The headline rages of the First Minister against Aberdeen City Council continue to feature in the national media.
They arise over the council’s criticism of an unscheduled visit Mr Salmond made to a city primary school – Bramble Brae – without the necessary clearance from the head teacher.
The visit was made during the recent Aberdeen Donside by-election campaign, capitalising on the threat of closure to the school by the majority Labour-led coalition in power in the council.
The First Minister’s office had issued a ‘media calling’ notice to summon the plankton to the school gates where the materialisation of the First Minister was assured.
The session ended with the First Minister entering the school itself – without accompanying media – at the invitation of a member of its parent council, through a back door and without the knowledge and permission of the head teacher, an obligatory requirement in child protection procedures.
Mr Salmond is said to have ‘addressed ‘ the pupils of a P6 class in what he reasonably describes as an ‘impromptu’ visit, although ignoring the fact that the regulations exist specifically to prevent impromptu visits to schools by anyone.
The council’s legitimate criticism of the incident has been met with a firestorm of fury by the First Minister, in intemperate communications making headlines across the country, accusing Aberdeen City Council of ‘behaving in an extreme manner’ and of risking the reputation of the city and its people.
The council, of course, has the right of it. The First Minister did enter the school and address pupils with neither the knowledge nor permission of the head teacher – and, for obvious reasons, there can be no variation on that requirement.
The word from amused insiders in Edinburgh on the First Minister’s noisy overreaction, is that Mr Salmond is on a weight reduction programme and is even more flash tempered than usual. He is said to have been stung by a comic tag doing the rounds in certain circles in the Holyrood village, referring to himself and Education Secretary, Michael Russell, as ‘Shrek and Shriek’.