Darling under pressure to apologise after recording casts doubt on ‘Blood and Soil Nationalism’ denial

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darling  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
The head of the anti-independence campaign, is facing demands to apologise this evening after an audio recording of an interview appeared to hear him claim that the SNP is a ‘Blood and Soil’ nationalist party.

Labour MP Alistair Darling, who heads the Better Together campaign, found himself at the centre of a furious row last week after he was quoted by a leading magazine saying, “The SNP does not offer a civic nationalism….at heart it is blood and soil nationalism.”

The comment caused outrage after it emerged ‘Blood and Soil’ was a slogan used by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s and 40s, where it translated as “Blut und Boden”.

However the controversy quietened when Mr Darling denied uttering the phrase or expressing any such view and the magazine in question, the New Statesman, quickly issued a statement blaming the quote on a transcription error. 

In an official statement, the Better Together campaign denied that Mr Darling had said “anything like” the idea that the SNP espouse ‘blood and soil nationalism’.

However, the denials were called into question this evening after the magazine released an audio of the section of the interview in question.

In the exchange between Mr Darling and the journalist conducting the interview, New Statesman Editor Jason Cowley, Mr Darling is heard challenging the description of the SNP as a party of ‘civic nationalism’.

Responding to a description of the SNP as a party of ‘civic nationalism’, the Labour MP quickly replies “No it isn’t”.

However, asked what Alex Salmond’s party is based and whether it is “blood and soil nationalism”, the Better Together head appears to agree with the interviewer, replying: “Ye … at heart”. 

Mr Darling also went on to compare Alex Salmond with the former North Korean dictator Kim Jong il.

The release of the interview by the New Statesman has led to calls from the Scottish National Party for a full apology from the Better Together head.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Glasgow Humza Yousaf said:

“It’s clear that the people of Scotland can’t believe a word the No campaign say. Not content with causing great offence by insulting the hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland who vote SNP, Alistair Darling and senior staff in the No campaign then denied to the media that he had said ‘anything like’ this. But the record shows that he did.

“Alistair Darling should issue an immediate apology for expressing such an insulting and offensive view.”