By a Newsnet reporter
Telegraph columnist Alan Cochrane has stormed off of a radio debate after a heated discussion on the effect the Olympic Games has had on support for Scottish independence.
The controversial journalist, who has strong Unionist views, took offence after being labelled a “Fascist Tory Git” by his opponent Martin Hannan.

Both men were taking part in a live debate on the Radio Five Live show Your Call, hosted by Scot Nicky Campbell.

Mr Hannan was responding to Mr Cochrane’s mocking dismissal of the date of the independence referendum when he made the remark, resulting in Mr Cochrane storming off air saying “that’s it, that’s it – goodbye Nicky.”

The exchange saw Mr Cochrane claim that the Olympic Games had resulted in a “Brit Fest” of celebration in Scotland that left Alex Salmond with a “big problem” that had been “magnified twenty times” and that Mr Salmond “is going to get a hammering” when the ballot is eventually held.

The journalist, claimed that the First Minister did not want a referendum and was trying to get out of the 2014 ballot.

However Mr Cochrane’s views were challenged by Mr Hannan who accused him of trying to “mislead” the people of Britain as to what was happening in Scotland. 

Describing Mr Cochrane’s claims as “a pile of utter tosh”, the independence supporting journalist insisted that the euphoria of the Olympics would fade within “five or six weeks”.

The exchange ended abruptly when Mr Cochrane, a regular political pundit on BBC Scotland, took offence at the ‘fascist’ remark.  Mr Hannan apologised shortly afterwards.

However, many who follow politics will have been surprised by Mr Cochrane’s apparent sensitivities over the use of the term ‘fascist’ given that he himself has compared Alex Salmond to two fascist dictators, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin.

In January, Mr Cochrane described the SNP leader of having “an almost Stalinist grip” on his party and mocked Mr Salmond who he said had an “incredibly thin skin” and had “bribed” his critics into silence.

These remarks followed an earlier article when the journalist described Mr Salmond to Il Duce, a reference to former Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini.

Hear the exchange between Mr Cochrane and Mr Hannan here:


# Bambi 2012-08-16 06:15
They don't like it up 'em!
# Macart 2012-08-16 07:12
Let's not forget his constant references to 'dear leader'.

So he doesn't like being called a fascist eh?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck..........its a duck.
# snowthistle 2012-08-16 07:35
Don't like Cochrane, he makes a living out of being controversial, but understand him becoming upset over being called a "fascist tory git".
# Robabody 2012-08-16 08:03
Yes, it's a terrible thing to call someone a fascist.
# Mei 2012-08-16 13:09
If I was a fascist I would complain if cochroach was compared to me!
# Jim Johnston 2012-08-17 07:25
Hi there,
Burns advice to the devil in Epitaph on Holy Willie seems to cover Cochranes support for anti-Independence.

"But hear me, Sir, deil as ye are,
Look something to your credit;
A coof like him wad stain your name,
If it were kent ye did it." !!!
# Decko 2012-08-16 07:52
The whole nonsense over his wife not getting on her bus with a scottish fiver, is pure drama, looking to put over a poor jibe on Scotland's currency, but probably backfired on him by outraging the scottish populous by this injustice. I texted the BBC Radio Scotland show to say that i have never had a problem with scottish notes in england and why are we having this discussion at all. to give Alan Cockrane air time and exposure. He has came out from a wet stone like a slater and he can crawl back before he dries out and ends up on his back with his legs in the air.His claims on radio 5 live speaks volumes for the man who thinks nothing of putting forward his views over what is genuinely the situation, so in doing that who is the fascist. A democratically elected leader is not.
# Peter A Bell 2012-08-16 07:59
While I'm sure we would all prefer that people did not resort to such epithets, Poor Old Cockers has less right than most to complain.
# Breeks 2012-08-16 08:02
Why is there a such discussion about being British?
The United Kingdom is a union of British Kingdoms. Saying you're proud to be British is not the same as saying you're proud to be part of the United Kingdom.

