What A Week 351


Firstly I do promise that very shortly I shall get back to blogging about things that are not me. But it has been a wild week. I received intimation I had been found in contempt of court, my blog was taken down, I stood for internal election as an Action for Independence (AFI) candidate for the elections, I received the formal judgement on Contempt, I instructed lawyers to appeal, I was elected top of the list for the Lothians for AFI and my candidature announced with a real chance of being elected to the Scottish parliament, my blog was reinstated, Alex Salmond launched his political comeback with a new political party, Alba, and I along with all AFI candidates stood down from the election. All of that happened in five days.

So where do I begin? Well firstly, the blog is back but you will find that the historic articles which gave details of Alex Salmond’s defence in his acquittal at the High Court of Edinburgh have all been removed by order of the court, as potentially identifying complainants. This is I believe a great shame. This blog was literally the only source that bothered to publish the defence case, and the third party evidence of eye witnesses which showed that several of the accusers were actively lying. It is my genuine belief that, were if not for my blog, there would be no measurable proportion of the population that knows WHY the jury acquitted Alex Salmond, and the Scottish Government narrative, heavily promoted by the mainstream media, that this was some sort of erroneous jury verdict, would be entirely unchallenged in public consciousness. As it is, I was only able to inform an active but important minority about the evidence of defence witnesses. That evidence is now removed from this site.

I was found not in contempt on publishing material likely to influence the jury, and on reporting the exclusion of a juror. The finding against me on jigsaw identification was based on this argument:

It also depended on the notion that identification does not need to be to the public, but can be to a single individual with specialist knowledge, eg a workmate. If this is a true statement of the law, then it is reasonable to argue that I am indeed in contempt as “likely” to identify in that sense. The problem is that a great many other journalists and publishers would also have been in contempt under this very strict construction, and we then have politically motivated selectivity of prosecution. It would also be virtually impossible to ever report defence evidence in a case.

You can read the full judgement here. It is particularly scathing of my affidavits and say that they include “hearsay and gossip”. It is true they do include gossip, but it is clearly identified as gossip. The status of source for all information is clearly identified, and on that I have this point to make.

If as described in my affidavit a first hand source tells me of a meeting they were at, which discussed how to ruin Alex Salmond’s career by adding sufficient charges against him to ensure at least one would stick, that is an eye witness journalistic source. If you can stand up that they really do have access to such meetings, it is very good, direct source, eye witness information for a journalist.

If there were subsequently a trial of Nicola Sturgeon for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, my evidence would be worthless. It would indeed be hearsay. The eye-witness was my informant. I am just a journalist with a source.

But my affidavit was not given in a trial of Nicola Sturgeon. It is given in my own hearing for contempt. The purpose of my affidavits is to explain precisely my state of knowledge at the time of writing various articles, how I came by that knowledge, and what my intentions therefore were in publishing. This is fundamentally misconstrued by the judgement, and in a peculiarly pejorative way.

Anyway, that is for appeal. My sentencing hearing is on 7 May. It is quite possible that any appeal will require to be conducted from prison, which is a little dispiriting. But as my late mother always used to say as disaster rather frequently buffeted our small family: “Oh well, it’s all part of life’s rich pageant”.

To understand the coming and going of Independence fringe parties this last week, you have to understand the D’Hondt system under which Scottish parliamentary elections are conducted.

The Holyrood electoral system has two layers and the voter gets two ballot papers, a constituency ballot and a list ballot. The constituency ballot works on the simple Westminster “first past the post system” with which most readers will be familiar.

The second ballot is for a regional list. The purpose of the regional list is to provide an element of proportionality to the result. On the regional ballot you vote for a party. The votes for that party are downweighted according to how many MPs they elected in the constituencies. So for example in Glasgow, where the SNP won all constituency seats, the SNP votes were so downweighted on the second ballot it was impossible for them to win any of the regional seats.

In Lothians, where I am, at the last election the SNP won a majority of the constituencies and that also provided sufficient downweighting for them to get no regional list seats. By contrast, as the Tories, Greens and Labour win very few or no constituencies, almost all their fairly large blocks of Members of the Scottish Parliament are from the regional list.

In the last Holyrood elections in 2016, in six of the eight Scottish regions, the SNP won so many constituencies that over 850,000 SNP regional list votes were so downweighted, they were entirely wasted and elected nobody at all. With every opinion poll showing the SNP well over 20% ahead of the next party i constituency voting intentions, there is no doubt this massive waste of SNP list votes will repeat this year.

I hope that is clear?

Now the D’Hondt system in Scotland allows for parties that are list only parties. As these will have no constituency wins, none of their regional list votes will be downweighted at all. As there are several party list seats in each region available, allocated according to the proportion of votes cast for each party after after downweighting, a list only party has the advantage that it will in most regions only need in practice 5 to 6 per cent of the vote to start electing MSPs. The attraction of a pro-Independence list party is obvious, in that only a small minority of SNP voters need to divert their otherwise wasted regional list votes to an Indy list party, in order to start increasing the Independence vote in parliament and reducing the number of list MSPs from the unionist parties.

This tactic is however opposed with great vehemence by the SNP, who are nothing if not fiercely self-interested. It is also frankly rather difficult to explain to the average voter, because it is both complex and counter-intuitive. A second ballot paper that penalises parties for success on the first is a strange concept.

Personally I detest D’Hondt. It was forced on Scotland because of Tony Blair’s fears that the much simpler STV proportional system would prove popular and eventually spread to Westminster. STV also gives far more power to the elector, and far less to parties. Under STV you can rank your favourite candidates within a party, rather than have the party list ranking shoved on you, and under STV you can just prioritise the best candidates across party lines. Party managers hate that idea. And you only have to deal with one ballot paper.

