The Circle of Amnesiacs 161

Today was a particularly interesting meeting of the Holyrood Inquiry into the mishandling of the Salmond affair, with two senior civil servants, Judith Mackinnon and Barbara Allison, who both had very convenient and complete failures of memory, about key points which just happened to be the very points on which the committee had previously been lied to.

To take Barbara Allison first, she had been happily on holiday in Mauritius. I am sure it is of great comfort to the ordinary people of Scotland that, as has been clear from this inquiry, the Scottish Government employs an extraordinary plethora of officials, nearly all of them female, in non-jobs with silly titles at salaries that enable them to spend their vacations at the most expensive and exclusive spots on the planet.

Now Ms Allison, Director of Communications, had forgotten that, on the day Alex Salmond won the judicial review case against the Scottish Government, she had immediately texted from Mauritius to Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, and that Leslie Evans had instantly replied “Battle may be lost but not the war.” She denied it had happened under oath to the committee when she gave evidence on 15 September 2020. She only remembered it when the Crown Office subsequently handed over the text – which police Scotland had taken from her own phone – to the Committee. She then was forced to write to the Committee correcting her evidence, which if the text had never been produced, presumably she would never have done.

The remarkable thing is, that Leslie Evans’ message had been famous ever since the Alex Salmond trial. It had featured quite literally scores of times in the media after being mentioned in the evidence at Alex Salmond’s preliminary hearing (where it was among the evidence the defence were banned from using at trial) and after being quoted from the steps of the court room by Alex Salmond after his complete acquittal. It is the subject of this column by Iain Macwhirter, for example, and features in the title. Presumably as part of her job Ms Allison must have followed all this, but none of it jogged her memory that she had received the message. Even when Leslie Evans gave evidence to the Inquiry on 8 September that she had sent the message, that did not remind Ms Allison that she had received the message before she explicitly denied, under oath, receiving it to the committee exactly one week later.

It is plain from the messages that Evans and Allison are close. Civil servants do not normally add kisses to work related texts. We are asked to believe that on 8 September Evans gave evidence on this text message to Allison, and did not mention it to Allison before her own appearance before the committee the following week. That is ludicrous.

But remarkably, the fog of Allison’s memory still has not cleared. Nothing has yet been jogged. The infamous text from Evans is evidently a reply to one from Allison. Evans’ reply begins “Thanks Barbara”. Yet Allison today told the committee, again under oath, that she had no recollection of sending Evans her initial text and no recollection what she had said in it. In fact she testified she had no recollection of the event at all.

Let us dig a bit further into that. Imagine you are in Mauritius on holiday. It is a wonderful place.

You are there on holiday. You are relaxing by the sea in the magnificent scenery and enjoying a drink or a meal. You receive immediate notification of the result of the Salmond civil case judicial review, thousands of miles away. How? It did not make the Mauritian or the international media. Plainly somebody has contacted you to give you the news instantly. Had you organised for that, or had someone thought it so important as to bother you on your holiday?

[As a former senior civil servant myself, I can tell you for certain that an event would have to be considered extremely significant, and requiring indispensable involvement of a particular civil servant, for them to be interrupted when away on a holiday. Plainly, this was not casual.]

Your tropical idyll has been interrupted. You then immediately initiate an exchange of texts with the Permanent Secretary. You now cannot – just eighteen months later – recall any of this happening at all.

I just do not buy it. I do not believe it. I do not accept it. It is my opinion (cf Dugdale vs Campbell libel case) that Barbara Allison gave a very strong impression that she is a liar.

The content of Barbara Allison’s text is of course very important, because of Leslie Evans’ wildly improbable explanation to the committee, that when she said “battle may be lost but not the war”, with reference to the judicial review case against Alex Salmond, the “war” to which she referred was not the war against Alex Salmond, but rather a wider struggle that government should have “equality at the heart of what it does”. In this (frankly unbelievable) context, the missing Barbara Allison text message becomes very important indeed.

Did Allison text that day from Mauritius “God that bastard Salmond won. We have to nail him”, to which Evans replied “Thanks Barbara, the battle may be lost, but not the war”? Or did Allison text from Mauritius “I am in full support of the effort to incorporate equality and women’s rights at the heart of all we do”, to which Evans replied “Thanks Barbara, the battle may be lost, but not the war.” As I hope you see, it makes a major difference which it is.

