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First Minister Alex Salmond has promised to fight for what is best for Scotland within the current constitutional setup as well as continuing the campaign for Scottish independence.

Talking to The Times newspaper Mr Salmond explained that the current economic situation and the huge deficit left by Labour meant that independence was not at the centre of Scottish politics and insisted that he has an "obligation and duty" to campaign for Scotland's wider interests, including greater fiscal responsibility and tax raising powers for Holyrood.

Mr Salmond said:
"The centre of gravity in Scottish politics is clearly currently not independence.

"You must campaign for what is good for Scotland as well as campaigning for independence."

The First Minister added:
"It's no contradiction if you're campaigning for what's good for Scotland, which may be less than what you think is right for Scotland, and campaigning for independence

"It's not a question of [independence] taking a back seat, its a question of fulfilling your duty. I regard that as a duty.

"When the SNP was formed, if I remember correctly, the second aim of the party was to further Scottish interests.

"I believe it's part of my obligation to further Scottish interests as well as to campaign for independence. It's not either or, its as well as."

The First Ministers comments come only days after government figures show Scotland’s fiscal position would be better with independence or fiscal autonomy than with the status quo.  Many leading businessmen and independent organisations recently called for more powers for Holyrood, including full fiscal autonomy, arguing that Holyrood needs significant economic levers in order to combat the current economic malaise.

The SNP government has published a white paper on its plan to hold an independence referendum before the next election.  Unionist parties are currently opposed to such a referendum despite overwhelming support amongst the Scottish electorate for a say on the nation’s constitutional future.

Comments  

 
# Barontorc 2010-06-25 13:51
Game, Set and Match - AS has done it again - the unionistas have to equal this in Scotland - what's in the interests of Scotland comes first!
 
 
# EdinScot 2010-06-25 14:02
I hear what AS is saying but if you cant make indpendence a central issue when the UK is on its knees financially when wil we? Make the unionists play by our rules and let us set the agenda. We have a golden opportunity to go for it, too much is at stake for Scotland, she has to regain her rightful place in the world amongst all the other nations. It is a basic right.
 
 
# Barontorc 2010-06-25 14:36
Quoting EdinScot:
I hear what AS is saying but if you cant make indpendence a central issue when the UK is on its knees financially when wil we? Make the unionists play by our rules and let us set the agenda. We have a golden opportunity to go for it, too much is at stake for Scotland, she has to regain her rightful place in the world amongst all the other nations. It is a basic right.
It may seem the time but as AS admits "The centre of gravity in Scottish politics is clearly currently not independence."You must campaign for what is good for Scotland as well as campaigning for independence." Doing what's good for Scotland mightbring the votes on-board to lead to independence - without winning hearts and minds any effort will be chasing a lost cause and the media is clearly ready to "educate" the populace against independence.There's many ways to skin a cat!
 
 
# Hugo 2010-06-25 15:20
As a lifelong SNP supporter and long time activist, I have no problems with the SNP playing the long game. But not too long I hope!
 
 
# 1scot 2010-06-25 16:07
AS is clearly streets ahead of the unionists but I wish he would start talking about the media which is out to get the SNP no matter what. I just had my licence reminder drop through the letterbox today. I am in the process of writing a long letter quoting many facts from Newsnet which will justify my not contributing to the EBC.
 
 
# m4rkyboy 2010-06-25 17:28
Nice1,please,please post the letter.I might nick it and use it myself! :)
 
 
# truth 2010-06-25 22:28
Quoting 1scot:
AS is clearly streets ahead of the unionists but I wish he would start talking about the media which is out to get the SNP no matter what. I just had my licence reminder drop through the letterbox today. I am in the process of writing a long letter quoting many facts from Newsnet which will justify my not contributing to the EBC.


Whilst I share your frustration with the way the media behave, attacking them will not help.

It will be reported as whining and bleating, and it will be lapped up by the very public who's minds you are trying to change.

Initiatives like this website are a good step. Sadly, I don't know what else we can do. I support your approach with the BBC, and good luck.
 
 
# mato21 2010-06-25 16:19
I can understand A.S taking a pragmatic view of the situation as it is at this time,not what I want but when we naively thought that if the SNP are able to demonstrate how well they can govern and people start to feel the benefits from good management the back of the fight would be broken,unfortun ately this hasn't happened as the SNP have never been given the credit they deserve for all that they have done or for anything come to that,and we all know how many times the truth has been twisted or lies have been told so unless you have an interest in these things you would be unaware of most of it. It would only be if we lost these benefits that many would wake up to the fact that the SNP had been standing up for them.The new slogan could be SCOTLANDS INTERESTS FIRST
 
 
# enneffess 2010-06-25 17:02
Good comments by Alex Salmond (cue thuds as a few people fall down in shock at my praise!).
Glad to see he is taking a sensible approach to independence. Get fiscal authority first, THEN you can argue for independence, providing there are no screw ups on the way.
Independence is likely to be less popular when most of the western economies are in a mess. People are not going to believe things will suddenly become rosy.
A slow and sensible approach is far better and probably of more benefit to Scotland in the long run.
 
 
# sid 2010-06-25 17:18
evening all , fully agree with eneffess, full fiscal autonomy is the next step to prove once and for all that given the opportunity our nation is more than capable of running it's own affairs without interference from our larger neighbour. the problems of course include our larger neighbour and it's supporters will point blank refuse to give us this chance and the compliant media will continue to pedal the lies that we are all used too and indeed come the time it will definitely get worse . get ready for a very very dirty couple of years.
the good news is the more c rap they are forced to publish simply shows that they are worried already.
no point in blowing it now , if you think the 3 "opposition " party's can get through a year with out screwing up think again they are not exactly superstars now are they!!
Sid
 
 
# jasp303 2010-06-25 19:05
Speaking of campaigns, it's just been announced the .scot domain is due to be granted approval "by the end of the year.
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 22:56
Excellent.
 
 
# truth 2010-06-25 22:32
The way I see it, we have waited so long anyway, so may as well play the long gam.

More powers for our Parliament can only be good. We will reach a tipping point where the required majority will ask themselves what is the point of the union if we already run 95% of the show? We just need to get to there.

Fiscal autonomy is about the biggest win we can get.
 
 
# SGB 2010-06-26 07:54
I understand why the debate here has all been about the SNP position, but does Gerry Hassan in his piece, not pose a really good question. What will Scottish Labour be for if the SNP become this "pragmatic"?
 
 
# kevinad72 2010-06-26 08:38
I endorse AS' position on full fiscal autonomy. Bring it on. All the other parties have already conceded on two points:
1)that the scottish parliament should shoulder more financial repsonsibility (that was what Calman was supposed to be for)
2)that the current funding arrangements are unfair to England
So all that Salmond is doing is moving towards the consensus position, which I find most commendable :-)
 
 
# kevinad72 2010-06-26 08:40
In any case, there is of course no independence without fiscal autonomy.
 
 
# RTP 2010-06-26 09:53
Fiscal autonomy is only a stepping stone but better than we have at the moment.
 

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