Robert Fyfe Findlay Salmond

Eulogy delivered by Alex Salmond at the funeral of Robert Fyfe Findlay Salmond

ROBERT FYFE FINDLAY SALMOND

When I was consulting Bobbie Bennie - whose family firm have been burying Salmonds for some generations- about a date for today’s service, I suggested last Tuesday. “Wouldn’t be such a great idea,” said Bobbie. “It’s the Marches Day". For the uninitiated here among us, the Marches are the annual riding of the Royal Burgh boundaries, where we march just to make sure there has been no encroachment from Bo’Ness or other villages - like Edinburgh - and then climax the procession with three times around the Cross.

“Oh I don’t know,” I replied - “How about three times around the Cross Well with the coffin.” Anyway, Dad would not have minded. Indeed he would have loved the notion. Because our father was born and bred a “Black Bitch” - born within the sound of St Michael's bells - although he as you can see from your order of service that he bears the name of a St Ninian's Craigmailen Minister for his middle names of Robert Fyfe Findlay Salmond, just as I am Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond.

Just over there is the Salmond family pew and just to my right on the Great War memorial is the name of my Dad’s Uncle Harry - my great Uncle. Our Dad was clerk to the Congregational Board in this Kirk and insisted on taking the minutes in civil service fashion completely verbatim. And so it went on for years until our Mum, who had to type them up, finally put her foot down and insisted on a condensed version. The point is our Dad was like a stick of rock; Lithgae through and through.

With the exception of wartime service, his resultant period in Bangour Hospital and the last five years at Erskine Home, Dad spent his entire life in this town. This included more than 60 years at 101 Preston Road and more than 50 of them with our Mum, and love of his life, the late Mary Salmond.

At their Golden Wedding in 2000, Dad made a compelling, spellbinding 20 minute speech without a single note on how they had met and set up life together. One of our relatives remarked that he could see where I had learned the art of public speaking. In reality, before that day I had never heard my father speak continuously for more than a few sentences, except his recitations of poetry on a Saturday morning.

“He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts be small, that dares not put it to the touch, to win - or lose it all” Or as my Dad put it TO WIN or lose it all!

These are the famous lines of James Graham, first Marquis of Montrose. And he along with Hearts Centre Forward, Willie Bauld, and World Senior Golf Champion, John Panton, made up a triumvirate in our household of great Scots. But even then, aboon them a' was Tommy Walker of Linlithgow Rose, Heart of Midlothian and Scotland.

Dad hadn't been to a Hearts match for a wee while, but thanks to my brother Bob was still a regular attendee at Rose games, watching me as First Minister present them with the Scottish Junior Cup not once but twice in my term of office - I claim the credit for both victories.

When I was a lad, I was struck between the contrast between this carefree Saturday morning figure reciting poetry and the sometimes stern father who spent a great deal of time hunched over his civil service papers sprayed out across the living room carpet. It was years later that Willie Wilson, an ex-miner from Kinneil colliery, and my Dad's favourite golfing partner, put me right.

He explained that Dad was greatly respected in the mining community as the adjudicator who would go to the ultimate degree in finding a reason for granting appeals for industrial white finger and the other occupational diseases. It's called public service and what a contrast with today, where private companies are bribed to deny disabled people their entitlements.

My Dad had strong opinions. Once he adopted a position, he stuck to it. As a petty officer in the navy he was nicknamed Joe because of his trenchant defence of the Soviet Union. Three weeks ago in Erskine Home he repeated the same simple point to me: “We would have been feenished without Russia.”

He didn't talk about the War much, even though Margaret and I teased him mercilessly as youngsters about the exact circumstances in which his aircraft carrier was sunk and his personal role in the sinking - fast asleep in his hammock was our suggestion! In fact, HMS Indomitable, true to its name, made it to Gibraltar crippled, but under its own steam, and Dad and the rest of the aircrews were re-deployed on to HMS Hunter, much to their annoyance because they were looking forward to visiting America for a refit. The Hunter was a merchant ship welded together to become an escort carrier. This meant that the runway wasn’t long enough for a Seafire or other fast planes and so they caught them on deck by use of nets and hooks.

