BBC Claptrap Exposed – Cosy Relationships Between Mentorn and BBC Scotland Adversely Impact on Impartiality Claim

 

Damo on Twitter: "The final two contenders get chosen by Tory MP's. The  winner is chosen by Tory members. The next PM get's chosen from amongst a  rump of predominantly pale, male

 

Mentorn Television Production

Not long after Scottish devolution, following storms of protest from Scottish viewers and politicians the BBC agreed to transfer a significant amount of television production to Scotland greatly increasing Scottish content.

Implementation of change would be achieved without detriment to existing staff employed in England or to operational routine.

Smoke and mirrors time:

The BBC in London, restructured its programme production contract with Mentorn (a small but growing subsidiary of the Tinopolis Group, an offshore registered media producer & and distributor).

Mentorn, set up a Glasgow office in 2002, in compliance with the BBC commitment to transfer finance and programme making to Scotland.

From then Mentorn expanded its programme production and distribution many times over, including the Unionist biased, Question Time.

 

Memes of the Week 15/2/19 - Dorset Eye

 

Mentorn & Nickilai Gentchev

This is how the production of Question Time was (paper) transferred to Scotland.

Gentchev, in the employ of Mentorn, transferred from London to Glasgow taking on the role of editor of Question Time.

In his new role he worked with Haley Valentine, who was appointed to the new (non-job) post of Executive Editor. A Scottish face need to be put in place comforting Scots licence holders and politicians

He remained in the employ of Mentorn for the duration of his tenure (2011-2016) reporting to Gavin Allen, the London based, Head of BBC Political News, who who continued to meet his salary.

He also wrote articles for the International Socialism Journal and Socialist Review. A revelation that led to attacks by Tory politicians saying that his background provided credence to their claims that the programme was a mouthpiece for left-wing politicians and activists.

The move was also openly criticized by its presenter, David Dimbleby, who insisted that weekly editorial meetings continue to take place in London. The programme also saw the resignation of its incumbent Editor, Ed Havard, who resigned rather than transfer to Scotland.

 

David Dimbleby leaves Question Time as one of the greatest broadcasters  ever – here's why | Metro News

 

Hayley Valentine

Family: Born in Glenrothes in 1971. Schooling: Auchtermuchty High School & Edinburgh University. Career: Journalism: First worked in Dundee before moving on to work in commercial radio in Edinburgh. Progressed to producing television programming with Scottish Television then for BBC Scotland. Promoted and transferred to London taking up a post editing BBC Breakfast TV. Set her stall on working in radio and rewarded with her appointment as Head of News, for BBC Radio 5 Live.

 

Flyer 7: #BBCbias #MediaBias - #StopTheTories Channel

 

 

2013: Haley Valentine and Question Time taken to Task by The Electoral Reform Society (Scotland)

Message from: the Electoral Reform Society Scotland, to: Haley Valentine Executive Editor, Question Time. Date Jun 2013

The Electoral Reform Society in Scotland seeks to inform and improve Scotland’s democracy.

With that in mind, we have being undertaking an inquiry into what a good Scottish democracy looks like.

A major theme that has emerged from this year long, citizen led inquiry, is the importance of the media to instruct, publicize and inform the debate.

There has been support for a publicly funded media provider, but a strong sense that that body should be impartial and should seek to provide balanced and informed coverage of politics.

Clearly this is of particular concern in the run up to the 2014 referendum.

We were concerned therefore to see the line-up for the BBC Question Time programme to be held in Edinburgh this evening (Thursday 13th June).

Not only does the selection of panelists fail to represent the make-up of Scottish politics, but it also seems to be aimed more at pantomime than serious debate.

That this should be the case when the audience is, very pleasingly, to be made up of 16 and 17 year old’s in recognition of the extension of the franchise to that group for the referendum is worrying.

It seems to show a lack of respect for these young audience members – implying that they do not deserve serious political debate.

It also fails to allow them to hear from their elected representatives in this public debate forum which receives the widest of political attention.

Two of the parties which will be competing for their vote in 2014 are unrepresented and the Yes and Better Together campaigns are needlessly unequally represented.

Were this not bad enough, available spaces on the platform are taken instead by George Galloway MP and Nigel Farage M.E.P., two individuals and parties who are not represented in Scotland.

We welcome the decision to involve 16 and 17 year old’s in a public debate about the referendum, but the chosen panelists do those 16 and 17 year old’s a disservice as they will not be able to hear from the parties who represent them and who will be seeking their vote in 2014.

We would ask the BBC to urgently reconsider the panel, and at the very least to re-schedule a repeat of this edition of Question Time, but with a panel representative of Scottish politics that respects the BBC’s role to be impartial and equal.

 

The New BBC Scotland Channel is Scheduled to Start Broadcasting in February  2019 – Hayley Valentine – A Tied and Tested BBC Unionist Grasshopper Is  Taking Charge of Output – Like it

 

 

2013: Scottish Greens Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP added his voice

Message from: The Scottish Green Party. to: Hayley Valentine Executive Director, Question Time. Date: June 2013

We wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the choice of panelists for BBC Question Time, tonight. (June 2013).

This follows our consistent raising of concern over a number of years about the Scottish Greens’ lack of representation on the programme; in 14 years of continuous Parliamentary representation, we have been invited to participate on 1 single occasion.

That occasion was nearly two and a half years ago.

Tonight’s programme will be coming from Edinburgh, with an audience of 16 & 17 year old’s, debating independence – this is specifically billed on the BBC website.

The panel chosen is extremely skewed on the independence question; with only one panelist explicitly committed to independence as a preferred constitutional option, the programme is showing no balance whatsoever on this crucial question.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie is a member of the Yes Scotland advisory board and could have provided the required balance; he is also a member of Referendum Bill Committee in Parliament, which has been handling the legislation to reduce the voting age to 16.

