The tone of coverage deployed by the Daily Express (Scottish and English editions alike) with regard to the First Minister of Scotland in recent weeks has been both bizarre and disturbing. Yesterday the paper ran this “story”:
It’s a load of gibberish, obviously. But if the FM was preparing herself for a punch-up, you could hardly blame her given what’s apparently been going on.
Ripped apart, destroyed, slapped down, savaged, blasted, slammed, kicked in the teeth and brutally, repeatedly humiliated. Derided as a crazy, desperate, reckless, cowardly, vicious chancer rather than a popular democratically-elected leader.
We’ve seen people on Twitter get arrested for language less violent than that, but if you’re a newspaper it seems that it’s fine. Still, readers could probably understand if the FM did feel like she needed to pack a cosh and a knuckleduster in her handbag. Never mind walking down dark alleys late at night in sketchy parts of town – it sounds like there are some people right there at her press conferences who really, really hate her and fantasise on an almost daily business about people doing her harm.
Just a few months after the appalling murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, we can only hope that the Express’ dismal sales figures mean that not enough people are reading this neverending torrent of inflammatory bile for some deranged lunatic to actually assault Nicola Sturgeon in the street. But if they don’t, it won’t be for lack of the media trying.