Alex Salmond – After Massive Suppression Attempts, Testimony Finally Published 198


The importance of this is in direct proportion to the massive state attempts to block it.

Alex Salmond’s submission to the Holyrood Inquiry has finally, after bad faith attempts to suppress it by Linda Fabiani and the SNP MSP’s on her committee abetted by Andy Wightman, been published. I strongly urge you to read it in its entirety. You will, for certain, not see a fair or comprehensive summary of it anywhere in the mainstream media.

I make the following very brief comments:

It is perfectly clear when you read it that the submission in no way risks identifying any complainants – not even those who were perjurers plotting against Salmond. That was simply a false ruse used to try to suppress this testimony.

Nicola Sturgeon’s panicked rush round the TV studios this evening claiming that there is “no evidence” to support Alex Salmond’s testimony is an astonishing deployment of the big lie technique. Alex has confined his evidence strictly to what can be proven by documentary evidence.

The evidence of conspiracy which he notes as still being concealed by the Crown Office is precisely the same evidence the Crown Office concealed – and the judges refused to order disclosed – in my own contempt of court case. That is going to be a major focus of my anticipated appeal to the Supreme Court.

Alex’s evidence vindicates two years of my reporting on this case, in detail. I feel very proud this evening. It also proves the truth of my affidavits. The other documents to which Alex’s submission refers are most readily accessed here. I suggest however you first simply read through this submission reproduced below here as published.

Remember how hard they tried to stop its publication. Let that be a spur to you to read it.

I have highlighted a few key phrases.

Submission of Alex Salmond

Introduction

This is my fourth submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry. It should be read in addition to, and in conjunction with, the three other previous submissions. Those prior submissions relate to the application of the procedure (phase 2), the Judicial Review (phase 3) and the Ministerial Code (phase 4).

This final document accordingly includes an introduction and overview of matters linking each of the four individual submissions

It thereafter includes submissions on

1. phase 1 of the Inquiry.
2. the question of ‘conspiracy’
3. Crown Office

Documentary evidence exists to support all of the factual statements made in this submission. I have sought to provide that to the Committee where it is within my power to do so. Despite repeated requests, however, Crown Office has not provided the Committee with the critical evidence which was unable to be led in the High Court. Perhaps even more concerning is the direction from Crown Office that I face the prospect of criminal prosecution for even referring to the existence of such evidence or specifying (even in broad terms) what that evidence is. One of their letters even suggested that the Committee’s use of such documentation might also constitute a criminal offence

My hope and belief, expressed outside the High Court in Edinburgh after my acquittal, was that documents which were not put before the jury and the public would be published in the course of this Inquiry. To date, and despite the centrality of those documents to the remit of this Committee and the overwhelming public interest in their publication, Crown Office continue to veto any such publication under threat of prosecution.

Despite that deplorable prohibition, I can confirm that all of the material factual statements made in this submission are supported by documentary evidence. Where I am legally allowed to direct the Committee to such documents, I will be happy to do so.

Overview

The Committee has achieved progress in the volume of documentation supplied.
However it has been fundamentally obstructed in three key areas.

First on the legal advice which the Government received from external counsel in the Judicial Review. In normal circumstances the extraordinary discovery by this Committee that both Senior and Junior Counsel to the Government threatened resignation because the case they were being asked to argue was unstateable would
have been headline news. However, despite two parliamentary votes, the full advice from Counsel hasn’t been provided to the Committee. It is extraordinary that the Lord Advocate, who could sanction such advice being published, has refused to do so. The legal provision for him to publish in the public interest is clear. Inexplicably, the Lord Advocate has been able to simply refuse that request and to get away with doing so in the face of the will of the Committee and of Parliament. Despite that, it appears from what has emerged that by October 2018 external counsel advised the Government that, on the balance of probability, they were heading for likely defeat. And yet, despite that advice and the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds of avoidable legal fees, the Scottish Government pressed on with a case they expected to lose. This submission explains why.

Second the restriction arises as a result of the failure of the Government to provide documents from when the Judicial Review started in August 2018 until the Scottish Government finally conceded in January 2019. There were 17 meetings with external Counsel, daily meetings on progress of defending the Judicial Review (according to Paul Cackette, acting Solicitor to the Scottish Government during the case) and thrice weekly meetings according to Ms Judith Mackinnon, the Investigating Officer. However, the Committee has yet to publish (or to my knowledge see) a single relevant minute, email, text message or ‘One Note’ from that entire period relating to those meetings despite being assured that such documents would be provided. Of particular interest to the Committee would be the extent to which various parties were informed of the progress of the case and in particular whether the Lord Advocate’s expressed views on “sisting” (pausing) the Judicial Review pending the criminal case were discussed, how widely and with whom.

Thirdly, the crown response to the section 23 request has hindered rather than assisted the Committee. The information provided was neither sought nor publishable by the Committee. Those in Crown Office providing that information must have been well aware of that. However, text messages which could be properly considered and published and which have been part of the Committee’s questioning and would bear directly on the veracity of evidence given under oath to this Committee have been withheld. The blocking of the Committee in this matter and others is nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the anonymity of complainants, which I support and have upheld at every stage in this process. Rather, it is a matter of the shielding of some of the most powerful people in the country who are acutely aware of how exposed they would become.

The Parliamentary Committee has already heard evidence of activities by civil servants, special advisers, Ministers and SNP officials which taken individually could be put down to incompetence, albeit on an epic scale. However taken together, and over such a prolonged period, it becomes impossible to explain such conduct as inadvertent co-incidence. The inescapable conclusion is of a malicious and concerted attempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland. It is an attempt which would, in fact, have succeeded but for the protection of the court and jury system and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.

However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all is the complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law.

In each of the written submissions under Phases 1-4 of the Inquiry remit I have sought to explore those themes, and identify evidence to assist the Committee in doing its job holding the Executive to account.

The success, or failure, of this Committee in doing so will have a very significant bearing on public confidence in the ability of Parliament more generally to expose failures across Government. The ramifications of a Committee unable to complete its work due to delay, obstruction and refusal on the part of those under investigation are both profound and chilling.

Phase 1

In relation to Phase 1, I am asked for evidence regarding the development of the policy.

I would make the following general comments, on which I will be very happy to expand in oral evidence.

1) Fairness at Work

The Committee has heard evidence on the origins of the Fairness at Work Policy 2010 (‘FaW’). As First Minister I approved the policy and, in contrast to any other witnesses before this Inquiry, I was actually involved in its development. Implementation of the policy was achieved with the co-operation of the trade unions and I was pleased to be the First Minister who sanctioned its adoption.

As Appendix 1 from a Management Board meeting of 23 November 2009 makes clear, it was not evolved as a result of specific complaints about Ministers at the time but reflected long standing trade union grievances about Ministerial Offices stretching back to the days of the Scottish Office. FaW was the first workplace policy to include Ministers and I approved it on the basis that it was made compatible with the statute based Ministerial Code in which the First Minister is the final decision maker on the fate of a Minister facing a complaint. This was done by placing the Deputy First Minister in the deliberative part of the policy. The result was that only after a recommendation had been made would the First Minister finally decide. This was aimed at avoiding him or her judging twice on the same case. The policy was negotiated over a period of 18 months, was carefully constructed, balanced and lawful. It was well received by all concerned.

