Denigration and Spite

salmondBy Mike Small

Chris Deerin famously wrote that ‘Scots have a clear moral duty to stay British’ . He was head of comment at the Telegraph till 2013 and previously political editor of the Daily Record and executive editor of Scotland on Sunday.

So he’s never going to love Salmond’s referendum diaryThe Dream Shall Never Die — 100 Days that Changed Scotland Forever’, but his account ‘The 45’s Biggest problem’ is truly hilarious.

He starts by ridiculing Salmond for referring to his dad as his ‘Faither’, a wonderful insight into Deerin’s worldview to kick us off.

He complains that ‘Denigration and spite provide the book’s rhythm: it has a backbeat of malice’. He’s clearly not read his former colleague Alan Cochrane’s account which is spittle-flecked with invective.

Deerin writes:

‘Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the widely respected permanent secretary of the Treasury, who has worked with three chancellors and is the longest-serving senior mandarin in Whitehall, ‘radiated hostility’ towards independence during the campaign.”

This a jaw-dropping assertion given the now-public facts about civil device collusion and abuse of power as revealed by the Sunday herald only a week ago ‘Revealed: Civil servant who issued RBS leak email links with Better Together leader’.

He continues, quoting Salmond: “The BBC’s coverage of the campaign is ‘entirely malicious’, and it is this ‘lack of real journalism’ that caused 1,500 people — his figure — to ‘spontaneously’ protest outside its Glasgow HQ.” The inference here is of course that the protests were somehow ‘masterminded’ by some malign force, presumably the SNP or the Yes campaign? It’s a regular trope of unionist commentators to assume that the movement is being controlled from some central command post. The idea of self-organisation is so alien to these people that it’s impossible for them to conceive of it.

Did he think there wasn’t or isn’t widespread hostility to the BBC coverage? Perhaps Salmond invented that? It’s unclear.

The essence of Deerin’s review is that Salmond is the problem, a massively flawed egoist and a dangerous bloated glory-hunter. It’s a demolition piece. It’s an odd account given that Salmond transformed the SNP, delivered two landslide victories and his party is on the verge of a historic UK victory, he was twice named Politician of the Year, and led the Yes campaign in the face of extraordinary hostility. But Deerin is hopelessly trapped in last years battles and the message and political focus is still simply: “Get Salmond”.

He writes without a trace of irony:  “A comical lack of self-awareness runs like a burbling stream through the book.”

 

 

 

 



Categories: Review

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19 replies

  1. It is a truly terrible book though and I do wish it had not been published. It does not serve either Salmond or Scotland well. Hopefully more people will buy it than read it. For a short book covering the most exciting period in our recent history it is a real slog and incredibly dull.

  2. Just read that Deerin article about “moral duty” for the first time – what a steaming pile of horse manure.

  3. Here we have Mike Small denouncing Chris Deerin for denouncing Alex Salmond’s book for being full of malicious denunciation.
    It is all getting very inward looking.
    At the heart of SLAB’s (probable) terminal decline is the fact that it became inward looking.
    It became inward looking because it assumed – as so many supporting YES do today – that the future belonged to it.

  4. Soon to be found in bargain bins. Alex will be the faither of oor nation and that will stick in his craw

  5. “‘Scots have a clear moral duty to stay British”

    That is so funny I just thought it worth repeating. Public school ‘elite’ piffle. The British state knows nothing about morality.

  6. I disagree Monty, it’s a book that offers a unique perspective by the greatest politician of our time. The nuances of how things unfolded are fascinating to anyone with an interest in this event, no slog for me.

    The book of course provides another opportunity for all the rabid Unionists to dust off their old insults and tired rhetoric, which I’m sure Salmond fully expected. As he said, there were more at his Aberdeen book signing, than attending the Fibdem conference, and Clegg has the nerve to call SNP, a rag tag mob. The pics from both events tell the story.

    • I just expected more. It feels lazy and it does not really give any insight into the events or the man. I feel he signed the contact and so had to deliver something but it does not seem like a book that had to be written, it seems forced and he seems strangely removed from events. I was just a bit disappointed I think and it would have been better to return the advance than publish this thin, unrevealing and pointless book. Hopefully we will get a better more considered volume someday with a bit more effort put into it

  7. If the person referred to as leading the BetterTogether campaign is Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, it s hardly surprising he ‘has links with the chief Civil Servant’. I hear, scandalously that something similar happened with the Yes campaign leader and the First Minister (who presumably, one hopes (!) had links with Scottish Civil Servants?)? Oh yes, it was one and the same man!

  8. Deerin rates 7 Murphys on my minceometer where 10 Murphys equals ‘uttermince’.

    This compares with Alan Cochrane who comes in at 6.5 Murphys, Jenny Hujl at 6.1 Murphys and Alex Massie on 7.4 Murphys. Jim ‘Scotch Labour is its own boss’ Murphy is the benchmark at 10 Murphys

    As for Ms Sourby she was off the Murphy scale on Marr’s BBC program and into the ‘totalpish’ scale – this measurement takes over once 10 Murphys is exceeded and is known as the Cameron. Ms Sourby rated 5.2 Camerons.

  9. M.J.McMad……brilliant!!!! Psst where does McTernan fit in Ahm wondering if He’s off the Totally Pish scale?

  10. “Burbling streams” are pleasant things.

    For more on Salmond’s book: http://wp.me/p4fd9j-16p

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