Made in the First Minister’s Office 264


The first piece of evidence came out at the Holyrood Inquiry today which I have known for the last year but had not been allowed to tell you.

The drafting of the new complaints procedure so that it could be used to fit up Alex Salmond was NOT a unionist scheme hatched in Whitehall and implemented by Leslie Evans, a UK civil servant. I have seen fellow SNP members give themselve false comfort with the idea it was Whitehall and not Nicola; I have tried gently to explain they are wrong, without ever being able to produce the evidence, although I had it.

This is the first morsel of a very great deal of evidence that is going to come out.

The adoption of a new complaints procedure that permitted retrospective complaints against former ministers was in fact cooked up between Leslie Evans and Nicola Sturgeon. LONDON ADVISED AGAINST IT. The Cabinet Office strongly advised that it would be “unwise” to allow retrospective action against ex-ministers. Nicola and Evans decided to plough ahead and implement the policy against London’s advice. They must have had a strong motive for that. Evans denied today that the policy was designed against Alex Salmond. I certainly do not believe her, and there is much more to come.

This is the evidence of Leslie Evans that confirmed this today. As I say, I had known this a long while but was not able to reveal it as I was pledged to confidence. The emails before the committee show indisputably in writing the Cabinet Office advice against the retrospective complaints policy. This is the first piece in a jigsaw, but it is a key piece. I have seen enough other pieces, too, to have no doubt at all of the final picture.

I cannot tell you how desperately I wish all of this was not true. I cannot tell you how desperately I wish the plot against Alex Salmond had indeed all been made in Whitehall. I cannot tell you how much I have hated the fact that my knowledge of Nicola’s plot against Alex has alienated me from so many fellow SNP members I worked alongside during the 2014 campaign. I do hope that scales are at least beginning now to drop from some eyes.

Put this together with Nicola’s insistence there can be no Independence without a referendum, and there must be no referendum without Westminster permission and a S30 order. Put this together with Nicola’s insistence that even discussion of Independence is off the agenda until after Covid and its economic consequences are past. Put this together with the NEC blocking of Joanna Cherry – which Sturgeon and Murrell were definitely behind. Put this together, if I may, with the attempt to jail me for writing this blog.

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264 thoughts on “Made in the First Minister’s Office

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  • Aidworker1

    George Galloway
    @georgegalloway
    ·
    40m
    I’ll tell you this: IF there’s to be a second IndyRef, then 795,000 Scots living elsewhere in the UK MUST have a vote. If UK expats can vote in General Elections from Spain then an existential question like Separatism MUST be answered by all Scots.

    Is he right?

    • Kitbee

      Is he ever right?
      Uk expats were barred from voting on the existential question of separatism in the EU referendum. Did Galloway complain??

      • Glasshopper

        I was an expat at the time and had the right to vote in the Brexit ref. I forget what the rules were (15 years?) but many expats could, and did vote.

    • nevermind

      Yes off course, anybody who has not been living in Scotland or voting on issues in the past, nor paid any dues for however long, should all be wheeled out to vote on this issue.
      what about those who live there and are not Scottisch by birth? who have taken an interest and worked for Independence, paid taxes and rent?
      what has the selfserving shadow boxer got to say about that?

    • Squeeth

      No, a change in the structure of the UK is a matter for everyone, not just those in Scotland who want to go.

      • Julia Gibb

        Ireland would still be part of the U.K. with your logic. Article 1 of UN – the Right to Self Determination applies.
        The People of Scotland’s Self Determination
        I have relatives who left for Australia, Canada and New Zealand in the 60’s – Will they have a vote?
        England is “another” Nation under Self Determination.Try reading the UN Charter.
        If you have chosen Scotland as your country then you can have the vote.

    • Sharon

      The same rules should apply as per previous. They are just trying to avert a win….again by changing the rules.

    • Sharon

      No he’s not. We can have the very same question with the same people voting as last time. That was agreed and approved by both parties previously and there is absolutely no reason why the same can’t be true.

  • Easygoing Onlooker

    I personally feel that the shit doc last night was, for Wark, like those angry internal conversations you have when you’ve lost face to somebody, maybe at work or something, and you have to keep silent. You know, the ones where, in your head, you tell them what you should have told them, or wanted to tell them, stridently, with a lack of censorship or fear. She’s remaking the whole trial in her own scorched-earth image, giving it a happy – to her – ending. Fucking total creepy old nutter.

    • Emma

      And why the name change for husband and wife team Wark/Clements Productions to Two Rivers Productions? Which two rivers? The Clyde and the Thames?

  • Ewen A. Morrison

    Dear, Craig, I’m one of your long-term followers, and I know you’re qualified enough to make the comments and observations that you’ve previously published. Please accept both my thanks and respect for your honourable and disciplined behaviour! Many people in Scotland will be confused with this shared news… however, political processes are what they are and they’re far from being normal ones! Anyway, the so-called ‘UK’ situation is too satirical to talk about!

    I suppose that some of us may feel that a period of upset and disruption will hinder our path towards egaining our independence? However, the real strength of truth is greater than what’s usually emanating from the London government! Our Independence Cause is an absolutely correct and legitimate movement that is gradually dawning on Scotland’s electorate! A period of political disruption will happen, but after that happens, we won’t be surrendering to that Unrealistic Kindom again!