In the event there were no formal complaints made against any Minister under the policy and thus it was never invoked. Specifically and to my knowledge the present First Minister was never informed about any complaints against me because there were none. Similarly I was never informed about any complaints against her or any other Minister under the terms of this policy because there were none.

In the evidence of Ms Richards (25th August 2020) she revealed that there have been two complaints under FaW against current Ministers since 2017. Presumably these will have been dealt with under the FaW provisions including the involvement of John Swinney as Deputy First Minister.

This Committee is charged with finding out what went wrong. It should also look at what can be done now to put matters right.

Fairness at Work, of which the Permanent Secretary admitted in her evidence (in response to Ms Mitchell on 18th August 2020) to “not being an expert”, is in reality a carefully considered policy which is still in operation for the civil service and for serving Ministers with regard to bullying complaints. The Permanent Secretary’s extraordinary claim in the same evidence session that it does not cover harassment can only be a result of her admitted lack of familiarity with the policy. In reality it covers this explicitly in paragraph 3.2.1. As recently as December 2017 FaW was hailed by the unions in a letter to the Permanent Secretary as an achievement “of which we all should rightly be proud and something that sets up as being more assiduous than our counterparts down south” ([Redacted] FDA Convener)

FaW is legal, not illegal. It is procedurally fair, not unfair. It was carefully considered, not rushed. It achieved the central longstanding workforce ambition of having Ministers on the same footing as civil service managers. No doubt it can be updated and improved but the current position of limbo is ridiculous.

The concept of a civil service investigation into people over which they have no legitimate jurisdiction is nonsensical and the idea of passing the results to the relevant political party for action is self- evidently ludicrous. If legal action wasn’t taken against the government it would inevitably follow against any political party which attempted to proceed with any form of disciplinary action on such an unlawful basis.

Fairness At Work should be reinstated at the earliest opportunity pending the Dunlop review.

2) The Development of the 2017 Procedure

The Committee has already clearly established that there was no discussion or information presented to either Parliament or Cabinet on the 31st October 2017 of extending work place policies to former Ministers. Nor was there any suggestion that this should be done in the Head of the Civil Service’s letter of 3rd November 2017. And of course it was not carried forward in any other administration in the U.K. and was opposed by [Redacted] of the UK Cabinet Office when they were briefly consulted on the proposal later in November 2017. As she wryly asked the Scottish Government at that time, was there also to be such a retrospective policy for former civil servants? Nor was the new policy signalled in any of the internal communications with staff until February 2018.

The claim of the Government is that it came about independently from James Hynd who was tasked with drafting the policy and delivered the first draft applying ONLY to Former Ministers on November 8th 2017. However the previous day Ms McKinnon had circulated a “routemap” of a policy which also suggested applying to former Ministers. Mr Hynd reacted to that on 8th November saying that “neither of the pathways involving Ministers look right”.

It is stretching credibility to believe that this radical departure from all previous policy in the Scottish (or any other) administration was simultaneously and independently dreamed up by two separate civil servants. This is despite Mr Hynd telling the Committee on August 25th 2020 that he started with “a blank sheet of paper”. In one of the many letters to the Committee from civil servants correcting their evidence, Ms Mackinnon conceded on October 31 2020 that these things were “happening in parallel”. Indeed they were and there was a common factor. That common factor is the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans whose office was deeply involved in directing the work of both James Hynd on his policy and Ms Mackinnon on her route map.

In addition we know now that Ms Evans went to see the First Minister on November 6th about her information that Sky News were about to run a story concerning Edinburgh airport. I am now in the position to know exactly what this issue was about and the Permanent Secretary’s fears that it was about to break as a major story were groundless. However in the febrile atmosphere of November 2017 a sense of proportion and due process was in short supply.

In reality I had spent 30 years in public life in Scotland and for most of that time was certainly the most investigated person in the country by the press. It is inherently unlikely that misconduct had remained unreported and undiscovered over such a period. Mr Murrell confirmed in his evidence to this Committee that he had never heard of any such complaint against me in my entire time in politics and the First Minister confirmed this on BBC television to Andrew Marr on 7th October 2018.

Regardless, the chronology revealed by the evidence tells us that the Permanent Secretary briefed the First Minister on 6th November 2017 on the proposed story involving Edinburgh Airport. Further, the Permanent Secretary was contacted by Barbara Allison about a separate concern from a former civil servant on November 8th 2017. Having briefed the First Minister on the first of these it might be considered unlikely that she did not brief her on the second. In that context, the notion that a policy instructed immediately afterwards which specifically, and uniquely, extended to cover allegations against former ministers is co-incidental and unrelated is hardly sustainable.

If further confirmation of the basis for the policy were needed, the Committee has evidence of two directly political interventions at this stage.

First, the Chief of Staff to the First Minister drafted a specific amendment on 17 November 2017 which amended the commissioning letter instructing the policy proposing the wording “but also former Ministers, including from previous administrations regardless of Party”. This was in an email to Leslie Evans’ Private Secretary. It is impossible to accept that such a radical expansion of the jurisdiction of the Scottish Government to cover not just former ministers of the current administration but also those of previous administrations (many of whom are no longer even in elected office never mind in Government) was not specifically inserted to allow the complaint against me to be prosecuted.

The second political intervention was when the First Minister and the Permanent Secretary reached agreement, perhaps at their meeting on November 29th but certainly before December 5th 2017, that the policy should be recast in order that FM should be taken out of the policy proper and only consulted or even informed after the process was complete. This was a fundamental change in the policy.

The timing of this is significant. When the Permanent Secretary agreed with the First Minister that she should take over as key decision maker in terms of this new policy she was already aware of the developing complaints against me. Therefore she put herself at the centre of a policy in the full knowledge that I would likely be the first (and perhaps only given the subsequent declaration of illegality) subject of its implementation. Doing so from a position of already being tainted by bias is an extraordinary decision.

Despite her protestations to the contrary the Permanent Secretary was chiefly responsible for the pursuit of an unlawful policy which has cost the Scottish people millions of pounds.

In her letter of 21st June 2018 to Levy and McRae she describes the policy as “established by me”. She claimed ownership of it then, but not now. When asked at the Committee she said “there seems to have come into being a tradition of calling it my procedure. It is not; it is a Scottish Government procedure and one that has been agreed by Cabinet..” In fact, this procedure was never even seen by Cabinet or Parliament.

It was established by Ms Evans.

In her presentations before the Committee, the Permanent Secretary still seems oblivious to the scale of the disaster she has inflicted on all concerned or the enormity of the misjudgements she has made.

The view that she should have resigned on 8th January 2019, the day that Lord Pentland’s interlocutor judged the policy Ms Evans established and the actions taken as “unlawful”, “unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias” is widely shared not least by Cabinet Ministers. The damage she has done to the reputation of the civil service is very significant. In my view, any person conscious of the responsibility of holding high office would have resigned long ago. Instead Ms Evans’ contract was extended.