Unfortunately, of course, Allison has (ahem) forgotten what her text message said. And here is the extraordinary thing – she had deleted that key message before she handed her phone over to the police. Now, she had not deleted her messages with one of the accusers from months earlier. Also she had not deleted the reply from Lesley Evans to her deleted text, nor had she deleted her reply to Lesley Evans’ reply to her missing text. We are left with this:

Text X – deleted
“Thanks Barbara. Battle maybe lost but not the war. Hope you are having lovely and well deserved break. L”
“Thanks Lesley. It is lovely here. My mind and thoughts are with you all there tho. Best wishes B. x ”

Now why did text X get deleted and not the other two? Allison told the committee that she routinely deletes texts to unclutter her phone.

Is that not rather strange? We all know how text messages work – your phone shows you the most recent message in a conversation first. So scrolling back, Allison decided to keep the last two but to delete the third one back? Why that one? Why not the whole exchange? It is very hard to think of any logical explanation for that selection – unless the deleted text happened to say something like “God that bastard won. We have to nail him”, which might be incriminating given the subsequent (ahem) organisation of complainants for the criminal case. But as Allison cannot remember writing or deleting that text message, we may never know.

Except of course, we should know. Police Scotland took the messages from the phone to give to the Crown Office. Unfortunately the interest of Police Scotland was in conspiring with Peter Murrell to fit up Alex Salmond. Had they not been otherwise fixed on a corrupt intent, Police Scotland would have been able to deploy their resources to recover the obviously missing deleted text, either from the iPhone or from the service provider.

Let us leave the unpleasant Ms Allison to stew in her own mendacity, and move on to another unreliable witness with a very poor memory, Judith McKinnon. Now I have to refer here to an earlier witness, civil servant Mr James Hynd, who had evidently been selected to take upon himself the responsibility for having devised a procedure to investigate ex-ministers. He had testified it was entirely his own idea, that he had never discussed it with anybody at all, and that it had first existed in a draft policy he had alone written.

Unfortunately this attempt to sanitise the genesis of the “get Salmond” policy quickly collapsed as documents have slowly been squeezed out of the Scottish government showing that a procedure against ex-ministers had been discussed by civil servants and special advisers before Hynd “first” thought of it, including by Judith McKinnon, who had gone on to coach the initial complainants against Alex Salmond. In fact, Mckinnon had produced a “flowchart” of the new procedure including ex-ministers, dated before Hynd’s document which he claimed was the first time the idea had been thought of. Hynd was another one forced to write to the committee to “clarify” his evidence under oath.

Today McKinnon was pressed on why she had included ex-Ministers in her flowchart before Hynd had thought of it, and McKinnon replied that it had been generally discussed and was generally agreed. Pressed by committee members as to who she had generally discussed it with, and whether this included Leslie Evans or the First Minister’s office, McKinnon replied that – she had forgotten who she discussed it with.

Now there is a shock.

Scotland employs, on very high salaries, a quite fascinating number of women with very poor memories.

The members of the committee were most excited about another point. They questioned both women on the fact that the new procedure which the court had found unlawful and tainted by apparent bias, under which McKinnon could both coach complainants and be the investigating officer, was still in place. There was, huffed Alex Cole Hamilton, the possibility the same mistake could be made again and the taxpayer again lose a great deal of money.

Silly Mr Cole Hamilton. He has not yet understood that the “new procedure” was only ever a single shot, designed to “get” Alex Salmond. There was never any chance it would be used against anybody else. So why bother to amend it now?

Finally and perhaps even more interestingly, today a letter has been released which Alex Salmond wrote to James Hamilton, who is conducting the investigation into whether Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code. This entire letter is well worth reading, but this bit is truly stunning. Alex Salmond points out that Hamilton’s remit was written by Sturgeon’s deputy John Swinney, and he suggests it is a “straw man”, deliberately misdirecting Hamilton to areas where Sturgeon probably did not break the ministerial code.

Salmond instead suggests other areas where Sturgeon did actually break the ministerial code, and asks Hamilton if he is able to investigate them or just carrying out the Swinney defined charade. This is the first direct and public attack by Alex on Nicola since she conspired to have him jailed, and it is extremely significant. I am hopeful it may be the starting point of a change towards a Scottish government that will actually use its popular mandate to act on Independence.

UPDATE I have been informed it wasn’t Mauritius, it was the Maldives. Which is, of course, even more spectacularly exclusive and expensive.

