Journalist Alan Cochrane storms off radio debate after heated exchange


By a Newsnet reporter
Telegraph columnist Alan Cochrane has stormed off of a radio debate after a heated discussion on the effect the Olympic Games has had on support for Scottish independence.
The controversial journalist, who has strong Unionist views, took offence after being labelled a “Fascist Tory Git” by his opponent Martin Hannan.

Both men were taking part in a live debate on the Radio Five Live show Your Call, hosted by Scot Nicky Campbell.

Mr Hannan was responding to Mr Cochrane’s mocking dismissal of the date of the independence referendum when he made the remark, resulting in Mr Cochrane storming off air saying “that’s it, that’s it – goodbye Nicky.”

The exchange saw Mr Cochrane claim that the Olympic Games had resulted in a “Brit Fest” of celebration in Scotland that left Alex Salmond with a “big problem” that had been “magnified twenty times” and that Mr Salmond “is going to get a hammering” when the ballot is eventually held.

The journalist, claimed that the First Minister did not want a referendum and was trying to get out of the 2014 ballot.

However Mr Cochrane’s views were challenged by Mr Hannan who accused him of trying to “mislead” the people of Britain as to what was happening in Scotland. 

Describing Mr Cochrane’s claims as “a pile of utter tosh”, the independence supporting journalist insisted that the euphoria of the Olympics would fade within “five or six weeks”.

The exchange ended abruptly when Mr Cochrane, a regular political pundit on BBC Scotland, took offence at the ‘fascist’ remark.  Mr Hannan apologised shortly afterwards.

However, many who follow politics will have been surprised by Mr Cochrane’s apparent sensitivities over the use of the term ‘fascist’ given that he himself has compared Alex Salmond to two fascist dictators, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin.

In January, Mr Cochrane described the SNP leader of having “an almost Stalinist grip” on his party and mocked Mr Salmond who he said had an “incredibly thin skin” and had “bribed” his critics into silence.

These remarks followed an earlier article when the journalist described Mr Salmond to Il Duce, a reference to former Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini.

Hear the exchange between Mr Cochrane and Mr Hannan here: