There's no doubt in my mind that AS is a very astute and clever politician. My problem is, I'm still not sure whether he is doing this for the benefit of the Scottish people.....or for the benefit of AS!
There's no question in my mind that AS is the outstanding politician in Scottish politics, and it is the strength of his own personality that is largely behind the growth in support for the Yes campaign. He runs a competent administration and is a viable proposition to be Prime Minister of an independent Scotland.
There are three issues though.. Firstly, in the pool of politicians in his, and other parties, I honestly don't see any particular talent and I would be concerned about who could run the country in his place, should he lose a Scottish election (very possible) or should he retire / suffer ill health / etc.
Secondly, as the campaign develops I'm beginning to see a bit of a rude, unpleasant side to him that I haven;t seen before. The old avuncular persona has definitely gone. In its stead is an angry, belligerent man who constantly snipes at the opposition, and some of the attacks are personal.
Lastly, I object to his continual attempts to make the referendum about "Scotland versus the hated English Tories." Whilst this view has some traction here in Scotland, I think this demeans AS, and undermines the case for independence. The people in the "no" campaign care just as passionately as their opponents, even the Conservatives, and there is no need for Salmond's "vote for independence and you'll never have the Tories again" stance.
I agree with all your points, Mickeypops. There is no doubting AS's ability as a politician and I used to find him quite amusing. That was before I saw his true colours and I'm afraid I now can't stand the man. One thing I do find quite interesting though is that, if Scotland was to vote for independence, the SNP would surely become redundant and where would that leave dear Alex?