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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  • Paul Mc

    As an American, I’m curious about Judge Dornier’s “Lady” title of nobility. Are judges in Scotland / UK exclusively selected from the aristocracy, or are they granted such titles as a perk for being hired as a judge?

    • David

      In the Courts of Scotland judges in the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and the sheriff courts are all addressed as “My Lord” or “My Lady” and referred to as “Your Lordship” or “Your Ladyship”.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge#United_Kingdom

      In Scotland those presiding in lower courts are sometimes called ‘sheriff’, though they wear neither stetsons nor tin stars.

  • Simon

    Just wanted to say you continue to have my full confidence and support (and my subscription to your blog) following the outcome of the contempt proceedings, Craig.

    Don’t let the buggers grind you down etc. Your analysis of the evidence in the criminal proceedings against AS was indispensable to all of us watching from the sidelines. Having read many of the documents produced on the internet, I have no doubt whatsoever that Nicola Sturgeon et al are corrupting the system of government in Scotland and that they need to be removed before they do any more damage. Their persistent use of redaction and denial of access to documents while hiding behind a court order which they are deliberately misusing is truly appalling. As an English socialist who supports independence for Scotland, I really hope SNP supporters wake up, read the evidence and look behind the mask that Sturgeon deploys to see the poisoned chalice she represents for Scottish democracy.

    • Stevie Boy

      It seems obvious to me that, the premise that the SNP are going to deliver independence is totally false.
      Whether it’s the evil kranky or suave AS, I don’t see any viable roadmap to independence. The SNP is just a Trojan horse provided by Westminster to distract the gullible Scots.

  • Mac

    I always remember Stephen Fry talking about his prison experience.

    He said he was not ‘bummed’ by Mr Big in the showers and in fact met a lot of really good people.

    It is easy for me to say this sitting in my chair, while you are the man who walked the walk, but I suspect you will be just fine and come out far enriched for it Craig. With your knowledge of the law you’ll be a respected ‘prison lawyer’ to the other inmates.

    As much as we can (given the limitations) I think I am safe saying we all have your back bud.

  • The Smart One

    To stand on the ALBA list, Craig would have to become a member of ALBA.

    To become a member of ALBA, he would have to resign as a member of AFI.

    And he might not wish to do that out of loyalty.

    His circumstances are extremely difficult – fighting an appeal while in jail, caring for his family from jail.

    Unless being elected would mean a suspension of his prison sentence, I think it is best for Craig not to stand as a candidate at the current time.

  • DunGroanin

    The more I reflect on this brilliant move the better it gets. This is a strategy from 3D chess!
    Even 4D as Time is an active component.

    Any response and tactic would lead to at best the sameish number of Constituency Seats or fewer if they start withdrawing candidates and electioneering in their unsafe seats – if any such thing exists. That would be by the resurgence of Lab/Con/LibDems.

    That would suit the current SNP goals of not pushing ahead with Indy at pace.

    They cannot argue for keeping a pro-Indy candidate out of parliament because they aren’t SNP without sounding like Life of Brian’s wrong type of Indy party idiots.

    There is no time to do to the voters what they did to Corbyn for YEARS to create the AS/IRA Narrative convincingly enough to pull off a postal vote fraud.

    So what can they do?
    The Trump card? Some kind Hitler/Putin Derangement Syndrome? A Chinese Manchurian accusation? Or just a shriller crying wolf or Chicken Little, stereotypical ‘We’re doomed!’ lament?

    All of which does not increase the SNP seats and indeed results in fewer seats.

    So the grand plan of securing the Greens they have nurtured with the d’hont grass, which gives an excuse for not being able to fire on with Indy this year, is endangered.

    Well when you are caught on such a depressing end game the options are to concede or throw the board over and storm off! Hoping to keep the status quo in place.

    That is the only ‘nuclear’ option left.
    To ban Alba; to ban individuals; or to CALL OFF the elections under some excuse.

    Which basically means that many Indy supporters will finally see the utter corruption at the head of the SNP.

    As I say absolutely bloody Genius! 😃😉

    • Goose

      Exactly.

      Almost think the forces of independence should have seen the potential in this two-pronged attack earlier.

