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The other kind of special

Posted on February 11, 2021 by

After all the dramatic revelations at FMQs yesterday, something else really quite weird happened after everyone had stopped watching.

Once more, we’re in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Jackie Baillie.

Stuart Nicolson is a very elusive man. Despite having worked for BBC Scotland, been the political editor of the Scottish Daily Mail and now being the First Minister’s personal spokesman and special adviser, the only photograph we’ve been able to find of him is this one, keeping some interesting company before the indyref.

Information about his character is also almost as rare as snapshots, but according a couple of articles by his former employer, five years apart, we’re told that he’s “tetchy” and “known for his aggressive and combative spats with journalists”.

But even though nobody’s ever voted for him and almost nobody knows what he looks like, it seems he now gets to announce government policy and issue instructions to Parliamentary committees on how they should go about their business.

It appears especially audacious given the immense lengths the Scottish Government has gone to to PREVENT certain people from appearing in front of the Fabiani Fiasco.

A key witness, Geoff Aberdein, was effectively barred from being even mentioned, let alone allowed to answer questions. A certain senior official had thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent on lawyers getting her out of it by trying to pre-determine what questions she could be asked, while Alex Salmond has been “invited” to appear, but literally threatened with imprisonment if he turns up and tells the truth.

So it takes chutzpah for some wee nyaff to pipe up – off camera, of course – and try to goad a committee that his employer has obstructed every last step of its way into the farcical, futile situation of forcing someone to appear but not letting them talk about any of the relevant facts on pain of prosecution by the massively compromised monstrosity and all-round offence against human decency and justice that is the Crown Office.

But as you’re reading this, the High Court is hearing a legal challenge that could blow all that obstruction to smithereens. We’re as agog as you to find out how it goes.

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    204 to “The other kind of special”

    1. James Horace says:

      Don’t worry, my close personal friend Facundo tells me that the Spectator will deliver today.

    2. ScottieDog says:

      SPADs who are ex-BBC, ex-daily Mail?
      Has the British deep state all over it

    3. Alex Browne says:

      Don’t suppose there’s a caption with names to go with that photo?
      Some I recognize, some I don’t; but there’s a few “looks a bit familiar, I should know who that is…”.
      No need to break any injunctions, btw.

    4. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Poundland Alastair Campbell by the sound of it.

    5. El Mariachi says:

      I think these are my favourite of the types of articles you write.

      One of the others was the America trip – few pennies dropped with that one.

    6. steelewires says:

      Why isn’t Geoff Aberdein being presses to make a public statement of the truth concerning the meeting in the Parliament building? Surely a public statement of the truth by him would clear things up!

    7. Dickiet says:

      He certainly looks like one angry little man. Bald small man syndrome? I know it exists from personal experience 🙂

    8. Bob Mack says:

      It only shows the strategy . They want Nicola to have the last word because the last words are remembered. They do not want Alex to appear last under any circumstances because he is just as strong an orator as Nicola and what he says will have more effect if he goes last.

    9. Tinto Chiel says:

      “Fabiani Fiasco”: we heard it here first. May it be bruited thus for all eternity 🙂 .

    10. A Person says:

      I was genuinely expecting to zoom in on that photo and see Sturgeon’s special adviser hanging around with Osborne and Murphy!

    11. Craig Murray says:

      steelewires

      its been gone over loads of times. Geoff Aberdein gave full and truthful evidence to the committee as he is obliged to do. The committee refused to publish it because it categorically sinks Nicola.
      But Aberdein cannot make any voluntary political action because of his current employment.

    12. So the SNP/SG have got a former political editor of the Daily Mail AND Murray Foote of “The Vow” fame working for them?

      Is it just me or are there big red flashing warning signs going off?

    13. DAVID COUTTS says:

      Anybody interested to listen to the High Court can do so as follows.

      Dial 0207 660 8149 and listen to request for your code which is 183 737 8571.

      Let us all hope the Court takes the correct decision to enable this Committee to come to the obvious conclusion.

      As a former SNP candidate in a target seat and indeed a long time on the NEC it is getting embarrassing.

      Mind you i might just go and buy myself a Tartan walking stick,a wheelchair,a couple of new dresses from PRIMARK and a pot of face paint and go top of the list in the Lothians!!

    14. Kate says:

      I don’t know how you do it, but you just make my mornings with all you find out.. I so hope the legal challenge today means Alex is allowed to tell all at this mockery of a judicial committee.

    15. Desimond says:

      Wouldnt it kill 2 birds with one stone if one of the Committee invite Alex Salmond in to join when Nicola being questioned… with nothing to hide as we are so often told, then Im sure Nicola wouldnt mind clearing this all up in a oner

    16. Bob Mack says:

      I love the people who berate you when you mention. things like the Spectator court case, and when you praise Jackie Baillie for asking tough questions.

      Your nothing but a Unionist they shout because you couldn’t possibly support these poeople if you were a true Indy supporter.

      Yet, how nany arch Unionists are today advising Nicola in government ? She has given them jobs and yet not a word from those who berate you for the same thing.

      I wonder what the actual number is?

    17. robertknight says:

      Sadly, there’s nothing this shower of charlatans, conspirators, troughers and incompetents do which surprises me any more.

      The sooner they’re booted out of Holyrood, the better. Those who openly support Sturgeon are as bad as those who realise the gravity of the situation, yet say and do nothing. They are all equally dishonourable.

      We are subjected to a government and judiciary of the very worst kind, while the MSM simply look the other way.

      The SNP is beyond redemption and this country’s institutions have resoundingly failed the people they exist to serve, while our ‘leaders’ and their close associates get fat off the public purse whilst using spurious legal arguments, threats of imprisonment, outright lies and general obfuscation to hide their true activities from the public gaze.

      Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and now Scotland.

      How did it ever come to this?

    18. Jason Smoothpiece says:

      Too many of these shites hanging around the corridors of power, all totally unelected.

      This applies to Westminster and Edinburgh.

      Elected politicians only should speak to the public the advisers should be greatly reduced and silenced.

    19. auld highlander says:

      ex mail and ex bbc eh?

      i would say the interfering unseen hand of of the south getting their stooges to do their dirty work.

      the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    20. holymacmoses says:

      They’re a dirty bunch Mr Wings. I would be astonished if they could ‘compel’ Mr Salmond to do anything. I’m at a loss to understand what authority the Scottish Government thinks it has over a man they have wronged so shamelessly.

    21. Davy Smith says:

      @robertknight; Well done, sir; you are joining the dots.
      Add Sturgeon’s admiration for Kissinger, Clinton and Legarde and her very iffy foreign policy stance and you see a bigger picture.

    22. Mist001 says:

      Alex Salmond always came across as an intelligent, canny and shrewd operator, but look at this situation with Mrs. Murrell and the accusers and there he is in that photo with this Stuart Nicolson.

      It really does beg the question, why was Alex Salmond so oblivious and blindsided by these people? Certainly, he worked with Mrs. Murrell for long enough and yet, didn’t pick up any clues about what kind of character she really is.

      So has he been fooling us?

      Is Alex Salmond in reality thick as mince but just as good at fooling all of us, as the people now turning against him were as good at fooling him?

    23. stuart mctavish says:

      Yeah, yeah, yeah – arguably they’re all at it but for all the conversation its easy to see what the right is doing, any guesses what Alex might be up to with the left?

    24. Contrary says:

      I know tons of things are happening, so no one needs more distraction, but this is good:

      https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2021/02/11/challenging-the-scottish-growth-commission/

      Sounds like a campaigning video, with a very firm attack on the nonsense Growth Commission. All angles where pressure can be brought to bear on the SNP leadership – exposing how far out of touch they are with the membership and populace – is worthwhile.

    25. Sylvia says:

      Ruth Davidson’s former Director of Communications(Jan 14 -Dec 19) Eddie Barnes was another Daily Mail alumnus. He is now freelance.

      https://www.linkedin.com/in/eddie-barnes-22b8092a/?originalSubdomain=uk

    26. holymacmoses says:

      Mist001 says:
      Is Alex Salmond in reality thick as mince but just as good at fooling all of us, as the people now turning against him were as good at fooling him?

      Do you think?

    27. Astonished says:

      Does Nicola Sturgeon ever employ anyone other than yoons ?

      He has got to be sacked for this.

    28. Famous15 says:

      Could someone give details and a name check for that photo? Some interesting faces.

