by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The UK-controlled media in Scotland is certainly going overboard in its attempts to discredit Alex Salmond and, by extension, the case for Scotland becoming a normal country. This may please the hard-line Unionists, but it is also creating an unhealthy response among the Yes community, with many people declaring the entire story nothing more than another conspiracy.

It must be said that the media have a track record of attempting to create #SNPBad stories based on very little, so it is no wonder the conspiracy theory angle is taking root, but the entire saga is in danger of growing out of control as opinions become more and more entrenched while facts remain few.

We cannot know whether the allegations made by two women against Alex Salmond are true or false, but it must surely be evident that whoever is leaking details to the media is not doing so out of concern for the women’s welfare. In fact, all they are creating is an atmosphere where other women may well be deterred from coming forwards to make claims about inappropriate behaviour for fear of becoming embroiled in a media circus.

Not that this will prevent the media whipping up a storm. They will leap on any bandwagon they can find in their attempts to discredit anyone or anything linked to Scottish independence, while simultaneously playing down or completely ignoring inappropriate behaviour on the part of unionist politicians even when that is proven and not merely an allegation. The media are also desperate to avoid any discussion of electoral fraud or dark money, all of which only adds fuel to the claims of this latest episode being an anti-SNP plot.

It is all depressingly familiar and sad, and it is also grossly unfair on the three individuals at the centre of the case, none of whom can now expect much in the way of fair treatment. That is perhaps one of the greatest disservices the UK media in Scotland has done to our nation. Their constant howls of outrage over what turn out to be invented or exaggerated claims mean that any new allegation is now viewed with scepticism.

If Alex Salmond is guilty of the alleged behaviour, then this should be made public once the evidence has been properly examined; if he is innocent, then this, too, should be made public in due course.

There are two other points to bear in mind. The first is that even if he is guilty of behaving in the alleged manner, that does not affect the case for Scottish self-determination. Secondly, Nicola Sturgeon has responded in a dignified and sensible way. Many others could perhaps learn a lesson from her in how to react to difficult situations.