I seem to be really popular in Scotland these days. Don’t understand it but I’ll take it! 👍🏻
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) October 4, 2015
A while back, much fun was had over revelations that the former First Minister booking a flight under a rather famous pseudonym. Given he’s a lifelong Trekkie, I wonder if it wasn’t just a little bit of wish fulfilment on his part – I know I’ve often dallied in daydreams imagining I was the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise when I was a wee guy!
Yet for me, my Mam, and the rest of us in Greenock & Inverclyde SNP, Alex Salmond coming to Inverclyde to give our candidate Stuart McMillan his support was just like Admiral Kirk beaming down to promote your ship’s Captain – a really amazing, humbling experience.
This isn’t the first time Mr Salmond has campaigned in Inverclyde, of course:
What a difference four years make, eh? While the SNP did extremely well in the 2011 by-election, it was not yet time for the Clyde to go yellow – much less turn a 5,000 majority for the other party to a 10,000+ majority for the SNP!
I’d encountered Mr Salmond before, but once again, I couldn’t think of anything to say. I hovered in the background, standing in what I later realised must have looked like a bodyguard stance (maybe that’s where the “burly men” came from?) and simply observed as he conversed with everyone – including, of course, the Golden Girls!
It’s very difficult to explain why certain individuals within the Scottish independence movement are so particularly captivating, especially the one-of-a-kind Alex Salmond. So, if you will, look at things from our point of view. From our point of view, Alex Salmond is a man who represents what can be done in politics. He started off in the SNP when it was barely a blip on the electoral radar, in terms of seats and population – and won the first election he ever contested, building upon the great Douglas Henderson’s impressive vote. Mr Salmond has contested nine elections in his political career – and won every single one. He became the First Minister of a Scottish Government – no longer a mere Executive – and led the first SNP Scottish Government. He followed it up with the first majority Scottish Government, eventually becoming the longest serving First Minister since the Parliament was reconvened. And he helped deliver the most important question that has been put to the people of Scotland in their history.
Mr Salmond didn’t have to do this. If he wanted power, he could easily have joined a more electable party in the 1970s, where he easily could’ve been Prime Minister. If he wanted riches, he could’ve stayed with the Bank of Scotland as an oil economist and played the money game. If he wanted glory, he could’ve been a broadcaster. But he didn’t. When Mr Salmond joined the SNP in 1973, the party had one seat, 11% of the vote in Scotland, and one council. Even after the disasters of 1979, he remained committed to the SNP and independence. Like his successor, he kept going.
Sometimes people baulk at calling politicians heroes. Yet what other word is there for someone like Mr Salmond? And this hero came to our constituency to promote our local hero, Stuart McMillan.
I’m very hopeful. The next few days are going to be quite busy.
(video courtesy Shaun Kavanagh)
(video by yours truly)