Scotland ‘not divided, but diverse’ insists Alex Salmond

The former First Minister insisted that Scotland was diverse rather than divided. Picture: PA
The former First Minister insisted that Scotland was diverse rather than divided. Picture: PA
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ALEX Salmond claimed Scotland is not divided after the battles of the referendum campaign in his final speech to MSPs at Holyrood.

The former first minister is standing down from Holyrood in May but will remain an MP at Westminster.

Under these circumstances it’s sometimes easier to see the full extent of the distance travelled

Alex Salmond

He made his valedictory speech at Holyrood yesterday as MSPs backed the Scotland Bill which hands sweeping new powers over income tax rates and bands as well as welfare to ­Scotland.

“This parliament and this country are on a journey and under these circumstances it’s sometimes easier to see the full extent of the distance travelled when one is not at the very heart of the battle,” Mr Salmond said.

“In my first speech to this chamber, I refuted the idea that we were a divided Parliament representing a divided country. I suggested that we were not divided but diverse.

“All of us have experienced an extraordinary referendum campaign, one that was hard fought certainly, but one which produced a level of democratic participation and engagement which most societies can only dream of.

“Yes we’re a country of different views but we’re not divided.

“There is in fact a broad consensus in the need for this parliament to assume greater responsibility for the governance of Scotland. We are definitely stronger, so much stronger, as a result of that.”

The ex-SNP leader insisted there is no longer any questions on the “permanence” of the Scottish Parliament after concerns over this in its earlier years.

“The only question is at what pace will the Parliament and the Scottish people and their government assume further responsibility,” he added.

“Will that make us totally independent? Well not in an absolute sense. All nations are interdependent, one upon the other. That fact of life does not change regardless of the status of Scotland.

“However, the greater our independence, the greater our ability to impact on the political environment around us, the greater our power will be to determine the circumstances of our fellow citizens.”