Time to end Union ‘nonsense’, Salmond tells SNP members
ALEX Salmond yesterday vowed that the SNP would win the referendum and end the “nonsense” of the Union, as he gave a rousing rallying cry to activists on the opening day of his party conference.
To cheers and applause, the First Minister declared that the SNP would emerge victorious in 2014.
In his welcome to delegates at the Perth Concert Hall, Mr Salmond reminded the party faithful that the SNP had defied the odds in the past and said Scotland now stood closer to independence than at any other time in the last three centuries.
“We were told we would never win parliamentary seats, but we did,” Mr Salmond said.
“We were told that we would never get a Scottish Parliament, but we did. Then we were told that we would never become the government in that parliament, but we did. Then, more recently, we were told we would never be re-elected, but we were.”
He added: “Now people say we will never get independence – but we shall. Make no mistake. We intend to win this referendum for Scotland.”
In his opening address, Mr Salmond also quoted a piece of doggerel written by pub poet George Robertson, the brother of the former Hearts striker John Robertson. The verse was written spontaneously by Mr Robertson on a bar menu when Mr Salmond and MSPs went for a meal in the Radical Road pub in Edinburgh.
The poem, which Mr Salmond quoted in full, ended: “Eat well, my honest and trusty friends, in 2014 the nonsense ends” – a line that the SNP leader used to close his speech.
Mr Salmond’s message was echoed by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, who said: “It’s game on”, and that the next two years would be the “campaign of our lives”.
The conference formally endorsed the Yes Scotland campaign. A resolution welcomed the progress made by the campaign, which aims to reach out to people across the parties.
Mr Salmond reflected on the agreement he signed with David Cameron which ensures that a single-question referendum will take place in 2014.
The First Minister said that the most important part of the deal was the last line, which said: “The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”
Mr Salmond said: “We now have agreement on the process and, as a result, respect for the outcome.
“We are now closer to our goal of Scottish independence not just in the 80 years of SNP history but over the last 300 years. That’s what awaits the people of Scotland in two years’ time.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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