Your Man Kept Oot the Gallery: The Alex Salmond Trial Day 3 177

I have long deplored the ever burgeoning number of party political hacks – of every political party – which the poor long suffering taxpayer has to stump up for. I recommend the excellent book The Triumph of the Political Class by Peter Oborne, on this and other subjects. There is an ever increasing rise in the number of SPADS. In addition, the offices of members of various parliaments are comfortably staffed both at parliament and in the constituency. Various individuals and groupings have taxpayer-funded but party appointed “Chiefs of Staff”. I have always viewed “Short money” as a constitutional abomination – the state, the poor taxpayer, should not be paying for political party machines. If the members of a party, any party, wish to try to impress their views on voters and to establish themselves in lucrative office, then the party members should fund their activity themselves. The Short money system pays for party HQ staff and machinery according to electoral success, and thus helps cement the establishment. Furthermore, there can be friction between taxpayer funded party appointees and the civil servants they work with – when I worked within the FCO, we career civil servants found SPADs an ill-informed nuisance. Plus the political patronage system can be open to abuse – remarkably, two SNP political appointees on the books of the Scottish civil service, paid for by the Scottish taxpayer, have recently without changing jobs been bumped up two whole pay grades on their taxpayer funded salary, a happening unavailable to ordinary civil servants.

Yesterday saw the continuation of the prosecution case in the Alex Salmond trial. As always, I have to write with extreme care for fear of being found in contempt of court.

The BBC is permitted to be highly selective on the aspects of the evidence it reports. Sarah Smith has been telling the camera with great emotion that an accuser referenced the Harvey Weinstein case, and has been stating with a voice full of angst that the “victim” said she did not want any of this, and swore that it is all true. Sarah Smith has done this without offering any substantial account at all of the defence’s cross examination of said witness. Sarah Smith is in no danger whatsoever of being found in contempt of court for a broadcast that reaches millions of people and is deliberately, professionally and competently designed to sway the viewers emotionally into a view of the case hostile to Alex Salmond. By contrast I, to a smaller audience, am writing with extreme circumspection, knowing the state will prosecute and probably jail me in a flash if I get one nuance wrong. So I am dependent on you reading this whole article with intelligence, and thinking “I wonder why he just told me that bit? Where was that relevant?”

It is essential to an understanding of this case, and not so far in any dispute, being fully brought out by the direct evidence of Ms A, Ms C and Ms H, that six of the accusers conferred (and I carefully used a neutral verb there) together over their accusations. Ms A yesterday denied a suggestion from the defence that she was thus involved in encouraging the accusations. We also know from Ms H’s evidence that at least two of the accusers were actively involved with SNP HQ in a plan to “sit on” the accusations until it was time to “deploy them” “if needed”, and that meant to stop Alex Salmond coming back into politics by refusing him vetting as an SNP candidate.

So it is extremely important for you to be aware that none of these accusers to date (up to end day 3) has been a career civil servant. CENSORED PENDING CONTEMPT OF COURT TRIAL There is, in my belief, a deliberate attempt at false portrayal in the media to pass some accusers off as career civil servants in order to give an undeserved aura of impartiality and trustworthiness. Which is not in the least to allege the accusers are not trustworthy persons, just to say their trustworthiness is not avouched by career civil service status. Some future accusers to be called may well be genuine civil servants. It is an important distinction; not for the purposes of the trial – it makes no difference to the jury or the facts of the case – but to the wider political ramifications.

Anyway, for a report on yesterday’s evidence from important SNP politicians and apparatchiks, I refer again to Grouse Beater. Today I am going to lift a section of his report wholesale, for which I trust he will forgive me:

