Alex Salmond: Wikis

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The Right Honourable
 Alex Salmond MSP MP


Incumbent
Assumed office 
16 May 2007
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Jack McConnell

Incumbent
Assumed office 
3 September 2004
Preceded by John Swinney
In office
22 September 1990 – 26 September 2000
Preceded by Gordon Wilson
Succeeded by John Swinney

Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Gordon
Banff and Buchan (1999-2001)
Incumbent
Assumed office 
3 May 2007
Preceded by Nora Radcliffe
Majority 2,062 (5.8%)

Member of Parliament
for Banff and Buchan
Incumbent
Assumed office 
11 June 1987
Preceded by Albert McQuarrie
Majority 11,837 (31.8%)

Born 31 December 1954 (1954-12-31) (age 55)
Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Moira Salmond
Residence Bute House (official)
Strichen, Buchan (private)
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Occupation Economist
Religion Church of Scotland[1]
Website www.snp.org

Alexander Elliot Anderson "Alex" Salmond (pronounced /ˈsæmənd/ born 31 December 1954) is the fourth First Minister of Scotland, heading a minority Scottish Government.

He is the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Member of Parliament for the constituency of Banff and Buchan, and the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Gordon. He is currently serving his second term as leader of the SNP, having previously been leader between 1990 and 2000.

The SNP won the 2007 Scottish Parliament election with 47 seats, one seat ahead of their nearest rivals, the Scottish Labour Party. On 16 May 2007, Alex Salmond became First Minister, heading the SNP administration (Government of the 3rd Scottish Parliament).

Contents

Education and career before politics

Born in Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland on 31 December (Hogmanay) 1954, Salmond is the son of Robert Fyfe Findlay Salmond and the late Mary Stewart Salmond (née Milne), both of whom were civil servants. Salmond attended Linlithgow Academy[2] and the University of St Andrews, where he graduated with a joint honours MA in Economics and History. He was first employed in the Government Economic Service as an Assistant Economist in the Scottish Office Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (DAFS) from 1978.

In 1980, he joined the Royal Bank of Scotland, for which he worked until 1987, first as an Assistant Economist, then as the Energy Economist in 1982, and latterly from 1984 as Royal Bank Economist. While with the Royal Bank, he wrote and broadcast extensively for both domestic and international outlets. He also contributed regularly to oil and energy conferences. In 1983 he devised the "Royal Bank/BBC Oil Index", which continues monthly publication to this day.

Personal life

Salmond's main interests outside work and politics are golf, horse racing, football and reading.[3] He supports Scotland and Heart of Midlothian F.C. and sometimes attends matches. He also attended the 2008 UEFA Cup Final between Rangers FC and Zenit St Petersburg. He takes an interest in Scottish cultural life, as well as watching Star Trek and listening to country and western music.[4]

For Children in Need in 2008, Salmond performed an impersonation of the Rikki Fulton character, the Reverend I M Jolly.

Salmond is now a visiting Professor of Economics at Strathclyde University.

He and his wife Moira live in Strichen in Aberdeenshire.

Early political career

Salmond became active in the SNP when he joined the Federation of Student Nationalists at St Andrews University in 1973 while a student at St Andrews. As a left-winger at the time he joined, he had considerable doubts as to whether or not the Labour Government would legislate for a devolved Scottish Assembly.

Salmond started his political life as a committed left-winger inside the SNP and was a leading member of the socialist republican organisation within it, the 79 Group. He was, along with other group leaders, suspended from membership of the SNP when the 79 Group was banned within the larger party. In 1981, he married Moira French McGlashan,[5] then a senior civil servant with the Scottish Office.

Following the SNP's National Council narrowly voting to uphold the expulsion, Salmond and the others were allowed back into the party a month later, and in 1985 he was elected as the SNP's Vice Convener for Publicity.

