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Obsession, by Severin Carrell

Posted on April 26, 2012 by

There is, as we’ve previously noted, very little actual news to be found in the Alex Salmond/Rupert Murdoch story that’s got the Scottish media on a full-scale SHOCK HORROR! war footing this week. These are the only actual facts in the furore:

1. Murdoch’s papers, having (in Murdoch’s words) “declared war” on Labour, switched their backing to the parties most likely to defeat them north and south of the border in the general elections of 2010 and 2011. Both parties concerned, the SNP and the Conservatives, duly won their respective elections.

2. The Scottish Government decided to back News International’s bid for control of BSkyB, on the grounds that the company was a major employer in Scotland and that such a move may well bring a significant number of jobs to Scotland. It signalled its willingness to express this support to the UK Government, though having no leverage or influence over the matter. In the event, the support was never expressed, as the UK Government decided to clear the bid anyway.

3. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and Alex Salmond all unequivocally and categorically deny that any connection between the two matters was ever raised or discussed by either of the parties involved, and nobody has produced or even suggested the existence of any evidence contradicting these denials.

And that’s it. The Scottish Government took a position entirely within its normal and proper powers with regard to a business matter, and News International’s publications exercised their free democratic right to endorse whichever political party they chose to, just as they’d done within the space of the previous three years for both the Conservatives and Labour. It’s not exactly “hold the front page” stuff.

Yet in the space of barely over 24 hours, the Guardian has published not one, not two, not three and not four, but FIVE near-identical retreads of the story, with different titles but each containing almost all of the same content. All are still present on the paper’s website, and you can read them all here:

Alex Salmond ‘offered to help BSkyB bid and asked for support from Sun’
(Tues 24th, 5.47pm, by David Leigh)

Alex Salmond looked for Sun’s support
(Tues 24th, 8.07pm, by Severin Carrell and David Leigh)

Alex Salmond ties to Murdoch revealed
(Wed 25th, 12.08am, by Severin Carrell)

Alex Salmond admits he planned to lobby Jeremy Hunt over BSkyB
(Wed 25th, 4.07pm, by Severin Carrell)

Leveson inquiry: Rupert Murdoch attracted by Scottish independence
(Wed 25th, 10.29pm, by Severin Carrell)

Four of the five were penned by the paper’s Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell, who also found himself intrigued by Alex Salmond’s withdrawal from an edition of Question Time scheduled for the Thursday evening. He broke the news on his Twitter account, by retweeting a post from Scottish Labour staffer Rami Okasha:

“RT @ramiokasha: BREAKING – I am hearing that Alex Salmond has pulled out of his appearance on #BBCQT tomorrow night #leveson” (2.32pm)

40 minutes later, a sceptical-sounding Carrell reported the SNP’s version of events.

“#salmond’s office deny he pulled out from #BBCQT re #leveson. Was never agreed. He’s “attending a funeral following a family bereavement”” (3.11pm)

The use of quotation marks to seemingly imply doubt led to several Twitter users confirming that there had indeed been a tragic loss, but Carrell’s journalistic nose for scandal wanted more before it would stop sniffing:

“@JohnThomasMadde any idea which family member?” (6.53pm)

As several more people expressed their distaste at this intrusive snooping, Carrell finally relented on his dogged pursuit of the bereaved family.

“condolences to @AlexSalmondMSP and his family for his and their loss” (9.10pm)

And the unseemly episode finally drew to a close, after almost seven hours.

Rami Okasha, it should perhaps be noted in passing, has not apologised for the implication – which had been eagerly picked up and gleefully repeated by countless Labour activists on social media and elsewhere – that Salmond was simply running scared from Question Time, and (unlike Carrell) has not expressed any condolences to the family for their loss or any regret for any upset caused to them by his actions. We hesitate to speculate on the likely media reaction had an SNP staff member made similar insinuations or sought to create political capital out of, for example, the death of veteran Labour figure Janey Buchan.

(Conservative MP Louise Mensch, one of many people who had posted similar comments, at least had the grace to retract them and apologise.)

But the Guardian’s five slight variants of the same story – most of them repeating the same facts, quotes and attacks from the Scottish opposition parties – are the more remarkable phenomenon. The newspaper’s normal practice where a story develops over time is to insert annotated edits into the original piece, so that readers arriving late at the page, perhaps via external links, are not left with an outdated and misleading picture. But here the originals remain intact and unaltered – and none of them allow reader comments, so corrections can’t even be made below the line.

It is, of course, hardly surprising that competing media organisations are keen to attack Murdoch and Unionist journalists and editors are keen to attack Salmond. But running the same story FIVE separate times in a single day is unusual even by those standards. We’re taking bets on whether it will appear again in the coming days – and if it does, we’re pretty sure we know whose name will be on the byline.

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74 to “Obsession, by Severin Carrell”

  1. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    It was always going to be severin…
    I normally find the Guardian a great paper but their Scottish coverage is dire and not allowing comments on this important story was unusual and in the vein of the BBC for political tricks.
    I wouldnt have been so bad except that only let you comment on the 'other story' that they had running, namely towns that had funny names, like Dull or boring.

