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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    • DiggerUK

      Sounds like the plot line for a hit at the Edinburgh Festival, and we all know what Bonny Prince Bob thinks of that shindig…_

      • I. Knew

        Voters in Edinburgh Central have a double opportunity to thwart SNP career politics – support Bonnie PB against slimy Angus Robertson and Alba against parachuted-in wokers in the list seats.

      • Goodwin

        No idea, but it probably includes the word “wanker” to demonstrate his empathy for the common man.

  • Graham North West

    Thank you for your courage and endeavours. In these dark times for liberty, justice and truth, you are a beacon of light.

  • M.J.

    Thanks for explaining the D’Hondt system, which is indeed obscure. I’ve never heard of one kind of vote neutralising the other if they’re for the same party!
    Anyway, your standing down shows that you are principled, unlike some people. So good luck with your appeal.

  • I. Knew

    I expect the Alba party will be a great success and that sooner or later, sooner I hope, you will have a direct role in that.

  • Fwl

    Rule No 1 in a judge’s invisible rule book is “don’t let the dirty dog eat in your court.”This means to try and do what is just. There is a real difficulty here in that it may encourage a judge to make more intuitive and subjective decisions, but it doesn’t have to. A judge can still try to keep their personality out of their decision making and evaluation of facts – they can seek to uncover the facts and apply the law, whilst all awhile keeping an eye on the question of justice.

    There is an interesting litigation parable about David judging a dispute over a cow in the Mathnawi book III. David initially makes the expected and obvious decision from the facts before him but then considers further and learns of the background. He changes his decision.

      • Fwl

        Yes thank you. I feel embarrassed for mentioning it because I don’t want to suggest I understand that which I don’t.

  • Kirsten Skye

    Commiserations Craig, but excellent good blog today. The erosion of freedom of speech or to think for ourselves and scutinise those who say they represent us has accelerated. I hope in light of the newer information that your appeal will be successful. Saor Alba!

  • Jennifer Allan

    “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. “

    Yes indeed; with the bar of guilt set so low, it was almost inevitable the judges would find Craig in contempt of court for possible jigsaw identification of the complainants. In fact almost any reporting of the Salmond trial would have potentially risked identifying the complainants.
    What I can’t get my head round is the labyrinthine Byzantine ways this could potentially happen, as detailed in the Judges’ statement of verdicts. For example, the January article was unlikely to directly identify any complainants, (apart from that nickname), but if read in conjunction with a March one then it could and so on. Tatyana was reminded of Sherlock Holmes. I thought Hercule Poirot would applaud.
    I missed the January satirical play; by the time I found Craig’s blog the Salmond trial had started and the January articles were well down the line. I was grateful at the time for Craig’s honest and factual reporting.
    Long before the trial and long before I found Craig’s blog, I had already reached my own conclusions about some of those daft Salmond charges, hair pinging indeed!
    A word of caution to everyone. Recent statements made to the Salmond Inquiry Committee from some of the complainants, probably post dating the Judges’ verdicts in Craig’s case, have revealed their unhappiness with the SNP Government’s handling of their cases. In spite of their unwillingness to involve the police, this was done anyway. These complainants felt sidelined, ignored and unsupported.
    Lady Dorrian has expressed her anger about some of the comments in the threads below Craig’s articles, particularly those which claim the complainants lied on oath and conspired against Alex Salmond. We must keep in mind the Jury acted responsibly, basing their verdicts solely on the evidence before them. Salmond was acquitted.

      • Jennifer Allan

        Seamus – The following is extracted from the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995. The important phrase in section 1b is whether the witness ‘knowingly’ gave false evidence under oath. This HAS to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt. The recent Salmond Inquiry sworn evidence where Sturgeon several times claimed lapses of memory, demonstrates the difficulties of proving culbability in this area. For your interest I have extracted a line from section 2. Please remember Craig has yet to be sentenced. There is no point in futher angering Lady Dorian in the meantime.

        Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995
        False statements and declarations
        (1) Any person who—

        (a) is required or authorised by law to make a statement on oath for any purpose; and
        (b) being lawfully sworn, wilfully makes a statement which is material for that purpose and which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine or to both such fine and imprisonment.

        Provisions supplementary to section 44
        (2) Any person who incites or attempts to procure or suborn another person to commit an offence against that section shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to imprisonment or to a fine or to both such fine and imprisonment.

