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At the edge of the deep blue sea

Posted on April 04, 2023 by

So a week and a bit after the deadline, this arrived.

And it’s not quite what you were told before.

According to the Sunday Mail nine days ago, the CC and DCC did visit Holyrood, but did NOT meet with the former First Minister.

But we cannot think of a reason, if that were true, that the response we’ve received today would not simply say so.

(1) “They did not meet with anyone else” is a sentence with no ramifications. It self-evidently does not impact on any investigation. (Our request didn’t specify the former First Minister anyway.)

(2) Equally, “they also met with [X] in order to discuss [government business Y]” would be a statement with no injurious consequence, so there’d be no reason for them not to disclose the fact (indeed, they would be obliged to).

(3) Finally, something like “they also met with the First Minister to inform her as a matter of courtesy of the imminent charging of Andrew Miller/Amy George” (because it happened on that day and it might have political reverberations), would again bear no need of secrecy. The fact of his being charged is public knowledge.

So what we have to ask ourselves is why we haven’t been told any of those things.

And despite the verbosely evasive reply, the only conclusion it’s possible to reasonably draw is that they DID meet with someone else (otherwise they’d have said Sentence 1), and that it was NOT on normal government business (otherwise they’d have said Sentence 2), and that it was NOT to merely pass on information with regard to any other criminal matter (otherwise they’d have said Sentence 3).

And that only really leaves one option, doesn’t it, readers?

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0 to “At the edge of the deep blue sea”

  1. Ian McCubbin says:

    Well it will all be revealed eventually.
    Well fine Stu fir outing this.
    They just look stupid.

  2. Suug says:

    Ha ha imaging thinking this was a clever way to answer.

    What a sad place to be

  3. David R says:

    They met with NS to confront her with info that caused her to resign?

  4. Mac says:

    That is interesting.

    “To disclose whether or not information was held would confirm whether or not the individual referred to was in some way known to Police Scotland.”

    “… the individual referred to …”

    You didn’t refer to anyone, Stu, so they obviously had someone in particular in mind when they typed this up.

  5. SusanAHF says:

    That document was pure nonsense-speak to me Stu, typical of the byzantine state of Scotland today

  6. Beauvais says:

    The Sir Humphrey Appleby technique of being so deliberately long winded and difficult to follow that it produces a feeling of tedium in the listener or reader. Or so they hope.

  7. twathater says:

    Is naebody else sickened and fuckin ragin at these lying duplicitous bastards , is there any actual meaningful point to having a freedom of information act when all the usual arsewipes invoke the “nane ae yer fuckin business ya nosy bastard”regulations that have been arranged for just such enquiries

    Freedom of Information is oxymoronic or just plain LIES

    It is the same with the usual “not in the public’s interest” pish when they’re hiding things, swinneys favourite dodge covering up for the head deviant when she was put on the spot

    Anyone who doesn’t support a citizens assembly where NORMAL honest people can FORCE the EXPOSURE of these lying corrupt charlatans and PUNISH them accordingly is complicit in keeping this corruption ongoing

  8. Tracey Saunderson says:

    I was a police media officer for years and this stinks of ‘we’ve got a secret and we’re hiding it with lots of words. I quit when I realised that they always have a secret, they always use lots of words and more often than not, they don’t know what many of the words actually mean.

  9. PhilM says:

    Well I would want to know if this meeting occurred as part of a distinct pattern of meetings i.e. do they meet the Justice Secretary once a week, once a month etc., does the Feb 9 meeting fit with that pattern, and do these meetings always take place at the Scottish Parliament?
    However there should be some official protocol here. The parliament is OUR legislature and the executive part of our system should not have any place in the building where the business of the legislature goes on, so I would have thought regular meetings about budgets ought to take place within the Justice Directorate offices at St Andrew’s House, home of the Scottish Govt.
    However, why would the top cops talk to Keith Brown? Surely Police Scotland have a level of management that interacts with the Justice Directorate’s civil servants on a regular basis about budgets but the actual meetings of the bigwigs would be much rarer so that at least a facade of independence is maintained?
    So I would ask Police Scotland or the Justice Directorate these kind of questions.

