SALMOND WELCOMES COURT VICTORY AS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ADMITS DEFEAT
Scottish Government accepts Permanent Secretary decision on Salmond as “unlawful”, “procedurally unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias”.
SALMOND WELCOMES COURT VICTORY AS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ADMITS DEFEAT
Scottish Government accepts Permanent Secretary decision on Salmond as “unlawful”, “procedurally unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias”.
Filmed at Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby football, former international Doddie Weir opens up to Alex Salmond about his struggle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Weir discovered in December 2016 that he was suffering from the devastating condition, which affects around 5,000 people in the UK alone.
In an exclusive interview with Scotland’s former First Minister, he discusses the impact on his family and the need for more funding for clinical trials and research into the condition. He claims only one drug exists in the UK for MND treatment – and that was licensed 22 years ago. Since then, there has been limited public funding into finding a better form of treatment or cure, although in Scotland there has been a recent increase in public nursing provision following the campaign by the late Gordon Aikman and an enhanced research effort at the largely privately funded Euan Macdonald centre at Edinburgh University.
Throughout the interview, Doddie shows incredible spirit and courage in the face of the progressive and terminal condition. Describing the effects of MND, he says, “It’s a muscle wasting condition….you’re debilitated. You can’t do anything for yourself.” Eventually you “can’t eat, can’t move, can’t dress, can’t go to the toilet, can’t breathe, even”…
Doddie shares his journey with the condition by comparing it to his approach to international rugby saying: “I always thought when the team got announced, I was going to get dropped. So if I was dropped, I was expecting it, so it wouldn’t be a shock. If I was in the team, I was quite delighted”. He says he has to have the same attitude towards MND and that he was almost expecting his diagnosis. He thinks of it as “a ticket that someone has given me…. so let’s just get on and see if we can try and get something sorted”. He also reveals how he told his wider family in mid-January last year, which “makes life a lot easier – you’re not trying to hide so much when you’re having to go to doctors visits”. Going public required a great deal of thought and was “pretty well timetabled”.
Weir is now reviewing world clinical research into MND. He recently returned from New York on a fact finding mission after Brian Kennedy, (former owner of the Sale Sharks rugby club in Greater Manchester), invited him to see some specialists. He says: “The Americans seem to be more up for trying things and giving things a go…”
Doddie is looking to change attitudes and funding into MND here in the UK and has also set up a charity My Name’5 Doddie Foundation “There is a battle ahead, it’s like Scotland vs England”, he says, a “big important battle and I’m certainly here for a fight…”
The Alex Salmond Show is broadcast on RT International, Thursday 0730, 1830, and 2330 GMT on Freeview 234, Freesat 206 and Sky 512.
FLAG FLYING POLICY
“What a load of complete piffle from The Mail, the Express, the Telegraph, Iain Duncan Smith, Sky News, Ian Dale, Liam Fox and Jacob Rees-Mogg. The hoisting of The Lion Rampant had nothing whatsoever to do with Nicola Sturgeon.
“I changed the policy on flag flying back in 2010 after an audience with Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral the previous year.
“It seemed obvious to me that the appropriate flag to be flown on the occasion of royal birthdays is the Royal Standard or The Lion Rampant. The only people who can order that to be done are the Queen herself and the First Minister as her representative.
“I remember the occasion very well. Her Majesty asked me if The Lion Rampant was a popular flag in Scotland. I was able to assure her that it was and indeed much beloved of Scottish football and rugby fans. Thus I brought the new policy into effect and left the union flag flying,as appropriate, at armed forces day and Remembrance Sunday.
“This leads to two questions. Firstly given that this has been the policy for eight years with The Lion Rampant flying proudly on royal occasions, including jubilees and new royal births and weddings as well as birthdays, why have none of these Tory politicians and newspapers even noticed the flags flying in front of their eyes for the best part of a decade!
“Secondly, since this change of policy was good enough for the Her Majesty the Queen then why is it being questioned by these ridiculous newspapers and political ignoramuses. In any case why do they resent the flying of The Lion Rampant? One has to ask are they harbouring closet republican tendencies that they object to the Scottish Royal Standard being flown high and proud?”
THE RT HON. ALEX SALMOND
Sent from my iPad
The "Alex Salmond...Unleashed" stage show, first launched at the Edinburgh Fringe, not only sold out 24 performances in 2017, but also raised £27,400 for 22 separate charities in Scotland and beyond.
In his first ever in-depth interview in English (his fourth language) for The Alex Salmond Show, the President of Catalonia called on the Spanish Government, the EU and the United Nations to meet with his government to bring the political crisis to an end and find a way forward for his country.
