‘But he also told her that the story chimes with what he has been told by senior SNP figures – that it suits their wider purpose to have a Tory Prime Minister because it rallies support for independence.’
The Telegraph released a leaked memo that said the SNP’s leader wanted Cameron for PM….to howls of denial all round.
The Ambassador also had a truncated meeting with the FM (FM running late after a busy Thursday…). Discussion appears to have focused mainly on the political situation, with the FM stating that she wouldn’t want a formal coalition with Labour; that the SNP would almost certainly have a large number of seats; that she had no idea ‘what kind of mischief’ Alex Salmond would get up to; and confessed that she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material). I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.
The last bit is of course pure speculation….you could equally, or better, speculate that Sturgeon did say that…especially as that is what was set out in black and white in the memo….the ‘qualifying’ statement is based purely upon the nervousness of the person writing the memo rather than any actual knowledge…why no such qualification for other parts of the memo?….and not quite sure how such a statement by Sturgeon could be ‘lost in translation’ to the Ambassador and the Consul General who speak very good english…..also SNP officials have been saying the same thing to the BBC (see later)…so if they are speaking to journalists why not in a ‘private’ meeting with a friendly Ambassador?
The SNP-supporting Sunday Herald reported that the French consul-general, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, on whose testimony the account of Ms Sturgeon’s meeting was based, refused to deny that she had said she did not consider Mr Miliband to be Prime Minister material.
Senior UK Government sources said the account was written by an “experienced and reliable civil servant” on March 6, after a telephone call with the consul-general.
Sturgeon relies on the French denying having said anything…but look at the attitude of the French Consul General in Edinburgh who was the source of the information given to the Scotland Office having been at the meeting between Sturgeon and the Ambassador…
At the weekend, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, France’s consul general in Edinburgh, admitted to telling a Scotland Office official about the FM’s meeting with the French ambassador.
He denied it was Scotland Office Director Francesca Osowska but admitted it was “one of her colleagues”, declining to say who.
Told other parts of the UK Government were blaming the Scotland Office, he replied: “I’m not going to help them to get one of my friends – because these people are my friends – to help pin it down on him or her.”
He’s not going to help ‘them’ get his friend…in other words he’s not going to tell the truth if it gets his friend in trouble….and of course keeps himself in the clear at the same time.
Is the memo true?….even the BBC says it has inside information that it may be…SNP politicians admit to ‘an attraction in the idea of a conservative government’…and the National Socialists don’t like it….
BBC Scotland’s James Cook caught up with Nicola Sturgeon today and asked her about the Telegraph‘s leaked memo. But he also told her that the story chimes with what he has been told by senior SNP figures – that it suits their wider purpose to have a Tory Prime Minister because it rallies support for independence. His asking this question infuriated the CyberNats who rounded on him. Rarely for a BBC journalist, he commented on it:
What an extraordinary level of vicious abuse I have received today for simply reporting the news. Is this the country we want folks? Is it?
— James Cook (@BBCJamesCook) April 4, 2015
Jim Naughtie may have been throwing cold water on the idea but another BBC journo, more in touch with the world outside the studio, has other ideas.
Why not? An ‘incendiary’ claim that Sturgeon is lying to the Scottish voters is backed up by information that one BBC journalist has revealed but the BBC doesn’t subsequently report his findings?
Why not? They go to the absolute heart of the story and undermine Sturgeon’s claim of innocence. It is headline stuff in effect…a bombshell under Sturgeon.
But not apparently for the BBC which has presumably had a meeting and quashed all mention of it again.
News? Not at the BBC.
Norman Smith on Today (08:45) says the revelations could be devastating if Sturgeon is thought to be being economical with the truth…and grudgingly comes round to the idea that the claims might have some legs as he speculates that perhaps things were lost in translation when, if, Sturgeon suggested she had doubts about Miliband being capable of being Prime Minister that was ‘over-interpreted’ as meaning she would prefer a Cameron government.
Smith went on to say a hard headed SNP view would welcome a Cameron government….however he makes no mention of James Cook’s revelation that senior SNP officials had admitted such a thing openly to him….so again…not ‘lost in translation’ at all….and why would Sturgeon express doubts about Miliband and not intimate a preference for the Tories as a strategic advantage for the SNP in the never-ending demand for independence? They both go together really and you can see how she might say both things.
So ‘devastating’ for Sturgeon…..and the BBC is still tip-toeing around the truth.