Why is the BBC and MSM so keen to push the lie being Scottish means you're a little less British than the rest of us? It's factually inaccurate, ill researched, prejudiced and unprofessional. With an annual budget over £3 billion, why can't the BBC afford a decent researcher, and dedicate some air time to informed rational discussion about the more substantive issues which need discussed instead of peddling this opinionated dross?
# markie 2012-08-16 08:07
I'm sorry, but if we want to win the debate then we have to win the argument. In what was a light-hearted spot on the radio Mr Hannan dropped down to the Godwin's Law of debating.

We must win the arguement on the facts of a free and independant Scotland, we must win by showing people that Scotland will not be the land of honey after the victory, but it will be a better place.

The Unionists know in 2 years time a 4.5% swing is simple to turn, the bandwagon hasn't even started rolling, and once people think yes to independence they will never return.

They can call us what they like, they can say what they like, we have to hit them with facts.

So to Mr Hannan, thanks but no thanks, we don't need help like that. The headline in his next piece will be "If your not Independence your a fascist!"

And also, newsnetscotland , if someone called me a fascist on TV, Radio, in the street I would be applauded to just walk away. I would more than likely cross a line!

So Mr Cochrane has ammunition, and it was given to him from us. Thanks, but no thanks...
# clootie 2012-08-16 09:46

Fully agree with your comments. However it is very difficult to resist given the abuse handed out by Cochrane and Co but that is why they do it - to provoke a response.
# Jim Johnston 2012-08-17 08:28
Completely correct markie.

Place proven FACTS which cannot be denied in front of the anti-Unionists, show them up for the fools they are, get people laughing at them and we win the arguement hands down.

Scots are not daft by nature, they know guisers and comic singers when they see and hear them.
# Siôn Jones 2012-08-16 08:11
Any self respecting Fascist would be highly offended at being called a Tory too.
# Old Smokey 2012-08-16 08:24
I think Hannan dropped the balled on this debate. Even allthough he is correct in his assumption, he shouldnt have said it. Then again Cochrane is a big boy who is happy to call everyone else either facist or dictator, but doesnt like it when he is called the same.
# tartanfever 2012-08-16 08:34
What is it with Cochrane and this habit of calling the First Minister by his first name ?

'Alex has got a problem, and he's scared' - like he personally knows him. Unfortunately for him, we know he hasn't got the ear of the first minister and this disconcerting habit Cochrane has just makes him come across as some kind of celeb hunter/stalker.
# uilleam_beag 2012-08-16 08:46
It was an unfortunate exchange, to say the least. Having listened to the recording, the 'fascist Tory git' was definitely unprovoked. Alan Cochrane wasn't even being particularly belligerent at that point -- mocking laughter and a barely audible dismissive comment aside.

I'm sure we can all sympathise with the frustration of having to counter Cochrane's "BritFest" bonanza misinformation and yet more unfounded claims of nationalists trying to get out of holding the referendum, but there's no excuse for resorting to name-calling.

It's as well that Martin Hannan apologised quickly afterwards, but we have to rise above it in future or else we simply hand ammunition to the unionists.
# Old Smokey 2012-08-16 09:00
Just a reminder of how Cochrane can dish it out :
# Briggs 2012-08-16 10:13
It's been a few months since comment has been allowed on his maunderings.

He likes to say contentious things, but doesn't have the guts to accept criticism for them.

A bit cowardly of both himself and the Tory rag he writes for.
# J Wil 2012-08-16 09:02
Mr Cochrane seems to be very keen on inflaton. Not the financial type but the exaggeration of stories to suit his political agenda. Fanciful stories which should have no influence on political matters.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-08-16 09:25
We should all remember it was Cochrane who started the whole thing about Scottish banknotes being rejected in London that was in the papers and on the radio lately. I think he is a diva. (somebody give him a Snicker)
# Indy_Scot 2012-08-16 09:06
Cochrane has no problems dishing it out week on week, but when the shoe is on the other foot, he runs off like a big girl.

