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'Trust me'

Brian Taylor | 11:49 UK time, Thursday, 11 October 2007

Tricky thing, trust. Absolutely vital in government – but, by definition, a two way process.

So, where lies trust in the row between the Scottish Government and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs over financial assistance for farmers?

As a journalist, my starting point is total disclosure at all times. I am in favour of finding things out.

However, I appreciate that – on the inside – government cannot operate that way.

Within Cabinet, Ministers must feel able to float half-formed ideas with colleagues, in confidence.

Equally, between Whitehall and the devolved territories, there must be a substantial degree of trust.

For example, London and Edinburgh must be able to kick ideas around, privately, in advance of formulating the common UK line on European negotiations.

Without trust, government does not operate.

So, have SNP Ministers, has Alex Salmond, breached that trust by disclosing the details of a draft DEFRA statement to the Commons in re rural aid? Quite simply, yes.

However, is it possible that there was also a breach of trust – and, arguably, a greater breach – in the other direction?

Mr Salmond’s claim is that, on Friday, DEFRA was ready to fund support for Scottish farmers – as well as those in England. The leaked draft, he says, makes that clear.

By Monday, however, the statement actually delivered to the Commons made no mention of this aid, confining support to farmers in England. (DEFRA is primarily responsible for English agriculture. Alex Salmond’s case is that they also have powers, including financial responsibility, in relation to wider animal welfare.)
DEFRA says it will not comment on a leak – other than to say that there is “not a word of truth” in the First Minister’s further allegation that the apparent switch owes much to the cancellation of the election over the same weekend.

Back, though, to the general issue of government trust.

I have argued before on this site that it is near impossible for officials in London and Edinburgh to share information as freely as in the past.

That is because they are serving different political masters: two parties who are not just rivals but enemies.

However, it is in the interests of both administrations to continue to share information: in daily communication, in European negotiations as outlined above and in regard to tackling the emergent, common crises which beset all governments.

There will never be full confidence.

To repeat, they serve different masters, different ends. But here’s the deal – for both sides. Treat us fairly – and we won’t leak your confidential material.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 12:12 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Mac wrote:

What has clearly been established in the communications between Whitehall and Holyrood is that there is one rule for the English and another rule for the Scots, Welsh and Irish.

This breach of trust is clearly based on political considerations within English marginals and not good governance of the UK as a whole.

Whenever the next UK election comes there will be a price to pay for those Scottish MPs who did not stand up for Scotland when asked in October 2007, and similarly for those MPs in Wales and Northern Ireland.

These ineffectual MPs may hope that voters have short-term memories but they cannot say they have not been warned.

This was hardly the floating of a 'half formed idea', Brian. The draft statement made it clear that a specific sum had been made available by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Now, you don't, unless you are particularly foolish, include that level of detail in a draft statement unless it's already been agreed in advance by those making the money available!

Conclusion? Compensation for Scotland which was available on Friday, was no longer on the table by Monday. Of course, the election was off by then as well, so the PR imperative for being seen to be doing somehing to help Scottish farmers had diminished over that timescale also.

Co-incidence? I think not...

  • 3.
  • At 12:42 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I am getting very tired of this continual leaking of things to the media and the subsequent sensationalising of it.

OK, if the leak highlights something illegal or is definitely in the public interest (rather then the public being "interested") I could support it. But most isn't and most is done to make political points.

To be clear...

1) I expect politicians to kick around unformed ideas, draft and re-draft documents as ideas are progressed. And I expect some of those ideas to be pretty wacky or contraversial as they're being worked on.

2) I expect politicians to change their minds every now and again as new facts/information become clear and in the light of experience

3) I expect politicians to have arguments/rows in cabinet since I expect my politicians to be passionate about what they believe in.

4) Finally, I expect politicians to reach concensus and once they have reached concensus to tell us what that concensus is. Not to tell us that they never approved of something in the first place.

It would be nice to be told some of the thought processes behind decisions but I suspect that I would probably get bored very quickly if they told us everything (but I should be able to get at it if I want).

So hearing about changed documents or arguments in cabinet does nothing for me because I expect it!!

So when drafts are leaked and people are accused of changing their mind or of being "weak", or when rows are reported and it is reported as "the cabinet is split from top to bottom on this", what does it achieve?