    29. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Stu, A couple of days ago, some bright spark spotted the double spacing to defeat word search in the documents. Have you tried checking to see if the same technique had been used in the documents you were searching a month or two back. Sorry cant remember exactly when it was.

      Re the picture above, putting some names to faces, is that Stephen Gethins on the spads left? I see Geoff Aberdein next to Alex, Campbell Gunn at the back behind Alex, LL on the right

    30. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      OMG THAT photo, literally jaw dropping.

    31. Eileen Carson says:

      Who is the red haired female? I think the other is Liz Lloyd? Geoff Aberdein next to Alex – yes?

    32. Dream Brut says:

      Stu, I posted this on the Four Words article, but not sure if you saw it:

      I tweeted Tricia Marwick & Andy Wightman yesterday and both denied the MacWhirter claim that the Crown gave legal advice to parliament?

      Did you get a chance to look into this?

    33. Grouse Beater says:

      “It really does beg the question, why was Alex Salmond so oblivious and blindsided by these people?” Mist001 09.58

      Is that a real question or a stab at satire?

    34. SilverDarling says:

      That is a very interesting picture indeed.

    35. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @eileencarson it is Jennifer Dempsie, as was then, now Mrs Angus Robertson

    36. Craig Murray says:

      I can’t get in to the Spectator hearing this morning using the dial in details – which I see have been removed from the High Court website. Anyone manage to get in?

    37. Eileen Carson says:

      Thank you, I suspected as much
      …………

      ALISON BALHARRY says:
      11 February, 2021 at 10:13 am
      @eileencarson it is Jennifer Dempsie, as was then, now Mrs Angus Robertson

    38. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @alanmacintosh
      Yes you are correct re the who’s who,others I know
      Stephen Noon to right of Nicolson, now a Jesuit Priest, he was livid at how 2014 campaign was run.

      Behind Liz Lloyd is Ewan Crawford married to a BBC reporter, he worked for the BBC too from memory.

      Interestingly I don’t see Kevin Pringle anywhere.

    39. Eileen Carson says:

      Rev – do you have a date for the pre referendum picture?

    40. Ian McCubbin says:

      Keep bring us the news Stu.
      This farce of an inquiry is now at rock bottom.
      We see Scot Gov now no better than Westminster, sadly.
      Hopefully new blood will rise out of the ashes.

    41. Breeks says:

      And to think, not so long ago, people were asking questions why the SNP wasn’t giving a leg up to Scotland’s indigenous new media…

      Perhaps the biggest farce of all is that given all we know, Sturgeon is ‘only’ facing rebuke for breaking the Ministerial Code. Somehow that feels more and more like Al Capone going down for tax evasion.

    42. Dream Brut says:

      Liz Lloyd in this photo … who did she work for at this point in time?

    43. Stuart MacKay says:

      This has already been said not quite spelled out clearly enough:

      The “Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints” is trial No. 3 for Alex Salmond. Anything that deflects from that purpose is blocked and smothered.

      I can’t tell whether they think they’ll still wriggle out of this or we’re seeing a scorched earth campaign in action. I suspect it’s the former but they’re not as smart as they think they are and so it’s rapidly turning into the latter.

    44. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @DreamBrut
      Depends on date but here her history, crikey I hadn’t realised she once worked for Alyn Smith….

      https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lizlloyd

    45. Mac says:

      “Poundland Alastair Campbell”

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

    46. Sylvia says:

      Whilst searching for info on Stuart Nicolson, I came across this.

      13 March 2017 Two weeks into the New Year, Angus Robertson, the deputy party leader, called a top-secret summit of SNP insiders at the Craigellachie Hotel in Moray.

      “In attendance at the 2017 Craigelllachie meet were, among others: the First Minister; her husband, Peter Murrell, the chief executive of the party; John Swinney; Humza Yousaf; Kate Forbes; Sturgeon’s chief of staff, Liz Lloyd and director of communications, Stuart Nicolson; Alex Salmond’s former chief of staff, Geoff Aberdein, now head of European public affairs at Aberdeen Asset Management; former SNP director of communications, Kevin Pringle, now a partner with Charlotte Street Partners; former MSP and advocate Duncan Hamilton and property developer and party donor, Mark Shaw”.

      Geoff Aberdein and Duncan Hamilton guests at top-secret summit. I believe they both accompanied AS at the meeting at NS house on 2nd April 2018.

      For anyone who has been reading my postings on “American influence” within the SG/SNP – Please note – Duncan Hamilton received an LLB from the University of Edinburgh and was a Kennedy scholar at Harvard, Massachusetts.

      In 1999 Duncan Hamilton had a brief encounter with Jane Smith (daughter of the late Labour leader). https://archive.is/7HjKR

    47. Ingwe says:

      I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the Spectator’s application today is successful. I imagine the choice of the judge(s) will be crucial. I imagine some thought will have gone into their selection.

    48. Eileen Carson says:

      @Alison Balharry
      Was she Jennifer Dempsie at that time or Mrs Ruari Beaton? Date of pic so important I think they married in 2011 and divorced in 2014? Did they not …. she then married AR in 2016?

    49. Margie Davidson says:

      Well done again Stu – no wonder your blog has the highest numbers and best ratings. Keep it up but be careful all this overtime must be tiring xx

    50. Stuart MacKay says:

      Alan Mackintosh @10:07am

      Searches at http://www.parliament.scot/ are already changing search terms like “b e w a r e” (quoted to give an exact match) into “beware” so if there are words with spaces between the letters they won’t show up in the search results.

    51. INDEPENDENT says:

      Ref the date.
      I think it is a leaving photo.
      See pic in background with dates.
      Will Mr Aberdein be accusing Alex of sexual harassment.
      Hand on shoulder? SHOCK

    52. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @slyvia
      Good find. Note businessman Mark Shaw was a very invisible
      but very powerful hand during the Yes campaign.

    53. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @eileencarson

      She was still married in 2014 BUT the relationship with odious Robertson was going on then BUT the media went along with the bollocks that they got together later when they had both left their respective spouses.

    54. Agamemnon says:

      How long will it take for the Spectator case to come to a verdict/conclusion?

    55. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @eileencarson

      Pretty sure she always stayed Dempsie during her first marriage.

    56. Agamemnon says:

      I think is time for Geoff Aberdein to just release the ins and outs of his meeting to a Friendly Irish newspaper/media source. Then get it trending on twitter with a hashtag. This shit show has gone on long enough.

    57. Sylvia says:

      ALISON/DreamBrut Continuing on my American theme – pls note Liz Lloyd attended an American Uni – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    58. Eileen Carson says:

      Cheers Alison, just getting my skittles in a row!!

    59. Luke says:

      Alec probably hasn’t told you this, but I’m sure he knows he’s very fortunate to have you as a great ally, but more importantly, a dear friend.

      Keep up the good work, Stuart.

    60. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Yes, regarding Robertson the Odious, allegedly he wasn’t a very nice guy re his first wife. No names no pack drill… but the Highlands is a very small place. People know people.

    61. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      This is good summary of the shit that went on at Yes Scotland

      ”At a glance, the YouGov poll in the first week of September seemed to signal an extraordinary transformation. Yes had been behind by 18 points in February but now, with days to go, the same pollster put Yes two ahead.
      At this point, SNP headquarters – code for Murrell and businessman Mark Shaw – was effectively running the show”

      https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13181050.it-failed-to-win-independence-but-yes-transformed-politics-in-scotland-and-changed-the-uk-forever/

    62. Bob Mack says:

      High court application in Alexs name but should be Spectator magazine starts 10. 30. Im not sure but James Doleman on twitter usually covers court proceedings of this importance.

    63. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @sylvia re LL and NC, good point.
      But you she really is underwhelming, as I’ve
      often said before the person at the meeting who
      speaks for the sake of it but nothing of substance.

    64. Republicofscotland says:

      Political editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, a paper that just loves the thought of an independent Scotland, and now he’s Sturgeon’s Special Advisor.

      It gets you thinking as to why Johnson’s spending millions, of taxpayers cash on his Union Unit, and Sturgeon is spending zero on the independence Unit.

    65. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @alanmacintosh
      He’s all round odious.

    66. A Person says:

      THAT’S Mrs. Angus Robertson?! Talk about punching above your weight…

    67. Wee Chid says:

      Saw an article with a picture of Dempsie with actor Brian Cox OBE. I have a deep mistrust of Scots who take honours from the the British Establishment.