  • AndrewR

    I don’t see why the judge made any comments at all about Craig Murray’s affidavit. Its accuracy or otherwise has nothing to do with the matter of identification of the witnesses.

  • DunGroanin

    I felt some stress from a distance so CM’s must be a zillion times more. The disappearance of the court reports is disturbing and pointless I expect more attention will be drawn to it now and the blatant attempt at rewriting history before it again s not even over.

    Well done Scotland rugby for a bit of entertainment and well done England cricketers too for a mighty chase.

    Thanks for explaining D’hondt. I had no idea of that weirdness.

    Why any genuine Indy supporters would continue to carry their egg hopes in a single SNP basket now would be crazy.

    And so to the launch of the supermajority campaign for a supersonic route to Indy.

    Alba’s secret launch seems to have revealed the MSM/Integrity initiative/trollbots like a whole load of cockroaches suddenly caught by the lights coming on.

    They were scrambled into action and left trails from their silos as they spiralled in their demented controlled arcs to intercept.

    The genius of the press conference controlled by Alba caught the rascals with their whatsapps conspiring and home office screen shots with the coordinated attacks.

    The fucking thugs. The Red misted eyed spitting liars. As an example take Libby of the Groan. One of a bunch of Salome type banshees and swivel eyed mules who formed their ‘attack’ on the hoof over the two hours tour de force by AS. Here is her article , which is already submerged – probably because it reveals the swivel eyed loons so much.

    Libby goes with complete lies and distortions of the message of Alba and that press conference.
    The desperation of the line about equating with Fartage (hence UKIP and BrexShit! ). Then ignoring AS response that Macron did the same! That flummoxed them enough.

    She does NOT mention ONCE the founder of the Alba, Laurie Flynn!

    The Groan had followed it with an knee jerk editorial that chooses to treat Scots like one of their own soft minded liberal centrist neocon war supporting suckers who just refuse to see how they are stuck to that lying poisonous rags teat,
    (see today the attempt to protect Biden as his FIRST press conference THREE MONTHS IN falls flat, where they choose to ignore his mental degradation. Freedland today launches the propaganda pivot to war war war not jaw jaw jaw of Trump with his contemptuous “Biden is giving left parties the world over a masterclass in how to use power”!
    Fock. Right. Off. Is my personal knee jerk reaction to the wankers)

    The utter contempt of the Courts and Jury verdicts that found AS not guilty, which has allowed him to stay free to get the decades long effort to finally free Scotland from the Imperial knee on its neck as any other possession of the ‘Empress’, back on track.

    Why are the judiciary allowing such contempt of court? Because it’s their fellow pillar of Establishment.
    Contempt of Judgements – that’s all I saw from the MSM live coordinated questioning.

    Contempt also of independent journalist bloggers who are not part of their squadron of flying blue monkey preesbots, who responded to the questions by the presstitutes as

    “ “horrifying”, according to one of the many pro-independence bloggers who also populated the Zoom briefing. ” complains Brooks.

    There were not that many were there? Why shouldn’t they have been? as WOS has shown they are widely read by the Scots Government! A mere handful amongst the English hunting pack but Libby didn’t like it.

    In fact I echo AS and his joyful and heartfelt reaction to put some faces to the bloggers who persevere.

    It was an emotional and beautiful moment as the father of Scotland responded to Grouse Beater without mawkishness but genuine respect and emotion as he works towards their common goal.

    • Contrary

      More news already! I’ve just been on his blog 10 minutes ago, so it must have just appeared. Thanks for the heads up – I’m usually a day behind at the best of times, it’s going to be difficult to keep up for the next few days. Alba is promising at least 4 candidates in each region (I’m not even sure how many regions there are!) – and needs to declare before this coming Wednesday? They won’t be getting much sleep for a few days I think.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Fat, lying tub of shite, Ian Blackford says he’s glad to see the back of MacAskill. “He has been an increasing embarrassment to many in the SNP and his departure is somewhat of a relief. ‘’
      Are ye Ian, aye?

  • Hamish Kirk

    We live in interesting times. AFI did the right thing by getting its candidates to step don. Will they continue in existence or just melt away ?

  • AndrewR

    As an AFI candidate you’d have been free to follow your own instincts; as an Alba MP you’d have to toe the party line.

