Prominent North Ayrshire Labour councillor, Alex Gallagher, Visiting Guest Letters Editor at the Herald seems to be using his position to foreground his own letters. Today, January 1st we read his exciting proposal that the FM should apologise for the 2013 White Paper on independence. I haven’t read the letter. I refuse. Nobody can make me. I don’t need to, to know it’s just daft. Does he think it fooled some of the 45% into voting Yes? Don’t tell me. North Ayrshire Labour Twig* had been at it again earlier in December using the Herald Letters page to attack the SNP. Again, I haven’t read it etc.
*For information, Scottish Labour is a ‘branch’ of British Labour’s now much-thickened ‘trunk’ so North Ayrshire is a sub-branch or ‘twig.’ Some have suggested wittily ‘TWIG’ is also an acronym for ‘Tories When In Government.’
Perhaps justifying his appointment to the Herald, Gallagher has also shown the Leonard-like intelligence needed in leadership:
Using the classic ‘Triple D’ or ‘Dickie Dimwit Dodge’, Gallagher pretended not to know that nuclear waste disposal is a reserved matter before accusing the SNP of a conspiracy to dump nuclear waste Fairlie near to his North Ayrshire domain.
Less predictable in its effects on voters, has been Gallagher’s flirtation with matters sectarian. In the peer-reviewed ETims Online Fanzine, in June 2018:
‘A Labour councillor has been criticised for attacking a journalist as not a “real Scot” after he wrote a sympathetic article about the SNP . Alex Gallagher apologised for the comment he made about former Herald columnist Chris Deerin who penned a positive analysis piece in a London-based magazine. Deerin, who is also director of the think tank Reform Scotland in Edinburgh, described the SNP pro-immigration and pro-Europe, and contrasted that favourably with the Tories and its Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Deerin was also critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Euro-scepticism. “You don’t have to want Scottish independence to appreciate today’s SNP as an emblem of decency, progressiveness and social conscience,” he concluded in his article in the New Statesman. “Scottish nationalism has grown up and it has grown up well.” But North Ayrshire councillor Gallagher took umbrage at Deerin’s take on the political parties. He posted on Twitter. “As a 50-year reader and subscriber to the NS, this is total and utter bollocks.”
The Etims condemnation may have been triggered by Gallagher’s surprising tweet blaming Cardinal O’Brien for ‘something else’:
Personally, I see something in this one. After all, the then-entirely-Catholic, medieval Church of Scotland leadership, were very influential in supporting the Scottish independence movement led by the Bruce, in the early years of the 14th Century.
Finally, however, Gallagher seems to have done some damage to his own cause with, these typical ill-judged tweets.
I knew a few SNP English-haters back in the day, but I’d be hard pushed to identify one today. Are they all in North Ayrshire? Me? Don’t be daft. I have/had three English aunties (My grandad got around). Iris Murdoch helped me cheat at Uni. My first heroes and style icons were the Who, the Small Faces and the Kinks. I’m un-elected convenor of the ‘Decent English Folk for Indecent Yoons’ population swap initiative.
So, TuS calls on the Herald to cancel their agreement with North Ayrshire Labour Twig and return editorship of their letters page to the usual cub reporter team.