Simple, the stagnation of Politics in general. People daren't air their views in private because they're scared it'll be leaked. No-one will propose anything really radical or contraversial because they're scared it'll be leaked. No one ever admints to changing their mind because it'll be seen as being weak. It promotes spin beause everyone wants to get their version in first before someone else spins it the other way.

Personally I would prosecute any person found leaking goverment documents (aren't they covered by Official Secrets?), and prosecute anyone publishing it (as aiding and abetting) and let the court decide if it was leaked in the public interest or in the interest of the people involved.

  • 4.
  • At 12:45 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Drew wrote:

That's all very well Brian, but trust is based on mutual respect, and respect has to be earned. If the story about promises made to assist our farmers and set out on the internal DEFRA memorandum is correct (and as far as I know no one in Whitehall is denying it is) then the "reversal" of the policy by UK Government 3 days later without explanation simply isn't worthy of respect. Playing fast and loose with the livelihoods of our embattled hill sheep farmers behind closed doors for political reasons is, to my mind, a far worse sin against good governance than is the actions of the Scottish Government in making this public.

  • 5.
  • At 01:01 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Andy from Shetland wrote:

Interesting point made Brian, without knowing what the leaked document actually said it is difficult to know if a breach of trust took place, but if as is commonly believed it did say DEFRA would give compensation to Scottish farmers, then a breach of trust to senior civl servents could be alledged. But what if senior civil servants highlighted this to the FM knowing he would act on it? They informed the FM knowing what political colour he is and knowing his reaction...I am wondering why, perhaps they trust him to act out of the best interests of Scotland?.

The FM main loyalty should be to the electorate. By leaking the content of the document isn't that what the FM should be doing standing up for the scottish farmers? The question remains though....why was the initial document changed, if indeed it was. That brings into focus a whole other question of trust of DEFRA and the westminster government.

Is the scottish labour party backing the FM when he is trying to get DEFRA to pay compensation to scottish farmers? Can you clarify Brian? If they aren't....why not?

  • 6.
  • At 02:11 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

London not wanting to associate itself with (or pay for) the killing of 1/4 million light lambs it caused. No heed whatsoever should be given to mere procedure when the centre tries to abuse the periphery in such a way.

  • 7.
  • At 02:33 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • John Leven wrote:

Brian

I am puzzled by your comment "it nearly impossible for officials in Edinburgh and London to share information as freely as in the past"

Why? I thought that these officials were just that officials, who are employed to look after the interests of the people in both Edinburgh and London.

Are you really suggesting that we go down the American route with officials coming in with the elected party then leaving if they are voted out?

Can I ask, if someone in the UK government found a situation like this where the EU had proposed money for the UK and then removed it without consultation, the UK government would do nothing as it would be a breach of trust. I think not, would you then report it as a breach of trust?

  • 8.
  • At 02:38 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

I voted for Alex Salmond and the SNP as I felt that they would best defend Scottish interests in the Union and further afield.

That is exactly what he is doing and I will give his Party my vote again when they ask. It's just unusual for people in Scotland to hear thier voices being represented and defended.

  • 9.
  • At 02:50 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • HughB wrote:

If this draft specified figures for England, Scotland and Wales, how come the figures for Scotland and Wales were removed, but the English one was still valid.

This difficulty was caused by a problem in the south, so surely they have a duty to compensate those elsewhere who are bound by Westminster "law" to abide by rulings on animal movements, but who have nothing to do with the problem.

What about France. France is closer to the "hot spot" in Surrey, so why not impose movement bans on them as well. I can just imagine what their reaction would be, and they wouldn't get any compensation either.

And off the subject, why do we in Scotland celebrate on the 5th November. The events took place more than a hundred years before the "act of union". We should celebrate a Scottish event, not that one, as it has nothing to do with Scotland, and indeed nothing to do with the UK.

  • 10.
  • At 03:07 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Peter, Fife wrote:

I do not think Gordon Brown and his Ministers / departments realise how effectively they are all campaigning for the SNP.

Would Gordon Brown be the first Prime Minister to leave the office of First Lord of the Treasury through losing his seat at a General Election?

