Letters: Dear Unionists, Alex Salmond's 'once in a generation' comment is no barrier to indyref2

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Those who against another independence referendum should focus on trying to win a pro-Union majority rather than repeating the former First Minister's 'once in a generation" comment, writes a Scotsman reader.

The ongoing and seemingly intractable disagreement in these pages between Gill Turner and Andrew HN Gray about the nature of the “once in a generation” independence referendum comment led me to seek out the source material and see for myself.

Alex Salmond (left) said the independence referendum was a 'once in a generation' opportunity. Pictures: JPIMedia

Alex Salmond (left) said the independence referendum was a 'once in a generation' opportunity. Pictures: JPIMedia

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The content is readily available online and I would urge anyone interested to take a look. The detail is important, as it seems that the comment is increasingly becoming the refuge of choice for those keen to stem the tide towards another referendum.

The key and original source of the comment appears to be an interview by Jeremy ­Paxman with then-First Minister Alex Salmond who says, in response to questioning, that it was his “view” that the ­question would be asked once in a generation.

He also said that the circumstances under which Scotland would have another referendum are when an extra mandate for one is provided by a subsequent general election.
If the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats in next month’s vote, then electoral mandates for another referendum will have been provided by successive Scottish and UK general elections.

While I recognise that the “view” of Mr Salmond and colleagues such as Nicola Sturgeon about timescales would, with hindsight, have proved to be incorrect, holding another independence referendum under such circumstances would be entirely consistent with those comments.

It seems to me that those who would rather not have another independence referendum should focus on trying to win a pro-Union majority of Scotland’s seats next month, rather than claiming some sort of multi-decade immunity from the democratic process. - C Hegarty, North Berwick

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