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Wings Over Scotland

The murmur of the cottonwood trees

Posted on July 20, 2023 by

Even not-very-alert readers will have noticed that we’re taking a little summer holiday in the complete absence of any political events. Rest assured that we’re using the time to patrol Bath diligently for bears. But we couldn’t help noticing this on Twitter today.

Someone tweeted it to show that as late as summer 2020 the SNP was still soliciting money for what it called its “ring fenced Independence Referendum Campaign Fund”.

Just a couple of months later, the party’s National Treasurer had renamed the IRCF the “Referendum Appeal Fund”, in an email to members whose huffy tone is strikingly reminiscent of the indignant denials the party subsequently issued in response to (accurate) allegations that it had lost 30,000 members.

Colin Beattie’s email continued:

But just a few months after boasting that the SNP had “zero commercial borrowing”, the party accepted a loan of £107,000 from its own chief executive, most of which still hasn’t been repaid.

Since that time, all three signatories to the SNP accounts – Beattie, Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon – have been arrested as suspects in Operation Branchform, a police investigation into possible criminal embezzlement and misuse of party funds, and all have stood down from their roles.

We were quite surprised by yesterday’s story (pictured above) in all the papers, and initially thought someone must have been posting an old link. It was very much our impression that the investigation had ALWAYS been about potential embezzlement and misuse of party funds, and we’re still not quite sure why the outgoing Chief Constable made this particular intervention seemingly apropos of nothing.

At the party’s conference in November 2020, Colin Beattie had issued the National Treasurer’s annual statement, part of which was the following:

We couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at the promise to share more details with members “verbally” on request, ie not in writing – we can only speculate on why he wouldn’t want to put it in writing – and at the explicit restatement that the appeal fund was “ring fenced” and only to be spent on the specific purpose of a referendum, NOT on general SNP activity.

Strangely, despite these separate ringfenced “sums” supposedly existing in the SNP’s “internal books” but not being visible in the published accounts, members were not told in the National Treasurer’s statement how much they were – something they might be reasonably expected to be very interested in.

Literally days later, members kicked Beattie out as treasurer and replaced him with Doug Chapman, who’d promised more transparency on the party’s finances.

But when Chapman and other members of the finance committee asked to see the said internal books – which is, after all, precisely a finance committee’s job – they were flatly refused by Peter Murrell, and resigned as a consequence, with Beattie put back into the role.

In August 2021, party president Mike Russell made an absolutely unequivocal statement that there was “no missing money, absolutely none” and that £660,000 raised for the ringfenced fund was “accounted for minutely” and “available for campaigning on independence”.

That was despite the SNP’s accounts for 2020 and 2021 showing the party actually having cash reserves of far less – just £260,000 at the end of 2020, and £145,000 by the end of 2021. Its auditors then resigned and were not replaced until months later, at which point the 2022 accounts were submitted qualified by a disclaimer saying that the new auditors basically had no idea whether the figures were right or not.

We’re recapping all this stuff purely as a service to readers in the light of yesterday’s peculiar and ostensibly unprovoked statement from the Chief Constable. We keenly – really very keenly indeed – await any developments which may shed some light on it.

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0 to “The murmur of the cottonwood trees”

  1. Andrew Morton says:

    All officeholders: ‘But Peter assured us…’

  2. UselessOldGit says:

    It’s quite significant that Sturgeon is promoting a ring fence appeal mid-summer 2020. At that point, she would have had sight of 2017 and 2018 Accounts. She would know from those accounts that there was not a ring-fenced fund on balance sheet. This would scupper any excuse that she did not know donations were not ring-fenced and she would need to explain why she is asking for further donations for a non-existent ring-fenced fund.

  3. andrew says:

    Peter won the real first prize: a motorhome.

  4. Tony Hay says:

    Tik Tok…

  5. Neil in Glasgow says:

    I was a bit confused by all the commotion yesterday too. Nothing Stu didn’t say this time last week (at least they’re getting a bit quicker at catching up!). Is the inference here perhaps that Livingstone is now trying to distance himself from Imelda and Ferdinand? Thoughts to post Police Scotland maybe?

  6. ALANM says:

    Alex Salmond didn’t make many mistakes during his time as FM but merging our independent and respected regional police forces into a single nationwide force was probably his biggest error of judgement. Police Scotland was the name chosen for the tartan Stasi but, with the benefit of hindsight, “Keystone Cops” would’ve been more appropriate.

  7. PhilM says:

    Thanks for linking to the Times article.
    If we have the rule of law in Scotland, then whoever is charged will be able to defend themselves and if there is a reasonable doubt over their culpability then whoever has been accused of an offence will most likely be sleeping soundly in their own beds at the end of the process.
    What could be fairer than that?
    So if senior figures in the SNP are growingly increasingly concerned that charges may be imminent, then…(points them towards ‘rule of law’ thingy)…they should rest easy and not worry about their bezzie mates. It is, in fact, well within the bounds of normality that ex-leaders of countries are, with surprising frequency, charged with offences…some get off, some go to jail, both outcomes generally based on the proven facts supported by the available evidence.
    What could be fairer than that?
    With regards to the last paragraph in today’s Wings post, I would like to thank Stuart for ‘his service’. It would be entirely appropriate then that he award hisel’ a ‘f***ing medal’, just not one of those ones them battle-hardened Royals wear during their fancy dress outings.
    Apropos of nothing, I’ve been tee-total for twenty years, I might have a cool one this weekend if drinking conditions become optimal…

  8. Johnlm says:

    ‘Bung’ Crosby reference? Nice.

  9. I. Despair says:

    ALANM at 1:27pm – “Police Scotland was the name chosen…”
    Not even that, really. Police Service of Scotland is the official name in law. ‘Police Scotland’ is a kind of trading name, which is beyond weird for a police force to have.

  10. Beauvais says:

    Stronger For Scotland has been their slogan.

    Wonga From Scotland would have been much more apt.

    Bye bye SNP.