Christen Ager-Hanssen, whose Custos Group is the largest shareholder in Johnston Press, has announced that he has secured the valuable support of former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, in his quest to revive the ailing company under fresh strategic direction.
The evening of Friday 24th November in the Volunteer Hall in Gala sees the climax of an
the autumn mini-tour which has already seen four shows in Aberdeen and Alloa.
Wednesday 11 October 2017, Palais de l'Europe, Strasbourg, France
As I have listened to this debate, my mind has turned to the figure of David Maxwell Fyfe.
He was the first rapporteur of the very first legal committee who brought to this Assembly our foundation Convention on Human Rights.
What would Maxwell Fyfe have made of our progress over these last 70 years?
First, he would be pleased that the foundation Convention has been supplemented by many other conventions over the years.
Second, he would be gratified that the lives of tens of millions of our fellow European citizens have been improved by the exercise of these rights - even if few of them have anything more than a vague awareness of the existence of this body.
Third, he would be delighted that the number of participating countries has increased from the original 12 to the current 47.
However, he would still have the questions that have preoccupied this debate today and in particular raised in an excellent report from Mr Tiny Kox.
How do we make our high ideals enforceable and how do we therefore make our decisions consistently meaningful.
The proposals made by Mr Kox are entirely sensible. However, there are two other things which are required.
The first of these is the clarity of thinking of this Assembly and its officers. Let me give you an example.
On Monday, I was really disappointed to see a statement from our Secretary General issued after a meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister in which he stressed the importance of the unity of Spain.
The unity of Spain or indeed the independence of Catalonia are not matters for this Assembly or its officers. They are a matter for Spain and Catalonia.
What is a matter for this Assembly is the right of Catalans to exercise their rights of free expression under Article 10 of our Convention without being beaten up by the Spanish state police.
In that light, I was pleased to see the strong statements from our Human Rights Commissioner and indeed our then acting President Sir Roger Gale on Monday.
However, we have to be clear that our purpose is not constitutionality but enforcement of human rights. It should be noted that, given our Convention is part of the Spanish constitution, that member state finds itself in clear breach not only of our Convention but their own constitution in supposedly defending constitutionality.
That brings me to my second point. This Assembly must have the self-regard to speak without fear or favour when these flagrant breaches occur. It is not enough for individuals to have redress through the Strasbourg Court. There has to be a collective and timeous upholding of rights. It doesn't mean that each and every demonstrable breach of Convention rights should be met with penalty far less expulsion.
What it does mean is that the moral force of this Assembly upholding key European values should be felt by those in state power.
My last point is this.
David Maxwell Fyfe was a Scottish lawyer and a Conservative MP.
I am a Scot but not a lawyer and certainly not a Conservative.
However, as First Minister of Scotland, I was able to agree in the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012 with a UK Conservative Prime Minister a means by which the people of Scotland were able to exercise their right of free expression and self-determination in peaceful, dignified and democratic fashion.
Now Scotland is not Catalonia and Spain is not England. The two situations have many differences both historical and constitutional.
However, one thing is the same. With proper accord to the principles which we hold so dear it should be just possible to find an agreement if not on constitutional destination but at least on the democratic means of decision which will enable Catalonia and Spain to find some settlement of their disagreement.
We should be self-confident enough to see a role for our Assembly in assisting such a process.
If we were to do so then it would be yet another achievement of which David Maxwell Fyfe and our other founding spirits could be proud.
Speaking on the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the Rt Hon. Alex Salmond called for action against the Spanish Government for a “clear and flagrant breach of article 10 of the European Convention on human rights.”
Scots comedian and Capital FM Breakfast host, Des Clarke, is set to reprise his role as Donald Trump during the Aberdeen leg of Alex Salmond…Unleashed.
Mr Clarke first appeared orange-clad and blonde-wigged at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his impression of the President brought the house down in Mr Salmond’s sell-out run at the Assembly Rooms.
Alex Salmond has today (Tuesday 26 September 2017) announced that his sell-out debut show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Alex Salmond…Unleashed, will go on tour across Scotland and beyond.
Global, The Media & Entertainment group, today announces that former First Minister of Scotland and Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond joins Global station LBC to present a brand new show starting on Sunday (September 17th). Salmond will host his own show on Britain’s biggest commercial news talk radio station every Sunday between 3pm-6pm.
For immediate release: Wednesday 23 August 2017
Following the fourth extension of Alex Salmond's sold-out debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, Alex Salmond...Unleashed, we can today (Wednesday 23 August 2017) confirm that Liverpool's own John Bishop and Capital Breakfast's Des Clarke will be the special guests on the Thursday evening Trump Special at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms.