3) The role of the Investigating Officer

As the Committee has already discovered the “prior contact” of the Investigating Officer with the complainants was not “welfare”, as was indicated to Parliament, but was specifically contact about emerging complaints, weeks before the policy under which they were to be pursued was even approved.

The Committee has already established that complainants were informed that Ms McKinnon would be appointed the Investigating Officer in early December 2017, long before complaints were actually made. The Committee has further established that the draft policy was even shared with one complainant for her comment and that Ms Mackinnon was in contact with both complainants to discuss the basis on which future complaints might be submitted under the policy.

Documentation which finally emerged at the Commission and Diligence ordered by the Court of Session at the end of December 2018 demonstrated that the Government pleadings were false in terms of the nature of this contact. This has been admitted by the Lord Advocate in his evidence to the Inquiry on 8th September 2020. Again, such conduct appears to carry no sanction. These are serious matters, especially so for a Government making statements to a public court.

For example the “OneNote” from Judith McKinnon dated January 9th 2018, and revealed as a result of the Commission process, speaks to “changing” the position of a reluctant complainant, the sharing of complaints, and of it “being better to get the policy finalised and approved before formal complaint comes in” and of not telling the FFM until we are “ready”. It is this information that was completely at odds with the government pleadings in the Judicial Review and indeed stands in stark contrast with the oral evidence presented to the Committee.

These practices are not just wrong, they are an affront to the principles which underpin workplace and human resources policy across the country. The Committee has made reference to ACAS guidance at various stages of the Inquiry. How such conduct could even be contemplated by an individual employed at significant public expense and with a string of HR qualifications remains to be explained.

Watching the evidence before the Committee, it is apparent to me that even after having conduct declared illegal in the Court of Session, those at fault in the civil service still cannot accept the fact that they did something seriously wrong. In reality behaving unlawfully is as serious as it gets for any public servant.

The repeated claim that the terminology somehow changed for the first to the final drafts of the procedure thus causing confusion for those implementing the policy is not just irrelevant (since it is only the final version that matters) it is also untrue.

In fact one of the very few unchanged provisions in the policy as it went through numerous drafts and redrafts between November 8th to the final iteration on December 20 2017 was that the Senior Officer/ Investigating Officer should have “no prior involvement”.

Nor is it credible that the claim that the need for impartiality of an investigating officer or equivalent was misunderstood. On the contrary, both James Hynd (10th November 2017) offering 3 names at “arms length” and Judith McKinnon (7th November 2017) seeking to engage an “independent party to investigate” recognised this at an early stage.

Whether that person came from the broader civil service or outside it is secondary. Perceived freedom from bias is an easily understood concept which is well established in common law and in workplace policy. The appointment of Judith McKinnon in this light was always wrong and is incomprehensible particularly in the
face of the fact that she has confirmed before this Committee that the nature of her prior contact with the complainants was well known and indeed sanctioned among her colleagues and line managers.

When the fact of it was discovered by the Government’s external Counsel (and even after the duty of candour was explained to government lawyers by them on November 2nd and then by the court on November 6th, both 2018) the attempt was still made in pleadings to present it as “welfare” contact.

The documents which demonstrated this to be false had to be extracted from the Government by a Commission and Diligence procedure under the authority of the court as granted by Lord Pentland. The documents then produced under that procedure emerged despite the Government being willing to certify to the Court that these documents simply did not exist. That conduct is outrageous for a Government. At the Commission itself, Senior Counsel for the Government (himself blameless for the debacle) felt compelled to apologise to the court repeatedly as new batches of documents emerged.

It is highly probable that had this documentation not been concealed from the court (and from the Governments own counsel) the falsity of the Government’s pleadings would have been avoided. The fact that even after the Government case collapsed, misinformation then appeared in both a press release from the Permanent Secretary and the First Minister’s statement to Parliament of 8th January 2019 speaks to an organisation unable and unwilling to admit the truth even after a catastrophic defeat, the terms of which they had conceded to the Court of Session.

The interests of the complainants

I also want to make a submission about the claims by the Scottish Government to have promoted the interests of the women who raised complaints. That is, on the evidence before the Committee, clearly false.

The Permanent Secretary claimed to the Committee that the interests of the complainants were paramount in the Government thinking. This is very far from the case.

The complainants were brought into the process by conduct “bordering on encouragement” as it was submitted by my Senior Counsel to Lord Pentland in the Judicial Review

The complainants were assured that they would be in control of the process and that any police involvement would be their choice.

This assurance has been stipulated from the earliest origins of the policy (eg Nicola Richards’ email to Permanent Secretary of 23 November 2017) and remained in place until the Permanent Secretary countermanded it in her instruction to Ms Richards to send her decision report to the Crown Agent in August 2018, a move taken against the direct wishes of the complainants.

They were offered the option of making “anonymous complaints” for which there is no provision in the policy. However, when it came to actually protecting the anonymity of the complainants through a court order in the Judicial Review in October 2018 the Government was not even represented by Counsel in court. It was, in fact, me who instructed Counsel to seek that anonymity on the part of the women concerned.

The investigation was carried out against the advice of the police who pointed out that the Scottish Government were not competent to conduct the investigation. This has been made available to the Committee in the police evidence from the Chief Constable.

The reports to the Crown Office (instead of the police) were made against the express wishes of both complainants and in direct conflict with the terms of the policy at paragraph 19.

The leak of the story to the Daily Record on August 23 2018 was made with no consideration of the impact on the complainants, impact which the Permanent Secretary described in her evidence as causing considerable distress to all concerned. That, of course, was in itself in direct contravention of the confidentiality of the process promised to the complainants, and also to me.

However, it had been the Permanent Secretary’s own intention, despite police advice to the contrary, to issue a press statement confirming the fact of the complaints on Thursday 23 August 2018.

This Committee’s remit is to examine the actions of those in authority. Accordingly the conduct of the Permanent Secretary and the civil servants and special advisers involved is important. To claim, as the Scottish Government has done, that the wishes and welfare of those who had made complaints were central to the decision making is demonstrably untrue.

The leak to the Daily Record

In my view, the circumstances of the leak of the details of the complaints to the Daily Record on 23rd/24th August 2018 should be thoroughly examined. It is highly likely that the leak came from within the Scottish Government and, in all likelihood, from one of the Special Advisers to the First Minister. The background facts may assist

The Permanent Secretary instructed her staff to send her Decision Report to the Crown Agent on or about August 21st 2018

The Crown Agent, according to the police informed them of the Government’s intention to release a story of the fact of the complaints to the press and the Chief Constable and another senior officer advised against it and refused to accept a copy of the report. We know, therefore, that the desire of the Scottish Government to get these matters into the public domain is fully supported by evidence.

Despite this police advice, two days later the Government informed my legal team they intended to release a statement at 5pm on Thursday 23 August 2018. We advised that we would interdict the statement pending our Judicial Review petition and the statement was withdrawn. On the strength of that undertaking, we didn’t require to seek interdict.

