The 2017 General election debacle had Murrell been the chief strategist of any political party other than the SNP he would have been given his marching orders. Incredulously the First Minister awarded him a massive pay rise and an extended contract.


Devolved Government in Scotland

The introduction of a Scottish parliament in 1999, with devolved powers (forced on the UK government by the EC) should have been a game changer.

For the first time in 300 years Scots were to have a forum allowing discussion of matters local to Scotland over which their elected representatives would be able to bring about change.

But the established political parties simply rubber stamped the wishes of the Westminster parliament on the electorate.

Labour and Liberal Democratic coalition governments  proved to be incompetent at all levels and voters transferred their support to the Scottish National Party (SNP) who provided progressive, efficient and enlightened government.

In 2010 the SNP were rewarded for their achievements gaining a stunning victory taking over government with an overall majority (turning the Westminster gerrymandered electoral system on its head). It was very successful, even when hamstrung with the forced implementation of destructive financial austerity measures foisted on Scotland by Westminster  The party was rewarded with a return to government in 2015.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell contradicts her evidence to Alex  Salmond inquiry | Scotland | The Times

The Scottish Voter

In the period up to 2005 voting was largely tribal and class driven. Workers backed Labour whilst the rural communities, white collar workers and upper classes supported the Tory party.

But the failure of the Scottish Parliament to deliver real change for the benefit of Scots and illegal wars in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria coupled with the rapid expansion of the internet challenged the old ways and political party’s experienced the impact of declining voter bases as vast amounts of new information, previously denied the public became wide spread through internet driven social networking.

From 2014 enlightened Scots became increasingly more independent thinking and a new class of voter was born. One which demanded from politicians information and policies relevant to their individual needs. 


Tory Electioneering Strategy

The “My-Personality” app was launched in 2007. In excess of six million people completed the questionnaire, allowing psychometric centres to access their Facebook profiles. This permitted an algorithm trawl through the persons likes and social media posts. The information gathered allowed the creation of statistical models which used “digital-foot-printing” to predict personality types. The Tory Party contracted  analysts who dipped into the large database of anonymized information, and targeted the Scottish electorate.

Body language expert analyses SNP chief Peter Murrell's appearance before  Alex Salmond inquiry - The Sunday Post

Mar 2017: The Petition Against a Second Scottish Independence Referendum

A petition was launched on the internet by the Tory’s stating;

“We in Scotland are fed up of persecution by the SNP leader who is solely intent on getting independence at any cost. As a result, Scotland is suffering hugely. The majority of Scottish voters wish to remain in the British union, despite Nicola Sturgeon’s latest demands for a Scottish referendum, according to the latest polling from YouGov.”

The “data mining ploy” petition had been created and added to the internet by the Tory media team. And the tactic worked since it succeeded in raising the public profile of the possibility of another Independence referendum, which (at the time) had not been given mention by anyone other than the Tory Party.

Peter Murrell, SNP Chief Executive | Ewan McIntosh | Flickr

Apr 2017: Use of Gathered Data – Analysis of Petition Outcome

Aware of the Tory tactic I compiled an analysis using publicly issued data  and produced a predictive 2017 election outcome.

Electorate totals were included and a percentage signatory total was established for each constituency. From that I used the mean figure of 3.75% to forward project the outcome of an Independence referendum.

The figures suggested that from an electorate of 4,021,203 the outcome of another referendum would result in a: 48.00% “Yes” vote in favour of independence with 52.00% preferring to remain with the Union. 

This was important information which if used wisely would allow effective forward planning electioneering strategy.

Edinburgh, Aberdeen, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire recorded higher than average figures favouring remaining with the Union. Other regions were less fixed.

SNP's Mr Invisible may be taking the flak from dissidents, but critics are  also targeting his wife

My Predictive 2017 General Election Forecast 

The General Election in Scotland will not be a re-run of the 2015 General Election and the landslide victory achieved by the SNP cannot realistically be achieved.

