LISTENING to Alex Massie of The Times on STV’s Scotland Tonight on Monday evening one could be forgiven for thinking that our First Minister was deliberately dishonest in recalling discussions of two years previous relating to allegations against her predecessor. Of course no effort was made by Mr Massie to place events of the period, including prior concerns, in context, but instead Mr Massie, like many other reporters pursuing an anti-independence agenda, did his best to portray an informal meeting with an adviser to Mr Salmond as a monumental event when in actual fact the pivotal and substantive meeting occurred a few days later at the First Minister’s house when it seemingly was made clear by Alex Salmond himself that formal complaints had been made.
The problem for Mr Massie and others attempting to undermine the integrity of the First Minister, prompted and encouraged by Tory politicians such as Ruth Davidson, is that the Scottish public know themselves the vast difference between the morals and scruples of the First Minister and those of the Prime Minister, as well as which of the two is worthy of their trust. Also, most people naturally appreciate that faced with serious allegations and a Scottish Government investigation it was understandable for Alex Salmond to seek out his friend and leader of the Scottish Government to see if there was some way complaints could be addressed without inflicting unnecessary damage on all parties concerned given his declared innocence. The public also understand that a less rigorously honest political leader could have been tempted, on behalf of their party, to facilitate the sweeping of potentially embarrassing events under the carpet, as appears to happen almost routinely at Westminster, but Nicola Sturgeon insisted on acting correctly.
While within the SNP itself, senior allies of Mr Salmond still seem compelled to vocally support their erstwhile leader, the fact of the matter is that if Mr Salmond’s personal interactions had been absolutely beyond reproach, it is unlikely that multiple allegations of sexual misconduct would have arisen. The only doubt in this statement relates to the fact that we would all be naive to believe that if a “conspiracy” has been at play here it has not been orchestrated from Westminster.
Longniddry, East Lothian
AS ever, Michael Fry’s praise for the First Minister’s outstanding performance during the course of the pandemic comes with a sting in the tail (‘Nicola Sturgeon has surpassed herself in these hard Covid times, but …’, October 13) Mr Fry questions Ms Sturgeon’s adherence to the principles of fairness and equality regarding action taken to address the worst excesses of the virus and falls back on his tedious capitalist mantras that come close to mimicking the herd immunity arguments of the PM and Dominic Cummings. Utilising offensive terminology like “stupid or idle” people to try and justify social inequality is not only crass but erroneous and ethically bankrupt.
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon has surpassed herself in these hard Covid times, but …
The First Minister judges fairness and equality, particularly at this vexatious time, as a moral imperative and that is one of the main reasons she has won the respect of people within and out with the UK. Mr Fry may regard his case for a private enterprise approach to the pandemic as pragmatic but many others will view it as harsh and Gradgrindian in nature and in sentiment. The philosophy of Social Darwinism played little or no part in the foundation of the Welfare State by the Labour Government from 1945-51 which laid the bedrock for our current democratic values. An independent Scotland will reject Mr Fry’s survival of the fittest credo as inequitable.