Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scottish independence: Channel Four’s Despatches programme highlights what it says is evidence of an SNP 'plot' to silence business chiefs, can unpopular Nicola Sturgeon explain her and her “friends” relationship with a man currently charged by Police Scotland?

Dear All

You can’t have failed to notice that I have been prefacing Alex Salmond by using Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’, the ‘fat man’ act is just an act to win over people that Salmond is a nice guy who sticks up for people.

The truth is, he wouldn’t even do that for members of his own party targeted by abuse.

Now, allegations have emerged that Salmond used his office to silence business leaders about independence.

An investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches appears possibly to be a game changer not in the independence referendum but in terms of whether Alex Salmond can remain as First Minister of Scotland.

Apparently Executives claim they have come under direct pressure from Alex Salmond and his SNP administration to keep quiet, as well as that we have seen previously that Academics have also faced “implicit threats” not to voice their opinion.

While in the SNP, I found that pressure was put on me to remove blog posts which the SNP didn’t like with the threat of disciplinary action.

Under Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of SNP free speech isn’t welcome, criticism isn’t welcome, people aren't free to speak their mind.

Already we have seen Prime Minister David Cameron voicing fears that firms were being told to kept quiet by SNP “threats and warnings”.

In a hard hitting investigation, Channel four’s Dispatches contacted 50 companies, 5 said privately that they had been contacted by the Scottish Government and felt pressured to remain quiet about their views.

In what must be the most serious incident, someone claimed to have been visited by a Nationalist minister, and two claimed to have received a phone call from a minister.

Two more said they had received a call from the First Minister’s office.

As the story is breaking and developing a further 14 claimed to know of other businesses people who felt under pressure.

Another senior Nationalist to be named for scrutiny is Englishman Angus Robertson; he is the SNP's campaign director for the referendum.

Robertson has met with business leaders such as Gavin Hewitt, a former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association. Hewitt is said to Channel Four that he and senior members of his staff had met Angus Robertson on at least six occasions over the past two years.

Hewitt said:

“He and the SNP have regularly tried to get the message to the Scotch Whisky Association that the Scotch whisky industry should stay out of the independence debate.”

In effect, does this sound like an SNP member that stands for fairness, equality and social justice?

He added:

“He was, I think, trying to neuter business comment. There was a genuine fear that in fact if we were seen to scupper, by coming out publicly against independence, there would be retribution down the track.”

Typically, the SNP Government told Dispatches that Mr Hewitt’s claims were “utterly false”.

But then that is the SNP for you, deny, deny and deny, then when the evidence comes out, try and pass it off as a mistake, acting in good faith or a misunderstanding.

Allegedly others who are senior in the SNP are to be named including Finance Secretary John Swinney who allegedly pressured organisations to pull out of the CBI.

The CBI officially back a no vote in September.

Emails have been obtained by researchers which suggest Swinney seized on the decision by Scottish Enterprise to leave the CBI to push others to end their association with the CBI also.

As well as business, Academics have also been targeted and not subtly, Shona Robison, an SNP minister and MSP for Dundee East contacted the University of Dundee about the fact that Professor Chris Whatleyhad voiced support for the Better Together campaign.

Lord Sutherland, formerly of Edinburgh University said:

“It sends the message that you’re being watched, if Big Brother’s looking down on you, then there’s an implicit threat.”

He added: “The danger is that you have a regime that does things by stealth rather than argues things out in public.”

The targeting of opponents is nothing new, the cybernats, the Nationalist shock troops of hate spread their position and intimidation online, far from being anonymous; some of these people are know personally to Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon.

Although critics are calling for a halt to the Nationalist tactics of intimidation, that will fall on deaf ears.

Tory chief whip John Lamont said:

“We risk making Scotland an international laughing stock if it is proved our own government has been strong-arming the very people who keep our economy going.”

A spokesman for Better Together said that the claims must be investigated, adding:

“Businesses and other impartial voices saying that they have received phone calls or visits from SNP ministers in order to pressure them into silence is a deeply troubling development.”

In dismissing the genuine concerns of people regarding Nationalist intimidation and threats, a spokeswoman for Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that viewers should focus on something else.

Would the same spokeswoman have the same take on an "associate" of Nicola Sturgeon who is currently facing criminal proceedings for spreading hatred online, charged by Police Scotland?

Does Nicola Sturgeon have anything to say about how many of her friends and close colleagues within Glasgow SNP including several SNP Candidates and SNP Cllrs all know this individual?

So, who knows of, or has met this individual?

First Minister Alex Salmond
SNP Chief Executive Peter Murrell (Sturgeon's husband)
SNP MEP Candidate Chris Stephens
SNP Candidate Natalie McGarry
SNP Candidate Jonathan Mackie
Humza Yousaf's office manager Shona McAlpine
SNP Cllr Mhairi Hunter
SNP Cllr David McDonald
SNP member Irfan Rabbani

And they all know Nicola Sturgeon; who has also met him and worked with him.

Does Nicola Sturgeon have anything to say why some of her friends joined a hate account on twitter?

I guess we will all just have to wait until the Court Case before Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesperson comments on that aspect of intimidation.

The Great British Break-up: Channel 4 Dispatches.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

They (SNP) are a really gruesome lot. No genuine plan just full of assertions that schoolkids have seen through. In fact some of their MPs have been hounded from schools. So now we're down to threats and bullying. A lying bunch of chancers intent on Independence at any cost. For them it's all about saving face and fuck pensions and the economy.

Anonymous said...

I am entirely unsuprised by this development having been 'monstered' a number of times in on-line discussions by Business for Scotland (, an SNP front organisation,leaders and their acolytes. A fish rots from the head down. I have withdrawn from active participation in Independence debate at the request of my wife as she feared the the on-line could easily become in-person.
I was interested to find this analysis of who this group are and who they represent, http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/who-do-business-for-scotland-represent.html.
I have been personally vilified by 7 of the named individuals in this analysis of the organisation and even after I announced my withdrawal from the discussion, my name continued to be dragged into their intemperate comments against any opinion questioning or opposing the SNP line on independence.
I'm sure you will understand why i am posting this anonymously

Rachel Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G Laird said...

Dear Rachel

Thank you for taking the time to drop by the blog.

“I contact you on behalf of the Glasgow University Law in Action initiative Director. We are a legal project run by law students and have an interest in human rights. We are interested in your blog and how we could potentially help to promote it”.

As to my blog, it is read extensively by many people and organisations such as the Scottish Government, Westminster, European Parliament, European Commission, US Department of State, councils, newspapers, BBC, STV, universities, colleges, charities, politicians and the wider public, it is read in many countries such as US, Russia, France, Germany, Vietnam, Australia, Norway, Bulgaria, Turkey, Belgium, Taiwan, Ireland among others. I sometimes post on who drops by the blog so the readership know what kind of organisations stop by to get the George Laird view. As well as that I have appeared on tv and radio several times as I am a very well known blogger, commentator and published writer.

My blog haseven been read at Glasgow University by the Principal Anton Muscatelli and the University Media Office, as well as a host of various departments from Vet medicine to Chemistry to Sport, even the GUSRC.

I used to be at Glasgow University, I spent 20 years there in various positions and during my time did quite a lot of teaching on campus.

So, I thank you for kind offer but I really don’t need any help in promoting it.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University