Clegg first appeared on the scene in Scotland when he took up a post with the Dundee Courier. His interest in politics was not long in surfacing and he enhanced his reputation as an investigative journalist reporting events in Holyrood.
Sky News also employed him to front political reporting of the day in Scotland.
He gained rapid promotion to Assistant then Editor of the Courier between 2010 -2012 before moving to the Daily Record where he reported politics between 2012-2019. A full circle of employment took him back as editor to the Dundee Courier in November 2019.
He is a bit of an enigma socially since there is little on record about him or his family but, based on the coverage of his news and current affairs he established a wide gathering of informers in a short time in Scotland, or perhaps he had friends in “high places”.
His political coverage of Scottish events up to the start of the 2014 Independence Referendum was marked by fairness and gained him a number of awards for political journalism.
But from the start of campaigning in 2014 he revealed his true political colours and they were “Red”. An avid supporter of the Unionist cause the “man from Northern Ireland” courted the wrath of nationalists through his relentless attacks on the SNP (mainly Alex Salmond) supported by the political and legal protection of the Unionist political mouthpiece the “Daily Record”.
Nicola Sturgeon raised many eyebrows when she defended Clegg’s right to free speech in a “twitter” post criticising nationalist supporters (aggressively given the title “cybernats” by Better Together campaigners) who allegedly made threats against him.
Her intervention would have been better received if she had criticised both sides but in any event any political vitriol against her by “Better Together” was somewhat muted by result.
2014 David Clegg and his input to the Scottish Independence Referendum
“Purdah”, the period which prevented the UK government from announcing new legislation to gain advantage over the “Yes” campaign started on 21 August 2014. For those who might not be aware of the legislation the term means:
“Veil on government”, and refers to the pre-election campaign period and provides restrictions on how the government may act, how the Civil Service behaves and the use of government resources during that time.
Like many aspects the UK’s unwritten constitution government, is a mix of convention, precedent, code of conduct and statutory requirement. Additionally there are some aspects of purdah that relate to statutory restrictions on how campaigns are conducted which are set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act of 2000: namely controls on funding and on publicity for electoral campaigns and how the Civil Service needs to be aware of them.
The abuse of “purdah” occurred only 3 days before the referendum in response to informed comment that the “Yes” campaign had gained a small but significant lead in the polls. Murray Foote, Editor and Clegg, then Deputy Editor of the “Daily Record” together with other press figures and heavyweight politicians, published the infamous “vow” which was then given major “air time” on the BBC over the final 3 days of the campaign and other news outlets to the Scottish electorate.
The unprecedented “pledge to the nation” brokered by former prime minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour, was signed by the three political leaders at Westminster offering their version of the future governance of Scotland, alternative to independence.
It gave assurance to Scots wavering about complete separation confidence that, if the a “no” vote would still result in major changes and Scotland would be given a much more control over its future.
It proved to be the deal of the century for the Unionists who won over many older voters who were worried sick that their would be massive reductions in their old age pensions which was only one of the many lies foisted on Scots and boasted about after the referendum by the “Better Together” campaign promises. And the delivery? Well that’s another story!!! “Not a lot” as Paul Daniels used to Quip.
There were three guarantees
- New powers for the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood will be strengthened with extensive new powers, on a timetable beginning on September 19, with legislation in 2015. The Scottish Parliament will be a permanent and irreversible part of the British constitution.
- The guarantee of fairness to Scotland. The guarantee that the modern purpose of the Union is to ensure opportunity and security by pooling and sharing our resources equitably for our defence, prosperity and the social and economic welfare of every citizen, including through UK pensions and UK funding of healthcare.
- The power to spend more on the NHS if that is Scottish people’s will. The guarantee that with the continued Barnett allocation, based on need and with the power to raise its own funds, the final decisions on spending on public services in Scotland, including on the NHS, will be made by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament will have the last word on how much is spent on health. It will have the power to keep the NHS in public hands and the capacity to protect it.
2015: After So nearly winning, cheated of victory by the illegal treachery of the reincarnation of a few Daniel Defoe’s at the “Daily Record” the hurt was very painful for Alex Salmond and he stood down handing control of the Party to the ambitious but, untried Nicola Sturgeon anticipating there would be much for her to do to take Scotland forward equipped with many new powers assured by “the Vow”.
