The rush to judgement

I had a lovely couple of days in Wales, doing a talk for the Caernarfon branch of Yes Cymru. It was a fantastic evening, and the venue was packed out. In fact it went so well that now Yes Cymru is considering organising a national tour of Wales for the dug. I’ll get to tag along too. The news about Alex Salmond’s resignation from the SNP broke when I was away. That was what the British parties and the anti-independence media had been calling for ever since the allegations against the former First Minister came to light last week. You’d think that his resignation would have made them happy, but no.

Instead of being satisfied that Alex Salmond had done what the British parties and media had been demanding that he do, demands that were loud and shrill, they’re now working themselves up into a froth of indignation because he has had the audacity to crowdfund his eye-wateringly expensive legal action against what he feels is an unfair complaints process. It makes you wonder just what he could do to satisfy them while at the same time maintaining his heartfelt belief that he’s done nothing wrong and the complaints procedure used against him is flawed. The answer of course is nothing at all.

It is vital that people who have been subjected to sexual harrassment feel able to come forward and to make a complaint. The mere fact that two women felt confident enough to speak up about their complaints against the most powerful man in the land is a good sign. It means that in Scotland there is no one who is too powerful or too well connected not to be held to account. We should, as a society, acknowledge that as a sign of progress in our gender politics.

Those amongst us who are indulging in conspiracy theories should recognise that that there are a million and one possibilities here which don’t involve dark machinations of the British state. It is perfectly possible for a person to feel quite genuinely that they have been sexually harrassed, while the person accused quite genuinely feels that they have done nothing wrong. This is what makes these cases sensitive and difficult. This is why these cases need to be treated with respect, immense care, and an avoidance of prejudgement so that all those concerned can seek and achieve justice.

I offer an example from my own experience. It may explain why I try to avoid making this a gender issue. In speaking about this I am not making my own contribution to the MeToo movement, and I am explicitly not offering this as a possible scenario of what might have happened in Alex Salmond’s case. I don’t know what happened exactly with the allegations against the former First Minister, and neither does the Scottish media.

I am telling you this, something I’ve never spoken about in public before, because it is so important that victims of sexual harrassment at work are able to speak up, and because I know that the aggressor in this scenario genuinely felt that he had done nothing wrong.

Almost three decades ago, not too long after I had come out as gay, I was working for a large organisation in London. Back then in the stone age of sexual politics when blatant homophobia was the staple of the press, there was a widespread attitude that if you were openly gay you were sexually promiscuous and sexually available. It was, in fact, very much like the stereotype that a woman in a short skirt is inviting sexual harrassment.

My line manager’s boss was a much older closeted gay man who continually found excuses to be in my office. He kept asking me out, even though I always rebuffed his advances and told him I was quite happy in a relationship. He would make inappropriate remarks about my physical appearance, and on more than one occasion got a bit handsy, putting his hand on my backside or crotch. I tolerated it, without saying anything, mostly because I didn’t expect to be believed, because I wanted to keep my job, and because I knew that this man would retort that he was merely being “friendly”. It made my working environment deeply uncomfortable. It was only when he started to call me at home asking me to meet up with him “for drinks and a chat”, that I made a complaint. Only to be told by a senior female manager that “We all know what X is like.” And she advised me to laugh it off. I left that job shortly afterwards. To this day, I am convinced that this man believes that he did nothing wrong, that he was just being “friendly”. I am equally convinced that I was a victim of sexual harrassment.

There are many ways in which these and similar scenarios can play out, none of which involve a conspiracy organised by British secret services. They run the gamut from innocent remarks that can be misinterpreted or consensual alcohol fuelled acts which were later regretted, to aggressive sexual harrassment that the instigator – who is invariably male – feels entitled to and which is forced upon an unwilling subordinate who feels incapable of refusing, or whose refusals are ignored or trivialised. In all these scenarios and the millions of variations in between, the person later making the allegations feels genuinely aggrieved, the person who is subject to the allegations genuinely feels that they’ve done nothing wrong.

I repeat, I have no clue what happened with Alex Salmond, but we do all know that there are two women who feel aggrieved, and that Alex Salmond equally feels he’s done nothing wrong. I don’t know where the truth lies, and neither does anyone else in politics or the media who has commented on this matter. Justice for all the parties concerned means that we don’t rush to judgement. A complaints procedure is designed to get at the truth.

However, prejudging the matter is precisely what the British media has done. We live in a country where the media is constantly in search of SNPbad stories, and in this story all their SNPbad Christmasses have come at once. The media in this country is incapable of distinguishing between Alex Salmond the individual, and the broader independence movement. Witness the number of times during the 2014 referendum that the vote was referred to as “Alex Salmond’s referendum”. That identification is still first and foremost in the minds of the British media. Just last night on Newsnight Emily Maitlis aggressively questioned the commentator Iain McWhirter about the issues around Alex Salmond, her tone was noticeably softer with the former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika. Emily Maitlis started one of her questions to Iain McWhirter by addressing him as someone who had “signed up to Alex Salmond’s project”. By which she presumably meant Scottish independence. Iain was, quite naturally, not impressed by this line of questioning.

The line that has now been adopted by the British political parties and their media chorus is that Alex Salmond is using his power to slap down women who had the nerve to speak up against him. They are claiming that he is using the fundraiser to demonstrate that he still has influence and followers, and that those followers will back him up against any allegations made against him by any women. Some who make that allegation are genuinely unaware of the wider political and media context in Scotland. Others know but don’t care, because they’re interested in waving any stick they can find to beat up the cause of independence. In either case it’s still not true. Alex Salmond is not using his power to slap down women. He is using his power to slap down the media. He is using his power to assert that he will not be subjected to a trial and conviction by the Scottish press in the same way that media has played judge and jury with other SNP politicians.

