SNP face two major smellies in public contracts for party cash

The SNP Scottish Government is facing two uncomfortable [to say the least] timelines in the delivery of lucrative public contracts to companies who donated cash to the party and to its political campaigns.

Reported revelations on these cases come on the heels of the equally ill-judged but relatively ‘cheap date’ [for both sides] of the free handout of £150,000 dispensed to the profitable DF Concerts by Culture secretary Fiona Hislop.

While both of these progressions to corporate enrichment began in the days of the flexible former First Minister, Alex Salmond, it could not be more disappointing that the timeline of the standout winning relationship has continued unbroken under the aegis of the current First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

As well as contracts, governmental promotional support – which is contrary to the code of conduct in question – has been a feature of such relationships in one case; and has seen the provision of monopoly provider in an NHS funding tranche awarded to the second.

On the corporate side, on the case of the major beneficiary, early and public business support for independence was another valuable weight thrown upon the scale which tipped generously to reward.

What remains extraordinary is how relatively little it takes to donate to the SNP in return for – obviously completely unconnected –  massive amounts of public money in public contracts awarded. A total of at least £11M in public sector contracts and a government loan of nearly £1M came in apparent response to total SNP-related donations of £112,247 – with total return on investment for the donations in question being x 98 times in three years.

This shows an utter lack of respect for the worth of public money – by the government of the country.

A small country like Scotland, rapidly approaching the reality of being effectively a one party state, would have reason to be concerned about the progressive embedding of practices and relationships which reek of the pork barrel – were reason to be a feature of voters’ current political opinion.

The obvious lesson is that in a small country in the grip of a single and all-powerful party with a predictably relaxed attitude to impeachable conduct where there is no likelihood of successful impeachment, you support that party and are comfortably embraced; or reject it and find yourself on the outside in very scant company. Unfortunately, few have the character and the values to opt for the latter.

While this is  no different from any country, it would have been inspirational had Scotland chosen to lead the way to a new politics. That would have been ‘progressive’.

A summary of the widely  reported facts in the cases brought to public attention follows below.

Case 1: players, moves, chronology and balance sheet

This is the earlier and minor of the two reported relationships that have been very profitable for the businesses concerned.

Bestest friends

  • SNP Scottish Government
  • Jamie Rae/Nugensis [IT]

Public contract sector

  • NHS Scotland

Ministers involved:

  • Alex Neil, then Cabinet Secretary for Health, met Jamie Rae, already a donor to Mr Neil’s SNP constituency banch [see below] and to the SNP’s 2011 General Election campaign see below] on 4th February 2013 and again on 11th September 2013; and later in August 2014. On each of these occasions Mr Rae was overtly lobbying for juvenile male vaccination against the HPV [Human papilloma virus] virus, a sexually transmitted disease. We do not yet know which business would have benefited from the contract for the supply of the vaccinations concerned – or what such a contract would have been worth.
  • Alex Salmond, former First Minister, has been a very public supporter of Mr Rae’s, despite his criminal past which, thr0ugh a jail term, had been purged.
  • Michael Matheson – then Public Health Minister now Justice Secretary, to whose Falkirk West SNP constituency Mr Rae gavae £1,500 in 2011.

It is worth  noting that Alex Neil has always had a chilled attitude to public money. He creamed off the largest amount of public money in a controversial use of housing expenses allowances during the pre-SNP devolved administrations of Scotland. Like other MSPs of most parties, he bought a property in Edinburgh to live in when at the parliament, charging his mortgage payments to the accommodation allowance; and then selling the property later at substantial profit – which he kept himself.

Named businessmen involved:

  • Jamie Rae: An SNP Councillor for Laurmont West in Falkirk at 27; jailed for both mortgage and benefits fraud in 1997; started a recycling company whose sale made him a multimillionaire; leading member of the indy group, Business for Scotland; became a non-exective director of an IT company, Nugensis and CEO of the Throat Cancer Foundation.

Quid pro quo?

  • 2011: Outgoings – Jamie Rae donated £10,012 to the SNP’s General Election campaign.
  • 2011: Outgoings – Jamie Rae donated £1,525 to Mr Neil’s SNP constituency branch of Airdrie and Shotts.
  • 2011: Ougoings – Jamie Rae donated £1,500 to the then Public Health Minister, Michael Matheson’s SNP branch in Falkirk West
  • April 2014: Incomings – Mr Neil announced a £2.2M fund for NHS Scotland Health Boards – which could ONLY be used to buy the Nugensis WardView App, with Mr Rae a director of Nugensis from three months before, in early 2014. WardView is now used in almost every NHS hospital in Scotland – covering 720 wards with 20,000 patients.There were and are rival Scottish systems to WardView – as with eWard from Livingston’s Savantech. [eWard has been used across NHS Forth Valley since 2006.] Savantech was not aware of any tendering process for this NHS funding scheme – unsurprisingly since is appears there was none. All contracts worth over £11.5k are supposed to go to tender.

