Alex Salmond will go down in history as one of the best, if not the best, political leader Scotland has ever had. Effectively, while losing the independence battle, he has won the war.
Not only have he and the other Yes voters delivered the chance of real constitutional and cultural change in Scotland but they have shaken the London-centric Westminster establishment to its incestuous, self-interested, roots.
In addition the Labour, Conservative and Liberal MSPs in our Scottish Parliament will now need to be seen to be acting in the interests of Scotland and not their Westminster bosses. If they fail to step up to the plate they will surely suffer the electoral consequences.
I write, however, mainly in a personal capacity following your highlighting Alex Salmond’s years of support for a public inquiry into my daughter Shirley McKie’s case. (Your report, 20 September). Our family will never forget how, with all the other three main parties lined up against her, Michael Russell, Alex Neil and Alex Salmond’s SNP stood up to be counted and delivered on their promises.
While wishing Mr Salmond well, however, I would remind his successors that they must push his legacy through and work towards a fundamental shift in power in Scotland to the people and away from the self-interest groups which litter our justice system. They will have to do this in the certain knowledge that these groups will fight to the death to retain their privilege.
Iain A J McKie
South Beach Road
Many people foolishly personalised opposition to the public desire for independence into attacks on Alex Salmond, yet this historic occasion has been the greatest expression of genuine democracy ever witnessed in Britain, with enthusiastic debate stimulated at all levels of our society. Politicians will all be trembling.
Mr Salmond has wisely decided to go out at the top as the most successful Scottish party leader ever. Failure to achieve a majority for independence masks the obvious fact that he gained a win/win/win position, with the fumbling assistance of the UK prime minister. The latter’s panic-stricken intervention produced three probable outcomes, each of which ensured success for Mr Salmond.
A Yes vote would obviously have done so; increased devolved powers was his own suggestion, made in the knowledge that most Scots wanted that, and has duly been gained, while the third possibility – failure to provide sufficient improvement in devolution – would fulfil his prophecy. It’s already happening.
Mr Cameron, having performed a near-comic last-gasp U-turn on his original rejection of devo-max, is already facing opposition on all fronts, from his own MPs as well as from Labour and the Lib Dems.
He is already in a “jump or be pushed” position.
Mr Salmond, in the meantime, deserves the accolade of a seat in the House of Lords, whatever rules need to be broken to accommodate him.
Alex Salmond made the honourable decision to step down from the leadership of the Scottish Parliament following the defeat of the Yes campaign in the referendum.
One of the most astute politicians in the UK, this clever, charismatic and passionate advocate of Scotland as an independent nation will be greatly missed. It shouldn’t be forgotten that his leadership narrowed the gap between No and Yes by more than 10 per cent, at the same time raising the profile of Scotland. At the very least, the world now knows that Scotland is not a region of England.
I did not initially think Salmond needed to resign immediately. However, on further reflection I came to the realisation that while he achieved what many regard as a remarkable degree of success he must bear personal responsibility for the strategy which contributed at least in part to the outcome of the referendum.
He made too many promises which it was by no means obvious he could keep. There were far too many unanswered questions. He could not admit the obvious – that the road to independence would be a long and rocky trail and even then the destination was only pseudo-independence. An insufficient number of citizens could bring themselves to believe that the land of oil, milk and honey could be reached with so little effort.
The credibility gap was too large for some of those who would have otherwise considered voting to leave the Union. Thank goodness it was; the disillusion which would have been the outcome of yet more broken political promises would have created problems of potentially greater significance than the constitutional challenges now facing the United Kingdom as a whole.
Now that we may be on the equally uncertain road to a federal UK, we require honest politicians with real statesmanlike or stateswomanlike qualities and not mere political manipulators of the Salmond and Farage variety.