    68. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Just clocked the details on the screen, it must be Salmond’s leaving do so around Sep/Oct 2014

    69. Republicofscotland says:

      Mist001.

      It looks more like you’ve been fooling us. As for Salmond, there is a little thing called trust, and I’m confident Salmond trusted his team, but that’s not always a two way street, as we now see with Sturgeon.

    70. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Aperson
      Never judge a book by its cover she’s even more odious than Robertson, well suited.

    71. Sylvia says:

      ALISON – You’re right and also never underestimate in this debacle – it’s not even a double cross – more like a heptagon cross!

    72. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      What’s a heptagon cross, sounds interesting

    73. Jim F. McIntosh says:

      Yes I agree Ingwe can’t see the spectator having much joy with their application as the establishment will be told to close ranks. It would be great if they are successful though and might speed up justice.

    74. Sylvia says:

      ALISON – 7 sided!

    75. Mac says:

      From Jackie Baillie in the Scotsman.

      “The committee is duty-bound to do all it can to get to the reasons why the Scottish Government’s procedures were so badly flawed and why the women involved were so badly failed – to do so, we must have all the evidence available and the chance to question Mr Salmond.”

      Yeah the women were ‘so badly failed’… what a pile of shit.

      That is just re-smearing Alex Salmond by the back door.

      I have seen this repeatedly in the questioning at the Inquiry. Cole-Hamilton does it every chance he gets.

      So the women were let down because the jury did not believe their barefaced lies in some cases, nor that pulling a lock of someone’s hair in jest was a sexual assault. Is that letting them down is it. What a joke.

      These women have not been let down. Some were at best used, duped, and some blatantly perjured themselves trying to get an innocent man sent to prison.

      The jury saw all of this and acquitted the man on all charges despite every dirty trick being deployed to rig a conviction, any conviction.

      Jackie Baillie has been ok’ish during this but she can f**k off with the above.

      This is what the Fabiani Farce is really all about. Just another attempt to smear and attack Alex Salmond by the back door…

      You lose count of the times they have attempted to destroy this man. Disgusting.

    76. kapelmeister says:

      When he gets kicked out of his Spad post he can always get gigs as a Jimmy Somerville tribute act.

    77. Mac says:

      Who are the two women in this picture?

    78. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      ”It is understood the Spectator will argue there is a strong public interest in disclosure under article 10 of the European convention on human rights, given the significance of Salmond’s allegations about Sturgeon’s government and party”

      https://archive.is/jQZSD

    79. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @mac
      Jennifer Dempsie as was in 2014 now married to Robertson the odious and Liz Lloyd

    80. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Sylivia
      Duh!! Me being dopey again, I thought it was an actual physical think, Greek Orthodox style.

    81. Garavelli Princip says:

      The two women to Alex Salmond’s – left looking cosy and happy with him – look quite familiar –

      Can anyone say who they are?

    82. Cath says:

      Have to admit, I’m not up on who all the personalities are in that photo – grey men and women in suits don’t do much for me and appear to trigger prosopagnosia. However, I do recall the nature of SNP conferences really changing quite suddenly one year. It was the year of the NATO vote. Suddenly, from being a friendly place full of laid back people, some eccentrics and oddballs and having an almost family feel to it, it seemed to be rammed full of young people in sharp suits and management consultancy types.

      Personally, I was ambivalent on the policy – there are pros and cons to staying in NATO, especially when the other small independent countries around you are members, and there was still a commitment to rid Scotland of Trident. That kind of international policy seems the kind of issue which seems much more likely to create a real split than “Is a man in a dress literally a woman?” But not a debate those behind it would want the party members or public having.

    83. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Just had a Stuart Nicolson memory. When Kevin Pringle wasn’t around to sign off a press release you sent it to Nicolson, so Pringle rated him.
      This FOI of Nicolson’s diary 17/18 could be of interest, haven’t read it.

      https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-17-01355/

    84. ScotsRenewables says:

      Is there any hope this depressing shit show will be over any time soon?

      How, when and what next, show me your crystal bollocks people…

    85. Sylvia says:

      https://twitter.com/jamesdoleman – is reporting on “Spectator” proceedings

    86. laukat says:

      One of the many things I don’t get is why Sturgeon and Swinney are so keen for Liz Lloyd not to appear.

      If she is in cahoots with Sturgeon then surely she will provide answers that agree with Sturgeon’s events even if that means lying. So does that suggest that if Lloyd does appear she wouldn’t lie and is uncomfortable with what Sturgeon has done?

    87. Hatuey says:

      I’ve got to assume The Spectator knows what its doing, what it’s doing will cost quite a lot of money, and that it will succeed.

      If I can see the current situation is legally farcical, then I’m sure a Judge will too.

      Can we expect news of Craig Murray today?

    88. Feliks says:

      James Doleman is tweeting the Spectator case.

    89. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anyone manage to get in?”

      I’m listening now, yes.

    90. Graham Hobson says:

      Two questions
      1. Is he related to Dominic Cummings?

      2. In the photo, is that Murrell lurking in the background?

    91. Mist001 says:

      From that photo, Alex Salmond obviously knows Stuart Nicolson well, so you MUST ask yourself, why was Alex Salmond involving himself with someone who worked for the Scottish Daily Mail?

      Did he think that he could maybe get him onside? Since Alex Salmond was the leader of the party then, he was obviously involved in any decision to bring Stuart Nicolson onboard.

      So why did he do that?

      It’s obvious to a blind mans dug by now that Alex was completely hoodwinked by Mrs. Murrell, so how did he miss the warning signs? They worked together for many years, so he must have had an inkling of what she was capable of, surely. I had her sussed in 2016 and I’m not even close to any of them, so how did he miss the warning signs?

      So for me, it’s either staggering naivety or he had a wee plan cooked up himself which has backfired badly.

    92. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      The Spectator’s QC, bodes well.
      ”He acted for the former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond in 2018 in his successful Judicial Review of unlawful decisions taken in Scottish Government Complaints Procedure proceedings”

      https://ampersandadvocates.com/people/ronnie-clancy-qc/

    93. Mac says:

      Comment in moderation for some reason.

      (The ‘Mac’ immediately above is not me. This could get confusing.)

    94. Eileen Carson says:

      Oh wow James Doleman on twitter

      “Counsel for the Spectator is applying for changes to the court order, passed during the Alec Salmond trial, to prevent the identification of the complainers in that case.”

      Now that would put the cat amongst the pigeons. Can’t see Lady Dorian agreeing to that.

    95. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Yep, Alison, that makes sense, he knows all the stuff they got up to. He had all the stuff ready to go when they pulled the case(JR) just before LL was due to take the stand.

    96. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Eileen, depends if it is only for “A” and “H” who are purportedly the plotters as well as accusers.

    97. Baxter says:

      Laukat @11.09

      I suspect she is regarded by Sturgeon and Swinney as the weakest link, might be ok if she knew the questions being put to her before and was then well coached in her answers but liable to crack if asked to think on her feet.
      My very limited experience of dealing with civil servants doesn’t fill me with confidence in their abilities to think on their feet.

    98. Eileen Carson says:

      Alan Mackintosh says:
      11 February, 2021 at 11:20 am
      Eileen, depends if it is only for “A” and “H” who are purportedly the plotters as well as accusers.

      Agreed

    99. Boaby says:

      Wont hold my breath on the spectator breaking ranks.

    100. mike cassidy says:

      Insight into the minds of the Nicolsonerati

      From 4th April 2018 (How interesting!)

      Perception is everything: how politicians, public servants and corporate bosses learn the art of spin

      https://archive.is/roO5E

    101. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Alan @Eileen
      There are at least 3 plotters/accusers.

    102. laukat says:

      @baxter – thanks. Makes you wonder why they got her involved in the first place if she was never that capable? Did all their hopes rest on never having to face any scrutiny or is Liz Lloyd now feeling like she’s been duped and could be made a patsy?

    103. Wee Chid says:

      ALISON BALHARRY says:
      11 February, 2021 at 10:48 am
      “What’s a heptagon cross, sounds interesting”

      Initially?

    104. Bob Mack says:

      Not sounding good at Court. Judge is giving Spectator QC hard time. Tells him to convince Committee.

    105. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Alison, “C” as well?