 Balance sheet

  • Jamie Rae investment: £17,037.
  • Scottish Government investment in Nugensis: £2.2M.

Not a bad return on investment – x 129 times in 3 years.

Scottish Government economy with the truth

When the Scottish Daily Mail asked about meetings between the then Health secretary, Alex Neil and Mr Rae, they were told that the two had met only once, in August 2014, after the  April 2014 Nugensis monopoly on £2.2M funding for hospital ward monitoring software.

The newspaper established that M Neil had met Mr Rae twice, and on each of these occasions, before the lucrative embedding of Nugensis in this specific NHS funding programme. This has since been admitted by a Scottish Government spokesperson.

Case 2: players, moves, chronology and balance sheet

Bestest friends

  • SNP Scottish Government
  • Alexander [Sandy] Adam /Springfield Properties

Public contract sector

  • House building

Ministers involved:

  • Alex Salmond: then First Minister had an official meeting with Springfield Properties in July 2013
  • Derek Mackay: then Local Government Minister, had an official meeting with Mr Adam in June 2014
  • Margaret Burgess: then Housing Minister, had an official meeting with M Adam in July 2014.
  • Richard Lochhead -Rural Affairs Secretary, twice used Twitter to promote Springfield Properties, as [once] did SNP Westminster Leader,  Angus Robertson MP, whose local election campaign in Moray in 2015 was endosed by Mr Adam.
  • Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney: First Minister and Deputy First Minister, launched SNP business manifesto for 2015 General Election at Springfield Development at Glasgow Braehead, wearing Springfield branded kit.

Named businessmen involved:

  • Alexander Adam, owner of Springfield Properties

Quid pro quo?

  • May 2012Political support – Mr Adam signed Springfield up to the ‘Yes Scotland’ declaration;
  • May-June 2012: Outgoings – Mr Adam donated £25,000 to the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign in indyref 1;
  • September 2012: Incomings – Not long after Mr Adam’s £25,000 donation to ‘Yes Scotland’, Springfield was named as one of 12 housebuilders to benefit from a scheme where the Scottish Government guaranteed mortgages.
  • February 2013: Incomings – Springfield was given a government [public money] loan of close to £926,000 as a priming contribution to an 80-unit development on land it owned in Edinburgh.
  • December 2013: Outgoings – Mr Adam donated £13,210 to pro0indy Business for Scotland group;
  • January 2015: Incomings – Springfield Properties was awarded three Scottish government contracts to provide affordable housing in Moray – with a total value of £8.8M.
  • March 2015: Outgoings – Springfield Real Estate Management Limited donates £50,000 to SNP;
  • April 2015: Political promotion: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney launch SNP general Election Manifesto for Business at Springfield’s Braehead development, wearing hard hats and hi-vis jackets with Springfield branding. While the event clearly did Springfield a favour, the branded kit has become too much of a generally uncomfortable feature of promotional events to be attributable to fully conscious promotion by government minsters, who ought, of course, to be more circumspect.
  • April 2015: Outgoings – Springfield helps Moray Council to offer free housing to incoming teachers;
  • April 2015:  Political support – Rural Affairs Secretary and MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead promotes Springfield’s generosity in helping to offer housing for teachers coming to Moray.
  • May 2015Political support – Mr Adam endorses Angus Robertson’s campaign as MP for Moray.
  • June 2015Outgoings – Springfield donated £2,000 to the office of SNP MP, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh;
  • June 2015Outgoings – Springfield donated £5,000 to the office of SNP MP and former MD of Business for Scotland , Michelle Thomson;
  • August 2015: Political support – Rural Affairs Secretary and MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead again promotes Springfield’s generosity in helping to offer housing for teachers coming to Moray.

Balance sheet

  • Adam/Springfield investment: £95,210 hard cash plus benefits in kind though housing support for teachers coming to Moray
  • Scottish Government investment: £8.8M in housing contract s for springfield; £926,000 government loan; plus commercial benefit from participation in 2012 government mortgage indemnity scheme.

Again, not a bad return on investment – in hard cash alone, x 92 times in three years.

Case 2: Links to recent Hyslop T-in the Park handout

Alexander Adam’s Springfield Properties is a modest company based in Elgin – in the Moray constituency of the SNPs titular Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson.

The moving force in the gifting by SNP Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop of a post-event handout of £150k of public cash to DF Concerts – a company £9M in the black – was one Jennifer Dempsie, a prospective Parliamentary Regional List candidate for the SNP – and girl friend of Angus Robertson MP.

