The title of this piece echos the words used by Rev Stu Campbell on Wings Over Scotland to describe events surrounding the trial of Alex Salmond. Having remained sensibly silent about both the trial and the “events surrounding” it, now that the trial has ended with Salmond completely exonerated I can state openly that this is the verdict I both hoped for and expected. Alex Salmond is innocent of all charges other than that of being a human being with his own assortment of the flaws and frailties that this implies. The jury in a trial is required to have regard only for the evidence presented. But outside of that context and as individuals, we judge a person’s character not only by the defects and deficiencies our common humanity bequeaths us but by the manner in which they compensate for their weaknesses and failings. It has long been my personal judgement that Alex Salmond has amply earned the benefit of any doubt.
The charges against Alex Salmond never seemed credible to me. The behaviour of which he was accused is such that one would expect there to be a history which at least hinted at an inclination to inappropriateness in his dealing with females in his circle. That there was no such history I found perplexing. Especially so given the seriousness of some of the alleged offences. It is my understanding that examination of such offences with the benefit of hindsight tends to reveal a trail of lesser incidents leading back through the life of the perpetrator. In Salmond’s case, there was no such trail. Not evidence of innocence such as might qualify to be presented in court, perhaps. But sufficient to raise reasonable doubts in the mind of a disinterested observer.
Neither would my personal regard for Salmond count as evidence in a criminal trial. The fact that what I know of the former First Minister leads me to assume him to be a man of some integrity would not serve as admissible testimony in his defence. But, again, it sufficed to raise serious questions about how likely he was to be guilty as charged. I believe Alex Salmond to be possibly the most acute and adept political operator of our times. Not a great man, perhaps. But unarguably a great politician. Ironically, it is those characteristics which might be considered flaws which did most to persuade me that the charges against him were false. Salmond is, I think, a man who takes inordinate pride in his accomplishments. He sets great store by his political legacy. He values his reputation. That he would jeopardise his legacy and his reputation for momentary sexual gratification always struck me as being hugely unlikely.
One does not get to be a political operator of Alex Salmond’s rank without being an extraordinarily calculating individual. A well-developed capacity for Machiavellian scheming may be the overarching attribute of those most proficient in the art and science of politics. Salmond is known to enjoy a flutter. But he is, I believe, very far from being a reckless gambler. While betting on horses may satisfy some audacious facet of his make-up, he brings to his pastime the same shrewdness which serves him so well as a professional politician. I always wondered how someone so intuitively calculating could be as impetuously incautious as to do the things of which he was accused.
It is said that Salmond is a very tactile man. He is reputed to be given to contact which implies a certain casual, non-threatening, almost naive intimacy. My suspicion is that this behaviour is part conscious effort to win trust and part (over-?) compensation for the coldness which comes with a calculating nature. We live in a time when any physical contact is subject to scrutiny and analysis far beyond the instinctive understanding of gestures processed instantly and continuously as part of an act of communication. Touching can all too readily be regrettably misinterpreted – or maliciously misrepresented.
There is probably not a man in all of Scotland born before 1970 who could not be plausibly accused of some kind of sexual misconduct on the basis of behaviour towards women genuinely considered at the time to be no more than a bit forward at worst. There may be no man of my generation – born in 1950 – who, if he has any sensitivity at all, does not regret the gauche and even crass insensitivity of his youth. I trust and believe that many (most?) of us who are parents to boys have taught them to better respect women. I know that girls have been taught to demand the respect that they are due.
Alex Salmond walked free from court into a world in turmoil. This will not be unfamiliar territory for him. I am satisfied that justice has been done. I am certain that justice remains to be done in relation to the “murky and dirty and suspicious” events surrounding his trial. I am satisfied that it will be. I am certain that Alex Salmond has already calculated how he will help to ensure that it is.
For anyone with an interest in the murky and dirty and suspicious events referred to, Craig Murray’s blog is a must-read. You should also take a look at Grouse Beater‘s musings on the matter.
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11 thoughts on “Murky and dirty and suspicious”
Thanks for this. Born in 1959, I too look back at stuff I did in my youth with real shame. And it does not matter that these things were “normal” at the time. Sadly too there are still men who perpetuate the old normal. But at least some of us realise these things and are prepared to be open about the effect of the past. Throughout this trial I have felt that I would not like to be a juror and that the voices of the accusers must be taken seriously, but at the end of last week after reading the Grousebeater’s and Craig Murray’s reflections, I began to believe that acquittal would be more likely. No matter what anybody feels about the man, inappropriate sexual advances are not in his character. The residue is only the historical stuff, the way by which men of our generation were led into lives of casual abuse and male entitlement. Perhaps now more attention and nuance will be given to this. There must be a sensible balance though, for women still get raped and abused by men who are either just violent assholes or know no better. But surely now falsely accusing a man of rape, sexual assault or attempted rape must be considered to be just as heinous. Thank you again.
