here can be few cases more complicated and tortured than the war by proxy between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. The pair, once political allies and firm friends, are now engaged in mortal political combat.
If the latest explosive claims made by Salmond against Sturgeon and others are upheld, it will mean that, among other things, she lied to the Scottish parliament, broke the ministerial code and she will have to resign. Resign, that is, in the middle of a pandemic during which she has mostly been held to have acquitted herself well, with crucial parliamentary elections in a matter of weeks, and little public clamour for her to go.
It is an extraordinary state of affairs. It might have been better, all round, if their differences, profound and vital though they are, could have somehow been resolved in the purely political domain. Instead, they have been, and are continuing to be, fought in legal and quasi-legal arenas, with procedure taking precedence over substance, and bewilderingly so.