My Friend Emma Nelson 220


A joke someone made yesterday reminded me of a friend I had in the FCO, Emma Nelson, who died terribly young about 20 years ago. I wanted to say a few things about her that occurred to me in the context of the Alex Salmond case. In doing so I am conscious that Emma’s family might see this, and I want to be plain that no disrespect is intended at all. Quite the opposite.

Emma worked under me as a clerk, when I was Head of Maritime Section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She was about fifteen years younger than me and a long way junior in the service. There were several people between me and her in the hierarchy, but I saw a great deal of her every day because, the way the FCO then worked, everything was on paper and she produced all the papers and both filled and emptied my trays, and magically found all kinds of old documents from my vague descriptions of them.

Emma was Scottish, very good looking, found many of the absurd pretensions of the FCO funny, and mocked my forgetfulness and untidiness relentlessly. We got on well. In the run up to the first Gulf war, we were both seconded to the Embargo Surveillance Centre, where I headed the FCO section of a joint department (MOD, FCO, GCHQ, DIS, MI6, DTp, Royal Navy), set up in a NBC bunker in Marsham Street that had originally been Bomber Command in the Second World War and was known as “the Citadel”. It had been re-equipped as a logistics HQ for NATO in WW3. Lots of the old WW2 maps etc were still on the walls in odd places. The Citadel is a warren; there were tunnels connecting underground to Whitehall departments. It was a 24/7 operation. I led on intelligence analysis and action with foreign governments. We slept there. At one stage I did not leave the bunker at all, not for a moment, for 4 weeks. It all went on for several months.

Working in that pressured environment, you get closer to people and social barriers drop. We did very, very occasionally get a break, and one evening I went on a pub crawl with several staff which ended with Emma and I, arms round each other’s waist, high kicking our way around Central London while belting out hits from Cabaret. Not at all sober, we got back to the bunker and slept in the same little cell on separate camp beds.

It was not a romantic relationship. We never kissed. It was certainly not sexual. On a further occasion, when we were out for lunch with another young woman who worked with us, she asked Emma direct if we were linked. “Naw”, replied Emma, “Craig’s a’ mooth and nae troosers”. Working in the FCO, where everyone gets reposted every two or three years, you get inured to fleeting friendships and after one of us was posted out we were very seldom in touch. It came as a shock to me when, a very few years later, I got a letter from Emma who was, from memory, posted in South America, saying she was seriously ill. Very shortly thereafter, I received notification she had died.

There has been a major outbreak on social media of people claiming that Alex Salmond’s relationship with female staff was very bad even if not criminal. But the large majority of what was described was far less physical than Emma and I high kicking together to Cabaret (remember, there were allegations of pinging someones hair, putting hands on shoulders over clothes, touching a knee over trousers and putting an arm round someone who was crying).

What worries me is this. By the standards of politically correct behaviour which social media on the Salmond case appears to state ought to be the norm, my relationship with Emma Nelson was wholly inappropriate if not criminal. I was much older than her and very senior. I had a power relationship to her. We therefore ought by these standards never to have had our arms around each other high-kicking, and certainly should not have been getting drunk together. Inappropriate. Inappropriate. Inappropriate.

But does that not merely enforce snobbishness? Is that not simply reinforcing class and social barriers? If I could not interact in that way with Emma because I was senior to her, is that really the world we want? And is it not enforcing a bitter joylessness on life? What kind of world is it going to be if fun interaction is only permitted with people of your same social level – which is what “power relationship” effectively means?

Nobody will ever convince me there was anything wrong in my relationship with Emma. But I can see precisely how the extraordinary prevalence of misandry now would seek to misconstrue and portray it.

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220 thoughts on “My Friend Emma Nelson

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  • Gerry Bell

    Sad and timely reflection Craig. At heart, I think the problem is trying to codify gestures like embraces, pats and strokes, as rigid symptoms of some unwelcome advantage. Too much depends on the fleeting factors of circumstance and personality. It’s no good everyone acting like robots either, of reducing interaction to a narrow string of accepted descriptions. Less gets said or communicated that way. And where communication is at its most complex and urgent, all parties need to share considerable rapport, to exploit the full range of expressive options. Good communication cannot be less communication.

