Lorraine Davidson, former Labour spin doctor, biographer of Jack McConnell, former Labour First Minister of Scotland ('Lucky Jack'), now a Times journalist, offers an objective assessment of the SNP landslide and the referendum.
Or is it? Judge for yourself. A journalist and commentator has a right to take a position - balance is not always objectivity. But when a journalist has formerly been so close to a specific political party and viewpoint, it pays to be careful. Lorraine is initially critical of the Labour campaign, but then ...
“People in Scotland instinctively want to be part of the Union, but Alex Salmond’s game now isn’t the game the SNP played in the 70s and 80s – with one great leap we’ll be free.
What Alex Salmond wants is independence by stealth. There are already going to be extra powers in the Parliament – they’re going through at the moment – he’s going to beef those up further. His referendum I would bet will also contain an option of full fiscal autonomy, so by the time you get to the independence thing, further down the road – he’s playing the long game … He wants to take the view that nobody in Scotland’s going to matter when you put in the last piece of the jigsaw.”
The Times, according to Angus Macleod, chief political reporter in Scotland, favours no party or political viewpoint, but reports objectively. He exemplifies this approach, and as a result, his analysis and prediction of the Holyrood elections was the most accurate and prescient of all the papers.
Lorraine would do well to remember this, and watch out for that old danger in reporting - the use of coloured terms, i.e. pejorative adjectives, adverbs and appellations. I would like to feel that she is now free of old, reflex, in-denial Scottish Labour and unionist attitudes, but I often fear she is not.