The Alex Salmond ‘show’, not the one on RT but the piece of theatre being played out in the Courts and Press, like a steam engine, this drama is building up steam gradually, but before you get carried away, this is the ‘phoney war’ at present.
No shells of 105 mm have crossed the battlefield, no one is dead yet career wise, a few people have been shellshocked but everyone is still standing. Of course we haven’t seen much in the way of ‘troop deployment’ yet either. One person who has decided to pop his head up is Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA trade union which represents senior civil servants. Penman has accused Alex Salmond of 'personal vendetta' against top civil servant, Leslie Evans.
It may seem to many or a few that Leslie Evans, Nicola Sturgeon’s handpicked choice for the top civil service job is a ‘proxy’ for attacking Sturgeon.
Isn’t it awful when ‘best buddies’ fall out?
Yesterday Salmond attempted to do his ‘Lady Diana’ after winning his victory, he expressed regret dressed in black, but he couldn’t sustain it. In a roller coaster of emotions, he went from sorrow to attack mode and called for Leslie Evans to quit over the "unlawful" way the Scottish Government dealt with sexual misconduct complaints against him. It was an unremarkable performance but a warning shot across the bows that, ‘if you wrong us, shall we not revenge’. Of course, this bit is from the Merchant of Venice but clearly it rather seems that Alex Salmond wants his ‘pound of flesh’.
Perhaps several pounds!
An interesting take on this drama can be found at the Craig Murray blog.
If you were to do a list of people who appear to owe a ‘pound of flesh’, you might come up with this list.
Who is Judith Mackinnon, she is ‘Head of People Advice’ at the Scottish Government, she allegedly cost the Scottish Government a whopping £500,000. She was previously Head of Human Resource Governance at the Scottish Police Authority according to Craig Murray’s article. A senior policeman allegedly told Murray that appeared in practice to mean professional feminist. Someone else who was also at the Scottish Police Authority as a board member was SNP Minister Jeane Freeman.
Yesterday also saw Nicola Sturgeon on the back foot while being interviewed on TV, it seemed the wind had been taken right out of her sails by the collapse of this case by her side throwing in the towel. Judge Lord Pentland declared that the Scottish Government's actions were "unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias".
Reading the explanation put forward by Craig Murray, one has to wonder about the future of both Leslie Evans and Judith Mackinnon. Murray’s take is that their position appear to be untenable, but just as Evans is a buffer for Sturgeon, Mackinnon is a buffer for Evans. There was talk of starting the whole process again but given what has transpired, many would say that the ‘window’ for action is gone via the Scottish Government route.
Everything down the tubes because the person who investigated the complaints had some involvement with the two women prior to being appointed investigating officer!
Craig Murray uses the rather catchy title, “The Salmond Stitch-Up – the Incredible Facts, and why Mackinnon and Evans Must Be Sacked”.
I would have added in Nicola Sturgeon’s name but I am all about ‘belts and braces’.
Salmond repeatedly calls for Evans to quit her post is victors revenge, he demanded:
"When she has got some time for mature reflection, I hope that the Permanent Secretary considers her position."
I think not, Evans has time, it would take quite a few years before Salmond could affect the employment of Evans, even if he could return to front line politics, by that time, Evans could be sitting on a beach with her golden goodbye pension sipping Evian water.
Back to Mr Penman, he said:
"I think what has been disappointing is the way Alex Salmond has continually targeted Leslie Evans from day one on this case, he's called it the 'Leslie Evans procedure'. Yesterday he made repeated assertions that she should resign. He has always portrayed this as a personal vendetta, even going as far as suggesting the Civil Service was acting without ministerial authority, so it was no surprise yesterday that Alex Salmond would therefore call for Leslie Evans' resignation."
"Confidence in the Permanent Secretary is a matter for the First Minister. I'm sure when Alex Salmond was first minister that is what he would have said and I don't think anyone could be in any doubt from what Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that Leslie Evans retains the confidence of the First Minister."
Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon said that Ms Evans took the decision to settle the court case "with my support".
Do you see why Nicola Sturgeon should be on the ‘pound of flesh’ list?
Nicola Sturgeon maybe at present ‘standing by’ Evans but given how quick she abandoned her mentor Salmond, I wouldn’t count on Sturgeon’s support. You can almost see the storm brewing the ranks of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon rammed her ‘women’s agenda’ down the throat of the SNP, the Government and anywhere else she could, and look how it ended up.
Finally, there is an ongoing police investigation; Salmond has admitted no wrongdoing or criminality. It seems almost a foregone conclusion that if Salmond gets back into the SNP, he would want to challenge for the leadership, then become First Minister again.
Is there room at the Cabinet table for Nicola Sturgeon?
I would hazard a guess and say only temporary till he gets his feet under the table and he moves his own people into power, then we could see a Stalin like era of the purges, the backbenches being the ‘new Siberia’.
‘If you wrong us, shall we not revenge’!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University