Coffee House

Salmond’s darkest day could be yet to come

24 October 2012

2:56 PM

24 October 2012

2:56 PM

For years Scotland has been waiting to see when his luck would run out – well, now it has. Alex Salmond: gambler, tipster, political animal and First Minister now has another moniker: author of the country’s first scomnishambles.

Yesterday marked, without doubt, the First Minister’s worst day in office. First, he lost two MSPs. Left-wingers Jean Urquhart and John Finnie announced they were leaving the SNP because of the party’s conversion to Nato. That decision, taken at SNP conference last weekend, has alienated many left-wingers in the party because they see it – rightly – as part of Salmond’s attempts to take the SNP into the moderate, centre ground of Scottish politics.

But the resignation of the two MSPs leaves Salmond, who came to power with a comfortable majority, holding on to power at Holyrood. His original majority of five was weakened with one of MSPs, Tricia Marwick, became Presiding Officer and another, Bill Walker, was suspended amid domestic abuse allegations. The resignation of Urquhart and Finnie leaves Salmond with a majority of just two over his opponents, a majority which could be wiped out in a single by-election.

But that wasn’t the worst of it yesterday.

No sooner had Salmond started to get to grips with the loss of his MSPs than his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that the Scottish Government had not asked for – nor been given – any legal advice on the position of an independent Scotland in the EU.


This may seem intricate, arcane and not particularly important but it is crucial, not just to Salmond’s standing but to the whole independence debate. He has been under pressure for months to reveal whether he has any legal advice on Scotland’s position in the EU after independence, and what that advice is – if there is any.

Salmond has refused to reveal anything, even though Scotland’s Information Commissioner has ordered him to and a court case was looming with Salmond fighting to keep everything secret.

The background is that the unionists believe an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership which would mean signing up to a host of obligations that the UK is exempt from including membership of the euro. The SNP has always insisted that Scotland would not have to re-apply, so would not have to join the euro – or anything else.

That was the position, stalemate, until yesterday’s surprise announcement from Sturgeon that the SNP didn’t actually have any legal advice to back up its position.
Not only that, but it then started dawning at Holyrood that Salmond was prepared to go to court and spending tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ keeping absolutely nothing secret but his own lack of information. This was the same Salmond who appeared to argue on television earlier this year that he had, in fact, got legal advice to back up his arguments on the EU. At a stroke, Sturgeon’s statement blew open this whole part of the SNP’s case for independence. What had appeared to be a reasonably strong SNP argument, apparently backed up by legal opinion, immediately looked shady, shaky and insubstantial.

More than that, Salmond looked devious, conniving and prepared to waste taxpayers’ money to cover his own back. No wonder some MSPs started calling him a liar in public and then coined the term ‘scomnishambles’ to describe the SNP’s day.
Today David Cameron was given the chance in the Commons to pile further misery on Salmond’s head, an opportunity he duly availed himself of.

This is important, though, and not just as an excuse to watch the SNP in trouble. The case for an independent Scotland easing its way into the EU without joining the euro is at the centre of the SNP’s case for separation.

It is also important because, if this central pillar seems built on sand, then Scots will start asking about the foundations of the other SNP claims to independence. And, if that happens, the whole edifice might start to crumble.

Scomnishambles? It could be a whole lot more than that.

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Show comments
  • terregles2

    Don’t think Salmond’s luck is running out, Think the Westminster political establishment’s luck has run out permanently. All those long years of misleading the Scottish electorate covering up the facts manipulating the media, fiddling the statistics,all that is over. The truth is emerging day by day.

    We know the economic facts from The Great Obfuscation-GERS-2006. We now know that Tony Blair moved the Scottish maritime border from Berwick to Carnoustie annexing 6000 sq miles of Scottish sea.
    Westminster has been exposed for the shabby, discredited, untrustworthy band of political opportunists that it really is.

  • Simon I

    As soon as Scotland votes to leave the UK we can immediately implement one positve social and economic benefit by gaining an extra hour of sunlight everyday. Something that would have large implications for an isolated northern Scotland.

