The Sturgeon smear is a perfect example of why so many Scots don’t trust Scotland’s MSM

Alex Salmond won his court case against the Scottish government last week.  The court ruled that the investigation [into allegations of sexual harrassment] carried out by the Scottish civil service was unlawful.

Salmond, as he was fully entitled to do, called on those responsible for botching the investigation to consider their position.

This is political speak for resign.  Two civil servants, Leslie Evans and Judith Mackinnon, presided over the investigation.

Evans, who is Scotland’s chief civil servant, issued a statement after the court verdict defending the investigation.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon publicly backed Evans.

Meanwhile a police investigation into the allegations made against Alex Salmond continues.  Salmond has also demanded to know who leaked details of his investigation to a national newspaper.

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she spoke to Alex Salmond on several occasions.  What was said was unknown.  Nicola Sturgeon insists meetings were held in her capacity as leader of the SNP.

That’s the facts as we know them.

There are five stories in this saga.

The biggest story is the police investigation into the allegations made against Alex Salmond by two women.  We know nothing of this investigation nor the allegations levelled against the former First Minister.  The media can’t go near this story until the police investigation has concluded.

The second biggest story emerged last week when Salmond won his court case against the Scottish government.  What emerged was quite sensational.  An investigation so poorly managed that the Scottish government capitulated rather than allow its officials to give evidence.  The blame for this lies squarely with Leslie Evans.

Within hours of Scottish government’s case collapsing, story number three emerged when Leslie Evans issued a statement.  The statement itself was newsworthy in that the civil servant appeared to make unjustifiable claims regarding the case.  Far from insulating herself from criticism, Evans opened herself up to even more.

The fourth biggest story in the saga is the leak.  Who leaked details of the investigation to the Daily Record?  There are two possible sources.  The first is someone within the Scottish government or its civil service.  The second is someone within Police Scotland.

For those who refuse to believe the police would do such a thing, we refer them to the videos of Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail being interviewed by police that were leaked to the BBC.

Nicola Sturgeon has publicly backed her beleaguered official.  A First Minister doing otherwise would have only increased the pressure on Evans and opened herself up to accusations that she had thrown a civil servant under a bus to protect herself.  Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed meetings she had held with Alex Salmond.  This is story number five, and the weakest of them all.  Why?  Because its newsworthyness is based entirely on innuendo and politically motivated claims.

With the police investigation off limits, the main stream media has four stories to choose from.

1. Leslie Evans botched investigation
2. Her ill-advised statement
3. The leak to the Daily Record
4. Nicola Sturgeon’s meetings with Salmond

Of the four, 1, 2  and 3 are based on sound fact … 4 is built purely on politically motivated innuendo.  Which of the three is the media pushing?  You guessed it.  The innuendo.

Why isn’t the media pursuing Leslie Evans over the botched investigation and her subsequent statement?  Evans’ claim that “All the other grounds of Mr Salmond’s challenge have been dismissed.” has been called into question by Salmond’s legal team which accused the permanent secretary of having “misled the public”.  The accusation appears justified given no ruling was made on the ‘other grounds’ by the court.  Yet there is remarkably little pursuit of Evans by the media.

Similarly, the leak that resulted in lurid claims about Alex Salmond being published in a newspaper and broadcast on the BBC has resuted in a similar lack of attention.

Where is the concern for the alleged victims?  Indeed what of others within Scotland’s civil service who may now be put off coming forward for fear their claims may find their way onto the front pages of a newspaper or broadcast on Reporting Scotland night, after night … after night?

But it’s the smear attempts by Unionists that dominate the news.  Nicola Sturgeon referred herself to the ministerial panel over her contact with Salmond.  The move ought to have ended the politically motivated smear attacks whilst the panel looks at the evidence.  But it won’t.

We’ve been here before of course, many times.  Aex Salmond referred himself more than once to the same panel and was cleared every time.

These ‘ministerial misconduct’ smears usually have three phases.  The first is the Unionist attack.  The second is the self-referral.  The third is exoneration.  The problem of course is that the media smear machine has already splattered so much muck around that by the time the not-guilty verdict is announced, the accused has already been sentenced.

And that’s what’s coming.  Below is a news item that appeared on the BBC’s national news on Sunday evening.  The language used by the reporter Sarah Smith is pretty sensationalist.  Civil war?  Really?

And there’s more of this coming.  The Scottish media will push this smear as it did previous smears.  One journalist even boasted that Unionists could use the Salmond story to effectively bring down the SNP administration.

If this smear follows the same pattern as previous attacks then we’ll see journalists invited onto BBC Scotland to push the story.  Hacks will tell listeners and viewers exactly what their newspaper editors want them to, that the SNP is under seige and that independence will suffer.

