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Wings Over Scotland

On public record

Posted on May 23, 2015 by

Alistair Carmichael on Channel 4 News a few weeks ago:

Now at least we know why he was struggling to keep a straight face.

Here’s what we now know:

1. A civil servant (still unnamed) in the Scotland Office wrote a memo ostensibly summarising a conversation between himself and the French Consul-General, regarding a meeting between the First Minister and the French ambassador.

2. For reasons which remain unclear (and, it seems likely, always will), the civil servant arrived at a conclusion about the meeting which was in conflict with the subsequent accounts of all three other people involved – namely that the First Minister had expressed a preference for a Conservative government.

3. It was noted in the civil servant’s memo that his/her understanding was suspect, and possibly the result of something having been “lost in translation”, though as far as is known both the meeting between the FM and the ambassador and the conversation between the civil servant and the Consul-General were conducted wholly in English.

4. Euan Roddin, a special adviser to the then Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, suggested leaking this memo to the press in order to damage the First Minister and the SNP before the election. Mr Carmichael agreed with this plan and authorised the leak to the Daily Telegraph journalist Simon Johnson.

5. Simon Johnson ran the story in the paper’s 4 April edition, extraordinarily doing so without having sought any sort of confirmation, denial or any other response from the First Minister. (The Daily Mail also published it, seemingly having lifted it from the Telegraph.)

6. A long parade of senior Unionist politicians – chiefly Labour ones, going all the way up to Ed Miliband, Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale – party activists and journalists immediately and repeatedly propagated the smear. (Labour had a video comment prepared and ready before 11pm on the evening of the 3rd.)

















To the best of our knowledge, none have yet retracted their comments or apologised, with the exception of former Tory MP Louise Mensch.

7. As soon as the story was published, however, it was comprehensively and publicly denied by all parties – the First Minister, the ambassador and the Consul-General. This did cause a few Labour figures to delete some of their tweets in an attempt to cover their tracks.



8. It was announced on 4 April that Sir Jeremy Heywood would conduct an inquiry into the incident on behalf of the UK government.

9. As the story began to fall apart in the face of consistent on-the-record denials from every named person present at both the meeting and the conversation, Alistair Carmichael appeared on Channel 4 News (the video at the top of this page), claiming that he’d known nothing of the leak until asked about it by the Telegraph. This, we now know by his own admission, was a flat-out lie.

Carmichael stood by and allowed an inquiry to be conducted – whose costs have been reported at £1.4m by one Welsh Labour MP quoting a “usually reliable source”, though no official figure is yet available – despite already knowing full well who had been responsible, namely himself and his special adviser. Indeed, he even told the Daily Record on 5 April that he knew.


10. Carmichael was narrowly re-elected as MP for Orkney and Shetland on 7 May, with his majority slashed from almost 10,000 to just over 800.

Since the publication of the Heywood inquiry’s conclusions, Carmichael has conceded on BBC Radio 4 that had he still been Secretary of State for Scotland he would have had to resign as a result of its findings.

The Telegraph, meanwhile, has published a highly misleading article about the report, claiming that the memo was found to have been “recorded accurately”. This is a massive distortion of the truth – the report states that the civil servant made an honest error in his account, recording what he believed to have been said.

However, Alistair Carmichael’s letter of apology to the First Minister had already expressly stated that “the details of that account are not correct”.


The Telegraph’s utterly dishonest reporting is a matter for it and its readers. Alistair Carmichael, however, abused an office of state in an attempt to undermine the democratically-elected leader of Scotland and her party, then told a direct lie about it which led to the wasting of a large amount of taxpayers’ money, and also to a delay which may well have materially affected the outcome of an election.

We suspect (and hope) that we haven’t seen the last development in this affair.

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548 to “On public record”

  1. Robert Peffers

    @StevieMcB says: 25 May, 2015 at 9:57 am:


    Aye! StevieMcB, Ah scanced yon this morn, first thing, an thoucht tae masel, “Nae wunner yon Establishment posh boys think oor FM tae be the maist dangerous wummen in the United Kingdom, (sic).

  2. Naina Tal

    Iain Gray’s Subway Lament
    Thanks for the link to Radio Orkney. Great to hear an interviewer doing his job properly. Braw tae hear the local accents!