  10. Merganser says:

    They have rather given the game away with this answer, which when translated seems to say ‘something else went on but we have reasons for not telling you what it was’.

  11. Astonished says:

    These absolute clowns think we’re going away.

    They must be very, very worried. Good.

    When the truth comes out – I sincerely hope resigning doesn’t protect them.

  12. Merganser says:

    How about a FOI request asking if they met only with Brown at the Scottish Parliament on this day? Without naming anyone or mentioning reasons for any meeting.

    They would have to jump through hoops trying to answer that.

    If they replied saying that they had already answered the question, you would have confirmation of what you suspect (know) to be the case.

  13. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Kafkaesque pish.

  14. robertkknight says:


    I sincerely hope that somewhere within the corridors of Police Scotland HQ there is a Weasel who, at the very least, gets paid by the word, because that reply is a absolute belter.

    Weasel, wherever you are, we salute you.

  15. Anne says:

    So they didn’t not meet with someone else and, if they did, are not required to disclose who it was. If they are withholding any such information, they are permitted to withhold it if it pertains to an ongoing criminal investigation.

    OK. So why did Livingstone resign? Maybe because his job was done, as became clear two weeks later.

  16. Beauvais says:

    ‘Keeping People Safe’ is the motto of Police Scotland.

    ‘Keeping Politicians Safe’ would be a more accurate one.

  17. Geoff Anderson says:

    “Keeping people safe” as a motto falls down when you decide WHICH people are to be kept safe.

    If you are Alex Salmond then significant resources are applied and fishing expeditions are given a green light. When it is the Murrell elite then they must be protected by evasive answers and cover ups.

    Police Scotland have demonstrated that their actions are very, very political.

    The Prosecution of Crimes are, shall we say….selective!

    Everyone knows that the Murrells committed fraud. Everyone knows that serious issues were uncovered while investigating the missing £600k. Do the rank and file police accept this double standard being applied?

  18. Richard Head says:

    What’s this “meet with” pish? You meet someone. You don’t meet with them. You could however have a meeting with someone.

  19. Duchess of Puke Street says:

    Great work Mr Campbell.

  20. Alan A says:

    “This should not, however, be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or does not exist.” So that pretty much confirms suspicions… well done!

  21. Skip_NC says:

    On the face of it, this is a reasonable response from Police Scotland. You asked if the CC & DCC went to Parliament on official business. They gave a clear answer. You asked with whom they met. Again, a clear answer. You asked if their visit was connected to an ongoing investigation, which gave them the opportunity to stonewall. Not quite Humphrey Appleby quality but good enough.

    So, initially, I thought this was much ado about nothing. Then, having been fortified by a late dinner, I rethought. The first two answers are factual and non-controversial. The third answer should be boilerplate for a question of that sort. So why, in the name o the wee man, were they rather late in delivering what should have been a routine response? Something does not smell right. I wonder how many FOI requests have not been filled within the statutory period.

  22. Kevin Cargill says:

    The little grey cells they are working well mon ami!

  23. PhilM says:

    Just been looking at Keith Brown’s Twitter feed from February 2023…there’s some stuff about attending some police awards ceremony on Feb 10th where he’s quoted by PS’s Twitter account as saying ‘Thank you very much from the First Minister, the Scottish Government for all that you have done in Police Scotland and all those that have helped that has been recognised today.’
    Keith Brown and Livingston are photographed together at the ceremony with (I think) representatives of Police Mutual provider of Financial Services to the police.
    No public reflection on a productive meeting the day before at the Parly and definitely no hint whatsoever of the meeting itself.
    As for Keith Brown, I’ve nothing against him in any way and in his favour he did at least turn up for the AUOB march at Bannockburn. That being said, the circumstances of the police coming to OUR parliament on Feb 9 still leave unanswered questions.
    People might not understand my comment above because they have never given the separation between legislature and executive any thought but the reason why it needs attention is that we now have a fifth of the executive sitting in the legislature, yet the latter is supposed to be independent of the govt and its chief scrutineer. The legislature is supposed to be a bulwark against govt corruption such as govt lobbying ‘off the books’ but it cannot do this so well when the govt is too large.
    When dictators take over, the executive remains because even dictators need a bureaucracy but the legislature is either closed down or it becomes a rubberstamping puppet of the govt. I’m not comparing Sturgeotti to a dictator but a spectrum does exist from a properly functioning system where there is an effective separation of powers and the current Scottish mess where the Lord Advocate, the COPFS, the police, our parliament, the civil service and the governing party are blurring the lines of an accountable democracy. The most egregious example of course was the Alex Salmond debacle.
    If our system was accountable, everyone would notice the difference immediately.