  • Auldreekie

    I think, Mr MacDonell, if you were not a unionist, if you had examined the legal complexities of the Scottish Government’s position, and if you then had the integrity to report what you found without omission and misrepresentation, your article would have been completely different. But you probably wouldn’t have been able to sell it.

  • Maidmarrion

    “I can confirm that I have today agreed to that request by referring the
    matter to the independent panel of advisers on the Ministerial Code.

    “As this matter touches on an area of the Code which relates to the law
    officers’ prerogative in terms of the existence or content of legal advice, and
    our two members of the panel are both distinguished former Lords Advocate, I
    have – on the advice of the Permanent Secretary – invited Sir David Bell to join
    the independent panel of advisers.

    “Sir David is currently Vice-Chancellor of Reading University and former
    Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education for England.

    “He will lead the investigation into this matter.

    “The findings of the independent adviser will be made public. I will accept
    them and I hope that all members of this chamber will do likewise.”

  • Barbara Stevens

    I’ve always felt we would and the Scottish people, find out what makes Salmond tick, and it looks like they’ve begun to see him in a clear light at last. His proposals are clearly for his own dreams and beliefs, without any thought to the cost and implications for the people. I love Scotland and it’s people, and I’ve always hoped that they wouldn’t let this one man and his mad brained party destroy the nation. We have had our differences over the years, but one thing we have done, is stand together through thick and thin.
    The true cost to independance have not been told. With 50% unemployed, and not enough industry to support a nation, and only tourism to rely upon; where will the money come from. They will have their amount of public debt, they will have to defend themselves, as we withdraw. Taxes will have to rise, and taxation will fall on those in work. On the daily politics show the numbers were talked about and it was suggested a 11 billion shortfall, and the SNP minister said they would have to raise taxes to fill the gap. No wonder they want the B of E to fall back on, want their cake and eat it.

  • Barbara Stevens

    I note when reading some comments they have began rudeness to make points, this is unnessecary Salmond may be disliked for his beliefs but we should all understand he is the 1st minister for Scotland which in it’s self is a great country and part of the UK.

  • Barbara Stevens

    It appear to me the chaos that the SNP have put onto the Scotish people is slowly unraveling. We have seen Salmond make great speeches without any substance as to how Scotland will survive on their own. Yes they may have some income, but not enought to support 50% unemployed, defence, a Scottish NHS, police force, etc, etc. It all has to be paid for. We would of course remove all bases once independance was voted for, and has the Russians, many times have edged toward our airspace and been thwarted by UK airforce, Scotland would be defenceless. There is more to independance than they have been honest with. They would have course have to take part to the national debt. Indeed, on the daily politics show when challenged, the figures came out of a 11 billion short fall. The answer from the SNP minister they would borrow to forfill the shortfall. Of course they still want to be aligned to the B of E, who would pick up the debts if they fail, I don’t think so.

  • Drew Edward

    The reason the anti independence media and politicians’ Nat bashing has intensified in recent days boils down to pretty much one simple thing, after their own careers of course. A recent Scottish Affairs Committee report states:

    “The UK’s entire nuclear deterrent is based and serviced in Scotland.
    The Committee has heard in evidence that nuclear weapons in Scotland
    could be disarmed within days and removed within months.”

  • Bob Hutton

    Mr Salmond has been caught out in his deception. As the Bible says “Be sure your sin will find you out”.

    • terregles2

      Big dodgy Dave and the Westminster political bandits have been caught out lying and cheating Scotland. Shabby cheating Westminster tories the game is up.
      The Great Obfuscation-GERS-2006

  • unidian

    Paint the Scots as deluded and their ‘leader’ a fat fool, will lead to more votes for independence … don’t you know us? The model is Norway – now there’s a country laughing all the way to the bank, not least because they didn’t sign up to the Euro :))))

    • terregles2

      The BritNatz have run out of any logical argument so they call Scotland’s First Minister fat and a liar.
      The game is up Westminster chancers your days of living off Scotland’s wealth are over. Bye Bye BritNatz.