The reason that so many people in Scotland have contributed to his fundraiser is because they know that the media in this country is using the allegations against Alex Salmond as a proxy with which to attack the cause of independence. That’s unjust to Alex Salmond, it’s unjust to the wider independence movement, but most importantly of all it’s unjust to the women who made the complaints against him. They do not deserve to see their complaints being used as pawns in a wider political battle, and by doing so the Scottish media is not only denying Alex Salmond natural justice, they are also denying natural justice to those women whom they are claiming to speak up for.

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109 comments on “The rush to judgement

  1. Diane says:

    You have the perfect handle on this Paul and I’m sharing this and you’re article from The National yesterday as widely as I can

  2. Macart says:

    Neatly done.

    • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

      Yes, very well written and sensible. I am sure that the majority of supporters of independence and members of the SNP are mature enough to adopt a similar attitude to yours. We have to let due process take its course in BOTH cases.

      • Cubby says:

        BOTH cases. ? To what do refer? Sorry if it is obvious.

        • Alasdair Macdonald says:

          Cubby, in retrospect, the use of the word ‘case’ by me was careless. What I intended was that there are two issues: firstly the harassment allegations against Mr Salmond and, secondly, Mr Salmond’s action against the investigative procedures adopted by the Scottish Government – which includes the Civil Service.

          Apologies for my lack of precision.

  3. paul mccormack says:

    Good to see this point of view aired.

    Only one point jumps out – ‘A complaints procedure is designed to get at the truth.’

    This, so far is the crux of the matter. The argument and debate, however, is about whether the following is true in this case:

    A complaints procedure (by the civil service) is designed solely to stitch-up the accused, irrespective of the truth.

    I’d tend to go with the latter.

    • Illy says:

      I’ve read at least one description of what’s happened to Salmond as:

      He hasn’t been told who, when, where or what he did. The challenge to the complaints procedure is to find out what he’s actually being accused of. Sturgeon is backing the Civil Servants because she has to back them, or it will have a chilling effect on others coming forward with legitimate complaints against prominent figures.

      Also, assuming Salmond is innocent, it’s far better, now that this has gone half-public, to let it go all the way to court and have him fully exonerated, than to circle the wagons and hide it away.

      It’s also better if he’s found guilty, because then it sends a clear message that no-one is above the law.

      Basically, once it was leaked to the press that Salmond was under investigation for anything, the best thing for the SNP to do is let it go as far as it can, but make sure it’s visible that everything is done fairly.

      “It is not sufficient for justice to be done – Justice must be seen to be done”

      Can’t remember who said that, but whoever it was wasn’t stupid.

      • Sandy Wito says:

        ‘It’s also better if he’s found guilty’? Surely that should depend on whether he actually is guilty.

  4. Davy says:

    Aye, I noticed most of the papers were full of SNP spilt story’s today, of course its all made up rubbish. They are so desperate to down the SNP they have to resort to twisting anything they hear into complete bolloxs and printing it.

    The only thing about our Scottish “unionist” media you can guarantee , is their morals are lower than a snakes shite.

  5. Sandra says:

    I wish more people would think this through with the same sensible reasoning and not simply jump on the SNP/Alex Salmond Bad circus of conviction before due process.

  6. That must have been hard, Paul.

  7. Dawn says:

    Totally agree as a woman, it’s imperative that by anyone who has been sexually assaulted or harassed to come forward ..but there has to be in this day & age a time limit.. there has to be a burden of proof that the accused has indeed committed a possible crime of abuse or harassment. No one should be feart of coming forward their names are annon from proceedings. The Salmond case is very suspect & convenient that AS said he’d be an advocate for Yes movement & whoosh he’s subject to investigation.

    • MBC says:

      Yes, why are they bringing a complaint for something that happened FIVE years ago and is no longer on going? What do they now want to achieve? An apology? Money? They no longer have any contact with him.

      • weegingerdug says:

        I don’t think it’s helpful to speculate about their motives.

      • Steady on; the law was changed after the predatory behaviour of men in power was seen to cower women into silence.
        Forget Weinstein, Saville, Cosby and such like. They were alleged rapists. Much more relevant is John Lassiter of Pixar fame and wealth. His alleged behaviour is much more in line with what little is known here. America first, sure, but not unusual.
        Read up on his situation, it might explain a lot.

        • Illy says:

          Wasn’t the law changed *after* the period that the complaint is about?

          Regardless of what happened, it is deeply unfair to convict someone for acts that were not illegal at the time.

          • Cubby says:

            It should be illegal to convict someone for acts that were not illegal at the time.

            I think that makes sense.

  8. Mike Lothian says:

    I don’t think you could have put it better

    Also big hugs for having to leave your job because of sexual harassment. I’m hoping today things would be treated differently

  9. C avery says:

    Regarding conspiracy theories: we currently live in a country where the opposition leader is being actively smeared as an antisemite by an amalgam of right wing labour Blairite MPs, Tories, Tory Press and Israeli elements interfering in the internal politics of a sovereign state…to what end? The end of Corbyn and the acceptance of a working definition of antisemitism which its inception was designed to immunise Israel from criticism.

    It’s not therefore too far fetched to think Salmond is being stitched up… maybe it was Putin that did it with help from the dastardly EU.

    • carthannas says:

      Very succinctly put.

    • Illy says:

      “the acceptance of a working definition of antisemitism which its inception was designed to immunise Israel from criticism.”

      Israel is a Crusader State – once you realise that, the whole mess in the middle east makes far, far more sense.

      Why people in this day and age are *still* fighting over Jerusalem I will never understand.

  10. Ashers says:

    Another excellent article.Thoughtful as ever. Love this blog, always beautifully written, cogen, at times witty and often very insightful. Thanks for all your work for independence

  11. Jon York says:

    You say that ‘the media in this country is using the allegations against Alex Salmond as a proxy with which to attack the cause of independence’ but why has Alex put ‘Salmond puts independence first’ at the very top of his statement for crowd funding? As you say what’s this allegation got to do with Independance? Why does he need to reference independance at all?

