Sunday, 20 January 2013

Timing is everything

Any accidental death is a tragedy. 

As with the events of yesterday in Glencoe however there is something that strikes a particular chord with the Scots when that accidental death is in our hills or mountains.

It's difficult to explain why, but undeniable that, had four people died yesterday in a car accident or in a house fire it would not have been the universal front page news that the Glencoe deaths have proved to be.

It may simply be that the hills and mountains are such a part of the definition of Scotland that death there has a particular resonance. Virtually every person in Scotland has gone hill-walking at some time and even those who no longer do will have friends or relatives who still participate. And we're all aware that there is a degree of danger in our wilderness so that perhaps when tragedy strikes it subconsciously reflects all our deepest fears.

And there was a particular pathos about those following the news yesterday for after the initial alert it deemed for a time that things were not as bad as first feared only for them ultimately to be much worse.

But some of you will be aware that in the aftermath of the event I became involved in a bit of a twitter storm over the remarks made by the First Minister.

It was not what he said, that was on any view unobjectionable.

It was that he felt it incumbent on himself, within a very short period of the deaths being confirmed, to say anything at all. 

Michael Moore did not issue an immediate,unsolicited, press statement; nor did David Cameron or indeed either the Constituency MP or MSP. Or the responsible Cabinet Minister. Only the First Minister did. Did these others not also regret the deaths? More likely they had a proper sense of decorum.

So why did Eck do that? Because he hoped that his name would be associated with any initial reporting of the event. In which, to be fair, he largely succeeded.

Now there are only two possible explanations for this.

Firstly, that those bereaved would be particularly consoled by the words of Alex Salmond. Even I don't think he believes that.

Or, secondly, that no event, no matter how tragic, was out of bounds in pursuit of the promotion of his own self importance.

For pointing this out I have been subject to the usual cybernat abuse including the interesting suggestion that I'll be deported from an Independent Scotland! And then, just as I was getting my head round that, I was faced with they yet more alarming suggestion that, come 2014 "we'll get rid of the lot of you."

Most revealing of all however was the suggestion that for attacking the Leader of the SNP I was "an affront to Scotland."

Fair enough. At least we all know where we stand. Bring it on.


  1. I think you show a certain naivety assuming that the FM haunts the news channels looking for stories to comment on.

    It is extremely unlikely that he actually wrote the response himself.

    Rather, it is likely that the on duty Scottish Government press officer drafted some lines for the press, as is customary on such occasions. The FM may or may not have signed them off himself.

    The lines would have been provided to media outlets - it would be their choice whether or not to us them.

    This is standard practice. It was before Alex Salmond became FM. It will be after he has left that position.

    You may or may not agree with a country's political leader commenting whenever a natural disaster happens but it happens everywhere and under all kinds of political parties.

    It's a really odd thing to rail against.

  2. "For pointing this out I have been subject to the usual cybernat abuse..."

    Aren't you being a little economical with the truth there. Almost uniquely, your comments drew criticism from both sides of the Indyref debate. I didn't comment, but was watching what was said, and if there was any support for you last night, I'm afraid I missed it.

    In my experience whenever a YesScot or BetterTogether supporter goes a little over the top, his own side gathers round to deflect criticism with claims of false outrage on the part of the critics. This didn't happen in this case - perhaps something for you to think about.

  3. I do think that you are missing the point Mr Smart. Don't you realise that Alex Salmond is in fact the First Minister.....YES the FIRST MINISTER of Scotland? The fact that he is an SNP First Minister seems to 'stick in your craw' for some reason. Had this been 'Lord McConnell' I doubt that you would have had the same reaction. Seems that Alex Salmond would be damned if he did and damned if he didn't? your eyes anyway. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Families in Scotland went to bed last night and didn't sleep a wink, unlike you, who merrily tweeted that you were off to bed, after your attention seeking slurs on our First Minister, and probably without a passing thought for these poor families.

  4. Was it not in fact you who was taking an opportunity to exploit the situation for the Labour parties cause by bringing A.S. down for any reason after all the Labour party has made it clear they have no reason for a Union but are working on all out policy lies and name calling like a bunch of school kids. Even your Deputy Leader has made it clear you cannot keep your word for more than a week when he said it was time to bring the standard up only to stand in the HoC and talk drivel and that from a hand-me-down MP

  5. You confessed that your sole aim was to wind up the Cybernats as you call us supporters of self determination for Scotland.

    You are correctly called pondscum in that blog. You are indeed a low life scum sucker of the very worst kind that immediately lowers the tone of any social media site you haunt. You are even lower on the scum food chain than that other piece of filth Iain Davidson MP.

    To use the tragedy of sudden death on a mountain from a group of six friends, to have a go at the first minister and, who was doing exactly what is expected of him, then to confess to wishing to wind people up, displays a certain morality and desperation that is very prevalent amongst the unionist set. Either that or you need to change your dealer.

    Please go away and clean up, you are stinking filth and you know it.

  6. "Only the First Minister did."

    The First Minister of ... where was it again? Oh, yeah, Scotland. The place where the tragedy occurred.

    Shocking behaviour that the elected leader of the Scottish people should comment on a tragedy that happened in Scotland. I mean, what was he thinking? Thankfully we have you as the voice of reason, Mr. Smart.

    No doubt had the First Minister been from the Labour party he/she would have had the sense to completely ignore the tragedy unless specifically asked to comment. In much the same way as ordinary people never give their condolences to the grieving unless they are specifically asked to do so. Yes. Yes, that's the correct way to behave in such circumstances.

  7. a now a blog post, keep trying and getting it out there. i'm sure you'll find someone, somewhere that also holds your apparent opinion that the government of any country/nation/state should not comment when a tragedy occurs with in it and that such events would also be good opportunities to wind up specific online communities.

  8. I'm trying to understand this attitude. I really am.

    The First Minister offering condolences for a tragedy happening in Scotland is somehow wrong?

    Was it wrong for Ed Miliband to offer condolences over the events in Algeria? Well, although he leads no Government and speaks for a minority opposition UK Party, of course it wasn't.

    Some of us call it humanity. Or compassion. Looks like Labourites dumped those with Clause IV.

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