Tag Archives: Nicola Sturgeon

BBC editor’s TWITTER clarification after ‘attack’ on Sturgeon in TELEVISION report. Where’s the TV apology?

Nicola Sturgeon: “Never in my entire political career have I ‘enjoyed’ anything less than this.”

Sarah Smith should not be allowed to get away with a mere attempt at clarification of this on Twitter alone, where her words will be seen by a tiny few, compared with those who saw her report.

Scottish viewers of BBC news were left fuming after Ms Smith gave a report in which she clearly stated that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was “enjoying” setting her own rules for the Covid-19 lockdown. Ms Sturgeon denied the claim:

Responses on Twitter have been uniformly along these lines:

Ms Smith has tweeted a claim that she meant Ms Sturgeon was “embracing” the opportunity to make law on Covid-19 – and has received equally short shrift from the object of her comment:

It isn’t an apology, is it?

That’s why I’m saying Ms Smith should return to Scottish screens and broadcast a full and frank apology for this astonishing piece of editorialising.

It was never her place to suggest that Ms Sturgeon was enjoying an inappropriate emotional response to the responsibility of setting policy on what is a life-and-death matter for millions of people.

And it seems clear that, for allowing this, the BBC as a whole must change its ways (and explain how it will achieve this).

 

This is why you shouldn’t blame Corbyn for refusing to talk with Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May: He was canny enough to know her offer of cross-party talks was a sham.

After years of ignoring everything apart from her own weird prejudices (think “hostile environment”), it took the biggest loss of a vote in Parliamentary history to bring Theresa May to the negotiating table with other party leaders – we’re told.

She made a great show of opening up to cross-party talks, but all the evidence shows that this is just another delaying tactic.

Even The Sun‘s Tom Newton Dunn thinks so:

If this comment from Richard Burgon is accurate, then it’s clear that Mrs May hasn’t taken the idea of cross-party talks seriously at all:

What is the point of claiming to be prepared to listen to other party leaders if Mrs May has made it clear from the outset that she won’t change anything? None that I can see. How about you?

And that’s why, as Labour Insider states, Mr Corbyn has rejected the offer of talks as a “stunt.” According to that account, he also said “unless the Conservative government removes a no deal Brexit as a possibility then they are not honestly open to working together”.

Mr Corbyn’s demand was echoed by the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Green Party.

And what do we get from the media?

This Sky News interview is typical of the attitude we have seen – and the interviewer’s attitude is atrocious:

And it leads to the kind of nonsense spouted by Hugo Rifkind here:

That will never happen.

It seems clear that Mrs May’s idea of cross-party talks involves her talking to the other parties and them listening. She won’t change a single part of her offer so it seems clear that this is about browbeating other politicians.

And it won’t work for a very simple reason:

The second party of Dave Ward’s tweet raises an interesting question. We know Labour MPs have been talking with the Conservatives – but has it been with an entirely supportive attitude? It seems not:

It seems we have Michael Gove to thank for keeping some Labour MPs on the straight-and-narrow, then!

What about the political leaders who did agree to meet Mrs May?

Here’s Caroline Lucas’s report:

And here’s Nicola Sturgeon:

All of this supports what Steve Howell suggests here:

This rings true. Another Tweeter pointed out that “The last time Jeremy Corbyn had meeting with Theresa May, they agreed timetable for vote on her Brexit deal of Dec 11th. She renegaded on agreement wasting a month. Why should he now believe what she says, not ask for No Deal off the table without which talks have no purpose?”

So we have a situation in which Theresa May has put on a show of being reasonable, when in fact she isn’t being reasonable at all.

And the only reason she was even able to put up this pretence is she was shored up by the DUP. And even this was unreasonable as her deal runs roughshod over Arlene Foster’s red lines. Ian Lavery suggests more realistic rationales for the Northern Irish party’s support:

Gracie Samuels was more blunt:

And Cllr John Edwards wraps the whole situation up in a nice bundle:

How can we have confidence in her? She has delayed democracy in order to present our MPs with an impossible choice; she has bribed another political party to ensure she cannot be ousted; and she has lied to us all about her cross-party talks.

The fault lies with us – the people of the United Kingdom – for allowing a political organisation as venal and corrupt as the Conservative Party to govern us, and for voting in favour of an undefined departure from the European Union in that party’s illegally-influenced referendum.

Have we learned our lesson yet? Or shall we take the lead of the Tories’ media friends and blame Mr Corbyn?

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Never mind Clive Lewis – what about the racism and sexism alleged of these Scottish Tories?

Ruth Davidson’s party has seen a number of candidates criticised for their comments.