  12. MBC says:

    That’s why these proceedings need to be kept secret until something is concluded and proven. That’s why it was a travesty of justice that they were leaked and that Leslie Evans decided to make it public. That’s why Salmond is angry. Because the fact remains that nothing can ever be proven. It remains their word against his. Just what are the complainers trying to achieve except revenge? In your case, you reported the incident not to get revenge on the perpetrator but peace and safety from him at your workplace. These women are raising a case that was five years ago. He ceased to be FM in 2014.

    Yes, agreed, we do not know the all facts.Perhaps, like you, they concluded that their only recourse to him being ‘handsy’ was to leave a job they otherwise loved. Therefore they have suffered a loss of earnings. Though I would have thought that as civil servants it would be easy enough for them to request a transfer to another department or otherwise somehow avoid future contact with Salmond.

    Though, again, perhaps not.

    And you raise an interesting point, also raised by others. Which is, your first response was not to go to the police but the organisation. OK, you probably felt the police would not be sympathetic, this being the Stone Age as far as gay rights were concerned, but I think you real reason was that you did not consider it a police matter but a management and organisation matter.

    • robert harrison says:

      This is how the media ruined Michael barrymores showbiz career and Michelle Thompson political career they already print that the accused is guilty continue the accused is 100% guilty right up to the verdict so in the event of a not guilty verdict the label still sticks the person who was falsely accused is still labeled a criminal by soceity this case is to similar in to many ways.

  13. wm says:

    I would not rule anything out, what the three unionist parties and their British MSM would get up to regarding Alex Salmond/SNP bad, there is no measure of how lowe they would steep. Never underestimate the B*******S.

  14. Macart says:

    Just seen today’s times cartoon (and no I’m not linking to it).

    The press are going too far and they’re apparently not worried about collateral damage to the population.

    This is not going to end well for anyone.

  15. Julia Gibb says:

    One of the options is also that a minor event(s) were developed by the state I.e. Active search for issues. They required two cases and on cue two were delivered in January.
    Did we have a driver “you should report this”/ “do you know anyone else” etc etc
    The state may not have created the situation but they are very experienced at developing it.

    I agree that all options are there but so is the record of the state – ask Craig Murray and many, many others.

    The release of information was without doubt a deliberate act.

  16. […] via The rush to judgement […]

  17. markrussell20085017 says:

    Well said, Paul. Those of us who have experienced unwarranted and unwelcome advances, understand perfectly the issues in this case. Whilst it is always best to leave speculation in the cupboard and let the legal process explore and challenge the evidence, sometimes there are other options for complainants…

  18. susan says:

    Words of calm commonsense again Paul. Sorry to hear about your problems with sexual harassment when in London.

  19. Marconatrix says:

    Another blogger has recounted a personal experience of this sort. Less dramatic perhaps, and not involving sex, but still I think of interest in providing perspective. Well judge for yourselves :

  20. Karen Dietz says:


  21. jrtomlin says:

    I have to say Paul that in today’s environment NO ONE could put their hand on someone’s crotch and believe they are ‘just being friendly’. That is a terrible, unfair comparison that appalls me that you would make.

    As for having to believe him guilty just because there is an accusation, NO, I do not have to believe that. I KNOW that there are people who make such accusations out of spite or for other reasons other than that they really believe they were harassed. And because I believe that Alex Salmond is both a sensible and an honourable man, I will give him the benefit of believing in his innocence until I see him proven guilty.

    No one says you have to do the same.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I specifically stated that I was referring to events almost 30 years ago, not today’s environment. I also specifically stated that I was not implying that Alex Salmond may have done something similar.

      I did not say that you or anyone else has to believe him guilty just because there is an accusation. I am surprised that that’s the interpretation you have chosen to take from my words.

  22. Bill McDermott says:

    I listened to Scotland Tonight with Dani Garivelli and Magnus Linklater offering their views on the matter. It was a demolition job of Alex Salmond by both of them, but particularly by Garivelli. She was livid at the crowd funding adopted by Alex Salmond, expressing her incontestable view that it was all about power play with Salmond trying to reprise what happened in 2013 only this time not sexually. I have an open mind on what happened here including the view that it is a black ops by anti-independence figures. I did hear that the working civil servant has a position in David Mundell’s unit. What to believe!!

    • Dave Albiston says:

      Oh yes, Mr Mundell. He used to share an office with Mr Carmichael at the time that gentleman was organising a smear of Nicola Sturgeon.

      Now there’s a thing!

  23. Andy Anderson says:

    To me the only possible definite political aspect of this may have been the individual who released it to the Record. That person at the very least should get a final written warning.

    • Cubby says:

      They should but they will probably get a promotion in Mundells offices and a big juicy Brucie bonus. Didn’t he do well!!!!!

  24. annelawrie says:

    He would have been a prominent player in Indyref2 or even stood if there was a GE. How fortunate for WM that these revelations have reared their ugly head now. Just sayin’

  25. izzie says:

    I feel the backlash re crowdfunding is designed to make people feel that they are complicit in,
    and condoning of, the alleged incidents. If the crowdfunding is matched by an increase in SNP
    membership then that would sent a message to those who seek to undermine the movement.

    • I am perfectly clear in my mind that my contribution to the crowdfunder was made because of the injustice in accusing anyone of wrongdoing while refusing to tell them any of the details of the charge. Also because of the behaviour of the Scottish media – newspapers, TV and radio. They are conducting a reputation shredding witch hunt on no legitimate evidence. Their headlines, which can’t be avoided, are stomach-churning.

      • Cubby says:

        The media in Scotland is disgusting. So why do so many people who agree it is disgusting and anti Scottish independence still buy these so called newspapers written by so called journalists?