The festival of fun has been extended four times now to meet overwhelming demand. So far, the former First Minister has performed 11 shows at the Assembly Rooms to more than 3,500 happy punters. raising over £12,000 for good causes up and down the country.
Each show features a special mystery guest with Brexit Secretary, David Davis MP, Scots actors Brian Cox and Martin Compston and Hibernian manager, Neil Lennon being just some of the names show far.
The Trump Special will focus on the President of the United States character, time in office and what the future holds for one of the most controversial world figures in recent memory.
Speaking today following the announcement, Mr Salmond said:
“I am absolutely delighted and I am really looking forward to being on stage with John and Des.
"This will be the only show out of the 19 shows that the guests will be announced before the performance.
"The show has been fantastic so far and these two top class comedians are a great addition to our outstanding list of guests.
"While I might not share their experience walking the boards, I am looking forward to all of us being unleashed on President Trump in this 18+ special."
John Bishop said:
"It's certainly the first time that a former First Minister has asked me to be a guest on their show. How could I resist?
"I've been promised a festival of fun and I looking forward to getting stuck in about Mr Trump."
Tickets are on sale now for Thursday 24 August at 1815 from: https://www.assemblyfestival.com/box-office/alex-salmond-unleashed/3:43780
Alex Salmond’s sold-out debut show at the Edinburgh Fringe has been extended for an extra night for the Alex Salmond…Unleashed: Trump Special.
The festival of fun has been extended four times now to meet overwhelming demand. So far, the former First Minister has performed 10 shows at the Assembly Rooms to more than 3,000 happy punters, raising £11,250 for good causes up and down the country.
Scotland's current position should provide food for thought and the reasons lie deep in our country's European past.
Have you ever wondered what Scotland's longest-serving First Minister really thinks? Well, now’s your chance. Alex Salmond, unleashed from the restraints of public office, will appear at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms for a bit of light-hearted banter and a few behind the scenes revelations about his time in power.
When I was consulting Bobbie Bennie - whose family firm have been burying Salmonds for some generations- about a date for today’s service, I suggested last Tuesday. “Wouldn’t be such a great idea,” said Bobbie. “It’s the Marches Day". For the uninitiated here among us, the Marches are the annual riding of the Royal Burgh boundaries, where we march just to make sure there has been no encroachment from Bo’Ness or other villages - like Edinburgh - and then climax the procession with three times around the Cross.
“Oh I don’t know,” I replied - “How about three times around the Cross Well with the coffin.” Anyway, Dad would not have minded. Indeed he would have loved the notion. Because our father was born and bred a “Black Bitch” - born within the sound of St Michael's bells - although he as you can see from your order of service that he bears the name of a St Ninian's Craigmailen Minister for his middle names of Robert Fyfe Findlay Salmond, just as I am Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond.
Just over there is the Salmond family pew and just to my right on the Great War memorial is the name of my Dad’s Uncle Harry - my great Uncle. Our Dad was clerk to the Congregational Board in this Kirk and insisted on taking the minutes in civil service fashion completely verbatim. And so it went on for years until our Mum, who had to type them up, finally put her foot down and insisted on a condensed version. The point is our Dad was like a stick of rock; Lithgae through and through.
With the exception of wartime service, his resultant period in Bangour Hospital and the last five years at Erskine Home, Dad spent his entire life in this town. This included more than 60 years at 101 Preston Road and more than 50 of them with our Mum, and love of his life, the late Mary Salmond.
At their Golden Wedding in 2000, Dad made a compelling, spellbinding 20 minute speech without a single note on how they had met and set up life together. One of our relatives remarked that he could see where I had learned the art of public speaking. In reality, before that day I had never heard my father speak continuously for more than a few sentences, except his recitations of poetry on a Saturday morning.
“He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts be small, that dares not put it to the touch, to win - or lose it all” Or as my Dad put it TO WIN or lose it all!
These are the famous lines of James Graham, first Marquis of Montrose. And he along with Hearts Centre Forward, Willie Bauld, and World Senior Golf Champion, John Panton, made up a triumvirate in our household of great Scots. But even then, aboon them a' was Tommy Walker of Linlithgow Rose, Heart of Midlothian and Scotland.
Dad hadn't been to a Hearts match for a wee while, but thanks to my brother Bob was still a regular attendee at Rose games, watching me as First Minister present them with the Scottish Junior Cup not once but twice in my term of office - I claim the credit for both victories.
