“To hold the referendum as I did, you will need 30 years”

PradaThe former Scottish Prime Minister Alex Salmond (Linlithgow, 1954) is currently visiting the Catalan Countries. With a new Scottish referendum on the horizon in 2023, Salmond is pessimistic about British courts upholding Edinburgh’s prerogative to call it. The architect of the 2014 referendum and now leader of his own party, the Alba Party, after a confrontation with the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, attends the ARA on the same day that he has intervened at the Catalan University of summer In an event in Prada, he recommended the pro-independence parties to find a common road map to overcome the “disappointment of the failure” of 1-O.

The courts will decide whether Scotland can call a consultation. Is it a good path that Sturgeon has chosen?

– No. I propose a much stronger campaign of parliamentary action, grassroots action and diplomatic initiatives to ensure another scenario like the one in 2014. The UK is much weaker now than it was 10 years ago: it is not part of Europe, it is affected due to an economic crisis, the conservative party is divided. It’s the perfect time to press. The problem is that a UK court cannot be asked to decide on a matter of international law. It is interesting because if we compare, Catalonia and Scotland have not chosen the best time to start the processes, and Ireland has.

Catalonia and Spain have a negotiation table.

— I am much more in favor of international cooperation between nationalist movements. People didn’t want to align themselves with the nationalist movement in Ireland, for example, because of its history of violence, but that’s over now. The circumstances that inhibited cooperation between the Catalan, Scottish and Irish nationalist movements are things of the past. What we need to do now is to compare scenarios and learn from each other’s mistakes. Scotland is in a different position now as it is not a member of the EU. Therefore, we are much freer.

From Catalonia there has been a tendency to idealize Downing Street for having allowed the referendum in 2014. But it cost a lot, didn’t it?

— Yes, it was 30 years of planning. You have to work hard, and it’s not fast. I have read books about the Catalan process that say “Let’s do it like the Scottish process, or like the Salmond process”. But you will need 30 years… So, how should it be done? Presenting the state with alternatives that are less attractive. I told Prime Minister Cameron that if he didn’t allow it I would hold my own referendum. There must be a process of understanding your opponent. An agreed referendum is the best way. Of course, there is no legal or illegal referendum.

Has Catalonia lacked patience?

— I can’t say that. If we analyze the last century, we see that much progress has been made in this aspect. Ireland has made a lot of progress. It looks at its current status, and its chances of becoming a united Ireland in the future. 50 years ago Catalonia was under the power of Franco, and now it is an autonomous community. 25 years ago, in Scotland, in the 1997 general election, there was no pro-independence seat. none All three of us have progressed. Catalonia has defended its culture, its language, with great strength and patience, and has succeeded in mobilizing the population in favor of independence. And that was unimaginable 30 years ago. If we focus on the 1-O we could say that it was not a triumph, on the contrary, but it can be considered a triumph of the population.

The Catalan independence parties do not agree with the new direction.

— There is nothing wrong with having different parties in favor of independence. In the case of Scotland, for example, there are independenceists who are supporters of the monarchy, and there are others who are not, who do not believe in the British monarchy. When it comes to deciding, for example, yes or no referendum or election, you must have the ability to convince and unite.

Alex Salmond with the Scottish star and flag

Was it a good idea to create your own party, Alba, which won 2.3% of the vote?

— It was necessary. The SNP was no longer pursuing, in many people’s view, Scottish independence. Many people believed that the time to continue the process would be after Brexit, but Brexit came and nothing. Therefore, the match has potential for success. At the beginning, with the SNP we had three MPs…

How is your relationship with Sturgeon?

— It’s not good. But our goal is independence and therefore our relationship is not important.

He was acquitted of all sex crime charges. However, has the cause been able to end his political career?

— All of this has had a personal impact, but we must not look at the past, but focus on the future.

So will he continue as party leader?

— Yes, and I hope to campaign for next year’s referendum. If there is no referendum, we want to know why, and if there is a general election, we should have a united Scottish nationalist front.

Do you now trust that Europe will position itself in favor of Scotland?

— The UK was a loyal member of the EU. Now we must find allies within Europe. Ireland should be an ally of both Scotland and Catalonia. It is one of the tasks we have. EU countries are loyal to each other; therefore, there is more room for Scotland outside the EU than for Catalonia, which is inside. Charles Michel was the only prime minister in all of Europe to express his rejection of Spanish police violence in 2017. But it was the only one. Because? Because whether or not you sympathize with the Catalan cause, no one wants to anger a fellow club member.

Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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