  3. Petra

    What’s come over wee Willie Rennie? Carmichael deserves a second chance?

    Mr Rennie said: “He (Carmichael) deeply regrets his actions, has accepted responsibility for his error of judgement, apologised to Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador and declined his ministerial severance payment. I have known Alistair for almost thirty years and have worked closely with him in parliament for almost a decade. I have always been impressed by his energy, dedication and professionalism. It is clear to me that recent events are an aberration. As a liberal I believe that people deserve a second chance. I hope fair-minded people would agree that Alistair Carmichael should be given that second chance.”

    Willie Rennie is an absolute disgrace as a man and politician.

    How many times has he called for someone to resign, on a much ‘lesser’ charge? On numerous occasions!

    He also absolutely bullied and hounded Kenny MacAskill, day in day out and with relish, especially in relation to his attempts to abolish the Corroboration Law (Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill) stating that ”the way Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has handled attempts to abolish the centuries old legal safeguard is “crackers.”

    Then when figures relating to sexual abuse and rape of children in Scotland were released recently, sex offences have doubled in the last four years / 350 children being raped every year, he had the audacity to demand that the SNP formulate ‘an urgent plan’ to deal with it. What? One that will have to include individuals having the ability to see through walls and closed doors until such time that the Corroboration Law is abolished.

    It’s thanks to people like Willie Rennie, and his Union pals who agreed on a secret strategy to block the abolition of the Law (Telegraph 26/02/2014), that Scotland continues to be a paedophiles haven.

    Thousands of children are being abused in Scotland every year. No justice for them due to the Corroboration Law. No second chance for them.

    Willie Rennie must think that we are all ‘crackers’ putting up with him and his lying cohorts.

    When Alex Salmond was standing down as First Minister Rennie very publicly and nastily urged Alex to “take Kenny MacAskill with him (you) when you go”. I’m urging the ‘aberrational’ Carmichael to take Rennie with him when he goes.

  4. heedtracker

    When Scotland does become independent, numbers of English No votes wont make any difference.

    Also, ever more ridiculous and aggressive media opposition to Scotland running Scotland corrupt BBC style is only making people all the more determined that it will happen soon.

    Never stop your opponents from screwing up, or something like that:D

  5. Graeme Doig


    ‘Down to business’

    I’m loving the cut of that woman’s jib. (can a woman have a jib that is cut?)

    As far as the ridiculous comments about restricting votes in Indy ref 2. Stop waisting everyones time with this nonsense.

    As much as you have the right to express your views, it’s never going to happen. No SNP govt is going to consider such divisive thinking.

    Going down the road of that thinking leads straight to where UKIP voters live.

  6. Chic McGregor

    @Still Positive
    “Didn’t Michael Moore resign as SoS”

    Not so far as we were lead to believe. We were told it was a reshuffle.

    Of course, behind every reshuffle there is a story.

    Going by the MSM and reading between the lines, he had already blotted his copybook, albeit unintentionally via a newspaper recording scam, by denouncing the reneging on the tuition fees vow but I think the clincher was his part in securing the Edinburgh Agreement.

    His position may have become intolerable, but he gave every impression of surprise and dismay at the time.

  7. Fiona

    @ Silverytay

    Also well said. To me this is quite simple. The case for independence is a good one, and most people who are able to access good information will see that it is good. That is what I have seen, anyway. Like you, many who were initially opposed ( and I was one of them years ago) change their minds when they meet the arguments. The rise in support for independence over the course of the campaign shows this. It is true we did not clear the bar, but anyone who thought that it would be easy, in face of hostile media and 300 years of propaganda, was kidding themselves. Independence is never won quickly or easily, and the direction of travel is clear. Sure there are some people who vote No for reasons other than the evidence and arguments: but that is true on any issue and in any vote. They will not be convinced, but it is my honest belief that they are few in the scheme of things.