    • Blair Paterson

      Westminster has the gall to pull up China on its human rights while denying the Scots a Ref on freedom and only prosecuting certain people for committing the same crime and the Chagos islanders not being allowed to return to their homes plus keeping on implying that, A.S.is guilty after being proved not guilty China should throw them things back at them and more the stolen lands of Australia and New Zealand etc., talk about brass neck ???

      • Pyewacket

        Indeed Blair, a reposte from China along the lines as recently delivered to the US delegates in Alaska would be welcome, but never reported. Westminster: where “chutzpah” is, for many, an Essential Criteria (EC) in the Job Description (JD). After all, it’s the one skill they employ the most.

  • Germann Arlington

    Could you try to edit out identifiable details of Alex Salmond’s trial accusers (witness A, B, etc) or did the court ban all reporting?

    • craig Post author

      We already did that Germann. Complete removal was ordered by the court. That was how it was written in the first place.

      • Goose

        Legal knots and inconsistencies.

        Sacrificing freedom of speech – in this case permissible satirical comment, to get one bête noire of the UK establishment isn’t exactly sensible. The precedent this case sets could stain Scotland for years. Hope the Higher courts see how dangerously illiberal these moves are.

  • David G

    So under this D’Hondt system, why doesn’t the SNP set up its own list-only party (after consulting with lawyers as to just the amount of gauze to hang between the two to satisfy the legalities)? Call the new zombie party the Friends of Corrupt Liars (FCL), and instruct SNP supporters (again, perhaps through cutouts such as the media to satisfy the law) to all vote FCL on their second ballot. And then the SNP and FCL MSPs would immediately form a rock-solid alliance in the Parliament.

    In fact why doesn’t every party do it: set up de facto alliances between matched pairs of constituency parties and list-only parties?

    • DunGroanin

      They done that already FCL = Wightman and some ‘Greens’.

      The Fix was set and the coalition readied like re-heated vomit of the Downing Street Rose Garden bromance ‘red wedding’ that gave us Austerity and BrexShit, through Andy’s ‘Sterling’ efforts at providing the Committee cover.

      I can only see a move to stop Alba standing and registering candidates by next week. And depriving it of oxygen – which they spectacularly failed to do yesterday because of their swarmed attack lines. More fine judo. There’s no such thing as bad publicity when you are trying to advertise a new brand.
      Idiots may even be forced to fall off their Fix, due to Covid obviously … if they can’t get enough postal votes cooked up to it out being blatantly obvious.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The poisoned dwarf is straight there with the character assassination:

    “… I think there are significant questions about the appropriateness of his return to public office given the concerns that have been raised about his behaviour previously … “.

    Quelle surprise. Is that all you got Nicola? Tellingly, Alex doesn’t respond in kind.

    • Wikikettle

      Craig I am relieved you are not standing for election to become a Politician. I hope you don’t stand for Alba either. Party politics, the infighting, betrayal, the infiltrators, the hard work of constituency surgeries, the party whip etc..is not you, in my eyes. You have been a great moral voice for people all over the world. A truth teller, you should stay. A writer, journalist, commentator on all subjects, shining light on the dark. Everyone wants you to ‘go over the top’ and run headlong into the filthy mud and spray of wounding bullets, while standing safely behind you. Let AS do his thing. Be safe with your lovely family and carry on being a Journalist, free and Independent. You have suffered enough.

      • John Monro

        Excellent post, Wikikettle, and very humane. I’m sure you’re right. Of course, that’s up to CM, but he’d be wise to acknowledge the truth of what you say. Cheers.

      • johnoflothian

        Quite agree Wikikettle. If Craig praises A or condemns B, I want to be sure those really are his own opinions.

        I have been horrified by what I have learned this year about the Scottish devolution setup and the nature of the SNP in power. That the head of the Crown Office was also a First Minister appointee, the Lord Advocate, a member of the First Minister’s cabinet. (See Bingham, The Rule of Law, chapter 9 “A Fair Trial”). That MSP’s have no parliamentary privilege and were threatened with potential punishment by the said Lord Advocate if they followed a judgement of the High Court in Edinburgh specifically clearing for publication Alex Salmond’s written evidence to their own parliamentary committee. That that parliamentary committee itself was run rings around by the Scottish government’s ruthless obfuscation, delay and regular refusals to provide requested papers in full. That the report of the Irish barrister and Director of Public Prosecutions appointed by the First Minister herself to advise whether she broke the ministerial code, was only allowed to be published by the Scottish government after 76 censorings in its 61 pages, according to the Spectator magazine.

