5 Millions Questions – Ceud Mìle Fàilte

In light of the recent celebrations of xenophobia this response (at beginning of the interview) and the Herald article below are inspiring and brave. It’s important while mainstream Westminster parties descend to dog-whistle politics that the indy movement keeps a different voice.

‘Alex Salmond: how an iScotland could stop pandering to fears of immigration’

Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the developed world with extraordinary natural resources and advantages other countries can only dream of.

We have more top universities, per head, than any other nation, we are a hotbed of life sciences, we have a world-class food and drink industry and we have strengths in key growth sectors such as creative industries, renewable energy and tourism.

But the greatest source of our wealth is our people. It is the people of this country who drive the case for independence. We will be better off if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland and not by Westminster politicians whose focus is elsewhere.

In recent years we have seen Scotland’s population move from stagnation to growth with people from Europe, from further afield but mostly from elsewhere in the UK – adding to the economic wealth and social vibrancy of our country.

It marks the reversal of what has been the greatest indictment of the failure of Westminster economic governance of Scotland – the historic relative decline in our population.

In the 100 years to 2001 the number of people living in Scotland increased by just over 10 per cent. In England in the same period time the population rose by over 60 per cent.

Between 1971 and 2001 Scotland’s population fell by 171,000 so that, even with the renewed growth of recent years, our share of the UK population is much less than it was 40 years ago.

Since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament the situation has improved. But there is no guarantee that this progress will be maintained.

Those campaigning against independence cite forecasts that predict that, if we stay within the Westminster system, the working population of Scotland is going to fall.

The No campaign wants our future to be in the hands of a Westminster establishment that foresees more jobs and opportunities crowded into one corner of these islands. They have embarked upon a process of dismantling the post-war welfare state and privatising public services.

The Yes side in this debate has a vision of a better future for the people of Scotland. Our vision is of a Scotland in which we use the vast wealth of our country to work much better for the people who live here.

By transferring political power from Westminster to Scotland we can tailor economic policy so that it is aimed at creating jobs in Scotland.

Each year around 70,000 people leave Scotland, including more than 30,000 young people. Of course, some want to travel but no-one should be denied opportunities at home.

With the powers of independence we can do much more to help people find work in Scotland.

We can do that by designing tax and economic policy to attract and maintain HQ functions to Scotland; by implementing an industrial strategy for Scotland, by working together in a social partnership to improve wages and by tailoring policy to make the most of the huge comparative advantages we have in key growth industries.

By contrast, the main Westminster parties have decided to deploy immigration as a weapon in their increasingly tawdry self-styled ‘Project Fear’ campaign. The UK Government and Labour Party are using an estimate that net annual migration needs to rise to 24,000 to match or exceed the same ratio of working people to pensioners in the UK as if it were something to be frightened of – a reason to vote No.

But in the 10 years to 2011/12 net migration to Scotland averaged around 22,000 a year. That means we need just 2000 more people a year.

As well as practical policies we can jettison the aggressive language of the mainstream Westminster parties, who instead of standing up to the likes of Ukip have decided to pander to them, and in this referendum to copy their tactics of engendering fear of “immigration”.

Historian Tom Devine said “the nation that became Scotland” evolved from a mix of ethnic groups. The greatest Scottish heroes Robert de Brus and William Wallace came from immigrant families.

In modern Scotland we should aspire to be a beacon of hope, diversity and humanity. And in less than four months’ time we can build a better, fairer, more prosperous country by taking Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands.

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  1. This was the best part of the interview for me. Salmond is the only top-level politician in the UK who can advocate immigration.

  2. Les Wilson says:

    Here is an excerpt from an article that I got from an article ( American ) about immigrants which says it as it is,

    “Those nations which welcome them will thrive. Those nations which punish them will decline. It’s always been this way.”

    The article goes on to talk about China, America and others and how they perceive and deal with immigration.

    Estonia for example of a small country has done this –

    “Estonia (which is definitely on Europe’s cutting edge) recently announced a program for foreigners to apply for and receive residency, all online.

    They aim to grant residency to a whopping 10 million foreigners over the next decade.”

    Contrary to this, is the American stance –

    “Meanwhile, if you’re a foreigner, the US government can’t build a wall quickly enough to keep you out.

    Talented foreigners who get trained here at the universities are shown the door and thrown out on their bupkis as soon as they graduate.

    Other foreigners whose sole desire is to come to the United States, start a business, and create American jobs are being shot down like pheasants at a hunting lodge.”

  3. YESGUY says:

    I watched this yesterday and was very impressed with Mr salmond.

    He talks for Scotland not against it, puts facts and is open to scrutiny and his talk on immigration is the polar opposite of every other party in the uk. Given his record over the last few years , Mr Salmond and the Scottish Govt have done a remarkable job here , protecting us from bedroom tax, and the like.

    He is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest. Ms Lamont and co , your days are numbered and your bile and scares show where your loyalties lay, Westmidden. The place responsible for the mess this country is in.

    I don’t get the abuse Mr Salmond receives from Scottish press when the other parties drag their heels and tell us we cannot do.