    Thanks,

    Ewen

  • Louise+Hogg

    Must admit, my present hypothesis is much as it has always been:

    1. Ms Evans tasked by UK govt and/or her own political and personal inclinations, to take down Mr Salmond, and perhaps some other senior SNP figures, and neuter/tame Scottish govt.
    2. Ms Evans fishes for historical complaints.
    3. Ms Evans suggests to Ms Sturgeon that policy needs reviewed to be retrospective. Probably using opportunity provided by Ms Sturgeon’s desire to address #metoo issue.
    4. Ms Sturgeon is pleased to have found what appears to be common ground with the staff member, Ms Evans.
    5. Ms Sturgeon signs off on the rules, unaware that Ms Evans is targeting Mr Salmond and has already done ground work in that direction.
    6. Opposition from Whitehall only increases Ms Sturgeon’s resolve to tackle in Scotland an issue ignored in the UK.
    7. Possibly Ms Sturgeon is even more determined, when Ms Evans tells her at least one suspicious case has rapidly been found. (Ms Evans omits to mention WHEN they were found, or who he is.)
    8. Ms Evans likely intends the rules to catch other political targets, plus soothe any misandry she harbours.
    9. Ms Sturgeon finds out too late, whether 29th March, 2nd April, or some other date who and what is being investigated. Having, for good reason (since vindicated in court!), had no expectation of misconduct in that quarter.
    10. Once the rules are signed off Ms Sturgeon isn’t involved, and sticks to required impartiality. No doubt horrified at what unfolds.
    • nevermind

      11. She fires Ms Evans and puts her in court on the same rules she designed for others.
      12. The retrospective law is scrapped before its adopted fully. End of.

      But such speculative end might not happen, too real…

    • Calum Hunter

      I tend to agree with your assessment. I think Craig’s a bit quick off the mark with laying responsibility for high Machiavellian plotting at Nicola Sturgeon’s door. But I’ll be watching this unfold with great interest.

      • Squeeth

        You might change your opinion once Craig’s private stash of information is out. The ramifications of the Salmond fishing expedition are so important that it’s inconceivable to me that La Sturgeon didn’t know (doubtless hidden behind layers of accountability evasion).

        • Calum Hunter

          I might. But it will have to be stronger than what was discussed in this article, which I don’t find explosive or persuasive at all. London sent an email, so we are believe they were against Evans plans? Anyone can send an email as a cover.

          • Sharon

            I agree. Either way, it won’t change my vote for Indy via the SNP, which undoubtedly is what’s behind all this.

          • Squeeth

            Kremlin watching is back in fashion; everyone will be trying to cover their tracks but there comes a point when they have to do something to get what they want. Behaviour matters more than bullshit.

    • Mark Gordon

      I thnk you have it spot on. Sadly Craig cannot see this clearly and cannot see that there are alternatives to his narrative.

  • Louise+Hogg

    As regards the SNP complaints sat upon and to be ‘deployed’. This I believe will have been an initially separate plot/vendetta. Mr Murrell, or Mr MacCann or both, hostile and insecure towards any perceived threat to Ms Sturgeon’s dominance, blocking Mr Salmond from a return to politics. Settling past grudges too perhaps. One of the complainants most likely involved too. Which complainant was frustrated in the earlier consensual encounter? Did they have designs on becoming the second Mrs Salmond?

    A third hostile grouping being the group in power on the NEC or thereabouts. Their focus on secondary or fringe issues and careers would be disrupted by Mr Salmond. So they intend to use Ms Sturgeon’s appeal and credibility to maintain their own positions. Surrounding her and isolating her from threats to themselves.

    Ms Evans’ and Ms MacKinnon’s ‘investigation’ at some point unites the various groups, and others such as the media, in common cause. Much like Pilate and Herod.

    The whole 29th March/2nd April question may well come down to details of what was NOT said in parliament, or at meetings. Ms Sturgeon quite possibly believing it was some breach of rules for her to know, from Geoff Aberdein on the 29th, what she shouldn’t have been told until from Mr Salmond himself on the 2nd. Ie definitely misleading. Possibly lying. Probably not a cover up of anything major.

    Motive is lacking for perjuring herself over a discrepancy of four days, unless more significance can be found.

    Her claim that there was no conspiracy (perhaps mainly one complainant’s vendetta instead?), should maybe be read as SHE was not personally orchestrating a conspiracy. Rather than an assertion that there was none.

    Motive likewise lacking in Ms Sturgeon attacking Mr Salmond. I think she would have acted years earlier if so inclined. And does want independence, although lacking boldness to consistently pursue it.

    I have no such confidence in the motives or priorities of those around her. Up to and including Mr Murrell. Ms Cherry has been another victim of the unholy alliance, I suspect.

  • Kenneth+G+Coutts

    No worries Craig, let’s get the rest of the jigsaw.
    Look forward to your blogs.
    Looks like it will get messy.
    Onwards and upwards
    🐼🐼

  • Mary M

    All of what you say may or may not be true but Independence is bigger than all of you. So stop trying to divide Scotland that’s WM s job. I’m 100% for independence and arguing goes on in all parties but no tory would ruin the party for their own Im right policy. We need Independence more than we need you harping on about the past. Nicolas great Alecs great SNP FOLLOWERS ARE wonderful so cant you stop washing dirty linen in public and begin to help unite and get over the differences. Remember while you argue Scotland is being robbed and denigrated every day. So get together for all our sakes. And I agree now is not the time to break away let us get the covid disaster out of the way and then we can al unite against the one and only enemy of Independenc WM

    • Nickle101

      “Independence is bigger than all of you”

      As an outsider, I respectfully disagree.

      I wish Scotland a just society and hope it will be a force for good in the world. I believe this is best achieved through the self determination by the Scottish people.

