This, in case you didn’t see it on our Twitter feed, was on the front page of the Independent website this morning (and indeed still is). It wasn’t a mistake.
The piece featured the Scottish author discussing various pieces of news from the past week (the guest is different every Saturday). Topics included Ed Miliband’s suitability to be Prime Minister (or lack thereof), Stephen King’s objections to e-books, corporate tax avoidance and anonymity for people who’ve been arrested.
But while the paper chose to lead with Scottish independence for its headline, for some reason it didn’t carry a picture of Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon or Blair Jenkins, nor even of Rankin himself, whose words the headline comprised.
Instead, it chose to put Rankin’s views about the constitutional future of his homeland in the mouth of one of the two men arrested for the savage murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. As we write this, 12 hours have passed and the picture is still in place.
The Independent is, ironically, one of the UK papers (though in reality it sells so few copies north of the border it’s a de facto English one) most hostile to independence. It’s hard to think of a reason why the blood-soaked hands of a self-confessed murderer have been juxtaposed with a writer’s belief in self-determination for his country. At least, it’s hard to think of one that isn’t very unpleasant.