Anyway, we have D’Hondt, which party power managers love because it gives the parties power to both choose the constituency candidate and to fix the ranking of their candidates on the party list.

Had I stood in this election, it is not at all improbable that a result like the 5% I obtained as an independent anti-war candidate in 2005 against Jack Straw in Blackburn would have got me elected to Holyrood for AFI. For those who support Scottish Independence, the case for a good list party is unanswerable, and Alex Salmond’s leadership is what is required to push it over the 10% number that would probably equate to a dozen MSPs, rising rapidly thereafter. I should say that I was very much looking forward to the campaign and while I am sure my standing down for Alba is the best thing for Scotland, I won’t pretend I am not a bit down about it on a purely personal level.

I should finish with my own belief that this initiative is essential because I remain firmly of the view that Nicola Sturgeon has no real intention to risk her career and position by a genuine tilt at Scottish Independence. The existence of a represented opposition party to the SNP that really does want to achieve Independence, rather than just exploit the concept for votes and enjoy the gratifications of colonial administration, is absolutely essential to Scotland.

There are still many very good people in the SNP. But their claim that this time, if we elect them to well-paid positions, they will actually do something about a new Independence referendum, is unconvincing. We have heard it again and again. In five years time, we may find they have vanished from their apparently dominant position, as swiftly as Ireland’s Redmondites, and for the same reason.

I was delighted to hear Alex state clearly yesterday that a referendum is one route to Independence, but it is not the only one, and it is the Scottish parliament which reflects the sovereign will of the Scottish people. That has passed unremarked amid the media brouhaha: it may prove a historic moment.

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351 thoughts on “What A Week

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  • Scozzie

    Will you crowdfund for your appeal? I feel crowdfunders attract more support that general donations to a blog. I’m sure you have many supporters willing to financially help your appeal.
    Also, I hope you put your name forward as a candidate for the Alba Party.

  • Phil Espin

    What a roller coaster Craig. You show a true principled desire for independence by putting the cause above your own personal position. Any prospect of you joining the Alba list?

    The jigsaw argument is clearly a nonsense and I agree it is a licence to suppress critical journalism. One would hope an appeal court will not let it stand.

  • Tony

    Whilst a referendum is only one option to independence, in the case of Scotland it is the only sensible route.

  • craig Post author

    I should be delighted to be a candidate for Alba, but I assume as Alex has not asked me, he does not want me to be.

    I understand that; he has enough trouble fighting off untrue slurs against himself, without having to fend off untrue slurs against me.

    • Bob Smith

      It doesn’t sound a very healthy start if only one person is picking the candidates. I can understand that a democratic structure should follow the launch but it is not a good look if a political party is formed by one person who then proceeds to select all the candidates. Nigel Farage has, rightly, been criticised for similar actions. Alex Salmond would have been wise to take a step back and let AFI run its candidates as, if elected, they would achieve what he states Alba will. He has had his day and his announcement yesterday makes no sense to many of us.

        • Bob Smith

          Not sure your link helps me. Who elected Salmond to lead the Alba Party? If it was registered in January when did he become its leader? Nor does it answer why the AFI candidates couldn’t have just been allowed to run as their aims appear to be the same as the Alba Party. In apparent absence of any democratic process many will just see the Alba Party as a vehicle for Salmond. When he retired from active participation in politics he should have stayed retired. His own admissions on oath about his conduct towards women make him an electoral liability.

          • Kate

            AFI WERE allowed to run – they CHOSE to stand down, as they preferred to follow their motto ‘Scotland before Party’. They felt ALBA followed their raison d’etre – ‘Max the YES’ so no need to run, given another party had a more known & popular name attached to it. It was their choice alone to stand down, not Alba’s nor Salmond’s. Why not go to the Party website to get your answers are to who, when, where, what & how? The explanations are there.

            And it’s simply YOUR opinion that he has had his day. 1) The Scottish courts, woman judge & majority women JURY found Alex Salmond INNOCENT of all charges and it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the women LIED. 2) Perhaps you can tell us what his ‘admission’ was? Because it wasn’t anything more than I’m sure YOU have done in your life – which was invading someone’s (whom he thought were FRIENDS) personal space, giving them a shoulder hug & kiss on the cheek. I do that to my friends. I guess, given your propensity to equal that to sexual deviance, I should stop! Why do you feel it’s necessary to make it sound like he admitted to committing some sexual behaviour? Do you need to do that to get agreement with your own personal opinion? 3) As far as WOMEN (you know, that half of the voting population who had no party ‘home’ thanks to SNP’s GRA policies) are concerned, they now have a ‘political home’ and a party to vote for and many thousands of those women have signed up to Alba, & obviously feel Salmond will bring much to the Indy table. 4) It certainly doesn’t seem he’s a liability, given the Party have gained 50,000 members in less than 24 hours! And – I believe I read it is now the 2nd largest party in HR. Seems they’re heading to be ‘the’ Opposition Party! 😀

          • Seamus Ariat

            “His own admissions on oath about his conduct towards women make him an electoral liability”.

            Not necessarily. Many millions of women voted for Trump. There was a “Women for Trump” movement many of whom vociferously claimed that he “could grab their pussy anytime”. This is something of a challenge to those who believe that women are delicate little flowers needing protection.

      • Bob Smith

        You all protest too much. It is always difficult to give a contrary opinion on this blog as it generates replies full of vitriol and hate. Time will tell who is right. I have never questioned the not guilty verdicts and on the basis of the evidence still find it strange he was prosecuted in the first place. That does not excuse his personal conduct which is an entirely different thing. His own lawyer commented with disapproval on his personal conduct. Kate, I can assure you that my personal conduct towards men and women has never come close to approaching Salmond’s admitted behaviour whether drunk or sober and to make personal attacks against me is seemingly just a desperate attempt to divert readers away from the failure to properly answer the very reasonable questions I have asked. You might not like my opinion that Salmond should have stayed retired but it is an opinion I am entitled to.