      If constituencies : vote SNP, and then those same SNP voters vote Alba for list, it’s potentially bye, bye unionist opposition. A quirk of the voting system maybe, but the Tories weren’t exactly complaining when Farage and co stood their party down before the last GE, gifting the Tories their support.

      • Dermot M O Connor

        When Alba was announced I thought “Bloody hell, the indyvote will be split, Unionists will cackle”. But if I’ve read Craig & comments right, the Scottish system with two ballots (with one ballot effectively wasted if you’re a party plumper) might produce MORE indy MSPs if people are smart and split SNP (seat) and ALBA (list)?

        • DunGroanin

          Exactly so
          It is vital to understand the dual voting system.
          Even these who have been dismayed by SNP/Stirgeonistas and witch hunts and felt they could not vote for them anymore should understand that the best way to achieve the change they want is to vote for the SNP for the constituency.
          And Alba for the list.

          That way the blue touch paper can be reignited and the supersonic supermajority rocket ship to Indy can finally reach its destination.

          Then you can all get on with righting the wrongs of centuries.

          For us who don’t live in Scotland or are in any way Scottish, but if we genuinely love it and them, we need to let them be free.

          It will not make them any less British than contrived BrexShit has made us any less European, by Geography or Culture.

  • Giyane

    D’Hondt is weird. Counter-intuitivity to a heart-follower is basically the opposite of intelligence. Why would one actively load the dice against the wishes of the people, unless to cheat. No wonder the Tories do cheat. Why go to all the problem of electing the parties the electorate don’t want, when you can manipulate the votes cast, in house?

    Presumably we are easier to govern when we are all unhappy with our politicians? Just bring in the cast of a zombie movie to govern us to keep us busy, and they can do whatever they like.

    • Goose

      Craig’s probably right in saying closed lists suited the Labour HQ control-freaks. Pesky voters not allowed to reject New Labour impositions.

      Clegg accepted the AV referendum under Cameron despite deep LD misgiving, because he saw AV as a stepping stone to STV ( the LD’s preferred system). Alas AV as a non-proportionate system, only slightly better FPTP, and was a tough sell made impossible by Clegg’s weakness, Cameron and the press opposition. AV’s slightly better than FPTP because it at least demands a winning candidate after necessary redistributions, get half of the votes >50%, unlike the plurality (relative majority) present system.

      STV is probably the best, most representative system certainly if the candidate lists are long enough. Certainly better than the primitive no real choice tool that is two-party FPTP.

      • Giyane

        Goose

        If I felt a little out of my depth before in Scottish politics, how much more go you think I should be now that I know that not only devolution is a clunky old hulk, but the local dredger is no more than a fishing boat with a mechanical grab on the back of it.

        2 questions.:

        1/ Is it Lloyds that eventually picks up the bill for writing of the world’s largest cargo ship and cargo on it plus compensation for the constipation of Suez?

        2/ is the failure of democracy all over the world intentional, with the beneficiaries being Gordon Brown and the globalists?

        • Wikikettle

          Giyane. I don’t know about the Insurance implications on Lloyds and the Suez canal accident and tailback. It is with some irony that Egypt stopped an Iranian tanker from transitting as did the UK by boarding an Iranian tanker at the straits of Gibraltar preventing entry into the Mediterranean. So much for “Freedom of Navigation ” in international waters. It will be interesting to see how this Hypocracy and Double standards will as usual “Blowback” on our Empire when these huge ships take the Northern route above Russia, which is shorter and cheaper.

  • Skye Mull

    Proof, if ever it was needed, that politicians are all in it for themselves. The toothless sturgeon has lunged from the water weeds but failed to get a grip on the passing salmon.

  • N_

    Alec Salmond is a politician saying “vote for me to make your vote count double”.

    He should make his mind up – does he want a referendum or not? And he should answer without reference to “Westminster”. Just tell us whether he wants a f***ing referendum or not. That will hopefully be the first question that someone like Andrew Neil will ask him.

    The facts
    In 2016 the votes cast (looking at the totals for constituencies and lists) and the seats won were as follows:

    SNP 44.1% of votes -> 48.8% of the seats
    Greens 3.6% of votes -> 4.7% of the seats

    So the pro-independence parties got MORE seats (69) than they would have won had there been “pure” proportional representation (62). And since the number of seats at Holyrood is 129, that slight difference was sufficient to give them a majority of seats rather than a minority. In other words, the d’Hondt system was biased in their FAVOUR in 2016. That is not only true of the SNP and Greens taken together; it is also true of each party taken individually. In “pure PR”, the SNP would have won 57 seats rather than 63, and the Greens 5 instead of 6.

