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Listen, the snow is falling

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.

Because the public papers for this morning’s sitting of the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond fiasco are an 11,000-word box of dangerously unstable hand grenades that we’ve got to try to somehow strip down into something concise and readable for you, while still conveying the considerable enormity of their contents.

They comprise two main sections – a written submission to the committee from Mr Salmond (entirely separate from the one he sent to the Hamilton inquiry last week), and a slightly-less-redacted version of a document the Scottish Government released less than a day and a half before Christmas in the hope that nobody would notice it.

The first of the two we can feasibly leave you to read for yourselves. Mr Salmond’s statement is written in more-or-less plain English rather than impenetrable legalese, and easy enough to understand. One especially noteworthy aspect, however, is that it has been redacted – against his will – by the Parliament clerks, who have struck out substantial sections which not even the committee are allowed to see.

We might pause there to raise another weary eyebrow at this latest of an uncountable number of betrayals of the First Minister’s hollow, worthless promise of two years ago that the committee would be given anything it asked for without interference or refusal.

Mr Salmond’s evidence raises so many issues that to detail and examine them all here would result in an article the length of War And Peace, so we’ll leave it to you to come to your own conclusions on it, dropping in just a couple of random highlights:

The second main section, the new version of the Christmas Eve document, sees most of the previous redactions being replaced (in red) with “paraphrased” summaries of the redacted elements, provided by the Scottish Government.

So for example, this bit about legal advice from the Christmas Eve version:

has now become this:

(Re-paraphrased: “We got caught lying our arses off and our lawyers swore at us in such a violent and prolonged manner that we cried and ran away.”)

And this rather minimalist fragment:

has now expanded to this:

(Re-paraphrased: “Lord Pentland swore at our lawyers in such a violent and prolonged matter in court that they came out and swore at us even more.”)

But alert readers will have noticed from that last one that not EVERY redaction in the Christmas Eve document now has a summary. Most notably this key one about how the Scottish Government had to concede the judicial review because if it didn’t its QCs were going to walk out:

And while we are of course speculating, we strongly suspect that’s because it’s hard to summarise the phrase “and specifically their duty not to lie to the Court Of Session even if their client wants them to” in a way that doesn’t drop you into deep doo-doo.

So to cut a long article unexpectedly short: it looks like the Permanent Secretary – now on her third or fourth appearance in front of the committee [EDIT 11.51am: in fact her fifth] to “clarify” the cobblers she’s tried to fob it off with until now – is in for her most uncomfortable interrogation yet. We will of course be watching on your behalf.

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    1. 12 01 21 09:56

      Listen, the snow is falling | speymouth

    2. 12 01 21 12:01

      Listen, the snow is falling – News of the world

    167 to “Listen, the snow is falling”

    1. Contrary says:

      Fifth appearance, for Leslie Evans – yes, I was surprised too. Please do watch, I won’t get to see it until after archiving.

    2. David says:

      Difficult day ahead

    3. Effijy says:

      These actions are straight out of Westminster’s school
      of corruption and deceit.

      FOI in Scotland actually stands for Far Off Imitations.

      I must yet again that you Rev as the immoral criminals masking
      as politicians operate safe in the knowledge that Joe averages like
      Me just don’t make the time to drill into these matters with any depth
      Nor record their actions that later prove to be lies or contradictions.

      Our leading politicians only hold up morality as a mask.

    4. Lulu Bells says:

      The way Leslie Evans and other Civil Servants are behaving at this Inquiry is truly unbelievable. It’s like they are either untouchable or very stupid. Possibly both, but we pay their salaries…The Inquiry needs to blinking well hold them well and truly to account and get tougher. How on earth can it be accepted that so many women have forgotten so much. When in fact its all archived in their eRDM system, their outlook calendars, etc. P*sh!

    5. Breeks says:

      Silly wee question I know, but can somebody confirm it isn’t Leslie Evan’s herself who is having these documents redacted?

    6. Margie Davidson says:

      Thanks Stu- there, that should help Murdo- you have just done his homework for him.

      I hope she is nailed this time but….

    7. wulls says:

      From the Civil service values section of the Scot Gov Civil service code…

      “3. As a civil servant, you are appointed on merit on the basis of fair and open competition and are expected to carry out your role with dedication and a commitment to the Civil Service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality. In this Code:

      ‘integrity’ is putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests
      ‘honesty’ is being truthful and open
      ‘objectivity’ is basing your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
      ‘impartiality’ is acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well Governments of different political persuasions”

      There is a section on making a complaint…….Oretty sure AS’s lawyers will have been through it with a fine toothcomb

    8. 1971Thistle says:

      Do I understand correctly that they’ve redacted stuff already in the public domain (ie on your site)?

    9. Black Joan says:

      Re-posting this from four posts back and less than 24 hours ago.

      Wings’ output is astonishing. Many, many thanks, Rev.
      We owe you.

      [First posted on 11.1.21]:

      Alex Salmond’s Written Submission to tomorrow’s Harassment Inquiry meeting has been significantly redacted, contrary to his wishes.

      The unredacted bits are quite explosive enough, so goodness knows what truly bombshell stuff has been kept hidden.

      e.g, we are allowed to read this:

      ‘These documents show the extent of the prepared briefing by the Investigating Officer in advance of a meeting with the two complainants and the Permanent Secretary in the week beginning 5th March 2018. They reveal that the Investigating Officer, whose role under the procedure is meant to be an impartial collector of facts and preparer of reports, met herself with the Permanent Secretary, was in frequent communication with the complainants and witnesses and was also recommending wide ranging organisational responses. DocumentINV 270 shows the preparation notes for the meeting with the Permanent Secretary and the complainers.Given that the first information of any procedure or complaints under it was intimated to me on 8th March2018, this suggests that the decision maker, the Permanent Secretary, met the complainers before I was even informed of the existence of any complaints.In her evidence before the Committee, the Permanent Secretary suggested that it would have been“inappropriate” for her to know the identities of complainers before the complaints procedure was approved. It is a much graver matter for the decision maker to be meeting complainers in mid-process.’
      . . .

      ‘As Lord Pentland indicated to the court at a procedural hearing of the Judicial Review on 6th November 2018 a public authority has a general duty of disclosure of relevant information and it would be unusual to require a court order to fulfil that duty. The Scottish Government indicated that they would take a responsible approach. The Permanent Secretary knew of this meeting (and the associated notes) and chose not to disclose it, until now, which I find staggering.If this material had been disclosed, then the apparent bias of the Permanent Secretary as decision maker would have been introduced in our pleadings at the Judicial Review as an additional ground of review. Given the decision of Lord Pentland on apparent bias, it seems highly likely the Judicial Review would have succeeded on that ground also.’

      For a long time now many have expressed astonishment that Leslie Evans has not lost her job, has indeed had her contract renewed. That astonishment redoubles now.

      The session starts (remotely) at 11 am tomorrow.

      Mr Salmond’s submission starts around page 9, here:
      https://www.parliament.scot/HarassmentComplaintsCommittee/Meeting%20Papers/20210112SGHHCPublicPapers.pdf

    10. David F says:

      Cracking stuff Stu. I was going to express disappointment that you didn’t include the section from Salmond’s statement about the confidentiality of legal advice. That’s right – the “legal advice” that the SG is so sensitive about that they simply cannot tell us anything about the advice that they got from their lawyers.

      Leslie Evans got a copy of Salmond’s legal advice for the Judicial Review, under privilege, as it contained the evidence that the SG was going to get its arse booted to fuck in Court.

      She promptly shared this “confidential legal advice” with everybody from the teaboy to the office cleaner. One copy went to Judith Mackinnon, the “impartial investigating officer”, who not only shared it with the complainants, but with other witnesses.

      Anyway, I was going to express my disappointment. But since I’ve now written it all down for your readers, it doesn’t really matter.

    11. Ian says:

      Meeting of the Parliament 17 January 2019 –

      First Minister’s Question Time

      Alex Salmond Investigation

      Nicola Sturgeon’s replies to various questions –

      “To Jackson Carlaw and the chamber I say that I will answer any question to the fullest extent possible and that my Government will co-operate fully with all and any inquiries”.

      “However, it strikes me that people cannot call for inquiries and then refuse to respect the work of those inquiries. I will respect the work of those inquiries”.

      “Now that those inquiries have been called for—and now that I, my Government and my party have agreed to support the establishment of those inquiries and co-operate fully with them—it is incumbent on all of us to respect those processes. That is what I will do”.

      “The inquiries will be able to request whatever material they want, and I undertake today that we will provide whatever material they request. That is the definition of full, thorough and open inquiries. It will not be for me to decide what material the parliamentary inquiry, when it gets under way, wants to request. My commitment is that the Government and I will co-operate fully with it, which is, I think, appropriate”.