  • Iain Hill

    What happened to mature, reasonable reporting? Do the Yookay’s minions need to reortb to such hysteria? This a non story, and worse happens every day in Westminster 1707.

  • Salisbury

    The gist of the advice from Aidan O’Neill QC, linked to elsewhere in this thread, is that you could use different precedents in international law to support any option you wanted, and that therefore politics, not the law, will decide.

    That being so, wouldn’t it be possible to persuade the EU to recognise an independent Scotland as the depository of the UK’s membership of the EU, so that it stays in and the rest of the UK is required to re-apply. Message to Barroso: don’t wait up for the call.

    How many birds would that stone kill.

  • Clavers

    Salmond “Politician” of the year,honest politician oxymoron. Salmond if he did not LIE he constantly implied that he had taken legal advice in order for everyone else to infer that he had.

  • iain s ritchie

    if this is all there is against Salmond, game on…this is a long game…(ps i am not snp or otherwise)

  • David Lindsay

    The resignation of John Finnie and Jean Urquhart from the SNP, which
    they rightly recognise as now in favour of nuclear weapons since it is
    now in favour of NATO membership, should spur Labour yet further to
    declaring that it will reassert fiscal responsibility and national
    sovereignty by cancelling Britain’s payments for the dubious privilege
    of hosting American nuclear weapons over which we have not the slightest
    control, and by withdrawing, thereby possibly destroying, a dangerously
    interventionist and expansionist military alliance which has served no
    good purpose since its (wildly overestimated) enemy collapsed a
    generation ago.

    Furthermore, the collapse of the Lib Dems, to be followed by that of the
    SNP once there is a No vote to independence several months before the
    next General Election, was always a good opportunity for Labour in the
    North of Scotland if its played its cards right. The resignation of two
    Highlands and Islands MSPs from the SNP on a point of principle has just
    greatly strengthened Labour’s hand. Labour will need to work hard if it
    wants to sell itself as the voice of the Highlands and Islands (or of
    the West Country, or of Mid Wales, among other places). Well, then. Get
    on with it.

  • Maidmarrion

    “More than that, Salmond looked devious, conniving and prepared to waste taxpayers’ money to cover his own back. No wonder some MSPs started calling him a liar in public and then coined the term ‘scomnishambles’ to describe the SNP’s day.
    Today David Cameron was given the chance in the Commons to pile further misery on Salmond’s head, an opportunity he duly availed himself of.”
    This is a shocking article for a journalist to write – not to mention grammatically bereft.
    I am sick and tired of those who arrogantly spend their time defaming the First Minister in print .
    You disappoint me Mr Macdonell along with many others who call themselves journalists – you do yourself no favours in your disservice to honesty and integrity.
    There are many whose opinions have become worthless via their inability to deal with the SNP and the independence of Scotland in a mature manner but most of all who now look as ridiculous as the labour party in their visceral hatred of Mr Salmond and the SNP.

  • fitzfitz

    If the Scotch Pudding totters, who will lead this noble cause ?

  • Drew Edward

    Just out of interest, what legal advice has the UK Government been given regarding an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU? Can someone post the links to where it’s been published? Thanks

  • dougthedug

    The resignation of Jean Urquhart and John Finnie hasn’t actually affected the SNP majority because they’ve said they’ll vote with the SNP in Parliament. The only disagreement they’ve got with the SNP is over NATO and they still want an independent Scotland.

    Alex Salmond was only ordered to do one thing by the Scottish information commissioner and that was to reveal whether or not he had received legal advice on Scotland’s status in the EU as an independent country. The Scottish information commissioner actually states that he has a right to keep the content of the legal advice secret under section 16 of the FOISA. Decision 111/2012

    The standard practice under the ministerial code is not to reveal whether legal advice has been given and the UK government in Westminster also took the same stance when faced with a FOI request about its legal advice on Europe.

    The position of the Scottish Government has always been that they should not have to reveal whether they have received legal advice on any subject and they stuck to that. I take it that you believe that this code should only be adhered to when advice has been given which would mean if they refused to answer then it would be obvious that information had been given. Logic does not seem to be your strong point Hamish.

