Who Knew What and When?

Government officials, ministerial denials, attack blogs, smears, sound familiar? In the last few weeks Scottish politics has been caught up in its very own blogging scandal.  Dead-tree-press hacks have declared war on the nationalist blogosphere, picking off anonymous bloggers one by one and claiming five or so scalps so far. The biggest story yet has been that of  the SNP MSP staffer Mark MacLachlan and the hitherto anonymous Universality of Cheese blog. MacLachlan worked for SNP Minister Mike Russell and was outed by the Screws. The Scottish Government was quick to dump MacLachlan when the news broke and the word is that Salmond’s chief advisor Kevin Pringle wrote and published MacLachlan’s resignation and apology without his approval.  The story has been simmering away but looks set to come to the boil.

The story has reached the dizzy heights of First Ministers Questions in Holyrood.  Ironically  it’s Labour that are putting the boot in, there is no denying that they are behind this war on nationalist bloggers, feeding the names and titbits to the hungry Scottish hacks, keen to reassert their status over the bloggers and the “cybernats”. Mike Russell began by denying all knowledge of the blog, but it seems his sacked former staffer is not going down without a fight. MacLachlan now claims to have the proof that his former boss knew of the blog and most damningly even provided content for it. The Herald got wind of this and led to MacLachlan running email correspondence on the  reactivated blog. The Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray pushed Mike Russell hard over  his claims that he knew nothing of the blog.  If Mark MacLachlan can prove otherwise it would be curtains for the Minister and a heavy blow to Salmond’s already wavering administration.

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Quote of the Day

Writing in this week’s Spectator Diary, the former Chancellor and Evening Standard editor attempted to encapsulate how Boris operates…

“My children have the measure of our prime minister. A couple of years ago, my son and I went for a lovely Sunday lunch at his house in Oxfordshire — where he has a Kalashnikov mounted on the wall. Boris suggested we play a game. A tug of war, but with a difference. The rope is tied around your waist and the contest takes place across a swimming pool. If you lose you end up in the water, fully clothed.

That’s Johnson for you: fun, inventive but ruthless. I suspect his brother Jo had one ducking too many.”


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