      “It is not me who is establishing the inquiry and it is not me who will decide who will conduct the inquiry, when the committee will sit, how long it will sit for, what its remit will be, who will chair it and who will be on it. Those are decisions for the Parliamentary Bureau, and I am making it clear that I will respect whatever decisions the Parliamentary Bureau makes on the inquiry”.

      “There would be something deeply wrong if, having supported an inquiry into the matter, I then started to try to dictate—even if I did so in response to questions from Richard Leonard—the terms on which the inquiry was to be conducted. Those matters are for Parliament. The commitment that I give to Parliament is that my Government and I will co-operate fully, whatever terms Parliament decides”.

      Fine words by Nicola Sturgeon made utterly meaningless by the use of censorship of the materials provided.

    12. Bob Mack says:

      As far as I can see the ONLY people who are protected by these redactions aren’t the complainers, but everybody else.

      Somebody has something they want well hidden.

    13. Sharny Dubs says:

      So just to be clear all that “redacted” stuff the enquiry gets to see?

      Which, if that is the case, must surely result in some very red faces.

    14. Bob Mack says:

      Imagine yourself in a position where you could only legally be allowed to defend yourself with one word out of every three hundred submitted.
      .
      Only the guilty have something to hide.

    15. TruthForDummies says:

      How can we watch it. I only see Health and Sport or Justice listed on parliament tv

    16. robertknight says:

      We live in hope…

    17. Mia says:

      I would like to know who instructed the clerks to redact the submission from Mr Salmond and under what grounds this was done. Was it to protect the 2 accusers, specific elements of the Scottish government, or individual civil servants?

      Perhaps the reason was to protect the “sensitivity” of the public who might be shocked at the real extent of deceit, betrayal and abuse of power that might have been exercised by some elements working in that government. Well if this is the reason, there is no need to bother, because whatever it is, I am sure we can handle it.

      There is no doubt that excessive redaction limits the ability of the committee to explore in its full extent the case and reach a sound verdict. Those redactions also prevent the electorate to make an informed decision on the extent this government may have abused power and showed contempt for the ministerial code, the civil service code and the standards of conduct that are expected by the electorate from those in office.

      I ask therefore, what right do those clerks have to see that information and full but then deny the same privilege to the committee itself or the public.

      I think, at this point, with the amount of information that is already in the public domain pointing at best at questionable practices by this government and its repeated attempts at withhold evidence, it is fundamental we are told in full the real reasons why the withholding of that information in the form of excessive redaction of documents rendering them unreadable continues, is now apparently aided by Parliament clerks further redacting submissions.

      This inquiry is now of huge public interest. It is in the public interest this committee, that has spent already a significant number of weeks working on this, is given all the tools they may require to reach a fair and honest verdict IN GOOD TIME. The government has been allowed to obfuscate and delay the process for long enough.

      So why is the obfuscation being allowed to continue?

    18. Astonished says:

      Lesley Evans – Room 101 is ready.

      I wonder if she’ll take anyone with her ? And will she avoid jail in the future ? To the first hope she does – to the second hope she doesn’t.

      P.S. I wonder if Stuart McMillan will ask any key questions ?

    19. James Horace says:

      It appears that the widening of the scope of the inquiry has now been denied by Swinney. Cole-Hamilton confirms this.

      What are the next steps here?

      Can further pressure be applied to him, or is he likely to hold firm?

    20. Muscleguy says:

      This alone is absolute dynamite. Salmond is going to sue the govt again in the high court on a contempt of court charge over the non disclosure of documents. Which hearing he will doubtless get the judge to order the release, uredacted of EVERYTHING or else.

      That’s what ‘contacting the Lord Advocate’ means. He and his lawyers will ask the LA for an explanation which will not suffice so leagal papers will be prepared.

    21. Muscleguy says:

      it further seems that suspicions that Salmond was lynched are true. Even the complainers had to be whipped into court. No wonder, they must have known their cases were bunkum. That explains the desperate maintenance of anonimity. They are red faced embarrassed from their crowns to their toes.

    22. Tannadice Boy says:

      BBC slipped this one out late last night. Note their supportive approach of Nicola. Minor infractions of not provided minutes of meetings and so on. Goes on to say Nicola is the final arbiter of the ministerial code. In a pandemic, polls riding high due to face the electorate anyway etc. The article virtually tells her to ignore the Hamilton findings.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-55617818

    23. Desimond says:

      Who does the redactions and on whose instruction? ( i keep picturing the twins from Good Morning Vietnam)

      If an area is redacted.. can the Inquiry simply ask “ Mr Salmond can you tell us what could be redacted here?” and bypass whoever is covering up the info?

    24. Muscleguy says:

      Gods finding a live link is not made easy. You eventually find the committee page but there’s no link from there to live or scheduled coverage. You have to go to Parliament TV and click on the link on the right. Channel 1.

      I must make some popcorn.

    25. stuart mctavish says:

      @Mia
      I guess the immediate solution might be for the committee to ask Mr Salmond to read the redacted paragraphs but the ‘long term’ solution could be to fire the person(s) responsible for the redactions immediately and haul them in for questioning next week.

    26. Black Joan says:

      Evans’s FOURTH appearance to explain herself, again, is via a virtual meeting.

      Can we expect technology problems?

    27. Breeks says:


      Bob Mack says:
      12 January, 2021 at 9:10 am

      Imagine yourself in a position where you could only legally be allowed to defend yourself with one word out of every three hundred submitted.

      Then you could ask Craig Murray how it actual feels for real…

    28. Name (required) says:

      this is what proper journalism looks like.

      well done stu and please keep up the good work – excellent work on a difficult subject.

    29. TruthForDummies says:

      Swinney has refused to widen the enquiry. Cole Hamilton is not happy

    30. GMac says:

      Along with Mr Blackfords claim that “The FM acted Honourably” earlier in the week.
      Why do I get this funny funny feeling they are now setting someone to take the fall for this.

    31. Ottomanboi says:

      Sheepish Scots, authority and men in uniform.
      A wee smack of fascism. But it does take two to play.
      https://www.thenational.scot/news/19003054.anti-lockdown-protest-edinburgh-protesters-clash-police-holyrood/
      No wonder she gets away with it.
      Legalism induced systemic constipation in need of a thorough purge.
      Redact, suppress, quarantine, lockdown, ban, enforce, arrest…..welcome to Scotland ‘21.
      [Lockdown (n.) American. the act of confining prisoners to their cells, usually to regain control during a riot]

    32. Mac says:

      A key feature of the law that has been ruthlessly exploited in the attempted stitch up of Salmond is the principle of maintaining the anonymity of the accusers.

      This anonymity was intended to protect vulnerable people. Using it orchestrate such a public a perversion of justice fatally undermines it’s use.

      As it can very obviously be exploited for nefarious purposes to the point that all the perceived benefits from it are dwarfed by the massive risks it poses to truth, fairness and justice.

      This tarnishing of the principle of anonymity for accusers is another monumental disgrace in this sordid affair. It was utterly disposable to them in their quest to destroy Alex Salmond.

      The principle of anonymity for the accusers was the enabling mechanism that was exploited to orchestrate the stitch up. It provided the cover for them to operate. It still does.

      All these redactions are just another example of how it is exploited to keep covering their tracks.

    33. Effijy says:

      I really don’t get this redaction thing.
      I understand they want to hide the names of the women
      who bore unfounded allegations against Salmond but I don’t know why.

      The lied, they held meetings outside of the court, their stories didn’t make sense.

      By covering up for these women you are saying to others go make up stories
      and see if you can jail an innocent man and ruin him.

      Why not there are no fines, prison sentences or tarnishes against your name?

      This law is not an Ass, it’s a stinking Ass.

    34. Craig Sheridan says:

      You should be able to watch the Lesley Evans squirm here at 11.00 https://www.scottishparliament.tv/channel/virtual-meeting

    35. Mike Fenwick says:

      The note from the Clerk says ” … redactions have been made by the Parliament.”

      By the Parliament????

    36. Alf Baird says:

      Looks like the Parliament clerks have more powers than MSP’s. The ‘Scottish’ Parliament is of course ‘managed’ by Whitehall appointees of course, as is the SG and hence the same with most of the collaborators in this matter. Some might also conclude the FM is likewise managed by Whitehall.

      On our plight and ongoing oppression, Gramsci’s definition of a ‘subaltern’ people comes to mind:

      “the social groups excluded and displaced from the socio-economic institutions of society in order to deny their political voices”.

      Keep up the good work Rev, for you are the voice of the excluded and displaced – us!

    37. Frazerio says:

      Good Gordon Highlanders. Those creaking noises sound like theres a dam about to burst.