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161 thoughts on “The Circle of Amnesiacs

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  • dearieme

    No mere dystopia, but a dystopia run by overpaid besoms who are uneconomical with the untruth: is that the picture you are painting?

    Ain’t devolution wonderful? A sensible nation would devolve itself out from under a Scotnaz government.

    • Tom Welsh

      Yay! Independence for Bute!! That’s a cause I would happily espouse. The island is not big enough to contain any really world-class villains.

  • Cubby

    The war was so important to Allison that she had forgotten about the messages and deleted just one of the messages. I love your circle of amnesiacs description. Allison was very relaxed during her evidence – must be because she is leaving the Scotgov at the end of the year. Time for a lot of them to go.

    At least Allison had the bottle to turn up in person. MacKinnon was too scared to turn up and used an audio link.
    Neither of them did anything wrong they said. Neither of them would change a thing they said. Neither of them learned any lessons. Both of them should be shown the door.

    • Susan Forrest

      £600k wasted and no-one is disciplined, indeed Nicola announced very early on that no-one would be disciplined. No-one’s fault, no lessons to be learned, no suggestion that people on very high salaries were not capable of doing their jobs.

      All disgraceful given it is your money and mine being flushed away on this complete car crash of inefficiency – on it’s own it would have led to people clearing their desks in other, decent organisations. Could you imagine a private company saying “Half a million? What the f*** happened? Oh you can’t remember? Oh well, let’s just put it down to experience – how was your holiday?”

      But then to factor in WHY it was all done, to try and ruin a man for their own selfish ends – it cannot surely be allowed to go unpunished?

      • cubby

        Susan, this whole scandal will have cost the public purse a lot more than the judicial review award. When Evans the perm sec was giving evidence to the inquiry she was asked to quantify the cost of this scandal. She said she was unable to do so. She was unable to do so she said – no, more like she wouldn’t as it would be a massive sum.

        Talking about money it looks like the SNP have lost a lot of the ring fenced money that was gathered for a second independence referendum from independence supporters. Legal fees and staff costs, however, are high. Will supporters of Sturgeon now say the money is in Sturgeons handbag along with her secret plan.

        Craig, so far has been proven correct in everything he has said about the Salmond scandal and the leadership of the SNP.

      • Chris Hall

        Having worked for a many blue chip companies in the UK, private industry is very capable of flushing millions down the drain and covering it up.

      • bevin

        “Could you imagine a private company saying “Half a million? What the f*** happened? Oh you can’t remember? Oh well, let’s just put it down to experience – how was your holiday?””

        Yes. It happens all the time- just look at the insouciance with which the utter disgrace of the corporate handling of Covid testing has been viewed.

      • Muscleguy

        That was because MacKinnon was a fall gal for Sturgeon. The judge in Salmond’s complaint to the Court of Session was getting extremely testy with the Scotgov lawyers who firstly produced requested documents pretty much entirely redacted. Then when that was complained of they were produced with some text legible but a great deal redacted. The judge then threatened the govt lawyers with contempt if the complete, unredacted documents were not produced.

        At that point the govt threw in the towel throwing MacKinnon under the bus for her dodgy faux pas. So to avoid having to produce said documents. Which are the very ones the committee are having trouble getting out of Scotgov now. Fancy that.

        They must incriminate Sturgeon and/or Murrell to a career ending degree. Sturgeon might by the skin of her teeth survive the departure of her hubby, but she would be very damaged by it. He has no chance of surviving her standing down or being forced to stand down.

        If Scotgov will not release the papers to the committee even after they have gone to the court of Session to get them released then a judge led inquiry with all the powers to command ALL the documents, in full and for ALL witnesses to attend, in person under legal oath. Are these women prepared to perjure themselves at the Court of Session?

  • David G

    In the middle of this post, Craig starts referring to “tweets” instead of “texts”. I think maybe that’s a slip, and he means text messages throughout. If not, some clarification is needed.

  • Jm

    Excellent post again Craig,thank you.

    With such memories it’s a wonder they find their own offices every day.

  • Kenny

    This is the first direct and public attack by Alex on Nicola since she conspired to have him jailed, and it is extremely significant. I am hopeful it may be the starting point of a change towards a Scottish government that will actually use its popular mandate to act on Independence I enjoyed this part of the para.

    I hope Salmond nails that b*stard to the wall, he’s due it – and so is she.