    Do the people of Scotland not know that this is the type of politician who works for us. Someone who see a future with hope rather than the disgusting scares and smears doled out by the rUK parties. They are the barrier we need to get over . The BT team , making Scotland a laughing stock to the world, Threats and scares over hope ???? i know what i want.

    Vote YES and get the country we love back from the liars and cheats of the westmidden govt.

    And start by clearing out the deadwood of the BT mob who offer nothing but empty promises and “jam tmoz”


    Nice one Bella , copied this video and am sending it out to all

    1. Alex Salmond was relaxed, confident yet not over-confident. I was surprised at the easy rapport between Torrance and him. Torrance treated him with respect, and didn’t hector but let the FM answer fully.

      On immigration the FM answered the question in a way no other political leader has dared to do. Instead of pandering to UKIP and what is perceived as public opinion (moulded by the media) he gave the reasons why Scotland needs more people, done in a very low key, person to person discussion way.

      Sadly Salmond is derided because of his abilities, because the unionists know that only by destroying him as a person can they gain traction with the always-voted-Labour brigade. Never mind the referendum and the discussions thrown up, tell them often enough he’s nasty and many folk will be stupid enough to believe it — why they can’t give reasons for their dislike.

      Estonia is a wonderfully vibrant, creative and e-connected country. It’s where Skype originated. Scotland should aim for a high level of e-connectivity to help counteract distances and remoteness. Despite having grown significantly since independence, Estonia’s population is small so not surprising they want to grow in size. The people we met there were full of enthusiasm and ambition for themselves and their country, realising the two were connected. Education was also prized as a way of achieving this, as there was an obvious feeling that everyone had a part to play in the future.

  4. yerkitbreeks says:

    Listened to the 80 minutes and loved the light hearted bits – imagine David Torrance asking AS if he would be leading the post-vote negotiations !

  5. Seanair says:

    Did the USSR do everything in their power (dirty tricks included) to prevent Estonia from becoming independent? Just asking.

    1. Sorry, I’m not up on the politics of Estonian independence but on hearing what is said about it today you would almost think they sang their way to it. Singing was one of the few ways they could demonstrate resistance, and the stadium where such singing events took place is proudly pointed out to visitors.

      I would suspect plenty of arm-twisting and dirty tricks were used — that is the way of such things. A large number of people from other parts of the Soviet Union descended on Estonia to make it their home, presumably to help keep Estonians within the fold. Many remain there today — they’re said to be the dour, difficult ones!

      One of the positive aspects of the Soviet Union was that they maintained the buildings of the old town in Tallinn, though the buildings remained mostly unused. On independence the Estonians had this wonderful old town (a world heritage site) on which to build their tourism.

  6. manandboy says:

    Dundee University Principal, Pete Downes, in his vote of thanks, said that it was up to the people of Scotland to decide, based on understanding, knowledge and evidence, the future of Scotland.

    In the debate so far that I have been party to, I would suggest that the No campaign in contrast, have relied on threats, smears and warnings.

    Should’ve gone to Dundee Uni.

  7. florian albert says:

    The central fact is that there is a downside to immigration and it is the working class which experiences it.
    We have a couple of hundred thousand unemployed and 18.8% of young people neither in work nor education. There are areas where unemployment is in its third generation.
    In England, which has experienced much more immigration, it has led to huge social tensions in places like
    Bradford and Tower Hamlets, to name only two.
    The Scottish left, led by R I C, decided to prioritize keeping UKIP out.The result was an 80,000 increase in votes.
    Salmond, who is a clever populist, is starting to lose his touch. It happens to almost every political leader after about 8 years in power.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      You are wrong on every count, when I have time later I will explain why I think that.

  8. Gordon says:

    The establishment of a Scottish parliament has reversed depopulation to give us a modest increase in population. The worst part of it is that it is our brightest and best who quit this soil and head off abroad or to the south east of England. Outside of Scotland they find jobs and careers that will give them a decent living, even prosperity. We have to create the conditions that will create high-calibre jobs that will keep our young talent here. We need high tech companies to be fighting for the available talent to raise the salaries to a decent level. No more McJobs.
    A NO vote will return us to depopulation, the result of which will be a nation of dependent grey-heads and retired non-productive second home owners. A YES vote and Independence will allow the introduction of new talent, or even émigré returnees, as happened in Ireland during the boom times. The real and imminent danger is that, through constant emigration, we will see a reduction in the gene pool in Scotland with serious effects on our population’s health and ability to survive in a competitive world.

  9. benmadigan says:

    Reblogged this on the [email protected] and commented:
    a chance to listen to what Alex Salmon has to say –

    Homework: compare and contrast with peter robinson

  10. The Earthshaker says:

    The interview shows why Alex Salmond is such a inspirational leader and it’s good to see him fighting back against UKIP’s scaremongering.

    His counterpart in Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood had a good piece in the Huffington Post after the European elections entitled ‘Hope must over come hate’ that reinforces the anti immigrant message, it a shame most welsh folk don’t know about it,


  11. It’s important to remember that Salmond is not what you get when you vote Yes – you get a new political institution in a historically Labour voting area. None of the possible post independence policies are anything but hopes and dreams and possibilities. Remember the SAME politicians who sit in Holyrood and the county councils will be sitting in these ‘new’ institutions, and they will be having a BALL with their new playpen.

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