In his later years, he spoke about the war rather more. Old men do not forget. Rather they tend to speak about the things of which they have the clearest memory. Not long before he went to Erskine, Dad told me that by far the worst thing he saw in the war was not the panic, the noise and the fear of being torpedoed. Instead, it was the young pilots lost in the water when the nets broke, as they inevitably sometimes did, the planes were lost overboard and the airmen left to die in the sea as the convoys couldn’t stop.

It was and is a reminder that people who have experienced real wars and real conflict have a rather different perspective than the toy soldiers who too often occupy the benches of the House of Commons.

Our faither's politics were simple - he believed in Scotland. The apocryphal tale of an incompetent Labour canvasser in the 1962 by-election inadvertently breeding a whole generation of SNP supporters, candidates and First Ministers is more or less true. However, once Dad had decided then that was it, although for the next quarter of a century he was unable to put his posters up at home because of my Mum’s stubborn allegiance to the Conservative interest and her threat to put up a Tory one beside his. Think of the shame of it, a Tory poster in Preston Road!

Mum finally relented and indeed converted when I became SNP leader. When I was a very young politician and less street wise than I am now I gave a daft interview to a paper and made what I thought was a humorous contrast between my Mum who thought that Churchill was the greatest man who ever lived and my Dad who wanted to hang him because of what he had done to the miners in the 1920s. The inevitable headline ensued: “Salmond’s father wanted to hang Churchill”. I phoned to apologise. The answer came “Did I teach you naethin'. Hingin' was much too good for that man”.

The point is that once he had committed - he stayed committed. Loyalty was important to him. He would be fair tickled that his postal vote was still counted last week, from beyond the grave, although furious that neither of his children who were candidates won their own election, despite his display of a poster for each of us in his window at Erskine.

All of the family are immensely grateful to all of the staff for their care of our Dad at Erskine Home over the last five years. It is an exceptional place staffed by truly exceptional people, some of whom are with us today. Many of us are guilty of speaking awkwardly about Alzheimer's and as dementia progresses then many families can have a torrid time as they effectively lose their loved ones. However we were blessed. None of us really lost our Dad or our granda over the last few years.

Instead, the illness gives a certain clarity to what is at the centre of the order of things. Ian and June are Dad’s church visitors from Bearsden and have written a lovely note to Gail about their times with Bobby - as they called my Dad - and the stories he told them of Black Bitches, the Marches, the Blackness Milk, Uncle Bert Oswald and crowning Willie Bauld the King of Scotland, Alfie Conn the Prince of Wales and crowning the Celtic and Rangers centre forwards of the time with hammer and a frying pan respectively.

He told them how proud he was of all of his family - four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. "They have done all right haven’t they?” He would say. This tells of what really matters at the end of days - love of family, loyalty to town, to football club and to country. Rather like the great Tommy Walker himself - Linlithgow Rose, Heart of Midlothian and Scotland. Not quite the Holy Trinity, but it will do. So what remains is perhaps only his favourite toast which we shall do again at the Rose Club with glasses fully charged: "Here's tae us, Wha's like us. Damn few, and they're a' deid."

ENDS

Alex Salmond

15th June 2017

SALMOND RECEIVES BACKING OF WORLD-CLASS HUNTLY BASED WHISKY CO.

ATTN NEWSDESKS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY 7 JUNE 2017

SALMOND RECEIVES BACKING OF WORLD-CLASS HUNTLY BASED WHISKY CO. 

Euan Shand, Chairman and owner of Duncan Taylor Whisky, has announced his endorsement of SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond


Euan Shand was raised at the Glendronach Distillery, where his father was manager.

Euan then joined distillery owners William Teachers and Sons Limited as a trainee before moving to the company's head office in Glasgow to train in export finance and international trade.

In 1990, Euan founded the Bennachie Scotch Whisky Co, where he pioneered the interest in vatted/blended malts. In 2001 Euan acquired Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Limited.

