Alex Salmond keeps the faith


The opening day of the SNP conference in Inverness - and one or two eyebrows veered fractionally in the direction of the ceiling as the first minister appeared to be calling the almighty to his assistance.

Oil, said Alex Salmond, was "bestowed upon us by the creator of the universe". To date, Alex Salmond had evinced few signs of overt faith.

Had something changed?

I think not. His message, I believe, was founded more upon politics and historical parallels than upon religion.

Not for the first time, Mr Salmond was quoting William Henry Seward, a prominent US Republican and Lincoln's Secretary of State.

Mr Seward was reflecting upon territorial rights and the disputes thereon.

Mr Salmond was attempting to suggest that North Sea oil is fundamentally part of Scotland: not the result of benevolent assistance from the UK government or the energy companies.

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Mr Salmond's opponents say the Scottish government has cut the fuel poverty support budget - and they argue further that Scotland could not found an economic strategy upon a declining energy source”

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It was, by that interpretation, a new version of the old campaign, "It's Scotland's Oil".

But, as ever with Mr Salmond, there are other elements.

Firstly, he appears authentically angry at the failure to proceed with the Longannet carbon capture scheme.

In addition, of course, he is alert to the opportunity thus offered to chide and condemn the UK government.

Further, he adds populist bite to the argument for those who perhaps find oil economics somewhat arcane. He told delegates today that it was totally unacceptable for fuel poverty to persist in energy rich Scotland.

Further still, he argues that Scotland could shape a more productive energy policy with the full powers of independence.

Mr Salmond's opponents say the Scottish government has cut the fuel poverty support budget - and they argue further that Scotland could not found an economic strategy upon a declining energy source.

The first minister rebuts both - and did so in his opening remarks to the Inverness conference.

Control of energy resources, he argued, could provide social and economic benefits to the whole of Scotland - while suggesting that Scotland could look forward to at least forty more years of returns from the North Sea, shared or otherwise.

Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland Article written by Brian Taylor Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    why is this snp conference not being shown live on bbc news 24? the torries, lib dem and labour confrenceswere!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I listened to AS on the BBC this morning. We are very fortunate indeed to have a man with such clarity of thought and clarity of speech.
    He stands head and shoulders above any other political figure I can think of in these respects. I note on many of the blogs I trawl a significant number of our English, particularly in the ,would now like to come with us

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    The Tory conference must have been really riviting
    for you to leave your comment up for that long, Brian.
    Now how about something relevent to Scotland,
    some live coverage of the SNP conference maybe?
    The SNP are the biggest party in Scotland, they have a majority
    government here, so can we get some regular coverage please ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The oil and gas industry has provided over £300 billion of tax revenue for the UK, which is due a record £13.4 billion this year, double last year's tax take. From 2011/12 to 2015/16 it is forecast to raise £61 billion in tax revenue, 35% more than during the previous 5 years. Up to 40% of oil and gas reserves may remain to be extracted and well over half the revenues are still to be generated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Why aren't the BBC providing live coverage of the governing partys conference?
    You did for the minority opposition parties.


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