That was his big mistake and he lived to regret it. As predicted by Scottish nationalists who had campaigned day and night for nearly a year, Westminster renaged on the promises made in “the Vow”. This was the outcome of the inept bargaining powers of John Sweeney and his SNP team who allowed themselves to be set-up as the lesser particpants in a significant minority with Unionist political Partys’.
In the General Election Unionist party’s were just about wiped out in Scotland. Voters were scunnered with the Westminster cabal who failed to deliver deliver the undertakings contained in “The Vow”.
The reverse being the case in some areas devolved powers had been taken back to Westminster. It was expected that Nicola Sturgeon would announce that the Scottish electorate had given her Party a mandate to declare independence.
But she and her close colleagues lacked the political courage or backbone to do so. This the time Scotland badly needed a leader and Alex Salmond was out to pasture. An opportunity lost and Scotland would pay dearly for this in the years that followed.
2018: Murray Foote went on record saying: “I can no longer stand by while a cabal of a privileged cabal in London continue to deprive our sons and daughters the right to decide their future. Whilst an independent Scotland will face “financial challenges” in the years after a “Yes” vote and there will be difficult decisions to be faced and sacrifices to be made what troubles me more is the prospect of bequeathing to my daughters an isolated Britain governed indefinitely by the progeny of Westminster and their ilk. I have reconciled that independence will herald good and bad but I trust in Scots to solve the problems that will come our way. If so many other countries can, it is inconceivable that Scotland can’t. Were there to be another independence referendum, I will “strap on my work boots and take that leap” to support the campaign.” David Clegg, who participated in the betrayal of Scots offered no comment preferring to keep his head under the parapet!!!
2016: The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)
The programme, introduces future power-brokers-to-be to the American way and is designed to pinpoint future VIPs. It was used in the early 1980s to reach out to young Labour politicians, including Blair and Brown, at a time when scepticism about the Atlantic alliance was prevalent within the party.
It is a highly prestigious and expensive (around £10k) programme and participants are hand-picked to spend typically three weeks visiting Washington DC and three additional towns or cities, meeting their counterparts and other VIPs and experts – all highly valuable networking experience for any ambitious young man or woman on the climb.
Conspiracy theorists say the scheme is all about an imperial power meddling in the affairs of sovereign regimes, seducing their future political leaders and moulding them into Washington-approved candidates. It is a prime example of US “soft power” in action, shaping first impressions and casting America within the context of one’s own ambitions, aspirations, ideas, and possibilities. But not everyone views the programme so benignly. There are those that argue that the notion of a major power courting the future elite of another nation state offers cause for alarm. (BBC)
In Jun 2016 a group of Scottish political activists with the approval of Party leaders were selected to participate in the IVLP progamme (while parliament was in session at Holyrood and Westmister). Among those attending were: Kezia Dugdale (leader of the Labour Party in Scotland (who authorised her own attendance); Jenny Gilruth, SNP, MSP, parliamentary liaison officer for John Swinney; Liz Lloyd SNP Senior political advisor (SPAD) to Nicola Sturgeon; David Clegg, Journalist at the Daily Record.
The presence of Clegg and the publicised togetherness of the group in America surprised political observers and disappointed many Scottish Independence supporters who were affronted by the decision of the Party leader to authorise the attendance of SNP officials on the course with an arch enemy of independence.
In America the group met-up with Patrick Grady (SNP Westminster chief whip) and Angela Crawley (SNP member of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee) were also in the US at that time.
Shortly after their return to Scotland Dugdale advised the press that her new partner was, Jenny Gilruth, SNP, MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes who was first elected to Holyrood in May 2016. The visit to America would prove to be an eventful one in a number of ways in the future.
The attendance of Liz Lloyd on the course although criticised was proper, always providing she observed the roles and responsibilities of her employment as a SPAD
SPAD’s are not civil servants but as paid employees of the State they are – subject to specified exceptions – required to conduct themselves in accordance with the “Civil Service Code.”which states that the highest standards of conduct are expected of them.
- “Specifically, the preparation or dissemination of inappropriate material or personal attacks has no part to play in the job of being a special adviser as it has no part to play in the conduct of public life.
- “Any special adviser ever found to be disseminating inappropriate material will automatically be dismissed by their appointing minister.
- “Special advisers…must observe discretion and express comment with moderation, avoiding personal attacks.”
- “All contacts with news media should be authorized, in advance by the appointing minister.”