Saturday, August 25, 2018

Will the SNP take an electoral hit from the Daily Record's cynical reporting of the allegations against Alex Salmond?

The inconvenient truth for the unionist parties is that polling evidence suggests last year's general election was not some kind of staging-post on the way to a total SNP collapse, as the media narrative optimistically suggested in the immediate aftermath of last June.  All full-scale Scottish polls since the election have suggested that the SNP vote has held up well, and the majority of them have actually put the SNP a little ahead of the 37% achieved on polling day.  If anything, the SNP appear to be on course to gain seats, not to lose them.  Little wonder, then, that the unreconstructed Daily Record reacted with such glee at the opportunity to publish allegations of sexual misconduct against Alex Salmond, which they clearly feel will be harmful to the SNP regardless of whether the complaints eventually prove to be well-founded or not.

Is that correct?  Certainly the experience of the Liberal party in the late 1970s, when their former leader Jeremy Thorpe was charged with (but eventually acquitted of) conspiracy to murder, gives the lie to the notion that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  It's telling that Thorpe's replacement David Steel was warmly congratulated after the 1979 election for severely limiting the damage that had been widely anticipated.  Probably damage limitation is the most that can be hoped for in such circumstances - but of course the allegations against Mr Salmond, although they appear to be relatively serious, are obviously not in the same order of magnitude as the allegations against Mr Thorpe.

Another thing in the SNP's favour is that the public have become used in recent times to the proliferation of sexual complaints against leading public figures, and have learned that sometimes those complaints prove to be accurate and sometimes (for example in the case of Cliff Richard) they don't.  That will hopefully help people to keep an open mind as this process unfolds.

The situation would also have been far worse from an electoral point of view if Mr Salmond had only just stood down as leader, or indeed if he was still a sitting MP.  (The Labour activists who let themselves down by openly celebrating the Tory gain in Gordon will surely be reflecting on the irony that if Mr Salmond had held his seat, the SNP would now be faced with a much more serious dilemma.)  Nicola Sturgeon is clearly now seen to be in total control of both the SNP and the Scottish Government, a point she has underscored by putting out a statement that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, making clear that the Scottish Government will vigorously defend itself against the criticisms made by Mr Salmond.

I'd suggest the public will find her statement rather impressive, taking account as it does of the complainants' right to be taken seriously, the need for a process that is blind to the seniority and political affiliation of the person under investigation, and also the hurt and upset this is causing within the SNP.  The only thing that is perhaps missing is a reminder that Mr Salmond, just like anyone else in the same position, is entitled to a presumption of innocence until and unless proven guilty.  That crucial point seems to be increasingly falling under neglect in the current climate.

We'll just have to wait for new polls to see if the Daily Record get their wish by seeing the SNP vote fall back.  But I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that any electoral impact will be relatively minor or even non-existent.

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58 comments:

  1. It definitely is a wait and see situation but the press wont let go of this easily

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    1. The Thompson affair is proof of their ability to stretch nothing to pages of print

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  2. There's an element within pro-independence The Common Space which disturbs me.
    The headline suggests the allegations are of such a severe nature that they can't be ignored, rather than what Nicola Sturgeon is saying: no special treatment for Alex Salmond.
    In that one headline Common Space has created a mental picture; that having seen the allegations there is such a weight of evidence against Mr Salmond that that he must be brought to book.
    That's a headline that the gutter press would be proud of.

    https://t.co/juuikfnhUk

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    1. Common Space do some very good stuff, but alongside it they have an irritating habit of behaving as if we are independent already by the way they brief against other indy groups. In fairness to them they have their own agenda and its quite clear that they want indy on their own terms.

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    2. What worries me about them is, it often feels, that if it's not on their terms they don't want it!

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    3. Exactly! I'd stress though, that it's a faction within Common Space, James McEnaney being the foremost example.

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  3. Might Sturgeon's very human yet principled response actually have the opposite effect drawing voters to her?

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  4. https://meanmemes.blogspot.com/

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  5. Another diversion from politics to keep the gossip mongers and press going. Could it be another big Tam scenario dragging on for years while austerity keeps biting. I have no personal gripe against Eck or Kickerlesss, only their Nat si ism and Tartan Tory policies.

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    1. Amelia Harmony-DexterAugust 26, 2018 at 1:46 AM

      GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois.

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    2. Although definitely a troll I doubt that GWC2 is the Hon Mz Dubbs. From his use of written english I doubt that he even completed primary school.

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    3. Says the spellin check man.

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    4. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois.

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    5. Looks like jimmy glasga has joined GWC in embracing the hun and selling his natsis to the Krauts. Jocks away fellas.