When I was a lad, I was struck between the contrast between this carefree Saturday morning figure reciting poetry and the sometimes stern father who spent a great deal of time hunched over his civil service papers sprayed out across the living room carpet. It was years later that Willie Wilson, an ex-miner from Kinneil colliery, and my Dad's favourite golfing partner, put me right.
He explained that Dad was greatly respected in the mining community as the adjudicator who would go to the ultimate degree in finding a reason for granting appeals for industrial white finger and the other occupational diseases. It's called public service and what a contrast with today, where private companies are bribed to deny disabled people their entitlements.
My Dad had strong opinions. Once he adopted a position, he stuck to it. As a petty officer in the navy he was nicknamed Joe because of his trenchant defence of the Soviet Union. Three weeks ago in Erskine Home he repeated the same simple point to me: “We would have been feenished without Russia.”
He didn't talk about the War much, even though Margaret and I teased him mercilessly as youngsters about the exact circumstances in which his aircraft carrier was sunk and his personal role in the sinking - fast asleep in his hammock was our suggestion! In fact, HMS Indomitable, true to its name, made it to Gibraltar crippled, but under its own steam, and Dad and the rest of the aircrews were re-deployed on to HMS Hunter, much to their annoyance because they were looking forward to visiting America for a refit. The Hunter was a merchant ship welded together to become an escort carrier. This meant that the runway wasn’t long enough for a Seafire or other fast planes and so they caught them on deck by use of nets and hooks.
In his later years, he spoke about the war rather more. Old men do not forget. Rather they tend to speak about the things of which they have the clearest memory. Not long before he went to Erskine, Dad told me that by far the worst thing he saw in the war was not the panic, the noise and the fear of being torpedoed. Instead, it was the young pilots lost in the water when the nets broke, as they inevitably sometimes did, the planes were lost overboard and the airmen left to die in the sea as the convoys couldn’t stop.
It was and is a reminder that people who have experienced real wars and real conflict have a rather different perspective than the toy soldiers who too often occupy the benches of the House of Commons.
Our faither's politics were simple - he believed in Scotland. The apocryphal tale of an incompetent Labour canvasser in the 1962 by-election inadvertently breeding a whole generation of SNP supporters, candidates and First Ministers is more or less true. However, once Dad had decided then that was it, although for the next quarter of a century he was unable to put his posters up at home because of my Mum’s stubborn allegiance to the Conservative interest and her threat to put up a Tory one beside his. Think of the shame of it, a Tory poster in Preston Road!
Mum finally relented and indeed converted when I became SNP leader. When I was a very young politician and less street wise than I am now I gave a daft interview to a paper and made what I thought was a humorous contrast between my Mum who thought that Churchill was the greatest man who ever lived and my Dad who wanted to hang him because of what he had done to the miners in the 1920s. The inevitable headline ensued: “Salmond’s father wanted to hang Churchill”. I phoned to apologise. The answer came “Did I teach you naethin'. Hingin' was much too good for that man”.
The point is that once he had committed - he stayed committed. Loyalty was important to him. He would be fair tickled that his postal vote was still counted last week, from beyond the grave, although furious that neither of his children who were candidates won their own election, despite his display of a poster for each of us in his window at Erskine.
All of the family are immensely grateful to all of the staff for their care of our Dad at Erskine Home over the last five years. It is an exceptional place staffed by truly exceptional people, some of whom are with us today. Many of us are guilty of speaking awkwardly about Alzheimer's and as dementia progresses then many families can have a torrid time as they effectively lose their loved ones. However we were blessed. None of us really lost our Dad or our granda over the last few years.
Instead, the illness gives a certain clarity to what is at the centre of the order of things. Ian and June are Dad’s church visitors from Bearsden and have written a lovely note to Gail about their times with Bobby - as they called my Dad - and the stories he told them of Black Bitches, the Marches, the Blackness Milk, Uncle Bert Oswald and crowning Willie Bauld the King of Scotland, Alfie Conn the Prince of Wales and crowning the Celtic and Rangers centre forwards of the time with hammer and a frying pan respectively.
He told them how proud he was of all of his family - four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. "They have done all right haven’t they?” He would say. This tells of what really matters at the end of days - love of family, loyalty to town, to football club and to country. Rather like the great Tommy Walker himself - Linlithgow Rose, Heart of Midlothian and Scotland. Not quite the Holy Trinity, but it will do. So what remains is perhaps only his favourite toast which we shall do again at the Rose Club with glasses fully charged: "Here's tae us, Wha's like us. Damn few, and they're a' deid."
