Alex Salmond inquiry: I stand with Nicola Sturgeon as unionists launch hysterical attacks – Angus Robertson

Nicola Sturgeon is the most popular leader the SNP has ever had and her standing amongst the general public is miles ahead of her rivals.

Nicola Sturgeon is due to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament committee investigating the government's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond tomorrow (Picture: Andy Buchanan/pool/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon is due to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament committee investigating the government's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond tomorrow (Picture: Andy Buchanan/pool/Getty Images)

Her handling of the pandemic has been widely praised and she has fronted-up the challenging public health campaign with competence, commitment and empathy.

Her favourability ratings are far ahead of the other Scottish leaders with a positive standing of plus 27 per cent. In comparison, all others are eclipsed, making such a poor impact on the public that they aren’t viewed positively or negatively at all, or the public don’t even know.

Nicola Sturgeon is rated three times more strongly than Tory leader Douglas Ross and new Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Her intelligence is rated twice as highly as her rivals, as is her understanding or ordinary people, her genuineness, honesty, trustworthiness and charisma.

These are the findings from a Savanta ComRes poll for STV News last month, but they don’t make everyone happy.

Having failed to lay a glove on her, opposition politicians and the anti-SNP commentariat have launched a full-on Trumpist assault, deploying character assassination, wild exaggerations, accusations and conspiracy theories.

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Instead of a genuine interest in the female complainants who reported the behaviour of the ex-First Minister, they have attacked his successor.

Even a cursory glance at the social media timeline of Tory MSPs shows this is about taking out Nicola Sturgeon, rather than protecting women.

In recent days, they have been happy to weaponise hysterical articles which talk of Sturgeon’s "Storm Troops” (Nazi Brownshirts), compare Scotland with North Korea (one of the most heinous dictatorships in the world) and claim the country is a one-party state (despite having a minority government and proportional representation).

It’s been as over the top as it has been transparent in its objectives. They have had as little to say about the women complainants as the former First Minister when given the opportunity to say sorry.

Things have been so bad in relation to the Scottish Parliament investigation that Rape Crisis Scotland wrote to the committee on behalf of the two complainers in the government investigation saying: “They are deeply disappointed that the committee continues to be insensitive to the fact that they are real people on the other side of this, and they are distressed that their painful personal experiences are being exploited for political purposes through the committee’s inquiry."

I for one am pleased that we have a First Minister who has not swept complaints under the carpet and look forward to her evidence to the Scottish Parliament.

Nobody disputes that investigations into sexual harassment should have been better handled. Hopefully that will be the ultimate outcome of the investigations. Surely we can agree that all women treated unacceptably should have the confidence to come forward, their complaints dealt with properly and their identities fully protected.

All recent polling shows how highly Nicola Sturgeon is rated by the public and I am confident that they want her to continue serving as First Minister.

Even after a turbulent week, the SNP is polling better than the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats combined.

In less than 10 weeks’ time, we will vote in Scottish Parliament elections. It is the public who will have the ultimate democratic say that matters, not Tory MSPs and anti-SNP commentators. #IstandwithNicola

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