    106. Captain Yossarian says:

      Sturgeon’s spokesperson says: ‘It’s time to take this stuff out of the murky world of the blogosphere and subject these conspiracy theories to proper scrutiny, under oath, in parliament and that’s what the First Minister will be doing in parliament next week.’

      I think she’s talking about you again, Rev. I might be wrong.

    107. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @alan is C the car one? If so yes.

    108. Alf Baird says:

      robertknight @ 9:39 am

      “Sadly, there’s nothing this shower of charlatans, conspirators, troughers and incompetents do which surprises me any more.
      The sooner they’re booted out of Holyrood, the better. Those who openly support Sturgeon are as bad as those who realise the gravity of the situation, yet say and do nothing. They are all equally dishonourable.
      We are subjected to a government and judiciary of the very worst kind, while the MSM simply look the other way.
      The SNP is beyond redemption and this country’s institutions have resoundingly failed the people they exist to serve, while our ‘leaders’ and their close associates get fat off the public purse whilst using spurious legal arguments, threats of imprisonment, outright lies and general obfuscation to hide their true activities from the public gaze.
      Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and now Scotland.
      How did it ever come to this?”

      Robert, you are right on all counts. When it comes to such oppressions, post-colonial literature always points us in the direction of the bourgeoisie as the culprit.

      Aime Cesaire provided a thoughtful description of the dominant bourgeoisie class, culture and purpose, much of which we see reflected in the activities of our meritocratic elite today, as you so ably describe:

      “..sadistic governors and greedy bankers, prefects who torture and colonists who flog, not only corrupt, check-licking politicians and subservient judges, but likewise and for the same reason, venomous journalists, goitrous academics, wreathed in dollars and stupidity, ethnographers who go in for metaphysics, presumptuous theologians, chattering intellectuals born stinking out of the thigh of Nietzsche, the paternalists, the embracers, the corrupters, the back-slappers, the lovers of exoticism, the dividers, the agrarian sociologists, the hoodwinkers, the hoaxers, the hot-air artists, the humbugs, and in general, all those who, performing their functions in the sordid division of labour for the defense of Western bourgeois society, try in diverse ways and by infamous diversions to split up the forces of Progress – even if it means denying the very possibility of Progress – all of them tools of capitalism, all of them, openly or secretly, supporters of plundering colonialism, all of them responsible, all hateful, all slave-traders, all henceforth answerable for the violence of revolutionary action.”

      Its almost enough to make a person vote for a working class republican socialist party! Coincidentally the only pro-independence party so far proposing an independence plebiscite at this May’s election is Solidarity. If we really mean to fix Scotland’s three century+ mankit bourgeoisie midden we will need the right people for the job.

    109. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Careful @alan

    110. JSC says:

      That photo is great at showing some very ambitious and career-focused individuals, who aim for the top prize, and are always setting their sights on the next step up the ladder.

      I also see Liz Lloyd and a bunch of blokes

    111. Captain Yossarian says:

      Vapid tool of the junta, John Swinney, has gone quiet. It’s all become too complex, hasn’t it. His Holyrood house of cards is sinking, it will close soon before it collapses.

    112. Stuart MacKay says:

      On the BBC web site “Salmond and Sturgeon: What is the controversy all about?” https://archive.is/ni7Uj is actually worth a read as a reminder of what the “public” see.

      It’s high level and there’s nothing obviously incorrect except the claim of Sturgeon that Salmond tries to get her to drop the investigation.

      The interesting part is that it drags in Murrell the Squirrel. The story is less favourable to the SNP and it looks like it’s setting Peter Murrell up to take the fall for Sturgeon.

    113. mike cassidy says:

      Excuse the length

      But had to copy/paste from Pressreader as it wouldn’t archive

      With mentions of most of the key ‘players’

      And Nicolson

      This from January 2019 makes interesting retro reading

      THE CRUMBLING DYNASTY

      Accusations of smears. Whispers of vendettas. Backstabbing briefings and furious outbursts. As the fallout from the Sturgeon-Salmond split grows ever more toxic, the battle lines over the future of the SNP are being drawn by Michael Blackley

      Scottish Daily Mail19 Jan 2019

      Civil war: The 30-year friendship between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her former mentor Alex Salmond, inset, seems over

      IT was a side of Nicola Sturgeon that her top team of advisers rarely see. Monday started like any other day inside the austere headquarters of the Scottish Government at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, as a civil servant handed the First Minister her early morning ‘news digest’ summarising the stories in the media that day.

      On a normal day, that provokes little more than gentle discussions with her ‘inner circle’ about how to react to any developing stories.

      In the case of more negative or problematic articles, she will often set off her top attack dogs – led by chief of staff Liz Lloyd, a confrontational Geordie who is Miss Sturgeon’s loudest defender – to dispute the story and try to ensure no other media, particularly the BBC or the Press Association news agency, decide to follow it up.

      But on this occasion, Miss Sturgeon flew off the handle.

      The source of her anger was not solely the fact that two newspapers had carried stories with fresh allegations about her dealings with Alex Salmond. What really hurt her was that the stories appeared to have been briefed directly from her mentor’s team.

      Fingers were immediately pointed at a former SNP adviser who was once a friend of the Scottish Government.

      Fearing that her mentor had turned on her and was actively trying to bring her down, Miss Sturgeon declared war by signing off an unprecedented early morning statement dismissing the claims and accusing Mr Salmond’s team of trying to ‘smear’ her.

      Ironically, it was the type of reaction many of the special advisers had not seen since Mr Salmond’s reign. He regularly used to explode when confronted by negative newspaper headlines. But it is far more rare for their current boss to express that type of anger in front of them.

      It was the beginning of a series of events which, if proof were needed, showed that the 30-year friendship between Miss Sturgeon and Mr Salmond was over.

      SOME in the party even admit that the explosive row between the two heavyweights of the Nationalist movement is threatening to tear their party apart.

      Many now openly concede that the murky affair has left Miss Sturgeon’s job on the line and are talking about who her successor might be.

      Privately, some in the Government also worry about losing their grip on Scottish politics at the next election – and dread the prospect of one coming along before 2021.

      Miss Sturgeon had hoped she could move on from what had been her worst week as First Minister.

      She believed that referring herself to the independent advisers on the ministerial code of conduct for an investigation last Sunday would buy her some time and end the daily onslaught of negative media coverage.

      But the questions kept coming and the fact that Mr Salmond appeared to be adding to them enraged her.

      On Tuesday, more revelations emerged, as Mr Salmond’s former chief of staff, Geoff Aberdein – a personal friend and former colleague of Miss Lloyd, and who now works in the private sector for Standard Life Aberdeen – claimed she had told him she ‘suspected’ there had been a complaint about Mr Salmond in late March last year.

      This is significant. Miss Sturgeon previously insisted she first learned about the complaints at a meeting with Mr Salmond in her home near Glasgow on April 2.

      She had also said the meeting was arranged only because Mr Salmond had something to tell her relating to party business.

      If Miss Lloyd knew that Mr Salmond intended to discuss the allegations by government employees, which he denies, why didn’t her boss?

      Mr Aberdein also revealed new details of a meeting between Mr Salmond and Miss Sturgeon.

      He accompanied the former First Minister to the talks – at Miss Sturgeon’s modest home in a middle-class housing estate in Lanarkshire – along with former MSP Duncan Hamilton, Mr Salmond’s lawyer. But he said the three of them were left alone after the pleasantries and small talk was out of the way, with Miss Sturgeon and Mr Salmond talking privately in another part of the house, which features a reading room filled with books, a compact kitchen fitted with a £1,000 coffee machine and a comfortable living room with a colourful floral feature wall straight out of a new-build home brochure.

      It remains unclear where Miss Sturgeon’s husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, was during this meeting in his home – although the First Minister insists he was not present and was not informed about what was discussed.

      The latest revelations from Mr Aberdein caused more angst for Miss Sturgeon’s team.

      At a media briefing on Tuesday, her top special adviser, Stuart Nicolson, who is known for his aggressive and combative spats with journalists, appeared bruised and tired, particularly since questions were now focusing on his friend, Miss Lloyd.

      While he refused to dispute the version of events provided by Mr Aberdein, a personal friend who shares his love of Aberdeen Football Club, Mr Nicolson accused Mr Salmond’s aides – whom he notably referred to as the other ‘side’ – of a ‘vendetta’ against Miss Lloyd, citing a reference in an opinion piece by a political journalist suggesting that Mr Salmond is ‘looking for blood’ and that Miss Lloyd is ‘ominously high on his wanted list’.

