Sunday 17 October 2010


Alex’s speech to conference started with him talking about Delhi where he visited the Scotland team. He pointed out the Commonwealth Games is special because it is the only multi sport event where Scotland takes part as a nation, in our own right. He pointed out that Scotland had got a rousing cheer in the closing ceremony.

He reminded delegates that the SNP governs for Scotland, and the welfare of the nation, and all of its five million people.

He pointed out that there was a simple choice in the next election:

"Either Scotland stays in the Westminster straightjacket of low growth, public sector cutbacks and blighted futures or we take responsibility and deliver the better society we all want.”

Labour, he said, had created the crisis and the Tory/Lib coalition were making it worse.

According to a BBC MORI poll 42% blamed Labour for the mess; 39% the Coalition and only 13%, the SNP... (and he joked they were all Lord George Foulke's relatives!) Another poll showed only 9% recognise Labour’s leader in Scotland.

Alex offered the country clear leadership and a positive future.

He agreed that minority government placed limits on what could be done. He said that the government had tri
ed to compromise where possible. He talked about the shared submission to the MoD on the looming cuts to airbases, ship yards and related employment. He said the SNP would fight for these jobs but he drew the line at deserting the cause of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Spending £100 billion we do not have on a weapons system we don't need, which takes much needed money from every other budget, is a criminal act.

He said that he didn’t believe the difference between the parties at Holyrood was so great. It was sad that Labour set itself against minimum pricing for alcohol. They really do agree but oppose for the sake of opposing... and that was pathetic when the real challenge is to public health.

The SNP government has won many victories, for example:

• Ended tuition fees

• Ended bridge tolls

• Frozen Council Tax

• Ended prescription charges

• Put a 1,000 extra policemen on our streets and an extra 1000 cleaners into our hospitals.

We now have the lowest crime rate for 32 years and the highest clear up rate in 30. Public confidence in the police is high and fear of crime is falling.

He welcomed some of Jimmy Reid’s family to the conference and spoke about his philosophy that that it was the job of human beings to control their circumstances not to allow them to devalue humanity.

On the economy and cuts, he said that his first duty is to protect the people of Scotland.

On Wednesday they will announce the most ferocious series of cuts witnessed in a lifetime. It will be hard, it will be deep and it will hurt. It risks ripping the social fabric of our nation.

The SNP cannot not let that happen. There will have to be pay restraint. There’s a fixed budget, The books must balance. We must restrict our spending. Pay will be a part of that.

While inflation goes up, VAT goes up and times are uncertain, there is no way that the households of Scotland should suffer more. For the next two years, the council tax freeze is on.

"Council tax bills doubled under first Tory then Labour but they have not risen under the SNP. And if this is to be a defining issue of the election then so be it.

He promised that if it came down to a choice between Bobbies on the beat and the boundaries of police authorities, then it was simple , policemen first – safety first – communities first – bobbies before boundaries.

He also promised that the NHS would get the entire NHS budget.

He also announced that Scottish water will not be privatised – “not a tap, not a drop”.

He said that Joe Stiglitz Nobel prize winning economist had agreed to advise the Scottish Government on our country’s economic future.

He announced a new commission into the future of public services chaired by Campbell Christie, former head of the STUC. He will look at how to deliver services in the new financial landscape while maintaining our social democratic ethos.

He also said that it was time for new powers for parliament. With economic powers we could grow the Scottish economy by an extra 1% pa, which year on year would make a huge difference.

A rousing speech, greeted with great enthusiasm by supporters.


(This is very truncated because of space. The first paragraph links to the full text and
this links to an excellent piece by James Kelly on the “independence question" and important part of the speech which I left out).


  1. I missed his speech Tris and unfortunately didn't record it. Heard bits on the news though. Thanks for this, it'll set me up for the Scotsman article (if there is one).

  2. The first paragraph is linked to the actual text SR.

  3. I will give Salmond some credit [no, you read that correctly].

    He came clean about some of the cuts needed in Scotland after the GE in 2011. He could easily have done a 'Brown job', and pretended that it was all sunny, and rosy if re-elected. Instead Salmond hinted that police numbers may need to fall.

