Tom Peterkin: Alex Salmond has fun and games political reality show
At FIRST, there was an easy air of charm and confidence about Alex Salmond when he appeared on the Leveson Show yesterday.
Unlike some of the guests on the daytime chat-show that has gripped those with nothing better to do than watch 24-hours news channels, the First Minister was a bit of a natural.
Where others had struggled with the edgy interview styles of the co-hosts Lord Leveson and Robert Jay, QC, Salmond settled down and attempted to schmooze his way through his interrogation.
The First Minister regaled his hosts with a couple of anecdotes, shamelessly plugged a few SNP policies and gave the London studio audience his take on Scottish culture.
It was almost as if the First Minister wanted to dispel any suggestion that he was not interesting enough to have his phone hacked by the News of the World, such was his desire to entertain.
In that regard, he started promisingly with a witticism that left Leveson speechless for a moment – his head plunged deep into his hands. Salmond pounced when Leveson inaccurately described Westminster as “the English Parliament”.
“I like that term, I approve of it,” quipped Salmond, to much laughter.
But the real show-stopper was Salmond’s claim that a journalist working for the Observer newspaper had hacked into his bank account back in 1999.
“I had bought some toys for my then, at that time, young nieces in a toy shop in Linlithgow High Street which was called Fun and Games, and the person who informed me told me that this caused great anticipation and hope in the Observer investigation unit because they believed that perhaps Fun and Games was more than a conventional toy shop,” Salmond said.
There was “enormous disappointment” at the newspaper when it turnedout that Fun and Games did not refer to something more salacious.
Yesterday’s fun and games continued as Salmond advised Jay on the finer points of Gaelic pronunciation and informed his hosts that Rupert Murdoch’s grandfather had been a Kirk minister in Cruden Bay.
And had his inquisitors been the slightest bit interested in recommendations for their summer reading lists, Salmond’s exhortation to get Jim Webb’s book Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America would have been most helpful.
But it was Salmond’s relationship with Murdoch that they were interested in.
The atmosphere cooled dramatically when Jay suggested that Salmond had offered his support for the Murdoch take-over of BSkyB bid in return for the Sun’s support of the SNP.
“There was no quid pro quo,” Salmond insisted, before retreating to the green room to reflect on a polished performance on the media village’s most popular political reality show.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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