My analysis suggests 25 seats might change hands with the Tory Party being the main benefactor.

Significant SNP financial resources and additional teams of activists will need to be deployed in force in the under-noted constituencies otherwise they may be lost.

This group of seats are marginals – Risk decreases as the % number drops:

71749: Edinburgh West, Michelle Thomson MP : 4388-6.12% Lost

69982: East Renfrewshire, Kirsten Oswald MP: 4241-6.06% Lost

66966: East Dunbartonshire, John Nicolson MP: 3977-5.94% Lost

65846: Edinburgh South, Ian Murray MP: 3579-5.44% Labour hold

73445: West Abdn, Stuart Blair Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40% Lost

80978: Edinburgh North & Leith, Deidre Brock MP: 4280-5.29% Held

66208: Paisley & Renfrew, Gavin Newlands MP: 3158-4.77% Held

68875: Argyll & Bute, Brendan O’Hara MP: 3277-4.75% Held

62003: North East Fife, Stephen Gethins MP: 2937-4.74% Held

67236: Stirling, Steven Paterson MP: 3175-4.72% Lost

77379: Ochil & Perth, Tasmina-A-Sheikh MP: 3645-4.71% Lost

79393: Gordon, Rt. Hon Alex Salmond MP: 3711-4.68% Lost

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65% Lost

79481: East Lothian, George Kerevan MP: 3676-4.63% Lost

72178: Edinburgh S-West, Joanna Cherry QC: 3283-4.55% ) Held

72447: Perth & N-Perthshire, Pete Wishart MP: 3033-4.19% Held

71685: Moray, Rt. Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18% Lost

78037: Lanark & Hamilton-E, Angela Crawley MP: 3272-4.19% Held

68483: Dumfries, Clydesdale, David Mundell MP:2816-4.11% Held

74179: Berwick, Roxburgh, Selkirk: Calum Kerr MP: 3026-4.08% Lost

86955: Linlithgow, East Falkirk, Martyn Day MP:3570-4.11% Held

68609: Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP: 2772-4.04% Lost

73445: W. Abdn,  Stuart-B-Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40% Lost

71685: Moray, Rt. Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18% Lost

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65% Lost

Revealed: The secretive SNP chieftains helping Alex Salmond break up the  Union | Daily Mail Online

The 2017 General Election and the resurgence of the Tory Party in Scotland

The 2017 General Election in Scotland first exposed Scottish voters to “data mining”. A new form of politics imported from the USA, providing tools and profiling information allowing Tory candidates to communicate personally with their prospective constituents.

The benefits were astounding. The Tories gained a stunning result, increasing their MP’s from 1 to 13 in total.

Pollsters were flabbergasted at the turnaround in the voting since the SNP appeared to be invulnerable.

But Tory candidates had been well briefed about the individual targets within their constituencies. The new voting strategy used predictive data models which identified, engaged and persuaded swing voters to turnout.

This was achieved through the use of internet, phone and personal surveys combined with many other data sets, created by teams of contracted data scientists, psychologists and political consultants allowing the campaign to map the Scottish electorate based on ideology, demographics, religious beliefs, strongly held opinions on key issues e.g. Independence, the Orange Lodge, Celtic, Rangers, The SNP and or political personalities.

The information gathered provided Tory campaign strategists with a predictive analysis based on thousands of data points on just about every voter in Scotland.

From that teams of political consultants and psychologists, hired by the Party directed the campaign and candidates on what and how to say it to selected groups of voters.

Other voter targeting, included use of Facebook adverts, one to one scripted phone calls and provision of the content of messages for door-to-door canvassers ensuring consistent communication with voters on any issue.

What won the day for the Tory party in 2017 was that they utilised “data mining” to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Scottish electorate and then used every communication aid available facilitating discussions with voters about matters important to them as individuals.