    Good, sensible and honest. However, he didn't explain how he'd fund maintaining the council tax freeze; and I hope he does, it is important that it is frozen again - and if the SNP fail to make the case for it, Gray will come in and add an extra £200 on ave to each household budget as he abandons the freeze...

    Conclusion, close, but no cigar. He is deluding himself if he thinks campaigning on a constitutional obession shall win him reelection. He needs to defend his record [not easy after some notable controverses], and also come clean on the cuts. He has moved on the latter, but not the former.

  4. Well Dean it won him power in 2007 so why not again in light of the guddle the Tories are making of it in less than 6 months, it must seem that Alex and his team are uber competent!

  5. If he looked like George Clooney Independence would be a given! He is a good politician, though and has a resonant cause. Shame our lot don't have one!

  6. I'm picking myself up off the floor Dean ;)

    I think that John Swinney must be a bit of a whiz. Over the last two years the Scottish government has brought down costs in both years breaking their own targets for efficiencies.

    I think if John Swinney says that he can do it, then he can. Of course it also depends on councils making the same sort of savings.

    That means fewer junkets, less junketting, fewer deputy, assistant, under, sub directors, less money spent on transport (everyone goes second class).

    I think Dean, that what he said was that ratehr than have fewer police he will hack away at the administrative costs... and again we have all these Chief Constables, and Deputy Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs and Assistant Deputy Chiefs...

    As we appear to be all in this together, they will have to learn to operate with fewer of them, on lower pay, with fewer perks...

    That was his pledge.

    As for the constitutional matters. That's the SNP's raison d’être. As he said it's not about flags and anthems, it's about sound economic policies.

    I suppose that time will tell, but there's no point in going into the election saying that the future of the country doesn't matter; it's only the economy that counts. The two are inseperable. At least he's being honest.

    I mean, there are savings that Cameron could make but won't because of the prestige of Britain, so it's not all about the economy there.

  7. Aye Munguin. You honestly couldn't make some of their blunders up, whereas Alex seems to have had an amazing honeymoon of over 2 years, and to be honest, I think he's still very popular.

    But being in power is a bit of a disadvantage... and of course Labour are now out of power, both in England and Scotland, which means that they can blame everything on other people.

    I reckon they would be a shoe in, if it weren't for the Millstone of Iain Gray as First Minister.

    There can't be many Scots that want him as their leader...

    Leader? Iain Gray? LOL LOL LOL.

  8. LOL @ OR

    Or Kate Beckinsale, maybe. (Men vote too!)

    You're right though. It's all image that counts. I'd swear Cameron's ambition was to get to be PM, and that he hadn't given much thought to what comes after that!

    Not so much a "rebel without a cause" as a "Tory without a cause".

    He seems to have tried to make the Tories in a mirror image of New Labour.

  9. Dean said...

    " He came clean about some of the cuts needed in Scotland after the GE in 2011."

    Some inside knowledge from Dean ? Coalition about to collapse ? Come on Dean spill the beans.

    The Tories and SNP have similar policies which is why even Dean can defend the SNP.
    Both support the corrupt EU. Both support windmills and the 'climate disruption' scam. Both will do nothing about mass uncontrolled immigration.
    The Tories are slightly ahead on independence for Scotland. Giving us a flawed independence vote is still better than a £2million 'conversation'.

  10. Ukiper:

    The SNP has similarities with most other parties, given its raison d’être is independence and there is support for that from a wide range of political views, left, right, and centre. Its positioning is slightly left of centre.

    But the Scottish government can claim to have worked across the board for the good of Scotland.

    I'm not a climate change believer, but there is going to be a lot of business and many jobs at all levels in the "green" energy business, so I say grab them with both hands. it's Scotland's second chance. We gave the oil away, let's not give this away.

    Scotland probably needs immigration. A growing elderly population and too few young people means that we have very different needs from England. A fact that of course the London government doesn't take into consideration when formulating their policies.

    Dean was referring, I suspect, to the General Election in Scotland in 2011.

    I suspect that even if the coalition does crumble, and it wouldn't be likely before the referendum, the Tories will go on for a while running a minority government.

  11. Alex Salmonds farewell address to the snp was welcome for being his last one before leaving office as the first and last snp First Minister'

    There was the usual clap trap about governing for all the Scottish peoples when in fact all the snp hate every and anybody who doesnt support the nationalist(which is 85% of the peoples of Scotland)

    I mean if the snp were so sure of ruling for all why oh why did they run away from the referendum?????