In 1987 he stood for Parliament in Banff and Buchan and defeated the incumbent Conservative MP, Albert McQuarrie. Later that year Salmond became Senior Vice Convener (Deputy Leader) of the SNP. He was at this time still viewed as being firmly on the left of the party and had become a key ally of Jim Sillars, who joined him in the British House of Commons when he won a by-election for the seat of Glasgow Govan in 1988. Salmond served as a member of the House of Commons Energy Select Committee from 1987 to 1992.

First time as SNP leader

When Gordon Wilson stood down as SNP leader in 1990, Salmond decided to contest the leadership. His only opponent was Margaret Ewing, whom Sillars decided to support. This caused considerable consternation amongst the SNP left as the two main left leaders were opposing each other in the contest. Salmond went on to win the leadership election by 486 votes to Ewing's 146.

First Minister Salmond speaks at the launch of A National Conversation

His first test as leader was the general election in 1992, with the SNP having high hopes of making an electoral breakthrough. Whilst considerably increased its share of the vote, it failed to win a large number of seats. Sillars lost his, causing him to describe the Scottish people as '90 minute patriots'. This comment ended the political friendship between Salmond and Sillars, and Sillars would soon become a vocal critic of Salmond's style of leadership.

The SNP increased its number of MPs from four to six in the 1997 General Election, which saw a landslide victory for the Labour Party. After election, Labour legislated for a devolved Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.

Although still committed to a fully independent Scotland, Salmond signed the SNP up to supporting the campaign for devolution, and, along with Scottish Labour leader Donald Dewar and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace, played an active part in securing the victory for devolution in the Scotland referendum of 1997. However, many hard line fundamentalists in the SNP objected to committing the party to devolution, as it was short of full political Scottish independence.

Salmond's first spell as leader was characterised by a moderation of his earlier left-wing views and by his firmly placing the SNP into a gradualist, but still pro-independence, strategy.

Salmond was one of the few British politicians to oppose the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.[6] He was opposed to the conflict because it was not authorised by a United Nations Security Council resolution, which was a controversial subject at the time. Despite this, Salmond was heavily criticised in the media for describing Tony Blair's decision to intervene militarily as an "unpardonable folly".[7]

Several years as party leader earned Salmond an unusually high profile for an SNP politician in the London-based media. In 1998, Salmond won the Spectator Award for Political strategist of the Year. Following an appearance on the entertainment programme Call My Bluff, Salmond used one of the 'bluff' cards that are used as props in the show in the run-up to the first elections to the Scottish Parliament. To counter his frustration at having to sit in silence through what he claimed was an inappropriately political speech by Tony Blair at a charity lunch, he held up the bluff card as the Prime Minister began querying Scotland's economic prospects should independence occur.[8] Throughout his time in politics, Salmond has maintained his interest in horse racing, writing a weekly column for The Scotsman and appearing a number of times on Channel 4's The Morning Line.

Salmond making a speech at the National Conversation launch.

Resignation and time in Westminster

Salmond was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and was one of its highest profile members. He stood down as SNP leader in 2000, and was replaced by his preferred successor John Swinney, who defeated Alex Neil for the post. He left the Scottish Parliament in 2001 to lead the SNP group in the House of Commons.

2003 Invasion of Iraq

During the prolonged parliamentary debates in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq he voiced strong opposition to Britain's participation. In the aftermath of the war, he lent support to the attempt of Adam Price, a Plaid Cymru MP, to impeach Tony Blair over the Iraq issue. Salmond has gone further than many anti-war politicians in claiming that Blair's statements on the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were consciously intended to deceive the public.[9] He has also claimed that Blair had made a pact with George W. Bush "to go to war come what may".[9]

Return as leader

On 15 July 2004, Alex Salmond said that he would be a candidate in the forthcoming election for the leadership of the SNP.[10] This came as a surprise because Salmond had previously declared that he would definitely not be a leadership candidate.[10] In the postal ballot of all members he went on to receive over 75% of the votes cast, placing him well ahead of his nearest rival Roseanna Cunningham.[11] Although he was re-elected in the 2005 general election, he made clear his intention to return to the Scottish Parliament at the 2007 Scottish parliamentary election in an attempt to win power for the first time.[11]