We were then informed at around 4pm that the Daily Record newspaper had phoned the Scottish Government press office with knowledge of the story but had no confirmation. At 8pm, the Record phoned and then emailed at 8.16pm claiming confirmation had now been given and broke the story at 10pm. The second story they printed on Saturday 23rd August 2018 contained specific details from the complaints and demonstrates that they also had access to the Permanent Secretary’s decision report or an extract from it.

This leak was (according to the ICO) prima facie criminal, deeply damaging to my interests and those of the complainants and a direct contravention of the assurances of confidentiality given to all. After I formally complained to the ICO, the conclusion of the ICO reviewer assessing these facts was that she was “sympathetic to the thesis that the leak came from a Government employee”. The only reason no further action could be taken was because the specific individual could not be identified without police investigation. I intend to return to that police complaint when this Committee has concluded its review. I should say that I am confident that I know the identity of those involved in the leak.

John Somers, The Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister confirmed that her office had received a copy of the Permanent Secretary’s report in evidence on 1st December 2020. However, that evidence was then corrected to say that it had not been received. However, that is difficult to reconcile with the ICO review report (paragraph 4.8) which list the PPS, and therefore The Private Office as one of the stakeholders “who has access to the internal misconduct investigation report”.

It is unlikely that a leak to the Daily Record came from mainstream civil service. The overwhelming likelihood is that it came from a Special Adviser to the First Minister who had access to the report or an extract from it which was the basis of the Daily Record story of August 25th 2018.

The question of ‘conspiracy’

It has been a matter of considerable public interest whether there was ‘a conspiracy’. I have never adopted the term but note that the Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as ‘the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.’ I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy but am very clear in my position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned.

That includes, for the avoidance of doubt, Peter Murrell (Chief Executive), Ian McCann (Compliance officer) and Sue Ruddick (Chief Operating Officer) of the SNP together with Liz Lloyd, the First Minister’s Chief of Staff. There are others who, for legal reasons, I am not allowed to name.

The most obvious and compelling evidence of such conduct is contained within the material crown office refuses to release. That decision is frankly disgraceful. Refusing to allow the Committee to see that material both denies me the opportunity to put the full truth before the Committee and the public, and makes it impossible for the Committee to complete its task on a full sight of the relevant material. The only beneficiaries of that decision to withhold evidence are those involved in conduct designed to damage (and indeed imprison) me.

From a very early stage in the Judicial Review the Government realised that they were at risk of losing. By October they were told by external counsel that on the balance of probability they would likely lose. This is the legal advice they have hidden from the Committee in defiance of two parliamentary votes.

As the Committee has heard in evidence there were 17 meetings of the Committee formed to monitor and plan the Scottish Government defence of the Judicial Review between August 2018 and January 2019. Paul Cackette in his evidence said that there were daily meetings while Ms Mackinnon suggested three times a week. Despite this information being offered at the evidence session of 1st December no information has been received by the Committee of any of these meetings. I believe there have to be such emails which show the Lord Advocate’s advice on the possibilities of sisting (pausing) the Judicial Review behind the criminal case. The advantage of doing so in a context where the Judicial Review was likely to be lost was clear. Any adverse comment or publicity about the illegality of the Scottish Government actions would be swept away in the publicity of my arrest and subsequent criminal proceedings.

It became common knowledge in government, special advisers and the SNP that the Judicial Review was in trouble for the Government and the hope was that police action would mean that it never came to court, that the JR would be overtaken by the criminal investigation.

In evidence Ms Allison on 15th September 2020 specifically denied that the Scottish Government had any role in contacting potential witnesses or former civil servants after the police investigation had started on August 23rd 2018. This is not true.

I enclose at appendix 2 a copy of an unsolicited email sent by Ms Allison herself to an ex Scottish Government employee on August 27th who then received a further unsolicited email from Ms Ruddick of the SNP the following day (appendix 3) The individual concerned, who provided a defence statement, had never even been a member of the SNP. I believe her contact details were given to Ms Allison by a Government Special Adviser.

Another Special Adviser was in contact with the majority of people who thereafter became complainants in the criminal trial, shortly after the story being leaked to the Daily Record on August 23rd 2018.

In his evidence session of 8 February 2021 Mr Murrell spoke of the letter sent by the FM round all SNP members on 27th August 2018. I pause briefly to note that despite the email reaching 100,000 members, not one complaint about me was received in response. However, what he did not disclose was the email round SNP staff and ex staff members sent by his Chief Operating Officer from late August 2018 (enclosed as appendix 3). This email was sent selectively. Some staff members were targeted and sent it. Others were not.

The recruitment of names to receive this email provoked opposition. Appendix 4 shows the refusal of a senior member of the SNP administrative team at Westminster to supply names to HQ. The staff member expressed the view that she was not prepared to take part in an obvious “witch-hunt” which would be incompatible with her professional responsibilities as a lawyer. At Appendix 5 I enclose the terms of an affidavit of the staff member who has agreed to have it shared with the Committee. What is clear is that even at the time of the initial trawl for potentially supportive individuals, there was profound disquiet about the ethics and legality of the approach.

In addition to advocating the “pressurising” of the police (those text messages are public and before the Committee), Mr Murrell deployed his senior staff to recruit and persuade staff and ex staff members to submit police complaints. This activity was being co-ordinated with special advisers and was occurring after the police investigation had started and after I ceased to be a member of the SNP. From the description of the material released to the Committee under section 23 it is clear that any supporting evidence establishing this point was not shared with the Committee by the crown office. Why?

It was clear that defeat in the Judicial Review would have severe consequences. Cabinet Ministers thought it should lead to the resignation of the Permanent Secretary. The Special Adviser most associated with the policy believed that her job was in jeopardy and accordingly sought to change press releases in light of that. The First Minister’s team felt threatened by the process as did the civil service. The documentary evidence shows that special advisers were using civil servants and working with SNP officials in a fishing expedition to recruit potential complainants. This activity was taking place from late August 2018 to January 2019, after the police investigation had started.

The Judicial Review cannot be viewed in isolation. The effect of it, and its likely result of a defeat for the Scottish Government led to the need to escalate these matters to the police, even if that meant doing so entirely against the wishes of the two women who had raised concerns. The Permanent Secretary’s “we’ve lost the battle but not the war” message of January 8th 2019 to Ms Allison whilst on holiday in the Maldives is not (as she tried to claim) a general appeal for equality but rather shows her knowledge that there were further proceedings to come and her confidence that the criminal procedure would render such a loss in the Court of Session irrelevant. I note in passing, that such language is, in any event, totally incompatible with the role of a professional civil servant.

The Role of the Crown Office

The Crown Office has intervened three times to deny this Committee information for which it has asked.

