Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Dream Shall Never Die: Alex Salmond, May 1—2, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
This is one of the most important political memoirs in modern history. Whatever your view, the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 had a significant impact on Scotland, the UK and British democracy.
Bookended with background and aspirations, the main section in the middle of the book chronicles the 100 days leading up to the in/out vote on September 18, 2014. Throughout, Salmond is frank about himself (“First television debate. I lost”) and brutal about his rivals – not least David Cameron, The Treasury, much of the press and especially the BBC. In most cases, when he goes a wee bit Malcolm Tucker, he tends to give only his side of the conversation. Gentlemanly, probably, but I want to know what Tony Hall said back.
His writing style is honest and witty. He is, sometimes, likeable; other times, he unrepentantly discloses some of his more underhand tactics. Throughout, he dips into Scottish patter, referring to his ‘Faither’, a ‘stooshie’ about Usain Bolt’s tweets and Being a Jambo.
What is surprising is how little Salmond had to do with the Yes campaign. He spent a lot of those final 100 days playing golf and organising the Commonwealth Games. While going about his duties as First Minister, we glean a little of an office that until now has never been greatly exposised.
There’s a disappointing lack of analysis from Salmond. Be it the debates, the Vow or results night, most events have a cursory few lines rather than a detailed reaction from the top dog. However, The Dream does offer us some insights into the Holyrood/Westminster tensions, post-Yes plans and Alex’s diet.
You may or may not like him, you may or may not agree with him, but Alex Salmond spearheaded a one-in-lifetime revolution in Scotland. That story in his own words is not to be missed.