        It is a simple, easy to carry out and has a quick impact – just do not buy them. Just ignore them – they will hate that.

  26. Robert Graham says:

    Ah look what happens when you take your message to pastures new , all bleedn hell breaks out well at least a voice of sanity in a sea of a media falling over themselves to rip one mans reputation to shreds and therefore deal a killer blow to any thoughts of independence two birds one stone .

    Anyone here remember what they were doing on a particular night or day five years ago ? , I doubt if many could in the absence of say a diary entry , a memorable birthday, anniversary anything that would stand out , most of us lead pretty boring lives , one day drifts into the next particularly when you get a bit older , Christ i have lost count of the times i have went from the living room to the kitchen and thought well i am in the kitchen eh what next , why am i here only to return to the living room sit down and then its oh shit now i remember , then the whole thing starts again.

    In Alex’s case a busy man lots of stuff going on there must be some collaborating evidence to help him remember ,a friend phoning someone dropping round i doubt if at that time he had a minute to himself , that is what makes this a bit confusing , Time and opportunity both in short supply then .

    As far as i gather there are two distinctly different matters here , the first a on going Police inquiry to uncover evidence in order for a Fiscal to determine if a charge can be brought against an accused person . this part cant really be commented on because its a current investigation .

    The other one that has caused a real stooshie is Alex disagreeing with the process that was signed off as fit for purpose by Nicola Sturgeons government , their lies the problem of perception because this has been tangled up in confusion , is Alex challenging ! , well exactly who is he challenging here ,I know and i agree with Paul’s explanation that its the civil service,

    The wee conundrum is NIcola Sturgeon and her ministers agreed with the changes made that widened the process to include ex Ministers and also MSPs , one thing that stands out , how many unionist ex Ministers have there been in the last decade ? eh not one i believe , a wee political trap there i believe , was it missed or well hidden when the process was updated who knows .And who exactly inserted this change that might clear a few things up .Because after reading the process through it appears the first minister has some input into the direction of the inquiry regarding current Ministers and MSPs in her own party only , with other parties it’s up to the party leader , This changes when it involves previous Ministers and MSPs it then reverts to the Permanent Secretary who now has full control .

  27. Well said, Paul. You have, as usual, articulated the stew of thoughts which were whizzing about in my head … and done it so much better than I could have done. I have added my “widow’s mite” to the CrowdFunding campaign for exactly the reasons you have laid out here. I want to see a fair outcome for the complainants against Alex and for Alex himself. I want to know why confidentiality was broken and by whom, and most of all I want the media to be shown up for what they are!

  28. steelewires says:

    ” I know that the aggressor in this scenario genuinely felt that he had done nothing wrong.” We don’t know that Alex Salmond is an aggressor. So, why call him such? You rightly point out that he may be. But we must suspend judgement, and regard him as innocent until proven guilty.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I didn’t call Alex Salmond an aggressor.

      Read the previous paragraph where it says – “I am explicitly not offering this as a possible scenario of what might have happened in Alex Salmond’s case.”

      • Douglas says:

        I know you were very careful to avoid putting your experience forward as ‘what happened’. It was brave of you to share this terrible but unfortunately the act of sharing unavoidably invites drawing parallels -no matter how carefully you warn against doing this

        There are separate points:
        1. We don’t know what happened but all parties are entitled to justice and due process.
        2. The behaviour of the media has been disgraceful (and likely to undermine justice).

        The disgraceful behaviour of the media doesn’t prove Alex Salmond’s innocence -that is a separate issue.
        In the worst case scenario, even if Alex Salmond is eventually found to be guilty, that doesn’t make the media behaviour any less disgraceful.

        The only speculation I would put forward is to observe that leaking undermines the prospect of justice. Someone with good evidence, who wished to ensure Alex Salmond was convicted and disgraced, would be foolish to leak unless very pressed for time. Unfortunately there is too much foolishness about for this to be a reliable indicator.

        Best wishes, keep up the good work

  29. East Neuker says:

    Like everyone else, I have no idea whether the allegations against AS have any substance. My gut feeling is not, but I know nothing. Thing is, neither do those who are rushing to condemn.
    The timing, though, is very suspicious. Why now? Can anyone send light on that?
    I’m not pushing conspiracy theories.
    It is also very reasonable to challenge process at this point, as he is doing. If that process is unfair and unlawful we should have not have reached this point.

  30. astytaylor says:

    Storm in a teacup…
    In the bigger picture, wouldn’t it be fine to see Scotland become a proper independent country, and make it’s own way in the world.

  31. Dan Huil says:

    The British nationalist media has painted itself into a corner [shame!] with its “civil war” hysterics. When it becomes obvious there is no such thing what will the Britnat media do? It can only do one thing: spread an even bigger lie. And the media in Scotland wonders why it is held in such contempt by most people in Scotland?!

  32. bjsalba says:

    I’ve been an SNP member since 2008, and have met Alex Salmond many times – admittedly all in public places. I have never felt the least uncomfortable in his presence, or seen any hint of behaviour that would make me think ill of him.

    I am female and retired and no spring chicken. In my working life – which includes the civil service I did encounter a number of men who did make me feel uncomfortable, so I avoided them. In several cases it turned out that my instinct was correct.

    I donated based on my own personal judgement of the man.

    • Well said … I too have met ‘Eck and I donated for the same reasons.

    • bjsalba I fully agree with you. I was a member of the Gordon/East Aberdeenshire constituency when AS fought and took the seat, so observed him quite often over a period of time. I never once saw the slightest sign or even hint of a sign that he would stoop to any sort of harrassment. Quite the opposite in fact. His integrity and values are impeccable. I have no doubt whatsoever that the complainants in this case have made very misleading, ok false, allegations and I am angry and disappointed that so many otherwise intelligent people are taking their allegations as honest. The tendency of some women to allow themselves to be used in smears of this kind is not far short of prostitution and is one of the main reasons why women have had such a long and arduous struggle to gain protection from sexual predators. I dont expect these allegations to be proved one way or another, leaving the inevitable stain on a character who has been seen (and proven in previous cases of dissimilar allegations against him) to be exemplary in his values and behaviour over many decades, and I feel sure that was one intention. But I hope some investigative journalist just keeps silent watch on the spending patterns of the two complainants. I do not for a minute believe they were victims, and I believe they have damaged the equality cause. Neither do I laud their ‘bravery’ in coming forward at this very convenient (for some) point in time.

