Former First Minister Alex Salmond responds to a column by Euan McColm in Scotland on Sunday.
IN HIS column “Home truths” (23 April), Euan McColm describes me as “the divisive character he’d become by the time he stood down as First Minister”.
Of course it is not in the nature of politics to secure agreement from everyone but unfortunately for Mr McColm, such matters are capable of measurement and not just subject to his failing memory.
In October 2014, as I prepared to step down as First Minister, the regular Mori Scottish monitor recorded 65 per cent satisfaction with the way I was doing my job as First Minister, a positive net rating of a record plus 35 per cent. Indeed only once in that quarterly series during my time as First Minister did I record a negative rating.
In contrast the current Prime Minister, on the same question in a YouGov poll last weekend, was plus 17 across the UK but minus 23 in Scotland. Tony Blair at one time held satisfaction ratings in the high 60s but then he invaded Iraq and his ratings in the years before he left office were below the water line at submarine depths.
Of course I wasn’t really the target of McColm – it was my successor Nicola Sturgeon. Therefore it is worth noting that on this month’s comprehensive Ashcroft polling our First Minister was by some distance the most popular politician in Scotland. It seems therefore that her advocacy of independence may lose her the support of some but clearly commands the respect of many.
There is a difference between journalists and politicians. The expectation is that politicians will pursue principle recognising that some people will fundamentally disagree. The expectation is that journalists, while holding opinions, will be able to separate them from fact.
My opinion is that for a good number of years Mr McColm has been unable to separate his ultra unionist views from fact. He is still entitled to hold them, of course, but perhaps “home truths” is not the ideal title under which to express them.
Alex Salmond MP