Wings over Scotland defends robust blogging style in Alex Salmond interview

The man behind the controversial Wings over Scotland political blog has defended his robust writing style in an interview with former First Minister Alex Salmond.

Stuart Campbell was interviewed by Alex Salmond in his home town of Bath for the Russia Today (RT) channel
Stuart Campbell was interviewed by Alex Salmond in his home town of Bath for the Russia Today (RT) channel

Stuart Campbell, a committed supporter of Scottish independence, has regularly faced criticism for the language used in his output on social media as well as strongly-worded attacks on those he deems to be political rivals.

The former SNP leader travelled to Bath, Mr Campbell's hometown, to interview the man he described as "Scotland's most controversial and most successful political blogger" for the Alex Salmond Show produced by Russia Today (RT), a Kremlin-backed broadcaster.

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Asked if there were any blog posts that he regretted, Mr Campbell replied: "The one we got a lot of criticism for was one about the now sadly deceased Tory MSP Alex Johnstone. He issued a horrible attack on Chris and Colin Weir, the lottery winners and SNP donors.

"I called him quite unpleasant names in that article. It's the only time we've really been rude on the website rather than on the Twitter account, which I regard as a separate entity. I don't really regret it as such. I think it was absolutely fair comment and I don't feel particularly bad about the language either."

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'Wings Over Scotland defeated by freedom of speech'

In the blog post in question, published on the Wings over Scotland website in 2014, Mr Campbell described Mr Johnstone as as a liar and "fat troughing scum".

In a letter of complaint to the official Yes campaign for independence, Mr Johnstone, who died in 2016, wrote: "If describing an MSP as a 'fat, troughing scum' is your idea of a well-made argument or a clever way to debunk myths, then the standard of our national debate really has fallen into disrepair.

"I do not care what Wings Over Scotland says about me or any other pro-Union politician. But I do think as a supposedly reputable campaigning organisation, you should immediately condemn this abuse."

Mr Johnstone's letter caused the Yes campaign to ask a local campaign group to stop distributing leaflets which recommended reading Mr Campbell's website.

Earlier in the interview, Mr Campbell said he had been "an independence guy all my life", adding that his father had worked for former SNP leader Billy Wolfe.

Asked by Mr Salmond how he defended his "use of language" on social media, Mr Campbell replied: "I always find it comical that Scottish people pretend to be offended by a bit of swearing. The most beloved Scottish cultural export of all time is Billy Connolly. A man who has turned swearing into an art form. Frankie Boyle is very much the same.

"I don't believe we should practice dictionary apartheid."

On the subject of a second independence referendum, Mr Campbell said: "We've said on Wings for some time now that the SNP, Scottish Government, however you want to put it, should probably have been more proactive in the last few years.

"I personally would like to have seen a court challenge with regard to whether we need a Section 30 order or not to hold a second referendum. There's a great deal of legal opinion on both sides of that argument. The Edinburgh Agreement did not settle that issue.”