Politics

Kevin McKenna: Why Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP doesn’t actually ‘hate’ journalists

According to Mackay, this was most evident immediately prior to Christmas when Nicola Sturgeon became a little shirty with political journalists who had asked some inconvenient questions about self-isolation and predicted that Holyrood would soon be recalled. In both instances, the journalists at the thick end of the First Minister’s rancour were proved right. 

And yet, I’m not sure that the Sturgeon administration really does harbour deep resentment to my gnarly old trade, let alone ‘hate’ it. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that might suggest the First Minister greatly values journalists.

Last year, it was revealed that the annual wage bill for government spin-doctors had climbed steeply to more than £1m-a-year. Much of this has been spent hiring the services of several very experienced and influential Scottish journalists.

At every level of the Scottish Government advisory and at SNP HQ you will never be more than a cigarette break away from bumping into a former journalist. These include the former editor of the Daily Record, Murray Foote who now acts as Ms Sturgeon’s press chief.

It makes sense too, and not merely for the secret codes these former journalists possess for getting in and out of a newspaper front page undetected. Many of them are still fondly regarded by those of us they’ve left behind. We know these people. We’ve broken bread with them; fallen down with them and kicked them all over the parks of west central Scotland in low-calibre football matches.


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