  11. Milady says:

    Just can’t wait for the levee to break as it were. As an aside that’s the 1st time I’ve heard that version of Don’t Fence Me In. I love the song but it’s Bing Crosby and the Andrews sisters I’m more familiar with. This is ace.

  12. Cath says:

    That last line from Mike Russell is exceptionally bizarre. “That money will be used for independence and is not being used on me”. Was it in response to some very specific allegation that is was being used to pay his salary or something?

  13. Sven says:

    ALANM @ 13.27

    I’d add his uninilaterally renaming the devolved administration a “Government” over the course of one weekend, either to present the image of an independent country to the wider international audience, cater to his personal vanity or a combination of both.
    We know we have not yet achieved our independence, we remain governed in Scotland by a devolved administration with its powers limited by non devolved matters, so why bring in this deceptive, inaccurate descriptor.
    If we did have a government, it would govern, with all the full attendant powers. We have an administrative body which administers under Westminster authority.

  14. Alan C says:

    I’ve returned two of the begging letters featured above sinse LEAVING the SNP! The second one just three weeks ago, I wrote across it ‘don’t contact me again unless it’s to return the contributions I already made to your scam’

    If I’m still getting corespondance more than a year after leaving maybe that explains their bloated member numbers.

  15. WingsOverFrance says:

    Thanks for the update Stu. Isn’t this all taking rather a long time? Surely it’s not normal for what must be a relatively simple investigation to take years?

    Also, enjoy your time off. Beware the bears.

  16. Johnlm says:

    The Keystone Stasi motto is ‘semper vigilo’ Hahahahah.

  17. James says:

    With apologies to screenwriters everywhere.
    All characters are, of course, imaginary…..

    “The Screaming Beagles” – a trilogy of one-scene television plays.

    Part one; Inside Number 77.

    The scene is set inside a top secret UK spying and cyber warfare installation; somewhere in Hampshire, it is nicknamed “The Screaming Beagles”. Set up by Westminster using ringfenced stolen Scottish oil and gas revenues, it initially was to cost £3 billion, but the price increased by £600,000 after new office equipment was required following the buying of second hand equipment that ran on the wrong voltage.

    The facility is the brainchild of Major-General Sir James Saville-Row, OBE, who is determined to shove it up the Jocks after he was publicly humiliated as a schoolboy, being fag to Head Boy ‘Jumbo’ Johnston whom he (wrongly) thought was Scottish at the time.

    The room is filled with rows of desks and computers similar to a call centre. It is fully decorated with Union-Jack wallpaper. There is a raised dais at one end where the Duty Officer sits.

    CAST (to be confirmed):

    Major-General Saville-Row – this character is never seen, but is known to be in charge of vetting new recruits and often accompanies visiting dignitaries/royalty etc.

    Brigadier A. N. Ellis – now retired due to an enlarged ego gland, he is seen only in a portrait hanging behind the Duty Officer’s desk. (picture posed by Michael Gove, in disguise).

    Captain Yossarian – Charles Hawtrey. Rarely seen, this character occasionally checks up on the activities of the Operations Room.

    Lieutenant Dave ‘Das’ Blimp – Stephen Fry. In overall charge of the facility. A red faced blustering idiot. Sporting an enormous handlebar moustache he has a deep, gravelly voice but talks with a lisp. Rose through the ranks by repeating the same things over and over (and over) again.

    Corporal Main – Michael Gove. Obsesssed with money, this character wears thick, pebble dash glasses due to extreme short-sightedness and is known to have opinions on every subject under the sun, but unfortunately is extremely gullible, especially when reading the mainstream media. Recruited due to his expertise in operating 7 computers at a time (3 open on Wikipedia, 3 open on ‘UK’ newspaper websites and 1 open on Wings Over Scotland). He is a qualified engineer, his speciality being search engines. He is Duty Officer today.

    A. Highlander – Wilfrid Brambell. Highlander is tasked with roaming Scotland in disguise, driving an expensive motorhome. He bursts into public bars quoting ‘Scotland is too poor’ headlines from right wing English newspapers and takes notes on anyone who dares to speak up and argue with him. He pretends that he is from Scotland although he is actually a native of Croydon and his attempted Scottish accent sounds more like bad Irish. He rarely has any time to spare and some of his superiors suspect that he is a tippler, due to his sometimes incoherent ramblings.

    Private Charles ‘Chas’ Gobshite – A composite character with nothing worthwhile to say. Represented by a cardboard cutout.

    Private Strawman – Another composite, represented by a scarecrow in the corner.

    A.Scott-Broad – Consultant to the unit, he was retired from the Army False Flag Unit due to his completely ridiculous views which couldn’t be taken seriously – even by UK government standards. He has led many armies into battle all over cyberspace and although originally Scottish, he now talks with a broad, Norfolk country-bumpkin accent.

    Tea Lady – A cameo role; to feature either Annabelle Goldie, Wullie Rennie, Ruth Davidson, Alex Cole-Hamilton or Gordon Brown.

    Maintenance Man Dan – Ken Stott. Hired by the UK government due to his roofing, mechanical, computing and electrical skills.

    Helicopter Pilot – Alex Salmond (cameo role).


    Inside the Operations Room, it is quiet, with all of the operators busily tapping BS into their computers. Corporal Main is manning the Duty Officer’s desk, stage left.

    [door creaks, Captain Yossarian enters, stage right, to canned applause]

    Yossarian; Oh, hello! I say, I’ve brought the new consultant along to meet the Lieutenant!
    Main, excitedly; Rather! Let’s go in.

    [cut to Lieutenant Blimp’s office. He sits with is back to the audience]

    Main; *cough* er, Captain Yossarian and the new consultant, sir.

    Blimp; What the blazes!?
    Yossarian; Scott-Broad, to advise us on the Jocks, Lieutenant.
    [canned laughter]
    Blimp; Oh, let’s be hearing it, then.
    Scott-Abroad; Ock aye the nue, ahm Scotch di yea ken? We’re shite!
    [gets drowned out by canned laughter and applause]

    [Blimp, Yossarian and Main look at each other, nonplussed]

    Blimp; well! By George, you’ve certainly nailed the Jock accent, no one would possibly know that you’re not really Scotch!
    Scott-Abroad; Ock aye! We’re shite!
    [canned laughter]
    Blimp; Good show!

