Alex Salmond has proved himself the most effective party leader in Europe, let alone Britain. He has just run a terrifyingly effective campaign, perhaps the best I will ever witness. I could not disagree more with his aims, but to me that makes his achievement all the more remarkable.
I doubt any other politician could have sold such a bad idea to 45 per cent of Scots. He ran rings around his opponents, outsmarting them all. He was so damn infuriating because he was so damn good: able to use humour, anger, audacity and caution when each was required. I can’t think of many politicians with his versatility. As a unionist, I’m delighted that the sharpest fang in the SNPs mouth is being extracted. Or is extracting himself.
Anyone who remembers John Swinney’s leadership of the SNP will know what the party is like without Salmond in charge. But as a journalist, I’ll miss the one of the most extraordinary politicians I have ever met. The union will be safer without him. But politics will be a lot more boring.