OCH AYE AM THE LAW

In the end, even the architect can be unceremoniously ejected from the building he designed. Following his resignation as manager of Liverpool FC in 1974, the legendary Bill Shankly’s fifteen years at Anfield weren’t enough to prevent him being politely asked to stay away from the club’s training ground when he had a habit of turning up unannounced and interfering in the running of the team by his successor (and former No.2) Bob Paisley. It was a sad postscript to a glittering career, but was at least handled with a degree of delicacy by the club. If I didn’t think they’d probably consider the comparison flattering, I’d more likely be talking of Trotsky and Stalin rather than Shankly and Paisley when turning the spotlight on the power struggle between Scotland’s two principal politicians of the past 20 years, Master Salmond and Madam Sturgeon. The former First Minister – and a man who did arguably more than any other single individual to further the cause of self-determination north of the border – may have avoided an ice-pick to the skull, but there are far more effective means of assassination in the age of cancel culture, where a smear or allegation are enough to leave a reputation in tatters.

Ever since walking away from the SNP leadership following the failure of the independence campaign in 2014, Alex Salmond has been an unwelcome spectre shadowing the increasingly authoritarian progress of Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s dictator-in-chief following her unopposed accession to the post of First Minister. Whilst the pandemic has presented Sturgeon with an opportunity to exercise her totalitarian leanings on a scale far greater than even she could have imagined in her wildest Braveheart fantasies, the persistent presence of her predecessor appears to be something she views as an encumbrance in the same way David Steel was lumbered with the lingering shadow of Jeremy Thorpe when he took over the Liberal Party in 1976. Salmond’s undignified 2018 resignation from the SNP following allegations of sexual misconduct dating from five years earlier was an unsavoury issue that provoked an investigation by the Scottish Government, albeit one Salmond himself challenged by raising legal costs (via crowd-funding) to seek a judicial review into.

It looked as though the toxic taint of such an allegation was enough to cause Salmond to be deserted by his old comrades, and the former First Minister’s determined pursuit to clear his name – something, which at times, bore more than a passing resemblance to vengeance – eventually cost the taxpayer over £500,000 in legal expenses. Salmond was convinced his one-time second-in-command and other officials at Holyrood were engaged in a ‘malicious and concerted effort’ to bring him down; he seems to have reserved his most incensed ire for Peter Murrell, SNP chief executive and – perhaps more significantly – Mr Nicola Sturgeon, with Salmond accusing him of persuading women to make the complaints of sexual harassment against him that led to the botched investigation. Salmond also claimed wee Ms Krankie breached the ministerial code more than once, accusing her of repeatedly misleading the Scottish Parliament, most importantly re the date she says she learnt of the complaints against him.

Barely two weeks after forcing the Scottish Government to admit it buggered-up the investigation, Salmond was arrested and charged with 14 offences – including rape, sexual assault, and indecent assault – and stood trial in March 2020. A fortnight later, Salmond was found not guilty on 12 of the charges, whilst one was ‘not proven’ and the other was withdrawn. What emerged from the trial was an impression of Salmond as bearing that classic trait of the ugly older man in a position of power being a bit ‘touchy-feely’ around young women, though the evidence of anything more serious was threadbare. The fact that many of the allegations came from women drawn from the SNP inner circle was something Salmond pointed to as proof of a conspiracy against him that had descended into a witch-hunt. As soon as he walked away from the court, he indicated he wasn’t prepared to go quietly. Sensing this wasn’t to be the end of the affair, a committee of MSPs was set up to examine the way the Scottish Government dealt with the complaints of sexual misconduct, though a committee comprising nine Members of the Scottish Parliament in which four belonged to the SNP and one to the Scottish Greens (regarded as being in an unofficial coalition with the SNP) hardly seemed like a balanced panel, further fuelling Salmond’s paranoia.

Salmond’s claims against Sturgeon have now reclaimed the headlines – though, oddly, not necessarily those of the Scottish MSM – following the intervention of the Crown Office in the publication of a written submission Salmond made to the inquiry; sudden redactions were made in the published account, removing details concerning the allegations about his successor misleading the Scottish Parliament. A furious Salmond retaliated by pulling out of a scheduled appearance before the committee on Wednesday; it has now been reported he will attend on Friday. Salmond’s censored submission had already been published unexpurgated on the Scottish Parliament’s website before the Crown Office decided to take matters into its own hands, which only continues to make it seem as though the SNP has something to hide. Sturgeon’s husband has twice been accused of perjury following his appearances before the committee, but calls by Scottish Tories to prosecute Peter Murrell would rest with the Lord Advocate, appointed by the First Minister herself and a member of her team to boot. Can’t really see that happening, can you?

