ALEX Salmond has suggested No voters were duped by the “vow” and claimed they were now reluctant to admit they had been taken in by the pledge of more powers given by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.
In an online interview, Mr Salmond also said he would be a “fool” if he did not realise the Yes campaign could have improved its arguments for independence.
Looking back at the referendum, the former First Minister admitted with hindsight he would have presented the economic case for independence differently, including his controversial proposal for sharing the pound in a currency union.
Speaking to the Commonspace website, he said: “There is a case for improving the position that we put forward. I would have to be a fool not to understand that. I have said there are certain differences that if I had the benefit of 20/20 hindsight that I would make in the presentation of certain aspects, for example the currency argument.”
Mr Salmond conceded that he had spent too much time working out how to deal with the mainstream media and BBC reports of financial institutions moving their headquarters out of Scotland.
On the question of why people rejected his case for independence, Mr Salmond took issue with recent research which concluded that the “vow” did not play a significant role in persuading people to vote No.
A survey of more than 4,500 people by Edinburgh and Essex universities revealed that just 3.4 per cent of No voters said the offer of more powers was the main motivation for their decision.
Rather, it was No voters’ feelings of Britishness and their doubts about the economics of breaking up the UK that led to them rejecting Scottish independence.
Yesterday Mr Salmond said: “People, when you ask them why they did something – do not necessarily say what was actually the case.
“It is far easier for someone to say ‘oh yes, it was the economics of the currency position that really concerned me’ – as opposed to saying ‘I really got taken in by these three chancers when they came up and told me we could have all the powers we wanted if we voted No’.
“That’s quite difficult for people to say, because it accepts we were willing to be swayed by what became pretty obviously – a guise, a manoeuvre.”
The former SNP leader compared the “vow” to the case of one of his constituents who had £20,000 embezzled from him by a get-rich-quick scheme.
“It was patently obvious that this organisation, which had been taking his money ruthlessly and disgracefully, was a fraud and a racket. But I couldn’t get him [the constituent] to believe it, because [it was] the last thing he wanted to do for his own self-esteem. This was an intelligent man – in his late 70s but still an intelligent man.
“The last thing he wanted to do for his self-esteem was to accept that he had been taken in and duped – made a fool of. People find it difficult do say that.
“Far better to say ‘I made an examination of the full implications of the currency question and came up with a different answer’. That’s human nature.”
A Conservative party spokesman said: “The facts will not prevent Alex Salmond from peddling his grievance agenda.
“The actual facts are that people voted No because they liked the UK and they saw Alex Salmond’s half-baked plans for independence would leave Scotland worse off.”
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