  • Grhm

    “…the Scottish Government employs an extraordinary plethora of officials, nearly all of them female, in non-jobs with silly titles at salaries that enable them to spend their vacations at the most expensive and exclusive spots on the planet.”

    I’m with you on this, Craig, as on most things, but I don’t see why you consider it necessary to mention their sex.
    Would it be OK if they were nearly all male?

    • craig Post author

      I fear their gender it is relevant here, Grhm. Mackinnon specifically stated today that their actions must be seen in the context of the #Metoo movement. I think Sturgeon had quite deliberately surrounded herself with this cabal whose prime qualification for their posts was seeing the world through a feminist prism.

      • Dave+M

        Sex, not gender. Gender is the set of roles and stereotypes imposed upon the sexes by society.

      • Grhm

        So why not say “nearly all of them me-too-movement supporting feminists”, if that’s what you mean.
        I know you aren’t remotely sexist, but at the moment it reads as if you are criticising the fact that women are employed in those posts, rather than men.

        • Cubby

          Grhm, I think Craig is correct in talking about predominantly females being involved but there are men also involved.

        • Tom Welsh

          If there are significantly more women than men employed in any office or department of government, surely that is an outrage against the principle of equal opportunity.

      • Contrary

        It’s not feminism. Just because they labelled themselves thus, does not make it so.

        Their compliance to gender stereotypes is phenomenal, and at best they could be called man-hating, but they are not feminists in any sense of the word.

        Their behaviour shames everyone in Scotland, but most particularly women. The possibilities there was there, for women being able to prove themselves to be equal to men in wielding power – hah, probably that is what they’ve achieved politically – and being successful, and to really make society believe there should be equality between the sexes, has well and truly been trashed.

        They have taken us back decades with their behaviour – now everyone ‘knows’ women cannot be trusted. I’m absolutely fucking furious.

        Do NOT give them the courtesy of the label ‘feminist’.

        [i am not a feminist, never have been, and never will be. What I do do is live my life as though I should be equal, and support other women that want to do the same at any time. I support equality]

        • Cubby

          Contrary, I understand your anger. Simply put I have always believed there are nasty women just like men. There are also great women just like men. I don’t think basic equality rights for women will be or should be affected by these horrible people. Remember they are not all women involved in this scandal, Murrell, McCann, Robertson and probably others.

          • Contrary

            Very optimistic Cubby, but it *will* affect attitudes – the ‘unconcious bias’ of sexism is still very much alive and kicking, and it’s what is hovering in the back of many minds – I may be being overly pessimistic,,, but I work in a male-dominated environment and, well, it’s there among mainly a certain age-group (and I don’t just mean men either), and it doesn’t take much for them to indulge in a bit of ‘non-PC’ chat.

            The only rights we have are those people are legally obliged to give us, and even those, the SNP want to remove: we are not at the stage yet in society where most people feel morally obliged to treat women fairly – and a few will relish the opportunity to not do so. This whole aspect depresses me hugely. If you are on the receiving end of the bias, you tend to be more sensitive to its manifestations.

        • Grhm

          In this case, I think it’s a prism that distorts their perception of reality sufficiently for them to believe that framing an innocent man for rape is not something that should trouble their consciences.

    • Alison Briggs

      Yes, it comes across as objecting to women holding senior posts. Back to the typing pool where they belong. On minimum wage, as well. Also, I don’t know the circumstances of the holiday in Mauritius. It’s immaterial. Are our official only allowed to holiday in Scotland? A bitter piece.

  • Bruce

    The “deleted” text message should also appear on Leslie Evans phone. I would imagine it has also been deleted to remove “clutter”.

  • andic

    “As a former senior civil servant myself, I can tell you for certain that an event would have to be considered extremely significant, and requiring indispensable involvement of a particular civil servant, for them to be interrupted when away on a holiday…..”

    That may not apply to certain type of person, control freaks, the insecure and unprofessional, sad bastards etc. I daresay these ladies fall into at least one of those categories. If they were involved in something dark and secret you would expect these tendencies to be amplified – especially if its drifting out of control.

    Anyway a very good article and analysis thanks Craig

  • Giyane

    In the digital age , as Craig rightly says, the entire digital exchange must exist, with a note about redacted digits.
    In this digital age , and maybe in the analogue age before it, I have been aware of my phone number having been used to text ” I love you to ” to a hairy builder. Weird.

