Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson once famously said, a ‘week is a long time in politics’, and what we have seen in the last week has rocked the Scottish political landscape, particularly in the Scottish National Party.
Alex Salmond accused of sexual misconduct by not one, but two females.
I first met Alex Salmond in 2008; it was the Glasgow East by-election. I was not a party member of the SNP at that time but I volunteered to help the campaign of John Mason. Salmond came into a portabin kitchen I was sitting in having lunch and sat down. We struck up a conversion where he talked about politics, universities and various aspects of the by-election campaign. After that we parted, he came across as chatty, friendly and personable.
I would over the next few years in my time in the SNP bump into him, most notably at the Glasgow North East by-election. The SNP put a lot of resources into that campaign, and their operation for by-elections was pretty slick.
Last week, I took the time off to study despite the Salmond story breaking, everyone has an opinion on whether he is guilty or innocent, but there is only one side of the truth. A huge amount of attention has been focused on ‘process’ led by Alex Salmond, on what happened relating to how the SNP Government has handled this case.
I would say that Salmond will probably win his judicial review because of Article Six of the Human Rights Act, the right to a fair trial. If you don’t know what you are accused of and by whom, this represents a breach of human rights law. Whether or not Salmond wins, you cannot fail to spot the irony that it is his own former government is corrupt, something which was never a problem for him while he sat on the other side of the fence.
On this blog, I previously talked about why we give 'bad people' human rights, it isn't because they are entitled to them, and to ensure the innocent are also fully protected. In the Salmond case, there should be no rush to judgement; the matter is so serious that there has to be a Police investigation.
Give that there are allegedly two female victims in this case; people will be at some point be quoting the moorov principle.
This is a famous case from the 1930’s, a sex case.
Given how high profile this case is, a trip to a Court of Law following a Police investigation wouldn’t surprise many people.
Many people and commentators have said that regardless of the outcome of this episode, Alex Salmond is finished politically; it would be hard to disagree with that viewpoint. Salmond’s book, ‘the dream shall never die’, may prompt some laughter because he is already dead and buried, and if he doesn’t grasp that fact, he clearly has a lot of catching up to do.
I called for Nicola Sturgeon to suspend Alex Salmond, but she wouldn’t, her excuse is no legal basis, but the reality is that Nicola Sturgeon didn’t want to be proactive in getting Salmond out. Salmond has a lot of supporters in the SNP, and some of them aren’t supporters of Nicola Sturgeon.
Now, things have taken a dramatic twist, Alex Salmond has resigned from the SNP, saying he wanted to avoid splitting the party and focus on clearing his name. His reasons; relieve pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to suspend him and avoid his suspension causing “substantial internal division”. I am pretty sure that that internal division has already happened, in the SNP there is the ‘Court of King Alex’ and the ‘Court of Queen Nicola’, and they aren’t too fond of each other.
Salmond has been a member of the SNP for 45 years and its leader for 20, everything comes to an end, but I doubt he figured that in the space of 16 months he would go from being an elected SNP MP to Joe Public.
From the backbench to the park bench!
One interesting phenomena in recent years is the use by the SNP of the launch of crowdfunding appeals to bankroll them. Alex Salmond who has five pensions and fronts a TV show has his crowdfunder to take the Scottish Government to court to challenge its handling of the complaints against him.
Opposition parties said he had a “brass neck” asking others to pay for a legal action against the Government, and accused him of “dragging
the gutter”. Scotland
has been in the gutter for a more than a decade under the SNP, small point but
always worth mentioning. Scotland
In an emotional video statement, Salmond said he “truly loved” the SNP and the Yes movement, and didn’t want to damage the “defining commitment” of his life.
If you don’t get what this means, this is Alex Salmond saying goodbye, there are certain things that you can come back from in politics, but when allegations of the kind that have been made against him pop up, there is no way back.
One thing about Alex Salmond is his ego, he can’t get over himself, his suggestion that he intends to reapply for SNP membership is just ego. He is mired in a serious scandal at the moment, and although he might think he sees light at the end of the tunnel, that tunnel is ‘pitch black’ at the moment.
Finally, Alex Salmond is independently wealthy man, his crowdfunding appeal is obscene, it is another error of judgement, but when you are in personal and political freefall, knee jerk reactions and panic are the norm. I have for years said the SNP is a party within a party, it is a ‘rat ship’; it seems given the allegations against Salmond that Nicola Sturgeon has emerged as the ‘last rat standing’.
The Campaign for Human Rights at