(Please see UPDATE at end)
In classic scandal-fashion it's perhaps not always the original deed that causes a person or group the greatest difficulty, but the attempted 'cover-up', the lies and spin that 'does' for them. I doubt very much that Alex Salmond (not my favourite person of course, either as a person or for his politics) had any personal prior knowledge of what various people within the SNP, at various levels, or those outwith it but in general suporters of what it stands for, have been up to to further the SNP cause in the wilder reaches of the blogging fraternity (I expect he is far too busy to bother with surfing the net very much). However, watching Mr Salmond talking about a certain kind of blogger in the most scathing terms at FMQs on Thursday and having the camera take in a very embarrassed-looking Mr Mike Russell from time to time, one could not but wonder whether the tongue-lashing Mr Salmond was giving that certain type of blogger had other targets in mind as well - I know some will disagree with me, but I thought it reminiscent of my school Rector on one occasion giving a public rebuke at school assembly to a senior, and brilliant, fellow-pupil who had been caught out doing something hhe should not have done - in this case that 'pupil' was Mr Mike Russell, whose denials of prior knowledge of the blog run by his former aide now look increasingly threadbare. I 'Twittered' about this a couple of days ago, although I haven't blogged about it.
Now, through another of my 'favourite people' (who despite everything I may otherwise think about him is generally I accept a faithful purveyor of fact or at the very least educated deduction, without fear or too much favour and with a sizeable degree of self-awareness of his own, ahem, limitations) I learn that the 'MacLachlan affair' is ensnaring other SNP-people in its fall-out - the 'Dumfries & Galloway Standard' is definitely not on my regular reading-list. Jeff tried to 'close down' this debate in his blog a few days ago, pooh-poohing it as of little importance and even in his latest post tries to downplay its importance - on the contrary I think it is very damaging and a gift to the mutually-hated Labour Party.
Of course some SNP-supporters who read this may think that, as a Unionist(*), my views can be discounted, but of course I am not a Labour supporter so am completely disinterested in the petty, but vicious, squabbling between Scotland's two major political groupings, the SNP and Labour, even if I freely admit to some wry amusement at what they are doing to each other. I have myself had a falling-out (written about ad nauseam in this blog and in my personal website over the past nearly 8 and in excess of 9 years respectively) with the Conservative Party, of which I was formerly a member, so I can I think claim fairly that I am pretty objective in my assessments of the various political parties, including the one with which (even today) I have the greatest instinctive affinity.
My considered opinion is that not only must Rob Davidson, leader of the SNP council group in a part of the Scottish Borders, step down, but so must Mr Mike Russell. I have to say that, whilst I don't like SNP politics one little bit, I had always until now considered Mr Russell one of the more affable and intelligent senior SNP people; now I believe him to be just another soiled political operator. I hesitate to offer Mr Salmond pointers to actions which might favour his cause, but he really does need to rid himself of this kind of Cabinet member - unless of course there are more revelations to come implicating Mr Salmond himself.
(*) Using the word 'union', or any derivation of it, in any faovurable context is not something that comes easily to me, but I do believe in the continuation of the United Kingdom, just as I believe strongly that Britain needs to stay within and be a full part of the European Union. Of course I have never been a member of any 'union' in my life, nor would I have ever consented to join one; the very idea makes my conservative libertarian soul retch. The latest nonsense from the BA union is just the latest example of what I consider so awful about this kind of body
UPDATE: (Sunday 20DEC09 11.55 GMT) I think this is developing into something of a "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" duel. Someone is certainly 'lying', it seems clear, although perhaps we haven't yet got to the root of precisely who that is if this latest 'epistle' from Mark MacLachlan is a guide; the linked Sunday Times article make for interesting reading, too. Round three?