    More recently a comment not written by me appeared on CM blog under my avatar and according to the mods with my IP address so it’s technically possible , unless my pocket was picked or my house burgled, for IP addresses to be borrowed by those in the know.

    Therefore no text message tweet etc should ever be used in court as evidence one way or the other without the owners of the digital medium being legally obliged to give a transcript to the judge.

    I’m bored with repeating the fact that they animated Jurassic Park dinosaurs in the 80s . So what about now?
    I do appreciate that texts could provide an alibi or evidence that would help or damage someone in desperate need of help in or out of court. And that the state and corporate media can be malign actors.

    But the sooner we all understand the fluidity of digital anything the better. The British state has always used divide and rule. The manipulation of digital material is just another tool by which they can divide and rule.

    • Tatyana

      I agree. Every time I delete a photo from my phone, it asks if I want to delete it from other places too. Because every company that contributed into functionality of the phone has the parts of its content stored in some weird cloud storages.
      Not very big deal to restore the texts, too, it must be super-easy if the police asked the mobile provider.

      • Stevie Boy

        And of course, everyone should be aware that unless you are using some form of secure deletion you in fact are NOT really deleting anything.

  • Stonky

    It is utterly sickening what these people are now allowed to and able to get away with. What I find fascinating and rather chilling is the speed at which it has happened. It seems that in a period of just a few months we have transitioned into a society in which our overlords have stopped even pretending that there is anything resembling democratic scrutiny or accountability over senior politicians and civil servants.

    Between this business and the Tories exploiting PPE to blatantly loot the public finances, they’re now doing whatever they please. It feels like they’re just shoving a middle finger in our faces…

    “Oh fuck right off, wee folk. What do you think you’re going to do about it?”

    • Rhys Jaggar


      What happened in 1789 is that the peasants stormed the fortress and chopped a lot of Establishment heads off.

      Mr Murray is not in favour of that kind of thing, but it does tend to be the last resort when reasonableness, the rule of law and common decency are no longer functional.

      Right now, your best shot in Scotland is forming ‘The Real SNP’ or some other named vehicle to oppose the SNP, Scottish Labour etc and win political power.

      Thing is, compromises always have to be made to build a majority coalition, so the idealism displayed so often on these pages may have to be tempered by electoral reality.

      As I understand things, singing: ‘If Sturgeon is a c**t, clap your hands!’ might be deemed a hate crime, so you may have to back off from belligerent chanting for a while….

      • Shatnersrug

        Don’t fancy a revolution that leads to a corrupt republic myself either but MPs sure are doing their best to provoke one

        In no particular order

        1) voting themselves a pay rise whilst cutting others
        2) embezzling the Bank of England
        3) voting down free school meals
        4) Giving lordships to opposition MPs for undermining the LOTO
        5) Rife Lanlordism
        6) waging war on every part of the Isles
        7) giving British assets to American companies
        8) fitting up an E -First minister with rape allegations
        9) fitting up a journalist with fake rape allegations, then imprisoning him without charge to deport him for torture

        I could go on but it’s putting me off my breakfast

      • M.J.

        A rival to the SNP favouring unqualified independence? Would it also favour a Republic? What would you call it?
        Not that Boris would ever allow Indy2, though.

      • Tom Welsh

        Unfortunately, Rhys, after a few very unpleasant intervening years in which countless innocent people were murdered, the French wound up with an Emperor instead of a king.

        And what’s more, they adored him.

  • Patsy Millar

    The thing that struck me most in B. Allison’s reply text was the use of ‘tho’.

  • McHaggis69


    You occasionally lose your way on these things.
    You make some of the best points here re: Allison’s evidence to the enquiry and a missing text message which clearly is crucial and should be pursued (can it be recovered from the mobile provider records?), but,
    you lose yourself in some fanciful story of how could she possibly have heard the news immediately in Mauritius?
    I can help you with that point.

    I get the news from back home as it happens on my mobile phone. Immediately.
    Either I’m checking casually for events back home, I get a BBC breaking news popup, or – for an event of this magnitude I am very closely tied in to I’d be checking my phone every 15 minutes!

    Your point re: the missing text is well made and vital.
    Don’t hide it under an easily explained ‘mystery’ about how she knew the outcome of the case.

      • Merkin Scot

        I have two pals who have similarly annoying phones which notify them every two minutes that they have “no New Notifications”.

