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Wings Over Scotland

Archive for the ‘investigation’

Services rendered 129

Posted on October 05, 2020 by

Readers, we can’t tell you how much we want to get back to just dissecting Scotland’s hopeless Unionist media for a living. It’s a lot more fun than what the current political circumstances are obliging us to do, so you can hardly imagine our excitement when we spotted what looked like an open goal in yesterday’s Mail On Sunday.

Our ears pricked up immediately at the sight of the words “up to”, which is invariably a sign of dodgy doings on the way, and so it proved. The article contained no solid data at all about the size of Scottish Government special advisers’ pay rises, only how many SpAds there were and which general pay bands they were in, each of which spans a wide range of between £14,000 and £23,000.

But while the Mail had spooned the sitter six feet over the crossbar – because the crude spin they’d put on it was total rubbish – there was still a loose ball just waiting to be knocked into the back of the net.

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The resource drain 91

Posted on October 05, 2020 by

The SNP’s earth-shattering 2011 majority election victory, which paved the way for the 2014 independence referendum, dropped a bomb on Scottish politics.

What few people realised at the time was that it was also going to set up a series of massive paydays for one of Scotland’s wealthiest demographics: lawyers.

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Parking the buses 273

Posted on October 02, 2020 by

We’re very busy today writing more FOI requests and the like, so we’ll just take a brief moment here to note that hiring super-expensive lawyers to object to the questions you’re being asked DEFINITELY sounds like the behaviour of people who are keen to co-operate fully and in the most transparent way possible with an inquiry:

See you later, gang.

On no accounts 388

Posted on October 01, 2020 by

Having been privileged to serve as SNP National Treasurer, I’m aware of the duties that go with the post. Of course, it’s changed in some ways since then due to the scale of the party, the resources available and even technology. The days are long gone when Joan Knott, who has sadly since passed away, required to take a taxi down to my legal office to have cheques signed between court or clients.

But some things still remain fundamental, and in particular providing annual accounts for the party. That has been done for 2019, in the administrative sense, but what’s missing is their publication and provision either to the NEC or the party more widely.

For sure there’s been no conference but there are other bodies and other ways of making them available to party members. At NEC, conference and indeed anywhere else, members were entitled to see them and question me. It was their right to see them, and it remains so now. So why haven’t they seen them?

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Slip slidin’ away 162

Posted on September 25, 2020 by

Just two days ago the Electoral Commission gave us a fourth supposed date for the publication of the SNP’s 2019 accounts: having first been due out in early August, they then told us to expect them in early September, and then last week, and then in “the next three weeks”, ie the middle of October.

But someone gave us a tipoff that we might be able to request them via Freedom Of Information, since ostensibly the only holdup was that the EC wanted to wait until ALL of the main parties’ accounts were ready and publish them all at once for tidiness.

So we sent one in, and we just got a very quick reply.

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The None Of Your Business Convener 228

Posted on September 23, 2020 by

The SNP have historically been swift to suspend any party members when there’s any hint of inappropriate conduct, never mind even a whiff of illegality. It’s been that way since 2015, with the axe falling on elected members as well as candidates in target seats and critical elections, and ordinary activists.

Not even a by-your-leave, let alone an explanation, is afforded – just suspension with immediate effect. And that’s all well and good, some might say. No hint of impropriety should attach to the party and making a virtue of acting swiftly can be both necessary and appropriate.

So why then no action against the Chief Executive?

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The dodgy dozen 131

Posted on September 21, 2020 by

Following up this morning’s article, we’ve been trawling through the Publications/FOI section of the Scottish Government website to see which other articles might be being hidden from its search function. We found quite a few, and you’re never going to guess what the common factor in all of them is.

We’ve given you a wee clue with that picture, though.

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No More Lies 116

Posted on September 21, 2020 by

We’ve just sent a Freedom Of Information request to the Scottish Government.

You can read it below.

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The people in the room 160

Posted on September 19, 2020 by

Whichever side you’re on, it’s simply observably true that the Scottish Government is doing everything in its power to obstruct, delay and derail the Parliamentary inquiry into its ruinously botched investigation of false allegations against Alex Salmond.

Any investigative journalist attempting to get to the bottom of the subject and find out what really happened is met with a wall of secrecy and misinformation while trying to navigate their way through the publicly-available information, and just to give you some idea of what it’s like, we’d like to offer you one tiny but typical example.

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The Land Where Nobody Knows 123

Posted on September 18, 2020 by

Readers may recall that this site is engaged in an ongoing attempt to clarify why the Scottish justice system is choosing to selectively only pursue those supportive of Alex Salmond for contempt of court with regard to his trial, while conspicuously turning a blind eye to those in the media who have committed exactly the same crime but are hostile to Mr Salmond and therefore apparently immune from prosecution.

During that investigation we received a reply from Police Scotland last month stating that contempt of court is in fact not a criminal offence in Scots law (although you can be tried and imprisoned for it), and so is nothing to do with them, and that they only act in relation to contempt when instructed by the courts or the Crown Office.

So naturally we asked them if they had been so instructed.

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Cracks in the fog 320

Posted on September 17, 2020 by

Over the last year or so, this site’s commentary on matters surrounding the attempted imprisonment of Alex Salmond over false allegations of sexual abuse has attracted a considerable amount of ire from a section of the readership, demanding “proof” of the involvement of the current First Minister.

Such proof has been impossible to provide for legal reasons. But it’s always been the case that the truth could only be suppressed for so long, and events in recent days have brought the first chinks of light through the wall of smoke and mirrors the Scottish Government has been attempting to surround the matter with.

So in our very lightest and softest shoes, let’s tiptoe through what is both a labyrinth and a minefield and see if we can make some of it a little easier to understand.

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A kind of transparency 210

Posted on September 11, 2020 by

On 17 January last year, the First Minister told the Scottish Parliament that she, her administration and her party would “co-operate fully” with the parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of false allegations made against Alex Salmond.

She further assured the Parliament, unambiguously and without any qualification, that the committee investigating the matter “will be able to request whatever material they want, and I undertake today that we will provide whatever material they request”.

So just over a month in, we thought we’d check on how that was going so far.

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