But what effect will it have?  If previous attempts to take out senior SNP politicians is anything to go by then this smear will pass without any significant damage to the SNP.

The independence movement has been through this before.  They know what to expect.  They may feel Nicola Sturgeon erred in going along with Leslie Evans to the extent she did.  However they know that Unionists are the real enemy here and that the prize of independence remains tantalisingly close.

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25 thoughts on “The Sturgeon smear is a perfect example of why so many Scots don’t trust Scotland’s MSM

  1. Peter Kropotkin

    Salmond’s camp are saying Sturgeon’s office asked him not to stand in the election due to these allegations well before the first meeting she has admitted to which indicates clearly that she already knew about the inquiry. She has lied to parliament. She will be out of office in a matter of days. She’s finished and it’s Salmond who has finished her.

    read the times Scotland 14 jan ’19

    1. Independent Woman

      By your nom de plume I am assuming you are of the anarchist persuasion. Why are you promoting the demise of the only party that is actively protecting the most vulnerable in Scottish society from the Tories? I assume you do not think that Labour would an improvement for Scotland? Do you really want to heap more misery on an already battered section of our population and spread the misery around more widely?

      I didn’t read the Times article you refer to; newspapers are not independent and reflect the Establishment view – or the newspaper owner’s view of the Establishment opinion. Consequently, I don’t believe anything in the national media.

    2. Ian Mccubbin

      This is gaslight ing speculation.
      No evidence of FM involved. If anything she was naive and dupped by an alleged MI5 spy.
      This is the counter argument to yours 🙂😉

  2. Brian Watson

    Talk of civil war is classic case of language being bankrupted to weaponise the narrative against independence . The propaganda is increasingly blatant , a sure sign that reactionaries are feeling nervous .

  3. bringiton

    The only way to stop these “leaks” is to make it a criminal offence.
    That would force newspapers such as the Daily Record to disclose their source.
    The British media,as we saw with the Cliff Richard fiasco,seem to be impervious to having to pay fines after the event so something more effective is required.
    The police,however,are probably quite happy to allow newspapers etc to do a bit of fishing for them when trying to gather evidence against an accused.
    That too needs to be addressed.
    Only unionist supporters are presumed innocent in Scotland.

  4. John W

    The Blue , Red , Yellow Unionists are clutching at every available straw they can find . With their big powerful newspaper billionaire proprietors at their bidding , they have a very able ally. Absolute raw fear of Nicola Sturgeon upping the Independence narrative at this time of total lunacy at Westminster has the Unionists birling , they have got to dream up a way to bring Sturgeon down , by fair means or foul , and it looks , as we would expect, it will be foul . However, when this sad Alex saga is fully investigated , as it should be, and Nicola and Alex are exonerated ,as they will be , the outcome will be the biggest recruiter to the SNP since the lies and promises of Unionists at the 2014 referendum were exposed as a total sham ! .

  5. Bibbit

    My money is on the police. Many years ago myself & others made complaints which were then referred to the police. The day after the police had the reported complaints, we had phonecalls from a horribly pushy woman from The Scottish Daily Mail & when I told them I had nothing to say, she doorstepped me accompanied by a seedy-looking male photographer. Dreadful people. they’d sell their granny for copy space. I understand the police get paid handsomely for ‘stories’.

  6. Top Cat

    The levels of Anti/SNP propaganda coming from Scotland’s MSM at the moment is absolutely disgusting. We see Miles Briggs (Tory), sticking his hands up a womans skirt and not a thing done or said about it and Aberdeen Tory councilor caught with child porn? We see Tory’s publicly spew racism and sexual slander all across social media and nothing what so ever said about it, We see Labour MP’s accused of sexual assault child pornography being taken back after no investigation what so ever. We see allegations of some sexual impropriety with Alex Salmond from years ago, and the permanent secretary had to change the rules to make a case.
    Nothing has been proven so far and will probably be dropped, he has been absolutely slaughtered by the MSM with absolutely no evidence that anything has happened ?

    We live in a country where all our MSM and BBC is controlled by another country which will do everything they can to keep us down and divided so they can continue to bleed us dry and squander our resources and wealth and keep us impoverished and starving. We have a huge chunk of our population taken in by the propaganda, they have been brainwashed into thinking that the union will look after us and give us the broad shoulders we need, Its a kind Cognitive dissonance mixed with a mass Stockholm syndrome condition, They will resort to violence to keep the union and keep their country folk enslaved. Yes members of our own population will fight to stay enslaved.

