Features

Alex Salmond sets out his terms for Ed Miliband

28 March 2015

9:00 AM

28 March 2015

9:00 AM

‘Would you like a glass of pink champagne?’ asks Alex Salmond at 3.30 p.m., sounding very much like a man settling down for the afternoon. It’s Monday and Scotland’s former first minister has cause to celebrate. He spent the previous day musing on television about the price he’d demand for the SNP supporting Ed Miliband in the Commons, and his thoughts dominate the front pages. There’s plenty of outrage at the idea of the SNP toying with England, and outrage is just what he wanted. So champagne it is.

He has found himself an unlikely star of the Tory election campaign; the party this week released a cartoon showing him playing a whistle while Miliband dances. ‘I hesitate to offer any advice to Ed Miliband,’ he says, ‘but next time he gets teased or attacked by the Tories for getting into Downing Street with the support of the nasty Nats, he should say: “The Prime Minister has just conceded the election. We now know that I’m going to Downing Street, it’s merely a question of how I’m getting there.”’ Tory attacks need not be scary if ‘handled properly’, he says — Miliband just needs better advice.

He expects to be offering this advice fairly soon, especially if Miliband needs the SNP to assemble a majority in the Commons. Salmond’s successor, Nicola Sturgeon, has been busy destroying the Scottish Labour party, holding on to almost all of the 45 per cent of Scots who voted ‘yes’ last September. Polls suggest the SNP will take 39 of Labour’s 41 Scottish seats, becoming the third largest party in Westminster. In a hung parliament, they could decide who governs Britain.


What happens then? ‘Nicola is the party leader and makes these decisions,’ says Salmond, but she has ruled out any deal with the Tories. ‘The SNP approach to a Cameron minority government will be to bring it down,’ he says cheerily. But what if Miliband rejects his price? Would the SNP refuse to support Labour — and put in the Tories by default? Is that the threat they’re making? And if not, do they have any bargaining power at all?

‘Absolutely,’ he says. ‘The alternative to doing a deal is not doing a deal’: let Labour form a minority government, then exploit their weakness. The SNP, he says, could seek to amend legislation on certain issues, even joining forces with Tories if need be. ‘I’ve given the example of starting fast rail from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Newcastle,’ he says. He thinks such a scheme could be forced upon Labour by a ‘majority of the house: not just the Conservative party, Liberal Democrats, Labour MPs from Newcastle. People like that.’

So this is how Salmond sees the next parliament working out: the SNP not as anyone’s coalition partners but as political guerillas, deciding when to pounce. The English would not mind too much, he says, and he cites polls showing Sturgeon as the least unpopular party leader in England. But, I say, those same figures show Milband being far more unpopular in Scotland than David Cameron. How can the SNP justify setting their face against the Westminster leader who polls best in Scotland?

‘Because Scots still prefer a Labour/SNP government, and by a fairly overwhelming majority,’ he says. It sounds as if his mind is made up: the SNP wants to spend the next five years amending a Labour government’s legislation. But, I ask him, does this mean they would always vote in a way that kept David Cameron out of No. 10? ‘Correct: we would lock him out of Downing Street.’ So even if the SNP has no deal with Labour, it would vote in a way that put Ed Miliband in power? ‘Correct.’

This is a new development and — for the Tories — a deeply unwelcome one. Until now, the SNP was talking about doing a deal with Labour in return for its support, and Tories hoped that deal might fail. But as Salmond has just admitted, the SNP wants to enstool Miliband as Prime Minister anyway. Its preference, he says, is to support Labour ‘vote by vote’. There are survival votes for any minority government, as he knows having led one in Edinburgh. I ask what they are. ‘The Budget, basically. Also, keeping your ministers — unless you choose not to keep them.’ So on these issues, the SNP would vote in a way that would keep the Conservatives out? ‘Correct. But the Labour position would be capable of sensible progressive amendment — with our progressive allies, of course, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.’

It’s clear, then. Salmond won’t force Labour to do anything because he has already decided to put Miliband in power if he can — then gang up on him with the Greens and other nationalists. If Salmond’s mission is to prove that Westminster doesn’t work, then Miliband is his man.

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Show comments
  • jdmank

    “How can the SNP justify setting their face against the Westminster leader who polls best in Scotland?”

    Are you effin serious?
    not from around these here part are ya pilgrim?
    Cameron has 1 yes one MP in Scotland they are about as popular as herpes,
    I think you’ll find the poll that says he’s more popular than Miliband could have gone on to ask a which way would you rather die? in a car crash or in your sleep?

