By Martin Kelly
 
Labour MSP Paul Martin has been left looking foolish after failing to adhere to the proper procedure after Scottish Labour tried to make yet another complaint against First Minister Alex Salmond.
 
The embarrassing gaffe happened after Mr Martin claimed that having a cup of tea with SNP supporting lottery winners in Bute House may have breached the Ministerial Code.

However instead of notifying Mr Salmond himself, as procedure demands, the Labour MSP wrote directly to Dame Elish Angiolini.

The complaints system was introduced by the SNP Government after they won the 2007 Holyrood election and has already witnessed several accusations from the Labour party thrown out.

First Minister Alex Salmond has now stepped in to resolve the blunder by referring himself to the independent advisers to the Ministerial Code.

Mr Salmond has also written to Mr Martin outlining the proper process.

In his letter to Mr Martin, the First Minister writes:

Dear Mr Martin

I write following press reports that you have written to Dame Elish Angiolini making complaints under the Ministerial Code.

I am sure that you are aware that as First Minister I established for the first time an independent panel to investigate alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code to provide a robust and transparent process.  The procedure for making such a complaint is made clear in paragraph 1.6 of the Ministerial Code.  Any complaint should be directed in the first instance to me as First Minister so that I may consider whether the matter should be referred to the independent advisers. Hopefully you will manage to get this simple procedure right on any future occasion.

Despite not having received such a letter of complaint from you, I have decided to refer the issues reported in the media about visitors to Bute House in the Daily Telegraph on 28 March, the Daily Mail on 31 March and again in the Daily Telegraph today.  I would not wish your misunderstanding of procedure to prevent an independent evaluation of the merits of the points you have been so keen to publish.

I have therefore written to Dame Elish Angiolini, as one of the independent advisers, and asked her formally to investigate whether a breach of the Ministerial Code has occurred.  Dame Angiolini has been provided with copies of the three press reports and, of course, will have received your letter. If you have anything further to provide a basis for your complaints then let me know so that this material can also be provided.

The rest of the procedure is now in the hands of Dame Angiolini. The findings of the independent adviser will be published.  I will accept them and I hope that you will now indicate that you will so the same.

It is unfortunate that you have chosen not to follow the procedures set down to investigate allegations such as these.  I am confident that, as on each of the three previous occasions your party has made complaints of this nature, the independent advisers will find your allegations to be entirely without any foundation.

Alex Salmond

A spokesperson for the First Minister added:

“The First Minister has taken the decision to refer this issue because we have total confidence in our position, in light of this entirely spurious and absurd complaint from Labour.

“All complaints previously considered by the independent advisers since 2007 were dismissed and we will similarly accept the results of Elish Angiloini’s findings in this case – we ask that Paul Martin does the same.

“No private dining for donors takes place at Bute House, never has under this administration, and never will.  Labour, the party of cash for honours and the Ecclestone affair, are guilty of the most appalling hypocrisy.

“Government functions are all in the public domain because, unlike the last Labour-led administration, we publish details of everyone receiving Bute House hospitality at a reception, lunch or dinner.  No-one has ever suggested prior to this that individuals should be excluded from Government events simply because they are donors.  This is a totally ridiculous proposition.

“By long-standing practice for many years, First Ministers and before that Scottish Secretaries have nominated personal guests for the Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh, and since 1999 for the Opening of the Scottish Parliament, and offered such hospitality.  It is insulting to suggest any upstanding person should be excluded.  If SNP supporters were to be excluded, by definition that would cover half the population.

“In addition, it should be noted that hospitality costs at Bute House are significantly less for this administration than under the previous Labour/Lib Dem Executive.”

However Mr Martin has now bizarrely claimed that the intervention of the First Minister to ensure the complaint complied with proper procedure is a “u-turn”.

According to the BBC, Mr Martin said: “This is a welcome u-turn from the First Minister who only days ago was claiming there was nothing worth investigating.

The Labour MSP has also appeared to change his complaint from that of a cup of tea, already acknowledged by the First Minister, to claims that dinner was had:

“There are serious and growing concerns about the First Minister entertaining wealthy SNP donors on public property.  Allegations of dinner for donors needs to be thoroughly investigated.” he added.