Given that this decision is being made by the Scottish Parliament, we can see no basis for the decision to include only one M.S.P. on the panel, and specifically one who is opposed to the reduction in the voting age.

George Galloway is an MP for an English constituency representing a political party, Respect, which literally does not exist in Scotland, and contests no elections.

On the one occasion when they did, Mr Galloway stood for election in Glasgow and even in a PR election was only able to secure 3.3% of the vote.

Nigel Farage has also been added to the panel at the last minute.

U.K.I.P. has no elected representation in Scotland at any level, as against S.G.P.’s 2 M.S.P.s and 14 local Councillors.

In the last Scottish Parliament election they secured 0.91% of regional votes across Scotland.

This panel is taking place during the Aberdeen Donside by-election, and the BBC has a duty to demonstrate balance at such a time.

Donside is part of the North East Scotland region, where U.K.I.P. achieved 0.9% of the vote in the 2011 election.

The rationale for this selection may include U.K.I.P.’s recent success in the English local elections. U.K.I.P. now have approximately the same number of local Councillors as G.P.E.W., despite blanket media coverage.

But this is NOT an English local election, it’s a debate with a Scottish independence focus, taking place during a Scottish Parliamentary by-election.

This failure even to attempt balance in party political terms, or in terms of the referendum debate is surely a breach of the BBC’s duty to impartiality.

Patrick Harvie discussed these various points with Nicolai Gentchev this morning, and our head of media Jason Rose raised them with Phil Abrams of the BBC policy unit.

Mr Gentchev defended the decision to include Mr Farage on the programme citing his recent encounter with protesters in Edinburgh.

We are deeply disturbed if the BBC’s flagship political debate programme gives greater attention to political stunts than to fair balance.

We seek an urgent meeting to discuss how you intend to redress this situation, not only in the short term but in the run-up to the referendum in 2014. (Martha Wardrop and Patrick Harvie, Co-conveners of the Scottish Green Party).

 

My Attempt to Unravel Just a Little Bit of the Tangled Web of Deceit Spun  By the BBC – £300M Plus Scottish Licence Fee Money Routinely Handed Over to  Commercial Concerns Controlled

2013: Haley Valentine Jumps ship and transfers her employment to Mentorm

Mentorn Media Confirmed Hayley Valentine as its new director of current affairs.

She is joining Mentorn from BBC Scotland where she has been executive editor of Question Time.

Based in Glasgow, she will continue to oversee the programme for Mentorn as well as BBC One’s The Big Questions and continuing the growth of Mentorn’s current affairs output across all broadcasters.

Chief executive of Mentorn Media, John Willis, said: “Hayley is the perfect person to head up Mentorn’s current affairs programming.

She has extensive knowledge and experience and we are delighted she will be responsible for developing even more programming from our ever-expanding Glasgow office.”

Valentine said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of the impressive editorial work that Mentorn has produced and I look forward to maintaining that level of commitment to BBC programming as well as developing new and engaging formats across all broadcasters.”

 

The BBC | Propaganda, Bbc, Told you so

2016/17: BBC Forced to make changes

Repeated demands over nearly 20 years, from viewers and politicians in Scotland, for news and current affairs programming to be produced in Scotland, for a Scottish audience fell on deaf ears in London.

But the Corporation was forced to respond to demands for change following widespread criticism of its referendum coverage.

It announced a new BBC Scotland channel which would broadcast from 7pm to midnight every day, as well as being available online and on iPlayer.

With a budget of around £30m it would feature acquired programmes and programmes from partners in the creative sector and from other countries and a selection of content sourced from other BBC services.

 

Has Question Time been unfairly dominated by Remainers? – Daily Globe

 

 

2018: Haley Valentine Returns to the BBC

Valentine, executive editor of the BBC’s, Question Time, the much criticized flagship political debate show, has been appointed editor of the “integrated news hour” a key part of the BBC Scotland channel.

The new bulletin includes national and international news and is broadcast between 9pm and 10pm on the new channel.

Not much of a change really, since she is already the director of current affairs at Mentorn Scotland, the company which makes the bloody programme for the BBC.

She said: “to be given the opportunity to launch a brand new programme at the heart of the proposed new BBC Scotland Channel is a real privilege and a rare treat.

We will be creating a really distinctive programme with a broad Scottish, UK-wide and international news agenda which has the priorities of a Scottish audience at the centre of everything we do.”

Gary Smith, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, said: “Hayley has an outstanding track record and I’m delighted she is rejoining us.

I’m confident that under her leadership we will produce an exciting, distinctive, and brilliant new programme for our audiences.

She will also join my management team, and play a key role in the running of the department and the recruitment of the 80 new jobs which are being created through the BBC’s major investment in journalism in Scotland.” (and that is another story to be told)

 

Project Fear Lives: BBC Pushes Anti-Brexit Study by Group Funded by the EU  and Advised by Top Eurocrats - Conservative News & Right Wing News | Gun  Laws & Rights News Site

 

 

2017/18: The New BBC Scotland Channel Takes Shape

80 new journalists were hired in the run-up to the launch of The Nine.

New appointments included James Cook, the BBC’s former North America correspondent, as chief news correspondent, innovation correspondent Laura Goodwin, David Farrell as entertainment reporter, A Europe correspondent, Jean MacKenzie, and three new political reporters – Rajdeep Sandhu, Lynsey Bews and David Lockhart.

