The National newspaper, a newspaper that has dedicated itself to putting forward the case for regaining Scotland’s autonomy in all things, has published a letter signed by the same anonymous Women who accused the former first minister Alex Salmond of attempted rape, most of sexual harassment. The High Court found Alex Salmond innocent, in effect finding the Women made false allegations or had no case to bring. The same Women now attack him again. This has caused outrage in all quarters, anger expressed from as many women as men.
The Law has spoken
Watching the agents of England’s rapacious power redouble effort is an ugly, unpleasant sight, yet another reason for an independent Scotland. We have no other way of ridding ourselves of tyranny in a colonised nation.
Alex Salmond was acquitted of all charges. Twice. In separate cases, once on procedural issues in the Court of Session and once in the High Court. The affair is an ignominious blight on all concerned. Attacking the court’s verdict does little good to those who think the procedure flawed or the jury ill-informed.
By circulating their letter and remaining anonymous, the Women are, in effect, saying hundreds of women interviewed by the police who found no fault in Alex Salmond are suspect, the decisions of a jury of their peers, the majority female, the judge female, suspect, the High Court verdict is suspect. They imply Alex Salmond is guilty, jury and judge missed the obvious; he should be punished.
They also imply the women who spoke in Alex Salmond’s defence in court lied or are blind. The editor of the National could have refused publication on the basis they chose to remain unidentified, but the newspaper published their bitterness just the same. A colonial mentality is tough to throw off especially in British-orientated journalists.
The Women cause the curious to assume the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is part of a concerted attack on her former mentor’s integrity and honesty. If they do not mean Nicola Sturgeon is involved in any way or manner, they most certainly embarrass her to the core, a serious matter of association that only Nicola Sturgeon can dispel.
In time, the British state will dump the Women when they think them of no more use, just as the Women attempt to junk the verdict of Scotland’s justice system.
Dreyfus or Salem?
Commentators suggest the Salmond trial is akin to the scandalous affair of Alfred Dreyfus, (1859 – 1935), an artillery captain in the French army, falsely convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans. There are parallels, an innocent man framed, dreadfully harmed by the French establishment, but there any similarity ends. Dreyfus was found guilty in a closed trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Later he had a great novelist come to his defence, Émile Zola, in his famous “J’accuse” letter. In that case there was a strong element of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus was a Jew.
I align Salmond’s agonies with ‘The Crucible’, a play by the eminent American playwright Arthur Miller. He wrote it as an antidote to the McCarthy political trials. Accused of being a communist, you lost your reputation, livelihood and friends; and you were forced into perpetual penury. The play is based on a real event, the Salem witch trials, a series of hearings and prosecutions of women (and men) accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and May 1693. Yes, the British were at it even then.
Miller’s play has sexual longings and frustrations at its centre. He distills the hearings and trials into one; an innocent man, John Proctor, strays once from his wife, soon brought down by women scared of being caught out as liars and so accused of witchcraft. They are understandably fearful of God’s retribution and the power of the elite. The group is led by one woman, Abigail Williams, seeking retribution for being spurned by John Proctor. To convince the court they speak the truth, they conspire to accuse Proctor of adultery, and against all natural justice, cause him to be hanged.
Group hysteria spurred by fear of community retribution convinces them what did not happen, did happen.
We live in an age where false accusation, or a pernicious thought crime, is enough to ruin a person. (I should know from bitter experience.) Men dare not wink at a woman in case they are guilty of misogyny or harassment. How a man manages to show interest in a woman, even one who has shown interest in him, is fraught with angst these days. Just listening intently to a woman, one-to-one, and not making a move on the woman, is liable to be termed ‘teasing’, another form of misogyny.
The central civil servant to the Salmond affair, Leslie Evans, issued an email on January 19th, 2019, after losing the first case against Alex Salmond, in which she wrote, “We have lost the battle but not the war.” In addition, Woman H made an anonymous complaint and was told the SNP would “sit on that and hope we never need to deploy it.” Not a police matter then?
Deploy it for what purpose, exactly, unless politically useful? How else does one interpret this fusion of events if not civil servants plotting to ruin the reputation of a prominent politician, the one most able to deliver Scotland’s self-governance? How then can you not implicate the UK government, their employers? Those questions may be answered in time.