    • Ed

      CM has been told several times here that he would benefit from working with an editor (and a subeditor in my opinion.) For whatever reasons – possibly cost – it’s advice he has not acted on.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    Does reputation count for anything anymore?
    Even one of the brighter border collies or talking parrots could detect the dissembling nonsense uttered by the witnesses.
    ?They may have scraped through ‘enquiry’ with a swish of their dress evading the slamming door by a few micrometres, but surely they cannot survive in any meaningful way. I guess a failure of integrity is difficult to demonstrate so they may remain in post, but these liars are leaving a mighty stink behind them and every time they are approached it will bubble up from their nether regions.Continuing to work in an environment where trust is blown must be uncomfortable. They cant move on because the enquiry and blogs will follow them. I guess they must feel pretty bulletproof, but memories are long and digital records persist. We are in a very dynamic political environment at the moment-a state of flux which may, hopefully result in some life changing events such as independence. The integrity deficits so plainly on view may yet, I hope, have some effect. Maybe, in an independent Scotland, they could be given the job of writing a policy (well experienced) to include retroactive discipline for previous professional mendacity. Let them build their own scaffold, although to be fair they are already setting up the foundations of their professional gallows.

  • Elvis Legg

    Ah, the strange world of the identity politics infested mind, where truth and untruth, fact and fiction have equal validity. Whatever fits the agenda they are pushing at the time. I’ve always expected that from the right, but now it’s everywhere. Sticking to the facts and honesty seem like a niche pursuits.

  • Kenneth+G+Coutts

    Under oath!
    Hoisted by their own petards!
    It seems to me, like any government committee, be it here in Scotland or the rest of these islands.
    A committe doesn’t have teeth, more a skirt over.
    These people do not have the full capabilities, therefore it appears there is a team working behind the scenes to write up
    Their explanations.
    Surely there must be legal consequences against these people.
    None are suspended without salary.
    Which police department and who was in charge to receive a directive from these people including Nicola’s husband.
    Lying under oath, can this be circumvented by loss of memory or mis-speke.
    Oh what webs they weave.
    This committee is too casual, laid back.
    These people will walk away with remunerations intact and positions secured, somewhere.
    I hope they are brought to book.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      It would take someone of some strength to actually call them out (say in the enquiry) by saying something so egregiously provocative that the target would be forced to take action. For instance there are profound doubts about the personal integrity of Mr Hynd. A.S found a circuitous way of saying he was a liar in his letter to the investigator into the NS deception of parliament without saying anything actionable. The integrity of Barbra Allison could be challenged in the enquiry by a bald statement that her testimony under oath was a blatant lie due to its extreme improbability and the shameless dissembling of invoking a memory lapse. I am very as much concerned at the evidence of intellectual mediocrity provided by the witness Allison-someone please just call her a liar and let her take up the gauntlet. I am pretty sure she would give that a swerve as apart from lying she is also a moral coward and my guess is she would have to put up her own holiday fund to get a day or two of a lawyer’s time.The memory lapse excuse is tantamount to the naughty child in the classroom/head teacher’s room saying “it wisnae me- a big girl that made me do it and ran away”.?further signs of moral inadequacy-Judith McKinnon got away with citing trolling on social media but Stuart Campbell nailed that in his article(wings over Scotland ) yesterday by showing that she has no social media presence at all and could not possibly be abused online.That is also dissembling, and tantamount to lying-or evading the kind of scrutiny that would reveal the evasiveness or lying . It is like the naughty child who runs away and hides when she doesn’t want to risk being confronted. Again someone in the enquiry must explain how the decision was arrived at to excuse this flagrant evasion.
      In all seriousness, it is distressing that the upper levels of our government and their civil servants are such dim dolts. The mediocrity is palpable.
      I realise that this will probably bring about an avalanche of accusations of sexism, but I have long thought that feminism is often used as a fig leaf for failure(it wisnae me-it they big boys that were bad to me and hurt my feelings”
      I will balance that up by saying that men often use an equivalent trope to excuse their failings-i.e blame someone else (it wisnae me- it was the ‘system’ or ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know ) I shall also qualify by saying that personal integrity goes a long way to countering that tendency in us all, and that the fact is that considerable numbers of people overcome huge difficulties without recourse to blaming others, Large numbers of migrants immediately spring to mind.(Not condoning the appalling conditions that many people find themselves in-let me stress I am utterly opposed to the social Darwinism of typical rabid tories but there is a raw reality that all must acknowledge to themselves to transcend the vagaries and tumultuous serendipity of life.
      I rather suspect that there are sufficient comments here to provoke a response.
      Finally I note (my interpretation) that the AS letter references certain court proceeding that call into question the privilege of maintaining the anonymity enjoyed by the complainants in the AS criminal case. There is strong evidence of oath breaking and perjury. Are Perjurers to be give protections which one would are surely forfeited in the case where they have given rise to a powerful suspicion of lying under oath?That our legal establishment appear to be complicit in maintaining this deception risks a great deal. Again one must suspect that they will be forced to take evasive action to neutralise the threat to normal assumptions about the impartiality of the law and its senior officers ,that has arisen in this case.

