Such is the reputation of Alex Salmond that he is being touted as the key player in the forthcoming general election and he isn’t even an MP yet!
He has been called variously the big beast of British politics, the cleverest politician of his time and by some a brute and a bully.
Having seen his life’s dream of Scottish independence dashed before his eyes, one might have expected that he might have been tempted to slip off into the shadows, join the board of a few companies or jump on the lucrative US lecture circuit.
But no. Through a combination of political circumstance and his own formidable abilities he stands poised to rewrite the book of British politics.
If the opinion polls are to be believed there is a real possibility of him holding the balance of power between the Tories and Labour when the votes are counted in May.
He could be the kingmaker and will in return demand a price more, far more, power for his beloved Scotland.
The prospect of Alex Salmond heading down to Westminster at the head of a phalanx of SNP MPs is a prospect that must surely send a shiver down the spine of the London political establishment.
This is the man who for all his days has held the biggest idea in British politics an independent Scotland.
This is the man who as a young MP in the 1980s got himself banned from the House of Commons for daring to interrupt the Chancellor during his budget speech.
This is the man who will relish the opportunity to, in his own words, “rumble up” Westminster.
He is not to everyone’s taste, but Alex Salmond is to his core the perfect political animal.
Of course he starts with a huge advantage over his peers that clear vision of what he wants to achieve.
It is well known that he likes a flutter on the horses and his appetite for a gamble extends to forming political strategy. Those who have been close to him say he will embark on a course of action on a whim which he pursues with skill and courage.
His powers of communication are legendary. He can wow an audience with passion and with humour and he can make individuals feel important in an up-close-and-personal way.
As is the case with so many who reach positions of great power, there are plenty of tales about a harder, tougher and more nasty side.
It has been said, mainly by his opponents, that he is a bully.
He most certainly can be tough to deal with and he does not suffer fools. There are plenty of journalists who have been on the receiving end of the Salmond temper.
When he first became First Minister in 2007 there was an attempt to soften his image, particularly at FMQs. The fear was that, with his command of his brief and fierce intellect, he would so easily demolish his opponents that the public would turn against him.
In truth, it didn’t really work. Alex Salmond is at his best when he is batting opponents all over the chamber and turning their arguments on themselves.
Does that make him great? Maybe. Does that make him good? Yes.
Far from signalling the end of Alex Salmond, the referendum defeat appears to have simply opened another chapter in the story of this most remarkable of politicians. His finest hour could be yet to come.