On December 17, at one of the First Minister’s Covid-19 press briefings, a journalist asked Nicola Sturgeon if she might consider relaxing the rules on self-isolation to help businesses.
‘Yeah that would really help ‘cause that would spread infection further and that would be not doing any favours to businesses,’ she replied in a tone that would turn honey into vinegar. Later she snapped at the same reporter, ‘I don’t know if you’ve listened to a single word I’ve said’, before rounding off their encounter with a barb about the intelligence of the newspaper he wrote for. Truly, Sturgeon’s weekly BBC slot couldn’t be more in the spirit of the Corporation’s charter.
That journalist so happened to be Michael Blackley, the political editor of the Scottish Daily Mail. Sturgeon’s tone was snide and belittling and had the roles been reversed the air would still be thick with cries of ‘disrespect’ and ‘misogyny’. Her sneery sarcasm was not, however, anything new. It is how bothersome journalists were addressed by Alex Salmond, her former friend and mentor.