  2. Dál Riata says:

    Severin Carrell at the Guardian is going into some kind of apopleptic overdrive in his efforts to inflate this non-event into 'a scandal'. He seems to believe he has got that "'Gotcha' Alex Salmond!" story that the pro-unionist MSM so crave.

    The Guardian very rarely allows comments to made below the line after one of Carrell's regular anti-independence articles. They don't like for their contributors to be shown up as being agenda-led, biased and 'creative' with the facts.

    Remember, Carrell has used his Twitter account to call it a "budding bromance" between Salmond and Murdoch (25th April), and on 21st Feb said, " The #salmond #murdoch love-in grows:…"

    The "fair and balanced MSM" … Not!

  3. Longshanker says:

    "…very little actual news…"
    The prostituting of the position of Firstminster to be prepared to act as a messenger lapdog for an amoral corporate shark isn't news. What planet do you actually live on?
    I thought the SNP were meant to be different, offer a real alternative to Westminster politics, be on the side of the sovereign people of Scotland.
    Rings more than a bit hollow. This is the most laughable apologism yet. Congrats, I need a belly laugh in the morning.

  4. NorthBrit says:

    If you want to appear lightly amused, using extreme language and naming yourself after a 13th century war criminal is unlikely to help.
    What on earth is Firstminster – too much dreaming of Westminster?

  5. pa_broon says:

    Encouraging business to come to Scotland or increase existing investment for the purpose of job & wealth creation.
    I would have thought that was representing the sovereign people of Scotland.
    This is a damp squib, when unionist politicians do this its no where, when Salmond does it, its a scandal. This will come back and bite Lamont, Rennie and McLetchie on the backside because they all do it.
    Hunt does have a case to answer because he had a judicial responsibility, all Salmond did was tout Scotland as a good place to do business.

  6. Colin Dunn says:

    Longshanker says: "The prostituting of the position of Firstminster to be prepared to act as a messenger lapdog for an amoral corporate shark isn't news. "

    Agreed. It's not news at all. That's what politicians do. They get their hands a wee bit grubby legally supporting allegedly unpleasant people who provide lots of jobs for their electorate. 

  7. Peninsula says:

    The thing with Carrell is, he not really very good at what he does. He's clumsy, amateurish and his main line of attack is regurgitatings disproven scare stories like some Labour MSP backbencher
    His "essential" guide to Independence on the Guardian website is a case in point. Full of agenda, obfuscation, and unfounded claims. 

  8. Arbroath1320 says:

    Longshanker said
    I thought the SNP were meant to be different, offer a real alternative to Westminster politics, be on the side of the sovereign people of Scotland.
    At least he was prepared to do what he believed was the right thing to do in order to protect jobs in Scotland. Not only protect existing jobs but gain more jobs within the BSkyB workforce within Scotland. Would any of the opposition parties been prepared to do the same. I don't think so, London wouldn't allow it!
    I take it from your regular ramblings you are not keen on the First Minister doing whatever needs to be done to protect Scottish jobs or increase the Scottish workforce numbers then. That being the case I suggest you drive around Dunfermline, Livingston and Bathgate and tell everyone who will listen to you in these towns that you are against the First Minister doing whatever he can to protect jobs and you disagree with him getting involved in trying to increase the workforce at these BSkyB sites.
    You have obviously been in an extremely deep sleep for the last 5 years.
    Fortunately for Scotland the Scottish electorate have not. We have all witnessed the work that the S.N.P. led government has carried out its programme of getting Scotland moving forward. The S.N.P. did not win with an overall majority last May without doing something right.

  9. Bob Leslie says:

    Longshanker the Troll doesn't see a lot of daylight from under his bridge as it tends to turn him to stone. Therefore, most of his information is of a patchy sort, gathered in darkness, and usually ill-understood – as his neighbours, the Nationalists Gruff, never tire of pointing out to him. Trolls' brains, being silicon-based, function best when cool. Ol' Longshanker, however, is too dim to realise the benefits he would obtain, and the insights he would gain, from pouring a bucket of cold water over his head. Luckily, the ever-helpful Gruffs are queuing up to help him out!

  10. Arbroath1320 says:

    That's us GRUFF's all over Bob.
    Always ready, willing and able to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever it is required. 😀

  11. Peter St. John says:

    As a Unionist who has pretty much come to the conclusion that my position is based pretty much on tradition and Scotland should probably vote for independence in its own interest, I do have a couple of questions, though:
    * Were the call centre jobs ever in jeopardy if the deal didn't go through?
    * Are the call centre jobs still there now?
    * Was there an indication that BSkyB would expand its Scotland operation simply because NewsCorp would own 100% of the company?
    * Would the increase in Scottish jobs in a rather low-paid service position offset the increased media power of NewsCorp that full ownership of BSkyB would have given them?
    As much as I like Salmond in many ways, I think he made a mistake here. Though not as much as the Hapless Hunt, mind you 🙂

  12. Peter St. John says:

    Gah. My kingdom for an edit button. And not posting early in the morning.

  13. RevStu says:

    The honest answer to most of your questions is "Nobody except the Murdochs knows". But as for the last one, the "increased media power of NewsCorp" if the BSkyB bid had succeeded is simply none of the Scottish Government's concern. Murdoch owns just two of Scotland's 13 daily papers. His influence over the media is in no way disproportionately large, and his owning BSkyB would have had no discernible detrimental effect on the people of Scotland.