  33. There was Sally and Toodle Oo The Noo discussing Salmond.

    The SNP MPs and MSP’s met for pre season training today and Toodle Oo revealed that they are is chaos and turmoil, and quipped that one MP commented that if NS banished income tax, Alec Salmond would still be the story.

    Then Glenn Campbell having a cosy wee chat with Rees Moog, who was tipping Mum2B Davidson as the next PM.
    Rees Mogg uncorrected by Glenn, asserted that he ‘agreed with the SNP’ that a Referendum was a ‘once in a generation’ event, so back in your box ’til 2040, Ye Sweaties.

    Now Glenn Campbell knows that ‘the SNP’ did not consider an Independence Referendum to be a 20 year event, but did he pull up Rees Mogg, devout Catholic who considers Ruth Davidson’s sexuality depraved and a mortal sin, for which she will be condemned to everlasting punishment in hell?
    No he didn’t.

    So there you have it.

    Ruth Davidson, depraved handmaiden of the Catholic version of the Devil will be PM before Beelzebub takes her mortal soul to Hades.

    And the SNP is in turmoil, chaos, finished,.

    BBC pacific Quay; whit ur they like?

    I wonder how many weeks Salmond will feature in Distorting Scotland’s bulletins.

    I wonder how they’ll react if ‘The SNP’ announce Indyref 2 next week?
    What the fuck was the point of interviewing Rees Mogg?
    Campbell just sat there and allowed this Lord Snooty to talk any old rubbish, unchallenged, on pre-edited film.
    They are spineless Yes Men and women.

    • astytaylor says:

      Y’know, Jack, I don’t think the younger generations (whose future it is) give a fig for any of these people. The likes of Lord Snooty, especially.
      There is a better time coming, and it will come.
      The BBC, and the newspapers, are out to lunch.

    • Robert Graham says:

      The 2014 result set in stone , the once in a generation off the cuff remark set in stone , well these masons have been asleep on the job because their bloody VOW became an Orphan the day after the result ,it must have escaped their notice that it wasnt actually eh delivered . it was strangled by a series of votes by half drunk MPs who didn’t bother listening to the debates , it was the NOs have it the NOs have it ,all bloody day ,every single amendment voted down . by know doubt forgetful masons .

    • John Boyd says:

      Jack. You’re just so good.

  34. Robert Graham says:

    Someone on wings posted a link to the civil service award in November 2014 , the award was made in recognition of work done during the 2014 referendum , with special thanks to the Scottish Civil Service , well that kinda blows out the water any thoughts of an entirely politically neutral Scottish Civil service , and possibly the same people being involved with Alex’s little difficulty .

    The one part of the artical that highlights the environment that these people operate in, was when the NO result was announced the team were jubilant and full of joy , expect these folk to give Alex a fair hearing , aye ok we believe it, all thats missing from the proceedings is the Kangaroo .

    • Cubby says:

      The BBC have probably got the hanging rope attached to one of the trees out the front of Propaganda Quay. Trial by media – not a pretty site. Nothing but a lynching mob.

      I wonder if the BBC management have ever had any complaints raised against them? Did they get it plastered all over the media? Probably not because as we know with Saville/Harris etc they are great at covering up their own mistakes.

  35. Ade says:

    Sorry for mucking up the link to the 1887 Jubilee plot article. Please copy the URL & remove the “ from the end.

  36. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    No one outside the three allegedly involved knows what did or did not happen.

    We await the outcome of the investigation and possible court case.

    Why are folk in the Nationalist community getting a bit shouty about this.

    There are a couple of reasons for the shoutyness:

    Many folk, myself included predicted a senior figure in the independence movement would be accused of some similar crime.

    The Regime has form , Craig Murray, Nicola Sturgeon (Carmichael)

    There are many other instances of lies and half truths as folk on here know.

    The Regime is now losing its grip on its last valuable colony every effort they make backfires.

    I smell something quite unpleasant.

    Lets us wait and see.

  37. Liz g says:

    Two more modern tales Paul,that I hope also illustrates your point…

    A few year’s back my son worked in a local cafe, he was still at school and had been there quite happily for a couple of year’s…
    Then for no reason,that he could see, the women there began to become a bit suggestive towards him.
    Innuendo that he knew was sexual in nature but he wasn’t quite getting what they were getting at…… When he started to tell us about it his big sister worked it out right away.
    Our family name being Gray and they’d kept calling him Mr Grey…. turns out the women were all reading that book (50 shades)

    These women were my age and older… I wanted to have a word and given the woman concerned it would have immediately stopped,my son ( on the cusp of manhood) said no , I did point out if it was one of his sister’s and older men he would feel very different…. while he agreed he was still sure he wanted to deal with it himself, once he understood what was behind their behaviour he had a smart enough mouth to answer them….. But also had back up from home…

    Anyhoo the jokes got old and stoped having an effect anyway,so thing’s went back to normal….
    The point being that these women to this day wouldn’t think they did anything wrong.
    Some would/could have a totally different take on it!

    Which brings me to my daughter…..working her way through uni in a Glasgow night club, she found the way the stewards behaved towards the female bar staff disgusting,telling the manager was pointless as he was one of the worst..
    She made her feelings very clear when remarks were directed toward her and didn’t engage in the “”” banter” “”””
    One day her manager opened his mouth too speak and then closed it,she said what?
    He said “oh nothing I was going to make a joke but you don’t take that shit”.