  24. robertkknight says:


    You’re referring to a campaign slogan.

    The motto is actually SEMPER VIGILO (“Always vigilant”).

    But “vigilant” as to what and on behalf of who remains open to debate…

  25. I. Despair says:

    I’m all in favour of a bit of speculation now and then but I think this is just too conjectural. The waffle about investigations and exemptions may seem evasive but is just the standard boilerplate text from FOISA 2002 that is more or less obligatory on anyone tasked with writing such responses.
    For what it’s worth, I take the letter as confirming there was one and only one meeting, with Keith Brown. The only pedantic lawyerly wriggle-room get-out would be if the compiler of the response homed in on the term “official business” in the question and deemed it appropriate to class possible OTHER interactions while at the Parliament as not official business – and therefore did not mention them.
    Wasn’t there some part of the whole Sturgeon/Salmond/Evans saga where someone just popped his or her head around the door of someone’s Holyrood office one day to have a quick word on the chance that so-and-so was free for a moment and then there was later quibbling over whether this counted as a meeting when it hadn’t been officially booked into the diary?
    I hesitate to put myself in the shoes of the distinguished host of this site but had I been writing, I’d just have asked if the top cops were there at all on 9th February – no scope for wriggling over what’s an official visit, unofficial or anything else. Then maybe between what times; how many people they spoke to other than police personnel; then the names of those people. Start kinda broad/general but unambiguous then narrow in and in is often a useful principle with FoI. And it may take more than one go!

  26. Rory Forbes says:

    As a response, it’s a bit “Don’t tell them, Pike!”

  27. Robert Louis says:

    This is interesting. As to the convoluted evasiveness, it can be seen two ways. Firstly, as trying to cover something up, or more likely, as it states so as not to prejudice matters.

    Consider, if we wind the clock forward, and a court case were to proceed, the police could be challenged directly, if they were at this stage to even remotely suggest something in their FOI reply, merely by confirming a ‘meeting’.

    The respnse is clearly written by a legal mind, and that should be clue enough. Not a fan of Police Scotland, but equally, it is too easy to look at this in a rather myopic fashion, when in reality they likely are simply not legally able to give more detail. I mean seriously, if ‘the case’ were what folk think, then that would be one almighty legal scenario drawing interest far and wide, and ANY chief constable would tread carefully.

    Only future events will clearly indicate if the polis are obfuscating with desire to conceal (i.e a ‘cover up’), or merely following best practise as advised by their legal chums in order to preserve any potential case’s integrity, to ensure successful prosecution.

  28. Cynicus says:

    I wonder if this story will feature prominently in tomorrow’s Herald? Yesterday’s post by Kenny McBride is well -covered there today.

    It’s good to see the MSM doing some real journalism, even if second-hand.

  29. Debatable Lands says:

    I never understood why everyone just sat back and allowed the creation of Police Scotland. It was so obviously a move to create a State Police under the political control of the ruling party. A servant of the state, not the people.

    Good luck seeing any justice out of this lot with the SNP in charge of their career prospects and with their political officers watching over every shoulder.

  30. stuart mctavish says:

    (leaked?) press release may have been timed to imply Sturgeon resigned for selfish reasons.

    Evasive FOI response, loooong after the event, may have been written to imply couple of the selfish reasons in question were

    (a) dump the possibility of a defacto ref and losing Westminster swill any time soon
    (b) split the party to give labour a hand up
    (c) distract from the deception with religion by giving Scots a choice of which privately educated muslim they want holding the leash (better yet if there’s a sunny/shia element and a tory referee)

    Curiously enough, were these not good enough reason for the surprise resignation, or if the police did in fact influence the decision (making the assault on democracy as likely to be part of a cunning police plan as an SNP one)*, the chances of anyone else they met still having tongues in their head remain high regardless.