d. Next witness is a complainer, Woman A, so court being cleared again. Alex Salmond is accused of indecently assaulting her and sexually assaulting her. Woman A tells the court she was working for the SNP in 2008 when Alex Salmond’s behaviour caused her concern. He says he would go in as if to kiss her cheek but then give her a “sloppy and kind of unpleasant” kiss on the lips. Woman A also says “at times he would put his hand on my back and move his hands so they were on the side of my chest or on my bum”. “I took the view it was deliberately…there was no need for his hand to be there, it wasn’t something you would have done by accident.” Did Woman A encourage Alex Salmond to kiss or touch her? “Not at all.” Did she want it to happen? “Absolutely not.” Did she voice disapproval? “I didn’t know how to say ‘don’t do this’ to the first minister, but I would move, I actually began to carry a bag so it was between us”. Why didn’t Woman A tell Alex Salmond to stop? “I liked my job,” she says. “He was the most powerful man in the country….I had experienced volatile mood swings and behaviour from him and it was always easier to move away then risk infuriating or antagonising him.” Did Woman A tell anyone? “I was embarrassed, I was doing this job which meant a lot to me and him humiliating me on a regular basis was embarrassing. I didn’t want to tell people he was doing this….it would make me look weak.”

Lunch adjournment

e. Woman A tells court that Alex Salmond touched her at a party; running his hands down over “the curve of my body” while saying “you look good, you’ve lost weight”. She says she was “kind of internally shocked” and kept her distance from him for the rest of the night. Alex Prentice asks Woman A if she consented to anything Alex Salmond is said to have done to her? “Never”. Did she give a signal of consent? “No”. Prosecution finished with witness, now Gordon Jackson will cross examine.

f. Gordon Jackson says Alex Salmond kissed other people on the lips; “what he did to you was the same he did to members of the public – that’s the sort of man he was”. Woman A says she doesn’t remember seeing Alex Salmond holding other women by the shoulders. Jackson says “these events such as they were are absolutely nothing, and were not distressing in any way or form”. He says they have “turned into criminality” due to “revisionism because other things happened since”. Woman A says that’s “categorically wrong”. Jackson asking why she didn’t later disclose the alleged incidents; Woman A says she had “put them behind me” and “moved on”. Woman A says “I didn’t want to be drawn into a world where I was dealing with my complaint against Alex Salmond….until the police came to see me I was content not to be part of this.” On the incident where Woman A says Alex Salmond ran his hands over her and said she had lost weight, Jackson says “you call that groping?” “Yes,” she replies. He had contended that “nothing happened”; Woman A says “Mr Salmond assaulted me – that’s not nothing”. Asking about Woman A’s contact with other complainers. She says she contacted others off the back of the Daily Record story, saying she thought it “would be difficult for people to handle”, she wanted to “check they were okay”. She says she also reached out to men. Jackson says Woman A was “very much a part of encouraging people to make a complaint, and make things that were trivial, nothing, turned into criminal charges”. Woman A says “I was not encouraging people to make a complaint.”

g. Next witness is Woman C – an SNP politician. Alex Salmond is accused of sexually assaulting her. Woman C says she was celebrating after a Holyrood budget vote, at a restaurant. Alex Salmond offered her a lift to Waverley Station in his ministerial car afterwards to catch a train, she says. Woman C says Alex Salmond put his hand on her leg, above the knee, and kept it there for “a large proportion of the journey”. Did she invite him to do this? “Absolutely not”. She was “embarrassed” and “just hoped it would stop”. Asked why she didn’t say something or call for help, Woman C says “it was so surreally [sic] awful that I didn’t want to say anything, I was just really embarrassed by it and presumed he would stop quite soon because it was so not the right thing to do.”

h. Shelagh McCall cross examining now. She puts it to Woman C that Alex Salmond “says he never touched your leg”. Woman C replies that “I wish it wasn’t the case, so I wouldn’t be here today.” Asking Woman C about whether she felt under pressure from Woman A to speak to the police. She says she didn’t feel pressure to give a statement; she only wanted to speak about things when she wanted to, but “people were talking about this”. Asking if this was a trivial incident? Woman C says “it was something done by my first minister and leader – it was something you put to one side, because who on earth are you going to tell about something like that?” Asked if she thought alleged incident a sexual assault, Woman C says “it was entirely inappropriate and wrong”. “I suppose when you look back you realise how much you excuse a person because of who they are.”

The Ms A incident, if for the moment we take her account as true, raises some very serious questions. Sexual assault is rightly an extremely serious matter, carrying heavy penalties. When does contact over clothing, not with an erogenous zone, become sexual assault?
It is important to emphasise that the defence do not accept Ms A’s account, but the judge’s direction to the jury on this point is going to be extremely interesting. The jury determine fact, but on the point of law they should be guided by the judge.