In the online report of Mr Salmond’s self referral the BBC has ignored the Labour MSP’s blunder and compounded the ommission by appearing to suggest SNP interference in bus tycoon Brian Souter’s knighthood award when referring to letters between the tycoon and the SNP, the BBC article states: “the bus tycoon, who was nominated for a knighthood shortly after making a donation to the SNP.” .

This is despite the original accusations having already been formally investigated and been proven entirely baseless when Labour complained at the time.

The suggestion of impropriety from Labour and now the BBC is part of a raft of similar attacks emanating from the Scottish Labour party over the last few days and given high profile coverage by BBC Scotland.

The tea complaint and the Souter letters attacks follow what turned out to be false accusations from Labour’s Scottish Deputy leader Anas Sarwar that the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation had been deliberately designed to allow nationalist supporters to flood the process with multiple submissions, a claim disproved with the publication of figures yesterday by the Scottish Government.


Comments  

 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 07:09

Brilliant letter from AS.

And another example of how low SLAB are prepared to go, with the help of the travesty of a public broadcaster that’s BBC Scotland.
 
 
#
Exile
2012-04-03 07:40

BBC Scotland needs closing down. And fast.
 

 
#
frankyB
2012-04-03 07:44

We need to formally picket the BBC and shame them in the eyes of the world
 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 09:18

Yes, FrankyB. The thing we ALL need to realise is that, although we may see this for what it is, the general public do NOT. It is very likely that they will only ever see what is in the Daily Record or on the BBC. Add to that Labour campaigners and we have a very BIG problem. The picket must go ahead…and be re[peated as often as possible.
 

 
#
Macart
2012-04-03 08:13

Nu, Noo, New, Old Scottish Labour – Not fit for purpose.
 
 
#
kingdavidofgovan
2012-04-03 08:31

It is vital with such a short run in to the big vote that we take action now and bring this to the attention of the population at large. I have suggested before that a protest camp be set up based at Bells Bridge with stalls and banners. Provided that the good discipline remains and the protest is dignified and peacefull it will command the attention of the press. In the mean time there are a couple of good facebook pages to log and record all instances of clear bias by the BBC.

www.facebook.com/…/
www.facebook.com/bbcscot
 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 09:21

Kingdavidofgova  n, I am also David of Govan 🙂 I will be going onto facebook tonight to send an email to all of my like minded friends. I urge you all to do the same. If you do not have a facebook account then I suggest you open one up.

Add me Dave Dailly
 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 09:22

I forgot to say that I will be forwarding those links on that email.
 

 
#
hiorta
2012-04-03 08:44

‘Scottish’ Labour and the noble BBC Scotland would appear to have abandoned all appearances of correctness and open honesty in favour of desperate clutching of political straws as election time looms.

It is both sad and salutary that a once proud and honourable Labour Party and a real Public broadcasting service have withered to what they are today.
 
 
#
UpSpake
2012-04-03 08:46

Ho childish and vindictive has the Scottish political scene, aided and abetted by the scurrilous BBC become ?
How much further can we dumb down ?.
 
 
#
Jim1320
2012-04-03 09:38

The Labour Unionist Broadcasting Corporation…I don’t like the EBC or even BritNat tags as I think our Beeb issues are homegrown and stem from decades of Labour being the political vehicle of choice in Scotland….is in a tailspin. As Labour has declined and Scottish politics has moved on I think the value and importance of the BBC has waned. Do you recall the shock waves through the BBC last May? I think it dawned on them then that both Labour and they had been eclipsed. Sadly the response seems to have beeen to become much more partisan but also much less sophisticated and intelligent in their attempts to do so. Their stories are so easy to refute and correct and the blogosphere so diverse that corrections are easy to cascade. Outright lies and spin are undermined within seconds of publishing.

