Wednesday 17 March 2021

Davis has exposed the conspiracy


It may not be possible to prove it, it probably won’t be possible to get Nicola Sturgeon to resign. She is protected by her SNP MSPs and by her Scottish Green MSPs. If there were a vote of no confidence in Sturgeon, she would probably win it. The Alex Salmond Inquiry Committee will also vote along independence supporting lines. But despite all of these things we now know, pretty much beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was a conspiracy against Mr Salmond, that senior figures in the Scottish Civil Service and the SNP were involved and that Nicola Sturgeon almost certainly knew about it long before she says she did. This makes her evidence to the Inquiry look less than honest.

David Davis could not have produced the messages that he did if they had not been sent. The messages could not have been sent if there had not been a conspiracy. The people involved in sending the messages are so close to Sturgeon, her husband, her chief of staff, that it is impossible to imagine that she was not involved. The idea that her chief of staff, Liz Lloyd did a bit of freelance work without Sturgeon’s knowledge or permission is to imagine what would have happened if Sturgeon had been displeased at those close to her investigating Alex Salmond’s past behaviour. How would Sturgeon have reacted if one of her favourite ministers was being investigated by her husband and chief of staff without her knowledge?

It is clear from the messages that Davis read out that there was an attempt to find people who would accuse Mr Salmond of sexual offences. There was disappointment when promising accusers failed to accuse. There were attempts to make sure those women who accused Mr Salmond continued to do so.

By what right did these people usurp the role of the police? It is not for ordinary citizens to try to gather witnesses to a crime. It’s the job of ordinary citizens to report matters of concern to the police and then let the police get on with their job free from interference.

It is quite clear that there were people within the SNP and the Scottish Civil Service who were desperate to find women who would accuse Salmond of sexual offences and desperate for him to be convicted. Some of these people ludicrously were involved in an investigation into Mr Salmond’s behaviour. To describe the investigation as tainted with bias is something of an understatement.

But all of the alleged offences happened prior to the independence referendum in 2014. Why had none of the people involved in the later investigation been so diligent in finding out about Mr Salmond’s alleged behaviour then? Why suddenly did we have an investigation beginning in 2017 leading to Scottish civil servants and SNP officials striving to find evidence against Mr Salmond?

The obvious answer to why there was a conspiracy is that someone started to conspire. We know that Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell was involved. We know that Sturgeon’s chief of staff Liz Lloyd was involved. But why hadn’t they begun this conspiracy earlier, say in 2014? What did they wait for? The answer of course is permission.

If Alex Salmond had still been best friends with Nicola Sturgeon as he was in the years leading up to the referendum, it is unimaginable that there would have been a conspiracy to convict him of anything. If Sturgeon had been told in August 2014 a month before the referendum of allegations from women working in Bute House, would she have personally leaked details about those allegations to the Daily Record? No, a conspiracy could not have happened in 2014, because it would have been inconvenient. It would have damaged the Yes campaign.

But by 2017 Mr Salmond had begun to annoy Nicola Sturgeon. He didn’t want to play the revered elder statesman role, but rather had a tendency to tell her what to do. Worse there was a faction of the SNP that supported Mr Salmond more than her. The SNP was not quite Sturgeon’s.

We know there was a conspiracy. But we don’t know how it started. Perhaps someone saw a news report about Harvey Weinstein, had a light bulb moment involving a band wagon and saw Mr Salmond as a way of getting on it.

Suddenly a new policy was developed which for the first time enabled the investigation of former ministers, but not former civil servants. We are supposed to believe that Sturgeon was not involved and knew nothing about it. After the first couple of women accused Mr Salmond, there was an attempt to find more, but again Sturgeon knew nothing about it despite the involvement of her husband, her chief of staff and that she was frequently in the building where the alleged sexual assaults happened. Perhaps Sturgeon could have provided answers or evidence, but she wasn’t even asked.  

We are supposed to believe that the last thing Sturgeon wanted was for her best friend and mentor to be charged with anything, yet it all just happened by chance without her at any point giving the nod that led to the conspiracy beginning. This is the equivalent of supposing that when a horse’s head ends up in your bed, that Don Corleone wasn’t involved and knew nothing about it. He would not doubt testify that this was so. The idea that a conspiracy against Alex Salmond could be plotted merely by Peter Murrell, his SNP friends and members of the Scottish Civil Service without involvement of the person in charge of all of them makes no sense.

The investigation into Alex Salmond which cost the Scottish Government more than half a million pounds ought to cost the conspirators their jobs if not their liberty. It probably won’t. Those who have to go will go with large pensions. SNP and Green MSPs will put the cause of independence ahead of the cause of honesty and morality in Government. This is the fundamental problem with that cause. It causes people to act immorally because they think getting rid of Mr Salmond by sending him to jail would be worth it if it increased the power of the SNP and increased the likelihood of independence.

But the Scottish electorate still has the chance to deprive Sturgeon of her job and the SNP of its power. We had better take that chance, because a Government that is willing to use its power to conspire against Mr Salmond is a Government that is willing to subvert democracy itself.