    Disenfranchising groups is stereotyping pure and simple. Only individuals can vote, and you cannot predict the actions of an individual on the basis of group characteristics: that is always and everywhere wrong. It is lazy and it is irrational

    We will win the arguments and we will win the vote: but to do so by exclusion will result in enshrining the very characteristics which a progressive nation should reject. I do not wish to win at any price: I wish to gain independence through confidence in the values which lead me to wish for it in the first place. And confidence that my fellow citizens share those fundamental principles. Ethnic nationalism is not one of them; ageism is not one of them; sexism is not one of them either, though I understand that women too, were less likely to vote yes than were men: dont hear folk saying they should be disenfranchised, though, thankfully. I wonder why not, and I fear it is because how you choose to slice the demographic only reflects your own prejudice. That is what we should recognise, for the essence of progressive politics is to recognise that we are all “us”, and what you do to another group can be done to you as well, if those who happen to see you as “other” gain power in circumstances where you have enabled that kind of stereotyping. Never forget that there are tories who would disenfranchise the poor or the propertyless: they were at the Putney debates and the are in think tanks today.

  8. Fiona

    Reply to Silverytay did not post so I have put it here

  9. Lenny Hartley

    Isle of Man is not part of UK, it’s a crown dependency they have there very own governor General

  10. Edward


    Your right of course 🙂

    Think I was having a senior moment (well that’s my excuse)

    Isle of Man is of course a Crown dependency

  11. fred blogger

    he deserves a 2nd chance, when he resigns he’ll get one.

  12. Fiona

    Oops. Apologies to all. I see it did post after all. Ignore link, thanks

  13. Macart

    @Gillian_Ruglonian 10.02

    John does have a way with words. 😀

    You get there with inclusion Gillian, by asking people to participate, by assuring them they have a stake in the project. Societal division and disenfranchisement is the favoured tool of establishment politics and I’d say we should be well done with that world.

    Well said yerself.

  14. Karmanaut

    We’re focusing on the smear to NS, but it’s worth remembering that the frenchgate memo was an account of a conversation between official representatives of Scotland and France, discussing diplomatic affairs between those two countries.

    Leaking it was an attack on Scotland’s diplomatic relations with another country for personal political gain (causing damage to a government and a party that Mr Carmichael doesn’t like).

    If Carmichael doesn’t go (preferably to jail), then it sets a precedent that it is acceptable to undermine Scotland’s interests for political gain. It makes Scotland look like a joke of a country.

  15. Robert Peffers

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell says: 25 May, 2015 at 10:05 am:

    “I am also greatly dismayed, incidentally, that there are still people on here demanding that English-born people shouldn’t have the vote. It’s not a moderation offence because it’s a difference of opinion and those are allowed, but it’s a fucking depressing difference of opinion”.

    Thank you, Rev Stu. On that subject I have always believed the SNP’s line on it was way up there among their better policies.

    I cannot remember exactly who it was I first heard say it but believe it may have been Alex Salmond himself.

    “The People of Scotland are defined as anyone, of any colour, creed or country of origin, who is mainly resident in Scotland and has registered to vote in Scottish elections”.

    Mind you I would also add to that definition, “of any legally adult age group”, as there has been a very anti-ageist whine becoming apparent among certain wingers, (or should that be whingers)?

  16. mike cassidy


    Not sure why you are interested in Chris Flatt – is he the mysterious Frenchgate civil servant – but check this out to see how civilservantish he is when doing a double act with Liar Carmichael.

  17. Helena Brown

    After catching the news on R4 this morning, I am aware that the Westminster Tory Government have made decisions on who is to vote or not in the Referendum on our continuation in Europe. Seems if you have been resident in France or anywhere else for over 16? years you will not be able to vote. Was this not always the case. I did not catch the part about European citizens properly but are they not allowed to vote either though they can vote in Local Government elections?

    We had to allow everyone who lived here to vote and I though that was correct and still think it was the right thing to do. Those who let Scotland down were mostly born here with Scots antecedents. Fearties or those who were brought up with either a superiority or inferiority complex, or had worries regarding in many case loss of pension, mortgage, job. (fill in the correct excuse)

    When we have our next we need to do a more thorough job of educating. Those who want Independence in Political Parties have to ensure that one way or another people are properly informed and Stuart was one who did the best job. It should not have been left to him, the SNP, the SSP and the Greens need to follow his lead next time.

