No, no, no, Nicola Sturgeon. Memogate ruling does NOT mean the story was ‘untrue’


Nicola Sturgeon has been crowing after the Independent Press Standards Organisation upheld her complaint about the ‘Memogate’ story that caused such a stir for the Daily Telegraph in April.

Ipso has ruled that the story – based on a memo that was leaked, we later learned, on the orders of the Coalition’s then-Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael – was “significantly misleading” because “the newspaper had failed to make clear that it did not know whether the account the memorandum presented was true”. It stops short of any suggestion that the story was false.

This means we still do not know whether the account in the memo was true.

A Cabinet Office investigation revealed that the civil servant who wrote the memo had a spotless record of accuracy and believed that it was accurate because it set down what he was told, faithfully.

But the SNP distortion machine has rolled into action to claim that Ipso’s ruling supports Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that the memo – and the story – were not true. This is a claim that we cannot accept on trust because, as one of the people involved, she has something to gain by making it.

In fact, none of the statements made by people who took part in the conversations mentioned in the memo may be taken at face value. The only person whose account may be considered impartial is the civil servant who wrote the memo – but everyone seems very keen to dismiss what he said.

According to The Guardian, Sturgeon said: “Subsequent events have proven conclusively that the story was entirely untrue, and today’s ruling simply underlines that.” This is a lie. They did not; it does not.

“They [the press] have a duty to ensure, as far as possible, that the stories they present to readers are fair, balanced and – above all – accurate. The Daily Telegraph, in failing to carry out the most elementary of journalistic checks and balances, failed in this case to meet that duty.”

Which checks and balances would these be, Nicola? Do you mean the Telegraph reporters didn’t ask you if the memo was accurate? Now, why do you think that would be? Could it be because the memo said you secretly wanted David Cameron to be the next Prime Minister, while open claiming you wanted Miliband – suggesting you were lying to the public? You’re too intelligent not to understand that this means anything you said about it would be suspicious.

Why are you insulting the public’s intelligence by claiming otherwise?

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  1. Denis July 6, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

    What about the French Ambassador’s account Mike. He and NS being disreputable in collusion? Best regards, Denis.

    • Mike Sivier July 6, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Disreputable? Your word.
      The ambassador also had something to gain from saying the memo was inaccurate, so that account cannot be accepted unquestionably either. I’ve already been over this.
      And the ambassador in question is a she.

      • Ian Greenhalgh July 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

        Aye, no one can be believed except Carmichael even though he said he lied. This is great journalism, almost on a par with The Telegraph. The future’s bright for this one.

        • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

          If you want to believe Carmichael, go ahead. You seem keen to, even though – as you admit – he lied (when he said he wasn’t the source of the leak).
          He was also inaccurate when he said the memo was wrong – he could not know that information. Ah, but that’s the part you want to believe, isn’t it?
          You seem very confused. Why not go away, have a lie down and think about it, as objectively as you can manage?

    • Hugh McMillan July 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      So basically you dismiss the testimony of every person who was actually present at the meeting, and accept the testimony of someone who wasn’t, because that suits your particular form of jaundice. Fair enough, but don’t masquerade as a voice of reason

      • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm - Reply

        Do you realise that anybody can turn your comment right back on you – all the way to the end?
        You know that Sturgeon, if guilty as charged, had to claim that she wasn’t or the SNP would lose electoral ground. If innocent, of course she would have done the same thing but the fact that we have no – impartial – evidence either way indicates that we should not simply accept what she says.
        Same goes for the French contingent, for reasons I’ve discussed before.

  2. Liz July 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Alistair Carmichael sent an apology to both Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador in which he stated that the memo was false.

    • Mike Sivier July 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      He did – but he had no reason to do so.
      It was a real memo, written by a real and dedicated civil servant with a spotless record for accuracy, whose record remains spotless – the memo is an accurate record of the conversation held with the French Consul-General (who also disowns its contents).
      What your comment tells us is that you’d rather believe a liar – because it suits you.

      • ASG July 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

        Was it? Why would Carmichael say it was false if it wasn’t? Using your logic ‘what would he gain from that’. The fact that all involved are going to such lengths to keep secret the civil servant who supposedly wrote the memo and the details around it indicates to me that there is more to the story. If s/he gave an honest account of what s/he was told them own up to it and let’s hear the facts.

        • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 6:13 pm - Reply

          When referring to Carmichael, remember you’re discussing a self-confessed liar. Your problem is you want to believe some of the things he has said, even though – as you already know – he’s a liar. He doesn’t know whether the memo is factual or not because, to him, it is merely a document that came into his hands, and that he found a way to use against his political opponent.
          The civil servant was interviewed during the Cabinet Office investigation. He has an impeccable record for honesty and the investigation found no reason to disbelieve any of his evidence. He did indeed give an honest account. You can look it up.

      • John Gaines July 8, 2015 at 8:46 am - Reply

        Any, ‘Civil Servant’ when visited by a Ministry ‘Con’-sultant would even retract their Birth Certs; I guess you really, really do not understand that ‘Government Consultant’ means the smash your career gang….our very own taxpayer-funded version of the break a Leg, Arm or Neck Gang.

        • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

          That’s your opinion, based on what, exactly?

  3. Scots gordon July 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    You just can accept it can you! All involved have dismissed but you seem to want to hang on to the lie! Never mind I’m sure that you turn your ego to some other fabricated story!

    • Mike Sivier July 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

      Someone call security! We’ve got someone raving in here!

      All right, I’ll let you down gently. All involved have NOT dismissed whatever it is you think they have. Sturgeon, the ambassador and the consul-general have – but their claims can’t be accepted at face value because, if the conversation did go as noted in the memo, they all have reasons to hide it.
      There is no implication that the information in the memo is a lie. Ipso goes out of its way to avoid that suggestion.
      So you are mistaken – twice.
      Now would you mind taking your attitude and your accusations elsewhere until you’ve calmed down? Thank you.

      • Scots gordon July 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

        You keep on believing your unruths! It seems to be the normal state of play to all your ‘articles’ I might suggest that you increase your dosage of medication. Still Carmichael never admitted it did he? Oh wait yes he did!

        • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 1:07 am - Reply

          Call security again – he’s back!

          Insulting me won’t do you any good because it’s not an argument, and I’ve already covered Carmichael in this very comment column – which, it seems, you haven’t bothered to read.

          You’re really only making yourself look ridiculous.

  4. Charles Norman Hay July 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Again i am very surprised by your comment that the so called disclosure was in your opion something that Nicola Sturgeon actually said , would you please submit your evidence to this view to the authorities concerned with the evidence to back up this claim as there will be most likely criminal procedures taken against the politician who is accused of misinformation on a public figure. Mr Sivier you are also making accusations regarding the matter without any proof till now , your insinuations have the same effect as those of the one who propagated this myth in the first place. Please stick to real journalism and not making your own propaganda on the behalf of the Labour party. .

    • Mike Sivier July 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Where do you get that?
      In my opinion, what she did or didn’t say has not been proved.
      Certainly, Nicola Sturgeon is the last person I’d believe, considering the memo faithfully records her as having said one thing while she says otherwise. But that’s not saying I believe the memo. It’s saying the facts remain unclear.
      Now, what were you suggesting about people making allegations without proof?

      • Joan Edington July 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

        If you’re not saying that you believe the memo, and that the facts are not clear, why are you so adamant that Nicola Sturgeon is lying?

        • Mike Sivier July 6, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply

          She’s lying about the Ipso report. It doesn’t say what she says it does.

      • Joan Edington July 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

        An investigation into the leak resulted in former Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael and his special adviser Euan Roddin confessing to leaking the memo and accepting “details of the account” were “not correct”.

        Yesterday Sturgeon said: “Subsequent events have proven conclusively that the story was entirely untrue, and today’s ruling simply underlines that.”

        Where is the lie? I would suggest that the first quote says that the leak was a lie (or not correct for those who don’t know the meaning of a lie). That would be the “subsequent events” mentioned. All Sturgeon is saying that the IPSO report “underlines” that admission. In my world, underlining means highlighting not proving.

        • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

          Sturgeon should not have said the story was “entirely untrue” because this has not been proved by the “subsequent events” she mentions. That’s where the lie is.