    • Squeeth

      I don’t like people touching me without asking; I haven’t been put to the trouble of telling someone to pack it in for years; bastards.

      • Adrian C

        Really? The only people who have ever asked me before touching are medical professionals.

      • Margaret O'Brien

        I was a young woman in the 1970s, attractive, working as a secretary. There can’t have been many women in those times and situations who didn’t experience unwanted touching, grabbing and lewd comments from male colleagues who were always senior to us. In the 70s pretty well all men were senior to women in the workplace. I got this all the time. I wasn’t expected to complain and if I ever did I got laughed at by the men and called a prude, a virgin or a lesbian. One boss I had even told a business associate that I was available for other things besides secretarial work!

        All my female colleagues knew who the creeps were and did our best to avoid getting in situations where harassment etc would happen. We also had nice male colleagues who we joked around with, who respected us as equals and who basically hated the creeps in the office.

        The thing is everyone knew the difference between the creeps in the office who had no respect for us, or their wives at home for that matter, as they used to brag about their sexual exploits on business trips (real or imagined), and just the other men in the office, young and older, who were ok. People, men and women, know which men are which.

        • Tom Welsh

          Very well put, Ms O’Brien! (I nearly called you “Margaret” before realising that even that might sound a bit creepy…8-))

          It seems to me that the point of Mr Murray’s anecdote is that he wasn’t (and isn’t) a creep. Nowadays we seem to be surrounded by rules made to prevent creeps from behaving like creeps, but which are applied indiscriminately to all of us.

          But “discriminating” has become a curse word, hasn’t it?

          • Margaret O'Brien

            It’s ok you can call me Margaret.

            I understand Craig’s point and hope my comment didn’t seem to suggest he is a creep! Quite the opposite. I was just observing that in real situations people know what’s happening, what the dynamics are and who can be trusted, and Craig’s time with this lady was innocent and sounds joyful in an otherwise dire situation.

            Sad story but I’m glad I know Emma Nelson existed.

          • Squeeth

            Harassment policies exist to negate equality of opportunity, the presumption of innocence and due process.

        • craig Post author

          I am very sorry to hear of your experience. Margaret, which I don’t doubt.
          My point is that , as you say, not all men are creepy, and to anyone who heard all of the evidence in the Salmond case, including the seven female witnesses for the defence, it was plain that he was not.

          • Margaret O'Brien

            Yes I meant to add that I don’t know Alex Salmond but I get the impression women generally were happy working with him and obviously these allegations were politically motivated. Which is why so many will not accept him being cleared in court. It’s a case of guilty even though found not guilty! The BBC even made a programme last year with the odious Kristy Wark amongst others basically saying he’s guilty. Mind you no surprise there. Was quickly removed from the iplayer though!

          • Rhys Jaggar

            Margaret

            Political things like this can happen at lower levels of business too.

            I was crassly informed by a female boss that ‘an anonymous complaint had been made about you’, without giving any details of what happened, where it happened and when it happened.

            I was, back in 2006, totally gobsmacked that such things were allowed. Now if I have to defend myself on such accusations, it’s usually a good idea to know the charges in sufficient specificity that I can at least attempt to recall them. So I just expostulated my complete and utter contempt for such ridiculous and unanswerable ‘charges’…..

            It was a clearly political action orchestrated by a truly repulsive SCOTTISH, WORKING CLASS WOMAN working in England turned MULTIMILLIONAIRE whose idea of a job interview was demanding £50-100k of free management consultancy to give her a 3 year strategic plan that her holiness was too incompetent to dream up.

            I dreamed it up in 2005, several people said to me: ‘You want her job!’ and when I said ‘No, I don’t’, they replied firmly: ‘Yes: YOU DO!!’

            Had I been politically aware, I would have realised that they were saying, take the job or she will set about destroying you.

            Because I was honest and not political, my view was that this was a new field where I needed three years ground level experience before becoming a proper leader.

            What I failed to realise was that, in Britain, you take the leadership role on in ignorance, then learn the rudiments of the job on the job. If you want to be called a ‘leader’, that is….

