Alex Sal­mond is a dis­trac­tion

Vocable (Anglais) - - Édito Sommaire -

L’an­cien chef du Par­ti na­tio­na­liste écos­sais dans la tour­mente.

Alors que les né­go­cia­tions du Brexit touchent à leur fin et qu’une is­sue sans ac­cord ne semble pas ex­clue, le Par­ti Na­tio­nal écos­sais de Ni­co­la Stur­geon en­vi­sage l'or­ga­ni­sa­tion d'un nou­veau ré­fé­ren­dum sur l’in­dé­pen­dance. Or, un scan­dale im­pli­quant Alex Sal­mond, l’an­cien chef du Par­ti Na­tio­nal, pour­rait bien mettre à mal ces re­ven­di­ca­tions. Le dé­bat sur l’in­dé­pen­dance écos­saise est re­lan­cé.

Ni­co­la Stur­geon came bea­ring good news. Sup­port for in­de­pen­dence was ed­ging up, de­cla­red Scot­land’s first mi­nis­ter and lea­der of the Scot­tish Na­tio­nal Par­ty, to ap­plause from her MSPs ga­the­red in Ho­ly­rood, [ear­ly in Sep­tem­ber]. But their joy was constrai­ned. The rea­son? Alex Sal­mond, the par­ty’s pre­vious lea­der, who faces al­le­ga­tions of sexual mis­con­duct du­ring his time as first mi­nis­ter in 2007-14.

2. Mr Sal­mond de­nies the al­le­ga­tions and re­jects “any sug­ges­tion of cri­mi­na­li­ty”. The case has do­mi­na­ted Scot­tish po­li­tics since the ac­cu­sa­tions emer­ged in late Au­gust. Mr Sal­mond qui­ck­ly jum­ped from the par­ty to cut off de­mands that he be pu­shed. He has al­so laun­ched le­gal pro­cee­dings against the Scot­tish go­vern­ment over its hand­ling of the probe.

PO­LI­TI­CAL FRIENDSHIP

3. Ms Stur­geon was Mr Sal­mond’s pro­té­gée and their re­la­tion­ship one of few examples of a suc­cess­ful po­li­ti­cal friendship. Now, for the first time, there is a rift bet­ween the two. Talk of a civil war wi­thin the SNP is over­blown, in­sist par­ty in­si­ders. Mr Sal­mond holds no of­fice. While still popular among ol­der mem­bers, he has less pull over the swathes of young­sters who flo­cked to the par­ty af­ter the fai­led in­de­pen­dence vote in 2014. But Mr Sal­mond is more than an em­bar­ras­sing uncle who can be igno­red. For de­cades, he per­so­ni­fied the push for in­de­pen­dence.

RE­VI­VAL OF THE IN­DE­PEN­DENCE MO­VE­MENT

4. The al­le­ga­tions against him come just as Scot­land’s flag­ging in­de­pen­dence mo­ve­ment shows si­gns of re­vi­val. SNP mem­ber­ship now outs­trips the Conser­va­tive Par­ty’s across the whole of Bri­tain. Brexit, which 62% of Scots vo­ted against, is being bun­gled, sto­king de­mands for free­dom from West­mins­ter. A poll in Sep­tem­ber found that af­ter Brexit, 47% of Scots would back in­de­pen­dence, com­pa­red with 43% who would vote to stay in the union.

5. Yet the pitch to break away from Bri­tain has be­come tri­ckier, too. About a third of SNP vo­ters ba­cked Leave in the Brexit re­fe­ren­dum. And the eco­no­mic case has wea­ke­ned. In May a re­port com­mis­sio­ned by the Scot­tish go­vern­ment ad­mit­ted that spen­ding would have to come down as a pro­por­tion of GDP if Scot­land went it alone. Ms Stur­geon’s job is made no ea­sier by the re­ne­wed pro­mi­nence of Mr Sal­mond.

(Scott Hep­pell/AP/SI­PA)

Alex Sal­mond has been ac­cu­sed of sexual mis­con­duct.

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