    *not impossible Plan C was to sabotage plan B in order to revert to plan A but highly unlikely plan A can ever work in an environment where even the police are obliged to operate on England’s behalf.

  31. Den says:

    How can anyone trust the police or judiciary in this country to do the right thing and deliver justice. This vague FOI pish from the cops and the refusal of a high court judge to jail a rapist are just examples this week , totally scunnered and loosing any respect for these complicit fucks.

  32. Muscleguy says:

    Indeed, if they have nothing to hide why did it take so long to fulfil your FOI request? The legal boilerplate smacks of a committee deciding how to respond.

    Considering we know there are live police investigations into the SNP & Scotgov that boilerplate takes on new meanings. If there were no live investigations there would seem little need for it. But there are such investigations.

    Context is everything.

  33. DMcV says:

    ‘And that leaves only really leaves one option, doesn’t it, readers?’

    Er, no, I don’t think it does.

    And ‘readers’? Why not go Full Throttle Phil Mac G (another online journo losing credibility by the day and dog-whistling an adoring pack of scary extremists) and refer to ‘dear reader’?

  34. Beauvais says:

    Robert Louis @6:49

    What you say makes sense.

  35. Republicofscotland says:

    The head of the Keystone Cops (Police Scotland) and his sidekick will have met with the betrayer, the betrayer would’ve told them that the shit might hit the fan, and that they’d be better off jumping with their golden parachutes on rather than being pushed.

    The Keystone Cops are as corrupt as f*ck in my opinion, expect Yousless to appoint another Phil Gormley type character as head of the department.

  36. KLF says:

    ahem, well……………!!

  37. Republicofscotland says:

    So calling Yousless, Yousless is racist, well according to this SNP MSP it is.

    Lets get the SNP out at every turn, at the next GE and at the next Holyrood elections, bar one or two SNP MSPs they are all YOUSLESS.

    Vote Alba, Join Alba save Scotland from this YOUSLESS bunch of troughers.

  38. Purge the Sturge says:

    Have you seen who’s been nicked!!!

  39. Stravaiger says:

    I disagree with:

    (1) “They did not meet with anyone else” is a sentence with no ramifications. It self-evidently does not impact on any investigation. (Our request didn’t specify the former First Minister anyway.)

    This sentence does have ramifications, just not on this specific request. If the response was “They did not meet with anyone else”, that means if you were to ask the same question about a different visit and got the response “we can neither confirm nor deny”, then you could infer from the combination of both responses that a meeting did occur in the second case.

    Only by always neither confirming nor denying, are you able to maintain the “we can neither confirm nor deny” stance.

  40. Scot says:

    A 58 year old man under arrest re SNP finances.
    Could this be Peter Murrell?

  41. Tony says:

    Murrel arrested, about time

  42. Ali Clark says:

    It’s only just begun… Magpies coming home to roost!

  43. Andy Kelly says:

    I believe Mr Murrell has now been arrested…..??

  44. ronald anderson says:

    Murrell arrested Bbc news

  45. Pragmatista says:

    BBC reporting “Sturgeon’s husband arrested in SNP finance probe”

  46. robbo says:

    Well, well Mr D McV

    What you got to say now?

    Murrell arrested! On BBC

  47. Have the police just arrested Mr. MURRELL.?

  48. Garavelli Princip says:

    Contrary to what some are saying here, and if we assume that their argument follows a logical form, then the answer is indeed quite clear:

    They did speak to someone or persons on a matter that likely involves a criminal investigation.

    But they won’t tell you directly in case that prejudices the investigation.

    We can infer from this who that might be.

    Game on

    (unless scuppered by COPFS)

  49. Marie Clark says:

    Here we go then, the polis have arrested Murrell in an ongoing ivestegation into SNP finances.

  50. MacCumhail says:

    BBC reporting Murrell has been arrested.

  51. Ruby says:

    “Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, arrested over SNP funding investigation

    Police Scotland say Murrell ‘arrested as a suspect’ and searches being carried out at number of addresses”

  52. Jim KC says:

    Murrell arrested. So it begins

  53. Effijy says:

    Peter Murrell has just been arrested charged with fraudulent funding activitied.