            After that experience, my heart for working for anyone was pretty much done. Three jobs in a row, three bullies, three times kicked out for providing excellent value, thereby arousing the political purge.

            You might like to ask what UK leadership is like right now and ask whether the way leaders are chosen has anything to do with it….

        • Dawg

          The office ‘creep culture’ of the 1970s was tackled head on by the 9 to 5 movement, which in turn inspired the film 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton.

          BBC News – “Revenge of the secretaries: The protest movement that inspired the film 9 to 5”: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-55089013

        • Carmel Townsend

          Margaret, you’ve adequately described the experience I and my female colleagues had in a 1970s newspaper office. I managed to steer clear of the worst of it, but some of the girls didn’t. Photographers, the “hot metal” men and even senior staff were nothing short of predatory. The language, ribaldry, name-calling of women who didn’t just shrug this behaviour off, had to be seen to be believed . Having said that, this was 1974/5 and there were some ribald women too. Happy to align themselves with boys will be boys culture and so on.
          Looking back at that time though, I start to feel that times were hard for women like us, but much harder for those who had no voice. We all knew who to avoid and many of the men – were our friends and allies.
          U

        • Christopher Barclay

          I understand exactly what you are saying. The difficulty is how to translate the difference that you felt and knew into a law that prohibits genuine harassment. Feelings aren’t facts ! I’m sure you could take one of the jokes made by one of your ‘nice male colleagues’ out of the context of your friendship together and make him seem like a chauvinist pig.

  • Simon C

    I’m ex-military. The kind of interaction you describe went on all the time in messes all around the world. It’s part of being social human animals. It only needs to be policed if it is abusive.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      Two points, if I may?.
      I hope you didn’t see service with the US military and I hope whichever service you did serve in it was nothing like the US’.
      Your comment that messes all around the world behave similarly, rather suggests that if they are anything like the US military, then policing such behaviour might be absent to the point of being ignored, even when reported.
      If male and female rape can be disregarded then I doubt there’s much chance of policing horseplay in the mess.

      According to Pentagon statistics. on average, about 10,000 men are sexually assaulted in the American military each year.
      Women face a much higher rate of sexual assault — about seven times that of men.

      The link to the NY Times, tells the story of six men who broke their silence, it makes for very uncomfortable reading.
      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/10/us/men-military-sexual-assault.html

      • Simon

        UK military. Those are alarming numbers. I served for 20 years and never even heard of anything like that going on. There are about 2.2 million people in the U.S.military. That means that one in 200 people are being sexually assaulted each year. I guess that’s possible…..

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Indeed, since Salmond’s submission of his recollection of events to James Hamilton on Friday, the cult members on the likes of WGD have gone full on ad hominem.
    They can’t handle the discrepancies between Sturgeon’s version of the Holyrood office meeting with Salmond’s former Chief of Staff and the sworn testimony of Mr. Aberdein himself.
    No Nicola, the meeting was NOT ad hoc. The meeting was NOT at the request of Aberdein. The agenda for the meeting WAS set in advance.
    Sadly the cult members will partake of the KoolAid when the time comes.

  • Devonshire Dozer

    I have no doubt that any Brit of our generation & background will have similar anecdotes to tell. Also, a shared sense of dismay as to where this PC bolleaux we are all being fed is taking us. Things have reached a point where what used to be routine acts of courtesy & kindness can induce incandescent rage – I’ve experienced it & I know others have, too. Maybe it’s another manifestation of a search for fashionable victimhood.

    Everybody will have seen this spoof, but I fear it’s not too far from the truth & comes out of the same control-freak mindset.

    https://www.tiktok.com/@lord_blimpey/video/6912108733392866562?lang=en

    Wee Nippy means well (we are told) – she’s just misunderstood.

  • HorizonT

    Emma comes to life in that little account in a very positive way. It is quite sad that it can only be published because she has passed away.

    For me, #metoo is both necessary and something which has gone way too far. I often say about brexit and Trump that they are born from a desire for simple solutions to complex problems. In other words, there are real issues to be addressed, but the measures adopted don’t address those issues and cause other issues alongside.