    [cut back to the Operations Room; Yossarian and Main return, and Maintenance Man Dan enters, stage left and proceeds backstage]

    Dan; Here to sort your mainframe.

    [door creaks, Tea Lady enters, stage right with her trolley and Union-Jack pinny]
    [canned applause]

    Tea Lady; Hello, boys! Anyone fancy an Empire biscuit? Union tea cake, maybe some British shortbread or a dry Brexit Bun?
    [canned applause and cheers]

    Main; Got any Millionaire’s Shortbread?
    [canned laughter]
    Tea Lady; Ooh noooo, all that kind of stuff goes straight to London.
    [canned applause and more cheering]
    Yossarian; Any Scotch pies?
    [canned laughter]
    Tea Lady; No, we don’t know how to make them. We’ve got Cornish pesties, though.
    [canned cheering]

    [suddenly the room goes dark and the computers power down; it turns out that ‘Maintenance Man Dan’ in fact works for ‘Alba Future Maintenance Solutions’ and has knackered their mainframe permanently. The lights return as the operators rush outside only to see Dan make his escape by helicopter; it is ‘Saltire One’, piloted by Alex Salmond.
    [canned audience booing]

    [screen fades to Union-Jack background, canned applause and end titles with closing music – ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.]

    Next week; Part Two; “It Ain’t Half Hot Mun”, an hilarious comedy outlining how the pansy Jocks got out of active service and England won the second world war single handedly.

    Followed by Part Three; “Saughton Porage”, a harrowing documentary following how hardened prison Governor ‘Eck’ Lithgy runs the notorious ‘Holyrood Wing’ in Edinburgh’s dreaded high-security prison. The wing was built specially to house those MSP’s and others who were found guilty of numerous crimes before Scotland became independent and the sweeping-clean of the justice, prisons and police services under new First Meenister Elaine C. Smith.

    Ironically, all of the ‘Screaming Beagles’ are now also in Saughton following their discovery in a new facility built secretly in Bathgate by English MI5 agents and operatives. They were all imprisoned for ten years under the ‘Foreign Agents’ act, which was made part of the New Scottish Constitution.

  18. David Hannah says:

    Get the fitba on the tele. Viaplay Sports has gone bust. Steve Clarke’s national team. Make it free to air.

  19. TORBAIN says:

    The rumoured downloaded files from WhatsApp groups supporting Humza DO exist. I had sight of them last week before they were given to an Edinburgh solicitor firm who are currently going through them all.

    I was also surprised to see that messages between HQ staff and Humza’s team had been leaked too.

    There is nothing criminal in the messages, however they clearly show that the results were wholly inaccurate, and Humza’s team had clear sight of the live vote. Obscene references were made of the 2 rivals by fellow colleagues and a briefing campaign was clearly in operation.

    These will likely be made public within the next few months. The Whitham leak is nothing compared to what will be coming out soon.

  20. Shug says:

    Might be if the chief constable does not get offered a good job the investigation will be extended and delayed and stay in the front page.

    If he gets a good job everything might just fade away. Hence the SG campaigning to get him a good job somewhere.

    He never mentioned to anyone the impending arrest, I somehow hear a zipper going up and down at the back of my heed.

    Am I getting olde and cynical

  21. Stoker says:

    Sven says on 20 July 2023 at 1:58 pm: “..we remain governed in Scotland by a devolved administration with its powers limited by non devolved matters, so why bring in this deceptive, inaccurate descriptor.”

    Because any book on ‘Power’ will tell you, to become the part one must play the part. At least that’s what i like to believe his thinking was. Don’t get me wrong, i’m 100% with you and never have liked or agreed with the “Government” tag when we are anything but. I believe it was a major mistake.

    As was his passive attitude towards the BritNat media machine, the Unionists’ strongest weapon. Salmond was telling us not to bother about the BBC etc. I’ll bet, after Skanky Sturgeon doing the dirty on him, he holds an entirely different view of that same Unionist media, or maybe not.

  22. John McGregor says:

    Do yous think “The Shipman Sista’s” will get done for corprate manslaughter ????? Happy hols

  23. Ebenezer Scroggie says:

    The suckers who ponied up the £667k were very easily conned by Mr & Mrs Ceau?escu.

    Idiots and their money are so easily parted.

    The national socialist abolition of the democratic existence of local police authorities and replacement by a Nazional Socialismus Polizei Schottland under the personal control of the Führer came to bite Salmond in the arse when the Führerin used it to destroy him.

    Clearly, there are dissidents among the hierarchy of Polizei Schottland. Else, why would the not arrest all three of the suspects simultaneously and interrogate them in separate places so that the crooks could not conspire to contrive to complete their own coverup?

  24. laukat says:

    The chief constable doesn’t do a lot of interviews. Last one he did was to defend himself against allegations that he tipped off Sturgeon that Murrell was about to arrested. So I assume this interview yesterday was to defend himself in some way particularly as he will have left office before anyone is prosecuted.

    He seemed desperate to make the point yesterday that other stuff was NOW being investigated.

    I don’t think that anyone has ever asked the Chief Constable if he told Nicola Sturgeon that Murrell and Beattie would be the only ones arrested and charged. I also don’t believe anyone has asked them why Sturgeon was arrested almost 2 months after Beattie and Murrell. Did Livingstone give her 2 months to get her house in order?

    Perhaps he now needs to put something on record to explain why he might have given any information to Sturgeon particularly if Sturgeon is charged and convicted. Might not be a good thing for a Chief Constable trying to keep his pension if he can’t explain why he helped a convict.

    So is he now in effect saying I didn’t know in April that Nicola was involved so it was ok to speak to her then but I want everyone to know I have only just became aware she is involved so please don’t take my pension away?

  25. Sven says:

    John McGregor @ 15.09

    A man can dream, John, a man can dream.

  26. James Che says:

    Centralised police Scotland are amalgamated with the metro police down south as I recall under the Scotland act.