    He seemed to really believe that what him and his staff were doing was ok.
    Other girls who have laughed along and tried to join in have told my daughter they hated it,but felt it went with the territory of working in a club.
    My daughter found her manager pretty reasonable with her and ok to work for..
    The other girls found him sleazy.
    Clearly the manager was very wrong in allowing that environment in the work place..
    But he too would struggle to see that he had upset anyone …
    This human behaviour stuff is no easy…. And neither should ruining someone’s reputation be!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Liz g
      When my son was younger he worked in a pub. He said the ‘more mature ‘ women were the worst particularly when they had a few drinks. They were often ”Chatting him up’ or making remarks which he was not comfortable with. He was able to deal with it. But could be a problem for others.

      • Liz g says:

        Hi Catherine
        Not to make light of this, of course not…
        but my son later on worked in the Hydro in Glasgow and he said pretty much the same thing…. out of all the crowds the Michael Bublay ( don’t know if that’s spelled right) crowd were the worst behaved….
        This is why I hope that this Court case will bring some sense to this debate…
        Our rights as women were hard won, but we all have fathers brothers friends and sons in this and we have to get a bit of balance somewhere.

        • Catherine says:

          Thanks for that Liz g. I have two sons and five grandsons. And yes there needs to be a balance to this debate.

          • Port Jim says:

            You folks weren’t listening – “the instigator – who is invariably male”.
            In the current “me too” era I am concerned that AS is likely to be judged guilty, the damning evidence being that he has a penis.
            I too have experienced what would now be classed as sexual harassment from a (female) work colleague. This ranged from bum-feeling (there was alcohol!) to exaggerated “squeezing past”. I have no doubt that if I had reported it I would have been told to “grow a pair” – still a common retort, and hardly sexist or offensive at all.

  38. Les Bremner says:

    Paul, This is obviously a very sensitive area for you and therefore I apologise for my conspiracy thoughts on an earlier blog.

    I will therefore say only one thing to all who are watching things unfold.

    This is not about anything apart from the need for an accused person to be told the reasons for being
    accused. Based on that, and that alone, I have contributed to his court costs.

  39. Puzzled Puss says:

    I seem to remember a time, many years ago, when the media generally respected a convention that matters that were ‘sub judice’ were not to be discussed or speculated on, as this might prejudice any legal process. I am wondering when and why this convention was abandoned. Or am I imagining the whole thing?

  40. Gavin C Barrie says:

    Liz g: Please accept my internet hugs for your blog account of a family caring and sharing their experiences, I enjoyed reading. The Salmond case is allegedly between adults and Alex Salmond and I do find it difficult to accept as valid, 5 year old dormant complaints now raised by two civil servants – and surely not unsure young inexperienced adolescents as your son and daughter – against Alex Salmond.Were complaints registered at the time of the alleged incidents? Were police informed? Your children spoke to you, as the incidents were occurring, why were the two adult civil servants unable/unwilling to do likewise to their managers?

    As a mature female friend said of the two complainers, ” Speak up, or shut up”.

    • Liz g says:

      Why thank you Gavin C
      But we don’t know those Women’s pasts… that’s the thing.
      My kids had no mortgage or dependants and would still have eaten if they walked away from the jobs….That in itself is a powerful position, also it’s worth mentioning that my kids have never been victims of any kind of abuse either… so they are not likely to freeze or feel powerless or even need time to process how they felt…
      They had in fact the arrogance of innocence… they have never had a wrong done to them that couldn’t be address… so therefore had no reason to put up with any nonsense..
      I hope it is always so….
      But not everyone is so fortunate.
      Yes I agree that from the little we do know something is not adding up.
      But like the example of my son in the cafe I could have told that story in a completely different way…and still told the truth
      I could have had people tell me it’s not too late to get the police involved, but that’s not a fair representation of what really happened…. those women are lovely decent people who were joking with a laddie… if they thought for a minute they were making him uncomfortable they would have stopped… they just didn’t see it..
      My Daughter set her boundaries and her manager respected them and her… but it never seemed to enter his head that this was anything other than particular to her.
      She was the exception rather than the rule.
      Some of the behaviour towards other members of staff would make yer hair curle.. but she said “what can ye say mum when they stand there and laugh along”?
      Everyone sees a situation differently so whatever has gone on between these adults needs looking at…
      But not by us,our job is to look at the people doing the looking,and Snib them.

      And I think that’s what Paul was trying to say.

      • deelsdugs says:

        Very well said Liz g. As a youngster in the sixties, a teen in the 70s, and a bit more worldly-wise to life in the 80s, there were a number of unsavoury happenings from predatory males, with the medical profession also being under the auspices of predominantly males who thought they were in charge and doing their ‘job’…I was made to to feel unworthy, unclean and it was my fault. I only had my own support, but worked my way through it and have made sure that my daughter has a fair and positive life with support from me, always… For sure it’s the wider circle of manipulation that feeds its own frenzy of power.

  41. Tatu3 says:

    When I worked in Edinburgh in the late 70s/early 80s my boss used to make remarks to me, which now with hindsight, would probably be considered sexual harassment.
    Anyhow – I donated to Alex Salmonds fund because I am a great believer in fairness. If the law is that those who make a complaint should remain anonymous, then the law should also be that the accused remain anonymous too. If they are then found guilty then they should be named and shamed. If they are not found guilty then that should be the end of it.
    The fact that this was leaked to the press should be investigated and someone, no matter who or how high in the civil service should be prosecuted for this leak.

  42. susan says:

    I agree with many of the commenters who state that the leak should be investigated.

  43. Macart says:

    Rightly or wrongly, this complaint exists and it will be answered by both parties involved.

