Report: Scottish National Party conference 2013

Key Points

  • SNP leader Alex Salmond announces that his government's White Paper on independence will be published on 26 November.
  • The news was delivered in Mr Salmond's keynote speech to more than 1,000 SNP conference delegates gathered in Perth.
  • The people of Scotland will vote in the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday, 18 September, 2014.

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  1.  
    1445:

    Hello and welcome to our live video and text coverage of the Scottish National Party's annual conference in Perth.

     
  2.  
    1445:

    To follow the debate on social media use #SNP13

     
  3.  
    1446:

    SNP leader Alex Salmond is due to deliver his keynote speech at about 15:00.

     
  4.  
    Analysis 1450: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    "It is understood that SNP leader Alex Salmond will announce the date of the much-awaited White Paper on independence."

     
  5.  
    1453:

    There has been much talk about the on-going dispute at Grangemouth petrochemical plant. First Minister Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney have both asked for the management and the union Unite to resolve the dispute. The FM left the Perth conference on Thursday afternoon to hold meetings with both sides in the dispute. He said the talks were useful, but he could not force an agreement.

     
  6.  
    1455:

    More than 1,000 delegates have gathered in Perth for the SNP's annual conference - the last before the people of Scotland go to the polls on Thursday, 18 September, 2014, to vote in a referendum on independence.

     
  7.  
    Information

    The Scottish independence referendum: When, where, what?

    • When? - Thursday, 18 September, 2014
    • Where? - Voters in Scotland (only) will be able to take part in the referendum
    • What? - They will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
     
  8.  
    1502:

    Former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson wants the nature of political debate to change - to be more co-operative.

     
  9.  
    1503:

    Political academic and broadcaster Prof John Curtice asks whether there will be room in an independent Scotland for an SNP that looks to be socially democratic and a Labour Party that also looks to be socially democratic.

     
  10.  
    1506:

    It's the "moment we have all been waiting for", says Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon (as she begins her introduction of Alex Salmond).

     
  11.  
    1507:

    Nicola Sturgeon talks of Alex Salmond's new "slim-line physique". She says his diet is the same as singer Beyonce.

     
  12.  
    1508:

    Alex Salmond takes to the stage......

     
  13.  
    1508:

    Alex Salmond: "My diet is a bit like the journey to independence - we have done a substantial job, but we have got a good way to go."

     
  14.  
    1510:

    Alex Salmond details a litany of party members who have been the backbone of the SNP.

     
  15.  
    1511:

    A "yes" vote is not about a victory for the SNP, "it will be above all an act of self confidence and act of self belief".

     
  16.  
    1512:

    The more people know about independence, the more they will vote "yes", says Mr Salmond. People will vote yes when they listen to the "can-do optimism" of the yes campaign, he adds.

     
  17.  
    1515:

    To audience cheers Mr Salmond says: "We intend to win this referendum."

     
  18.  
    1515:

    Alex Salmond quotes Prime Minister David Cameron and head of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, who both say that Scotland could survive as an independent country. He adds that he isn't in the habit of agreeing with the Prime Minister and Alistair Darling, but on this occasion he does.

     
  19.  
    1517:

    Mr Salmond says that Scotland has all the natural talents to thrive on its own. He then criticises London-based politicians coming to "lecture" Scotland.

     
  20.  
    1518:

    In a message to Prime Minister David Cameron, he says "we will publish the White Paper" and then "we should debate - Prime Minister and First Minister".

     
  21.  
    1520:

    There are only two countries in the world without oil resources not in savings fund - the UK and the republic of Iraq, says Mr Salmond.

     
  22.  
    1521:

    "Where we have the power, we have chosen a different path of shared values," says Mr Salmond. Others have dismissed this approach, he adds. He goes on to say that his party will defend the social progress made by the Scottish Parliament.

     
  23.  
    1525:

    Training for youngsters should not be "distorted" says Mr Salmond. The first minister then announces a £60m package to support more than 3,000 jobs and vital opportunities for "our young people".

     
  24.  
    1526:

    He turns to the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow in 2014. Mr Salmond says it will be the greatest sporting event Scotland has ever seen.

     
  25.  
    1527:

    The "bedroom tax" [Westminster's welfare benefit reform] is becoming a "symbol" of why independence is necessary, insists Mr Salmond.

     
  26.  
    1529:

    The first act of an independent Scotland will be to "scrap the bedroom tax", says Mr Salmond.

     
  27.  
    1530:

    Scotland has the lowest water bills in these islands, says Mr Salmond.

     
  28.  
    1531:

    Another independence pledge is made by Mr Salmond - an SNP government in an independent Scotland would re-nationalise the Royal Mail service.

     
  29.  
    1532:

    We can accept our status of unequal system or realise our ambitions and the economic prize of independence, says Mr Salmond.

     
  30.  

    @KennyFarq Salmond showing how important it is for No campaign for all anti-indy parties to agree housing benefit should be devolved. #snp13

     
  31.  
    1533:

    Mr Salmond talks of the stand-off at Grangemouth. He says to the union "stop the threat", to the management "fire up the plant again". He adds: "Find common ground - fire up the plant and do it now."

     
  32.  
    1535:

    Let's achieve a living wage for all workers, not just those in the private sector, says Mr Salmond. He adds that the minimum wage has failed to keep up with the standards of living. He goes on to say that under independence there would be a minimum wage rise of at least inflation.