    Gaming the electoral system and then insisting with straight faces that a so-called “supermajority” deriving from say 48% of votes (because of an idiotic student debating-society vote-counting system) provides a mandate for UDI (i.e. telling 52% of Scottish voters to f*** off) is a recipe for deaths in the streets.

    I doubt any foreign government would recognise independence in such circumstances, so good luck with the credit rating. It’s a recipe for sacrificing country for Party.

      • Contrary

        I thought Ireland used STV – single transferrable vote – system? We (Scotland) have that for our council elections (one reason there is so much confusion over voting systems is we have completely different ones in each type of election) and it is meant to be the most balanced proportionally – but it’s near impossible to vote tactically or predict the actual outcome.

        Any kind of proportionality is a good move I think, but it’s interesting that you don’t feel STV is proportional (if I have the right system for Ireland) – there was quite a mixed result in the last election!

        • ET

          Ireland does indeed use the Signal Transferrable Vote system. Prompted by the discussions on here about different voting systems I have for interest’s sake been doing some reading. The wikipedia articles are quite informative:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote
          STV gets more representatve the more seats there are in a constituency. Constituencies in Ireland have 3,4 or 5 seats with a trend to reducing constituency size to have less seats. The lower seat numbers tend to favour the bigger parties with more money. Also people still tend to vote on party lines with parties fielding a number of candidates in each constituency. People can then vote 1,2,3 for different candidates from the same party. Larger constituencies with more seats would be more proportionate but be less locally representative and the ballot papers could be stupidly long lists of candidates of more than one page. If I recall correctly one candidate in Ireland changed his name by deed poll so that he could be first on the list of candidates on the ballot paper which confers an advantage.
          STV is almost certainly more representative than FPTP systems but there are compromises with all systems. If I devise the perfect system I’ll get back to you but don’t wait up 😀

          • ET

            The ballot paper lists are ordered alphabetically by surname, hence if your surname begins with A you are top of the list. Candidates listed further down the ballot paper have less chance of a vote.

          • Goose

            @ET

            Also this problem (below) because of the way 1st preferences are understandably higher valued:

            ‘But under STV, nominating too many candidates can be counter-productive, splitting the first-preference votes and allowing the candidates to be eliminated before receiving transferred votes from other parties.’

          • Clark

            ET – “If I devise the perfect system I’ll get back to you but don’t wait up “

            There is a mathematical proof that there is no perfect system. But you don’t really need maths to work it out; with the number of voters far exceeding the number of representatives, it seems vanishingly unlikely even all common rankings of voters’ priorities can be proportionally represented by any combination of representatives.

            That’s not an argument for not bothering to improve representation; some systems are better than others, and relative majority ie. “FTPT” is by far the worst of the lot. I favour STV.

          • ET

            If I had a preference I would also favour the STV system. When I first came of age to vote I was in Ireland and voted via that system. I then moved to the UK and used their system. As Salmond said in his Alba party launch “you play the ball as it lies.”
            Something else to consider is the number of representatives per unit population. In Ireland there is one TD (MP) per approx 30,000 population. In the UK it’s closer to one MP per 100,000 population. If something similar to the Irish situation were to operate in the UK you’d have close on 2300 MPs which in practical terms would probably be ludicrous. In consequence politics in Ireland is much more locally focused. That is both a good and a bad thing.

            Constituency clinics in Ireland must have to filter a whole load of nonsense compared to the UK, though I am sure the UK MPs have to do some filtering. By that I mean people in Ireland complain to their TD (MP) about stuff that should never be clogging up their inboxes but on the other hand keeps Irish representatives closer to what the locals are bothered about.

            Where I live now there is one representative for every 5000 people (approx) and there is no party system. Every f***er complains directly to their representative about anything. Perhaps it is too fine grained. I really don’t know and cannot conceive of what is the most efficient solution. It’s still a worthwhile exercise trying to think about it though. 😀

          • Contrary

            Those are indeed interesting ET, that Penrose’s Rule is an interesting concept – and shows a lot of research and maths has gone into the problem, gaming theory sounds far too difficult though!