      A political movement that attempts to frame and incriminate an innocent person of serious crimes is not fit for purpose. There needs to be a reckoning with those who attempted to perpetrate injustice on Alex Salmond. After that, there can be a refocus on the values of an Independent Scotland and the path there. Otherwise, I fear for the worst, a conflicted and degenerating devolution on the back of a decadent Monarchy.

      • Ken Kenn

        i think Alex Salmond was and is ‘on the right side ‘ AS THEY SAY.

        Here’s the thing that rankles with me:

        In November 2019 Johnson like May was entrapped like Clockwork Mouse in a Maze.

        They had scored around 8% of the vote in the EU elections.

        Fair enough Labour were no great shakes either.

        UKIP did well -as did the Lib Dems.

        Put roughly the Tories were f*****

        There was talk of a Corbyn/Labour led interim government of sort of National Salvation and so on and so forth.

        The Lib Dems were dead set against a Corbyn led government as were many in the Labour Party PLP.

        Does anyone have any views why the SNP went for a snap election – being as they were theoretically against a Tory Party that was so pro Brexit?

        If Salmond had have been in charge of the SNP – would he have gone for that option?

        And theoretically would Charlie Kennedy had he been the leader have gone for the same?

        Would they have both supported a Corbyn led Labour Coaltion government?

        • The Beast in the Cellar

          “Does anyone have any views why the SNP went for a snap election – being as they were theoretically against a Tory Party that was so pro Brexit?”

          When the Lib-Dems broke ranks — on the presumption that they’d do well in any election, as the polls were suggesting — the rebel alliance was effectively screwed.

          Better to be seen to go into an election willingly and confidently than to be seen to be dragged into one reluctantly. And the polls were predicting that the SNP would make huge gains, which they did.

          Sturgeon blew it again though. She deprioritised independence when she went around the country on the “stop Brexit” bus. And she did that for her own selfish political reasons. There was no prospect of her being able to “stop brexit”.

          • Sharon

            Nicola had to be seen to try to stop Brexit as she was elected partly on that premise. So she gained votes of those still wanting to be in the Union but disappointed at being taken out the EU.

            She likely knew that wouldn’t be achieved but it didn’t hurt her in polls. People could see she was trying and WM just ignoring her and Scotland on the issue, not discussing much if anything and being excluded from any Brexit talks etc.

      • N_

        Be aware that the SNP majority government under Alec Salmond in its document “Scotland’s Future” proposed a Scottish monarchy under the British monarch. We can’t blame Nicola Sturgeon for that. She wasn’t leader of the party or of the Scottish government at that time. At that time she struck me as a blithering idiot that nobody behind the scenes would want to have any influence because she was so f***ing stupid. Asked “will we get Scottish passports after independence?” she replied that people’s passports would have “Scotland” written on them when they came up for renewal. She may of course, especially given what she gets up to in Edinburgh clubs and the fact that her marriage is totally fake (entered into to pretend she is heterosexual), be someone’s very useful idiot.

      • Suzanne

        “Independence is bigger than all of you”

        Also, it’s bigger than any political party. It is cross-party, and includes those of party political persuasions and those with none. The SNP is the political conduit to independence, and in an indy Scotland our first general election will reveal the party the people want as leaders.

        This is what unionists just don’t seem to understand. They can attempt to rip the SNP apart but they won’t destroy the wider Yes family.

    • nevermind

      And let us get the covid disaster out of the way?

      Its that easy is it? You might well be in support of Independence or not, but you are saying that a health pandemic should stall all democratic or evolutionary steps towards Independence.
      You want to buy time and carry on as usual, how very brave of you.
      I suppose we should also wait with climate change alleviation measures until we get the covid disaster out of the way…..
      Why buy time? and for whom?

  • Steve Davidson

    Mr. Murray, I very much admire the work you do for Scotland and Scotland’s independence however I have a historical story concerning a mutual interest, very small and at the time apparently insignificant, that has always troubled/ tainted my approach to our mutual interest. I would like to share my concern with you without public glare.

  • 6033624

    It’s hard to change your view of someone when you hold them in high regard as I do with Nicola Sturgeon. Everything she has said and done does still make sense to me although I had, and do, wish for the move to independence to come more quickly. I can accept it as a different viewpoint that has validity. It would be difficult to think of her as someone actually working AGAINST independence. I can accept she, along with Evans had cooked this scheme up to cement her as leader, after all, look what happened to John Swinney. My own opinion is that what was designed to be a stain on his character preventing a return to politics (and a threat to Sturgeon’s leadership) then ‘grew arms and legs’ as ‘somehow’ it became a police matter. When that happened no one could back away or back down. Even then, had the police done their jobs and actually checked the facts they wouldn’t have brought either AS MANY or ANY charges. It seems that Salmond’s defence was able to demolish the prosecution factually and with relative ease (I wasn’t present so I could well be wrong)

    So, a Machiavellian plot to cement power but still not sure about Sturgeon being anti-independence. But maybe you have more information you can share on this?

    I think Labour think that this is a gift to them, but I am convinced they’re wrong, and here’s why. If this goes as horribly wrong for Sturgeon as it might, then Salmond will look like the underdog who proved them all wrong and threw off a plot to do him down, even imprison him – he will look heroic! He could even be ‘called upon’ to lead the party should Sturgeon resign! He could ride this wave of popularity through the next election into a position as First Minister and get another crack at Indy for us. That’s the ‘worst case scenario’ for Sturgeon of course. The best case scenario is that she blames Leslie Evans for coming up with the idea and canvassing for complaints before ensuring she could do something about them. Evans would be on ‘garden leave’ and given a ‘package’ and NDA. Meanwhile Salmond is taken back into the fold again, perhaps stands as a candidate and rides the heroic wave into Holyrood boosting SNP popularity even more! Whatever Labour do on this it’s not going to boost their votes because there’s more to be gained than lost for the SNP and Labour don’t have recognisable policies that people can latch onto, as well as the obvious – ie being a unionist party in a country that wants Indy!

