First of all let me establish what this Inquiry is about and equally importantly what it is not about.

It is operating within very specific and tight regulation in what it is allowed to investigate. It is solely permitted to examine the issues in the first Salmond trial where the Scottish Government had created new rules in light of the Me Too campaign for the Scottish Government. They very unusually made these rules retrospective and this led to them raising action against the former First Minister. To date, he remains the only person it has ever been used against.

The main players in this were  Civil Servants Lesley Evans and Judith Mackinnon, the “investigating officer”. They drew up the new regulations and Nicola Sturgeon signed them off.

The Inquiry has to investigate the quite improper procedures involved in this which led to the catastrophic disaster of the Scottish Government case collapsing forcing them to withdraw from the case before some very damaging evidence became public knowledge. The result of this was the Court awarding Mr Salmond in excess of £500,000 to cover his legal expenses. Efforts to uncover the true costs to the Scottish Government have not, thus far, been able to be calculated as according to Lesley Evans no accounting procedures exist for so doing. Believe that if you will.

Despite withdrawing their case it did not save them from a very firm slap down from the judge who clearly felt the Scottish Government were not being open and were disguising and withholding evidence. The Scottish Government denied this but when the Judge then used his powers to ensure full disclosure, a mountain of new evidence became available. It was at this point the Scottish Government decided it better to withdraw from the case. So the case was lost, Alex Salmond was awarded his legal costs. That was the end of it, or so we thought but the famous “We have lost the battle but will win the war” message was sent and of course as we all now know the alphabet allegations followed and the rest is now history.

The Inquiry cannot look at any of the events in the second trial, the criminal trial. Again the outcome of that trial was completely in Alex Salmond’s favour. It remains to be seen what action Mr Salmond may consider justified, if any, following the Inquiry to recoup damages from both trials. He remains seriously out of pocket for the second trial that was based on the failed allegations of the alphabet women. The damages to reputation and standing from both trials could be huge I would have thought.

The inquiry CANNOT examine anything from the second trial involving the Alphabet Women, it is purely restricted to the collapse of the first trial, the actions of the First Minister and her senior civil servants and their culpability in the collapse of the case and the loss to the taxpayer of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

There is however a risk that some of the evidence from the first trial that evidenced a plot against Alex Salmond, which became so apparent in the second trial, could prove politically explosive and I suspect this is why the Scottish Government has been so obstructive to releasing much of the paperwork the inquiry is intent of investigating. The latest news on this is not encouraging as the Inquiry has now required Mr Salmond’s lawyers to provide it, as they have many of the copies.

Whether the full story emerges is unlikely, given the restrictions to only investigate the first trial but It will allow things to move on. Alex Salmond will have his first opportunity to make his case to the inquiry, he will present evidence, some of which he was denied the opportunity to do in court in the first case because the Scottish Government collapsed their own case to avoid that happening.

As to the second trial, we will all have to wait to see whether further legal actions happen and of course there are rumours of a book. 

So don’t expect too much from the inquiry, it can’t uncover the whole story, this is the bit most SNP supporters will most enjoy because there is considerable evidence against the Westminster arm of the Scottish Government in the form of Lesley Evans, a luxury that is not available in the second trial where all the main culprits were home grown.

I am, as always


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  1. An article in today’s Times on just this.

    ‘The deputy first minister said there were no plans to release information about the “substance” of the claims about Mr Salmond. Instead the government will ask the courts for permission to release documents Mr Swinney says “relate directly to the committee’s remit”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why both Leslie Evans and Judith MacKinnon remain in post beggars belief. I have tried hard to give NS the benefit of the doubt, but after last Sundays TV performance where she was asked a question and answered not that question but instead further tried to put the boot into Alex Salmond whilst demonstrating the most dreadfully condemning body language, well its no longer possible to doubt she played a role in this. I hope Mr Salmond gets the opportunity to really get his side of the story out. However, like you, I do not have high hopes for this inquiry to do that.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Lulu Bells, I believe no one has been held to account because there is a whole gang of them that are guilty and like a House of Cards if one gets thrown to the wolves it may bring them all down.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sturgeons mask slipped last Sunday on the Sky Sophy Ridge Show and it was’nt her covid face mask. Her hard work at trying to keep her image of an honest neutral FM was destroyed by her own aggressive vindictiveness towards Samond.

    Some Sturgeon supporters want to give her credit for ensuring that there was no cover up but the problem with that is the process has no role, no involvement for the FM. So how could she do this without breaking her own process. She is not even supposed to be informed of any allegations. So she should not have been having any discussions with Salmond at all – whether in her office or in her house.