    The real issue for the YES movement and yes, wider society across these islands is the actions of pro Westminster political advocates and the media. So far as they are concerned this situation is merely an opportunity, a tool, and one which they will use without conscience or hesitation against its own population to their own advantage. It’s kinda what they do. It’s what they’ve done so very many times over the decades.

    They’re trying to convince people that there is no such thing as due or fair process. They’re trying to convince you that presumption of innocence is a serving suggestion and that trial by media is just peachy. Why?

    Because their existence as an entity is at stake.

    The most appalling act of political, societal and economic self harm is taking place as we watch. The UK is on the brink of a disaster that’s going to see populations suffer decades of austerity. Scotland has a way out of that if it chooses to use its options, but those options will condemn those that brought this omnishambles upon those populations to their knees and eventually make them accountable to all. I’d reckon that deflection from their catastrophic actions and crippling opposition to their continuation is pretty much a top of their ‘to do’ list. (see under meeja feeding frenzy)

    So yes. Yes that system of government and their ever helpful media chooms, will use any personal situation if it serves to damage a threat and remove an opponent. And by damage a threat and opponent, I mean you the YES movement or indeed any progressive voice currently raised against the actions of Westminster government and its practice of politics.

    Maybe worth thinking about.

    • Contrary says:

      The whole media frenzy is a bit sick. A bit? You have to wonder at the MSM; they ignore alleged paedophile rings in Westminster, the alleged loss of hundreds of documents belonging to an alleged investigation – whole magnitudes worse, nasty, disgusting – than any allegations that have ever come the SNPs way, but are the MSM launching into a frenzy over Westminster procedures or lack of? Do we hear their moralising this? No? All quiet? Really truly hypocritical. And proves, yet again, that our media cannot be trusted to bring us news.

      Taking a mercenary view of the whole brouhaha, the britnats believe Alex is pivotal to independence and seem to believe attacking him will make the whole independence thing collapse and go away, and they will continue to keep attacking him while they think there is a way to do it anyway – so, while they are distracted with this (they are never going to give the independence voice air time anyway) they will not be spending so much time and effort actively obstructing news and views on the constitutional issue of independence – I’m just saying that perhaps the BBC obsession with vilifying Alex might be an opportunity for Yes to independence to have greater freedom in campaigning and possibly sneak in more Scotland-positive news (how this is done I have no idea) – and if they have to turn their attention to the constitutional question, then that takes some of the heat off Alex.

      Not sure I have described my thoughts well there. I am saying no one person is pivotal, but if the britnats believe that, then use it against them. Turn their opportunism on its head.

      Anyway, a great piece Paul, well said. Having been on the receiving end of a false accusation (not in the workplace, but potentially criminal in nature), and myself having gone through a grievance procedure or two – none were sexual or physical in nature, but bullying or harassment in any form is not pleasant – so I have experienced both sides, (and I was possibly being over-sensitive in one grievance case), in a minor way, I can say that both sides are equally distressing. I was lucky in all cases to have officials that dealt with the situations in a confidential and rational way, and so all situations were resolved (eventually) without any further action. That is, the procedure worked, and the people dealing with it had integrity – this is what is needed for people to have confidence in coming forward, even (or more so?) if your complaints are maybe you being over-sensitive, you need the third party there to arbitrate, and they need to have absolute integrity. If complaints are made early, the situation can be resolved with the least pain. It takes all sorts of people to make up the world so we are unlikely to all get along, and there are few of us that are not affected by criticism. All parties in the Alex Salmond allegations will be hurting, and I will not be taking sides on it, It is the civil service in Holyrood and the media that have behaved abysmally and not in keeping with good practice, they are making the distress so much worse for all.

      Actual physical abuse – inappropriate touching etc, is another whole world worse from anything I have experienced, and someone doing it when they have influence over you, e.g. Your boss, shows that it is a power thing – not easily forgotten, and never easily forgiven. Hopefully society has advanced away from anyone thinking this is okay in the workplace.

      It should not take a judicial review and lots of money spent to have it done, to show a grievance procedure, and it’s executors, are not fit for purpose, I see that as a scandal.

    • Contrary says:

      (Oops sorry my brain-spew ended up as a reply to your post Macart, there might have been a ‘reply’ in there somewhere 🙂 )

      • Macart says:

        Yer fine. 😀

        As for wondering about the meeja frenzy? No wondering about it. They’re invested corporately, politically and in more cases than is healthy, personally. Same goes for their chain tuggers up the food chain.

        Individuals can be pivotal tbf, but it depends on the individual and right now the meeja and the political class are waaaaay off the mark as to who and what is pivotal concerning both the current Scottish government and the greater YES movement. I believe they’ve grievously underestimated and misread both the situation and progressive politics in Scotland.

        Their choice. (shrugs)

        • Contrary says:

          Cheers 🙂 .

          Heh, yeah, I believe that too, that the media are waaay (just three a’s though) off the mark – can’t change learned behaviour maybe? Just so very secure in their sense of superiority, don’t believe they have to try? – the self-destructive spiral they are on is, fascinating? Unbelievable? – it is like, maybe, perhaps, they weren’t trying to run businesses (re the press)? Like maybe they didn’t care about actual paper sales, because funding comes from elsewhere? No shocks there.

  44. alanm says:

    I’m old enough to remember the days when the accused had legal rights. Look at the newspaper archives and you’ll see that, even in murder cases, the phrase “a man has been arrested and is helping police with their inquiries” was in common use for decades. Now we have “Alex Salmond has not been arrested and is not helping police with their inquiries but here’s all the juicy details of the allegations made against him anyway.”

    The legal process now offers zero protection to individuals even in cases where there’s no evidence that a crime has even been committed. There are clearly a lot of people who think that’s a good thing but the price we all pay is that a political career and a country’s destiny can be altered completely by unproven allegations from anonymous sources. That fact won’t have gone unnoticed by the dark forces at the heart of the UK establishment.