    • ItwasBlairwotdunnit

      Yes, that bit did make me chuckle. What a twot.

    • Fraser Nelson

      I am from around those parts, actually. Tories had 16% in last election, SNP 19%. Not worlds apart.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        “Those parts” being where exactly? Not the Highlands or Islands for sure.

        • rtj1211

          I think he came from Inverness…….

      • lorraine kelly

        Buckie ( Moray ) is now SNP Fraser
        I have had so many people tell me that although they voted NO in the referendum they are voting SNP this time around ,
        The people of Scotland want to send a clear message to Westminster , I for one hope that Alex Salmond does get in , i know i will be voting for him , more so because i think he will not only see to Scotland’s needs but that of the rest of the Union…

        • rtj1211

          I wonder how Scots will take the English sending THEM a message??

          It’s always Scotland doing the message sending.

          What if it were the other nations back to the land of the kilt??

          • lorraine kelly

            What do you think has been happening for over 300 years ….Time for the rest of the Union to join us in sending a message to Westminster ,that no longer will we put up with the cheating , thieving and lies
            This nation has been shown over the past few years just what has been going on , between expenses scandal and child abuse , are we all going to put up with it forever
            Scotland has been told for many many years that it is a poor country , well even before oil was discovered we generated a good economy and even more so since oil , but knowledge of that wealth was withheld from us and squandered on stupid things
            Our economy could be in a better condition if the fat cats had just handled it better

      • jdmank

        Well I think you’ll find the support comes from those people who live in the curiously empty parts of Scotland aka landowners aka the armed wing of the Tory party!
        And that weird accent makes it really difficult to know where your from, do you even know?

        • rtj1211

          There will be plenty in the more prosperous parts of Edinburgh and Glasgow and their commuter belts. Plenty in Aberdeen.

          Tories in Scotland know what Libdems in England feel about FPTP.

  • flippit

    Not a single thing about what’s best for the country, not in any way whatsoever. ‘Politician of the year’? Pah. Touchy feely old feeler he may be, but Salmond’s out to bring us all down, not just Miliband and Cameron.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      “Not a single thing about what’s best for the country”

      Which country would that be? Oh you mean England.

  • gerronwithit

    Salmond fits the bill as a leader of a National Scottish Democratic Party very well. Expect Nuremburg styled rallies all over Scotland just before the putsch for Parliament.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      Either a Labour troll or I suspect you have never been to Scotland and frankly with your moronic thoughts you should stay away.

      • gerronwithit

        Actually, I am at least as Scottish as you are although, far from being a Labour troll, I am an even rarer breed, a very right wing Scotsman even though my early years were in the same district of Dundee as George Galloway. When Gordon Wilson headed up the SNP in the ’70s I actually voted that way, but never, ever in my life have I voted Labour.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          I’m one of that not as rare as you think breed, a Scottish conservative that is also a SNP member. At least I have pride in my country, unlike you with your idiotic ramblings. Although in that respect you are not alone in these blogs.

          • gerronwithit

            Bad day at the desk?

    • John Carins

      Correct they are nationalists and socialists. The same blend that got Adolf into power.

      • Dale

        Adolf banned trade unions and arrested communists . He was not a socialist.

        • John Carins

          Stalin was a communist and arrested communists. Salmond and his wee sidekick will soon round up Orange men and cleanse Scotland of any English

          • AtMyDeskToday

            …and that knock at your door is the men in white coats.

          • Dale

            Is this satire?

          • Simon de Lancey

            It’s just John…

          • Simon de Lancey

            I’m not seeing the relevance of your Stalin line – unless you’re hinting that Salmond and his “wee sidekick” are closet Orangemen?

          • John Carins

            Come on Simon it’s a bit obvious. Communists arrest communists, socialists will arrest socialists. If Adolf was not a socialist he would arrest communists, equally if he was a socialist then why should he not arrest communists – just like Stalin. In summary, Dale’s original post using the fact that because Adolf arrested communists would not make him a socialist is utter nonsense. Adolf was a socialist just in the same way that neo Liberals can be described as fascists..

          • Simon de Lancey

            You are a very confused person.

          • John Carins

            Personal but wrong. I’m totally compos mentis.

    • Mukkinese

      Congratulations you win the idiot award for the first reference in a thread to the Nazi’s…

      • Ed  

        Are the SNP not socialist? Are the SNP not nationalist? Please show your work. Thank you.