    Whatever happens, Alex Salmond, consummate politician, will use this to his advantage and will come out of it well. He’s gone from being creepy and perhaps a rapist to being ‘wronged’ and ‘lied about’ and the object of a conspiracy. I do hope (perhaps forlornly) that he and Nicola would work together on the next (successful) campaign for Independence. We can all hope, can’t we??

    • The Beast in the Cellar

      You’re crackers if you think Salmond could ever work with Sturgeon after this. Crackers.

    • Squeeth

      If independence fell into her lap, I doubt she’d spurn it but entrenching the Snat partei looks like it matters more. Politics and idealism collide again.

  • N_

    So when those loonies came into the debating chamber at Holyrood and denounced the first minister as “Brigadier Sturgeon“, actually “Where’s your bowler hat and your sash, Nicola?” would have been more apt?

  • N_

    Before 2016 the SNP had a majority of seats at Holyrood (on a minority of votes) and as we know there was a majority in favour of the Union in 2014 and there continued to be one in the polls afterwards.

    The SNP then lost its majority in 2016 but stayed in office running a minority government propped up by the Snotgreens.

    In the 2021 Scottish general election, what could happen is that the SNP gets walloped out of office by the electorate, but there is a majority in the polls in favour of independence.

    I think there should be an indyref rerun in the event that a majority of voters vote for parties promising one AND those parties taken together win a majority of seats at Holyrood next spring. Should only one of those conditions apply, it becomes somewhat trickier and of course the divisions over this f***ing idiotic issue will get greater. But if you want a referendum you ought to be able to bring yourself to vote for a party that promises one. If you find that all the parties that do promise one are completely unpalatable and unworthy of your support, then either a) reconsider why you actually want a referendum, and consider the possibility that an independent Scotland might find itself run by complete arseholes who might do something like, oh, let’s say lock you and your mates up for criticising them on the internet; or b) set up a new party.

  • Alasdair MacDhomhnaill

    As Nicola Sturgeon stated “In a procedure agreed by me.” She did not say “ a procedure widely used and according to best human resource and legal practice.” The liability of the employer as an employer ends when the employment relationship ends unless there is a criminal matter which is passed to the police. No employer extends their own liability beyond what is legally required and accepted as best practice. And Nicola Sturgeon is a lawyer. Effective practice in relation to employment issues would involve swift investigation and action as close as possible to any alleged events for a whole number of reasons: this is standard effective practice for any investigation a it prevents further liability, it protects all employees, it protects the employer from any liability, it makes an investigation easier and the quality and reliability of the evidence more credible and easier to obtain when closer to the events (dates and witnesses for example being verified.) But that isn’t what happened. For me when Nicola Sturgeon uttered the words “In a procedure agreed by me” is the moment that I thought this whole thing reeks of a witch-hunt. I’m sure all involved convinced themselves they were doing the right thing. They didn’t convince the public, the jury or the judge. Along with the incredibly authoritarian and at times hysterical posturing of many in the SNP (Pete Wishart, Angus Robertson, Aonghas MacLeod, Alyn Smith, John Swinney) they represent the very dangerous flip-side to the woke brigade that clashes very unpleasantly with the Scottish controlling elites and cliques which can become extremely unpleasant when challenged. I think this is a very dangerous and uniquely Scottish quality which has its roots in our smallness and our very limited middle-class and limited opportunities. Far from being the egalitarian society that all the official bodies proclaim Scotland to be, there is an absolute sense emanating from this group of: “Look I done good mate I got the position and the education and the rest of youse plebs just shurrr up because I am the chosen one yeah geddit.” I may be rambling but just like the Scotsmen on the make in London, on countless occasions I have witnessed professionals at a certain level act like the people in the lifeboats on the Titanic. They tell the people in the sea there is no room even when they could take two or three on the boat. The elites of Scotland behave as they do because they are conditioned to believe they are the chosen ones and they can’t let any more in because that would threaten their own position. I believe this is behind a lot of the selection of people that can be controlled by Sturgeon and Murrell and others in the upper echelons. They don’t even know they are doing it and they are destroying Scotland.

  • Mark Golding

    “London advised against retrospective action against ex-ministers. ” – The Lockerbie murders – Three decades of lies.

    I ask can Indy blind us? Is this backward-looking advice a case of ‘Let sleeping dogs lie”? By that idiom I draw your attention to the fact Alex Salmond said it was up to Megrahi’s relatives to apply to the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission to seek a further appeal, adding that his death “ends one chapter of the Lockerbie case, but it does not close the book”. As a result, a third appeal is waiting, waiting.

    I ask why is has the SCCRC wimped on the third appeal after Megrahi was pressured to drop a second appeal, and why is the SCCRC refusing to disclose CIA evidence? I strongly suggest the forensic evidence at Megrahi’s trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2000 was flawed and I FURTHER allege that witnesses were in the pay of the US Secret Service, leading to a miscarriage of justice.

    Robert Black, Professor Emeritus of Scots Law at the University of Edinburgh and a Lockerbie expert stated, the al-Megrahi’s murder conviction was “the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years”…

    On March 11 2020, the SCCRC decided once more to refer the Lockerbie case back to the High Court of Justiciary for determination.

