke folk.

          • Soothmoother

            So there is no sympathy for Mrs Salmond and disapproving of cheating on your partner and tugging people’s hair “playfully”, makes me Mary Whitehouse!

          • Tatyana

            I feel sympathy for Mrs Salmond. I felt sympathy for Mrs Clinton either.

            It maybe another way in your country, but here, if my husband behaved that way, then our female friends would definitely tell me something is wrong. Most probably they would ask me weather we are still married.

          • Republicofscotland

            So in Russia, if a man touches a work colleagues hair, during working hours, in a jestful way, his wife’s friends would suspect that they’re not together, and I thought Saudi Arabia was a strict and prudent society.

          • Republicofscotland


            Of course there’s sympathy for Salmond, and touching a work colleagues hair in a non sexual manner is hardly the crime of the century, is it ?

            Its an extreme that Whitehouse in her day would’ve pointed out vociferously.

          • Tatyana

            You pick “hair” episode, the most innocent.
            What about your wife drinking in the night with her younger male colleague? Accidentally finding herself in bed with him?
            Being not russian nor saudi you maybe don’t mind her having a bit of ‘sleepy cuddle’, do you?

          • Republicofscotland

            “You pick “hair” episode, the most innocent.”

            On the contrary Tatyana you replied to a comment that mentioned hair.

            The “Sleepy Cuddle” is of course another matter

          • Cubby


            Care to define cheating on your partner. Is it a fixed definition that all in society agree on?

          • Cubby


            I am not aware that anybody stated AS was IN bed with anyone.

            I have a lot of sympathy for Mrs Salmond. Pity the accusers do not feel the same.

            On the basis that A. Salmond has not been accused of any offence since 2014 they can hardly claim it is to stop him continuing to offend. Of course he was not accused of any offence prior to 2008 either.

          • Republicofscotland

            “And yes, I think you’re unfair to Soothmoother when making allusions to Mary Whitehouse. I’ve no idea who is that Mary,”

            You’ve no idea who she is, but I’m unfair…hmmm..

          • Soothmoother

            Kenny Moyes aka Soothmoother

            I expressed an opinion that AS sounds a bit sleazy.

            I would define the act of consensual sex with Ms H as cheating (unless he and his wife have some kind of agreement)

            Rather than have a go at my insignificant opinion, check out the post below involving Jagger & Welsh – classy!

            Thou shalt not criticise Saint Alex, it would seem.

          • Tatyana

            Cubby, here it is:
            “Salmond said … a bottle of Mai Tai … and they had drunk some of this… became tipsy… 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.”

            I see they were not IN the bed, but ON the bed. I just don’t understand why is it so much difference for you? I’m adult and I dare suppose you’re adult too. You may know that for … certain type of interaction it’s no absolute need to even approach the bed.

            I see they settled the incident some time later. In fact, that is all personal affair of Mr Salmond and his colleagues and his wife. I’m sure they appealed to the court purely for political reasons.

            What I object to is that people here laugh at Soothmoother.
            Republicofscotland says “sleepy cuddle” is another matter.
            It IS another matter, but the man is the same.
            And it’s not being IN bed that makes him deceive his wife.

          • Soothmoother

            Out of interest, all of the witnesses are referred to as Ms. Were they all single women or is standard practice to protect their identity. No Mrs. witnesses called. Is he surrounding himself with young single women?

          • Tatyana

            Yeah, I don’t know who is Mary. So what?
            You might think that you invented something original. But you’re wrong, because there’s such an image in every culture – something puritan, all buttons buttoned, lips pursed.

          • Tony


            “Out of interest, all of the witnesses are referred to as Ms. Were they all single women or is standard practice to protect their identity. No Mrs. witnesses called. Is he surrounding himself with young single women?”

            It might not be a bad idea for you to familiarise yourself with the actual case, and then get back to us. One of the allegations is that he touched an accuser’s knee, in the back of a limo, over a fixed seat divider, whilst conversing with her husband, who was sat in the front passenger seat.

          • Soothmoother

            Fair enough Tony, so Ms C is actually Mrs. C. The other Ms Letters could also be married.

            There I was thinking that surrounding yourself with young single women would provide ample opportunity for accidentally falling on beds, but maybe it’s all women. What’s a marriage after all?

            I like your use of us – one big blog family!

          • Cubby

            Yes it is a bit tiring when people post on the subject matter but make no effort to acquaint themselves with the basics.

          • Cubby


            Your post was inaccurate. That’s it. He was never IN a bed with any of the woman. Accuracy matters. Too many posters posting error strewn posts.

            Morals and deceiving his wife are not on trial and are an entirely different matter.