 

BBC bias banner at anti Iraq war demo in London Stock Photo - Alamy

 

 

2018: Hayley Valentine – A voice from cloud Cookoo Land

Referring to her work with Mentorm as Executive Editor of Question Time and the Scottish Independence Referendum, she said:

“I was involved in our referendum programming and I will defend it to accusations of bias until my dying day.

I’m not saying the BBC or any other broadcaster was perfect.

It was a tricky time, but we were all doing the best we could.

I don’t know a single journalist who brought any bias to work with them.

I’m aware that there are trust issues, but I think they are sometimes overplayed.

The BBC is still trusted, and BBC Scotland is still trusted, more than most news organisations.

I don’t think we are universally dismissed on a trust basis.

Across the piece, the public looks at lot more skeptically at journalism than it potentially did ten years ago.

To be trusted, you have to give people things that they want and have a need for, and stories that they wouldn’t otherwise be told.

A key aim of “The Nine” is to move political journalism away from institutions and translate politics into how it affects ordinary people.

I hope “The Nine” will restore faith in BBC Scotland by shunning top-down journalism, reducing the use of jargon and making people feel we are for them and of them.

Our remit is to serve the audience better, ask questions that people want asked, explore bits of Scottish life that aren’t currently being explored and reflect their lives back at that them.

That will get people to like and trust our programme.

It can do a lot to make people feel that we are for them and of them.”

What a load of Tosh!!!!  Her statement conflicts sharply with verified opinion polling carried out in the wake of the referendum which found that viewers in Scotland were more unhappy about the BBC’s output than any other part of the media.

Indeed one survey found that a third of audiences in Scotland believed that the BBC was biased against independence.

 

Trojan Hearse – Biased BBC

 

 

Sep 2020: New BBC Scotland Channel Is A Dud

launched in February 2019 average audience figures peaked around a satisfactory 60,000, but the honeymoon did not last long, figures had slumped to under 19,000 by the beginning of May 2019.

Over that same period 21 shows recorded an audience of zero. and in one day in May only 7200 viewers tuned in.

The flagship “nine news” also recorded zero viewers on a number of occasions.

Channel content has gone from bad to worse in 2020, viewing figures have plummeted and the channel will most likely close.

It just didn’t deliver what Scots want which is Scottish news and current affairs delivered on BBC1 at 6 and 9.

Valentine and her large expensively salaried team might just be returning to Mentorn very soon. A waste of licence fee payers hard earned money.

And the transfer of £80m from London to Scotland just didn’t happen. Just about all of the production work was awarded to Mentorn whose profits end up with their parent company registered offshore. I’ll write about them next time.

Is the BBC biased?: Complaints from both sides.

Scottish Independence – Get the Gloves Aff – Abstentionism the Way Forward

 

 

The 1707 Act of Union Handed Scotland Over To a Very Wealthy English Elite Supported By Lickspittle Unionist Politicians Who Maintain Their Power Through the Impositon of Oppression on Scots – caltonjock

 

In my previous post I forgot to include the measures that need to be taken now taking forward the cause of Scottish independence. Corrected with this post.

 

 

Union of 1707 - The Union Achieved

 

 

The Discredited 1707 Act of Union

The 1707 “Act of Union” was signed off, against the wishes of Scots, by a corrupt landowning, political elite.

It was heralded by the English as a voluntary joining of the two nations which would become a single United Kingdom. All would be equal.  But that is not what transpired.

The English trap was sprung within weeks of the signing of the treaty when the Sovereign of the two states declared Westminster to be the seat of the newly formed United Kingdom.

England’s green and pleasant land would survive but Scotland would be consigned to the historical rubbish dump.

And historical evidence from that time to the present day supports many thousands of allegations that Westminster politicians have only ever acted in the best interests of England and against the needs of Scots.

 

The 1707 Act of Union Handed Scotland Over To a Very Wealthy English Elite Supported By Lickspittle Unionist Politicians Who Maintain Their Power Through the Impositon of Oppression on Scots – caltonjock

 

Scots Are Ready for Change: Now::

Conditioned by the brutality of the first and each succeeding Westminster regime over 300+ years, the Scottish view of Westminster is far removed from that of the people of Newcastle or Leeds.

The majority of Scots perceive Westminster to be a parliament that has imposed 313+ years of murderous and dictatorial rule.

They see it as a political regime that has denied them their right to economic and political sovereignty. Westminster is not Scotland’s Parliament and never will be.

Scots, with Brexit forced upon them against their wishes, are now clear in their minds that Unionist politicians will continue to impose their will over Scots regardless of any economic, social or other hardship.

The Scottish nation is of little consequence to the political ambitions of the political elite of Westminster.

How did England and Scotland become the 'United Kingdom'? - ppt download

 

Modified Abstentionism

S.N.P. MP’s should no longer routinely participate in any of the political activities at Westminster, including withdrawing MP’s from all joint committees and no attendance in the House of Commons.

MP’s would, in all other respects, continue to actively represent their constituents fully engaging with other political Party’s and their representatives on matters affecting Scots.

This would ensure no financial detriment to S.N.P. MP’s. but would send a shot across the bows of the English dominated parliament and frighten the Labour and Liberal Party’s who would be consigned to the opposition benches forever.

 

Scottish and English history: 1707 act of union : HistoryMemes

Its Not Too Late – The S.N.P. Should Abandon Namby-Pamby Politicking and Pursue Independence Now

 

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

 

 

Alex Salmond – Is This His Political Obituary

Recognized worldwide as one of the most talented politicians of his generation, Alex already enjoyed a high-profile in Scottish politics before winning two historic Holyrood elections as S.N.P. leader and securing a mandate to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.

Born in 1954 in Linlithgow, he graduated from St Andrews University and began a career in economics, working for the Scottish Office and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He served as party leader from 1990, standing down after 10 years only to make a dramatic comeback to the S.N.P.’s top job before winning the 2007 Holyrood election.