            How about each region gets an AI robot as a representative, and at election time every constituent loads in their opinion to it. It could be programmed to sort these opinions into something generally acceptable on a range of issues. The results might be hilarious, but I’m not sure I’d be happy with robots bringing in legislation (though it couldn’t be worse than the SNP and Tories surely?).

          • Bayard

            “If I devise the perfect system I’ll get back to you but don’t wait up ”

            How about Sortition? Endorsed by none other than Aristotle, “It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.”

            At a stroke the corruption that is party politics will be swept away when anyone who is eligible can stand and the winner’s name is drawn out of a hat with all candidates’ names in it.

        • Dermot M O Connor

          contrary, the Irish system is (as mentioned) far better than FPTP but it produces anomalies – seat ‘bonuses’ that kick in (not by design, they’re an artifact of the system). So a party can win 28% but take 36 or 37% of the seats. In a previous election in the early 00s, Sinn Fein won something like 10% of the vote but only got 3% of the seats, where the PDs won 2% of the vote but won more seats than SF (or something like that). It allows a party on 40% to dominate (as they’ll get close to 50%, and can coalesce with independents and small parties). SO just like the UK, 40% becomes the magic number for a party well shy of 50% to stay in power for a very long time (see Fianna Fail, 1997 – 2011), with disastrous consequences.

        • Contrary

          Well researched ET! And thanks for the summary Dermot.

          That’s all really good information to know about – I suspect STV in council elections work a bit better because you’ll have more variety of people (not just parties) standing (and we can get very long lists – one of the key things we have learnt, sort of, is to always grade each candidate – leaving blanks might mean someone you detest isn’t downgraded because you haven’t marked anything and your vote isn’t counted).

          I hadn’t really considered all the mechanisms that might make STV fairly rubbish in a general election – an election with just a few big parties.

          I await with great anticipation hearing about the perfect system ET – it’s badly needed though!

          I keep meaning to investigate the Swiss system to see if that gives any clues – but it’s probably the case that anything is better than FPTP – and none ideal. I think might be giving STV system a body-swerve as an option as well now! (It’s far too complicated too).

          • ET

            It isn’t really that complicated for the person voting. The ballot paper is a list of candidates with a box beside their name and you number 1 to how ever many candidates in your order of preferance in the box.
            I say this tongue-in-cheek, if you can’t work out how to do that then maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the first place 😀
            (Don’t @me, I’m joking)
            It is a little more complicated for the returning officers though not so complicated that it isn’t workable. Also, at counts in Ireland there are lots of observers ensuring that it is all done the way it ought to be done.

    • Squeeth

      You can’t infer what the vote would have been if the election system was democratic, which is all that matters. If you vote in a non-democratic system you rig your own election and it serves you right. Abstainers don’t get what they deserve, which is something better than anti-democracy.

    • Cubby

      N_

      In 2015 Cameron got his mandate for a referendum on a vote of 36.9%.

      Yet in Scotland Britnats say independence supporting parties must get >50% of the vote to have a mandate.

      Some more extreme Britnats say the SNP alone must get >50% of the vote to get a mandate.

      In 1979 the same majority percentage voted for a Scottish parliament as voted for Brexit in 2016. Brexit went ahead; the Scottish parliament did not.

      There is no democracy worthy of the name in Scotland whatever system is used as long as England can outvote Scotland in Westminster – it is colonialism – Westminster’s favoured approach to other countries around the world.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    A poem by the pro-independence poet Deòrsa Mac Iain Dheòrsa / George Campbell Hay (1915-1984). Born in Elderslie, brought up in Tarbert Argyll where he picked up the local Gaelic. More about him –

    https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poet/george-campbell-hay/

    The Gaelic original is from the volume:

    COLLECTED POEMS AND SONGS OF
    GEORGE CAMPBELL HAY
    (DEÒRSA MAC IAIN DHEÒRSA)
    Edited by Michael Byrne
    Edinburgh University Press (2003)

    ———

    ALBA LE A H-IOGHNAIDHEAN
    (“Alba cona h-ingantaib” – Dàn Deirdre)

    Is sgeulach am maraiche mara
    a thill air ’eòlas on aineol,
    a shiubhail cuantan gu caladh.

