Scottish Government forced dumping of Jim Wallace from public event

The Daily Telegraph carried on Friday (24th February)  a distasteful insight into an act of petty vindictiveness by the Scottish Government against the Advocate General for Scotland, former Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader, former minister and now peer, Jim Wallace.

The Orcadian, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, had, as Advocate General,  been responsible for drawing up the legal advice for the Westminster government that claimed that Holyrood did not have the legal power to hold a valid referendum.

The airline, Loganair, was holding a celebratory dinner to mark its 50th anniversary.

The narrative published by The Daily Telegraph shows:

  • the airline first inviting Alex Salmond, the First Minister, to give the keynote speech at the dinner.
  • when he proved too busy to accept, they approached Lord Wallace
  • who formally accepted on 11th January 2012
  • and hours later was contacted by Scott Grier of Loganair, withdrawing the invitation
  • saying that, ‘he had been contacted by the Scottish government and Jim was very clearly not their favourite son,’ as the Telegraph quotes ‘one senior source’ as saying, followed by: ‘Jim’s profile in the referendum debate was also mentioned as a reason why he should not deliver the speech.’
  • Logainair then issued an invitation to the Scottish Government to perform the speech
  • Transport Minister, Keith Brown was put forward and giving the address at the dinner in Glasgow on 1st February.

Mr Wallace’s successor as for Orkney, Laim McArthur , is reported to have said in a local Orkney newspaper, that Scottish Government  ‘officials advised Loganair that it would not be in the company’s interests to have Jim Wallace as their guest speaker’.

We have drawn attention before to a very real Stalinist tendency in the Scottish Government and this is another such incident. It is additionally worrying that this report shows Scottish Government officials as the apparently willing agents for such manoeuvres. They are required to maintain political neutrality.

One understands and has sympathy for the scar tissue grown deep in the psyche of the SNP from the days when they were treated as outcasts and traitors simply for believing in an independent Scotland.

However, one would hope that such a proposed independent nation would not choose the Stalinist monoculture as its modus operandi and that it would find the grace for spiritual generosity, open debate and inclusiveness.

The Daily Telegraph piece has been a disturbingly unpleasant insight into the mindset proposed for Scotland.

It has also to be said that one can have no respect for Loganair in this. It is compliance with this sort of corporate bullying that is its fast breeder reactor, with all of the toxic residue that metaphor conjures up.

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15 Responses to Scottish Government forced dumping of Jim Wallace from public event

  1. Interesting report though am a bit sceptical of the sources.

    Seems to me that the LibDems are just miffed that Lord Wallace didn’t get a public platform on which to launch into a staunch defence of the “Union” and the usual threats to business if the people vote for independence.

    It does seem, on the otherhand, more appropriate that Scotland’s Transport Minister (of whatever party) is able to make a speech to a transport industry, where the Scottish Governments ambitions for the industry can be spelled out. A bit more interesting and relevant for those attending I would suspect.

    Some of us, with longer memories, recall the really distasteful and petty act of Donald Dewar and the Labour Party blocking a knighthood for Sean Connery, because of his support for the SNP.

    Some of us are bewildered and despairing of the LibDems in Scotland – with no mandate from the Scottish people – forcing through Tory cuts in Scotland.

    The LibDems in Scotland might be miffed that their “Dear Leader” Wallace was excused attendance at the event, but they need to get over it and understand that they are, at present a very minor player in Scotland, albeit with power gifted to them by a Tory Government elected elsewhere in the UK.

    They were rejected by the electorate for a reason and would do well to reflect on this with some humility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • And many remember the press reports of the then Labour and Lib Dem coalition at Holyrood, gleefully assigning the offices ‘down by the bins’ to the SNP MSPs when the new parliament building was getting ready to be occupied.

      But two wrongs…

      And no one ever lost by being large.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Was the Connery thing ever actually proved though. I recall the SNP demanded access to documents which they claim would prove that the reason for it was his support of independence however there was no shortage of people claiming he was blocked it because he seemed fairly OK about giving the wife a slap to keep her in order.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Surely – to be fair – a ‘Stalinist tendency’ is not the preserve of some people in any one political party, rather it’s been detectable in what I used to think of as the ‘lunatic fringes’ of quite a variety of political groups – the real worry is when the infection spreads – for example in Glasgow city council, as well as (maybe) Holyrood and (not to forget Kilmory), into mainstream politics – and starts to threaten democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • OK so the Daily Telegraph is politically Conservative – and thus no particular friend of either the SNP or the LibDems – but although I’m not familiar with the work of its Scottish political editor, on reading the story it seemed credible.

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  3. Patsy- Worse than that I’ve seen numpties quote For Argyll as a reliable source ;)

    And talking of Stalinist tendencies did big Robert ‘Trotsky’ McIntyre get it with the ice-pick right enough?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Companies should be able to invite whomever they want to their own events, without fear or favour. For Argyll hits the nail on the head with this one, in identifying ‘Stalinist tendencies’.

