THE EMPRESS WITHOUT POLITICAL CLOTHES

by Alex Salmond

Published in The Scottish Sun on Sunday
Sunday 8 January 2017

Five years ago to this day, Prime Minister David Cameron popped up on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to say he was granting Scotland the right to have a referendum on independence.

Cameron was, at first, super cocky about his chances of winning. Independence support was at 28 per cent and nobody believed that a Yes campaign could prevail.

But by 2014 he was in a state of panic, abandoning Prime Minister’s Questions to rush north and deliver a last minute “vow” to keep Scotland in line.

Scotland had our referendum and we just missed our chance. I resigned as First Minister but the huge political change just kept on coming.

Labour were eviscerated by the SNP at the 2015 General Election, punished by the people for colluding with the Tories to do Scotland down.

Then came Brexit and the demise of Cameron, while Scotland voted overwhelmingly to keep our millennium-old European connections. This is important.

During the Scottish referendum the Better Together side — the Tories and Labour — argued that a Yes vote would see Scotland booted out of Europe and a No vote would keep Scotland in Europe.

For example, Tory leader Ruth Davidson promised “No means we stay in” on September 2, 2014 during an STV referendum debate.

With Brexit, the opposite happened. Scotland now faces being dragged out of Europe because we are not independent.

One of the big lies of the No campaign has been exposed for all to see. There are plenty of others, of course, ranging from austerity economics to sanctioning the poor. But Europe is the biggie.

And now comes Nicola Sturgeon’s manifesto pledge to keep Scotland in Europe.

We could do this by helping to keep the whole UK in the single market but given Westminster Tory prejudice and Labour’s weakness this doesn’t seem very likely.

We could also do it by gaining a special status for Scotland.

This is much more possible.