15th June 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY 7 JUNE 2017
Euan Shand was raised at the Glendronach Distillery, where his father was manager.
Euan then joined distillery owners William Teachers and Sons Limited as a trainee before moving to the company's head office in Glasgow to train in export finance and international trade.
In 1990, Euan founded the Bennachie Scotch Whisky Co, where he pioneered the interest in vatted/blended malts. In 2001 Euan acquired Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Limited.
In 2001, Black Bull blended scotch whisky was acquired by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd. It won “Gold” and “Best in Class” International Spirits Challenge 2013; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky 21 Years & Over” at the World Whisky Awards 2012; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky” at the World Whisky Awards 2012; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky 12 Years and Under” at the World Whisky Awards 2011; “Gold” at the International Wines & Spirits Challenge 2011; “Gold” at the International Spirits Competition 2011; winner in the Blend Category the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge 2011 and was “Overall Winner” at the Best In Glass 2011.
Mr Shand said:
"I've known Alex for many years. He has been a constant source of encouragement as we have built a world class whisky business based in Huntly.
"He is an exceptional member of parliament and he has my full endorsement and support."
Attn Newsdesks/ Political Correspondents
For release Saturday June 3 2017
SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond, has blasted the Conservative candidate in the General Election for a series of contradictory statements at local hustings following Mr Salmond's exposure of the Tory council administration's threat to rural schooling.
On Tuesday June 30, at a hustings debate in Huntly, Tory Colin Clark confirmed that the future of rural schooling was under review by his fellow councillors in the Conservative-Liberal council.
Mr Clark defended the schools review and proceeded to mimic Tory leader Jim Gifford verbatim, saying that "a grown up discussion" was required to deal with the issue. He even claimed that people could be happy if several schools were closed and merged into one.
However, by the following night at a hustings in Inverurie, Mr Clark's had turned tail completely, claiming that the issue didn't exist and was nothing more than a social media "smear campaign".
The furore follows comments made by Jim Gifford and his Liberal deputy Peter Argyll on BBC North East radio on 19th May, as well as the former in an interview with The Evening Express.
During the BBC bulletin, broadcast on May 19, Tory Leader Jim Gifford said "I think there is a big discussion to be had. If you mapped where everyone lives in Aberdeenshire and mapped where the schools are they are not in the right places and that comes at huge cost.
"We need to have a big grown up discussion about whether schools are in the right place, the right kind of school, the right size of school. [schools] built 150 years ago and trying to deliver a modern curriculum - it is sometimes a challenge"
Mr Salmond, standing up for rural schools, said:
"It comes as no surprise to me whatsoever that my Tory rival is running scared and twisting and turning over the exposure of his party's threat to rural schools. After all, he is a Councillor and has already voted with his Tory colleagues this February to CUT the Aberdeenshire education budget by £3.2 million. That cut would have hit classroom assistants, music tuition and special education if it had not been stopped by the SNP.
Just as the Tories have turned tail on their UK manifesto commitments to introduce a "dementia tax" and scrapping the winter fuel allowance, so the local Tories have been caught red handed plotting to review the future of our village schools and are now trying to deny reality."
"However the attempt to claim that the issue does not exist is laughable. His Council Leader has been caught on tape telling the truth and that transcript is now being made available to people around the villages of Aberdeenshire. The people will draw their own conclusions and the Tory Party will reap the whirlwind.
"I raised this issue with my fellow SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson in a video message which has been viewed almost 45,000 times in two days. There is no question that the Tories have been well and truly exposed and are now in total and abject disarray as a result.
"Our rural schools are the heart of our Aberdeenshire communities and the SNP will defend them to the hilt."
Notes to editors:
Links to the BBC North East bulletins featuring the comments:
Gifford's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-0730-19-05-17
Argyll's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-1230-19-05-17
Gifford's comments in the Evening Express:
"But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in their former Alliance partnership earlier this year proposed to slash the education budget by £3 million, including reducing music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and cutting £500,000 from special education.
He said: “That was our starting point and there are lots of different ways you could look at it.
“We had a huge list of proposed savings that were going to have to be made and we thought we could live with them.
“None of them were easy but there are choices to be made and education has to be looked at in the round.
“It’s way over half the budget of the council, to say education is going to be protected, immediately I would say it will have to come from somewhere else and that’s not possible or feasible.”
Robert Salmond, the father of former First Minister Alex Salmond, has died at Erskine Home for ex-servicemen. In his 96th year, the father-of-four was an inspiration for all of his family, including five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Indeed he has two of his children standing for election this week, Alex in Aberdeenshire and Gail in the Scottish Borders by- election.