Reports indicate that if the redacted passages were to remain intact in the public arena, they wouldn’t be allowed as evidence come the final conclusions of the inquiry; the Scottish Parliament has also given the thumbs-up to the censorship on the part of the Crown Office, which means the evidence against Sturgeon that Salmond presented to the committee has effectively been deleted by Sturgeon and her team. One wonders if the First Minister actually believes she’s Judge Dredd now – i.e. ‘I am the Law’. All this whole unedifying episode appears to have done is merely give additional weight to Salmond’s claims that the SNP, and particularly Mr and Mrs Sturgeon (or should that be Marcos?), are abusing their powers in order to suppress any opposition to their regime. More and more it is looking like Sturgeon has used every weapon in her arsenal to silence her predecessor, but as soon as he re-emerged from court a free man she must have known the failure of the modern world’s default method of destroying a public figure would mean even dirtier tricks were required.

It’s a difficult topic to approach objectively, this one. I don’t support Scottish independence, and whilst I am no fan of Nicola Sturgeon, I am also no fan of Alex Salmond. That said, as soon as Salmond was arrested and the charges against him were splashed across the media, I instinctively felt something underhand was at play; it just seemed too convenient a scenario for his successor as First Minister. The moment he was cleared of the charges, I figured Scotland’s descent into banana republic territory would gather pace – and it has. The SNP’s handling of the pandemic has hardly been exemplary, but by keeping the focus on England’s failings and devoting so much energy to portraying their nearest-neighbours as ‘Tory Scum’ – remember those goons standing on the border expressing sentiments that would be regarded anywhere else as pseudo-MAGA extremism? – Sturgeon and her cabal have managed to prevent any sustained study of their own dealings – until now, perhaps. The ghost of Scotland’s past is haunting the First Minister, but this is not the kind of patriotic phantom Nicola Sturgeon is fond of evoking.

© The Editor

7 thoughts on “OCH AYE AM THE LAW

  1. I share your view that this very public spat between two deeply unpleasant characters offers a most unedifying spectacle, even worse than two bald men fighting over a comb.

    I credit Alex Salmond with being a very able politician, always a strong performer at Westminster and managing to bring Scotland perilously close to achieving his objective of independence, despite the obvious economic flaws which would have quickly returned Scotland to the position of why it first needed rescuing by England in 1707.

    I also credit Wee Krankie with playing a strong game from his coat-tails to grasp the levers of power and exercise them with her diligent intent of emphasising her own status – in fact, so determined that she was even prepared to contract ‘a suitable marriage’ to aid and sustain her progress in the interests of avoiding any other tricky questions: if only she’d picked someone able to offer a consistent story.

    But now, thanks to their joint arrogance, at least some of the dirty laundry of the SNP is finally being aired in public. Their respective supporters will no doubt remain stoic in the face of the extreme exposure, but it may be different for all the floating voters north of the border. If they can still have any faith in their nationalist party after this disgraceful exhibition, then they deserve all the slings and arrows of outrageous independence – well, not quite independence of course, because Wee Krankie merely wants to replace one long-standing, sympathetic and generous relationship with a guaranteed serfdom to the bumbling bureaucrats of Brussels. A case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – but it couldn’t happen to a more appropriate bunch of proven dicks.

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    1. Whilst the focus on the impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns has naturally been on ordinary folk, I think the impact of it on the politicians will prove equally telling when all this is documented as history many years from now. Sturgeon in particular seems to have careered into full-on late Thatcher megalomaniac mode over the past twelve months, which in many respects makes Salmond’s bad penny-like timing even better. I guess, like Watergate before it, this story will continue to be shamefully compelling car-crash viewing for a while yet.

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  2. This whole scandal has been bubbling under for many months now, with only a few astute and hard-working bloggers faithfully reporting it to an audience of….feck all, I’d guess. Now the MSM are opening the books.

    A very bad day for the SNP, with news also emerging (and I don’t understand why it’s taken so long) about their dirty tricks campaign against the late Charles Kennedy over five years’ ago.

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  3. It may be a little known fact, but when he is back in home territory he proud to proclaim it, that Eck is a genuine Black Bitch. Anyone, previously of either sex, but now who knows, who was born inside the boundaries of Linlithgow is a Black Bitch. The honour is related to an apocryphal (i.e. untrue) legend about a female canine of color who kept her master (sorry about that bit of toxic masculinity) alive by carrying food to him when he was marooned on an island in the town’s loch by the local evil laird.
    The town has a very nice pub, where I used to, before lockdown, regularly have an aperatif or few, called The Black Bitch. A name that always amazes visiting Americans, who have their pictures taken before the pub sign.
    The other point in Eck’s favour is that he used to be paid to give tips on outcomes of horse racing. Such a man cannot be bad.
    He also has a ready wit and is not stupid.
    Maybe Wee Nippie is peeved that she was not worthy of a pass. Maybe he was worried about sustaining injuries from the sharp corners of p rigid hair style.
    Whatever, it is all good fun.
    And it always good to know that ladies are not so shallow as to reject a man because of unfortunate facial features.
    PS give us a link to your new video issues. Thanks.

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    1. I’m familiar with the pub name – or ex-pub name now – the Black Boy, though not the Black Bitch. Mind you, I do go walking with a black bitch every Saturday morning, an eight-year-old labrador.

      As for videos, nothing new at the moment, but this one is quite recent…

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