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Wings Over Scotland

Murdoch on Salmond

Posted on April 25, 2012 by

Below is an extract from Rupert Murdoch's written witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry, specifically the entire section relating to his relationship with Alex Salmond. The first part (in bold) is the inquiry's request to Mr Murdoch, the second part is his response. The emphasis in the second part is ours. The text is otherwise unedited and unexpurgated. Compare to the Scottish media's spin and make your own judgements.


Please describe the nature of your relationship with First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond. Please provide a list of all official and unofficial discussions and meetings with Mr Salmond, whether before or since his election to that office, indicating at whose initiative these meeings were called and a summary of the content of these discussions.

What Is the value of this relationship to you? To what extent is political support for any Individual, party or policy discussed in such Interactions? Specifically, please give an account of your titles’ editorial stance to the Issue of Scottish devolution and Independence, and the part you expect your titles, and your interectlons [sic] with Mr Salmond, to play in the run-up to the current planned referendum on Scottish Independence.

You should explain in your answers the extent to which your interactions with Mr Salmond are similar to or different from your Interactions with other senior politicians on this Issue, Including the First Minister of Wales, and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

112 Mr Salmond has a fine sense of humour and I enjoy speaking with him. I am interested in his exploration of independence for Scotland, although I question its practicality, and I have enjoyed discussing the subject with him. I also have discussed News Corporation’s investment in Scotland, a matter of interest to both of us. BSkyB Is one of the biggest private employers in Scotland. My calendars indicate that I have had about a half dozen calls or meetings with him over the last four years. I have attached as Exhibit KRM28 a list of the discussions and meetings requested by the Inquiry.

113 As for the ’value" of the relationship, I can say that I like Mr Salmond, I am interested in Scotland because I am half-Scottish. I am interested in the writings of the Scottish Enlightenment, and intrigued by the Idea of Scottish independence. The topics we have discussed include Scotland’s economy and possible NI investments in Scotland. He has not explicitly asked me for the political support of Nl’s titles and we have not discussed any such support, but of course Mr Salmond is a politician.

114 I am informed that the stance of NI titles on the issue of Scottish devolution and independence to date has been as follows:

(a) The Scottish Sun, the leading newspaper in Scotland, has backed Labour (2007) and SNP (2011), while not supporting independence. It is neutral on Scottish independence.

(b) The Sunday Times supports greater fiscal autonomy but not independence.

(c) The Times has been supportive of devolution but leans against Scottish independence.

115 I do not know what, if any, part the NI titles will play in the run-up to the current planned referendum on Scottish independence in autumn 2014. I have no doubt all three titles will report upon the referendum and will publish thoughtful and interesting commentary on it.

116 I have no relationship with the First Minister of Wales and the First Minister of Northern Ireland, perhaps because I simply have not had the pleasure of meeting them.

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28 to “Murdoch on Salmond”

  1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Oh dear Labour's gas in a peep but, I bet they will bash on regardless expection their fellow  travellers in the BBC to cover their erses and play down the Murdoch testimony.

  2. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    So to be clear…
    At the Levinson "Phone Hacking Enquiry" the line of questioning given to Rupert Murdoch was:
    "please give an account of your titles’ editorial stance to the Issue of Scottish devolution and Independence, and the part you expect your titles, and your interectlons [sic] with Mr Salmond, to play in the run-up to the current planned referendum on Scottish Independence".
    NOTHING to do with phone hacking and merely an opportunity to go fishing for anti-snp propoganda. Ask yourself, why was he not asked what his papers stance towards Labour or the Conservatives was???

  3. Kenny Campbell says:

    To be fair to the enquiry the bit I watched over lunch had him questioned on support for Thatcher, Kinnoch, Major and Blair. It hasn't been exclusively on phone tapping.

  4. RevStu says:

    He was, later on:

    "To what extent do you meet other British senior politicians, Including opposition leaders? How often do you meet them, and to what purpose? Please provide a list of all official and unofficial meetings you had had with British leaders of the opposition since 1988."

  5. Tormod says:

    I am having great fun on twitter with the likes of LittleGrumpyG and Ramiosaka, They just mainly retweet and scoot.