      Forgive me for repeating stuff, but some of it is so gargantuan it doesnt all go in first time…

      The Scottish government wont release their legal advice and fight tooth and nail not to on grounds of client/counsel privilege…???

      Yet they get hold of Salmonds confidential legal advice under privilege and shared it with the Investigating Officer (Mackinnon) and who knows who else (complainants, journalists at ‘leading’ tabloids?).

      When this is the stuff thats out in public, unredacted, what level of depravity is the stuff they’re still redacting?

    38. Bob Mack says:

      The whole thing is an open sewer. They clearly are in full damage limitation mode and are obfuscating at revealing every single thing. That my friends is guilt writ large.

      Do I need evidence. Not now. Not really. Like any juror deciding on circumstantial evidence I can draw implications from actions or inactions.

      I say guilty.

    39. Frazerio says:

      Mac 9.57, great points, great post.

      Allied to the fact that such nefarious, malicious prosecutions whilst piggybacking #metoo make it so much tougher for real victims to get justice.

      Truly wicked.

    40. Mac says:

      I am of the view that we are well past the point that it is in the public interest that all the withheld information is leaked.

      Not this site as it is far too important (and especially now) to risk it being shut down.

      The person who leaks it all will be a hero and if they jail them they will become a political martyr. I do not exaggerate.

      Sunshine is the best disinfectant and all of it needs exposed.

    41. Fiona Nelson says:

      Good post again. Not related, but unable to message you but have you seen this? Might want to report.https://www.facebook.com/106329907746978/posts/230148728698428/?sfnsn=scwspmo

    42. Alf Baird says:

      Effijy @ 9.58

      The courts appear to be full of such cases based on dubious complaints and fluffed up charges supported by often ‘creative narrative’ and a great many lives are ruined as a result. The Alex Salmond trial, whilst very high profile, and the other instances of political oppression, are merely examples of the way the ‘system’ and its ‘culture’ oppresses ordinary Scots every day.

      ” Dame Elish Angiolini said she had been “horrified” by the tales of discrimination she had heard during her two-year examination of Police Scotland’s handling of complaints.”
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-55220263

    43. Desimond says:

      Wow, re-read and re-read and it just gets juicier.

      The piece on “Ms Evans claiming not to be “completely aware” about the police referral when in fact it came from her…”

      If that isnt an immediate sackable offence, well come on, give that woman another raise and contract extension!

    44. Scozzie says:

      Can we ask who is doing the redacting? Is it the lawyers advising the Scottish government or is it the civil servants? I think we need to know this. My understanding is that FOI should be released if it is in the public interest. Given it’s been tax payers money paying for this whole farce then it very much is in the public interest. We should be demanding full disclosure. Redaction shouldn’t be to protect embarrassment or wrong doing or corruption. My understanding is that redaction in the most part should be for national security reasons only. Perhaps Craig Murray can clarify. In any case all this redacted text is treating the Scottish public as chumps. Fucking farce!!!!!

    45. Desimond says:

      @TruthForDummies

      Swinney was never gonna allow that. Everyone knew it. Utter sham.

      The 4 signatories get to wail and shudder and claim “Well..Hey look.. we tried ” and they look good. Swinney portrayed as a pantomine villian of Holyrood but no-one outside or in the Media pays any real attention as Covids going on etc.

      Cue them all smiling at each other across the chamber as they exit, all living to fight and profit from another day at the trough.

      Its looking like Nicola Patel Sturgeon is ultimately gonna get cited for misleading Parliament but it conceded it was more a case of unknowingly doing so ( i know I know!) and thats that as we all just shrug and move on with a “look at those opinion polls” squirrel ( expect a 60% Indy poll any time soon!)

      We really have went full Westminster and possibly beyond.

      The only potential banana skin would be someone cracking under pressure which i doubt will happen as they will be under guidance or will refrain from interaction where possible

      OR

      Alex Salmond has actual physical evidence that sees that light of day.

    46. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      Looks like a fake ISP account @Fiona Nelson says at 10:22 am

      The “Both Votes SNP” is a giveaway, probably administered by on of Woko Onos Twittler Youth!

      The real ISP will take action to have it closed down I suspect.

    47. Craig P says:

      Interesting.

      It’s not the Parliament clerks jobs to save the blushes of the Government (or Alex Salmond), so there must be some legal reason for all these redactions.

      Is Parliament worried about being taken to court by Government (is that even possible)?

    48. Davie says:

      If my interactions with local authorities are any indicator they will just keep obfuscating until all of the impetus is lost. They have infinite time, manpower and resource and all the apparatus of state. No matter how clearly you have them bang to rights they can just plod on.

      I hope I’m wrong in this case.

    49. Sunshine says:

      Mac 10.09
      Steady on, I’m not that brave.
      ( last line you wrote )?

    50. Skip_NC says:

      I don’t suppose I’ll ever write a cheque to the Scottish Government but if I do I think I’ll get a purple pen and write “Redacted” on the amount line.

    51. Shug says:

      Does anyone know why they launched the fit up of Salmond
      He was retired
      Was he planning a come back
      Why would nicola order such a betrayal

    52. G H Graham says:

      It’s almost as if there is a “special” relationship between Evans & Sturgeon that I cannot quite put my finger on.

      Nevertheless, it is one that appears to cause Evans to obfuscate, divert, block & mislead this inquiry in an apparent attempt to stop the whole truth coming out in order to protect Sturgeon.

      Now, why would she be so determined to do that? What would cause her to undermine her own professional integrity?

      What motive drives her to a point where her own reputation is clearly crumbling & just how far is Evans willing to go before she sacrifices everything instead of coming clean & throwing Sturgeon under the bus to save herself?

      Is there some unspoken arrangement between them that has clouded her judgment?

    53. Lothianlad says:

      Just want to add my grateful thanks wings for giving us the true version of what’s going on.
      Sure its alot if work and it’s very much appreciated. If it hadn’t been for brave journalists of integrity like yourselves, we would have to rely on the brit media.

      Thanks wings

    54. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Here we go with the fuckin gremlins…Mitchell’s opening sentences unintelligible…

      FFS…

      🙁

    55. Corrado Mella says:

      In case you have not cottoned up to the scenario yet, Nicola is in deep doo-doo because about half a million pounds disappeared from the Yes / Scotref coffers, money earmarked for the IndyRef2 campaign. This happened with her consent.

      There might be more dirt the BritNazi Establishment has on her and her acolytes to blackmail her into the corner she’s painted herself into.

      She’s the red herring waved in front of everyone to keep the hoi-polloi distracted.

      The BritNazi Establishment controlled Mass Media are picturing her as a hero in the fight against COVID, while Scotland only fared marginally better than the UK as a whole. Sure, we work with one arm tied behind our back, but I doubt there would have been much pushback from Scots if she pushed the envelope much, much further.

      If you want to see a successful female leader defeat the pandemic, look at the antipodes in New Zealand.

      We must assume that Nicola is compromised, and seek a new leader outside her circle of loyalists.

      (sigh) I have been protesting that we needed a new leader for the Independence movement over a year ago. Again, nobody listened to me then and here we are.

      I shall change my name by deed poll to Cassandra.

    56. TruthForDummies says:

      Apparently NS thought that when he launched his RT show he intended to use it to get back into politics. He had no such intention.

      I also think NS knows she is useless without Alex and the job of getting Scotland independence is too big for her so she resented him. He was critical of her handling of the GE17 so bring a narcissist as many politicians are NS decided he was the enemy.

    57. Alf Baird says:

      Always enlightening to listen to Scotland’s meritocracy. Its almost as if they speak a different language.

      Daes onybody ken whit ‘pwoceedya’ is?

    58. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Half-hour in, Margaret Mitchell’s questions – not one of which was fully audible – still not completed.

      We’ve all done Zoom quizzes and suchlike with less interference.

      Pathetic.

    59. Willie says:

      As I read the above redacted documentation, redacted even to the Parliament, it is difficult not to realise that the more and how the state now operates in exactly the same way as the states of Northern Ireland and apartheid South Africa did before change was forced upon them.

      A compromised rule of law, sectarian police force, corrupt prosecution service and all wrapped up with censorship and misinformation I truly wonder about the road ahead unless we do something now.

      And with closed borders and out of Europe things will get much worse unless we make our moves now.

      Keep up the good work Rev Stu for it is sorely needed.

    60. McHaggis69 says:

      Shug says:
      12 January, 2021 at 10:59 am
      “Does anyone know why they launched the fit up of Salmond
      He was retired
      Was he planning a come back
      Why would nicola order such a betrayal”

      No-one has said Nicola ordered this.
      However it is clear that the fitup was organised for any one of a number of obvious reasons. The UK Government is desperate to bring down the SNP and stymie independence. When approached at the very start of all this, the FM would have been easily co-erced into going along with it all to maintain her ‘whiter than white’ image. Could you magine if she had tried to block everything? By becoming central to it all she thought she’d give the impression she was un-taintable – my goodness – even to the point of organising and approving an investigation that could ultimately send her friend and mentor to jail.

