FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has hailed News International boss Rupert Murdoch as a “remarkable man” while defended his relationship with the Australian media mogul in an interview with GQ magazine.
The publication of the full interview, conducted by former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell, reveals that Mr Salmond also has a “sneaking regard” for Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
Salmond’s comments on Russian president Vladimir Putin during the same interview have been criticised by Prime Minister David Cameron
On the subject of Murdoch, Mr Salmond admitted to Campbell that he likes the mogul, and suggested there is nothing wrong with Salmond developing a relationship with him.
“He is a remarkable man. What is wrong with this relationship? Why shouldn’t politicians engage with people in the media? I am unsure where this is taking you my boy,” Mr Salmond told Mr Campbell.
In response to Mr Campbell’s suggestion that politicians and the media can become too close, Mr Salmond added: “Relations with media are an inevitable part of discourse. The test is do you administer policy without fear or favour. And I do.”
When asked if he respected Mr Farage, Mr Salmond answered: “He has a certain bonhomie but it is not enough. He is having influence beyond his significance so you have to admire that. There is a constituency for saloon bar politics and he has played it out. I have a sneaking regard for anyone who takes on powerful establishments.”
Mr Salmond also suggests that Scotland’s destructive relationship with alcohol is down to a lack of confidence as a nation.