    Nevertheless, the SCCRC has already narrowed the debate to a range from which any discussion regarding the TRUTH about Lockerbie is rigorously excluded.

    According to the SCCRC statement, Libya is responsible for Lockerbie. End of story. Period. So will Alex Salmond challenge this corrupt affirmation? I hope so.

  • The Beast in the Cellar

    There’s much more to come, Craig, that’s for sure. And, if it becomes clear that Sturgeon was up to her eyeballs in trying to put an innocent man in prison for the rest of his life (for selfish political reasons), she will switch to arguing that she was championing women’s rights. That’s how she operates.

    I’ve heard a lot of people speculating about what motivates Sturgeon and ask why she has given up on independence. A common explanation is that “they” have something on her and are effectively pulling her strings. The truth is probably more disturbing; Sturgeon, like Blair and so many others in politics, is motivated by pure self interest and self aggrandisement.

    More interesting questions revolve around the British Establishment and BBC’s motivations in all of this. It seems ambivalent — on one hand effectively arguing that Salmond somehow tricked the jury and courts (and implying he was and is guilty) while, on the other, hinting at a possible conspiracy involving Sturgeon.

    The British Establishment loves Sturgeon because she’s the new Savior of the Union. Nobody has done more damage to the Scottish independence cause and movement than Nicola Sturgeon, not ever. She’s keeping the rabble in line for them and they instinctively want to bolster her. But, at the same time, they want to keep her weak enough to control so that they can dispose of her if necessary (if ever gets any funny ideas about actually fighting for independence).

    The same dynamics and exploits can be found in most third world countries and in the middle east in particular, with ‘The West’ supporting and propping up despicable people like the Saudi Royals and Saddam as they simultaneously prepare to destroy them, should they ever disobey orders or jeopardise vital interests.

    How does this pan out? What do Scottish people do about this? What does it mean for Scottish Independence? Nothing is certain. The most likely scenario is a slow and painful death for the SNP, drawn out over the next ten years. Replacing Sturgeon won’t fix this, you’d need to sweep out the whole regime.

    Then there’s Corona Virus. We can expect a lot of British establishment emphasis on Sturgeon’s (mis)handling of the pandemic in the run up to the election. It’s much more likely that this will fatally weaken Sturgeon than her assumed involvement in trying to stitch up Salmond.

    On a more positive note, would Scottish people even want independence if it was just going to facilitate the rise of people like Sturgeon? I think I’d rather be ruled by the uncaring and disregarding British. I can’t believe I typed that, but there it is.

    • Stonky

      On a more positive note, would Scottish people even want independence if it was just going to facilitate the rise of people like Sturgeon?

      Why on earth would you imagine that people like Sturgeon will be anywhere near the reins of power in an independent Scotland?

      Post-independence, the “new, improved” SNP offers its manfesto:
      1. Slavish support for the American neocon campaign of mass slaughter and destruction around the globe.
      2. Ensuring the right of male perverts to get into women’s toilets and changing rooms by pretending they’re trans.
      3. Jailing people for saying something that some professional pet peevist takes offence to.
      4. That’s it folks. That’s the lot.

      The scales will fall from the eyes of even the most blinkered devotees. She’ll get about three votes.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Why on earth would you imagine that people like Sturgeon will be anywhere near the reins of power in an independent Scotland?”

        Have you just answered the question everyone seems to be asking: whether Ms Sturgeon is really seeking independence or not?

      • Hatuey

        Stonky, my point is that she’s not going to try for independence and, given her other priorities, including those you mentioned but primarily her egoism, that’s probably a good thing.

        • Iain Stewart

          Welcome back, Hatuey. Your absence below the line has greatly diminished the interest of this blog.

          • The Beast in the Cellar

            Nice to be back and that’s a pleasant thing to say for which I’m grateful.

          • Iain Stewart

            Hatuey, if this means you are also The Beast in the Cellar then watch out the Very Rev Moderator doesn’t catch you breaking the housekeeping rule about multiple identities and do a Habbabkuk on you.

    • Lorna Campbell

      The UKG does not love the FM, nor does she love them. To suggest otherwise is very debatable. If they can, they will bring her down, too, as the Carmichael leak was intended to do, and to which, without doubt, London was a party, and they will do the same to anyone else who follows her who is not in the pocket of the British State.

      We should not conflate the Salmond affair with the FM being allied to London, because she isn’t. She is a very different kettle of fish from Mr Salmond and approaches politics in a very different way, and she represents the apex of what is a very toxic set at Holyrood that does not put independence first. That is her real problem, and ours, by implication. They do not put independence top of the agenda, and neither does the FM, whilst giving the impression that she does, and they need to be reined in before they destroy the party altogether.

      However, having said that, they have been manipulated, I think, by London, to create the very divisions they have created – for London’s benefit, not theirs. GRA reform is equally toxic in Westminster, believe me, although they appear to have parked it in the meantime, so they knew the effect it would have in Scotland, just as they knew the Salmond affair would create deep divisions which they could exploit. I think the Scots, from the SG to the man and woman in the street, are extremely naive about the British State and how it operates.

      Something went very wrong at Holyrood before the civil case – and I do believe that certain persons at Holyrood wanted Mr Salmond off the scene altogether, and I am willing to accept that the FM had also had enough of him, for those, and other, reasons – and having lost that, they should have pulled in their horns, but they were also swept up by the criminal investigation, which, let’s remember, had to be carried out once the country’s attention had been drawn to the civil case. Why the advice on the retrospective nature of the procedure was ignored, I do not know, but the SNP’s almost puritanical approach to even minor shenanigans is legendary. Retrospective legislation and procedure is always a risk in that can backfire and in that it is unfair, so that was stupid to start with.

