Drumlanrig: The 2014 Scottish political awards

Alex Salmond came close to realising his dream. Picture: John Devlin
Alex Salmond came close to realising his dream. Picture: John Devlin
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THANK goodness it’s almost over. 2014 has been an exhausting year for political observers, and Drumlanrig is grateful for the chance to sit back with the port and Stilton and really work on its gout. We’re sure we can feel a tingle in our big toe, already.

As we sit here, full of festive cheer and “miniature heroes”, let us share with you our awards for political achievement during a long, bumpy year.

Campaigner of the year

There are so many possible winners. Alistair Darling led the Better Together campaign to victory, while Alex Salmond came close to realising his dream of Scottish independence. But the true victor is the anonymous Yes campaigner who half-remembered Alasdair Gray’s instruction to “work as if you live in the early days of a better nation”, and appeared, smiling on the TV news, holding a huge banner emblazoned with the utterly meaningless slogan: “Vote as if 
you live in the better days of a world.”

Optimist of the year

Well, Alex Salmond looks to be the runaway winner in this category. No amount of bad polling or campaign gaffes could shake his belief that the Yes campaign would win and win handsomely. But the former First Minister is pipped to the award by the pollsters who, having been engaged on a top secret basis at a cost of many tens of thousands of pounds, encouraged Salmond to believe victory was his, even four hours after polls closed. The award goes to Eck’s secret Canadians.

‘New politics’ politician of the year

As anyone with a shred of knowledge of politics knows, things are changing. We are, apparently, now living with a “new politics”, where consensus is everything and daring to disagree is the sign of a fool. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is a huge fan of the “new politics”, as is Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, but the joint winners of the award are Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling who, despite loathing each other to a nerve-trembling degree, made it through two major TV debates without throwing a single punch. The heart fairly warmed at the sight.

Huff of the year

Salmond made the shortlist for his obsession with the BBC and how it might be undermining the Yes campaign, while George Galloway is on there for his stubborn refusal to accept a decision to exclude him from a TV debate, to which he turned up, anyway, and was given airtime. But the huff of the year was former Labour leader Johann Lamont’s. She resigned, launching a terrible attack on her colleagues in England, only for the Labour party, collectively, to invite her to mind the door didn’t hit her on the bahookey on the way out.

The Drumlanrig special award

This award goes to someone who made a difference in politics, who changed, in a small way, the world. The late Margo MacDonald is the sole nominee and worthy winner.