    Perhaps someone could enlighten us further on wether we actually have a distinctly separate police
    Force in Scotland, and if we do.
    Does it come under the Scotland Act, as this would come under UK legislation branch office to the pretendy Scottish parliament and pretendy Scottish goverment,

    When will we have a Scottish parliament and a Scottish Government one wonders.

  27. Johnlm says:

    As with the banking collapse of 2008 we will be told that ‘this happened because we ‘we were incompetent not criminal’
    Let’s not let them off this time: jail and bankruptcy.
    Could we mark offenders, maybe tattooing a baboon’s arse on their faces, so that they can be recognised by sane people.
    (I would suggest thumb cutting but it might affect Jason Leitch’s patients.)

  28. Stephen O'Brien says:

    Sturgeon’s very late in the day, de facto referendum, looks more and more like a lame alibi for the spent IndyRef2 cash. What a pity, the de facto coffers are also empty.

    So much so, the party ditched her idea, as soon as Sturgeon left the building!

  29. Lewis Moonie says:

    I feel a wee bit sorry for Colin Beattie, who was clearly having the wool pulled over his eyes.
    At least he won’t go to jail for being a bit dim.

  30. Republicofscotland says:

    “I feel a wee bit sorry for Colin Beattie, who was clearly having the wool pulled over his eyes.”

    I don’t buy that, Murrell denied Chapman access to the accounts, Beattie should not have taken the position knowing this, foolish no, complicit more than likely.

    Like Yousaf as FM, Beattie could be relied on for Murrell and Co when needed.

  31. Antoine Roquentin says:

    It’s not possible to think that Livingstone’s out-of-the-blue statement isn’t the harbinger of some coming event, good or bad, concerning Branchform.

  32. moone says:

    For anyone interested, a metal medal can be 3D printed at for about £30 or so.
    Just putting that out there for y’know, reasons.

  33. Daisy Walker says:

    Under Scot’s law, hypothetically speaking, it’s a charge of theft by embezzlement or theft by fraud – unusually the Fiscal can change it to either/or depending on the circumstances, for the simple reason that the embezzlement or fraud part is part of the MO of the theft, and it is the theft part that is the important part.

    If, for example, again hypothetically, an organisation raised funds, for a specific reason, in good faith, but then used them for something else entirely, one could argue there was no intent to defraud, but as they were in a position of trust, then theft by embezzlement might be a more appropriate charge to libel.

    This might also be easier for the PF to prove, as there would be no need to evidence a guilty intent to deliberately mislead the donators with some form of false statement.

    It is indeed very strange that the outgoing Chief Constable has issued such a statement, since from the very beginning of the complaints and apparently missing money, the nature of this enquiry always lay in the arena of theft by fraud/embezzlement – although the outcome is of course still to play out and perhaps it is all a big misunderstanding.

    Worth pointing out though, that this was the CC who was in charge, when a crew of plain clothes Police carried out the following incompetent/corrupt actions…. a man had his home searched under warrant, and his computers siezed, when he admitted he had produced a video clip in which he stated the ‘complainers would rue the day, and ‘pitchforks’ were mentioned’. (Since the video was in the public arena, his face was on it, and he admitted it was his – the taking of the computers was excess to requirements and downright spiteful).

    Only to have the whole thing thrown out by the Sheriff as NO CRIME, which a first year Probationary Constable could have told him, as it did not constitute the common law crime of Threats, or the statutory crime of ‘sending abusive or threatening messages’.

    On the positive side of things, he’s set the bar very low for the new female Chief Constable to rise above. She’ll be able to sleep easy in her bed now he’s gone.

  34. Astonished says:

    I think Livingstone has many more questions to answer.

    This isn’t going away. It is just getting louder.

    Regarding, our imperial master’s and Sturgeon’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service – What are they up to ?

    And are they still getting paid ?

  35. Sven says:

    Lewis Moonie @ 16.24

    Is it not a requirement that the Patsy who is intended to take the fall is “a bit dim” ?

  36. George says:

    Surely the police must have established the legality (or not) of the motorhome ownership by now? If they have, why might it not back in Dunfermline?

  37. Stephen O'Brien says:

    Putting the BBC and all propaganda aside.

    The honest truth regards SNP, needs saying. At the end of the day, the seats they currently fill, do need to be filled by others, whom recognise the temporary nature of Holyrood and it’s devolved Parliament.

  38. paul says:

    What i find bewildering is all this hunt for evidence.

    While quaystane cops have given the main offenders a great deal of latitude to cover their tracks, the main evidence, the missing 600K, remains missing.

    No amount of shredding or online account clearing can overcome that.

    A liquidation of portugese property might balance the ‘internal books’, but that would raise a few questions.

    They could say it was an offshore campaign base I suppose.

    You can be sure M Russell would give that the nod from his horsebox of liberation.

    I am confident that everything will be cleared up at the next NEC get together, if anyone can be bothered turning up.

  39. Tommo says:

    Does the offence of ‘Misfeasance in public office’ exist in Scotland ?

  40. Captain Yossarian says:

    Tommo – Yes it does. I suspect that you may be bang on the money. Well done.

  41. John Main says:

    Alert readers will have spotted the reference to an IndyRef21 campaign at bottom right of the election flyer pictured above.

    I don’t recall that campaign, but that is not to say it never happened.

    Is there any chance the missing money was splurged on a low key Indy Referendum campaign in 2021 – so low key that nobody knew about it, or turned out to support it, or showed any interest in how it went?

    The MSM wouldn’t have reported on it anyways, so how do we really know it never happened?

    That makes as much sense as any other explanation I have heard.

  42. christine says:

    Whilst the police were not able to charge Sturgeon, Murrell and Beattie following their arrest and interview, they were not willing to disregard them as suspects and wanted more time to investigate. Like greased lightning, Sturgeon declared publicly that she is innocent of any wrongdoing. Here’s the thing. Most folk don’t believe anything Sturgeon says anymore. Besides which, it’s not up to her to decide innocence or guilt if she is formally charged. This will be decided in a court of law and possible trial by jury. Bring it on.