    So for Salmond, it was really a no-lose deal. He got to protect jobs at basically no cost other than a predictable and easily-countered (as was demonstrated in today's brutal crushing of Johann Lamont at FMQs) Labour attack. Indeed, it could be quite reasonably argued that Labour's attack is SO transparently hypocritical that the very act of making it will damage Labour more in the eyes of the public than the SNP. Voters don't like obvious hypocrisy.

    What a lot of politicians seem to forget is that even AFTER the hacking revelations, Murdoch's papers are the biggest sellers on both sides of the border. The opposition appear to believe that merely associating Salmond with Murdoch will damage him. But the inconvenient truth is that the vast bulk of people are perfectly happy with buying Murdoch's products and don't see him as any great Satan, even though the rest of the press fills page after page with negative coverage of their rival.

    (Indeed, more and more over recent years the Scottish public has found the Scottish Sun preferable to the diehard Labour support of the once all-powerful Daily Record, which now trails the Murdoch paper by around 50,000 copies a day.)

  14. R Louis says:

    In reply to peter St.John above,
    Yes there are new jobs.   900 new jobs.  They are real jobs, located in Glasgow.  They do exist, although you will be hard pressed to fin any report of it in the MSM.
    I am glad our first Minister sees getting investment into Scotland as a priority.  Just imagine, if Alex Salmond had said, no thanks, take your jobs elsewhere.  Would any of the quite hysterical unionist party leaders care to make that argument to the 900 people in Glasgow who now have jobs with a major global media organisation.  Would they argue against the jobs coming to Scotland???
    Seriously, the unionist buffoons with their hysterical faux protestations cannot have it both ways.  Would they have lobied for 900 new jobs, or would they have said NO to 900 new jobs, because it was a Murdoch company??
    Maybe Lamont and her ilk need to go ask a few folk in Glasgow whether 900 new jobs are worthwhile or not.

  15. Peter St. John says:

    Murdoch owns just two of Scotland's 13 daily papers. His influence over the media is in no way disproportionately large, and his owning BSkyB would have had no discernible detrimental effect on the people of Scotland.
    He would, however, be in a strong position in the TV world in an independent Scotland, I would have thought? (what is the plan for braadcasting, anyhow? Border and a carved-off slice of the BBC?) But I take the point that he's not in as commanding a position in Scotland as in the UK as a whole.
    R Louis: so they got the jobs even though the deal didn't go through! Personally, I would have kept my distance, but yes, the SNP aren't as tarnished anywhere near as much as the Tories or Labour in this situation…

  16. RevStu says:

    (Also, as an aside, I suspect if you asked 100 people in the street at least 80 of them would say "Doesn't Murdoch own Sky already anyway?". I just don't think the public gives much of a shit which rich media baron owns what as long as they can still get ITV2+1 on their telly, and Alex Salmond's very existence as First Minister is proof that they don't let their newspapers tell them how to vote anyway.)

  17. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    I think you've hit the nail on the head there RevStu.
    Most people just dont care because they don't understand the impact that the media has on their lives. The very fact that the Unionist Parties are up in arms is proof that they undestand what the effect would be of giving oxygen of media coverage to the SNP and they are trying to make it as hard as possible for the Murdochs to back the SNP.

  18. Arbroath1320 says:

    R Louis said Maybe Lamont and her ilk need to go ask a few folk in Glasgow whether 900 new jobs are worthwhile or not.
    Sorry R.L. the Lamentable one could do that.
    She wouldn't be allowed. Well not until she had received the go ahead from the millipede in London. Don't forget El Millipedo has enough problems of his own, namely trying to get people to actually recognise who he is, to be bothered with little things like giving the Lamentable one permission for anything.

  19. MajorBloodnok says:

    I doubt Murdoch is much bothered what the Unionst parties think these days.  He's all about backing winners and selling newspapers and that, for Labour, is what they can't get over.

  20. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @MajorBloodnok – You may be right.
    Just to put a smile on your face however lets look at what the Labour Politicians felt when Murdoch switched sides at the last GE.
    Notice the reference to Minimum wage as a beacon of their progressiveness. We've talked about that on this site before.

  21. bigbuachaille says:

    In relation to BSKYB and to the provision of jobs in Fife, it is worth contrasting the record of The SNP Government with the dismal failure of the previous Labour “Scottish Executive”, as they tended to style themselves, (a description still favoured by the reactionary Unionist Labour Ian Davidson).
    The Hyundai plant at Halbeath, which was the result of inward investment by Donald Dewar, never saw a single day’s production.  This white elephant plant beside the M90 was once the flagship for a £3bn investment in electronics and is now demolished.  Millions of Scottish taxpayers’ money were simply wasted by Labour.  The site stood empty from the day it was built 15 years ago.  The money was simply wasted by Donald Dewar in a fashion which rivalled the money poured into his personal vanity project, the Scottish Parliament building.
    Labour have a track record in wasting other people’s money.
    Now, under the SNP Government, things are happening in Fife.  The site is now being developed for use in the renewables industry with a potential for 10,000 jobs.This is the positive result of action by Alex Salmond in presenting Scotland as a place to do business.  If he has to parley with Murdoch, then that is part and parcel of defending the livelihood of workers.  To make an omelette you have to break eggs.

