Salmond threat to leader a leap too far

In an attempt to expose the differences in style between First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond, Euan McColm (Perspective, 28 January) missed some salient points.

Mr Salmond’s presence in an enlarged SNP contingent in the House of Commons, if that comes about after this May’s general election, should not be seen as significant in terms of a challenge
to his leader in Scotland.

It will be significant in the sense that his party will be well placed to ensure the Smith Commission’s proposals will be enacted, possibly enhanced, in terms of increased powers for Holyrood.

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The success or otherwise of that endeavour will in fact help Ms Sturgeon over a critical decision she will have to make in the coming year: whether to include in the SNP manifesto for the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament a commitment to another referendum on independence.

The progress made on implementing the Smith proposals will be one factor in helping her to make up her mind. So too will the prospect of the new Westminster government proposing a referendum on British membership of the European Union.

So too will the prospect of any government committing itself to the renewal of the Trident missile programme. In all of this, it is difficult to see the First Minister and her Westminster colleagues not acting in tandem.

Indeed, the Westminster route to independence has a lot more credence among Nationalists and the general public than it has had for nearly 40 years. That is why Mr Salmond’s reappearance there will be very important. It does not deserve to be dismissed by Mr McColm as an expedient to undermine the colleague who has succeeded him.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court