  6. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    If he was asked about all parties then I concede the point, but it does seem a tad off the original remit, which was phone hacking and corruption in government and the police.
    Just quite how that gets onto being able to ask what your papers stance will be in the upcoming Independence referendum is unclear…

  7. Peter A Bell says:

    Leveson Inquiry Remit
    The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press is running in four modules. These are:

    Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour.
    Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest.
    Module 3: The relationship between press and politicians.
    Module 4: Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards.

  8. Arbroath1320 says:

    Is it just me or do others think that the Labour and Tory party leaders currently baying for Alex Salmond's blood are just a wee bit short on the old memory cells?
    I may be wrong here but:
    1. Did Mr. Murdoch not "visit" a certain Mr. Blair at 10 Downing Street on more than one occassion by ebtering a leaving via the rear exit.
    2. Is a certain Mr. Blair not the godfather to one of Mr. Murdoch's children?
    3. Did Mr. Murdoch not have a number of visits to Chequers to meet a certain Mr. Balir?
    4. Did Mr. Murdoch not have a number of visits to Number 10 to meet a certain Mr. Brown when he was P.M.?
    5. Did Mr. Murdoch not have a number of visits to chequers to meet with Mr. Brown as P.M.?
    6. Has Mr. Murdoch not had a number of meetings with a certain Mr. Cameron?
    7. What exactly is different with the meetings Mr. Murdoch has had with A.S., other than the fact that he entered and left Bute house by the front door?
    8. Were not the actions of A.S. in the best interests of Scotland and her workforce?
    9. Does A.S. not always do what he considers to be in the best interests of Scotland and her people?
    10. What have Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown or Mr. Cameron ever done that was in the best interests of Scotland and her people?
    I think that our friends in Scottish Labour and Scottish Tory parties should remember well the old saying:
    "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!"
    Where were the current leaders of the Scottish Labour and Scottish Tories when all these visits to Downing Street were taking place?
    Why has there been no outrcry concerning these visits and those to Chequers by Mr. Murdoch at the time?
    Before any one thinks I have forgotten about the Lib/Dems I haven't. It's just they don't seem to have been in contact in any way shape or form with Mr. Murdoch. If I were a cynical person, which I'm not ๐Ÿ˜€ I'd say that having no meetings with Mr. Murdoch is probably a damming statement on Mr. Murdoch's views of the Lib/Dem's.
    In my humble opinion all this "crocodile tears" attempt at attacking A.S. has just proven, yet again, that the unionist parties are nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites! If they were to be taken seriously over A.S.'s meetings with Mr. Murdoch then surely they should have cleared all the cobwebs out of their own dark cupboards first!

  9. Macart says:

    No, its not just you and yer not wrong. Fact is everyone deals with the media good, bad or indifferent. I'm fairly certain most politicos don't want to deal with them. Hell, if anyone has a reason to absolutely detest the media its the First Minister, but as you know he can't afford the luxury of personal opinion when you're talking to a man responsible for some 6000 wage packets in your country.  I think we'd all sleep better without media input within politics sometimes, but its a two edged sword, both politics and media. Good media informs and entertains, bad media instructs and influences. Good politicians serve and protect, bad ones self serve and couldn't care less. We need the media and we need people willing to serve. Sadly both areas are open to the worst forms of corruption and manipulation.
    I wouldn't be surprised to find that A.S. may have cut a deal or two, but and much like mine its a big but, I refuse to believe it was with anything other than jobs for workers and independence as a cause in mind. He's no careerist like the Bullingdon boys and he's not into geo politics and world domination, he's certainly not out to impress anybody but his folk. God considering the pooh that has been chucked his way for years and the deeply personal attacks, would anyone put up with that unless they were a true believer?

  10. tom says:

    I agree with all of the above – but none of this will appear in any Scottish media. I am very, very worried about the effect this negative blizzard is having on Scots. A friend recounted to me a stormy discussion he had been involved in with a couple of unionists who had apparently swallowed the entire too poor, too wee, too stupid propaganda. They were incandescent with fury when he suggested they were less than well informed ("We read the papers!!").

