This is where we on Reaction should say that we watched Alex Salmond’s debut TV show for Russia Today, the Kremlin propaganda channel, so that you don’t have to. But that is, like much on Russia Today, not entirely true. I couldn’t stand to watch it and none of the rest of the team could face it either. How embarrassing that a statesman, a master politician, such as Salmond should humiliate himself and soil his reputation by taking roubles from the Russians, via a television station that supports a regime prone to bumping off journalists.
David Torrance, Salmond’s biographer, who really gets under Salmond’s skin because he has a terrific psychological insight into Salmond’s baffling refusal to call it a day, did watch the first edition of the show for Politico (presumably at first from behind the sofa, cringing in embarrassment at the former SNP’s leader antics.)
But no, in the end it was okay television, concluded Torrance in his review:
“Salmond, an amiable enough host, interviewed barrister Helena Kennedy and former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. His associate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh spoke to Tory MP Crispin Blunt about LGBT rights, an obvious retort to suspicions of editorial interference from Moscow. (Salmond also read out critical tweets — many of which, it emerged later, didn’t exist.)”
Alas, Salmond’s former colleagues are appalled by him doing the show at all. Nicola “stairheed rammy” Sturgeon is even more furious than usual. Salmond has associated the SNP with Putin. Other SNP types have used naughty words to describe their feelings about the former First Minister.
But the man who really scoops the pot is Alex Bell, the former head of policy for Salmond and someone who is one of the deepest and most formidable thinkers on the Nationalist side.
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Bell spoke out today in a scorcher of a column in one of Scotland’s leading newspapers – The Courier, which has a range of tip-top columnists, as well as all the news about football in Dundee if you like that sort of thing.
“The sadness,” adds Bell, “is that a man blessed with great political talents should become a novelty act. He is joining that club of men who could have done great things but were overcome by their own appetites, like Boris Johnson or ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway. Mr Salmond – once destined for greatness – has become cauterised from doubt, dancing like a bear who thinks the audience has come to praise, not pity him.”
Sad. As Salmond’s former friend Donald Trump might put it.