Will Alex Salmond hurt Sturgeon’s SNP on Scottish independence?

According to Alan Cochrane, who writes for the Telegraph, it may be possible. Just recently Salmond accused Sturgeon’s husband of trying to imprison him, he goes on further to say that there is evidence of a deliberate and malicious effort to ‘take him out’.

In the article below Alan notes that tomorrow we will find out more as Salmond’s evidence will be aired – he is due to repeat on oath his claims that Nicola Sturgeon lied to the Scottish Parliament about what she knew and when concerning the allegations against him and also that she had been the arch-conspirator in a clique determined to destroy him.

Stayed tuned as we could expect fireworks with an SNP civil war… or just a boring headline that leads to know where.

The famed braggadocio had long gone. It was a solemn, even morose Alex Salmond who walked out of the High Court in Edinburgh on March 23 last year. There was no smile, nor any other sign of emotion from a man who had just been acquitted on 13 charges of sexual assault including one of attempted rape.

Instead, there was a grim determination to reveal what he believed was a conspiracy to destroy him – a plot, moreover, that he reckoned was orchestrated by the very woman he had “invented” and who had become his successor as leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

Vengeance may be said to be a dish best served cold but Alex Salmond, in the words of Robert Burns, his favourite poet, has been “nursing his wrath to keep it warm” every day of these past 11 months. So much so that most observers, including this one, now reckon that his long-cherished political aim – Scottish independence – is taking a poor second place to that of destroying Sturgeon.

If so, it is an aim that I’d happily support, especially as there is every chance it might help smash the SNP’s aim of breaking up Britain. It’s not as if we’d get “Wee Eck” Salmond instead of Sturgeon as first minister – he’s well past his sell-by date.

On the steps of the court last year, Salmond said he had been prevented from revealing crucial evidence, but stressed: “At some point, that information, those facts and that evidence will see the light of day.” But he also said that he’d wait until the pandemic was over.  

We may still be in the grip of Covid, but Salmond’s evidence is to be aired on Wednesday, when he is due to repeat on oath his claims that Nicola Sturgeon lied to the Scottish Parliament about what she knew and when concerning the allegations against him and also that she had been the arch-conspirator in a clique determined to destroy him. Sturgeon has angrily denied both and will give her evidence to the same committee next week.  

As a result, if there is any justice in the world, the next few weeks should certainly help finish the Nats. The whole squalid catalogue of claim and counterclaim – initially centred on accusations of sexual assault, we should remember, by several women – has been played out before an SNP-dominated Holyrood committee. Its proceedings have been bedevilled by a catalogue of official obfuscation, obstruction, half-truths and even a claim of perjury against one senior nationalist, who just happens to be Sturgeon’s husband. He denies lying.

Its official remit may have been to decide why an official government inquiry into allegations against Salmond crashed, leading to him being awarded more than £500,000 in costs. But what it’s really about, in the public’s view, is whether it is Salmond or Sturgeon who has been telling the truth.

Furthermore, whatever this body concludes after Salmond’s evidence this week and Sturgeon’s next must surely help convince voters in the May 6 Scottish elections that the SNP and its leader are not fit to run a devolved Scotland and their aim of taking it out of the United Kingdom should be judged as too ridiculous for words.

That it is not yet is one of the great mysteries of political life. Thus far, Sturgeon’s popularity has been attributed to her efficient daily Covid briefings, but she stumbled badly over her initial vaccine rollout and her determination to impose a total ban on foreign travellers was widely judged a shambles. Her government’s domestic record across a wide range of devolved matters is abysmal.

Even for political veterans, the venom between Sturgeon and Salmond and their acolytes has to be seen to be believed – easily eclipsing the Blair/Brown or Thatcher/Heseltine feuds. Salmond is certain that his evidence to the committee will prove that Sturgeon lied to the Scottish Parliament over what she knew and when about allegations made about him. If a separate independent ethics inquiry by a leading Irish barrister, to which Salmond has submitted evidence, concludes that she did break the ministerial code in this regard then she will have to resign.

One of Salmond’s leading supporters, Jim Sillars, a former deputy leader of the SNP, has called for Sturgeon to be ousted and called on nationalists not to vote for her supporters in the forthcoming Holyrood election. Both sides are perpetually briefing against each other and another Salmond loyalist, Joanna Cherry, was sacked from the party’s front bench in the Commons.

Sturgeon has rejected claims she broke the code, while her allies say that although she may have got a date wrong for when she first heard the claims against Salmond, it wasn’t her who ended up as the accused in the High Court.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon transformed the SNP from perpetual also-rans into a brilliant election-fighting machine and put it on the cusp of wrecking the United Kingdom. The next two weeks may well decide whether this battle of egos over one of the sleaziest episodes in British public life has destroyed all of that.