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.