          Remember, Carmichael had no business saying that the memo was false. He was not responsible for it and merely took advantage of it, once it came into his hands.

          The Ipso report goes to great lengths to avoid drawing any conclusions about the veracity of the memo.

      • Joan Edington July 7, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

        So why do you?

        • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm - Reply

          I don’t – beyond making the point that its author is the only person involved who can be said to be impartial. He had nothing to gain from writing what he did.

      • Joan Edington July 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

        Maybe not in so many words, in this article, but you have called her a liar at every possible opportunity before and since our referendum. I have rarely read such bitterness from the pens of any but the vile trolls you vilify.

        • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 2:21 am - Reply

          When she lies, I pull her up for it. That is, indeed, every possible opportunity.
          But I don’t accuse without reason.
          The bitterness comes from the SNP supporters who snap back at me. They just can’t stand the thought that anybody sees through their leader.

  5. iwgmoncrieff July 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Suggest you divert some of the passion you feel about SNP to battering the tories a bit harder

    • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 1:09 am - Reply

      I have a passion for facts, and for justice.

      And I batter the Tories – effectively – all the time.

  6. Lauren July 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    The civil servant had nothing to gain…unless of course s/he is a Tory or anti-SNP.
    Unless, of course, you’re actually suggesting that civil servants are superhuman and absolutely above having personal opinions affect their behaviours

    • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Civil servants must be impartial in their professional dealings, no matter what their political leanings. Nobody has suggested that this one did anything other than his duty. Do you know different or are you just stabbing in the dark?

      • The Fall of Honest Rain July 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm - Reply

        Stabbing in the dark? No. No more than you are.
        I don’t believe in the total impartiality of anyone. Everyone has their unconscious (and obvious) biases.

        • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 2:12 am - Reply

          This one has a job that depends on impartiality.
          If I was in that position, I’d keep a very firm grip on it.
          More to the point – what you believe about impartiality is immaterial. A Cabinet Office investigation found in this chap’s favour. I’m sure you’d say they’re not impartial either but, again, that is immaterial. It is your own bias that you’re putting on show.

          • The Fall of Honest Rain July 8, 2015 at 4:39 am

            The point about unconscious bias is, you’re not conscious of it. Duh.

          • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

            Exactly. You’re not, are you?

      • Common of Houses July 7, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

        Just some thoughts!

        “Civil servants ‘compromised’ their impartiality during the Scottish independence referendum with ‘partisan’ statements, MPs conclude”

        “Macpherson said that in “extreme” cases, such as last September’s Scottish referendum, the rules of civil service impartiality “do not apply”.”

        The people with the least to gain of all parties connected is the French Ambassador and their statement on the ‘memo’ is pretty clear.

        • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 2:06 am - Reply

          This was a routine – not an extreme – procedure, therefore your comments about the independence referendum do not apply.
          The French contingent had an international incident to avoid. They did not want a conversation in which French officials were involved to influence the outcome of a general election in a foreign country.
          I’ve mentioned previously my opinion that this is why the memo features the “lost in translation” remark – to let the French off the hook and avoid international embarrassment.

  7. Brian McNeill July 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    What about having a go at Labour in Scotland for a change? Ya know that party that begged tory voters for their votes just before the GE? And employed people like Blair Macdougall and John McTernan to run an Orwellian propaganda campaign? Labour are finished in Scotland!

    • Mike Sivier July 7, 2015 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      That would be entirely inappropriate in relation to this matter.

      • Mr W July 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

        Being honest, I think that bashing Labour is entirely justified in this context given the evident relish they took in spreading the misinformation.

        Two observations:
        1) IPSO were not called on to consider whether the memo was or was not true. They were involved over whether the Telegraph breached the Editor’s Code of Conduct. They did, and have been duly censured by IPSO (whether IPSO actually have any teeth or not is a debate for another day)
        2) From all the accounts I have seen (from day 1 of this whole incident), there has been the provision from the civil servant that “something may have been lost in translation” – in other words, you can no more make claims about what happened than anyone else can.

        For what it’s worth, I can see no possible situation where Nicola Sturgeon would claim to prefer the Tories to Labour, she is far too astute a politician for that.

        • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 2:02 am - Reply

          Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
          You are absolutely right that Ipso could not – and should not – have considered whether the memo was factually accurate or not. Therefore Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that events had shown that the story was entirely untrue is a lie. Think about it. We have absolutely no proof whatsoever that anything said in the memo was untrue. I know many SNP supporters will have a hard time understanding this; just try to remember that a thing isn’t true just because Nicola Sturgeon says it is. My article accurately reports Ipso’s finding.
          To your second point: I haven’t made any claims about what happened. Instead, I have pointed out that nobody else can do so either – especially Nicola Sturgeon, the French Ambassador, and the French Consul-General. The civil servant’s “lost in translation” claim is hard to countenance, given that all those involved were fluent in English; there simply was no opportunity for any mishaps in translation.
          You are welcome to your opinion about Nicola Sturgeon; it simply doesn’t have anything to do with the facts available to us.

  8. Gardon July 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Mike, you are a busy boy! Does your book contain the same inane drivel as your Web site?
    I will tap my toes until you come back with the inevitable vitriolic or condescending response. I Like keeping trolls even professional ones, busy.

    • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 2:04 am - Reply

      As a troll yourself – a professional one? You’ll be in poverty if you are – I suspect you’re just trying to keep yourself busy.
      You have nothing to offer (apart from insult), therefore I have no reason to provide any further response.

  9. Michael July 8, 2015 at 7:00 am - Reply

    This is “journalism” of an absolutely appallingly low standard, a glittering career at the Telegraph may well await you.

    Anything you disagree with is shouted down as being biased coming from sources that are not impartial. You imply that the only person to be trusted is the civil servant involved though I note that you omit the fact that even they questioned the veracity of what they wrote using a “lost in translation” explanation. The fact that there was no translation doesn’t make the account any more believable.

    You point out that those directly involved are shrewd political operators then expect everyone to believe that in a minuted meeting such obviously incendiary comments were made. Who exactly is insulting the public’s intelligence here?

    • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Gosh – another critique of my reporting. I am duly chastised.
      Are you a journalist, by any chance? Do you have any understanding of the profession?
      Reporters have to look at the facts. I did that from the moment this story broke. The very first article I wrote about it detailed my reservations about the Telegraph story. I said a lot more evidence was needed to prove it accurate, and I was right. We don’t have that evidence.
      A lot more evidence was necessary to prove it false, and it seems we’re never going to get that.
      Your problem, it seems, is that you are so desperate for your own rosy view of La Sturgeon to remain undisturbed that you will ignore the facts that have been revealed – I can’t do that. Her comments – and those of the French Ambassador and Consul-General – are claims, not facts.
      The civil servant who wrote the memo created a faithful record of what he heard. The inconsistency in your own reasoning is clear by the fact that you want to believe his “lost in translation” comment, which is the only part which is doubtful because nothing was translated – everybody concerned was fluent in both French and English – but won’t believe the rest.
      In this comment, you are insulting your own intelligence.

  10. John S. Stuart July 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    The only way your version of events can be believed; is to accept a half-baked tertiary source (“… the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”) trumps all other evidence.

    Primary Source: Nicola Sturgeon said the memo content was NOT true

    Primary Source: The French Ambassador said the memo content was NOT true.

    Secondary Source: Pierre-Alain Coffinier (Consul-General) said the memo content was NOT true.

    Tertiary Source: Scottish Office Special Advisor Euan Roddin’s envoy said
    the memo content [may or may not be true]
    “… the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”.

    Alistair Carmichael himself admitted the memo “details” were NOT true.