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I have heard this described as MI5 dirty tricks. I have heard this described as a power battle by a faction the SNP. I can believe either or even a convergence of interests between the 2.
I am concerned that the witnesses – alleged victims – described as ‘Civil Servants’ were no such thing de facto, but were actually SPADs and therefore only Civil Servants de jure. This puts the whole matter too close to the SNP, in that murky area which only parties in government possess. And who was the ‘celebrity’ who remains anonymous?
Salmond is right that the priority for the nation right now is eliminating CoViD-19. But I don’t want his side of the story – which he has promised – to be kicked into the long grass off the back of CoViD. Enough has come out about this [eg coordinating the attack on Salmond by tests to drum up complaints] that some heads have to roll over this, but I want the right heads to roll, not some sacrificial small bit players. And I want that sorted out before Holyrood 2021, because I don’t want the distrust to roll into the next Scottish Parliament and into our Indyref.
OK, we have an enforced break in Indyref campaigning. Definitely it is time for some housekeeping, a reset and a fresh start.
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I see no good reason why Salmond shouldn’t speak out as soon as he is ready. Newspapers are still being published. We still have TV and radio. The internet hasn’t been closed down. (Wrong kind of virus.) We are all still communicating. COVID-19 is not an extinction-level event. It deserves due attention. But that should leave plenty for keeping an eye on other matters. Matters that will be affecting us long after COVID-19 has ceased to do so.
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It reflects very badly on the current SNP organisation that such spurious and trivial accusations were allowed to go this length (at public cost, and not to say, danger, since the trial was held during the corona crisis) since the majority of them seem to be from insiders. An organisation of the size and complexity of the SNP ought to have internal grievance procedures including for sexual harassment. In most cases the perpetrator would be warned strongly to desist, and would comply, and the accuser assured of protection. In the case of woman F, the not proven charge, this seems to have already happened. She brought some kind of complaint at the time – 2008 – and AS apologised. Her job was assured and she was offered the opportunity to move elsewhere but chose to stay. Case closed? Apparently not. Years later, even after having received an apology and no further incidents, and the matter apparently dealt with, she then chose to revive it when the police investigation happened.
Or did she choose?
It might be that the police were put on to her and that being the case she was not allowed to refuse to answer their questions and not co-operate with their enquiry?
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@оптик “I can believe… …a convergence of interests between the 2”
I must admit this thought has been troubling me for some time and not just specifically to this issue.
I have long thought that Sturgeon is treated with kid gloves by Scottish and especially UK journalists in media interviews compared to Salmond. She is never challenged adequately and combined with the utter shambles of the opposition at Holyrood and the centralisation of party business, it is no wonder she looks so polished (but even then only in comparison to the aresholes that infest our screens from Westminster on a daily basis).
I have thought all the way through this Covid-19 stuff that she has made no pro-active decisions of her own. She has simply passed Westminster decisions down the line or made no decision until she was forced to take action (eg the closure of schools because they were on the brink of collapse under staff shortages). All her energy has been spent on the presentation of her remarks to the media rather than pro-actively engaging on a plan of action to stop the spread of the virus.
I’ve already mentioned schools. It remains extraordinary to me that hundreds of thousands of weans were allowed to mingle and potentially cross-infect weeks after our continental neighbours had demonstrated what a tragic mistake that could be.
Why has there been no screening at Scottish Airports where everyone has to walk through a baggage hall to enter the terminal? Why has there been no spot checks on the roads to ensure only essential business was being conducted. Above all, why has nothing been done to take advantage of the fact that Scotland is further behind the infection curve than the UK and that our population density is substantially less likely to lead to cross-infection?
Nothing has been done without the political cover of Westminster doing largely the same the thing. And there is no evidence of the Scottish Government taking the lead on anything whatsoever. Far from seeing this as a triumph of her leadership it has betrayed her total inability to lead on anything of substance.
Which brings me back to the initial point. This performance, the Salmond investigation and proceedings, combined with her position on Section 30 and her apparent psychopathic adherence to appeasement makes me suspect that there is indeed some arrangement that protects her position as FM from external challenge in return for keeping her room tidy.