        • Simon de Lancey

          Silly Ed!

          • Ed  

            Poor Simon gets 0 on the test. You can try again, if you show your work…..

          • Simon de Lancey

            Ed, you’re a troll. We don’t debate trolls – we poke them with sticks. Not literally, though chance would be a fine thing…..

          • Ed  

            How do you expect to get any marks, if you don’t answer the question? Still stuck at zero, I’m afraid. Go to the back of the class.

          • Simon de Lancey

            You really need to work on your trolling; it’s very weak. Though you have succeeded in being annoying, I’ll give you that 😉

          • Ed  

            Still not answering the question. Nice dancing, though. Don’t hurt yourself.

            Now, about the original question. Please reply, showing your work…..

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Socialist Nationalists are not National Socialists any more than Free market libertarians are Libertarian free marketeers.

          • Ed  

            Um. I’m not certain you edited your comment adequately. The second part of your statement rather contradicts your first.

            My point…..

      • gerronwithit

        Nazi’s what, or are you just grammatically challenged?

      • Simon de Lancey

        Can we give him a runner-up award for hilarious historical ignorance?

    • huw

      just before your injection,,,,ve hav vays ov making u talk:)

  • Malcolm McCandless

    The SNP can open the door of No. 10 but will Ed Miliband walk over the doorstep or trip over his own feet?

    • lorraine kelly

      I hope he doesn’t get in nor Cameron , if Ed does i hope that Alex can reign him in

  • Jambo25

    Look at the headline . Salmond didn’t say he would “just prop him up and bleed him dry.”. That’s why the Spectator’s quotes end before that bit of writing. In other words the Spectator like a number of other right wing English rags is lying.

    • Malcolm McCandless

      Exactly.

      London media types now find it impossible to separate their own prejudicial interpretations of what they are supposedly reporting. It is no longer trying to read between the lines more like redacting the lies.

      • Jambo25

        A number of quotes have been ascribed to Salmond which he has never made. We’re now in a situation where the right wing English print and broadcast media feel free to print whatever they want to about Salmond, the SNP and increasingly Scots and Scotland whether those things are true or not.

        • Simon de Lancey

          Jambo, the right wing English media hands out the same treatment to UKIP, Labour, and anyone vaguely to the left of Baroness Thatcher, and they’ve never let truth or the facts get in the way.

          • Jambo25

            I’d go a bit further. I think the English MSM has a very narrow band of views it tolerates. Move just a little bit left or right of that narrow band or question the view, it contains in other ways and that MSM will turn on you and savage you in the service of their political and corporate masters. I think UKIP are finding that out and anti-EU people are about to find it out. I write that as someone who is anti-UKIP and pro EU.

          • Simon de Lancey

            Yes, that sounds like a pretty accurate analysis.

        • Katy

          Utter nonsense. Most of the quotes this week have come from his book

          • Jambo25

            Not the quotes appearing in the English right wing media supposedly describing Salmond’s future dealings with Miliband and the Labour Party.

        • rtj1211

          It’s the same about most things, especially football!!

          • Jambo25

            Pretty much so.

    • Mukkinese

      Salmond will be able to make some demands in return for supporting Labour, that is only to be expected. The idea that he would “rule” a Labour government or “Bleed it dry” is journalistic hyperbole of the worst and most prejudicial kind.

      The Spectator only makes shallow pretense of being a newsmagazine, when it is in fact just another Tory propaganda rag…

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        The Spectator is not known for it’s balanced view of the World, or for employing journalists with an ounce of credibility.

    • John Carins

      Shock horror. The Spectator supports the Tories. I think that we all know that so time to grow up. The fact remains that the fat Pretender is a blackmailing toad. The people of Britain including the Spectator should have no truck with this divisive politician.

      • Jambo25

        The Spectator can support ‘The Hidden Imam’ if it so wishes but as a supposedly serious journal its reportage of fact should be accurate.

        • John Carins

          Come on its biased just as any SNP leaning paper is. Knowledge of its bias is what is important.

          • Jambo25

            The only difference is that there are precisely 2 rather small newspapers supporting the SNP with the other 35 published, in Scotland, are pro-Unionists and virtually all political economic magazines are pro-Unionist so from the SNP PoV bias matters.

