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Mad horse disease

Posted on February 10, 2013 by

Finally overcome with embarrassment as the entire internet and the rest of the media laughed at it, Scotland on Sunday has pulled its lead story from today’s edition and replaced it with an completely new piece which the old links now redirect to.

The replacement article, written by a “Julia Horton” rather than the previous two-man team of Tom Peterkin and Brian Ferguson, relegates the absurd opposition attack on food standards minister Richard Lochhead to a footnote, and entirely removes the quotes from Labour’s Claire Baker and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie (below).


As ever, the paper’s attempts to cover its tracks are futile. You can still find a cached version of the original, but in case it vanishes we’ve copied the entire piece here.



SNP ‘asleep on job’ over horsemeat scandal

Published on Sunday 10 February 2013 00:00

SCOTLAND’S food standards minister, Richard Lochhead, was last night accused of falling “asleep on the job” and failing to show leadership during the horsemeat scandal.

As the UK environment department took urgent steps to improve food safety measures, opposition politicians in Scotland claimed Lochhead was not doing enough to protect the reputation of Scottish beef and should do more to reassure Scottish consumers amid warnings that the crisis will escalate.

Despite food safety being devolved to Scotland, Lochhead refrained from commenting on the scandal until yesterday afternoon, when he issued a statement saying that the matter was the responsibility of the UK government and the European Commission.

Lochhead also declined to answer questions posed by Scotland on Sunday, asking the environment and rural affairs secretary if he was able to give guarantees that horsemeat has not been served in Scottish schools, hospitals and prisons.

He was also asked what was being done to protect the reputation of the Scottish food industry, a major export earner, which is untainted by the scandal.

Yesterday, Claire Baker, Scottish Labour’s environment spokeswoman, said: “The horsemeat scandal has had an impact on Scotland, so it is disappointing that the Scottish Government has not shown any leadership and has taken so long to make a comment on the issue. This has had a big impact on Scottish consumers and there are issues with the supply and distribution chains.

“For a government that is constantly talking about its need for a greater role, you would have thought they could have done something in this instance. There is a role for Richard Lochhead to be playing here. At the bare minimum, he should be giving advice to consumers and should be defending the reputation of Scottish produce.” She added: “He has been asleep on the job and has not been focused on the issues in his brief.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “It would be helpful if Richard Lochhead would work with the industry and suppliers to get to the bottom of this and restore confidence in the sector. Lying low at a time of need is not what the minister should be doing.”

In his statement, Lochhead said “no manufacturers in Scotland” were currently affected, but acknowledged there was “alarm” among consumers. He said: “I am urging the European Commission and the UK government, who have responsibility in this area, to get to the root of this matter immediately.

“While no food safety risks have been identified by the Food Standards Agency so far, it is essential that this scandal is addressed to eliminate the public’s sense of confusion and to prevent any damage to Scotland’s highly-regarded food industry, whose success is built on a reputation for quality.”

Yesterday, following an emergency summit with food industry representatives, the UK Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, warned consumers that there may be more “bad news” to come following extensive checks to be carried out on meat products. Paterson said an international criminal conspiracy may lie at the heart of the affair.

He confirmed supermarkets had now agreed to report their test results on a quarterly basis to protect consumers. Aldi withdrew two ready-meal products on Friday after horsemeat was found in them. Tesco and Findus had already withdrawn certain products.

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    22 to “Mad horse disease”

    1. megz says:

      I would have to say that richard Lochhead is probably one of the most respected government ministers and for the SoS to attack him like this is shocking.  No wonder they pulled the story!

    2. Ray says:

      I saw the deputy editor of the paper on Twitter today defending the way the story was presented in the headline and first couple of lines, basically saying there was no other way it could be worded. The person questioning him backed off. Then they changed it anyway. Confused!

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      It’s becoming quite the modus operandi for both Scottish “quality” papers – spend all day insisting there’s nothing wrong with a story, then quietly vanish it without saying a word. They think we’re daft.

    4. megz says:

      I dont buy the Scotsman but used to go to the online site but after the Alex Neil Abortion headline i refused to even give them the internet traffic.  Their circulation is going down the toilet for a reason!

    5. Albalha says:

      The new/updated article headlines with …..Anger at Scottish government, though don’t see the NFU quoted as saying other than they’re not best pleased at the situation, much like most people.

    6. Appleby says:

      Enjoyed the radio broadcast of them giggling at just how absurd and outrageously biased Scotland on Sunday is.

    7. velofello says:

      My long deceased dad used to enjoy teasing friends that cat tasted just like chicken! As a veggie it was of no concern to me.
      Next big food scandal, surely not? But I do often see posters on lamp posts “Anyone seen my cat? Missing since…”.

    8. Angus McLellan says:

      So Kenny Farquharson tells Twitter he’s off to a lochside for a few days and next thing you know this happens? That’s not a coincidence. OR IS IT?

    9. ianbrotherhood says:

      …shutting the stable door, eh?

    10. Sunshine on Crieff says:


      What was the radio broadcast?

    11. Bill C says:

      I have emailed Scotland on Sunday to record my disgust at this attempt to smear Richard Lochead.

    12. Today we explain the strange disappearance of Wullie Rennie, referred to (obliquely) above.
      Even Rev. Stu gets a mention – surely an indication of his new professional status.

    13. Albalha says:

      @sunshine oncrieff

      Think it’s Headlines on BBC Radio Scotland today with Ken McDonald, 9 to 10, Kevin McKenna led the SOS attack  

    14. HenBroon says:

      I think it all stemmed from Peterkin having a wet dream about a Stallion mounting a cow, he woke up and decided it was a vision, so he saddled up and rode in to the sunset.

    15. Cameron says:

      @ HenBroon
      You could have warned us about the nature of the pic, I’m already having trouble sleeping. 🙂

    16. Angus McLellan says:

      Hmm. Forget my “mutiny at Scotland on Sunday” imaginings. Kenny hadn’t left yet. Pesky facts!

    17. Doug says:

      “Claire Baker and Willie Rennie (below)” 
      I always imsgined himself being the other end of a horse.

    18. Douglas Young says:

      I was pretty sure it was a newspaper’s job to investigate and break big stories such as this.

    19. CameronB says:

      Does Richard Lochhead have the power and authority to tackle international organised crime (i.e. the Mafia)?


    20. CameronB says:

      @ cynicalHighlander
      I was sure the Mafia had been mentioned in the article I had linked to, but it appears it must have been somewhere else I came across the name. My mistake. Please replace Mafia with international organised crime, though as the Mafia is not confined to Italy….

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