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Archive for the ‘investigation’

Rotting from the head 16

Posted on January 23, 2021 by

Chasing waterfalls 227

Posted on January 22, 2021 by

It’s hard to keep up with developments in Scottish politics these days, readers. We told you January 2021 was going to be a pivotal and explosive month but there’s been more going on than even we expected, and that’s despite the fact that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s appearances before the Fabiani committee now both look like being pushed back to February.

So our apologies if we have to give some things rather more cursory coverage than they might ordinarily merit, or cram several stories into one post. For example, we’re just going to link you to solicitor advocate Gordon Dangerfield’s appearance yesterday on the Tommy Sheridan podcast, even though he said this non-trivial thing on it:

“There’s a very simple answer to [why Leslie Evans is still in a job]. She says it herself constantly to the inquiry – civil servants only represent ministers. They have no status other than as the servants of the government.

Who is Leslie Evans’ boss? Leslie Evans’ boss is Nicola Sturgeon. Nicola Sturgeon was behind this from the outset. Leslie Evans was carrying out Nicola Sturgeon’s instructions. And that’s why she’s still in a job. Because if she wasn’t still in a job, neither would Nicola Sturgeon be.”

The whole interview is pretty unmissable, so if you can find 24 spare minutes in your day try to give it a listen. But there’s more.

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The great unknowns 220

Posted on January 21, 2021 by

Sky News had a breaking report tonight about a person they couldn’t name.

Was it The Woman Whose Name You Can’t Say? We couldn’t tell you even if we knew, readers. And we can’t tell you whether we do or not. Sky carefully avoided even saying what sex the person was, and you’d have to be quite an alert viewer to notice any of the hints they dropped in the piece. We’ve said enough. You’re on your own now.

As ever, please do not commit contempt of court in the comments.

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The Need For Speed 113

Posted on January 21, 2021 by

You can say what you want about the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and the civil service [IMPORTANT LAWYER’S NOTE: NO YOU MOST DEFINITELY CAN’T], but there’s certainly no faulting their reaction time.

That was less than eight hours, for example. Great work, team.

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Nothing for you to see here 150

Posted on January 20, 2021 by

This is definitely fine and not at all suspicious.

Geoff Aberdein is the man whose evidence could destroy the First Minister. We know he’s already told the High Court under oath that he had a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon on 29 March 2018 to discuss the Salmond affair.

Sturgeon claims otherwise, saying he just popped in for a friendly hello while seeing someone else, and that the meeting – which the Scottish Government had repeatedly denied ever happened at all, until it suddenly changed its mind and admitted it last August – was so inconsequential that she forgot about it entirely for almost a year, which is why she’d told Parliament in January 2019 that it didn’t exist.

Which of those accounts is correct will determine whether the First Minister was lying to Parliament deliberately and whether she has to resign under the Ministerial Code.

But now, not only will Aberdein – the single most important figure in the entire inquiry – NOT be called as a witness, but the public will not be allowed to see even a redacted version of his written testimony so that they can judge who’s telling the truth.

What conceivable reason could there be for that? How could either “The meeting was arranged in advance and we talked about the allegations” or “I was in visiting someone else and just popped my head round the door briefly to say hi” ever need to be a state secret the Scottish public mustn’t know? And yet it is.

No cover-up here, folks. All open and transparent and above board. There’s definitely nothing going on that the Scottish Government desperately wants to hide from you. It’s all fine. Ssssshhhh, now. Sssshhhh for Nicola like good little boys and girls. Write another of your nice wee blogs about how Boris Johnson will just give in for no reason and independence is inevitable. But no questions. Definitely no questions.

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Code Red 163

Posted on January 20, 2021 by

In addition to the Survation poll that was in the field last week and which we’ve been reporting on, there was also a Panelbase one going round at the same time.

(It’s as yet unpublished, and having been sent a few of the… interesting questions in it by some people who took the poll we’re very excited to find out who commissioned it. Our money is on either George Galloway’s furious new list party – which incidentally just had its registration refused again by the Electoral Commission – or the collection of anonymous hyper-Unionist nutters ironically calling themselves “The Majority”.)

But as the opportunity was there we slipped a couple of questions of our own in too, and the findings from one of them were pretty dramatic.

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A fishing expedition 132

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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Pension Pete’s Pickle 158

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 281

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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