      But the strongly worded attacks angered some within the party who think it plays into the hands of their opponents and makes it impossible to make the party look united.

      One senior SNP politician said: ‘You’ve got people in the party showing clear sympathies to either party.

      PEOPLE brand this an SNP civil war and I’m not interested in that. But the First Minister’s focus should be on independence – she shouldn’t be involved in any tit-for-tat and the people working for her shouldn’t be getting involved in that. It does not come across well.

      ‘Alex’s side have not really been engaging in that, they’ve been pretty tight.

      ‘To use words like smear… we really need to be reflecting on the competence of the people around her.’

      When Miss Sturgeon chaired a meeting of her Cabinet at St Andrew’s House on Tuesday,

      she made only brief reference to the fact there is an ongoing police investigation into complaints about Mr Salmond and that she had referred herself for investigation – but there was no ‘substantive’ discussion of the matter.

      None of her ministers felt brave enough to ask questions about the impact this is having on the party or the Government.

      Miss Sturgeon looked tired and bad-tempered when she attempted to get away from the issue and focus on Brexit on Wednesday – but still faced questions about Mr Salmond during a Sky News interview, during which she confirmed that their 30-year friendship is now in doubt.

      One minister admitted to this being a low point for the party and said that an early general election or an early Holyrood vote called as a result of failing to pass the Budget would cause serious problems. The minister said: ‘This would not be a good time for us to face an election.’

      While playing it down publicly, Nationalist politicians admit there is now little doubt that this is the biggest crisis facing the SNP since it first came to power in 2007.

      They see multiple threats facing Miss Sturgeon.

      She could be found guilty of wrongdoing over the details she provided about her secret meetings with Mr Salmond over the Scottish Government’s investigation.

      Secondly, the growing civil war could tear apart the SNP, splitting it into the Left-wing progressive Sturgeonites and the agitated dissenting voices of the Salmondistas.

      Thirdly, she is dealing with a huge intake of new members who are now growing increasingly agitated about a second independence referendum that she does not want to call because she does not currently expect to win.

      OPPONENTS smell blood and they think the upcoming parliamentary inquiry – at which they will be able to ask any questions they like in public and demand the publication of key government and party documents – will be the most problematic probe facing Miss Sturgeon.

      SNP politicians are instantly prickly when any reference is made to a ‘civil war’.

      They are not used to in-fighting and think that it should not happen when all members of the party share the ultimate goal of independence.

      But given the back-stabbing and secret briefings going on, they privately admit there can be no doubt it now exists.

      In addition, Miss Sturgeon is also at risk of losing the support of those who signed up to the SNP with the sole objective of demanding a second independence referendum – a group which includes some MPs and MSPs and is becoming increasingly restless.

      Some in the party think Miss Sturgeon has lost the tight grip Mr Salmond previously had, and are alarmed by a clear breakdown in discipline – although they cite that as inevitable when the number of members and elected politicians has gone through the roof.

      ‘There are now a lot of different people from different backgrounds with different views,’ one SNP politician said. ‘It is now not so easy to keep people in line.

      ‘It’s the same situation in parliament – from six MPs to 56 and now 35. People have grown their own independence.

      ‘Before, we had people who were part of a team with one leader. Now, there’s lots of personalities. In 2011 it was a team vision but now there’s a much larger team of people with different beliefs.’

      Jim Sillars, a former deputy leader, has railed against the rise of the dominance of the party leader under both Mr Salmond and Miss Sturgeon – and believes it has left the party light on options for a successor.

      He said: ‘There is a rift in the party and that is happening because we have developed the cult of two personalities over the years.

      ‘When they fall out, two cults are almost duty-bound to fight each other and that is what we see going on now.

      ‘People like me have been saying for some time that this is only going to end in tears.’

      Mr Sillars said that Mr Salmond first started taking an aggressive approach to critics in the party in the early 1990s and, since then, the leader – first Mr Salmond and then Miss Sturgeon, has dominated all decision-making.

      ‘After that, you went into the cult of personality and that was transferred to Sturgeon,’ he said.

      ‘The leadership have total control of the party and that’s the state we’ve been in for years.

      ‘It has led to a personality-driven situation which has culminated in two sides falling out – it’s been years in the making.’ Notably, some in the party are now discussing who is in line to replace Miss Sturgeon if she is forced out, or resigns in the wake of the findings of any of the ongoing inquiries.

      Some believe Brexit Secretary Mike Russell is an option, although he has previously been sacked as education secretary and many think his rumbustious style of politics would be a major turn-off for voters.

      Others cite Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, although she has never escaped the fact she used to be a card-carrying Communist and, at the age of 65, would be seen as only a short-term option.

      Beyond that, all fingers point to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, a man who appears to have been working to improve his image and delivery style.

      One senior Nationalist said: ‘Derek Mackay is the obvious heir apparent in terms of his experience, the different strands of government he’s worked in, he’s moved up through the ranks.

      ‘He is in the position John Swinney was in, so I think he would be the natural person if John Swinney is not going to put himself forward again.’

      BUT would he want to go for the job, since he has suggested privately he is not interested? The source said: ‘Everyone gets into politics because they want to be leader at some point.’

      Inside the SNP, they do not know what lies ahead for Miss Sturgeon and Mr Salmond.

      Much of it depends on the outcome of the police investigation and the multiple inquiries.

      Mr Salmond has made it clear to friends that, if cleared of criminal activity, he would consider a return to politics.

      And one source in the party said that ‘a lot of people would want him back’ – but admitted that might be problematic for Miss Sturgeon.

      Her own reputation may already have been tarnished beyond recovery and the Tories now think she is a big asset to them because she is so unpopular on the doorsteps.

      Discontent is also growing within the party.

      For the first time since 2007, some SNP members admit it could be in freefall.

      Mr Sillars said: ‘She has not handled it well at all. Her judgment is in serious doubt.

      ‘She can’t possibly lead the party into the next election, whether that’s Holyrood or Westminster.

      ‘But such is the state of the SNP in terms of membership loyalty and the cult of personality that I think I would be in a minority on that.’

      He added: ‘We are heading for trouble and the party membership don’t realise it – they are in a state of denial. The alarm bells should be ringing.’

    114. Kat says:

      Hate to be pedantic & burst a bubble but if you look at what is projected on the wall behind the group in the photo it says:

      Alex Salmond
      First Minister of Scotland
      2007 – 2014

      So it must have been taken after the Indy ref not before. Does this make it more or less interesting & or relevant? I guess you’d need to know what the event was to know the answer.

      Anyone perchance know?

    115. JimmyB says:

      Sandie Brindley of RCS will be on the Radio Scotland 12:00 lunchtime programme to comment on the Spectator case. Wow that should be educational.

    116. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Kat, yes spotted that higher up the comments, it’s still as interesting as it’s 2014.

    117. Shug says:

      You have to hand it to nicola she seems to be able to control a unionist media. I just hope she is on the side of the snp

    118. Alf Baird says:

      ScotsRenewables @ 11:07

      “Is there any hope this depressing shit show will be over any time soon? How, when and what next, show me your crystal bollocks people…”

      Post-colonial literature is relatively clear about the decolonisation process:

      – the dominant National Party pampered bourgeoisie elite reaches its own “accommodation with colonialism”, which is not in rhythm with the wider independence movement

      – National Party and colonial authorities attack and smear independence ‘radicals’ who seek a more rapid move to independence

      – further new National Parties are created (there are now 6 pro-indy parties in Scotland)

      – newer pro-indy parties have more focused strategies on seeking an early resolution and move to independence

      – the colonial power increases its level of opposition and dirty tricks

      – eventually independence will generally be secured, but questions may remain on whether it is real independence or if the colonial power still retains control over key areas of the economy, territory, politics, justice, etc.

      Lesley Riddoch’s recent programme on Estonia revealed 3 essential features in its independence from Russian rule:

      1. National identity, as without that there is no national consciousness or drive for independence;
      2. Courage, of the leaders and people at the time of declaring independence;
      3. Clear oot of the senior officials running the previous colonial regime.

    119. Vestas says:

      Some of you posting BTL need to be VERY careful.

      You are on the verge of identifying one of the alphabet women and unless you actually work for the Scottish MSM you run the very real risk of being charged with contempt of court.

      Don’t make the mistake of thinking nobody will notice you doing this. They will.