    What comes across to me out of this is that #metoo seems to be down this same rabbithole of simple solutions for complex problems

    • craig Post author

      Thank you for the kind comment, though I certainly didn’t mean to imply I can only publish because Emma is not with us. I would have contacted her first of course.

    • Piotr+Berman

      From my perspective, pseudo-left seeks pseudo-solutions for pseudo-problems, rather than tackling de-industrialization, “trash contracts” and precarious jobs etc. In USA, “etc” includes health care costs blown beyond any proportion, police brutality, militarism, multiform aggression against chosen “bad countries” like Yemen, Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, and so on.

  • David Swift

    Thanks for this recollection Craig, Heaven knows how many office parties could have ended up in court !
    So I hope we can all judge for ouselves the boundaries of comradeship you so well describe. What is life without this?
    BTW, as an Englishman, more power to your call for an Independant Scotland.
    The concept of Union was broken in spirit many years ago.

  • Ivan

    Third paragraph – whilst I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to hear HMG was prepping for WW3, I think this is a typo. Do you think some people are now trapped in a positive feedback loop of sanctimony?

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Ivan,

      I too noticed:-

      ” It had been re-equipped as a logistics HQ for NATO in WW3″
      Then I wondered:-

      1. Is this a typo; or

      2. Are supposedly ‘rational’ people in governmental authority actually planning for WW3?

      • porkpie

        Would you have preferred it if, at the height of the Cold War, we hadn’t prepared for a possible conflict with the USSR?

      • Courtenay Barnett

        “No, it’s not a typo. It was designated a logistics HQ for war against the Soviets.”

        With WW 111 in mind?

        • Courtenay Barnett

          Therefore the world is run by idiots and lunatics – Craig Murray.

          Rather sad – isn’t it?

          • Wally Jumblatt

            The world IS run by idiots, but I would still expect these idiots to have plans for all sorts of things they hope and pray wont ever happen.
            A pandemic of a killer virus for example.
            Most fortunate in this instance was the virus wasn’t very deadly or very contagious, and we found out that the planners were incompetent and possibly corrupt.

            Let’s hope we learn from that (I suspect not), and improve the calibre of our left-field planning.

          • pretzelattack

            well, it is somewhere around 10 times worse than the flu, so there’s that. it’s not as bad as the spanish flu, but that’s kind of a low bar.

          • Muscleguy

            @Wally Jumblat

            They did have a pandemic plan only it was for pandemic flu and so inadequate for a SARS type coronavirus. The Asian and Pacific countries (and Canada) have done well in the pandemic because they had SARS response plans from the SARS emergency so instigated much more effective measures against it sooner and harder.

            UKGov has been playing catchup hampered by all the bleating about business who could have been properly supported.

  • Easily Confused

    What a lovely but sad story. I agree with all you say. I have partied with male colleagues all my working life, firstly as a young administrator, then through the grades, latterly as an old (but glamorous :-)) director. We have laughed, danced, cuddled, sat on knees, been carried on shoulders, all sorts, nae hanky panky tho (married wummin). Everything has gone mental with political correctness…I listen to my daughter, hells bells, none of that nonsense for her, it’s not allowed!

  • giyane

    Craig

    I am 100% with you here. To me Alex Salmond is a’ mooth and nae troosers”, because he is passionately and intellectually driven about Scottish politics and he has already chosen his wife according to his own free mind.
    Obviously close proximity with any human being presents temptations but the idea that the human mind is incapable of self control in inappropriate circumstances is barmy. Nil carborundum.

    I think the institution you were working for very consciously was setting you a honey trap, evil bastards that they are, and you and your lovely friend had the absolute savvy to see the honey trap and torment your superiors with your ostentatious chastity. Who are these sour , power-driven, wastes of space that always want to kill the joy of friendship and love, who feel cheated when they fail to entrap you, and who have to manufacture false evidence against you in order to placate their own bitter failures in life?