    We have Nicola Sturgeon who had chatted with Alex Salmond who, might I add have been friends for 30 years get absolutely slaughtered for it, Yet we see Westminster and Tory’s across the country being sexual predators and all sorts of racism and disgusting behavior with no report of it through the MSM and the BBC.

    We see pedophiles running rampant in Westminster and dossiers and investigations disappearing all swept under the carpet with no reporting through the MSM and the BBC.
    And all the MS can do is make up stories about SNP civil war and how could Nicola speak to salmond ? eh What is wring with Scotland I am heartbroken that my country is so divide and so enslaved but another country and be happy with that.

    It reminds me of the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote,
    None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

    1. Jockanese Wind Talker

      100% on the money Top Cat.

      BritNat Media protecting the corrupt Politicians and Establishment figures to defend their “Precious Union”.

      Nothing can make Scotland, the Independence movement or the SNP look better than rUK to the public.

  7. John Robertson

    ‘But what effect will it have? If previous attempts to take out senior SNP politicians is anything to go by then this smear will pass without any significant damage to the SNP.’


  8. millie

    I respect Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

    No-one has the ‘full’ facts of this whole issue.

    Therefore, It would be good if SNP MPs and MSPs and advisors would stop tweeting, ‘appearing’ to support one side or the other.

    The media is stirring up ‘the civil war’ narrative. It is not in the interest of anyone to become involved in this narrative. It can only damage us.

    Over the years you would think that most -SNP members, MPs, MSPs, and advisors would be well aware that the media’s raison d’etre is to extinguish the SNP –

    Why would anyone feed that media, -why? — especially with Indyref2 imminent?

  9. alasdairB

    The Permanet Secretary (Scotland) is responsible to BOTH the Scottish Government, on devolved matters, AND the Head of the Home Civil Service, currently Sir Jeremy Heywood. There are weekly/monthly meetings in London of all Permanent Secretaries.

    As our First Minister has referred herself for investigation over her contacts with Alex Salmond it must raise the not unreasonable question of whether or not the allegations against Alex Salmond were discussed, advised by or directed by London ?

  10. grizebard

    By attacking Nicola Sturgeon, a person of self-evident high repute, the “reputationally-challenged” media – Sarah Smith and all – may well have seriously overreached themselves. Weighed up on the scales of trustworthiness, who is by far the superior?

    By indulging in their own wishful thinking, by projecting their own fantasies instead of hard facts, in visibly seeking to undermine and even remove our well-loved FM, the media may finally have conclusively demonstrated to the remaining innocents abroad that their filthy trade is not news but character assassination, and that they are nothing more than servile sellouts to a distant uncaring master, a modern “parcel of rogues”.

  11. millie


    At the moment there is a completely fake pantomime going on at Westminster.

    Conservative May, and Labour Corbyn have people working behind the scenes. The casualty will be SNP and independence for Scotland.

    How many times over the past 24 hours have we heard ‘BBC’ commentators, and Tory and Labour MPs mention the words ‘Custom Union’? Theresa may was even feeding Corbyn lines on it at PMQs

    This has already been decided at Westminster – the BBC knows- the BBC is dripping the information out- they are managing expectations. The only party that doesn’t seem to know is SNP.

    Customs Union is my prediction- Scotland will be trapped for evermore.

    I hope it plays out differently? I just get a real sense that something is going on behind the scenes.

    Peston is a good person to watch for information.

      1. millie

        Media (including BBC Scotland) will have sold it to the public as the best outcome. re: Irish issue solved, and no tariffs.

        If the SNP votes against it at Westminster- they will be pilloried – as the alternative may be portrayed as a cliff edge.

        Ordinary folk will be glad and relieved that we have avoided no deal or a hard Brexit.

        I have observed over the past 24 hours the amount of ridicule, mocking and ‘ignoring’ the SNP has encountered from opposition MPs and all of the media. It is obvious that they are being treated with contempt.

        The reason I think the establishment will go down this route is purely to thwart an independence vote at all costs.

        I’m probably wrong?

        1. Jockanese Wind Talker

          Additionally in his speech last night Ian Blackford moved beyond saying Scotland would be satisfied staying in the Customs Union and Single Market, and said unequivocally that Scotland would not be removed from Europe against the will of the Scottish people.

          Watch it in the video here:

          You can see who has already spoken in the RH side bar and click on to see and hear it all.

          1. millie

            Thanks for that link.

            I just have a really uneasy feeling that we are going to be backed into a corner.

            The SNP needs to be very careful about its strategy henceforth.

            Scotland and its resources are such a prize for Westminster – Scotland is more important to Westminster than Brexit.

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