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.
Last time round, in 2012, the Scottish and British governments agreed on a Section 30 Order. In the Edinburgh Agreement arising from this the negotiated terms and conditions of an independence referendum were laid out, giving the Scottish people – for one day – the freedom to decide the constitutional future of their country. It is altogether likely the Scottish government feels that the best way forward from here is to seek another Section 30 and, in effect, have another referendum in the form and likeness of the 2014 referendum.
Steve Bannon is a Nazi. Let’s not beat about the bush or be overly cautious about saying this; he is a Nazi. The moment we say this there will always be some quasi-intellectual objection to the use of this descriptor, invariably demanding that we do not use “Nazi” as a lazy catch-all term for people on the right with whom we disagree. The objection will also come with the insistence that Nazis must be accompanied by jack boots, repression, and death camps, and the criticism that its use disrespects the victims of the “real Nazis.” Let’s put that to bed right now.
If the Scottish government hopes to defend our voice in London then it has no option but to stick to its guns, forcing the British government to ignore us and take us from the EU without our consent. Only then will we be in a position to resist and protect our sovereign democratic will – even if that means seeking independence. The moment we support a People’s Vote we accept the result that was made for us and thereby lose the high ground we currently hold.
Next year is too late, and it is troubling – quite frankly – to see how many people in the independence movement do not get this. Brexit fundamentally alters the political landscape on which we are campaigning for independence. Outside the European Union and without anything approaching an equitable trade agreement; which is the most likely outcome, the United Kingdom will be forced to rely on Scotland’s mineral resources. Britain cannot survive a southbound Brexit without its northern lifeline.
So why did we not have even the same power yesterday as the Welsh Assembly? Mark Hirst at Radio Sputnik pointed at Paul Grice, saying that his “fingerprints [were] all over it.” Sir Paul Grice KBE – recently knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for “services to the Scottish parliament” – is the senior civil servant who babysits the Presiding Officer. As Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament he is responsible for delivering all services to the Parliament and its Members. He is the Parliament’s “principal adviser on procedural and constitutional matters.”
Of these two heads of government Ms Sturgeon is the only one elected to her office, the one with the mandate, and the one representing the will of Scotland.