Wednesday 25 March 2020

We must drain the SNP loch

Scotland like most other parts of the world is facing our worst crisis since 1945, but we are doing so with an SNP facing its worst crisis since its foundation in the 1930s. People in other parts of Britain see the best of Nicola Sturgeon, but they rarely understand her. She is a very able politician, but there is a surface and there is an underneath. You have to live in Scotland to see beneath the waves.

Some Scottish opposition politicians have praised Sturgeon’s performance. Holyrood is a very chummy club. Some journalists in London like to praise Sturgeon’s ability to repeat like an actress the lines she has just learned at a British Government briefing. She is a good performer. But it’s substance that Scotland needs right now, not acting and not certainly not an SNP civil war.

The SNP controls nearly all of the most crucial policies that will determine how our doctors and nurse and our hospitals cope in the months ahead. It would have been far better if they had concentrated on these things in the years since 2014 instead of continually refighting a battle they had lost. But now instead of fighting for the lives of Scots who are ill, the SNP will be fighting itself.

Something very strange is happening at the moment in Scotland and I don’t mean a virus which for the first time ever has meant that most of us are stuck at home.

The revelations since the conclusion of the Salmond trial are quite extraordinary.

When I wrote about the case a few days ago I reflected on the fact that it is difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt these sorts of charges even if there are multiple witnesses. But I treated the case as a normal criminal trial. But there were events on the surface, that we could find out about by reading newspapers, and there were events underneath.

My assumption was that the witnesses against Salmond were like any other witnesses in a criminal trial. It struck me that as there were so many witnesses against him, it would tend to suggest a pattern of behaviour on Salmond’s part. If one woman says she was sexually assaulted by a man, we might be unwilling to convict him, but if many different women independently testified that they had been raped or sexually assaulted we would be inclined to believe them. There comes a point when it is reasonable to believe that all these women are not lying. But this only works if everything is on the surface.

What we are beginning to learn is that there may have been an organised campaign against Salmond. Jim Sillars, who is no longer a friend of Salmond, maintains that the accusations against Salmond were the result of an SNP political conspiracy. Apparently, Salmond showed Sillars compelling evidence of this.

Did the jury, somehow sense this. Is this why they rejected the witness statements of so many women. Did the jury somehow judge, by seeing the various witnesses and hearing the cross examination that Salmond was being framed?

I am not an insider in any sense. It is very hard therefore to know what is going on beneath the surface. But I know this much, in a time of crisis we all need to know that our politicians speak the truth and that they do not engage in conspiracies. We need Scotland to be run by decent, honest, upright people rather than factions fighting a vendetta against each other like some sort of Scottish Cosa Nostra [Oor Thing].

The SNP is divided it seems into friends of Salmond and friends of Sturgeon. This may be business, or it may be personal. But it is costing the Scottish taxpayer millions. How much has already been spent in investigating Salmond, trying him and letting him go. How much more will be spent if further investigations are necessary now that Salmond has been acquitted.

We must assume that the Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal believed that they had a good case against Salmond that was more likely to succeed than fail. Were they aware of the revelations that have come to light after the trial? If they were, did they think they were credible? In which case why did they go ahead with the trial. If they were not aware of these revelations, were they incompetent or just following orders from on high.

All of the people involved have known each other for decades. During the time leading up to the 2014 referendum Sturgeon and Salmond worked closely together. Are we seriously supposed to believe that she was unaware of any accusations against Salmond? Many of the alleged events happened in her place of work.  Salmond apparently had something of a reputation with regard to women. Did Sturgeon really never even hear whispers about it?

We need to know the truth. Was there a conspiracy against Salmond? If there was, what was the reason? We need to know if Scottish politicians, the Police or anyone else encouraged witnesses to exaggerate their testimony against Salmond. We need to know if there was an organised plot from the very top of Scottish politics to send a man to jail on the basis of innuendo, and embellishment and that this was done for reasons of political expediency. We need to know about Sturgeon’s involvement.

I have no idea what is true now in Scotland. I don’t know what Salmond did and I don’t know what Sturgeon did, but I trust no one anymore. I don’t trust the Scottish Police and I don’t trust the Scottish Courts. All of them have first come under the influence of the Salmond cult of personality and then later the Sturgeon cult. But I do know that there are murky things underneath the loch and that there is something nasty in the SNP woodshed. None of these people are fit to rule Scotland in normal times let alone during a crisis. 

We need to drain the SNP loch to see what monsters lurk below.