Alex Salmond: Street protests could be 'tactic' to force Westminster to allow indyref 2

Street protests might be necessary to force Westminster to allow a second independence referendum, Alex Salmond has warned.

Scotland's former first minister Alex Salmond is setting up a new political party to run in the Scottish Parliament elections in May.
Scotland's former first minister Alex Salmond is setting up a new political party to run in the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

In a radio interview, the former First Minister, who last week announced the formation of a new pro-independence party, Alba, said that the “pace” of protests against Boris Johnson’s opposition to indyref 2 would have to be decided by the Scottish nation.

He also said that he would not use the word “forgive” in reference to his fractured relationship with Nicola Sturgeon, but said he would be happy to “put the past behind [him]” for the sake of an independent Scotland.

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His words were branded “reckless” by other political parties.

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “I want Scotland to start negotiating the process of independence from the parliament just as soon as we are through the pandemic. But I also recognise that we're not engaging with a willing partner in Westminster, every possible indication we have is that a Boris Johnson will want to say no to the SNP or already has said no to the SNP’s proposals. Therefore, to alter that balance of power, his ability to say no to the SNP, we have to make, put him in a position of saying no to Parliament and the Scottish people.

"So we have to understand that there's a variety of ways to get the democratic legitimacy to move to independence. We should be negotiating as a parliament as quickly as possible using that array of independence supporting parties in that Parliament to give the authority to say Scotland's parliament, newly elected representatives of Scotland's people – want you to start negotiating about Scotland's independence.

"And then we'll see what comes out of that negotiation, whether it be a section 30 referendum, whether it be a plebiscite, organised by the Scottish Parliament, whether it be mobilising international opinion and international legal opinion on Scotland's right of self determination, whether it be peaceful street demonstrations, whether it be the galvanisation of Scottish opinion. Any and all of these things are tactics to achieve the strategy, which is to achieve Scottish independence.

"It's up to the Scottish people, the pace at which they wish to go in the constitutional question."

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He quoted Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell, who said “No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country – thus far shalt thou go and no further.”

Mr Salmond added: “And that is true in all countries and all nations and all democratic politics. He [Boris Johnson] may have already said no to a political party the SNP, I'm saying to you is going to find it much more difficult when he's facing a parliament representing an entire nation.”

He said he would not use the word “forgive” in relation to Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister today warned that she believed Mr Salmond’s ego is stopping him from doing the right thing – leaving the public stage – in launching his party. She added that his refusal to reflect on his past behaviour was compounding the distress of those women who made sexual harassment claims against him.

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Mr Salmond said: “When the future of a country is at stake, you have to put the past behind you and campaign for the future. Some things are a lot bigger than personalities and individuals.”

Scottish Conservatve leader Douglas Ross said: “Salmond's comments expose the reckless reality of Nationalist obsession. They disrespect the democratic will of the Scottish people and are intent on dividing our communities.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat Campaign Chair, Alistair Carmichael MP, said: "Alex Salmond is back to remind us once again that there are no questions about Scotland's future to which he is the answer. No matter what your view on independence, most people would agree that the wake of a terrible pandemic is not the moment to go back to those arguments.

"Instead of taking to the streets, he would do well to think about the people desperate for work or the patients in our NHS."

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: "Just hours after launching his new outfit Alex Salmond's mask has slipped. As we come out of this pandemic, Scotland needs politicians to focus on solutions which will deliver a fairer recovery, not reheating old divisions. We are still in the midst of a pandemic. Lives and livelihoods are still at risk. Loose talk like this harms our economy and makes Covid recovery more difficult.

"It isn't surprising that to Alex Salmond, his old colleagues in the SNP, and Boris Johnson this election is a time to replay old battles."

Mr Salmond launched the Alba Party on Friday afternoon and said he would be standing on the North East regional list section. It will only be standing candidates in the regional lists.

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