          • Soothmoother

            Cubby, perhaps my posts are error strewn (1.5 mistakes), however, some kind of nerve appears to have been struck. For the crime of labelling AS sleazy, I have bee called a Tube, Mary Whitehouse, Sleazy Mud Slinger and have received more replies than I’d expected.

            Meanwhile Mr Jaggar states that you “should assume that every female is an absolutely unprincipled little shit until proven otherwise………..” and he gets off with it.

            Protective of Mr Salmond you are!

        • terence callachan

          What do you do at your work soothmoother ?
          I’m sure your friendly encounters will be seen differently by different people
          You will have no idea what or why some people think the way they do about you

          • Soothmoother

            I tend to keep my hands to myself at work. Hair tugging for instance is something I have never witnessed nor partaken in. I’m sure people at my work will have different opinions about me, both positive and negative.

    • Robert Graham

      oh christ you really need to get out more , and whats with the hiding behind a stupid nom de plume soothmother afraid to be identified yah tube , a bleedn curtain twitcher the kind that leaves notes on inconsiderately parked cars , are you allowed out on your own .

      • Kenny Moyes

        Hi it’s me aka Soothmoother.

        I only have curtains in my bedrooms, blinds in the livingroom, so I’m probably a bleedin blind twitcher.

        Very friendly post btw.

    • bevin

      The real question is : what sort of society spends vast amounts of money in order to wrangle over picayune matters such as those to which you refer?
      Whether or not Salmond pushed a woman in the small of the back, the backside or her ankles are matters of no interest to any sensible people.
      The entire trial is a nonsense. A waste of money and resources and, at last, of breath.
      It must be a great relief to Scots generally that the current rulers of the country are not afforded any more power- one can only imagine what the SNP leadership would have done if they had an army as well as a police force to play around with.

      • Soothmoother

        Despite what other’s have insinuated above I am 100% anti-PC, anti-woke, including the ists and phobics regularly thrown about. I’ve voted SNP for at least the last 20 years, but not at the last election. I used to admire Sturgeon, but not any longer. The positive outcome quotas and all that trans nonsense have driven me away. The trial may be a waist of money but it could result in Salmond being behind bars for basically being a bit sleazy. Not much support for Assange coming from the SNP either.

    • Cat MacKenzie

      Lets get one thing straight. Alex Salmond is a man. And us, as women, know what men are like.
      Theyre all cheeky and flirty, and will try their luck with any of us.
      Remember Alex’s wife is 20 years his senior.
      And he has all these flopsy chicks running round him….all wanting their 5 minutes.
      If you dont want to invite unwanted attention from a bloke, especially when theres no one else around, evade the situation.
      No, it shouldnt be like that, but its like that, and nothing has changed in 65,000 years. Men are men.
      My fiance is a famous Scottish poet….and he is also 20 years my senior…and I used my youth and charm to win him over…whats the difference between me and the un-identified? I wasnt after infamy, money or a leg up the office room ladder…

      • Giyane

        Cat MacKenzie

        In A drunk man looks at the Thistle , the poet acknowledges the Scottish vice of argumentative ness.
        The beauty of the thistle maybe makes him see his own twisted self.

        So, given that in the land of Flyting, a supreme court can spend a few weeks and many quid, picking over the minutiae of personality differences, celebrate it’s right to quibble over the very meaning of life and not feel embarrassed or humiliated to be engaged in this most meaningful and important debate, but celebrate it with full cultural honour, .. this could all be seen as a celebration of the essence of Scottishness.
        Scotland celebrating it’s long tradition of aural debate .

        Absolutely nothing for us sassenachs to fash ourselves about.

    • Robby

      You sound like the “sleazy” mud slinger.
      You falsify the facts. As stated in the article the woman was pushed in the back. Not the backside as you choose to claim.
      Your efforts to misrepresent what is stated in the article betrays your intention.

      • Soothmoother

        Whoops, I misread the text. Sorry Eck!

        What intention? Who gives a f*ck what I think?

        Can I use that as my new pseudonym Sleazy Mud Slinger has a nice ring to it.

  • Kit Bee

    … and in the other news Megan Markle complains that the British never greet with a kiss and a hug!!

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Kit Bee,

      I didn’t use to, when I was at school, but then I noticed about 20 years ago, in a social situation, outside of school, that all my kids’ friends, both boys and girls, greeted each other in exactly that way, and I thought it was really innocent and sweet.

      It’s still normal in my local pub, even for the over 60’s or was until a few weeks ago..


