'Secret' in Salmond Biography Turns Spotlight on to Author

Edinburgh freelance journalist, David Torrance, is in the news himself this week with the serialisation – by Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman – of exclusive extracts from his unauthorised biography on Scotland’s First Minister, SNP leader, Alex Salmond: ‘Salmond: Against the Odds’, which is published to coincide with this week’s SNP conference.

While the two Edinburgh-based newspapers have, understandably, given most column inches to the biography – the first to be written on Salmond – it has been featured by most of the rest of the media.

And Torrance is reported in the Sunday Times Scotland to be the subject of criticism from Salmond because of his telling the story of the First Minister's maternal grandfather, who is understood to have taken his own life in 1941.

The First Minister is said to be concerned the revelation would upset his elderly relatives, many of whom were unaware of what had happened.

The Sunday Times says that Torrance defends the inclusion of this aspect of Salmond’s family history on the basis that political biographies commonly feature a number of generations before their subject – so the incident could not credibly be ignored.

Torrance is a graduate of Aberdeen University and Cardiff University’s School of Journalism. He began his journalistic career on the Edinburgh Evening News, as a reporter from 2000-01, moving into television to present and produce The Week in Politics for Grampian and Scottish TV from 2001-03.

When STV replaced that programme with Politics Now six years ago, he continued as its Scottish Parliament reporter – returning to it in 2007 after 18 months working as parliamentary aide to the Scottish Tory MP and Shadow Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, at Westminster.

According to his website, he currently works as …”an Edinburgh-based freelance writer, journalist, public relations consultant and broadcaster, covering politics for STV, supplying obituaries to The Herald, and writing historical comment pieces for The Scotsman”.

His first book, ‘The Scottish Secretaries’, was published by Birlinn four years ago; his second, ‘George Younger: A Life Well Lived’, followed two years later, while his third, ‘We in Scotland’ – Thatcherism in a Cold Climate’, came out last year. He is currently studying for a part-time PhD in political history at Queen Mary, University of London.

‘Salmond: Against the Odds’ is published by Birlinn in hardback at £20. Scotland on Sunday is offering the book at £15, with free postage and package in the UK – a saving of more than £5.

To order, telephone 08453 700067, during office hours and quote: SOS1010.