This is all inexcusably cosy. But it is the direction of travel in the very old fashioned ‘new’ Scotland.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • The SNP certainly like their cliques and rewarding those in them well, the FM husband’s company printed the yes pamphlets, and the compulsive social media bigot, Monaghan, employed his brother and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 43 Thumb down 7

    J ketch September 6, 2015 7:20 pm Reply
  • And they criticise the Tories, nothing changes in politics.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 32 Thumb down 6

    gerry September 6, 2015 8:39 pm Reply
  • I’d be keeping an eye on Stagecoach, too.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 32 Thumb down 5

    Robert Wakeham September 6, 2015 10:28 pm Reply
  • Ms Jennifer Dempsie writes a column every Thursday in the Dundee Courier and prior to DF Concerts receiving the £150K hand out from the Scottish Government Ms Dempsie had previously praised the wonderful job the DF Concerts were doing at Strathallan with T in the Park. Belatedly she stated in her column that she was employed by DF Concerts.
    Surprisingly no one from the Health and Safety Executive can explain why T in the Park was moved from Balado to Strathallan because of the North Sea Oil pipeline yet the site at Balado was used a park and ride car park for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September 2014.
    I think that the HSE need to come clean and explain this case of double standards especially as in the next few years the amount of oil travelling along this pipeline will become a trickle.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6

    Treble T September 7, 2015 12:54 am Reply
  • If any of this was true,which it isn’t,the real MSM would be having a field day.
    Just more Bitter nonsense from the unionist Cabal!!!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 32

    Hugh Jazz September 7, 2015 7:28 am Reply
    • Oh that’s right Hugh Jazz – if anything negative about the SNP is reported in the main stream media it must be false because it is controlled by Westminster and biased; if it’s not reported in the main stream media it must be also be false. Make your mind up – are you now saying that if it is reported in the main stream media it must be true? Get a grip and your head out of your backside – despite all their protestations the SNP are just as bad as all the other political parties, the only difference being, except the SNP are the only political party trying to destroy and break up the United Kingdom.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 4

      Jessie J September 7, 2015 11:38 am Reply
      • If you had a modicum of intelligence,you would have noticed recently that Ukok is breaking itself up!
        Ukokism will be a thing of the past.
        I feel a song coming on??
        Zippety- doodah,zippity heh……….

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 21

        Hugh Jazz September 7, 2015 7:15 pm Reply
        • Usual tactic from the SNP – don’t like the question, they deflect, deflect, deflect! Answer the question Hugh Jazz.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

          Jessie J September 9, 2015 8:41 pm Reply
    • Hugh Jazz.
      You are a typical Yes supporter. You love to dish it out but are unable/unwilling to accept another person’s point of view if it does not agree with your narrow twisted views.
      My post about Jennifer Dempsie is totally correct and if you cannot accept it then too bad.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      Treble T September 9, 2015 1:03 am Reply
  • What’s happened? you go away from this web page for a day or so to return to the usual crap. Still the wee tories with the briefing notes from Tory HQ spot their nonsense. Sorry guys even your leader jumped ship from Glasgow to Edinburgh to try and get voted in next year.
    Who is the Argyll candidate? There must be enough Sirs, Lord, Ladies and Dames around!! OBN’s all around.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 27

    No Cheese Here September 7, 2015 8:24 am Reply
    • You’re right, NCH – you’ve just delivered ‘more of the usual crap’. Congratulations.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 7

      Robert Wakeham September 7, 2015 9:41 am Reply
      • Robert

        have you been barred from the Herald?!!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 12

        No Cheese Here September 7, 2015 1:53 pm Reply
        • Not that I’m aware, but sometimes I prefer playing tennis with you – or is it ping-pong?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

          Robert Wakeham September 7, 2015 5:27 pm Reply
    • In my opinion the Scottish Conservative Party should change its name to the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and try to get protestants living in Scotland to vote for them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

      Treble T September 8, 2015 10:16 pm Reply
      • Wow treble T
        what a posting, less gin, more tonic required.
        Please explain how you formed this opinion.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

        keitho September 9, 2015 8:55 pm Reply
      • I know quite a few folk who call themselves “protestants”. Unfortunately they are not Christians but sadly believe that waving a red blue and white flag is the same thing. TTT appears to be one of them.

