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Stephen Gethins – Forgot His Purpose and lost his Seat At Westminster – Now Heading For Kinross

 

 

Lib Dems target Stephen Gethins of SNP in Scotland's closest general  election seat - Daily Record

 

 

Stephen Gethins SNP  

Dec 2018: In the course of a near 5 year parliamentary career at Westminster he displayed little interest in the politics of the Russia or the many unsubstantiated charges of its leaders conducting “disinformation” campaigns against the United Kingdom.

Indeed the only time he mentioned the subject was in the course of an emergency debate in the Commons, on the misconduct of the UK Government and NATO funded charity “Integrity Initiative”.

Which he apparently was unaware operated out of a disused factory in his constituency.

 

General election: Inside the most marginal constituency in the UK

 

 

The debate: opening statement from the Tory Minister of State:

“The “Institute for Statecraft” is an independent UK-based charity whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security.

It runs a project called the “integrity initiative”, which is working to counter disinformation overseas by bringing together groups of experts to analyse and discuss the problem posed by Russian disinformation.

The Government are funding this initiative with nearly £2 million this financial year.

That funding covers its activity outside the UK and it does not fund any activity within the UK; nor does it fund the management of the “integrity initiative’s” social media account.

Recent reports that Foreign Office funding has been used to support party political activity in the UK are therefore wholly untrue.” (Hansard)

But the debate had been called for by the Labour Party in response to the misuse of the organisation’s Twitter account to publish a number of posts hostile to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party, in apparent breach of the foregoing statement of the rules relating to state funding and charity activity.

 

Stephen Gethins SNP - Home | Facebook

 

and Gethins contribution:

“I wish to put on record that a number of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funded non-governmental organisations do extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.

Before I came to this place, I worked in the south Caucasus and the western Balkans, where many of those organisations do that extraordinary work.

They deserve our support for doing that but, more than anything else, they need to know that the Foreign Office has full openness and transparency.

Our most powerful tool against any Russian misinformation is respect for the rule of law, the democratic process and, critically, transparency; we owe that to those working in these organisations.

The Minister will be well aware of many people who work in very difficult circumstances and find themselves at the hard edge of Russian disinformation campaigns. (Hansard)

 

The growing Brexit crisis: The SNP's Stephen Gethins sets … | Flickr

 

April 2019: The Tory Government ramps up its anti-Putin/Russia campaigning and Getkins asked a pointless and clearly planted written question. Brownie points?

Getkins:

What steps is the Minister taking with his overseas counterparts to tackle the distribution of disinformation in (a) Ukraine, (b) Belarus and (c) the Baltic States?

Tory Minister of State:

​We have a regular dialogue with international partners on the challenge posed by hostile state disinformation, including to align donor support in this field.

The Foreign Secretary discussed disinformation at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 21 January in the context of the European Commission’s ambitious Action Plan Against Disinformation.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s own dedicated Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme aims to protect national security by countering disinformation directed at the UK and its Allies from Russia.

It funds projects in a number of different countries that seek to enhance independent media, support civil society organisations that expose disinformation and share good practice with partner governments.

Media plurality, institutional resilience and public awareness provide strong defenses against disinformation, whatever the source, and sit at the heart of our efforts.

In particular, we are supporting a new Open Information Partnership of European Non-Governmental Organisations, charities, academics, think-tanks and journalists which are working to respond to manipulated information in the news, social media and across the public space.

Make sense of that!!!

 

Brexit: MPs debate article 50 bill - as it happened | Politics | The  Guardian

 

 

April 2019: Only days later the American justice system revealed that many of the programmes of disinformation worldwide are plotted and delivered by the British Secret Services.

Following 22 months of torturous investigation US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, chairman of a committee comprised mainly of Democrats hand picked by himself, concluded that Russia had not interfered in the US election.

The investigation did reveal however that the British Secret Services had been actively involved, plotting together with the FBI and other parties, funded by “dark money” and had implemented a programme of spurious disinformation in support of Hillary Clinton.

But the remit of Muller’s investigation was restricted to claims against Russia and the final report made no mention of the involvement of MI6 and its associates.

 

Academy for Cultural Diplomacy

 

 

British Secret Services interference in the US Presidential Election

Q: Why was the Service tasked to assist Clinton?

A: Because Clinton supported Britain’s continued membership of the EC. But Trump wanted it out so that he could extend the influence of the US bringing back the “old alliance” heavily promoted in the Reagan-Thatcher era.

Where’s the evidence?

Allegations of British Secret Service and other agencies were referred to the US Justice Department for further investigation. Of special interest is the so called “Steele Dossier” an investigation commissioned at the request (allegedly) of the Democratic Party and/or President Obama.

The report is a collection of claims supposedly proving the existence of a conspiracy between Trump’s team and the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favour, and which reportedly served to justify the wiretapping by the FBI of Trump’s campaign managers.

The company contracted to complete the work was “Orbis”, a British company since revealed to be a front for the MI6 organization.

So, in effect the British government organized a dirty campaign to discredit Trump. Wholly unjustified, illegal interference in another country’s elections.

And the Steele Report?

In July 2020 the US Senate Judiciary Committee released newly declassified documents on the FBI’s interview with ex-UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s “primary sub-source” claiming that the Steele dossier about the alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump was “unsubstantiated and unreliable”.

 

Mercator European Dialogue: Statement mit Stephen Gethins - YouTube

 

 

In summary:

It revealed that “Orbis” tasked (former) MI6 agent Christopher Steele, to gather evidence confirming collusion between Trump’s team and the Russians and to compile a dossier for submission to the FBI.