  • 11.
  • At 03:25 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

Just to be clear, the contingency fund for compensation for outbreaks of exotic diseases is held by Defra. It's not just their moral obligation, it's their financial obligation too.

Scottish Government officials are obliged to pass on information like that in the draft statement to their political masters. They could not withhold this from the First Minister.

Oh, and ideas being 'kicked around' do not appear in draft Ministerial speeches. The £8.1M was agreed and then pulled.

  • 12.
  • At 03:39 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • John Leven wrote:

Brian

I think No 8, Scott is spot on in his post.

I have to say to Scott I for one do not think he will be the only one.

  • 13.
  • At 03:48 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • eck wrote:

Will GB stand for a seat in England at the next election ?

  • 14.
  • At 03:53 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Archie wrote:

I'm fascinated by the depth of some of these responses. It is simple:

Pre-election - butter up the restless voters (England - may switch to Cons, Scotland - SNP and Wales - Both Cons and PC)

No election - look after the middle class England vote, hope Scotland and wales come to heel after a lousy CSR settlement.

I very rarely agree with David cameron but Gordon Brown and is government are treating us all like fools.

  • 15.
  • At 03:57 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Sandra wrote:

Brian,
I was in the dark about that 'leaked document' when I heard about the compensation being paid to English Farmers on Monday. I nearly choked! The standstill on movement was imposed UK wide by the UK office Defra; the export ban was imposed UK wide by EU and Defra lot etc. This had nothing to do with Scottish Government. My conclusion from this is that Defra and co are MORALLY bound to compensate ALL farmers affected by their imposition of a ban and their dilly dallying over the lifting of restrictions.
As for Trust - it was betrayed then never mind what was in that 'leaked' document or not, which is actually raising a lot of questions. Are DEFRA UK wide or are they not and if not, what right had they to impose sanctions on Scotland? That is where trust breaks down and how!

  • 16.
  • At 04:50 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Firstly the Fm had asked for restrictions to scottish farmers to be lifted early. This was not the case and therefore scottish farmers were delt as devastating a blow as the farmers in England. Therefore it is only right they get a comensurate level of compensation.

However if the Defra document is to be believed then the Westminster government is playing politics with our hard working farmers lives. If this is true then it should be highlighted and the FM should at least ask what is going on otherwise why is he leading the devolved government.

Is it another case of the labour party shooting itself in the foot. Arnt there any Labour MPs (not MSPs)in westminster who represent Scottish farming comunnities and why are they sooo silent at this moment in time?

Can anyone in the Labour party please answer this for me?

  • 17.
  • At 04:52 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • sandymac wrote:

"Protect Scottish interests in the union", SNP want independence from the union, the two are incompatible. My father voted SNP but does'nt want Independence, I think until the issue of Independence is voted on SNP don't have a place within devolution as the two are discordant.

  • 18.
  • At 05:06 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Ken Mac wrote:

'Without trust, government does not operate.

So, have SNP Ministers, has Alex Salmond, breached that trust by disclosing the details of a draft DEFRA statement to the Commons in re rural aid? Quite simply, yes.'

I can't agree with you on this one Brian. I totally accept that officials in Edinburgh and Whitehall and ministers should be able to discuss ideas and plans confidentially but that is not what is happening here.

We are not talking about a small change in a draft, we are not talking about ideas or proposals being discussed. What we have is a statement that clearly stated compensation was to be paid and an amount is given. Over the weekend this vital clause disappears and the Minister responsible announces compen for England but states that the governments in Scotland and Wales will be making their own arrangements.

This may be all tied up with the election, or lack of it, but whether it was or wasn't doesn't alter the fact Scotland was misled and our farmers shafted.

Salmond was absolutely right to make an issue of it.

  • 19.
  • At 05:11 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Graham Lauder wrote:

Brian,
How on earth is Alex Salmond getting away with this? He and many of his colleagues are claiming that the idea of an election was very much alive on Friday. Surely every political editor in the country was aware there would be no election then because they were briefed that Gordon Brown would confirm this on Saturday.
regards
Graham

Surely a UK government should be looking out for all?
We are not independent yet,and since the farmers were forced into this position by a leaky drain in a goverment department should'nt the UK government be paying compensation?
I prefer the leaked information to the consequences of the leaky drain!

  • 21.
  • At 05:32 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • ratzo wrote:

Richard @ 2 is right, Brian.

