The National really doesn’t like Alex Cole-Hamilton…

Alex Cole-Hamilton has done a brilliant job of keeping his constituents informed about the constantly changing Covid restrictions over the past 17 months. As soon as things change, he sends out an email to his constituents to let them know.

In over 40 updates since March last year, there have been two typos. I am slightly miffed that they didn’t pick up the one last year when he referred to the Caronavirus. I mean what could the symptoms of that one be? A sudden obsession with Doctor Who and Eurovision?

He got a date wrong for the lifting of one aspect of the Covid restrictions in Scotland in his most recent bulletin. Someone pointed it out and he issued a correction in minutes. So far, so not very dramatic.

But Scotland’s nationalist newspaper, The National, never Alex’s biggest fan, decided to give this the full front page headline treatment. Clearly they see him as a threat.

It’s really bizarre when you consider that yesterday Scotland yet again a new high of drug-related deaths. We should all be talking about that and sharing ideas to sort this out. It’s not something that a newspaper that is little more than an SNP Government mouthpiece should relegate to a side story.

To be fair, the SNP Government is belatedly trying to get its act together. In December Nicola Sturgeon appointed Angela Constance, my friend and local MSP as Minister for Drugs Policy. Her background as a social worker in the justice system makes her well-suited to the role. Angela attended the memorial event for people who had died through drug use in Glasgow yesterday and spoke to the families and friends. I don’t doubt her commitment to sort this out, but Scotland needs to make so much more progress.

Otherwise too many people will suffer the entirely preventable loss of a loved one.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st Jul '21 - 1:00pm

    Scottish discourse needs progressive leadership that ia pro UK, anti Scottish nationalist.

    Alex Cole-Hamilton ought to be one, as he is already, who, though, gets more coverage for that stance.

    I welcome his leadership bid. He should do a good job as leader. Although I would be glad id he tacked to the centre on things such as culture wars, and a little to the left on economics and welfare. Very good the party there is for a basic income and sensible on covid.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st Jul '21 - 1:01pm

    Apologise, keyboard played up!

  • There was a profile of Alex in the Courier which included a section on ‘controversies’, which is more than reasonable, except it’s ‘controversies’ were just a list of things the SNP have moaned about. I’d say it was mountain of out molehill territory, but one of them was ‘faced an investigation into campaign spending following complaints’, though you discover that the investigation concluded he’d not breached spending rules if you keep reading. They tried to bundle it up with the party facing (legitimate) criticism for not filing proper paperwork for everything, but whole section would better have been described as examples of facing unfounded criticism from the SNP.

    It reminds me of when the SNP challenged Jo Swinson’s election spending, and managed to eke out the story by reporting on how she was or had “faced questions on expenses” even though it was them asking the questions. Months after she’d been cleared SNP activists were still posting screenshots of headlines saying she was ‘facing questions’. They rely on people remembering the fuss of the allegations they generated then amplified, not the matter of fact acquittal they ignored.

    I’ve long held a personal rule whereby I don’t trust any newspaper that relies on unflattering photos of people they don’t like to support stories about how awful they are. The National are particularly bad at this, getting vicious with those they’ve decided are enemies of independence. Not that I need extra clues to tell me they approach their reporting with no intention of balance!

    It’s quite right that the press hold politicians to account, and it would be naive to think that other newspapers don’t have their own prejudices, but the National, like the campaign they champion, takes the ‘if you are not with us, you are against us’ line of reasoning to extremes. Everyone who isn’t pro-indy is considered to be an enemy and fair game for a hate campaign.

    That they are giving their loyal readers a new hate figure to get angry about is not surprising. However, that they can make a simple typo in an email appear more catastrophic than the very real and devastating figures on drug deaths is shameful.

  • john oundle 1st Aug '21 - 11:00am

    The National sales in 2015 totaled 20,000 copies which by 2017 had collapsed to less than 10,000 in 2017.
    Outsold by every Scottish regional daily with the exception of the Paisley Daily Express.

    No circulation figures seem to be available after 2017, can’t think why.

    About as popular as the Morning Star?

  • Is there any such thing as bad publicity?


    But viewing it on twitter which is where most will see it – most of the comments are what a good job Alex does doing keeping in touch with his constituents and what a bad job Sturgeon has done on drugs.

    These will surely be the messages most will take away. So embarrassing? – maybe but overall a net win!

  • I had the ‘pleasure’ of working with The National for a couple of years (circa 2015).
    I can confirm from my personal experience that no, they were not interested in balance. If you pointed out an allegation was exaggerated, or a story was totally one-sided, they stuck their fingers in their ears.

  • I’m confused. For a party they constantly say is finished and irrelevant and an MSP who they say is a nobody, why devote an entire front page to us….? Politically-biased newspapers tend only to attack parties/people they regard as a threat. So I’m confused.

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