I thought I’d better post again immediately before the men in balaclavas come round and disappear me. It seems Alex Salmond has joined in unholy alliance with Vladimir Putin and instead of joining NATO, Scotland will do a bilateral Warsaw Pact with Moscow. But the good news is, we get to keep the gas and Rangers and Celtic will join the Russian League and I’ll get cheap holidays in a dacha at the Black Sea.
The media and some people who should know better like David Aaronovitch who may developing a progressively anti-Scottish personal agenda, are trying to liken the two leaders because Salmond, silly man, suggested that not all of Putin’s record was execrable.
He said: “Obviously, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin’s more effective than the press he gets, I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.
“He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the intermesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire. Russians are fantastic people, incidentally; they are lovely people.”
Wow! Read it again and quiver. Is the man mad? He dares to give an even-handed judgement on Putin and suggests he may have restored some national pride…
Could it be true. Well, yes. It’s exactly what Putin has done in his own country. I have had Britain’s foremost Russian expert in the studio saying exactly that. Professor Stephen Whyte of Glasgow University travels extensively in Russia and has deep; insight into the country’s workings. He is no apologist for Putin. He states exactly what Putin has done and how he manipulates the constitution. But he has on several occasions confirmed that Putin is popular precisely because he has “restored national pride”. I do not believe I misquote him.
Salmond is stating what a BBC Moscow corr would tell you and yet in the hands of the Salmond-baiters he becomes “like Putin”, as to Paxman, he was “like Mugabe”. When it is the Yes side that is accused of smearing and intimidating you would have to scoff at the bitter hypocrisy of those peddling this stuff.
Imagine if Salmond had said he had no respect for Putin, or for Farage, do you think the press would have applauded, or would they have damned him as a narrow-minded nationalist who couldn’t do diplomacy?
Remember, this was said in March before the Russian annexation of Crimea and before the ugly goings-on in East Ukraine which may well have tempered any comments he made had he had advance notice. But, notice too how this interview is with Alistair Campbell, hardly someone Salmond could be expected to trust. Yet he is confident enough to be interviewed at length by an arch opponent.
And who is it who has been asking Putin to back his campaign against Scotland’s independence, despite promising it was an internal affair? David Cameron. Yes, the Prime Minister can make secret overtures to Putin against Scotland because they’re best buddies but if Salmond just gives a wee nod in Putin’s direction for achieving something that is manifestly true, he is denigrated as some kind of supporter of what?…illegal occupations…surely that’s Britain’s forte.
There are many things to criticise Salmond for but abuse of human rights, manipulating the constitution, invading other countries and gay suppression are not among them. If Britain was standing up to Putin with more than limp words and limited sanctions, it might provide a counterpoint but the truth is that Britain is in no position to do so. The London property market would collapse overnight if Cameron took strong action, some private schools would be in financial trouble and think of all those oligarchs’ pounds in the banking system. And who does business with rich Russians? http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=hp_sauce&issue=1363 …
One day the clowns in the media will have to learn to treat a Scottish leader with the respect they do one from Ireland, Iceland or Denmark. It’s because we remain a region that the metropolitan elite treat us and our First Minister as upstart regional types who should know their place. Well I think we are learning, just not he lesson they think…by