Whether you love Alex Salmond or not, few would argue about his skill as a politician. Often having been described as the greatest thing to happen to Scottish politics, Salmond has brought the Scottish National Party closer to its dream of independence.
Born on Hogmanay in the royal burgh of Linlithgow, Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond is the second child of Robert and Mary Salmond.
In 1966, Salmond began his time at Linlithgow Academy where he spent 6 years of his life before graduating in 1972. After leaving school, Salmond had great ambitions to become a journalist so that he “could hold the mighty to account.” Originally intending to enrol at Cardiff University, he ended up attending the College of Commerce in Edinburgh.
He gained a HNC in business studies from the college in 1973, after which he progressed to the University of St. Andrews.
During his time at St Andrews, Salmond lived in St Salvator’s Hall while he studied for his joint honours degree in Economics and Medieval History. During his time there, he was elected as Vice-President of the Students’ Representative Council and was nominated to join St Andrews Community Council.
Graduating with 2:2 MA in 1978, Salmond took up a position of assistant economist in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. It was here in the now non-existent Scottish Office that he met his future wife Moira, whom he married in 1981.
Salmond had at one time been an oil economist before he “fell among the thieves of the palace of Westminster.”
In 1980, Salmond began working for the Royal Bank of Scotland where he worked for seven years. While he was with RBS, he wrote and broadcast for home and international branches.
Salmond first began working with the SNP when he joined the Federation of Student Nationalists while at St Andrews in 1973.
He became leader of the SNP for the first time in 1990 after Gordon Wilson stepped down.
He then returned to the role of leader in 2005 after receiving over 75% of the vote by the members of the party in 2004.
Having won the most seats in the Scottish Parliament in 2007 Salmond was then elected First Minister by the Parliament.
He went on to serve his second term in 2011. On 7th September 2012, he over took his predecessor Jack McConnell as the longest serving First Minister of Scotland by serving 2002 days, one more day than McConnell did.
On the 10th Jan 2012, Salmond and the SNP successfully managed to secure the legislation to hold a referendum on independence for Scotland. An agreement between Salmond and David Cameron was signed on 15th October of that year.
Away from his work and politics, Salmond is an avid golf player. He enjoys horse racing, football and reading. He supports both the Scottish national team and Hearts of Midlothian and occasionally attends games.
He also has a particular interest in Scottish cultural life, listens to country music and watches Star Trek.
This article was originally produced for Gen Y Times.