  • Robert Graham

    My first thoughts are ” is that your best shot ” if this is the extent of the prosecution’s case my my they definatly are up shitsreek , unless they at the last moment produce a full movie with subtitles and running commentary they really are in trouble , how some of these events can morph into the headline charges is taking fantasy to the extreme limits , it’s as if a scriptwriter has been employed to embellish events and concoct a story out of nothing , So everyday and trivial are some of the evidence that any normal person would find it hard to remember most of them, i cannot believe someone would turn up in a criminal court and present this drivel as evidence in a criminal trial , christ there must be more compelling evidence given in a parking ticket dispute . Question to Craig do the Jury go home or are they confined to a hotel with security present ? , so far we have had headline grabbing exaggerated trivia presented as the case against Alex Salmond I hope he is given the same courtesy when the media relate his side of events , aye right comes to mind .

  • Patsy

    Thanks for a very clear account. Don’t overdo things; your health is very important especially with the dreaded virus doing the rounds. Take care.

  • Black Joan

    Thank you very much for this.
    I have just received a letter with Peter Murrell’s name at the bottom. It points out that my membership has now lapsed. The next sentence begins “There has never been a more exciting time to be a member”. and continues “and the journey to a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland is far from over.” Too right. And whose fault is that.
    No point in reading any more, but it’s full of empty guff.
    What is the matter with them?

  • Brian Powell

    In general terms the bits about Alex Salmond do ring true from the type of personality he has, what doesn’t though is the implications concerning the FM. it just doesn’t fit from the type of personality she has, she is forthright and upfront about what she does.
    Anyone who acts in that way would leave a trail of similar behaviour. I don’t know of any and for me some evidence of constantly being like that would be needed.

    • Cubby

      Brian Powell

      Who signed off the new Scottish civil service procedure that applied RETROSPECTIVELY and included specifically First Ministers and all Scot gov Ministers. Who was immediately charged when it was first introduced. A new process that was then found to have been applied unlawfully with the main investigator also found to be encouraging the accusers by the Scottish court. The case was terminated/ admitted defeat by the Scot gov as Liz Lloyd, Nicola Sturgeons Chief of Staff was about to take the stand. It cost the taxpayer £0.5 million.

      Facts and evidence – no matter how unpalatable. Perhaps if you knew who the accusers are you may come to a different conclusion.
      The current FM Nicola Sturgeon is a lawyer.

    • Tom Welsh

      I have just realised that, always having indifferent slightly negative about Mr Salmond, I have now become a definite fan. Persecution tends to do that, luckily.

      • Contrary

        I was just thinking that Tom, not that I had particularly negative views of Alex Salmond – just I’m generally sceptical of all polititians, and a good debater does not necessarily make for a pleasant, honest person – so, ambivalent views of him maybe. But this case has actually made me appreciate him far more as a real person, with a fairly honest outlook in life. Maybe not a fan yet, but really starting to see his true value. Totally not my initial impression of ‘maybe he was a bit of a letch’ before the start of the trial.

      • Cubby

        Tom Welsh

        I dont like injustices. If Craig says it was a fair trial then that’s good enough for me.

  • Chris Downie

    Excellent reporting sir.

    What I would say, however, is that we in the independence camp need to start planning for the aftermath of this trial and it is clearer by the day that the Sturgeon and Murrell cabal must be removed from power if independence is to have any chance of progressing.

    While there is no smoking gun regarding the suspicions of some that she is a double agent, she and her husband have clearly been compromised by the establishment in some way and, far from being an asset, are a liability to the party’s very reason for existing. I just wonder how much more the wider membership’s patience must be exhausted before meaningful dissent against the dear leader is more forthright…

    • Billy Bones

      Chris Downie

      Yes. Mr & Mrs Murrell have ‘settled down’.

      They were elected to ‘settle up’

      People like that are motivated by fear. Sturgeon always says ‘she never wants to feel the way she did after the Indyref1 defeat.’ The surest way of doing that is by never having Indyref2.

      Policies based on fear and defeat attract no-one and kill hope.

      Only courage calls to courage.

      • Chris Downie

        Your opening turn of phrase hits the nail squarely on the head. They were indeed elected to settle up and it is undeniable that the 2015 election result was an unequivocal roar of defiance from the Scottish electorate, one which should have given any strong leader (ship) the impetus to drive forward, regardless of Brexit (i.e. in the event of “The Vow” being broken).

        That the polls (and I don’t buy the conspiracy theory peddled by some that every poll is “rigged”) have shifted only incrementally in five and a half years, despite almost every outside circumstance going our way, is a terrible indictment on the current leadership.

        I am no-ones disciple and have been very critical of Wings over Scotland when merited, but his article “The Betrayer” could not have been more incisive and, if the internal rumours about SNP misuse of funds are in any way true, make the FM’s position absolutely untenable.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    At least in Mr Salmond’s case specific women have made specific accusations that Mr Salmond has to answer.