     
  33.  
    Breaking News

    The Scottish government White Paper on independence will be published on Tuesday, 26 November.

     
  34.  
    1538:

    The White Paper will be the blueprint for how an independent Scotland would work.

     
  35.  

    @russellwardrop Who needs auto cue? Salmond showing at #SNP13 you can have notes and still deliver. Timing, it's called: pace, pause, pitch, tone, volume.

     
  36.  
    1540:

    Alex Salmond tells his party's conference: "People are starting to imagine a better life, better communities and a better country. We are truly privileged."

     
  37.  
    1541:

    Mr Salmond continues: "And when the pages of books yet unwritten speak to generations yet unborn of this time and this place, of our Scotland today, what is the story they will tell? They can say that we who lived at this special time recognised a priceless moment for what it was. So, it is our privilege in this generation to determine the next chapter of Scotland's story."

     
  38.  
    1542:

    He ends the speech, to cries of yes, by saying: "After almost a century of Scotland moving forward to this very moment - let us ask ourselves these simple questions - If not us - then who? If not now - then when? Friends - we are Scotland's independence generation. And our time is now."

     
  39.  

    @EddieBarnes23 "We don't need lectures in entrepreneurialism." Who is giving them? #snp13

     
  40.  
    1543: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "The White Paper was an important announcement, it was also important about the progress of the referendum indicating what priorities there would be if it was the government of an independent nation. It was a very good speech with comic timing. But it wasn't about detail it was about evangelisation."

     
  41.  

    @paulhutcheon Decent speech from Eck at #snp13 but will it work?

     
  42.  
    Did you know?
    Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and singer Beyonce Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and singer Beyonce share the same diet, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed to the conference
     
  43.  
    1548:

    The applause has just stopped. Mr Salmond received a standing ovation from the 1,000 plus conference.

     
  44.  
    1550:

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the announcement of the White Paper date was a very "big moment". It will answer all of the "reasonable questions" that people want to ask.

     
  45.  

    @iain_00 #snp13 trending as Salmond engages #indyref generation 'The time is now' 'lets get on with it' 'Very good speech' says beebs Brian

     
  46.  
    1551:

    "The paper is aimed at the people of Scotland - they want to be convinced and persuaded and I am sure the White Paper will do that," said Mr Salmond.

     
  47.  

    @EddieBarnes23 Lowest paid would be £675 better off (over five years) says Salmond..handily above that £500 better off figure which swings votes #snp13

     
  48.  
    1554:

    Nicola Sturgeon defends her announcement to cut energy bills. She says the problem with funding energy efficiency schemes through bills is that the better off pay the same as the those who are least off. It is a common sense solution and one that can be used after independence, Ms Sturgeon adds.

     
  49.  
    1558:

    Prof John Curtice says the White Paper will be "crucial" and it will tell us what the process will be if people vote for independence. It will also put pressure on Westminster to say what it would do in the event of independence.

     
  50.  

    @splatoutofluck Great speech from Salmond this afternoon. Rousing and some interesting teasers for the white paper next month. #snp13

     
  51.  
    Alex Salmond Alex Salmond delivered his speech behind a sign saying 333 days to go to the referendum
     
  52.  
    1609:

    Angus Robertson says that voters will be encouraged to go out to the ballot box on 18 September, 2014. When the people are confident they will vote yes, insists the SNP MP.

     
  53.  
    1611:

    When people have more information they are more inclined to vote yes, adds Mr Robertson.

     
  54.  
    1612:

    The SNP is extremely popular throughout Scotland, says Mr Robertson. He adds that the message is resonating like nothing before - but this is more than about the SNP, it is about much, much more. It is going to be an exciting year for all of us, come and join the debate, he urges.

     
  55.  
    1615:
    Angus Robertson Angus Robertson made an passionate plea to the "audience at home"

    We [the SNP and independence] have a better answer, says Mr Robertson.

     
  56.  
    1618:

    Prof John Curtice says there is no polling evidence that the yes side is making a convincing argument to win over voters at this time.

     
  57.  
    Re-cap David Porter Westminster correspondent

    "With 11 months to go until the referendum, Alex Salmond used this speech to paint a picture of what an independent Scotland would be like. He said Scotland would be able to reach its full potential, pledging to set up a fair work commission to set a minimum wage guarantee. He also repeated that an independent Scotland would scrap UK changes to housing benefit - known to critics as the bedroom tax."

     
  58.  
    1622:

    Fringe meetings at the SNP conference have been discussing the possible changes on corroboration in Scots law. MSP Christine Grahame is against the changes - the proof has not be convincing on getting rid of corroboration, she tells BBC political editor Brian Taylor.

     
  59.  

    @thoughtland Three fantastic #indy women on BBC coverage of #snp13 there http://ow.ly/i/3tfo4 @tasminasheikh, @sandrawhitesnp, @nataliemcgarry

     
  60.  
    Verdict

    Mandy Rhodes of the Holyrood Magazine says she thinks Alex Salmond's speech was the best she had ever seen. Scottish Sun political editor Andy Nicoll said that while technically the speech was not the best, the emotion was fresh.

     
  61.  
    1635:

    ... and that's it for our video and text coverage of Alex Salmond's speech to the SNP conference in Perth. For more analysis of the conference tune in to the Sunday Politics show, starting at 11:30.

     

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