 In 2001, Black Bull blended scotch whisky was acquired by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd. It won “Gold” and “Best in Class” International Spirits Challenge 2013; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky 21 Years & Over” at the World Whisky Awards 2012; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky” at the World Whisky Awards 2012; “Best Blended Scotch Whisky 12 Years and Under” at the World Whisky Awards 2011; “Gold” at the International Wines & Spirits Challenge 2011; “Gold” at the International Spirits Competition 2011; winner in the Blend Category the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge 2011 and was “Overall Winner” at the  Best In Glass 2011. 

Mr Shand said:

"I've known Alex for many years. He has been a constant source of encouragement as we have built a world class whisky business based in Huntly.

"He is an exceptional member of parliament and he has my full endorsement and support."

ENDS 

SALMOND: TORIES EXPOSED AND IN DISARRAY OVER RURAL SCHOOLS

Attn Newsdesks/ Political Correspondents 

For release Saturday June 3 2017 

SALMOND: TORIES EXPOSED AND IN DISARRAY OVER RURAL SCHOOLS THREAT  

Tory candidate blasted for running scared during election hustings following exposure of his party's threat to rural education in Aberdeenshire.

SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond, has blasted the Conservative candidate in the General Election for a series of contradictory statements at local hustings following Mr Salmond's exposure of the Tory council administration's threat to rural schooling. 

On Tuesday June 30, at a hustings debate in Huntly, Tory Colin Clark confirmed that the future of rural schooling was under review by his fellow councillors in the Conservative-Liberal council. 

Mr Clark defended the schools review and proceeded to mimic Tory leader Jim Gifford verbatim, saying that "a grown up discussion" was required to deal with the issue. He even claimed that people could be happy if several schools were closed and merged into one. 

However, by the following night at a hustings in Inverurie, Mr Clark's had turned tail completely, claiming that the issue didn't exist and was nothing more than a social media "smear campaign". 

The furore follows comments made by Jim Gifford and his Liberal deputy Peter Argyll on BBC North East radio on 19th May, as well as the former in an interview with The Evening Express. 

During the BBC bulletin, broadcast on May 19, Tory Leader Jim Gifford said "I think there is a big discussion to be had. If you mapped where everyone lives in Aberdeenshire and mapped where the schools are they are not in the right places and that comes at huge cost. 

"We need to have a big grown up discussion about whether schools are in the right place, the right kind of school, the right size of school. [schools] built 150 years ago and trying to deliver a modern curriculum - it is sometimes a challenge"

Mr Salmond, standing up for rural schools, said: 

"It comes as no surprise to me whatsoever that my Tory rival is running scared and twisting and turning over the exposure of his party's threat to rural schools.  After all, he is a Councillor and has already voted with his Tory colleagues this February to CUT the Aberdeenshire education budget by £3.2 million. That cut would have hit classroom assistants, music tuition and special education if it had not been stopped by the SNP.

Just as the Tories have turned tail on their UK manifesto commitments to introduce a "dementia tax" and scrapping the winter fuel allowance, so the local Tories have been caught red handed plotting to review the future of our village schools and are now trying to deny reality." 

"However the attempt to claim that the issue does not exist is laughable. His Council Leader has been caught on tape telling the truth and that transcript is now being made available to people around the villages of Aberdeenshire. The people will draw their own conclusions and the Tory Party will reap the whirlwind. 

"I raised this issue with my fellow SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson in a video message which has been viewed almost 45,000 times in two days. There is no question that the Tories have been well and truly exposed and are now in total and abject disarray as a result. 

"Our rural schools are the heart of our Aberdeenshire communities and the SNP will defend them to the hilt." 

ENDS

Notes to editors: 

 Links to the BBC North East bulletins featuring the comments: 

Gifford's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-0730-19-05-17

Argyll's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-1230-19-05-17

Gifford's comments in the Evening Express:  

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/aberdeenshire-council-chief-hails-authority-getting-job-done-without-political-spats/

"But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in their former Alliance partnership earlier this year proposed to slash the education budget by £3 million, including reducing music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and cutting £500,000 from special education.