  11. Erchie says:

    I saw what you tweeted about not all the political bloggers being as nice to you as Gerry Hassan.
    I follow a blogger, who usually tweets nonsense to famous people, but does politics and the law now and again. He often tweets stuff about Alex Salmond, though without any proof except for connections he makes in his own mind, but that's not rare in Scotland.
    I saw him tweet to someone that he was apolitical. We could do with more like him, to give us a balanced view of politics unburdened by tribal loyalties.
    Pity then, that his tweets today have been "SNP in Murdoch's pocket", Boo to Tories, Boo to LibDems, but look at those sensible Labour chaps with their sensible questions who had never heard of Murdoch until this furore happened!
    Maybe there is no such thing as an apolitical blogger

  12. Domhnall Dods says:

    In my experience of trying to engage political support for my (previous) employers, the difference between the parties is that the SNP were usually interested in hearing a good argument as to why they should help, the Labour party sometimes responded, sometimes did not, and more often than not were interested in what I could do for them in return, when I was tryign to gather supoort against a hostile takeover my labour MP refused to return my calls but when a colleague (whose responsibilities had nothing to do with politicis but happened to be a Labour member) contacted him he was all over the TV demanding that the "factories need to be kept open" – trouble is we were a telecoms operator with no factories.
    The Lib Dems tended to agree with anythign we said but then when our opponents met them they agreed with them too. Nice people but too keen to be agreeable. 
    Never really bothered meetign any Scottish tories but had plenty of meetings with them at Westminster, including one Adam Smith who seems to be in receipt of a P45 today. Of course the only difference between what the First Moinister has done in this case and what every other politician has done for years is that Rupert Murdoch was involved. But as far as I know we've not yet got a law in thics country making it illegal to deal with the Murdochs. Labour are on strong ground attacking Jeremy Hunt as far as I can make out, but they just can't help trying to find an angle to attack the SNP, they are driven by tribal hatred, pure and simple. 

  13. Domhnall Dods says:

    PS apologies for my poor typing in that last post. Too much haste!

  14. Tormod says:

    Thank god some Scottish blogs are taking comments, I am not a bad laddie using rude or inflamatory language and yet BE is not accepting.
    Anyway a wee bit more light was produced today, so the FM was going to discuss with JH the economic impact of the Sky bid and of course that makes him another bad laddie.
    Funny remove the name sky and murdoch and the oppostion would be screaming like banshees for the FM to do something and become proactive.

  15. John White says:

    For those of you in pursuit of the positive case for the Union.

  16. Marcia says:

    I would not want to waste £30 listening to them. Wrong panel member for a Yes vote – Kelvin McKenzie. Need I say more?

  17. John White says:

    They could only scrape up Rifkind and another English Tory MP against the motion. With Brillo as the Chair!

  18. Arbroath1320 says:

    Thanks for that Macart. I had visions of the "Darkened Room" approaching. ๐Ÿ˜€
    I've just listened to the snippets on the EBC of the Levison Inquiry and isn't it interesting how even after the snippets broadcast the EBC can STILL find some obscure way of turning the meetings etc between A.S. and the Murdoch's into something nasty.
    I guess there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with all the "undercover" meetings the Murdoch's had with Blair and co. at Downing Street via the back door then!
    I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head Macart. A.S. does absolutely nothing underhand. There is one thing and one thing alone that you can be assured of whenever you talk about A.S. He has one aim, and one aim alone. That aim is to do whatever needs to be done to secure the best possible living standards and future for the people of Scotland.
    The problem with ALL the attackers of A.S. is that they have been attacking him for so long that they can not see past the end of their collective nose. Their collective ignorance, ego and incompetence is just laughable if it wasn't so sad.
    It is exactly because of the current constant media negativity against the S.N.P., Scottish Government Independece etc that you will find sites like this one on the internet Tom. Everyone who is for Scotland and her Independent future are no longer the "under class" of Scots who are regularly refered to as "Too wee, Too poor and Too strupid". Everyone on these sites has grown up with these slurs, yes I do mean slurs, against our good name and we have had enough. We have all found a new weapon to fight our cause and we, not them, have the people who can lead us in this fight, politically and internetically. Hmm internetically, is that a word? I guess it is now. ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Macart says:

    Here tae help Arb.