        • DunGroanin

          He had already agreed about the wrongness of his conduct immediately after it happened and was not covered up or denied.

          There was nothing new admitted to in court afaik.

    • Steve Peake

      Craig,

      Just because Alex has not asked you, that does not mean you shouldn’t stand.

      Firstly, while I have high regard for Alex’s political skills, Alba should not be just about Alex. Secondly, Alex should recognise the stirling work you have done to support him, as well as your integrity and basic decency, qualities you have shown in abundance, at considerable personal cost, in the past. The fact that, like Alex, the establishment is out to get you, will (I suggest) sell quite well with the section of the electorate that is increasingly disenchanted with the establishment. But most importantly, Scotland needs more people like you in politics – people who will put the truth above personal interest and show some interity, a quality often in short supply amongst politicians who invariably put themselves and their careers first.

      Perhaps discussing it with Alex might make sense. But I think he would need to have some very good reasons for you not to stand for you to decide to put the party’s interests first (as I am sure you would, given the kind of person you are).

      But let me echo everyone else’s thoughts and urge you to ‘Run Craig, Run !’.

      • craig Post author

        Steve,

        I am not aware that there is any democratic mechanism to apply to be an Alba candidate – unless I am missing something? They have announced a candidates conference, as opposed to a conference to elect candidates. I presumed that means they already know who their candidates are.

    • nevermind

      All very well, but the continuous amplification of his testimony during his trial, which started this morning on R4 toady propaganda channel will continue ad nauseum, so your standing for Alba can only add credence to Alex party.
      Your trial for contempt of court, with a much lower media profile nationally, you are known to have reported what was said in court, the truth, can only add quality to quantity, a great slogan for both Alex and yourself.
      I very much hope that your appeal will be successful and it is sad that the political justice machine in Scotland is able to get away with fleecing you financially with no harm to themselves.
      Sadly I will not be able to help up there due to my DVT, but I call on all here to get yar boots on and do it for Independence, get as many people to vote for Alba as possible.
      In some regions it could work out trying to get both votes, in others it might be better to go for regional votes, but I am sure that Alex can only benefit from a very good speaker and strategic thinker.
      Not standing would give the SNP too much leeway, imho, and you had enough outings in the past to make this a success. I wish you both well you are the best chance for Independence.
      Leaves to say that John Major this morning argued that Boris should add another layer of delay by urging him to allow a second referendum, with all the broohaha and shickimickey that would involve.
      Good luck Alba.

    • Lyn Hay

      The action against Evans may well result in by-elections. If your case is cleared by then, you could stand as an Alba constituency candidate. Sometime thereafter, you could well become Scotland’s Foreign Minister – I can think of none better.

    • Kate

      I beg to differ, sir! I’m sure he stated he’d love other people to put their names forward but to do it quickly as time is short. PLEASE – offer your name! I’m SURE he’d be happy to have you! He probably feels you have enough on your plate at the moment so doesn’t want to put any more pressure on you. But if it’s something you really feel strongly about & is something you would really like to do, please make it know to Alex! I’m sure that’s all that’s holding him back!

      Plus he knows you’d bring with you MUCH support for such a move! I’ll back you, no question!! But I cannot vote for you, not living in the right area! PLEASE CONSIDER putting yourself forward, but – don’t take too long to think about it! Time is very short!

      Hope you are taking care of yourself! This breaks my heart that you are being treated like this by the Crown, ESPECIALLY as those that actually named people, are not being touched by the law. That is scandalous! Your health is precious though, so do what you can to keep a ‘calm souch’ as they say hereaboot!!

    • John Cunningham

      Perhaps Ego Salmond would appreciate your sycophantic support more if you took up gambling or horse racing rather than just share in his medieval attitude towards women. Please don’t take this as a gratuitous insult as you have confirmed many times your first action on meeting your current wife in a foreign brothel was to push money down her pants.

      • John Cunningham

        Or a momentary, innocent lapse of judgement. We may find out in the appeal to the English-based Supreme Court. What irony.

    • Craig P

      Thank you again for your coverage of the Assange and Salmond trials, without which we would only know what people with something to hide want us to know. An approach that the rest of the media, to their shame, were happy to go along with.

      I re-read your Yes First Minister satire last week, and I was able to guess a couple of people you may have been alluding to. The thing is that was because I ALREADY HAD A GOOD IDEA OF THE NAMES due to other information that has come out over the last year. The first time I read it, over a year ago, it went completely over my head.

      Good luck with the appeal and will donate further when required.

      • jake

        Your point is well made Craig P . Prior knowledge of the names does indeed give a different weight to any subsequent references to possible characteristics of the complainants.
        Given that in the Craig Murray case all that were involved, the prosecutors, the defence and the judges were undoubtedly entirely familiar with the identities of the complainants their perception of what does and does not constitute a significant piece of jigsaw identification will quite certainly be different from that of the ordinary man or woman in the street. It’s not an observation though that I think will be considered as significant in any appeal of the judgement, but being both innocent and ignorant, what do I know?

        • John OHara

          I concur. In law there is the concept of the reasonable person. If this individual with no prior knowledge of the Salmond trial read Craig’s blog they would not be able to identify any alphabet women, like me. A judge or judges who had officiated at the Salmond trial would already know the alphabet women’s identities. They would on reading Craig’s blog say unequivocally that he had identified the women. Those judges in the mind of this simple Scouser should have recused themselves. The fact that they did not speaks volumes.