  18. Capella

    Some of you may remember Chris Flatt was the person Alistair Carmichael silenced at the Scottish Parliament committee last year:

  19. gus1940


    It has been reported that Jumping Flash Jack one of the multitude of ex Leaders of Labour’s NB Accounting Unit has fallen into a drain in Malawi.

    Is it not likely that said drain was actually an open sewer which is far more apt when it comes to Scottish Labour and one its star alumni.

  20. Morag

    Hmmm. My wild guess as to what happened to the posts Iain Gray’s Subway Lament was talking about, is that he used sweary words which put the posts into moderation so Stu could check them by eye to make sure he wasn’t being personally abusive.

    Since he wasn’t, the posts were subsequently approved. I think. Worth bearing in mind. Sweary words not banned as such but may lead to a delay in your post appearing!

  21. TheItalianJob

    @John King

    All well said and in full agreement.

    There are many of the No’s who voted in the ref we need to turn around and we will do so. Our movement is all inclusive as is Scotland.

    Keep up the good work to one and all.

  22. Dr Jim

    Maybe there has to be an acceptance that there are people who don’t care about the poor, they don’t care about the disenfranchised, they don’t care about Nationality or what it means to others,they just don’t want to be a part of something they don’t like because they think all poor people are scroungers and junkies and looking for more benefits

    I believe there are folk out there who think if they vote Yes to Independence that somehow Scots will immediately turn into Claymore wielding rabid fascists and behave exactly as the right wing press would have them believe

    The No camp has been very successful in promoting the apocalyptic horrors which would befall Scotland in the event of this outrage upon their right to remain British
    even while they promote their right not to be a citizen of Europe, it’s a good trick but they’ve managed it

    As to who should or should not vote perhaps the voter should be charged on an income basis (not advocating this)
    Say income under £25.000 no charge
    Up to £50.000 charge £50
    Up to £100.000 charge £150
    Over £100.000 charge £500
    All profits going to charitable causes

    Now that was just for a laugh but I wonder how many folk would care enough if they were rich enough to vote if it cost them money
    Or would the thought of Independence worry them less

  23. Almannysbunnet

    Stu, is there any way the posts could be numbered? On the more popular topics, like this one, it’s a bugger scrolling through the posts trying to find the last one you read.

  24. Robert Peffers

    Edward says: 25 May, 2015 at 10:17 am:

    “When ever they have a graphic up of the United Kingdom , they colour the ‘UK’ to highlight

    Usually they colour red, England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland as well as the islands surrounding.

    That is with the exception of the Isle of Man, which according to Sky News graphic is not part of the UK

    Most likely a lazy error on the part of Sky, but high lights that broadcasters can be lazy

    Skye are mostly correct, Edward.
    ‘Britain’ – is an archipelago of eight main countries but many of the islands are parts of larger islands.

    ‘Great Britain’ – is the largest Island and it contains three countries, Scotland, Wales & England.

    ‘The United Kingdom’ – is a bipartite union of The Kingdom of Scotland and the three country Kingdom of England, (it includes N. Ireland).

    There are four UK countries – Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and England.

    There are four non-UK countries – The Republic of Ireland and The Isle Of Man, The Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The last three of which are non-UK Royal Protectorates.

  25. Legerwood

    Almannysbunnet @ 11.54

    All the posts have the time posted against them so I usually take note of the time of the last one I read so that I know where to start when I come back later.

  26. Effijy

    For Alistair Carmichael, Willie Rennie, David Cameron,
    and the wee labour lassie, who delude themselves into thinking
    that they represent the best interests of the people:

    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

    Rev Martin Luther King, Jr.

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Hey Stu, I don’t know if it was a fault with my PC (very possible) or what but every time I try to post I seem to be in pre-moderation.”

    You may have a dynamic IP, which would probably make the spam filter think you’re a new user every time.

  28. Morag

    The problem with nombering posts is that it can change. For example, a post that was in moderation because someone inadvertently typed “scrape” may appear once approved, and screw up the numbering system.

    Or Stu may delete a grossly offensive post and screw up the numbering system.