In a complete funk they have cut comments on Scottish stories….this hurts the bloggers from the other parties too and as comments generate hits they have effectively chosen to withdraw from a key aspect of internet interaction. The reason? The dreaded Cyber Nat! Have those with their underwear in a bunch over Cyber Nats stopped to wonder for one moment why there are so many Cyber Nats? why are they better motivated? why are they more enthusiastic? why do they actually believe in what they are doing? Have they considered why they fail to motivate and mobilise their own support?

I think if Labour crash on May the 3rd we should stand by for some real fall out in the vicinity of Pacific Quay. Some of that fall out may land on Johann Lamont’s head.
 
 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 19:13

This whole Cybernattery thing…

Maybe a few years ago there were a handful, easily dismissed as some fringe loonies. But the ‘movement’ is gaining momentum.

Even in the few months I’ve been registered here, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of new regular contributors in the comments – and far from the swivel-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth kind. Mostly very reasonable, informed people.

Any political party dismisses a groundswell of public opinion at their peril. That is exactly what the Westminster-focussed parties are doing. They just don’t get it.
 

 
#
J Wil
2012-04-03 10:00

It would have been difficult to understand what the real story was from watching Newsnicht last night. Except that Campbell was taking some amusement about Alex Salmond referring himself to the independent committee.
 
 
#
proudscot
2012-04-03 13:01

Quoting J Wil:

It would have been difficult to understand what the real story was from watching Newsnicht last night. Except that Campbell was taking some amusement about Alex Salmond referring himself to the independent committee.



Mind you, J Wil, Campbell did contradict Kezia Dugdale straight away when she made her snide and unfounded comment that “Alex Salmond had referred himself to himself.” He pointed out to her that the First Minister had in fact referred himself to Eilish Angiolini, even adding that she was the former Lord Advocate, just for clarity. As I myself commented on another post, cue silence from Dugdale, and certainly no apology forthcoming. Typical of Labour.

 

 
#
Displaced Patriot
2012-04-03 10:01

A brilliant tactic and letter from Ales Salmond .
Something no doubt that will not get the proper coverage in the MSM.
I suggest we let the BBC know that a day of reckoning will ocme to ALL those that have lied ,diostorted and disgraced the Scottish people .
That the day after Independence or devolution of braodcasting there will be several vacancies in this organisation..
that the lot of them can head to another country and join a propoganda unit therein.
Time for them to understand there will be consequences.
 
 
#
Taldor83
2012-04-03 10:04

O/T has anyone read this ?

telegraph.co.uk/…/…

It’s the bit about the cyber nat wing that shocked me then made me laugh. Makes us sound like the Hitler youth!
 
 
#
xyz
2012-04-03 10:49

Disappointing .. SNP candidates in particular need to be as pure as the driven snow.
 
 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 19:23

I had to chuckle to myself about

Quote:

It is the latest in a series of incidents exposing the extreme views of the SNP’s ‘Cyber Nat’ wing, which uses the internet to pour vile abuse on its political targets.



Am I a vile Cybernat? Just because I, a citizen of another independent country, show support for Scottish independence and make my views gently know online?

But the way the story was spun. Very nasty. That is not to say that Mr Duff’s comments were also very nasty and he has now, rightly, been suspended.

 

 
#
alexb
2012-04-03 10:06

The spin employed by Pacific Quay is just the start. I never honestly thought that a once fine broadcaster such as the B.B.C, would stoop so low in it,s attempts to support a completely discredited Labour Party. It has given up any pretence at fairness, and now openly displays it,s bias at any opportunity. What puzzles me is why are they so frightened of an independent Scotland? Their cushy jobs? We certainly know that,s the case with the unionist M.Ps who would lose their sinecure at Westminster, but journalists and broadcasters, surely not, as we will still need a media presence. What are they going to do after we vote for independence? Suddenly change sides, and pretend to be at one with the S.N.P Government? I don,t know, but it,s sure going to be interesting to find out.
 
 
#
J Wil
2012-04-03 11:58

“What are they going to do after we vote for independence?”

There should be a root and branch clearout.
 

 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 10:11

I think that once we have finished the protest outside pathetic quay, we can nip over the bridge and do the same outside the Daily Record building. Think it would be a nice touch if we were al brandashing a copy of the Sun.
 