    It’s on the Radio so it is official.

  54. Glenn says:


    … It’s about time more people in Scotland started appreciating Stuart’s reporting….

  55. Tedder says:

    Murrell has been arrested.

  56. desimond says:

    Must be a bit early in the morning for me but seems like this is taking a leap over the great wall of conjecture.

    By answering a consistent line of no meeting with anyone bar Brown, You’re now arguing that it says something by what it doesnt say because those ever so reliable papers reported they same thing in another way?

    I’m now picturing the JCB driver in Hitchhikers being asked to consider just the idea of a man lying in a protest hole in order to justify him not going ahead and demolishing the house.

  57. Mel says:

    We’ll the police have been to visit someone this morning. Arrest of Murrell. Bet the house searches were ok interesting!

  58. auld highlander says:

    The shit has hit the fan.

    Murrell has had his colar felt.

  59. robbo says:

    Yer No Bumping Yer Gums noo MR D McV Are you?


  60. Ruby says:

    Wow! She/Her’s front garden is a crime scene!

  61. KLF says:

    seemingly heavy police presence outside their family home including police vans and a forensics tent, and also outside the SNP’s headquarters in Edinburgh.

    Wonder if she was indoors at the time, can you imagine the neighbours !

  62. Stephen O'Brien says:

    What wing is Peter Murrell, left of centre, is that the special unit? #BarL

  63. Ruby says:

    Loads of police vans etc at Gentles’ Entry.

  64. Antoine Roquentin says:

    It’s to be expected that many bourgeois will cling to those narratives that best serve their perceived interests. Giving any police-force an even-break, particularly one wide-open to suspicions of political corruption is, in my opinion, an example of self-serving behaviour.

    “One cannot say that the petty bourgeois has never read anything. On the contrary, he has read everything, devoured everything. Only, his brain functions after the fashion of certain elementary types of digestive systems. It filters. And the filter lets through only what can nourish the thick skin of the bourgeois’s clear conscience.”

    Aimé Céssaire Discourse on Colonialism

  65. Stephen O'Brien says:

    I doubt whether this police search is for missing cash. Where was Murrell arrested, was he in Scotland?

  66. John McGregor says:

    The net or the noose is tightening around the house of Mr/Mrs?? Fraud n Corruption

  67. President Xiden says:

    And on another note, could someone in the media ask the rather obvious question , what was the reason all those lawyers including the presiding judge, resign from the Covid response inquiry?

  68. Cynicus says:

    Murrell arrested

    Who’d have thought he’d be in the jile brfitr Trump?

  69. Cynicus says:

    Sky News going big on the Murgeon crooks

  70. Cynicus says:

    People here have been too harsh on Poileas Alba. Look at this FOI response through the prism of Murrell’s jail cell and the Gish-gobbery becomes explicable.

  71. Cynicus says:

    Good old Smitty! He didn’t get everything right especially on timing. Am I alone in thinking La Sturge pulled out all the stops to synchronise the lifting of Murrell with the Trump story? A good way to (almost) bury bad news.

    C’mon the polis: we need to see handcuffs on Murrell’s henchmen /women

  72. Cynicus says:

    Stay on this story, Stu. You are doing a great job.

  73. Les Halles says:

    Thank you Stu for all your remarkable and diligent work, if only we could trust the investigation to get to the full truth, but after the police role in Rangers / Salmond cases there are probably links that they would rather protect. And of course all of the servants of the people (paid for by the people) who certainly know the truths of all these matters will be silent or retire to their final salary pension schemes. I think many of us suspect corruption ran through the SNP for many years, controlled by an unscrupulous cabal at the top that stretched into the police and probably the judiciary as well. Hopefully now that the first cracks are appearing in the dam the flow of information will only increase and perhaps even the BBC will start to properly investigate rather than giving us articles on Ms Sturgeon learning to drive !!

