If this is not “a partisan attack on the First Minister or her party” then why lie? The claim that information about this event “only came to light a year on and as a result of an FOI request” is a blatant falsehood. The Scottish Government has a policy of publishing details of all Ministerial engagements three months in arrears. It took me all of half a minute to locate the relevant document. If there was any FoI request then it was vexatious and a waste of public funds.
But we hardly needed this little gobbet of brazen dishonesty to recognise the entirely purpose of a pathetically contrived attempt to whip up a scandal that is reminiscent of the most malicious efforts of the British media. As is the tone of pompous self-righteousness which proceeds as if guilt of some grave offence had been conclusively proved, rather than casually assumed on the basis of nothing more than blind prejudice.
Deal only in the known facts, and there is nothing at all untoward about senior politicians attending functions such as the one described. Whatever interests may have atended on this occasion, there will always be others where different, and often competing, interests are represented. Taking this one event in isolation is a deliberate attempt to offer a distorted impression. In the same month (January 2015) Nicola Sturgeon had no fewer than 60 official engagements. These included meetings with Lochgelly High School pupils, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Fair Funding for Our Kids parents group, and Young Ambassadors from the Holocaust Educational Trust as well as lunch with Professor Alex Kemp, University of Aberdeen; and attendance at the Entrepreneurial Spark Dinner.
Why aren’t the puritanical self-appointed arbiters of ministerial propriety not making a huge fuss about all of this access to the First Minister?
Does James McEnaney really imagine he’s fooling anybody with his protestations of innocence and his pre-emptive deflection of reasoned criticism of these attempts to damage the First Minister’s reputation? Does he really suppose that we are not familiar enough with such tactics, as practised by the British parties in Scotland, to recognise a sleekit smear attempt when we see one?