 
#
alexb
2012-04-03 10:15

Quoting Mako:

I think that once we have finished the protest outside pathetic quay, we can nip over the bridge and do the same outside the Daily Record building. Think it would be a nice touch if we were al brandashing a copy of the Sun.


For the protest, Mako, but not the Sun. I don,t trust Murdoch, or his rag.

 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 10:28

Either do I but it is the DR’s biggest rival. Everyone looks at Murdoch like he is this big monster but he is the only one playng fair this time. He has the largest exposure tothe Scottish electorate than any other paper in Scotland. To look at it from another angle…There are those out there that do not like or trust the SNP but they will vote for them becasue they believe in independence.
 

 
#
amfraeembro
2012-04-03 11:43

The Sun is IMO a poisonous rag, but I will welcome support for independence from anywhere – even from the tories.
 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 13:06

Agreed. As long as it is done democratically I will support it. I will focuss on independence first then Murdoch. Who knows, he may turn things around and become an outstanding citizen. 🙂
 

 
#
Displaced Patriot
2012-04-03 11:50

I fail to understand this hatred of Murdoch and his media presence.
forever we have had no MSm supporting us ,and daily Nationalists are complaining of it.
now we have the largest MSM supporting the cause and there is this growing band of people saying they would rather it oppossed us.
the unionists have employed every dirty trick in the book.
Indeed on here we are discussing the blatant bias of the BBc, who IMHO are pro Nationalist and anti Labour in comparison to the Scotsman.
We need every possible tool in the book to gain Scottish self determination.
if that means having Murdoch backing us I am all for it.
ANYTHINg within reason to gain Independence works for me.
if every nationalist that reads the Scotsman , Daily heil ,Telegraph ,Daily Record switched to the SUN then great.
these anti Independence propoganda sheets will go bust quicker and be stopped from spreading their lies and bile.
Get real folks, politics is dirty.
In WW11 the Soviets were our allies ,we knew that Stalin had murdered more than Adolf.
we knew they were not the good guys ,but they were a necessary evil to beat the Nazis.
it is the same with the Sun
 
 
#
J Wil
2012-04-03 12:02

“I fail to understand this hatred of Murdoch and his media presence.”

Because his activities undermine democracy.

We complain about companies having access to the PM and even having influence on government policy. Murdoch’s activities are no better.
 
 
#
alexb
2012-04-03 12:11

Quoting Displaced Patriot:

I fail to understand this hatred of Murdoch and his media presence.
forever we have had no MSm supporting us ,and daily Nationalists are complaining of it.
now we have the largest MSM supporting the cause and there is this growing band of people saying they would rather it oppossed us.
the unionists have employed every dirty trick in the book.
Indeed on here we are discussing the blatant bias of the BBc, who IMHO are pro Nationalist and anti Labour in comparison to the Scotsman.
We need every possible tool in the book to gain Scottish self determination.
if that means having Murdoch backing us I am all for it.
ANYTHINg within reason to gain Independence works for me.
if every nationalist that reads the Scotsman , Daily heil ,Telegraph ,Daily Record switched to the SUN then great.
these anti Independence propoganda sheets will go bust quicker and be stopped from spreading their lies and bile.
Get real folks, politics is dirty.
In WW11 the Soviets were our allies ,we knew that Stalin had murdered more than Adolf.
we knew they were not the good guys ,but they were a necessary evil to beat the Nazis.
it is the same with the Sun


In my case, Displaced Patriot, it,s not hatred of Murdoch, or his empire, but I believe we have the high ground at the moment, and should be careful with whom we align ourselves with. Personally, I think it,s obvious that News Corp realise that the S.N.P are going to win the battle, and want to be on the winners side. Nothing wrong with that, but urge caution over our involvement.

 

 
#
cjmasta
2012-04-03 11:51

I picked up a metro on the bus in Glasgow yesterday and the excact same insinuating claim was written about the Sooter knighthood thing.
I`m going to make a big white plaque from cardboard and white paper today so need some ideas of what to write on it so I can get some pictures from outside BBC HQ.
I wonder if two people doing such a thing would attract any response from security? Only one way to find out.
Maybe if they start to see people in small numbers but more frequently doing the same they would take notice. Na, doubt it.
BBC LABOUR could be one or BBC, LONDONS VOICE IN SCOTLAND. Some more ideas please.
 