You're too-willingly chasing the Labour red herring with your cutesy-pie 'meditation' on Trust.

What's relevant is to get to the point about the 8 million right now, and philosophise about the niceties some other time.

  • 22.
  • At 07:08 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Forsyth wrote:

Alex Salmond is only doing what he was elected to do in putting the welfare of Scotland and it's people first.Nobody really knows the exact detail but if you are asking who would I believe then, the on off election fiasco, Gordon's refusal to honour his pledge on the EU constitution and the Chancellor's sleight of hand budget I would say it's obvious.
Gordon Brown and Labour cannot help but manipulate and spin but people now can see through it.

  • 23.
  • At 07:11 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Daisy wrote:

Brian,

You're so short sighted and unable to blog on this matter with clarity, purpose or any authority.

Disclosure is one thing as there is often 2 or more sides to a story, however you often fall on the Labour side, do you have no personal aspiration for your country of birth?

Get some perspective, because when the next election comes you and I are both out of a job, pehaps just you as I'll be signing uo for the SDF!

  • 24.
  • At 07:38 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Harry Shanks wrote:

Alex Salmond finds out (by whatever means) that several million pounds destined for Scottish Farmers on a Friday has disappeared by the Monday, but an even greater sum destined for English Farmers remains in the pot. He decides to highlight this.

Is he praised by the media for standing up for Scottish Farmers? Of course not - the media would rather allege that he has "breached trust" by bringing this into the public domain.

Presumably the alternative would have been to keep his mouth shut and when it all emerged at some point in the future (as it undoubtedly would have), the media could then accuse him of "cover-up" and "betrayal".

If the subsequent threat from Westminister is to be that in future they won't tell the Scottish Government what they are intending to do, that's just fine.

Now we know exactly where we stand - and that's always a good thing.

The only trust that any First Minister (of whatever political persuasion)should be concerned about, is the trust of the Scottish people. Alex Salmond is the only First Minister to have recognised that and this can only be in his favour.


  • 25.
  • At 07:46 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Gordon from Ayr wrote:

'Things you never thought you'd live to see' was how I described my first visits to Berlin after the wall came down and to the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union.

To these I can now add the First Minister of a Scottish Government standing up to the UK Government on behalf of the Scottish electorate.

Being around to live in an independent Scotland is becoming less of a fantasy with every passing month. I say that not as an SNP supporter but as as an interested observer of one of the most fascinating periods in Scottish political history in the last 100 years.

  • 26.
  • At 09:11 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

No Brian,

I think you are wrong to suggest that this particlular incident should not have been made public.

Is this not how it should be 'open government'.

This is exactly what we should expect from all our elected representatives,standing up for the best interests of the Scottish people.

With everything else that has happened at Westminster in the last week or so how can anyone believe single thing Labour tell us.

  • 27.
  • At 09:34 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • mairi macleod wrote:

brian,
lets just talk trust here,
who in their right mind would trust
westminster? its not the first time
they've been caught out telling porkies,now is it? i'm sure its not the last either? some of the stunts
thats being pulled, well any signs
of a brain, would spell danger,
funny how you lot in the public eye
always come down on one side,ye funny that,since that would defy logic, perhaps it comes with the teritory,or just the way things have
been that way for a few hundred years,but its changing, slowly,painfully,for some,
but this stunt is going to cost some a lot more than money if farmers go ahead and take it further
perhaps they've had enough messing
around.
PS I KNOW WHO I TRUST THE SNP.FULL STOP FIRST LAST ALWAYS.

  • 28.
  • At 10:18 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Nofret wrote:

How are civil servants meant to do their jobs properly if they apparently can't even discuss possibilities without them being leaked to the press??

Civil servants are covered by the official secrets act, so, assuming that they want to keep their jobs and their freedom, logically, where are the leaks then likely to come from?

Trust the SNP? I don't think so!

  • 29.
  • At 12:20 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Brian once more you attempt to push a display of complete disregard by the Westminster Government as something that Alex Salmond has invented. The draft was a statement of the responsability of DEFRA for their neglect in maintaining a secure system to prevent the release of the virus.

