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Anas Sarwar is a liar

Posted on April 04, 2012 by

We invite the de facto leader of Scottish Labour to sue us if the title of this article is libellous. But the facts seem to us to be clear and incontrovertible. On BBC1’s weekend political programme Sunday Politics Scotland on the 1st of April 2012, Anas Sarwar was interviewed by Isabel Fraser, along with the SNP’s Stewart Hosie.

Below is a transcript of part of the discussion, on the subject of Labour’s allegations that the Scottish Government’s consultation on the independence referendum was “designed for abuse”. It begins 43m 36s into the show, just after Fraser has suggested to Sarwar that the consultation process is in fact, as stated by Hosie, identical to those previously conducted by Labour.

SARWAR: It isn’t the same as previous processes, because you don’t even have to submit an email address or any form of identity to put in an anonymous response, and you can put in multiple anonymous responses… on the second point that Stewart raised around the Labour Party’s own website, you have to put in an email address and a name to be able to respond, so it’s not an anonymous response that you could put in from our own site.

FRASER: But you could put in multiple responses from that address.

SARWAR: No, you have to put in your own name and an email address, which, which you can’t use multiple…

FRASER: So you’re monitoring it, and you will ensure that?

SARWAR: Absolutely, there’s no multiple responses, they can see exactly who has put in a response with their name and also their email address.

Sarwar then repeats the allegation that the process was“not only open to abuse, it’s designed for abuse” by the SNP. Fraser puts it to Hosie that that’s a very significant accusation and asks him if he accepts the charge.

HOSIE: What’s more disturbing is Anas Sarwar there saying that the responses through the Labour Party website are being monitored. That clearly is very worrying indeed, if the Labour Party are able to monitor responses through their website to a public consultation. That’s extremely concerning indeed that you said that.

SARWAR: That’s not what I said, Stewart. What I said was –

HOSIE: You said they were being monitored.

SARWAR: – there are individual, individual email addresses and names –

HOSIE: You said they were being monitored.

SARWAR: – individual email addresses and names that would go in from our responses. The point I’m making, and this is clear – I am making that accusation that the SNP are looking like they’re trying to rig this referendum.

(We’ll ignore the cowardly weasel-worded smear “I am making the accusation that the SNP are looking like they’re trying to rig this referendum” for now.)

We’ll be clear: Sarwar’s statements in the transcript above are lies. That’s not a matter of our interpretation or opinion, but empirical fact. You do NOT “have to put in your own name” on Labour’s form. Wings Over Scotland has already proved this by submitting a consultation response through the form using Anas Sarwar’s name, along with the email address “”. We are not Anas Sarwar.

Sarwar’s repeated claim that “no multiple responses” are possible through the form is also a lie – there are no discernible safeguards against either fake names or multiple responses on the site, as we also verified by successfully submitting further multiple entries through the same form, including this one in which we used the name “anonymous” and the email address “”.

Sarwar’s position on whether Labour are monitoring the responses in order to potentially catch these abuses is doubly untruthful. When Fraser asks him “So you’re monitoring [the responses via the form]?”, he answers “Absolutely” (although our experiments suggest this is not the case), yet mere seconds later when Hosie expresses concern about this admission, he replies “That’s not what I said”, even though it was, as an indisputable matter of record, precisely what he said.

The Scottish media, it probably goes without saying, has not challenged Sarwar on these easily-demonstrable lies. As Sarwar was nominated by Scottish Labour to be its spokesman for the issue on Sunday Politics Scotland, we believe it’s reasonable to assume, furthermore, that his responses were not made out of simple ignorance.

Should Mr Sarwar contact us to explain that in fact it was the case that he simply had no idea what he was talking about, we will gladly withdraw our allegations and issue an apology to that effect. But in the absence of any such statement, the evidence makes it impossible for us to reach any other conclusion than that he deliberately and knowingly lied to Isabel Fraser, Stewart Hosie and the Scottish people.

We do not believe such a person is fit for office in one of the nation’s biggest political parties, or indeed to be a Member of Parliament. We think most people would agree, and we call on Anas Sarwar to resign both positions immediately.

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  1. 07 04 12 07:15

    Consultation Wars 3 « Scottish Referendum Experience

17 to “Anas Sarwar is a liar”

  1. Not disclosed as I merely provide information for you to follow up or ignore

    The Scottish Labour Party is a registered data user at with Registration Number: Z2089621
    Here are the five registered purposes:
    Purpose 1 Staff Administration
    Purpose 2 Administration of Membership Records
    Purpose 3 Fundraising
    Purpose 4 Canvassing Political Support Amongst the Electorate
    Purpose 5 Accounts & Records
    None of these appear to cover monitoring submissions to a third party web site.
    So perhaps Annas' difficulties might extend beyond political to encompass legal.

