David Torrance | The Scotsman
Alex Salmond increasingly reminds me of Archie Rice from John Osborne’s 1957 play The Entertainer. As he strode on to the stage at Edinburgh’s Cineworld yesterday morning (20 minutes late, naturally), he offered the same old song and dance routine about independence, but somehow it didn’t quite work. The jokes were thinner, the applause sparser and the script uninspired. As Rice remarked to an unresponsive audience: “Don’t clap too loudly, it’s a very old building.”
Not that the cinema was old, but a lot of the lines were. The First Minister worked his way through some evergreen favourites, including the mythical “community of the realm of Scotland”, and even evoked the Scottish Covenant of 1950, supposedly signed by around two million Scots; a curious analogy given it fundamentally failed to secure Home Rule. This time round the goal is more modest: one million Scots to sign a “Yes Declaration” by late 2014.
But some of the Declaration’s lines simply highlighted glaring plot holes. “I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all if decisions about Scotland’s future”, it began, “are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.” As far as I know the Governor of the Bank of England doesn’t live in Scotland, and nor does Sir Sean Connery (who sent a message from Spain), Alan Cumming (based in New York, but heading home soon) and Brian Cox (also New York).