Throughout the campaign the Tory tactic was to constantly broadcast the “no new referendum” message stressing that this was an important major difference between the Tory and any other candidates firmly imprinting this in the electorate’s minds.

In contrast the SNP campaign lacked inspiration. It was poorly directed (he starved “at risk” constituencies of financial and other resources) and failed to get the SNP voters out.

Information is power and an incompetent Peter Murrell, the SNP strategist allowed the Tory Party to outwit him.

He failed and had he been the chief strategist of any political party other than the SNP he would have been given his marching orders. Incredulously the First Minister awarded him a massive pay rise and an extended contract.

Who is Peter Murrell the SNP chief executive and why is he facing calls to  quit? | The Scotsman

Craig Murray: Lady Dorrian Was Apparently Unaware of the Contempt of her Court and Questioned the Crown’s Motives

Craig Murray Twitter

January 2021 High Court Edinburgh

Craig Murray, faced a contempt of court hearing after posting information on his blog in advance of Mr Salmond’s trial. The contempt proceedings at the High Court, Edinburgh, before Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, heard Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown argue that information Craig posted on his blog in January 2020 could lead to jigsaw identification of the women involved, breaching a contempt of court order, creating a substantial risk of prejudicing the trial.

John Scott QC, defending, argued that at the date of the publication there was no court order in place and Craig had gone to great lengths to keep the complainants identities hidden. He added that the Crown had contacted Craig over the article prior to the start of Alex Salmond’s trial, but did not demand he take it down. Craig viewed the contact as “inappropriate censorship, as opposed to welcome advice”.

Lady Dorrian questioned why the case against Craig had been brought after Mr Salmond’s trial. She said: “Both articles being addressed were published in advance of the trial. If the Crown was of the view these articles created a substantial risk, it seems strange the Crown did not take action at that time.”

Alex Prentice QC, said:

“I accept that that is factually correct and a matter that the court can take into account while assessing the allegation. However I still believe there was a risk of identification. In my submission, the respondent argued that the publication was limited to those who followed his blog on social media and not the wider public, but one must consider it could be potentially much more distressing for someone in a working environment to work out the identity of a person in circumstances such as those that occurred in this case. In any situation, there will be some people who know the complainers – members of immediate family, work colleagues. In any case, there will be members of the community who have some pieces of the jigsaw. If it’s people who have particular knowledge, perhaps knowledge imparted by the complainers themselves, there may be a category of people who have bits of the jigsaw and finding out – for example – that an allegation came from a particular place… that will then narrow the field. It requires greater care for anyone seeking to report responsibly but it is not by any means straightforward. It might be possible for good faith errors to be made there. Jigsaws come with varying complexities. A 500-piece puzzle is a very different proposition to a 12-piece puzzle of Peppa Pig. While some information in the public domain may be pieced together by those determined to do so, the risk may be relatively remote. There is no agreed path for the court to find there was a risk of jigsaw identification. There is no safe path through it. What is not accepted is that it is extensive information here. And what is accepted and agreed is there was not enough to safely do that and to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that this was contempt.”

John Scott QC, replied that the interpretation the content of the article by Mr Prentice QC, was all encompassing and unreasonable, saying: “If the Crown argument is correct, one wonders how anything would be reported at all. Nothing at all could really be published.

Thread by @jamesdoleman on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App


If the Crown had been truly concerned that the information published by Craig before the trial carried a real risk of jigsaw identification of the complainants, breaching a contempt of court order and creating a substantial risk of prejudicing the trial, it had every right to defer the start of the trial until such time as the contempt of court allegation against Craig had been heard and resolved. That it did not do so suggested the pursuit of Craig was driven by factors other than stated. Maybe because the Crown lost the case?? Additionally in his rambling statement Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown alluded to the fact that there were many members of the wider community who were aware of the names of the complainants, either through personal contact with family members, friends, work colleagues, the press and bloggers on social media.

A written judgement issued at a much delayed date decided Craig was guilty.