He said: “That was our starting point and there are lots of different ways you could look at it.

“We had a huge list of proposed savings that were going to have to be made and we thought we could live with them.

“None of them were easy but there are choices to be made and education has to be looked at in the round.

“It’s way over half the budget of the council, to say education is going to be protected, immediately I would say it will have to come from somewhere else and that’s not possible or feasible.”

 

 

Robert Salmond (1921-2017)

Robert Salmond, the father of former First Minister Alex Salmond, has died at Erskine Home for ex-servicemen. In his 96th year, the father-of-four was an inspiration for all of his family, including five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Indeed he has two of his children standing for election this week, Alex in Aberdeenshire and Gail in the Scottish Borders by- election. 

Salmond challenge to Davidson on Tory education cuts in Aberdeenshire

ATTN NEWSDESKS/POLITICAL REPORTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SALMOND CHALLENGE TO DAVIDSON ON TORY EDUCATION CUTS IN ABERDEENSHIRE

SNP candidate for Gordon has challenged Scots Tory leader to instruct her Aberdeenshire Councillors to abandon plans to cut the Council's education service.

Mr Salmond has seized the opportunity of Ms Davidson’s visit to Gordon constituency to put her on the spot on the issue of potential education cuts which is dominating the final stages of the campaign in Gordon.

In an email to Ms Davidson, Mr Salmond said:

"Dear Ruth,

Welcome back to Gordon. I hope you might spend a few minutes sorting out the serious concerns your Councillors’ actions are causing in Aberdeenshire schools.

In February of this year, at the Budget meeting of Aberdeenshire Council, your Councilors proposed to cut £3.2 million from the education budget.

That would have caused serious issues for music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and special education.

These are all services which are vital in rural schools.

Luckily at that stage the SNP and other Councillors voted down the damaging Tory proposal.

However, since your Councillors recently formed an administration with the Liberal Democrats they have returned to their cuts agenda.

Your Group Leader Cllr. Jim Gifford has announced in a radio interview that he is considering the future of rural schools, has defended education budget cuts in an interview with the Evening Express and, over the last few days, specialist teachers have received notice that their services may not be required for next term.

I have attached the appropriate references which demonstrate that this grave issue is based on the statements of your own councillors.

My opponent in this election is an Aberdeenshire Councillor so perhaps you could pass through him an instruction to remove the threat to rural schools and the education service.

As you will know, in the part of this constituency within Aberdeen City your councillors have caused consternation by supporting the surviving rump of the discredited past Labour administration in clinging onto office.

However, this issue in Aberdeenshire is even more important, affecting as it does the quality of education n of children in rural schools.

Once more, please instruct your councillors accordingly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours for Scotland,

Alex Salmond"

 

--

 

 

For Reference

 

During the BBC bulletin, broadcast on May 19, Tory Leader Jim Gifford said:

 

"I think there is a big discussion to be had. If you mapped where everyone lives in Aberdeenshire and mapped where the schools are they are not in the right places and that comes at huge cost.

 

"We need to have a big grown up discussion about whether schools are in the right place, the right kind of school, the right size of school. [schools] built 150 years ago and trying to deliver a modern curriculum - it is sometimes a challenge"

 

Gifford's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-0730-19-05-17

 

Gifford's comments in the Evening Express: 

 

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/aberdeenshire-council-chief-hails-authority-getting-job-done-without-political-spats/

 

"But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in their former Alliance partnership earlier this year proposed to slash the education budget by £3 million, including reducing music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and cutting £500,000 from special education.

 

He said: “That was our starting point and there are lots of different ways you could look at it.

 

“We had a huge list of proposed savings that were going to have to be made and we thought we could live with them.

 

“None of them were easy but there are choices to be made and education has to be looked at in the round.

