So long as one of our chief criticisms of Westminster is that it is a corrupt and lying and deceitful institution, then, insofar as is possible, we should work tirelessly to ensure the honesty and integrity of our own politicians and our political system. In a word, it is a profound betrayal of our greatest political aspiration to continue towards independence in Scotland behaving in a manner indistinguishable from the behaviour of the system we hope to escape.
Given that the accusation of Woman F is the only basis on which people feel they can continue to cast aspersions on Alex Salmond, we must take a closer look at this event. According to the testimony of Woman F, a civil servant, she and the then First Minister were drinking alone in a private sitting room on the second floor of Bute House, the residence of the Scottish First Minister. At around eleven o’clock in the evening, she says, she and Mr Salmond went to his bedroom on the third floor.
Independence ‘at any cost’ and under any set of conditions is a profoundly dangerous idea, and there is no shortage of historical examples to help us understand this. There are, as I have said umpteen times in the past, different kinds of independence. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but North Korea is an ‘independent’ state, but there are few in Scotland today would prefer the conditions of life for the vast majority of North Koreans to life in a political union with England.
On 23 March 2020, Mr Salmond walked out of court after a jury found him not guilty of twelve charges, one charge had been found not proven, and one other had been dropped by the prosecution earlier in the trial. Alex Salmond had sat in court for two weeks as his future and his freedom were weighed on the scales of justice. In the end he walked out of the Edinburgh court a free man; not one of the two charges of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, and one of a breach of the peace had been proven. Regardless, then, of anyone’s opinion or their feelings on the matter...
At long last, after having his innocence upheld in the Scottish courts, Alex Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland, gets his day in parliament. Here at the Random Public Journal we will be following the events in Holyrood live and reporting things as they happen. This promises to be an exciting day in Scottish politics, and – as some commenters have suggested – what is revealed today might just be the game changer we have been looking for.
The set-to over Sturgeon and Salmond is not only about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, this is a proxy for two very different visions of an independent Scotland. We’re divided down other lines too, wrangling between factions with distinct visions of their own. And this idea of vision is, we can be sure, the key to understanding why we are in this maul. Perhaps without realising it, we have moved to the next stage of the independence campaign; the stage at which we have accepted the defeat of the union and have begun thinking about politics beyond independence.
Given that the constitution is a reserved matter under the Scotland Act (1998), only an act of the Westminster British parliament in London can grant a Section 30 order. It cannot be legislated for under any circumstances in the devolved British parliament in Scotland. And precisely because Westminster – and Westminster alone – is sovereign, no set of conditions or political realities in Scotland can compel the British government in London to grant a Section 30 order. What does this mean?
This question is important because it expresses rather succinctly the sense of uncertainty and worry which is right now spreading like wildfire over the independence movement. While support for independence and the Scottish National Party remain high, a growing number of independentistas are arriving at the conclusion that something stinks in the SNP. Most, as yet, can’t quite put their finger on exactly what it is, but something is wrong. Something is rotten, and the rot is spreading.