    I assume the police investigation of fraud allegations over £295,000 of taxpayers money given to publisher Sandstone Press is still active. They published a book of Sturgeon’s speeches, a propaganda-fuelled book in the lead up to the 2021 Holyrood election. The guideline for awarding grants, the obligation to “ ensure that public resources are not used for party political purposes “ seems to have been breached. Pilfering from the public purse, again.

    We see you Sturgeon as you launch into your damage limitation media rounds, putting another sticking plaster over the wound, trying and failing to control the narrative. You are indeed “ dire beyond belief “.

  43. Robert McAllan says:

    ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ Sturgeon and Murrells Swansong, going like a ‘Bat Out Of Hell’!!

  44. John Main says:

    @christine says:20 July, 2023 at 8:21 pm

    it’s not up to her to decide innocence or guilt

    Maybes, but she has established form for doing just that. Who can forget her televised public health briefing where she said that Alec Salmond had been “innocent of criminality but that doesn’t mean that the behaviour [the women] claimed of didn’t happen”?

    I guess it will be very difficult for NS to change the habits she got herself into while in power – believing that her word, and her word alone, is the law in Scotland.

  45. A Scot Abroad says:

    A police investigation with 20 detectives (reportedly) over nearly 2 years costs an awful lot more than £667k. I know that the police generally scale their investigation to the size of the alleged criminality.

    So, this is extremely unlikely to be just about a piffling £667k being spent on motor homes and other trivia. It’s about public money, I think. Possibly contracts being awarded when they shouldn’t have been, or on the basis of political support and networks.

  46. Captain Yossarian says:

    I remember Sturgeon saying: “The world is my oyster” in Press interview in Bute House 6 or 8 months ago. I thought at the time that was a strange thing for a parliamentarian to say. It doesn’t coincide with the image we have of a public servant, does it. You wouldn’t imagine Robin Cook or John Smith saying that.

    I presume that she just got herself sucked into a vortex of her own hubris.

    I have no idea what is going to happen in the days ahead. I do hope that Police Scotland stage some sort of fight-back against the criticism they have been getting since the Salmond trial. That would be a sign to me that the country is at last getting back on to a level footing.

  47. Mac says:

    Still using the phrase ‘ring-fenced’ as late as summer 2020.

    That is astonishing. So recent. I feel like we have been talking about yon ring-fence since way before then.

    I’ll bet money the phrase ‘ring fenced’ came from Pete. It is soooo him. It was a ‘lure’… cast by a very stupid man.

  48. Sven says:

    Tommo @ 19.38

    The offence does indeed exist, however as it’s a civil claim for compensation that won’t be what is concerning the Police.
    I’d suspect that the Gupta deal, involving the Serious Fraud Office and an international investigation would be more likely to be causing the lengthy time involved.

  49. Geri says:

    What’s taking so long ffs?
    They’re hardly The Sopranos.
    I could’ve done it quicker. Bring them in together, separate & then the old Reid technique/prisoners dilemma.

    Then home in time for doughnuts.

    What’s the betting it’ll be..

    ‘lessons have been learned’

    Maybe the trick is to bore us all into no longer caring by the end of it all? Zzzzz..

    Re Police Scotland – I’m sure all the parties at Holyrood were proposing a single police force at the time.

  50. Mac says:

    Glacial progress as always when it comes to investigating Nicola and Petey versus the sprinting zombie army of 5000 cops to investigate Alex Salmond, everyone he ever met, and every hair he ever pinged.

  51. Geri says:

    Sturgeon would’ve sung like a budgie cause waiting for her in cell 101 would be torture

    Could be an Isla or could it be a Sophie demanding she change his diapers? hee-hee!

  52. Shug says:

    Once arrested and other issues like conspiracy start to appear, how quickly will she throw the alphabetties under the bus.

    They insisted I took acoin will be the cry

  53. Ebok says:

    ‘We keenly – really very keenly indeed – await any developments which may shed some light on it.’

    In an interview with Mike Graham this morning, Alex Salmond said that Operation Branchform would not be completed ‘this side of Christmas’.

  54. Quinie frae Angus says:

    @Laukat at 3.40 pm

    I think you’ve sussed it.

  55. Confused says:

    david wilson’s crime files is a surprisingly good program

    – maybe he will do us a special edition

  56. David Hannah says:

    The worst thing that could happen is Sturgeon is given a job with the UN.
    She’ll destroy our bid for Independence from within.

    I hope the cops arrest her again. Sounds like the shit is finally hitting the fan for the Murrells.

    Ha ha ha ha! Get it up them. The Indy sabatours!

  57. Duff says:

    Is it publicly known if anyone actually won the 10 grand? Or, more specifically, was there a winner from outside the inner circle?

  58. twathater says:

    ” Since becoming national treasurer, I’ve worked hard to ensure ongoing prudence and financial control, striving to use your donations in the most effective and efficient ways possible”

    Perhaps Mr Beattie can enlighten donors and supporters if the luxurious high end motorhome that sat in Peter Murrells mothers driveway was purchased with donated finances and if so does he consider using those finances was showing ongoing prudence and the money was used in the most effective and efficient way possible, OR is Mr Beattie being disingenuous and treating supporters with extreme contempt

  59. stuart mctavish says:

    Bright side: summer of love 2020 coincides with the moment when it became increasingly obvious that, rather than compare and contrast washing hands with teotwaki (or even test drives to secretive bio labs) as an appropriate treatment for seasonal flu, the world’s (ahem) owner was going to double down on teotwaki – so if the 300+ years previous hadn’t provided enough incentive, that was clearly the most recent last sensible moment for all (any) remaining self respecting Scotch treachuries to get cagey over their accounts – irrespective of any complicity or political gamesmanship from those empowered* to police them!

    *The arbitrary arrest/ fundamental human right violations alluded to in Laukat’s observation @3:40pm being, presumably, either an instruction from a direct superior or a form of self empowerment that executive oversight is/ was more than happy to tolerate for whatever reason (eg institutional bias against Scots/ Scots politicians/ Scots First Ministers, etc, etc)

  60. Willie says:

    Liked the earlier transcription og Stronger for Scotland to Wonga for Scotland.