 
#
Mako
2012-04-03 13:09

Occupy Pacific Quay? 🙂 Let me know when and I will book some time off and dust my tent down.
 

 
#
Displaced Patriot
2012-04-03 12:07

J will I go back to premise , we need all and everything to ensure a YES Vote.
Would you really rather have the Sun spinning the same lies as the other papers I mentioned?
A lot of the people who vote SNP are not my first choice as house guests, however I thank god every day for their votes
 
 
#
scottishwatersnotforsale
2012-04-03 12:29

” ministers are personally responsible on deciding how to act in the light of the ministerial code and for justifying their actions to Parliament and the public”
As a member of the public I would like Mr Martin to justify why he bypassed Parliamentary procedure and went straight to the press ?
 
 
#
Jim1320
2012-04-03 14:03

I think the answer would be “because I’m no awfie competent at my job”.
 

 
#
balgayboy
2012-04-03 14:43

one easy answer: Numptie
 
 
#
Rafiki
2012-04-03 14:52

One has to remember Mr Martin’s father was the Speaker of the House of Commons, and one would imagine he would have inculcated in his son a regard for protocols? Perhaps Mr Martin Jnr, if that is how one styles the son of a Lord, believes Scottish Government protocols should be treated with contempt
 
 
#
balgayboy
2012-04-03 15:12

Quoting Rafiki:

One has to remember Mr Martin’s father was the Speaker of the House of Commons, and one would imagine he would have inculcated in his son a regard for protocols? Perhaps Mr Martin Jnr, if that is how one styles the son of a Lord, believes Scottish Government protocols should be treated with contempt


Aye: Like Father Like Son…Numptie!

 
 
#
chiefy1724
2012-04-03 15:50

The son or daughter of a Baron (Baron Martin of Springburn) is granted the “Courtesy Title” of “The Honourable”.

On the offchance that anyone from, oh, the Parliamentary Party who may have cause to address Mr Martin in the course of their duties is listening in, I feel that you really should give the Honourable Paul Martin his Full Due next time.
 

 
#
Diabloandco
2012-04-03 16:03

“Donors and dinners

By KENNY ANGOVE


EUROMILLIONS winners Colin and Chris Weir enjoyed tea with the First Minister at Bute House — just before they handed the SNP £1million.

Alex Salmond also invited Ian Watson, the ex-chairman of the Galahad Gold mining firm, to lunch at his Edinburgh residence last summer. The businessman has donated £140,000.

Former Unilever boss David McCarthy — who gave £5,045 — attended a dinner there in July 2010.

And Stagecoach tycoon Sir Brian Souter was nominated for a knighthood shortly after donating £500,000 to the Nats.”


I don’t think the Sun is a great friend or at least the chap who wrote this is no friend .
Possibly doesn’t realise that the SNP do not nominate folk for ermine.Hmm.
 
 
#
Legerwood
2012-04-03 16:41

I do wish press and commentators stopped saying Sir Brian donated £500,000.

Sir brian said he would donate up to £500,000 IF the SNP raised matching funds otherwise if the SNP fell short of that target then he would match whatever they did manage to raise. AND he gave them a relatively short time in which to do.

So if Sir Brian donated £500,000 it means that the SNP raised the matching £500,000 which I believe was the case.

Perhaps people should be reminded of that fact whenever this donation is mentioned.

As well as being reminded of the millions the various unionist parties raise from their donors e.g the unions and Sainsbury’s to name but a few.
 
 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 19:29

Thank you, Legerwood, for this reminder.

Mr Souters donation/meal/whatever was also subject to an investigation.

Quote:

Complaint 27th November 2011 by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie Jim Sheridan MP alleged that FM had intervened to secure a knighthood for Brian Souter. First Minister ‘wholly exonerated’ in breach of Ministerial Code’. Mr Sheridan’s allegations were wrong and ‘ill founded’.


moridura.blogspot.co.uk/…/… (bottom of page)

Also worth of note is the SNP policy of not endorsing OR taking up any peerages in the House of Lords. The other parties and the MSM just cannea get their head around to that.

