The termination of Sputnik UK’s membership of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce brings to an end a sorry saga which should never have arisen in the first place.
The aims of an agent of Russian state propaganda and misinformation were so obviously incompatible with an organisation dedicated to the advancement of Edinburgh business that it is still astonishing that anyone within the Chamber should have deemed the application appropriate.
Had it not been for the outcry following the Salisbury poisoning, I suspect the council administration would have opposed my motion last week in its entirety and allowed the Chamber to ride out the storm. But the administration accepted my criticism and request to end the association, and only opposed my call for a review of the council’s association if Sputnik was not expelled.
However, council leader Adam McVey admitted they had considered no action and went on to suggest that Scottish news publishers (and me personally) would somehow benefit from Sputnik’s expulsion, which betrayed a somewhat limited understanding of commercial media, as if Scottish market share was being lost to Russian propaganda.
Facebook and Google may well be gobbling up advertising budgets like sperm whales eat plankton, but I can assure Cllr McVey that Sputnik is not on the schedules of Carat, Mediacom, Republic of Media, The Lane or Spritmedia, or any media buying agencies based in Edinburgh.
There’s not much money in a market of conspiracy theorists angrily tweeting in their underpants at 2am after a bottle of cheap vodka.