Leader: From Holyrood to Hollywood? Perhaps not, Alex

WHEN it comes to claiming credit for “the downfall of Thatcher” Scotland has no lack of volunteers anxious for recognition. First Minister Alex Salmond does not, for some unfathomable reason, feature in the widely publicised film The Iron Lady.

But he does claim to have played a key role kick-starting the events that led to her departure.

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He recalls the Nigel Lawson Budget of 1988 when, just after the chancellor had announced a cut in the basic rate of income tax, the future Scottish leader, barely a year as a Westminster MP, shouted that the Budget was an “obscenity”. He was ordered to leave the Commons.

While this was some time before the critical challenge to Thatcher’s leadership – and well removed from the causes of Conservative discontent – Mr Salmond feels this was the tremor that began the avalanche. Strangely, other MPs present at the time do not accord such historic significance, and cinema-goers will not see the incident replayed. This may have been due to difficulties in casting. Who could possibly have played this scene? SNP colleagues would doubtless nominate Sir Sean Connery, or the latest James Bond actor, Daniel Craig. Or why not George Clooney? Critics, however, would say that only one actor could do justice to the roly-poly chutzpah: Danny DeVito.