Salmond: Against The Odds
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David Torrance. Publisher: Birlinn Ltd , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title As leader of the Scottish National Party on and off for almost a quarter of a century, Alex Salmond has dominated Scottish, and also UK, politics for much of the last decade, while in he brought Scotland to the brink of independence.
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Seller Rating:. New Soft cover Quantity Available: 3. Salmond: Against the Odds Torrance, David. Published by Birlinn Ltd. Mediaoutlet Springfield, VA, U. Revaluation Books Exeter, United Kingdom. But seeing him failing to come to the aid of fellow Muslims in dire need in Kosovo, many again voted Labour.
At the same Scottish election, the SNP also devised under Salmond what many critics saw as one of its most disastrous campaigns, the "Penny for Scotland", the parliament having been granted modest tax-raising powers,the right to vary income tax by up to 3p in the pound.
It backfired. At one point, the SNP trailed Labour by 20 points. A report in the Independent from 23 April remarked that the SNP "was in a state of shock yesterday after an opinion poll showed public support plummeting.
Black propaganda, a hostile press and the war in Kosovo were all blamed by anxious party officials but the deeper suspicion is that many Scots are frightened by the prospect of independence". Salmond turned to Sir Sean Connery, the most famous SNP supporter; but the SNP lost the election and Salmond quit as leader, relinquishing his Holyrood seat in and returning, humbled, to relative anonymity on the backbenches at Westminster. There remain echoes of the darker side to his temperament: his fierce temper and his apparent arrogance.
He got a reputation for "attacking the player, not the ball".
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There are still flashes of both now - his close aides admit that in private he can have a temper, and one often detects an underlying menace behind the charm. His braggadocio is seen as offputting for many female voters. But the 21st-century Salmond is a much mellower, subtler and charismatic character. He re-entered frontline politics in , regaining the leadership comfortably and returning to Holyrood. Changed by his absence, he rebuilt the party on the centre ground.
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And he went on to win a very narrow victory against Labour in the Holyrood election on a populist platform of tax cuts and investment in certain public services, particularly policing and schools. Salmond resigned from the Commons in He is now the master of Holyrood. He leads a party and a front bench noted for its preternatural discipline and loyalty. That, along with weak opposition, allowed Salmond to sweep to power with an unprecedented majority in Holyrood last May, taking 69 seats.
Salmond's frontbench team and his back office staff are of a far higher calibre than those in the opposition. That has proved crucial. It has allowed him the space to invest significant time in putting his personal stamp on Scottish politics and policy; he does very little detailed policy work. His detractors sneer that he already pretends to be "President" Salmond.
He has not, of course, been without criticism in recent years — perhaps most significantly pertaining to the early release in of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, and last year after launching incendiary attacks on Scottish judges on the UK supreme court. Salmond, though, remains enormously popular.
He displays a gift for engaging with people; a fatherly charm with some, a bonhomie and ready wit with others. When he talks to business leaders he displays impressive political and economic expertise. But his ability to talk economics in an authoritative fashion sounds convincing. Salmond is known too — it comes across often in public forums — for an air of pomposity and bluster.
You had to think carefully before taking on Salmond
Scott suggests Salmond's air of arrogance is due in part to Holyrood. Unlike at Westminster, nobody there is nearly his equal.
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I think he has kept that in proportion. Topics Alex Salmond.