Pizza Express are getting a lot of very peculiar publicity. The dinner from which Alex Salmond gave Ms C a lift to Waverley Station was at Pizza Express Holyrood. No evidence so far that Prince Andrew was at the next table. As the defence pointed out to Ms C, it’s about a quarter of a mile to drive. (This is true, I used to live next door, and I could dash it on foot in six minutes to catch a train).

Woman C says Alex Salmond put his hand on her leg, above the knee, and kept it there for “a large proportion of the journey”. Did she invite him to do this? “Absolutely not”. She was “embarrassed” and “just hoped it would stop”. Asked why she didn’t say something or call for help, Woman C says “it was so surreally awful that I didn’t want to say anything, I was just really embarrassed by it and presumed he would stop quite soon because it was so not the right thing to do.”

The defence also pointed out that the limousine in question had a large fixed armrest between the two back passengers which would make the surreptitious or casual placing of a hand difficult. None of these defence points appear to have found their way into mainstream media.

But the two most important facts of the day seem – as you would expect – to be missed entirely by the mainstream media.

They are brought out by the excellent report by James Doleman in Byline Times. The first is that Ms C admitted to being a member of a WhatsApp group that had been “discussing” the allegations against Salmond. I use the verb “discussing” used by James Doleman and presumably used in court. Other verbs are available.

Secondly, Ms C said she had come forward in response to an “unsolicited email” by a police officer. I have previously reported on the massive fishing expedition conducted by Police Scotland against Alex Salmond in the context of the civil case he won against the Scottish government for the unfair and biased process conducted against him.

The court remains closed to the public when the accusers give evidence, which is over 90% of the trial so far. I have reapplied for accreditation as media, now as the newly appointed Political Editor of an established media organisation, Black Isle Journalism Ltd, which meets the required criteria. I await a response.

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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177 thoughts on “Your Man Kept Oot the Gallery: The Alex Salmond Trial Day 3

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  • Nut Brown Maiden

    I’m quite concerned about this ‘freezing’ I do hope all our emergency services personnel are all checked for the condition and that people with the condition are never faced with an emergency.

    I don’t think I would be too impressed with a politician who had the condition I would hope that they would be the first to respond in an emergency.

    If you had the condition you would be very restricted in the job you could do. I would definitely not send my kids to a nursery if I suspected any of the staff had the ‘freezing’ condition.

    It reminds me of these ‘fainting goats’. They hear a load bang and they freeze!

    • Giyane

      Nut Brown Maiden

      In this digital age spy cameras and microphones are easily placed in private homes, not just by security services but also prejudiced organisations such as political parties or in my case by a sect of Islam which opposes the one to which I belong.

      I suppose human kind is well adapted to the presence of the chauffeur or family members, by freezing. But you cannot freeze if you are being monitored 24/7 as political people with enemies or opponents often are.. The spy can edit and select whatever they like and add their salacious libel to influence their chosen audiences. But the spies on person has to carry on walking to the toilet in their nothings as if it was a private space.

      You cannot appeal to the law if the land, religious law or human decency because we are all in total denial of the existence of this technology. Its abusers would love us to use it ourselves.
      But that is what terrorists want us to do…enforce their will on our personal freedoms, or in this case , assert their colonial privilege over our independence.

      Freezing is private is not the same as being lost for words in public because the confidential process has been exposed.
      I live with this day in day out. Who could you possibly turn to without being called a nutcase? We are not quite ready for the ruthlessness of political extremism in our tranquil British lives.

      • Giyane

        People who invade privacy by spying claim to be invisible. But knowing you’re being spied on totally transforms your total frame of mind, such is the intrusion of the control freaks who do it.
        Why are you constantly on my case? People who spy, like governments , have only themselves to blame if the people they spy on conduct their private lives oddly and concentrate their minds on attacking those foing the spying.

        Of course we will expose their war crimes when they have camped their voyeuristic animus in our bedrooms.
        If a government pressed charges against me, the first thing I would say is that the gross intrusion of being monitored 24/7 has changed my personality into an aggressively political one.. if you play politics with completely unpoliticsl human beings who are quietly minding their own business, you will create rebellion.