    Formal legal advice on Scotland’s status with the EU after independence can now be given because of the agreement on Scotland’s referendum signed in Edinburgh. If Scotland dissolves the Union it will be with agreement from Westminster and not by UDI or with Westminster hostile to the very idea of a Scottish state. The other EU states would not want to make a decision on membership under those circumstances.

    Labour and their Tory and Lib-Dem allies (the LibLabCons) wanted to break the ministerial code in order to know if the SNP government had been given formal advice on Scotland’s status as an independent state in the EU. Now they know and rather than being grateful they are running around in hysterics because they don’t like the answer.

    • Expatriate Scot

      Well here is the Guardian’s latest story on the difficulties Mr Salmond may have in realising his foreign policy dream. It appears the Spanish government believes Scotland will have to join the EU queue for membership in the normal way and will not automatically have membership:

      • dougthedug

        During which time every Spanish fishing boat would have to keep out of Scotland’s 200 mile fishery limit. And everyone else come to that.

        What’s that José? The sound of the penny dropping.

        • Expatriate Scot

          It has never stopped the Spanish or other EU nations from illegally fishing in the past. And the English boats will be straight in there too. Anyway, who is going to stop them? Scotland will have to create a navy from scratch and I don’t see the English agreeing to bequeath much in the way of vessels if Salmond is insistent on evicting Trident. It just emphasises what a complete joke ‘independence’ is in reality.

          • macdhubhaig

            I like the way you say all english boats dose the Irish or the Welsh not get a mention that’s the problem england thinks the word brittish=england but we won’t need to worry about that after 2014

          • macdhubhaig

            Expatriate Scot hang your head in shame! Saor Alba Gu Brath

      • macdhubhaig

        Scotland is entitled to 8.5% of UK assets after independence so I would immagine that would include RN shipping which could be used to defend scotland along with weapons of war and the EU has stated that scotland will remain a EU member after independence and with a population of 5million and £1.5 trillion in oil reserves and more oil being discovered every day+all our other industries and monies I don’t think scotland has much to worry about after independence do you?

  • metalheadmatt

    You sir are a plonker of the highest order still all must good in your world mr ed balls. Still keep calm & vote tory sir

  • Spammo Twatbury

    “This may seem intricate, arcane and not particularly important but it is crucial”

    No it isn’t. Any “advice” on EU membership is a pointless waste of time and money, because nobody knows what’ll happen and nobody will until such times as Scotland actually does vote for independence. All you get from “experts” is opinions, and you can get those from any arse in the street. The experts won’t decide, the members of the EU will.

  • anyfool

    Why is anyone surprised that Salmond has been economical with the truth, he served his apprenticeship in the Labour Party, on a scale he is up there with Galloway another from that particular school, while both of them excellent scholars in the art of lying still cannot hold a candle to Brown, Balls and the daddy of them all Blair.

    • MichtyMe

      Salmond in the Labour Party, oh no, never, ever, got some dates for this fool.

      • anyfool

        no, got that totally wrong. wrote without checking what i thought was correct.

  • Forlornehope

    When the Soviet Union broke up Russia was recognised internationally and without debate as the successor state with approximately half the total population. As RUK will have over 90% of the population any idea that it will not be the successor state is simply an SNP dream. An even bigger potential issue than the Euro will be the Schengen agreement; with the phobic anxiety about immigration in England, Scotland in Schengen land will make border controls inevitable. Oh happy days.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      “When the Soviet Union broke up Russia was recognised internationally and without debate as the successor state”

      Ah yes, how well we all remember the Soviet Union, that celebrated member of the EU.

      • MichtyMe

        Interestingly the UN did not recognise Serbia and Montenegro as the successor state and the use of the name Yugoslavia.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      “with the phobic anxiety about immigration in England, Scotland in Schengen land will make border controls inevitable”

      I wouldn’t fret. By the time the Tories are finished, nobody on Earth will ever want to immigrate into the ruined neo-feudal hellhole that England will be.