Conscious I am a male questioning the honesty of women, and despite married with two daughters I have protected from nefarious males, I lay myself open to being accused of not knowing anything of the crime of rape. Let me be candid: as a vulnerable youth I was attacked on three occasions by predatory adult men. In each case it was a physical attempt to rape. That they did not succeed is neither hear nor there. They were harrowing events. On a fourth occasion a known pederast exposed himself to me. Most young boys have a similar experience to tell. However, the Women here are not young naive girls. They are all adults.
The letter in question issued as a press release I republish below. Badly set out, I publish it in paragraphs without altering a word. It is a classic example of its kind, full of supposition, innuendo, tautology and streaked with revenge. Keep in mind Alex Salmond was accused of attempted rape by two women. There is no law against a person being too tactile, yet that accusation was added to the list by most of his accusers.
“The jury has delivered a majority verdict on the charges brought against the former First Minister. We are devastated by the verdict.
However it is our fervent hope that as a society we can move forward in our understanding of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
In defending Alex Salmond, Gordon Jackson quoted Woman H and said his client should have been a ‘better man’. He said behaviour which others described as demeaning, intimidating and humiliating, was ‘trivial’. The behaviours that Alex Salmond and his defence team admitted to in evidence were not and are not trivial.
Today we want to send a strong and indisputable message that such behaviours should not be tolerated – by any person, in any position, under any circumstances. This has been a traumatic process however we thank Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for taking our experiences seriously and for allowing our voices to be heard. Many of us did speak up at the time of our incidents but were faced with procedures that could not deal with complaints against such a powerful figure.
Others were silenced by fear of repercussions. It was our hope, as individuals, that through coming forward at this time we could achieve justice and enact change. We remain firm in our belief that coming forward to report our experiences and concerns was the right thing to do. But it is clear we alone cannot achieve the change we seek.
The outcome of this trial will pose many questions and be cause for much debate. But as politicians, commentators and society reflect on this case, we would ask you to consider whether behaviour which is so often merely described as ‘inappropriate’ or is tolerated by society, is acceptable towards your daughters, granddaughters, sisters, wives, friends, and colleagues. Many of them will already have suffered such conduct. Often in silence.
We would also request that as you debate, you conduct it respectfully and stay mindful of the many women in Scotland who may have had traumatic experiences and are considering whether or not Scotland is a country in which they can come forward to seek help and support. This is more important now than ever before. All people should feel safe, valued and equal in society and their workplace and it is imperative to ensure robust complaint structures are in place.
We should all take strength in calling out bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault wherever it takes place. And we should all seek to create an environment in which people can challenge and report these behaviours without hesitation or fear of retribution. Some say that women’s fight for respect has gone ‘too far’.
We argue it has far to go. For too long, behaviour which should be condemned has been accepted and excused. For too long perpetrators in positions of power have been shielded by their ability to influence and intimidate. For too long women’s complaints have been dismissed or swept under the carpet. And for too long, women have been let down by organisational structures which should exist to protect them, not put them in situations which endanger their welfare. This must end.
To those who have spoken out in support – thank you, we see you. While we are devastated by the verdict, we will not let it define us. We hope through shining a light on our experiences, it will serve to protect and empower women in the future.
Be brave, be loud, be heard.
Signed, Woman A, Woman B, Woman C, Woman D, Woman F, Woman, G, Woman H, Woman J, Woman K”
To the press release is appended a post script:
“These women are brave, and we stand with them and hope that their voices are heard.” Please remember that this letter is absolutely NOT an invitation to contact any of the women individually – if you have any further questions or queries please direct them to Rape Crisis Scotland. Brenna Jessie, Press + Campaigns Officer | Rape Crisis Scotland”
The witches of Salmond
The British state, an archaic colonial institution, is rubbing its hands with glee. It’s protectors have both Salmond and Sturgeon on the rack thanks to the fury of the Women. The Women have the backing of the media who are turning the scandal into a topic of gossip. In time, the British state will dump the Women when they think them of no more use, just as the Women attempt to junk the verdict of Scotland’s justice system.
All those years ago none chose to complain officially about Alex Salmond to anybody who was not Alex Salmond. As it is, they do women everywhere a terrible disservice tarnishing the judicial process. They entrap men by widening the definition of sexual harassment to mean as little as a wolf whistle.
If there is one unassailable quality in the Scots Calvinist character it is a sense of justice. The Women lost not one but two court actions. Justice was done and seen to be done. For what it is worth, that is my view of events.