        Next TTT will say we should support a football team from Ibrox. Such is his ignorance. tHE TORIES DESERVE YOU/

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        No Cheese Here September 10, 2015 12:07 am Reply
      • TTT

        Looking for protestants? Is For Argyll, protestant in the traditional unionist brick throwing northern Irish way? Surely not? oour editor supports irish independence similar to corbyn. Just not for Scotland as both she and corbyn are Brit Nats. Mind you to vote for Scotland you can be from any nation or of any faith or none. Radical or what?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        No Cheese Here September 15, 2015 4:31 pm Reply
        • You forgot to mention the chip-on-shoulder variety of separatist, NCH.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          Robert Wakeham September 15, 2015 7:00 pm Reply
  • Keep them coming newsroom. Over time these will build up and people will realise tht the SNP are as bad as the rest. Only the most naive would think that the SNP offer anything different.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 28 Thumb down 9

    JB September 7, 2015 8:59 am Reply
    • Poor JB and the other tory neo cons.

      The world isn’t listening to FA or to them.

      Elections next year–SNP win.

      lol

      Must go hate a wake!!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 18

      No Cheese Here September 7, 2015 1:55 pm Reply
    • OH please stop it,!Matron.

      Yes,Ukokism now reduced to “carry on lying”

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

      Hugh Jazz September 7, 2015 7:22 pm Reply
  • The one common thread…..
    not one single law broken……
    everything done out in the open for all to see.
    Transparancy all around.
    Well done the SNP, then comes the conspiracy theorists with their rewriting the truth to mislead the public.
    Well the public seem to be cleverer than this crap.
    STV poll YES 53 NO 44 Undecided 3
    How is Alistair Carmichael getting on in court today?
    Now their is a story, bet we here very little of it on this blog.
    Too near to home for the conspiracy theorists perhaps?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 21

    keitho September 7, 2015 1:56 pm Reply
  • I do like Newsie”s line about a one party state.

    What ya sayin Doll. Ya lookin to apoint a government that folks don’t vote for.

    Sorry pet, and much as you dislike iy but the SNP are popular with the electorate.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

    willie September 8, 2015 3:00 am Reply
    • Playing with dolls, ‘Willie’?
      I got the impression that you’d thrown all the toys out of your playpen some time ago.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

      Robert Wakeham September 10, 2015 9:58 am Reply
    • Let me help you a bit with the ‘one party state’ comment. Yes, you’re right, it’s what Scotland voted for since it gave the SNP a majority. And you see, that’s where people like you think it ends, because you don’t want to, or are incapable of holding the SNP to any form of account.

      I read the Holyrood records when I have time, and the frightening thing is how the SNP simply cannot countenance any dissent – quite a contrast from the Tories. What this means in practise is poorly drafted, not fit for purpose and often ill thought out legislation being passed through parliament.

      I was struck recently by an outburst from the SNP sorts regarding the Scotland Bill and no amendments being accepted – which was odd, because not long previously, the SNP forced through the Mental Health Bill and accepted – no amendments except their own that I could see.

      This is repeated time and time again, ut people like you are too lazy and complacent to actually seek this type of information out and understand the consequences. Another example is the whole issue around VAT for the emergency services – despite clear warnings, the SNP ploughed on, determined not to lose face, for the issue to raise it’s head some years later – and the SNP pointing fingers at everyone else! The anti-sectarian laws that they forced through – shambolic. The Named Persons bill was not even complete when the SNP forced it through. So, the one party state is when you have a government that cannot and will not hold itself to account. As time goes on, I have more and more respect for how Westminster is working right now compared to the joke that is Holyrood. the Tories can and are being held to account by the SNP and Labour, as has been seen several times recently. Long may it continue.

      so have a think willie – no-one is arguing that the SNP won’t trump next year – but one day people like you will wake up to how the SNP have screwed up this country and wonder how they got away with it. The answer is because of people like you, complacent and blind in your faith in the SNP, despite all the evidence in front of you. You, keitho, NCH – all of the same ilk.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

      JB September 10, 2015 9:58 am Reply
  • Must really annoy the Anonymous Cowards that Wee Nippy sang the National Anthem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    Steve Barlow September 10, 2015 6:35 pm Reply
    • folk can sing what they like.

      Mind you nice to see that the snp have opened the longest bit of railway in the UK since Beeching (exclude Channel rail). See it can be done sad tory unionists. We are not too small etc. Smiled when the tory road safety campaigner was on the BBC tonight complaining about the dualling of the A9. Wasn’t being built fast enough!!! What a twat. Tory liebour since WW2 had their chance to dual the A9 and failed.

      SNP shows it can be done. SNP will win next year!!

      I would like to see other bigger projects which all parties could sign up too for the long term. How about a bridge to Bute? A tunnel to Dunoon? Link Arran and Kintyre?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      No Cheese Here September 10, 2015 11:04 pm Reply
  • Just as an update on this story Jennifer Dempsie has now announced she will no longer be standing as an SNP candidate in next year’s election.

    Not a big surprise really and probably not her decision either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    Integrity? September 15, 2015 12:43 pm Reply

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