        All horrible, shameful and frightening. But perhaps even eclipsed by the vicious singling out of one hostile journalist for likely fines and imprisonment for giving an account of the defence evidence in the Salmond criminal trial.

        Your journalism’s depth, clarity and power is too important to be contaminated by participation in, or reduced by the distractions of, active party politics. And by the way I have always been a unionist and expect to continue to be. But I will go on listening to your advocacy.

        “The Lord bless thee and keep thee”, Craig Murray.

    • Pyewacket

      Vivian, Mr Salmond could do no worse, were he to respond, than to take a leaf out of the “Soul less killer’s” book, and wish Tricky Nicky the very best of health.

    • craig Post author

      Jon, if the SNP vote drops a few percentage points and it loses some constituency seats, it could gain some regional list seats. But unless in a region it wins no constituencies, the SNP list votes will always be downweighted, and probably to quite a large degree. Alba votes on the list will always be more effective than SNP votes in electing MSPs as they will never be downweighted, Alba not contesting constituencies.

      Paul (wee ginger dug) is a very good man, but has an ideological commitment to the SNP and particularly its identity politics agenda, to which he is of course entitled.

      The best explanation on voting systems is always on the Scot Goes Pop blog. And the best Eurovision Song Contest coverage.

      • Peter N

        I’m surprised you recommend James Kelly’s blog Scot Goes Pop as being the best place for explanations of voting systems. Kelly is a both votes SNP man, to the point of idiocy, and whenever he tries to ‘explain’ the List voting system he does so very firmly from that stance.

        Personally, I’ve found the most understandable explanation of the List vote I’ve ever seen is on the Independence for Scotland (ISP) website, they have a video on it there.

        • Roger Mexico

          I think you’ll find that Mr Kelly has changed his mind recently: https://scotgoespop.blogspot.com/2021/03/it-as-to-be-alba.html

          Which is highly amusing to those of us who tried to explain the same thing him in 2016 and got our heads bitten off.

          He’s right though that the over-the-top reaction of the SNP is likely to be counterproductive, because Alba supporters may react by not giving their constituency vote to them. Either by abstaining/spoiling (there were about 6,600 more regional votes cast in 2016) or even voting for a non-SNP candidate.

  • Twirlip

    I fear this is a childish question, but why are AFI and Alba two different things? Have they been organised by two completely separate groups of people, with no communication or coordination between them, or even any knowledge of what the other was doing? If so, is there some cunning strategic reason for that? I’ll get me coat.

    • Jon

      The same thought occurred to me, Twirlip. One might wonder why Salmond did not apply to join AFI, rather than start his own party. Perhaps Salmond has brand recognition that smaller indie parties don’t have, but I’d be wary of a party system – even a list party – that has only the leader nominating candidates.

      • Peter N

        Alex Salmond did not start Alba. The party was founded and registered with the Electoral Commission by retired television producer Laurie Flynn on 8 February 2021. Alex took over the leadership of the party from Flynn on 25 March 2021. The MSM are falling all over themselves, for whatever reason, to convince people that Alba is an entirely new party that Salmond created — just not true at all. The Alba Party now have a Wikipedia article, worth a read.

        With respect to AFI and Alba, they are both separate parties though, as far as getting independence is concerned, they have the same goal. I think the AFI made the correct and decent call when it announced it would stand down and even more so to offer to help in Alba’s campaign — full credit and respect to AFI for all of that. I’m hoping the Independence for Scotland Party (ISP) take the same tack as AFI.

        Personally, I’m wondering why Craig doesn’t throw in his lot with Alba and run to be an MSP via that route. Craig, I would have thought, would be made very welcome by Alba and would be a tremendous asset in Holyrood.

        • Jon

          Thank you Peter for the correction. You are right – I think I must have assumed that Salmond started Alba, but I didn’t actually hear that he did.

          I think Craig has answered your final question elsewhere on this blog. There is no visible candidate application process, and Craig mentions that Alex seems to be hand-picking candidates. So, while I think Craig would be excellent as a candidate, Craig would need Alex to agree to that proposition also. Perhaps a candidate nomination process will appear in due course.