  • CasualObserver

    Good luck with getting a coalition of harridans to admit their plans may have Gang aft agley. 🙂

  • Father O'Blivion

    Joined proceeds half way through Allison’s session. Another aspect that got the Committee agitated was Allison’s admission that SPADS had attended meetings (preparatory to the Court of Session case?). MacKinnon had earlier stated that SPADS did not attend these meetings. Under questioning, Allison gave up Liz Lloyd (and one other named, male SPAD) as having regularly attended these meetings, taking turns about.

    The analogy here is, I think the medieval castle. Concentric rings of walls exist purely to protect the central keep. Lloyd is an expendable wall that can be allowed to fall in sacrifice of the keep. Allison believes that the time has come for this outer wall to fall, MacKinnon disagrees.
    The keep is of course the degree of Sturgeon’s involvement in the conspiracy and the date at which she joined / initiated it.

    • Giyane

      Father O’ Blivion

      You could have used the metaphor of tunnels , but I think it’s better that you didn’t.

  • Olly Perry

    I imagine it’s pointless trying to get the missing text from Leslie Evans’ phone but surely the service provider could help. If it was a case of identifying a murderer or a cache of hidden treasure then I’m sure the missing info would just ‘pop out’.

    • craig Post author

      Of course they could. The problem is that all of those with the power to ask for it, have an acute interest in covering it up.

    • nevermind

      Off course the police can ask/demand that the phone companies looks for the deleted messages, they also can get it off the phone, according to some boffin I asked.
      So how did the conversation proceed, when Police Scotland was asking for a specific txt., but not the others that led to the ‘battle may be lost but war is not over’ message.
      Did the police act on their very own capacity to investigate, or were they told to just ask for a specific response? If they had any policing and fraudulent use of public funds in mind, would they have not asked for the whole days txt and or tweets from the alleged liar Ms. Allison?
      And what stops them asking for these records now, after Ms. Allison virtually admitted to the investigating Inquiry, to having sun induced instant amnesia.
      I’m surprised she manage to remember boarding a plane back home.
      Thanks for entertaining us with the Simplicismus that is the Scottish Government conspiracy, Craig.
      Looking forward to what Alex will have to say to them, when it happens. I hope he realises that this should happen before Brexit as any redress to EU courts thereafter might be hampered by hordes of lawyers feeding on money trees.

  • James Caithness

    Reference the missing text. Allison may have deleted it from her phone but surely it is on Evans’s phone? I bet Evans kept it as leverage should Allison point fingers at her.

  • Peter Moritz

    “Scotland employs, on very high salaries, a quite fascinating number of women with very poor memories.”

    To be fair to bo5th sexes – this seems to be a common trait by both politicians and civil servants of both sexes.
    Maybe it is part of the job requirement to have a very short long term memory?

      • Peter Moritz

        don’t know, my wife has problems talking and walking up or down stairs at the same time (hope she doesn’t read this…). Must be texting then…

  • Mac Iavelli

    Oh dear, Craig. If only in your civil service career you’d written your memos in a luvvy duvvy style with xxx on the bottom, had convenient lapses of memory, spoken resolutely under oath that you had no recall of events in question, and been hamfisted when trying to save your messages resulting in their being expunged, you too could have a high-paid role in the establishment and enjoyed holidays to exotic places.

    Is that an Edith Piaf song I can hear playing on your gramaphone?

  • J

    Excellent title and outside of the particular circumstances, wherein it evokes the culture of conniving to perfection, the title remains richly evocative of our human predicament generally.

