on 24 September 2014
Here's a review from Mr Torrance's subject himself. This was a published letter in the Herald newspaper on 23-09-14:
"Now that I have time on my hands to read newspapers, I noted the musings from my self-appointed biographer David Torrance (Why the Salmond magic is in need of a revisionist take, The Herald, September 22).
I understand, of course, that thus far the general Scottish response to the referendum is the exact opposite of what Tory-leaning David would have wished, and also he must be totally devastated by my standing down - thus depriving him of a lucrative income stream. However, allow me just two observations. First, I hardly know David Torrance. And secondly - and much more problematically for a biographer - he doesn't know me at all.
Rt. Hon Alex Salmond MSP,
Bute House, Edinburgh
on 5 April 2012
This is a very well-written and revealing biography of Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party.
Salmond supports, and is supported by, big capital. He backed Donald Trump's luxury golf resort against local people's wishes, and accepted vast sums from Brian Souter, the extreme right-wing millionaire. Salmond condemned the merger of HBOS and Lloyds TSB as driven by `a bunch of short-selling spivs' but appointed the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir George Matheson, who defends short-selling, to chair his Council of Economic Advisers.
Salmond backs finance capital. He praised Ireland's debt-driven bubble: "With the advantage of full independent membership of the European Union it has used that membership to attract resources and invest in the future. And it has used its sovereignty to develop and apply policies that first of all benefit its own people and its own country." He wrote in The Times in 2007, "We are pledging a light-touch regulation suitable to a Scottish financial sector with its outstanding reputation for probity." In 2008 he said, "Scottish banks are among the most stable financial institutions in the world."
Salmond admitted that a breakaway Scotland would be £1.5 billion in the red in its first year. Jim Fairlie, the SNP's deputy leader till 1984, said, "I wanted independence for the sake of it, even if it meant Scotland being worse off." Indeed, the SNP wants to break away from Britain, knowing it would be bad for Scotland.
Salmond says he wants `independence to create jobs, ... protect our society, and grow our economy'. But breaking away would destroy jobs, split and harm our society and shrink Scotland's economy. Real life has proved the Scottish Constitutional Convention was wrong to say that devolution would bring a `Scottish economic renaissance'. Splitting away would harm Scotland even more.
The SNP backs the EU against Britain. It voted for Thatcher's Single European Act (1987), which set up the single market. Since 1988, the SNP has backed the policy of `independence in Europe', which is like backing a policy of `peace in war'. It kept voting with the Tories to save the 1991 Maastricht Treaty. Since 1997, the SNP has backed Scotland entering the euro. Yet in August 2011, it said that it would keep the pound.
If a breakaway Scotland kept the pound, its currency's central bank (the Bank of England) would be in a foreign country and Scotland would not be able to set its own interest rates. It would go through all the shock and cost of leaving the union, only to find that it was - still in the union. Or - it could apply to join the euro, to lose all powers to the EU.
The SNP likes to call Scotland a colony of England. But Salmond praised Scotland's `great relative economic success at the turn of the late 19th century, with, arguably, for a time, the highest GDP per capita in the world' - when, of course, Scotland was part of Britain. Could a colony really have a higher GDP per head than its colonial ruler?
Scotland would be more of a colony in the EU than as part of an independent Britain. It would be more free as part of an independent Britain than as a province of the EU.
The SNP's energy policy would not work; it would leave Scotland in the dark. The SNP backs offshore wind power, although this is `inherently unprofitable, and viable only through cross-subsidy from electricity consumers, mainly English ones', according to John Kay, one of Salmond's economic advisers. SNP policy is `to phase out nuclear power as fast as possible'.
The SNP said in 1991, `Free by `93'. In 1999, Salmond said that Scotland would be independent by 2007. Yet in May 2011, the SNP got just 22.6 per cent of the Scottish electorate's votes. Our 68/32 victory for No2AV last May, our 78-22 victory over Labour's schemes for Regional Assemblies in 2004, and our stubborn resistance to joining the euro, all bode well for victory for Union in the Scottish referendum.