    In one place of work I was at, anonymous complainants made complaints without any description of them, without any statement of times, dates or places and I was expected to answer such ridiculous charges.

    It is like saying: ‘have you inadvertently annoyed a woman at any time in your life?’

    To which the answer is probably: ‘Unknowingly, almost certainly’.

    How can you possible say: ‘No, I did not do something I do not know what it was, I do not know who it was with, I do not know where it happened’?

    You will not be surprised to learn that highly vindictive women were the drivers of the action, whose primary aim was to try and kick me out of my job.

    I refused to have anything to do with the proceedings and, in a fatal error of judgement, simply looked to moved on, no longer wishing to even be in the presence of the scum who were pushing the accusations.

    They of course saw that as a tacit admission of guilt, which of course it was not.

    It was simply saying: ‘if you are such repulsive piles of human excrement that you will engage in such anonymous falsehoods, then you are unworthy to have as work colleagues forevermore.’

    One was Scottish, one was English. One a senior executive, the other an ambitious little 28 year old.

    You cannot be too cynical about female behaviour in the workplace and should assume that every female is an absolutely unprincipled little shit until proven otherwise………..

    • Tom Welsh

      “You cannot be too cynical about female behaviour in the workplace and should assume that every female is an absolutely unprincipled little shit until proven otherwise………..”

      While I cannot disagree with you for lack of relevant experience, I recommend acquaintance with some of the delightful and tolerant housekeeping mothers still to be found in fair numbers. Not being ambitious nor having chips on their shoulders, they are usually very easy-going and philosophical.

      Mind you, no human being should be placed in the kind of abominable crucible that produces behaviour such as you complain of.

      • Tom Welsh

        Although I have met a few detestable harridans (some of them young and superficially attractive) in the workplace.

        • Billy Bones

          Rhys Jaggar & Tom Welsh

          OMFG. Is this a wind up?

          Alight here for Misogyny Central

          • Tom Welsh

            No, Billy Bones, my comments are quite serious. You may not be very much used to logical debate, so let me point out some things that I thought would be obvious.

            I said that “I have met a few detestable harridans (some of them young and superficially attractive) in the workplace”. I have also met quite a lot of detestable men in the workplace, and far more pleasant than unpleasant women.

            I also said that there are many very pleasant and tolerant stay-at-home mothers. It seems likely that such a way of life is less stressful than the greasy pole of office life – for most, although there are always exceptions.

            When people of any kind are put into a situation where they are forced to struggle against others for preference – or even to keep their jobs – there is bound to be some bad behaviour.

      • terence callachan

        I think women wearing low cut tops with boobs half hanging out is sexual how can it not be

    • Goose

      Rhys, the work is often the easy part, it’s all the other associated crap around etiquette that’s draining.

      There are so many hidden rules and reading the runes can be quite difficult. There’s the workplace hierarchy, often not obvious, laying in wait to trap the unwary; bad personal chemistry – cross the wrong people and they’ll get you fired. There’s also people applying the ‘fanciable vs friend material’ test to everyone they meet, single females are the worst for this in my experience. If you don’ respond reciprocally to their flirting they’ll make your life hell.

      Then there’s the genuinely nasty workplace bullies, who typically have deep insecurities themselves. Wherever you go there’ll be some arsehole everyone who works there knows about and despises because of how joyously evil they are: people who make going to work a needlessly stressful nightmare. Typically they are in with with the right person(s) higher up,and as a result they’re pretty much untouchable.

    • terence callachan

      I remember being accused of being in Tesco during working hours
      I had been in Tesco during working hours
      My job was visiting people in their house to interview them I had several interviews each day
      I was entitled to a tea break am and pm 15 mins each time
      I had popped into Tesco as I passed it on my way to my next interview , to buy a bag of sugar
      I had ran out at home
      I never ever took the tea breaks
      A week later I was interviewed by senior staff who had a junior member of staff take written notes
      The interview lasted fifty minutes
      The next day I was asked to sign a typed copy of the written notes
      It was three paragraphs totalling three hundred words
      I refused to sign it
      Most of the discussion was missing
      They gave me a written warning anyway

  • Republicofscotland

    Its the political side of this that I find intriguing, those women are all close allies of Nicola Sturgeon, and by default Peter Murrell her husband, both control the SNP with a vice like grip.

    This in itself completely negates the young naive learning her trade persona first used by Sturgeon as Salmonds sidekick, to a ruthless cold political beast who knows how to implement the darker Machivellian side of politics.