    Lord Advocate , you are a twisted thing, for all your titles and wealth. Only the twisted mind of a bought lawyer could invent the ridiculous scenario where a responsible tweeter on twitter is responsible for other people’s comments. The same mind that would have yielded to temptation and seduced a secretary without feeling any sense of responsibility about it, is trying to impose a sense of responsibility on you that really doesn’t exist. Utter hypocrisy. Please don’t let these sickos grind you down next week.

  • Tom Welsh

    To my mind, one of the most astonishing aspects of this article is that British civil servants and members of the armed forces spent weeks underground in a network of bunkers in order to prepare for the unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq. Somehow I imagine a group of hulking thugs hiding in a cellar to plan their attack on a small, weak, inoffensive schoolboy.

    If HMG had honestly believed that Iraq had any way of striking back at them in London, it would obviously never have joined the mobbing of Iraq. The planners could just have well have done their work sitting in a French meadow or on an Italian beach – they would have been just as safe.

    • craig Post author

      Tom,

      I don’t think there was any thought Iraq could strike London. The “bunker” was NBC for war with the Soviet Union. It was just the war organising space we had available.

      • Grhm

        Rather surprised to hear that Northampton Borough Council were be planning to declare war on the Soviet Union, but if Craig says it, it must be true.
        (Also, “DIS”?)

        • Grhm

          … and also what’s “DTp” in this context?
          The Department of Transport seems like an unlikely bedfellow with those other organisations.
          I’d apologize for my ignorance, but actually I’m not sorry at all.
          Unexplained abbreviations are a bane of modern life.

          • craig Post author

            The Department of Transport were the custodians of the Citadel. Their huge Marsham St HQ was built on top of it. Since demolished, I think.

        • craig Post author

          Sorry, Nuclear, biological, chemical warfare proof. I thought it was well known in the context of bunkers.

      • gareth

        Thanks for post Craig.

        I wondered, after four weeks of isolation in said bunker, how well equipped were you to make sensible judgements about the state of the world and the upcoming war?

        BTW: I was working for a List X company in the run up to the 2nd Iraq war. We were briefed “it was due to start on (whatever the date was) but it’s been delayed, so we now expect…)

        [times was I wasn’t allowed even to mention List X but this was relaxed a few years ago – even so I’ve just searched the term to check it is public domain]

        Keep up the good work 🙂

    • StuartM

      Tom, Craig said this was for the FIRST Gulf War, the one Saddam Hussein provoked by invading and occupying Kuwait. The unprovoked war came later.

  • Eileen Carson

    You’d think modern women were shrinking violets from this case – they’re far from it. It insults all us women who fought for women’s rights in the 60s and 70s, and does modern women a disservice.

    PS I’d have loved to have you as my boss Craig, and I can still kick my height @ 74!

  • Philip Maughan

    Craig, there’s another similarity between your experience as described here and that of Alex Salmond. In high pressure situations (yours the Iraq war, Alex Salmond’s the upcoming referendum), the normal workplace rules tend to go out of the window due to long hours plus a sense of mission which can be almost religious in its intensity. So the regular workplace rules and hierarchy tend to become blurred and relationships become more amplified and intense.

    In my former work (I’m now retired) I ran residential team-building and leadership courses for public and private sector managers. The courses were highly pressurised, not only for the students but also the staff, involving long hours. Regular working protocols of professionalism between staff broke down as emotions ran high due to a cocktail of exhaustion and adrenaline. In these situations the quality of the team depended on the strength of the personal relationships and the levels of support and empathy. It’s difficult for those who work in a very regular / regulated work environment to appreciate how highly charged such workplace situations as I describe can be.

    It’s always seemed to me that there’s a gap in understanding between many of those who seek to condemn Alex Salmond and the unbelievably high octane environment in which he and his staff must have been operating. A Party in Government having gained an outright majority and with an independence referendum secured. This is a million miles away from the average humdrum 9-5 work experience.

    • On the train

      That is such a great point. I can imagine exactly what you are talking about. But it would be a difficult thing to explain to anyone who has not experienced a “high octane environment” , as you put it..

    • StuartM

      Totally agree. In a high-pressure environment working long hours you spend more time with your work colleagues than you do with your family. In a sense they become your family.