    The meeting on 29th has been portrayed as irrelevant – only a few days earlier than the April meeting. It is not. You could see that from the lengths Sturgeon went to to avoid mentioning the meeting on Sunday’s interview on Sky.

    You even have the Britnat Dani Garavelli writing in the Guardian that Sturgeon has only made a few honest and fair mistakes and should not lose her job because of them. Well that should set off warning lights. Garavelli talking about honesty. – what a joke.

    Sturgeon has not followed her own process, broke the rules re recording of meetings for Scotgov meetings and lied to the Scot Parliament. Who was at the meeting in March 2018 is part of what Sturgeon wants to avoid talking about because Aberdein said in court an alphabet woman was present. So we have Sturgeon talking about the allegations ( which she shouldn’t be if she was following process) with one of the alphabet women present. All this taking place in her Scotgov office but no diary entry or notes of the meeting recorded on the Scotgov computer system – again a serious breach of the rules.

    The process was designed by Sturgeon to put distance between her and what she knew it was designed for – namely take out Salmond. She failed in following her own process.

    Note- not one person has been held accountable YET for the judicial review failure and the criminal court case. No one in the SNP or the Scotgov has accepted responsibility or been punished.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Apart from the current hole they’ve dug for themselves , which they seem intent on making deeper , it would be good if NS gave an interview expressing how she feels , what she thinks , about the current shenanigans of the NEC ( which thankfully people like yourself Iain are at least exposing ) her current thinking re the best way to achieve our goal ( is she still insisting we wait for a S30 ie permission from our oppressor ) questions about the ” ring-fenced ” money for an Indy Campaign etc etc etc . It’s one thing to play your cards close to your chest to avoid tipping-off your opponent , quite another to keep your own side in a state of nervous uncertainty , with simply generates distrust and -often – wild speculation . An interview with a non-sycophantic though broadly sympathetic interlocutor , like yourself for example , would go a long way to bring some much-needed clarity and assurance we really are all onboard and refuse to be steamrolled by the IMB implications

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate this blog is not on the topic of candidate selection but I see the ‘SNP Women’s Pledge’ twitter account has started endorsing candidates. It is AT womenspledge

    So far they have endorsed Sameeha Rehman in Stirling, Catriona McDonald Edinburgh Southern, Cllr Lynne Anderson Uddingston and Bellshill, Joan McAlpine Dumfriesshire, Chris McEleny Greenock and Inverclyde.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Even if you put the best interpretation on this, that the procedure was in keeping with best practice, its retrospective nature still suggests that it was Alex Salmond that it was intended to snare, so we still do not know what it was he did that prompted this, if, indeed, anything did. The only other answer is that the behaviour Mr Salmond admitted to in the later criminal trial, was resurrected vindictively, because apologies had been offered and accepted, and the women in question went on working for and with him, which should have ended the matter. Had the civil service not made this procedure retrospective, none of what followed could have happened.

    The civil service personnel must have been acting on government direction in instituting the original procedure because even the civil service cannot act on its own authority, bit it appears that it was the civil service personnel who ignored Whitehall’s advice not to make it retrospective. However, at the point when the FM recused herself – i.e. when she knew it was Mr Salmond, and how could she not have hazarded even a guess that it was bound to be? – the civil servants did act more or less on their own authority, but without oversight of any kind? Everything, from the retrospective nature of the procedure to the resurrecting of the complaints to the collusion in the final draft by woman A, was driven by the civil servants, apparently.

    I keep coming back to the civil service leak that led to the Carmichael trial. The aim was to damage, at best, and topple, at worst, the FM, Nicola Sturgeon, under the umbrella of best practice (no official memos were taken, as the meeting was an informal one). Where was the legal oversight on the procedure’s retrospective nature? Where was the oversight for the civil service itself? The result of this has been to damage the FM, and she will be lucky if she survives the fall-out. I have never thought of Nicola Sturgeon as a stupid woman, so, if she was involved from the beginning – IF – did she believe she could avoid scrutiny because the procedure was meant to damage Mr Salmond and keep him out of front-line politics but that the civil and criminal cases were never envisioned at all?

    She knew Alex Salmond better than most; she would have known that he would make a dangerous opponent if he felt he had been dealt with unfairly; and she must have known that he had a large support both within and outwith the party who would not forgive her actions easily. Had he been convicted, I believe she would have fallen very quickly thereafter, because he would have appealed and official documents would have had to be shown. This is where it sticks for me. She might well have supported the procedure from a #MeToo perspective, being a woman, and many women have been on the receiving end of ‘handy andies’ at some stage, but what would have been her motive – HER motive, not anyone else’s – for taking such a risk – a woman for whom caution is a way of life, as we know only too well? Until we get the rest of the evidence, it is still too early to reach a conclusion that finalizes what happened, and, perhaps, damage our chances in the election.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lorna, you got a fundametal and important point wrong. “The FM recused herself” don’t know where you got this info from but it is wrong. The process was designed and signed off by Sturgeon to exclude the FM (herself and any future FMs) from any allegations about any FORMER ministers. The FM if the process was followed correctly should not even be told about any allegations about FORMER ministers. Very handy of course if you want to distance yourself from any responsibility. No other country has such a process for FORMER ministers. Applying this process retrospectively to incidents that had previously been dealt with is just plain wrong. It was designed to get Salmond.