  • Goose

    STV also gives far more power to the elector, and far less to parties

    Agreed. Candidate lists should also be open, picking who you want to represent you should be as fine grained a choice as possible. Anything that is a needless denial of democracy. It’s not even complicated, at least not for the voting electorate, counting(redistribution) takes longer that’s all. This despite parties raising such ‘complexity’ fears as a red herring. Example ballot paper:


      • Goose

        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.

        Is it correct that just 4 SNP MSPs owe their place in Holyrood to the regional lists? The SNP do so well in the FPTP section under MMPR? The SNP’s annoyance with Alba does indeed seem wholly misplaced when they’re going out of their way to avoid bering a direct rival and splitting the pro-inde vote. Attempting to leverage the voting system against ‘backdoor’ unionist parties is smart , if they pull this off they’ll make it nigh on impossible for Johnson to deny another referendum without looking profoundly anti-democratic.

        SNP constituency and Alba list, could sink unionist hopes. Has anyone modelled that outcome based on the last election? How many seats would Alba have won if based on 2016?

        • Goose

          That’s the beauty of this.

          The SNP don’t need more votes per se, to solidify the independence cause, they just need a uniform transfer of their currently ‘wasted’ list votes to Alba.

    • Bayard

      There are many ways that the electoral system could be reformed. Even FPTP could be considerably improved by a few tweaks. However, the system we have now of FPTP is one that has been refined over the centuries to retain power in the hands of a ruling elite, so there is very little chance that that same ruling elite will allow it to be changed, especially now, when they have only just got things back to business as usual after all those bothersome changes the Attlee government brought in after the war.

      • Goose

        Amazing how the Tories preach consumer choice in everything but politics. Which they want kept like a deeply protectionist, closed shop. They know permitting the electorate real choice would probably be the end of their corrupt racket.

        Then we wonder why sinister people are promoted to key positions, when it’s obvious they’re promoted by equally sinister types , precisely because they’ll be ruthless about preserving a status quo that serves them over the greater populations’ aspirations. Centrists are particularly infected with this mentality.

  • N_

    Is Alec Salmond back to being friends with Nicola Sturgeon now? His “Alba” effort and his unequivocal support for SNP candidates in all constituencies, including Sturgeon and Robertson, suggests so. That kind of thing is well known in politics. Look at say Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown, or Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. They’re politicians. They don’t have principles.

    Meanwhile…”(t)he advocate depute submitted in this respect that the nature of the case and overall context was important.
    Seriously, who would give an undergaduate a high mark for an essay in which they “argued” in such a fashion?

    • Goose

      What about this Alba venture implies or requires Salmond be back on friendly terms with Sturgeon?

      If all goes to plan, Alba will be a nagging conscience reminding the SNP of its purpose and providing support in achieving that aim. That role doesn’t require or even imply friendly relations between Sturgeon and Salmond, merely a shared, long-held joint objective.

  • JohninMK

    Although an Englishman living in middle England I shall be supporting Alba.

    Independence for Scotland is the only way that I can see of forcing our Government to face the reality that we no longer have an Empire and that we are no longer a World power, just a highly indebted, medium size economy on an island, living in the past when being a maritime power counted. WTF do we need to send a carrier group to pose around the western Pacific for goodness sake? Trying to repeat the battleships off Singapore ignominy?

    The actions of the US have now forced Russia and China into a very close relationship, probably realising the biggest fear of many of their best strategists, releasing the economic power of the landmass from Lisbon to Vladivostok, leading to dramatic reduction in the powers of the Maritime states. The FUs by Russia to the EU (in US vassal mode) and China to the US in Alaska are a warning as to what is coming, the reduction of US power in the World.

    The splitting of the UK, with hopefully NI somehow integrating with Ireland, would present all of our leaders with a pretty unique opportunity to reevaluate our position and role in the World that has change significantly since the last upheaval post WW2. Say goodbye to the past and embrace the future.

    All our future is in your hands.

    • N_

      @JohninMK – If the City of London has an “empire”, then a major part of it is the string of “treasure island” tax havens including Jersey, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. What impact would Scottish independence have on that network?

      If a person wishes to support Scottish independence, I would prefer it if they did it because they thought it would make things better in Scotland, which contary to raving loony talk has never been a British colony.

    • Goose


      Scottish independence will act as a shockwave through the rUK. Bringing profound change to England and the mediocre complacency about everything: high-level corruption, privilege; unfair voting system(FPTP) and the vile aristocracy/class obsession. Our own peaceful gentle revolution of sorts.