One would think you as an employee of the BBC would appreciate Alex Salmonds ability to fight for Scottish Rights after his actions in that area resulted in Glasgow receiving its rightful share of BBC Funding. I would hazard the guess that there are many in the Scottish BBC relieved that the continual threat of the axe has been removed.

Personally I cannot think of one thing that Alex has done, that dont show him doing anything other than looking out for Scotlands interests. If the Scottish Farmers receive their desperately needed financial compensation it will only be because of our leaders efforts.

  • 30.
  • At 10:26 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Alasdair MacLean wrote:

Of course the public have a right to know how we are being short changed, If the Prime Minister had the bottle to call an Election that £8.1 million would have by now been sitting in the Bank account of the Scottish Government and Gordon Brown would be spining how they are looking after the interests of Scottish farmers. At long last we have a Government who are prepared to fight for Scotland. We have a First Minister who is willing to stand up to the Labour Party and they can't hack it. For the past 8 years the strings of the First Ministers were being pulled by Westminister but not any more. I like many many more will be switching to the SNP at the next election

  • 31.
  • At 11:00 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:

Had there been an agricultural crisis solely confined to Scotland, there might have been some case for Westminster denying financial support – although that might have appeared truculent to say the least.

As it was, of course, Scotland’s agricultural crisis did not have its root cause in Scotland – but was due to a foot-and-mouth outbreak located in the south of England – and from one of the UK Government’s own facilities at that!

If DEFRA now refuses its political and moral duty to provide urgently required funding to Scottish farmers in the face of an economic crisis originating directly from a UK Government establishment, leaving the Scottish Government to fund the crisis from its own limited resources – where does that leave the question of trust in Westminster?

If, as it appears, such funding was poised to be announced as a pre-election ‘sweetener’, but was withdrawn after Labour dithered over its preferred timing of a UK election, then it is clearly Labour who are putting party interests ahead of public responsibilities.

In such a crisis, one would expect not just the SNP government, but all parties at both Holyrood and Westminster, to be in full support of the farmers.
The question bears repeating: where do the Scottish Labour Party stand on this?

  • 32.
  • At 11:12 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • tom dolan wrote:

As I understand it, Hilary Benn avoided attekmpts to contact him by the Scottish agricultural minister to discuss this issue for a number of days prior to his statement. Given this contempt for Scotish ministers, I think it is only right that his actions be brought to the attention of the Scottish public.

Re post 9, by the way, we celebrate 5th November because a plot to kill the King of Scots, James 6 was foiled. It is nothing to do with an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament prior to the Act of Union, but an attempt by another anti Scottish lunatice (like Kelvin McKenzie on newnight last night), to stir up anti Scottish hysteria in England

  • 33.
  • At 11:59 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:

Had there been an agricultural crisis solely confined to Scotland, there might have been some case for Westminster denying financial support – although that might have appeared truculent to say the least.

As it was, of course, Scotland’s agricultural crisis did not have its root cause in Scotland – but was due to foot-and-mouth outbreak located in the south of England – and from one of the UK Government’s own facilities at that!

If DEFRA now refuses its political and moral duty to provide urgently required funding to Scottish farmers in the face of an economic crisis originating directly from a UK Government establishment, leaving the Scottish Government to fund the crisis from its own limited resources – where does that leave the question of trust in Westminster?

If, as it appears, such funding was poised to be announced as a pre-election ‘sweetener’, but was withdrawn after Labour dithered over its preferred timing of a UK election, then it is clearly Labour who are putting party interests ahead of the public responsibilities.

In such a crisis, one would expect not just the SNP government, but all parties at both Holyrood and Westminster, to be in full support of the farmers.
The question bears repeating: where does the Scottish Labour Party stand on this?

  • 34.
  • At 12:21 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Scamp wrote:

I find it difficult to have any trust whatsoever in a Govt that through changes to Capital Gains Tax and increases in small company Corporation Tax is doing the Scottish economy irreparable harm.