      Had there been no procedural flaws in the process, Mr Salmond would have been disciplined by being expelled from the party, probably for life, just on the inappropriate behaviours alone, and to which he confessed, but the criminal case would not have taken place. It was flawed, too, by weak and insufficient evidence, and, in my opinion, should have been dropped before going to trial, as should your charges, Mr Murray and those of Mr Hirst, for the same reason: weak and insufficient evidence of criminal wrong-doing. The prosecution might have thought that the public interest was being served, but it came across as vindictive and stupid, as do your charges and those of Mr Hirst, Mr Murray; it came across as a desperation to find something that would stick, to make an example of someone.

      Alleged sexual offence cases are notoriously difficult to prove precisely because of the nature of the alleged offences: they normally take place in private; and it ends up as a he said/she said scenario; and the jury in this case, found that the evidence was not sound enough or of a sufficiency or strength to stand – rightly, in my opinion. That does not equate with the jury believing that the women lied, because we cannot know what was in the minds of the jurors, so it is pointless to say that, although I can see why people might think that.

      In the end, I think that this whole sorry affair might well be a damp squid, just as the gleeful anticipation of a guilty verdict was for the Unionists, as the Kirsty Wark programme showed. Alex Salmond won his case. They are incensed that he did. That is a victory in its own right, though I doubt he will return to front-line politics, in any case. His RT programme continues to irk and annoy precisely because it is forensic in its approach to politics. The SG is also on board with the anti Russian stance of the UKG, so there are no surprises that the FM does not like the programme or Mr Salmond’s participation. I might be wrong, and there is far more to this than meets the eye; but it could be little more than an unholy mess that was unnecessary and badly handled, and which has been misread as something more than it ever was, and spiteful repercussions are now taking place. Most conspiracy theories turn out to be just so.

      If it was manipulated and taken advantage of by far darker forces than we have seen thus far, and if the SG and its acolytes, the women, and the Civil Service, even the prosecution service and police, can be used, without their actual knowledge, in this way, it does not bode well for our being able to reach independence democratically and legitimately. The questions remain: were they so manipulated; were the women simply seeking redress for bad behaviour on the part of the former FM and an almighty c**k-up occurred with consequences that were never intended; or was it a conspiracy within SG circles to bring down Mr Salmond for reasons that co-incided with London’s agenda? You say that more evidence is coming, Mr Murray, so we may discover just what this was all about.

      • Hatuey

        Nobody is conflating anything but the Salmond affair isn’t a damp “squid”. You can’t dismiss this and salmond’s life so casually when, had the bastards succeeded, an innocent man would have spent the rest of his life in prison.

        • Lorna Campbell

          Hutuey: I do not Mr Salmond’s life so casually. When I say it could well turn out to be a damp squid is because I believe there was a desire to be rid of Mr Salmond out of the SG orbit, which, by some accounts he was unwilling to relinquish completely, because of his RT programme, because his behaviour was, on occasion, inappropriate by his own admission and because there was a procedure put in place that was flawed but that was retrospective. All those, I think, came together at the same time.

          I am perfectly well aware of what was at stake for Mr Salmond, and I believe the jury came to the right decision, but, perhaps, not for the reasons that so many on here surmise. The evidence was weak and insufficient, and the case should never have been brought and, yes, were we and he living in a totalitarian state (we’re not quite there yet, but some within the SNP Holyrood movers and shakers would love to see it, even if they don’t have the nous to understand that they do) he could easily have been convicted. I have said so, have I not? What I cannot accept (yet – because I have not seen the evidence for it – but that might change) is that there was a planned conspiracy at the top of the SG, in the civil service, on the part of some staffers in Bute House, on the part of the police, on the part of the prosecution service, et al.

          Most of what is seen as conspiracy can be put down to simple c**k-up, stupidity, a desire for a certain outcome and sheer co-incidence. That is what I meant. I’m not saying it will end like that, but the chances are that it might. Since Mr Salmond has not spoken, we do not have his version, which might, indeed, show things in a very malign light. We must wait for his version to try and assess the truth of an unholy mess.

          • Hatuey

            For the avoidance of doubt, most healthy and normal squids are damp.

            We can dispense with the bullshit. This isn’t about how you or I might feel about things. There are laws and regulations involved and they’re very specific in terms of defining what is right and proper when it comes to the involvement of the first or any minister in certain matters.

            If it can be shown that the government or first minister influenced the police towards investigating Salmond, or influenced the investigation itself, or encouraged others to influence the investigation, we can expect Sturgeon to resign.

            If it can be shown that anyone lied to the court, conspired to influence the decision of the court, etc., etc., by themselves or with others, we are right into criminal conspiracy and contempt of court territory.

            My understanding of why the initial Salmond trial at the court of session was abandoned is that the government or civil service decided they’d rather throw in the towel than allow access to emails. If that’s true, we can only speculate as to why they didn’t want anyone to see what was said in those emails.

        • Lorna Campbell

          Then we will discover that in due course, Hatuey. If this was little more than a long series of stops c**k-ups, and not a conspiracy across the entirety of the Scottish establishment – and I am not saying that it wasn’t – that makes it even more tawdry. I will say again: in my opinion, and it is just mine, as yours is just yours, Mr Salmond was meant to have been neutralized by the procedure. When the procedure was challenged and judged, and seen, to be, flawed, a criminal investigation would have had to take place, whether that is what Bute House/the Civil Service/Staffers wanted or not because it had already entered the wider public sphere.