This Writer is no fan of Nicola Sturgeon – but I would never advocate the application of “a cattle prod up her nether region,” as is alleged of Scottish Conservative Ken MacBrayne in the article quoted below.

Anyone reading – or hearing – such a comment can easily tell that it is not only sexist and misogynist but actively threatening to a named individual.

Contrast that with the comment by Clive Lewis, about which the right-wing news media have been crowing throughout the weekend. While it was certainly offensive (and Mr Lewis has apologised), it was made in jest with no offence intended, to a man, and nobody female who was at the event has come forward to say they took offence.

Yet Conservatives (and some others) are directing their outrage at Mr Lewis, and not Mr MacBrayne.

If this seems remotely reasonable to you, I would strongly advise you to reconsider your own attitudes.

Tory MP Nusrat Ghani has said she will call for an urgent debate on the words spoken by Mr Lewis, and I repeat my desire for her to do so.

Then we can all enjoy the spectacle as the Conservatives are forced to explain why they think Mr Lewis deserves to be pilloried but Mr MacBrayne does not. I’m buying popcorn.

Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories have been rocked by yet another scandal after a council candidate was forced to apologise for xenophobic remarks.

Now at least SEVEN of the party’s candidates have found themselves making recent headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In a now deleted tweet, Todd Ferguson, a Tory candidate in Dalry and West Kilbride in North Ayrshire seemed to suggest the views of his SNP rival were irrelevant as she comes from Holland.

“I asked the local #SNP candidate why they supported the break up of the UK, being Dutch. The answer I got was that her partner is Scottish,” he said.

He then followed it up with another tweet saying: “Perhaps she forgot Market Garden”, a reference to an allied military operation in the Second World War, where large swathes of Holland were liberated from the Nazis.

After The National alerted Scottish Tory HQ to the tweet, Ferguson deleted the comment, and posted an apology saying: “I sincerely apologise for a recent tweet of mine that may have caused offence. The tweet in question has since been deleted.”

Ferguson is far from the only Tory who has caused concerns. Ken MacBrayne, a candidate for the Tories in Benbecula, was suspended after party bosses were alerted to a series of vile comments about Nicola Sturgeon on his social media.

The 72-year-old described the SNP leader as a “stupid little cretin” and a “silly wee cow”.

He also asked: “Why can’t someone stick a cattle prod up her nether region?”

His Facebook also contains a series of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant entries, including a string of posts by extremists Britain First – one warning of a religious war in the UK and Europe.

Roxana Iancu, the party’s candidate in Glasgow Govan, home to Scotland’s biggest mosque, called for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to be hanged for her pro-Islam politics.

Candidate George McIntyre told Muslims concerned about gelatine in flu inoculations to “shut your whinging [sic] mouths, no wonder people get sick to the back teeth of you! If you are that way minded go and live in a Muslim country where you do not get any free preventive medication.

“Oh but you won’t do that will you…. ungrateful baskets I’m sick to the back teeth of them.”

Source: Scottish Tories engulfed in racism scandal with at least seven council candidates now in the spotlight | The National


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Why should Scotland get preferential treatment over the Single Market, compared with the rest of the UK?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale, the liability leading Scottish Labour. No wonder he’s got that look on his face. [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images].

We should all be wary about news reports featuring Jeremy Corbyn, after The Guardian was caught out peddling fake news about a mythical three-line whip on Article 50.

But this seems authentic. The EU referendum was UK-wide and, while the SNP may consider Scotland to be a separate nation, it isn’t. The decision affects it as much as Cumbria or Cornwall.

What’s really interesting is the thin-skinned response by Nicola Sturgeon to Mr Corbyn’s scathing remarks about the SNP.

“I know that many Scots believe that the best pathway to redress the current situation is via independence. Perhaps this isn’t surprising when problems of unemployment, industrial decline, and exploitation seem so persistent,” he said.

“Yet these are exactly the issues of the north of England, the Midlands and other English regions.” And he said supporting independence “ignores the reality” of political and business power being controlled by “the establishment” in both England and Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon’s reply ignored the substance of his argument and concentrated on an ad hominem attack that had nothing to do with the issue at hand:

Oh, is that right? Or is it just an attempt at distraction from the issues of unemployment, industrial decline and exploitation? I think the latter.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has delivered a blow to Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to keep Scotland in the European single market when the rest of the UK leaves by saying that exiting the market must be “a UK-wide decision”.

Scotland’s first minister has threatened to hold another independence referendum should the UK government ignore her plea to find a way to retain Scotland’s membership of the European trading bloc.

However, at a Scottish Labour event in Glasgow on Friday morning, Corbyn said he will not support a special Scottish deal when it comes to single market membership and will instead argue for “market access” for the whole of the UK.