    ’S ann bruidhneach a thogas e còrsa.
    Cluaidh no Lìte sear an t-seòlaid,
    bidh ioghnaidhean san aithris sgeòil aig’.

    Ge-tà, bheir Alba bàrr air ’aithris,
    ’s i a’ dùsgadh às a cadal;
    ’s gur dùthaich ùr i gach aon latha,
    ’s i ’nochdadh nìthean a bha ’m falach
    air feadh na h-eachdraidh, sìth is aisith.
    ’S i bheir don mharaiche gach annas.

    ———
    Here is a quickish informal paraphrase done just now —

    ALBA/SCOTLAND WITH ITS WONDERS
    (“Alba cona h-ingantaib” – Song of Deirdre)

    The seafarer as raconteur,
    back from the unknown,
    over oceans to haven.

    Much said at the coast,
    Clyde or Leith in the east.
    Stunning tales to be spun.

    Yet Alba outshines his speech,
    as she rouses from her sleep,
    as each day she grows newer,
    to disclose what was hidden deep
    in her history, peace and war,
    telling the sailor a thing or four.

    • Fwl

      Thanks for introducing me to George Campbell Hay. I see he wrote in Gaelic Scots and English. I’ll read some more.

    • J Galt

      Thanks for that.

      I’ve read his father’s (John MacDougall Hay) deep and dark novel “Gillespie” which I understand caused a bit of controversy in Tarbert at the time.

  • stuart mctavish

    Lady Dorian ruling on alleged violations of her own court order is undoubtedly a breach of due process so its endorsement by two colleagues must constitute a major obstacle to finding a court with jurisdiction that is still able to hear, without prejudice, what might otherwise have been a straightforward appeal.

    Fingers crossed then that Alba acknowledges your contribution to its genesis by reinstating the opportunity to fight the good fight from the floor at Holyrood or, worst case, that the suspiciously timed sentencing proves itself to be token in nature – and not as boots on face-ist as the contemporary protocol for seasonal flu.

  • Jm

    That Guardian article is straight outta Vauxhall.

    What a shitrag of a once decent newspaper.

  • N_

    An organ such as the Spectator will probably publish the biggest alphabet name before April is out…and then it will be bye-bye Nicola.

  • Joe Mellon

    Here is what the apparent dilemma is: if the evidence presented at the court shows that prosecution witnesses were lying (perjury), and that the lies were obvious, and that the lies were co-ordinated (conspiracy to pervert), then the Crown Office would have to charge the witnesses with perjury and it would be at least moot as to whether it must also refer itself and parts of the Scottish government to the police, and/or make yet another embarrasing admission of ‘malicious prosecution’. It is also disingenuous to assert courts have no influence on what is prosecuted, especially when it concerns court proceedings (perjury, conspiracy, contempt…) themselves.
    “Wings” wrote a letter to the police pointing out the obvious lies, and asked whether they were preparing a prosecution. The reply was that prosecutions were a matter for the Crown Office: in other words “That is above our pay grade.”.
    Here is the *actual* dilemma: the task of a justice system is to investigate criminality fairly and evenly, to dispense justice and to be seen to dispense justice. Abandon that and one has abandoned one’s own reason for existing. Lawyer’s might be tempted by the option of disappearing into the bushes of legalese. The CO also has the option of abusing process to put the frighteners on anyone holding them or their mates to account: as Rangers directors found out.
    (Question from a lay person: if a prosecution service admits to ‘malicious prosecution’, why do individuals not get charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice? That the mafia might organize such a conspiracy is bad: that the CO organize it is monstrous.)
    The problem is such courses only address the perceived and immediate dilemma, leaving the actual dilemma unaddressed and only work when there are no institutional checks and balances. The bushes will be chopped down one after the other by some court on the way to Supreme Court (and possibly the ECHR). The CO abandoned their ‘Rangers’ process rather than walk down that road. Even the Scottish Government eventually abandoned the civil process against AS – but doubled down with the criminal process, and landed themselves in even more embarrasment and trouble.

  • Garry W Gibbs

    “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 is all I need to know.

