Salmond 'Not in a hurry to go'

Alex Salmond, you will not be remotely surprised to learn, knows his political history.

So he deftly avoided a potential trap today - even although he had been up until 3am watching coverage of the US Presidential election and was perhaps a little fatigued.

The trap? Political longevity carries a reward - it is better to do in government than say in opposition.

But it also poses a problem in that the very passage of years may, I stress may, prompt voters to ponder whether it is time for a change.

It was Margaret Thatcher who said in a BBC interview in 1987, after winning her third election victory, that she intended to go "on and on". Her colleagues duly precluded that option by preventing her from contesting a fourth election.

And so, interviewed by the BBC today, Mr Salmond was cautious.

Yes, he has just become the longest serving first minister in history. But, no, he specifically ruled out promising to go "on and on."

Equally, though, with a classic Salmond grin, he indicated that he was not in a particular hurry to depart. Bit of governing yet to do. Referendum to win. That sort of thing.

And he reflected briefly upon the other - much more minor - political event today, the victory of Barack Obama.

The President, he said, would now be experiencing the particular satisfaction that comes from re-election: from a record in office endorsed or at least tolerated by the people.

To be clear, there has been minimal fuss from either government or party today about Mr Salmond's landmark. No doubt they too have studied their political history.