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It’s not just Salmond’s name at stake, but the future of independence itself

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On Tayside four years ago, beside an uneven row of modest shops and salons, Alex Salmond was preaching to the faithful. The first referendum on Scottish independence was less than a week away but the patron saint of the yes movement had already run his race.

He was embarking on a tour to thank his supporters. In the eyes of those gathered, he could do no wrong. He, more than anyone else, had led them to a place where their dreams of self-determination were about to be fulfilled.

He was never more powerful and admired than in those moments and in those communities he had represented for nearly three decades. Momentarily, support for Scottish independence was in the ascendancy and Salmond, it seemed, was about to succeed where the French Revolution and the Third Reich had failed, by defeating the British establishment.

More than four years later, Salmond is in a very different place and the entire movement for Scottish independence seems imperilled. Scotland’s greatest politician and the one feared by the Westminster establishment more than any other is now facing the fight of his life. Whether his achievements and attributes are to be seriously disfigured depends upon the outcome of the sexual complaints against him made by two female Scottish government staffers dating back almost five years.

The details of these complaints are currently in the hands of the police. Yet, though no decision has been made on whether to charge the former first minister of Scotland with any offence or crime, they have come into the public domain. This most........

© The Guardian