The man seems to have an unhealthy dislike of Scottish ambition and supporters of Independence. Never had much time for his narrowed minded intentionally offensive views.
# Stakhanovite 2012-08-16 09:34
Stalin was a fascist? Lazy journalism...
# RevStu 2012-08-16 10:35
Quoting Stakhanovite:
Stalin was a fascist? Lazy journalism...

Yes, of course he was. Fascism is ideologically indistinguishab le from Soviet communism.
# Stakhanovite 2012-08-16 10:48
Quoting RevStu:
Quoting Stakhanovite:
Stalin was a fascist? Lazy journalism...

Yes, of course he was. Fascism is ideologically indistinguishab le from Soviet communism.

Communism involves no government, so a bit of a misnomer there. And no, they aren't the same thing. However, feel free to try and explain how they are. As it stands, that was a piece of lazy journalism.
# RandomScot 2012-08-16 12:42
Both Fascism and the Soviet form ofGovernment misnamed Communism are Totalitarian regimes, however the Soviet, rather than having NO Government, only has Government, free enterprise is only at the Black Market level.

Facism allows for corporate entities, and will delegate functions to the corporations, a bit like private railway contracts, but with a lot more oversight and control

Both are abhorrent, but there are differnces
# raisethegame 2012-08-16 09:35
Martin Hannan should not have stooped to that level. It was uncalled for and does more harm than good. He's often on phone-ins but frankly, he's not very good at it and doesn't come across well. The Independence campaign doesn't need to hurl gratuitous insults, it is gathering support with reasoned intelligent argument helped along by the ludicrous rantings of unionist journalists like Alan Cochrane.
# soosider 2012-08-16 09:57
I am glad that Mr Hannan apologised so quickly, calling anyone a fascist does nothing for the debate or discussion. In this case it seems to have allowed Cochrane to walk away rather than expose the paucity of his case, shame as it is not often Cochrane and his like are held to account.
# Training Day 2012-08-16 10:03
The blunderings of Davidson and Rennie show that we do not ourselves need to stoop to the level of this kind of abuse, however much we might be tempted to. We are winning, and will win, the argument based on its intrinsic merit.
# pa_broon74 2012-08-16 10:08
Martin Hannan isn't part of the independence campaign, he's a sports journalist who happens to support independence. With that in mind, he can say what ever he likes, if it was an SNP MSP or spokesperson then it would be a different matter.

The thing about Cochrane is, he has a responsibility as a political journalist (unlike Hannan who's professional responsibility is sport.) Cochrane does mislead, he presents opinion as fact (something he did outright on the interview,) he exaggerates and claims to have an inside line when all he has is unfounded bluster.

With that in mind, 100% support for Hannan, I have no idea what Cochrane's political views are (beyond the independence question) so can't comment, and while it may not be a fact, its certainly my opinion that Cochrane can be described without stretching the imagination too much, of displaying all the symptoms and signs of being the last of the three labels Hannan deployed.

It was hilarious.
# pmcrek 2012-08-16 10:34
Facist propagandist defeated by a sport journalist in shouting match, hilarious.
# Diabloandco 2012-08-16 10:34
Quite distressed to see my considered opinion of Mr Cochrane removed - the man is very eager to share his opinion of the First Minister column after column.

Such a pity that it just makes him a laughing stock.
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-08-16 10:43
If the cap fits, wear it - seems to have Cochrane's hat size spot on .......
# Jamieson 2012-08-16 11:10
Well done Martin Hannan. Cochrane a supposed 'political' editor was badly losing the political argument with Hannan, a sports journalist no less, so he took the first opportunity to run away. Cowardly behaviour. The actual words used by Hannan might not have been correct to describe Cochrane but the general thrust of giving Cochrane a taste of his own medicine was marvellous.
And to those of you above who think Independence supporters should stay above all of that, I say come down off your high horse into the real world. Politics can be a dirty game, and nice guys are losers.
# mealer 2012-08-16 13:17
I think Martin will be annoyed at himself for giving Cochrane an escape route.He'll do better in the future,I'm sure.
# sneckedagain 2012-08-16 13:25
Well said, Jamieson.
It's all very well being nice and constructive in politics but sooner of later we are going to have to face the Scottish half-wit factor.
We have to establish that the feart and the thick are the ones who swallow the too wee, too poor ,too stupid line and that intelligent informed people are onside with independence.
There are lots of things that can be done but in the final analysis somehow we have to let the feart and the thick know that they are feart and thick. There are some of these we will never get but many of them are accessible if we get enough well respected figures telling the simple truths.
# uilleam_beag 2012-08-16 14:05
Hi Sneckedagain. I think you probably have a valid point there, but calling fowk "feart and thick" is perhaps not the best way of winning them over. Just saying, like... ;-)

