SNP conference 2012: Alex Salmond condemns UK government's 'Lord Snootys'


Alex Salmond: "Delegates, it is now game on for Scotland."

The SNP leader has told his party the time has come to vote for independence and rid Scotland of the UK government's "incompetent Lord Snootys".

Alex Salmond warned the Perth gathering that a "no" in the 2014 referendum would deliver "nothing" for Scotland.

He said only independence could protect key policies delivered under devolution and help Scotland prosper.

Earlier this week Mr Salmond agreed a deal paving the way for a referendum to take place.

He said the ballot would be a once-in-a-generation chance for Scotland to turn its potential into prosperity.

Mr Salmond was making his first big push for independence since signing the Edinburgh Agreement alongside Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday. It includes;

  • a statutory order to be legislated at Westminster, granting Holyrood powers to hold a single-question independence referendum by the end of 2014 and covering other issues including campaign broadcasts
  • a "memorandum of agreement" signed by political leaders confirming that the details of the referendum would be settled at Holyrood
  • and a significant role for the Electoral Commission watchdog in advising on the wording of the question, the running of the referendum and areas including campaign finance.

The first minister told delegates in Perth it was now "game on for Scotland".

"On display at this SNP conference, a selection of the strategies and narratives which will help form the Nationalist pitch in the referendum.

"Two from Alex Salmond in his thoughtful conference speech. Firstly, he depicted independence as part of a continuum from devolution - a narrative he has already essayed through his use of the formula "Home Rule road."

"Secondly, he sought to conflate the Conservatives and Labour, depicting them as a conjoined Hydra standing in the way of what he regards as the route to Scottish success.

"On the continuum point, Mr Salmond sought to reassemble the collective pitch which secured devolution in the 1997 referendum - albeit with different players."

Branding Westminster "beyond salvation", Mr Salmond told the conference: "Friends, our nation understands there is work to do if we are to make Scotland the place we know it can be.

"Work to build a fairer nation, to turn potential into prosperity."

He added: "Scotland can vote 'no' and secure nothing, or we can vote 'yes' to get the platform we need."

At the start of the 45-minute address, Mr Salmond made reference to former chief whip Andrew Mitchell's alleged use of the word "pleb" and Chancellor George Osborne's first class train ticket row.

The gathering heard him ask: "Why on earth do we allow this bunch of incompetent Lord Snootys to be in positions of authority over our country?"

He further questioned: "And why does the Labour Party believe that they can survive getting into bed with them in the no campaign?

Mr Salmond went on to outline a vision of an independent Scotland "united by ambition and confidence".

He said: "Over the next two years our task is clear - to tell the truth about Scotland and what we can achieve. To proclaim that we have, in ourselves, all we need to truly prosper.

"That, together we can rebuild our nation creating a Scotland that flourishes - in body and in spirit - once again.

Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond carry a "yes" placard

"Standing alongside the other nations of these islands as as a new partner and true friend.

"That, delegates, is the platform on which we shall win independence for our country."

Turning to the independence 'no' campaign, Mr Salmond said: "Instead of telling people in Scotland what they can do, they tell us what we can't do."

He went on: "Just think of it. Labour, the party which brought the country to its financial knees, unites with the Tories, the party of onmishambles, to tell Scotland that we are uniquely incapable as a nation."

Attacking his political opponents, Mr Salmond said the Tories had declared only 12% of Scots households were responsible for "generating Scotland's wealth".

And he said policies like free care for the elderly, concessionary bus travel and an end to university fees for Scots students were under threat by a review of universal services announced by Scottish Labour, which the first minister branded a "cuts commission".

Start Quote

Have no doubt, what was gained with devolution can only now be guaranteed with independence”

End Quote Alex Salmond SNP leader and first minister

The first minister said such policies were part of the "social contract" between the parliament and its people, adding: "Some call it universality and say its time has passed.

"I call it human decency and its time is now."

Mr Salmond went on: "Friends, what was won could now be lost.

"Have no doubt, what was gained with devolution can only now be guaranteed with independence."

"And so Labour and Tory - the two great pillars of the Union - united in a death grip programme to sweep away concessionary travel, free prescriptions and education

Mr Salmond also used his speech to make a number of announcements, including;

  • telecom firm THREE creating almost 400 new jobs in Glasgow
  • a £11m family nurse partnership fund to support the future of children
  • and legislation to guarantee all 16 and 17-year-olds would get a right to vote in the independence referendum.
Nato vote

The politician addressed the conference the day after delegates overturned the SNP's traditional anti-Nato stance.