  2. William Pirrie

    As usual a brilliant article. I wholly support your cause to show up the Labour Party for what they are. I only wish that the MSM would cut and paste it as a headline, but I can only dream. I have shared this on my Facebook page as my small way of getting the message across.

  3. RevStu

    Cheers. Every contribution to getting the word out is invaluable.

  4. RevStu

    "So perhaps Annas' difficulties might extend beyond political to encompass legal."

    Indeed. I suspect he realised that himself, judging by the speed with which he frantically backpedalled away from the "monitoring" line on SPS. Am trying to find out more.

  5. DougtheDug

    Under the Data Protection act this is the definition of processing:

    Processing, in relation to information or data, means obtaining, recording or holding the information or data or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data, including –

    (a) organisation, adaptation or alteration of the information or data,

    (b) retrieval, consultation or use of the information or data,

    (c) disclosure of the information or data by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, or

    (d) alignment, combination, blocking, erasure or destruction of the information or data.

    If the Labour Party read the submissions sent from their website they were processing personal data and even deleting it without reading it falls under part (d) of the processing definitions.

    What are the conditions for processing?

    The conditions for processing are set out in Schedules 2 and 3 to the Data Protection Act. Unless a relevant exemption applies, at least one of the following conditions must be met whenever you process personal data:

    1. The individual who the personal data is about has consented to the processing.
    2. The processing is necessary:
    – in relation to a contract which the individual has entered into; or
    – because the individual has asked for something to be done so they can enter into a contract.
    3. The processing is necessary because of a legal obligation that applies to you (except an obligation imposed by a contract).
    4. The processing is necessary to protect the individual’s “vital interests”. This condition only applies in cases of life or death, such as where an individual’s medical history is disclosed to a hospital’s A&E department treating them after a serious road accident.
    5. The processing is necessary for administering justice, or for exercising statutory, governmental, or other public functions.
    6. The processing is in accordance with the “legitimate interests” condition.

    None of these conditions would appear to cover reading submissions sent from the Labour Party website to the Scottish Government, especially part 1.

  6. Al Ghaf

    I do beleive that Anas has been caught out telling a lie here. But what must be frustrating, is he didn't need to.
    Circumlocution is a traditional tactic of those faced with an uncomfortable accusation. When asked such a question, the stock answer of any talking head from Labour in Scotland has been for a long time: "What hard working families in Scotland are really interested in is….blah blah blah, waffle, smoke, mirrors, etc"
    But if you are the one doing the accusing, your should be able to avoid tripping yourself up. That is debating 101.
    Could it be that Anas is an honest man at heart, and only has to lie to cover up incompetence? 
    If Anas is a liar, surely Scotland deserves better liars.

  7. He just looked stupid,with his lies and backpeddeling.I just laughed at him.

  8. douglas clark

    Rev Stu,
    Is this worth your energy? It is pretty clearly the case that neither 'consultation' is, in fact, a consultation. Wee Mikey Moore is claiming now that his consultation is best. Why would that be? Because it pisses highest up the wall for an early date, for indecision on investment and whatever else wee Mikey wants it to do. It  is kind of hard to imagine that all those folk from Labour Hame were worrying about  ré inward investment when they would be more concerned about their vests.
    It is equally the case that the Scottish governments 'consultation' is no such thing. It is also a case of attempting to get folk on-side.
    I was asked, as an SNP member, to comment on their consultation. Frankly, I just did it on the basis that the pre-filled questionairre more or less was what I'd have written anyway.
    It is either wrong of me to have submitted a pre-filled questionairre, or it is OK. If it is OK for me, then it is OK for them.
    Just what is the point of these so-called consultations? Neither level of response is in any way conclusive. It is just political geeks arguing with political geeks. What the hell is the point?
    My party, the SNP, believes we should separate from the UK. Who doesn't understand that that is what we are about? What is there to consult about? I think most people 'get' it. 
    Equally with the enemies of independence. Who doesn't understand that they are all better served by Westminster than the rest of us? The real question for them would be something along the lines of:
    I am wee Mikey Moore, I get paid a whole lot of money from being a Westminster Politician. And a bit more for being in the Cabinet. Your vote for continuing this mess will let me keep earning lots of dosh and I might, with a fair wind, end up in the Lords. With a Commons pension. How dare you try to mess that up!
    The lines are already drawn. It is us against them.
    Personally I wouldn't pay a penny towards Tom Harris's pension.