  22. Macart says:



    Right Arb, whit huv a missed since this morning?
    Ye gods this has got busy. Must admit, I still don't get it. I see a man securing a working future for a lot of people and getting some hopefully good publicity in a national and the other lad gets sales up in his title, some favourable government backing for his business (which as it turned out wasn't needed) and hopefully some decent tax rates in an independent Scotland.
    Sounds like good business t' me.


  23. MajorBloodnok says:

    That Paul O'Grady gets about!
    And I thought your article on Group Think was extremely interesting and right on the money – I forwarded it to as many people as I could think of (including some philosopher/psychologist friends of mine). 

  24. Arbroath1320 says:

    I've just been thinking (yes Macart, I know I shouldn't but a thought just sort of jumped in when I wasn't looking! 😀 )
    While we are all discussing the pros and cons of whether or not A.S. should have become involved with the Murdoch's could we be seeing A.S. at his best here?
    I mean, for days now we have had nothing but anti A.S. attacks from the unionist parties and their "best buds" in the media. Has any one seen anything about the referendum or Scottish Independence recently, I haven't. That is to say there hasn't been anything just that it has not been deemed newsworthy enough to be headline news.
    To me this would seem to indicate that the unionists are so fixated on A.S. and his "friendship"  with the Murdoch's that they have put the referendum onto the back burner. Not something I would have advised them do seeing as they are losing the argument, badly. As a result we now have something like 5 days less to go to the referendum, nothing from the unionists and long may that continue, which means they have 5 days LESS to try and put their case for remaining in the union.
    Perhaps this is a new ploy from A.S. "create" questionable, in the simpleton minds of the unionists, situations which will easily distract them off the referendum, obviously very easily done. Net result the positive case for Independence sails serenely on into the sunset and the case, whatever that might be, for the union sinks serenely below the water never to be seen again.

  25. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    "That Paul O'Grady gets about!" Had one too many pasties though from the look of it.  

  26. RevStu says:

    "As a result we now have something like 5 days less to go to the referendum"


  27. Arbroath1320 says:

    Don't mention the pasties! 😀
    Oh wait a minute.
    Were the pasties above or below ambient air temperature Scott?
    Don't forget the ambient air temperature has to be the air temperature outside not inside. What moron thought this one up? Oh aye that's right good ol' Ozzy Osborne at number 11. What an absolute TWAT he is!
    Mind you we might be all right. After all they keep refering to the tax as the pasty tax, nothing about Forfar Bridies….SHH! We might just get away with this one. 😀

  28. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @ MajorBloodnok – If you liked that insight into Labour then you will love THIS.
    Iain Dale's Diary: The Top Labour Sleaze Scandals

    I see they are up to 90 Labour Scandals now and they are only at 2006 – 4 more years to go.


  29. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Ozzy Osborne… More like Giddy Osbourne!

  30. Arbroath1320 says:

    Scott said: I see they are up to 90 Labour Scandals now and they are only at 2006 – 4 more years to go.
    Yikes, they have reached 2006!!!
    Well if they have only got 90 Labour Scandals up till 2006 no doubt the number is about to sky rocket now from 2006 onwards.
    Will the end result manage to be kept below the 1000 mark? 😀

  31. Arbroath1320 says:

    Is that GiddyOsborne as in Giddy Up Giddy Up? 😀

  32. NorthBrit says:

    RevStu – the Guardian has just closed comments (observed at 15:42) on the one remaining thread of Severin's articles where it was possible to comment.  I.e. within about an hour of my pointing out that it wasn't possible to comment on any of Severin's other articles.
    I am genuinely astonished that they think this kind of behaviour is sensible.

  33. Macart says:

    Aye, it's been quiet………………….too quiet. Apaches in the undergrowth mibbees? 🙂
    Nah! I suspect they'll continue to play the man now. Most of the great myths have fallen over the past year and they're struggling for scare stories. So next best thing – trash the man.

  34. annie says:

    Johanne Lamont's performance at fmq's really has to be seen in full to be appreciated –  screeching harridan is really  not a good look for any woman never mind labour party leader – if she isn't mortified when she watches the recording then nothing will embarrass her.

  35. Macart says:

    Dropped a couple on that one myself NorthBrit. Spotted that both Dorice and Maisiedotts had got modded off. Dorice just for responding to my post. Unknown tribes in the farthest reaches of the Amazon could tell you that after Mr Carrell's carpet bombing yesterday they would shut up shop.

  36. Arbroath1320 says:

    Thing is Macart they have to play the man, they have nothing else to give so he is the only thing left for them to attack, and fail obviously!

    Our man is:
    Big enough!
    Strong enough!
    Has the armour!
    Has the defence!
    Has the army!
    Has the support of the country!
    What do the opposition have I wonder………….erm nothing at BEST!