      • Frank

        Little chance of reevaluation in a country with the world”s most hard right media ecosystem The trajectory is all in the other direction and the loss of Scotland would barely register with the English masses.

        • Goose

          Respectfully disagree.

          The FPTP voting system in England +Wales + NI will be barely credible if viewed as locking in place unrepresentative one-party rule. It’ll have defence implications from Trident relocation to and how the UK views its global role ‘projecting power’ .

          Plus you’ll have Scottish born UK security service personnel returning home, maybe with books to write and stories to tell about how the UK really operates. This reason alone is why London will put up a very dirty fight. Ballot observing will be essential.

          • Frank

            Your original comment contained some rather bigger predictions. But even a prediction of a change in the voting system seems fanciful. The last two elections saw the two major parties achieve their highest combined proportion of the vote than any time since the 1950s. Neither of them will be demanding PR nor will the opinion-forming media and no other party has any popular support. In any case there is little enough evidence anywhere else in Europe that PR provides better options or outcomes.

          • Goose


            There’s lots of evidence proportionate systems provide better options and outcomes in terms of competency and the resultant happier populations. Look at the Scandinavian countries who dominate the worldwide contentment, life satisfaction and happiness index.

            Yes, 2017 and 2019 saw big turnouts but that doesn’t necessarily mean voters were happy with the choices before them in the UK. 2019 was a proxy referendum on the interminable 24/7, Brexit, Brexit, Brexit!, and 2017 was turned into a referendum on Corbyn.

            The UK is a miserable place for the young and in need of root and branch democratic/constitutional reform. It will happen, not a question of if but when those under 50 get things together.

          • ET

            N.Ireland First-past-the-post is used to elect MPs to the House of Commons. The Single Transferable Vote system is used to elect members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Local Councils.

          • Frank

            PR isn’t coming to England. But even if it did, any entity to the left of NuLabour-LibDems would be delegitimized as ruthlessly as Corbyn was and could only ever achieve office in coalition with neoliberals.

          • Goose


            Northern Ireland is in a fairly unique situation, given its history and stark divisions. Drawing any conclusion about the state of its politics from its voting system is pretty much rendered pointless by that history and ongoing strife.

          • Goose


            PR isn’t coming to England. But even if it did, any entity to the left of NuLabour-LibDems would be delegitimized as ruthlessly as Corbyn was and could only ever achieve office in coalition with neoliberals.

            Depends…you’ve got to consider what the unions would do provided with a realistic representation winning alternative.

            Under FPTP, unless as a party you can get to around 25% you’ve got no chance of a major seat breakthrough. Hence why even Clegg’s highpoint in 2010 netted so few seats. It’s a perversely undemocratic system designed to disincentivize those even thinking about starting a new party (as Corbyn is often urged to do).

    • Wikikettle

      JohninMK. The future unfortunately is in the hands of the silent lazy brainwashed majority. Nationalism, Separation, Balkanisation will not lead to freedom and justice while the cretins manoeuvre lie hoard and cheat. Sort out ones own affairs and have a personal Renaissance.

      • Goose

        Tory support in England comes down to protecting perceived prosperity, that’s all. Very little love for the Tories in England. Their strength is in media amplified fear; fear of the alternatives and a shamefully unrepresentative FPTP system. I honestly think if we had a proportionate system things would change as voters would have to tghink for the first time rather than voting like automatons.

        By any measure the Tories are ideologically blinkered morons who shun sound evidence based policy if it doesn’t sit with their blinkered Thatcherite ‘market is best’ mindset. The media are very good at creating left-wing bogeymen and they’re helped enormously by a two-party system that permits no real alternatives. The current Labour leader and PLP offers absolutely no hope of an alternative direction.

        The UK has the worst, antiquated system in Europe and those who claim this isn’t so are either thick, in denial, or both.

    • amanfromMars

      The deluded are as the deluded do, JohninMK, and if you take the Celts out of the British, the English are destined to be left all alone in the smoking ruins of their impotent dreams ….. and now there be another almighty novel space and practically virtually unknown place in which they are the virgin newbies all adrift in vast sees of tempestuous unforgiving ferocity …… COSMIC Justice ….. and which you might easily disagree with, but you cannot change or deny is the future for all just like them, in a world with worlds which are fundamentally changed and charged to deliver further certain revolutionary change.