  74. Tartanterra says:

    Police Scotland have been in the Murrells pockets for some time.
    Just like the rest of the establishment, including the media.
    Quite why they pretend otherwise is beyond anyone’s comprehension. I’m often left feeling that I’m a spectator to a pound shop banana republic, where no one can speak out without being shut down, publicly slandered, harassed, or in some cases, imprisoned.
    Join the dots. It truly creates an horrific picture. The prosecutions, the missing money, the wasted money, the corruption, the tram fiasco, the hospital fiasco, the ferry fiasco, the GRR fiasco, and endless other debacles. All centred around a small cabal pulling the strings of the police, media, judiciary, Civil Service and countless other organisations. All in it to win it, and increase their power and money.
    And still, many don’t get the implication of the damage these clowns have done to Scotland regaining its sovereignty.
    I’m losing count of the people I know who have done a complete u turn on their support for independence. Not because they they don’t believe it’s right. They still see it as an ideal. They just fear what could have happened had we won the referendum, because they’ve had to watch as a small group of incompetent chancers and megalomaniacs have put our entire country in a stranglehold, with no one able to leash them in or restrain them.
    Everything the Rev says about a cult is entirely true. And that was under the yoke of “devolution”. What they could have done had we had full independence doesn’t bear thinking about.
    The damage is done. Possibly even intentionally.
    The drive for independence will now have to be rebuilt, brick by brick because of their actions.
    And we need to start getting the first bricks down now. Things have to change drastically to ensure the cause can be won. And the first step is to get the SNP’s tentacles out of the Police and out of the Judiciary. Neither organisation has been working for the people. They’ve been working for a cabal. Even the Mafia must be looking at the Murrells in admiration at what they achieved in such a short space of time.
    It all needs unwound, and rock solid checks and balances put in place to prevent this ever happening again. The Civil Service, the NHS, the Media, the Police, the Judiciary. Even private business and NGO’s have all jumped into the Murrell’s pockets and sung as directed.
    Anyone who sees that as the road to independence needs sectioned. It’s the road to a one Party police state.
    If you think that’s being over dramatic, think about this. Under independence, the Murrell’s would have had control of Scotland’s armed forces. Let that sink in.
    We had the chance to build a model for developed nations to aspire to. And it’s now in ruins.
    I have a fear that my generation may now never see independence because of those two. But we can start building now to ensure our kids see it. We owe it to them for allowing the current debacle to ever happen.
    The whole house of cards has to go. And solid foundations laid to build a truly independent Scotland. What has happened, must never, ever happen again.

  75. Rudolph Hucker says:

    Police chief didn’t have FM meeting – Police Scotland has admitted outgoing Chief Constable Sir lain Livingstone visited Holyrood two weeks before announcing his resignation. He and Deputy Chief Constable
    Malcolm Graham attended the Scottish Parliament on February 9 — the week before Nicola Sturgeon
    also resigned. The force has insisted the officers were there for a “regular” meeting with Justice Secretary Keith Brown to discuss budgets and that they did not meet Sturgeon.

    In a new episode of BBC Scotland’s docu-comedy “Scot Squad”, the Chief Constable apologises (again) for his previous remarks.

    I’m delighted to be joined today by a member of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to advice me what is meant by “meet”. I now recognise that “meet” means a meeting, arranged in advance, in a meeting room. If I met anyone in a corridor or car park, that wasn’t a meeting, even if I did say “How ye daein’ the day, hen? Yer accountants huvnae found that cash yet?”


    I’m delighted to be joined today by a member of ICAS, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, I would like to apologise for suggesting that we can’t find any accountants that aren’t crooks. Which is of course not correct, there must be an honest accountant somewhere. I must have been bonkers to suggest such a thing.


    I’m delighted to be joined today by a member of Mind UK, I would like to apologise for using the phrase “bonkers” – I recognise that mental health is not to be trivialised, and indeed it is no longer a bar to being a useful member of society. Why, just yesterday I interviewed several senior members of the SNP and noticed they all have serious mental health issues.


    I’m delighted to be joined today by a member of SNP, I would like to apologise for using the phrase “mental health issues”. I recognise that there were some SNP members who did not have mental health issues. But honestly, who wouldn’t go mad trying to keep their stories straight?


    The Chief wrangles with anti-corruption rules (and a gift from Sturgeon)


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