    This was always happening on the old Scotsman threads. People would refer to posts they were replying to by number, and then the mods would swing by and delete pro-independence posts wholesale, and the numbers ended up wildly out.

    The time stamp is the thing to go by.

  29. Graham MacQueen

    @Ken500 (7:29)

    With regards to your comments on Greece, I would like to point out it was never planned for Greece, or any other country for that matter, to be able to repay their debts. The plan is to succeed financially where the war(s) failed. The same corruption you mentioned taking place in Spain and Portugal has ALSO been rife in Greece, if not more so!

    Since the end of 11WW, Greece has been fighting the mindset that Left = Communism; as have many other nations. However, politics has mainly been dictated here in Greece by 4 families (and intermittent sidekicks) for several generations, namely Papandreou/Venizelos (Pasok, Socialist Party) and Mitsotakis/ Karamanlis (Neo Dimokratia, Conservative Party). ND have been hiding in the pockets of German Chancellors for decades and have even gone as far as allowing German companies such as Siemens, BMW, Schindler, Otis, Mercedes etc. to evade taxes and compete for lucrative government deals unchallenged.

    Pasok have been equally guilty, especially since they started to show their true Neoliberal colours and even went as far as purchasing lopsided submarines from Germany and faulty fighter jets from France.

    Both parties have a shared admiration for the IMF and World Bank and all that such a love affair entails and have been doing their utmost to ensure that Greece losses its sovereignty, which, in affect, it has with the signing of the memorandums of the previous years.

    All this has taken place under the sleepful watch of the citizens who, thanks to usual recognisable means, i.e. MSM, fear etc. were mostly unaware to the shenanigans taking place.

    Greece is now at a turning point. The IMF, ECB and the EU have been dragging their heels in the recent discussions in an effort to force the Syriza Government, the first government of the left in Europe in decades, to bowtow to their demands or face (official) bankruptcy. The Troika do not want Greece to succeed in these negotiations because nations such as Spain, Portugal, who have upcoming elections in the autumn, will then make for a stronger voice against the dominant right wing policies of the EU, IMF, which have ran rampant for decades unhindered.

    I am all for the European Union, but it has to be a fair Union!

  30. Silverytay

    Many Thanks for that response

  31. cirsium

    thank you, John King 6.13am and Fiona 11.02, for your eloquent defence of the community of Scotland (those who live and work in Scotland).

    Speaking of community, I have not seen a post from Nana Smith recently. Are you OK, Nana?

  32. cirsium

    good post, Graham 12.25.

    I will never forget Mr Barroso describing the EU as a non-imperial Empire. I do not think that this description would have fitted the original EC.

  33. Effijy

    We have already linked Alistair Carmichael’s statement that with office comes responsibility of Truth, but here we have an example of wee Willie Rennie running through the Toon demanding
    Kenny McAskill and Alex Salmond should resign.

    They Willie, are honourable men who hold the respects of the general public of Scotland.
    You and your party have one temporary elected MP who won purely by means of slander, lies, and distortion.

    Please refresh your memory, on your own comments, see below, before you and Carmichael resign and take your corrupt party with you.

    Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
    And yesterday Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie – who led the campaign against armed police – demanded his resignation.

    To gales of laughter in the Holyrood chamber he asked soon to step down First Minister Alex Salmond: “When you go, can you take Kenny MacAskill with you?”

  34. Bill McLean

    Good luck to the Greek people and their smashing wee country. Kaloperno Graham!

  35. Ken500

    Did Germany manufacture the Greek demise? Many countries have allowed massive tax evasion.Including Thatcher establishing of tax havens. Thatcher not voted for in Scotland who, secretly attempted to bring about Scotland’s demise. Unelected gov of larger countries have form in illegal wars etc which bring down and destroy the world economy, then try and find someone else to blame and rewrite history.

    If Greece goes down so will, Europe and Britain. Who will be to blame. The banks, the Govs, the wealthy who do not pay their taxes or another countries’ policies.

  36. Morag

    You may have a dynamic IP, which would probably make the spam filter think you’re a new user every time.

    Ah, and there was me thinking you were putting posts with sweary-words into pre-moderation. Serves me right for speculating and trying to second-guess.

