Friday, 26 February 2016

The Dream Shall Never Die by Alex Salmond

Happy Friday to you!

Once again, I've managed to squeeze in quite a bit of reading this week and I'm writing short reviews on the books read. My first update for today is on The Dream Shall Never Die by Alex Salmond. 

I was given this book as a Christmas present (2015) and it sat on the coffee table shelf for many weeks. This wasn't because I didn't want to read it. It wasn't because I didn't appreciate the gift from my daughter, because I wholeheartedly did. It sat there for a while because I wanted to be sure that I could give it my almost undivided attention.

Since Christmas 2015, and in fact before then, I've been spending my non- fiction reading slots on publications about Roman Scotland. I waited till I was in a lull - a period when I had just taken delivery of a new paperback on Roman Scotland and another one was ordered but not yet arrived. 

It was with some trepidation that I opened The Dream Shall Never Die because I know how utterly disappointed I was at the Scottish referendum result and I had difficulty comprehending the pain Alex Salmond must have harboured when he knew Independence just wasn't going to happen as a result of the referendum of 2014. I'm glad that the book isn't only about the referendum campaign because that isn't why I admire Alex Salmond as a politician. In my view, he is a politician who has great integrity. He may be a workaholic and driven but it's clear that he has boundless energy - something easily discerned from watching him on T.V. moving from place to place. I agree with the strategies in this book because it isn't just about Alex Salmond the leader of the Scottish National Party. 

No matter your political leanings I think you can get a gist of what a premier politician has to do as part of their job. I do have to say that it's just as well that Alex likes golf! Though, I can see that any politician in a high profile post would need to find other venues for the all too necessary 'out of office' discussions that are part of the political processes. 

Here are my thoughts on the book.  

There aren’t many people who could write a book about what they did during a 100 day period and make it varied, interesting and compelling reading- yet, that’s what this book is. It’s a diary of snapshots of each of those 100 days with Alex Salmond in the lead role as First Minister of Scotland, not just as the leader of the Scottish National Party. That’s what makes it great reading for me because it gives me an idea of the kind of planned hours a prominent politician might have organised for him or her, but those hours in a day have to be flexibly organised to accommodate the crises or unplanned events which must be dealt with immediately in the form of impromptu phone calls, or visits, or time spent gaining information of the relevant subject matter. Another interesting part of the writing is the sheer volume of transport arrangements which needed to be made, and often remade during the 100 days because of weather conditions, or the need to divert to make talks elsewhere before arrival at the planned venues. In giving a snapshot of some of the events of each day it’s clear that each day was full of other happenings and of decisions which had to be made. If he had written a campaign diary for the SNP it would have been full of many of those other campaign trail bits he squeezed into one of those single 24 hour periods. As an SNP supporter for decades, I followed the SNP campaign trails on T.V. and on the internet and I know that a huge amount of walkabouts happened which don’t get a mention in this book. It is about the jam packed days of a driven and committed personality; it’s about the hope for the future of Scotland; and it’s about the massive surge in interest prior to any political event in Scotland.

The groundwork done during the referendum massively affected what happened at the following General Election… the dream shall never die. 


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