          • Goose

            We all agree here that it’s highly tenuous stuff.

            There are many examples of people being more explicit about the identities of the then complainants, who’ve faced no legal ramifications. The only positive being these inconsistencies raise questions and indeed opportunities for legal challenge.

    • Anndra

      I read a comment on this somewhere that when an alleged offence is registered with the court, the court refers to these simply as ‘offences’ even if they are proven false. Seems like a legal oversight!

      Don’t quote me on it but might be worth following up with a Scottish law expert.

  • Tony

    Given that you believe that NS will not pursue independence: how many Alba MSP do estimate will be elected and the mechanism available within the Scottish Parliament to force change?

    • craig Post author

      Tony, if you asked me to bet today, I would put my money on 14 Alba MSPs.

      It is not a matter of mechanisms within the parliament. It is a matter of a more radical pro-Indy party with a platform exposing Sturgeon’s inaction on Independence, not least to her own followers.

      • Tony

        Public spats within the independence movement, especially within Parliament will not lead to independence.
        It will promote apathy within the voting public.

        • JOML

          Tony, these spats already exist and personally do not believe independence is a priority for the SNP. 14 Alba MSPs will shine a light on the SNP’s independence strategy, and stop them pissing yet another ‘mandate’ against the wall.
          The SNP had 4 list MSPs in 2016. It’s the other parties who will be affected most by Alba – simple arithmetic.
          Given recent events, I don’t think I could bring myself to vote SNP, whereas now I’ll be happy to give them my first vote, in the knowledge that my list Alba vote will bring a sharper focus on independence.

      • Alex Birnie

        Craig,

        I’m not as ambitious as you, but I’d certainly be willing to bet that they will equal the Greens of the Lib Dems in numbers.

        I am NOT voting for Alba for the reasons you’ve outlined. I am quite content with the pace of Sturgeon, matching the progress among the electorate from no to yes. I don’t CARE about policies…… simply because I sincerely hope that this parliament will be short, and – most importantly – the last devolved parliament within the UK.

        ALL I care about is getting my family out from under the British establishment. I look upon Alba, not as a legislative rival to the SNP, but as the addition of a few skinheads, who are willing to “mix it up” with the unionists in the gutter, while the SNP continue to be the statesmanlike entity that it is. We will then have TWO political vehicles carrying us to independence, one a comfortable bus to carry the respectable part of the population, and the other a battered old lorry, full of hardened fighters, willing to play dirty with the unionists.

        This next parliament is going to be a street fight, and the ultimate street fighter has just entered the fray.

        Mixed metaphors?? You betcha!

    • Andy

      Having listened to the case on the remote dial in I’m very surprised by this result. I sincerely wish you the best in these trying and stressful times.

      If you find yourself with time on your hands, it might be a good time to (re) read 1984, Fahrenheit 541 and the Gulag Archipelago…

      “No, the old proverb does not lie: Look for the brave in prison, and the stupid among the political leaders! ”

      I used to live in Edinburgh, very glad to be in NZ now.

      You should not undestimate how much of a role model you are to the next wave of young free thinkers.

      Look after yourself and stay warm with a Laphroaig.

      • mark golding

        Good interpretation Andy. It is Fahrenheit 451 and we note knowledge or truth is burned much like the truth Craig was forced to destroy by corrupt justice. Incinerated in much the same way as Iraq children, toddlers and babies were eliminated in Baghdad 19 March 2003.

        • Andy

          I realised as I hit send that I had 2 typos. Out by 90F for the temperature that books burn. Must be something to do with global warming. Ironic that I got the name wrong.

          “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” 1984

  • T

    Many still insist that your prosecution was not political and that the Crown Office and its puppet mistress are not corrupt. They would argue a black crow white in order to protect their image of Nicola Sturgeon.

    But how do they account for the Crown’s failure to prosecute the following MSM journalists, each of whom identified Salmond’s accusers more clearly than you (by the terms on which you were convicted) …

    • Philip Sim (BBC Scotland)
    • Dani Garavelli (Scotland On Sunday)
    • Severin Carrell (The Guardian)
    • Steve Bird (The Telegraph)
    • Izzy Lyons (The Telegraph)
    • Mure Dickie (Financial Times)
    • Paul Hutcheon (Daily Record)
    • Dave Mackay (Press & Journal)
    • Kieran Andrews (The Times)
    • Kenny Farquharson (The Times)
    • Magnus Linklater (The Times)
    • Stevie Boy

      Intelligence operatives have now been given, by the Tories, legal immunity and are able to work outside the laws of the UK.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    In the event that Alba hold the balance of power, they should make support for a SNP budget contingent on a Judge led inquiry into the handling of harassment allegations. Oh to watch the evil little careerist squirm. Now that would expose her true nature and intent to all with eyes to see (the cult I’m afraid are beyond redemption).

  • Caratacus

    Don’t know about anyone else but I will now copy Craig’s articles as text and save them. He is a staunch defender of free speech and, as such, annoys and frightens our Dear Leaders; for that reason alone he should be cherished. If this site is taken down again I will make sure his voice is still heard.

  • Clark

    Love and strength to you Craig. Your sustained rationality under such immense personal pressure is highly remarkable. I very much hope we get to chill out together in a field by a fire in the not too distant future.

  • Bayard

    “Personally I detest D’Hondt. It was forced on Scotland because of Tony Blair’s fears that the much simpler STV proportional system would prove popular and eventually spread to Westminster. STV also gives far more power to the elector, and far less to parties. “

    It also reinforces the idea of voting for a party and not for a candidate. AFAICS, the PTB want you to vote for a leader, “Vote for Boris!”. If you are not voting for a leader then vote for a party, “Vote Conservative!”. What they don’t want to do is for you to vote for an actual candidate. You might start thinking, “who is this person I am sending to Parliament to represent me?”

    • UWS

      Voting for party, not for a candidate is a *good* thing though. People should vote for a program, not because candidate A smiles better than a candidate B (which to me is utter insanity and one of the biggest plagues of modern politics – if you vote for right winger despite his electoral program being one of stomping everyone not rich into the ground just because they grin well or they did a few populist moves for their own region, you’re a complete and total idiot, not an informed voter).

      See Corbyn vs Bozo for one glaring example – the far better candidate with decades of honesty and personal integrity lost mostly due to trumped up propaganda focusing on Bozo’s fake ‘our guy’ persona and Corbyn’s refusal to do chest-thumping jingoism. How in the world it’s supposed to be a sane way to decide how to run a country?

      I also don’t get stupid insistence on ministers being somehow elected – hello? Ministers should be *experts* in their category! They shouldn’t be fake-smiling, crowd-pleasing performers! They should do their job, not worry about reelection or do the job of MP at the same time! In fact, there should be a complete and total ban on combining the ministerial post with any sort of elected one – and voting for the party, not popularity contest who can grin and lie the best is a good way for that…

  • J Galt

    Yesterday Alex Salmond secured a vote for the SNP’s Willie Coffey in the Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley constituency of the Scottish Parliament. Previous to yesterday’s announcement I was not going to darken the door of the polling station this time or at the very least only use my second vote for one of the new list parties. Now I will vote SNP 1, ALBA 2.

    I don’t expect Mr Coffey to express his gratitude however if he is truly out for Independence above all else – as he should be, he might wish to privately reflect on this, and the succinct summary of the situation we find ourselves in, in the above article.

  • Steve Peake

    For those who think that just accepting Johnson’s rejection of a 2nd Ref needs to be accepted and respected and that a Johnson sanctioned referendum is the only path to indpencence :

    Do you think gaining independence from the British and French empires was easy ? Do you think Ghandi asked the British if they wouldn’t mind (awfully) if they left and when the British said “sorry, no” he then said “ah, ok, I thought I would just ask.” No, Ghandi (and others) led a massive campaign of civil disobedience and non violent direct action which, eventually and after much struggle, FORCED the British to leave.

    Partly because of Brexit, partly because of Boris Johnson and his deceitfulness and ineptitude, enough Scottish people are now pro-independence. OF COURSE Johnson is not going to allow another referendum, because he fears he will lose.

    If your response is to say “ok then, we must not try to force the issue, but we must play nicely by the (colonial) rules” then quite honestly you are not properly committed to the independence cause and you quite clearly don’t understand the power and legal dynamics of a colonial relationship. Or, as Craig suggests, you’re actually quite happy with the current colonial relationship because of the perks you enjoy from it.

    Incidentally, Craig, I think that using language of ‘colonialism’ and ‘de-colonisation’ might be helpful, as people will understand that colonial rulers rarely give up their power without a fight. They also engage in all sorts of deceitful and underhand practices in jailing, or trying to jail, pro-independence campaigners. So using this language will help put their actions in relation to you and Alex in their proper context.

  • Penguin

    In case some people have not been paying attention to current events.

    If I was Boris J the first thing I would do on 13/04/2021 is propose an amendment to the Scotland Act giving MSPs the same protections under Parliamentary Privilege as those in Nodnol. For the lolz if nothing else.

    We would then have Mrs Murrell and her henchcoven having to argue against such an increase in powers to protect themselves from exposure should Salmond, or any other member of the Alba party, manage to scrape together 6% of the list vote to gain election, and then reveal the truth under their new protected status. All while the corrupt COPFS and Wolfie boy cry into their soymilk cornflakes as they await the knock at their doors.

  • Alex Birnie

    First of all, I commiserate with you on the judgement made against you, and I sincerely hope your appeal is successful.

    Secondly, I commend you and the rest of the AFI candidates for your selfless action, which demonstrates that YOUR (and their) motives were pure. Let’s hope the ISP and other so-called “Max the Indy seats” parties follow suit.

    Thirdly, I totally disagree with you that the SNP are dragging their feet, or that they have been dragging their feet on independence. That is a disgraceful slur on people who are acting in what they believe are the best interests of Scottish independence. In May, the fruits of their labours (hopefully) will bear fruit, and, for the very FIRST time, a majority of Votes will be for pro-Indy parties.

    IF Sturgeon, armed with such a mandate, then does indeed drag her feet, then you have been right all along, and people like myself have been wrong all along and have been taken for fools by the SNP, and we will have a long struggle ahead of us, reorganising the SNP, or, alternatively, joining and promoting Alba.

    On the other hand, if Sturgeon DOES act decisively with the mandate she (hopefully) gets, then I’m confident that you will eat humble pie, and work alongside the SNP and Alba to obtain independence. I wish I could be as confident of your fellow doubters, particularly the “Ego from Bath”, who would almost certainly claim that it was his efforts which shamed the SNP into action.

    Fourthly, I live in NE Scotland and I will be voting SNP/Alba.

    • Alex Birnie

      Please excuse my atrocious grammar. In my eagerness I didn’t review my post before pressing the “post” button.

      • Alex Birnie

        Squeeth,

        Thanks for your good luck wishes. If I’m wrong, I’ll be back on here, admitting I’m wrong, and rolling up my sleeves for the long, hard struggle of either sorting out the SNP, or abandoning them, and working to establish an alternative vehicle for yes voters.

        If the Scottish electorate DOES give the Indy parties a majority of votes over the unionists, and Sturgeon DOES indeed move decisively towards getting a referendum organised, will you join with me in my joy at being right? After all, if I’m right, and you’re wrong, the road to independence will be a HELLUVA lot shorter, than the road will be if I’m wrong and you’re right.

        You WOULD prefer that I’m right, and you’re wrong?…… You WOULD prefer a short route to independence, correct? If I’m wrong and you’re right, we are BOTH going to be sad, because it will mean independence being unlikely (in my lifetime).

        If I’m right and you’re wrong, it will mean an early referendum (or plebiscite) and early independence, and we WILL both be happy, right? Please tell me that you’d prefer independence sooner rather than later?

        • Squeeth

          I’d prefer 55 million people not being disenfranchised and 5 million people dictating my future. You might be right but the record of the Snats isn’t encouraging.

          • Alex Birnie

            Squeeth,

            I don’t understand the first part of your comment, but I disagree with you on the second part. I am very encouraged by the performance of the SNP over the last few years.

      • T

        They are an unscrupulous pack of self-serving jackals, consumed with power and hubris — as evidenced by their determination to jail Craig Murray and Alex Salmond on false pretences.

        Alex Birnie pretends that didn’t happen even adter reading all the facts on this blog.

        • Alex Birnie

          T,

          Why don’t you make your own statements, without putting words into other people’s mouths?

          In your OPINION, “they” (by which you presumable mean the SNP leadership) tried to get Alex Salmond thrown in jail. The enquiry doesn’t agree with your opinion. The QC appointed to investigate hasn’t commented on it. Alex Salmond hasn’t stated that. So, it is just your opinion.

          As to your OPINION about who is trying to get Craig thrown in jail, I don’t think Craig himself has asserted that the SNP leadership are trying to get him thrown in jail. He may think that privately, but he has the good sense to keep unprovable statements like that to himself.

          You have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I think about this whole sorry affair, and I’ll thank for desistíng from trying to assign motives and opinions on to other people.

          • T

            Alex, a child could have detected from your comments that you are with Sturgeon, no matter what she does and no matter who she does it to.

          • Alex Birnie

            T,

            A child….. at least a child with a minimum of reading skills would have read my comment to the end. In what universe does the phrase “I will be voting SNP/Alba” equate to “you are with Sturgeon”??

            The world isn’t black and white. It IS possible to believe that Alex Salmond is innocent (as I do), AND to regard the accusations against Sturgeon as being “not proven” (as I do). If you want to adopt an extremely partisan position, which causes you to treat Sturgeon as an enemy, then you go ahead.

            That doesn’t make you a ” better” supporter of independence, and my position of uncertainty doesn’t make me a ” better” supporter of independence. It may come as a shock, but it IS possible to sympathise with Salmond AND Sturgeon.

            I’m voting for Alba in the region, not because I’m ” against” Sturgeon, nor because I’m “for” Salmond. I’m voting Alba, because, since Alex Salmond is such an exceptional candidate, I can vote for him, secure in the knowledge that he is going to win a seat, and my vote won’t be wasted.

            You indulge yourself with your petty little crusade, if you want. I’m more interested in winning independence, rather than trying to destroy either Salmond or Sturgeon.

    • nevermind

      If they really took all this time to think about it Alex Birnie, they should now be able to give voters a clearly worked out roadmap, policies and the bare bones of a Constitution, being vague and evasive after all this time does nobody any favours

      • Alex Birnie

        Nevermind, this has been an evolving process – a process which has been going on for over eighty years. The objective has never changed, but the tactics have varied hugely throughout the years. From the times when a single SNP was making her lonely way back and forth from Westminster, right up to the present day, when it NOW seems that a majority of Scots are coming round to the idea of an independent Scotland, the SNP have manoeuvred according to the situation.

        You say that the SNP should have a clearly worked out road map, policies, and the beginnings of a constitution, but why? How did the clear plan that the Salmond government outlined in the White Paper work out? Was THAT a raging success? Is a detailed plan NECESSARY for a successful referendum campaign? Boris and his mates got their own way quite successfully by “winging” it. If we are to follow recent history, then it can be argued that it’s best NOT to have a “clear plan”, because the unionists will just pick out the weak points and use it against us.

        The SNP’s tactics under Alex Salmond were a resounding success, because, although we lost the referendum, independence was plonked on the Scottish political table, and every effort to get it OFF the table by the Tories and the rest has failed. However much you criticise the policies and tactics of the Sturgeon-led SNP, the fact is that the needle HAS moved – again – and the Scottish people (it appears) are ready to vote in sufficient numbers for Indy parties, to make independence the majority position – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!

        Now, if you want to totally ignore the efforts of the SNP, and ascribe the needle-moving solely to the incompetence, graft, and sheer stupidity of English Tories, it doesn’t make any difference to the result.

        As I’ve said repeatedly, IF the Scottish people provide a real mandate -a majority mandate – and Sturgeon and the rest drag their heels, then I will (sadly) accept that I’ve been taken for a fool, and start down the (long) road to independence with you, by either re-organising the SNP, or promoting a new party to take us to independence.

        What I’m NOT prepared to do, is to start dismantling the SNP, until after the election, when the electorate tell us if we are ready for independence. It doesn’t matter a shite how committed you and I are to independence. The ONLY thing that matters, is how many people agree with us. If that is a majority, and Sturgeon acts decisively, then we could be an independent country. If Sturgeon doesn’t act decisively, or worse still, the number of folk voting for Indy parties is STILL below 50%, then we’ve still got a lot of work to do…..

        That’s MY take on the state of play right now…..

        • nevermind

          Thank you very much for your reply Alex. Since the referendum to leave the EU some 5 years back the focus clearly was at Westminster , not here not for Independents.
          I want Independence, for it to succeed there has to be more than positive will. Waiting until it has happened is not a great idea, imho, being prepared with frameworks to make it work for the people from that day must take more than just ambition.
          The Farage jibe today made me smile, as it was crass as if chosen at the last minute.
          I can’t stand Nigel, the city slicker, but he achieved what he set out to do, a bad result for Scotland and a blow for all our exports.
          What will be important is that all Independent parties elected pull on the same string and take Independence, make the future a coalition work were all pool their intentions, transparent to voters so the idea stays alive. That way another referendum is superfluous as a mandate is given in this election.

          Lastly, what has been sad is that the current SNP relies on the judiciary for its continuance when no such close interface should exist.

          • Alex Birnie

            Nevermind,

            Your arguments are cogent and I agree with the sentiments behind them, which are obviously a desire for independence, and in that, we are in complete agreement.

            I see the waiting, not so much as waiting for index to happen, but waiting for the Scottish people to wake up to the fact that Scotland’s future will be more secure and prosperous as an independent social democracy.

            In my opinion, this has always been about persuading no voters over to the yes side, and that’s why I don’t get as aerated as some about the “slow” pace at which the SNP seem to be moving. I get as impatient as the next yes voter, at the apparent snail’s pace towards independence, but all we yes voters would be wasting our time, if we enthusiastically climbed to the top of the Indy hill, only to find that we’d left the bulk of the electorate at the bottom of the hill.

            All the talk about “wasted mandates” is just hot air, in my opinion. There would have been no point in Sturgeon trying to use the “referendum mandate” that she had earlier, if we didn’t have a majority with us.

            It now looks as though that MIGHT be the case in May. If a majority of the electorate vote for Indy parties in May for the FIRST time ever, then it won’t really matter what mechanism is chosen to achieve independence – as long as it is recognised by the international community….. AND …….. it is endorsed by a majority of those who vote.

            Some folk are suggesting that the SNP will drag their feet, if they get a majority mandate in May. I don’t believe they will. I believe they will move decisively towards independence, by a section 30 referendum, or a non-section 30 referendum, or an election plebiscite ….. whatever.

            If I am wrong, and the naysayers are right, then we will have a long and weary road to tread as we reform the SNP, or discard the SNP and form a new party. Whatever, independence will be set back. If I am right, then independence could be a couple of years away……

  • DiggerUK

    I am now awoke and caffeined into a fit state to take on board the ramifications of ‘The Glorious Alba Vanity Project’.
    My conclusion is that if successfully elected to government it will be a government by gang members based on the principles of papal democracy.

    At the election launch, Salmond announces he is joining and will become leader. Well there’s an offer nobody can refuse, all that’s missing is the severed head of a haggis in the bed.

    A little (the operative phrase really is “a little”) reading of the albaparty.org website informs all and sundry that they can attend a couple of WhatsApp conferences to have their candidates and leaders presented to them if they handover the necessary fees.

    This `party‘ is born a cult with a vain prophet already in post…_
    https://www.albaparty.org/

    • Skip_NC

      Boris Johnson’s government overlooked repeal the EU rules on proper disposal of haggis heads and legs after the annual January hunt. Perhaps they did not think it important. Your suggestion that there is a haggis head available to put in someone’s bed is, therefore, quite absurd.

    • DunGroanin

      Ah Digger, you sadden me with your delusions. Refuelled, colander-like holes bodged fixed, loaded up with a few dumb dumbs and thrown back up in the air to fight the Battle of Britain like some Polish/ Foreign Legionnaire type for Britain, not for the independence of your own homeland?
      Sad, so so sad …

  • Clark

    To the British state:

    You held this razor-sharp mind of Craig Murray, but turned it against yourself by callous inhumanity in desperate attachment to your former power, and now it dissects you. Change cannot be halted by any power less than that which creates reality, indeed, change itself is the ongoing, unstoppable force of creation. Putting Alan Turing on your highest denomination of cash a lifetime after destroying him will not redeem you; learn, and be more graceful. Accept change, transformation and your future role with equanimity; trust the people of which you are comprised, and let your weapons fall.

  • Coldish

    Re party lists: it is technically possible for voters to have an influence on how high up or low down on a party list an individual party candidate is. In elections to Munich City Council (Stadtrat) each voter has the same number of votes as the number of seats on the council (about 80). If a voter prefers, she/he can simply vote for a party list as listed by the party. However voters can alternatively distribute these votes as they wish between parties and between candidates on a single party list, as long as their total number of votes cast does not exceed 80. They can also award up to 3 votes to any candidate. It only requires a few voters to award 3 votes to a preferred candidate for that candidate to work their way well up the party list.

    • craig Post author

      Coldish I don’t doubt you, but that is not the D’Hondt system as it is operated in scotland.

  • Ian

    Good stuff, Craig, especially considering the momentous week you have had. As usual you home in on the nub of the court’s verdict, and explain its nonsensical ruling. It is utterly absurd to state that identification rules are broken when a close colleague of the complainant is led to identify that person by something you said. For, as you state, the very simple reason that if that were the case, then nearly every single article and report on the case and the trial would have to be censored, and all the reporters, bloggers and writers prosecuted. It is entirely unrealistic, and very misleading, to pretend that anonymity is possible in a case where the incidents are described as taking place in public, where the dates and people involved are common knowledge or easily looked up. You did no more, in fact less, than many others in commenting on the case. Particularly in the most egregious case, the widely publicised Garavelli identification.

    Therefore, the only possible conclusion that you, and Mark Hirst, were singled out for action is that you opposed the carefully constructed narrative promulgated by the Scottish government and widely disseminated in the media as ‘fact’. It is clear they have gone to extraordinary lengths, including withholding evidence, redacting documents, obfuscating, lying and dissembling to enforce a narrative which crumbles on examination. In such an elaborate scheme, its only hope of succeeding was the ruse, admitted to in the text “I have a plan” to hide the evidence under the cloak of the anonymity rules, and to use those rules to punish anybody who might threaten the whole construct. The fact that they came after you, and not others, betrays that fear, that you would blow their cover, while those who supported their story, casually exposing information which identified the complainants, suffered not so much as a warning. Selective use of the law for political purposes should not be possible under a strong democratic separation of powers, and those who try should be subject to sanction and punishment by a system which can hold the executive to account, in parliament and the law. What i find most egregious about it is using a law designed to protect women in order to hide an attempt to pervert justice. It is abuse of the system, and thus bringing that law into disrepute.

    Anyway, good news about Alba. At last the SNP may have a functioning opposition in the indy movement. They have got away for so long with the assumption that they rule absolutely within the movement that you can see the shock to their fragile, control freak egos and entitled presumptions. Anybody who actually put indy first would of course not be threatened by another party, especially one which can pick up seats where they can’t. Alex’s argument is unimpeachable on that, and it is hilarious hearing them trying to wriggle out of it. Their bluff has been called. The have no answer to someone who is fluent, cogent, committed and passionate about independence, qualities which none of them have displayed. Except of course personal attacks based on their ongoing lies and smears. The bafflement of Alyn Lewis on R4 this morning was delicious as he more or less admitted that what was supposed to happen was for Alex to retire from politics in shame. They just don’t get it, they cosy little upholstered lifestyle has been called into question, and they might have to actually answer some serious questions. What a scunner!

      • Ian

        Thankyou. Can you imagine the What’s App conversations going on now?

        The two Liz’s and Nikla: “So we’ve just spent the last three years on a gigantic operation to sideline Alex, spent millions of the taxpayer’s money, compromised the entire system of government and its relationship to the other major institutions, and made ourselves look slippery, conniving, dishonest and vindictive. You said it was a slam dunk, you had a plan. And after all that grief and near resignation cliff edge, we still haven’t got rid of him, and he is threatening to hold the balance of power. Remind me whose idea this all was…..” and so on. lol

        So what now? Continue selective leaking and harping on about Alex, while he talks positively and convincingly about independence and the way forward, in ways they have studiously avoided, asking pointed questions and detailing the failings of the current system
        and its guardians? It’s not going to look good is it? It wasn’t meant to be this way. If things work out, Sturgeon will be off after the election, having failed to get a majority, scared of what else might come out.

        • DunGroanin

          As they reprise yet again the Baldrickian Cunning Stunt idiom of the Italian Job ‘I got a plan that will keep us safe …’ cue # ‘Self preservation society’.

    • Seamus Ariat

      “What i find most egregious about it is using a law designed to protect women in order to hide an attempt to pervert justice. It is abuse of the system, and thus bringing that law into disrepute.” This is the inevitable result of a law which is there only to protect one party and which effectively presumes guilt. It was brought in serve the desire of feminism to jail as many men as possible guilty or not.

      In all areas of law if an accuser wants to make accusations they must make them in the full light of day. Light is a disinfectant.

      Even where there is clear evidence of false testimony accusers are rarely prosecuted.

      And so it goes on. Gullible men will only waken up when they are directly impacted. Until they will echo the siren cry “victims must be believed”.

      • Squeeth

        No, it is a transparent means to reduce justice, using casuistical claims. It has nothing to do with feminism.

  • AmyB

    No lawyer (obviously!), but in addition to appeal are there no issues of malicious prosecution that can be explored given the lack of action against the likes of Kirsty Wark and Dani Garavelli? Or judicial review of the decision to prosecute CM, but not others?

  • Squeeth

    “The constituency ballot works on the simple Westminster “first past the post system” with which most readers will be familiar.”

    This should read

    “The constituency ballot works on the simple [fraudulent] Westminster “first past the post system” with which most readers will be familiar.”

  • Graham

    Craig, it has already been said, but you should stand for ALBA party. You have the skills of critical thinking, articulation, and a sense of honour. These are not common attributes of MSPs, most of them don’t know how to think and take direction on what to think. Scotland needs your intellect in its parliament.

    Please consider running for ALBA. Accepting you as a candidate is the least AS can do for reasons you have described. Please call him!!!

  • Stonky

    I was delighted by the announcement that AFI were standing down. It’s exactly the kind of selfless and statesmanlike behviour that the Indy movement needs, and the last thing in the world that would ever be countenanced by those self-obsessed shits that call themselves the SNP.

    But AFI has some great candidates, and I would be disappointed in equal measure if Alba doesn’t reciprocate by taking some of you on. They can’t possibly have such quality in depth that they can run 4 candidates in every region who are better than and have a higher profile than people like yourself, Tommy Sheridan, Martin Keatings etc.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Hi Craig, who am I? When it comes to the grand scheme of things.
    We feel your stress , we hope all goes well
    For May, and of course Alba,
    What a murky , stinking game it is.
    Political prisoner, got a ring to it, and a weapon for the
    Future.
    2014 I Looked into the D’Hondt system online, trying to figure out why it was unionists kept getting in without being voted in.
    Murdo Fraser for one,
    Being online I went through all the types of voting systems
    Some had good explanations on fairness, STV was one
    Now you’ve explained why the D’Hondt was introduced explains everything, I hope with Independence, just one more thing to change.
    Back in 2014 , online , I asked if anyone could break it down
    For me, low and behold folk came on with visual examples, great, like myself , many were asking the same question
    Hence the rise of indy parties,
    Hopefully we can kick out the unionist parties .
    You are a star, and a valuable asset, thank goodness you are there.
    Listened to you at all the gatherings and read your blogs
    Many thanks,
    A shining light.
    Onwards and upwards
    🐼🐼

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