Salmond re-enters Scottish politics: How does this impact the SNP? – BBC Newsnight

[Music] for years it was the politics of westminster which seemed to tremble week after week but of late it is hollywood which is convulsed and today things became that little bit more volatile a little bit more uncertain via the latest jolt alex salmond returning to the political fray with a new party to contest the upcoming hollywood elections alba alba will contest the upcoming scottish elections as a list only party under my leadership seeking to build a super majority for independence in the scottish parliament many assumed his political career was over but others had anticipated her return as soon as the saga over his alleged sexual impropriety had ended i think he was kind of waiting biding his time until all of that was done industries that he could rise phoenix-like again from the ashes and try and carve out another political career because i think he misses it basically i think he is he's a he's a politician you know through and through and he wants to be involved and i also think there's part of him you know he's he's he has a large ego and there's a part that thinks if there is going to be another second independent referendum he wants to be involved in that indeed salmond is claiming that this will do no harm to the snp at all he can do so because of the scottish electoral system where there are essentially two votes for the constituencies and the regional list he's only standing candidates in the regional list seats which the smp can't do well in because they dominate in the constituencies he therefore claims he can bolster holyrood with more pro-independence msps not at the smp's expense but of the unionist parties who get elected on the list but there are at least two major problems with that theory when we've seen people try to manipulate systems like this before italy is a very good example of where we've seen this happen in the past it usually involves another wink and parties working together so the fact that the smp is you know quite aggressively coming out and saying to their voters not to support alex salmon's party on the list is going to make things more difficult for him as is the fact that he is not a popular figure in scotland anymore just 14 of the scots population have a favorable view of it but it isn't solely about the seats on the map it is also about what effect salmon's presence in the race might have on its tenor this has been a traumatic period both for nicolas sturgeon and for the scottish national party the site of their former and current leader embroiled in open warfare has damaged the first minister and affected her poll ratings and that of her parties although it must be said that both do remain robust but the danger for them surely is that alex salmon's continued presence on the campaign trail only serves to remind voters of this ugly period and her exoneration by the hamilton inquiry isn't the full stop to the affair that so many in the snp hoped it would be well it's the next chapter of the story which must surely now preoccupy nicolas sturgeon when she next walks these corridors likely as first minister the hardest test of all will begin where she must try and use her position majority or not to secure a referendum westminster will not want to give the last thing she will want is alex salmond here but she does it a fact of which he must surely be only too aware it's got all that now i spoke to the former first minister alex salmond earlier this evening and started by asking him what was the motivation behind his decision to set up a new political party our motivation is to to guarantee an independent super majority in the in the scots parliament we fully expect the scottish national party to sweep the constituency section but one of the byproducts of the snp doing that is they get next to no seats on representation in the regional list in fact there could be a million wasted snp independence votes so the alba party of alappa to give it his garlic pronunciation we'll be going for the list vote the regional list vote we'll get more msps and we'll build that independence super majority in the scots parliament which i think will be crucial in rebalancing the the power between westminster and the one hand and the scottish government on the other what's your primary role in this new holyrood majority that you seek do you expect to be part of any government uh do you would you allow nicolas sturgeon to continue his first minister if you had to support the snp well it's the people who will determine who'll be first minister that looks every indication is that nicola sturgeon will be returned as as first minister but albert's role will be not to go into government but to contribute to that independence super majority we're also going to contribute ideas uh ideas about recovery from the pandemic which the economic tsunami which is about to hit us we're badly needing ideas for recovery and also reef burnishing and furnishing and burnishing the independence platform because the world has moved on since 2014 and we've got to make sure that the independence platform confronts the new political realities you're asking for the trust of all scottish voters but scottish women as well are you a reformed man when it comes to relations with women well i i think you've seen already and announcing two strong uh women candidates today from albert out of our first four there's going to be a commitment to women's representation one of the big issues in this election is going to be safe single sex basis for women in scotland do you think you have anything further to apologize for in regards to your behavior um as regards women well you know we've had two court cases two judges one jury and three inquiries and