      Is not the following post from earlier elsewhere, an accurate enough appraisal of the current situation as to be perfectly true? …..

      amanfromMars [2103271411] ….. just asking for clearer guidance on https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/britain-intensify-its-activities-against-new-threat-russia

      The British believe they can project their influence into far off locations like the Balkans and Black Sea by developing cyber warfare.

      Hmmm?? With particular regard to exactly who/what the British is, can you be more specific and personally name such souls as may possibly be, and therefore also quite probably are, radically mad and would be busying themselves with excessively influencing sentiment and future activities in the UK?  I realise that from a portfolio of so many, that might be too tall an order to successfully fulfil with an accurate list, but it would establish an indicative base to make a start with to investigate and interrogate.

    • N_

      WTF do we [sic] need to send a carrier group to pose around the western Pacific for goodness sake? Trying to repeat the battleships off Singapore ignominy?

      It’s possible to overapply the whole landmass and oceans optic. Sea routes along the coast of the landmass are vital.

      I’m not sure what you think the answer to your question is, John. Are you saying it’s stupidity on the part of the British rulers? Or maybe treason? Or just unclear at the present time?

      Financial Times: “Twenty Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone on Friday, marking its biggest incursion. It came one day after the US and Taiwan agreed to boost co-operation between their coast guards.”

      Meanwhile in the Torygraph: “Exclusive: How UK sought Taiwan’s help to control Covid”.

      Iain Duncan-Smith and Tom Tugendhat have been sanctioned by China, whereas strangely Jeremy Hunt who made his fortune in “China trade” hasn’t.

      It’s kinda been an open secret for a while that MI6 is somewhere between “divided” and “falling apart”. Russia is one aspect of that; it could be that China is another.

      Also the Ever Given which blocked the Suez Canal is Taiwan-operated. Did you see the course it took in the Red Sea before it entered the Canal? Winds don’t cause ships to move like that. Somebody had control of that ship and wanted to send a message.

      12% of world trade goes (or went) through the Canal.

      Psychological warfare in the true sense of that term between the west and Russia has been going on for some time. As you rightly say, the US has been getting its a*se kicked all over the place. And there is China too now.

      Reported deaths “with Covid-19” per 1 million population: Britain 1857, US 1691, Russia 670, China 3.

    • I.M.Pistov

      Well said.
      In 1979 I joined the SNP and canvassed for George Reid (now Sir George). Even way back then he and I shared the same dream that all the countries in the UK would form an alliance of small independent countries, in a similar vein to the Nordic or Benelux Alliance.
      That dream or ideal has never left me.
      With that in mind I foresee that when the current Monarch goes the Monarchy and thereafter the British state will implode under constitutional arguments and counter arguments and an alliance of independent countries will come about.
      In the meantime I’m quite content to support Alex Salmond and Alba in any way I can to rid us of the politically correct, wokeist cult that is poisoning this country.
      I am 100% convinced that if the BFab workers had been BAME or transgender alphabet type peoples this Scottish Government would have ensured they were still in gainful employment today.

    • Ronny

      Sorry, just read the first page of comments. Not sure why a new reader is always taken to the last page first. Good luck, I hope you get a candidacy, and a seat.

    • N_

      And what’s happening to the donations people gave to Action for Independence to support its electoral campaign which it has now called off without prior warning because somebody who wasn’t a member decided to set up his own party? Will they be paid back?

      “Supermajority” is a peculiar way of saying “fake majority” or “gamed majority”.
      A real supermajority is a majority greater than some specified figure that is significantly higher than 50%, as required in some systems for the passing or repeal of especially important legislation.

      • Jimmeh

        It’s not necessarily the SNP that bought the domain; it could be anyone that doesn’t much like Salmond.

        The domain registration details are hidden behind a WHOIS privacy service. The domain was registered on 26th March.

  • amanfromMars

    Nicola Sturgeon and the present iteration of the SNP have made it impossible to not see them as and realise they are no more than just an ignoble Westminster Trojan Horse.

    • N_

      What does that make Alec Salmond who is encouraging us all to vote for the SNP in every constituency in Scotland? The guy who is wheeling in the Trojan Horse?

  • Juteman

    I’ve read that because of Covid, the votes won’t be counted as usual after the vote closes, but will be stored somewhere and counted the next day. If that is true, i hope someone is keeping a close watch on the ballot boxes.