  • Thick as two Plancks

    The Speccie and the Telegraph spend many column inches trying to persuade themselves that readers in England are interested in Scotland. What somebody once called the triumph of hope over experience.

  • FranzFerdinand

    Of course Hamish is it entirely possible the legal advice could well come back and back up the SNP position….in which case it rebounds on the other side.

    Especially when one considers this statement made by David Mundell in November 2011…..

    ”Whilst there is a strong public interest in seeing what legal advice has been provided to the UK Government on the implications of EU membership if Scotland were to achieve independence, we have concluded that this is outweighed by a strong public interest in the Government being able to seek free and frank legal advice.”

    Also in a written response….

    ”I have not received formal representations on the possible status of an independent Scotland within the EU.”

    So Westminister won’t issue it’s legal advice and it hasn’t asked for an opinion either and yet Michael Moore the Scottish Secretary publicly stated that it was ‘fanciful’ Scotland could join the EU….

    How could Moore possibly be so certain given that if he hadn’t received or sought legal advice ?

    Salmond is undoubtedly guilty of at the very least being economically with the truth….but then again so has the Westminister Govt which has been passing of assertion and personal opinion as fact.

    Also biggest stories in Scotland today, using the unscientific medium of the office….Celtics narrow defeat to Barca and Jimmy Saville…..outwith the bubble this story simply doesn’t exist

    • MichtyMe

      But there is legal advice. August this year. House of Commons, Scottish Affairs Committee, Minutes of Evidence, Witnesses, Patrick Layden TD QC Scottish Law Commission, Professor Andrew Scott, University of Edinburgh gave evidence.
      Professor Scott, I think that Andrew is absolutely right that the UK of GB&NI would no longer exist after Scotland votes to withdraw from the Union. Both parts of the UK would be in the same situation but my view is that both would be continuing members of the EU. Of course they would have to negotiate, there would have to be treaty amendments which would have to be unanimously agreed upon but they would be negotiated from within rather than outside.

      • Steerage

        Rubbish. If one element of a state secedes they would have to apply to get back into the EU if they were foolish enough to want to.
        In the case of Czechoslovakia there was an agreement to split the country in two and not even a referendum.

        • MichtyMe

          But it is the dissolution of a Union not a secession and there is a difference.

  • Max

    A non story. Next !

  • dorothy wilson

    Salmond may end up regretting that he did not take note of the old adage: be careful what you wish for you might just get it.

  • MichtyMe

    You cannot be a “Unionist” and believe that only Scotland would have to apply for EU membership. A Union means equal status for both successor states or it is no Union. The vote is on the dissolution of the UK and Scotland is, like the other half of the Union, and part of the territory of the EU it would not need to join, although it could, with its new sovereignty, decide to leave.

    • Expatriate Scot

      The Union is not going to break up. The Union did not end in 1922 when Ireland left and it will not end in 2014 if Scotland votes for independence. Scotland will have seceded from the Union to become an independent country, but the remaining elements of the Union will stick together and be recognised internationally as such. It is Scotland that will be a brand new country and which will have to apply for membership of the EU, seek diplomatic recognition etc. So please don’t tell Unionists what they have to think. Your problem is that Scotland may well be stuffed if it leaves the Union and will have to start from scratch. That is a very weak bargaining position and will not be helped by needlessly antagonising the rest of the Union on issues such as Trident. My guess by the way is that the Union will decide to retain Faslane and its hinterland as a sovereign base area outside Scottish control. And who exactly will throw them out? The Tartan Army?

      • MichtyMe

        The Union was created by Treaty between two sovereign states and without Scotland or England there is no Union or UK. Wales and Ireland( in whole or part) were never party to any treaty, they are appendages, sort of internal colonies. The successor states can of course call themselves whatever they want, Scotland could call itself the UK after the dissolution but that’s a bit unlikely.

      • Spammo Twatbury

        “The Union did not end in 1922 when Ireland left”

        That’s because Ireland was not a signatory to the Treaty of Union.

        • MichtyMe

          The Kingdom of Ireland was created by Proclamation by Henry VIII and was never a sovereign entity.

