Alex Salmond hellbent on taking Scotland down ‘road to Catalonia’ – violent unrest fears

Alex Salmond warned independence is ‘switching off’ voters

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Earlier this month, Scotland’s former First Minister made a dramatic return to frontline politics in Scotland with the launch of the Alba Party just weeks before the crunch Scottish election. He is confident his new party can build up enough momentum to force a so-called “supermajority” of pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood, believing this could trigger the start of significant talks with Scotland over the possibility of a second referendum. Mr Salmond also believes peaceful protests and legal action could also be used in pursuit of independence.

But All For Unity leader George George Galloway, a fierce opponent of Scottish independence and a second referendum on the issue, has warned Mr Salmond is “determined to take Scotland down the road to Catalonia”.

The veteran MP, who is running in the Scottish election, also accused the Alba Party of launching an “agitation of civil disobedience and mass demonstrations for a unilateral declaration of independence”.

This, he warned, could lead to mass demonstrations, including attempts to burn the Union Jack flag on British buildings in Scotland.

Mr Galloway told “Alex Salmond is at least honest, and determined to take Scotland down the road to Catalonia at best, Yugoslavia at worst, Northern Ireland at a mid-point.

“The Alba Party are determined to launch an agitation of civil disobedience and mass demonstrations for a unilateral declaration of independence.

“He’s honest about that but the SNP are lying.

“But they are both heading down the road marked ‘trouble’ because mass demonstrations will be met by counter mass demonstrations, such as attempts to burn the British flags on British buildings, which will be the inevitable consequence of this agitation.

“It is very dangerous stuff.”

Earlier this month, Mr Salmond has suggested the Scottish parliament could take legal action domestically and internationally if the UK Government does not grant Holyrood the relevant powers for another independence referendum.

He said if a so-called “supermajority” of pro-independence MSPs could be created in parliament following next month’s election, it would pile the pressure onto Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold another national vote on the matter.

When asked what options were available if Mr Johnson continues to turn down the referendum he and Ms Sturgeon are calling for, Mr Salmond replied: “The idea of a plebiscite is open.

“I proposed that back in 2011/12 and that was very much an option for us then if David Cameron had not agreed to a section 30.

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“You can then point to domestic legal action, international legal action, international pressure, diplomatic pressure and we believe in popular and peaceful demonstration.

“We must cast this debate as a Tory prime minister against a Scottish Parliament and a Scottish nation. The whole community of the realm of Scotland – if I can use a phrase from history.”

But Ms Sturgeon was quick to hit back at the suggestions from Mr Salmond that peaceful protests and legal action could also be used in pursuit of independence, warning those methods could put off potential supporters of Scotland splitting from the UK.

She told The Guardian: “If you’re somebody that voted no in 2014 and because of Brexit or other things, are now open-minded to independence – and I know an awful lot of these people – and you hear somebody say they think they can bulldoze their way to independence in spite of public opinion, I would think, ‘maybe I don’t want to engage in this any more’.”

Earlier this week, Mr Salmond launched the Alba Party’s election manifesto during a five-minute speech that was heavily dominated by his quest for independence.

He said: “Without doubt, it’s the one manifesto which is taking Scottish independence seriously, with urgency, with a proper plan on how to deliver independence for Scotland through a referendum or another agreed democratic test.

“But also how to be properly prepared to build Scotland and the Scottish people the case they deserve to hear to reach the determination and a successful independence process.”

Mr Salmond said Alba had been established to “bring urgency into the timetable” for delivering independence, insisting there would be “no more backsliding on timetables” if his party succeeds in being part of the pro-independence “supermajority” in Holyrood.

He added: “Alba isn’t standing to be a government, we’re standing to be in a position to push the government further than it would otherwise go.”

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