A humorous take on this curious fellow.
Scottish people will have to decide in September 2014 whether or not they want their country to remain part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or whether they want to become independent. The cheerful chap in the picture above is leader of the SNP (Scottish National Party), and is leading the charge for the “Yes” campaign, in the independence debate. For the record, I’m Scottish and at some point I’ll have to decide whether I’ll vote yes or no, but, at the moment, I’m undecided. I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on the curious fellow that is Alex Salmond.
First of all, up until recently, I thought that his name was “Alec” rather than “Alex” (shame on me). However, in my defence, you should try pronouncing the “x” in “Alex”, when it’s followed by a name that begins with an “S”, such a “Salmond”. You inevitably end up running the two together – unless you make a concerted effort to avoid doing so – and it ends up sounding like “Alec Salmond.” So, recently I had to take him out of the space in my mind that I had reserved for “famous people called Alec”. Only Alec Baldwin and Alec Guinness remain.
I think I’ll call him “Sammy” for the rest of the article. I don’t know how he would feel about this. I had a goldfish called Sammy that lived for 9 years, so I think being referred to as “Sammy” is something of an accolade. Plus, when I was very young – possibly during the Sammy-the-Goldfish-Years – I used to think that Alex Salmond’s name was Alec Salmon (I really do have trouble with this poor soul’s name). So, given that his name’s a bit fishy anyway, I think the name Sammy is a winner.
Take a look at Sammy’s face again. Go on. Get right up close. Does he remind you of anyone?
The gentleman below is the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume. Ever since I found out who this Hume fellow was, I’ve always thought that Sammy looks very much like him.
David Hume wrote a lot of influential philosophy, such as A Treatise of Human Nature, which I had to read when I was at University. (It’s very good.) But, the thing that I liked most about Hume was that he seemed to really enjoy going to the pub. Sammy likes going to the pub too, as far as I’m aware. So there’s another similarity. Although, I think that’s where the similarities end.
Regardless of his views on Scottish Independence, the general consensus among Scots seems to be that Alex Salmond has been a success as Scotland’s First Minister. Notable achievements include: free prescriptions – England charge about £7 at the moment – and making sure that Scottish citizens don’t need to pay fees at Scottish Universities; something I was very grateful for. A less enjoyable innovation, in my view, was that he wouldn’t let us buy alcohol in shops after 10pm. Although, what this really means is that you have to stock up in advance of 10pm. My advice would be to head into the supermarket, at about 9.30, armed with a suitcase on wheels.
My grandmother tells me that when she sees Sammy on television, she just wants to “push his face in”. I’m not entirely sure what she means by this. Is his face collapsible? I don’t think so. As far as I’m aware, he has a sturdy face, built on solid foundations. But in all seriousness, what I think she is referring to is that he often looks “smug”, and “pleased with himself”. You may not know this, but in Scotland, you are not allowed to look “pleased with yourself”. As a Scot, I must remind you that life is very, very hard. So, wipe that grin off your face, and get back to work.
So, is Sammy to be the next King of Scotland? Only time will tell. But I’d imagine that if Scotland were to become independent, that Scotland could do a lot worse than Alex Salmond. If all else fails, at least he’d be good for a few drinks.