Scottish Government Disputes Daily Mail Claim

A newspaper claim that Scottish Government media officers have been instructed to desist from using the word, ‘independence’, in their communications, has been forcefully rebutted.

Yesterday, allmediascotland.com noted Scottish Daily Mail political reporter, Simon Johnson, claiming guidelines had been issued, listing the vocabulary that should – and in the case of the ‘i-word’ – shouldn’t be used.

It followed a request made under Freedom of Information legislation by the newspaper, which resulted in a fairly lengthy document being sent (see below). And no mention is made of ‘independence’ being off-limits.

Kevin Pringle, senior special adviser to First Minister, Alex Salmond, told allmediascotland.com: “It just shows that you can’t believe everything you read in the papers. The document makes two clear references to the benefits of independence, both in terms of stressing the success of the small, independent nations that form an ‘arc of prosperity’ around Scotland – Ireland, Norway and Iceland – and our strategic approach to building the case for independence by demonstrating that if Scotland can be governed well in the devolved areas, we can be governed equally well in all areas. It is that positive, optimistic approach that won the election, and is also making us a successful government.”

Johnson told allmediascotland: “The article directly quotes the sections where independence is mentioned. However, this is always in terms of the wider strategic thrust of the message press officers should seek to get across. ie: the arc of prosperity. When it comes down to the ‘key words and phrases’ section that aims to pinpoint the ‘words minsters believe sum up their values’ then ‘independence’ is conspicuous by its absence.”

Headlined ‘Speaking for the New Scottish Government’, the document reads as follows:

Our job is to present, promote and explain the actions of the Scottish Government.