This has been done by reliance on legislation which was never designed to obstruct the work of a Parliamentary Committee acting in the public interest and investigating the actions of the Scottish Government. I know this to be true because I was First Minister when the legislation was passed in 2010. The true purpose of s. 162 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 was to prevent witness statements falling into the hands of the accused and being used to intimidate or exert retribution on witnesses and further because of instances of evidence ending up held or disposed of in an insecure fashion. The basis of the legislation was Lord Coulsfield’s Report (2007) and the intent was to clarify the legal requirements of disclosure and to establish practical arrangements to prevent the misuse of disclosure. Thus section 162 (and 163) had nothing whatsoever to do with preventing relevant evidence being presented to a parliamentary Committee and its misinterpretation as such by the Crown Office is a profoundly disquieting development which strikes at the heart of the parliamentary system of accountability.

On 17th September 2020 the Crown Office said that our proposal to the Committee to identify the existence of documents which had not been provided by the Government but which had been disclosed to me in the criminal case would be covered by Section 163 of the 2010 Act that “any person who knowingly uses or discloses information in contravention of section 162 commits an offence”

Just in case we did not get the message he repeated the same point on 3 November 2020. On 17th December 2020 the Crown’s representative went further to block information specifically requested by the Committee “For you or your client to accede to the request of the clerk to the Committee would require both the use and disclosure of said information. As such what is proposed would amount to a clear breach of section 162 which, by reference to section 163 would amount to a criminal offence”.

He then appears to suggest that the Committee itself would be in danger of prosecution if we had acceded to the clerk’s request.

“Further, any person who received such information from you or your client would also be in breach of section 162, and consequently section 163, if they use or disclose that information. In these circumstances I do not consider what is proposed is acceptable”

This is a letter from an unelected official citing legislation passed by this Parliament for quite different reasons and using it to deny information to a Committee of elected parliamentarians. Some of the information we intended to provide included Government documents which should have been provided to the Committee in the first place. This position is extraordinary and totally unacceptable.

Given this attitude to disclosure by the Scottish Government and Crown Office, it becomes highly surprising that when this Committee exerted section 23 powers to require documents it was given irrelevant information for which it had not asked and could never be published while relevant information remained undisclosed. It is also clear that Government SPADS were briefing the media on this information before members had even seen it. This is not the behaviour of a prosecution department independent of government influence.

The Lord Advocate said in his evidence on 17th November 2020 that he thought the Committee has seen this correspondence. As far as I am aware this is not the case Nevertheless, I am happy now to provide that correspondence if the Committee so wishes. In his latest letter of 8th February the Lord Advocate pointedly fails to answer the specific question from the Committee Convener of 3rd February seeking confirmation that all Government records had been provided.

As was glaringly clear from his evidence and his inability to address the most basic of questions, his denial of provision of the legal advice of external counsel, his costly delay in settling the case, his refusal to confirm what the Committee eventually found out that both Counsel threatened to resign from the case, the Lord Advocate is deeply compromised between his twin roles as head of prosecutions and chief government legal adviser.

However the matter goes further yet. The Permanent Secretary has confirmed in evidence to the Committee that the referral to the crown office was contrary to the express wishes of the complainants. In spite of his protestations that he recused himself from anything to do with the criminal investigation. I believe that the Committee should ask the Lord Advocate directly whether he instructed two unwilling complainants to make police statements.

Secondly the Committee has heard of the highly unusual route via the Crown Agent that the Permanent Secretary ordered her staff, against the wishes of the complainants, to present her report to the Chief Constable. Crown Agent David Harvie’s line manager at that time was Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary.

The Crown Office under current leadership is a department simply not fit for purpose.

Summary

The procedure was devised when the Permanent Secretary, as decision maker, had knowledge of emerging complaints against me. From the outset the Permanent Secretary was compromised and should not have taken on that role.

The procedure was unsound not just in its implementation but in its genesis. It was devised “at pace”, probably with the purpose of progressing complaints against me and certainly without proper care or regard to its legality or effective consultation with the unions.

The documents disclosed to the Committee demonstrate further serious abuses of process by both the Investigating Officer and the Permanent Secretary.

In a further breach of the duty of candour the Government owed to the Court, those documents were not made available at Judicial Review.

The Investigating Officer had not just “prior involvement”, but subsequently regular contact with the complainants of a nature and level which was self-evidently inconsistent with that of an impartial official.

The Permanent Secretary who in her own words “established” the procedure met or spoke to both complainants on multiple occasions (including in mid process) and failed to disclose this in either the civil or criminal case.

The procedure was conceptually flawed and would have collapsed on principle even if it had been properly implemented. It is a retrospective, hybrid policy, which claims jurisdiction over private citizens who might have no connection whatsoever with the Scottish Government and shows complete confusion between the legitimate roles of Government and political parties.

It is demonstrably unfair. It transgresses the most basic principles of natural justice in not even allowing the person complained about the right to prepare their own defence. In addition, the Permanent Secretary denied access to civil servants, witness statements or even my diaries until they were pursued in a subject access request.

The Government was aware at a very early stage that they were at significant risk of defeat in the Judicial Review, and by October 2018 were advised that, on the balance of probabilities, they were likely to lose. Nevertheless they kept the clock running and the public ended up paying over £600,000 as a result.

This information on likely defeat in the JR was communicated to key decision makers

– the Permanent Secretary, First Minster, the Lord Advocate, the Chief of Staff- in meetings with external Counsel through October and November 2018.

The interests of complainants were disregarded by the Government in refusing mediation initially without consultation, being given no consultation whatsoever on the possibility of arbitration, being given false assurances on the Government accepting their clear view against reporting matters to the police and then sending the report to the Crown Office against their express wishes. The Government didn’t even instruct counsel to attend court for the procedural hearing to address my application to guarantee the anonymity of complainants.

The Crown Office has blocked key information coming to this Inquiry by wilfully misinterpreting legislation designed for other purposes.

The Lord Advocate is manifestly conflicted in his roles as both Government legal adviser and prosecutor.

The advice of the Lord Advocate at one stage included, for example, the option of sisting (pausing) the Judicial Review to allow a criminal case to overtake the JR proceedings. A consequence of this happening would have been to protect the government from the catastrophic damage arising from losing the judicial review and a finding of unlawful conduct.

This prospect provided an incentive and imperative for the recruiting and encouragement of police complaints from others.

This was done by the closest advisers to the First Minister and senior SNP officials actively involving civil servants AFTER the police investigation had started.

The Permanent Secretary ordered her decision report to be sent to the Crown Agent, David Harvie, against the terms of the policy and the wishes of the complainants. At that time I understand that she was his line manager.

Against police advice the Permanent Secretary decided to press release the fact of complaints on Thursday 21st August 2018. That publication was only prevented by threat of legal action by my solicitors.

A matter of hours later, there was what the ICO assessed as a prima facie criminal leak of information including details of complaints to the Daily Record, in breach of my rights of confidentiality, and those of the complainants. Such action was also contrary to the express assurances of confidentiality offered to all parties and central to such workplace issues.