  37. Ealasaid

    I would also like to thank John King and all the others for the comments on an inclusive Scotland.

    If you want to divide and rule, one of the key methods for doing this is the blame game. There is no requirement for truth in this game. As being economical with the truth is more divisive, it is usually more effective. But that does not lead to an inclusive society with everyone pulling in the same direction.

    If things are not instantly turning out the way they want, in their disappointment some will grumble and strike out at others. But the truth may be that what we ourselves are doing is not good enough, at least yet. The solution may be found by reviewing ourselves and our own actions, seeing what is good and works and what is not working and why. Any adjustments needed should be reviewed and agreed by the others on the same journey, keeping the group together.

    Divide and rule is a favourite tactic of those we are up against. We should not let them win and we should never turn it on ourselves.

  38. K1

    I understand that we are all ‘entitled’ to our opinions on any given subject matter. I think that isn’t the essence of the problem though when it comes to this oft raised subject of who should or shouldn’t be included in a referendum vote.

    The thing I find difficult to understand with those who are expressly stating that there should be only those born in Scotland allowed to participate in the Indy vote. Is why, when so many commenters respond with articulate depth: expounding the reasoning behind why the franchise was/would be extended to everyone who ‘lives’ in Scotland of voting age, and also point out the ‘inherent’ danger of actual ‘blood and soil’ nationalism that would be evidenced if this were ever the case, and of where this inevitably leads?

    Why do those who have read those comments, never ever take this on board?

    The responses from those who espouse these views, invariably are quietened after a rash of comments explaining the ins and outs. And then on some future thread, if the subject of demographics arise showing percentages of a particular group who don’t fancy the prospects of Indy, these same posters raise these exact same opinions, again they are perfectly entitled to this. But, the argument against their viewpoint is actually unassailable, as has been repeatedly shown in previous exchanges.

    It’s this pattern that I find difficult to understand.

    If it is the case that we have to persuade those who are open to considering the future prospect of Indy, by reasoned arguments, that lessen their fears. Can those who are, perhaps inadvertently, espousing ‘blood and soil’ nationalism not ‘see’ that you are actually exemplifying the very fears that the msm’s pump into the living rooms of those who are less informed and are in fact doing the msm’s job for them?

    Surely, as we would wish those of a differing viewpoint on Indy to come round to our viewpoint. Those who won’t let go of their views on who they think shouldn’t be entitled to the the franchise; when faced with the reasoned and moral arguments, have to shift their position, as hundreds of thousands of Scotland’s population did on the 18th September, on the basis of the merits of the arguments?

    We have to remain inclusive, for the simple fact that we have come from all directions: physically, politically, spiritually, economically, generationally.

    More importantly we have to understand that we are undertaking this challenge for future generations and that we are reaching out to those who come next…so that the legacy that they come to understand was based on thoroughly principled grounds, and not based upon a narrowly configured premise: this will be our gift to those who find themselves a citizen living in an Independent Scotland.

  39. Effijy

    Just Listened to Carmichael’s latest Radio Broadcast that the Rev has put up.

    I can’t stop to chat as in my 57 years on this earth, I have never held up a bank, but our Ali has just advised that if I do it now, and get caught, all I need to do is say sorry, and get on with my many years of not robbing banks!
    No penalties apply!

    This is really quite pathetic!

    Carmichael suggested that his case is different to others that have been asked to resign as he thought it was true?

    With his experience in Law and WM would he not realise that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and follow due process?

    Would most of us not have the common decency to check out this outlandish statement with the 2 parties involved, before taking any other form of action?

    We have also established that Chris Flatt basically operates as
    a Westminster overseer in the Scottish office. Is Carmichael now adding to his criminal activities by covering up for this Westminster Troll, as he thinks he is big enough to get away with Scott free?

    If Flatt, or any other Civil Servant, cannot understand plain English, then they should not be in the job, and they should not be allowed to write reports that can skew the democratic process.

    Common sense prevails, what sentence sounds like ” I would prefer David Cameron being in Downing Street over Ed Milliband:
    That’s right none that I can ever think of hearing.

    I want a full extensive inquiry into this matter!

