For Salmond, Scotland's first minister, who was the only politician in the UK to emerge from the recent local elections with a clear cut victory as his Scottish National Party won a majority in the Scottish Parliament for the first time with 69 seats from all parts of the nation. How Salmond uses his power, especially over the issue of Scottish independence, remains to be seen but there can be no quesion that he has established himself as a formidable politician who commands respect throughout the UK. .