    It has to use the word, a certain ” ring” to it.

    And of course ” fence” has a meaning other than a stockade or to parry with a sword.

    Oh dear, and aligned with the still. extant Ponzi promotion of Independence in Europe not difficult to see how the SNP is heading for utter wipe out. Gerald Ratner’s sandwich will last longer.


  61. Ebenezer Scroggie says:

    Tory candidate in Cornwall beaten in a by-election.

    That’ll teach the bastartds!

  62. John Main says:

    @Ebenezer Scroggie says:21 July, 2023 at 7:37 am

    That’ll teach the bastartds!

    Not sure what the lesson is 🙂

    Compare & contrast with Uxbridge. MSM is unanimous that ULEZ considerations were key to that “shock” result.

    Coming to a city near you soon (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh). Already up and running in Glasgow.

    It is my fervent hope that the politicos responsible for the virtue-signalling ULEZ assaults on ordinary, lower-income Scots are driven into the wilderness for good.

    That’ll teach the bastartds!

  63. Ebenezer Scroggie says:

    The new town of Embra was deliberately fucked for car owners by Councilor Begg The Bastard.

  64. David T says:

    The day Nicola was hauled in, I heard a BBC journalist (not James Cook) say, “they have maintained all along they have answers to the questions.”

    I hope so.

  65. Eric says:

    Win up to £10,000 in the SNP Summer Draw.

    Wonder if anything at all was paid out.

  66. akenaton says:

    The sad thing is, that despite all the furore over missing money, mishandling of finances, social butchery of women and children, we still have a large portion of the Scottish electorate ready to hand their votes to the SNP and re- anoint Mss Sturgeon.
    Is this simply crass stupidity? Or have the Scottish people been brainwashed by decades of Saltire waving, claymore thrusting, pervert loving, English hating crap, extruded by that edifice of true democracy Holyrood?

    Even this fine bastion of free speech, one of the very best on the net, is not addressing the real problem, which is not National politics, but National Stupidity, aided by a generation of emasculated males and old women with a grievance against real life.

  67. Scotsrenewables says:

    “the virtue-signalling ULEZ assaults on ordinary, lower-income Scots”

    More drivel from Main. My 16 year old Renault Clio that I bought from a guy in Paisley for £700 is allowed to enter every ULEZ in Scotland and the UK without penalty.

  68. Sven says:

    akenaton @ 09.11.

    I suspect that the very successful way in which first Mr Salmond, then Ms Sturgeon, succeeded in merging the Party, SNP, with the Movement, Independence, has played a great part in securing the emotions and loyalty of staunch independent supporters.
    This, with the advantages of the D’Hondt closed list system, have achieved success for SNP administrations within a voting system designed and introduced to ensure no one political party could have absolute control.
    By virtue of making the SNP, effectively, the only party of independence this voting system has ensured that all the independence votes go to them. Whilst the larger unionist vote gets divided three ways, between Labour, Conservatives & LibDem.

  69. Stuart MacKay says:

    John Main

    Blaming it on the ULEZ is just cover for Labour’s failure. Uxbridge is right out on the west, next to the M25. I think we’d need to see a few more boroughs reject Labour before blame can be pinned on Khan’s greenwashing. The result in Somerton and Frome also lends weight to the notion that Labour’s Lead exists only in the mind of the media.

    An interesting set of results all the same. If the blame is being pinned in ULEZs the SNP might be forced to do a little back-tracking to avoid being contaminated by the narrative even if the underlying reasons for Labour’s failure, for example, the two-child benefits cap, are not being openly discussed.

    Perhaps the political parties across the board are in for a rude awakening. The feeling of decline is now taking hold everywhere and no amount of “we need to make difficult choices” is going to work as people realise that the political classes really mean “we need to make difficult choices for you”.

    The party that realises that it needs to rethink things, bottom-up is likely to reap the benefits. Somewhat characteristically, Alex Salmond at least appears to be heading in the right direction. Whether Alba cotton on remains to be seen. The rest all have their snouts in the trough and so are unlikely to notice.

  70. John Main says:

    @Scotsrenewables says:21 July, 2023 at 9:44 am

    More drivel from Main. My 16 year old Renault Clio that I bought from a guy in Paisley for £700 is allowed to enter every ULEZ in Scotland and the UK without penalty

    Woohoo, so you’re alright, Jack.

    My 11 YO Golf and my 10 YO Transit aren’t. Maybes I should have gone to Paisley to buy them.

    Are you absolutely sure your 16 YO clunker is up to snuff? I’d hate for you to get a stinging fixed penalty notice through the post [chuckles].

  71. John Main says:

    @Stuart MacKay says:21 July, 2023 at 9:55 am

    the underlying reasons for Labour’s failure, for example, the two-child benefits cap, are not being openly discussed

    The 2-child benefits cap is certainly an innarestin one. Moving beyond the “aw, the poor little bairns” level of discussion, I am reminded of the constant warnings that we in Scotland are not breeding sufficiently to maintain our population.

    Anecdotally, I know of no families with more than 2 kids.

    So the obvious question is, who are the families that are affected by the cap? And the answer is also obvious. To me, regressive, racist bastard that I am, when in addition some environmental and sustainable considerations are added to the mix, I think the 2-kid cap is about right.

    Families who wish to utilise their basic human right to breed as much as they can are welcome to leave me out (as a taxpayer) of their funding plans.

    Would I be willing to support measures that make it easier for the indigenous population of Scotland to have more kids? Things like reliable, well-paying jobs, affordable homes, ample school places, decent medical facilities, a cap on immigration, a prioritisation of the indigenous when it comes to jobs, housing, etc? Of course.

    But as all the policies that might improve these opportunities are off the agenda, probably for years yet, maybes for ever, I don’t see any prospects for improvement.

