Herald Yes Scotland

Yes Scotland admits paying academic to write Herald opinion piece amidst hacking controversy


By John Glenday, Reporter

August 22, 2013 | 3 min read

Hacked emails from the official pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign led to the discovery that the lobby group paid an academic to write an opinion piece in the Herald newspaper, The Times reports.

The revelation came as the group filed a police complaint alleging that their private emails had been illegally accessed, a situation it only became aware of following a media inquiry last week.

The controversial piece, A Scottish constitution to serve the common weal, was penned by Dr Elliot Bulmer but Yes Scotland maintain that they had no influence over the articles content and have now issued a statement on the matter to end ‘unhelpful speculation’.

In it a spokesman said: "This matter was first brought to our attention last Wednesday when we were asked for comment on Dr Bulmer and the article in question. We responded quickly, confirming that a small fee had been paid to Dr Bulmer at his request. We were perfectly relaxed and transparent about this.

"However, later that day it became apparent that an email account at Yes Scotland had been accessed illegally and that the information relating to this matter had been gleaned as a result. We alerted the police and British Telecom as well as the enquirer who, upon reflection, decided to not proceed further.

"Given that the illegal breach of Yes Scotland email has become the subject of an extensive and ongoing police inquiry involving detectives from Police Scotland's Digital Forensics Unit, we have - under legal advice and at the request of the investigating officers - been unable to discuss the content of the email relating to Dr Bulmer.

"However, given persistent unhelpful speculation, we can confirm that in the course of a wide-ranging discussion with Dr Bulmer it was suggested that he, as an academic working in a private capacity, might consider writing an article on matters about constitutional frameworks based on his expertise.

"At his request, he was paid a nominal fee for the considerable time and effort he spent on it. We had no input to, or any influence over, what he wrote.

"We would now ask that this serious criminal investigation is allowed to continue unhindered by further unhelpful speculation, accusation and misinformation."

Yes Scotland are believed to have paid £100 for the piece and the Herald contends that it was offered the item in good faith and made no payment of its own, although it did not mention that Dr Bulmer was linked to Yes Scotland or had been paid for his work.

Herald Yes Scotland

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