 

“It’s way over half the budget of the council, to say education is going to be protected, immediately I would say it will have to come from somewhere else and that’s not possible or feasible.”

FORMER LIBERAL COUNCILLOR BACKS ALEX SALMOND FOR RE-ELECTION

ATTN NEWSDESKS/ POLITICAL CORRESPONDENTS 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY 17 MAY 2017 

FORMER LIBERAL COUNCILLOR BACKS ALEX SALMOND FOR RE-ELECTION

Mike Raeburn announces endorsement and names Salmond the only candidate who can protect the Triple Lock on pensions and defend disabled from Tory cuts

THE FORMER Liberal Councillor for Inverurie has endorsed Alex Salmond’s campaign for re-election as local Lib Dems enter yet another coalition with the Tories.

The announcement also comes after nine Labour councillors were suspended by their party after an outrageous attempt to form an administration with Conservatives in Aberdeen City in chaotic scenes. 

In a special message to Inverurie voters, Mike Raeburn said:

“The Tory Party are lurching ever further to the right. Their next target will be pensioners like you and me.

"They are going to cut pensions in the same way they have picked on the disabled. At the moment, our pensions are guaranteed by a “triple lock”. That means your pension is increased by an amount equal to inflation, average earnings or 2.5% - whichever is the higher. Therefore, your pension keeps up with the real cost of living.

"The Tories are going to scrap this so we are all going to be poorer. 

He added: 

“You can trust Alex Salmond to fight for the folk of Gordon and the North East of Scotland, particularly pensioners and the disabled.

"Alex has my full support, please give him yours too."

SNP candidate for re-election in Gordon, Alex Salmond said: 

"Most Liberal and Labour voters will feel really badly let down by their Council groups lining up with the Tories.

"We need opposition to the Tory Government's austerity and progressive policies in North East Councils. The way to respond is to back my campaign for re-election in Gordon and I am delighted to have Mike Raeburn's endorsement.”

ENDS 

SALMOND BACKS CAMPAIGN TO SAVE GORDON HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM 

ATTN NEWSDESKS/ LOCAL REPORTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY 11 MAY 2017

SALMOND BACKS CAMPAIGN TO SAVE GORDON HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM 

Alex Salmond has voiced support for popular museum's appeal to secure £300,000 of funding over the next three years

Alex Salmond meeting retired Gordon Highlander Maj. Mike Taitt at the White Wood in Huntly. 

Alex Salmond meeting retired Gordon Highlander Maj. Mike Taitt at the White Wood in Huntly. 

SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond has today supported to the campaign to save one of Aberdeen's most popular attractions, the Gordon Highlanders Museum, which is seeking to raise £300,000 over the next three years to ensure its future. 

The museum, which charts the 200-year history of the regiment, boasting authentic exhibits and interactive displays. It has been open for over 20 years. 

Whilst visitor numbers have risen, profits have plummeted by over 80%. The museum has called for supporters to donate £10 a month with an aim to raise £100,000 a year until 2020.

Last year, Mr Salmond met with Inverurie-local and retired Gordon Highlander, Maj. Mike Taitt at the Deveron Arts White Wood opening in Huntly. The White Wood, a living art installation composed of trees and natural features, was planted to promote ideals of peace. Maj. Tait himself helped in the planting of the original White Wood saplings.  

Speaking in support of the campaign, Mr Salmond said:

"The Gordon Highlanders Museum is a fantastic tribute to the soldiers who served in the regiment, across many campaigns and upon many foreign shores.

"It is important that the history of the Gordon Highlanders is remembered and understood.

"Last year, I met with a local retired Highlander Maj. Mike Taitt at the White Wood in Huntly. It is ex-servicemen like Maj. Taitt, who served in the Highlanders for over 20 years, who we should remember and I fully support the campaign to ensure that the museum can continue to tell their story."

ENDS

Press - alex@alexsalmond.scot 

 

 

 

 

Salmond: Borders Rail a Blueprint for Buchan to Connect our Communities

SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond, has pledged to continue to campaign for a Buchan railway connection between Aberdeen, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, referencing the many successes of the Borders Railway and the positive impacts it brought to surrounding communities since opening in 2015.

