Monday, April 30, 2012

‘Bought and sold for Aussie Gold’? Labour Party steps up the pressure on Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein, pure politics for council elections

Dear All

Last few days of the election before the vote, and it is the Labour Party stepping up the pressure on Alex Salmond over the links to Rupert Murdoch!

The question people want answered by Alex Salmond is how Rupert Murdoch having total control of BSKYB would lead to jobs in Scotland?

As the battle rages down south, Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein has been reported to Scotland’s most senior civil servant Sir Peter Housden.

The Labour Party is asking him to investigate whether the aide has broken the rules governing special advisers.

Down south, Tory Minister Jeremy Hunt has had to let go his adviser.

Alex Salmond is nailing his colours to the mast as he takes to the streets of Glasgow in key wards.

On council election day, this Thursday; he is campaigning in Ward 4, Craigton in the Mosspark area, along with another ward in the east of the city to get the vote out.

By personally spending as much time in Glasgow, he is taking a risk; will there be a ‘Salmond bounce’ for the SNP?

Or will it be a brick wall that his popularity runs face first into?

Of Murdoch, Salmond said:

“I think Rupert Murdoch is one of the most substantial figures in journalism for the last 50 years so it would strike me as important to have a good and business-like relationship with him.”

Given Murdoch is effectively a leper with most serious politicians in UK politics abandoning him, the wisdom of that ‘friendship’ may come back to haunt him.

The Labour Party has fought a hard campaign to keep control of Glasgow’s City Chambers.

Their tactic of not engaging with the SNP in any real sense other than to lambast the SNP leader Allison Hunter as an example of poor SNP leadership could prove to be right.

Now that Alex Salmond’s adviser Geoff Aberdein is in the firing line, he will be taking heat right up till Thursday’s election.

Will Geoff Aberdein be cleared?


I can’t see Scotland’s most senior civil servant Sir Peter Housden finding any evidence and I can’t remember any time when people like Housden went against a First Minister.

Labour’s letter to Housden on Saturday is politics. They have a boot on their foot and they are going to use it, hard, every kick weakens the credibility of the First Minister as they create doubt in the minds of the public.

The comedy extents to suggesting Aberdein should follow the example of Hunt’s special adviser, Adam Smith, who resigned.

Smith gave a Murdoch employee the details of private meetings the Culture Secretary had with regulators and opponents of News Corp’s planned takeover.

Labour chief whip James Kelly, who is acting as point man said:

“It is difficult to see the difference between the case of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s adviser Adam Smith who quit and Alex Salmond’s adviser, Geoff Aberdein, who hasn’t.”

Kelly added:

“In his resignation statement Smith said he had exceeded his boss’s authority with his claims to the Murdochs so he quit. In evidence to Leveson, it was heard that Aberdein told the Murdochs Salmond would lobby the UK government on the Murdochs’ behalf whenever they wanted him to. Salmond denied that. If the First Minister is to be believed that means Aberdein exceeded his authority yet he hasn’t resigned.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said:

“Contact between Mr Aberdein and News Corp representatives has been within the Special Adviser Code of Conduct, we will respond to the letter once it has been received.”

Presumably until after the election on Thursday and in the hope that something else dominates the news agenda.

Alex Salmond is putting a lot of his personal stock into a win in Glasgow.

Anything less than a clear majority; will be seen as a personal disaster for him and the Scottish National Party.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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