  • fonso

    Can it confidently be assumed that Sturgeon supporters are hungry for independence? In recent times she has haughtily distanced herself from all mass marches other than ones organised by Mandelson and his chums. Yet her disdain for AUOB and its push for independence seems to have made her even more of a cult figure through that period. That suggests false hope may be being invested as much in the legions who idolise her as in Sturgeon herself. She is doubtless aware that her huge support is based primarily, perhaps even entirely, on her being a celebrity woman and female leader.

    There is the wider question too of how deep independence feeling runs in Scotland more generally? There are not obvious parallels with the Irish situation. The history of the Scottish independence movement is very shallow by comparison and Scots have hardly suffered more at Tory hands than people in Oldham or even Newham. There is no folk tradition of rebellion and blood sacrifice in Scotland’s modern history, while even Salmond made great play in 2014 of how much he wanted certain shared unions to persist. Have things changed that much since then? Was there really some great national passion for a barely understood EU?

    I am all for Scotland breaking loose, mainly because it would upset some of the worst people on the planet. But I fear the independence movement is still situated on some pretty loose soil and that the outcome of any second referendum is far from guaranteed.

  • `Carlyle+Moulton

    You may have been blogging about yourself but the problems that you are having are the result of CORRUPTION in Scottish politics, police and legal systems and are of public interest.

    • Babuška

      Very well said.

      Craig’s personal struggles are all our struggles at the hands of that dead entity: the state.

      It’s ok to speak of ‘you’ Craig. No one wins unless we all win, and we add our voices to your voice

      That is the grass roots revolt

  • DunGroanin

    Lols, this Sunday before Easter – when crucifixion and resurrection are the themes – as the MSM are regrouped like scheming Temple Userers, to launch their new attack lines, here is some of the gibberish coming out of the stinking banshee Obsessive Groan sphincter :

    ‘Mundell said that anyone who did not want “an independence referendum within months” needed to get behind the Tories. However, a recent poll, published before the Alba party was launched, suggested the Tories could end up as the third-largest party in Holyrood, overtaken by Labour.’

    And they get a quote from the rent a gob Wizard of Fixed Polls:

    ‘John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University’ – NOTE that they have deprived him of his Knighthood title –

    “Though it might pick up some activists and perhaps SNP politicians the party will have little organisation or resource, and will be heavily reliant on his personality.”

    (This in my opinion is the sure (bat) signal, they have decided to load up the postal vote scam weapon – a precursor of which is the ‘narrative’ that will cover it, staring with manipulated polls and Curtice as the ‘cover’ – the dropping of ‘Sir’ is to provide distance from the ‘Union’ that he is a Knight of. )

    The article goes back to repeat the lies in the trial by quoting from and linking, to Garavelli’s -Tortoise Media hit piece – which CM went through line by line as we all recall (is that still on this site?

    It other news the Obsessive Groan reveals a integrity initiative sting operation agains the Syria Group who have been debunking the WH/CW lies the group is called the CI(J)A to differentiate it from the CIA. This of course is the route to reignite further attempts at regime change and intervention in the ME 🤣🤣

    On which note I will end with a question on military medals handed out to U.K. military personnel operating at the US base in Bahrain for their actions ‘following’ Sulemani’s assassination a year ago – what’s the story ?

    • AmyB

      So when Sir Keir Starmer is referred to in the media simply as Keir Starmer, what special meaning is that meant to signify? Likewise when Sir Paul, Sir Elton and Sir Mick are routinely referred to as Paul McCartney, Elton John and Mick Jagger – what is the secret meaning being conveyed there…? And as for (Sir) John Curtice, I watched a livestream discussion only last week where he was discussing the merits of PR and the unjust built-in bias of FPTP – so your snide dismissal unfairly (mis-)characterises him.

  • Eoin

    “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.”

    Is a Unilateral Declaration of Independence [by the Scottish parliament] a realistic proposition?

    Also, is Craig considering joining Alba?

  • Wally Jumblatt

    I thought there were rules to stop collusion in elections
    (eg don’t vote for me, vote for X to stop Y winning)
    -if there weren’t someone evil-minded in Edinburgh might start and SNPII party standing only in list election.
    Saying Vote SNPI for MSP, and SNPII for List. And then where would we be.

