Last Chance Saloon

On Wednesday of this week, the First Minister will attend The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. It is important to make the point immediately this is an investigation into the actions of the Scottish Government, not Alex Salmond. The anti-Scottish media, the SNP leadership and many of the supporters of the Read more about Last Chance Saloon[…] The post Last Chance Saloon appeared first on BarrheadBoy.

Last Chance Saloon

On Wednesday of this week, the First Minister will attend The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints. It is important to make the point immediately this is an investigation into the actions of the Scottish Government, not Alex Salmond. The anti-Scottish media, the SNP leadership and many of the supporters of the SNP have happily referred to this as the ‘Salmond Inquiry.’ Mr Salmond is merely a victim and a witness to this inquiry. This is not about what he has or has not done. It is about how this process made him a victim. It is also the same process that let down the original complainants of harassment.

The highest legal arbiter in the nation of Scotland, The Court of Session ruled that this process instigated and applied by the Scottish Government was, unfair, unlawful and tainted with bias. Contrary to what others would have you believe it was not Wings Over Scotland or the ‘enemies’ of Nicola Sturgeon that deemed it so. It was, The Court of Session and their judgement was, based on Scots, Law. Lord Pentland one of the most respected judges on these islands applied the law and reached that damning verdict.

What has been forthcoming in the evidence in the public domain is that early on in this whole sorry fiasco certain facts emerged. Mr Salmond who was the subject of the first use of this new process was informed by his legal team that the process was flawed. His counsel advised him that in all probability it was illegal and if he went to court for a Judicial Review it would be deemed to be that way. As it turned out, they were absolutely correct in their summation.

Mr Salmond then reached out to the SNP Party Leader to stop her making what could be a fatal error.He relayed to Nicola Sturgeon what his legal team had told him and offered to go to legal arbitration. It is important at this point to stress ‘Legal Arbitration.’ Nothing to do with the actual complaints all about the legality or otherwise of the process being used by the Scottish Government.

After his initial meeting he was of the belief that Nicola Sturgeon would indeed intervene and that a suitable and fair solution could be found. We may never know why the First Minister rowed back on her agreement with Alex Salmond and his counsel however row back she did and she continued with the flawed process. This left Mr Salmond with no other choice but to seek a legal ruling by way of a Judicial Review.

We also know that sometime in October 2018 the Scottish Government’s lawyers, although not in possession of all the relevant internal documents informed their client the government of the likelihood of failure or success at the upcoming Judicial Review. We do not know what that advice was because the SNP Scottish Government, unlike Alec Salmond, refuse to share their advice with the public. The same public that paid for that advice! That is their right of course, however it could clear up a lot of the doubt if they did share the advice and it stated that the government’s legal team thought they had a high probability of success. That they refuse to share makes many of us suspicious that it says the exact opposite.

What cannot be denied is that a few weeks later in January the government had to abandon the case at the very last moment. We know that the government’s lawyers threatened to quit as the case was unarguable in court.That adds to the suspicion that the advice given earlier to Sturgeon’s government was not favourable.That statement and the judgement are pretty damning on the SNP Scottish Government.

What remains a mystery is the actions of the Scottish Government then and since. Instead of accepting the ruling of the Court of Session in good grace a spin and cover up was put in place.They also escalated their pursuit of Alex Salmond.

On the day of the verdict, the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary Leslie Evans texted Barbara Allison that the “battle may be lost but not the war.” Instead of putting their hands up and apologising to the tax payers for wasting over £1million of their money or apologise to the original complainers and Mr Salmond, the government acted as if nothing important had happened. Arrogance on steroids!

On top of the crass text to Barbara Allison, Leslie Evans posted a diatribe on the Scottish Government site.

“As part of the settlement, I have accepted that the decision reached after the investigation of two complaints made against Mr Salmond should be set aside.

This action is being taken because it has become clear that, in one respect only (albeit an important one), the investigation was procedurally flawed.

However, it is important to stress that this relates to the operational application of the Procedure for Handling Complaints Involving Current or Former Ministers (‘the Procedure’). The Scottish Government considers the Procedure itself to be robust and it remains in place.”

Even after a, damning reverse in the Court of Session the Scottish Government spokesperson of Nicola Sturgeon says” the procedure itself is still robust.”You decide, delusion or arrogance?

