For immediate release

Friday 23rd September 2016

Alex Salmond to address the Saltire Society on its 80th anniversary year

Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond will give a special lecture to celebrate the Saltire Society’s 80th anniversary tonight (Friday 23rd September 2016) at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Entitled ‘What it means to be a Scots-European in 2017 and How to Maintain Both’, Mr Salmond’s lecture will focus on the history of the Saltire Society and its varied contribution to Scotland’s public life, culture and society since its founding 1936. As part of the lecture, Mr. Salmond will also consider what Scotland’s future might hold and its changing place in the world post-Brexit.

In his speech, Mr Salmond will say:

"Some of you will know that my grounding in Scots history was in the oral tradition. Not from my grandfather's knee, but as I carried his plumbing tools around the closes and wynds of auld Lithgae. Scotland's European history points the way to the future.

"In the last millenium, there have been two great upsets in these islands. One was Leicester City winning the English Premiership last season. The other was on 11 September 1297 when the might of the English chivalry was overrun at Stirling Bridge!

"But after the celebrations died down, within a month of that battle the joint Guardians of Scotland, William Wallace and Andrew de Moray wrote to Lubeck, the headquarters of the Hansiatic League, to re-establish Scotland's trading relationships with the medieval equivalent of the European single market - relationships which had been interrupted by the Plantagenet takeover of Scotland.

"It would be a negation of our history and certainly of our future prosperity if we were to allow our thousand year relationship with Europe to be now severed by the likes of Boris Johnson. Full English Brexit is bad for Scotland's economic health and cultural identity.

"Thus, as the modern and elected Guardian of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is now moving with purpose to protect Scotland's European connection. Of course this conceivably could be done within the United Kingdom if Westminster politicians had the wit and the wisdom to pursue it. 

"But all the smoke signals from Whitehall are for hard line Brexit with no special treatment for Scotland. In which case we should and must prepare for a referendum on independence in around two years time to give Scotland the opportunity to re-assert itself as a European nation with no break in that relationship.

"That is the way to be a Scots-European in the 21st century"


Notes to Editors

The lecture will take place at 6.30pm on Friday 23rd September at The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22-26 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PQ.

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend and interviews may be able to be arranged. Please contact Sarah Robertson at the details below if you plan to attend.

For more information please contact Sarah Robertson on 0131 603 8996 or

About the Saltire Society

The Saltire Society seeks to encourage everything that might improve the quality of life in Scotland. It works to preserve all that is best in Scottish traditions and to encourage new developments which can strengthen and enrich the country’s cultural life. It acts as a catalyst, celebrant and commentator through an annual programme of awards, lectures, debates and projects. Founded in 1936, it is a non-political independent charity with membership branches throughout Scotland.

Membership of the Saltire Society is open to all individuals and organisations that support the aims of the Society

For further information about the Saltire Society please visit