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Judges, Juries And Horseshit 353

Posted on February 27, 2021 by

Iain Lawson’s fine blog today reveals that Nicola Sturgeon has already taken it upon herself to answer Jim Sillars’ complaint from Thursday – which was sent to Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, not to the First Minister – about her breaking the Ministerial Code by casting doubt on the jury’s verdicts in the Alex Salmond trial.

It’s certainly an innovative approach to justice – we presume that if we were to murder someone tomorrow the police would now simply forward the allegations to us and allow us to find ourselves not guilty without any external input.

But it was the precise nature of Nicola Sturgeon’s self-acquittal that really left us with an uneasy feeling about the current state of Scotland.

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The star witness 154

Posted on February 27, 2021 by

The Longest Day 389

Posted on February 26, 2021 by

In the end the four-hour session ran for almost exactly six hours, and Alex Salmond looked like he could have done another six standing on his head. Now, it would be only fair to acknowledge that this site was on his side before the start, but by any rational objective assessment the former First Minister delivered the performance of his life.

(We use “performance” there in the Lionel Messi sense, not the Laurence Olivier one.)

The contrast with every other witness who’s appeared before the committee was night and day. With Salmond there was no evasion, no hesitation, no forgetting, no “I’ll get back to you on that in writing”. (We recommend the Twitter feed of Scotland Speaks for some choice clips.)

Every question was answered fully, directly, fluently and immediately, without recourse to notes, and the content was never less than devastating from his opening statement to the final surprise bombshell. We were exhausted just watching it.

His words, tone and body language all absolutely radiated candour, solemnity and honesty. When the SNP members tried to trip him up on some arcane point or other, he was on them like an extremely calm hawk, methodically tearing their assertions to ribbons with the correct fact or quote at his fingertips, and ice in his veins.

Salmond came across like a man who’d been planning this day for almost a year and wasn’t going to mess it up. And he didn’t. Heavens, how he didn’t.

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The Lion’s Den 547

Posted on February 26, 2021 by

Just a couple of hours now.

From 12.30 this afternoon, Alex Salmond will attempt to tell the people of Scotland the truth about what happened to him in the last two years – a grave injustice which saw an innocent man have his reputation dragged through the gutter, be placed under incredible personal stress, be left greatly impoverished by proving his innocence, and then have the jury’s verdict endlessly traduced by the media and a gang of criminal conspirators protected from the consequences of their lies by lifelong anonymity.

His job will be a difficult one. Every single person in the room will be bitterly hostile to him – the four Unionist committee members because he’s Alex Salmond, and the others because he represents a deadly threat to the First Minister.

The inquiry’s convener – a woman sacked by Salmond years ago – will attempt to prevent him from presenting large swathes of evidence, despite having made him swear to tell “the whole truth”. The SNP members will try to run down the four-hour session with questions designed to only deflect from the real issue – the actions and behaviour of the Scottish Government. Andy Wightman will probably just cry.

We’ll be extremely surprised if there aren’t some attempts to slyly re-try Mr Salmond and paint him as a guilty man who cheated justice, and to drag up salacious details of the allegations in an effort to smear him in front of the cameras.

We believe Alex Salmond will be more than equal to the task.

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The Fall Of Saigon 268

Posted on February 25, 2021 by

When the Faculty Of Advocates – the most senior body of lawyers/QCs in the country – is handing out barely-veiled smackdowns like this to the First Minister, then you know you’re in some pretty uncharted jungle.

Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland is a rogue state.

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Heavy Is The Crown 123

Posted on February 25, 2021 by

Is the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of Scotland institutionally corrupt? I don’t believe so, but it’s certainly a troubled organisation.

The cost and reputational damage to it from the Rangers FC case are of a magnitude never seen before, and the actions in the Alex Salmond case and related actions by the Lord Advocate and Crown Agent have called its independence into question.

There must be structural change and individuals must be held to account.

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The brick wall 188

Posted on February 25, 2021 by

I was until this week a member of the SNP’s Conferences Committee. After being elected last November I sought to fulfil my “manifesto” pledge — that is, to attempt to restore the power of the membership, which has been systematically eroded by the party leadership over the last two years, through conference, the proper constitutional vehicle for all internal party democracy and governance.

I had hoped that Stewart Stevenson, the new National Secretary and convener of the Conferences Committee, would be similarly inclined.

In summary, my endeavours have been ignored.

In the three months since our election (supposedly more than halfway towards a spring conference), and despite repeated emails, documents and requests for meetings, the Conferences Committee has never been convened.

As a result I have resigned from both the committee and the SNP, and the reasons for my doing so are outlined below.

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Lying liar lies again 173

Posted on February 24, 2021 by

Nicola Sturgeon turned today’s COVID-19 briefing into a full-on smear assault against Alex Salmond. Readers will have seen reports on social media about various aspects of the attack but we wanted to focus on one especially brazen falsehood.

Because Nicola Sturgeon knows for an absolute 100% certain fact that she WON’T be asked about the allegations in Alex Salmond’s redacted evidence, because the inquiry committee is NOT ALLOWED to discuss any material that it hasn’t published, whether it’s “in the public domain” or not.

By the committee’s rules, if it’s not on the committee website then it doesn’t exist, and the redacted parts are – belatedly – no longer on the website. (As far as we can make out the unredacted version was finally removed around midnight last night.)

Farcically, she also denied even knowing that this question from James Matthews of Sky News was about Geoff Aberdein, who is the subject of all the redacted sections, which are all about the meeting Matthews was asking her about.

The First Minister is a liar and has all but given up on even the most token pretence otherwise. She is a disgrace to Scotland.

Straight to the shredder 72

Posted on February 24, 2021 by

If we can somehow find the time amid the relentless blizzard of current Scottish political activity, we’re going to put together a list of all the legitimate and important questions that Alex Salmond’s lawyers have asked the Fabiani inquiry which haven’t even had the courtesy of a reply, let alone a satisfactory one.

We fully anticipate that the contents of the letter below, sent today, will be on that list.

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Engaging with the plan 202

Posted on February 24, 2021 by

FOREWORD: SNP MPs writing for this website about anything, especially a Plan B for independence, shouldn’t be controversial. We as a party should welcome diversity and inclusion – as indeed we do by giving quotes to every daily UK newspaper and broadcaster, as well as occasionally providing articles and financial help for them.

I for one would prefer it if people would get over posturing about the messenger and deal with the more important message. So let’s get to it.

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The Full Nelson 220

Posted on February 23, 2021 by

It really can’t be overstated what extraordinary tweets these are.

That’s the editor of the conservative, ultra-establishment Spectator openly linking to a document that the Crown Office – the agent of the Queen herself – has threatened to prosecute the Scottish Parliament for publishing, and which has officially been deleted but is for some reason actually still available on the Parliament’s website.

The Spectator is giving the Queen the finger. And that’s not even the mad bit.

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An Open Letter To Nicola Sturgeon 199

Posted on February 23, 2021 by

Dear Nicola,

I write to express to you the views of many people in Scotland. Our movement is very upset by the actions they currently see unfolding before them.

These actions are the direct responsibility of your staff, your officials and your advisers. And therefore, ultimately, you.

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