Scottish Parliamentary Liaison Officers are expected to maintain minimum standards of decorum. Moan asks, why is it that Joan McAlpine can’t even profess competency in that expectation and, how long will it be, if at all, till she gets the cold shoulder from Nicola Sturgeon?
By Moan McVulpine – putting the extreme into extremism.
I AM no admirer of Scottish Parliamentary Liaison Officer Joan McAlpine and would recommend her to no one – not even her self.
She comes in for huge snash from Unionists, nationalists and just about everyone else in the Scotland ‘region’ – no doubt because she’s an almost perpetual political car crash in motion.
In short, she deserves every bit of snash and snarl that comes her way. It’s mostly well deserved.
Take her recent Daily Record recommendation of Nationalist Front website Wings Over Scotland (see pic above). Joan prefers it to “many traditional forms of media that lie about Scotland’s wealth.”
In other words, she prefers Wings lies, because they’re more Nationalist friendly than non-Wings lies.
Wings, according to Joan, “isn’t just a satirical site. It does its research well too.” Which is a satirical statement in itself. It’s kind of like saying that Mike Read can pass as a convincing Jamaican if you just ‘black’ him up enough and stand him beside David Cameron for a PR opportunity.
If she was capable of looking beyond the comforting confines of her Pinot Grigio glass, then she might like to reappraise her statement about Wings Over Scotland and “research“. Campbell Gunn nearly, and should have, lost his job due to his reliance on Wings Over Scotland’s well done “research“. Pro-tip for Joanie – step away from the wine glass, go homeward, think again.
As with most columns written by Joan, it’s always worth taking a look at the subtext, context and potential ulterior motive lurking behind every calamitous clanger.
In 2009, in her award winning blog, Go Lassie Go, Joan wrote a gushing tribute in praise of Mark MacLachlan – an outed poisonous cybernat blogger who used his position in the party to vindictively and salaciously attack political opponents for their sexual mores.
Joan decscribed MacLachlan – Mike Russell’s ex-constituency office manager – as “a highly literate, intelligent and convivial man.” And, as the Daily Mail was to exclusively reveal five years later, the world found out just how “convivial” Joan had really been with MacLachlan.
Around the same time as Joan was getting down and being “convivial” with MacLachlan, Firstminster Salmond at Firstminster’s Questions described him as “not an appropriate person to work for any MSP.”
But that warning didn’t stop Joan from consummating her defence of the ‘inappropriate’ poisonous blogger. She lobbied MSPs amongst others to give him a job, but he was already a well established persona non grata in Nationalist circles and her efforts came to nothing.
The blow by blow job details of Ms McAlpine’s shenanigans with MacLachlan are documented elsewhere…
Worthy of note also is Ms McAlpine’s past ‘collaboration’ with another dubious political character, Tommy Sheridan.
Described as a “mad shagger” by the Scottish Socialist Youth party, Sheridan possibly took advantage of Ms McAlpine’s ‘conviviality’ when they ‘collaborated’ on “A Time to Rage“, a book documenting and glorifying Sheridan’s early political career – before the world found out he was a serial liar, mental misogynist and “mad shagger” willing to sell his friends, colleagues, wife and political comrades out for 30 pieces of Rupert Murdoch’s silver.
It may be the ‘bad boy’ notoriety which attracts Ms McAlpine to ‘convivialise’ with these types. Who knows?
Hybristophilia is a paraphilia of the predatory type described by sexologist Professor John Money as “a sexual paraphilia in which an individual derives sexual arousal and pleasure from having a sexual partner who is known to have committed an outrage or crime.”
McLachlan’s blog caused outrage at Holyrood before he was outed. Sheridan’s anti-poll tax actions outraged the standing establishment. And Wings Over Scotland’s extremist polemics outrage anyone with an ounce of decency who isn’t on the “boorish zealot“, hate preaching, zoomer fringe of the independence movement.
Given Ms McAlpine’s past ‘convivial’ collaborations, the writing would appear to be on the wall, so to speak, for all to reach their own conclusions.
McAlpine has referred to Wings several times in the past through the medium of her Daily Record column or Twitter account. She implied that 10,000 people had donated to Wings first Indiegogo fundraising campaign in 2013 when the figure was at least five times less at around 1700.
She actively promoted a Wings attack blog on John McTernan in the immediate aftermath of the Campbell Gunn affair – when the ex-Sunday Post political editor should have been sacked by Firstminster Salmond following Gunn’s idiocy, ironically, for believing and acting on Wings Over Scotland’s well done “research” into ordinary mum and Labour activist Clare Lally.
It’s also worth noting that Green Indy campaigner, James MacKenzie, at least tried doing the decent thing and asked Joan not to promote Wings due to its toxicity. It had parallels with Patrick Harvie when he chastised Stuart Hosie MP and possible SNP Deputy Leader, for anti-English rhetoric on the BBC’s Referendum debate in February this year.
McAlpine opened her effusive eulogy of Wings in this week’s column thus: “I am an admirer of the website Wings Over Scotland and would recommend it to anyone.”
Presumably, the controversy caused when Wings referred to Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone as a “worthless fat trougher” and “sewer dwelling vermin”, got Ms McAlpine’s political hybristophiliac juices flowing. And such repugnant invective is possibly the kind of thing Ms McAlpine believes is more believable and worth recommending than “traditional forms of media“.
If so, then maybe Ms McAlpine, the Scottish Parliamentary Liaison Officer (SPLO), “appointed by the Firstminster on a recommendation from Cabinet Ministers“, should think about the responsibilities expected of that role.
Paragraph 4.8 of the Scottish Ministerial Code states that SPLO’s should “exercise discretion in any speeches or broadcasts which they may make, taking care not to make statements which appear to be made in an official or semi-official capacity.”
Nowhere in McAlpine’s Wings tribute, entitled “Wings takes the high ground over tax carve-up“, is such “discretion” demonstrated.
The conclusion is a simple and unmistakable one to reach: The Scottish SNP Government not only tolerates the Wings Over Scotland website, it actively recommends, condones and promotes it through the official vehicle of Scottish Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Joan McAlpine.
It may be that Joan has gone rogue with grief. Not only has she, her party, her leader and her beloved country/region lost the would be Shangri-la of independence, it may be that with the future loss of Firstminster Salmond to protect her, she’ll be losing her job as well.
Given her constant support of, and succour to, Wings Over Scotland, that potential scenario can’t come soon enough.
This columnist’s attitude toward, and opinion of, Ms Sturgeon will be shaped by the future placement of Ms McAlpine. Does Sturgeon think Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is an “appropriate” person for the SNP to be associated with? McAlpine appears to have already answered that question for the future Firstminster.
Joan’s active promotion of Wings means that unless the SNP explicitly distance themselves from the site, it can only be taken as read that they too “recommend” it.
And it’s an unmistakably “toxic” recommendation.
Given Wings recent track record, this is the kind of thing it could mean for Scotland: photographic surveillance of political opponents, false smears against innocent Scottish citizens, and an agenda of intimidation and silencing of anyone not on track with the Wings sanctioned ‘Yes alliance’ populist bandwagon.
If the SNP don’t withdraw from McAlpine’s recommendation of Campbell’s hate site, then it’s a sad day for democratic standards and common decency in Scotland – effectively, it’s being officially signalled that Campbell’s site is Scottish Government sanctioned.
That would be a palpable mistake.
But at least, if nothing else, interested observers will have gained an insight into current SNP thinking. It doesn’t bode well for future political debate.
Here’s to interesting future SNP developments given recent events within the Scottish Labour Party.