most fair-minded people in scotland incidentally respect the result of a jury who hears all the evidence now the result was i was acquitted of all charges and fair-minded people would say look it's now time to move on i'm moving on to talk about the issues that i've always wanted to talk about been unable to do for the last couple of years and that is independence for scotland and how to secure it for our country and that's a noble cause and noble aim and i'm looking forward to campaign and i pledge you this the alba party at least will fight this campaign totally positive and no alba candidate it will go on the negative in this campaign because we're talking about the most important issue of all is how to to gain scottish independence in the interests of the scottish people but the snp and all the other parties are united in raising serious questions about whether somebody who has admitted the mistakes that you have admitted should be seeking high office what do you say to that and you have admitted some mistakes in terms of your personal conduct well that's my personal conduct what i said in the court case was that the charges against me were part fabrication and part exaggeration that was the defense of the court there's a core of something there that you've acknowledged the jury was the jury was composed of ordinary men and women predominantly women actually of scotland and they came to a conclusion so people have complaints with that they should take it up with you but most fair-minded people in scotland accept a jury verdict that's what fair-minded people do now my political opponents they can say what they like but obviously they're frightened because they're frightened of losing votes in seats to the new alba party but what i can say about our campaign it's going to be entirely positive it's not going to be personal it's going to be on the issues that is the tenor of the campaign we're going to fight we'll see what our political opponents do but i know it's the sort of campaign that people in scotland are waiting to hear do you reject james hamilton's finding that the ministerial code was not broken as regards nicholas sturgeon no i made it clear this week that uh whatever i disagree with i have to accept because you see when you have court cases when you have judges when you have juris and we have free investigations you have to accept the results if you take part you have to accept the results doesn't matter if you agree with them or not you accept the results and move on and the two outstanding parts that is the legal action civil action against the scottish government and the permanent secretary and also the report to the police on the the leak to the record which caused so much distress for everyone involved in that that issue they they were things which came out of the recommendations unanimous recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry but on all matters i think it's best now two court cases two judges one jury three investigations let's move on and debate the future of scotland so um part of your argument and part of your pitch will be that say for example on the currency matter that that scotland should you know that's something that you came a cropper in 2014 on this argument have you developed your thinking on that do you disagree with the snp position on scottish pound for example well you say cam and crop i mean during the independence argument in 2014 the support for independence moved from around 30 to 45 percent so we can argue who won or lost the campaign but clearly independence support increased by 15 which is a lot uh but what i would say is this that the world has moved on since 2014 and the world in particular is a is a world in which as important of as a smaller debt as possible and also to take advantage of the extremely low or even negative interest rates now that would tend to make the case for moving to a scottish currency just as quickly as you can because you don't want to have debt denominated in another currency and not just on currency but also on borders also in europe you know we are now outside the european union that's a different perspective from 2014 and one of the contributions i think i will make is to construct the new independence platform to make our contribution to it which takes account of these new political realities so you're talking about a massive deficit for an independent scotland you're also talking about a land border between england scotland your biggest market well let's see how we can develop that argument let's take the position of northern ireland i think you'll find that when the the arguments settle as regards when we move out of brexit and the people in northern iowa see the advantages of access to two markets and then the preeminent argument of securing your your access to economic marketplaces is going to be an obvious dominating and common sense proposition so just as the the fishermen of scotland found out the importance of access to that single marketplace if we can guarantee access to marketplaces that is the bedrock in which to to build your trade and if you get your majority and the westminster government says no to a referendum what's your plan then there's nothing you can do well our argument is that the independence negotiations which we believe should start when there is an independence majority in the parliament now these negotiations might encompass referendums or other democratic tests there might be legal action there might be international pressure it could be international legal action will certainly be peaceful demonstrations of the the people of scotland that's all part of the political pressure that you build up to take forward the independence case boris johnson would like to frame this as the british