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.


More on This Story

Conferences 2012

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.

    @1114.Markus Weldon
    Lord Snooty, Husband of Samantha Gwendoline (Nee Sheffield) daughter of Sir Reginald Berkeley Sheffield, 8th Baronet (a landowner descended from King Charles II of England)

    Cameron, himself, is a direct descendant, albeit on the wrong side of the blanket, of William IV, a much more recent monarch than Charles II

  • rate this

    Comment number 1163.

    The definition of a Scot? It can't be race, as most are Anglo-Saxons I doubt if it's birth, as many born in England think of themselves as Scots, & vice versa. It isn't language, as only a tiny percentage speak Gaelic, the remainder speaking (wait for it!) English. To sum up, it appears to be mainly an atavistic longing for a past that never existed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    @1160 "Do you not understand that it is not your business?"

    I certainly hope you are right. You see, when it all goes wrong, I hope I do not have to pay for your largesse and failure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

    1153.Frank Lund
    "According to the late Ivor Cutler, "There's nothing quite like a Scottish education. One is left with an irreparable debt".

    two thing:
    - tap into Scottish humor
    - at Least it's still an education, just look the level of failure in English schools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    The negative and angry hostile comments here from people outwith Scotland reinforces Scotlands' endeavour for independence. Do you not understand that it is not your business? We were married once. We have grown apart. You cannot force a reconciliation.You prefer the oxbridge types. We don't. Especially Camerons incompetents

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    Cameron and other Westminster nobs are totally foreign to Scots. We don't need nor want them!

    Scotland has always been affronted being controlled by London as many English are at the moment. The UK is a patchwork consisting of Wales, England, NI and ............. LONDON

  • Comment number 1158.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1157.

    @ Frank Lund

    The Euro I would presume.

    If we need to reapply to the EU then we need to adopt The Euro and also the Schengen agreement, as things stand the level of national debt we would need to agree to take on post Independence might mean we would not be considered ready for acceptance to the EU in any case.

    There are so many unanswered questions.

  • Comment number 1156.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1155.

    If Scotland wins the vote for for independence, then never again shall one be ridiculed by a foreigner without suitable recompense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1154.

    reading a lot of comments on here and there is a lot of racist comments against the English people, it seems that only English people can be racist/xenphobic towards other countries and we cannot complain when other countries and people are racist back, this seems like double standards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1153.

    4 Minutes ago
    "For all we know he (or she?) might be a rather affluent person who is a bit bored....."

    Wouldn't be that difficult listening to you two spouting your educational facts.


    According to the late Ivor Cutler, "There's nothing quite like a Scottish education. One is left with an irreparable debt".

  • rate this

    Comment number 1152.

    Another story on the BBC news website tonight, about the lovely Ms Sturgeon, states that she will use her conference speech to press for Scotland to spend its way out of recession.

    This isn't looking too promising. Bankrupt within a year I'd say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1151.

    I think that people have failed to grasp what Mr. Salmond was getting at. He was just affirming that England is currently governed by members of the Old Boys club, the pretentious and incompetent Etonians. The people who despise Socialism, make the 'common' man and woman pay for everything, those who are dismantling the NHS and cutting essential services to people that need them most; the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1150.

    Do the Scot's want independance from Europe as well or are they happy to have all their major issues decided by European MEP's?
    Do they want their fiscal policies decided by Greek's, Italians and Portugese MEP's?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1149.

    1105.margaret howard
    "The only ones who have ever invaded us are the English"

    And just to make it entirely clear it was actually we Scot's who invaded England first in 1016 under King Malcolm II who invaded and held Northumberland in an effort to extend Scotland's borders - so the who invaded who arguement is, at best, just nationalist ignorance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1148.

    Will they make voting compulsary as this will be the only true measure of the Scots wish for independence.( 60% of 40% voting is not a majority of Scottish voters, figures for example only).
    Either every elidgable Scottish voter needs to vote or it won't be a true vote.
    Tricky- could a vote, either way, be challenged in court if people don't vote?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1147.

    As a Brit, i cant wait to get the burden of Scotland off the UK`s back. 45 billion pounds to bail out one single scottish bank. the most paid to any bank. Scotlanders always blame the English for their troubles. Yet our previous 2 PM`s before cameron were both scottish. Bodes well for the future Scottish economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1146.

    3 Minutes ago
    let the english be english and let the scottish be scottish end of :) mid u let the american be americans, let the canadians be canadians, let them all want to be what they are not what they are told to be :))

    Canadians are already Canadians and justly proud of keeping Canada tidy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1145.


    Ah yes,the English troops sent to war by a scot,how quaint for a scot to deny the obvious. And the. and the Vikings invaded you you,and England for that matter.


    It is Scotlands history,you created the union!

    Heraldic that's nonsense. Mainly due to the fact England isn't an island,


Page 1 of 59


More Scotland politics stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.