    The longer they keep attacking A.S. the less time they have to:
    Create a united front to argue for the union.
    Create a united argument for the union.
    All we have had from the unionists so far has been scare stories, false information,lies, damned lies and insults to name a few. They don't understand, thankfully, that so long as they continue putting this forward as their reasons for the union, or continue attacking A.S. then the Good ship INDEPENDENCE will continue to sail on into the sunset. Let's hope they do continue to do so. The longer they do this the less time they have to get themselves properly organised, mind you I have grave doubts they can do so anyway.
    The clock is ticking. We have passed the 1000 day mark and the countdown is carrying on at pace.
    Eventually even the most ardent of Scottish unionists will begin to see through this ridiculous method of playing and come 2014 we will win with a significant majority.

  37. Arbroath1320 says:

    annie, I didn't know they had a T.V. down the Lamentable one's bolt hole. 😀
    Bless her little cotton socks, she is only doing what she is told to do, and say, by El millipedo!

  38. Macart says:

    Considering the keech that's going to be chucked way in the next couple of years he better start off the day wi' three Weetabix then. 😉 Need tae keep the strength up.

  39. Arbroath1320 says:

    Is that THREE Weetabix or is it THREE Shreaded Wheat? 😀

  40. RevStu says:

    "the Guardian has just closed comments (observed at 15:42) on the one remaining thread of Severin's articles where it was possible to comment."

    The latest piece on the subject, by Gerry Hassan, says "For legal reasons, this article will not be opened to comments"…

  41. peter says:

    it baffles me that, Salmon "cosying up" to Murdoch is seen as an attrocious act.
    UK Prime Ministers' going on trade missions to drum up defence contracts, particularly from known  oppresive states, is championing Britsh manufactuiring.

  42. Juteman says:

    What a load of bolx this has been.
    If the 'non political' folk at my work today are anything to go by, the attempted smear hasn't worked.
    They tended to agree that trying to look after jobs in Scotland is what a Scottish politician is paid to do.

  43. Arbroath1320 says:

    What was that?
    Ach dinnae worry, it's just ANOTHER hole in the side of H.M.S. Unionism! 😀
    Get the lifeboats ready folks I sense a sinking on the horizon!

  44. Juteman says:

    As the attacks get even more juvenile, the more i'm convinced we are going to actually do this. You could actually see  the fear on the faces at FMQ's today. 'She' actually looked deranged at times.
    They KNOW their days are numbered.

  45. Dál Riata says:

    Re that article by Gerry Hassan at the Guardian: He says:

     "Labour's leader north of the border, Johann Lamont, did well today in their parliamentary exchanges, showing a genuine moral indignation, without landing a killer punch."

    Now, I haven't seen these exchanges yet, so I haven't got a personal view on Lamont's performance. But from reading posts on various websites the consensus seems to be that Lamont's exertions were not worty of anything that merited Hassan's view, ie "… did well today…".
    I can understand views being 'coloured' by being pro- or anti-independence. I've read a lot of Hassan's articles and he does write some fair and insightful stuff. I just don't know where the truth is on this one. So, can anyone help me out here?

  46. douglas clark says:

    RevStu @ 4:59,
    It might be interesting to see just how much the mainstream media tries to silence opposing views. They are still of the opinion that their journalists have something worthwhile to say and that 'below the line' commentators are somehow less worthwhile. Given that what they write – the journalists – is often slanted and a regurgitation of a press release that is not always the case. Sometimes it is true, but the media defends all sorts of idiocy from their staff and next to none from commentators.

  47. Arbroath1320 says:

    Comedy Alert!
    Just heard the Lamentable one will be on Newsnight Scotland tonight, up against Nicola Sturgeon. Well I guess that's another thrashing for the Lamentable one then. 😀
    Juteman, the attacks are getting all the more futile because the unionists don't have anything positive to say about either Independence or the Union. All the unionist parties were screaming for month's, ever since May last year in fact, for a date for the referendum. They thought they had the S.N.P. over a barrel. Oops I guess they got that one wrong then. The unionists have used up all their ammunition and all they are left with are the odd pebble or two to throw, not very effective against the armoured tank that is the Independence machine!
    Ever since the unionists, not the S.N.P. have been on the back foot. They haven't got a clue.  Every time they try and catch the First Minister out they either end up tripping themselves up or shooting themselves in the foot, usually both! 😀
    The unionists thought they could pressurise the First Minister into calling an early referendum. This would leave them clear to start their scaremongering and they would win in the short run to the line. Unfortunately they have not learned anything about how A.S. operates. They have shot themselves in the foot, AGAIN!
    We, the pro Independence campaigners, are in it for the long haul. We have had decades to get ourselves set up for this fight. The unionists have been sitting on their backsides throughout this period doing nothing. Now that Independence is fast approaching from over the horizon they have no concept of how to either work together or how to put a united front or message out to the electorate.
    Like you I have every confidence we will win, and as each day passes that confidence grows just a wee bit. By the time we get to the referendum itself I am certain that most of Scotland will be feeling the same as we do on sites like this one!
    Alba gu snooker loopy!