    Given that, I don’t think AS can say vote SNP on the first ballot – and he shouldn’t anyway

  • James Caldwell

    Craig

    I endorse your comments regarding your reporting of the Alex Salmond case and particularly your coverage of the defence case. After reading your reports I discussed the case with other members of my family who had not read your blogs and stated that Alex Salmond would be acquitted of all charges. No-one believed me until the verdict was announced since they had only read the reports in the mainstream press which gave little or no information regarding the defence case. I did not try to identify the names of the alphabet women from the reports and learned more about them from the disgraceful BBC television programme by Kirsty Wark, Sarah Smith and Dani Garavelli than anything mentioned in your trial coverage.

    I sincerely believe that there are still many people who have been left with a misleading impression of the trial due to the lack of full coverage of anything other than the prosecution case in the mainstream press and television and radio.

    I do not agree with everything that you write but believe that you always provide information that no other writers will touch and present views that allow readers to question pre-conceived opinions on many subjects.

    I wish you well with your appeal.

    • Goose

      They also carry a report on Starmer’s tumbling ratings, which appears to pin the blame via anonymous ‘sources’ on , don’t laugh , ” appeasement of the left”.

      After suspending Corbyn, dumping his policy platform, purging the left membership and local councillors plus siding with the Tories on controversial deeply authoritarian legislation, ‘appeasement’ must have a different meaning in guardian land.

        • Goose

          Has the guardian ever been this horrendous?

          Like a glance through the looking glass, where everything is the reverse of the truth.

          • Joe Mellon

            When Rusbridger was editor he sort of ‘held the line’ against the intelligence services (more or less).
            Katherine Viner is a ‘which lipstick? best weekend in the algarve?’ journalist well out of her depth.

          • Goose

            Mentioned before that Janine Gibson should have become editor-in-chief. She was as strong as anyone in fronting and defending the Snowden stuff.

            Don’t know what the deal is with the intel services now, like Bellingcat, they seem to feed them uninteresting stories that cast a negative light on adversaries, with the quid pro quo being very few stories about domestic intel affairs. A bum deal if ever there was one. Kath Viner is like some careerist, time-serving PLP MP.

          • DunGroanin

            Joe,
            Rusbridger turned over Snowden and Assange.
            He invited the spooks in to ‘demolish the machine in the cellar’.
            One of his prime targets was to dislodge Jonathan Cook.
            His recent public attack on one of his main editors tells you a lot about his being in the same rooms with the top Mandarins of the State. Binet was groomed and a better experienced editor who was preferred by the bolshy underpaid staff, was sidelined and never heard of again!

            He was able to retire with ‘his’ endowment to govern from the high cloud shrouded palace.

            Think again and more about the point at which the Grauniad hit its High water mark (if it ever went much above the Low water mark!)

        • Goose

          They also claim Starmer inherited a party in a terrible state.

          Yeah. 530,000 mainly young, enthusiastic members, the largest mass organisation of any political party in Europe, by far, is a truly awful predicament, one that no party would want.

          When will it be acknowledged, the guardian publishes what can only be described as disinformation?

  • amanfromMars

    Old dogs and wasted lags still doing ancient tricks and failing to stay relevant to, and in overall absolute charge of tomorrow, is the story of practically everywhere on Earth today, and such thoughts are used to terrorise some and galvanise others beyond all conventional and traditional norms of statutory command and control. …….. you know, whenever the masses conclude the lunatics are in charge of the asylum and the inmates they have released are roaming free following crazy orders.

    But one does have to widen one’s scope of vision to register the bigger pictures being presented out there. At the risk of invoking mocking howls of ignorant derision, you might like to peruse the post authored by Juillen 1 here …….. https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2021/03/26/redhat_fsf_funding_richard_stallman/#c_4229463 …. which resulted in the following reply …..

    Crikey, Juillen 1, that is almost an exact carbon copy/mirror/clone/parallel of the recent and current running Scottish National Party/Alex Salmond/Nicola Sturgeon romp.

    And much ado about nothing of any great importance to you and me too.

    Such politically charged singularities are certainly spooky territory.

  • mark golding

    The Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, described Salmond as “a discredited figure” and is attempting to put Alex ‘under suspicion” with the emphasis and attention on Ms A’s complaint found not proven.

