Salmond says Sturgeon ‘doing nothing at all’ to deliver independence

ALEX Salmond has ramped up his criticism of Nicola Sturgeon over independence, saying her government seems to be doing “nothing at all” to secure it.

The Alba party leader accused his successor of wasting time “having discussions about discussions” while Westminster was already plotting to “rig the ballot”.

The former First Minister said it was “time to force the Scottish issue now”.

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He made the comments in his weekly video message to Alba members and supporters.

On Wednesday, Mr Salmond also told Ms Sturgeon to “get on with it”, and not delay demanding Indyref2 from Westminster as she risked losing the initiative. 

It points to an increasingly bitter split over tactics in the Yes movement.

Mr Salmond cited two events this week as evidence of “blatant ballot rigging” by the UK Government.

The first was a Times report that the franchise for Indyref2 could be extended to Scots living elsewhere in the UK, who are seen as No-leaning.

The second was Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove saying he did not expect Boris Johnson to grant Indyref2 before the 2024 general election.

Ms Salmond said the UK Government was already trying to set the timetable and franchise for Indyref2, “whilst the Scottish Government sit and do nothing”.

He said the franchise for Indyref2 should be based on residency, as in 2014, and Ms Sturgeon had to press for a referendum far more urgently.

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He said: “Two examples in one week of how Westminster is plotting and planning to thwart the Scots, to put down these pesky people who want to seek Scottish independence.

“And not doing it democratically, doing it by chicanery, by trying to rig the ballot.

“The question for Scotland is, What are we going to do about it? 

“Because by the look of it, precious little. 

“While Westnminster are preparing and laying their plans and the groundwork to rig the ballot, the Scottish Government seems to be doing nothing at all.

“Having discussions about discussions and saying they’ll seek a referendum at some time after the pandemic.

“Exactly what Alba warned about in the Scottish election campaign is coming to pass.

“It’s time to force the Scottish issue now.”

Ms Sturgeon has said she wants Indyref2 by the end of 2023, Covid permitting, with independence in 2026 if there a yes vote.

She condemned Mr Gove’s comments earlier this week, and said on Thursday she was “determined” to give Scots a vote on their future.

However she has also pledged to focus on Covid and the recovery in the immediate aftermath of the election, and there has been little public action on another referendum.

Mr Salmond bemoaned the apparent lack of effort on LBC’s Cross Question show on Wednesday.

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He said: “My construction contribution is to urge Nicola forward, because Westminster will take the initiative.

“And the more you allow Westminster to take the initiative, the more you allow Michael Gove and his ilk to take the initiative, then I’m afraid the worse things will get for Scotland.

“She won a massive victory. She has a mandate. My advice to my successor is to get on with it.”

In his latest video, Mr Salmond, whose party won 1.7 per cent of the list vote at the Holyrood election and failed to get any MSPs, said Alba’s autumn conference in Greenock would be a key moment for the yes campaign.

He said: “It’s time to force the Scottish independence issue now, to exercise the mandate of the Scottish people, to assert our right to self determination and not have Michael Gove or Westminster dictating how Scotland is governed.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992