    Was this ghost civil servant sitting at the table with the First Minister and the French Government Representatives, were they at the back of the same room, would they be able to clarify any comments made that sounded incredulous, where they listening from outside the room, were minutes of the meeting provided to the Minister and French Representatives to ensure accurate reporting, should not the first duty of a Scottish Office civil servant be to support and serve the First Minister of Scotland?

    The whole thing is rotten to the core and no amount of money must be spared in having a full public Inquiry out with the controls of the corrupt Westminster parliament.

    You will resign, or be sacked Carmichael. Have No doubt about it!

  40. Morag

    The Irish do STV by hand and manage pretty well.

    I think some councils in Scotland may do it by hand, because there was one by-election where they didn’t declare until nearly tea-time.

    I’ve watched an electronic STV count (my own) and it was pretty quick. You do have to take it on trust, by and large, though. The system flashes up images of doubtful ballots so everyone can agree with the decision on how they should be counted. Some very marginal ballots which were actually perfectly readable by eye were flashed up (I recognised my own ballot, where I’d given the 1 against my own name a more emphatic second stroke and it didn’t quite line up with the first stroke) as well as some oddities, which makes you think the ones they don’t show you must be very uncontentious.

    I don’t believe there was any funny stuff going on at all, but the lack of transparency is a slight concern.

  41. Fiona


    A very good point, well made. It would be nice of those who are suggesting that we alter the franchise would answer that post

  42. Swami Backverandah

    The Great Backverandah Beverage Mystery. Pt 1
    I had a couple of friends, Gerard and Juan, over for drinks where the topic of common non-alcoholic beverages was raised. We mentioned the two most common but at no time did I express a preference for one over the other. (otherwise, knowing my friends, they’ll bombard me with tins and jars of the stuff, and Nessie knows, I’d much rather have a dram).

    Anyway, later, Juan was on the phone to another of his mates, Andy, discussing our party. Seems Andy thought he heard Jaun say that I really wanted a cupboard full of Coffee, because as everyone knows, Tea is just knat’s piss.

    Now this is odd because if I didn’t say that, and Gerard confirms I didn’t say that, and Juan confirms that I didn’t say that, then why would his mate Andy believe that he heard that I did? He thinks he may have got the info a bit garbled, but if we didn’t discuss preferences, and Juan didn’t mention preferences to him, how could something that isn’t being mentioned be garbled?

  43. Ken500

    The Unionist Politicians will be gone from Holyrood in a year. The campaign to get them out is already started. The attempt to smear Nicola just misfired. Carmichael was under the complete delusion that the LibDems would be ‘forgiven’ for their lies. They would come back in UK Gov and the liars would be protected. No likely.

  44. carjamtic


    Spot on some wingers suffering from altitude sickness.

  45. Legerwood

    Morag @ 1.52

    It was the 2007 count for the Holyrood election and local election held at the same time that ended in chaos partly because of faults with the electronic readers and partly because of the design of the voting paper which confused a lot of voters and led to a record number of spoked/discounted votes.

    Westminster was still in charge of our elections at that time and the Minister in charge was Douglas Alexander, Labour’s go-to man for organising elections.

    I was watching the BBC coverage of the count and it was clear by 11.30 pm that something was seriously wrong.

    One off the outcomes of that debacle was the decision not to hold local and Holyrood elections on the same day ever again.

  46. crazycat

    @ Almannysbunnet

    Re: identifying posts

    If I hover my mouse over the date and time information at the end of a post (which I think is called a cite-tag), further information becomes visible in my task bar or thereabouts (the citation, presumably), including a post number.

    This is cumulative (the one for the post which was last on this thread when I started typing was well over 2 million) and subject to minor change if moderated posts appear later (or perhaps not; the number may be allocated straight away), but should enable you to find your place roughly.

    You do, of course, have to remember to take a note of the number of the last post before you stopped reading – I almost never do, so I just have to search until I read something I recognize!

  47. Robert Peffers

    @crazycat says: 25 May, 2015 at 3:45 pm:

    “If I hover my mouse over the date and time information at the end of a post (which I think is called a cite-tag), further information becomes visible in my task bar or thereabouts (the citation, presumably), including a post number.”

