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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Alex Salmond


Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond, born 31 December 1954 is a Scottish politician and current First Minister of Scotland. He became Scotland's fourth First Minister in May 2007. He is the Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), having served as Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Gordon. From 1987 to 2010 he served as Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan in the UK House of Commons. Salmond previously held the position of leader of the SNP from September 1990 until he stepped down in September 2000.

Originally from Linlithgow, West Lothian, Salmond is a graduate of the University of St Andrews, where he achieved a Joint Honours MA in Economics and History. After earning his degree he began his career in the Government Economic Service (GES), and later joined the Royal Bank of Scotland as an energy economist where he wrote and broadcast extensively for both domestic and international media outlets.

Following the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, he was elected MSP for Banff and Buchan, thus simultaneously representing the area as both Member of Parliament (MP) and MSP. Salmond resigned as SNP leader in 2000 and did not seek re-election to the Scottish Parliament. He did however retain his Westminster seat in the 2001 general election. Salmond was once again elected SNP leader in 2004 and the following year held his Banff and Buchan seat in the 2005 general election. In 2006 he announced his intention to contest the Gordon constituency in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, an election in which Salmond defeated the incumbent MSP and in which nationally, the SNP emerged as the largest single party. Salmond was voted First Minister by the Scottish Parliament on 16 May 2007.

As First Minister, from 2007 to 2011 Salmond headed a minority Scottish Government, but after the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the Scottish National Party, which he leads, emerged with an overall majority. Politically, Salmond is one of the foremost proponents of Scottish independence, repeatedly calling for a referendum on the issue. Salmond has campaigned on global warming and in government has committed Scotland to legislation on emission reduction and the generation of renewable energy. Other recurring campaign themes include nuclear disarmament and Salmond's strong opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Early political career

Salmond became active in the SNP when he joined the Federation of Student Nationalists at the University of St Andrews in 1973. Although a left-winger at the time he joined, he had considerable doubts as to whether or not the Labour Government would legislate for a devolved Scottish Assembly.

Salmond started his political life as a committed left-winger inside the SNP and was a leading member of the socialist republican organisation within it, the 79 Group. He was, along with other group leaders, suspended from membership of the SNP when the 79 Group was banned within the larger party. In 1981, he married Moira French McGlashan, then a senior civil servant with the Scottish Office.

Following the SNP's National Council narrowly voting to uphold the expulsion, Salmond and the others were allowed back into the party a month later, and in 1985 he was elected as the SNP's Vice Convener for Publicity.

In 1987 he stood for Parliament in Banff and Buchan and defeated the incumbent Conservative MP, Albert McQuarrie. Later that year Salmond became Senior Vice Convener (Deputy Leader) of the SNP. He was at this time still viewed as being firmly on the left of the party and had become a key ally of Jim Sillars, who joined him in the British House of Commons when he won a by-election for the seat of Glasgow Govan in 1988. Salmond served as a member of the House of Commons Energy Select Committee from 1987 to 1992.

First Minister

Having won more seats than any other party in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, the SNP initially approached the Scottish Liberal Democrats to form a coalition, but they declined to take part in negotiations.[21] This left the SNP without any possibility to form a coalition with an overall majority. The Scottish Green Party agreed to support an SNP minority administration on a confidence and supply basis.

Renewable energy

Alex Salmond in his 2010 New Year message highlighted the importance of sustainable development and renewable energy in Scotland and the required increase in powers of the Scottish Parliament needed to help harness Scotland's green energy potential and therefore take full advantage of the "renewable revolution".

Earlier in December 2009, he campaigned for climate change legislation at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to promote Scotland's role in tackling and mitigating climate change. This included signing a Partnership Agreement with the Maldives, one of the most exposed countries to the consequences of rising sea levels.

Second term

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the Scottish National Party, won by a landslide and emerged with an overall majority. As a result of this Salmond now has the ability to call a referendum on Scottish independence. On the 9 January 2011 he announced that referendum would be held in Autumn 2014.
Sporting interests

Salmond is renowned for his interest in horseracing and for his support of Heart of Midlothian F.C. He was made a patron of Aberdeen University Shinty Club in 2011 after attending their 150th anniversary celebrations at the Sutherland Cup final. This was Salmond's first ever shinty game.
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