Tag Archives: Scottish National Party

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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How many MPs really stuck to their pay rise charity pledge?

[Image: The Sun (and I never thought I’d be typing that into a Vox Political caption!)]

Pro-SNP commenters to Vox Political have queried the claim that only 26 out of the UK’s 650 MPs have donated their £7,000 pay rise to charity, after 69 promised to do so.

They have claimed that all 56 SNP MPs have handed over the difference between MPs’ pay before the pay rise and the current rate to charity.

So let’s try to straighten the record. The report in The Sun states the following:

According to campaign website Donate My Pay Rise, 20 Tories, 30 Labour members, three Lib Dems, 15 from the SNP and one Green had all pledged to help good causes.

But only 25 confirmed to us they had donated or were currently preparing to do so.

However, one MP who had not made the pledge, confirmed he had donated his pay rise.

Dozens on both sides of the House refused to say if they had given it away or pocketed it themselves.

Not a single SNP MP who publicly pledged to donate the money to worthy local causes responded to questions from The Sun.

Source: MPs go back on pay rise charity pledge | The Sun |News|Politics

Now, it’s possible that the SNP’s Westminster contingent have refused to discuss the matter with The Sun on principle, as it is a right-wing, Tory-loving excuse for a newspaper that wasn’t worth wrapping around your chips when you were still allowed to do that.

But the fact that only 15 SNP MPs appear to have made the pledge, according to the campaigning site Donate My Pay Rise, plays very poorly for the Party.

News reports do state that the Party’s leadership ordered SNP MPs to donate the pay increase to charity. But Donate My Pay Rise, which quotes Angus Robertson from the article to which I’ve linked, only attributes the comment to him personally and not the Parliamentary Party as a whole. It is, in fairness, a comment that could be interpreted either way.

For the sake of fairness, This Blog will have to side with the evidence available. For now, that means The Sun and Donate My Pay Rise.

However:

If all 56 SNP MPs really have passed this money on to charity, perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to contact Donate My Pay Rise, explain that Mr Robertson’s comment extended to the entire Parliamentary Party, and provide proof that the money has indeed been passed to charity at some point prior to the publication of the Sun article on October 31.

That seems the most reasonable solution to this question.

However (again): Even with all 56 SNP MPs contributing their shares of the pay rise to charity, that makes a total of just 81 MPs contributing out of 650, leaving a “silent majority” (Tory Tobias Ellwood’s words, not mine) of 569 pocketing the cash.

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Corbyn’s Scottish trip shows he means it when he says he’ll win back support

151002corbynirnbru

“Gotta feel sorry for Corbyn. “Don’t mention Scotland! Drink this! Just Drink. The. Irn. Bru. Try to look happy.”

That’s SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter’s opinion of Jeremy Corbyn’s trip north of the English border – but it’s one that doesn’t seem to reflect the actual state of affairs at all.

Sure, we have the photographs of Labour’s new leader brandishing a bottle of Irn Bru and claims like that in The National, that Scottish Labour has told him not to mention the word ‘Scotland’ for fear of “playing to the nationalist agenda” (it seems he was advised by senior party insiders to refer to towns and cities rather than the country).

Others have been taking the visit more seriously. According to the FT, “Some Labour members think that his left wing views will make it harder for the ruling Scottish National party to portray itself as a champion of socialist values while pursuing centrist policies” (Scottish Labour’s opinion seems to be that the SNP are “New Labour in kilts”).

This, of course, suggests that moving Labour to the left of the political spectrum leaves more of the middle ground for the SNP. Won’t that imply a visible shift in that party’s policies, away from what the electorate thought it was, though?

Mr Corbyn himself seems to endorse that view. Asked how Labour’s anti-austerity stance differs from the SNP’s, he told the Daily Record: “We mean it.”

“We’ve learned the lessons of the economic strategies of the past and the way they haven’t worked. It does mean rebalancing our economy, it does mean maintaining the 50p top rate of tax, it does mean not cutting tax credits for the poorest people in our society.

“We want to invest in a growing, expanding economy across the UK and we fully support the powers in the Scotland Bill, and we are going to be working closely with the Labour Party in Scotland to try to defend the people of Scotland from the worst effects of the Trade Union Bill and, of course, the Welfare Reform Bill.”

Mr Corbyn warned that the SNP plan for “full fiscal autonomy” would lead to “very, very heavy” austerity – implying that the nationalists have been misleading their electorate about the effects of their policies.

He told the Record: “If you go for fiscal autonomy, I don’t know what kind of austerity you are going to have but all I know is it would be very, very heavy. I want to see an end to austerity across all of the UK and that is what the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell did in his speech at the party conference on Monday.”

He made it clear that he rejects SNP claims that they are the only effective opposition to the Tories, and pointed out that Labour membership in Scotland it at its highest in years since he took over as leader.

“I believe we’re going to continue to gain support,” he said. “We’re going to do lot of campaigning and point out that what really matters to people is housing, is education, jobs, opportunities and opposing what the Tories are doing in the Welfare Reform Bill.

“We will do our best to get sufficient powers to the Scottish Parliament to try to reduce the impact of the disastrous welfare reform bill on the people of Scotland.”

And he repeated his position on Trident, saying his belief that it should be scrapped had been well known for years and would win popular support in Scotland.

Hmm. That’s six mentions of ‘Scotland’, just in the comments quoted here. Perhaps Ms Hunter and The National were mistaken?

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Mhairi Black rips off Vox Political? Where do I send the bill!

Mhairi Black, ripping off Vox Political in the House of Commons today (Tuesday).

Mhairi Black, ripping off Vox Political in the House of Commons today (Tuesday).

We’re told that Mhairi Black, the youngest new MP in Parliament at the age of 20, was still in college when she beat Labour’s Douglas Alexander in the General Election. Was she studying plagiarism?

Take a look at the following part of her maiden speech, made earlier today (Tuesday) and quoted in The Independent:

“After hearing the Labour leader’s intentions to support the changes to tax credits that the Chancellor has put forward, I must make this plea through the words of one of your own, and of a personal hero of mine.

“Tony Benn once said that in politics there are weathercocks and signposts. Weathercocks will spin in whatever direction the wind of public opinion may blow them, no matter what principle they have to compromise.

“Then, there are signposts – signposts that stand true, and tall, and principles. They point in a direction and they say ‘this is the way to a better society and it is my job to convince you why’.

“Tony Benn was right when he said the only people worth remembering in politics are signposts.”

Now read this Vox Political article from yesterday, Labour is a ‘headless chicken’ over tax credits.

This Blog’s piece relies heavily on Tony Benn’s ‘weathercocks and signposts’ analogy to make its point about the interim Labour leader’s attitude to the proposed cut in tax credits. While Mhairi Black’s words weren’t exactly the same, it wouldn’t take a genius to read this piece and – if you’re an admirer of the great man, put together something similar using his words.

Is it really feasible that she could have come to this choice of material, in this context, independently? Nobody else has.

Such similarity – in subject matter, tone, and the material quoted – suggests a rip-off. If this is the case, Mhairi Black should be lucky to get off with a stern warning.

Instead she’s the toast of Twitter!

How disappointing.

Of course, we’ll never know if she didn’t write her speech independently. If this is the case, she’s hardly going to admit it – and This Writer isn’t going to take any further action because it wouldn’t be worth it.

But This Blog is part of my livelihood and if it seems to me that someone is harming that livelihood, then I’ll call “foul” on it.

As for you Mhairi Black – if you did rip off This Blog, shame on you.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Cameron outfoxed by SNP over Hunting Act change

Cameron on the run: The only hunt that the public is likely to support.

Cameron on the run: The only hunt that the public is likely to support.

UPDATE: David Cameron has withdrawn the planned vote on fox hunting from tomorrow’s (Wednesday) Parliamentary schedule. So much for it being a ‘free’ vote – if he can’t win, he’s not going to let it happen. In fact, his tactic deserves further scrutiny so expect another article shortly.

The Scottish National Party will vote against a bid to relax the fox hunting ban in England and Wales, according to their Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.

David Cameron has been hoping that his announcement of changes, to bring the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland, would make it impossible for the SNP’s 56 MPs to oppose them in a debate and free vote tomorrow (Wednesday).

But the Scottish Nationalists, currently in charge of the Scottish Parliament, said they are considering a review of the existing ban north of the border, amid concerns that it is not strong enough.

In that context, Mr Robertson said, it would be in Scotland’s interest for the existing ban in England and Wales to be maintained.

The current version of the proposals, contained in a Statutory Instrument, would relax the law to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales to protect livestock, game birds and wild birds, while “having regard to the terrain” and provided it is “carried out as efficiently as possible”.