  • 6033624

    Reminds me of the snobbery in my own department. We called it ‘Grade Conscious’ I remember an occasion when sent on a course I was talking with someone who had travelled from elsewhere, turned out they had come for a different course but as soon as they realised I was ‘beneath them’ in the food chain the conversation ended and they literally turned their back on me, awkward as we se next to each other in a waiting room.

    The Civil Service breeds snobbery. Those who dare step outside that have either ‘gone native’ or are ‘abusing their position’ They simply can’t understand how to treat their ‘underlings’ as though they are actually human.

  • Republicofscotland

    The behaviour is only seen as inappropriate if there’s political gains to be made, certainly the world in my opinion has gone mad in its political correctness, so much so that one should think twice before touching another person in any form.

    As for the Salmond fit up, I recall that one of the Alphabet women wasn’t even at a dinner that Salmond was supposed to have committed an offence towards her. The women complainants albeit the one who had a mutual consented cuddle with Alex, should all be in the dock themselves.

  • Nally Anders

    Lovely anecdote Craig. You write about Emma with great affection.
    Because I worked in Engineering all of my working life, where great emphasis is placed on teamwork I experienced the same kind of culture as described in Alex’s office. Or the same kind of bunker mentality you describe above.
    We all pulled together to get a project delivered, often working late with the same people over some years. In effect, you spend more time with these guys than your own family and develope some affection for (most of them) in much the same way.
    Similar I’m sure with Simon C’s military experience, there’s a lot of banter and back in the day a lot was off colour but very funny.
    Honestly when I heard the detail of Alex’s charges, I nearly fell over laughing and the same goes for all of my friends. (we are all retired now).
    Given the amount of time Alex spent in the public glare, it was clearly a stitch up.
    My sympathies are with Margaret O’B. Whilst most men that I worked with were decent human beings, it’s true there are creeps out there and yes, we all knew who they were and identified them to newcomers. WC on the ladies lavvy stood for Women’s Conference.
    The mainly female jury exonerated Alex because it was clear he wasn’t one of them, far less criminal.
    To be honest, I’m sickened at the MSM constantly reprinting the trumped up charges. I’d be more than happy to contribute to a ‘defamation’ fund should Alex choose to go that route.
    Craig, can I also take the opportunity to wish you well when your case comes to court.

  • Fwl

    Nice memory & tribute Craig. Your job prepared you well for lockdown.

    The difficulty for a Court or Jury who were not there is understanding if the accused was a creep or not.

    Standards of expected conduct within the workplace are akin to all sorts of professional conduct principles / guidance. If you act in accordance with guidance easy Peasy. If you decide not to follow the guidance then onus is on you to prove that what you did was ok. That’s risky because you may misjudge or be tricked.

    Exciting for some but a trap for others.

    BTE Mary Gaitskill has written an interesting Novella exploring how easy it is to be unthinkingly complicit in the misbehaviour of others and or to misuse such misbehaviour for one’s own advantage. It also reflects on whether something was wrong and why we didn’t think so at the time.

  • Merkin Scot

    Craig, I certainly know of people who would have you strung up for your common-sense views. They are otherwise good people who have been infected by the “St. Nicola” myth. Beware!

  • Goodwin

    I cringe at the thought of half of what I got up to in the FCO 20-30 years ago with junior and senior staff alike, at home and overseas. It’s what we did in a different time and often reflected the stress we were under.

  • Bill Boggia

    She sounds like a lovely person – you must have been really sad when she died – especially so young. What a great pal to have had – and no doubt she would have felt the same way.

  • node

    Fast moving developments. Redacted documents published on Wings. The ante’s been upped.

    As you can see, they reveal claims of not merely corrupt or biased behaviour on the part of the Scottish Government with regard to the investigation, but also potentially criminal actions chiefly lying at the door of the Permanent Secretary – at a minimum contempt of court, and perhaps also perjury and/or obstructing the course of justice.

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/a-duty-of-candour/

    • Republicofscotland

      Yeah Node, its sizzling stuff, Police Scotland needs to act on it, but will they?