Steele was not permitted to enter Russia due to his previous activities as an MI6 agent and his contacts within Russia had long since departed the scene so his reliance on gossip and innuendo was absolute.

Starved of current intelligence, Steele established contact with former “Brooking Institution” * researcher Igor Danchenko, a Russian-trained lawyer who had earned degrees at the University of Louisville and Georgetown University.

Danchenko’s experience of Russian politics was limited to identifying risks associated with doing business with Russian companies.

He had no history of working with Russian intelligence operatives or bringing to light their covert activities.

But he became the main source of information to Steele. A damming revelation adding confirmation to the lack of credibility of the “Steele dossier.

* A left wing think tank firmly in the pocket of President Obama and the Democratic Party

 

BrExit: Withdrawal Agreement Rejected - Stephen Gethins, 29 March - YouTube

 

And the plot thickens

The New York Times reported that Danchenko had agreed to collaborate with the FBI in 1997 on the condition that the agency would keep his identity secret so he could protect himself.

So, in 2017 the FBI were fully aware that the content of the “Steele dossier” was “unsubstantiated and unreliable” and that the information Danchenko had given to Steele was “second and third-hand information and rumours at best”.

Yet the FBI still permitted the the publication of the “Steele dossier” alleging that Russian intelligence had compromising information on the US president and that Moscow and POTUS had “extensive” secret back-channels, only a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

The content of the “dossier” became part of the Democratic Party’s efforts to tarnish Trump’s political image accusing him of colluding with Russia. A charge which he has repeatedly rejected as a “witch hunt”.

In April 2019, Robert Muller’s 22 month investigation, led by a Democratic Party majority committee confirmed the truth of Trump’s many denials of wrongdoing.

 

Election campaign in Scotland set to be dominated by SNP calls for indyref2  | Your Local Guardian

 

Summary

Gethins lost his North East Fife seat at Westminster in the 2019 General Election, but he recently announced his return to politics in next years Scottish elections.

If successful I expect him to concentrate on the day job of campaigning for Scotland’s self determination.

But the irony of the political views of himself and others of the same ilk, in the SNP was expressed in their contributions to foreign affairs debates and in their media statements when they were at Westminster when they failed to accept and support the people of Donetsk and Crimea who had held self determination referendums and decided that they wished to return to Russia.

Stewart McDonald MP for Glasgow South, the SNP spokesperson for Defense and a very active Member of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, is also the proud recipient of the “Third Class of Order of Merit of the Ukraine”, in recognition of his work promoting relations between Scotland and Ukraine.

But informed observers, including Putin, are well aware that the Western Ukraine population is almost exclusively Germanic and it was only roped into the USSR in 1945, because of Churchill’s eagerness to strike a deal with Stalin. Its right to independence is respected by Russia.

But the Ukraine is not a free country. It is politically controlled by the corrupt financial backing of arch-capitalist George Soros, who invited the “West” to provide support and assistance to the country in its time of need. Asset stripping with a vengeance.

And Stewart McDonald MP apparently speaks for the SNP in his attacks on Russia. What the hell is that all about. It most definitely is not the reason voters elected him to office. He should back off from the committee and get on with the day job of fighting for independence for Scotland.

 

Stephen Gethins (@StephenGethins) | Twitter

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Little Bo Peep is losing her sheep – Is it Et Tu for Nicola Sturgeon

 

Alex Salmond's 'female problem' - or why most Scottish women wouldn't trust him to run a tea party

 

 

2014 Independence Referendum

Nicola Sturgeon was given the honour of leading the campaign for independence.

Referendum campaigning began with polls indicating “No” voters would prevail, a view promoted by the Unionist media and given maximum media space by the BBC, who bombarded Scotland with negative publicity broadcasting many times each day that only around 25% of Scots would commit to supporting independence.

In response, in the first months of 2014, the performance of the team Nicola had put in place was formal, lacklustre and deferential with result that it was completely outfoxed at every juncture by the well-oiled machine that was, “Better Together.”

Responding to months of the Unionist Party’s gutter politicking, negative media and attacks on Scots, Alex Salmond intervened and altering the campaigning strategy gave his support to “Yes” activists to take the lead on campaigning, getting onto the streets to encourage Scots to seize the day and take their country away from a union that had failed them so badly for over 300 years.

The inspired initiative worked a treat and the “Yes” campaign fortunes changed over the summer months of 2014 so much that by late August polls declared the outcome to be too close to call.

The Unionist campaign then faltered due to internal Party political wrangling and panic set in.

Cameron responded by sidelining “Better Together” transferring all decision making to his offices in Westminster, where he implored the Queen, Dukes, Barons, Knights of the realm, heads of Governments of countless countries around the world, just about every civil servant of any note, many hundreds of business leaders and politicians to get behind him and save the Union by pulling every trick in the book no matter how devious or dishonest.

The BBC and other Unionist media outlets assiduously assisted orchestrating skullduggery and delivering it through mass media subversion resulting in the pendulum swinging back in favour of the “No” campaign. But still “Yes” voters appeared to be on a roll with no sign of momentum slowing.

Desperate measures were needed if the Union was to be saved and only a week before the day of voting and therefore “illegal”, the “Unionists” pledged, then heavily promoted “Devo Max” for Scotland, greatly increasing devolved powers, only just short of “home rule”.