      What she didnt count on was the whole thing back-firing due to the flimsy, farcical, biased and tainted way in which it all came together. She is now covered in the shit thats been flung in all directions.

      Personally I blame Leslie Evans as being at the VERY HEART of it all. But the FM has stupidly, needlessly and recklessly destroyed her own career by getting actively roped into it all.

      There.

      Can we stop with the ‘why would Nicola Sturgeon do this’? questions. The answers are obvious if you think about it. She might not have initially been actively supporting it happily, but she sure as hell made a choice of what side she was going to be on, to protect her own squeaky clean image.

    61. holymacmoses says:

      As anyone with half a brain can deduce, the ‘legal’ advice to refer things was because they were already knee-deep in shit
      I don’t know how you do it Mr Wings. It’s really time-consuming to read these papers and then think about them and then read them again comparing what you thought to what you reread and then writing about everything for eedjits like me . You must be knackered. I do hope you’re not just living on sweeties. Cod Liver oil capsules are really good and they make multivits that look and taste like sweeties these days. And then there’s sleep – that’s a good thing too. Take care and thanks again. I’ll get back to the papers after I’ve cut and chopped the wood for the stove

    62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Do I understand correctly that they’ve redacted stuff already in the public domain (ie on your site)?”

      No. As it says in the piece, Salmond’s submission to the inquiry is different and separate to the one he made to the Hamilton inquiry. It’s the Hamilton one we published last week.

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I would like to know who instructed the clerks to redact the submission from Mr Salmond and under what grounds this was done.”

      Ostensibly nobody. Ostensibly they did so on their own initiative in accordance with their normal duties.

    64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So just to be clear all that “redacted” stuff the enquiry gets to see?”

      No, it doesn’t. I don’t know how I could have made it any clearer:

      “redacted – against his will – by the Parliament clerks, who have struck out substantial sections which not even the committee are allowed to see.”

    65. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can we ask who is doing the redacting? Is it the lawyers advising the Scottish government or is it the civil servants?”

      The Parliament clerks, who are civil servants.

    66. Skip_NC says:

      Which time zone is Leslie Evans in right now. Look at the sunlight. It appears to be going down, not up.

    67. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “BBC slipped this one out late last night. Note their supportive approach of Nicola. Minor infractions of not provided minutes of meetings and so on. Goes on to say Nicola is the final arbiter of the ministerial code. In a pandemic, polls riding high due to face the electorate anyway etc. The article virtually tells her to ignore the Hamilton findings.”

      I disagree, I think that article is a pretty accurate and fair assessment of the situation.

    68. Catherine says:

      They have a team to provide documents to the enquiry?? I wonder what the bill is for black redacting markers…

    69. Willie says:

      May I assist Mr Baird to tell you that ” Pwoceedya ” is a synonym for ” fuckya ”

      Now that you understand the lingo you can go back in your box.

    70. MaggieC says:

      Shug @10:59 am

      “Does anyone know why they launched the fit up of Salmond
      He was retired
      Was he planning a come back
      Why would nicola order such a betrayal “
      .

      This is from Wikipedia ,

      “On 9 November 2017, the RT channel (formerly known as Russia Today) launched The Alex Salmond Show, with the first episode airing a week later. “

      “Salmond stated that his performance at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of his Alex Salmond: Unleashed tour inspired him to create the talk show. “

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alex_Salmond_Show

      And this at the time from Bbc ,

      “ Nicola Sturgeon has said she would have advised Alex Salmond against hosting a TV show on Russian state-funded broadcaster RT if she had been asked. “

      https://archive.vn/gtKr0
      .

      Remember that Alex Salmond had a very successful run at the Edinburgh festival in 2017 and as the Wikipedia article states that gave him the inspiration for his tv show after he lost his seat in the General Election held in June 2017 .

      Was Nicola Sturgeon and the Snp expecting Alex Salmond to retire quietly after he lost his seat in that General Election ?
      .
      Was it jealousy that played a part in Nicola Sturgeon and the Snp going after Alex Salmond when he had that successful season at Edinburgh and then went onto his tv show ? .

      Also the Snp ran a terrible campaign in 2017 and went from 56 Mps in 2015 down to 35 in 2017 .
      .
      So did it all boil down to 2017 being successful for Alex and a failure for Nicola ?

    71. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Evans is bossing this – talking down the clock.

    72. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I see from the stream that Andy Wightman IS still on the committee. Which raises uncomfortable questions about why he didn’t sign the letter requesting the Hamilton inquiry remit be expanded.

    73. Nally Anders says:

      Swinney won’t be widening the scope of the enquiry because he can’t allow Liz Lloyd to personally appear before the committee. She was the one who liaised with Geoff Aberdein and set up the meeting with NS on the 29th Mar.
      The question is when exactly was that date agreed. Are we really supposed to believe the first NS knew about the complaints was when a team of people arrived at her office door?
      Aye right. It’s so obvious. In the business world some notice is required to allow folk to check clear their diaries with an agenda circulated.
      Why didn’t she just say she knew on the 8th which is why she asked LL to contact GA?

      Like everyone else here Rev, huge thanks for all that you do.

    74. Republicofscotland says:

      I see the FM’s Covid bulletins have been hijacked by the British Nationalist and its now a Britnat propaganda bulletin.

    75. Davie Oga says:

      Ian Brotherhood says:
      12 January, 2021 at 11:35 am
      “Half-hour in, Margaret Mitchell’s questions – not one of which was fully audible – still not completed.

      We’ve all done Zoom quizzes and suchlike with less interference.

      Pathetic.”

      My first inclination was that Mitchell had shite Internet. Now Fraser is having the same issues. The problem is obviously at the committee end. Dubious as fuck

    76. Effijy says:

      Is Nicola suggesting that RT would be broadcasting fake news?

      They would then be in the exact same position all all other existing U.K. channels.

      Alex controls the topics, the questions and the guests on HIS show.

      Can anyone name another show in U.K. channels where this could be said if any independence supporter?

      The most watched Unionist Media TV show is the BBC’s Question Time.
      That’s where the BBC select the audience, they select who gets to speak, who’s
      Questions are put forward, who the panelist’s are and when to interrupt or change the questions
      when a pro Scotland proposition is being presented.

      When the Lib Dem’s were the 3rd largest party they had an MP on almost every show.
      When SNP are the 3rd party, no more than one in 6 shows I’d estimate.

      Astonishing who often rampant Unionist always get the hard to find tickets
      for the show and features like the starving Scottish nurse who later is found on Facebook
      Dining and drinking I the finest Parisian restaurants and in a relationship with a crank Tory Councilor.

      No one like to mention our Nurses get free training and university places as well as more pay than their English counterparts.
      English counterparts and

    77. Republicofscotland says:

      Its all come at once Rev, like buses, mind and take a break now and then or you might sicken yourself with it.

      AS for the summaries, the Scottish government will try anything but tell tell the truth, Sturgeon and her clique are a bunch of charlatans.

      I hope the inquiry gives Evans the Third Degree, the lying b*tch.

    78. Alf Baird says:

      Willie @ 12.01

      Thanks!?

      Effijy @ 12.21

      That perhaps reminds us of the standard norm of cultural imperialism which involves colonial society hierarchical structures where socio-political and economic elites are largely composed of people drawn from the colonial ‘administrative Power’ and/or reflective of the latter’s culture, language, and ‘values’. Or, as you say “rampant unionists”.

    79. MaggieC says:

      McHaggis69 @11.46 am

      “ No-one has said Nicola ordered this. “
      “ Personally I blame Leslie Evans as being at the VERY HEART of it all. But the FM has stupidly, needlessly and recklessly destroyed her own career by getting actively roped into it all. “
      .
      Nicola Sturgeon delegated it then signed it off. The buck stops with her as the First Minister, She was also advised by Westminster not to bring in the new procedure against former Ministers but she went ahead with it anyway .

      Also if you listen to all the civil servants at the start of their evidence sessions , they are giving their evidence on behalf of ministers who they work for and not in a personal capacity .

    80. Skip_NC says:
      Which time zone is Leslie Evans in right now. Look at the sunlight. It appears to be going down, not up.

      An undisclosed secure location with no extradition treaty?

    81. Eileen Carson says:

      I’m horrified that complaint “D” had already been addressed under the original procedure AND was also used as a charge under the new procedure/court case. At what point do they stop taking another bite of the cherry??

