Murdo Fraser: Why are the SNP only acknowledging Salmond’s failings now?

Last week’s announcement of the formation of the new Alba Party run by Alex Salmond has certainly put the cat among the pigeons in relation to the coming Holyrood election.

Alex Salmond is to stand for election as an MSP in the Holyrood elections

What looked like it might be a fairly mundane campaign, with little to shift in terms of public opinion, has suddenly become much more exciting.

There has been a furious reaction from the SNP to the creation of a rival Party looking to take Nationalist votes away from them. We have already seen a string of high-profile defections from the SNP to Alba (including my fellow columnist on this paper, Kenny MacAskill MP) and it is likely that more will follow.

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Perhaps most interesting has been the reaction to Salmond’s move from Nicola Sturgeon. Speaking at the weekend, she said: “I know Alex Salmond very well. He makes big claims which often don’t stand up to scrutiny”. She went on to say: “Alex Salmond is a gambler. It is what he enjoys doing. But this is not the time to gamble with the future of the country”.

Well, welcome to the club, Nicola. This is what some of us have been saying for the best part of two decades about Alex Salmond – a man to whom you were slavishly loyal over that same period, serving for ten years as his Deputy.

At the time of the independence referendum in 2014, it was evident to everyone on the pro-Union side of the debate that Salmond was a man who was indeed making claims that did not stand up to scrutiny, and was the one gambling with the future of the country. At that time, Nicola Sturgeon backed every word that he said. It is only now, it seems, that she has woken up to the reality of what was abundantly clear to us at that time.

On the day that Alex Salmond left office as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said that he was “a great boss, true friend, brilliant FM”. Will she now apologise for misleading the people of Scotland about his character, given that she has now come to the conclusion that he could not be trusted after all? Or are we seriously expected to forget all the positive things she said about him when it was convenient for her to do so?

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