The ploy worked. Only days before the referendum vote Bookmakers stopped taking bets on a “no” vote victory. People with influence in the Unionist camp had clearly been advised of the outcome of the referendum before the voters of Scotland had even been to the polling booths.

Scotland subsequently voted “No” to independence on Thursday 18 September 2014.

 

Nicola Sturgeon's “pain and anguish” over freeze in relationship with Alex Salmond | The Scotsman

 

 

The Fallout

The result of the referendum became evident not long after the polling stations closed when a resounding “no” vote was returned from a council expected to vote “yes”. A negative result confirmed by similar outcomes from other councils on the East coast of Scotland.

Unionists in Scotland and England were cock-a-hoop and could not contain their delight. Many clamoured for media airtime so that they would be able to rub salt into the wounds of Scots who had backed independence. One such person was “Ruth the Mooth” Davidson who mocked the nation with her release of information that she had been advised of the outcome before the referendum had been conducted.

Her admission was a bombshell. The only way she could have known things had gone so well for the “no” voters was if she or people known to her had opened and counted postal ballots, which had been held secure in England, at the headquarters of the company contracted by the Unionist Government to preserve the integrity of the vote.

A police investigation was completed, in the course of which Davidson confirmed sample voting had been conducted, as speculated, in England at the offices of the company contracted by the Unionist Government but no criminal act had occurred. It later transpired that the Company was owned by a Tory Minister and his associates.

The postal vote debacle further devalued the outcome of the referendum with the revelation that the total number of votes returned in many cases was the highest return in any election worldwide, by a great margin. The shenanigans convinced many Scots that the vote had been rigged in favour of a “no” vote.

Scots were also alarmed and had questioned before the referendum as to the reasons why the Chief Electoral Officer had been seconded to oversee the referendum from her permanent post in England and her subsequent actions appointing fellow English “counting officers” of similar ilk. There was further concern about her unprecedented actions banning exit polling and instructing that there would be no recounts nor appeals at any of the stations.

Cameron claimed victory the morning after and confirmed Alex had accepted defeat. He went on to give the undertaking to honour the Unionist “Vow” to deliver “Devomax” to Scotland. But he also introduced a spoiler in declaring England & Wales would also become “Devomaxed” answering the “Lothian Question” raised by Tam Dayell, but never answered. The House of Commons and Westminster would become a near irrelevance to Scotland who would not be permitted to have a view, discuss or vote on any matter exclusively concerning England or Wales.

Scots were outraged by the deceit of the Unionists who behaved dishonourably before and after the referendum and continued their protestations on social media, the only outlet permitting any expression of views which did not support the Unionist agenda.

Adding insult to injury only days after the referendum Cameron bragged to the Unionist media that “her majesty” had purred with delight when he informed her of the outcome.

A wronged nation is an unhappy nation and Scots were angry at the way in which the future was unravelling under the continued control of the Unionists and they turned in increasing numbers to the SNP demanding a different path. Independence was back on track. But under a new leader.

Within two weeks of the referendum, the membership of the SNP increased to an unprecedented level taking its total well beyond that of any political party in the United Kingdom.

Nicola Sturgeon supporters attributed the increase in the membership of the Party to her influence but in reality, it was due to the ongoing intransigence of Mundell and the Unionists who were delaying and distorting the terms of “Devomax”.

 

SNP report outlines new prospectus for Scottish independence | News | Al Jazeera

 

Alex Salmond

In the 18 September, 2014 referendum Scots rejected independence by 55% to 45%. The day after Alex announced he would be standing down as First Minister and SNP leader. In his time in office, as leader of the SNP, Alex exceeded the expectations of his political remit by improving the SNP political standing in Scotland, turning his party into the most popular in the history of devolution, always on a platform of fighting for Scottish interests.

Nicola Sturgeon would be his successor of choice, but he warned of the dangers inherent in a coronation. His advice went unheeded and Nicola was duly “crowned” not long after.

 

Scottish independence support soars among young Scots with almost three in four backing Yes - Daily Record

 

 

Nicola Sturgeon

Her position as leader confirmed Nicola addressed an audience in an auditorium packed to the gunnels with many thousands of members all fully committed to the cause of independence and expecting a rallying call to renew the fight for freedom from their leader. But they were to be disappointed.

She used her acceptance speech as First Minister to reassure her Unionist opponents her administration would be more than just a vehicle for constitutional campaigning. It would provide good government for all Scots always fully operating within the rules put in place by Westminster

She dwelled longest on her achievement of becoming the first woman to lead a Scottish Government. Her election showed “the sky’s the limit” for women and girls across the country, she told the audience before then saying:

“But it is what I do as First Minister that will matter more – much more – than the example I set by simply holding the office.”

Then, Looking up towards her niece Harriet, eight, in the gallery, she added:

“She doesn’t yet know about the gender pay gap or under-representation or the barriers, like high childcare costs, that make it so hard for so many women to work and pursue careers. My fervent hope is that she never will; that by the time she is a young woman, she will have no need to know about any of these issues because they will have been consigned to history. If, during my tenure as First Minister, I can play a part in making that so, for my niece and for every other little girl in this country, I will be very happy indeed.”

She had set her priorities for the future. The fight for independence was to be continued but within the limits of responsible governance. But her primary mission was to advance the cause of women.

What followed was a media frenzy in which Nicola was feted by women’s rights organisations worldwide including invitations to visit the USA and address female leaders and human rights activists the UN. She would become the new “Angela Merkel” and inspire women to a better future in politics and business.