          • John Carins

            Quite honestly, I do not give a fig to what the media says. I reiterate it’s knowing what the bias is that is important. You have to adult enough to filter out this bias and remember “there are no answers only choices”

          • Jambo25

            Actually, if the bias is virtually all one way then numbers are rather important.

    • Katy

      It is not a lie- it is following through what he is saying. It is not English. It is a British publication with a Scottish editor.

      • Jambo25

        It is not in quotes because he never said it or wrote it. Had he done so then, presumably Nelson would have put it in quotes. As for the Spectator. It is written in England, printed in England, published in England. It represents an overwhelmingly English political PoV. Ergo, it is English.

        • John Carins

          Oh’ its a nasty English publication. Showing a bit of anti-Englishness or is it wee Scotlander nationalism? The people who live in England (not all are “English”) make up 83% of the population of the UK ergo it might just represent 83% of the populations concerns. There seems to be a disproportionate amount of discussion on Scotland.

          • Jambo25

            Is the Spectator an English publication or not? Answer is yes for the reasons I’ve given. Incidentally, Harold Evans

          • John Carins

            It’s a British publication. Just like the RBS – a British bank headquartered in Britain.

          • Jambo25

            Nope its English. Its concerns, PoV, content and journalists are, overwhelmingly English. Without the Scottish national question bubbling away in the background there would be virtually no Scottish coverage.

          • John Carins

            Fraser Nelson? Alex Massie? I think that you feel a little isolated. An independent Scotland will be even more isolated and probably disliked by many in the rest of these islands.

          • Jambo25

            Why would an independent Scotland be disliked? You’re not saying that the English attitude is live as we tell you to or we’ll make you suffer? Are you?

          • John Carins

            No, but resentment will prevail. Resentment will manifest itself in attitudes towards “Scottish” people and vice versa. Why would English people accept Scots in English jobs? It is not the English that are driving this need for independence it is a minority within Scotland. So, do not blame the English for any resentment or dislike..Some in England wish that the Scotland was independent but only because they too harbour irrational nationalistic attitudes.

          • Jambo25

            So, I’m correct. The English will only be friendly towards us if we agree to be part of a Union in which we are a permanent and therefore controlled minority.

          • John Carins

            Wrong interpretation. Breaking an oath and bond cannot be ignored..

          • Jambo25

            What oath is that then?

  • End austerity, the disgraceful treatment of our disabled, unemployed and end sanctioning single parents . This allows children to go hungry and cold while the WM bar is topped a few million to give the mp’s cheaper champagne .

    The SNP are not the bogeymen being touted by the MSM and WM. They are a good party with a proven track record in Scotland. eg. Mitigating bedroom tax. introducing free school meals at primary , fee education so the young can i,prove themselves, free care for our elderly and they have protected the Scottish NHS .

    Come on England . You know these guys are chancers.

    You deserve much more.

    • Katy

      And they are in their second term in charge and poverty has increased in Scotland. That Is under the SNP’s watch.

      • SNP have no control over welfare or any levers to help. Blame Westminster. They SNP can only act on devolved issues and that’s a point forgotten by some.

        And if he’s is out drinking champers in his own time , promoting his book i believe,so what ??

        I prefer a pint .

        We have a good govt in Scotland who are willing to listen to it’s voters. The polls don’t lie. Scotland has changed.

        Ask yourself why you in England have to pay for education ? No one else does , Germany just got rid of fees. Why not England ?

        We pay no bedroom tax. You do why ??? the SNP do their job and listen to their voters. That’s all…

        You deserve more. You just have to act.

        No one believes the usual parties in Scotland . We trusted them and now we have foodbanks, poverty caused by bad govt of banks. Disabled being abused by a system condemned by the Human Rights Org.

        Things have to change and we up here are preparing now to send the SNP to Westminster. – because we’re better together yes ?

        • lorraine kelly

          Yes with a budget cut of 35 billion since 2009/10 they have to make it stretch , and it is going to be cut again soon by the Westminster , they still control 75 % of our taxes and 85 % of our welfare ( Or it may be the other way around )
          But they do care about the poor and under paid and are doing their hardest to get this country on it’s feet , maybe if you dis a wee bit more research into what they have done you may think differently about them ,
          We have free prescriptions which i am grateful for as i am on medication now for the rest of my life , our council tax has been frozen to help us through this recession and so much more that we take ( and i certainly did ) for granted
          Maybe if the people supported them more they could get the job done quicker and put SCOTLAND back on it’s feet again

    • Katy

      Did you read the article? It was Salmond that was drinking the champagne. He is fond of the hotel stays and fine dining.