Members spent nearly three hours debating the issue.

Angus Robertson MP put forward a resolution saying an independent Scotland should become a member of the pro-nuclear weapons organisation.

That was opposed by several MSPs and rank and file members, but the new policy was voted through 426 to 332.

Mr Robertson told the conference that the fresh approach was developed following discussions with other countries.

He added that a change of view was dependent on Trident nuclear weapons - which are currently based at Faslane Naval base on the Clyde - being removed from Scotland.


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Conferences 2012

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  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    It's likely to work out like this- before the vote it will become clear to the Scots that their real revenue will be insufficient to cover the benefits they have now, and they will vote against it in droves for that reason no matter what the political motivation. Now they probably think they'll get all the oil/gas money and get to keep the £, defence,foreign policy etc all for free-that'll change

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    "316. Shaunie Babes

    Scottish Independence within Europe is about as viable as the Scottish Second Division merging with the UEFA Champions league"

    Scotland alone is incapable of Independence. Nice view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    Sad to see the beginning of the end Alex Salmond.It should be obviious to anyone that history is littered with losers with nothing left to offer,except Insullts.
    Yes..there are snooty people around.
    Just wish more of them could find a better occupation than Politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    297. HELEN_of_TROY
    I love England. I visit it regularly "Where the gentle Avon flows." It breaks my heart to think of it becoming a foreign country.
    Lived in the Shetlands for four years when I was a kid, nicer people it has been hard to meet.
    The politicos forget this link that we have, i think it will be at their peril.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    I fully support Alex Samond in his drive for independence.

    The quicker the Scots get it and save the rest of us from subsidising them the better.

    Please, please vote yes for independence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.


    """"Salmond('s)... views and opinions are not the view of the majorty of scottish people full stop."""".

    Maybe we'll lose the Independence vote, maybe not. But no party ever got such a win as the SNP in a Scotland-wide vote. An overall majority under PR!!! The promise of this referendum was part of what we voted for so "the majority of Scottish people" agree with Salmond on that.

  • Comment number 318.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    What a ludicrous racial stereotype of the English.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Scottish Independence within Europe is about as viable as the Scottish Second Division merging with the UEFA Champions league

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    The English comments on this blog are tiresome: why comment on an issue that has nothing to do with you unless you want to whinge of course. Never mind its what they do best: will that and fawning over their Royals.

  • Comment number 314.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    # 291 Scotchland – we want you to go. Please go. Old World mentality – welcome to the Information Age.

    Your President Salmond abuses us English - what do you expect?. Please become independent and get out of our lives and the Big World. We can’t wait to see the back of you – Blair, Brown – Scotch people that have destroyed our economy – oh and Fred Goodwin (Salmond’s mate) in RBS.

  • Comment number 312.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    What has England to lose if Scotland votes for independence!!! Nothing! As nothing will change except England will have Tory Governments forever OMG think I will sell up and move north!!

  • Comment number 310.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Its not about being scottish or engligh you could be a 3 leged spider with a human face gills and an elephant truck for all i care, bringing it down to that level is just plain stupid, but imagine it england if you can if westminster was in glasgow and everytime you voted you new that vote ment less then nothing, thats what it feels like its not about vote yes for some braveheart type "freedom"

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    STUMCKIN - If you knew the economics you would realise what DRIVEL you have just written. It will COST a lot to run 5million people... you are not importnant in this equation but the rest of people who do pay tax and are quite happy with they way it is are entitled to their view, WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    Independence is whatever we decide it to be.The fools who try to frame the question as a right vs left,nationalism vs internationalism,Scotland vs England,Euro vs Pound,NATO vs unilateralism etc etc are showing their stupidity.THE CLUE IS IN THE QUESTION!!!'should Scotland be an independent country?'That is all that is being asked.How an independent Scotland looks will be down to the voters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    If Salmond is so confident of winning why does he have to spend two years and god knows how much money trying to convince the Scots that independence is the best option?

    Where are all the policies and economic models? I bet there are none, he would just try to negotiate the terms of the settlement on the spot if the Scots voted yes. It doesn't sound like a good option to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    I am a great believer in the Union and having our own identities , who are these Lord Snootys ? It seems to me Salmond has moved to the nationalistic comments of the past , I would expect better if you want to be taken seriously . There are funding pressures already building in scotland can they really keep making things free ? Salmond is relying on one thing ...... oil .


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