Former diplomat who believed state tried to frame Alex Salmond found in  contempt of court over trial blog - Daily Record


There is an answer but I am not sure just what it is. In my view the Crown erred by permitting the trial to start when, by it’s own admission it had concerns that Craig had facilitated a jigsaw identification spread with articles he posted many months before the trial start date. It is also noteworthy that the contempt of court charge should not have been levied against Craig using the January 2020 blogs since Lady Dorrian had not yet pronounced on the matter of jigsaw naming. She alluded to this with her questioning of the Crown’s motives.


Citizen Journalism is the Platform That Provides Solutions to the Mistrust the Public has Towards the Corporate Controlled News Media and Government


Witch Hunting - National Sport of India 2021 |


Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is the platform that provides solutions to the mistrust the public has towards the corporate controlled news media and government when discrepancies arise from government and  other establishment bodies statements and actions.

These civic minded individuals should be afforded the same protection from harassment and punitive punishment afforded to so-called professional journalists always provided articles posted to their blogs conform to the accepted “Principles of Journalism”.


BBC Question Time on Twitter: "There's a new earlier time for Question Time  from tonight. We're on at 10:35pm on @BBCOne  #bbcqt…"


The Principles of Journalism

In 1997, a committee of journalists, concerned about failing standards, began a national conversation with the public and news people to identify and clarify the principles underlying journalism. After four years of research the group released a “Statement of Shared Purpose” that identified nine principles.

Statement of Purpose:

“The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society. This encompasses myriad roles helping define community, creating common language and common knowledge, identifying a community’s goals, heroes and villains, and pushing people beyond complacency. This purpose also involves other requirements, such as being entertaining, serving as watchdog and offering voice to the voiceless.”


Bias in BBC Question Time


The Nine Principles

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth

Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can and must pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation.

Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods, so audiences can make their own assessment of the information.  Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built: context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever-greater flow of data, they have more need not less for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.


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2. Loyalty is to the citizens

While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favour. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility; the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers.

Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture, not exploit their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.


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3. The discipline of verification

When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists were free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work. The method is objective; not the journalist refined. While journalism has developed various techniques for determining facts, for instance, it has done less to develop a system for testing the reliability of journalistic interpretation.


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4. Practitioners must maintain a independence from those they cover

Independence of spirit and mind, rather than neutrality, is the principle journalists must keep in focus. But while editors and commentators are not neutral, the source of their credibility is still their accuracy, intellectual fairness and ability to inform, not their devotion to a certain group or outcome. Any tendency to stray into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism must be avoided.  


Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News - The Pulitzer Prizes


5. It should serve as an independent monitor of power

Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens.  It is a rampart against despotism. An independent press is essential in a democracy. The judiciary have affirmed this and citizens rely on it. 


Cartoonist | Bill Asprey: Artist, Composer, Poet & Writer


6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise

Discussion serves society best when it is informed by facts rather than prejudice and supposition. It should strive to fairly represent the varied viewpoints and interests in society, and to place them in context rather than highlight only the conflicting fringes of debate. Accuracy and truthfulness require framers of the public discussion not to  neglect the points of common ground where problem solving occurs.


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7. Reporting should be interesting and relevant

Journalists must continually ask themselves what information has most value to citizens and in what form. While journalism should reach beyond such topics as government and public safety, a journalism overwhelmed by trivia and false significance ultimately engenders a trivial society.


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8. Keep the news comprehensive and proportional

Keeping news in proportion and not leaving important things out are the cornerstones of truthfulness. Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make for less reliable reporting.


Inside the Making of Facebook's Supreme Court | The New Yorker


9. Practitioners should exercise their personal conscience

Every journalist needs to have a personal sense of ethics and responsibility, a moral compass. They must be willing, if fairness and accuracy require, to voice differences with others. The news media should nurture independence by encouraging individuals to speak their minds. 

Further reading: The Elements of Journalism:   Tom Rosenstiel and  Bill Kovach.


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