‘Should be set aside,’ yes, indeed at that point it should have been Ms Evans! However, we know that allegedly without the consent or knowledge of the First Minister, Evans went firstly to Police Scotland and on being rebuffed there she then went directly to the Crown Office begging them to instigate legal proceedings against Alex Salmond. We also know that the two original complainants were opposed to police/legal involvement. On one hand saying it should be set aside in the knowledge, she had a Crown Office/police investigation escalating the wrong!

The mistakes and missteps were piling up and still we are to believe micro manager Nicola Sturgeon knew nothing.

Much more has since come out WhatsApp groups looking for other so-called victims. Mass emailing fishing for ‘victims.’ Leaks to scummy anti-Scottish newspaper. Smear campaign against the former party leader. The entire thing reeks of incompetence, unprofessionalism, and misplaced loyalties to downright criminality.

Evidence to the Inquiry withheld, redacted, denied, hidden from view or scrutiny. Threats of arrest if Mr Salmond told the truth and nothing but the truth. The Scottish legal system has been dragged through the mud. The Scottish Government and Civil Service made to look stupid and totally unfit for purpose. Yet some still try to imply Nicola Sturgeon is a victim in all this, not a fully involved party to the entire debacle.

Politically it has been hugely damaging for the cause of the SNP and the wider Yes Movement. Never before has the movement for independence been so divided. What the Unionists have been unable to do for 86 years Ms, Sturgeon and her leadership has managed in just a few short years.

All is not yet lost, however on Wednesday it could be. When Nicola Sturgeon goes in front of the committee, she has two choices. The right choice is to go there and accept responsibility for the actions of her government and civil service.She needs to admit that collectively her government made a huge mistake. Accept publically that the process was, unfair, unlawful and tainted with bias. Apologise firstly to the two complainants to Mr Salmond and say and mean that lessons have been learned. Show genuine remorse for the hurt inflicted on those three individuals in particular and promise nothing like this will ever happen again.

That would be the sensible and correct thing to do. It would go a long way to heal the divisions in the movement and Party. It would help put us back on track for May’s election. It would unite the independence movement. Be in no doubt what a few short weeks ago looked like an SNP landslide and momentous victory is now in jeopardy. It would show that Nicola Sturgeon is indeed a leader.

What concerns though has been up until now Nicola Sturgeon has not shown herself to be a good leader. She is not so much stubborn as pig headed in the extreme. She has shown, not just with this but with other matters when she gets something into her head right or wrong the lady is not for turning.

On this matter being advised by Alec, Salmond’s legal team she would lose a Judicial Review she felt she knew better and carried on regardless of the damage. When her own legal team told her she would in all, probability lose she ignored them and carried on right up until all she had been warned about came to pass.

Likewise, with GRA Reform many in her own party told her that doing this would cause huge divisions she ignored that advice and look where that has brought us to. She put 0.04% of the population before 99.96% of the population.

At SNP Conference the members voted and told Nicola Sturgeon they did not want Fiona Robertson or the GRA zealots on the NEC. She ignored the democratic wishes of the members and allowed her and others voted off to be appointed to the NEC. To compound this affront to the members and once again after receiving legal advice to the contrary she encouraged and forced through gerrymandering of the Regional Lists in May.

Many of the membership expressed concern at the lack of movement on Independence and asked for the chance to debate a Plan B. We know she has opposed and stopped that happening for several years and set her attack dogs on those members that have had the audacity to want to even discuss Independence tactics. She has been told by her own members that they think Section 30 route to a referendum is doomed to failure. She ignores that and puts forward, a 11 Point Plan that is dependent on a Section 30.

The PM his, Secretary of State for Scotland, the Branch Manager of the Tory Party in Scotland have all told her they will never grant a Section 30. She won’t listen to others as always, she knows best.

The pro-independence bloggers who do listen to the grassroots are pleading for an independence plebiscite in May. A recent opinion poll showed that 55% of the Scottish public want a plebiscite election in May. Instead of listening to her own support and pro Indy media she wants anyone promoting or retweeting Wings Over Scotland expelled from the Party.

Do I think on Wednesday she will go to the committee and show true leadership and unite the movement? No, sadly I don’t. I fear she will waste this last opportunity for reconciliation of the different factions and turn it into an attack on Alec Salmond. This committee, as I set out at the beginning is about the actions of the Scottish government, not the actions of Alex Salmond.

I so want to be wrong. The cause of Scotland’s Independence should be greater than any individual or grouping. If Nicola Sturgeon can rise, above it all and be magnanimous I will be at the head of the queue to praise her. Should she revert to type I will regrettably be writing to chronical her fall from grace and the lost opportunity of the Independence movement. It really is that critical.




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