The Guardian’s ironic deficit of understanding of our deficit of power

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/16/holyrood-suffering-from-deficit-of-power-says-david-davis

The self-identifying ‘liberal, progressive, leftist-a-wee-bit, quality’ newspaper which always reverts to loyalism in time of threat such as the Iraq War in 2003 or Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014, headlines David Davis, yes David Davis, well know former commando who always wears pants these days, I’m told.

Davis did not, of course generate the headline which most Scots would reasonably, at first, think meant he was making the cased for greater powers for the Scottish Government, perhaps even independence.

But, no, it’s about ‘strengthening the impartiality of the civil service.’ so that the Scottish Government can better investigate cases such as that of the former First Minister.

Irony? Irony? You couldn’t make him up.

One, the First Minister had to choose her senior civil servant from a wee list of candidates chosen by the UK civil service head and approved by MI5. Impartiality was not on the list of criteria for appointment.

Two, irony? Davis pretends empathy for Salmond when he is at the heart of that establishment so determined to get the former FM for his part in opposing the Iraq War and humiliating Blair, the Attorney General, the MOD and MI5/6.

Here’s the best bit:

Davis told MPs: “I have it on good authority that there exists from 6 February 2018 an exchange of messages between civil servants … suggesting that the first minister’s chief of staff [Leslie Evans] is interfering in the complaints process against Alex Salmond.

Of course she was. That’s what she was appointed to do. Duuuh!

Footnote: ‘Evans is married to Derek McVay, production manager for Jamiroquai‘ and he’s an SNP activist so he can’t be MI5 because they’ve never been able to penetrate dangerous activist groups like, say, the IRA. No wait….

37 thoughts on “The Guardian’s ironic deficit of understanding of our deficit of power

  1. I think it wrong to attack the individual who put the information in the public domain (play the ball not the man).
    It is the cover up that always brings the powerful down.
    Every part of the statement read out yesterday was factual. I suspect more evidence to come out soon.
    Murrell, Ruddick, McCann, Evans etc etc have already been proven to have broken the Law. Failure to comply with a Search Warrant, obstruction of a Police Investigation, Influencing/coaching a witness.

    They are all still in post.

    To ignore the growing facts in the public domain and to focus on the messenger is a mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A mistake until you clock who the messenger is. Tory. Clown. Brexiteer. Opponent of Scottish Independence. Member of a parliament in another country. Member of the most corrupt UK government in living memory. Member of a government presiding over the most Covid deaths and worst economic performance in Europe. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the message. Priorities, eh?

      Like

  2. Salmond and Davis are old pals notwithstanding:

    Salmond’s first Fringe show guest is Brexit minister David Davis

    Mr Salmond said David Davis was “the acceptable face of the Brexiteers”

    Alex Salmond opened his first Edinburgh Fringe chat show by welcoming to the stage his “good pal” – Brexit minister David Davis.

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  3. A wee reminder for you prof. When Alex Salmond ‘retired’ from politics he did a wee show for the En’bra Festival and went on tour with it. His guest was David Davis M.P. So the shortlist to find the suitable candidate to play the part of ‘whistleblower’ in last night’s drama gets shortened a wee bit. Does it no’?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Davis apparently said “suggesting that the first minister’s chief of staff [Leslie Evans]” etc. This is all a bit confusing now. Isn’t the FM’s Chief of Staff Liz Lloyd?

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  5. I doubt that David Davis would have raised the matter if he didn’t think he could create political capital from it, but ‘our’ Lord Advocate’s legal practice is clearly morally incompetent, and ‘our’ civil service has been corrupted through their management. Subsequently, the potential for law and order has been seriously jeopardized in Scotland, so I’m glad things are now out in the open.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. P.S. He also highlighted the problem of the poor separation of powers that characterizes our parliament, which enabled this farrago to develop. Though I’m sure I can think of a more suitable remedy than and English Tory who performed poorly in his Brexit duties.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. And, of course, BBC Scotland has gone a ton on this story. So eager was Laura Maxwell to attack, that she interrupted John Swinney as he was saying, “Good morning.”.

    Of course, there was no mention of the number of warheads at Faslane being increased by about 40%. A phrase which stuck with me from the Pentagon Papers leaked in the late 1960s, in discussing possible outcomes of a nuclear war. Glasgow and the surrounding areas were in the ZONE OF TOTAL DEATH.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Sad when people want to deflect by suggesting it is all motives of individuals or to shout warhead squirrel.

    All the FACTs read out yesterday are being ignored. They are available from a dozen outlets. Stop pretending the information doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To those that wish to rely on ‘facts’, I note that thesnpleftme (@ 9:48 AM) names certain individuals who it is claimed “… have already been proven to have broken the Law.”

