Scotsman Subject of Sharp Criticism from Salmond

The Scotsman newspaper has come in for sharp criticism from Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond.

In an interview with the editor of Holyrood magazine, Mandy Rhodes, Salmond is described at being “incandescent” at at article in The Scotsman, concerning Salmond's recent criticism of the Supreme Court, in London, overturning a judgement by Scotland’s highest court to convict Nat Fraser of murdering his estranged wife, Arlene, following her disappearance 13 years ago.

Rhodes sets the scene: “Salmond and I sit down in the drawing room of Bute House for what should be a positive, uplifting kind of post-election interview. This, however, on the day The Scotsman newspaper describes him as being ‘Humpty Dumpty’, living in an Alice in Wonderland fantasy in regard to the Supreme Court affair.

“Salmond is incandescent and in no mood to forgive or to discuss much more than the here and now. With steely determination and brushing off all my attempts to divert the direction of travel for the interview, he lists what he sees as the many inaccuracies in The Scotsman’s coverage of the Supreme Court debate, he decries the quality of its journalists, its editor and its stories and says that while there are many things that he himself does not understand, he categorically does not understand The Scotsman newspaper.”

The Scotsman's take was that Salmond is factually incorrect in his reading of the Supreme Court's authority. The leader begins: “When he says something, it therefore must be true. Or is it? Alex Salmond's attacks on the UK Supreme Court are taking on ever more of an Alice Through The Looking Glass quality – with the First Minister in the role of Humpty Dumpty. 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less'.”

Salmond is quoted by Rhodes, as saying: “Even if I was the most pronounced unionist in the world and thought the whole idea of Scotland was a silly historical aberration and thought that the Scottish justice system was the worst legal system in the world, if I was editing The Scotsman newspaper, then I would still ask myself, ‘why would anyone buy my newspaper rather than buying a rather better alternative’ and they might do it because I have a unique insight and support for the Scottish dimension and hopefully, once you have that, you get better journalists and better writers but what I don’t understand is that the editor sees circulation going down and down and yet the response is to publish more and more of this stuff.”

McLellan told “The Scotsman has always been supportive of devolution and, indeed, backs the case for fiscal autonomy. In case Mr Salmond has forgotten, we actually backed him for First Minister. Unfortunately, in this particular instance, he appears not to have taken our criticism of him very well. But it would be laughable for a newspaper not to criticise when it thinks it appropriate. We hand out criticism and we accept being criticised and therefore I am not in the slightest bothered by his attack on us. Calm down, Alex, dear.”