Amid Spears, Pikes and Dirks, Leader with an Eye on His Place in History

Article excerpt

Byline: SKETCH by HAMISH MACDONELL

FOR the first and only time in the great debate over Scotland's future, everyone was in agreement. This was a historic day.

And just in case someone had missed that message, King Eck took his court to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle, which reeks of history and is probably the only place big enough to accommodate Alex Salmond, his dreams and his ego.

As he faced the world's press to announce his independence referendum, Mr Salmond seemed to look up to the windows on the west side of the hall where the last of the day's sunlight was catching the coats of arms of those great Scottish heroes, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Did his gaze then drift over to one window further along which had not yet been decorated in praise of a Scottish patriot? Could this lead to his moment of glory? Would the Salmond coat of arms - perhaps the salmon rampant - one day mark the casting off of the Union? Had Mr Salmond been a pessimist, he would have seen something of a message in the deep red walls of the Great Hall - the debt levels of an independent Scotland, perhaps? …