    82. Cath says:

      One especially noteworthy aspect, however, is that it has been redacted – against his will – by the Parliament clerks, who have struck out substantial sections which not even the committee are allowed to see.

      How is this even allowed? It’s perfectly possible for committees to take evidence and hearings in private, and/or redact things prior to publication to the public. How can a committee possibly work if the elected representatives on it aren’t allowed to see the material because a “clerk” has redacted it?

    83. Alison says:

      The absolutely worst thing about watching these committee broadcasts is having to cheer on the likes of Cole Hamilton. It’s so hard.

    84. Ottomanboi says:

      It can be held certain that information that is withheld or suppressed contains truths that are detrimental to the persons involved in the suppression.”
      — J. Edgar Hoover

      The assumption that we are infallible can justify the suppression of opinions we think false. Ages are as fallible as individuals, every age having held many opinions which subsequent ages have deemed not only false but absurd.”
      — John Stuart Mill

      “She spoke as if she belonged to an anti-sausage society or a league for the suppression of eggs.”
      — P.G. Wodehouse

    85. Scozzie says:

      Stu, thanks for clarifying who is doing the redacting sorry I missed that in the article. Next question if there’s someone on the inside of Scottish civil service – what are the guidelines that the parliamentary clerks need to follow on what is allowed to be redacted in a parliamentary inquiry? I’d be curious to know this.

    86. Hugh Jarse says:

      It would be common courtesy if the Redactors were obliged to give a reason for each omission.

      And a laugh.
      🙂

    87. The Dissident says:

      @Cath,

      And it is totally pointless.

      All Salmond has to do is email his submission directly to the members rather than via the committee.

      I think there is absolutely no possibility that the committee members will not have access to the full submission one way or another.

      BTW, the clerks will be acting under instruction from the Parliament’s lawyers (as distinct from the Government’s lawyers) who have been assigned to the committee.

    88. Meg merrilees says:

      Seems to me she is reading her previous answers to check that her replies today are not giving anything away or any extra information.

      Currently a very stuttery reply reading out her legal advice.

      I’d ask what she is reading from!

    89. Famous15 says:

      Leslie Evans in the spotlight cheerily describing the breach of Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ex post facto processes to trap Salmond having the amusing or outrageous picture of the “complainants” having a say in the draft procedures .

      Say what you like about the USA but this would be unconstitutional there but here merely outrageous trashing of Rule Of Law norms.

      To paraphrase Leslie Evans took advantage of Nicola Sturgeon by turning her into a rabbit caught in the glare of the brilliance of colonial spot lights. Are you sure Leslie Evans was not head of MI5?

    90. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      The Clunking Fists ‘BritNat Think Tank’ Our Scottish Future has its propaganda shredded by FM and J Leitch at Covid Briefing.

      Statistically flawed, False etc. wonder if Dogfood Boy did the calculation and if it comes in graph from?

      Looks like this will be one of the main sources of anti Indy Propaganda dressed up as news come IndyRef2.

      Can’t we just extradite Broon to Baghdad for his part in the UKs illegal war of aggression?

    91. McHaggis69 says:

      MaggieC says:
      12 January, 2021 at 12:35 pm

      “Nicola Sturgeon delegated it then signed it off. The buck stops with her as the First Minister”

      and I don’t disagree with that. If you’re careful enough to read what I actually typed rather than what you imagine I was saying, you’ll see that.

      However, there is no way the FM woke up one morning and said to herself – ‘you know what, its time I *got* Alex Salmond -bring me my civil servants till I tell them what I want them to start!!’.

      So don’t be ridiculous. This started with the civil service. They came to the FM with plans to rewrite the complants procedure. They will have told her it would implicate AS. The FM backed them. Yes she is ultimately responsible, but the suggestion she *started* the whole process is risible.

    92. Meg merrilees says:

      Losing count of how many times things were not Lesley Evans’ responsibility and yet, despite being involved in many aspects of the formation of the policy she held the position of Deciding Officer – what a tangled web…. and how could she hold two positions at the same time.

      Surely the most basic idiot would say that it was unwise for one person to hold two such influential positions as to do so would leave you open to accusations of a stitch up – unless, of course, your primary aim was in fact to carry out a stitch up!

    93. Johnny Martin says:

      How do you know what’s happened, McHaggis? Were you there?

      I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t there but unless you were there your assertion of what is ‘ridiculous’ is just coloured by your wishes as to what is true or not.

    94. Meg merrilees says:

      AHA – Now for the thumbscrews – Jackie Baillie has already begun – short answers preferred. lol

    95. Eileen Carson says:

      Far too much influence of the #metoo movement in all this!

      It’s as if we haven’t made strides since the 60s, women today should be strong enough to stand up for themselves with the law already on their side, most are. It strikes me that there is too much emphasis on protecting the complainers, less on seeking justice for both sides.

      #metoo presents women as fragile and being bullied, but I personally know many women who quite frankly aren’t beyond using their wiles against someone who refuses to play ball with them.

    96. Bob Mack says:

      Ever heard the eppresxion “A life of its own”?

      Defined as something that grows and thrives outside its point of origin.

      This case seems to fit. Nobody is clear about what part they plsyed or what anybody else did . Nobody accepts responsibility or admits doing anything.

      Have we discovered a new life form ?

    97. Bob Mack says:

      @McHaggis69,

      Leslie Evans has already testified she was requested to create such a policy by Nicola Sturgeon

    98. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The absolutely worst thing about watching these committee broadcasts is having to cheer on the likes of Cole Hamilton. It’s so hard.”

      Yup. And Jackie Baillie, who is head and shoulders above the others. If I could somehow forgive Sturgeon for everything else, I couldn’t forgive her for making me look forward to seeing Jackie Baillie.

    99. Eileen Carson says:

      “Yup. And Jackie Baillie, who is head and shoulders above the others. If I could somehow forgive Sturgeon for everything else, I couldn’t forgive her for making me look forward to seeing Jackie Baillie.”

      I’ll second that!

    100. Johnny Martin says:

      I have seen Baillie talk no end of rubbish, like a lot of Scottish Labour politicians.

      But it seems evident that she’s not actually as hapless as their last few leaders.

      Did they mess up by not giving her a go as leader (to date)? The evidence suggests that she could at least have asked decent questions as an opposition leader, even if Scottish Labour’s position would probably not have improved regardless of who was in charge.

    101. Shug says:

      Watch a bit of the enquiry. Jackie Baillie is very good and it looks like mckinnon getting thrown under a bus now

    102. Peter S says:

      @wulls – I think you mean a finetooth comb, not a fine toothcomb!

    103. David Ferguson says:

      For irrelevant reasons I was browsing the BBC report of Wendy Alexander’s resignation as Labour leader back in 2008 and I came across this…

      Scottish deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said… “While Wendy Alexander has been author of her own misfortune, there can be no doubt that the information on her illegal campaign donation could only have come from within the inner circles of the Labour Party… Decay from within is characteristic of the decline of the New Labour project, and Wendy Alexander’s resignation is a symptom of this wider malaise.”

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/7478913.stm

    104. Ian Mac says:

      So their strategy is to obsfuscate, delay, deny, ‘forget’, and smother it all in a blizzard of half redacted documents, making it so labyrinthine that nobody will notice what they are doing and what their responsibilities are.
      And they expect us to trust them with independence. They are having a laugh, but I don’t find it remotely funny. They are just wrecking the drive for independence. That couldn’t possibly be their goal, could it?

    105. George Rutherford says:

      Just clocking in, and going by the comments, it looks as if we are no further forward.

      SIGH!!!

      When the hell are we going to nail at least one of these bastards?

    106. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Bravo The Baillie!

      😉

    107. Alf Baird says:

      Scozzie @ 12:46

      “Scottish civil service”

      Never heard of it. It disnae exist.

      Like the so-called ‘Scottish Government’, which is merely a spending department of the UK Gov.

      Or the non-sovereign Scottish ‘parliament’, a body which clearly has limited powers, and quite a few strings being pulled.

      Devolution is just more colonialism under a different name.

    108. And spouse says:

      As someone who has marked exam papers for many years, I have to say L Evans would score very poorly in this examination. She gives lots of repeated answers but in almost every case fails to answer the question put.

    109. Cath says:

      I notice Evans is claiming not to know who one of the complainers is (and one only), or indeed whether she has ever even met that one woman. I wonder which one that will be? Have a sneaking suspicion…

    110. Hatuey says:

      I’m not sure I understand this, can anyone help?

      Is it the case that the permanent Secretary acting as decision maker, the investigating office, the first minister, and a whole bunch of other people involved in the case, were in contact with the complainers and indeed at meetings with them, before the Procedure was even in place, and that they were not only discussing specifics of the complaints but also discussing the form the new procedure would take and how it would be used against Alex Salmond at a later date?