      I’m grateful for this information: I was not aware of it. But concerned with facts – and with the evidential basis of such serious claims – as an ‘alert reader’ I wanted to check this out for myself. I went looking for references to the court judgements which prove law breaking by the named individuals.

      I had a look at the records of the four criminal courts where law breakers are judged in Scotland – the High Court, Sheriff Court, the Sheriff Appeal Court and the Justice of the Peace Court. I have been unable to find any references to relevant cases or convictions. Indeed I found no public notice even of formal charges of ‘law breaking’ yet being even laid against any of the individuals named, far less a court judgement.

      Could the information which lies behind the statement – “… have already been proven to have broken the Law.” – be incorrect? In a society where folk are innocent until proven guilty this kind of statement seems important to get right. And after all, words and phrases do have – are intended to have – meanings!

      But, finding nothing in the criminal court system, I looked further, at Court of Session information. I did so even though surely those willing to comment in public on the subject are by now sufficiently well informed NOT to make a statement – “… have already been proven to have broken the Law” – and go on to associate it with the formal outcome of Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s harassment complaints? Surely!

      But just in case, enlightenment is at hand. The recently published (11 March 2021) review of the Scottish Government procedure for handling harassment complaints undertaken by Laura Dunlop QC is helpful here. It reminds us of the formally documented status of the outcome of the Judicial Review. Ms Dunlop writes:

      ‘8.34 As explained in chapter 5, THE CASE WAS SETTLED ON THE BASIS OF AN AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE PARTIES WITHOUT THE ARGUMENTS BEING TESTED before the judge.’ (my emphasis)

      So there was NO legal test required of a judge here: the Scottish Government conceded. Moreover, the precise form of that concession was agreed BETWNN THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES of the two parties. In short, I’m still looking for information to support the statement “… have already been proven to have broken the Law”.

      Can ANYONE indicate the court judgements that support the statement. And if no-one can – if none actually exist – what should happen next?

      By the way, kangaroo court proceedings/ judgements don’t count as far as I’m concerned! Don’t they have a tendency to be procedurally unfair and biased?

      Source: https://www.gov.scot/publications/review-of-the-scottish-government-procedure-for-handling-harassment-complaints-involving-current-or-former-ministers/

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Murrell, Ruddick, McCann, Evans etc etc have already been PROVEN to have broken the Law.” – writes thesnpleftme (@ 9:48 AM). (my emphasis)

        The same contributor also writes @1:05 PM on another issue: “What about this fact. Facts keep coming out now”

        Except on this ‘PROVEN to have broken the Law” statement, a request for the ‘facts’ to back up this claim – of any conviction of law breaking, even of an ongoing court case, or even of just a formal charge involving the named individuals has brought forward what? So far nothing.

        Selective adherence to ‘facts’? Retraction in order?

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      1. The reason I mentioned the nuclear issue is because this site has always dealt with the tactics used by the mainstream media, which is almost entirely British nationalist to frame issues in particular ways. The. Nuclear story and the wider issues relating to the military policy review announced by the PM yesterday is a very significant story, which has great relevance to Scotland. BBC Scotland made no mention of it. It devoted a large part of the programme to interviews with a hairdresser and a representative of hospitality who, despite the lockdown easing process announced by the FM, repeated the same gripes they have trotted out repeatedly and in the same phrases they have been using for a year. Then we had the David Davis story presented in the ‘you know they are guilty’ framing. The nuclear and military story, and the human rights implications were ignored.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Alasdair
          I noticed last nite ABC (BBC ) made much play of 1 of the carriers being deployed to the Far East.Presumably to rattle sabres at.China
          But no mention whatsoever as to what the response of China would be
          Which is and all as previously stated by them
          When Obama dispatched a Carrier force to the S.China Sea
          Upon which China warned Obama not to enter their Waters
          As US forces came within 10 miles of disputed waters
          They were shocked at what they confronted
          800 front line aircraft,140 capital ships and 40 submarines
          No need to guess how quickly the US forces turned and ran away
          But not a word of this reported in Western press just as follows
          Should any of your UK or others Naval resources enter or stray into Chinese territorial waters
          Then it will be considered as a Act of War
          And we will sink any that do so by deployment of certain and overwhelming force
          So me thinks a certain song We Are Sailing
          Will not be sung as she slips out of Portsmouth
          The Days of Gun Boat diplomacy long gone now and replaced with delusional grandeur to
          The masses and plebs