Salmond on the real lesson from the French Election

SNP International Affairs spokesperson, Alex Salmond, has drawn the contrast between the attitude of newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May on their attitudes to the far right in politics.

Launch of 'Alex for Gordon' Campaign

Mr Salmond said:

“We are all well up for the battle ahead. I stand for re-election on my record, on the need to provide real opposition to the Tory Government and to protect our own Scottish Parliament as the place to decide Scotland’s future."

Salmond: Operation 'Wire Up Gordon' well underway

MP for Gordon, Alex Salmond has today welcomed the announcement of a multi-million-pound reinvestment back into the Scottish Government's Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme. 

£410 million is being invested in the DSSB programme by the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), BT, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.

Impact of Tory fraud allegation on General Election

Following reports from Channel 4 News that at least 30 Conservative Party members of parliament and agents are subject to reports to the Crown Prosecution Service for suspected breaches of electoral law, Alex Salmond has raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons about the impact this could have on the General Election.

Alex Salmond statement on the General Election

ALEX SALMOND STATEMENT ON THE GENERAL ELECTION

Following Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement today that she will seek approval from Parliament to hold a General Election on 8 June 2017, Mr Salmond said:

“This is blatant opportunism by the Prime Minister who is looking to take advantage of the weakness of the Labour Party to legitimise her hard-Brexit agenda and shift the entire country to the right. 

“After everything she said about governing the country, she has taken one look at the opinion polls and dashed to an election.

“All of this makes it more important than ever that the SNP are there to offer real opposition to a Prime Minister intent on smashing all dissent to her hard-right agenda. 

“I will be offering myself to the Party for the wonderful constituency of Gordon to provide and deliver that opposition.”

ENDS
 

Alex Salmond raises Cabinet's 'chaotic confusion' on the eve of Brexit

For immediate release: Tuesday 28 March 2017

Attention: Newsdesks and Political Correspondents

ALEX SALMOND RAISES CABINET’S “CHAOTIC CONFUSION” ON THE EVE OF BREXIT

Alex Salmond MP has said Theresa May must offer clarity over her "cabinet's chaotic confusion” following Boris Johnson’s recent comments on national television that no deal would be “perfectly okay”, whilst Liam Fox simultaneously stated in another interview that such a scenario would be “bad… not just bad for the UK, but for Europe as a whole.”

During Foreign and Commonwealth Office Questions today, the SNP’s International Affairs spokesperson asked Boris Johnson to lay out what official estimates or forecasts he has seen which led him to say that the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal would be “perfectly okay”.

Alex Salmond MP commented:

“On the eve of Brexit, the day before Theresa May hands over the UK’s official letter-headed self-sabotage note to exit the EU, her cabinet is dominated by chaotic confusion.

“It offers a worrying insight into the UK government’s negotiation approach when the Prime Minister can barely manage to get her key cabinet ministers to read off the same policy paper at the same time on national television.

“Following their conflicting comments, I am worried as to whether or not the Foreign Secretary will now be excluded from cabinet decision making after saying no deal would be 'perfectly okay', while his cabinet colleague was simultaneously telling another television programme that it would be really bad for the UK and Europe.

“The Foreign Secretary must lay out what official estimates or forecasts he has seen which led him to believe and say that no deal from Brexit would be perfectly okay - despite all the evidence that points to the contrary."

ENDS

Notes for editors

Boris Johnson: No deal scenario would be “perfectly okay” - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/12/leaving-eu-without-deal-brexit-will-not-apocalyptic-boris-johnson/

Cabinet split as Liam Fox says no deal would be “bad… not just bad for the UK, but for Europe as a whole” - https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3070550/theresa-may-accused-of-putting-the-national-interest-at-risk-by-failing-to-prepare-for-the-prospect-of-no-deal-with-the-eu-after-brexit-talks/

SNP Westminster Press Office - 0207 219 0341