  20. Arbroath1320 says:

    Always glad of ANY help I can get Macart. ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. Roll_On_2014 says:

    The one thing that’s not been mentioned in all this is Andy Coulson, were Murdoch had one of his own at the very heart of Governmental decision making.

  22. Longshanker says:

    "…he can't afford the luxury of personal opinion when you're talking to a man responsible for some 6000 wage packets in your country."
    Easily fulfilled by lobbying Murdoch direct. All good and proper and what a Firstminster should do. No problem with that if it was the case. Which it wasn't.
    What Salmond did do, however, was to be prepared to lobby Westminster for Murdoch's business interests. That's very different, and that's why this muck is going to stick to Salmond. And quite rightly so.
    I reckon it could cost him between 4 – 8 percentage points come the referendum. You might believe the Sun King regarding this, I'm a wee bit more dispassionate.

  23. Macart says:

    Maybe your right Longshanker, maybe just being mentioned in the same breath as Rupert Murdoch is a bad thing. Could be years of negative spin from every quarter of the media has manoevred the First Minister into jumping at the chance to have one outlet for pro SNP/independence articles, whilst at the same time securing those wage packets and the possibility of further investment. Its a hard one to resist.
    I'm not that bothered personally. He hasn't started any wars, he hasn't had a hand in rendition, he hasn't to my knowledge invaded anyone for access to their resources, his party haven't done a bad job of running things since they got into power and if the worst thing that can be levelled at him is that he's done a deal with NI to increase investment in Scotland and get coverage for his party and his cause, wellllll, is there any party in Britain that hasn't cut the same or similar deals and with any better intent? Well maybe the Greens. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I'm no political debater by a long stretch and certainly no expert on politics or parliamentary form. But I place my vote with independence and in this case the First Minister because I honestly believe the man is doing his best for his electorate. I read the derogatory articles and posts on many sites and wonder, what has this guy done to you people? It honestly leaves me mystified. Everyone posts their thoughts on his supposed intentions as if they know him personally and equally their posts/commentaries tend to be aimed at a very personal level. I'll judge him by his works at the end of the day.
    Two things to think about though, as I posted above, considering the party and cause he represents, considering the very personal and sustained attacks by the media (including NI, remember the hangman's noose?), would you really take on that job unless you believed what you were doing was right? This man is probably the most astute politician in the UK at the moment, by all standards an exceptionally talented and bright individual. Don't you think he could have made a better, easier living for himself doing just about anything rather than take on leadership of what used to be considered a marginal poorly funded fringe party and stick a target on his chest?
    If any guy on the planet has a reason to mistrust the British media, it would be the First Minister and yet here we are.

  24. Arbroath1320 says:

    Longshanker said:
    What Salmond did do, however, was to be prepared to lobby Westminster for Murdoch's business interests.
    Sorry Bubba, your wrong.
    In ALL his dealings with the Murdoch empire A.S. has done so with ONE thing in mind, thecurrent 6000 jobs and the propect of more jobs in Scotland directly connected to the BSkyB locations in Dunfermline Livingston and Bathgate.
    A.S. is prepared to do "whatever it takes", Yes even lobbying Mr. Hunt if necessary although we ALL know that NEVER happened, in support of the BSkyB takeover. BUT, and this is a VERY BIG BUT, anything he did or didn't do to support the BSkyB takeover was done purely and simply to protect jobs and improve the probability of more jobs in Scotland.
    A.S. has never courted favour with the media, no matter what their persuasion, unlike messers Blair, Brown, Cameron and Milliband. If there is any muck going to stick to anyone I suggest you start looking at these individuals first!
    We currently have a disgraceful situation in BRITISH politics where all the main contenders see the Murdoch empire in particular, and the media in general, as THE media mogul they all have to snuggle up to. We do not have this situation in Scotland, well not least with the current First Minister. There are extremely serious questions that have to be asked of the other three parties in Scotland about their snuggling behaviour with the media in Scotland but I'll let you ask them that question.
    The only reason we cureently have the Tories, Lib/Dems and especially the Labour party trying, and failing miserably, to throw muck at the First Minister is because:
    a) their London leaders have told them to do so.
    b) they are desperate to deflect media attention away from their party be it in London or Scotland
    c) they are all second rate, at best, leaders and are incapable of thinking for themselves without taking orders from London
    d) they have nothing else to attack him with
    When we had the election last year and the S.N.P. did the unthinkable, won an outright majority, that sent a clear and very distinct message to London.
    Your parties in Scotland are dead in the water!
    Ever since then all we have had is personal attacks on thec First Minister. I guess the S.N.P. must be doing something right then to attract so much venom. It is just a pity all the opposition parties were incapable of putting the same amount of effort into working with theS.N.P. for the betterment of SCOTLAND. All the opposition parties are interested in is the betterment of themselves.
    rant over!
    Take me to your leader!
    Oops I meant to say take me to the "Darkened Room!"

