Monday, 6 July 2015


Following the publication of an article in The Daily Telegraph on 4 April 2015, headlined “Sturgeon’s secret backing for Cameron”, the Office of the First Minister of Scotland complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Daily Telegraph had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. (Pretty serious then. After all, if a NEWSpaper isn't accurate, then what the hell use is it, except a propaganda tool of a political party?)

IPSO established a breach of the Editors’ Code and has required The Daily Telegraph to publish this decision as a remedy. (IPSO appears not to have required an apology of any sort, because none appears.)

The article reported the contents of a leaked Government memorandum which claimed that at a private meeting the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, had told the French Ambassador that she would rather see David Cameron win the general election than Ed Miliband. The memorandum had been written by a senior British civil servant a week later, after a conversation with the French Consul-General.

The article said that these comments undermined Ms Sturgeon’s public support for a “progressive alliance” with Mr Miliband.

The complainant said that the claims were categorically untrue: Ms Sturgeon had not expressed a preference for a Conservative government or any views about Mr Miliband’s suitability as Prime Minister. The complainant regarded the newspaper’s decision not to contact Ms Sturgeon for comment prior to publication as a breach of Clause 1.

The newspaper said it had confirmed the authenticity of the document with two well-placed sources before publication. (Both of whom, it appears, either misunderstood what had been said or lied, so Telegraph, beware in the future. Politicians and their staff, in danger of being parted from their expenses, and cushie numbers are inclined to be economical with the truth!)

It was a contemporaneous note made by an experienced civil servant, and the newspaper had no reason to doubt its accuracy. (Except that it was wrong adn if they had just asked someone else for confirmation they would have found that out. However, that would have ruined a superb chance of undermining the SNP.) 

It denied having any obligation to contact Ms Sturgeon for comment before publication: it was entitled to publish an accurate account of the document. (It might not have had an obligation to ask Ms Sturgeon for a comment, although clearly both good manners and sensible journalism would have indicated the wisdom in so-doing and obviated the need for the later climb down.)

The Complaints Committee noted that the memorandum represented – at best – a second-hand account given a week after the meeting, which contained the serious implication that Ms Sturgeon had been disingenuous in her public statements.

The newspaper did not know whether the account contained in the memorandum was accurate. Nonetheless, it had published this as fact, without having taken additional steps prior to publication – such as contacting the parties involved for their comment – to verify its accuracy. (Given that one of the parties was the First Minister of Scotland, the other was the Ambassador of the French Republic to the Court of St James, and that there was a General Election campaign under way, it would probably have been prudent to check that this wasn't a dirty political indeed it turned out to have been.)

The committee established that the newspaper’s presentation of the account contained in the memorandum, in this context, represented a breach of the Editors’ Code. 

(The Daily Telegraph was always a solidly Conservative supporting newspaper. It's editorials were strongly Tory friendly. But until the mad twins, who don't live in the UK, took it over, it was an excellent paper for all that. Conrad Black may have been a crook and a fraudster, but he ran a tight ship. Now it is as ridiculous as the tabloid Daily Mail or Express. Its content is dumbed down and the standard of journalism is abysmal. Small wonder its circulation is falling like a stone. 

Even Carmichael, the disgraced former Scottish Secretary apologised to Nicola for his part in what was clearly a pre-election slur on the SNP and on Nicola. It's a pity that the Barclay Twins couldn't manage even that meagre level of good grace. Clearly infinite amounts of money cannot buy manners.) 

I wrote this last night, since when Wings has written an altogether better piece on the subject to which I direct you.


  1. Tris you did a good enough job, our First Minister deserved better, she deserved and apology but the graceless Establishment in this Country, one right now we are stuck with, yes thank you NO voters.
    Tories are generally graceless and the Barclay Brothers did such a wonderful job on the hootsmon with Brillo that this paper is only used to line the budgies cage and that is once it is thown out unsold here.

    1. Thanks Helena, but I never like to have written on the same subject as Stuart Campbell. The difference is quite startling!!

      Yep, for all it's right wing politics in the past, I always thought the Telegraph a good rad. it kept the ridiculous for the editorials and pretty much reported fact in news pages, The foreign news pages were really well done, and the crossword was taxing, without being impossible.

      Now the stories are tabloid. Someone from T'pau has mortgage... and baby whatever it's called pictures. Yuk. If I wanted gossip from showbiz I'd buy the Star. At least it's cheaper.

  2. Private Eye has a lot on the Barclay Brothers and allegations of how they affect peoples' lives. Well worth reading through past stories.

    Politicians and media both hold the public in contempt. Both can and do ruin lives and careers. The media too often uses the excuse "in the public interest". News stories are not always in the public interest.

    There are times when the media does reveal political cover ups, and it is right that they are pursued. But when they resort to making stories up, editors should be jailed if it is proven that they knew beforehand the story was a lie. Carmichael does not deserve to hold public office either. Had the alleged story had any substance, then Sturgeon would have been fair game, and she would have accepted this. But it was a bare-faced lie.

    Slightly off topic and follows Helena's comment above.