  • Marcel Leutenegger

    If found in contempt of court and sent to prison, I would thereafter publish the whole story including names to be in contempt of court.

    • Tatyana

      I would not blatantly break the law, but I wonder if Mr Murray can initiate legal proceedings against the “indefinite circle of persons” aka “the alphabet sisters”, for conspiracy aimed to disrupt the natural course of the political process of your country? To undermine democracy, or whatever, what do they usually blame the Russians for?

      • Wikikettle

        Tatyana. I think Craig has suffered enough reporting on AS case. It should be AS to somehow seek justice ?

        • Tatyana

          Mr. Salmond could apply to protect his reputation, in theory. But I think that in practice he will not succeed, especially since he goes further into politics and he will have to somehow interact with the same people.
          Any citizen of a country can apply for the protection of democratic values, it seems to me, isn’t that so? Do you have a constitution?

          • N_

            There’s no constitution in Britain. Idiots say there is an “unwritten one”, but they are only repeating what they’ve been told by hangers-on of the royal family, and their view on the matter is beneath contempt.

            Alec Salmond may be many things, but he is not crazy enough to sue the alphabet sisters for maliciously damaging his reputation. The civil standard of proof that his opponents would have to meet in a civil suit would be much lower than the standard that prosecutors were required to meet, and failed to meet, in his own criminal trial for attempted rape etc. The civil standard is 50%. There may be people on here who say “Go for it, Alec; let’s you and [names redacted for legal reasons] fight”, but I do not think he would be such a headbanger.

      • Marcel Leutenegger

        Craig could initiate legal proceedings. They would be costly and most likely in vain for reasons already discussed ad nausea on this blog.

        I do not think Craig would do what I proposed. On the other hand, none can be sentenced twice for the same crime. Hence my proposal: Found guilty without reason? Deliver the reason post-hoc! (Way cheaper and more effective than an appeal. Of course, the verdict would have to be served in full then.)

        • Tatyana

          I see, сгорел сарай, гори и хата 🙂 I don’t think Mr. Murray is that kind of a person 🙂
          Also, you have extremely dodgy civil servants, they would come up with a new wording of the charge to get Mr. Murray accused of a new crime.

          • N_

            “Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb”.

            If Craig did what is being suggested, of course he would be dragged back to court and the judge would add time on to his sentence.

            You can be sentenced twice for the same crime if you do it again.
            (Indeed in certain circumstances you can even be charged a second time for a single instance of an alleged crime after you were acquitted the first time. See the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011.)

          • John Monro

            Agree, part of the court’s punishment, whatever it is, will be to ban any further publication of the material, or face further prosecution. And as you state, Craig would not blatantly break the law even if he may not agree with what it’s doing to him or Scotland in general.

  • Alex McEwan

    Stay strong Craig, thanks and congratulations to all at AFI.
    Best Wishes to you all. hope Oscar’s letting you sleep a bit.

  • Republicofscotland

    Apparently the Lib/Dems and Labour don’t want to team up with the Tories.

    offered to cooperate and work with pro-UK parties against the new threat of an indy super-majority.

    In just 3 hours, Labour and the Lib Dems have refused.

    They won’t come to the table. They’re not serious about stopping the SNP and indyref2.”


    • N_

      The pro-independence anti-SNP types who are well-represented in these comments sections don’t seem to be serious about stopping the SNP either, and we are talking about an SNP government about which some of them have used words such as “scum”.

      A case of “Let’s be governed by scum, just so long as the country is a different colour from England on the map.”

      Incidentally the big battle this election will be in Glasgow.

      If Alba stands in the election (that’s not a given), and if they win some seats, then the first six will be taken from the Greens. Got to see the funny side I suppose.

      • N_

        Basically the Greens have been supporting the SNP minority government for five years, in what is basically a financial scam that allows them to receive state money as an “opposition party” when they aren’t really in “opposition”, and they were expecting further payment and a growth of their influence but all they’re getting is a kick up the a*rse.

        There may be a lesson there somewhere.

      • john mckay

        The Nikla Regime and the Westminster placed colonial head civil servant are not the SNP. They will be gone. The coming court case involving the colonial Permanent Secretary will grow legs and arms kicking and turning over stones to expose all that has been shamefully redacted.

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