Guest Comment: a review of the first Sunday edition of the Scottish Sun
“Day of Destiny” screamed the front page and it was as if The Scottish Sun was, in just three words, describing its own triumphant return to the news stands.
Those readers who thought they would be getting the old News of the World back were disappointed. This was vintage Sun with all its strengths (and some weaknesses) firmly in your face.
Great stories and headlines with a smattering of cheek and confusion. Here's a taste of what was on offer:
The splash referred to the day of the Scottish independence referendum (Saturday, 18 October 2014) and carried a World Exclusive tag, which under slightly different circumstances would be justified.
I have two reservations about the story. The first is that buried further in is the sentence “Having the vote on a Saturday is just one of the options suggested in the referendum consultation, which runs until May 11.
Options? Suggested? Consultation?
Just three words, but they do a great deal to weaken the story.
My other question is why was it on the front page in the first place?
Surely Craig Whyte is sexier than Alex Salmond these days, regardless of which team you support, and The Sun had a great Rangers exclusive buried on pages eight and nine, with no mention of it on the front.
“Contract Killer” provided a fascinating insight into “the controversial player payments made by Rangers.”
The report claimed “Our hard hitting investigation explains to football fans AND the taxpayer (just in case you’re one but not the other) how the Ibrox giants apparently offered tax free bonuses as a lure to players it was eager to sign.”
And they even had a copy of real contract with personal details blacked out.
A brilliant story but it illustrates yet again that most reporters don’t have a clue about basic arithmetic.
The article mentions a £75 million tax battle hanging over Rangers. Later it mentions the sum of £47 million. This is where the confusion comes in because whichever figure it is they’re both likely to be wrong.
If Rangers paid one of these sums to players illicitly they would be due to pay tax on the amount at the rate of 40%. And that is what the the club would owe HMRC.
Despite this slight miscalculation Contract Killer (should it not be Killer Contract?) alone was well worth the 50 pence admission fee.
The last word goes to Paul McBride QC. In his column he quite rightly defends Scots hacker Gary McKinnon who faces extradition to the USA.
He writes: “In an independent Scotland would Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill hand over one of our citizens to the US in the same circumstances?
“I think we know the answer.”
I don't think we do Paul.
Far be it for me to lecture one of the nation’s best legal brains on the finer points of international law but if the law dictates we hand him over, even if we don’t like the law, we must abide by it and hand him over.
After all, that’s exactly what Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill did with Megrahi!