  • Lorna Campbell

    “… Scottish Government employs an extraordinary plethora of officials, nearly all of them female, in non-jobs with silly titles at salaries that enable them to spend their vacations at the most expensive and exclusive spots on the plane… ”

    The scales are evened up then. Mr Murray because, in the past, it has usually been males in non-jobs at huge salaries. Someone said a good many years ago now: when you get as many useless women as you do men in high places, you’ll know you’ve got equality. Perhaps we have reached that point?

    The sex of the drone is immaterial. It is a clear-out of drones that we need before independence. In the bee hives, the drones are reluctant to move, so the worker bees bodily lift them up and toss them out of the hive. Looks like the human worker bees are going to have to do the same with these drones and with the ‘woke drones’ who infest the party.

  • Republicofscotland

    Allison perjured herself under oath, and Fabiani, of whom the jury’s still out as to her loyalty in this matter, allowed MacKinnon to give audio evidence from without the inquiry in which she could’ve been reading from a script, she could’ve had umpteen advisors advising her every response and we missed out completely on her body language.

    Meanwhile the ringfenced indyfunds are gone, the upper echelons of the SNP are riven with corruption, deceit and greed, the whole stinking lot of them needs removing now.

    • Cubby

      ROS – the only defence I am reading from Sturgeon loyalists is that she has no control over her civil servants. They are nothing to do with her they say – Whitehall UK civil Servants. Well they may be on the UK payroll but it is laughable to suggest that she has no control over them. What is the point of electing a First Minister who has absolutely no control or responsibility for the actions of the civil servants and personally appointed special advisers etc etc. It falls at the first hurdle, of course, because her office was involved in the design of the new harassment process and changed it to say that Sturgeon would not be involved. Sturgeon then signed off the new process.

      They are so keen to distance Sturgeon from everything she may as well be living in the Shetlands.

  • Ena

    I have no idea what’s going on at the moment.

    Martin Keatings has wrote on Twitter that the Scottish Government seem to be sabotaging the court case. 3/4s of the solicitors attending represent the Lord Advocate and also make up the Scottish Government Legal Directorate. I’m not any scholar of the law, but he seems to be saying the Government want Keatings to lose.

    What’s going on?

    • Cynicus

      The Lord Advocate, as well as running the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, is also the Scottish Government’s chief legal officer. In the latter rôle he may attend, ex-officio, SG cabinet meetings or sessions of the Scottish Parliament.

      In the first rôle he headed the prosecution of Alex Salmond and in the second will advise the Scottish government on the Sturgeon stenchy effluent now hitting the fan as the outflow of the Salmond Show trial. Are two groups of solicitors representing him?

      There is surely a clear conflict of interest here and the system is more than ripe for reform.

  • Border Bus

    The most dangerous thing in the workplace for a man is an angry woman, particulary the ones who think saying “I am a feminist” is a get out of jail free card.

    • Peter Moritz

      You are wrong – the most dangerous women (or girl) in a work place for a man is the one that accuses him of sexual misconduct. No prove needed, even if the accusation has been proven wrong – mud sticks. I know the feeling

  • Cubby

    The Holyrood Inwuiry takes place in the Robert Burns room. I wonder what Burns would make of it all. I am pretty sure he would have plenty of material for some cracking poems.

    • Cynicus

      The contemporary Scottish poet, Liz Lochhead, recently branded Burns a rapist. Whether or not that is true, there is certainly a lot more prima facie evidence for it than the rubbish trundled out in court again Salmond

  • bevin

    It must be a consolation that these things did not happen in an independent Scotland. What it has demonstrated is that the SNP, with its unprincipled centrist policies, its adoption of the worst habits of the Westminster duopolists, its continuation of the cynical governing cultures of one party municipalities and its longing to become part of the neo-lliberal shambles that is the EU will remain incapable of brining about independence until the membership has thoroughly democratised it. And this would involve a level of commitment and vigilance from the grassroots which would preclude the passing of power in the form of leadership from one bunch of insiders to another.
    Salmond appears to have been the victim of atrocious treachery and double dealing but it is surely obvious that, had the matter of electing Sturgeon and her coterie been thoroughly worked out by an active and informed membership, rather than nodded through by a clique trusted, because of their ‘star’ quality by members, it is unlikely to have occurred. Just as, had the leadership believed that its every action would be properly scrutinised and widely examined, it would never have dared to act as it appears to have done.

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