    How in an economic climate of cuts Alex can justify giving the wealthy a tax freeze and then admit he (although he wont be in power) will make cuts to the poorest in scottish society(not much of the common weil there more screw you poor people vote for me you rich ones

    and as for opinon polls every one there has ever been has shown time and time again a massive opposition to Independence (and rule by the snp)

    Yet the extremist snp nationalists continue to deny that truth still May 2011 will come and the
    end of the Anomaly snp interregnum thank god!

  12. 35 mins long by a statesman worthy of the name.

  13. Ole Alex can make as many speeches he likes but the one i am looking forward to will be his resignation from the snp leadership after may 2011...............Yep really looking forward to that

  14. Och Niko... away you go.

    You can't seriously believe that that mentally challenged mop that you guys call a leader will make any kind of job as First minister.

    I mean the man could barely be described as sentient!

    But who knows. Maybe you will win, and then the front bench of community councillors that is the Scottish sub branch of English New labour will really be in charge. Just imagine how much fun we can have laughing at them struggling... like walking in treacle they will be... and running to wee Ed to ask what to do... or maybe they will run to the phone throwing nut job in Kirkcaldy, if he ever decides to actually do any work between writing his book and spending time with his family.

    Maybe we should send him a map of where the Commons is? Lazy tosser.

  15. It was a good speech Cynical. Has the Scottish branch of Labour had their conference yet btw?

  16. They're out on a limb if you twig:)

    As an aside thanks by the way its a pity some don't understand the past Brit history and I did a search to find its murkier than I imagined.

  17. This year's Scottish Labour Party conference will take place in Oban from 29-31 October 2010. Lets see how the Beeb cover it.

  18. UKIPer,

    I am also not a climate change believer either, but then ... I may be convinced of the argument that mankinds activities are speeding up an inevitable warming cycle ...

  19. Tris,

    "As for the constitutional matters. That's the SNP's raison d’être. As he said it's not about flags and anthems, it's about sound economic policies."

    I've been noticing this shift in SNP policy! It is no longer out and out, full blooded nationalism; instead it is all about 'fiscal autonomy' [or even federalism, Salmond has been more vocal on this, devo-max than independence recnetly] --- on the need for 'social union' etc

    But, my problem with all of this is a question Cochrane posed in the DT: "Just how is Ireland not seperate from the UK'?

    Hmm, if it is all about keeping the monarchy, keeping 'social union' etc - are you and the SNP really expecting us to believe that you aren't operating on a seperationist agenda?

  20. I think there is a feeling that we may achieve more by a softly softly approach. But I can assure you that Alex spoke about "freedom" on Saturday night.

    We need to do what is best for the people of Scotland, but we must take them with us. We have proved that the world didn't end because we had an SNP government.

    I think you'd be hard pressed to say that things were worse unde the SNP than they would have been under a unionist Labour.

    So the next stage is what we could have done if we had had the power... and if Labour in particular hadn't voted against almost everything we did, just for the sake of it.

    Who cares about the people of Scotland, let's just mash the SNP...was their watchword.

    In fairness the rest of you weren't really like that most of the time, but you did vote against things with Labour and we lost them.

    Mark my words Dean, it's about an end game of independence, and if we have to get there with devolution, and federalisation, fiscal autonomy, or whatever, I certainly don't have a problem with that.

  21. Tris,

    I'm betting the rank and file of the SNP membership would be deeply opposed to Salmond and the leadership saying that why everybody knows that the SNP leadership increasingly prefer devo-max as opposed to out and out independence [at least as the next step, as you describe it] --- but they cannot say this openly lest the rank and file spook?

  22. I really don't know Dean. I suspect that like any other party, perhaps moreso, given the nature of the SNP that it draws from left, right and centre, there is a huge varience in the party's feelings.

    There will, of course, be those who will hate the slowly and softly approach and who want it tomorrow, and those who are prepared to take a long view... as long as we get there in the end.

    We're not a load of kilt wearing, whisky drinking, red bearded nutters you know. I mean very few of the women have beards (and they are not all red). ;)