    Most browsewrs have an, “Edit”, button that includes a search this page. As example I.E. has, “Find on this page”. If you remember almost anything about the last post you read you can search that entire comment for it.

  48. Chic McGregor

    During the last ice-age Scotland and the North of England were covered by ice-sheets which in maximum extent reached as far south as Lincolnshire and the Midlands.

    At that time the only ‘inhabitants’ were transitory hunter gatherers leading an Inuit type lifestyle foraging on seals and fish, the occasional polar bear, largely around the periphery of the ice to sea margins. Scotland would have meant nothing out of the ordinary to them apart from perhaps being an ‘archipelago’ of nanatuks on which some bird colonies may have provided an additional food source.

    By any meaningful measure, it was uninhabited until the ice sheets withdrew (c 12,000 years ago) and Scotland developed sufficient organic regolith to became forested maybe 6000 thousand years ago.

    If we take the point when homo erectus first left Africa and spread around the World, that is about 1.5 million years ago the above time frame is virtually nothing, the blink of an eye.

    Humans have evolved elsewhere e.g. around the Med for hundreds of thousands or a million years before any settled in Scotland.

    The message here is that, in evolutionary terms, everyone in Scotland is either an immigrant or descended from one.

  49. Graham MacQueen

    @Ken500 (1:42)

    I don’t think anyone would be blunt enough to accuse Germany solely for the Greek situation, but they are definitely amongst the top instigators of the current Pan-European situation together with the IMF and ECB.

    In the past 4 years, Germany has made 350 million Euros in interest from Greek loans whilst telling the world that German tax payers have been paying for lazy Greeks to live the Life of Riley.

    Personally, I strongly believe that Europe is on the brink of totalitarianism under its current leaders and their policies. In effect, MEP’s are not entrusted with the powers that they should be entrusted with and the entire Union dances to the tune set by Frau Merkel and co. and given that fellow European countries have elected pseudo-center left and right wing governments over the years it is easy to see how they have managed to have the run-of-the-mill and place us in the situation Europe is in.

    Until now the present Greek government has been paying loan instalments on time, 750million euros was repayed only just last week to the IMF some days before it was due, but they DO NOT have the money to pay the next instalment, which is in about 10 days time. Syriza MP’s unanimously voted last night that they will ensure wages and pensions are paid at the end of the month and NOT the IMF.

    This situation could, however, be avoided if the ECB released funds owed to Greece several days prior to the set date or even simply transfer the amount to the account of the IMF (it is only a couple of days between the due date for payment to the IMF and the release date of owed funds from the ECB). Instead Troika are trying their damndest to force Greece into accepting a new memorandum and further austerity and (official) bankruptcy which will really screw the country in the eyes of the ‘markets’ and cause havoc on the high street.

    The EU was presented with a reform package by the finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, at the beginning of the discussions in February which, if implemented, will reverse the current situation and reform the European market as a whole, but alas, Troika are not interested in positive measures; they prefer austerity! (

    I see many, many similarities between the Westminster Mob and the previous Greek government and the EU Elite and from where I am sitting it looks as though things are going to get much worse before they get better. The political elite are undoubtedly concerned about the uprise in the participation of the electorate across the continent and beyond. We were much easier to control when we were not actively participating in politics. We ALL woke up from our slumber just in time it would seem and we’ve got many, many years of lies and deceit to wade through.

  50. Swami Backverandah

    Backverandah Beverage Mystery PT2

    Well, just got off the phone to a well placed-purveyor of all things bevvie, including said common non-alcoholic varieties,and they put forward a rather remarkable thesis regarding the account, by Juan’s friend Andy – a most uncivil sort if ever there was (apparently he went complaining to his Mum Jemima, who won’t hear a bad word imputed to him regarding his ‘aberrational hearing faculties) – of the garbled version of a conversation about a topic that wasn’t mentioned.

    But in order not to offend the sensibilities of beverage purveyors worldwide, they explained by using as metaphor the hypothetical situation of a UK election, and well to cut a long story short said it was a trap set for the Labour Party by the Tories with the unwitting assistance of the LibDems – a party facing wipeout anyway with only a grudge to their name.

    Can you believe it!
    I need a cup of tea and a lie down.

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