  72. Alf Baird says:

    akenaton @ 9:11 am

    “the real problem, which is not National politics, but National Stupidity”

    People are not stupid, they are a product of their environment and subject to ‘environmental conditioning’. This starts from an early age and is cemented by educational institutions, social interaction, and state etc media in its wider sense. A key feature of culture is how society is organised, an outcome of which is the dominant ‘values’ a people hold – i.e. what is deemed significant and what is not. The issues facing a society are therefore everything to do with national politics and/or the workings of the state.

    The Scottish-identifying ‘No’ voter is an interesting case in itself; rejecting one’s own national liberation and citizenship is surely a consequence of such ‘environmental conditioning’. No voters also arguably relate to the more educated group, incl private school and elite university backgrounds. They are not stupid; rather, they are subject to and hold dominant cultural values and emotions that determine their thinking.

    Lets remember that a people subject to cultural imperialism and colonialism also involves a psychological conditioning process.

  73. John Main says:

    @Alf Baird says:21 July, 2023 at 10:48 am

    People are not stupid

    Ah, c’mon now Ted.

    We are all trying to understand the near-infinite complexities of our modern world with brains that evolved primarily to enable us to scream insults at the other monkeys in the neighbouring trees.

    they are a product of their environment

    Studies in the USA suggest that we are products of our families. The determinant of the vastly better educational and life attainments of penniless immigrants of Asian background is their family focus on education and hard work.

    As this does not fit with the fashionable opinion of “wacism”, the reality deniers have had to classify Asians as whites so that they can accuse them of “white privilege”.

    There has never been any stopper to any Scottish family inculcating a habit of study and hard work in their offspring. I know because I have seen the results of this worldview work out plenty of times.

    The Scottish-identifying ‘No’ voter is an interesting case in itself

    I hold to a simpler view. We Scots are stereotypically careful with our money. It’s traditionally hard to come by and once we have some, we are reluctant to splurge it on an unknown.

    Alec Salmond instinctively realised that when he pursued his gradualist, don’t-scare-the-horses, approach to proving that Scots could make the leap to Indy without bankrupting ourselves.

    Not only have all the years since failed to build on his foundations of competency, they have actively trashed the idea that we have the politicians who could run an aspirational first-world country.

    These politicians have fucked up, not because they are colonised in their heids, but because they are mostly thick, bigoted, reality deniers.

    I see the major difference between the “No” and Yes” camps as follows:

    The Yes camp sees it has nothing to lose so why not try Indy? How could it be personally worse?

    The No camp sees it has something to lose so why take the chance of Indy, when so many of the unknowns remain unaddressed, so many of the politicos are ludicrous thickos, and Indy has become encumbered with all sorts of irrelevant sideshows such as anti-monarchy, pro-EU, unilateral disarmament, gender woo woo, etc etc.

    Not to mention the “Scotland as colony” sideshow.

  74. akenaton says:

    Alf, thank you for the response, but in my considerable time, I have come to the conclusion that people are driven mainly by self interest, especially amongst working class families.
    Any deviation from this outlook may make one feel better in the short term, but is almost always detrimental to society at large.
    I have been watching carefully as a corrupt administration convinced a large part of the electorate that the policies they were pursuing were beneficial socially and politically, as they would lead to “Independence”. This was a lie, these policies were never explained to the public, neither was the economic case for the neverland independence visualised by Sturgeon &Co.
    I am not in any way learned, having left school at 15 to take up an apprenticeship in building hooses, but at least my observations concerning the Scottish people and their acceptance of anything proposed by their now disgraced political leadership, involve extreme stupidity and enforce my belief that in this life we should question everything, including shibboleths like “Nationhood” “Democracy” even “Equality”.

  75. Alf Baird says:

    John Main @ 11:36 am

    “the “Scotland as colony” sideshow”

    As independence is decolonization, according to postcolonial theory, the UN, and a great many former colonies now independent countries, colonialism remains a central feature for a people in self-determination conflict. ‘Denial’ (of oppression) is of course an important part of the ‘colonial condition’.

    Postcolonial theory tells us that a colonial administration is always run be a ‘mediocre meritocracy’, mainly due to the narrow stream from which it is drawn; e.g. some half of Scotland’s top positions are held by the 3% who went to private schools. A colonial people and nation are unable to develop so long as their primary function is to serve the needs of the mother country.

    Yes, to an extent “we are products of our families”, and social interactions form an important part of our cultural environment; however, ‘behavioural determinism’ suggests our ‘environmental conditioning’ is much more than that.

  76. Johnlm says:

    You all have a hold on the different part of the elephant.
    Basically, there are more of us than of them and, in this pretend democratic society, founded on ‘law’, they need us to sign up to our own control.
    If enough of us refuse to play the game. We win.

  77. Alf Baird says:

    akenaton @ 11:50 am

    “I have come to the conclusion that people are driven mainly by self interest, especially amongst working class families.”

    Thanks for that. You could be right, and this may be the case for everyday decisions on this and that. However, political science tells us that when it comes to elections people vote on the basis of their ‘values’, not necessarily on what is in their best interest.

    In the case of Brexit, a majority of England’s people voting for a costly end to a largely positive European union was a case in point; Scots voting in favour of their subjugation within a UK ‘union’ that does not quite exist is another.

    Maist independence voters seem to me to have a working class background, including myself, and the majority of them obviously had to be ‘culturally’ shifted over time from Labour. Scottish Tories are a different ‘culture’ and ideology, with highly predictable values.

  78. Confused says:

    how the hell anyone can anyone think they will be “BETTER OFF” by handing their wages to their next door neighbour and hoping they will “see them all right” I will never know.

    – depends who the neighbours are, maybe they are saintly philanthropists with an unrivalled financial acumen … maybe, it could work. BUT – OH RIGHT …

    our neighbours are the MOST RAPACIOUS LOOTERS IN ALL OF HISTORY, known worldwide for their tales of deception and their ability to ignore any deal they did not like – they lie through their teeth all the time, both sides of their mouths and if they ever told the truth, they have to tell a lie straight after to keep their hand in; you would get a better deal with those “pikey slave masters” who lock people in huts for 20 years and use them to tarmac drives.