The Judicial Review was only conceded when both Counsel threatened to resign from the case

The policy and actions of the Permanent Secretary and the Government were accepted as and then judged as “unlawful”, “procedurally unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The real cost to the Scottish people runs into many millions of pounds and yet no-one in this entire process has uttered the simple words which are necessary on occasions to renew and refresh democratic institutions – “I Resign”.

The Committee now has the opportunity to address that position.

Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond
17th February 2021

—————————————————–

 
 
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198 thoughts on “Alex Salmond – After Massive Suppression Attempts, Testimony Finally Published

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  • John Monro

    Thank you Craig, again. Do you ever sleep or has Oscar been keeping you awake in any case? The document you post speaks for itself. I imagine a great deal of legal expertise has gone into it, yet at the same time it reads incredibly well and is a bit of a page turner, at least it would be if printed out. I’ll refrain from any other comment as many of the points made in the submission have been covered by you previously. Nevertheless to see it all laid out so expertly makes it a very powerful statement. I await developments, as will many other interested parties, not least in the Scottish Government, the SNP and the Lord Advocate’s Office. Cheers.

    • John Cunningham

      From one John to another, this verbose, inelegant, indulgent submission merely represents the average experienced politician’s ability to argue black is white. And not with particularly clever punctuation, either. That’s not to say Wee Jimmy has not been a very naughty girl and allowed her horror at certain encounters to overcome her own political experience and common sense. All proof that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        • John Cunningham

          Ian, I’m not suggesting Scotland has a monopoly on corrupt, power-mad politicians. Far from it. But why do Scottish Nationalists constantly default to the ‘But whit about that Westmeenster?’ misdirection tactic in every discussion? Anything to offer on the Salmond v Sturgeon topic? How do we get to the truth now Salmond’s thrown the toys out of the pram again, so to speak?

        • John Cunningham

          Encounters ‘tween Salmond – described by even his closest supporters in Court as being a compulsive hugger and hair-fondler – and numerous subordinate females. Considering he was labelled by his own counsel as a sex pest, he’s lucky to still be free, though his ego won’t allow him to admit it. Hence his current sh*tstorm.

  • Ian

    Extraordinary stuff, and nothing whatsoever to do with the identity of any complainants, which was the false excuse for trying to block it. In fact it was Alex who suggested the anonymity of those used people.
    But why do I get the nagging feeling that the current administration are going to continue to lie, deny, filibuster, obfuscate and hope neither the media nor the Scottish people are willing to examine the detail, and will accept the fraudulent summaries which will be offered, amidst clouds of dust thrown in their eyes about the poor ‘victims’ and Salmond’s ‘guilt’.
    It clearly, unflinchingly demonstrates that Scotland has a democratic crisis, quite unprecedented outside of former East European autocracies and other despotic regimes. That is to stay, the separation of powers identified since the Enlightenment as an essential bulwark against the abuse of power by the executive has collapsed in Scotland, thanks to the absolute ruling oligarchy of the SNP, which has spread its tentacles throughout the justice system, the police, the civil service and the media. It brooks no opposition, and has exploited the Scottish people’s wish for devolution and independence in order to build an unchallenged executive power which is ruthless in extinguishing, or trying to, challenges to its dominance.
    If this is properly understood, especially within those centres of power, and by the people they supposedly ‘serve’, (and I still doubt whether it will), there can be no doubt that heads must roll (figuratively, legal snoops) and that there has to be a major clearout of all the parties embroiled in this assault on our system. Appalling as the effect it was designed to have on an individual, it goes way beyond the particular case to one much more serious, which is the integrity of Scottish government and democracy. it is that serious although there will be few bold enough to say so loudly, i expect. It is such a scandal that many people will have great difficulty in believing it, especially with the years of loyalty and trust they have placed in this most corrupt of leaderships and their circle of acolytes. If the media do not properly explain the implications of this, and the actions of the perpetrators, leaving no stone unturned, we will know that we have gone beyond the most basic principles of democratic government, which every single citizen is entitled to expect, whoever they support.

    • Donald

      Ian, does anything stand out to you about last sentence of the 7th last paragraph of AS submission?

      “At that time I understand that she was his line manager.”

    • Tom Welsh

      “Scotland has a democratic crisis, quite unprecedented outside of former East European autocracies and other despotic regimes”.

      You are apparently not very familiar with the detailed history of “democratic” regimes, Ian. Exactly this kind of cheating, lying and general skullduggery has been the bread and butter of “democratic” politics in the UK and – to a yet greater extent – in the USA for centuries.

  • Maureen Ferguson

    Horrendous the damage they have done to so many everyone off them should resign. The damage they have done is inconceivable, to our party and our people. Resign everyone of you, you are a disgrace to Scotland.

  • Goose

    Skimmed through, reading the parts highlighted. Still not entirely clear as to whether he’s alleging Nicola was the ringmaster, controlling this entire cruel circus, or just another performer coaxed into aiding it, encouraged by spooky SpAds/civil servants pursuing their own agenda?

    • Unphotogenic

      Don’t skim – read it fully when you have time on your side and can concentrate. The devil is in the details, as they say.

      “Permanent Secretary ordered her decision report to be sent to the Crown Agent, David Harvie, against the terms of the policy and the wishes of the complainants.”

      ‘Crown Agent’ isn’t even ironic, quite literally he’s probably her ‘Handler’.

        • Unphotogenic

          @Donald
          That is indeed how the quote continues. Read between the lines though. The ‘official’ authority structure here is more than likely reversed in reality. On surface level – that’s the chain of command. How convenient.
          Try this : “The permanent ASSET secretary ordered here decision report sent to the well-documentated High-ranking MI5 officer, David Harvie.”.

        • CasualObserver

          Indeed, its probably safe to say that in the real world Karla and his intrigues would not have been working out of Moscow Centre, but more likely with an English moniker working out of Cambridge Circus.

          Its probably the case that yet again the the Scots have underestimated the perfidy honed by centuries of practice, that their southern neighbours are capable of ? I’d imagine at this point there’s a better than 85% chance that wee Nicki will be in the land of disgrace shortly, at which point the media will discard their reticence in time to blackguard the SNP at the polls, in the hope that their support decreases with a consequential decrease in Holyrood seats.

  • Josh R

    Wow! I keep thinking I’m beyond being any more surprised by all this and then…Wow!
    Perhaps the biggest incredulity is that this isn’t absolutely the biggest political scandal on everyone’s lips, wherever they live on the Isles.
    But in truly scandalous times and with an entirely redundant “free” press, perhaps I should restrain my disbelief.
    So much credit to CM & AS though (&, no doubt, a few number of unsung helpers), for keeping at it, for forging ahead, suffering the blows and keeping the light shining. It does feel like justice may yet have a chance of, loathed that I am to adopt a much tarnished catchphrase, “draining the swamp”.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Perhaps the biggest incredulity is that this isn’t absolutely the biggest political scandal on everyone’s lips, wherever they live on the Isles”.

      Hardly greater, surely, than the way the UK has been ruled for nearly a year without the participation of Parliament. It’s childishly simple: in theory no law can be made without the involvement of both houses of Parliament. But all that was necessary in the event was to wave a magic wand and say the words of power “Covid-19!” and the “honourable members” went scuttling off to their homes to hide.