      Your choice of course but you don’t get refunded your legal costs even if found innocent (or no case to answer)……

    120. Bob Mack says:

      @Vestas,

      I agree. This site will be watched, make no mistake about that.

    121. Black Joan says:

      This site will be closed down if there is the slightest excuse.

    122. Eileen Carson says:

      Lady D can’t appear to be too keen to withdraw certain aspects of the anonymity order ……….. even if she believes some parties have been involved in a stitch-up, she needs evidence, by case law or precedent.

    123. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @eileencarson
      Interesting.

    124. Eileen Carson says:

      @Alison Now she’s getting to the problem “Lady Dorian asks if the committee could not just redact what they published, or just consider the material without publishing it?” If I remember correctly he can’t be asked about anything they haven’t already published, or if in the public domain in full they can’t redact that, am I right?

    125. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Eileen I think so but not 100% sure.

    126. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Lady Dorian via Coleman, interesting

      ”Judge adds that The Spectator could then publish an article criticising the approach so bringing the issue into the public domain, she continues saying “these proceedings are not a conduit to the [inquiry] committee.”

    127. ALANM says:

      One thing I still don’t understand is why our Parliament appears to be reliant on an English based political magazine to obtain an amendment to the original court order? Why didn’t the Parliament petition the court themselves on the basis that the current order is hindering their inquiries into what went wrong?

    128. Sylvia says:

      Spectator Case – Clancy says if the court can take an early lunch break so he can take further instructions.
      Lady Dorian asks for the Advocate Depute’s view on the proposed change to the order.
      Alec Prentice says the Crown has no objections to the proposed change to the order in order to clarify the situation.
      Court adjourns until 1.30

      https://twitter.com/jamesdoleman/status/1359843762038521859

    129. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Via Coleman, promising

      Alec Prentice says the Crown has no objections to the proposed change to the order in order to clarify the situation.
      Court adjourns until 1.30

    130. Kiwilassie says:

      So when Angus Robertson had the affair 2014/2015 with another woman. Would you say he cheating on his wife Jennifer Dempsey?
      Even Alex didn’t stoop that low. He was never sexually unfaithful to Moira.

    131. Robert graham says:

      Ah so that’s where Cummings went when he apparently left Downing St

      A neat change and a very convincing disguise

      The more you see the worse it gets FFS ex BBC employee at the centre of the SNP government and a Daily Record bod in there as well fk sake This looks like the Tory party in all but name

      Stu a plea please please don’t reveal anything else my bloody blood pressure won’t take it

      This is getting way beyond a joke now

    132. Anonymoose says:

      ALANM says:
      11 February, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      Why didn’t the Parliament petition the court themselves on the basis that the current order is hindering their inquiries into what went wrong?

      Because the Parliament is a majority SNP by way of the Greens, as is the committee of the inquiry, they would never do anything to jeopordise their role.

      The need for outside interests to clear the way on this is paramount to the public in being able to ascertain the truth in what was so flawed in the policy that the Government collapsed it’s own court case on it.

    133. Graham says:

      The search to recover debris from the Challenger disaster in 1986 also resulted in the discovery of 13 shipwrecks, two lost airplanes and 25 kilos of cocaine.

      Keep digging!

    134. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Don’t think SPAD Stuart Nicolson ever worked for the BBC, there’s a current Stuart Nicolson at the BBC, not same person.

    135. Donibristle says:

      Seems there are a lot more pieces to this jigsaw than the box declares.
      It’s not hard to guess where the ring fenced money’s gone.
      But it’s gone !

    136. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Re Nicolson and BBC, I see it is in the article, so he maybe did.

    137. Wee Chid says:

      Kiwilassie says:
      11 February, 2021 at 12:39 pm
      “So when Angus Robertson had the affair 2014/2015 with another woman. Would you say he cheating on his wife Jennifer Dempsey?
      Even Alex didn’t stoop that low. He was never sexually unfaithful to Moira.”

      They didn’t marry until 2016

    138. Cath says:

      @Mike – interesting article, thanks. Especially Derek MacKay being touted as leader so soon before his fall from grace.

    139. BLMac says:

      This ring-fenced money thing.

      I contributed. I’m not a SNP member, and I thought I was contributing, not to party funds, but to a separate fund.

      If the money has been used for other purposes for a different purpose, such as party expenses, isn’t that embezzlement or fraud or something like that.

      Who do I complain to? The police?

    140. Cath says:

      Alec Prentice says the Crown has no objections to the proposed change to the order in order to clarify the situation.

      Can someone clarify for the hard of thinking. Is that the Crown saying they don’t object to the anonymity order being changed? Or is “the order” something else?

    141. Daisy Walker says:

      ot,

      Isn’t it interesting that at a time when the Scottish legal system is very publically standing in disrepute, the one area where they bent over backwards, to ‘do the right thing’ was in the area of the Alphabet women.

      And yet now the common phrase being pummelled by Scot Gov and its tame media, is, ‘let down by the courts/legal system’ etc.

      Be really good if a proper journalist might just question that phrase for once, and say, in what way did the legal system let them down?

      Did they lose evidence, fail to trace and interview all the potential witnesses, did Police not take the enquiry seriously and fail to investigate? How.

      The one area where all the complainers were let down, was the ‘unlawful and tainted by apparant bias’ of the Civil/ Employment, specially drafted and only used once, complaints procedure which LE procured and NS signed off on – now subject to a parliamentary inquiry – because it was such a fuck up.

      But hey, smoke and mirrors.

      The head of Rape Crisis Scotland – is a disgrace and in a proper world should be sacked for the comments they’ve publically made.

      Re the Spectator trial today, be Lady Dorian does her usual – no ruling any time soon.

      No doubt she’ll give judgement after her holidays… some time in June.

    142. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Kiwilassie says:
      11 February, 2021 at 12:39 pm
      “So when Angus Robertson had the affair 2014/2015 with another woman. Would you say he cheating on his wife Jennifer Dempsey?

      Yes he was but as I said higher up the media covered for both of them as they were both still with their spouses in 2014.

    143. Vestas says:

      11 February, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      Alan Mackintosh says :

      “Vestas, Bob Mack, it was reported during the trial that “C” was an SNP politician.”

      What was said during the trial will not prevent people with being charged with contempt of court. If you doubt that then ask Craig Murray.

      People need to be VERY careful what they say at this point in time unless money to pay QCs hourly rates is of no object to them.

      Whether this state of affairs continues – well we’ll have to wait & see…..

    144. oneliner says:

      When giving her evidence to the ‘Committee’, Barbara Allison paused as she was unclear whether she could name two individuals who attended a meeting. Off-camera came the audible respose that she could name them.

      They were named as ‘Stuart Nicolson and Liz Lloyd’.

    145. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Cath
      Maybe this helps re the Order change
      from Coleman

      ”Counsel for the Spectator now going over the limits of the courts section 11 powers to prevent publication of certain information.
      Lady Dorian notes difference in English and Scottish law in this matter, as England has a statutory ban on naming alleged victims of sex crimes”

    146. Mac2 says:

      It’s amazing how quickly MPs/MSPs are cast off for any negative press or a hint at a challenge. Stuart MacDonald, Michelle Thompson, David McKay, Joanna Cherry, Neale Hanvey

      Whereas the lengths the SNP/SG will go to protect SPADs and pals know no bounds or limit of funds?

    147. James Che. says:

      Alex Salmond has been on trial in a court and been found not guilty,
      What hasn’t happened is the Scottish goverment, snp members and the lord advocate now need to go on trial,
      Instead they are still trying to catch Alex Salmond.
      They obviously feel the trap was not successful the first time, so they are trying for a second time.

    148. BLMac says @ 12:50 pm
      This ring-fenced money thing.

      I contributed. I’m not a SNP member, and I thought I was contributing, not to party funds, but to a separate fund.

      If the money has been used for other purposes for a different purpose, such as party expenses, isn’t that embezzlement or fraud or something like that.

      Who do I complain to? The police?

      I’d imagine the police would/should be interested. I didn’t contribute myself as it was obvious they’d no intention of pursuing independence. If I had I’m damned sure I’d want to know where my money is.

      This’ll be another one the MSM are just waiting to detonate around April.

    149. Eileen Carson says:

      Auld fella I knew had a wonderful term for what we are seeing in this case, he used to comment “you always get corruption where they are “cock connected”. Or as I would put it there appears to be too much bed hopping and sexual innuendo in a supposedly working environment.