In that election, Salmond stood as a candidate for the Gordon constituency, which had been represented since 1999 by the Liberal Democrat Nora Radcliffe.[12] Salmond won the seat with 41% of the vote, and a majority of 2,062, returning to the Scottish Parliament after six years' absence. In the election the SNP emerged as the largest party, winning 47 seats to Labour's 46.

First Minister

Salmond with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the National Conversation.

Having won more seats than any other party in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP initially approached the Scottish Liberal Democrats to form a coalition, but they declined to take part in negotiations.[13] This left the SNP without any possibility to form a coalition with an overall majority. The Scottish Green Party agreed to support an SNP minority administration on a confidence and supply basis.[14]

Salmond (right) meets Ian Paisley (centre) and Martin McGuinness (left).

Salmond was elected by the Scottish Parliament as First Minister on 16 May 2007, and was sworn in on 17 May after receiving the Royal Warrant from the Queen and taking the official oath of allegiance before judges at the Court of Session.[15] Salmond became the first nationalist politician to hold the office.[16] He reduced the size of the Cabinet from nine members to six, and said he would seek to govern on a "policy by policy" basis.[16] In order to concentrate on his new role as First Minister, Salmond stood down as the SNP group leader at Westminster and was replaced by Angus Robertson.[17]

In November 2007, Salmond received the The Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year Award for his "brilliant campaign" and "extraordinary victory" in the Scottish Parliament elections, thereby ending eight years of Labour rule.[18]

2010 TV election debate

In December 2009, Alex Salmond said it would be "unacceptable"[19] for the SNP to be excluded from the 2010 UK election televised debate and has sought "guarantees of inclusion from the broadcasters, given their inescapable duty to ensure fairness and impartiality in election-related coverage in Scotland" in the build up to the 2010 UK General Election. The party has used the Freedom of Information Act to see if the BBC may have broken its own rules. Salmond said it is entirely unacceptable to Scotland as well as to the SNP for the broadcasters to exclude the party that forms the Scottish Government and leading in Westminster election polls.[20]

The SNP has argued that it must be involved in any debate shown in Scotland and that going to court remains a possibility.[21] A January 2010 poll has shown that a majority of Scots want the SNP to be included in the leaders' election debates on TV.[22]

Renewable energy

Alex Salmond in his 2010 New Year message highlighted the importance of sustainable development and renewable energy in Scotland and the required increase in powers of the Scottish Parliament needed to help harness Scotland's green energy potential and therefore take full advantage of the "renewable revolution".[23]

Earlier in December 2009, he campaigned for climate change legislation at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to promote Scotland's role in tackling and mitigating climate change. This included signing a Partnership Agreement with the Maldives, one of the most exposed countries to the consequences of rising sea levels.[24][25] Scottish ministers were excluded from the official UK delegation at the negotiations on reaching a deal on carbon emissions.