  • Giyane

    Considering the costs of the salaries of puppet masters in London, maintenance of the strings of power, and hire of actor ventriloquists in Scotland , this charade called Devolution will have cost billions.

    The creation of the illusion of self-determination, while simultaneously maintaining absolute control over Scotland is an illusion where no expense is spared. The hologram of Holyrood discovers it has no jurisdictictive power.

  • MFB

    Dear Mr Murray

    I’ve been rather bored by your incessant remarks about this inquiry and what was going on in regard of it. Obviously I understood that you were in trouble, and sympathised, but I couldn’t take it seriously apart from that.

    Well, here I am with a big croaking crow on my plate which I’m finding hard to swallow. This stuff is genuinely terrible. How the hell can you have a decent government in Scotland with people like this in charge? It reminds me of my experiences of South African politics (NUSAS, End Conscription Campaign and ANC) and we all know how that ended up.

    Disgusting. Good luck to your cause.

    Mathew Blatchford

  • mark golding

    On Not Being a Princess
    The Utterly Useless Keir Starmer
    Alex Salmond – After Massive Suppression Attempts, Testimony Finally Published

    Greed – collusion – betrayal – A treacherous trilogy lurking in the top drawer of union that is a precipitate for breaking a United Kindom authority that is treacherous to it’s suffering citizens, tax-payers and voters alike.

  • Geoffrey

    I will read all above later when I have more time. Tonight at 9pm on BBC Alba there is a programme on Charles Kennedy “A good man speaking”.
    What a contrast to Clegg who according to Cameron was during the coalition one of the few cabinet ministers in favour of bombing Syria to help the ISIS/Al Nusra/Israel coalition.

  • Penguin

    If you’ve been paying attention then you will have seen Murrellbots claiming that it was Salmond who asked the Alphabetties to be given anonymity, so they shouldn’t be named.
    This is of course a total lie. He is only talking about the Judicial Review which involved 2 different women, and not the corrupt COPFS case and their Murell ordered interference in the showtrial.
    Blaming Salmond for her own actions has become one of the leitmotifs of the past two years. Not the actions of an innocent woman.

  • DiggerUK

    I am relieved that nothing in the submission threatens my right to anonymity in any way.

    I have nearly finished assembling a twelve piece jigsaw puzzle I received as a christmas present, when I have fitted the last eleven pieces can I send it to Oscar…_

  • writeon

    We live in dark and dirty times. As a rule of thumb, one can gauge the real importance of a story by the absence of proper coverage it doesn’t receive in the mainstream, state-supporting media. It’s in inverse proportion to a story’s real importance as news. This actually shows how unconfident the state is these days, that so much needs to be suppressed and how little public debate is allowed anymore. We live in a time, as this affair shows with stunning clarity, where the state is the fountainhead of lies and the revealing of the truth has become extraordinarily damaging and dangerous for the state across a whole range of issues of vital importance. A strong and confident state wouldn’t need to suppress and control so much information or see the truth as such a threat.

    The mainstream media, of course, take their lead from the state in this particular affair and echo the line from the SNP. The media’s role is to protect the SNP, not investigate it properly. If they dared to do that the entire edifice would collapse like a house of cards toppled by a breeze coming through an open door.

    For the media, just look at the Guardian’s awful coverage… designed to steer people away from the real story, like with so much else… is that this story is simply far ‘too good’ to be told, which seems like a journalistic paradox or the opposite of what we’re told journalism is all about. The story is too explosive and too revealing, as it’s about a level of corruption and criminality carried out by the state directed at destroying an innocent political rival; that beggars belief, which undermines faith in the entire narrative about the role and nature of the state itself. Also, for the Guardian, this case has echoes of the Assange Affair. The criminal and cynical misuse of false sex charges against an individual in order to destroy them in the eyes of the wider public.

    • Gordon Hastie

      The unionist media will protect the SNP until the time is “right”. The Guardian, which these days is more to do with gaslighting than actual journalism, is at it again today, providing a megaphone for the CO and the SNP leadership, though perhaps that should read CO/SNP.

  • Colin

    I thought you would have highlighted this part, as it would be a strange thing for AS to request if he didn’t know that documentary evidence was there to back it up:

    “I believe that the Committee should ask the Lord Advocate directly whether he instructed two unwilling complainants to make police statements.”

  • Garry W Gibbs

    I am unclear about your “anticipated appeal” to the supreme court.
    Is that because you “anticipate” being found guilty of contempt of court?
    When will the verdict be delivered to you?

  • Ian

    A suspicious mind might wonder why the hysterical panic about Alex Salmond’s evidence, given that it doesn’t identify any of the complainants, the ostensible reason for blocking it. Given how paranoid guilty people can be, one can only wonder if one or more of them are mentioned in the report in their other capacities. Of course, I have no idea, and don’t particularly care or wish to know, but it would be par for the course so far, given the deplorably false ‘concern’ over the anonymity of the complainants. Because the SNP and their minions have done more than anyone else to push these people into the public eye, forcing a court case on some of them who didn’t ask for it, and continually drawing attention to them. The whole case, which was a political project, not one concerned with their welfare, was an exercise in exposing them to the public, while also insisting their privacy must be protected. If there is an overlap, of which I have no idea, that would explain a lot of the subterfuge and the Freudian disclosure – the person who wishes to subconsciously acknowledge their guilt in disguised form. Or ‘hidden in plain sight’. End of amateur psycho analysis.

  • T

    Unfortunately he has submitted it to a stridently unsympathetic committee, about as independent of regime as the Lord Advocate or Police Scotland.

    These people’s fealty to dear leader is a given. But the Unionist media’s could not have been anticipated. That is the most sinister aspect of this seismic scandal. Why is the Unionist propaganda machine propping up the greatest asset of the independence movement? Revelation that a politocian had conspired to jail an innocent man would normally end their career, simply as a matter of course, even cherished establishment figures like Bozo or Surkeer. Well here the Unionist nedia has been presented them with a hugely unlikely open goal to destroy their supposed nemesis. A golden opportunity to destroy the greatest threat to the Union. Instead they have suppressed or ridiculed the scandal while promoting a false narrative that Sturgeon has had a blinder of a pandemic.
    Ever feel like you’re being conned?

    • craig Post author

      Precisely. The secret is of course that Nicola has for years been blocking any actual move towards Scottish Independence and will continue to do so.

      • Ian

        It’s a colossal exercise in trolling the Scottish population, using all the resources of the state and of course the poor bloody taxpayer. As John Lydon said all those years ago, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been had?” Yes.

      • T

        At some point even her diehards must ask themselves why Unionist media is passing up this easy kill.
        What more must it take for the penny to finally drop?

  • Garry W Gibbs

    “A matter of hours later, there was what the ICO assessed as a prima facie criminal leak of information including details of complaints to the Daily Record, in breach of my rights of confidentiality, and those of the complainants. Such action was also contrary to the express assurances of confidentiality offered to all parties and central to such workplace issues.”