 

 
#
amfraeembro
2012-04-03 16:50

Nominating that particular individual for a knighthood is pretty indefensible, to be honest.
 
 
#
Displaced Patriot
2012-04-03 17:15

Quoting amfraeembro:

Nominating that particular individual for a knighthood is pretty indefensible, to be honest.


What part of the SNP do not nominate anyone is it you do not understand?

 
 
#
amfraeembro
2012-04-03 21:52

Did I say the SNP nominated him?
 

 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 18:02

There have been comments above, which have called Master Martin’s (if that’s the correct way to title the son of a life peer?) intellectual abilities into question.

I think he knew exactly what he was doing. I think he knows full well how to make such a complaint, and also knows that there’s no basis for the complaint. He never actually meant/expected there to be an inquiry, just a cheap shot to get some cheap headlines until the matter is quietly dismissed.

Except, this time, Alex Salmond took up the matter. To teach the young Master a lesson on how it’s done (portraying him as incompetent came as a bonus), and to show the general public that he has no qualms about being investigated as everything is above board.

BTW, wasn’t it the SNP government that set up this independent ivestigative body in 2007? Funny how SLab/SLib never got around to it… And so far, it’s mostly been used by SLab to attack the SNP, with all complaints cleared and pronounced above board.
 
 
#
oldnat
2012-04-03 18:12

Moridura has an article which lists all the allegations of breach of the Ministerial Code, and the findings.

moridura.blogspot.co.uk/…/…
 
 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 18:33

Thanks for the link, oldnat.

So, what have we? The SNP government set up a complaints procedure, which is eagerly seized by SLab and SLib, in a continued huff that the people of Scotland won’t let them govern them any more…

Sadly, the MSM won’t go with this story.
 

 
#
pictic-1
2012-04-03 20:50

O/T but still a bit to do with news reporting.

Someone posted recently comments about an article in a German newspaper “Die Zeit” regarding how the SNP and the referendum were being reported to German readers. The reaction was not very happy for the zyber-natz ….!

Here’s the rundown of what in general can be expected in Germany/Europe.

The UK/Scotland has left wing labour with its daily foghorns – Guardian/Hootsmon/Herald etc.

The tory right is broadcasted by the Telegraph/Daily Mail etc.

In Germany the left wing is the SPD, the Social Democrats – the labour party.
The right wing is the CDU/CSU – the same as the Tories.

They both also have their foghorns:

The left/SPD has “Die Zeit” = Guardian/Hootsmon/Herald etc.

The right CDU “Die Welt = Telegraph/Daily Mail etc.

Both of the UK parties have regular consultations with their ideological partners in Europe. So you can bet your bottom bawbee that if an article appears in the “Zeit” then it’s not just bad or slovenly reporting when the SNP appears to get a bad press …… the rest I’ll leave to your imagination.
 
 
#
lumilumi
2012-04-03 21:14

Yeah, I saw the link and read the Zeit story. My German is a bit rusty but it was pretty nasty and biased, also not very good journalism in that it hadn’t sought views from either side. On the whole, though, Scotland is getting pretty good press worldwide.

In my country, Scotland barely registers. The MSM had a story or two in January when AS announced the referendum consultation.

I have a couple of yellowed newspaper clippings from 1992, with a younger, slimmer Alex Salmond with more hair saying that now is the time to drum up Scotland’s independence (It was the time many east-blok nations regained their independence). The main four-column picture showed two young Scottish nationalist holding up a Saltire. Stewart Hosie and Shona Robinson. That full-page feature sparked a few letters to the editor from ired Scots living in Finland as the story referred to Scotland as a ‘region’, not a ‘country’.
 

 
#
GerrySNP
2012-04-04 02:03

Mr Martin – like his Father who got him the job – is another classical example of what his constituents would call a chancer – actually a reddened chancer. Actually, since they know that Ive never understood why they voted for him all those years when he managed to do nothing for them – like his son.
 

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