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Wings Over Scotland


The injured party 82

Posted on January 15, 2021 by

Extraordinary events are now unfolding on a daily basis (or even more frequently than that) in the vexed case of the two ongoing inquiries into serious misconduct by the Scottish Government regarding false allegations made against Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond, who was found innocent of any wrongdoing, has been endeavouring – at a significant personal cost in both time and money – to assist both inquiries with their investigations, and has received remarkably little in the way of gratitude for his efforts. Indeed, he has instead been both publicly attacked and threatened with prosecution for attempting to tell the truth.

This evening his lawyers sent the letter below to the Convener of the Holyrood inquiry. It’s a powerful microcosm of events to date, and we think you should see all of it.

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The integrity of a nation 348

Posted on January 14, 2021 by

This time almost exactly two years ago I sat in a cafe close to Holyrood in a state of what I can only call shock. The enormity of what I’d just heard was sinking in; over the preceding nearly three hours I’d been introduced to all the gory detail of the plot against Alex Salmond. The last two years has at times been surreal for me as a result.

To explain what I am going to write next I need to tell you something about my fundamental beliefs. I have worked close to the power of government my whole life. I have studied and read widely on power. I am also a strong believer in social change.

Everything I have seen has driven me to the same conclusion; nothing is more important than integrity in public life. That may seem anachronistic to some (given modern political culture) and not particularly left-wing. But the positive change I want cannot be built on anything but the firmest of foundations; when corruption or misuse of power creeps into those foundations, nothing good can be built on them.

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In whatever the opposite of memoriam is 64

Posted on January 14, 2021 by

For poor old Richmond Leinster, who shuffled off the political stage today, we solemnly offer this tribute from Novara Media pundit Aaron Bastani:

A tragic loss to the Scottish political scene. The tweet, we mean.

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A fishing expedition 130

Posted on January 14, 2021 by

This is such a strange story.

Because even although it’s part of a transparent attempt from the Record to deflect attention from the many shocking revelations of the last few days around the Salmond affair, it’s still unusual that a newspaper would make a front-page lead out of a claim it knows it can’t provide a single scrap of evidence for.

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Everything Falls Apart 150

Posted on January 14, 2021 by

We’re sure you all read this story last night.

Via another source we’d known it was coming for a few hours and were all set to follow it up, but in fact Daniel Sanderson of the Telegraph did a pretty thorough job on it in a comprehensive piece, even listing all the times the “prepared” civil servants had had to go back and “clarify” “errors” in their evidence even after dozens of hours of practice and £55,000 worth of “training” in how to not quite tell the truth under pressure.

It was hard not to wonder how abysmal their performances would have been if they’d only had – say – £30,000 worth of coaching at your expense.

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Pension Pete’s Pickle 155

Posted on January 13, 2021 by

When we have a rare spare moment, readers, there’s nothing we enjoy more for a bit of fun and relaxation than to fire off a few Freedom Of Information requests.

And just for some variety, last month we sent a couple to the UK Parliament – mainly on behalf of our Number One fan, Pete Wishart MP.

The answers came in this week.

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The whole truth 157

Posted on January 13, 2021 by

On pain of a grisly death, we’re not allowed to tell our splendid cartoonist Chris Cairns what to draw cartoons about. Artists are funny that way. And it’s a shame, because if we were we’d have a great idea for this weekend’s toon.

Because what’s being demanded of Alex Salmond right now is extraordinary.

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A duty of candour 279

Posted on January 12, 2021 by

During today’s session of the Holyrood inquiry into the botched conspiracy against Alex Salmond, committee MSP Jackie Baillie gave the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, an especially uncomfortable time with some persistent and forensic questions about the Scottish Government’s failure to uphold its legal “duty of candour” in respect of the disclosure of relevant documents to Lord Pentland’s judicial inquiry.

(A report publicly released on Christmas Eve noted that on 2 November 2018 external counsel had stressed to government lawyers the importance of that duty of candour, and that on 6 November 2018 in the Court of Session, Lord Pentland had directed that he expected full candour and disclosure from the Government.)

A flustered Evans simply swerved most of them. And we’re going to show you why.

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Two liars 111

Posted on January 12, 2021 by

So we have our answer. According to press reports today (although we haven’t seen an actual official reply), John Swinney has refused to formally tell James Hamilton that his inquiry into possible breaches of the Ministerial Code by the First Minister over the Alex Salmond investigation ought to include the matter of whether she repeatedly lied to Parliament about what she knew and when.

Wave goodbye to justice, readers.

Because the First Minister and her deputy are now proven liars and cowards.

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Listen, the snow is falling 169

Posted on January 12, 2021 by

We know we’ve given you quite a lot to digest already this year, readers. But spare a thought for us – trying to keep on top of all the fast-moving developments in Scottish politics in the first 11 days of 2021 has been rather like trying to tunnel our way out of an avalanche while it was still happening.

We’ve had a bit of job even finding a spare moment to squeeze the cartoons in. But today’s task looked like one of the most challenging of all.

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Rhubarb and crumbling 106

Posted on January 11, 2021 by

Since the events of the last few days, folks, we’ve noticed a real ramping up of abuse towards Wings on social media from what one might call the small-L “loyalist” cult wing of the SNP. Like this dude, for example.

(A “miserable misogynist misanthrope” and “yesterday’s boring fart”? That’s a simply outrageous slur. I’m not misogynist.)

Alarmed at the news our traffic was apparently “collapsing”, we thought we’d check to see whether the situation was beyond saving.

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Jethart Justice 222

Posted on January 11, 2021 by

The freelance journalist, broadcaster and former SNP staffer Mark Hirst was last week acquitted at Jedburgh Sheriff Court, after a very short trial, of a charge of threatening behaviour against the anonymous complainers who made false allegations of sexual misconduct against the former First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Many hundreds of years ago a very different type of law used to operate in Jedburgh, or Jethart as it’s known locally. “Jethart Justice” was once meted out to the Reivers – the lawless cattle stealers and highwaymen who used to range freely in that part of the Borders – which was that the local prosecutors would hang suspects first, then try the dead men afterwards. Some believe it’s where the concept of lynching originated.

Anyone who thinks those days are over doesn’t know the Scottish media.

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