          I would hazard a guess that it then became incumbent on the women to bring forth their statements and allegations in a criminal trial, and what started off as an attempt to neutralize Mr Salmond in both the Bute House environment and in Scottish politics, for reasons that we do not yet fully comprehend, or, indeed, have been given access to, led to a full-blown criminal trial – taken out of their control completely. That is why it fell: because it had little substance; and any fair-minded jury would have reached the same conclusion of ‘not guilty’.

          What I am saying is, is that it might not have been a conspiracy to jail Mr Salmond for years, but an almighty c**k-up all round. I don’t know and neither do you. What started off life as an attempt to neutralize Mr Salmond, to the ‘satisfaction of’ Bute House/the Civil Service/Staffers co-incided, perhaps, with an already existing infiltration of the SG near the top by other forces at play (as I have little doubt that the GRA reform and ‘hate crime’ bill are being used to create deep divisions outwith those created by the SG itself in introducing this potential legislation).

          The fact that both Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon would have fallen together – and I cannot see a situation where that would not have happened had Mr Salmond been convicted, and bearing in mind the Carmichael affair – then, perhaps, we are looking at this whole thing through a distorted prism: that it is possible to be both a mover and shaker and a pawn at one and the same time.

  • John M Rudkin

    what is john swinney hiding by refusing to present documents to the inquiry. is he trying to defend nicola sturgeon from being discovered as the instigator of the new laws on historic sexual offences.

  • M.J.

    You sound like an honest man to me, whether they jail you or not. So I wish you good luck.

  • Leif Sachs

    Not wishing to defend Nicola Stalin, I wouldn’t put it past Whitehall to fake its advice as a layer of plausible deniability. It has ample prior form on such doublespeak.

    The only way forward seems for the SNP to split up.

  • SA

    The trial by media continues. Even if you are found innocent by a jury is not enough to mean that you are innocent.

    “The Times reported on Wednesday that the complainant had asked for no further action to be taken because she feared the consequences; complainers in Salmond’s trial had been subjected to attacks and threats on social media.

    She was quoted saying: “Following careful and difficult deliberation, and after having sought advice from experts, I wrote to the police to say I did not feel safe to proceed with a possible trial at that time.”
    From the Guardian “Met close inquiry into Alex Salmond with no further action”

    So the police and crown prosecution service took no further action because the complainant felt intimidated and the police did not offer witness protection?

    “The scale of the backlash, intimidation, misinformation and threats that followed the trial in Scotland was highly distressing, and created an environment where I did not feel safe to seek a trial.”

  • Willie+B

    I always reckoned Nicola was behind it and for the following reasoning, to prevent any possible leadership challenge from Alex Salmond if he returned to Holyrood, it is well rumored that himself and Mr P Murrell detest each other, and if Salmond did return to Holyrood, he would have had strong support from many members in the party to redo what happened after Swinney’s turn in charge..
    To lead the party towards another independence referendum, something Nicola is loathe to do, because if she did and lost, it would be expected for her to fall on her sword, which had precedent.
    Mr and Mr(s) Murrell would face a drastic cut in finances and powers held over the nation, and this is also why I reckon Joanna Cherry has had obstacles put in front of running for Holyrood, as she is seen as a supporter of Salmond, and not one of the many (yes)men and women that Nicola has surrounded herself with, from the tops of both Holyrood and Westminster.
    That the SNP has seemingly dropped the pursuit of independence in favor of the GRA (yes I know you support it Craig) but I and many others don’t, but not through transphobia, but through not happy with the proposed legislation changes as it stands, and Humza’s Hate crime laws, and even anti Brexit, where Nicola has stood in front of marches yet refuses to give the same reaction to the many Indy marches that have occurred since Sept 19th 2014.
    Then you have the debacle that was the NEC, and Nicola’s fingerprints are all over that, trying to game the power of the party to suit her needs.
    I never thought I would have said it, but the current leadership needs to stand down before it rips the independence movement apart, and instill a leadership that will take Scotland to the next step, before committing to changes in the legislation above, also to stop saying that all Scots want full EU membership, nope, we don’t, some do, some want EEA membership, and some want no membership, things like that have to be in the discussion once independence is won, not before.

  • Mary A McDade

    Sorry Craig
    I cannot believe this – what would be the purpose of Nicola Sturgeon fitting Alex Salmond up they have been close friends for years she even stood aside in the leadership battle years ago to let Alex come back. He was her mentor – She was already first minister so why. I can believe London came out against new proposals they prefer to cover things up so I’m not in the least surprised. Why shouldn’t ex ministers be investigated if there are complaints against them if nothing gets done it’s a cover up if someone gets done it’s a conspiracy. It was police Scotland that arrested Alex not the SG. I never believed for one second that Alex was guilty but to me this is an attempt to bring NS down and their are rumblings Alec is going to head a new party running up to Indy Ref. but Alex is an honest man and independence is running through his views- he won’t speak out or jeapordise the chance of indy2 as he sees how support is rising. He will put that above his personal feelings that’s the kind of man he is. Would that there were more like him. When the time is right he will have his day in the court of public opinion as he is entitled to. If there has been collusion I will be extremely dissapointed but will wait till then to see if that’s what he reveals.

  • Dungroanin

    If the main objective is to stop the independence of Scotland by those who would lose the most.

    Then the movement for independence must be destroyed as a collective.

    The way to do that would be to be to put in parasites that would destroy it from inside.

    The SNP must become a poisoned barrel of apples.