    So Salmond had a right to anonymity throughout according to civil employment law as did, for instance Carl Sargeant in Wales?
    That was breached internally by both governments very early on?
    Salmond, of course, had no right to anonymity once criminal proceedings were started.

    • Garry W Gibbs

      A conviction of contempt of court here would have dire consequences for members of the public who rely on ancient liberties and freedoms to be able to sit in courts, take notes and later report to others.
      The most sinister part is that the blog writer would be responsible for everything that is later commented upon by members of the public. That would mean that nobody could publish anything if anyone commented on it.
      I notice on here that Craig is not actively censoring or banning anyone or anything.
      How can a justice system allow Helen Mary Jones to re-tweet something calling for a man to be convicted of murder while his trial goes on with no conviction then convict someone who never did anything as reckless and irresponsible?

      • John Cunningham

        Craig may sit in courts but he doesn’t take notes. He relies on his ‘good’ memory. His civil service days taught him it’s unsafe to take contemporaneous notes in case they fall into the wrong hands. Which means his blogs rely mainly on hearsay and his own perspective. Lucky him.

    • craig Post author

      We can appeal to the Supreme Court. It is not an automatic right though, the Supreme Court has to agree to take it, but my legal team are confident that this case has issues of both novelty and establishing wide principles which will comfortably qualify.

  • casperger

    Good old BBC running this story as ‘Scotland’s prosecution service has raised “grave concerns” over the Scottish Parliament’s decision to publish documents from Alex Salmond.’

  • Fredi

    A tin pot regime run Scotland, as corrupt to the core as anything the hated Westminster could better.
    The idea that these mendacious harlotans will lead you into a very minor minion role as an ‘independent nation’ within the EU is laughable. It’s a freak show, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next scene..

    • john mckay

      It’s not these corrupt charlatans who will lead Scotland to decent Independence in or out of the EU.
      They will be expurgated as the guilty mendacious and evil plotters they are.
      Alex Salmond is a true champion of Scotland and a hero for exposing them.
      The YES movement and others currently active in securing self determination for Scotland welcomes the mucking of the SNP byre. There are others more honourable in the SNP to fill the vacuum.
      Where is the champion south of the border clearing corruptiion? Apart from the one in Bath that is.

      • Jimmeh

        South of the border? We have one or two corruption problems of our own.

        Like North of the border, we’re knocking them down, gradually. In the courts. It really sucks to have to hire lawyers and go to court to get the government to obey the law.

      • Christian Schmidt

        Lol. But of course quite right. And also why I think all the wet dreams of the Unionists outriders that hurting the SNP helps them is not true, and why I believe this scandal will make no difference to the support for independence

      • John Cunningham

        Ian. Scottish, English, Irish or Welsh – we are all people, most of us ordinary working people as capable of being exploited by the rich, powerful and privileged in Scotland as anywhere on Earth. The United Nations works hard to bring the different races, religions, creeds and tribes of the world together so we can all live in peace and progress through harmony. Why are nationalists like you trying to add to the world’s unwanted divisions?

  • N_

    So basically there’s a shitfight at the town hall.

    I wonder what Liz Lloyd thinks of it all.

    I see the press are still referring to Peter Murrell as Nicola Sturgeon’s “husband”. Funny that during lockdown she was saying she had to cut her own hair. Doesn’t hubby know how to work scissors?

      • N_

        Sturgeon has it coming to her on a spectacular level. She will never become a respected “elder stateswoman” who gives homely interviews by the fireside. It’s possible she will stay out of prison as Jeremy Thorpe and Cyril Smith did, but be respected in her reitirement, nope. There’s a question as to timing, though. How will all of this play out in connection with the May election? She seems to be sitting on a branch that is getting sawn through to the point of imminently snapping. She needs to destroy her enemies or she will be destroyed. Can she? Her being a complete maniac of a headbanger who thinks she is Cleopatra (much more so than Thatcher did) – or is it one of the Borgias – says “no way”…and yet, and yet, well she has some senior judges on her side which is a strength. I wonder what’s in their cupboards.

        Scotland is a bit like the USSR – criticise one thing and the authorities don’t like it one bit because they know damned well they are thieving corrupt scum and the whole system of government is thieving and corrupt.

        That has little to do with the issue of staying in the Union or becoming independent, which suits the thieves fine because it spurs them to shout about independence more, as a distraction.

        If supposedly “leftwing” independence supporters said hey let’s have independence so that we can clean Scotland up, because look at the corrupt cesspit it is now, one might have more time for them. At least they’d be suggesting a way of dealing with a real problem. Instead they troop into the polling stations and vote for the SNP! There are many historic parallels for that and they are all extremely ugly.

        There is a real possibility that this government which practically the whole country knows is a gang of thieves will, either with or possibly even without their lackeys the Greens, STILL win a majority of votes and seats in May. She’s got to bet everything on that, I reckon. Lose the election and surely, surely, she’s going to the prison cell where she belongs.

        A friend tells me the “roadmap out of lockdown” in Scotland that Sturgeon announced today indicates that a week before the election she is going to pull some kind of “Dictator gives her people more and more freedom” stunt. He may be right. I looked at the ScotGov document on this and found it unreadable. If someone knows the dates on which the authorities in Scotland are saying they might allow self-catering accommodation and hotels to reopen, perhaps they can say. The word “hotel” didn’t come up when I searched the 94-page document.

        Some seem to love saying “the hospitality industry”, whatever that means. I thought “industry” meant making things. Scotgov views proletarians as if we were all prisoners in a bootcamp who need a damned good telling what to do in officialese (never mind the content – feel the width) or else we’ll all start spitting on the pavements and then licking them, while singing IRA songs. Who remembers now the senior Scottish professor and nursing adviser who LET THE MASK SLIP and celebrated what a killer pandemic would do to old people, claiming that (as anyone who is as knowledgeable as she is would so easily understand – she’s a professor of dementia studies after all), be “quite useful” in “clearing delayed discharge levels”? I guess she wasn’t talking about the kind of elderly people who own grouse moors and castles or even the wives of guys who own building firms and are quite popular in the local freemasons’ lodge.

  • Kenneth+G+Coutts

    Strewth! Thanks Craig.
    The balloon is going up.
    Cannot wait for yours and Alex books.
    There should be a criminal investigation, to get all documents unredacted, all emails etc, investigation into police, crown office etc, no matter what it costs.
    Thing is , where would they find a straight judge?
    Politicians tch!
    Then again there’s Alistair Carmichael termed a liar by a judge
    Yet still in the trough.
    Murky!
    What’s the latest reason for Alex submissions being removed from Scottish parliament website , being replaced after redactions.

    I say ,go get them Alex.
    Good luck with yours Craig.

  • Easily Confused

    Alex speaks proudly of the FaW process he introduced, he might be less proud of that if he knew that the Scottish Government HR have taken that process and re-interpreted it and now apply a similar process as that that was used against him instead. Unsurprising really given the rot that has been exposed at higher levels.
    Good luck tomorrow Alex, there are many of us with you.

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