      • lorraine kelly

        AND ? do you not have a pint of beer or a glass of wine , and he also pays for a lot of it himself , have you any idea how much he donates to charity and has done for years , bet that is never in the news much , well he does £40,000 pension a year goes into the youth charity that he set up in memory of his mum who worked so hard with the youth of Scotland , so i think he deserves a glass of pink champagne

  • Northerner1001

    Salmond cosying upto Tory Fraser Nelson over a glass of champagne shows the hypocrite he is, He’s spent 7 years slagging off Westminster but now look…too many Scots Nats are celebrating before a vote is cast & they will not get half the seats they think they’ll get

    • PetaJ

      For the sake of every decent person in Britain I sincerely hope that you are right.

      • huw

        hes not x

    • huw

      believe that ,I think you don’t hmm

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Nelson is no Tory. He is just a self -seeker.

      • Northerner1001

        Give over, he’s a true blue Tory!

    • Katy

      I hope so

    • lorraine kelly

      7 th of May will speak for itself , watch this space ……

    • rtj1211

      Cosying up to journalists is what any politician does. Of any persuasion. Tory, Labour, Libdem, UKIP, SNP, you name it.

  • justejudexultionis

    This magazine and the DT’s obsession with Salmond is weird, terrifying and inexplicable. They must be incredibly afraid.

    • PetaJ

      And if they weren’t taking him seriously they would be accused of being arrogant and complacent.

    • huw

      no not afraid its called horribly dem dem democracy:)

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Their boss thinks Scotland counts. Because he went to Glasgow Uni and is called Fraser he thinks the rest of the UK should care less about this nasty appendage that amounts to less than 8% of the whole.
      Nelson is dnagerous. He is wotks for Tory think tank the Centre for Policy studies. Be warned this is the spawn of Thatcher and Joseph.

      • lorraine kelly

        He is actually Scottish born and bred as are his parents , Plus although he is a Tory he is fair in his reporting ,and he doesn’t work for the Tory think tank …
        watch his dispatches programme on the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer , he doesn’t mince his words with the prime minister either even though they are friends , he does tell him what he thinks
        But he does believe in the Union , and like a lot of people of this country is sad to see or think of it breaking up
        But i do think it is sad that every one thinks that the SNP are a bad party when they aren’t , yes i did as well before the referendum but voted yes , but to be honest i didn’t realise what they have done for Scotland and how they struggle to make sure that all of the department like the NHS and Police , Fire Brigade schools get fair funding when our budget has been cut by 10% and will be again by another 14 % by the UK Government. , t
        Two days after the referendum the UK government announced it was cutting funding to the Scottish schools as well as our police , is it any wonder that the SNP has gained so much members
        I hear folk moan about how they have let the NHS suffer well don’t blame the snp blame westminster , but i would gladly pay a extra penny in the pound to help fund Scotland ..And by the way Fraser and i ( I am his Aunt ) have had many a heated discussion on the referendum

  • huw

    we the celts are the rightfull rulers of the English…. its going to be so so much fun:)

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      It has been proven beyond doubt that there is no such race as the Celts. Celticness is only a culture and a largely 19th century invention. The Cornish are largely English, as are the people of South Wales. The western Scots are Wore like the Irish or Geordies than other Scots.

      • huw

        im from Gwynedd the oldest tribe:) orfedigion) the people of south wales are ysylwyr. not saxons

    • jonkle

      Why should the UK be divided up along DNA lines ?

  • huw

    all of you here kiss the ring!:)

  • Exx Bahx

    Each of us must communicate the basics of responsibility, liberty, and prosperity. This helps: http://bit.ly/LibertyLamp

  • Jaria1

    We will never be told of what they have agreed to until after the election. If we were told both would lose votes however both have it in their power to give the other what they want.
    Their motivation is so strong that they will accommodate each other

  • balance_and_reason

    Plato….on Salmond

    “The tyrant must be always getting up a war… in order that the people may require a
    leader.”

  • ReviewTheFacts

    If Conservatives become a minority Government then Salmond says he will vote in a way to stop anything that Tories want to implement , no matter how strongly he agrees with them on that particular point. In other words if Cameron tried to pass a bill that was in the interest of the Scots, he would block it. What sort of irresponsible politician is he. Nothing changes! We saw his lies and insults during the Referendum campaign, the man is despicable. He is proving yet again that his sole interest is power and Scottish independence!

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