    I accept that political skullduggery upon opponents is a unpleasant side of the political game, and because of human nature it probably always will be applied.

    However when this skullduggery is disguised as a promise of independence via a referendum, which in light of this and of Sturgeon’s actions and deeds over the past four years, which have basically been non extistant with regards to independence, serious thought need to be given as to whether or not Sturgeon actually wants independence.

    Given the above and the past four years of inaction by Sturgeon on holding a indyref when the UK government was in utter turmoil over Brexit. It is reasonable to think that Sturgeon has misled us all on the independence front.

    As for Alex Salmond, your excellent account Craig of the days proceedings, show no hard evidence against him.

    • douglas clark


      Contrarywise, independence support, despite the desperate attempts of some, is sitting above 50% in the latest polls. Sturgeon and the larger Independence movement are doing something right. And Westminster still fails to cover itself in glory. (Oops! nearly mentioned a virus, but it’s OK, I wasn’t specific, lets call it Virus X).

      Just out of curiosity, how do you know “those women are all close allies of Nicola Sturgeon, and by default Peter Murrell her husband..?”

      Have you met them? Have you spoken to them from a safe distance?

      Perhaps you do know more than I, it wouldn’t be difficult, but being of an echelon or twenty below your access and knowledge, I find it a tad troubling that you attack the current SNP leader, who has largely allowed this farago to play out, as it ought to. I would imagine that should AS win then there will be a cleanout of the Augean Stables that might, just might leave us in a better position to achive what both you and I want.

      A RepublicofScotland

      • Alisdair Mc

        “Contrarywise, independence support, despite the desperate attempts of some, is sitting above 50% in the latest polls. Sturgeon and the larger Independence movement are doing something right.”

        On the other hand, if someone other than Sturgeon had been in power,the latest polls might have been topping 60 or 70%,

  • J R Tomlin

    If that is indeed a fair representation of the prosecution and defence (as I expect that it is) then we are meant to believe Mr. Salmond was sexually assaulting people in front of witnesses including his wife, although none of the witnesses are willing to come forward. I must say it is a very troubling case and not on the behaviour of Mr. Salmond.

    • douglas clark

      Perhaps I missed it, but was there any direct corroboration in any of the Procurator Fiscal’s cases? Y’know, eye witnesses? You’d have thought that there ought to have been some? Just for a successful conclusion to their case?

  • Hatuey

    I’m really not sure how much we can legally say in regards to all this. My opinion on it all has not changed since the day that I first heard Salmond was being accused and charged though— on that day, on this blog, I said the whole thing stinks and proposed that it was politically motivated.

    Thanks for the updates, Craig.

  • Paul Pilgrim

    The 30 year age difference being pushed was purely to creat the image of a dirty old man in the juries eyes, I hope it failed.

    • Tom Welsh

      I am not a lawyer, nor versed in the law. But I was not aware that “dirty old man” is a legal term, nor that being perceived as one is a criminal offence.

      Indeed, the whole idea bewilders me. Young women (male and female) often complain about the attentions (or mere presence) of “dirty old men” or “pervs” – but apparently those people’s only crime is to feel normal sexual attraction for women who have gone to great lengths to heighten their attractiveness.

      Perhaps it is now a crime to be attracted to someone who is not attracted to you.

      • Contrary

        There is a difference between ‘normal sexual attraction’ and men who view women as ONLY sexual objects. If you have no respect for women being people too, and can’t conceive of a woman as having their own valid thoughts, feelings, skills and abilities, outside your own sexual desires, that’s when the ‘dirty old man’ and ‘perv’ terms come into play.

        It’s not that long since the law changed so that being married did not confer ‘ownership’ (by the man, of the woman), and society has still a bit of adjustment to do. (Specifically on the laws around women having no right to independent finances, I think that was the most recent law to change, maybe in the 60s?)

        And how long ago was it that women were criminals for committing infidelity, while it was just a mans right to do the same? Just last century.

        Historically women have not been treated fairly, but that doesn’t mean that some in the past, as now, have not been unpleasant individuals that would play the system.

        As a society, I think we are still all adjusting to all kinds of boundary issues, and trials like this may not help.

        • glenn_uk

          “It’s not that long since the law changed so that being married did not confer ‘ownership’ (by the man, of the woman), and society has still a bit of adjustment to do.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a marriage contract still really a deal between the bride’s old man and the groom? The bride’s mother doesn’t get to sign the form – she’s out of the bargain taking place altogether – so doesn’t get registered.

          At the end of the excellent film Suffragette, it lists the countries and dates on which woman achieved the right to vote. Pretty remarkable how recently a lot of them took place.