        How does such a ridiculous thing as Scottish nationalism ever come about? It is a normal reaction to constant Westminstr harassment and bullying.
        If you intrude right into the heart of a human being, you have made an enemy. The colonial political mind loves making enemies. And it believes that it has the political tools to defeat any opposition. Well they started it .
        The Pope was kicked out of Britain in the 16th century and the Tory Royals will be kicked out of power by Co19.

        Chinese socialism has protected both individuals and businesses from the ravages of the new virus, but the rah rah Tories have told us in their budget we are on our own. No help for the jobless poor no help for business.
        Just keep washing your bloody, war-stained hands.

        • David

          Giyane, much of the spook power of surveillance – many times simply metadata – but I agree with you – even to the point of live video feeds – is rendered useless by you knowing that it might be used.

          That is one strength of the Craig website, where people can read usually accurate tales of what the secret squirrels have been up to.

          Spooks are disproportionally powerful, by leveraging technology and abusing weak laws but they are overloaded with data and doing everything in their usual half-assed way. Currently, they are following the Human Rights laws – predumably they are the ones pushing for withdrawl from CoE.

          So, be aware, don’t worry, you will naturally have changed your behaviour because you suspect this attack on your private-life & rights exists, and therefore their data-take is already compromised.

          unrelated to the AS case, a serial abuser has been sentenced to 23 years Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep [his victims] silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard so sometimes spies and technology hurt the powerful rather than help them. in the AS case we ought to ask, just who is the victim?, who are the spooks working for in his case….

          oh, and great news about Chelsea Manning

          • Giyane


            Thanks. One things for sure in every case .
            The spooks are not working for the rights of women, they are working for the right to terrorise the Middle East and keep Balmoral, threaten the world with Clyde nukes and parliamentary numbers for war.

            The mere existence of a spook is a harbinger of USUKIS hegemony.
            The mosque that supports jihad against Muslims is a branch of government.
            No matter how many times they deny their interest in politics. It is proof of their involvement, as is the involvement of spooks in Holyrood.

            I also note that grouesbeaters account of Ms H’s testimony uses the standardised feminist argument quoted by Lorna Cambell in an earlier CM post maybe about Assange, that women are naturally created to capitulate to male sexuality in all circumstances. Nature is not a valid argument for a professional person at work.either for men or women.

            Half-assed spookery indeed to plead that one party was unprofessional but the other party failed to summon the security guard.

  • Brian

    Tim Fortescue worked as a whip in Edward Heath’s government between 1970 and 1973. In a 1995 BBC documentary, Westminster’s Secret Service, he said the following about what the Whips would do for MPs who were in danger of being mired in scandal:[6]

    “ For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, I’m in a jam, can you help? It might be debt, it might be… a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more.

    • N_

      @Brian – Yes, that is an especially memorable video clip, shocking for anyone who has any humanity in them – the guy shows no compassion whatsoever for little children who have been abused by paedophiles, and “paedophile” is definitely the right word here.

      There’s also a video of Cyril Smith showing complete contempt for factory workers who were killed by asbestos, in which he says that nobody told the suckers to work where they worked – as though they are sh*t on his shoe.

    • Giyane


      When you are driving people you notice everything.
      If two people are silent sitting next to each other, one or other of them will excuse themselves because they are reading, thinking or sleepy. If the silence is unexplained, apparently something else is happening. Nobody’s going to tell the driver ” driver, please can you tell him to remove his hand “.
      That might have given them the wrong impression.
      What the butler saw is confidential. What the mobile phone saw can be edited to only show what is incriminating.

      • Brianfujisan

        they are keeping her fines of $256,000.. held to $1,000 red day.. dicks

        Glad she is finally out.. Peace to You Chelsea

      • Loony

        Yeah Mary that must be the answer that they are scared to have a death on their hands. It all makes perfect sense when you look at the number of prisoners that die each year in US penitentiary facilities, or the number of people around the world killed by US military or US proxy military activity.

        They must be so scared – or maybe they are in fact scared by the prospect of people actually believing their lies.

        • glenn_uk

          Hey Loony –

          Your hero Trump, that great stable genius.

          Is this virus a ‘foreign threat’ , like he’s saying today, or a “democrat hoax ‘, like he was saying last week?

          • Cubby

            I think the real threat is Trump.

            Johnson and Trump in charge of the pandemic plans. Now that has got to be scary.