He began his parliamentary career as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, building a small team of dedicated supporters who would remain loyal throughout his time in politics.

Portrayed by Unionists as arrogant and self-serving, he confounded his critics taking the S.N.P. to Government on a platform of fighting for Scottish independence.

The result of the 2014 Independence Referendum shattered Alex who had led a hard-fought campaign for a “Yes” vote.

The day after the result he dropped the bombshell announcing he was standing down as first minister and S.N.P. leader.

 

Scottish Referendum: The Possible Price of Independence | Time

 

The 2015 General Election

At the time of his unexpected resignation Alex could not have foreseen the S.N.P. landslide victory in the 2015 General Election, only six months later.

A momentous change in the fortunes of the party was 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 substantive new powers to Scotland, just short of independence, proved to be a “big lie” that broke the hearts of many Scots who had voted to remain in the Union on the substance of “Unionist! promises.

Alex, was persuaded by his supporters, in the Gordon constituency to remain active in Scottish politics, but this would be restricted to work at Westminster and in a role that did not impinge on Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of the Party.

The leadership did not embrace the proposal believing Alex to be a liability and no longer an asset to the Party.

But the local Party team prevailed and Alex was selected as the Party candidate for Gordon. He went on to win the seat. Fifty-five other S.N.P. candidates were elected together with Alex, to office. as MP’s.

The new block of S.N.P. MP’s were rich with talent and enthusiasm but lacked political experience and foundered badly underestimating the strength of inherent bias against any challenge to the Unionist dominated Westminster political system.

The one shining light was Alex Salmond, who having accepted his place at Westminster would exclude his direct input into Scottish matters, took on the duties of “Foreign Affairs” spokesman for the Party.

In this role he was well able to deal with the duplicity of a truculent “Speaker” and the Unionist majority.

He also commanded the stage when he spoke to his brief, but there was a sadness noting him sitting on the fringe, at the back of the S.N.P. group allowing his leader, Angus Robertson to take centre stage.

 

Alex Salmond accused of not listening to voters over Scottish Independence | UK | News | Express.co.uk

 

 

2017 General Election

The unexpected 2017 General Election provided Alex with another opportunity to bow out of Scottish politics, so that, as an elder statesman he would be able to further develop his interest in foreign affairs, perhaps through the many media outlets who had provided him with numerous appearances over the years.

But, spurning the chance of a new political direction he decided to stand, once more, for a seat at Westminster, representing Banff and Buchan.

But he and others had misread the political scene. The influence of little consequence of the large body of S.N.P. MP’s had exposed the futility of sending S.N.P. MP’s to Westminster.

Unionist politicians were not slow to act and seized the opportunity given over to them by a complacent S.N.P. leadership and planted seeds of confusion and apathy among Scots voters.

The Unionist’s also introduced “tactical voting” into Scottish politics setting aside their political differences, jointly campaigning in a number of Scottish constituencies, where the incumbent S.N.P. MP would be vulnerable to a low percentage swing in the voting.

Faced with this scenario Alex and a number of other S.N.P. candidates failed in their bids for re-election.

 

SNP Spring Conference 2014: Alex Salmond - independence vote 'opportunity of a lifetime' | Scotland | News | Express.co.uk

 

 

Alex Bows Out of Front-line politics

Alex accepted a need to change direction and considered a future in the media, the most promising of which was as the editor of a major Scottish tabloid newspaper.

The new venture failed to materialize, due to the political pressure of Unionist supporting financial backers and Alex became increasingly dependent on appearance invitations from the right wing media and BBC.

But shock and horror, he was denied then that platform through the Unionist controlled entities.

Lesser persons would have given up the ghost. But not Alex, who turned to the English language television and radio station, Russia Today (RT)’

Having been given written assurances there would be no censorship or any other pressure applied to himself, his guests or content, he signed up to produce and present a weekly current affairs television show.

The show proved to be a hit with viewers (it still is) and with his future assured Alex was a happy bunny once again. All’s well that ends well.

 

Alex Salmond quits SNP amid sexual harassment investigation

 

Summary – The 2015 S.N.P. Landslide Victory

The campaign committed the Party to a rejection of punishing austerity policies inflicted on Scotland by uncaring Unionist politicians, to force the Unionists to honour pledges contained in the “Vow” and continue the fight for Scottish Independence.

The excellent performance of Nicola Sturgeon in debates, coupled with the participation of a record number of supporters and volunteers and a very talented range of candidates greatly stimulated the campaign and the election resulted in a landslide for the S.N.P. who returned 56 MP’s to Westminster, leaving just three seats to be shared between the Unionist parties.

 

Alex Salmond

 

 

This is where It Went Askew

Angus Robertson, appointed by Nicola Sturgeon to lead the S.N.P. team of MP’s at Westminster, said:

“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.”

The final sentence in his statement dictated the approach and conduct of  S.N.P. MP’s  at Westminster. It should have read: “We were elected to pursue independence for Scotland and we will do just that.”

Unionist politicians in the House of Commons, on a world stage, publicly derided, mocked, ridiculed, dismantled and finally castrated  S.N.P. MP’s over the next 18 months.

This contributed to the subsequent loss of S.N.P MP’s in the next election. And the lessons are still not learned.

The S.N.P. leadership needs to change the tactics and I am confident the new direction I am proposing will bear fruit.