    150. Daisy Walker says:

      BLMac says:
      11 February, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      This ring-fenced money thing.

      I contributed. I’m not a SNP member, and I thought I was contributing, not to party funds, but to a separate fund.

      If the money has been used for other purposes for a different purpose, such as party expenses, isn’t that embezzlement or fraud or something like that.

      Who do I complain to? The police?

      —————-

      Yes. It is a Police matter. I posted a guide on how to go about it last week? Not sure if someone here can remember.

      It shows you what you will need to provide Police with etc.

      One aspect that might be worth pursuing, I genuinely don’t know, so everyone pile in, is a letter (to be published) to the SNP expressing your concerns that the money has been embezzled, providing the SNP with an opportunity to re-imburse you within a certain time limit (and no reply will be considered as a refusal) and that failure to do so will result in you making the complaint a formal one to Police Scotland.

      There is every likelyhood, that once one complaint is made, many more will follow, and it will in effect become the equivalent of a class action.

      Almost certainly Police Scotland will allocate it to a special unit to deal with.

      Police Scotland will be very keen to slippy shoulder the entire thing onto the Electorial Commission. Be sure to use the phrase, suspect the money raised for a specific purpose has been used elsewhere and the common law crime of Theft by Embezzlement has been committed.

      And last (for now) but not least, has anyone informed the Crowd Fund agency that the SNP utilised for the Fund raiser – I suspect the SNP may have breached their rules and regs.

      BLMac, it would be good if you (as someone who contributed) could do this and ask them to provide you with all the advertised terms and conditions that the SNP published – as Police will need copies of them.

    151. Hatuey says:

      Anyone got a view on how the Spectator case is going?

      It looks favourable to me. They seem to be saying there’s nothing in the court order to stop publishing by the committee or anyone else – that it’s primary purpose is to protect complainers.

      As I understand it, Salmond’s lawyers had published his staement after carefully redacting in order to protect the complainers and, since he hasn’t been arrested, they seem to have achieved that to everyone’s satisfaction.

      Am I wrong?

    152. Hatuey says:

      its*

    153. Achnababan says:

      Is that Pringle behind Stephen Noon?

    154. Mac says:

      Was Jennifer Dempsie not the one who had set her sights on Salmond in a romantic sense but then ended up with sloppy seconds Robertson.

      ‘Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned’ springs to mind for some reason.

    155. Stuart MacKay says:

      Daisy Walker

      ‘let down by the courts/legal system’ has two purposes: 1) garner sympathy from women, #metoos in particular and 2) make it look like Salmond got away with it. Same with the statements from the head of Rape Crisis Scotland.

      All carefully choreographed which means they’re all equally guilty and due for a long rest away from the slimelight.

    156. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      Achnababan says:
      11 February, 2021 at 1:14 pm
      Is that Pringle behind Stephen Noon?

      Pretty sure it isn’t

    157. Monsieur le Roi Grenouilleverteetprofonde says:

      This appears to capture it in a nutshell

      “Add Sturgeon’s admiration for Kissinger, Clinton and Lagarde and her very iffy foreign policy stance and you see a bigger picture”

      Alex Salmond was not a supporter of the above trio (not a threesome-heaven forfend) Salmond spoke out against the Iraq war and was clearly not on board with the dominant neocon ideology. The idea of a free thinking head of an independent Scotland informed by the likes of Craig Murray ,with its important strategic position must be pure distilled anathema to the powers in the US that control foreign policy in the UK and much of Europe.
      I fear that the fiasco we see now is not just a domestic matter and strings are being pulled from Virginia( home of the security apparatus in US.)
      Nicola is certainly fully on board with the Blair/Campbell/Tory neocon,US dominated policies represented by the aforementioned illuminati and I am pretty sure that how ever this whole fiasco falls, she will be appointed to some sinecure of international ‘significance’, possibly connected to UN, or some prestigious international org. such as one of the bigger Washington based ‘policy’ organisations She wont be a top player -one or two rungs down, e.g. deputy director of European affairs for (say)the Earth Institute or Brookings or a health related pandemic thinktank/forecasting unit. There is a huge choice. It will be moderately prestigious in keeping with the ‘modest’ international significance of Scotland. She will be lauded as an example for women everywhere, dragging herself out of modest working class origins to strut the avenues and boulevards of blessed America and join the cocktail circuit of Washington.
      She will dump her husband for someone a bit more connected and smarter/younger than Peter, who is a fat, pasty faced mealie pudding. Nicola will get some very clever/judicious face and body/hair shaping, cosmetic adjustments and become ‘glamourous’ without becoming too brassy or obviously altered. she will be a source of great pride for wee Scotland. BBC scotland will note her arrivals at Glasgow/Edinburgh airports She will move in elevated circles, meet celebs and political notables and sign her name to reports written by her underlings on health or environmental or food issues. She will return triumphantly to Holyrood to address the assembly of wee people that still gather there, rather forlornly, eager faced an hopeful. She will be gracious to her once bitterest rivals.She will make a statement on AS’s death, (hopefully distant in the future)
      Actually I think I could already write her bio and personal strategy now.Do you think I could get a job as a spad to guide her through her gilded corridors.

    158. ALISON BALHARRY says:

      @Achnababan

      Suppose it could, crikey I sat opposite him
      for months that year but just not sure
      https://charlottestpartners.co.uk/kevin-pringle/

    159. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anyone got a view on how the Spectator case is going?”

      So far it certainly sounds like Lady Dorrian is amenable to changing the wording of the order to specifically say that you mustn’t identify anyone AS A COMPLAINER, rather than simply identifying anyone who HAPPENS TO BE a complainer, which would be very welcome.

    160. dakk says:

      I see Joanna Cherry has been promoted to Deputy Chairman of UK Parliament Human Rights Committee.

      Settling in or settling up

      Very cosy.

    161. bookie from hell says:

      Act now, or you will lose your licence on 28 February 2021.

      You need to sign up to a way to pay for your licence now, or you will lose the right to watch or record live TV on any channel or service, and download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer at **** 1BD after 28 February 2021. You will be breaking the law and risk prosecution and a fine.

      how do i prove im not watching live tv on any channel ?

    162. Bob Mack says:

      @Dakk,

      Itx your rights she is trying to protect. Then again you might be staunch Nicola.

    163. Elmac says:

      bookie from hell 1.29pm

      “how do i prove im not watching live tv on any channel?”

      More importantly, how do they prove you are!

    164. MaggieC says:

      Can i just remind everyone about Mark Hirst’s fundraiser ,

      “ In May 2020 Scottish prosecutors charged journalist Mark Hirst for comments he made arising from the Alex Salmond trial. Mark’s trial took place on the 7th of January 2021 where he was acquitted after the Court ruled “there was no case to answer”.

      Now Mark is taking action against Scotland’s prosecuting authority, the Crown Office by bringing a “malicious prosecution” case against
      them. “
      .

      And £11,915 has been raised so far , so if anyone can spare any money in these difficult times please do so as this is a very important case for all of us who believe in freedom of speech in Scotland .

      Link to fundraiser page ,

      https://civillibertyscotland.com/

    165. JSC says:

      From Doleman’s twitter….

      Advocate depute….Says he has no objection to the proposed change to the order.
      Lady Dorian ammends the order adding “Of such complianers in the proceedings,” with written reasons to follow.
      These will be delivered by the beginning of next week.
      Hearing ends

    166. Rob says:

      bookie from hell

      Not sure *you* need to prove anything. If you respond to their contact saying you don’t watch broadcast television, they seem to go away for a few years. They try again eventually.

      About five years ago, when the licence rep visited, he was happy enough to be told I don’t watch TV and use the screen solely for DVDs or streaming.

      Since he was a cheery wee chap just doing his job courteously, I asked him in to see there was no arial connected to the screen. No problem.

    167. Liz says:

      @dakk no need for sarky comments. JC posted that herself and was pleased to do so.

      If fat baffoons like Blackford thought she would slink into the back benches head bowed, he was wrong.
      Joanna is making the best of a bad job whilst at the same time giving the bloated one the finger.

      What is it with these mediocrities that they think they can destroy those vastly superior to them in every way with a click of their fingers?

    168. bookie from hell says:

      BREAKING
      @spectator

      wins its legal challenge over Salmond trial court orders: Lady Dorrian to vary an order which now allows Salmond and Geoff Aberdein evidence to be published

    169. James Horace says:

      I told you.