 

Scottish independence: Scots living elsewhere in UK SHOULD get vote in referendum - poll | UK | News | Express.co.uk

 

 

Devo max

A cross-party commission, led by Lord Smith of Kelvin, was set up agree upon the implementation of the Unionist’s “Vow” which would be the greatest transfer of powers from Westminster to Scotland since the reopening of the Scottish Parliament 15 years before.

So what happened?

The Commission Panel concurred that their discussions and outcomes would be formalised without consultation with external bodies and went on to commit to full devolution of abortion law, the creation of a separate Scottish Health & Safety Executive, lotteries, asylum and a much greater say in the governance of the BBC. Other powers to be devolved included: income tax, personal allowances, bands and rates, employers’ National Insurance contributions, inheritance tax, the power to create new taxes without Treasury approval and a raft of other taxes. An agreed draft of “Heads of Agreement” proposals was published on 21 November 2014.

But many of the foregoing commitments were axed on the final day, at the instigation of Unionist parties, without explanation and it was revealed later that Commission panel members of Unionist persuasion, allegedly independent of Westminster were frequently on the phone taking instructions from their UK party leaders in London, with the LibDems and Tories particularly exercised about welfare proposals and Labour more focused on tax.

The commitment permitting the Scottish government to vary the components of Universal Credit, which merged Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Employment and Support Allowance, was rejected by Westminster.

The decision to devolve abortion policy had been agreed on a 4-1 basis, with only Labour opposed to it. In the draft version of the report dated 11.15am on November 26 – the final day of negotiations – stated: “Powers over abortion will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.” But throughout that same day, Labour kept pushing its opposition in one-to-one meetings with Lord Smith, who then raised it again with the other parties. The Tory members then sided with Labour and the commitment to devolve abortion was removed.

The draft also stated: “Power to establish a separate Scottish Health & Safety Executive to set enforcement priorities, goals and objectives in Scotland will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The body would be required to operate within the reserved UK health & safety framework but would assess, set and achieve the health and safety objectives of most relevance and importance to Scotland.”

The policy, long supported the trade union movement in Scotland was struck out and relegated to the “additional issues” annexe of the final report, which said the Scottish and UK governments would merely “consider” changes.

Also included was the agreement that: “The power to permit the creation and regulation of new lotteries in Scotland will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.” But the final report devolved only the power to “prevent the proliferation” of highly addictive gaming machines known as fixed-odds betting terminals.

Also missing from the final draft was the statement that had said: “There will be greater Scottish involvement in BBC governance beyond the current right to have one Trust member and the current Audience Council Scotland.”

The Commission chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, gave the impression he added weight to the views of the three main Westminster parties over panel members. A source saying: “The position that Lord Smith took was that if the parties who were either in the current UK government or might be in the next refused to budge on something, he went with it. The Unionist votes counted for more.”

 

Still Yes - Vote Again - Scottish Independence - 59mm Badge Referendum/Sturgeon Scotland Europe Vote Yes/No: Amazon.co.uk: Office Products

 

 

Devo max was not delivered by the Unionists who decided many important powers would remain with Westminster, including:

The Barnett Formula, setting the block grant from Westminster.

The state pension, including the pension age.

National Insurance, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation tax, fuel duty, oil and gas receipts.

Universal Credit, the new DWP system for delivering working-age benefits, including the rates and sanctions regime- Housing benefit, maternity pay, statutory sick pay, bereavement allowance and child benefit.

The National Minimum Wage.

The Equality Act, but Scotland would be enabled to set new rules, such as gender quotas within the government.

Overall responsibility to manage risks and shocks to the economy, including retention of the power to levy UK-wide taxes if required.

 

Who decides the date of a Scottish independence referendum? | Financial Times

 

The SNP response

John Swinney, who had led the negotiations for the SNP Government said:

“We regret that job creation powers, welfare powers, control over the personal allowance or national insurance have not been delivered. We welcome the new powers – as we support all progress for Scotland – and pledge to use them when they are in place in the best interests of the Scottish people. We also welcome the acknowledgement of the ‘sovereign right’ of the people of Scotland, and our ability to proceed to independence if we so choose. But the proposals clearly do not reflect the full wishes of the people of Scotland, and also fall far short of the rhetoric from the “No” campaign during the referendum.

Harking back to the referendum campaign it is important to highlight the illegal and late intervention of former Labour Party Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, only days before the referendum and well within the “period of purgatory” when acting with the authority of the Unionist Government, he promised that in the event of a “no” vote the reward for Scotland would be “Devomax” which would be as close to a federal state as the UK could be.

Brown, no longer a statesman, was given 2 hours of BBC prime time television and a hand-picked unionist supporting studio audience to promote his illegal, game-changing ploy which had been apparently condoned by the Electoral Commission.

Regrettably, the Westminster government and other political Unionist supporters failed to deliver the powerhouse parliament the people of Scotland had been promised. Under the proposals delivered, much less than 30 per cent of Scottish taxes would be to be set in Scotland and less than 20 per cent of welfare spending would be devolved. Most significantly, the proposals did not include the job-creating powers that Scotland so badly needed to get more people into work and grow the economy, nor welfare powers to tackle in-work poverty. This was not “Home Rule” – It was the continuation of Westminster rule.

Of significance for the future the final report contained the following statement:

“Reflecting the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs, as expressed in the referendum on 18 September 2014, and in the context of Scotland remaining within the UK, an enhanced devolution settlement for Scotland will be durable, responsive and democratic. And it is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose.”