Biography

David Torrance, author of The Scottish Secretaries, is writing a biography of Alex Salmond.[26]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Salmond: 'Faith is my driving force'". London: Sunday Times Scotland. 26 July 2009. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6727842.ece. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  2. ^ http://www.linlithgowacademy.org/
  3. ^ "Take away politics and golf, and horse-racing would be my favourite pastime", The Independent, 5 January 1997
  4. ^ In conversation with... Alex Salmond, Total Politics
  5. ^ Moira Salmond: A reluctant First Wife, The Telegraph, 11 May 2007.
  6. ^ SNP News Release 30/03/99 12:06
  7. ^ Nato bombing 'unpardonable folly', BBC News, 29 March 1999.
  8. ^ Salmond calls Blair's bluff, BBC News, 1 May 1999.
  9. ^ a b Salmond back with threat to impeach PM, The Independent, 25 September 2004.
  10. ^ a b Salmon launches leadership bid, BBC News, 15 July 2004.
  11. ^ a b Salmond named as new SNP leader, BBC News, 3 September 2004.
  12. ^ Salmon to contest Holyrood seat, BBC News, 16 January 2006.
  13. ^ Lib Dems rule out SNP coalition, BBC News, 7 May 2007
  14. ^ Scottish Green Party website
  15. ^ MSPs approve new Scottish cabinet, BBC News, 17 May 2007.
  16. ^ a b Salmond elected as first minister, BBC News, 16 May 2007.
  17. ^ Robertson elected SNP's Westminster leader, The Guardian, 23 May 2007.
  18. ^ Salmond 'is top parliamentarian'
  19. ^ Salmond in SNP debate inclusion call
  20. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8425990.stm
  21. ^ Alex Salmond: Beeb must rethink snub to Scotland, Scottish Daily Record
  22. ^ Scots want SNP on TV election shows
  23. ^ Scotland's top politicians outline aims for 2010
  24. ^ We can help climate fight: Salmond (Press Association)
  25. ^ Alex Salmond: Our small country can play a big role in climate change fight
  26. ^ ‘A cheeky, bumptious, clever boy.’ Not much change then

External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Albert McQuarrie
Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan
1987–present
Incumbent
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Nora Radcliffe
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Gordon
2007–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Banff and Buchan
19992001
Succeeded by
Stewart Stevenson
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack McConnell
First Minister of Scotland
2007–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Swinney
Leader of the Scottish National Party
2004–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Gordon Wilson
National Convener (Leader) of the Scottish National Party
1990–2000
Succeeded by
John Swinney
Preceded by
Margaret Ewing
Senior Vice Convener (Deputy Leader) of the Scottish National Party
1987–90
Succeeded by
Alasdair Morgan
Order of precedence in Scotland
Preceded by
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
2007–present
Succeeded by
Alex Fergusson
Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament

Simple English

The Right Honourable
 Alex Salmond MSP
File:Alex Salmond (crop).JPG


Incumbent
Assumed office 
16 May 2007
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Jack McConnell

Leader of the Scottish National Party
Incumbent
Assumed office 
3 September 2004
Preceded by John Swinney
In office
22 September 1990 – 26 September 2000
Preceded by Gordon Wilson
Succeeded by John Swinney

Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Gordon
Banff and Buchan (1999-2001)
Incumbent
Assumed office 
3 May 2007
Preceded by Nora Radcliffe
Majority 2,062 (5.8%)

Born 31 December 1954 (1954-12-31) (age 56)
Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse Moira Salmond
Residence Bute House (official)
Strichen, Buchan (private)
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Occupation Economist
Website http://www.snp.org


Alexander Elliot Anderson "Alex" Salmond (surname pronounced SAM-MON; born December 31, 1954 in Linlithgow, Scotland) is a Scottish politician who is the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) which is a political party that wants to take Scotland out from the United Kingdom.

Alex Salmond studied at the University of St Andrews and became an economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland. Salmond became a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Banff and Buchan at the 1987 General Election. In 1990, Alex Salmond became the leader of the Scottish National Party. He became a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Banff and Buchan at the 1999 Scottish Parliament Election and resigned as SNP leader in 2000.

Salmond became the party leader again in 2004 and stood in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election for the constituency of Gordon. At this election, the SNP received the highest number of seats and the highest share of the vote in Scotland, but did not have enough seats to form a majority government. The SNP then formed a minority government with Alex Salmond as First Minister.

Alex Salmond was against the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was one of several MP's who called for Prime Minister Tony Blair to be impeached. At the 2010 General Election, Alex Salmond stood down as a Member of Parliament but argued against the BBC's decision not to allow the SNP on the televised Prime Ministerial Debates.


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