          Of course, the Saudis still don’t give women the right to vote – but in fairness, men aren’t allowed to vote either.

          • Contrary

            I’m not that well versed on marriage certificates to tell the truth!

            But yes it’s remarkable that it’s so recent that women were given the same voting rights as men. I notice that our media use the date 1930s (sometime) that ‘women got the vote’, but if I remember correctly you had to be married and over 30. Was it as recently as 1960s or 1970s that single women at 18 could vote? (I may be thinking of something else there, it was a while ago I looked at all these dates).

            Rapid social change, however much the change is needed, is not good for society without the correct support in place, and I think the last century has seen quite a lot of it.

          • Steph

            Uk universal suffrage 1928, so almost 100 years or about 4 generations ago! I think most of us have grasped the concept by now!
            Marriage certificate states the name and occupation of both fathers. There is no requirement for either to sign. There is no ‘contractual’ reason for this, it simply provides a historical record, invaluable for future ancestor research!

          • Steph

            Re other points made – The Married Womens Property Act of 1870 (extended in 1882) gave women control of their own property. The Law of Property Act 1922 enabled a husband and wife to inherit each other’s property, and also granted them equal rights to inherit the property of intestate children. Legislation in 1926 gave women exactly the same rights as men in terms of holding and disposing of property. So again, not exactly a recent phenomenon!

          • Loony

            As per your request I am happy to correct you. The Marriage contract is NOT a deal between “the brides old man and the groom.” Given the many revisions to the concept of “the sanctity of marriage” the extent to which it is a contract is arguable.

            Under normal contract law any repudiation of an agreement provides for a range of legal remedies to the performing party to any contract. By contrast any repudiating party to a marriage contract is often protected by law.

            Is it any surprise that those most keen on the destruction of society seem to be the most surprised when they discover that they too can become victims of the destruction they have cheered on?

            Look at the tragedy unfolding in Spain and ask why no-one but no-one will ever mention that the proximate accelerant for the spread of coronavirus was a variety of women’s marches protesting the patriarchy.

          • Contrary

            Steph, you appear to be mixing up property with finances, a wife needed her husband’s permission to hold a bank account, get personal insurance or a pension etc, certainly in the 50s maybe until later. In living memory for some.

          • Steph

            Contrary (you are a bit aren’t you!)
            Please see
            In particular paragraph 2 of the Act which states :

            Every woman who marries after the commencement of this Act shall be entitled to have and to hold as her separate property, and to dispose of in manner aforesaid all real and personal property which shall belong to her at the time of marriage, or shall be acquired by or devolve upon her after marriage, including any wages, earnings, money, and property gained or acquired by her in any employment, trade, or occupation, in which she is engaged, or which she carries on separately from her husband, or by the exercise of any literary, artistic, or scientific skill.

            I am well aware that the misconceptions you quote abound on the internet. They give credence to the very recent view that women were scandalously subservient to their husbands until todays ‘modern woman’ started shouting. However they are incorrect legally. You might well argue that very few women held bank accounts up until the 1970’s or even 80’s. But not all that many men did either, as most people were paid weekly and in cash. It is also true that married women were considered a bad risk by many bank managers as they often did not work and would be refused bank accounts for that reason. But it is simply untrue to say that a married woman ‘needed permission’ from her husband to open a bank account.
            Indeed this period is within living memory. My own in fact!

      • Nut Brown Maiden

        ‘Tom Welsh
        Perhaps it is now a crime to be attracted to someone who is not attracted to you.’

        That seems to be correct. Putting your hand on someone’s knee, a kiss, a flirty text, ruffling someone’s hair etc can either be considered foreplay or a sexual assault depending on attraction/lack of attraction.

        I’m so glad I’m ‘past it’ although it seems women are safe …. for the moment.

        • Alisdair Mc

          NBM, I agree with just about everything you wrote, I am also getting on too. There used to be those quite well-defined petting stages you outlined, and if she said ‘no’ or ‘stop. then that was it: you stopped. But for young men growing up nowadays the consent being retroactively turned into ‘no’ months or years later, the world must be a confusing place, Oh for the sixties again!

          When I first heard about sexbots I thought how disgusting is that? Now I am not so sure.

      • Tatyana

        I can’t decipher the phrase ‘young women (male and female)’
        I understand every separate word, but the meaning of the phrase escapes me

        • Nut Brown Maiden

          Thanks to the moderator I now understand your confusion re phrase
          ‘young women (male and female)’
          Sorry I was a bit lazy about scrolling back & I initially thought you were replying to me.

          Hopefully Tom Welsh will answer you and explain what he meant.