    I speculate for now more weight will be put on sexual harassment by further incidents (adventures) by the security services to trumpet by way of MSM in AN ATTEMPT to impugn Alex Salmond and force a moratorium on party politics when dealing with matters of sexual harassment. This by way of highly emotional statements such as ‘detrimental to mental health’ and ‘crushing’ feelings of guilt that pandora’s box had been opened and propelled sexual misrepresentation esp. on social media.

    BE WARNED & understand… such is the threat of severing union.

  • Goose

    From the Express

    Scotland Independence sabotage: UK spies being relocated due to Russia’s ‘Scotski’ ops

    At least a hundred spies are being relocated from London to Scotland in a move
    aimed at targeting growing threats from Russia and China.

    The Telegraph carries a similar story.
    ———-
    If true , surely the SNP (and indeed now also Alba) should be raising questions about what’s provoking this? Already great concerns about the integrity of the UK postal vote and 2014 referendum rigging. I’d wager most Scots would be more concerned about potential plots and meddling originating in London than meddling by Moscow or Beijing.

    • Goose

      These claims of collusion/subversion are being made everywhere and yet we haven’t seen a scintilla of proof.

      It’s just a handy excuse to permit intel methods of surveillance etc that wouldn’t be permitted if they admitted people were simply acting of their own volition. The state has seemingly turned on its own citizens .

      • Goose

        Investigating subversion has probably become the skeleton key of intel agencies. Can’t say they’re terrorists so subversion will do.

        • Goose

          The logic behind this rash of ‘subversive behaviour’ accusations is supremely stupid :

          What outcome would Moscow or Beijing want? > Person X wants that, therefore Person X must be in collusion with Moscow and/or Beijing.

          It’s as insulting as it is stupid. Yet many politicians blithely mouth it as fact.

    • lysias

      At least here in the US, they’re also saying Russia is spreading disinformation to weaken confidence in the vaccines.

      • Goose

        Russia once again as a threat is good for the defence industry and justifying those multi-billion projects and expenditures.

        The Cold War ended, hostilities waned and they missed them.

        As for vaccines, in the UK they are pushing the Astra-Zeneca vaccine which is based on older technology, technology which is considerably less effective against the SA variant, and has a higher risk of causing adverse reactions than the superior mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech. This isn’t misinformation or disinformation, it’s undisputable fact, so why are some seeking to gloss over this?

        We should have a choice.

        • Goose

          A study suggested the O-AZ has just 10% efficacy against South African variant.

          Why they’re now talking about ‘booster jabs’ for over 70s in September – in reality a different vaccine.

          It’s a mess in the UK with people having different vaccines. Looks like those who got the Pfizer one won’t get their second dose within the allotted 12 weeks either because of shortages.

          We needed world cooperation and a pooling of resources but it didn’t happen we got big pharma games.

          • Goose

            He may of had both but that’s highly unlikely:

            According to the most current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, that a lack of available safety data means COVID-19 vaccines shouldn’t be mixed unless there’s an exceptional situation.

            You can easily understand why vaccine combinations aren’t advised as any adverse immune system response becomes harder to replicate, understand draw conclusions from etc.

            If Zahawi is lying and had a placebo or a B12 jab, that’s pretty stupid, with so many anti-vaxxers out there.

  • A Kilted Sausage

    Congratulations (and thanks!) on resuming your blog, and my very best wishes for your appeal.

  • Republicofscotland

    How quickly things can change as the ALBA party now has more MPs at Westminster than Scottish Labour and the Scottish Green party.

  • DunGroanin

    Obsessive Groan follows up Marr with the ‘Battle of Britain’ reprise with a motley force rising to meet the Alba threat. The great poll balls propagandist Curtice and Greens.

    “Scottish Greens dismissed Alex Salmond’s new political venture as being “thrown together at the last minute by a man who is less popular in Scotland than Boris Johnson”. “

    Are the Greens more popular? Genuine question.

    • Goose

      Different target electorate anyway, it’s mainly the SNP’s list vote Alba want. No doubt anyone switching from the Greens will be welcome too though.

      The snide, arrogant London-based UK media can’t help themselves from having digs. There’s a union but it’s not a union of equals, as voters are reminded when elections come around, we just live here.

    • Emma

      Or as the Herald so delicately puts it: “Convicted perjurer Tommy Sheridan has announced he had joined Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party.”

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