      Is that the official story now?

    111. George Rutherford says:

      Serious question Rev.

      Would you like to be on this panel at the inquiry and what would you ask that is not being asked and what is the way around witnesses who waffle nonsense?

    112. Hatuey says:

      I’d ask them the question I just asked above, George, and then I’d ask them to tell me what this might look like if it was a conspiracy because I’m struggling to distinguish…

    113. Doug says:

      Since Leslie Evens, the Permanent Secretary in Holyrood, was appointed by britnat Westminster does that mean she can only be removed by britnat Westminster?

      Couldn’t the Scottish government appoint its own Permanent Secretary and bypass the britnat one?

    114. H Scott says:

      Alf Baird
      ‘Devolution is just more colonialism under a different name.’

      Just reading an article this week where the name for that is ‘indigenous collaboration’.

    115. Bob Mack says:

      @George Rutherford,

      My question

      This debacle has cost the taxpayer millions. Who ultimately holds responsibility for that failure?

    116. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “However, there is no way the FM woke up one morning and said to herself – ‘you know what, its time I *got* Alex Salmond -bring me my civil servants till I tell them what I want them to start!!’.”

      I don’t think you have any reasonable basis for that assertion. I think that is, in broad essence, exactly what did happen.

    117. David Ferguson says:

      Assuming that nothing he said risked identifying any of the alphabet sisters, why can’t AS just publicly release an unredacted copy of his enquiry statement? Within the limitations of the law as laid down by actual judges, what authority do parliametary clerks have to decide what we can and can’t see?

    118. Hatuey says:

      I think he did, David, there’s a lengthy document in the public domain called something like the petitioner’s case… I’m talking about the JR case, of course, not the criminal case.

    119. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Would you like to be on this panel at the inquiry and what would you ask that is not being asked and what is the way around witnesses who waffle nonsense?”

      I would give all of your left arms to be on the panel. I’d have been significantly more aggressive on challenging Evans on how she could possibly have misinterpreted stuff like the rule about “no prior contact”, and I’d have really pressed her on who was responsible for the investigation going so completely tits-up, because so far she’s basically insisted that nobody made any mistakes, it just somehow happened by itself. And a whole load of other stuff. But I’d have been happy to play the thuggish Bad Cop and then leave it to Jackie Baillie to be the smiling assassin.

    120. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Assuming that nothing he said risked identifying any of the alphabet sisters, why can’t AS just publicly release an unredacted copy of his enquiry statement? Within the limitations of the law as laid down by actual judges, what authority do parliametary clerks have to decide what we can and can’t see?”

      Rest assured that that question is being investigated as we speak.

    121. Scozzie says:

      Alf Baird at 1.32pm ok point taken, uk civil service peeps in the Scottish government- the point being there must be someone on the inside able to disclose what are the civil service guidelines for redacting documents.

    122. Mac says:

      The only one asking any pointed questions was Jackie Baillie as usual.

      Everyone before that was asking inconsequential softball questions which were open ended allowing Evans to go into full bureaucratic waffle mode which she did every single time until Baillie stopped her.

      From every session I have seen if it was not for Baillie this would be a complete waste of time.

    123. Sharny Dubs says:

      Ok so now I’m doing catch up.
      Redacted means redacted even for the enquiry.
      How the f#=k is an enquiry to reach any meaningful conclusion if they don’t get the full details, and surely the enquiry is made up of people who have the authority to access such info even if it’s not made public.
      I know it doesn’t add much, but a rant makes me feel better and may just fill in some gaps for the slower folk like me.

    124. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ok so now I’m doing catch up.
      Redacted means redacted even for the enquiry.
      How the f#=k is an enquiry to reach any meaningful conclusion if they don’t get the full details, and surely the enquiry is made up of people who have the authority to access such info even if it’s not made public.”

      What a very fair question.

    125. David Ferguson says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      12 January, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      Rest assured that that question is being investigated as we speak…

      Excellent. I hope very much that the answer that comes back is “They have absolutely no authority whatsoever to prevent us from seeing any material that is not subject to a judicial ruling…”

    126. Frank Gillougley says:

      Well, that is 3 hours of my relatively worthless life i will never get back. Still, it is a highly instructive view afforded to me of what constitutes the business of government.

      Oh the ironies – take for example the poetic justice of when the attackdog ms baillie questioned ms evans and she squirmed under the spotlight of a low shifting winter sun. You couldn’t script that! Straightforward questioning in straightforward english by her resulted in Leslie Evan’s umm and err rates increasing tenfold.

      Also, with a straight face, leslie evans talking about: supportive, inclusive, open, clear culture and on the other hand talking about redactions and being repeatedly accused of obfuscation in her responses.

      At the end of her questioning by JB did i detect a revealing, ‘how very dare you talk to me like that…i’ll speak to you later’ by LE? Really?…..

      But its the psychological profile of LE that gets me in all this beyond the obvious metaphor of, ‘it’s a goddam robot!’ She, LE is a 1 – Personalitywise. She is a perfectionist, but the trouble is the world ain’t perfect, and so her job is to make the world conform, and be framed by her to her bureaucratic view of the world. LE has had numerous past lifes working for all totalitarian regimes the world over.

      THe very idea or thought that she only ever adheres to ‘procedures’ without any personal bias or input is simply RISIBLE. She needs to spend time with CBB clearly!

      But in the end sometimes a simple truth comes out when she said, ‘I serve the government of the day’. Exactly. Step forward one NS, the government.

    127. Seoras Liath says:

      I’ve been busy working in the house and only caught a snippet at the start of the enquiry today but I’m sure at the beginning Linda Fabiani seemed to be laying down a lot of conditions about stuff that couldn’t be asked. Were these new things arising from previous questioning?.

    128. TruthForDummies says:

      There were two original complaints one was deal with at the time
      How did Lesley Evans find out about Ms H’s complaint only McCann knew about that

      Interesting that the complainants didn’t even want to go to arbitration let alone court
      No one will ever come forward in future if you will end up in court

      However, Nicola Sturgeon did this she signed off the procedure that put the reputation and liberty of a leader of the independence movement into the hands of a British civil servant. She’s either stupid or complicit

    129. Black Joan says:

      Seeing J Baillie perform so well at past inquiry sessions, I too wondered why she wasn’t SLAB leader, but I gather she did not want the role.

      Then you wonder how she can tolerate the leader she currently has to serve.

      Then you hear her views on the precious Union, and you stop beaing impressed and stop caring.

    130. Roddy Macdonald says:

      Fascinating that someone can reach the rank of Permanent Secretary and never have had to be deciding officer in a disciplinary or grievance procedure before. Fascinating also that though she twice went through the principles of the role of deciding officer (and presumably in her mind followed those principles with, as we heard, copious legal advice), she managed to come to not only the diametrically opposite conclusion to a jury and judge in the criminal case, but also (had she not conceded), came close to [if I may use a bit of technical legalese] being ripped a new arsehole by a Court of Session judge in the JR proceedings.

    131. McHaggis69 says:

      Bob Mack says:
      12 January, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      “Leslie Evans has already testified she was requested to create such a policy by Nicola Sturgeon”

      Quite.
      But what prompted that?
      Its a perfectly valid answer. It doesn’t tell you who prompted the whole debacle from the start though does it which is my point.
      As I stated (and the Rev it seems disagrees) I find it inconceivable the FM just decided to start all this rolling on her own volition. My own take and it could be wrong is as I have stated. She was backed into a corner and needed to protect her whiter than white image by agreeing the code could be re-written knowing it would target her mentor. She instructed the re-write.

      Personally I think the civil service (and a small haggle of them specifically) contemplating the ‘stories’ circulating about AS were the catalyst. The FM tagged along – it would appear willingly.

      Look I would like NS to stand down. I am no fan. But the idea she just woke up one morning and decided ‘thats it, now to get Alex Salmond’ just doesn’t sit with me at all.

      I might be proven wrong.

    132. TruthForDummies says:

      The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

      Nicola wanted rid of Alex for political reasons
      She needed deniability so she passed the knife to Evans

      What people find hard to accept is just how evil these people are. Power corrupts.

    133. Breeks says:

      Aye, Jackie Baillie did well, and I thought Andy Wightman did ok too.

      But when listening earlier, the bit making my blood pressure rise was when Evans was asked about including a complaint, in fact resurrecting a complaint, which had already been dealt with under previous complaints procedure. Wonder who put that idea in the complainer’s head eh?

      Makes you wonder whether the Alphabet Conspirators are now viewing the acquittal of Alex Salmond in a High Court Jury trial as a ‘previous complaints procedure’, and not satisfied the verdict didn’t suit them, are now planning to resurrect the accusations against Alex and “have another go” in future. If at first you don’t succeed eh? Better luck next time eh?