Supporters have claimed it would also allow the removal of diseased or wounded foxes – an assertion that provoked anti-hunt supporter Dr Brian May to denounce them as “lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last week.

Mr Robertson said: “The Tory government are refusing to agree to any amendments to improve the Scotland Bill – and imposing English Votes for English Laws to make Scotland’s representation at Westminster second class.

“In these circumstances, it is right and proper that we assert the Scottish interest on fox hunting by voting with Labour against the Tories’ proposals to relax the ban – in the process, reminding an arrogant UK government of just how slender their majority is.”

This is the kind of opposition to the Conservative Government that we need to see.

If the SNP continues in this manner throughout the remainder of the current Parliament, then many of its critics (including This Writer) will be forced to revise their opinion.

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Tories might lose the country’s support over fox hunting, Macca? When did they have it?

150712mccartneyhunting

It’s funny, the way even high-profile figures can get the wrong end of the stick.

Paul McCartney, for example, has warned the Conservative Party that it could lose the support of the UK electorate if a free vote next week results in the re-legalisation of fox hunting.

Perhaps someone should remind him that the Conservatives have a wafer-thin majority of just 12 MPs; six by-elections and they’re impotent.

In fact, even with this vote they are playing dirty. Knowing that a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act will not win enough support, David Cameron and his friends have worked out that they could restore hunting by bringing the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland. The SNP’s 56 MPs would not be able to vote against this in good faith, and will probably abstain, leaving the Tories with a majority of around 50 (believe it or not, there are Conservatives who oppose hunting).

Cameron absolutely cannot rely on the support of the electorate: His party won only 24.3 per cent of the available vote at the general election in May, making his government one of the least democratic in our history. And polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of the British people want the barbaric practice of hunting foxes with hounds to remain illegal – more than 50 per cent of us.

Macca, 73, has spent decades campaigning for animal rights. He said: “The vast majority of us will be against them [the Conservatives] if hunting is reintroduced. It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself.”

“Inexcusable”

Fellow musician Brian May has been far more outspoken; he accused supporters of next week’s vote of being “a bunch of lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last Thursday.

Some mouthpiece for the hunt-supporting Countryside Alliance had been on, spouting the usual tripe: “This is about addressing exemptions in the Act, which were agreed by both sides when the Act was going through, for pest control reasons, for catching a diseased or wounded animal or something like that.”

Dr May responded: “It’s a very underhand act I’m afraid, because Cameron for years has promised a free vote – a fair fight on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

“He has now realised that this probably won’t end up with what he wants so this whole thing has been put together by circumventing the normal democratic process.

“So you introduce a little modification to an Act but this modification actually disables the whole Hunting Act and effectively this is repeal under a new name. I think this is a very Machiavellian and rather inexcusable way of behaving.

“I believe it’s a pretence. I think you’re a bunch of lying bastards.”

Here he is saying it, at around 5 minutes, 40 seconds in:

Other notable celebrity opponents include Ricky Gervais, who tweeted:

150712gervaisfoxhunting

In fact, it seems the mouthpiece from the Countryside Alliance has shown us the way forward.

This Writer cannot imagine why a wounded animal would need to be “removed” by a hunting pack; in the wild, the law of natural selection would probably see that it is “removed” without human interference.

And if this is about pest control – removing a diseased animal so it cannot spread an infection – then it should be necessary for the hunters to prove any fox was diseased before they set the dogs after it.

This leads to a further question about epidemic: If hounds are sent after a diseased fox, won’t they catch and spread the illness themselves?

Perhaps the Tories – and their Countryside Alliance co-conspirators – should be made to answer these questions before any change in the law is considered.

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Backdoor bid to bring back fox hunting

A group of Conservative-supporting, Countryside Alliance-supporting 'pest controllers'. These have already donned their red-and-white 'pest control' overalls and mounted their 'pest control' vehicles. They are preparing to deploy their 'pest control' apparatus - otherwise known as releasing the hounds.

A group of (we suspect) Conservative-supporting, Countryside Alliance-supporting ‘pest controllers’.
These have already donned their red-and-white ‘pest control’ overalls and mounted their ‘pest control’ vehicles. They are preparing to deploy their ‘pest control’ apparatus – otherwise known as releasing the hounds.

Isn’t it interesting, how legislators can always quote ‘legitimate concerns’ of interested parties when they want to stop something – or (in this case) bring it back?

Here in Mid Wales, the county council used to clamp down hard on outdoor musical events, claiming that members had received “a complaint”.

Now the Conservative Government is to hold a vote on a Statutory Instrument (not primary legislation) that would bring back fox hunting, using a backdoor route that would put England and Wales “in line” with Scotland. The pretext? “Responding to the legitimate concerns” of hill farmers.

Would these hill farmers be Conservative voters? Perhaps even Tory MPs?

It’s interesting that this attempt to bypass the Hunting Act – by bringing it in line with the law in Scotland – puts the SNP in a difficult position once again.

Remember when ScotsNat supporters bombarded This Blog with outrage at the suggestion that their MPs should vote on the proposed repeal of the Hunting Act, back in May? Their attitude was that they had a hunting ban in Scotland and the SNP had principles which mean they should not vote on “English-only” matters (never mind that the “English-only” act also affects people in Wales. Wales doesn’t count, apparently).

It turns out the Scottish hunting ban is less effective – and therefore more barbaric – than the ban in England (and Wales); whereas, south of the border, foxes may be flushed out and killed for “pest control” reasons using a maximum of two dogs, there is no limit on the number of dogs that can be used in Scotland. For “pest control” purposes, foxes may be hunted by packs of dogs.

What is the SNP going to do about this? It brings the law south of the border in line with their own. The best we can expect from them is an abstention, allowing the de facto return of the barbaric blood sport that has been banned for the last decade.

Perhaps they should have strengthened their own hunting ban, rather than whining about having to vote on everybody else’s.

What’s the betting that, if the vote is passed, huge organisations of “pest controllers” will meet every Sunday, dolled up in red coats, to send their equally huge packs of dogs out “pest controlling” all over the countryside?

This Writer reckons it’s a certainty.

The Countryside Alliance has supported the proposal (quelle surprise): “These amendments will bring the law in to line with Scotland and ensure that farmers are able to choose how to manage the fox population in the most effective and humane manner,” said Tim Bonner, its head of campaigns.

Here’s comedian Robin Ince’s response to that attitude:

150609huntingANDsuicide

And celebrity wildlife protector Brian May stated, on his website: “If this SI measure is to be used to bring back legalised abuse of foxes, it means the Government have decided that the goodwill of the Countryside Alliance is more important to them than the will of the British Public.

“Historically, Statutory Instruments have only been used to make a minor modification to a law in a non-controversial way. The idea that this device could be used to circumvent the will of the majority of the English people is actually an outrage, and will be viewed by all decent folks as disgraceful conduct by any government, and an abuse of Parliamentary procedures.”

Fox hunting is fox hunting, no matter what label you attach to it. This is just a filthy little underhanded trick to neutralise the SNP.

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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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Sturgeon U-turns over £30bn cuts claim

150527sturgeoncharter

This is not a good week to be a supporter of the Scottish National Party or its two-faced leader.

She and her party, turned, turned and turned again over whether to vote on the Tories’ forthcoming vote on repealing the fox hunting ban. Does anybody know what the SNP’s current position is? Will MPs vote, despite it being an issue that doesn’t affect Scotland, or will they abstain – despite the fact that this makes them worse than the Labour Party the SNP pilloried for abstaining from votes that were much less important in comparison?

Last Friday we discovered that the Cabinet Office had ruled that a memo, suggesting she had lied about wanting to support a minority Labour government led by Ed Miliband – because he’s not “prime minister material” – and would prefer David Cameron to continue, was not a fake but was real, and the civil servant who wrote it believed the information in it to be correct (although he did express reservations as to whether his informant had correctly understood what she was saying).

Yesterday (Tuesday), she U-turned again – this time on her claim that the Charter for Budget Responsibility, which Labour supported, would require that party to support £30 billion of government spending cuts during the 2015-20 Parliament.

This blog made it perfectly clear that the Charter itself requires no such thing – and, now that Labour has been defeated, it seems Ms Sturgeon feels the coast is clear enough for her to admit the same.

The Times is saying she has reversed her opposition to the Charter, and the Financial Times states: “Nicola Sturgeon said the Conservatives’ own ‘charter for budget responsibility’ contained enough flexibility to allow higher-than-planned spending while still reducing the UK’s deficit.”