          • Stonky

            I don’t know why you guys are having a go at Trump. His travel ban means that Julian Assange can no longer be sent back to the US. so we can end the extradion proceedings and let him out of Belmarsh.

          • Cubby

            Trump and his team obviously thought the UK is not in Europe when they originally said they were banning flights from Europe only to issue a clarification that Europe does not include the UK for their purposes.

            So as I said above Johnson and Trump organising the defence against the virus – that is really scary. I wouldn’t trust either of them to order a takeaway meal.

          • Cubby

            Johnson yesterday

            “I must level with you, level with the British public eh more families, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”

            Boris Johnston pronouncing death sentences – well done those people who voted for this idiot.

            Scotland needs to get out of this UK – a cull of the old and the weak declared by the grim reaper.

            It is no consolation to all those families but Trump is an even bigger idiot.

          • Loony

            Trump is only one man. He has an entire system against him and no experience of dealing with pandemics – so it would be unwise to expect a good outcome.

            There are some pretty obvious measures that could be taken – Russia serves as an example. People with their hands on the levers of power in the west would far prefer mass death than to run the risk of challenging their core assumptions. In fact there are some pretty close parallels with the Nazi mindset. By and large committed Nazi’s were incapable of being reformed and preferred the complete destruction of the German nation to questioning their own assumptions.

            Coronavirus victims will die in homage to the cult of globalism and anti-racism. No one knows how many will die, and no-one cares because even if everyone dies that will be considered preferable to being considered guilty of some form of micro aggression or racism.

            Maybe nature just has no need for delusional people unwilling to take even basic measures to protect themselves.

          • Giyane


            ” protect themselves ”

            How could we protect ourselves from the gross ignorance of the British racist, colonial mindset other than by importing people to teach different ways?

            You think British society is the most perfect? Some here would prefer to roast in hell, rather than submit to rules given by God to help us succeed in life.

            It’s like saying one hates cheap Chinese imports and then complaining about a shortage of handwashing. Protect ourselves from WHAT?

        • Giyane

          The disgusting Tory leader levelling with us.

          ” I have boosted the finances of my friends and colleagues with investments in civil engineering and retail, health procurement and global trade.
          Unfortunately that doesn’t leave anything to spend on oiks with coronavirus. Tough ”
          I hope he gets a very rough ride indeed when Brexit meets no respiratory oxygen as a fitting punishment for poisoning the Skripals and
          gambling with the EU using No Deal after June this year.

          He will suddenly wish he was not world king at lying and making false promises and he will do something totally outrageous to get himself sacked. Incompetence incarnate.
          What if runs out of peroxide for his stupid hair?

          • Loony

            What a strange argument you make.

            My comment referred to the west in general, and you respond with bizarre comments about British racists and colonialists. Take a look at the mounting death toll in Italy. Do you really think that killing a shed load of Italians is an appropriate way to punish British racists and colonialists? If so, how exactly does dead Italians punish British people that you do not approve of?

            One thing that people may give thought to protecting themselves against is the venal and illogical hatred aimed at them by people like you. Like a said there are disturbing parallels with the Nazi mindset – irrational egregious hatred spewed by people that are absolutely convinced that anyone who objects to being the recipient of such hatred must by definition be pure evil.

  • Dungroanin

    Off Topic prob

    ‘The grand jury investigating WikiLeaks was dismissed by federal judge.’

    But this is immense and I will post it at a current article – feel free to delete mods – i only post it here as most readers prob only ever go to the most recent article.

    [ Mod: That’s fine, as long as people who have something to say about it go to the corresponding thread and post their comments there.

    The most recent thread about Julian Assange and Wikileaks is A Chink in the Wall.

  • Cubby

    It really is very disappointing that BBC Reporting Scotland did not recognise the impressive level of commitment to her work of woman in their reporting. I mean it is truly impressive levels of dedication to have just been sexually assaulted, allegedly, and been subject to an attempted rape, allegedly, but still find the inner strength to go back to your desk immediately afterwards to do some work, send some emails, one saying there will some sore heads tomorrow and fill in your overtime expenses form. Outstanding – should get an OBE.

