Friday, 19 August 2011

Salmond may not have gone mental but still in denial

As I blogged late on Wednesday there was a little dispute between First Minister Alex Salmond and Dunfermline and West Fife MP Labour's Thomas Docherty. Well his special advisor Douglas Chapman, leader of Fife Council and candidate from the 2006 by election candidate for Docherty's seat has stepped in to deny that the First Minister went mental.

In fact he went so far as to say that Mr Docherty had prepared a fantasy press release. This is good from the man who's team on polling day in Dunfermline and West Fife pulled together a fantasy stake board message that suggested that there was going to be a shock SNP win on the day. His full statement that appears in the Dunfermline Press is:

"Any suggestion that Mr Salmond lost his temper is absolutely incorrect.

"I was in the room along with guests and senior council officers and nothing untoward happened, other than Mr Docherty's approach was totally inappropriate given that the focus of the visit was making children feel really proud of their new school.

"In fact, most people in the room were unaware of any supposed incident and Mr Docherty and his press office are guilty of pure fiction. If anything, it was Mr Docherty's inappropriate approach to Mr Salmond that was aggressive and the First Minister's response was a model of restraint.

"Mr Docherty's childish behaviour was questionable in raising a political issue at the opening of a new school, which was a day for the proud pupils, parents and teachers.

" Mr Docherty then left - presumably to prepare his fantasy press release - and didn't even have the good grace to stay to share the day with the children.

"These actions will be seen by many of his constituents as being not only juvenile and inappropriate but wholly crass and opportunistic.

Mr Docherty's response was:

"If Douglas Chapman's happy putting his name to this statement for Mr Salmond that's fair enough but he was in the room and he knows what really happened."
What I find strange about the whole thing is that  both Alex Salmond's statement on the day and Douglas Chapman's statement now are about image management of the leader and not of the party. There has still been no SNP leadership about the question of Mr Walker's comments yet they are scurrying to build the image of Alex Salmond. From the stories I have heard on doorsteps of Linlithgow while campaigning there I can fully believe that Alex Salmond could lose his temper when he believes he is in private.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Docherty's name is Thomas, but otherwise your pieces on this row have been very good.

    I can't imagine Docherty will have endeared himself to local parents by using their children's school opening to make such a fuss.

    I expect that many people in Dunfermline wish they were still represented by Jim Tolson and Willie Rennie - their successors are basically a laughing stock.