    170. Tinto Chiel says:

      Thanks to those on here trying to fill in the names in the photograph.

      Poor Alex, surrounded by that lot. Was the picture taken on the Ides of March?

    171. Ian Spruce says:

      Interesting tweet from Tompkins MSP (Con) today

      https://twitter.com/ProfTomkins/status/1359534914627137537

    172. sam says:

      Severin Carroll just tweeted

      BREAKING
      @spectator
      wins its legal challenge over Salmond trial court orders: Lady Dorrian to vary an order which now allows Salmond and Geoff Aberdein evidence to be published

    173. SilverDarling says:

      Ok so the evidence can be published and as long as no one outs themself we can proceed on the basis no one is identified?

    174. Anonymoose says:

      BREAKING
      @spectator
      wins its legal challenge over Salmond trial court orders: Lady Dorrian to vary an order which now allows Salmond and Geoff Aberdein evidence to be published

      This is what I was alluding to the other day in my suspicions I posted on this site around what todays court appearance was about, the only thing I miscalculated that it was AS bringing it rather than the Spectator, as per the court diary.

      Still this is splendid news and goes some way to reaffirming not only that justice needs to be done, but needs to be seen to be done for it to carry any trust from the public.

    175. limey says:

      So, if the Spectator have won, are we getting the whole submission without the redacted paragraph?

    176. Cenchos says:

      Squirrel incoming, more than likely.

    177. Sarah says:

      Warning: James Doleman tweets that the wording can be tweaked BUT not in the way the Spectator was asking.

      Don’t be too optimistic, folks.

    178. Sarah says:

      Sorry – Philip Sim, not James Doleman.

    179. Hatuey says:

      Massive development this, when you think of the implications.

      We now have corroborated witness testimony on the record that seems to directly contradict… you know the rest.

      Aberdein’s evidence unlocks a lot.

    180. Robert graham says:

      Eh bored and tired of Netflix Amazon Prime etc
      A unlikely scenario
      One of these alphabet ladies because they are all Women, anyway she has a argument with another one of the alphabet women she looses the nut and sticks a pick axe in her bonce this is witnessed by another one of the alphabet women ,
      One is dragged off to the Nick ” the perpetrator “and charged the other one is in the Mortuary “the victim ” one is interviewed by the Cops ” witness ”
      When the” Perpetrator ” is in court being judged for her actions and the “witness” is called to give evidence is she allowed to say the name of the ” perpetrator ” because she knows her name and is the the ” witness ” allowed to state her name and her relationship to both “victim” & “perpetrator ” almost like background information .
      Are the press allowed to name either the “victim ” or the alleged “perpetrator ” given the case has no relevance to a previous case they may or may not have been involved in ? .
      Yes Nurse I know I am due my medication I won’t be long I am just licking this window to make sure is Covid safe I will be with you and the Doctor soon .
      Ha Ha that’s how fkn stupid this whole set up is you would need a bloody good memory to figure out the moves in this Machiavellian tragedy or balls up whatever suits the description

    181. orri says:

      Thought this was going to be about the position of Special Advisers in the Ministerial Code. At least back in time when it was Carmichael and Frenchgate the case was, as far as Westminster went, that a SPAD is governed by it too but in addition they’re actions are laid at the feet of their minister. Which is probably why Cummings was so protected.

    182. A2 says:

      Has John le Carré written this script?

    183. Thomas Potter says:

      Here we go.

    184. Steve says:

      2nd from the left is Stephen Gethins.. ex SNP MP for NE Fife… ex advisor to Alex and voted in on the back of the 2014 indy campaign… His office manager when he was an MP, worked for GCHQ and openly admitted this.. there is video evidence as proof. She told me that it was time Alex retired and left politics early in 2016… The knives were out back then.

    185. John Digsby says:

      I’m confused – there seem to be contradictory interpretations of what the ruling today means.

    186. Lorna Campbell says:

      Uuuuuhu. A picture tells a thousand tales.

    187. Chardon d'Ecosse says:

      IMO, that photo is a composite image which doesn’t bear visual scrutiny. Even taking into account the bright lights to the left, the light and shadows (or lack of) on some individuals don’t make any sense and the proportions and resolution are not right across the image.

      From the left, Stephen Gethins head looks to have been badly superimposed on a much older man’s body. The man behind him has an enormous head in relation to those much nearer the camera. There’s something very unnatural about Aberdein’s front leg and the hand on his shoulder is very clumsily edited. The men standing behind AS, JD and LL have impossibly small heads in comparison to their feet and the man on the right of the back row looks as if he is hovering above the floor. LL and the man behind her are not really reflecting any light at all (which is not possible in that group situation) and LL’s hand, which looks as if it is wearing a red lace glove, has been edited to remove a clutch bag.

      I actually think that I have seen this photo of LL (at another function?) elsewhere on the net but I cannot find it now.

    188. Don says:

      Kevin Pringle (SNP ex spin Doctor)is in the back row surely ? He now works for Andrew Wilsons (SNP Growth Comission) company that is full of rich shady ex banker types , these are the people who are really pulling the strings of the SNP https://charlottestpartners.co.uk/kevin-pringle/ , https://charlottestpartners.co.uk/andrew-wilson/ , https://charlottestpartners.co.uk/about-us/

    189. Robert Louis says:

      Oh! just look at the spooks adjacent to him at that end of the picture. What a surprise.

    190. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “IMO, that photo is a composite image which doesn’t bear visual scrutiny. “

      Don’t be daft. It was tweeted by one of the people in it.

    191. Graham King says:

      More and more as these inquiries (sic) have gone on, along with repeated meddling deceitful statements (eg. letters from RapeCrisisScotland (sic) /aka mouthpiece_SNP), and now this SPAD,
      I find myself replaying over and over the jingle from ITV’s The Masked Singer:
      “Who are ya.. Who are ya.. Who’s that behind the mask?”

    192. Al-Stuart says:

      .
      Mist001 de la Merde,

      I suggest you hold those words you just polutted this thread with up to your mirror. You know, the one that cracked after seeing your Addams-Family-Uncle-Fester visog so often.

      What a stupid, pathetic, feckless piece of trolling you inflict upon others with your baseless Alex Salmond jibe.

      Mist001, please fuckity fuckity fork orf you rancid small man syndrome creature.

      Jeezo, if there was ONE thing I wish Stuart Campbell would add onto the HTML coding for this website, it would be a BLOCK button. If Twitter can do it, then why can’t Wings.

      Mist de la Merde would be the first one on my block-a-troll list. It would be bliss, never to see that gawping avatar or reads those life-sapping words ever again.

      I have never read a word written by that ex-pat moaning old git in France that make sense or is the basis of a decent exchange of views.

      Vraiment. Merde.

    193. Dee Dubya says:

      “Once more, we’re in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Jackie Baillie.”

      Politics is the clash of ideas and policies not people. I’m first and foremost a democrat. Turns out we are finding each other all over the place. Please continue to become more comfortable with recognising and agreeing with ideas from Democrats from anywhere we can find them.

      We are finding non democrats in all sorts of high places too! Regardless of our clashes of ideas they are trying to undermine our systems. It is in every Democrats interest to see them off.

      Keep on pointing them out please and be cool with allies from anywhere. We all risk our freedoms otherwise.

      S

    194. Ross says:

      what is the actual proper remit of the committee? Totally lost now, like what is even the formal point of it? What are they seeking to acheive?

      It’s not like every time there’s a harrassment case there should be a holyrood enquiry. We’ve already had a court say the original process was unlawful. Is it about correcting the process?

      Surely there is some specific objective of this committee. It’s not abundantly clear to me what it is.

    195. Lothianlad says:

      Who’s the woman next to the woman on Alex left?

    196. Lothianlad says:

      Thought so. Thanks

    197. Andy McColl says:

      That pic, Dempsie is cosying right up tae Eck – almost as if she’s angling for something. And Lloyd is within his groping distance – surely that’s a bit risky. Thank fuck neither of them were involved in that whole trial business- surely a photie like this coulda been used by his defence counsel to show how obviously trusted he was by his female work colleagues.

    198. YerMaw says:

      The Stuart Nicolson photo is a photo of the group of Spads that worked for Salmond, at the point of his departure in 2014, including a few who had moved on during Salmond’s tenure.



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