And Scots, fed up to the back teeth with the Unionist Party’s refusal to honour their promise of “Devomax” gave notice of their determination on independence in a UK General Election only a few months later.

 

A Picture of Scotland's 56 SNP MPs : Scotland

 

The 2015 General Election

At the time of his resignation, reportedly forced on him by a small group of senior SNP managers, Alex Salmond could not have foreseen the landslide SNP victory (gained only six months later) in the 2015 General Election.

A success brought about by the disgraceful backsliding of “Unionist” politicians, their Civil Service helpers and other parties interested only in the containment of Scots within the existing political constraints.

The much-touted joint Unionist commitment to fully implement their “Vow” !!!!……to devolve powers to Scotland, just short of independence, proved to be a “lie” that broke the hearts of many Scots who had voted to remain in the Union only on the substance of “Unionist! promises.

Private polling, in the months before the election, provided an early indication of a marked upturn in the fortunes of the Party and the battle for the hearts, minds and votes of Scots was taken up, once again, by those who would not be denied Scotlands freedom from an oppressive Westminster political machine.

Alex, semi-retired from active politics by many, consulted the Party hierarchy and gained their reluctant support for his challenge for the Banff & Buchan constituency. Which he subsequently won.

An unprecedented 56 SNP MP’s were elected in a landslide, just about eliminating the Unionist Parties in Scotland. The nation had spoken. Independence should have been declared, but repeating the errors of the past, tartan wearing, bagpipe playing SNP MP’s, and their supporters descended on Westminster determined to shake the House of Commons to its core, forcing change leading to another independence referendum. But they had not consulted those that had elected them preferring to embrace the instructions of the SNP leaders who advised Scots that:

“Westminster is going through culture shock in coming to terms with the fact the SNP did so well in the election. That we are here in such strong numbers, elected as Scots who support independence, is also not lost on them. We were elected to pursue an anti-austerity agenda and more devolved powers for Scotland. and we will do just that.”

But they had chosen to misread the will of the Scottish nation which was to abandon the “Treaty of Union”. And yet again, as on previous occasions, they were to be sorely disappointed. The “old lady of parliament” simply adjusted her skirts and swept them aside with contempt.

 

How undemocratic is the House of Lords? : Democratic Audit

 

 

Consequences

The influence of a large body of SNP MP’s at Westminster had been of little matter when set against the blatant refusal by the Unionist parties to uphold their 2014 referendum promise to devolve additional powers to the Scottish parliament and when the UK held yet another General Election only a year later the Unionist campaign managers of their Scottish branches agreed to assist each other, cutting back on political campaigning where they had little chance of gaining a seat instead promoting the cause of the Unionist candidates regardless of persuasion. Tactical voting had arrived, with a vengeance. And it worked a treat.

 

Alex Salmond in 'bid to lead fresh drive for Scots independence' as he is cleared of sex assaults | | Express Digest

 

 

Peter Murrell

A complacent SNP election team, led by its Chief Executive and Campaigns Manager, Peter Murrell (Nicola Sturgeon’s husband) failed to anticipate the new tactics of the Unionists and lost many good MP’s.

And Murrell has form. Under the leadership of John Swinney, he directed the organisation and delivery of the disastrous 2003 Holyrood election, in which the Party lost eight seats which resulted in the resignation of John Swinney as SNP leader in 2004 and a bid for the leadership of the Party by Nicola Sturgeon, which she was forced to withdraw when Alex Salmond announced his intention to add his name to the list of contenders. She subsequently agreed to take on the role of Deputy leader of the Party and to “stand-in” for Alex as the Party’s “Holyrood leader” while he remained an MP at Westminster.

Few people know Murrell who is rarely seen, except at elections and at Party events, where he is nearly always present in the main auditorium, usually standing in the shadows to the side of the stage whispering instructions to Cabinet ministers as they prepare to make keynote speeches. He is a powerful general blessed with a salary in excess of £100K and a level of authority more comprehensive than the casual watcher could possibly realise.

 

Nicola Sturgeon branded 'out of step' by MSPs over trans rights comments | The National

 

 

The Feminist agenda

In the years following her elevation to the leadership of the Party Nicola turned Scottish politics on its head. Female SNP politicians and careerists now dominate the Party hierarchy witnessed in the ongoing Alex Salmon inquiry which revealed the First Minister’s Cabinet to be predominantly female, with seven of its 12 members women. And an all-female team reporting to her, comprising: Chief of Staff, Liz Lloyd, Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, Director of People, Nicola Richards and the Head of People Advice, Judith Mackinnon.

 

PressReader - Scottish Daily Mail: 2019-04-18 - Nicola is 'out of step' over trans rights, warn SNP feminists

 

 

Summary

There is a growing disquiet among members, supporters and independence activists that the Party has lost its way under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon in the years since the 2014 referendum. And it is no longer the Party of independence having morphed into the Party of Government in Scotland. A role to which the Party founders never aspired.

Critics also highlight that neither Nicola nor her Party Chief Executive husband and has ever attended, fronted or supported any of the many dozens of marches and or rallies organised and delivered across the country in the past 6 years, by many hundreds of thousands of Scottish independence activists.

Conversely Nicola appears to be always available to provide public support and photo opportunities through her attendance at rallies, throughout the UK, organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups.

The priorities for the leader of the Scottish national Party should be gaining independence for Scotland. That and nothing else.

