Longest-serving first minister Salmond will not 'go on and on'


Alex Salmond: "I wake up every morning and look forward to the day ahead."

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SNP leader Alex Salmond said he was proud to be Scotland's longest-serving first minister but he had no intention of going "on and on" in the post.

In interviews with the BBC, the politician added he had no immediate plans to "depart the scene" with the independence referendum due in 2014.

Mr Salmond is Scotland's fourth first minister and to date the only non-Labour politician to take the post.

Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell went before him.

Mr Salmond conceded that his darkest days were around the time of the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

He said his political high point was his election victory in May 2011 when he delivered a historic majority of MSPs to Holyrood.

Mr Salmond told BBC Scotland's Raymond Buchanan: "I wake up every morning and look forward to the day ahead."

Previous first ministers

Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell

1. Donald Dewar: First minister from 13 May 1999 to 11 October 2000

2. Henry McLeish: First minister from 26 October 2000 to 8 November 2001

3. Jack McConnell: First minister from 22 November 2001 to 16 May 2007

He insisted he would not go "on and on", but added: "I want to see Scotland win the referendum, I want to see the opening of the door of opportunity in that referendum and I have no immediate plans to depart the scene."

In an earlier interview with BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Salmond said he was proud of his achievements during his 2002 days in the post.

He told presenter Hayley Millar: "I think the most substantial thing that I am proud of, and the administration should be, is the establishment of a social contract between the Scottish government and the people of Scotland in extraordinarily tough times.

"In these difficult times we have managed to both preserve and indeed extend social objectives like the removal of tuition fees, the protection of free care for the elderly, the importance of having a national health service which is free at the point of need to everyone.

"These are big social protections and advances and that is what I would describe as a social contract between the government and the people."

Start Quote

It was Margaret Thatcher who said in a BBC interview in 1987, after winning her third election victory, that she intended to go "on and on". Her colleagues duly precluded that option by preventing her from contesting a fourth election.”

End Quote

Following devolution and the first elections to the new Scottish Parliament, Labour grandee Mr Dewar became the first minister on 13 May 1999.

He held the post until his death in October 2000.

Mr McLeish was Scotland's next first minister, taking on the role from 26 October, 2000, to 8 November, 2001.

By the end of November that year Mr McConnell was in the hot seat. He lasted until May 2007 when the SNP, under the leadership of Mr Salmond, won minority government.

On Wednesday, 7 November, Mr Salmond overtook Mr McConnell's time in the post.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon congratulated the SNP leader on reaching the political milestone.

She said: "The people of Scotland overwhelmingly trust the Scottish government headed by Alex Salmond - 71% trust the Scottish government to act in Scotland's interests, up from 51% under the previous Lab/Lib Executive in 2006, and compared to just 18% who trust the UK government.

Alex Salmond: "In these difficult times we have managed to both preserve and indeed extend social objectives."

"In 2011, people in Scotland gave a remarkable vote of confidence in Alex Salmond's leadership and the team, record and vision of the SNP - delivering an overall majority at Holyrood, and becoming the only first minister to win two elections.

"It is this record of success that will help win a yes vote in the referendum for an independent Scotland in autumn 2014."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    What are the SNP's reasons for wanting independence? Do they honestly think Scotland are the victims of the UK gov? If the UK gov makes a bad decision then everyone in the UK suffers not just Scotland! You can't just leave and shout 'independence!' when times get tough! The argument of Independence has no roots. The answer is not split the UK up. It will just be the same thing on a smaller scale!

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    The Scots remind me of caged animals afraid to leave when the cage door is finally opened because captivity is all they have known. I hope Alec will persuade them to take that courageous step. The Union was formed more than 3 hundreds years ago and it’s out of date. The Scots future should involve responsibility for their own actions rather than continually blaming the English Tory Party.

  • Comment number 274.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    I don't have to read about them. I read, spoke to people, looked up the relevant information myself and made my own informed choice/decision. I'd rather do that than be told what to think by either camp.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    The people of Scotland have to ask themselves
    Do you want to continue to be ruled by an English government who endanger your lives by siting WMD in Scotland.
    Any sensible person living in Scotland should say they would rather live in a country without WMD , the only political parties wanting to get rid of WMD are the SNP and the Green party who are both in favour of Independence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    Energy rich, resource rich Scotland will still be friends with the rest if the island after Independance, only we wont be able to store the WMD currently sitting in the Clyde, (Yes Devenport can have them and the current 650 civilian jobs assoicated with them) jusr remember you dont have the firing codes for them, the Americans have them!

  • Comment number 270.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    @243 - "It does appear a backward step where most countries are integrating into cooperation whereas Scotland is seeking separation" - Really - I thought the position of most in the UK at the moment was to withdraw from the EU..................

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    I have no doubt that he will carry on campaigning even when there is a clear majority in the vote against independence. He could take his supporters with him and go for victory in his campaign for a "Free Independent Outer Hebrides".

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Some of the comments re the Westminster Govt are really amusing. Scotland is over represented in London by Scottish MP's and boo hoo they are allowed to vote on matters affecting England. 1. We don't vote Tory up here (only 1 Tory at the moment). 2. Until is Scotland is independent we have a right to be represented at Westminster.

    If we vote no your'e still stuck with us - ain't that a shame

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    239. angiF - How much of Alex can you eat?

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Salmond is a gravity challeneged roaster! He'll never win an Independence vote.

  • Comment number 264.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    penguin337 @221 It is not that they can't give fiscal independence - they refuse to give it. The Isle of Man and Channel Islands have fiscal independence within the GB Pound currency area, and are outside of the UK. It works just fine. Ireland was pegged to the GB£ from 1922 until they joined the ERM in 1979

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    From the ratings of posts here there seem to be more in favour of independence. I think there is confusion between independence and patriotism and a lack of facts. I am for a referendum if thats what folk want but they MUST have all the facts of the implications both ways - and that just isn't there now - it really isn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Salmond is the only able party leader in Scotland at the moment.

    Lest face it, Alex has more competition from his own party than elsewhere.
    That's why he keeps the more loud and bossy (difficult, but true) Nicola Sturgeon around. He appears not as bad, and she detracts from his arrogance with that of her own and her irritating public performances.

  • Comment number 260.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    I trust that the SNP will inform the electorate their policies for an independent .
    How will they defend these islands? What will be the national currency?
    What is their position on British dependencies that were colonised under the British Flag. Slippery Salmond is deliberately causing conflict and division for his own ends. Salmond is the main reason most English would vote for scottish indepen

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Alan 223 - Hence the reason for a referendum to ascertain whether what you say is true, I suspect not given the SNP has a majority govt. in a system designed to avoid just this!
    Astrovoyager 226 - Border control? Really? There is no land border control across Europe but you would instigate it here would you? Smart idea! Oh and by the way its a deal but we keep the oil revenues!

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    To LukeHepburn 1: have you ever heard of the 'United States of America' or the 'Russian Federation' of the 'Commonwealth of Australia - all examples of independent states that make up a political unity and do it well. Just because Britain has a long history does not mean it cannot or should not move forward.


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