      • node

        Police Scotland seem to have been, er …. very friendly and helpful …. to Scot gov throughout this affair. Hard to imagine them acting without a strong push.
        On the other hand, the Scottish legal system has showed its independence throughout, and may very well feel they’ve been treated contemptuously by Scot gov, and therefore give the police a strong push.

        • Republicofscotland

          Indeed Node, Police Scotland appears to have been Sturgeon’s very own private investigations army, endorsed by the Lord Advocate. Craig, Mark, Stu etc, all marked for special attention because they have the audacity to speak the truth.

  • Alan Morrison

    I miss Emma very much too, although I think you might have been nursing a black eye had you tried anything untoward. I was on shift when you both returned from that outing and greatly envied your night out, while I suffered with food poisoning from the New Scotland Yard canteen delivery. It was a great team in MAED, the best and most fun I have worked with; none of the hang ups of political correction that now permeate the office. No weak women either, we would have been put in our place sharpish and with cutting, vicious put downs had we tried anything unwanted, especially from the 3 Scottish women. I remember one poor soul who tried to chat up Emma in the basement of the Red Lion while she was stood at the bar with Pauline. RIP Emma.

    • craig Post author

      Hi Alan, I was very much hoping you would be out there. I would have been lucky if it was only a black eye if I had tried anything untoward!! It was a great time. I don’t think we realised how lucky we were, at least I didn’t.

      • Alan Morrison

        What you might not know is that I also knew Alex Salmond fairly well back then. I campaigned for the SNP throughout my teenage years up until I joined the FCO in 1989 and helped him beat Albert McQuarrie in Banff and Buchan in 1987. The allegations, when they came out, surprised me and I am glad he was cleared of all charges. His head of office back then in Peterhead was Peter Murrell. Sad to see how things have turned out.

  • Celine

    Sorry Craig but I don’t understand very well why you keep on supporting Salmond. He is not a saint, gave to Trump a privilege spot, friend of Rupert Murdoch. Again, why are supporting him so much to get into trouble yourself? Answer please

    • Republicofscotland

      Celine.

      Actually it was ex-FM Labour’s Jack McConnell, who gave the privileged position to Trump, calling him a Platinum Scots ambassador. While we’re at it McConnell, handed back over a billion quid to Westminster when he was FM, claiming he couldn’t find anything in Scotland to spend it on, and in return McConnell got his seat in the House of Lords.

    • iain

      Because Salmond was fitted up by the ruling regime in Edinburgh, something the rest of Scottish society averted its eyes from. Incidentally, if you want to damn people by association have a look at Sturge professing herself a Hillary fangirl in the wake of the crimes in Libya and Honduras and her affection for sundry other war criminals like Alastair Campell, Henry Kissinger and John McCain….

    • Celine

      Alex Salmond has told of his regret at courting Donald Trump during his time as First Minister.

      • Giyane

        Celine

        Donald Trump de-constructed the proxy jihadist army of Islamic State that Democrat President Obama launched on Iraq. He also made friends with Putin who in turn de-legitimized Britain’s use of Al Qaida in Syria destroying the Al Qaida bunkers that H.Clinton had built to cancel civilisation in that country using long range missiles.

        Nothing for Alex Sslmond to be ashamed of there , whatever tripe the neo-cons are pumping out about Donald Trump.

  • laguerre

    I know I will be designated one of the creeps, but I do think that men are as controlled by their hormones as much as women. They are forced into positive activity by their hormones. Some handle it better than others. As they say: Civilisation was invented for women (i.e. to protect women). I know that I have been in some embarrassing situations, driven by the hormones, but of course, in my case, in the end it was the woman who decided. And also in my case, it was with the objective of a longer relationship.

    • Giyane

      Laguerre

      As in the graffiti on the streets of Belfast
      Fighting for peace is the same as fucking for virginity.
      But we know what you meant.

  • M.J.

    I see nothing inappropriate. You never attacked her. Was Salmond accused of abusing power to make anyone do or accept anything that they didn’t want?

  • Jeff Riley

    Very thoughtful and nicely written. I also like the way this appreciate memoire in an instant flashes its contemporary resonance.