    Detailed version

    “The Telegraph” publish a story by Simon Johnson that cites a “leaked” Scottish Office document by an unidentified Scottish Office civil servant”

    The full text of this memo reads:

    Discussion with the French Consul-General
    6 Mar 2015
    Just had a telephone conversation with Pierre-Alain Coffinier (PAC), the French CG. He was keen to fill me in on some of the conversations his Ambassador had during her visit to Scotland last week. All of this was given on a confidential basis, so please limit any onward circulation.
    Main points to note
    • Ambassador was quite struck by the Labour v SNP political debate in Scotland as opposed to the different Westminster dynamic (it was her first visit to Scotland as Ambassador…)
    • She met SG Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod, where they discussed COP21 (United Nations Conference on Climate Change) to be held in Paris at the end of the year. Clear from the discussion that the SG expects to be part of the UK delegation, with some suggestions that it could be the First Minister who attends. In any case, the SG wanted to be involved in all the regional / sub-state events around COP21 (main focus on the July event in Lyon?) SG has also asked if someone from the French Government COP21 team could attend and speak at the Edinburgh Science Festival next month (the SG had asked the IPCCC for a speaker, but without success.)

    • PAC didn’t say if they would get a positive response. Could you perhaps feed this COP21 stuff back to DECC?
    • She also met with Fiona Hyslop, who said she was planning a trip to France in July. Hopes to meet with the FR Culture Minister and with the EU Affairs Minister. PAC told me that he was aware of potential sensitivities around the proposed meeting with the latter (a previous visit request was turned down for that reason). He was aware that FCO would be informed in advance of the proposed visit and would be happy to listen to advice on how to respond to a request to meet the EU Affairs Minister this time round.
    • The Ambassador also had a truncated meeting with the FM (FM running late after a busy Thursday…). Discussion appears to have focused mainly on the political situation, with the FM stating that she wouldn’t want a formal coalition with Labour; that the SNP would almost certainly have a large number of seats; that she had no idea ‘what kind of mischief’ Alex Salmond would get up to; and confessed that she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material). I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.

    First-hand account: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denied memo contents.

    “Ms Sturgeon “categorically denied” the newspaper’s account and “called for an inquiry after a British newspaper published a third hand account of a civil service memo alleging that she wanted David Cameron to stay on as prime minister”.

    “.@simon_telegraph your story is categorically, 100%, untrue…which I’d have told you if you’d asked me at any point today” – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    First-hand account: French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann denied memo contents.

    Official UK Press releases a statement via her spokeswoman: “While the ambassador and First Minister, some time ago, discussed the political situation, Ms Sturgeon did not touch on her personal political preferences with regards to the future Prime Minister.”

    “That was my second visit to Scotland since taking up my post in London in September, and I had fond memories of it … until I learned over Easter that an erroneous report about the conversation I’d had with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, had been leaked to the press. It kept me busy through the night, as the article had been published online without anyone asking me for confirmation of its content beforehand (I suppose my denial would have diminished the intended media impact of the story).
    I guess these kinds of things happen in a tight election campaign but as an impartial diplomat I have found myself in quite an uncomfortable position!

    Second-hand account: Consul General Pierre-Alan Coffiner denied memo contents.
    Guardian Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell recieves denial from French Consul General:

    The Telegraph claimed that the allegation was contained in a leaked UK government memorandum, thought to come from the Foreign Office, which sets out an official account of the meeting from France’s experienced consul general in Edinburgh, Pierre-Alain Coffinier.
    But Coffinier told the Guardian that this was untrue. He said he had checked his notes of that meeting, which took place at Holyrood after first minister’s questions on 26 February. “I have looked at my notes and absolutely no preference has been expressed by anyone regarding the outcome of the election,” he said. “Which suggests neither Nicola nor my ambassador said anything.”

    Third-hand account Scottish Office Special Advisor Euan Roddin
    writes up (or leaks) “HIS “memo of this THIRD hand account.

    Scottish Office Special Advisor Euan Roddin’s envoy “leaks” his third hand account memo to Simon Johnson of “The Telegraph”.

    The Telegraph prints the story without any supportive evidence.
    “.@simon_telegraph your story is categorically, 100%, untrue…which I’d have told you if you’d asked me at any point today” – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    “…the article had been published online without anyone asking me for confirmation of its content beforehand (I suppose my denial would have diminished the intended media impact of the story)” – French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann

    Scottish Office Special Advisor Euan Roddin’s envoy said

    I may have misunderstood when writing the memo (or Officially)

    Stage Two

    Anyone can write a memo saying “My neighbour has three heads”. This would be a “real memo” which actually “exists”, and it would indeed be “accurate” to say that the memo reads “My neighbour has three heads”.