      The process for CURRENT ministers gives the FM full involvement.

      Of course we know that Sturgeon did have a meeting with Aberdein in her office which she requested. So how did she know about the allegations? No one was supposed to tell her. The same person involved in drafting the process also attended this meeting who was also a complainer. She also met Salmond and discussed it with Salmond on multiple occasions all of which she should not have done as the process formally excludes her.

      Sturgeon did not adhere to her own process on multiple occasions, did not follow the rules re gov business/meetings being in formal diaries and notes taken. Lied to the Scot parliament.

      The whole mess is the responsibility of the leader of the Scotgov and that is the FM. It is an abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Lorna, I have read your posts on this matter over a lengthy period of time. To start with you were critical of Salmond and sure Sturgeon was whiter than white. You have moved your position but still cannot see the obvious. You still fail to see that they used and abused the #MeToo movement and did the same to the legal right of anonymity for sexual offences complainers.

      Public funds picked up the tab for both trials but Salmond has to pay his own expenses.

      It may come as a surprise to you that some women are handy as well.

      Actions and facts and responsibilities are clear – motivations not so much – but the lack of understanding of motives does not make the facts go away.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Lorna I love all your posts and can understand your reticence or caution to apportion blame but my honest opinion is that this debacle could NOT have been formulated and concocted without NS approval or agreement , I can come to no other assessment considering the DELIBERATE obfuscation and continued reluctance to provide the documentation requested by the enquiry, aligned with the human shield being woven around anything to do with P murrell and the NEC

      Liked by 2 people

  7. You have an uncanny capacity to verbalise , almost verbatim , exactly what I’m thinking Lorna . The final sentence is where I’m at right now , ANYTHING that could damage our elections prospects should , I believe , be held in abeyance until after that critical point .


    1. Castanet2020.

      Two points.

      1. What makes you think you are in control of events and can just decide to let it all be until after the election.

      2. Cover ups – I thought that sort of corrupt behaviour was part of why we don’t want to be governed by Westminster. Does the means justify the ends?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Of course the legalities of the situation are outwith our control , I’m referring , as I think you are , to our , for lack of a better word , moral judgement , which could equally damage our chances .


    1. Castanet as Cubby is asking do you believe this apparent corruption is acceptable and should be ignored when we constantly call for unionists of all parties to be thrown to the lions when they lie and obfuscate, is it acceptable that OUR politicians should be forgiven for BRAZENLY and DELIBERATELY attempting to sentence an innocent man to jail for possibly the rest of his life, and what of his family and friends are they to be considered collateral damage in our quest for independence at ALL costs

      I DESPISE VEHEMENTLY corruption and lies in politics and public life and I sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this despicable act are outed and JAILED for their part in this vicious ( for that is what it is ) conspiracy to nullify Alex Salmond

      At 69 years old and desperate for independence I want a country and government we can be proud of, NOT a banana republic run by despots

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Twathater, I agree with your post but would say it was a vicious and “evil ” conspiracy.

        You don’t get much worse than trying to send an innocent man to jail for life and then continue to smear him after he is found innocent. That is the leadership of the SNP/Scotgov. That is not a leadership any decent human being should accept.

        I want Scottish independence as much as anyone but not if I have to condone and cover up these sort of evil actions.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Iain, I am finding Gordon Dangerfield’s analysis of the evidence from the inquiry very useful:

    In that post he explains the type of award given to Alex Salmond after the failed Scottish Government case – a rarely used solicitor and client scale or something – it seems to mean that the court was not best pleased with the ScotGov,,, that behaved improperly perhaps.

    The ruling itself and the behaviour of the Scottish Government should hopefully inform the inquiry well enough – whatever the evasive testimony is from Leslie Evans, she is misleading us and them on many fronts – not least by implying the only problem with the procedure was with wording on one small part, and a minor issue where MacKinnon had contact with a complainer prior to investigating – such a minor thing wouldn’t have prompted a judge to rule the applied procedure ‘unlawful’ – that’s too strong a ruling – so I can only conclude that someone who went on to become a complainer had a hand in drafting the procedure – with potential ill-intent (‘tainted by apparent bias’) – and so complaints shouldn’t have been pursued without a total overhaul and reexamination of the procedure – but they didn’t do this. Leslie Evans knew all this and who knows how many other civil servants. Civil servants have a contract, a duty of care, to us, the public.