      I also found the rejection of Alex Salmond’s offer of arbitration / mediation particularly unconvincing. It was “too early” in the process for Leslie Evans apparently. Really? Here was me thinking arbitration was one of the first processes to be gone through in employment matters. Obviously they had the Crown Office and Police to get involved first, before any talk of arbitration and exploring the possibility of settling matters amicably.

      Too early to entertain arbitration, but not too early consort with actual complainants and tailor the complaints procedure to accommodate their complaints. You can’t have a proper witch hunt if there’s arbitration process interfering!

      It also gets the spidey senses tingling when there’s this cat and mouse game about who knew what and when. Doesn’t the committee know about the WhatsApp conversation which proved conspiracy, where the evidence against Alex Salmond was ‘filed away for future use’, and where the Conspirators openly discussed serious consequences as a result of their accusations, but the protection of anonymity for themselves?? This is exposed as conspiracy! Not a bulletproof complaint process where the complainants are anonymous, they are openly plotting together! Robust complaints procedure my arse. Stitch up, exactly as called by the Jury.

      Then there is Evans claiming about not informing the police, but informing the Crown Office instead, who then involved the police. OK, time out, while I check out how, where and when this robustly anonymous process of informing the police squares with Nicola Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell frothing at the mouth and agitating for the Metropolitan Police being pressurised to have Alex Salmond fighting fires from every direction? Peter Murrell features in the complaints process quite obviously, or else Leslie Evans and the tight wee professional complaints process she invented is talking out her backside.

      The stench of corruption and deception makes your eyes water. You’d think listening to Evans that she cost the Scottish taxpayer millions by missing a couple dots above an ‘I’ somewhere… How she still has a job is a profound mystery.

      Can’t wait for Alex Salmond. If he needs any help getting the siege engines and trebuchets into position, he has only to call…

    134. Breeks says:

      Whoops. Moderation. Sorry Rev, said something on the naughty list. Not sure what it was.

    135. Bob Mack says:

      @McHaggis 69,

      I have two daughters in the Civil Service so ket me be clear.

      Civil Servants do not create policy without orders.

      Those orders ONLY come from Ministers who can as easily reject flow through recommendations as accept them, without anybody changing that decision.

      Civil servants NEVER ever tell a minister what to do. They serve to make decisions acceptable only.

    136. Joe M says:

      “However, there is no way the FM woke up one morning and said to herself – ‘you know what, its time I *got* Alex Salmond -bring me my civil servants till I tell them what I want them to start!!’.”

      “I don’t think you have any reasonable basis for that assertion. I think that is, in broad essence, exactly what did happen.”

      If true, it would not be the first conspiracy in which pillow talk progressed to a plot.

    137. David Ferguson says:

      McHaggis69 says:
      12 January, 2021 at 2:28 pm

      But the idea she just woke up one morning and decided ‘thats it, now to get Alex Salmond’ just doesn’t sit with me at all…

      In a few short years the SNP has moved from being a party of ordinary principled Scots, stongly opposed to America’s hegemonic lunacy and pitiless warmongering, to a party that is desperate to play the flea on the arse of Uncle Sam’s Westminster poodle, led by a Blairite poseuse who will happily and publicly crawl up the arse of any old bloodspattered bully to ingratiate herself with… well, whoever it is she’s trying to ingratiate herself with.

      Effectively, Sturgeon “woke up one morning” and discovered that AS was about to start a talk show on RT. It doesn’t seem any kind of stretch to suppose that she immediately decided that this might create problems with whoever it is that she’s so determined to ingratiate herself with, and that AS very suddenly became a problem that needed to be quickly and comprehensively dealt with.

    138. DaveL says:

      There must be a rule in the proceedure that states any replies to any question should begin with the word ‘so…’ on that LE slipped up maybe two or three times, it would be right fine proper and dandy if she could maybe provide an answer to that failing in future in writing.

      LE stated that there has been nineteen hours of commitee meetings. I would contend that a major chunk of that has been spent in witnesses having to come back and clarify their previous ‘mistakes’ with a fair amount of that time used up in them affirming how proper and righteous it is for them to be doing it.

      I would also state that it is correct and right that I should be writing this right. If anything appears unright could you rightly write in writing what of the unright writing you see as not right.

    139. Hatuey says:

      Breeks, happens to the best of us. I like to think digital archaeologists will find my moderated comments in the future somehow, read them and realise that I was some sort of undiscovered genius.

      If only you people were more intelligent and discerning now.

    140. winifred mccartney says:

      Lesley Evans repeatedly tells committee her role is to do the governments bidding – I only ask which government?

    141. cirsium says:

      @Willie, 12.01
      May I assist Mr Baird to tell you that ” Pwoceedya ” is a synonym for ” fuckya ”

      Thanks for the chortle. The cream of the jest is that the civil servants who did the redacting are part of the service headed by the Permanent Secretary and she is attending the meeting in which these redacted papers will be examined. Definitely a case of fuckya.

      @GH Graham, 11.02
      Is there some unspoken arrangement between them

      There is more than one unspoken arrangement in operation. Does Ms Evans not report to senior civil servants at Westminster on a regular basis?

    142. Marshall Adair says:

      Is that the first time Yoko Ono has been quoted on Wings?!

    143. McHaggis69 says:

      “Civil servants NEVER ever tell a minister what to do”

      I can’t see where I ever stated that they did?

      As usual, with online discourse, I am used to the cut and thrust of misinterpretation and people putting words into my mouth. Comes with the territory.

      [LE] ‘Nicola you are aware of the recent allegations. It would be prudent for an FM to take action would it not, lest you be accused of a cover up if (when) it all comes out?’
      [NS] ‘Fucksake – but theres nothing we can do is there?’
      [LE] ‘well Nicola, given all that we know, your options include me re-writing the civil service code to snare these kinds of past indescretions’
      [NS] ‘ok – lets do that. Just keep me whiter than white ok’
      [LE] ‘spot on doll, I’ll get to it’

      Thats what I mean by the civil service (LE) being at the heart of it.
      Do I *know* thats what happened? Nope. Does any other contributer here have evidence it didn’t? Nope.

    144. Saffron Robe says:

      When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie…or by redaction!

      Only the guilty are afraid of the truth.

      Ottomanboi says:

      [Lockdown (n.) American. the act of confining prisoners to their cells, usually to regain control during a riot]

      Ottomanboi, add to that definition: …usually to regain control during a riot or when the prisoners start to realise they outnumber the guards!

      Republicofscotland says:

      “It will all come at once Rev, like buses.”

      Just what I was thinking Republicofscotland. Keep up the pressure and the obstruction must surely give way. The larger the boil, the greater the sense of relief when it finally bursts.

    145. Bob Mack says:

      @MHaggis69,

      You miss the main point. Ministers decide not the civil servant. You don’t need tobbe clairvoyant to know that one basic fact.

      Nicola has a team of specialist advisors and party hierarchy who tell her posdible outcomes. Civil servants only tel! her how to portray that action to the public, not what to do.

      That is her decision and hers alone.

    146. Strathy says:

      From an article on Politico.eu (the journal of choice for all of the EU’s movers and shakers) today: –

      ‘These wrongs would be righted and the attempted character assassination avenged, Salmond vowed after his acquittal in March — but not before the horror of COVID-19 had passed. With mass inoculation and an exit from the pandemic pending, it seems this titan of Scottish politics has fired his opening salvo.’

      Later on the author notes how few SNP MPs and MSPs stood up for the First Minister: –

      ‘Curiously, for a quarrel so caustic, there’s been little public intervention from the party benches.’

      Perhaps that’s because view on the benches is that targetting the ‘titan of Scottish politics’ was a mistake.

    147. Ross says:

      A BBC article describes the alleged breach as “minor” and this has been agreed as a good summary by Wings. I had hoped there would be more to show but this ‘meetings date’ “breach” appears to be the extent.

      In those circumstances, I would vote wholeheartedly for her to remain in post in any vote of no confidence.

      This idea that ANY breach whatsoever will automatically mean her dismissal needs explained. If that’s the precedent, its stupid. I wouldn’t vote out McLeish either for his fuddle in the 2000s.

      By all means highlight a breach and, if it’s maleficent, pressure will be brought to bear. No evidence has ever been submitted to show badness by Sturgeon. It’s all hanging on a technical breach of the code which bears no advantage to her then or now.

      The special advisor allegedly leaked information. If true, I find that to be a disgrace and more easily justifies pressure for dismissal of this individual.

    148. Bob Mack says:

      @Ross,

      I might have agreed wjth you but sadly the absolute determination of the SNP led by Ms Sturgekn to hide evidence tends to make me at least, believe there is something big to hide.

