Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alex Salmond and Rupert Murdoch

This tweet reminds me of something I blogged in 2012 after Alex Salmond refused to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Scotland:
I am instinctively sympathetic to the idea of small nations, but today's events have done nothing to make the prospect of an independent Scotland more attractive. 
They have reminded me of Alex Salmond's appearance before the Leveson Inquiry. You can read his evidence on the inquiry website, but this quote from a Daily Record report is telling: 
“I have no responsibility for broadcasting policy, I have no responsibility for plurality in the press but I do have a responsibility for jobs and investment in Scotland.” 
I don't find the idea that the provision of jobs in Scotland trumps concerns of media plurality or media ethics appealing. And if you heard Salmond you would have gained the impression that he would have little time for such considerations even if they were his legal responsibility. 
It is easy to imagine an independent Scotland, at least one with Salmond and the SNP in charge, being a little too keen to placate the powerful and unattractive, whether it is Rupert Murdoch or the Chinese government, out of a fear of losing jobs.
It also reminds me of this Herald report from the following year:
The police investigation into alleged misconduct by journalists in Scotland has effectively come to an end. 
Spending on Operation Rubicon has fallen to a trickle, and, by this summer, only three officers were working on the probe. 
Moreover, John McSporran, who was the senior investigating officer on the case, has retired from the force. In reference to Rubicon, 
McSporran said on his social media profile: "Retired at the end of this enquiry." ... 
During the Leveson inquiry, set up to examine the ethics of the press, the then chief constable of Strathclyde, Stephen House, said he had "no doubt" there were individuals in his force "who are in receipt of money from various people". 
As a result of the investigation, Bob Bird, the former editor of the Scottish edition of the News of the World, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. 
Douglas Wight, news editor on the Sunday tabloid, was charged with perjury, conspiring to hack phones, and of multiple counts of conspiracy to obtain personal data. 
However, despite an initial flurry of activity, the work of Operation Rubicon now looks to be at an end.

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