Up until last August, Alex Salmond had met senior figures in Rupert Murdoch’s now toxic empire some 25 times. His power schmoozing clearly had an effect.
In 2007, Ian McWhirter rightly had a right go at the Sun for its Holyrood polling day front page of a noose and the words “Vote SNP today and you put Scotland’s head in the noose”. A charming bunch, they are, down at Wapping.
In 2011, the delighted chuckles of SNP activists as the Sun endorsed Alex Salmond as first minister (although not independence) could be heard for miles around.
And now Eck seems to have got the full house with the head of the Murdoch empire seemingly endorsing independence.
The Murdoch press endorsing independence would not be insurmountable by any means, especially these days, but it certainly doesn’t help those of us who want to see the UK continue, albeit in a different form.
Willie Rennie said that this was the endorsement that any politician dreads, but I can’t imagine there will be too many glum faces in the SNP, High Command or grassroots. In fact, I know there isn’t. Social networking sites are full of their glee.
This just highlights the need for those of us who want a future for the UK, in whatever form, to get our acts together on a positive, exciting, enthusiastic and passionate campaign, the better. There’s been more signs of cohesive joint working recently, and Willie Rennie the other day offered to share the preliminary thoughts of Ming Campbell’s Home Rule Commission with the other parties.
“As the debate around Scotland’s constitutional future gather’s pace, I believe it is the right time to discuss what further powers Scotland should have whilst at the same time remaining a strong and influential part of the United Kingdom family.
“The Prime Minister and Johann Lamont have signalled that they believe Scotland should have further powers and we need to have a debate about what those extra powers might look like.
“As a Liberal Democrat, I believe in Home Rule for Scotland. That’s why I have set up the Home Rule Commission chaired by Sir Menzies Campbell to debate and discuss what Home Rule would mean for Scotland.
“I want to make sure that our Home Rule proposals include contributions from for many different sections of society. That’s why I am asking the other political parties in Scotland, including members of the SNP opposed to independence, to join us in discussing Scotland’s future.
“In order to make sure we get the best deal for Scotland, we need to look beyond party lines and make a positive case for stronger devolution for Scotland but within a strong United Kingdom.
“I want to see a Parliament that raises what it spends so Scotland can determine our own destiny on the domestic agenda. That would give us more autonomy whilst retaining the benefits of sharing risk and opportunity with the rest of the UK.
“We must not leave Scotland’s future to be dictated by one political party who want us to opt out. I look forward to working with colleagues across the board to get the best deal for Scotland.”
It’s typical of the consensual, engaging, constructive manner he’s always had in politics and a clear effort to take the lead in setting the scene for a positive pro-union campaign. We can’t allow a mega rich tycoon who’s presided over questionable practices at his UK tabloids, to make the running.