Alex Salmond. He’s not gone away, you know.

Iain Macwhirter

A week is famously a long time in politics.  Alex Salmond  who resigned following the defeat of the Yes campaign in Scotland’s independence referendum, had been leader of the Scottish National Party for nearly a quarter of a century.  That’s an eternity in politics – as I can testify from personal experience.   I remember doing the first interview with him after he defeated Margaret Ewing for the national convenorship in September 1990.  That’s back when Margaret Thatcher was still in Number 10.

Granted, Salmond had a period in exile in Westminster at the turn of the century, but that is a hell of a long time to lead any political party, let alone one as fractious and difficult as the SNP.  During this time Alex Salmond has been under almost constant scrutiny from a hostile media, with his personal life minutely examined by nosy journalists and his political opponents…

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2 thoughts on “Alex Salmond. He’s not gone away, you know.

  1. I knew nothing of Nicola Sturgeon until I read the line declaring her Salmond’s anointed successor. In search of information I came upon a Guardian article from last Friday. (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/19/alex-salmond-resignation-nicola-sturgeon-destiny) I enjoyed learning about Sturgeon, and I was drawn to the following, “The referendum results, which saw significant successes for the yes campaign in the west central belt, mark a shift in the geographical centre of the SNP, one party insider suggests, and Sturgeon’s base in Glasgow’s south side puts her in a strong position to rebuild from there. Sturgeon makes no secret of being to the left of Salmond, and a similar shift in the political centre of gravity of the SNP is expected.” The literal and figurative geographical references immediately sent me searching for more information. I came upon a few interesting maps in my web wandering – http://observationalism.com/2014/09/19/last-nights-referendum-on-scottish-independence-poses-a-geographic-paradox/ and if you check it out, don’t skip the Reddit chart at the end: https://i.imgur.com/bdq2XVd.jpg. I would love to hear/read deeper analysis of the map pairings.

    I also read that while certainly anointed by her predecessor, Sturgeon has a relationship of equals with Salmond. An image of Putin had flashed into my mind, but it faded quickly. David Greig reports of her, “What she seems to be is a bridge between 1950s nationalism, which might be regarded as old-fashioned tweed and tartan SNP, and the modern social democratic SNP that is being forged in Holyrood.” (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/05/nicola-sturgeon-salmond-deputy-brink-power). I stand in awe of bridges. I look forward to witnessing Sturgeon’s political future, in particular as it pertains to Cameron’s vague promises and the Scottish desire for maximum devolution. (Max devo, by the way, is my new favorite political term.) I am also curious to see how the UK addresses the push for max devo and the push for “English votes for English laws” in the coming months and years, as well as any potential influence these changes have on other similar movements around the world.

  2. I thought this was an interesting article about Alex Salmond. Although I was not surprised that he decided to resign from being the head of the Scottish National Party and the head of the government of Scotland, I was surprised at that resigned last week. One thing that surprised me is that Salmond is still very popular in Scotland, even though the main issue that he supported which was Scottish Independence from the United Kingdom. This motion was voted down, last week by the Scottish electors. This is a trend that is unlikely seen in the United States, where in our country, a person who runs for president and loses is usually very unpopular.

    However, that could be true in Scotland because the vote was for or against an issue and not for or against a candidate running for office. Perhaps it is surprising because in the United States, you never see a national vote by all the voters on a single issue. At least not in my lifetime although, at 24 years of age I have only voted in 2 national elections. Imagine if a single election would occur on one issue in the U.S and all the voters in America were given the chance to vote for or against national health care. Suppose it was paraphrased as a vote for or against the Affordable Health Care Law also known as: Obama Care. Then imagine, if the electorate voted national health care down and then President Obama resigned before his presidential term was over. However, that is exactly what happened with Alex Salmond.

    The SNP has had other key issues besides Scottish independence. First of all, the SNP has always supported the Unilateral nuclear disbarment. They want to reduce or eliminate all nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom, the rest of the west, and the rest of the world. Second of all, this SNP supports progressive personal taxation for all Scottish citizens. They supported tax system in which the tax rate for individuals increases as the tax burden increases. I certainly support that tax method because, its fair that the more a person makes, the more they pay in taxes. Lastly, the SNP supports efforts to stop global warming by increasing renewable energy through wind, wave, and tide. Scotland has been very successful in developing industries to support this initiate.

    Each of these three principals that Salmond supported, are still relevant and did not go away just because Scottish Independence was voted down. The other thing that is interesting about the Salmond article was about the issue itself. The United Kingdom consists of a union of 4 countries-England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Although each of those four counties have their own government, they also have to obey the rules from the national government located in London. They cannot have their own monetary postal or military system.

    I think it is very remarkable that Salmond proposed and supported a vote to allow Scotland to leave the United Kingdom. The last time that happened in the United States, was over a 150 years ago resulting in the Civil War. Although Salmond lost there was no blood shed. However, knowing his life’s story, I agree that he is gone for now but not gone forever

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