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 316.

    Derek Weir - problem is my English mates have better things to talk about than Scottish Independence . As for returning to Scotland of course I will - your new currency will be so devalued I will be stocking up before I return south.
    The sad fact is I am a proud Scot ( and proud Brit) and I'm just ashamed and embarrassed by the way a large number of Scots moan and whine about being hard done by.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Like him or loathe him, Alex Salmond is an iconic First Minister who will be remembered long after the referendum has been and gone. Apart from Donald Dewar, the other First Ministers seemed little more than Scottish Office ministers by another name - I doubt anyone down south even remembers them. Salmond has genuinely put a face to the nation within the UK and elsewhere, for good or for bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    I love the way this man is not only destroying my country but is doing so with a stupid smug grin on his face. Just great!

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    Yup it is a miricle the blundering fool has lasted this long!

    Lets hope when Scotland votes No in 2014 that he will disappear never to be heard of again along with this independance rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    To charles;

    Don't get me a wrong I am pro the Union! I think we are much stronger united. And unlike many other countries we are a relatively small island and it only makes geographical sense for us to be 1 country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    Just as Sean Connery is still seen as the best ever Bond, Alex Salmond will be seen as the best First Minister Scotland ever produced when he retires.

    And all this despite the disgraceful smear tactics being adopted by the "Better Together" campaign.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Once again we witness the ignorance from the 'no we canny's' by letting their dislike of Alex Salmon and the SNP cloud their judgement of what is on offer in 2014. It is an oppertunity that should be grabbed by all Scots who seek a fairer, more prosperous and most importantly a proud country standing on it's own merits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Salmond is outstanding politician by any standards. It is not that the opposition parties have no brilliant minds, but that they have all headed south. It is thus by design that by making Scotland the goal, that the SNP has become the most competent political force north of the border. Independence would create new goals for the ambitious and retain Scotland's best without forcing them to leave.

  • Comment number 308.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.


    I disagree with your synopsis for one simple reason.

    When you are the most able person in the room it is not arrogance to accept that fact, its just realistic.

    Salmond and Sturgeon are far and away the best leadership team any political party has in the UK. They would be foolish not to recognise that and "foolish" is one thing very few people say about either of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    273 I salute you - you are in a minority sadly

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    @ Tony Soprano - "A dangerous man" - come on Tony - what a ridiculous comment. he was democratically elected, and if the people no longer like him, they will vote him out. Please explain to me how having a 2nd chamber full of sleeping old men dressed in ermine ensures democracy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Today's HYS is on Alex Salmonds achievement of being the longest standing First Minister in Scotland

    It is not about Scottish independence,English independence or the SNP

    If the BBC would like to reinstate the opening up of political blogs in Scotland perhaps these off topic points can be addresses individually.

    If not then, why not just stick to on-topic & cut out the anti-Scot-indy posts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    I find all the anti independence bile quite idiotic and the personal attacks on Alex Salmond a disgrace, all brought about by complete ignorance of what is going on

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    His friendships certainly do not 'go on and on.'
    He schmoozes then drops people when they become inconvenient, eg Trump, Murdoch. I just hope his Chinese mates know they are probably next

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    Politicians are an abhorrent sub-species who will say/do anything to get elected. Truth is a foreign concept to many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    255 angiF,

    What concept? That only the UK is a country?....really over a thousand years...a thousand...

    Good one angi F...

    Maybe you should read a book...union of crowns? no? Acts of union?

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    Like or loathe him he is a good politician who can stand up and take on all comers. Without him scottish politics would be run by lame politicians like Johan Lamont and Willie Rennie...WHO? I hear you ask....exactly!
    But this poses the SNP's biggest problem, I would trust salmond as a leader of an independent Scotland but there is no great succesor to from any party when he does stand down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    If Salmond seriously wants me to vote for independence, he has to provide me with the facts and figures. I want to know exactly what I'll get out of it (healthcare/education/etc) and what is expected from me in return (taxes/etc) All we're getting is slogans and attempts to stir up patriotism.
    Its one thing to be proud of where you're from, but patriotism can't pay the bills of running a country.


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