Hamish Macdonell: This brand new Scotland is slick and professional

 

Share

It was no coincidence: Alex Salmond chose the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle and Burns’ Night to launch his consultation on an independence referendum yesterday so he could send out the message that this was about Scotland and nothing else.

From the high, wood-beamed ceiling and the suits of armour in this most impressive of ancient Scottish halls to the lines of verse from Scotland’s national bard which the Scottish First Minister dripped into his speech, everything was designed to impress – and not just the Scots.

There were reporters from China, broadcasters from Spain and bloggers from Russia packed into the hall – all there to find out whether the United Kingdom was about to be broken up.

And because he knew his message would go world-wide, Mr Salmond was most careful too in the impression he gave about his vision for Scotland.

“This is a most prosperous country,” he declared – without pausing to let anybody query that statement.

He quoted Rabbie Burns, he spoke of the history of the Great Hall – the venue for the first recorded meeting of the Scots Parliament 900 years ago - and he spoke of his vision for the future of Scotland as a free, independent, progressive European nation state.

Soon after he started, though, the wind got up – as it tends to do around this rocky outcrop perched high above Scotland’s capital.

The gale started rattling the stained-glass windows and blowing around the grand fireplace behind the First Minister’s back.

“Ah, the winds of change,” Mr Salmond quipped.

In doing so, he both echoed Harold Macmillan’s famous speech of 1960 which heralded the break-up of British colonial Africa but he also showed he is as diligent a student of politics as any leader in these islands.

Apart from his entrance, which was a characteristic 45 minutes late, everything about Mr Salmond’s presentation oozed professionalism.

Every detail seemed to have been considered. The First Minister usually speaks from a lecturn embossed with the website address of the Scottish Government.

Not yesterday. For this big event, even the lecturn had been changed and now bore the web address of the referendum consultation paper – just in case it was picked up by the television cameras.

There was a modern new Saltire logo and everything was branded with the slogan: “Your Scotland, Your Referendum.”

It was slick and professional and it is this, above all, that should worry the UK Government. There may be considerable gaps in the detail of the SNP’s plans for independence but, on the surface at least, they appear unbeatable.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Tax Manager / Accountant

£35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Operative

£6 - £15 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a well e...

Recruitment Genius: Data Scientist

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

A promised 'women's museum' opens as a Jack the Ripper exhibit tonight, and I won't take it lying down

Becky Warnock
A protester wears a golden mask and Romanian flag during a demonstration in Bucharest against Gabriel Resources Rosia Montana gold and silver project  

Corporate vampires have tried to suck $4 billion out of Romania, and with TTIP the UK could be next

Kevin Smith
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen