A sneak peek at David Torrance’s independence referendum diary

It’s Wednesday, so David Torrance has a new book out.

The hipster historian is the Scottish commentariat’s answer to Dame Barbara Cartland, though his similarly prolific output comes without those glorious lashings of fragrant fuchsia. We think.

La Torrance’s latest effort is 100 Days of Hope and Fear: How Scotland’s Independence Referendum was Lost and Won, an observer’s diary of the referendum campaign.

He has kindly agreed to allow us to publish an exclusive extract.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Got up at 5.32am and rode my Brompton bicycle to Bikram Yoga. Filed 1000 words for the Scottish Review, 600 for the Herald, and 250 on Sylvester McCoy and the Barnett Formula for the Doctor Who fanzine.

I’ve been asked to go on Scotland Tonight to talk about some referendum question that’s been announced. I agreed as long as the make-up girl is under strict instructions not to touch The Hair. Also, I stressed that I would only appear as an impartial analyst because I don’t have a stance on Alex Salmond’s deranged proposal to break up our United Kingdom and turn the Scottish economy into an agrarian socialist dystopia.

Presenter Rona Dougall keeps bringing the discussion back to the wording of the question on the ballot paper but it’s clear to all that what Scotland really wants to talk about is my Merino wool two-tone Argyle sweater with tasteful tassles.

Stupid STV make-up girl touched The Hair. I feel violated. All the taxi driver who took me back home from the studio wants to talk about is EU accession criteria for applicant countries which have seceded from member states. He has no idea the kind of pain I’m in right now.

Console myself that I’m flying out to Tuvalu tomorrow. I am covering their ballot on recycled toilet paper. The strength of the Yes vote will surely give an indication of where Scotland’s pro-independence campaign stands in the polls.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela has died. A very sad day. I emailed the Herald pitching an obituary based on my close personal relationship with a copy of the Long Walk to Freedom that’s on the shelf next to my critically acclaimed biography of Margaret Thatcher. Mrs Thatcher wasn’t my kind of Tory. She believed in all this mad right-wing stuff about free markets and small government instead of wearing Tweed and knowing the best restaurants to eat in. That’s what Conservatism is really all about. Still, it’s the greatest contribution to Thatcher studies ever written by me or anyone else and a steal at just £34.17.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

I have agreed to co-author a book with the New Statesman’s Jamie Maxwell. He’s a Marxist but a bit of all right so I said yes. But not Yes to independence because I’m impartial.

Segwayed to Hemma for coffee with Alistair Carmichael. He’s the Scottish Secretary but not one of the ones from my history of the Scottish Secretaries, retailing on Amazon right now for £48.06, postage and packaging included.

Caught a plane to Saint Kitts and Nevis, where they are holding a referendum on badger-baiting that could provide some insight into our own plebiscite.

STV’s political correspondent Claire Stewart updated her Facebook status tonight. She’s a sweet girl but shops in Marks & Spencer and drinks white wine instead of Absinthe. So. Bour. Geois.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Alan Bissett has viciously attacked me over a column I wrote subtly suggesting he might be a budding comandante in the Nationalist concentration camps that will inevitably arise in a separate Scotland. I don’t know what his problem is. I quoted from his poems where he expresses his support for the Scots “language” and stupid tartan man-skirts. What more evidence do you need? I’m totally impartial about this and everything else related to the referendum.

The whole thing reminds me of the book I wrote about David Steel, which is available from Amazon for just £19.84. (£99.99 for signed copies.)

Met Chris Deerin from the Daily Mail for a drink in Panda & Sons. I ordered a Belle Époque Flip with just a soupçon of unrefined coconut water. Chris asked for a pint of whatever was on tap. He’s so midtown.

Chris’s hair is soft yet sculpted but no match for mine.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

I arrived at STV for their results programme wearing my three-piece suit. They wouldn’t let me take my pipe rack and unicycle into the studio with me. They are not hip.

The No campaign won by an impressive ten-point margin, just as I predicted all along while everyone else got it wrong.

I cycled home while listening to my Bislama language tape in preparation for my upcoming fact-finding mission to Vanuatu. The Guardian is interested in a feature on how their parliamentary vote on environmentally sustainable traffic lights could predict the outcome in Catalonia’s upcoming referendum. Which the Spanish government has wisely refused to recognise. Just as Cameron should have done in Scotland. Though I’m of course impartial about the matter.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Alex Salmond has denounced me in a letter published in the The Herald. I will never be able to show my Lancome for Men moisturised face in Tchai-Ovna again. It’s all about the bestselling biography I wrote, Salmond: Against the Odds, which will be out in paperback with a revised afternote sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to be the bigger man though and rise above it. I think tweeting the link 20, 30 times is sufficient.

Friday, 26 September 2014

I’m often told I look like Matt Damon but he’s never written the authoritative biography of Noel Skelton, has he? And if he had, it wouldn’t have been described by critics as “scholarly”, “engaging”, and “visionary”.

I don’t like to bang on about the letter Alex Salmond wrote about me. I just show people the copy I keep folded up in my pocket and let them be the judge.


Of course, I jest about the bouffanted Buddy Holly lookalike. His diary is deliciously gossipy, entertainingly indiscreet, and a must-read for political geeks as well as those who want to see what goes on behind the scenes of Scotland’s politics and media.

You can get a copy of David’s book here

Originally published on STV NewsFeature image © Fredrik Rubensson by Creative Commons 2.0.

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