Source: Corbyn Says Scotland Will Leave The Single Market With The Rest Of The UK – BuzzFeed News

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Alistair Carmichael ‘leaked Sturgeon memo thinking it was true’

We already know that the civil servant who wrote the controversial ‘Memogate’ memo believed that it was accurate. Now the MP who leaked it has said the same.

The only people who have cast any doubt on the document are those who have an interest in doing so.

If the civil servant had not declared his belief that the information he had written was factually accurate – by which, let’s by clear, he meant it was what he had been told by the French consul-general – then This Writer would be more willing to give Nicola Sturgeon the benefit of the doubt.

The civil servant did express concerns that the consul-general had misheard the information he had imparted – but, looking at the actual content of that information, it is hard to find any way this could be true. There is no language barrier between three people who are all perfectly fluent in English, for example.

So this issue still comes down to whether you believe a civil servant with an impeccable record for honesty, absolutely no reason to fabricate any information, and no reason to believe he could get away with any such fabrication at the time he communicated the message he did, or three people who were directly involved in what appears to be a politically incendiary conversation, all of whom would have had very strong reasons for being conservative with the truth, if that conversation really did take place as recorded.

You be the judge.

Alistair Carmichael has told a special court he leaked a confidential memo that claimed Nicola Sturgeon secretly wanted a Tory general election victory because he believed it was true.

The former Scotland secretary told an election court in Edinburgh he believed the so-called Frenchgate memo was “politically explosive”, because it confirmed that the first minister wanted David Cameron to win in the belief it would further her quest for Scottish independence.

Carmichael denied he had intended to smear Sturgeon when he authorised his special adviser Euan Roddin to leak the memo. He said that until she forcefully denied it was accurate within minutes of the Daily Telegraph publishing it, he felt it revealed facts that were of critical public importance.

“A smear is where you say something about somebody else, an opinion which is untrue and which you know to be untrue,” he said. The memo “was saying something about Scottish nationalists that I believed to be true”.

The case centres on Carmichael’s decision in March to allow Roddin to leak a memo that allegedly summarised Sturgeon’s comments to the French ambassador Sylvie Bermann. The first minister allegedly said she did not believe Ed Miliband, then the Labour leader, was prime ministerial material, and that she would prefer to see the Tories win.

Carmichael said he trusted the honesty of the Scotland Office civil servant who had drawn up the memo, and the account Pierre Alain Coffinier, the French diplomat who briefed the civil servant, gave about the ambassador’s meeting with the first minister.

Source: Alistair Carmichael ‘leaked Sturgeon memo thinking it was true’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Nicola Sturgeon quizzed after Police Scotland caught spying on journalists

Here’s something that should worry everybody.

Tapping people’s communications in order to keep journalists under control is a Tory strategy, don’t you know?

Let’s all keep a close eye on this.

The Scottish government is under growing pressure to clear the air over alleged spying on journalists and their sources by an elite unit within Police Scotland.

Scottish Labour has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, to reveal what she knows about the allegations.

“We need full transparency from the first minister about exactly what SNP government ministers know about these allegations and whether they have authorised any surveillance of journalists and their sources by Police Scotland,” said Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour’s shadow justice secretary.

The political row follows a report in the Sunday Herald that named Police Scotland as one of two forces which used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) without judicial approval to find sources. Ripa was amended in March, requiring judicial approval before officers can gain access to journalists’ phone records, texts and emails.

The Herald reported that Police Scotland’s elite counter corruption unit (CCU) used its spying powers to try to uncover a journalist’s sources without getting approval.

Source: Nicola Sturgeon told to reveal what she knew of Police Scotland spying claims | UK news | The Guardian

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Cameron copies EU president in bid to ‘fix’ the fox hunting vote

Don't cry about it, David! Cameron whinges after being outflanked by the SNP.

David Don’t cry about it, David! Cameron whinges after being outflanked by the SNP.

The Conservative Government has responded to the Scottish National Party’s announcement that it will oppose changes to the Hunting Act – by postponing tomorrow’s (Wednesday) ‘free vote’ on the matter.

It seems if MPs are likely to freely vote against David Cameron’s wishes, he’d rather they didn’t vote at all. Someone should tell him, that defeats the point, really!

His tactic – shelving the vote until such time as he believes he has the advantage – copies that of European Parliament President Martin Schulz over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Faced with strong opposition for the part of the proposed TTIP deal that would allow corporations to take legal action against countries if national legislation was likely to affect profits (ISDS – it stands for Investor-State Dispute Settlement) – no matter whether it was in the best interests of the population or not – Schulz shelved a vote that had been scheduled for earlier this year.