    I’m glad Kevin raised the topic of Sean Connery. It gives me the chance to remind him, and others, of these facts:

    1. Connery is a tax exile – well-known and not in dispute. Even with the SNP in power he has shown no interest in returning to Scotland. Doesn’t show the passion for the country that you’d expect, does it?

    2. He approves of physical violence against women (as Integrity? etc points out):

    3. He advertised Japanese whisky:

    Are you still saying that the government of the day was wrong to deny him the vanity title that he craves?

    Frankly, I am not much of a fan of any such title. But if they do exist, then to bestow one on Connery would make Scotland look pitiful and pathetic. It was a great decision not to award him one. Well done Donald Dewar, I say.

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    • Come on, Mairi, pay attention!

      Like you I am no fan of the “title” thing and it may have escaped your notice that there are no SNP nominees in the House of Lords and, incidently there is no machinery in Scotland that bestows titles on anyone, but Connery has been knighted so who does that make look silly and pathetic?

      Dewar was happy enough to pose with Connery and enlist his support in the campaign for the Scottish Parliament in 1997.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. People in glass houses (again)?

    The learned Doctor and some of “the usual suspects” are constantly slagging Simon off for supposedly changing the subject not that I have come across much,if any, evidence of this but this thread has been diverted and it has nothing to do with Simon as far as I can see.

    I see on the BBC website that the SG overlooked the paymment of VAT on the new Supercop force and the new Fire and Rescue service. Tut Tut lads and lassies – could do better.

    Clearly the SNP are not as clever as they like to appear!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. I can’t find any confirmation of this gossip anywhere – the Telegraph’s source appears to be “friends of the former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader ”

    The government have denied it and claimed that the invitation to Jim Brown was issued in October last year, while Loganair have made no pertinent comment.

    Apart from the Telegraph, only the Times seem to have picked this up. Even the anti-indy blogosphere seems to have made little of it – suggesting there is not much real meat to be chewed over.

    So far this month Newsroom has given us:

    Much more of this and the SNP will have written its name on the same page as the BNP

    and now

    “We have drawn attention before to a very real Stalinist tendency . . . ”

    Come on ForArgyll, you seem to be confused as to what brand of evil the SNP represent. Time to make up your mind – are they Fascists or Stalinists? Or maybe Maoist revisionists?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The governmnet has not denied it – they have side-stepped it, as have Loganair. Anyoe who reads the statements with a modicum of care will see that.

      It is wilfully naive to dismiss this as gossip on the grounds that the only obvious sources in the Telegraph’s revelatory story are ”friends’ of Lord Wallace.

      The journalistic use of ”friends of…’ or ‘sources close to…’ is very often code for the person themselves and in the rare case, as this may be, when it was not the primary source, it is never less direct than people who have been told directly by the primary source and who have been given permission to speak, effectively on their behalf.

      This ‘one degree removed’ position is about ‘deniability’ – not to deny the events but to be able to deny that you are the one that has talked about them. It is used when it in the publlc interest that an incident should be disclosed – as this is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. The governmnet has not denied it – they have side-stepped it

    Oh really? I suggest you read the Telegraph article again and tell me which part of “SNP ministers denied the allegations” you don’t understand.

    Anyway, what about the important question here, one on which Newsroom seems to be wavering – or havering. Are the SNP fascists or communists? The electorate surely have a right to know.

    Of course, it doesn’t really matter to ForArgyll any more does it? It seems that since the New Year any stick will do to beat the SNP with.

    As for

    The Daily Telegraph piece has been a disturbingly unpleasant insight into the mindset proposed for Scotland.

    . . . I wasn’t aware that we were going to be voting for a ‘mindset’, I thought it was about constitutional reform.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. The undernoted quatrain was written by Douglas Young in 1947.
    Was he being prescient? It seems to fit.

    “They libbit William Wallace,
    He gart them bleed.
    They dinna libb MacFoozle,
    They dinna need.”

    from “On a North British Devolutionary”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Once again –make up and print a story in order to get a denial–then make a further story up to keep it going.
    Then use certain negative language such as “stalinist” etc to entice the reader to agree with you.
    Please FA get back to facts and not heresay
    “One senior source ” —who? If you don’t know, don’t print
    “..Mr Wallace’s successor as for Orkney, Laim McArthur , is reported to have said in a local Orkney newspaper…”, Is reported to have said…” —- does that mean he did or he he may have or I think that is what he said?
    Come on FA — “It is reported from one senior source that alleges that FA are making stories up as part of a stalinist/facist plot (please delete the less tasteful) to undermine the Scottish Government as part of an alleged Telegraph hacking plot involving ABC, allegedly”
    DISCLAIMER -Please note any similarities between any living or dead journalist is purely coincidental unless you know better—night night!

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