Sturgeon’s ever expanding army of “Special Advisers”
“Special Advisers” are political appointments and are exempt from impartiality requirements normally expected of civil servants in order to provide them with the freedom to give political advice to Ministers. Although never elected by the public nor subject to the normal rules of employee recruitment and formal interview they are gifted, courtesy of Nicola Sturgeon, and her alone, with a huge amount of power.
The leader of the “Special Adviser Team, (Liz Lloyd 2015-2021) has the authority to issue instructions to civil servants on behalf of Nicola Sturgeon.
The Devolution Act permitted recruitment of up to twelve “Special Advisers” to the First Minister.
But at 2022 Sturgeon employs nineteen, including a new adviser who supports the Green Party dual leadership and two new Green Party ministers in the Scottish Government.
At a total annual approximate gross cost to the Scottish taxpayer of £2 Million
Over two-thirds of Sturgeon’s special advisers are friends with senior SNP figures or are the partners Party influencers.
A self-perpetuating elite that thrives on patronage, using it to by-passing democracy and being surreptitiously slipped into positions of power and influence.
Responsibility for the recruitment, employment, management, conduct and discipline of “Special Advisers” rests with Nicola Sturgeon.
An informed ex servant of the crown commented:
“The introduction of “Special Advisers” into the Scottish Government established an alternative civil service.
They are an ill-disciplined bunch whose conduct is reported on through a “rebuttal unit” who feed distortions of the truth to the electorate, all with the purpose of ensuring the public are denied the truth of any given matter where the “image” of the Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP might be at risk.
In their efforts to establish and maintain their superiority they routinely pass negative value judgements on the ability of long term, full-time established civil servants.
They are immune to embarrassment and strangers to the appropriate and legal use of taxpayers monies.
They and their newly partnered green acolytes are enamoured with power and can be likened to a sick cancer bleeding off the efforts of hard working Scots.
The entire establishment should be sacked!!!!!
Special Adviser Team: April 2022
Colin McAllister – Chief of Staff to the First Minister: Briefs: First Minister’s Strategic Programme in Government including Inter-governmental relations co-ordination of the Special Adviser team.
Stuart Nicolson – Head of Communications: Briefs: Senior Political Spokesperson for the First Minister. co-ordination of the Special Adviser Communication Team.
Jeanette Campbell – Briefs: social justice and housing.
Gavin Corbett – Briefs: zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights.
Ewan Crawford – Senior Special Adviser: Briefs: constitution and external affairs portfolio (except culture).
Leanne Dobson – Special Adviser: Briefs: finance and the economy portfolio (excluding Local Government Finance and Business, Trade, Tourism & Enterprise). Programme for Government.
Jennie Gollan – Special Adviser: Briefs: justice portfolio (inc. veterans). culture portfolio (except broadcasting).
Kate Higgins – Special Adviser: Briefs: local government (including local government finance). business, trade, tourism and enterprise. transport portfolio.
Davie Hutchison – Special Adviser: Briefs: health and social care portfolio. broadcasting policy. First Minister’s Questions.
Harry Huyton – Special Adviser: Briefs: green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.
Ross Ingebrigtsen – Deputy Political Spokesperson for the First Minister. Briefs: strategic communications planning. First Minister’s Questions.
David Livey – Special Adviser: Briefs: education and skills portfolio.
Liz Lloyd – Strategic Policy and Political Adviser to the FM: Briefs: strategic advice to the First Minister on transformational policies and projects.
Comment: March 2021: An investigation by a Scottish parliament committee into the government’s unlawful handling of harassment allegations against Alex Salmond concluded that Nicola Sturgeon had misled parliament.
A few weeks after, Liz Lloyd was dismissed from her post as Chief of Staff to Nicola Sturgeon and took an extended leave of absence, returning to the Scottish Government in August 2021 as a “Special Adviser” reporting direct to the First Minister fulfilling a new role, created by Sturgeon with responsibility to work across government and with stakeholders to provide strategic advice on the delivery of the government’s policy programme.
A kick in the teeth for many Scots who thought that a small amount of justice had been gained by her dismissal. No chance!!!!
John MacInnes – Special Adviser: Briefs: political research. support for First Minister’s Questions and Parliamentary debates. support to communications and policy Special Advisers
Emily Mackintosh – Special Adviser: Briefs: media communications including communications and events support for the First Minister. support for the First Minister and the First Minister’s Private Office. outreach and stakeholder engagement
Callum McCaig – Special Adviser: Briefs: COVID recovery portfolio.
John McFarlane – Special Adviser: Briefs: rural affairs and Islands. net zero portfolio (except transport). parliamentary business and parliamentary liaison. First Minister’s Questions.
Gavin Corbett – Special Adviser to the Green Party dual leadership and two new Green Party ministers in the Scottish Government.
Comment: Canadian born, Lorna Slater, in her quest for a place in Holyrood in 2021 asked the voters of Edinburgh North and Leith for their nomination.
Of the 80,000 strong electorate she gathered a measly 1,727 votes.
But Sturgeon was determined to destroy the hopes of other Scottish independence supporting Party’s with her instruction to SNP supporters not to give their constituency vote to ALBA and Slater, who topped the Green Party LIST benefitted greatly from Sturgeon’s largesse and was elected as a constituency MSP.
The reasoning that drove Sturgeon to act as she did became clear soon after the 2021 election when she committed the SNP to the establishment of a coalition government within which the Green Party would nominate two Green Ministers to serve in the Scottish Government and there would be consultation and agreement with the green Party leaders on all matters of policy. What a bummer of a deal!!!!!
“Special Adviser” activities are constrained by a number of restrictions. They are:
Not permitted to participate in Westminster or Scottish political activities, including, in a party political organisation, any office which impinges wholly or mainly on party politics.
Not permitted to speak in public on matters of Westminster or Scottish political controversy.
Not permitted to express views on Westminster or Scottish politics in letters to the Press, or in blogs, books, articles or leaflets
Not permitted to being announced publicly as a candidate or prospective candidate for the Westminster or Scottish Parliament.
Not permitted to canvass on behalf of a candidate for the Westminster or Scottish political institutions or on behalf of a political party.
Comment: In reality all of the foregoing restrictions are, with the tacit support of senior government ministers routinely ignored by Sturgeons “Special Adviser” team whose conduct is placed above the laws of good political practice.
16 Feb 2021: Nicola Sturgeon’s special advisers accused of ‘pumping out blatant propaganda’
Sturgeon has been urged by opposition politicians to curtail the inappropriate and scurrilous political activities of Liz Lloyd and her ever increasing number of “Special Advisers”.
The allegations of misbehaviour were supported by a damming dossier of evidence including reference to Lloyd’s breach of the “Special Adviser” code of conduct through the use of blatant propaganda on more than 100 occasions.