    Can we stop slagging off those who decided to vote No in the Referendum. There has been a lot of this across blogs and social media. I know people who voted No, but I don't criticise their decision. The Referendum polarised opinions in Scotland, and we should be working to pull people over, not having a dig every five minutes.

    1. I read PI from time to time although it is essentially an English magazine with little content from this country.

      If I were from Sark I would definitely have real problems with the mad twins. They appear to have bought an offshore island and live on it. They don;t contribute to life on Sark, but they interfere in the politics of it.

      I'd be inclined to encourage them to leave in whatever way I could.

      I have no problems with people who voted no, although I can't help but think of the misery we are going through thanks to their vote. But it was, a democratic vote and they chose, for whatever reason, to believe the establishment.

      I think they were naive, and in some cases plain greedy... but I agree, you don;t win them over by being hurtful about them.

    2. an afterthought.... I do blame the politicians who sold us the lies of the vow. They are despicable. In particular Brown, who guaranteed it, promised it, vowed it. And despite what that pathetic wee man Muddle says, he DID promise it. Then he walked away and allowed them to renege on most of it, while he travels the world playing some sort of big man. I think he IS a traitor. He sold Scotland down the river. And if McDonut wants to put me on a list for that.... then fine.

      Likewise the noble baron Darling of Lying Git. What a waste of space his nobleness is. I hope the blue blood suits him. Labour Party? Laughable.

    3. Of course the ermine will suit Darling, a true blue Tory if ever there was. As for Broon, the mans a deluded fool with grandeur and self-importance the least of his character faults.

    4. Brown's a nutter.

    5. On my subject of NO voters Anon, someone is to blame for them voting NO. Now if they decided for what ever reason that it was in their best interest to do so, then they are and were entitled, if they were deluded, the delusion will not last long. For whichever reason, we all are about to suffer and believe me I suffered through the 80's because we let the Bleeding Labour Party get away with their handiwork and now I am going into an uncertain old age because of the same thing. I have just commented on the Wee Ginger Dug that Westminster will not see Proud little Britishers, we are contemptuous Jock B's and those who thought they were untouchable will find that isn't going to be true.
      I see we are not winning minds with the latest poll only showing a swing of 2%, do we have to wait until we have a big demographic swing.
      By the way where I live I would say that we have two Union Flags flying but we also have some Saltires and a few YES stickers in the window. I smiled the other day when the Lady of the House with the Union flag smiled and said hello, I did not have my SNP badge on, I fear she will not be so happy when my coat is on with me. It takes two to tango Anon, they were polarised my sentiments never changed, sooner or later they will have to decide which way they want their bread buttered, by Scotland or rancid marge from South of the Border. By the way so we have to win them over, I see no similar sentiment from their side. Should remember as I said to Niko they have to win every vote we only need to do it once.

  3. In a short twitter exchange with Foote i said the DR was chained to the Vow, and they would both sink with it. He said he was proud to be chained to the vow. That was several months ago.
    Now the DR has gone through; the vow delivered, the vow must be delivered, the vow is delivered, now Cameron must deliver the vow.
    The DR is rattling over the side, but down there, waiting in the oozing sludge, is broken hulks of the Telegraph, Times, DM full of the putrefying corpses of Cochrane, Carrell, Massie, White ( though I see Carrell coming back as a zombie with his, saving investigative journalism in Scotland, wheeze.)

    Ok, enough of the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and zombie analogies.

    For the politicians we do have the vote, and for papers we can not buy. However for the BBC stopping paying the licence doesn't seem to be enough, yet.

    1. What a joke the DR is, with its backwards and forwards on the vow. So proud of something which might as well have been written on the back of a bus ticket as mock vellum.

      Foote has made himself a laughing stock, but then he thinks his readers are too stupid to notice his inconsistencies. Patronising prat.

      The BBC is suffering a bit from lack of support. 1000 staff to go because people won;t pay the licence. Their answer is a poll tax on everyone.

      That'll work!!!! (In someone's dreams.)

  4. I have never bought this Tory rag and guess what Tris ... I am even MORE unlikely to ever buy it in the future!

    Oh yes and one wee thing more ... Carbunkle MUST go! LOL

    1. The way the sakes are falling, you're not the only one, Arbroath.

      He's on his way out. He's already smelling like last week's bin.

    2. My bin is collected, every three weeks. He smells worse than that, and I eat a lot o fish.

    3. Arbroath, my faither in-law buys that rag every day, he is a Labour voter; I think that says it all.

    4. Hmmm yes. Hard to tell them apart these days.

  5. I prefer to read online newspapers, but no way will I pay for a subscription. The only time I buy a newspaper is on a Saturday for the TV guide (for the wife, and I ain't arguing otherwise there will be a third panda in Scotland).

    1. No, me neither. I see the Telegraph is now party pay to view. You get 10 pages free a month.

      I suspect that they will all do that in the end when there is not any paper sales.

      I buy the National most days and the Herald on Sunday.

      No point in arguing, although if you are nearby I'll give your my tv page. It usually goes in the bin.

    2. My suggestion use the online guide and save a tree. My Mum in Law bought any amount of right wing newspapers and would argue black was white, her last political act was to vote in Christine Graham in 2011, she also hated Alex Salmond.