STEPHEN DAISLEY SKETCH: The old bruiser back in the Commons spotlight… with ... trends now

STEPHEN DAISLEY SKETCH: The old bruiser back in the Commons spotlight… with ... trends now
STEPHEN DAISLEY SKETCH: The old bruiser back in the Commons spotlight… with ... trends now

STEPHEN DAISLEY SKETCH: The old bruiser back in the Commons spotlight… with ... trends now

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Alex Salmond had flown in from Berlin to appear before the Scottish affairs committee and, going by the glint in his eye, he may not have needed an aeroplane.

No one wants to find themselves in front of a Westminster select committee. It invariably means you’ve blundered or plundered or are about to go under. You’re probably ­getting a block all to yourself on the next Newsnight.

Not so Salmond. He was so thrilled to be there he could barely contain his vim. For all his nationalist ideals, he is a House of Commons man through and through. 

He loves the pomp and pageantry, the legends and the legerdemain. Through these corridors swept centuries of great men making history and canny men making mischief.

There is a pulse that runs through the place and even after all these years it makes Salmond’s heart skip a beat.

Alex Salmond appeared before the Scottish affairs committee yesterday

Alex Salmond appeared before the Scottish affairs committee yesterday

Committee member David Duguid billed him as ‘the recovering member for Banff and Buchan’. 

Not a chance. He’s as hooked as ever on Westminster. In the chair was Pete Wishart, who had summoned his old boss for some insight into intergovernmental relations. With Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh behind him in the public gallery, Salmond recounted in high solemnity how Tony Blair – ‘Sir Anthony Blair’ – never phoned to congratulate him on his victory 17 years ago.

He suspected Blair was ‘miffed’ about the SNP winning the 2007 Scottish parliament elections. If Blair was aware there were Scottish parliament elections in 2007, I’d be amazed. As Salmond himself noted, the man had ‘things on his mind… countries to invade’.

He tried to telegraph perfect indifference to this snub, even as he

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