 

Sex Education in Nursery. RSHP Early Stage. - YouTube

 

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Double Devolution – The Tory Plan For Scotland

 

David Mundell: Devolution in Scotland - the next great debate speech -  GOV.UK

 

 

10 Sep 2020: Reported in today’s “National” – Councillors in Shetland have passed a motion to explore options for “achieving political and financial self-determination”.

Leader of the council Steven Coutts proposed the motion, which was carried yesterday by 18 to 2 votes. The motion states there is concern that centralised decision-making “is seriously threatening the prosperity, and sustainability, of Shetland as a community”.

Unionist commentators and politicians leapt onto news of the motion, with Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston saying it was “no wonder islanders have run out patience” with Holyrood.

He commented: “I believe it’s right that both of our governments work with the islands to help meet the aspirations and unique needs of their people. However, it is clear that the current arrangements, where so much power is centralised in Edinburgh and the needs of Shetland often ignored, is some distance from where Shetlanders want to be.”

Ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, there were reports the islands could become self-governing like the Isle of Man if the rest of Scotland voted Yes while they backed staying in the Union.

LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael said in that situation a “conversation about Shetland’s position and the options that might be open to it” could start.

 

Comment:

The report might be dismissed as being not particularly interesting but taken with recent news about the intention of the UK Government it is entirely relevant in today’s politics in Scotland and possibly signals a start of a process bringing about the reduction of the devolved powers of the Scottish Government. And there is good reason to be concerned. I reviewed and compiled (see below) a record of political events, from 2014 to date, pertaining to the governance of the isles.

 

Scotland Bill: Alistair Carmichael takes on SNP as he demands devolution of  property | The Independent

 

 

The Three Islands Strategy

In the early months of the 2014 independence referendum campaign as the balance of probability switched from “no” to “yes” the Lib/Dems were forced to step away from their leading role in the mainland campaign by the other two Unionist Party’s.

The Lib/Dems retained their leadership role campaigning for a “no” vote in the Scottish Isles and formed three Unionist supporting campaign groups. “Our Islands Our Future”, “For Argyll” and “Wir Shetland”.

Tavish Scott, one-time leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland and then MSP for Orkney and Shetland, called on the islands to loosen their ties with Scotland. Saying he was in favour of the islands forming a crown dependency in their own right, with a similar status to the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

The Unionist Party’s echoed and added support to Scott’s views and dropped a spoiler into the mix offering specific guarantees to the Islanders should they vote “no”.

 

A Time of Despair For Scots – Blessed With A Neutered Authority in Scotland  and Governed by a Bunch of Incompetent Tory Wide Boys In London – caltonjock

 

 

The New Deal for the Isles

the legislation would be put in place ensuring the account of island priorities. The UK Government in Scotland would appoint an islands representative dedicated to supporting the isles together with an oil and gas islands forum which would assist decision-making in the sector.

Renewable energy transmission links would be built linking the Isles to the mainland and island-specific challenges for transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty would receive closer consideration, and measures would be taken to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate, which manages Scotland’s seas and foreshore.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the proposals would “strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government”. Adding: “It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require. That is good news for the councils of the isles and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of our people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening but acting – and in doing so we are strengthening the UK.”

 

The Case for the Scottish Parliament Learning Intentions By the end of this  set of lessons I will: Look at the structure of politics in the UK  Identify. - ppt download

 

 

The Future Governance of the Scottish Isles

Three weeks before the referendum the Unionists published their “Framework for the Islands” with the claim that it would embed the voice of the island at the heart of the UK Government reflecting the priorities of their communities more closely in decision making and policy.

It would provide the basis for joint working between the UK Government and Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles on a range of priorities and included a 10 point plan for the islands:

* Islands proofing: Including new arrangements to scrutinise UK Government policy and legislation to ensure they take account of islands priorities.

* Economic benefits: A new Islands Working Group supported by a dedicated position in the UK Government offices in Edinburgh with its agenda set by the islands, covering priorities like Islands Innovation Zones, construction costs and community benefit.

* A new Oil and Gas Islands forum: The UK Government will commit to working with the Islands Councils assisting strategic decision-making on future priorities for the oil and gas industry. This will allow the councils to work more closely with the UK Government and industry.

* Renewable energy: There will be a firm UK Government commitment to the “Renewable Energy Delivery Forum”, focussed on getting transmission links to the islands. The UK Government also shared the 3 Islands Councils’ ambitions for the deployment of renewable energy and for research and development activity, and we will ensure that obstacles to securing the necessary infrastructure are tackled effectively.

* The framework recognised the island groups faced particular challenges in the areas of transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty. The UK Government will work with the councils on these areas.

* Transport: This includes seeking an extension to the Air Discount Scheme and a commitment to consider fiscal measures to support transport connectivity with the island groups.

* Postal services: The UK Government will work with retailers, consumer groups and enforcers to ensure parcel delivery charges to remote regions are fair and transparent, in line with the UK statement of principles for parcel deliveries.

* Connectivity: Digital connectivity is of great importance to local inhabitants and businesses on the islands and the UK Government will fund the “Mobile Infrastructure Project”, working to provide improved mobile coverage throughout the isles, aiming to address market failures in these areas. There will be a guarantee of parity in the minimum service level between the UK mainland and islands areas achieved by the delivery of superfast broadband to all premises in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

* Crown Estate: measures will be taken to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate.

* There will be increased island representation on UK government bodies and a dedicated point of contact to offer advice and guidance to the islands.

Selling his vision of the future to the islanders, Carmichael said:

“Today’s announcement is a landmark for the relationship between the UK Government and OUR island communities in Scotland. It builds on a great deal of good work in the past and will strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government. It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK Government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require. That is good news for the councils and for the whole of the UK and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening but acting and in doing so we are strengthening the Isles and their place in the UK. This is the start of the next part of our journey together, giving us a strong framework which will be reviewed and built on further in the future.

 

What I wrote in September 2014 – Scottish Parliament to be Emasculated –  Vote “No” and Powers Will Be Returned to Westminster Post Brexit – And  Another Independence Referendum Ruled Out. – caltonjock

 

 

The Smith Commission

The Leaders of Scotland’s three Islands Councils have welcomed the findings of the Smith Commission as a major landmark for the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign. The Commission was set up following the Referendum. Its recommendations formed the basis of legislation on more powers for Scotland and the 3 Isles. In his report, Lord Smith said:

“There is a strong desire to see the principle of devolution extended further, with the transfer of powers from Holyrood to local communities. The Scottish Government should work with the UK Parliament, civic Scotland and local authorities to set out ways in which local areas can benefit from the powers of the Scottish Parliament.”

A key aspiration of “Our Islands Our Future” is for the three Islands Councils to take over the Crown Estate’s current responsibility for the foreshore and seabed around their islands. And responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland – including the seabed and foreshore – should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

“Following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets will be further devolved to local authority areas such as Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eilean Siar.”

 

Devolution in Scotland - ppt download

 

 

After the Referendum

Steeled the “No” vote majority and backed by the Unionist Government in Westminster the Scottish Secretary (Mundell) saw no reason to maintain a low key approach to implementation of his plans for the future governance of the isles and any masking of his activities was abandoned in the knowledge that the Westminster government had taken charge of the agenda to the exclusion of the Scottish Government.

Mundell attended a meeting with the “Islands Working Group” attended by each of the islands leaders and other persons closely involved in the campaign taking forward the commitments detailed in the Islands Framework and confirmed the UK Government’s unqualified commitment to the major decentralisation in decision making across Scotland. He said:

“I confirm my on-going commitment to the Islands framework, placing power in the hands of communities making sure opportunity and prosperity reach every part of the United Kingdom. It shows how the Western Isles coming together with Orkney and Shetland has created an example for other parts of Scotland to follow. I’m keen for the Islands Councils to play a full part in the on-going debate on how the substantial powers in the Scotland Bill are used to directly benefit island communities. Over the past few years there has been a process of centralisation from the Scottish Government but taking forward legislation such as the devolution of management over the Crown Estate, this is an imbalance that will be redressed.”

Commenting, Isles MP Angus MacNeil claimed that in endorsing more power to island communities, Mundell had performed a remarkable’ u-turn, saying:

“Hopefully Mr Mundell has become a belated convert to decentralisation. If he had listened when I put this forward at the last Scotland Bill in 2011 we would be a lot further forward. He opposed moves for decentralisation and resisted a push to devolve the Crown Estate to Scotland. His position on this issue has now changed due to the strength Scotland has with the SNP making Tory Westminster listen a little more. I hope Mundell will see for himself during his visit to the islands what real benefits could come from more decentralisation of powers from London and that he will, from now on, be supporting me in fighting to ensure the islands voice is heard at Westminster.”

 

Boris Johnson vows to keep the United Kingdom together on visit to Scotland  | UK | News | Express.co.uk

 

 

Mundell and Double Devolution

Mundell called for a debate on what new powers Scottish local government should be given by Holyrood in order to take greater control over their own affairs, saying:

“The issue of devolution to local communities is now an urgent one for Scotland. There is a revolution going on in local government across the rest of the United Kingdom, with local areas regaining power and responsibility at an unprecedented rate. Scotland cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the UK revolutionises how it governs itself, giving towns, cities and counties more of the autonomy which our international competitors enjoy. It’s time we had a proper debate about devolution within Scotland. Councils need to make their voices heard on what powers and responsibilities they want to have to shape their futures. Devolution is not worthy of the name if it stops at the gates of Holyrood. It has been argued by some that the UK Government should legislate to devolve these and other things directly to Scotland’s local authorities: so-called ‘double devolution’. That is the right intention, but the wrong approach. The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are responsible for local government in Scotland and it is their responsibility to drive that devolution onwards.”

Mundell’s views not supported by this UK Government. who intend to introduce Double Devolution with a vengeance.

 

Boris Johnson says coronavirus response shows 'might of UK union' - YouTube

 

Categories
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The Alex Salmond Inquiry A Can of Worms is Being Exposed But Who Will Break Ranks and Blow the Whistle

 

Holyrood's inquiry into Alex Salmond harassment saga on hold until court  case ends | Scotland | The Times

 

 

 

An update – The Alex Salmond debacle

Judith Mackinnon left her post in July 2017 and took up employment in a newly created post as “Head of People Advice for The Scottish Government”.

She reported to Nicola Richards, who had been appointed to her new role as “Director of People”. It was she who appointed MacKinnon to be the “Investigating Officer”

An early priority was to assist the process of drafting a complaint procedure and McKinnon would surely have been guided by urgent recommendations contained in the January 2017 Police Authority audit report of a similar complaint procedure she had introduced when employed in a senior personnel role by the Authority.

One particular recommendation comes to mind.

“Misconduct Regulations state that the subject officer must receive immediate formal notification of the misconduct allegation once it has been determined that an investigation is required and an investigator has been appointed but before the start of an investigation so that the subject officer can be provided with an opportunity to address it if it is their wish.”