          Like

  9. The truth is the truth, regardless of who delivers it.
    And David Davis is a friend of Alex Salmond’s. They were part of the Awkward Squad at Westminster who used Parliamentary procedures to hold the Executive to account when Alex Salmond was an MP. In fact, Davis was a guest on his first Fringe show in 2017.
    And we forget that Blair’s idea of a Scottish “Assembly” was that it would simply oversee activities previously carried out by the Scottish Office, with no more power than a parish council in England. That’s why there was no separation of power – it wasn’t intended to have any power.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I used to be an avid Guardiann reader when I lived in England up to about 20 years ago. It is now clear to me that they are loyalist to the core, and that their Scottish coverage is at best inadequate. I know your job is to highlight inaccurate or unfair media reporting, but you have seriously missed the main target here and instead attacked the messenger and the media.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Arthetty
        And The Guardian may be described that the ruling elite would describe as The False bone to Throw at their mortal enemies such as us
        All in order for those that read it actually believe that Only If
        Whilst the powerful carry on with nefarious business as usual

        Liked by 1 person

  11. The Guardian is just another british nationalist rag which is determined to keep Scotland tied into a disgusting debilitating union with England.

    Same goes for senior britnat civil servants still ensconced in Holyrood.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The “We must have perfect politics before the election” brigade are out in full force today.

    To hell with the kids starving under Tory Austerity . . . . Permanently!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The recently published ‘Review of the Scottish Government procedure for handling harassment complaints involving current or former Ministers’ by Laura Dunlop QC is a challenging but hugely worthwhile read for anyone concerned with the subject matter and anyone wishing to offer their tuppenceworth in advance of the two official investigations.

    One of the sections I found most interesting – and revealed something I was not aware of previously – concerned the matter around which the Judicial Review was conceded, namely concerns with ‘impartiality’. These extracts from Ms Dunlop’s report are worth close attention.

    ‘8.33 The basis on which the judicial review at the instance of the former First Minister was conceded was that the Decision Report and written decision were taken in circumstances which were procedurally unfair and … were tainted by apparent bias BY REASON OF the extent and effects of the Investigating Officer’s involvement with aspects of the matters raised in the formal complaints against the petitioner prior to her appointment as Investigating Officer in respect of each of those complaints.” (my emphasis)

    The nub of the complainant’s argument on this point was:

    “8.34 ….. In the Record, the argument was that the DUTY OF THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER TO ENSURE THE WELLBEING OF the complainers as employees and her previous involvement with them made her unsuited for the role – there was bias, conscious OR UNCONSCIOUS. From the agreement recorded in the Court Order, as above, it is clear that the investigating officer’s involvement with the complainers’ side of the process was considered to have been TOO CLOSE TO BE CONSIDERED FAIR.”

    Now to the bit I did not know concerning this critical matter of impartiality. Ms Dunlop is referring to the agreement finally reached by the two parties plus the initial argument put by the complainant from the Court records:

    “8.35 The agreement was therefore confined to what had happened in this case. THE ARGUMENT ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER HAD, HOWEVER rested on what might be termed ‘SYSTEMIC’ BIAS. By that, I mean that a member of the HR team has professional responsibility for the wellbeing of an employee of the organisation, which raises an issue about their impartiality in reaching conclusions when that employee is in conflict with a third party. This is not normally an issue with workplace investigations where the HR professional, the complainer and the person complained about are all employed by the same entity.”

    It’s worth repeating this: “THE ARGUMENT ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER HAD, HOWEVER rested on what might be termed ‘SYSTEMIC’ BIAS.” – so by clear implication by my inexpert reading, NOT an argument advanced of specific, personalised bias. No doubt some readers with a legal background may offer more informed commentary on this.

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    1. Urghh! Apologies: in “The nub of the complainant’s argument on this point was: .” For ‘Complainant’s’ insert Petitioner’s instead. And in ‘initial argument put by the complainant from the Court record’, make same replacement.

      Like

    2. Unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias. You left out unlawful.

      Conceding the case on one ground of application as the SG were forced to do in view of the fact that their legal representatives were threatening to withdraw from a case that was unstateable in law, meant that the other grounds put forward on behalf of Mr Salmond were not decided.

      It is elementary and known at low levels in most if not all Human Resources departments with the resources of a SG that there should be no prior involvement by an investigating officer with complainants. Common sense should tell you why. Despite this there was contact and not just for reasons of “welfare”. Complainants were shown copies of the draft procedure that allowed retrospective action to be taken against Mr Salmond. They were asked to comment on it and, in particular, whether the procedure would make it more likely for them and others to bring forward complaints.