  45. A necessary call for collective calm, and you are the best man to do it. Just one objection. You think that it is either an honest accusation, or the British Security Services are at work.
    It’s not so binary. You assume mutual exclusion when both could be true: Salmond is guilty, but the spooks are weaponising rumour. It’s important, perhaps of survival importance, to be aware of their presence among us.

  46. 2012nancy says:

    I heard one report on the radio a few days ago (never repeated so far as I know) that in January this year the civil servants in question took part in training about the complaints procedure. Their complaints were made shortly after that. I don’t know the rights or wrongs of the complaints but it is understandable that a person might not identify something they’ve experienced as harrassment until it’s pointed out – that works for both the victim and the perpetrator.

  47. Les Bremner says:

    Having been given £100,007 in three days, Alex Salmond has now closed the crowdfunder, with a note of thanks to all.

  48. A Bruce says:

    A very wise and interesting piece as always.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles in London. I hope things improved for you once you left that job.

    I agree that Alex Salmond has a right to take his case to the Court of Session if he feels the Civil Service procedure was lacking or unfair to him. There should be a level playing field and I completely support him in that.

    People who contributed to his fund raiser were under no obligation to do so and it’s their money to do with as they please. No one has the right to say they were wrong to donate.

    As for the allegations themselves. There are rabid, slavering animals out there, determining his guilt without evidence backing it up, without charges and without a trial. They should be ashamed but I’m sure plenty are not.

    I don’t know anything about his innocence or guilt, but this trial by media is horrific. I can’t bear most of the journalists in the msm. They have done a great disservice to all the parties in this matter.

    One thing that troubles me in this and I don’t see much written about it is: Why was a Permanent Secretary of the Civil Service, with a degree in music, “investigating” such allegations for months.

    In what way was this woman, or her subordinates who were involved, qualified to do so? Beats the hell out of me.

  49. Dan Huil says:

    Well done to all who donated to the fund. # Civil war! Hoooo! What is it good for…?! # About £100,000 by the look of things. [smiley face friendliness]

    • Les Bremner says:

      Alex Salmond closed it when it reached £100,007 although I am sure it would have run on. Based on the Alastair Carmichael case it will cost him considerably more than what was raised.

  50. chicmac says:

    Particularly in relation to matters of Scottish independence, our unbiased Civil Service are award

    • Cubby says:

      I personally do not care for the approach that says we should not assume that anything with a UK or Britnat badge is deceitful and anti independence. Yes we should until they prove otherwise. Just because they say they are neutral or objective or impartial or whatever word they use does not mean that they are.

      Britnat/U.K. Organisations have earned the right by their actions to be treated as enemy’s of independence until clear evidence demonstrates otherwise.

      Surely we should have enough experience by now to realise that too many independence supporters in the past gave the benefit of the doubt to organisations like the BBC.

      Time to be cynical about all Britnat organisations.

  51. Cubby says:

    The bloody cheek of Mogg coming up to Scotland and telling us we cannot have a another independence until he says so. We voted for one in the Scot parliament elction in these circumstances. The Scot parliament also voted for one.

    Mogg just another Britnat telling Scotland to get back in its box and keep the lid on for a very very long time.

    • astytaylor says:

      I think the likes of Lord Snooty, lecturing Scots, with his smug, overbearing attitude can only be a good thing for the Yes movement. It gives a clear choice. Stand on your own feet, and make your own decisions, or be subjected to a lifetime of oppression by upper-class twits like this? The more we see of him, the better! (Up to a point…)
      Scottish independence is coming. I can feel it in my bones. See ya soon.

  52. steelewires says:

    I watched a video on YouTube last evening on British Secret Intelligence in WWII, Secrets of War. I think that their work was, on the whole, justifiable in fighting a war against a foreign power. What is clear is that they will go to every length to achieve their goal. I’m not claiming that they are involved in the accusations against Alex Salmond. We do know, however, that they have acted in the past against Scottish sovereigntists. They are not averse to acting against the Citizens of the UK. here’s the link:

    • JGedd says:

      The intelligence services have often employed the dark arts since WW2. In the 70s and 80s they were revealed to have used black propaganda and smear stories against the Labour Party. They also burgled offices of Labour MPs. Peter Hain, who later joined the Labour Party, was actually fitted up with a charge of bank robbery which, of course, collapsed. He later, of course, became a Labour minister and obviously chose to forget being victimised by the security services.

      Following the revelations about these activities from Peter Wright, a disaffected colleague from the intelligence sector, it was all explained away as a rogue unit. Then there was the miners’ strike in which the media were also engaged in destroying the reputation of the miners with distortions and downright lies – such as the Orgreave picket. I can’t be the only one who remembers Jon Snow admitting some years after, that the news footage had been edited to pretend that the miners on the picket line had been the aggressors.

      Then there were the activities of the security services in ” The Troubles”…..and so it goes on. And still people sneer about mad conspiracy theories.

  53. Anne Martin says:

    For me the question of whether AS is innocent or guilty is becoming almost irrelevant in the light of the hysterical, hate-filled, outpourings from the media. They really are excelling themselves on this occasion!

  54. Macart says:

    Now there’s a thing. 🙂


  55. jeans-jacques says:

    With all this it has’nt created much interest in the fact that Davidson is now planning to jump ship and head for the sainted London and the SE. The most interesting thing is that she seems to be bargaining leadership of Better Together 2 for a junior ministerial position. But she does’nt want to
    stand as an MP but wants a seat in the House of Lords. That means she will have a lifeboat whether Scotland becomes independent or not. Internal polling ?.
    Could explain the current media shit storm against Alex Salmond orchestrated by Labour if they have seen the polls as well.
    Because have no doubt these current Labour/conservative shitehawks will have no future in a an Independent Scotland, no Scottish left or right wing parties would touch touch them with a barge pole.
    As for London they will find out that London loves treachery but despises the traitor.

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