But recent revelations are uncovering a “can of worms”

It has been revealed that on 29 November 2017, Richards and MacKinnon discussed with “Ms. A”, (one of the women who went on to make a formal complaint of sexual harassment against Alex Salmond in January 2018) the content of a draft procedure they were proposing to introduce so that harassment complaints could be actioned against former Ministers, in retrospect.

The document was sent to the Cabinet Secretariat to be retyped.

On 1 December 2017, Richards, emailed James Hynd, the Head of the Cabinet Secretariat;

“Would you be able to send me the latest version of the process? I agreed with “Perm Sec” that I would test it with some key individuals.”

Hynd, replied within the day, attaching the latest version of the draft procedure as requested. He wrote;

“Here you are.”

Richards and MacKinnon met again with “Ms. A” on 5 December 2017 and again discussed the content of the draft procedure then sought “Ms. A” confirmation that the procedures would have helped her at the time and how to put in place safeguards for the future.

Helped her with what??

Later, on 5 December 2017, Richards met with Permanent Secretary, Evans following which she worked late into the evening making changes to the document.

Just before midnight that day, she distributed the revamped document to James Hynd, “Head of the Cabinet secretariat”, MacKinnon and an unnamed lawyer. Her email stated;

“As discussed today, I’ve made some revisions to the process”

There was evidently some urgency in moving the matter forward to a conclusion, confirmed in yet another email in which Richards wrote;

“I’ve updated the timeline – and this is the final version of the policy I’ve sent to Perm Sec.”

The “air” of finality clearly suggested that the civil servant team, supported by legal opinion were confident it would be signed off and introduced.

Nicola Sturgeon approved the introduction of the procedure on 20 December 2017.

 

Comment

The decision to appoint an “investigating officer” should not have been instructed by Richards on her own!!!!  But did she?  Assuming the procedures had been adjusted following the Police Authority recommendations she would have been required to sign off the investigation process with one other, a more senior officer. That would be Evans.

And yet another titbit: On 25 August 2020, in evidence given, on oath, to the Salmond inquiry, James Hynd, “Head of the Cabinet Secretariat” stated:

“To be clear – if I was not earlier – the first that I heard about any allegations was, I think, on 24 August 2018, when there were press reports. I knew nothing before then about any complainer or anybody raising concerns. I knew nothing about the appointment of any investigating officer or about any sharing of the draft procedure with any individuals.”

Well, well, well !!!!!!!!! The worm turns!!!

 

Scotland's papers: Alex Salmond police probe - BBC News

 

 

The Police Authority and Judith Mackinnon

MacKinnon was Head of Human Resources governance for the Scottish Police Authority between 2015 & 2017.

Her prime responsibility was to provide assurance to the Authority that they were a responsible employer and a sustainable organization, achieving this goal through the introduction of efficient personnel policies aiding the professional development of management and staff.

The first years following the formation of the Authority were plagued by complaints of harassment and wrongdoing in the force, primarily led by the Unionist Press who seized on every incident, no matter the rights and wrongs of it to undermine the SNP Government.

The Government was forced to order an independent audit of the Authority’s human resources and other departments that had been subject to criticism.

In January 2017 the Scottish Police Authority Complaints Audit was published: (https://pirc.scot/media/4447/spa-audit-report-2017.pdf)

 

The Undernoted concerns were recorded

A lack of transparency and clarity surrounding the complaints processes.

The length of time taken to deal with complaints and to undertake preliminary assessments in misconduct allegations.

A lack of communication between the Authority and senior officers who were the subjects of complaint.

Communication between the Authority and senior officers was inconsistent. In some instances, subject officers had been invited to address allegations/complaints whilst in others, an invitation had not been extended.

On a number of occasions, the first officers became aware complaints had been made about them was through media coverage.

Responsibility for ordering a preliminary assessment of misconduct allegations rested with a manager who had little or no relevant knowledge or experience and expertise.

 

Conclusions

The complaint handling procedure in place is neither effective nor efficient and lacks transparency and unclear guidance resulted in organizational confusion as to whether a matter should be dealt with as a “relevant”.

The average time taken to conclude complaints and preliminary misconduct assessments is excessive and disproportionate to the level of inquiry undertaken or required of the Authority.

Decisions of the Authority lacked clarity and transparency and in many cases did not contain sufficient explanation to demonstrate how a decision had been reached.

Notifying senior officers about misconduct allegations and ‘relevant complaints’ made about them was inconsistent. In some instances, senior officers were not notified but in other cases, they were notified but sometimes at the beginning or on occasions at the end of the process.

Whilst there is no statutory requirement to notify a senior officer about an allegation or to ask him/her to comment on an allegation until after an assessment has been carried out and an appropriate investigator has been appointed.

But the subject officer must receive formal notification of a misconduct allegation once it has been determined that an investigation is required and an investigator has been appointed and before the start of any investigation.

 

A Diary of Justice & Injustice - Scotland: THE COP FACTOR: Scottish Police  Authority refuse to release documents on sex assault case top cop who wants  to be Chief Constable - now,

 

Chairpersons Statement:

Susan Deacon, (SPA chair), said the report identified a “number of important areas” requiring the authority’s attention. And it was essential that the Authority’s systems and practices were robust and worked effectively to maintain public confidence and trust.

Addressing the concerns of senior officers, procedures would be revised requiring more than one “deciding” officer to ensure key decisions were taken ensuring better oversight of the complaints process.

 

Claim civil servant who led Salmond probe is UK govt controlled is False