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    6. The question for fans of the jimmy g and g dubya love-in is whose the giver and whose the taker, my money is no jimmy as the giver.

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    7. Celia Rodina Arthur Whyte-SempleAugust 29, 2018 at 12:25 AM

      Anonymous AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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    8. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  6. WE often can't believe that our hero has fallen,we don't want to think any of our heros can be human failures.Now I don't believe for half a nano second that Alex Salmond has done anything so bad.As I see it we have a retired civil servant and a senior civil servant making accusations,which somehow got leaked to the press well Alex's name was leaked and a suggestion of improper behaviour but not the senior civil servant nor the retired one.What could happen to the retired one? nothing just carry on and think of money or England perhaps! the senior one will have all the protection wanted and needed,but perhaps she too is close to retirement and a bonus would be handy,I am just thinking and expressing a possibility and I could be totally wrong,as I've been before.Now will all the mud stick ? only if your a close minded Britnat,I do think most will see it for what it is,we are getting close to indyref2 and Alex is seen as one of the jewels in the SNP crown,so they will drag this on for as long as possible.This will distract people from thinking on the important issues.

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  7. The other big news from today is the confirmation of the long held suspicion, that Effie Deans aka Lily of St Leonards, is male.

    No woman would have written that article. Even the most honest and even-handed of the weaker and less intelligent sex would have inserted some pish about how all women tell the truth at all times and their word is Gospel. Just not in those exact words of course. See the D Garvelli opinion bilge for an odious example.

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    1. Rubbish. I'm female and I would have written every word of it myself. Without "some pish" inserted.

      It's a bit of a shock that Effie of all people has written something quite so fair-minded but it reads like a female writing it and I've never seriously thought otherwise.

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  8. Nicola Sturgeon's statement was measured and should be respected.
    The complainants should have their case heard. Alex Salmond says he has not heard full details yet.
    I don't know whether that is or isn't normal, unusual or unfair.
    Best to let due process of law happen.

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  9. It is a grave error for pro-independence journalists to lazily parrot the screaming, misleading and SNPBAD headline that Alex Salmond is "suing the Scottish Government".

    The action concerns - reportedly - misconduct or malfeasance within the administrative apparatus, i.e., the Civil Service, allegedly committed by a civil servant or servants and not by any political appointee or member of the Executive, in relation to a complaint by some third party or parties. The exact details are not known and should not be known. We should be absolutely clear about what is fair comment and what is no more than slander, gossip and rumour-mongering.

    When we say "the Government", we mean, or should mean, the Executive branch, not its administrative apparatus. Alex Salmond is not suing "the Scottish Government". Other jurisdictions have administrative courts, separate from the civil and criminal courts, to try cases against the administration.

    When people take the UK Home Office to court, or petition the courts for relief from their mistreatment by it, to put it more exactly but less succinctly, we do not call that "suing the UK Government". Taking the Home Office to court is a practice that should be encouraged, of course, but it is not "suing the UK Government"; people cannot sue the Home Office for applying the legislation in force - however much we may disagree with that legislation - only for applying it improperly.

    People in Scotland don't take the Home Office to court nearly enough, by the way, as so many of its decisions are offensive and unjustifiable to most Scottish people - and most Scottish courts. Of course, few people have the resources to do so, least of all indigent refugees and asylum-seekers.

    The First Minister rightly refrained from commenting on the action raised by Alex Salmond, because to put her thumb on the scales on either direction would violate the principle of equal treatment. There are times when "no comment" is the wisest choice. Donald Trump has yet to realize that.

    In other words, wait and see. In the secure knowledge that the truth will eventually out, we should refrain from getting into an uproar over some unproven and unspecified allegations, trumpeted and crowed over by the Usual Suspects, against Alex Salmond.

    Let the BritNat meeja machine work itself into a lather of false outrage if it wants to. Ignore it, and treat it with the usual high degree of scepticism. We do not need to play Their game: we need very much not to, and we need very much to watch what we say, to avoid getting drawn into it.

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  10. The MSM and security services have a tricky balancing act. Too much of this stuff and they will blow their own credibility, not enough and we get independence. I think the smears and threats will get worse than this, but we are not far from that point of inflection where the strategy becomes a damaging loser.

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  11. The gleefully grotesque nature of the salivating attacks on AS by the britnat media is unignorable - unless you're a rabid britnat, that is.

    Most Scots have a thrawn side to them and I can imagine most people saying of the britnat media, "You're pushin' this too far, pal."

    This episode will harm the britnat media. The britnat media is already on the ropes; this will be its knockout.

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    1. Yeah coz jocknatsis TV is about to take over. #delusional

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    2. Anonymous AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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    3. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  12. Anon at 2.41am: Idiotic comment deleted. Don't even bother in future.

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  13. Moira's so ancient her cave must be haunted, you can't blame the dirty dawg for avoiding the cobwebs and ghosts and looking elsewhere.

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  14. It brings to mind the fairly vicious personal attacks on Gordon Brown. (An odd comparison, I know) My experience with Scots is that they tend to be fair-minded people, by and large, and personal attacks that appear to be politically based often, although not always, have a reverse effect. Rather than decreasing SNP support, it could actually increase it.

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    1. Not sure I was clear with my comment on the attacks on Brown when he was running for office. They tended towards the 'one-eyed Jock' variety rather than on his huge failings as chancellor and PM. I think a lot of Scots saw them as both anti-Scottish and unfair which kept him from losing votes in Scotland.

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    2. Gordon Brown was not a narrowback nat si THICK PLANK OF WUD like yourself Tomlin. He was a decent man.

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    3. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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    4. The house troll said something mean about me. Now I must cry. 😂😂😂Oops. I meant laugh.

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    5. Just cry Schoolboy.

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    6. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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    7. Is that Jimmy Krankie from Glasga, how's pointless Pete?

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    8. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  15. Someone told me the other day that one of Alex Salmond's complainants worked in the David Mundell unit in Edinburgh. If that is the case then maybe this is the beginning of the black ops again.

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    1. Someone told you, huh?

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    2. That I had a boyfriend, and you had a girlfriend.

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    3. Anything will feel like harassment after you've worked under fluffy.

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  16. I don't think it will have much impact and the view that somehow it will deter Nicola from calling a second referendum sounds like wishful thinking to me.

    Alex holds no office and is not touted to stand for any office. So there is no elected official to demand to resign.

    The allegations may yet prove to be false. Give the length of time Alex has been around with no reputation for such behaviour certainly makes these two complaints from the same source (Scottish Civil Service) at the same time (2013) seem odd.

    It is hardly relevant to whether Scotland is independent or not. I did not vote Yes in 2014 with the thought that it was the right thing to do because Alex Salmond hasn't groped anyone uppermost in mind. I seriously doubt anyone will factor Damien Green's behaviour into the equation when they next vote either and he is still a Conservative MP.

    However, if the accusations go nowhere and are perceived to be a smear I think this could backfire and might even see Alex re-elected should he choose to stand. If the accusations have substance then it will be a sorry footnote to a remarkable political career but one that was already over before the accusations were made. Indeed I find it remarkable that the accusations were not made in 2013/14. Imagine what the press could have done with so little time before the vote.

    In summary, the Yes movement and the SNP have moved on from 2014 and have their own momentum. This is too late for those Unionists who are desperately hoping it is some sort of silver bullet and if the allegations fail to strike home it could actually stir thoughts of smear and dirty tricks which could play badly for the unionist press.

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    1. I think "they" will try and destroy a few more reputations in the independence movement. I was surprised in 2014 that they hadn't found anything on Salmond and Sturgeon in particular, which makes the 2013 date of these allegations seem strange. They must be getting very worried to use this tactic now. Maybe there have been private polls undertaken which show the pro-independence sid ein a far healthier state than the polls published for public enjoyment.
      I don't know if these allegations are true. I hope not for the sake of the women involved and for Alex Salmond's personal reputation.
      It won't sway me from voting Yes again, either way.

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    2. He was trying to get everyone to say yes in 2013!

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  17. There will be MI5 sleepers in the SNP and this could be a ploy to allow one or two to break cover and engineer division. But they've panicked and cut the fuse too short. They will be hoist with their own petard.

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    1. Pretty sure Darth Vader has employed some stormtrooper sleepers too just in case the SNP plot to destroy the deathstar. #paranoiddelusional

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    2. How can you manage a country inhabited by these lunatics.

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    3. I think there are about 100 000 sleeper agents!

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  18. It could be MI6 keeping an eye on Kim Yung Eck. He is after all working for RT and Russia is run by former KGB agents. The Nat sis were never fond of NATO!

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    1. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  19. The so-called jocknatsis state are now in disarray and the end is nigh. Their talisman has been exposed as the serial sex offender and soviet conspirator we all knew he was, nippy will bottle calling the indyref and they'll be out of power after the next election. Roll on the end of the war.

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    1. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  20. Ah dinnae mind a politician givin me a joab at public expense that wisnae required, however a haun oan the tit, bum or lon channy is gon tae far.

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    1. GWC2 AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois

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  21. The question isnae whuther the SNP will take a hit. The credibility o baith the MSM an the yellae blue an rid Tories is on the line. Nicola today took the right line. A true leader. Not just a party politician.

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