  9. Seasick Dave

    Fair points well made.
    I have submitted my brain farts to the SG and, you never know, they may pick up on some of the marvellous points I put forward.
    All this rustling in the bushes from Labour is simply that, a distraction designed to cause mischief.
    Ignore, move on and VOTE YES.

  10. MajorBloodnok

    And his pants are on fire.

  11. RevStu

    "Is this worth your energy?"

    I think senior politicians blatantly lying on national television is always worth expending energy on. I couldn't really care less about the multiple submissions – I don't have much of a problem with people putting their name to a pre-written script, because if they're Labour website readers (poor souls), the chances are that the script reflects their genuine beliefs. What I have a problem with is Labour's staggeringly massive hypocrisy about it, and their telling absolute lies to support that hypocrisy.

  12. DougtheDug

    An interesting little snippet from the code in the Labour referendum consultation form on their website.
    They are not sending responses to the UK consultation anymore as it has finished but there are still two email addresses in the html code.
    <input type="hidden" name="RecipientsAddresses" value="" />
    From this code snippet it would appear that Anas was correct and that Labour are monitoring all responses to the consultation going through their website by sending a copy to an email address they own. It would seem they are retaining personal data in an unauthorised manner not in keeping with the Data Protection Act.
    I'd grab a copy of that page html code now before it changes.

  13. Doug Daniel

    Has anyone actually tried sending multiple responses from Labour's website using the same email address? Because the only possible way to prevent that is by keeping a record of who has already sent an email, which would be a pretty straight-forward breach of the Data Protection Act.
    Rubbish like that spouted by The Man Who Speaks Through His First Name says to me that we need more IT literate politicians. Maybe I should run for election after all…?

  14. Kevin Donnelly

    I said weeks ago that the form on the Labour Party website was open to "abuse" and advised Anas Sarwar and Margaret Curran of that fact via Twitter.
    1. The source code on the Labour Website contains no mechanism for responses to be "monitored" prior to being sent to the Scottish Government.  Indeed it would be highly suspicious if these were intercepted Labour Party before being sent on.
    The source code reveals that all responses go to :  AND simultaneously.
    2) The source code does have a filter to ensure the fields for NAME and EMAIL addresses are filled, but it is a rather weak filter.
    Multiple submissions can be made using:
    same name/email address
    no name (use blank spaces)/false email
    no name (blank spaces)/ no email (blank space) but formated with an "@" and .com/.org/.net etc etc
    False name/False Email
    There is no method by which the form can be:
    "checked" for multiple submissions
    prevent anonymous responses
    prevent false identities
    So Mr Sarwar, has indeed lied and blustered his way through this interview and in all comments ascribed to him in the media.
    Anyone with an ounce of very basic HTML knowledge can determine how untruthful and utterly foolish his claims were.
    Similarly there can be no doubt that Labour members/activists/supporters will have been encouraged to use the Labour Party's own pre-scripted form.
    Analysis of the Scottish Labour website, shows that it is ranked poorly in terms of overall visitors to the site, with the majority in 25-34 age group, with no children and from home. Most hits to the site come from searches on "The Labour Party".
    By contrast, the SNP website is seven time more popular than Labours, has hits from all age brackets from 18 to 65+.
    Interestingly, unlike Labour, visitors to the SNP website include those from a direct search on Scottish "referendum"
    Clearly the combination of analysis shows that the SNP website outperforms Labours in terms of global popularity, but importantly, those who visit the Labour site for the purpose of sending a consultation response from the "Have Your Say" page, there is NO mechanism of any sort to prevent, multiple or anonymous responses.
    Indeed, the Scottish Office have discounted anonymou responses, but have failed to confirm thus far, where those responses originated.  The safe bet is that all or most of these will have come from the Labour Party website.
    ALSO, I have not read any information on the point of origin (other than Labour Party website) of the responses to the UK consultation.  It would be interesting to have a breakdown of geographic location of the responses, particularly given the headline press releases on agreement of "sooner rather than later" and "one question only".
    It would be for other to determine if the majority of these responses were from people outwith Scotland, what democratic weight could be attached to those preferences.
    BUT YES, Anas Sarwar, Tavish Scott and others, have simply lied consistently about the REAL position concerning the dodgy consultation on Labours website.

  15. Jim Campbell

    Love the title of the article.
    I used it in a comment at the beginning of the month on NNS.
    it is good that we can say "lie" instead of "spin" for a change.

  16. Andrew Black

    You people are so petty… and biased it seems!!!

  17. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    Blimey, Andrew, bit of a slow reader there.

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