government as the london government taking on the snp a single political party what he wouldn't want what his worst nightmare will be is boris johnson as the tory prime minister taking on the scottish parliament representing the scottish people that's why the parliament mobilizing the people to advance the cause of independence is so vital that's why it's such a big opportunity to take forward the noblest cause of all the pursuit of independence for our country thank you very much mr salmon much appreciated thank you very much alex salmond their leader of the new albert party well joining me now is the leader of the scottish conservatives douglas ross mp thank you for joining us you're happy about this split in the independence movement no i'm not happy to see alex salmon trying to get back into scottish politics someone who himself accepted his behavior against women was appalling women who worked for him and with him when he was first minister of scotland but what we have seen is yet again the nationalists pushing forward their agenda for another independence referendum over and above our recovery or rebuilding after covet and it means that people in scotland who don't want that who don't want to go through the divisive arguments that we had in the past have to unite around the strongest party to stop the nationalists and that's the scottish conservatives we're the only party that's willing to stand up to the smp or any nationalist and get our focus back on recovery and rebuilding but he was one of your big strategies you spent months digging up his claims when you could use them against the first minister and now he's coming for your list seats i absolutely did not i never supported alex salmond in any way i disagree with him vehemently on policies but his actions and the treatment of women who work with them is unacceptable and that's why i think he's not happy to take his word when it could be used against nicola sturgeon and you know i was happy to see the word of numerous witnesses at the committee and the first minister's own evidence to that inquiry but what we're seeing here is the nationalists trying to game plan the scottish election so we as unionists who want to stop that who want to get our focus back here in scotland on the issues that really matter because we've been lit down over the last 14 years by the snp there is now a real threat in this election that the nationalists will push forward their agenda for separation so we've got to have a strong party and an opposition that will stop them and that's the scottish conservatives we can see labour support the smp and votes in parliament they're weak against the snp so you need a party that's going to unite against the snp and against all nationalists and that's the scottish concern since you've given up on the chance of an alliance of any sort informal unionist alliance no i'm i'm asking i've said to other parties work with us to defeat the snp we can get them out of office after 14 years of failure but we've got to prioritize that we've got to put the squabbling between the unionist parties behind us that's why i'm saying we've got to get back to that better together message that defeated them in 2014 and it was just incredible from alex salmon to see today um in your interview you know who won the referendum in 2014 it was the novel those who voted to remain part of the united kingdom okay but he is going to go douglas he is going to go to the scottish fisherman who partly because of a brexit deal that you voted for that was sold as a great benefit to fishermen who have seen after brexit a fall in exports the eu in some cases of up to 80 percent and he's going to say that you've betrayed them those hard-working scottish fishermen what are you going to say you can apologize well i'm meeting with fishermen from the northeast of scotland tomorrow in a virtual meeting you're meeting with them you voted for a policy that has led to a collapse in their exports can you acknowledge that well i said we need the compensation scheme which is why i welcome the they don't want compensation they want to sell their fish to their markets mr ross but that's why i welcome the 23 million pound compensation scheme and we've got to work with churchill men to solve the issues with bureaucracy and added paperwork and that's what the uk government are doing okay are they doing if you would you press lord frost and boris johnson for a veterinary agreement that would lower the checks and the red tape that your fishermen exporters face that requires a bit of alignment that is a practical argument people are talking about it would you push your own party to back a veterinary agreement that would help those fishermen i have already had discussions with the cabinet office with the prime minister with members and throughout the government to ensure that we get rid of the red tape that is blocking the exports of the eu that is delaying our exports and we need to get a solution for our fishermen i truly accept that but what alex salmond is offering is more division it's not trying to solve the problem for the fishermen or anyone in scotland he said it two or three times in your interview his number one priority and all nationalist number one priority is more division another referendum not focusing on our recovery we can do far better than that in scotland but only if we stop them and we've shown over the last five years that only people that can stop the snp stop the nationalists is the scottish conservatives because we're not afraid of them we're going to stand up against them and make sure the focus is on our recovery and rebuilding we must stand out there thank you very much for joining us tonight doctors ross thank you

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