ALEX Salmond has criticised Nicola Sturgeon after she argued time is on her side when it comes to independence.
The former first minister insisted Scots had backed “their right of self-determination” in five elections running.
And he suggested those suffering from Westminster policies, such as the cut to Universal credit, do not have time on their side.
The Alba Party leader accused the First Minister of constantly marching supporters “up to the top of the hill” without any sign of a strategy.
It comes after Ms Sturgeon told the Financial Times the constitutional impasse will resolve itself “on the side of democracy”.
She insisted the alternative was “pretty unthinkable”.
The First Minister said: “I’ve got democracy on my side . . . if they [the UK Government] think it’s about playing a waiting game, I’ve probably got time on my side as well. You look at the demographics of the support for independence – well, I’m not sure that’s going to get you out of this conundrum.”
Ms Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a second referendum before the end of 2023, Covid permitting.
But the UK Government has repeatedly rejected calls for another vote.
Addressing Alba members in a video, Mr Salmond said: “It’s up to the Scottish people when they’re going to exert their right of self-determination, and they have so decided, not just at one election, but at five elections running.
“It is the job of politicians to deliver the wishes of the Scottish people.
“We should be a bit concerned by the interview in the Financial Times in which the First Minister said she had time on her side about delivering a referendum.
“But does Scotland have time on its side?
“The people that are losing their £20 [Universal Credit uplift], do they have time on their side?
“The businesses losing their European markets, do they have time on their side?
“Do we have time on our side to establish a Scottish state energy company to reap the harvest of our vast offshore resources?
“The Alba message is to assert the majority in the Parliament for independence now.
“Start the independence negotiations and a referendum might be part of that process.
“But what we can do now is mobilise a proper campaign of popular pressure, of legal and international initiatives on the right to Scotland of self-determination.
“What we can’t and mustn’t do is constantly march people up to the top of the hill and tell them that a referendum is just around the corner without any sign whatsoever of a strategy to deliver it because unless you start that campaign for Scottish self determination you are never going to deliver it.”