    • Dawg

      Nah, she should get an OBQuiet

      Every woman in the jury will be conscious of how many similar incidents they’ve endured themselves without complaint (apart from the bed episode,of course, which frankly isn’t credible); and every man will be thinking about any time they might have touched a woman without getting a form signed and witnessed in triplicate, while musing “there but for the grace of God go I … “

  • N_

    Guardian: “Alleged assault ‘led to ban on Alex Salmond working alone with women’

    Woman G seems like a bit of a crap witness. She doesn’t know the meaning of “refute” either.

    Following this testimony, G was describing her own alleged sexual assault by Salmond when she was challenged by his defence advocate, Gordon Jackson QC, that ‘no one ever saw this as criminal” at the time. G responded: “It was serious enough for us to change staffing procedures at the time, so I refute that. It was serious enough that women were not allowed to work with him on their own, unaccompanied.’

    F seems a bit crap too:

    “Earlier in the day, F was also pressed by Jackson on why she did not immediately report the alleged assault if she thought it was a criminal act.

    F said: ‘This is to misunderstand the context … going to someone outside was completely unthinkable. This was the run-up to a referendum on independence. Everything we did which was outward-facing had potential ramifications which went well beyond personal experience.’

    Is that a robot talking or a human victim of a sexual assault?

    • N_

      So basically the answer to “Why didn’t you report it?” is “Because I thought if I lay back and thought of Scotland I would help the nationalist cause”. Got to wonder how that will go down with a jury from Edinburgh (61% No, especially the female members.

      • Stonky

        On the 7th March article, you made this rather supercilious post:

        Let’s hope Scottish criminal law isn’t so weak that all a man accused of rape needs to do to escape conviction is to claim the woman consented…

        I wrote at the time to challenge you on this, but you didn’t get round to answering. So I’ll ask you again:

        Imagine you had had consensual sex with a woman, and she subsequently accused you of raping her. Since you apparently consider that a legal system that allows a claim of consent is “weak”, what would your line of defence be?

        Feel free to go into as much detail as you like.

        • Barney

          You would be up the judicial Crap Creek. That is the risk inherent in having sex with a woman in the first place. A case of good luck and don’t forget to pack a toothbrush.

          • Pooh

            Life-prolonging abstention from sex might be the answer. Mind you, a toothbrush would still be needed.

        • Giyane


          Why not take a leaf out of Daesh’s book and invoke Salafist Viking rights of rape and pillage ?
          The West’s salafist proxies like Nato Erdogan, have re-introduced both slavery and rape of captive women from the pre islamic period.
          It’s in your contract darling drawn up in A.D. 594.

          • Iain Stewart

            Look, pal, I’m half Viking and I resent that. And half Neanderthal too, in case you try that other unjustified smear, right Jimmy?

    • Barney

      Strangely Alex Salmond also uses the word “refute” in the same incorrect manner. What they really should be saying is “deny”. Saying that, the definition seems to have been updated to encompass this incorrect meaning. But it is still really seen as incorrect. Of course you could speculate why both of them, why anyone, would use “refute” when most of us would say “deny”. It is very strange. You can’t have a go at one of them for using “refute” instead of “deny” without having a go at the other. Maybe one of the picked it up off the other. Who knows.

      • Giyane


        If someone is talking about themselves their own witness can refute someone else’s claim.if you were not a witness to something but had some evidence you could use dispute.. Deny is a negative, countering something. Refute is a positive statement.
        If she was lying back and thinking about Scotland, and the changes her position to thinking about England, then the word deny might be appropriate because we don’t any of us know the unseen.

      • jake

        This matter isn’t about the word “refute”, when to use it and what it means.
        It’s about the word “no”, when to use it and what it means

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘She doesn’t know the meaning of “refute” either’.

      Yes, I agree that it’s deplorable when people use “refute” to mean “deny” or “rebut”. By such tiny shifts our language is continually losing many of its finer distinctions. Sadly the ignorami and malaprops have dictionaries and even professors of linguistics on their side. Such a distinguished expert as David Crystal maintains that language changes continually, and it’s a King Canute job to try to stop it.

      And here is the COED (see the last paragraph):

      n verb
      1 prove (a statement or the person advancing it) to be wrong.
      2 deny (a statement or accusation).

      refutable adjective
      refutal noun
      refutation noun
      refuter noun

      C16: from Latin refutare ‘repel, rebut’.

