Scotsman newspaper article “adrift from reality” says former MSP


by G.A.Ponsonby 

The Scotsman newspaper has been accused of publishing a story that misinterprets the views of a former MSP in order to attack Alex Salmond.

Professor Chris Harvie, who recently stood down as the SNP’s representative for mid Scotland and Fife, accused the newspaper of publishing an article that was full of “imaginative assertions”.

The respected historian was responding to an article published yesterday that appeared on the newspaper’s front page headlined ‘Retiring SNP MSP in bitter attack on Alex Salmond’.

In the article the paper claimed that the former MSP had written a book that contained a “withering critique” of the First Minister’s four years in government.

The article depicted an image of the First Minister with a caption that said “under fire”.  It described Professor Harvie as ‘taking aim’ at the ‘Salmond regime’ and claimed that the former MSP’s comments will “reinforce the mounting dissatisfaction” within the nationalist movement.

However Professor Harvie has hit back by accusing the newspaper of misinterpreting what he said.

In a letter sent to the Scotsman, Professor Harvie said: “Contrary to The Scotsman’s front-page headline, your interpretation of my remarks is far adrift from reality.

“Alex Salmond is a great friend and confidant who has energised Scottish politics. I am unlikely ever to forget his first approach to me, 23 years ago, to do a broadcast: “We had the choice of Sean Connery or you. We chose you.”

The professor questioned the newspaper’s interpretation of his remarks and added: “Alex has always been approachable and tolerant, and I am glad to have had Holyrood and the SNP as a stage on which to voice my experience and opinions.

“Despite your equally imaginative assertions about how I feel, I am fully involved in securing a victory for the SNP in what has proved to be a remarkable campaign.

“Alex Salmond is a class act and the only real choice for Scotland’s First Minister.  Re-electing him will give Scotland’s people a fighting chance in difficult times.”

Professor Harvie was a member of the Labour Party from 1962 to 1988, and was involved in the campaign for a Scottish Assembly in 1979.  Labour’s stance on nuclear weapons led him to leave the party in the eighties and move to the SNP.