          • Unhygienix the Fishmonger

            Expatriate Scot is correct. The union of Scotland and Englandcreated the Kingdom of Great Britain. That polity was legally superceded in 1800 by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which such polity continues today as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland notwithstanding Eire’s departure. That polity would legally continue notwithstanding Scotland’s departure.

            And what ypu fail to realise is that whether a state is regarded as a successor is largely a question of whether other states decide to recognise it as such. There were good realpolitik reasons why nobody wished to recognise Serbia and Montenegro as the successor to Yugoslavia. And there are compelling reasons why the USA, the EU and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council will be very keen to recognise a polity composed of England, Wales ad N Ireland post Scottish secession as the legal continuation of the current UK (for example, noone wishes to open up the issue of replacing the UK as a permanent member of the Security Council, The EU Commission does not want to gave to renegotiate Rump UK’s terms of membership etc etc) Nothing the SNP can do or say will ever change that.

  • Expatriate Scot

    Well there is plenty more time for the Salmond Nutters’ Party to implode before 2014. It is a sad comment on the local politics and people of Scotland that an extreme left wing party, largely aligned with CND and packed with opportunists, chauvinists, froth-mouthed extremists, alcoholics, bleating cyber trolls and downright loonies, has managed to make such headway. I am afraid Little Englanders appear genuine internationalists compared with the ‘Little Jimmies’ of the SNP, who seem obsessed with turning the country into the People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Caledonia, where oil flows from every tap. Salmond is tricky, but overrated and the rest of the UK should stand up much more firmly to this pompous self-serving charlatan and his retarded followers.

    • JPJ2

      Tripe 🙂

      • Expatriate Scot

        I am so glad you recognised the allusion to yourself, but I did not actually list Tripe (or even cows) as SNP supporters. But I am sure that you are right and I apologise for having omitted to include it in my list. As a word it certainly sums up SNP policies beautifully.

    • Bluesman

      “an extreme left wing party, largely aligned with CND and packed with
      opportunists, chauvinists, froth-mouthed extremists, alcoholics,
      bleating cyber trolls and downright loonies”

      Right on! That’s the job of the Cleggerites.

    • Max

      You seem to be suffering from adolescent petulance.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      “the SNP, who seem obsessed with turning the country into the People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Caledonia”

      …or, if you listen to Labour, the SNP are in fact the “Tartan Tories”. Yawn.

    • Dimoto

      That would be playing into Salmond’s hands.
      He lives off a steady stream of anti-English poison, and the English have mostly been smart enough, (or detached enough), not to be provoked.
      Answering in kind would be really dumb, because, let’s face it, most Scots enjoy the Salmond ranting and many consider it entirely justified, whatever their party allegiance.
      Still waiting for the first Scot to have the balls to stand up and say, “well, actually the English are not so bad and are pretty much like us”. It’s a long wait though.

      • Barbara Stevens

        The wait may not be as long as you think when the Scots realise the costs involved which they will have to meet, not us.

  • Alex

    “Alex Salmond: gambler, tipster, political animal and First Minister” You forgot to add chancer, bombastic fool and pompous prat.

    It always annoyed me when metropolitan hacks introduced the FFM (Fat First Minister) with the words “Alex Salmond, one of the smartest polticians on these isle..” or some similar, over-the-top, badly researched tosh.

    He’s a one trick pony and that trick is to shout louder and longer than anyone else, obfuscating, insulting, overbearing refusal to answer any questions he didn’t like.

    Look where that got him, predictably. Most Scots saw it coming…

    I suspect I won’t be getting annoyed by the London hacks laziness in respect of the FFM’s superpowers the near future…

    • JPJ2

      Ah Alex, weren’t you one of the many “Scottish” Labour Party councillors who were so certain that “Scottish” Labour would succeed in lying their way to victory in 2011.
      It is just a rhetorical question, as of course you WERE 🙂
      How ironic that you refer to yourself elsewhere as “Braveheart”–“Toom Tabard”, more like 🙂

    • Max

      ” Fat First Minister ” name calling like a child.