 

Scottish Independence By RachelGold | Politics Cartoon | TOONPOOL

Rule Brittania – Unionists Dismantling Devolution Exacting Retribution on Uppity Scots Who Dared to Challenge England’s Authority

 

 

Brexit makes the case for an independent Scotland | Financial Times

 

 

Rule Britannia

Post Brexit the Unionist Party’s will continue to “sing” from the same constitutional hymn sheet defying the aspirations of many Scots who wish to withdraw from a “Treaty of Union” forced upon their forebears.

The Unionists are aware that England’s hold over Scotland is only political, in their hearts and minds Scots will never hand over their nationality to another State.

Mindful of the foregoing the Unionist Party’s issued a recent statement saying:

“The Scottish Parliament is a fact and it will remain in place, and it will be able to legislate and implement policies for the newly reduced devolved responsibilities. A Tory government will not interfere with that. It will continue to govern Scotland with respect. Scots will see that and that will consolidate our support in the medium to longer term”.

The key words to note in the statement are “newly reduced devolved responsibilities” since they expose the duplicity of Unionist politicians, of all political persuasion.

The Tory Government has been evolving strategies for the removal of devolved government from Scotland from May 2010. These are the enabling mechanisms.

 

Scotland, Independence, Brexit and the Great Repeal Bill - Bruges Group Blog

 

 

The UK National Security Council

The UK (NSC) was established on 12 May 2010 by Prime Minister David Cameron. It is a Cabinet Committee tasked with overseeing all issues related to national security, intelligence coordination, and defense strategy.

At a stroke it increased the power of the Prime Minister, who chairs the Council, and brought senior Cabinet ministers into national security policy-making, giving them access to the highest levels of intelligence.

Minister quits UK government over aide's lockdown breach | The Times of  Israel

 

 

 

Secretary of the new UK National Security Council (NSC)

Management of the NSC is the responsibility of the UK Government, Cabinet Secretary who reports only to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for the propriety and effectiveness of Cabinet and NSC governance.

As head of the UK Civil Service, he leads over 400,000 civil servants in HM Government and the Devolved Administrations, over 90% of whom are involved in the delivery of public services to the citizens of the UK.

 

UK Government confirms an additional £155 million for Scotland – The NEN –  North Edinburgh News

 

 

 

UK National Intelligence

Headquartered in Whitehall, City of Westminster, London, is the National Intelligence Machinery. There are three Intelligence and Security Agencies, SIS, GCHQ and MI5, with associated projects being tasked to the Defense Intelligence and the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.

Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon shares Europe-Scotland 'love-heart' image |  HeraldScotland

 

 

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)

the (JIC), operates within the Cabinet Office and is responsible for assessments and intelligence briefings that look at both tactical and strategic issues of importance to national interests, primarily in the fields of security, defense and foreign affairs.

The JIC’s permanent members are senior officials from the Cabinet Office, including the JIC Chairman, the Chief of the Assessments Staff and the National Security Advisor, as well as officials from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defense, the Home Office, the Department for International Development, HM Treasury and the agency heads.

The JIC also feed their assessments into the NSC which is the main forum for the collective discussion of the government’s objectives for national security, in which a range of relevant departments participates.

It is charged with examining more specific national security areas and overseeing and coordinating all aspects of Britain’s security.

The Prime Minister is advised by the head of the NSC secretariat, the National Security Adviser, who is responsible for coordinating and delivering the government’s international security agenda.

 

Brexit maps the path to Scottish independence | Financial Times

 

The UK Stabilisation Unit

This is comprised of a 1,000-strong civilian force providing the UK Government with increased capacity for planning and rapid reaction including deployment of military reservists and police in a civil defense capacity.

The unit’s remit was expanded in 2015, to include crisis response and conflict prevention and control of it was transferred to the UK National Security Council. Located in Whitehall is funded (£1 billion annually) by the Conflict, Stabilization and Security Fund.

It is now a much enlarged and powerful cross-government team tasked with ensuring all departments of government have unfettered access to specialist support and resources when dealing with some of the trickiest policy challenges.

 

The UK Government in Scotland HQ Queen Elizabeth House Stock Photo - Alamy

 

 

Scotland’s Overlord – Andrew Dunlop

The quiet man of UK politics. He has been closely associated with the Conservative Party for most of his adult life. He was a special adviser to the Defense Secretary (1986–88) and a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit (1988–1990).

The demise of Thatcher brought his budding career to a halt and he moved away from active politics to found and develop his own strategic communications consultancy business. Over 20 years later he sold the business, for a very tidy sum of money, to the Brussels-based Interel Group (lobbyists).

The return to power of the Tory Party in 2010 sparked his interest in politics once again and he linked up with his friend and former colleague David Cameron, in his former role of special advisor, with specific responsibility as the principal adviser on Scotland and devolution.

He was elevated to the House of Lords in 2015 allowing Cameron to take him into government, where he served as a minister in the UK Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland between 2015 and 2017.

He is a member of the UK Constitution Committee and an Expert Member of the UK Civilian Stabilization Group and retaining close contact with Scottish affairs he is currently a Board member of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

An avid supporter of Boris Johnson he is reputed to be the brains behind the Tory Government policies for Scotland.

In this respect, he revealed his thinking in his speech, in the Lords, during a debate on the “possible effects of Brexit on the stability of the Union of the parts of the United Kingdom”.

He said:

“Attention should be paid to the machinery of intergovernmental relations, which needs to be strengthened.”

“We also need to look at the cross-UK synergies, weakened since devolution, which need to be reinvigorated.”

“We need to pursue a decentralized, pan-UK strategy for re-balancing the economy, driven by city regions across the country.”

“This means moving away from seeing everything through a four-nation prism.”

“Many of the problems confronting Glasgow, for example, are similar to those of Manchester or Birmingham. They provide embryonic structures which can be built upon.”

“There are two years until the next Holyrood elections. Strengthening our union must be an urgent priority whatever our post-Brexit future.”

 

First Flagship UK Government hub in Scotland completed - GOV.UK

 

A long read but a very enlightening one

https://caltonjock.com/2015/05/26/andrew-dunlop-the-murky-world-of-the-lobbyists-this-takes-a-bit-of-reading-but-all-the-inter-personal-links-are-included/

 

 

UK Government 'determined' to support coronavirus recovery in Scotland,  says Michael Gove

 

2014 Scottish Independence Referendum – A Political Masterclass by the Unionists Promise The Scots Anything But Give Them Nothing

 

Scottish independence referendum 2014 preview

 

 

The 2014 Independence Referendum – Promises Made But Not Kept

“Better Together”: “Scotland enjoys membership of the EU because of our membership of the UK and if we no longer are members of the UK then it follows that we are no longer are part of the EU.” “What is process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting “Yes.”

Ruth Davidson: “I think it is disingenuous of the Nationalists to say that “No” means out and “Yes” means in, when actually the opposite is true, “No” means we stay in, we are members of the European Union.”

David Cameron, Unionist Party Leaders & Ruth Davidson: “Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland is governed.”

The Purgatory Promise: Unionist Party Leaders promised “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament, but the award was predicated by a “No” vote on 18 September 2014. Which they got.

The legislation introduced retained 70% of Scottish taxes and 85% of Scottish welfare spending in the hands of the Westminster government.

The cross-party Devolution (Further Powers) Committee said: “The Scotland Bill falls short in critical areas.”

A “YouGov” poll found that only 9 per cent of Scots believed that the promise of “extensive new powers” had been delivered.

The passage through Westminster of the 2015 Scotland Bill was torturous. 56 Scottish MP’s, representing a majority of Scots, tabled in excess of 100 suggested amendments to the Scottish Bill. Mundell, then Scottish Secretary of State, rejected every proposal. The entire process was a joke.

 

Scottish independence vote hangs in the balance | The Times of Israel

 

 

Shipbuilding

Before the referendum, the “No” campaign said jobs in shipyards would be under threat if there was a “Yes” vote.

Propaganda included the wide distribution of a leaflet saying “Separation Shuts Shipyards” promising that only a “No” vote would ensure Govan and Scotstoun would get the order for thirteen Type-26 frigates from the Royal Navy”.

In November 2015, the media reported that the programme would be slashed because funding needed to be diverted from ship building to fund replacement of the UK aged and obsolete nuclear submarine fleet and trident weaponry.

Later that month the UK government announced that the number of frigates to be built was reduced from thirteen to eight. From that time the project has been repeatedly delayed and the number of ships to be built further reduced. 800 clydeside workers were subsequently made redundant.

 

Independence referendum series on BBC Scotland's new channel | The National

 

 

Energy

David Cameron heavily promoted a referendum “No” vote on the basis that: “when it comes to vital industries like green technology, the combination of a green investment bank sponsored by the United Kingdom Government and the many natural advantages that there are in Scotland can make this a great industry for people in Scotland but we will do that only if we keep our country together”.

Before the referendum Edward Davey the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “The broad shoulders of the United Kingdom is unlocking the power of Scotland to take its place as one of the world’s great energy hubs -generating energy and generating jobs”.

In June 2015 the BBC reported: “Scotland could lose £3bn in investment because of a UK government decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from a subsidy scheme a year earlier than planned.

The report also advised that Siemens, a German “clean energy” company had announced it would not invest in any further renewable projects in the UK until the UK Government had decided whether energy generation would be through investment in nuclear or wind and hydro. Scotland got hammered yet again!!!

FACT CHECK: Was Scotland's 2014 indyref REALLY dark and divisive? | The National

 

HMRC Employment

Before the referendum it was claimed that H.M,R.C. delivered a ‘jobs dividend’ in Scotland and that this would be at risk by a “Yes” vote.

In 2015 the UK Government announced the closure of many H.M.R.C. offices – 2,000 Scottish jobs went.

 

Alex Salmond announces Scottish independence referendum date | Scottish independence | The Guardian

 

The Civil Service in Scotland

Before the referendum, the Scotland Office issued a press release boasting that only the UK Government protected civil service jobs in Scotland. But information published in “SPICe” exposed the lie.

Between 2011 and 2015, there was a greater fall in UK Civil Service employment in Scotland, 17.5% than in any other UK nation. The rate in England was 12.4%, Wales 9.3% and Northern Ireland 16.1%.

 

Scottish Independence: Alex Salmond unveils Scotland's white paper on independence - Birmingham Live

 

 

Carbon capture

Before the referendum, the UK Government stated: “Scotland benefits from other competitions and grants provided by the UK Government and the wider UK consumer and tax base, such as the programme to support the commercialization of carbon capture and storage.”

The commitment to a £1billion investment in CCS was also set out in the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto.

But after deciding the future would be nuclear energy the Westminster Government abruptly cancelled the proposed investment.

Peterhead and Longannet, the front runners lost out. Longannet was shut down. Canada didn’t hang about and developed the technology.

 

David Cameron to Apologize to Queen Over 'Purring' Comment

 

 

Social security

Before the referendum, “Better Together” suggested that independence would be a threat to the welfare state saying: “we are better placed to support the most vulnerable in Scotland ” with a “No” vote.

Less than a year later the UK Government Chancellor announced £12bn cuts in welfare and benefits.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said the budget was an attack on the poorest and most vulnerable people in communities and that the Chancellor was “demonstrating a cruel disregard for the impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives”.

The Child Poverty Action Group said the budget cuts damaged economic security of working families “with higher child poverty for millions and lower taxes for the better off”.