To me, Nicola Sturgeon is like Tony Blair all over again. All fur coat and nae knickers as some of the old-timers might say. Her abilities are vastly overstated and what she is good at (after nearly 30 years of practice) is only of value to herself as a politician that needs to be elected. It doesn’t do anybody else any good.
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It was the apparatus of the Sturgeon regime that instituted and conspired in this vendetta against Salmond. It was high-ranking apparatchiks of the regime that bore false witness against him in court with the intent of ruining him and shutting him up for the rest of his life.
Their intent was murderous in the sense of taking away his remaining time upon this earth to live beyond a 12′ x 8′ prison cell. Murderous, in their yet extant attempts to erase him from SNP and Scottish political history. Murderous, in their avowed aim to grind his character and reputation to powder.
Among the embarrassment of riches that lay before Alex Salmond now are the myriad libels and slanders and the question, “who do I sue for defamation first?”
Then there’s that whole criminal conspiracy thing hanging like a noose around the neck of the Sturgeon junta.
Mt instinct in this case is that he and his legal and PR team should go for the jugular and do so sooner rather than later. Clearly, from the initial reactions of the cadre the rodents responsible for these acts are on the back foot – stunned by the comprehensive routing they have received, despite the best efforts of the Prosecution Services and the press and broadcast media to assist them.
They will not remain that way for long. The time to hit back and hit hard to maximum effect, is now.
Atop that corrupt regime responsible for this conspiracy sits Sturgeon. She should be the clear focus, not Leslie Evans. Evens has been Sturgeons firewall. However, I feel going after her now would be a distraction. The fish rots from the head. Go straight for that malignancy.
Once again I need correct myself for calling these conspirators, rodents. It is unfair and inaccurate, for there are some things you just can’t get rats to do.
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ERRATUM: “…now are myriad libels” (no ‘the’).
OK, i’m a pedant. Mea culpa.
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I have been a long time advocate for much shorter government terms and I proposed 3 years in a recent consultation on Scotgov , 5 years is too long a period to permit or accommode the destruction of the economy , introduction of HATED policies , inability to address and remove corrupt or illegal activities performed by parties or individual poiticians of which there are many .
I have also proposed repeatedly the DESPERATE need for a realistic RECALL LAW , one where the electorate have the POWER to hold their representatives to account , not some wishy washy legislation where the decisions of illicit or improper behaviour is decided by politicians or their parties
The answer I have often been given was , ( that is what elections are for ) failing to take into account that 5 years can incorporate lots of lies , failed promises , and blatant corruption
I have also proposed that ANY person working in the hierarchy of public service should be required to sign an honesty agreement which would be legally enforceable , thereby leading hopefully to less of the false allegations against people like AS and the ability to hold the false accusers and their fellow conspiritors to public account
Although AS has been exonerated by a jury of his peers ( thankfully ) it remains that the reprehensible charges levelled at him by his accusers and their allies will have and should have a PROFOUND effect on our legal system , answers MUST be sought and given by Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscals Office as to the decisions taken and the veracity of the accusers complaints . It must be proven through documentation that proper procedures have been complied with and there has been no outside interference or involvement
Apart from causing years of untold stress to AS and his family the sensationalising and dubious reporting of this case could have a serious impact on persons willing or able to engage in a similar situation
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Should not the accusers be charged with perjury? “the crime of telling lies in court when you have promised to tell the truth” Cambridge dictionary. Could Alex Salmond sue them for Defamation of Character or some other offence?
I hope Alex returns to SNP membership, to the leadership of the party and to the office of First Minister. The British State has overreached itself! Scotland needs him!
Nicola Sturgeon is colluding with the British State, by insisting that only the permission of the that State can render action for independence legal, to keep Scotland’s Sovereign People under the suzerainty on the English Government of the UK. Under International Law the UK Government and Parliament can not prevent Scottish action for independence.
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Has there been any comment from Sturgeon or the SNP of the acquittal of Salmond?
If not, that of itself speaks volumes. A full enquiry must be heard without delay.
The First Minister did make a short statement yesterday. She didn’t say much ,however.
It was very short, vert curt, and rather evasive, I thought.
MP Joanna Cherry has been saying an awful lot more, tho. Demanding resignations, and more or less going on the warpath!
Also one MP I’m not a great fan of, actually have no time for, Kenny MacAskill, (I have to give him his due here) has also given his opinions, and neither his, nor J.Cherry’s views on this affair will be welcome news for SNP leadership!
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