  • 35.
  • At 01:07 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Murdo wrote:

Brian
I try to be open minded about politics but have to say that of late the Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs just cannot seem to do other than put themselves across in the worst possible light. I now find myself (agaist my better judgement) getting angry every time I see a Scottish Westminster MP on television defending the Westminster Government's actions in their relations with the Holyrood Government. What is it with Des Brown and Ian Cairns in particular? Are they secretly in the pay of the SNP? If they were they could hardly do Alex Salmond and the cause of independence more good than they already do. As to his taking on and challenging Westminster's actions - it is nothing other than what is expected of him. Just because it didnt happen in the cosy consensus of the past eight years does not make it any less appropriate and proper now. What if the boot were on the other foot, as it could be in a few years time, with Labour back in power in Edinburgh but the Conservatives in power in Westminster? Would a Scottish Labour Government (or would they go back to being an 'executive' again?) obediently bend the knee on every occasion to Wesminster as they seem to expect Alex Salmond to do now? I think we ought to know!

  • 36.
  • At 02:01 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

Having read all this, I'm now interested in how, in an independant Scotland, compensation for issues such as this would be addressed. I suspect that an independant Scotland would be entitled to the square root of hee-haw in compensation, and therefore Salmond is crying foul on something he wouldn't be getting anyway once his promised land is reached. A tad hypocritical methinks.

While Mr Salmond may well be within his rights to highlight it, I think the responsibility is now his to explain to "the outraged Scottish public" how compensation like this will work in an independant Scotland. I wont be holding my breath.

  • 37.
  • At 02:08 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • nic wrote:

As a ripped off Welshman I know who I trust.AS and SNP.Brown's as embarrassing to Scotland as Kinnock was to me in Wales.

  • 38.
  • At 04:25 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Duncan McDougall wrote:

If you (Scotland) give your taxes and wealth to another nation (England) to hand back to you at a time of its (England) convenience, can you grumble when they take time or change their mind?

Kelvin MacKenzie is absolutely correct; Scots are subsidy junkies devoid of any responsibility for their own upkeep.

For goodness sake Scotland, take care of your own affairs and stop blaming the English. Grow up, keep your own money and allocate as you see appropriate!

On a more positive note, Brown is looking weaker, less trustworthy and altogether a complete shambles by the day.

D Mc

  • 39.
  • At 05:23 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Hugo wrote:

The primary breach of trust lies with DEFRA. Their draft statement on Friday had a MAJOR change when it was delivered to the Commons. As a bureaucrat I would expect the interested parties to be so informed before the Commons delivery.

How can Scottish officials and the Scottish Government trust any future draft items from Westminster officials?

These Westminster officials are, in theory, UK Government officials.

  • 40.
  • At 05:37 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Hugo wrote:

The primary breach of trust lies with DEFRA. Their draft statement on Friday had a MAJOR change when it was delivered to the Commons. As a bureaucrat I would expect the interested parties to be so informed before the Commons delivery.

How can Scottish officials and the Scottish Government trust any future draft items from Westminster officials?

These Westminster officials are, in theory, UK Government officials.

  • 41.
  • At 08:25 PM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Stewart Grant wrote:

Keep on speaking up for Scottish interests Mr Salmond !

  • 42.
  • At 07:14 PM on 13 Oct 2007,
  • Alan Furniss wrote:

Has no one else taken into account that such matters are Mr Salmonds responsibilty? So to kick up a fuss over this seems like something of a distraction to hide the fact that he doesnt have anything planned to sort it out. Are we to believe that had the money been set aside for scottish farmers, Salmond would have been grateful? Or would it be seen as undermining his authority on the matter? Consider his desire to start fights at every opportunity before assuming its in our interests.

  • 43.
  • At 02:06 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Brian McHugh wrote:

Alex Salmond has, without doubt, done the right thing. Labour have continually lied and hidden the truth from the people of the UK, never mind just Scotland. WMD's anyone?
We elected the SNP into power because we are sick and tired of 'The Liar Party'. Alex has just done what we elected him to do... fight our corner.
I fully support our farmers, who work hard and continually get shafted by the corporate supermarkets who refuse to put an extra couple of pence on a litre of milk to provide farmers a decent income.
Now we have Westminster dictating to Scottish farmers through DEFRA that they have to impose restrictions because of a government cock-up and then they refuse to take responsibility for it.
Well I hope you are listening Brown, cos if you do nothing, I can see the Scottish farmers take you to the European courts.
Thanks Alex for backing our farmers and for your honesty. As for you Gordon, I wouldn't trust your mob as far as I could throw you... Call yourself Scottish?

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