Eck of a leader

IN READING your leader (21 January) in which it was stated that the SNP has become particularly prone to the sin of assertion and that it will take more than assertions, even by the forceful Alex Salmond, to win over a majority of the Scottish public, I was reminded of the following which appeared in Robin Harper’s autobiography Dear Mr Harper when he was negotiating with Mr Salmond ahead of the fourth Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2011.

Salmond was seen as desperate to form a government, and in need of the Green Party’s support to achieve that aim. At one point during discussions he leant forward, touched Harper’s arm, looked him straight in the eye and said: “Robin let’s forget all the bits of paper. Just trust me?”

When both Harper and Patrick Harvie of the Greens refused to support the SNP Scottish Government’s 2009 budget, Salmond apparently almost burst a blood vessel in fury. According to Harper, were Salmond “an ape I’d have been calling for fences to be electrified in his compound lest he escape and start running amok among the populace”.

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The then parliamentary sketch writer for The Scotsman, Rab McNeil reported Salmond was so enraged: “If you had put a pie on his head it would have been piping hot in two minutes.”

It would seem therefore we have at Holyrood in First Minister Alex Salmond a cross between a second-hand car salesman involved in dodgy deals, and a spoilt child who throws a tantrum and involves himself in bully boy tactics in an attempt to get his way, neither of which can ever be seen as the traits of a real statesman.

Scotland surely deserves better?

Neil McKinnon

Tulchan Garden