Saturday, 4 April 2015

Je crois que M. Cameron vient d'appeler une menteuse notre Madame l'Ambassadrice !

Even if I hadn't been busy today on other affairs, I'd have avoided writing anything about the unfolding story of Nicolagate or Memogate. Not because it's not interesting, but because everyone else has been doing a brilliant job without me pitching in.

Obviously Stuart Campbell was on it immediately, quite rightly wondering, as a professional journalist himself, why not one person from the Telegraph, the Mail or the BBC actually bothered to check a single fact, before laying into the story with gusto. But many others have written about it too, including the Wee Ginger Dug, Tommy Ball and our own dear Niko.

Given that it was pretty controversial, and given that it involved a person at ambassadorial level from another European country, it should have seemed to be sensible for someone, somewhere to have phoned the office of the FM, the office of the Consul General, or maybe even the Embassy of la République française.

But, seemingly, it slipped their minds, or maybe they were just too busy frothing. 

Oh, for some scribblers who bothered to turn up for the second day of the journalism course when they did the fact checking module.

Some bright spark thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to get in touch with Willie Rennie, maybe because although he was not involved in any way, he was guaranteed to mutter something along the lines of SNP bad, Nicola bad, Bad Bad....? 

...Unless he has a cousin who works for the Telegraph...because, frankly I'm surprised that the Torygraph has ever heard of him.

Needless to say Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale and a shedload of Labour politicians jumped on the bandwagon and tweeted and tutted and told us so. 

So, throughout last night and today the facts seem to have been emerging.

A Guardian journalist (who had done the fact checking module), presumably with no particular love of the SNP, bu visceral hatred of the Telegraph, checked up with the Consul, who said it was rubbish. Ms Sturgeon had expressed no preference, he said. The Embassy also said it was rubbish. That didn't make any difference to Labour, with the honourable exception of Malcolm Chisholm, who dismissed it as rubbish. George ffoulkes was at fever pitch...although in fairness it was late last night and, well that was maybe less George and more l'eau de vie.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted to the Telegraph (since no one had bothered to ask her), that she categorically denied it, and went on to point out that she would have denied it a good deal earlier had she only been asked.

Someone from the BBC managed to get round to asking Nicola as she prepared to speak at an anti nuclear weapons rally in Glasgow, what she had to say.

She said that:

a) she denied it;
b) the Consul denied it;
c) the Ambassador denied it;
d) the foreign office couldn't find any trace of the memo that had been leaked;
e) that there were rumours that the Scotland Office might have been involved. Strangely the Scotland Office blokey from Shetland, has mysteriously disappeared. I say strangely because he also met with the French Ambassador that day;
f) she has written asking for an official inquiry to be launched into the leak. (It was later reported that an inquiry has been set up, presumably no wrong doing will be found to have occurred.)
It appears that Mr Dugdale may not have
 been entirely happy with Kezia's response.
What I find incredible is that, long after all three participants in the meeting have denied that Ms Sturgeon said she would prefer David Cameron (over whom she could have no influence) to Ed Miliband (over whom she at least might), both Miliband and Cameron are proving that neither of them is a fit person to be prime minister by using the now discredited story, about which there is to be an official inquiry, as they go around electioneering.

For a start is this not putting the appearance of neutrality in the inquiry in jeopardy?

And secondly, it may be OK to call another party leader a liar, particularly when they have just shown you up at a televised hustings, but don't either of the two candidates to be prime minister of the union know that calling an Ambassador of a friendly country a liar, is getting pretty close to causing a diplomatic incident?

Attention Quai d'Orsay!


  1. trs

    the lady doth protest to much methinks

    Just a joke a jest a jape no less
    stand on me. Strewth we know the girl
    didnt do it.


    C the A level french comes in handy sometimes
    luckily she wasn't talking to the innuit ambassador eh ?

    1. LOL, Niko.

      My Greenlandic is a bit rubbish, although I want to go there some day, and I always learn a bit before I go anywhere.

      Aluu! Ulloq naalluarniariuk!

      Respect for Duncan Hothersall who apologised in a tweet to Nicola for his hasty put down of her.

  2. Nicola Sturgeon the most dangerous woman in Britain to true
    I wouldn't like to be in a room alone with fear I'd come out
    voting for her

    Best i go and have lie down on me Union flag duvet
    make me feel all snuggly and warm

    1. Hate to break this to you, but Taz was recently seen running down the road with that gripped in his mouth snarling viciously...

  3. Tris

    I'm not going to blog on it as better people will but I do think this is very serious. It was bad enough that the state, with a lot of help from the media, lied and cheated to a no vote during the referendum but to do the same during a GE and call another country liars is going to really hurt them.

    The fact the EBC, Miliband etc are sticking to the lie shows how desperate they are but I suspect most Scots will just be angry at this and from all sides. The unionist parties have got this one badly wrong and it has McDougall written all over it.

    I think they will try and bury it but they might not get away with it this time.


    1. I'm amazed that Cameron and Miliband are still selling this story, given that in doing so they appear to be ignoring the French Ambassador's denials. They are really just calling her a liar.

      Hardly the way to get on with their neighbours.

      Then again they called Iceland terrorists.

      I heard that there had been a pile more memberships out of it.

      I seriously think these old middle class public school men don't realise that we have internet. They live in the days of the butler bringing them the hall telephone on a very long wire, as they pass the port around.

  4. I think labour, northern outpost, signed their own death warrant with this.

    1. Well maybe they decided that a quick suicide was going to be less painful than a lingering death.

      This is a brilliant read ...

      To September and Beyond in the blog roll.

    2. "J’accuse the Lib Dems, in particular Alistair Carmichael, the thinking man’s Rab C Nesbitt, who’s featured in a few of his Telegraph buddy Simon Johnson's SNP-bashing articles and, surprise surprise, bears responsibility for the department that spilled the beans. And how come Willie Rennie, of all people, was in the right place at the right time to provide a quote? You wouldn’t normally trust that bloke to be facing the correct way round at a urinal. I wouldn’t say the whole thing smells, but my olfactory receptors are beginning to consider industrial action."

      I'd a good laugh at this.

    3. He's got style!

  5. Noo look whit ye's hiv done thats the bairn woken up,
    it took Jeff ages tae get her doon,
    he'll no thank ye's fur gettin her greetin again,
    am tellin ye!

  6. "half-man-half-bog-brush Alan Cochrane"

    I like this man.

    1. Its gotta be said Conan.


    2. Wish I had his way with words!

  7. Ever thought of the reasons behind the story? The SNP do want a Tory government. Milliband isn't even going to come close and having Cameron in charge gives them something to blame yet again.

    1. So they would have no influence at all?

      Nope. They want to change things with Leanne and the greens.

      I'm sure that Miliband won't disappoint when it comes to things we can things to blame on him

    2. The last party I want the SNP to team up with are the Greens. I'm strongly in favour of protecting the environment, but they are a bunch of fruitcakes. Research some of their more extreme proposals.

      How can the SNP work with the Greens over energy for example? The Greens want restrictions on energy use. That is political suicide. Anyway, the Greens will be lucky if they win anymore than 1 seat - but hopefully it will be Clegg's!