    (staring at Norway … )

    it is axiomatic for me that indy must mean better lives for the majority of Scots, but given our resources and the simple matter of having the full tax take in your coffers, I don’t see how it can fail, without deliberate sabotage (which is not to be ruled out)

    – but beyond that, there is the simple benefit of : getting rid of a bunch of cunts who you don’t like

    they rob us, disrespect us, treat us like shit, patronise us like a hillbilly cousin, then expect us to be grateful for all this and call us out as “whiny jocks” and ingrates if we offer the merest contradictory fact

    – we are expected to eat shit, and like it

    the anglo is like a guest in your front room who has overstayed his welcome – sofa to himself, laid out, remote control in his hand, and the 80 inch UHD bravia in front, asking you to get him a sandwich from the fridge, and hurry up! … time to GTF, GTF and when you get there, arrive at fuck, just keep going

    people are so gaslit and cringefied by the media’s anglo exceptionalist reality distortion field that they fail to see this; they are living in a rubbish dump, but told it is a paradise and THERE IS NO SMELL, WHAT SMELL

    – once you see it, smell it, you cannot stop

    If Scotland was to be demonstably, irrefutably, the poorest country in the world when indy, I would accept it as a price worth paying to be rid of an infestation of parasites.

    – but it isn’t, far from it; there is no country which has a better natural disposition for countryhood (we could even become an autarchy) – all the countries around us, similar to us in many ways, are doing extremely well, the best in the world; time to join them, cut the rope, let the dead weight fall.

    Money isn’t everything, there is pride, self-respect but more pointedly – BLOOD – how much Scots blood has been spilt in furthering the murderously evil theft of the most evil enterprise in history? If you ever think the empire was on the right side of -anything- you are wrong (and that “one time”, well, that is at best a “maybe”).

    Never forget the anglo got booted out of more than 50 countries, and they never wanted them back. Whose behaviour is at fault here?

  79. Ian Brotherhood says:

    This may be of interest to those not promoting the scary story that P*t*n is the devil incarnate.**ian/status/1682032069206216704

  80. paul says:

    Eric says:
    21 July, 2023 at 9:10 am

    Win up to £10,000 in the SNP Summer Draw.

    Wonder if anything at all was paid out.

    I’m almost certain it will go to a mr sturgeon, unemployed in south lanarkshire

  81. John Main says:


    It’s possible to not be the devil incarnate and to still order your murderous, aggressive, imperialist storm troops across the border into your neighbour’s sovereign territory, where they embark on an orgy of torture, rape and destruction.

    It’s possible to turn a blind eye to all of that for [reasons] and not be the devil incarnate.

    So you’re not. Congratulations are in order, I suppose.

  82. SteepBrae says:

    Environmental conditioning, as pointed out by Prof. Baird, is certainly something young native Scots are exposed to.

    Growing up in post war Scotland, there were the big occasions (gala day, launch of a ship) where youngsters would be handed a union jack to wave. Still happens. Swearing allegiance to ‘God and the Queen’ was drummed into you once a week. Post office savings stamps for children depicted the young royals (Charles for a boy, Anne for a girl) – double conditioning since Anne’s was worth less than Charles’!

    There’s no shortage of examples of conditioning in our country, at many levels. It would take all day to try to list them. But it’s not hard to see what goes on and once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it. There’s the structure of small town life, noticeably hierarchical from its Anglicised landowners with their superior pew in the church all the way ‘down’ to its manual workers, suddenly free to speak the mither tongue with impunity. Who is it that gets the respect? And yet we’re a’ supposed to be Jock Tamson’s bairns.

    You learn that to respect your ‘betters’ matters. Knowing your place matters. However, education matters too. Whether it’s at school or in adult life, questioning things is vital.

    Thank goodness for freely accessible info, the freedom to express yourself, equal opportunities in the workplace… oh, wait…

  83. akenaton says:

    Alf, The movers and shakers of Scottish Nationalism in the 50s and 60s were if I remember correctly Scottish conservatives who were responding to the huge powerbase being constructed by corrupt UK unions and it took a Conservative in the shape of Mrs Thatcher to carry out the odorous task of demolishing the outdated industrial wreckage created by the unions and their “socialist” fellow travellers.
    I was member of the YCL at the time, a simple country boy, but Even I began to understand where the Left was leading us.
    Today they try the same trick but using social ideology rather than economic and the result this time could be in their favour, as family life is demonised children abused mentally and physically and the rule of law and personal freedoms curtailed.

    We require a conservative leader like Mrs Forbes if we are to forge an ideologically strong nation which can survive as the rest of Western society crumbles.

  84. WeeCrabbitBas says:

    And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large automobile?”
    And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house!”
    And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife!”

    Letting the days go by…

  85. akenaton says:

    Wee crabbit bas.

    I like the analogy and loved the song.

  86. Alf Baird says:

    akenaton @ 5:47 pm

    “We require a conservative leader like Mrs Forbes if we are to forge an ideologically strong nation”

    Postcolonial theory is pretty clear that independence is not a matter of political ideology, or of left or right, of socialism versus capitalism. The most urgent priority is that of freeing the people.

    A liberated people can then choose whichever political ideology they wish after independence. Until then Scots are left with whatever political ideology England votes for, and regardless of what that is it will always keep Scotland in its subordinate place.

  87. akenaton says:

    Alf, we must agree to disagree as the forum has moved on, thank you for the interesting exchange.

  88. WingsOverFrance says:

    Alf Baird. Spot on!

  89. Northcode says:

    Alf Baird

    Alf, It seems to me that if a colonised people have no control over the policies a foreign government imposes on them, then what use are their fake political representatives and their feigned interest in the well-being of that people? I would suggest absolutely no-use whatsoever – worse, a hindrance to their prospects of escaping their oppressor.

    From what I’ve learned from you directly, and from reading your paper and book, the politics of any colonised nation are merely a distraction, a game played by the coloniser from which the colonised are completely excluded.

    That being the case, wouldn’t it be better for a colonised people to disengage totally from their coloniser’s political fakery? That course of action, however, might make matters worse for them – I don’t know.

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