      The core meaning of refute is ‘prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong’. From this a more general sense has developed, meaning ‘deny’, as in I absolutely refute the charges made against me. Traditionalists object to the second use, but it is now widely accepted in standard English.

      • Giyane

        Tom Welsh

        Yes but a traditionalist could reasonably massacre language as pushback against his or her reputation being hammered. If I can use hammer as a transitive verb in the passive, why can’t we use refute creatively to make people think?
        There are a thousand words a witness could use to explana their thinking, but they don’t get time for that.

      • Pooh

        Thank you, Tom Welsh

        Ages ago, I’d had no doubt that ‘to refute X’ meant only ‘to prove X is false’ until I read a learned judgement in which, to my surprise, ‘refute’ was used to indicate denial, as in ‘I refute I said that’.

        ‘The man with the Gospels’: “The meaning of a word is its use in the language.”

        refute (v.)
        1510s, “refuse, reject,” from Middle French réfuter (16c.) and directly from Latin refutare “drive back; rebut, disprove; repress, repel, resist, oppose,” from re- “back” (see re-) + *futare “to beat,” from PIE root *bhau- “to strike.”
        Meaning “prove wrong” dates from 1540s. Since c. 1964 linguists have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards “to deny,” as it is used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.

        OED: “Traditionalists object to the second use, but it is now widely accepted in standard English.”

        The usage you find deplorable, and I would agree with you, seems to have been widely accepted in Standard English. I doubt that Gordon Jackson QC or the Judge had the slightest problem with woman G’s use of the word.

        You know you got me goin’ now, just like I knew you would. 

        So happy for Chelsea Manning, and hope she’ll be safe and well. Peace be upon her.

        Good wishes.

    • Pooh

      Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘refute’.


      [with object]

      1.2Deny or contradict (a statement or accusation)

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I had a lift on the A9 from a Black Isle farmer once. Me and a mate had been hiking around Drumochter and were thumbing it back to a railway station closer to Glasgow to save some dosh. He was going to visit some sheep in Perthshire and presumably did not want to be away from his current stock for any longer than necessary.

    To say that that denizen of the Black Isle would have ‘interested police officers over the exact speed he was driving’ (which Nigel Mansell would have considered appropriate for a warm up lap at Silverstone) would not be overstating quite how fast he was going along the A9. He was going considerably closer to 150mph than 100mph.

    Speed is I believe a fine trait for journalists.

    You have chosen the name of your media company well, Mr Murray!

  • Jane

    Nicola Sturgeon wants all-women shortlists. If all these empowered feminist SNP high-ups haven’t even the gumption to tell a man, albeit a powerful one, who (allegedly) puts his hand on their thigh, to remove it, how competent will they actually be in running a country, one has to wonder.

  • Nut Brown Maiden

    “F said: ‘This is to misunderstand the context … going to someone outside was completely unthinkable. This was the run-up to a referendum on independence. Everything we did which was outward-facing had potential ramifications which went well beyond personal experience.’

    What has changed? Does F no longer support independence does she not think that we are in a run-up to a 2nd referendum on independence?

  • Baxter1967

    Voting for independence for Scotland is about sovereignty and the ability to elect a government for Scotland that reflects the people. It’s about responsibility and not blaming the “bloody English for all its ills”. It’s certainly not about creating an anti – business, woke dominated and equality obsessed basket case of a nation. Unfortunately that’s precisely where Nicola Sturgeon is taking the SNP. She cannot now take the vote comfortably above that 50% required because most people do not side with that vision and her virtue signalling and incessant promotion of identity politics.
    Some like me , who are committed to Independence hold their nose but a whole swathe of voters are put off as she lacks the political acumen to bring them on side. Scotland has a strong working class / collectivist culture but she is alienating it and whilst some way behind the Labour Party the same fate will eventually happen.

  • Michael Cavanagh

    thanks for this. the absence of any decent information outside of the sources referred to here has been very noticeable.
    It is worrying for the independence movement in the short term, but I do think there is the potential for great advances in its wake.

  • John Monro

    Thank you so much Craig, you’re doing a brilliant job under difficult circumstances – to try and keep us informed but knowing that any slight error will see you frog marched to the nearest police station takes some courage, and a great deal of intelligence.

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