Here’s Patrick Wintour of The Guardian:

150527SNPcharterwintour

The difference is written clearly in the graphic at the top of this article. On April 7: “Cuts that are required… £30 billion”. On May 26: “Flexibility to increase spending.”

Two-faced.

Clearly, young Nicola owes the Labour Party – and former Shadow Chancellor (now ex-MP) Ed Balls – a rather hefty apology.

Of course, this doesn’t just show that Sturgeon was lying when she lambasted Labour for showing the same support for the same Charter that she’s showing now.

It shows that she was lying when she claimed the SNP would support a minority Labour government. She and her party did everything they could to ensure that such a government would never be elected – in this case, casting doubt on its financial reliability.

And that, of course, makes it all the more likely that she really did say she wanted Cameron to continue as Prime Minister, in that oh-so-hotly-disputed conversation with the French ambassador.

The SNP’s most ardent members and supporters will never admit this, of course. They hate any criticism (as has – again – been noted by this blog; read the article and the comments) and refuse to pay any attention to rational arguments.

But the evidence is clear for everybody else. It seems the Tories have another set of 56 new allies in the House of Commons.

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Vox Political vindicated yet again – this time over ‘Sturgeon’s secret support for Cameron’ memo

This is how the Labour Party responded to 'memogate'. SNP supporters were incensed but it has not been proved wrong.

This is how the Labour Party responded to ‘memogate’. SNP supporters were incensed but it has not been proved wrong.

It was an official memo, it was leaked by the Scotland office – at the bidding of the Secretary of State, no less, and there’s no reason to believe that it is inaccurate.

That is the finding of the Cabinet Office’s report into the leaking of a confidential memo to the Daily Telegraph, which stated that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, had told the French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, in February that she would “rather see” David Cameron win the general election because Ed Miliband is not “prime minister material”.

The Torygraph story sparked outrage among supporters of the SNP, many of whom attacked this blog for reporting the story. It seems certain people owe This Writer a serious apology.

According to the Cabinet Office report, “The investigation team interviewed the civil servant in the Scotland Office who produced the memo. He confirmed under questioning that he believed that the memo was an accurate record of the conversation that took place between him and the French Consul General, and highlighted that the memo had stated that part of the conversation between the French Ambassador and the First Minister might well have been ‘lost in translation’.

“Senior officials who have worked with him say that he is reliable and has no history of inaccurate reporting, impropriety or security lapses. The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard. There is no evidence of any political motivation or ‘dirty tricks’.”

This means there is no reason to believe claims that the memo is inaccurate. The “lost in translation” comment cannot refer to the conversation between the civil servant and the French Consul General, and must refer to his understanding, or recollection, of the account he heard of the conversation between Ms Sturgeon and the Ambassador.

The Consul General has, of course, denied that he said any such thing as is described in the memo. He would, wouldn’t he?

The memo was leaked to the Torygraph by Euan Roddin, special advisor to then-Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael. The Cabinet Office report states: “Mr Roddin… told the investigation team that he acted in what he saw as the public interest and that in his view the public needed to be aware of the position attributed to the First Minister.”

Alistair Carmichael, who is a Liberal Democrat, has admitted authorising the leak. Vox Political commenter Joan Edington suggested at the time that it could have come from the Secretary of State, so kudos to her.

He has since apologised and given assurances that, if he had remained Secretary of State, he would have considered this a matter requiring his resignation. Neither he nor Mr Roddin will be receiving their severance pay.

He has also apologised to Nicola Sturgeon, saying “details of the account are not correct”. This is curious, as he has no reason to suggest it.

Nicola Sturgeon has been quick to claim that the report clears her of any dodgy behaviour. This is not true.

The memo, from an impartial source, states that she said she would prefer to have David Cameron as Prime Minister and we have only the comments of people with an interest in denying that claim to back her up.

On balance, it seems very unlikely that she didn’t say she supported Cameron.

It would clarify what seemed to be a contradiction in the SNP’s election campaign, in that the party was attacking Labour hard in Scotland, while apparently claiming it wanted to do a deal with Labour in order to keep the Conservatives out of office. If the SNP’s leader was in fact supporting Cameron, then the “deal” rhetoric was a lie and the campaign against Labour north of the border makes sense.

This would, of course, mean that she was lying, bare-faced, to the public all the way through the general election campaign period.

It will be up all of us to decide what we think is the truth, based on what Ms Sturgeon – and her party – does next.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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