  25. Longshanker says:

    “would you really take on that job unless you believed what you were doing was right?”

    Good and fair question.I belong to the Billy Connolly school of belief here: “The desire to be a politician should bar you from ever becoming one.”
    That being said I used to have a lot of sympathy and admiration for the Firstminster until 2009. I still think his support for the impeachment for Blair and his “unpardonable folly” statement took a degree of moral strength and resolution which is unusual in a politician.
    It’s the lickspittle approach to corporate power that I find morally repugnant. And I’m not stupid or unrealistic enough to try and argue that corporations shouldn’t be dealt with.
    On your second question. Again, much to admire. The job he’s done keeping the ‘iron discipline’ on what is effectively a highly disparate party does indeed make him formidable – and one of the best in his class.
    His fallibility though is the perception I, and many others, have, of corporate lickspittle. I started my blog on the same day as the launch of the Sunday Sun. I was genuinely shocked and disappointed by the endorsement inside the paper by the Firstminster. It was a sure fire signal that he had abased himself on the throne of Murdoch.

  26. Macart says:

    Hullo Longshanker

    Each and every one of us is fallible, the difference is when you are a First Minister your faults are there for all the world to see. Most of us have the luxury of hiding our faults and failings behind a shield of privacy. As you yourself have pointed out there is much to admire in the man, your disappointment stemming from his dealings with the corporate world. I see no reason as yet to change my opinion of the man or lessen my admiration of his achievements and talents. Does he have feet of clay and put his troosers on one leg at a time? Almost certainly. Does the First Minister like curries and the odd flutter on the horses? Again almost certainly. Most importantly in this case was his motive personal gain or to promote his country and his cause (in that order)? Almost certainly the latter. Lastly do I consider this whole stushie a fail? I honestly don’t know is the short answer, I’m neither a politician or mega businessman, but as deals go it merely looks like good business and had it been anyone else than Murdoch would the screaming have been quite so loud?

    I’m no fan of Mr Murdoch either and in a perfect world I’d rather politics made the news and the media merely reported it, but such is not the case. I’d also rather it was almost any other media group the First Minister dealt with considering the past history of politics and NI backing. But as you are well aware, the media of this country is almost to a man anti-SNP/independence and heavily Westminster influenced/corrupted (no conflict there then). So as I posted yesterday, here we are.

  27. Arbroath1320 says:

    Here’s one question that I think should be asked of this whole, blown out of all proportion, affair.
    If, thankfully it is not the case, it had been Elmer Fudd who was First Minister instead of A.S. would he:

    have done the same as A.S. in order to try and secure the current workforce knowing Sky’s intention to reduce it’s centres down from 9 to 2?
    would there have been the same amount of stooshie from the media if he did?
    would we have even known about it if he did?
    Is this whole sordid affair not a pitiful attempt by the unionists a blatant attempt to try and divert people’s attention away from the Murdoch’s cozy relation with the Tories and Labour?

    Anyone watching the Lamentable one last night on Newsnight Scotland would have heard say that she would have done the same as A.S. Well sort of. First of all you had to listen to the usual diatribe of guff and then turn the volume on your T.V. right up as she agreed with Gordon Brewer., under her breath.
    HELL! For someone who aspires to be First Minister one day, GAWD HELP US if that was ever to happen, she is totally incapable of giving an answer,ANY answer to a straight forward question. You’ve more chance of getting blood from a stone than getting an answer, straight or convoluted, from the Lamentable one!

  28. Macart says:

    Egad Arb, wash your mouth out, Grey as FM????? Don’t even go there! Yer twisted ah tell ye. ๐Ÿ˜€

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