Media awards night promises intriguing eavesdropping

THIS evening, the great and the good of the Highlands media scene gather in Nairn for their annual awards ceremony – a fine old night is expected to be had by all.

This year’s guest of honour is to be local MP, Danny Alexander, who happens also to be Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Coalition Government at Westminster.

But the journalists in attendance may find themselves interested more in the conversation involving Alexander and a fellow top-table guest than his keynote speech and his doling out of prizes to the winning reporters and photographers.

It is understood that Alexander is to be sat next to Group Captain J Johnson (known as JJ), base commander at RAF Kinloss which is due to close following…er, Treasury-sanctioned defence cuts and the controversial cancellation of a £4 billion Nimrod aircraft programme.

It is being estimated that closure of the base will mean a loss to local economy of £70 million. Defence analysts and military chiefs also say that the loss of the Nimrod spy plane will leave a gaping hole in the UK defences.

Local action group, the Moray Task Force, is waiting to hear of any financial assistance the Treasury will provide to mitigate the effect of pulling the plug on the base.