          My guess is that he meant ‘young people instead of young women.’
          but I might be wrong. I actually didn’t notice anything untoward about that phrase until you drew my attention to it. It could be that I automatically read people instead of women.
          Perhaps I have a built in ‘autocorrect’ or I am a very sloppy reader.

        • Tom Welsh

          Tatyana, I was being a bit facetious and also trying to use few words. probably a mistake.

          I meant that some men seem to be almost more enthusiastic than women to condemn the crimes of other men who behave in traditional ways towards women. For my part I try to treat women well, and as politely as I know how, although nowadays it can be difficult. (For example, some women still consider it polite for a man to open a door for them, while others consider it an insult).

          • Tatyana

            Thank you, Tom Welsh.
            If you don’t mind women smiling at you while you open a door, then you’ll be very welcome in Russia.

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    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.’

    What about England/the RUK?

    Do you remember when The Herald published a photograph (despite an injunction) of a footballer with just a thin black band across his eyes marked censored. I believe The Herald were able to do this because of different laws/rules in Scotland.

    Do you not think there wouldn’t be many readers in England interested in the full details of the Salmond trial?

    Re foreign media I think I remember articles in the New York Times that were only/mainly of interest to Scottish readers.

    • Cubby

      Nut Brown Maiden

      I am sure there are plenty of readers in England who would be interested but I doubt the media would want to tell them. They wouldn’t want them knowing the truth of the matter or would they – who knows in this case. I am sure the lawyers for the English version of the Mail/express etc have given guidance on this already.

      Geoff Aberdein’s testimony today really outed one of the complainants without specifically naming her. As I said before it is very difficult to give a true and complete testimony without giving out information that gives very substantial clues as to their identity.

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    ‘In the newspaper’s editorial, The Sunday Herald said “Today we identify the footballer whose name has been linked to a court super injunction by thousands of postings on Twitter. Why? Because we believe it is unsustainable that the law can be used to prevent newspapers from publishing information that readers can access on the internet at the click of a mouse.

    “Because we believe it unfair that the law can not only be used to prevent the publication of information which may be in the public interest but also to prevent any mention of such a court order. The so-called super injunction holds no legal force in Scotland where a separate court order is needed. ‘

    Anyone know:
    How would this contempt of court re naming accusers stand vis a vis people in England posting on the internet/Twitter?

  • Rory Winter

    “On 4 December 2014 they had returned from Holyrood to Bute House about 8pm with a great deal of work to do in the ministerial box.”

    Shouldn’t the date read ‘4 December 2013’ ?

    [ Mod: Thanks. Corrected. ]

  • Vince Taylor

    In a long-ish life working in many different environments I have oftened witnessed male and female conduct far worse than anything Mr,Salmond is accused of.
    One of the more common ones would be mischievous risque comments, double entendres, and flattering remarks. Sometimes the recipient of such attention would be embarrassed or irritated, but just as frequently would be amused or respond in like coin or with a withering put down. Have I been living in some parallel universe? Whether the claims are true or not, is anyone really outraged by what is alleged? On the face of the evidence published so far I find it mystifying that this prosecution was considered worth pursuit. Unseemly and tasteless, to be sure, if true, but criminal?

    As a young man, whenever I saw a far older male teasing a young woman, it reminded me of a dog chasing cars that wouldn’t know what to do if ever it caught one. On reflection, the years have taught me that the old men never intended that their unwanted playful attentions were intended to achieve anything other than prove to themselves -and perhaps others – that they still had some potency, even if they haven’t.
    And on some social occasions the wife has been present, exhibiting a wry and knowing smile, expressing the same unspoken sentiment about dogs chasing cars.

    • Steph

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comments which are written with warmth and humour. As a society we seem at risk of disappearing up our own backsides with all this misplaced outrage. It is insulting to anyone who has been genuinely assaulted, molested or harassed, be they man or woman, and that it should have found its way into a court is astonishing.

    • paul

      If the dog caught the car, what then would it do?
      Probably just let it go and start barking at the next one.
      Our UK prime minister has ended up with his jaw stuck in the car.

  • James Hugh

    Reading through your account of the court proceedings leaves me feeling, that clearly, little petty incidents have indeed been blown out of context… Yes, he’s been careless given his position, but i genuinely don’t feel there has been any sexual misconduct.

    And i’m somebody who doesn’t tolerate that and neither do i have any personal relationship with AS.

    I admired him as a politician and his stance against the establishment and illegal wars etc but if the charges being made against him were really serious i would be doubting them, but this does sound like the relational play between adults who are trying to cultivate an informal working environment, and the fact that his wife was present on a few of the occasions and also whilst in the close scrutiny of a large gathering, then it clearly highlights to me that he’s being set up.

    i truly hope that the judge sees through this for what it is and his accusers and the people who have been complicit with them, learn a big lesson.