 

Nicola Sturgeon claims about 2014 rubbished by rivals | UK | News | Express.co.uk

 

EVEL

In the weeks before the Referendum Scots were “love bombed” by t.v. personalities, pop music performers, politicians and heads of state of other countries with the heart tugging message that Scots were an integral and equal part of the UK “family of nations” and tearful pleas of “please don’t go, we love you.”

Eight hours after after the referendum result was published Cameron announced the Unionist Party’s answer to the “West Lothian” question.

The Westminster Unionist led Government would introduce English votes for English Laws (EVEL) forming two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons.

The ill-judged changes created a myriad of potential political strife situations where Scottish M.P’s would not be able to properly consider or vote on legislation relevant to Scotland such as the. Barnett formula or Barnett consequential’s since this would be classified English only.

 

How can Scotland call another referendum so soon? | Daily Mail Online

 

 

Barnett Formula

The Vow, which was signed up to by each of the three main parties at Westminster clearly promised “the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources”. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, fresh suggestions are being raised by the Tory-right wing and others about cutting Scotland’s budget further.

Brexit campaigner Lord Owen called for a vote to Leave the EU to be used as an excuse to axe the Barnett Formula, while Tory M.E.P. David Bannerman tweeted that a “new Brexit Government should suspend the Barnett formula for Scotland” raising the spectre of a Tory government at Westminster initiating a systematic and cynical erosion of Scotland’s finances.

One time Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove, yet again raised the prospect of axing the Barnett Formula.

 

Scotland Rejects Independence From United Kingdom - The New York Times

 

Trump Down But Not Out – American Voters Might Yet Defeat the Deep State and Return Him To Office

 

The US Presidential Election 2016 | Politics | tutor2u

 

 

The 2016 Presidential Election

The Democratic Party, led by Hilary Clinton, its candidate for office, conducted a no holds barred political campaign, including the wide use of every illegal and questionable apparatus of the “Deep State” and vicious media attacks on Trump and his family.

But American voters were fed up to the back teeth with the Democratic Party, who under President “look at me” Obama had grossly mismanaged the economy and  allowed Hilary Clinton, free reign over the formulation and implementation of a number of disastrous military expansionist attacks on foreign countries forcing many formerly friendly nations to criticize and in some cases, downgrade inter-governmental relationships with the US.

 

Improbable Research » Blog Archive

 

 

Donald Trump was declared winner of the Presidential Election on 3 November 2016.

Protocol established over many years dictates the conduct of inter-personal and State business matters between the President and President Elect and their supporting teams in the “handover” period prior to the formal inauguration of the new President.

Accepted practice requires the incumbent President to consult with the President Elect on matters of foreign policy and on internal affairs with a political dimension.

Obama ignored all protocols and except for a brief photo opportunity, refused to meet with President Elect Trump, in the 78 days from his win and his inauguration on 17 January 2017.

The Trump team was provided in the honeymoon period, with a threadbare briefing greatly disadvantaging his administration in its early months and the Anti-Trump media delivered, politically orchestrated, ill informed, unforgiving personal attacks on President Trump, his family and administration throughout his Presidency.

 

Who is winning US presidential elections 2016: Donald Trump vs Hillary  Clinton, polls, odds and all the latest updates | World News,The Indian  Express

 

 

Outgoing President Obama acts against Russia

At the end of December 2016, Obama, (without consulting with President-Elect Trump) hit out at Russia accusing Putin of interfering in the 2016 Presidential election’

He then issued an “Executive Order” ejecting 35 Russian diplomats/businessmen and their families, from the United States and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services.

Then acting on information contained in a (now discredited) intelligence report, produced by an ex-employee of the British Secret Services he penalized the 4 top officers of one of those services, the powerful military intelligence unit known as the G.R.U.

The actions instructed by Obama appeared to be intended to box in President-elect Trump, who would need to decide whether to lift the sanctions on Russian intelligence agencies when he took office later in the month.

 

12 Russians accused of hacking Democrats in 2016 US election | BT

 

President-Elect Trump’s Reaction

Trump responded to the news of the Russian sanctions by reiterating his call to “move on.” But undertook to meet with the US intelligence officials, who had concluded that Russian hacking was an attempt to tip the election towards Trump.

But, in a statement from his holiday location in Hawaii, Obama had a less than subtle dig at the President-Elect, stating:

“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions, I acted after repeated private and public warnings to the Russian government, and the measures are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior.”

 

Coronavirus: Donald Trump hits back at Barack Obama for criticising  'chaotic' pandemic response | US News | Sky News

 

 

The Russian Reaction

Russia criticized the sanctions and issued a statement saying:

“Such steps by an administration that will end in under three weeks is clearly aimed at further harming Russian-American ties, which are already at a low point as it is, and compromising the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect.”

 

Obama at Biden fundraiser: "I am here to say help is on the way" - Axios

 

 

President Trump Under Investigation

Not content with severely hamstringing foreign policy and other important business of the Trump administration, ex- President Obama and the “Clinton Foundation” continued with their campaign to get the result of the 2016 Presidential Election overturned and Clinton elected to office by default.

Before he left office Obama tasked the FBI and other agencies to investigate President-Elect Trump with the purpose of digging the dirt, no matter any lack in the efficacy of the truth.

The activities of these agencies lasted nearly 3 years and destroyed a number of political careers but eventually concluded there had been no collusion between the Russian’s and President Trump or any of his administration.

And yet the American “Deep State” and others intent on discrediting President Trump are still attacking him and his family. But he still intends to remain in office given the support of the American voter. A weaker man would walk away.

 

Obama response to 2016 Russian meddling had many flaws: Senate report

 

 

Why is Trump Hanging Onto Office?

