Show some courage, Nicola, and pull the plug on Salmond
IT is such a shame Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t talk to Theresa May any more. They have so much in common. They are both living with a referendum result neither wanted. Neither knows what to do next.
And the lives of both women are blighted by the dangerous buffoonery of men who want their jobs and whose enormous egos dwarf their own abilities.
But what do you do about a problem like Boris Johnson? Or, indeed, Alex Salmond?
The delight with which his Unionist enemies greeted the ex-First Minister’s decision to be a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin’s propaganda channel RT exceeded any joy in the Kremlin’s propaganda unit at their new hire this week. Their ‘coup’ will turn out to be a donkey.
There are some in the SNP who were irritated that after he gave up – or was forced out of – the party leadership Alex Salmond still managed to speak from ‘beyond the grave’. Cast a shadow over his successor.
No one can tickle the tummies – or belch the bile – of Nationalist fundamentalists like Alex. He has power.
When he was beaten by the Tories at the last election many within his party felt sorrow that such a grand career should finish in such ignominy – although they were privately relieved that finally wee Eck would have to fall silent.
YET now he speaks from beyond the crematorium. He is the talking urn. He haunts Bute House like the product of Lady Macbeth and Banquo’s Christmas night out.
When as First Minister he expressed his admiration for the repressive President Putin I personally witnessed Nicola Sturgeon’s anger at having to defend him in television studios throughout the land.
She must have put her foot down because she was never wheeled out to explain away his misdemeanours again. She should do so again.
To be fair, Mr Salmond is consistent in his admiration of powerful men of dubious morality. When – prePresidency – Donald Trump wheeled into town, Alex Salmond threw himself at his feet. If Trump was Mr Bo, Salmond positively jangled.
Recently he, and his new business partner Tasmina AhmedSheikh, accepted hospitality from the ayatollahs of Iran for a week away in Tehran.
The only really perplexing question about Mr Salmond is what does he like more – money or the limelight? His country and his party, it seems, don’t even compete. Nor indeed his own reputation. For him, self-regard is more important than self-respect. That is perhaps the deepest sadness.
Whatever you think of the principles or practice of his politics, Alex Salmond is a man of achievement. He almost succeeded in taking Scotland out of the UK. How pitiful it is to see him end his days swapping his credibility for cash to give credence to a tyrant such as Putin who has crushed the type of nationalism Mr Salmond has devoted his life to.
If that were an end to it we could all move on and so could his party. But the shadow he casts over Nicola Sturgeon claws at her. Holds her back. Thatcher-like, he is the back seat driver who threatens to crash the car. He whistles Indyref 2 and she dances.
Yet what does she do? When Mr Salmond made a grossly offensive sexist joke at his Edinburgh Festival show, Miss Sturgeon tittered it was a bit ‘Benny Hill’ for her. This week one of her Ministers resigned over a private text described as ‘ill-judged’.
Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of the SNP and Alex Salmond is making her porridge unpalatable. She must act. Condemn him unequivocally. Demand he withdraw from RT.
Nationalists complain that former Chancellors such as Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown sit on the boards of financial institutions. They cannot do that without condemning their former leader for taking cash from a tyrant.
For anybody who believes in equality, the fact that so many of our political leaders are now women is a true advance.
It used to be said that behind every great man is a great woman.
We will not have made a true political or social advance if we have merely reached the stage that behind every great woman, is an embarrassing, overbearing man saloon bar philosophers hail as a ‘character’.
That is where we are – with both Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson. Nicola and Theresa.
Yet if Boris were just that we could, perhaps, rest easy – or at least more easily than Theresa May does.
But our Foreign Secretary is not just a danger to the Prime Minister’s prospects – he is a danger to Britons in danger.
Our passports state: ‘Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty... to afford the bearer such protection as may be necessary.’
In the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State’s inability to grasp his civil service briefing – despite his reputedly enormous intellect, so great he keeps evidence of it private – has potentially got her another five years in an Iranian jail.
THE evidence he gave to a Commons committee is being used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to extend the sentence of a British subject. If he had any decency Boris would resign. If Theresa May had any backbone she would sack him.
But Boris Johnson has the decency of Alex Salmond and Theresa May has the weakness of Nicola Sturgeon.
The television series may have been cancelled but the house of cards goes on.
The answer to a question such as Boris, or Alex, is for our female leaders to tell us what they really think and then act.
At the moment, sadly, cowardice is another thing our Prime Minister and First Minister have in common.
AIRTIME: Alex Salmond has signed up to front a TV show on a channel funded by the Russian government