    So glad that the court environment and presiding judge is different to Julian Assange’s.

  • Neil Wilby

    It is a small point, in an otherwise comprehensive report on the day’s proceedings, but when counsel is questioning their own witness it is referred to as ‘examination’. ‘Cross-examination’ is by opposing counsel.

    All the best – and keep up the good work that you do.

  • William

    Great article as usual. It surprises me in the lack of corroborative evidence. This case seems very dubious at best but I am confident that the jury will do the right thing!

    • Justin Fayre

      Please remember that in Scots Law you also have the ‘Not Proven’ verdict. That means the Prosecution have failed to make a Guilty verdict possible but the Defence haven’t done enough to convince the jury of a Not Guilty.
      I sincerely feel that the jury will opt for this which will mean that by law AS will be innocent but the media will still be able to infer guilt.

      • Jeff R

        ‘Not proven’ – commonly held as “we know you did it but there wasn’t enough proof”. But it could also mean that the jury felt sorry for or had sympathy for the accused and even though they may have been technically guilty they felt that they were fitted up, led on etc so they decided to ‘let them off. A form of ‘jury nullification’. And why juries are always cautioned that emotion or sympathy should play no part in their verdict. Not to mention that there are cases of rape complainers winning successful civil actions against rape accused following ‘not proven’ verdicts.

      • Cubby

        Justin Faye

        It is the prosecutions task to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty. It is not the defence responsibility to prove not guilty.

  • Cubby

    A point of information that may be worth noting when reading accounts of the Scottish civil service is that it is a branch of the UK civil service. The permanent secretary for the Scot gov reports to the UK head of civil service. The Scottish civil service is there to provide a service to the Scot gov but it is not independent.

  • nevermind

    What would we do without your watchful eyes in court and your indefatigable, precise recording of a prosecution more interested in raising emotions, to be passed on by a selective MSM, than to get o the facts behind this coordinated attack on a man who might have human faults, who is tactile and in a way, ordinary in his behaviour.
    When one compares Craig’s clear recounting of facts of the case with the second and third hand views of the combined MSM, then we can come to the conclusion that this political trial has been directed and supported from high up.
    I’m somewhat curious that lady Dorrian has not intervened in the repetitive same rape allegations made by the prosecution, surely asking the same question more than once should be regarded as guiding the narrative outside the court and discouraged strongly.

    • diggered

      Nothing unusual about a QC asking the same question over and over, the police do it , Jeremy Paxman asked a politician the same question 34 times!

  • 'John'

    Bit confused here, is it OK to slap my female work colleagues butts so long as it done “playfully” and in a “non sexual manner”? Can someone give me clarification?

  • Tony M

    Firstly, thank you Craig. There are for sure things, not concerning this matter, we would disagree about, but your tireless devotion to this and to so much more, your essential goodness is itself an inspiration, to me, I’m sure to many.

    I never liked Salmond much, for reasons I couldn’t still can’t fathom myself or elucidate here, he wasn’t easy to like. I would have preferred a younger (than Salmond) male, not party, but Independence Movement, not leader, but Champion. Foremost of intelligence and integrity, which I don’t deny Alex Salmond posesses, but too a communicator who could capture the imagination of the country, show how things could be, and though Salmond almost achieved this, another might have done it better. In time though I warmed to him, accepted him, as to a runt of a litter, left to the last. I defended Salmond however when I so often heard him traduced, by those who simply who parroted the corporate/security-apparatus media tropes or already demonstrated the worn-out out long-game sectarian divisiveness seeded so long ago, to form an easily-exploited fault-line, the diehard unionists. Except for a small minority we see through this, leave it to the pages of history, and psychologists to classify the folly of earlier more brutish (British?) less sophisticated, ignorant pre-modern humans. But new fissures are arising, being cracked open wilfully and have plenty of unwitting helpers. Of sexes, sexuality and every possible permutation and combination of these I would say assuredly genetic intrinsic distinctions and differences, we should not be arguing, fracturing over perfect equality in these matters, no sane person could make the case that one person, or self-identifying group or type is any less a deserving full equal and valid passenger on this journey through life we share together. It is so self evidently true that all are equals that to waste valuable time when we could be building a better, far better as there is so much to do, society. It is another of these follies, a poisonous weed, its roots diving deep, that we must nip in the bud, because some will tend it, water it, feed it, make space for it to catch all the available light. A pernicious species, a mutation of worthy, welcome feminism, still being studied and classified but for a working title let’s call it Wumminism. The new fault line to keep us at odds with each other?

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