19 May 2006


The Herald reports that the First Minister is unhappy with the notorious Economist article:

"The article brought an unusually strong counter-attack from the first minister's spokesman, who said: "This is little more than the rambling thoughts of someone on a day trip from London. It would be hard to disagree more with the so-called special report. It is poorly researched, badly written and just plain wrong."I would really expect the Economist to be more rigorous than simply to recycle negative press cuttings."
The offending article is here. The bit which will have aroused the First Minister's ire is as follows:

"The present incumbent is Jack McConnell, the only one of the three [First Ministers] not to have served at Westminster. A product of local government—which, especially in the west, is richly peopled in many minds with “numpties”, ie, bone-headed placemen—he has conspicuously chosen not to give ministerial jobs to several capable colleagues."
But The Economist does not actually call Mr McConnell a numpty, even if it implies that he surrounds himself with them. This is probably going a bit far, even if the Scottish cabinet has not exactly distinguished itself in terms of its wit, enlightenment and intellectual horsepower.

Otherwise, The Economist article seems reasonably balanced. Perhaps the First Minister feels a bit sensitive?


Man in a Shed said...

As an occasional visitor to Scotland and resident of over 4 years I think the Economist article was reasonable observation. What I would have expected from the Economist - but didn't find - was a more coherent argument for the way forward. ( Only the Lib Dem proposal was mentioned - are there no other ideas ? )

The injustice of the unanswered West Lothian question and Barnett formula is starting to become a real political issue in England. ( Despite Lord Falconer, Gordon Brown and Ming Campbell all saying there is no demand for any change - spot the common factor ? )

The Economist article could be of real service to Scotland as it shows how she is seen by others, and warns of changes to come in the Union. An ever increasingly inward looking 'Scottish' media may fail in this service.

Elizabeth said...

I think the First Minister got off very lightly...