Alex Salmond's year is ending on a high note. Since 5 May, when he managed the unimaginable, he has shown the governance of Scotland is in safe hands. It's little wonder his followers are thoroughly delighted with their leader's anointment as Briton of the Year by The Times - and rightly so. Hopefully The Times uses the title Briton in a modern context and not in the historical one I was taught at school - 'an inhabitant of southern Britain prior to the Anglo-Saxon invasions'.
To further enhance Mr Salmond's status in the UK political scene, Jonathan Freedland's article in the Guardian is astonishingly flattering and even accurate in part and Reform Scotland's latest poll, although it should be taken with a very large pinch of salt given its credentials, can only increase the SNP leader's public profile.
Most of the accolades paid to Mr Salmond are old news, which brings me to wonder why the unionist press has so suddenly decided to praise instead of pillory him for his separatist agenda. Joyce McMillan has a few thoughts.
Like the Burd I too feel much of what has been written recently in the MSM has a vaguely condescending tone, but that doesn't dampen my respect for the man. He deserves every credit for bringing Scotland to the notice of the international community; not just as a country that is proud to wear tartan and eat haggis, but as a nation that has a distinct heritage and culture. The Burd also expresses my slight concern regarding the economic case for an independent Scotland, but I tend to bury my head in the sand about it, because how many independent countries in recent times have returned to their previous lords and masters because they're broke?
The SNP has struggled for decades to be acknowledged as a mainstream political party, but where I disagree with the Burd is when she states that awards such as the Times has bestowed does Scotland no good. I tend to believe in the 'there's no such thing as bad publicity' idiom as far as politics is concerned, but again I wonder why Westminster based media hacks are so intent upon praising Scotland's First Minister.
I cannot ignore the fact that Alex Salmond holds the position he does because of his colleagues. The SNP administration, both past and present, are a credit to their principles and beliefs. To show the party is 'in tune' with the people he allows the odd MP/MSP to voice their own opinions - such as John Mason's thoughts on gay marriage - but there's no doubt Mr Salmond runs a tight team and for that he can be applauded. Not all SNP members - or SNP supporters -defend his vision for Scotland or all his policies, but they're discerning enough to realise dissent, when the aim is to handle our own affairs, is foolish.
Will the leader of the SNP be basking in glory? No - or at least I hope not. He's a formidable politician who is respected or even feared by many in the UK's unionist political arena. They mess with him or his colleagues in the cabinet at their peril is the message that has finally been heard by the UK government.
Alex Salmond knows he isn't where he is today without the work of thousands over the years. As 2012 approaches he'll keep his powder dry until he knows the time is right to ask the Scots' opinion in a referendum, but meanwhile, is it too much to ask for a review of the SNP's EU policy, a warts and all look at why some schools are failing our children and why we are training medics when we know many will be unable to find work here?