A British magazine is accusing the Telegraph newspaper’s chief executive of promising a bonus to Alan Cochrane, its Scottish editor, if he helps secures a “No” vote in the Scottish independence referendum Thursday. Cochrane denied the charge. The magazine, Private Eye, is known both for witty satire and investigative reporting. It's unclear if the report about Cochrane was intended to be humorous or not.
Private Eye claims the Telegraph would pay Cochrane a bonus of 20,000 pounds ($32,600) if his columns contributed to a 60-40 victory for the "No" campaign. He would get half that if "No" wins by a narrower margin. Cochrane is a staunch pro-unionist and has attacked the pro-independence campaign and its leaders repeatedly in his writings for the Telegraph, a conservative-leaning London newspaper.
Cochrane retweeted a picture of the Private Eye report with a sarcastic comment. The Guardian’s Scotland editor, Severin Carrell, appears to have talked with Cochrane about the allegation. Cochrane also denied the allegation to The Drum.
I seem to have made the pages of the new edition of Private Eye! That's nice. pic.twitter.com/uUlD3FHFHN
— Telegraph Scotland (@AlanCochraneSez) September 17, 2014
@jamesdoleman Alan Cochrane "would love a bonus but I know nothing of any bonus plans... If there was [one] I'm waiting with open hands."
— Severin Carrell (@severincarrell) September 17, 2014
Neither the Telegraph nor Private Eye immediately responded to inquiries on the story Wednesday.
Scotland votes Thursday on whether to break from the United Kingdom and become an independent country or stay with the rest of Britain for the foreseeable future. The vote is being called a once-in-a-generation choice for Scotland. Polls indicate Scots are closely split, but the "No" camp appears to have a slight lead.