    149. McHaggis69 says:

      Bob Mack says:
      12 January, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      “You miss the main point”.

      No Bob, I really don’t and I actually agree with your position that the civil servants take instructions from ministers.

      However, equally, civil servants *provide advice and options to Ministers* that help them give those instructions. If you feel that can’t possibly have happened in this instance then I’m afraid for me, thats delusional.

      But hey – lets not fall out. We both agree the FM is absolutely up to her neck in it no matter how it all started.

    150. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “This idea that ANY breach whatsoever will automatically mean her dismissal”

      That isn’t the case. You can breach most bits of the Code without it being a resigning offence. But not the one about deliberately misleading Parliament. That’s the ultimate crime in MC terms.

    151. Ross says:

      @Bob Mack

      That’s where I was about six months ago but we’ve been waiting for some gamechanger for too long. There doesn’t appear to be any actual evidence of badness from Sturgeon and the “bombshells” seem to all relate to getting Sturgeon dismissed over a technicality.

      It appears to me that complaints were made about Salmond, it was made during a time of the policies being changed. Incidents that Salmond felt had been dealt with previously were cast back up to give credence to more recent complaints. In the time of MeToo it was felt appropriate that issues that had been “dealt with” in their era actually deserved more scrutiny in the present.
      The initial investigation process was flawed and proven to be so. The authorities still felt, regardless, that there was justifiable complaints to be dealt with by proper procedure. Salmond wanted arbitration. The civil service did not feel that was appropriate initially and crucially, at that stage, neither did the complainants.

      The fact they ballsed up the initial procedure should have meant civil service sackings but it doesn’t change the fact complaints were made. That’s the line Sturgeon is taking and it’s factually correct. It also seems to be factually correct Sturgeon got meetings mixed up. I’m not seeing the conspiracy though. Say this as a huge Salmond fan and perhaps the allegations should not have gone to court. That doesn’t mean Sturgeon is the arbiter of that.

    152. holymacmoses says:

      Mike Fenwick says:
      12 January, 2021 at 10:03 am
      The note from the Clerk says ” … redactions have been made by the Parliament.”

      Does that mean that all the members of Parliament (other than the committee members) have decided which parts to redact, having read the whole lot BUT the committee are banned from looking at it because they’re the ones who have to report on the matter

    153. Ross says:

      @Rev

      Fair enough Stuart and that’s good to know. What has she actually misled though? That she had a meeting one day and it happened days before? Is there a reason, other than the whole extra field of which body’s business it is, she would do this? I’m not seeing the advantage.

      The only reason to double down is on the technicality of misleading parliament and the opportunity it gives her opponents. In all honesty, I don’t feel misled by this dates issue. More than happy to be convinced otherwise. Always will be.

    154. Bob Mack says:

      @Ross,

      Lets both hold our judgement I suppose, till we hear what Alex’s testimony says, but remember this. Nicola and Swinney have both tried to smear Alex since the trial. Nicola on Sophie Rjdge and Swinney by telling Holyrood Alex had suppressed an investigation into historic child abuse.

      Coincidence?

    155. Andy Ellis says:

      @ Clwyd Griffiths

      If Stu Campbell doesn’t ban you for coming in here quoting #cosyfeetPete he’s not the man I thought he was!

      The Sturgeonista Loyal truly are the #MAGA of the indy movement aren’t they? 🙁

    156. Joe M says:

      Andy Ellis, wrong thread son

    157. Andy Ellis says:

      @Joe M

      Ooops! Due apologies etc! Sausage fingers is my only excuse! 🙂

    158. Bob Mack says:

      Alex Salmond could have walked away from that trial uncluttered by the accusations. He if actually guilty would have thanked his lucky stars and returned to private life.

      He stood outside the court telling us he should not have been there and hehad the evidence to prove it.

      Who has stopped him providing that evidence?. The next question is why?

      If this was al! above board nobody would object. But they have. Redactions reductions and memory loss.

      Ask yourself this honest question.

      Is Alex trying to hide anything? Or is the government shkw indications of trying to hide anything?.

      Therein lies your answer. Ask Craig Murray.

    159. Ross says:

      @Bob

      Yes and I found that a cruel smear by Swinney. Blatant and obvious. If I had been through what Salmond has I’d be angry too.

      It doesn’t change the fact complaints were made and Sturgeon didn’t intervene on Salmond’s behalf. People are entitled to decide what was the correct course of action.

      It’ll be interesting to hear Salmond testify but I fear this rabbit hole about a date being wrong is too clever for his own good. If he has bombshell evidence, let’s hear it.

    160. Cath says:

      I find it inconceivable the FM just decided to start all this rolling on her own volition. My own take and it could be wrong is as I have stated. She was backed into a corner and needed to protect her whiter than white image by agreeing the code could be re-written knowing it would target her mentor.

      There is one other possibility. At the time of the #metoo stuff (and long before that) there was talk of a very high profile Labour figure who was well known to have been abusive. I recall allegations from Labour MSPs but no one would actually name him. It’s not beyond possible Nicola was sucked in to creating the new procedure on the understanding that’s who it would be looking to deal with. (I have no idea who that person was, whether it was a First minister or minister, but both would be caught under it). She may have been persuaded to do it under the #metoo stuff, as the right thing to do with no idea at all it would, in fact, be used to stitch up Alex. Then once the ball was rolling, she was between a rock and a hard place. That’s the best possible spin I can put on it, and to be frank, right now I feel I should be paid as a spin doctor for coming up with it!

    161. Bob Mack says:

      @Ross,

      There lies the problem. The government insist most of his presentations are redacted. .

      Alex is an old campaigner. He knows fine well! not to name the women in any submissions. Therefore why al! the redactions? Who do the redactions therefore protect if it’s not the women ?

    162. Joe M says:

      Cath at 4:32pm

      I think you may be looking for answers in the wrong places in the hope that Nicola Sturgeon will be proven to have been bounced in this plot against AS. Personally, I suspect that the plot was hatched in private by two people in a close relationship who knew AS well and held a deep grudge against him.

      Once the truth is eventually revealed, we may get an answer to this question:

      Is it good for democracy to have a power-couple at the head of both the gov’t and the ruling party?

    163. twathater says:

      Fiona Nelson @ 10.22am Fiona thanks for that link , that feceplook link looks like an official link to the ISP website , if so it is attempting to SMEAR WOS and Stuart Campbell as a unionist plant and ("Tractor" - Ed) to Scots Independence

      MUSCLEGUY as a member of ISP or any other member can you confirm or refute whether the link is official and is a view of the party , and if so I feel they are about to alienate a whole swathe of people who DEMAND the truth and SC is doing exactly that , or are the ISP content to SMEAR THE MESSENGER and be complicit in hiding the truth , TBH I have stated that I would vote ISP but if these are the views of the party I now will not , and that leaves me with NO ONE to vote for

    164. Craig Sheridan says:

      Regarding Lesley Evans decision report, if she’s avoiding sharing it (based on the reason she mentioned in her own report it’s not to be shared) then she must be hiding something there. There was also another couple of waffled reasons which confirms she’s paranoid about that report.

      Incidentally, for those who don’t get the music reference in the title of this blog, the Galaxy 500 version of that John and Yoko song is superb. Always in my Xmas playlist.

    165. Alf Baird says:

      Bob Mack @ 2.47

      “Civil servants NEVER ever tell a minister what to do. They serve to make decisions acceptable only.”

      You have clearly never watched Yes Minister, or been in a room with Ministers and their senior civil servants. My experience, after working with civil servants and Scottish Ministers over the years, is rather the opposite of what you suggest. A Minister may ok a broad ‘policy’ aim but the development and implementation of said policy is the role of civil servants, as we see in this case.

      Here’s another wee clue. Consider almost all the witnesses who have been called to give evidence in this enquiry – they are virtually all civil servants (and that is not including COPFS and the police, who are also public officials).

      A politician may have pointed the general direction of travel but an army of UK civil servants fought (and lost) ‘the battle’ and they are, as Ms Evans said, still fighting to win ‘the war’.

    166. StuartM says:

      It is one thing to redact documents that are released to the public on the grounds of protecting an individual’s privacy but quite another to redact them from a Parliamentary Inquiry. Plus this is not simply a matter of blacking out names but blacking out whole paragraphs and pages making the document meaningless. This is withholding evidence and contempt of Parliament and should be punished accordingly.

      I should also point out that the protection of privacy does not extend to the conduct of civil servants or politicians in their professional capacity.

      On a related note, does anyone know why the Electoral Commission thinks it’s appropriate to black out the names of the SNP office bearers from the SNP’s Annual Report while leaving their phone numbers untouched? Members and the public have a right to know who the office-bearers are and it ought to be a matter of public record.



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