  48. Arbroath1320 says:

    Dal Riata, if you can wait you will be able to watch the whole of F.M.Q.'s tonight on BBC Parliament at 23:30.
    Popcorn and coke at the ready. 😀

  49. Dál Riata says:

    Thanks for the link douglas clark.
    Well, I do admit I'm biased! However,  biased or not and looked upon objectively, I couldn't really see where Lamont "did well". She was reading from a prepared script and outwith that her retorts seemed to be no more than name-calling and accusation. But, of course, as I alluded to, I'm pro-independence so perhaps that makes it easier to find fault!
    Anyway, I'm not trying to call out Gerry Hassan here, let's make that clear. I'm just curious as to why he might have seen things differently from others.

  50. G. Campbell says:

    Comment is free …but facts are scary. MUST. BAN. FACTS.

  51. Dál Riata says:

    Thanks for the suggestion Arbroath 1320!
    The problem is I'm in Taiwan at the moment and 7 hours ahead of GMT, so that would mean a 6:30am viewing! Hard enough watching Lamont's performances at the best of times but at that time it's a definite no-no! That would not be the greatest way to start the day!! Hopefully, I'll catch that on a recorded link later, though.

  52. Arbroath1320 says:

    Oops! 😀
    Sorry Dál Riata I didn’t know you were not in Scotland. If it is of any use, the programme is repeated at 03:00 tomorrow morning (Friday) or at 10:30 on Saturday.
    RevStu, it looks like your changes have worked out O.K.

  53. Dál Riata says:

    Finally, before bed, does anyone know if Alex Salmond is due to appear at the Leveson Inquiry or not? After wading through the reams of the “Salmond Accused” headlines, Google search gives one “Salmond reortedly to appear…” from and an “Alex Salmond would be delighted to appear at Leveson Inquiry” form

    Does anyone know what’s really going on? Is Salmond due to appear at Leveson and if so, when?

    I’d honestly believe what information I receive here more than that what is pushed as “the truth” in the MSM!

    Thanks to anyone who responds. I’ll check back tomorrow.

  54. Arbroath1320 says:

    I haven’t read anything concrete Dai but it is my understanding that Alex Salmond has said on numerous occasions that he would be pleased to attend the Leveson Inquiry. Funnily enough I have not heard a peep from ANY of the other leaders Scottish OR Westminster. Yet again, where the S.N.P. lead others will undoubtedly follow!

  55. Christian Wright says:

    At FMQ I thought Lamont’s performance was third rate. She came across as a bit of a harpy. She is clearly unable to think on her feet, and prone to repeat a point that has already been asked and answered effectively. Her barrage of ad hominem attacks on Salmond’s character said more about her than they did about him. His defense in the round was that he acted properly, within the scope of his remit as First Minister.

    I thought Salmond delivered the the best response when he noted that when asked, were she to become First Minister, would she meet and have talks with Murdoch whose company has a major presence in Scotland, she had to agree that she would. QED

    As for Gerry Hassan’s assertion that Lamont displayed “genuine moral indignation” – give me a break. 

  56. Arbroath1320 says:

    I’ll admit, right off the bat, that I have not watched FMQ’s YET! I plan to watch it tonight. Just hope my sides have recovered in time from watching the Lamentable one on Newsnight Scotland.
    I am surprised that you consider the Lamentable one’s performance at FMQ’s as THIRD rate Christian.
    I can’t believe that she was THAT good.
    She has NEVER been that good in the past.
    I guess the Millipede training programme must really be starting to kick in now huh?
    Boy she must have really been up for a fight today. 😀

  57. G. Campbell says:

    Reading the outrage emanating from The Herald today, you’d think the Friday Lunch Club never happened. Remember this?

    There have been hints that some Scottish newspapers have pulled their punches on the controversy because editors have been too close to Mr Purcell or, worse, they have been cowed into submission by Peter Watson and PR firm Media House. These suggestions have involved the Herald & Times Group, publishers of this newspaper, The Herald and the Evening Times. Other newspapers have also been referred to. We believe our readers should learn the facts here rather than read assumptions in the pages of other publications.

    Glasgow is a large city but its political and business centre is small. Personal and business relationships meld together, contacts extend and overlap, boundaries blur. Business dinners become social occasions, colleagues become friends. Such social networking goes on in every city in the world.

    There have been other references in the media to the friendship between Steven Purcell and leading newspaper editors, including Herald & Times editor-in-chief Donald Martin. Mr Martin met Mr Purcell and prominent figures in the Glasgow business community on a fairly regular basis and both were part of a network dubbed “Team Glasgow”.

    Mr Martin told the Sunday Herald: “I was glad to play a role in Team Glasgow along with other individuals who believed in co-operating for the good of the city. Our aim was to encourage actions which would help the city. As a newspaper editor it is an important part of my job to make contacts in the political, business and other spheres and I also believe it is part of my job to work for the good of Glasgow and indeed Scotland. There is no conflict between that aim and my commitment to publishing the facts of stories which are important to the lives of our readers.

    So there we have it. Steven Purcell and The Herald: good for jobs, good for Glasgow!

  58. Arbroath1320 says:

    I wonder what the Great Lamentable one will say in answer to this.
    Oh wait a minute, I’ve just heard there is a press release from the Great Lamentable one arriving through the letter box as I type.
    Aha. As I thought, the Great Lamentable one…… She say NOTHING!
    Well I guess that’s that then.
    As Blubber would say… Nothing to see here move along now!