    I don’t know the actual events that prompted the ruling in the judicial review, of course, but I have been hard pushed to think of what could be serious enough for the judge’s response, until I considered that one situation that would fit.

    The release of information from the courts is weird one – the court has to give you permission for you to release your own information,,, weird. Anyway – with the ScotGov obfuscating so much – much of the required info should also be in Alex Salmond’s lawyers hands and either party can request more (another strange court thing). The Scottish Government could have and can request any of the information it wants, and already could have done, but chose not to – what the ScotGov has been trying to do is release ‘illegal’ information – a report deemed malicious and wrong (or something like that) by the court, to give that to the inquiry (which they’ve refused to receive) – and at the same time blaming Alex Salmond for not releasing it,,,

    Whatever the case, all these actions just are NOT the actions of a ‘transparent’ and trustworthy government.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am aware of his postings. I particularly like the idea of all the key players being asked under oath if it was them that were the source of the leak to the Daily Record. Cat and pigeons come to mind if the inquiry do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Cubby and Twathater . Of course I don’t condone what has taken place re Alex Salmond and hope the full facts emerge and those involved face the consequences of their actions , also , that AS is given some measure of justice for the harm that has been done to him , but my overriding concern is to become Independent . Whatever you think of Nicola Sturgeon she’s not immortal , she’ll be gone, one way or another , sooner or later , my question remains ….is the temporary satisfaction that could be derived from seeing her fall NOW worth the potential cost to our long-term prospects ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Castanet2020 – if you know who some of the alphabet women are you don’t need to know any more facts. I’ll repeat what I said before it is not about revenge or satisfaction. You seem to think we can just cover this up and let it play out when it suits us. The Britnats know exactly what has been happening they will use it when it most suits them. We either control the damage or let them control it. Best to get it over and done with.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. At the risk of contradicting myself , I’m also aware of the argument that under NS Independence is still a distant prospect , at least , if she blindly insists on following the same ” Gold Standard ” bafflingly stupid approach . We’re kind of left with two basic scenarios – 1 she survives ” all this ” and leads us into next year’s HE . 2 she’s compelled to step down and we go through the process of electing a new leader ( that itself could be a deeply divisive process ) in time for the HE . In either scenario , time/timing is of the essence


    1. Castanet, time is indeed of the essence.

      But a few points; the election of a new leader of a party isn’t exactly divisive, I’m not sure where you heard that, most parties have well-established procedures and processes for it – or are the SNP different in this regard? The Tories seem to manage it frequently while supposedly running ‘the country’.

      Nicola Sturgeon isn’t ‘following’ ‘a’ gold standard – she herself made all those things up – about s30s and legal referendums and 60% and such like. They are all entirely her invention. She has forced them on us, and many quote it.

      I doubt Independence is even a distant prospect with Nicola Sturgeon in charge of anything, she appears to have set the Scottish Government on fighting tooth and nail against anything that might help bring if about. I suspect she has planned not to see it in her lifetime, after a very long natural life. So I think that would be ‘never’ for most of us.

      Waiting will not benefit anyone, the SNP won’t be getting another majority under her leadership, whatever the polls say now, they won’t be saying the same thing after a scandal breaks the week before the HE.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Where the SNP is different is that the Leader position, if it is contested by more than one candidate will be be elected and decided by the membership. To their credit I would add.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Castanet ALL these vague promises re NEW referendums in the future is carrot and donkey stuff to gain another 5 years in power, even now she is ONLY proposing a DRAFT BILL in Feb or March just to cover her ass for the May elections

      If Sturgeon were serious about independence she and we don’t even need a referendum,
      Joanna Cherry has STATED categorically in the HOC that the passing of the Internal Market Bill BREACHES the Treaty Of Union which dissolves the Union, So again if she were serious she would use it against them
      There is also the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 article 60 which also allows for the dissolution of the UNION for breaches of international treaties

      If you don’t believe me ask Lorna Campbell as she has posted about this numerous times alongside MANY others, the question remains WHY IS STURGEON NOT USING THESE LAWS instead of BEGGING for a sect 30 that plays into unionist hands

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but breaches have to be acted upon in a timely manner – see Article 45 of the same convention.

        So all of the prior violations have by Scotland’s subsequent behaviour been acquiesced to as 45(b) indicates.

        Hence a new violation as a consequence of IMB becoming an Act would have to be acted upon quickly. Just how long quickly is I don’t know, but I’d guess waiting a couple of years would amount to acquiescence.

        Liked by 2 people

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