    Such is the plan of creating such an obvious subterfuge. So people will say the SNP is a divided house. That independence can not be trusted to it. That the old parties must be returned to.

    Nicola IS a deep crown state stooge and she don’t care how much damage she causes as long as it is damage.

  • Iain Jack

    Craig Murray.
    I don’t believe in coincidences and I don’t believe that so many intricate timelines can coincide with such order unless there is something that has influence over that order.
    Rather than look for the smoking gun somebody has to objectively determine what is going on here.

    Are you familiar with Cause Tree Analysis? It is the kind of investigative technique that is applied to complex disaster situations like Windscale or Piper Alpha and it may have other names.

    If you have contacts who have backgrounds in this field then perhaps we might get to bottom of what is going on rather than speculate. We are no more closer to the truth after all this time and might as well conclude that Nicola Sturgeon has been the real target here after all.

    Good luck with your own situation.

    • Suzanne

      I’ve been feeling sure for quite a while that both Salmond and Sturgeon were the dual targets of an attempt to destroy the SNP. I think Nicola was manoeuvred carefully into an unwinnable situation on the back of those charges against Alex.

  • Ian Brotherhood

    Forgive me for being a bit dense but could someone explain the significance of the Baillie/Evans clip?
    What is Baillie trying to get at and what is Evans hiding?

    • Julia Gibb

      Choose

      a) The FM was behind the entire set up
      b) Evans set up the FM by boxing her in with MEtoo stories/spin
      c) A dozen other plausible scenarios

      I find it strange that people are buying the “Cabinet advised against it” line so easily. That is called “plausible denial”.

    • Andrew de Moray

      More likely: Why are they colluding?.. Is Baillie feeding Evans the bait to throw Sturgeon under the nearest double decker?
      Is Evans just doing what she always does….blame everybody else for her incompetence?

      Is this just part two in the Britnat Deep State plan to decapitate the SNP leadership once and for all?

      Or is Sturgeon really so dumb to have been blinded by her Woke zealotry to have been conned by Evans?

      Craig believes that Sturgeon really is so malevolent, ( and again so politically inept) to try to fit up her mentor for what would be effectively a life sentence … in such a cack handed manner…that it points to her being either lamebrained at delegating it to Evans or so arrogant to believe that she could get away with it in plain sight?

      So which is it?

      • Ian Brotherhood

        I watched the Evans session ‘live’ and the Baillie exchange was clearly an important one – Baillie looked as if she knew exactly what she was after and had done her homework. Evans seemed perfectly happy to deal with her questions, especially in the segment captured in the clip. It reeks to high heaven – perhaps it was just, by happy coincidence, a mutually beneficial exchange, but Baillie looked as if she was going for the jugular and Evans was happy for her to do so knowing that her best riposte was to cite NS as the one who should be answering the question.

        In any case, no matter what we think of what happened, or how much discourse analysis is undertaken, it seems certain that Jackie Baillie, for one, will be honing related questions for NS.

  • Julia Gibb

    Craig

    Very unlike you to jump to a wild conclusion like this.

    The absence of evidence is not evidence. From what you have presented I can think of half a dozen scenarios that fit your model and all are possible.
    With regret I think you jumped quite a few logic steps to arrive at your conclusion.

  • terence callachan

    But this is not evidence that Nicola Sturgeon plotted against Alex Salmond ?
    This is evidence that as you say , Scottish government decided that the law would be amended to allow cases to be brought against ministers if evidence arose at some time to suggest there was a case to answer.

    It was after the change in law that a case was brought
    Not before

    It’s very possible that others involved knew that N Sturgeon would agree to a change in the law seeing as she has a legal background in fact it would have been very odd if she had refused the opportunity to change a law that increased the chances of people being brought to court for wrongdoing why would it be correct to give ex ministers immunity. . .? It wouldn’t.

    It’s not the change in law that is all wrong in Alex Salmonds case it’s the fact that ten women were somehow brought together , by whom , we do not know, but they sure as hell didn’t just pick up the phone and start phoning each other then develop a team to concoct their stories, someone brought them together as a group they still act as a cohesive group even now.

    I do not see how you can blame N Sturgeon or accuse her of wrongdoing for improving the law and eradicating a loophole that gives people immunity from crimes even if they were of high office.

    Once the law was changed the charges were brought forward

    Was it all a plan before the change in law ? Did whoever brought the ten women together know or guess that N Sturgeon would pass the change in law ? Not much of a guess more a foregone conclusion I’d say.

    The fact is the change in law to dump immunity was not a bad thing it was a good thing

    What you should be looking at is who brought the ten women together once we find that out we will no doubt be able to find out how they were brought together and what the plan of action was , as long as they have their identities hidden the person or people who brought them together will be hidden too.

    The identities of the ten women will come out sooner or later and when it does we will have a better chance of finding out who brought them together and built their coordinated plan of action

    I’m certain it won’t be N Sturgeon

    • Cubby

      Terence

      You really have no idea of who any of the alphabet sisters are but you are certain the FM is not involved.

      After all this time you still do not have any idea of who the alphabet women are but you have blind faith in the FM. Not a very impressive position to hold Terence but not unusual for you.

  • Gordon Ross (Inde-Car)

    Craig my understanding that it was the uk cabinet Secretary who decided to extend Evans’ contract – not Nicola Sturgeon. He even made a statement to that effect. Can you confirm?

    This, and your conclusion that Nicola participated in the fit-up of Alex Salmond, create a massive dissonance, based on my knowledge of available facts.

    May I just say, that in every other respect, I completely agree with your stoic journalism.

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