  • Cubby

    In the most recent letter from Salmonds solicitors to the Inquiry Committee they point out a large number of points they are not happy with one week before his possible attendance at the Inquiry.

    He points out the nonsense that he is being invited by the committee to attend and swear an oath to tell the whole truth but if he does that the CROWN OFFICE has promised to prosecute him. Will he attend?

    The Chair Fabiani SNP MSP has written back saying take it or leave it.

    • N_

      What have the Crown Office actually said? If it’s as you say is stated by Alex Salmond, and they have decided that if he tells the truth they will prosecute him, then they must know that the truth is that he has committed crimes he should be prosecuted for. Which doesn’t make any sense, because if they already know it without hearing him self-incriminate, then why don’t they go ahead and prosecute him? Isn’t that their job? Sounds very Toytown. It also sounds like certain interests don’t want him to give evidence. But I can’t see why he should get immunity. On the other hand, I can’t see why he should be subpoenaed to an inquiry if he doesn’t want to give evidence. To a criminal trial of whoever it may be, yes, if he is an important witness.

      • N_

        Players will be calculating on the basis of their assessment of whether or not the Scottish general election will be held in May. As time goes on, that’s looking increasingly unlikely. Let’s hope it is held, and that if so it’s not all postal.

      • craig Post author

        N

        Utter nonsense.

        He has been told by the Crown Office he will be prosecuted if he reveals the content of various documents which were withheld from his trial by the Crown, are being withheld from the inquiry by the Crown, and are exactly the same documents being withheld by the Crown from my own trial. They go to the conspiracy to fit him up. Nothing at all to do with any criminality by Alex Salmond.

        • amanfromMars

          He has been told by the Crown Office he will be prosecuted if he reveals the content of various documents which were withheld from his trial by the Crown, are being withheld from the inquiry by the Crown, and are exactly the same documents being withheld by the Crown from my own trial. They go to the conspiracy to fit him up. Nothing at all to do with any criminality by Alex Salmond. ….. craig, January 12, 2021 at 22:37

          That more than simply suggests the Crown Office is an active party participant in an inconvenient unlawful conspiracy, craig ……. against innocents. That is not a position of strength or a situation worth fighting for, for it lacks necessary future intelligence to remain unassailable.

        • Celine

          Craig, once again,,why do you support Alex Salmond so vehemently ? Friendship? Loyalty? Interest?

      • Cubby

        N

        Glad to see Craig replied as I was thinking about what words I could use that would not get me in trouble with the moderators. Yes your comments are complete nonsense and shows either you:

        1. Do not read Craig’s articles

        2. Read the articles but have a memory problem.

        3.Deliberately post nonsense knowing it is nonsense.

        4. Try to smear Salmond by implying he is guilty of some crime.

        • nevermind

          It is 3 Cubby. N_ craves attention and there seems to be purpose behind his poseur grand boeff, but there isn’t.

          Whose work is N_ doing?

  • Cubby

    Nice story Craig.

    I have to admit I do get very annoyed at all these HOLY WILLIES with their smears about Salmond. I expect that from Britnats but some of the same people who no doubt professed in the past to idolising Salmond now post disgraceful comments. I never knew there were so many perfect human beings.

  • N_

    On the role of rank in a “power relationship” see somebody like Philip Green who really does molest many women, touching them in what to him is a “playful” way but which is clearly without their consent (i.e. it is assault) and he only gets away with it because he’s their boss.

    On the interplay between rank in a “power relationship” and “social class”, also see Philip Green. The guy speaks like a barrow boy, probably picks his nose and eats it, the royal family would probably think he hasn’t got a clue how to hold a knife and fork, and he would never cut it socially with any of the top brass at the Foreign Office or various other British institutions. I’m not saying he’s not a bourgeois, nor that class isn’t fundamentally about power, but the fact he’s seen as a dirty oik by the nobs in Britain nonetheless says a lot about Britain.

  • Durak

    A sad state where the current rush to absolute correctness in relationships has been cynically used to forward a narrative whose sole purpose is to pursue an agenda.

    On another note I was most surprised the Ragu actually serves over 150 distinct dishes! Just goes to show you how monotonic my orders were.

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