What I do agree is that the electorate is open to a bit of straight-talking and at times we run the risk of trying to sugar-coat the message too much. Hannan did brilliantly when he called Cochrane out for talking mince (or words to that effect); he crossed the line with the final insult. One was aimed at the argument, the other was playing the man.

We have a fine line to walk these two-plus years. That doesn't mean we should shy away from heated debate, just that we need to keep our cool. I'd like to see more Unionists robustly taken to task for talking mince - there's no need to throw personal insults into the mix.
# pa_broon74 2012-08-16 15:44
It's not the feart and thick, its the unimaginative and the docile.

You have to have some admiration for those who have the courage of their convictions (even if they are horribly flawed) but its the people who are saying no because they don't know what else to say and are doing nothing to inform themselves, its just their default position.

I find it to be, very frustrating.
# J Wil 2012-08-16 14:04
Why do the TV stations continue to insult Scots with their deliberate choice of uniomnist leaning politicos?

The latest was Roy Hattersley on Scotland Tonight. Before he even got into a discussion he said, 'Cameron bad', 'Miliband good', or words to that effect. No bias there then!
# Leswil 2012-08-16 15:18
I am quite happy for Cochran to get it in the ear. He cannot expect to throw mud and insults, then run away and close down his blog for fear of having to justify what he has done or said.

Unfortunately he is just another bias reporter working for another bias newspaper, which not many read.

They would sell more newspapers if they were unbiased and delivered fair articles.
People are more interested in the truth than the ramblings of an openly bias occasionally read, reporter who is misguided as to his own importance.
# Brechin 2012-08-16 16:45
I agree that it is unusual to see Stalin described as a fascist, however this minor error pales into insignificance when compared to the description of Cockers as a "journalist".
# amfraeembro 2012-08-16 17:48
Surely it was "git" he objected to.
# J Wil 2012-08-16 20:00
Link to Guido's Olympic Stats. They make shocking reading.

How anyone, including the man pictured above, could try to make Unionist capital out of the games I do not know.

Response to Frankly article below:

As the French would say, 'touche'.
# Frankly 2012-08-16 22:45
The biter bitten:
# Angus 2012-08-17 12:22
Cochrane deserves to be spoken to like this,he is ruthless and not remotely near to the pragmatic reasons, and cannot present a real unionist arguement because there isnt one, however, Martin Hannan should not have lost the moral high ground, if you start name calling like so many of the unionists do, they it shows your losing the arguement.
# uilleam_beag 2012-08-17 15:46
Aye, Angus, those of us who have read Cochrane's fanciful diatribes know this fine. In private, one-to-one conversation I'd be inclined to agree with you.

What we have to mind every single step of the way, though, is that your average voter is not a cagoule-wearer like the readers of these pages, and the undecided swing voters more so than any. All that comes from this exchange is an opportunity to paint the unionist (sorry, impartial journo) as the victim of a foam-mouthed nat's unprovoked slur. We know that's not quite the case but perception is everything in mass media.

By all means tear into Cochrane and his ilk, tear them a new one at every opportunity, just let's do it with facts, humour and logic rather than base insults.
# Angus 2012-08-18 01:13
uilleam, agreed, but read the last sentence! We lose the moral high ground by taking foamys and spitting the dummy!
# Hearthammer 2012-08-19 08:34
Cochrane, London's answer to Rush Limbaugh!
# rob4i 2012-08-20 08:58
The adjectives I've used in the past to describe Cochrane, to be called a Fascist Tory GIT is actually a compliment!

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