The 2020 Presidential Election will be held in just under 3 weeks and Joe Biden (ex- Vice President of the US) is the front runner, as was Hilary Clinton in 2016.

It appears President Trump is heading for defeat and a humiliating end to his short political career.

But the Democratic Party/Biden campaign might be forced to publicly address damming allegations of tax evasion, criminal conduct and abuse of the offices of State dating back a number of years.

 

5 Things To Watch This Week In Politics And Coronavirus : NPR

 

 

The Mucky Clinton’s

Respected Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel was not surprised that Hillary Clinton appeared to be deeply involved in how the Trump-Russia investigation started. According to him:

“The roots of the Clinton corruption run deep and start in Arkansas where Bill Clinton served as a governor and attorney general.

When the Clinton’s moved to the White House, the scale of their corrupt and suspicious activities expanded to the national and international stages, from 1997 onward, a key instrument in swapping cash for influence has been the network of Clinton “charities” that has never been properly regulated anywhere.

If an understanding is needed to establish why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were so determined to impede or topple President Trump, investigators must go back into history comparing sums that donors claim they sent towards the Clinton Foundation, with the Foundation’s public filings, submitted many places, under penalties of perjury.

The Clinton Foundation public record, evident in plain sight includes multiple confessions of making false statements under oath.

May the long overdue indictments, prosecutions, convictions, fines and incarcerations soon begin”.

 

Obama emerges as central figure in 2020 presidential race

 

 

Obamagate

In May 2020 President Trump accused Ex-President Obama of carrying out “the biggest political crime in American history” addressing it as “Obamagate”.

His allegation was a response to Obama’s widely “leaked” conference call in which the ex-president lambasted the Department of Justice’s decision to drop charges against ex-National Security Adviser  General Michael Flynn.

Charles Ortel, said:

“In accusing Obama of “the biggest crime” President Trump may have alluded to either treason or sedition or both, described in 18 US Code Chapter 115.

With many months behind them, and ample resources, investigating officers are likely to have found solid evidence that Barack Obama violated his oath of office in numerous ways, and subsequently attempted to overturn the results of the 2016 election”.

Flynn’s defense attorney Sidney Powell, commenting on her conjecture that Obama was in on the plot to “frame” Michel Flynn said:

“The whole thing was orchestrated and set up by James Clapper, (former Director of National Intelligence) and John Brennan, (Former CIA Director) in the Oval Office, with President Obama.

I believe that General Flynn, appointed by Obama, grew to protest many reckless foreign policies, having access to damaging classified information that most of us have not seen and may never see.

Flynn’s refusal to stand down after being fired in 2014, and his stubbornness infuriated Obama, suggesting that Flynn may hold secrets that Obama cannot have revealed. In short, Barack Obama is scared because he should be scared”.

 

Obama lashes out at Trump in call with supporters

 

 

The Unprecedented Unmasking of General Flynn and Obama’s Role in the Conspiracy

Distorting the truth of General Flynn’s alleged “Crime of perjury” the former president stated:

“There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free”.

But he was was taken to task by The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board for making a grave mistake. It wrote:

“Flynn was never charged with perjury, which is lying under oath in a legal proceeding. He pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI in a meeting at the White House on 24 January 2017 that he was led to believe was a friendly chat among colleagues”.

 

VERIFY: No, President Barack Obama can not serve as Biden's VP | wusa9.com

 

 

The Trump Administration is Fighting back

Undeterred by many obstacles placed in their way the Trump administration appears to be determined to get to the bottom of the outgoing Obama administration’s role in targeting Trump campaign aides.

Richard Grenell, acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) recently declassified a list of former Obama administration officials involved in the “unmasking” of General Flynn in his talks with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It is believed to be “much larger than anything involving General Flynn”.

Ortel explained:

​”Unmasking (exposing the names of Americans associated with targets of counter-intelligence investigations) is a serious potential offence, especially when the investigation in question is launched on spurious pretenses.

What we are likely soon to find is that many Obama co-conspirators obstructed investigations that were opened or should have been opened, and then rigged or attempted to rig elections inside and outside the United States.

I wrote to Richard Grenell, Director of the DNI requesting the names of those involved in General Flynn’s unmasking.

Today I received the shocking reply that Joe Biden and many others knew!

What did President Obama know? I am inviting DNI Director Richard Grenell to testify next week in the Senate”.

 

Clinton Foundation Being Investigated now by IRS, FBI & Intelligence |  Armstrong Economics

 

 

The Republican Party and the Senate

Richard Grenell and AG Barr attended a meeting of a Senate Committee after which it expressed gratitude to both of them for their ongoing efforts to bring transparency to the Russian investigation.

A Committee member requested even more materials to be declassified, including:

The transcript of the conversation between General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador.

The Susan Rice memo about the 5 January 2017 meeting between President Obama, Vice President Biden, FBI Director James Comey, and Deputy AG Yates on the Russian investigation.

The mysteriously missing original transcript of the General Flynn-FBI interview at the White House.

Ortel summarized events to date, saying:

“Fearing consequences of a Trump victory, Obamagate co-conspirators manufactured hoaxes to turn eyes away from their own massive crimes”.

Soon we may learn how many fair critics of Obama and of unregulated globalism were illegally targeted and harmed by the Obama presidency.

Although the mainstream left-leaning media have denounced “Obamagate” as Trump’s favourite distraction tactics, it seems that very soon many people, especially Barack Obama and the Clintons, will find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

The revelations are likely to have a domino effect and may even affect major allied nations including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia”, all of whom were had some role in the “Spygate” scandal.

 

Sturgeon '˜fervently hopes' for Clinton US election win | The Scotsman

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

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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