  59. Arbroath1320 says:

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
    I want to use the word PATHETIC to describe the Lamentable one’s performance on Newsnight Scotland tonight, unfortunately I don’t think that would amply describe her performance, or lack there of! I guess she forgot to take her pre-prepared written questions,answers and statements.
    As usual Nicola Sturgeon wiped the floor not just with the Lamentable one BUT Gordon Brewer as well, to a certain extent.

  60. Arbroath1320 says:

    Dearie, dearie me. Each week the Lamentable one goes from strength to strength………NOT!
    How can ANY political leader keep falling downhill as fast and as often as she does. Did she learn NOTHING during the period she was deputy Labour leader to Elmer Fudd?
    Hell she stands up week in, week out questions already written down and she can’t even read out her questions without screwing that up. A.S. answers her question and yet she continues down the road of the first question for questions 2, 3 and 4.
    Is the woman really this incapable of moving off script once an answer has been given?
    Is she so one dimensional that she has only “practiced” her preset questions?
    Thinking about Labour leaders is it me or have they deteriorated in their abilities ever since A.S. became First Minister?
    Jack “Wee Joke” McConnell
    Wendy “Bring it on” Alexander
    Ian “Elmer Fudd” Gray
    Johann “the Lamentable one” Lamont.
    Surely the current incarnation of Labour leader can not last much longer. Mind you having said that who is there to replace her?
    More importantly who would want to replace her?
    Maybe Richard “Diaper Boy” Baker will be available.

  61. Doug Daniel says:

    Just checked out those Labour sleaze stories. Three in particular caught my eye, mainly because I’d forgotten about them:

    April 2006 – Jack McConnell under pressure over breaking the ministerial code of conduct by giving public backing to a luxury golf resort planned by Donald Trump which could prejudice the planning process for the development 

    January 2005 – Jack McConnell fails to register a holiday at the Spanish villa of BBC broadcaster Kirsty Wark 

    November 2001 – Jack McConnell admits to affair with Labour party secretary who he tried to keep in situ by appealing to Labour MPs for funds. He says he has had no other affairs  

  62. RevStu says:

    “Johann “the Lamentable one” Lamont.
    Richard “Diaper Boy” Baker”

    Folks, the no-censorship policy isn’t going to be changing, but can I ask you politely not to do stuff like this? It’s a fat lot of good me trying to create an “intelligent tabloid” site that therefore carries a modicum of respectable credibility, if the comments are out of the Daily Star. The first one above is just embarrassingly rubbish primary-school namecalling, and I don’t even understand the second one.

    Rab McNeil coining the name “Elmer Fudd” for Iain Gray worked because it was clever and funny and appropriate and summed up both Gray’s demeanour and character. “Diaper Boy” fulfils none of those criteria. There’s no shortage of live ammunition to fire at Labour on policy grounds without getting dragged down into their swamp of puerile abuse. If we’re not going to be better than Councillor Terry Kelly, we might as well not bother being independent.

    Remember – if you wrestle with a pig, both of you get covered in mud but he likes it.

  63. Longshanker says:

    “I just don’t think the public gives much of a shit which rich media baron owns what as long as they can still get ITV2+1 on their telly,”

    Something we can agree on. Though I’m not sure about the point you’re making.
    Just because the public doesn’t give a shit doesn’t mean that the public shouldn’t be protected from how such a deal could have affected them and British (Scottish) ‘society’ as a whole.

    Murdoch’s NewsCorps would have used the monopoly – which Salmond endorses – to undercut all of their media rivals and diminish them. He would then have used the even more formidable power gained to extract even more serious concessions from whatever incumbent government was in power.
    Effectively we, and it would be Scotland too, would end up being subjected to the endless corporate diatribe evidenced by the likes of Fox Television in America. In this instance, the BBC is a jewel. Like them or not – Murdoch’s comments were interesting in this regard – the BBC is a genuine bulwark against abuses of power.
    As it stood, Wee Eck wasn’t even important enough, ‘too wee’, to be of service to his corporate pimps. The Milly Dowler affair saved the country from what would have been a genuine disaster. 
    That you should think we could stick our head in the sand because “it’s nuthin tae dae wi us” shows either a deep cynicism or a risible naivety. Which is it?

  64. RevStu says:

    “Just checked out those Labour sleaze stories. Three in particular caught my eye, mainly because I’d forgotten about them:”

    Wow, I didn’t even know about the affair one.

  65. RevStu says:

    “Just because the public doesn’t give a shit doesn’t mean that the public shouldn’t be protected from how such a deal could have affected them and British (Scottish) ‘society’ as a whole.”

    “British society” is the business of the British Government, not the Scottish one.

    “Murdoch’s NewsCorps would have used the monopoly – which Salmond endorses – to undercut all of their media rivals and diminish them.”

    News Corp has no monopoly in Scotland. It has two of thirteen daily papers. It has also tried undercutting its rivals before, and it didn’t work. But again, such matters are the responsibility of whatever the Monopolies And Mergers Commission is called these days, not the Scottish Government.

    Alex Salmond’s only responsibility was to try to ensure that if the UK Government DID allow the BSkyB bid to go ahead – something completely outwith his control – that at least any jobs that might be created as a result came to Scotland. He discharged this responsibility entirely properly.

    “Effectively we, and it would be Scotland too, would end up being subjected to the endless corporate diatribe evidenced by the likes of Fox Television in America. In this instance, the BBC is a jewel.”

    From a nationalist perspective, the BBC is almost identical to Fox News, albeit to (currently) a lesser and subtler degree. Understandably you don’t see it that way, because it’s on your side.

  66. pa_broon says:

    Longshanker said: “Effectively we, and it would be Scotland too, would end up being subjected to the endless corporate diatribe evidenced by the likes of Fox Television in America. In this instance, the BBC is a jewel. Like them or not – Murdoch’s comments were interesting in this regard – the BBC is a genuine bulwark against abuses of power.”

    I never ‘lol’ because its slightly moronic. But, sometimes needs must so: lol.

  67. Longshanker says:


    “British society” is the business of the British Government, not the Scottish one.”
    Scottish society is still part of British society, whether you like it or not and therefore has a stake, even if only by proxy, on the potential repercussions of such a monopolistic deal. 

    News Corp has no monopoly in Scotland.
    But it does have a sizable foothold from which to build. If the BSKYB deal had gone through, natural consolidation of business would soon change that. The Johnston Press which is struggling just now would probably have seen the first acquisition of titles (apologies for the supposition).

    It has also tried undercutting its rivals before, and it didn’t work.

    Try telling that to the Daily Record’s circulation department re the Sun aka 2008.
    something completely outwith his control

    Out of his control, certainly, but not outwith potential influence. Why else do you think Salmond’s corporate pimps were willing to prostitute him for potential favours?

    He discharged this responsibility entirely properly.
    If it had been entirely proper, the Scottish Parliament should have been told before the revelation of the Leveson email forced it out of him.
    Gaining jobs is top capital for politicians on the make – it makes them look good as we all know. So why, if this was just about jobs and jobs only, wasn’t anyone made aware of Salmond’s willingness to lobby for monopolistic corporate aspirations in a jobs gain context? 
    The charge, however, that Salmond’s remonstrations to News Corps were for party interest and favourable newspaper coverage has not been credibly refuted.
    I understand that for supporters it’s a matter of keeping faith – and good luck to them – but for those with a little more discernment it looks like what it is; Salmond being prepared to prostitute the position of First Minister for favourable publicity. That’s Faustian pact material with more than a whiff of moral repugnance about it.
    From a nationalist perspective, the BBC is almost identical to Fox News,

    Then Nationalist perspective needs to refocus if that’s the case – which I seriously doubt – they could do Scotland some real lasting harm with such a perspective.

    Understandably you don’t see it that way, because it’s on your side.

    There’s not enough context for me to understand the intent of this sentence. Clarify please – what is my side?

  68. RevStu says:

    “Scottish society is still part of British society, whether you like it or not and therefore has a stake, even if only by proxy, on the potential repercussions of such a monopolistic deal. “

    Arguably. But the Scottish Government does not. Its responsibilites, and those which are reserved to the British Government, are very clearly and precisely demarcated.

    “Clarify please – what is my side?”

    The Union.

  69. Macart says:

    And after two days we’re finally off and running with comments on this story over at the Guardian.

    Have fun. 🙂 

  70. Longshanker says:

    But the Scottish Government does not
    I suppose it’s suitable apologist justification for inflicting such ignominy on British Society, but it only further justifies the moral repugnance claims I’ve made regarding Salmond’s preparation for action. Insularity to that degree is not the kind of Independent Scotland I would like to see.

      Clarify please – what is my side?”

    The Union.

    You like evidence to be incontrovertible. I challenge you to either provide said evidence or retract your claim. I’ll wager you’ll do neither.

    1) Because there’s no evidence.

    2) You’re narcissism wouldn’t let you even if you wanted to.    

  71. RevStu says:

    Sorry, I don’t quite follow – are you disputing that you’re a Unionist?

  72. douglas clark says:


    As you no doubt know, I think you are an idiot.

    It is difficult for you to pretend to be anything other than a Unionist. You swim like a Cameron, you walk like Clegg and you quack like a fucking duck.
    Why should there be any doubt?
    Stop the pretence. You are what you are.

  73. Longshanker says:


    “Sorry, I don’t quite follow – are you disputing that you’re a Unionist?”  

    I’m disputing nothing. I’m stating that you appear to believe in the sanctity of incontrovertible evidence before claims of alleged ‘guilt’ can be legitimised.

    For example, the allegations that Bill Walker is a wife beater are unproven. The Labour party and certain newspapers are engaging in a smear campaign and without proven guilt it is just plain wrong because anyone could be the target.  Fine, fair and upstanding stuff.

    Show me the incontrovertible evidence that I am a Unionist or retract your claim. Otherways, you are a hypocrite on your own moral terms.

    Did you not say? 

    “One day it might be you, or someone you care about, that the tabloid-reading public has judged in the absence of facts, just because they don’t like the look of their face or because they’ve assumed that all allegations of vile crimes are automatically true because “there’s no smoke without fire”. And if it does happen, don’t be surprised if there’s nobody left to give a damn about your rights any more.”  

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