      There is evidence also of SG staff approaching a woman asking if she wished to make a complaint, not an action that is indicative of impartiality There is evidence of pressure being put on women to continue with their complaints when they were unsure that they wished so to do. That evidence comes from emails from within the SG in the possession of Mr Salmond arising out of the JR. Evidence that COPFS refuses to release to the committee of inquiry.

      It does not pay to refuse to inform yourself.This site is dedicated to a cult following of Saint Nicola.

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      1. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-crown-office-the-spectator-and-a-fight-for-a-free-press

        “Here is what we now know. Salmond has suggested that the criminal allegations against him (he was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual abuse) were at least in part drummed up by Sturgeon’s allies in the face of impeding defeat in the judicial review and to remove him from public life. Sturgeon denies she and her allies were out to get him. But her defence has been littered with contradictions.

        For instance, she said she only found out about allegations against Salmond in early April 2018, when the internal inquiry was already under way. But Davis read the content of a message between civil servants heading the investigation into Salmond, which described ‘interference’ in the complaints process by Liz Lloyd, Sturgeon’s chief of staff. It was sent on 6 February 2018. If this is true, it means we’re to believe Ms Lloyd — who worked more closely with Ms Sturgeon than anyone — gave no hint about the bombshell allegations against Salmond for two months. We’re also asked to believe that Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP’s chief executive, told her nothing about them either.

        When Salmond published his evidence, journalists were given legal advice not to report important parts of it. To do so, ran the argument, would violate a court order preventing the naming of complainants. Salmond’s evidence names no one, so we published it on our website (with one redaction to address this concern).

        We duly received a threatening letter from the Crown Office in Edinburgh, so we went to the High Court in Edinburgh and sought clarification: was there any legal impediment to The Spectator repeating the Salmond allegations? This mattered, because a Holyrood committee was also investigating them and wanted to publish Salmond’s evidence too. The High Court raised no complaint about the publication, thereby giving the green light to the parliamentary inquiry. Salmond’s evidence was published by Holyrood too, after which the Crown Office censors swooped on Holyrood and bullied parliament into withdrawing the evidence.

        We can now disclose that the Crown Office is doing a clear-up job, seeking to expunge remnants of Salmond’s evidence from the internet. It has ordered The Spectator to make further redactions to the Salmond submission. If we fail to comply, we have been advised that we could face penalties in excess of £50,000 (there is no cap), plus huge legal costs we would not recoup even if we win in court. It’s quite a risk, so we must consider removing Salmond’s evidence from our website.

        We take solace in the fact it has been available for all to read for many weeks now, and especially over the crucial period when Salmond and Sturgeon gave evidence to the Holyrood inquiry. This underlines the absurdity of the Crown Office’s jackboot approach to a free press, in pursuit of an agenda which suits its political masters.”

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      2. Sam, Your final paragraph above is an unwarranted slur on the many posters, including yourself, on this site.

        In the preceding paragraphs, you presented a fair precis of the issues contained in them. I was surprised, and disappointed, that, in your subsequent piece, you quote the Spectator, which has hardly been impartial.

        Amain purpose of this site has been to point out bias and inaccuracy in the media, and, in particular, BBC Scotland News and Current Affairs.

        Professor Robertson has always declared that he is a member of the SNP of many years standing. I am not a member, although I support independence. I have voted on every possible occasion since 1968 and only a minority of my votes have gone to the SNP candidates. I voted YES in 1979, 1997 and in 2014.

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  14. Guardian 16,000 readership in Scotland. Control by Westminster licence. Greenwald revelations. Cameron/Clegg put the Met in to smash up the mail room and threaten the Editor. The Guardian full of Oxbridge ‘journalists’. They beg for donations. Pleading poverty. They have £Billion in reserves.

    The headline about the deficit. Holyrood does have a deficit. Lack of powers. The monies and revenues and resources taken to fund London S/E. Westminster rubbish policies Not voted for in Scotland.

    The economic failure and deficit caused by Westminster. The Tory sycophants. Inquiry now being demanded for the mismanagement of the pandemic shambles. The Brexit chaos unfolding,

    Like

  15. Dear Scotchland, thanks so much for being a massive distraction and deflection from the total chaos of Brexit and the corrupt great great British (English) government who have killed hundreds of thousands of people and who don’t care about it even breaking the laws of their country of England and every law in the universe. It’s so nice of you to keep the rich, those caring sharing billionaires, living in the manner to which they have become accustomed. Oh and thanks so much for stroring our Nukes for us in your mountains and in your territorial
    waters. Lots of love, (kick kick kick), England.
    Ps get back to work you lazy scrounging subsidy junkie suckers!!!

    Like

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