      • Fergus Pickering

        But he is First Minster and he is fat. And getting fatter.

        • Max

          If you follow that dumb logic, Churchill was a fat alcoholic slob and shouldn’t be prime minister.

          • Guest

            Your logical jump from ‘fat alcoholic slob’ to ‘shouldn’t be prime minister’… where on earth did that come from?

            I can’t see your previous posts, Max, but is it at all possible that you hate the UK/Tories/England so much that you don’t think Churchill should have been PM?!

    • MichtyMe

      If Salmond was that opportunist you describe in his youth he would have joined the Labour Party, certainly been elected a MP, undoubtedly a Cabinet Minister and today, the 24th October 2012, it would not be First Minister Salmond but Prime Minister Salmond.

    • Spammo Twatbury

      Deary me. Is this juvenile, petulant, name-calling drivel any sort of fitting behaviour for an elected representative like Labour Councillor Alex Gallagher?

    • Alex

      It’s not my fault he’s fat. And I didn’t force him to tell porkies either.

    • Dimoto

      Hmmm, everyone also waited to see when Tommy Sheridan’s/George Galloway’s luck would run out, but despite a couple of hiccups, it just goes on and on.

  • Angus Williams

    I read that expecting something insightful, not simply regurgitating what has been written umpteen times elsewhere.

    I expect a little more from the Spectator.

    • Whyshouldihavetoregister

      They don’t like it up ’em, do they?

  • glenlivetguy

    Now the man who wants to break up the UK has fallen off his pedestal, perhaps more attention may be given to the quite extraordinary letter Salmond got Civil Servants to draft, for Donald Trump to sign, supporting the release of the Libyan bomber.To his credit Trump, despite Salmond’s influence in getting numerous conservation bodies to roll over, so Trump could build” the world’s best golf course” in Salmond’s constituency, refused to sign said letter, though now with Salmond pushing for a massive row of wind farms in the sea just by his constituency (and that begs another question) and ruining the view from his golf course,Trump has released this amazing letter.

  • Tartan Tory

    It’s quite possible that Salmond doesn’t know or even understand what voting yes would really mean

    • Bluesman

      Salmond understands that he would be the biggest minnow in a pishy little pond; and that is all he ever wanted.

      • Max

        There is nothing quite like a self loathing Scot, is there ?

        • telemachus

          I cannot abide a fat man

          • Max

            Ed Balls is fat.

            • The Crunge

              Actually Max he is fat and chronically dishonest. Witness his conflation of debt with deficit, his claim that the CBI supported pension reform and his denial of involvement in the overthrow of Blair. Perhaps they are twins and liars both!

              • telemachus

                But as astute student of economics you will recognise his economic competence vis a vis Osborne

                • The Crunge

                  I am an economist not a student. I recognise Mr Balls as the co-architect of many of our current economic woes including the destruction of the private pension system and the introduction of a financial regulatory system that allowed the first banking collapses in more than 140 years. The fact that this preposterous, arrogant, amoral and dishonest man could become Chancellor is truly frightening and should be fought at all costs That said, the UK electorate has a propensity to believe in simple, facile and empty promises of pain free solutions to almost impossible economic problems. Consequently, this catastrophic eventuality must be considered. To be fair, he has yet to espouse a single policy for either dealing with the deficit while concurrently promoting economic growth other than, typically, bad-mouthing the people who are wrestling with these problems. When he does come up with a policy, any policy I will happily let you have my opinion of it/them.

            • AdemAljo

              You know what… I made a post about you, Max, dissing Churchill, but have subsequently deleted it as I was utterly wrong in doing so. This comment is marvelous and I shall have it carved into Ed Miliband’s forehead.

          • Mattallica Matt Bell

            That is a bit rich coming from you mr balls talking donkey

            • AdemAljo

              Does that mean that Ed Balls is in fact Shrek?!

              I’m not entirely sure what is worse about this new revelation; that he is an odious, huge, fat, green ogre with social problems or the fact that he is Scottish…