Answer to Daily Mail Article of 17th January 2014
The Daily Mail recently published an article by Jim Macbeth supposedly including information supplied by Alastair Scott, author of 'Eccentric Wealth: The Bulloughs of Rum'. Alastair has asked me to send out the following:
Daily Mail Article on the Bulloughs:
A week before I was to give a talk on the Bulloughs and Kinloch Castle to the Perthshire members group of the National Trust for Scotland, I was rung up by a reporter from the Daily Mail. He explained that he'd seen the announcement of the talk in the local paper and asked if he could have a short interview as he wanted to do an article on the subject. From his line of questions it was obvious he was mainly interested in the more sensational aspects of the myths and gossip. I refuted most of his contentions and told him there was no evidence to support them, and frequently contradicted his questions which began with 'Would it be fair to say that...' I concentrated on the philanthropic side of Sir George and the wonderful legacy of his castle. We talked for 15 minutes and that was that. I wasn't paid for my time and neither was I given the opportunity to check the article before publication. I thought no more about it until a member of the KCFA emailed to say that the article had angered several people. When I read it, I too was shocked and angered. I wrote the following to the reporter:
'Bite marks on her bedpost' - where on earth did you get that from? Actually there's no need to answer that as it obviously came from the same source as your other fantasies.
When you rang me for the interview you began by listing the more prestigious journals you had worked for in your long career. I assume this was to give me confidence that you would reproduce the information truthfully and fairly - attributes not normally associated with the Daily Mail. I am offended by what you've written and the distortions your quote marks suggest came directly from me ('purposeful idleness', '... Royal Brothel'). If I went through your article pointing out the inaccuracies then the result would be as long as the original - suffice to say that everything I refuted, considered unlikely or disbelieved you have stated as fact. Clearly you didn't want my answers, you wanted 'an authority' to place alongside your sole interest of sensationalism. I spent three years of my life researching this subject and a further year writing a book about it. My intention was to separate fact from gossip. Yes, there are grey areas in the story but my book, I hope, goes a long way to correct past distortions and to present the Bulloughs in their true colours. You have culled the admirable traits I emphasised and regurgitated the old, old fiction in all its myopic bias. You have set my cause back and I feel angered and disappointed by your abuse of my trust.
I expected better
13 February 2014