    But every doctor or lawyer (and anyone with common sense) would know that the CONTENTS of this memo are NOT true because nobody on the planet has three heads! This much is self-evident.

    To the point;

    Primary Source: Nicola Sturgeon said the memo content was NOT true

    Primary Source: The French Ambassador said the memo content was NOT true.

    Secondary Source: Pierre-Alain Coffinier (Consul-General) said the memo content was NOT true.

    Tertiary Source: Scottish Office Special Advisor Euan Roddin’s envoy said
    the memo content [may or may not be true]
    “… the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”.

    Alistair Carmichael himself admitted the memo “details” were NOT true.

    Alistair Carmichael then apologized to both parties
    “for the embarrassment caused from …the details of that account (memo which) are NOT true” and released an official statement to that effect.

    In the meantime he denied any knowledge of any such memo on C4 news. Later he admitted that he lied on camera and DID have prior knowledge!

    • Mike Sivier July 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Your sources who said the memo content was untrue all had something to gain from taking that position – so we cannot accept their claims.
      Neither Alistair Carmichael, Euan Roddins or his envoy had anything to do with the commissioning of the memo or its content – so we cannot accept their claims.
      It is strange that Sturgeon supporters want to believe Carmichael when he says (without proof) that the memo was not true, while knowing he lied when he was asked if he was the source of the leak.
      You have taken up a lot of space saying absolutely nothing new.

      Yes, the tertiary source (the memo) is the only one that can be accepted because it is the only one written by somebody who had no personal gain to make from saying what he did. It is ambiguous, in that the author makes note of a doubt he has about what he was told. But he is adamant that it is what he was told – and nobody has produced any evidence that he would possibly want to lie. All we’ve had are wild assertions that civil servants let their political opinions influence their work (this would make it impossible for them to actually carry out their work and is therefore utterly ridiculous).

      The only possible reason you, and others like you, find it so hard to accept the facts of the case is that your are prejudiced against them. You don’t want Nicola Sturgeon’s word to be doubted, therefore anybody who does must be put down.
      But when your information is analysed, you have exactly nothing to say.

  11. John S. Stuart July 8, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Mike: do not insult my intelligence and I will not insult yours.

    The facts of the matter are very simple.

    1: Everyone agrees that a memo exists.

    2: Just because a memo says “my neighbour has three heads”; does not make it so.

    3: Even the person who WROTE the memo said he could NOT in all honesty verify what he himself had written (“the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”), and doubts his own handiwork.

    As said above: “The only way your version of events can be believed; is to accept a half-baked tertiary source (“… the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”) trumps all other evidence”.

    • Mike Sivier July 9, 2015 at 12:24 am - Reply

      You are insulting my intelligence, though.
      I’m not saying the memo is accurate – there is enough ambiguity in it to cast doubt on that.
      But this does not mean that it is inaccurate. Your point 3 is inaccurate, though – go back and check. The civil servant doesn’t doubt his handiwork – he’s absolutely sure about what he has heard. He questions whether the Consul-General heard it correctly – but this query is in itself doubtful because all parties are perfectly fluent in both French and English. Misunderstanding seems unlikely, if not impossible. So the tertiary source, as you describe it, isn’t half-baked at all, but an accurate account of what was said to the civil servant.
      Try to get a grip on that if you can.
      If you can’t, then I’m sorry but it’s your intelligence that is lacking, not mine.

      I think what we’re seeing here is the daft insistence by certain people that anyone holding a different view to them – and that includes you – must be hounded, insulted and otherwise browbeaten into submission. That’s not going to happen.
      You’d better realise you’re not going to win because the facts (remember those?) are against you.

  12. John S. Stuart July 9, 2015 at 9:50 am - Reply

    As said above: “The only way your version of events can be believed; is to accept a half-baked tertiary source (“… the envoy admitted in the memo that part of his conversation may have been “lost in translation”) trumps all other evidence”.

    • Mike Sivier July 9, 2015 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Your problem is that the tertiary source is not “half-baked” – that’s just your interpretation on it, made because you simply can’t accept any criticism of Nicola Sturgeon.

      It’s the only source with any credibility at all.

      That’s why it trumps everything else.

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