The TTIP vote eventually took place last week, overshadowed by the Greek referendum and clouded by political sleight-of-hand that meant important amendments to the agreement like the cancellation of ISDS were not considered – replaced by watered-down options that left the underlying principle of corporate power over nation states intact.

In line with the European Parliament model, you can expect the hunting vote to return to Parliament in a different form, once Cameron and his cronies have worked out another dirty trick to slip it through unopposed.

This week’s vote had been intended to neutralise opposition from the SNP with a claim that it would bring England and Wales in line with the situation in Scotland – but the Scottish Nationalists said they were reviewing the ban north of the border and it would not be right to allow the law in England and Wales to change while that was going on.

The Prime Minister has not taken this with good grace.

“I find their position today entirely opportunistic,” he told a press conference.

Fellow Tory hunt supporter Owen Paterson chimed in to say the SNP had shown “extraordinary hypocrisy” in voting on a matter that affects England but not Scotland, and claimed they were “playing games in order to antagonise the English.”

He should have checked his facts.

If he had, he would have seen that a poll for the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show has suggested almost three in four British adults are against making fox hunting legal.

And SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had already explained her party’s decision to take part in the hunting vote, saying there had been “overwhelming demand” from people in England.

The English, like the Welsh and the Scots, support the continuation of the hunting ban.

What a shame David Cameron cannot live with that.

Looking forward, we should probably expect fox hunting to return at a point after Cameron manages to force through another controversial plan – English Votes for English Laws (EVEL). He had to shelve that one last week.

Perhaps Ms Sturgeon is right, and he really is “not master of all he surveys in the House of Commons”.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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

10-Cameron-Sturgeon-Getty

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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Vox Political applauds Sturgeon’s stance on ‘cybernats’

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

I was going to write a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.

It would have been in response to the sustained abuse this blog has received from supporters of the Scottish National Party who have now been labelled ‘cybernats’ – the abusive trolls who lurk around Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere, waiting for someone to write anything remotely critical of their party and then launching vicious verbal attacks on them – occasionally supported with threats of physical violence.

Here’s a mild example of one such outburst, with the profanities ‘starred’ out. Here’s a fun game to play at home – see if you can replace the stars with letters creating words that aren’t profanities! It might be harder than you think:

“Aye but you are a c***, and yes I do support SNP but that’s not why I said yur a c*** c***, I called you a c*** because you are sticking your English-Welsh whatever the f** yi are nose into Scotland’s business and trying to cause trouble by talking utter f***** s****, not only are you a c*** yur a f**** i****. I am sure you are a government backed troll trying to get reactions and start arguments in a sad attempt to discredit the SNP. The internet was full of gov backed c*** trolls like you in the lead up to the referendum. Now f** off f** face no one is listening tae yur p*** C***.”

It was meant to be threatening but was unintentionally hilarious due to the silly pidgin Scots these people try to adopt in their writing and the suggestion that This Writer – of all people – is working for the Conservative Government!

I got as far as writing the letter and printing it out, with this and other examples to support my call for her to take action, but it stayed on my printer tray for nearly a month because other matters took precedence: The government appealed against the ruling on my ‘DWP deaths’ FoI request; Mrs Mike’s mother came to visit; I co-organised a community/music festival… you know how one thing drives out another sometimes.

Then I read this in the Torygraph: “Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to tackle the so-called ‘cybernats’ over online abuse, saying SNP members who ‘cross the line’ will face disciplinary action.

“The Scottish First Minister made clear it is ‘not acceptable’ for people to use social media to ‘threaten violence, or hurl vile abuse, or seek to silence the voice of others through intimidation’.”

The article quotes her as follows: “I am making clear today that the SNP will take steps to warn those whose behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.

“We will tell them to raise their standards of debate, to stick to issues not personalities, and to ensure robust and passionate debate takes precedence over abuse and intemperate language.

“I am also making clear that where appropriate we will take disciplinary action. In the SNP we have a code of conduct and online guidance for our members.

“Where that code is broken, members should have no doubt that we will use our disciplinary processes.”

This is praiseworthy. For once, Vox Political fully supports Ms Sturgeon’s policy.

She could go further, though.

The example of abuse quoted above is from a person whose relationship to the SNP – beyond “yes I do support” – is not known. She has not promised action to curb non-members of her party.

Is it all right, then, for people who support the SNP but are not members to continue abusing the rest of us?

Perhaps I will send that letter after all.

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Sturgeon on the Daily Show: Jon Stewart compares her to Saddam Hussein

At risk of being accused of hypocrisy, This Writer has only one thing to say:

Why do the mass media keep offering the oxygen of publicity to these despotic dictators?

Source: ‘You think you’re Saddam Hussein?’ Jon Stewart tackles Nicola Sturgeon on SNP success | Politics | The Guardian

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