What an extraordinary week in British politics!
I write as a lot of “++”s get used to send the news of Alex Salmond’s resignation round the world. What amazes me is that Salmond gets written up as a very clever politician. Well, he is clever in a very short-term tactical sense. But he is one of the most ludicrous small-minded point-scoring politicians I have ever known of.
The classic example is when he berated Nick Robinson last week.
As I wrote at the time, he focussed all his huge skill and energy on the low-lying fruit of attacking the BBC, while leaving the “stupidity on stilts” of his currency policy ridiculously wide open. It’s like attending to a pimple on your foot while your posterior is on fire.
I would compare Salmond unfavourably to Donald Dewar, founder of the Scottish parliament. Donald Dewar seemed quite a pleasant cove. Clever, witty and engaging. I am sure Alex Salmond is a good man and lovely in private. Publicly, Alex Salmond is obnoxious. Point scoring. Stupid accusations. Completely lacking in good grace. Ridiculous. But it didn’t do him any good. He put himself in the nation-founding statesperson class, but he simply wasn’t up to that class. I would also say that he proves how ridiculous any form of nationalism can be, speaking as a non-nationalist Cornishman. Having the best economy and society for all is the goal of any collection of people – not the narrow, binary question of separate nationhood.
I am today walking on egg-shells. I know and work with a lot of Scottish people. But I am not sure who voted yes and who voted no, so I am respecting them by not mentioning the referendum result. My admiration and, nay, love for the people of Scotland has been enhanced by all this. They have made their decision without a shot being fired and with great dignity, seasoned with their usual honesty and brashness.
Clackmannanshire. What a gorgeous name! I hesitate to say that, as it will probably come across as patronising. (Indeed it probably is patronising). But I can’t imagine a better area to be first to declare their result. Wonderful. As a tribute to the people of Scotland I present a picture taken near Alloa, Clackmannanshire above.