Alex Salmond MSP

Welcome to Alex Salmond MSP's biography pages

Alex Salmond MSP

Here you can find out about your MSPs' political activities and how to get in touch with them.

  • Member for: Aberdeenshire East
  • Region: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Alex is a member of the following Committees:

Alex is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by The First Minister

Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

I would have thought that a parliamentarian of Ken Macintosh’s long experience would know that the Advocate General is a post of the Westminster Government.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : 19 February 2015
Alex Salmond

Since I am here, I will reciprocate. Jackie Baillie rightly touched on the fact—perhaps she should reflect on the point—that this is about the practical effect and the messages that were being sent out. I called the phone-in programme because of the messages that had been sent out by the Conservative leader of Aberdeenshire Council, which could have resulted in people being frightened to stay on the electoral roll. Does she accept that point?



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : 19 February 2015
Alex Salmond

Because of the three reasons that I outlined. First, the poll tax cost more to collect in many circumstances than could be collected. Secondly, the debt is mythical because many of the people never existed or no longer exist. Thirdly, there is the important point that I made that the small amount that was being paid was from people who had already paid many times over and, by definition, if it is new debt, it is caught by the 20-year rule on the poll tax. It is all of that and more. The poll tax was the most iniquitous tax of recent times. If I were the Conservative Party, I would be trying to forget it, not trying to make everyone remember it.

I notice that Mr Brown did not take the opportunity to deny that the Conservative Party might have an outstanding debt to the Police Service of Scotland. If that is not the case, I am sure that he will want to explain to the Parliament why that bill does not seem to have been paid. However, I would never draw the conclusion that Mr Brown or his colleagues should not be allowed to vote in the Parliament because of it.

Democracy is precious. We have 98 per cent registration on the voters register and we had an 85 per cent turnout in the referendum. That is much more precious than any of the normal political arguments that take place in the chamber. We should defend it at every available opportunity because that is embracing a huge democratic experience.

If I have one criticism, it is not of the minister but of myself as First Minister: I should have introduced the bill years ago. I wish that I had. Now that we have, let us put it through and bury that iniquitous tax for good.

16:37  

Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : 19 February 2015
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

I speak not so much as the member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East but as Alex from Strichen, who was moved to call the “Call Kaye” phone-in programme on the very subject that we are debating. What moved me to do that was the enthusiasm that was being displayed by Councillor Jim Gifford, the leader of Aberdeenshire Council, who seemed to want to use the magnificently enlarged electoral register as a means of hounding people for debts that were 20 years old and more.

I found three particular difficulties with Councillor Gifford’s argument. One was the fact that he seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that the pittance that was being collected by Aberdeenshire Council most certainly meant that it was in the position that Alex Rowley outlined, in which it was costing more to collect the money than was being collected. The second was the fact that he seemed unaware that much of the outstanding debt was an illusion, in that it was owed by people who either had never existed in the first place or had died in the past 23 years. It was a mythical debt, in terms of its total. The third was the fact that he seemed to be unaware that, as the minister indicated, because of the cumulative charges, people who were having the debt collected from them had probably paid it many times over, and, with regard to people who had not been paying the debt, by definition, if it was new debt, it was outlawed by the 20-year rule because—again, by definition—poll tax debt is more than 20 years old. Councillor Gifford was unaware of all of those things, hence I was moved to enter the debate on the “Call Kaye” programme.

However, that touches on the importance of the connection between non-payment and voting. It has been widely reported in the press that the Liberal Democrats owe £800,000 to the Police Service of Scotland—an £800,000 debt that they are refusing to pay. The Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and—for all I know—the Scottish Socialist Party pay for the security at their party conferences, and there are no debts outstanding. However, it has been widely reported that the Liberal Democrats owe £800,000. It has even been reported that the Conservative Party has an outstanding debt to the Police Service of Scotland.

I do not know whether that is a non-payment campaign. The Liberal Democrats might be short of money, but the Conservatives cannot be short of money, as their tax-evading donors ensure that they are not. However, even given those circumstances, I would never draw the conclusion that they should be stopped from voting in the Parliament because they are engaged in a non-payment campaign, deliberately or otherwise, against the Police Service of Scotland—mind you, the Liberal Democrats look like they have beaten me to it by not turning up to vote or debate in the first place. It is a very dangerous connection to make.



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : 15 January 2015
Alex Salmond

I do not know whether the minister is aware of just how serious the situation is with regard to the minimum wage not keeping pace with inflation. I have some figures from the Scottish Parliament information centre that show us that, in two out of the four years from 2007, the minimum wage did not keep pace with either rate of inflation and that for the three years after that—2011, 2012 and 2013—the minimum wage did not keep pace with either the consumer prices index or the retail prices index. Is it not astonishing that, over all those years, the statutory minimum wage did not even keep pace with inflation?



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : 15 January 2015
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

As the member knows, the support that the Scottish Government provided in 2011 to put public sector workers on the living wage was crucial. The Labour Administration that preceded us did not manage to provide that. It is also crucial that large companies in Scotland such as SSE and Abellio have signed up to the living wage.

Does John Mason welcome the fact that, this morning, Keenan Recycling near New Deer, which is a small company in rural Aberdeenshire, became the latest signatory to the living wage campaign? Does he agree that it is particularly important that smaller employers in Scotland sign up to what is an incredibly important campaign?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : 08 January 2015
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

I thank the minister for detailing the six streams of action that the Scottish Government has taken and I ask him for assurance that those actions will be intensified as the need arises, given the threat of job losses in the industry.

Of the tax changes that he proposes, I commend the exploration tax credit, which the minister rightly said had a dramatic effect in Norway when it was introduced in 2005. Will he say how we can impress the urgency of this matter on the Treasury, given its tendency when prices are high to move like lightning to increase tax, as in 2011, and when prices are low to move at a snail’s pace to reduce the tax burden and offer an incentive such as the exploration credit, which would do a massive amount to protect and expand jobs now and to help discover new fields for the future?



Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2014 : 03 December 2014
Alex Salmond (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

As we think about the serious problems of NHS Grampian and compare them with the tragedy in the Vale of Leven hospital, was not the essential lesson of the Vale of Leven tragedy that the health service must develop systems that enable problems to be identified before they impact on patient care and safety? Surely that has happened in this case, through Healthcare Improvement Scotland. For example, accident and emergency rates are vastly better in NHS Grampian today than they were in 2006.

The cabinet secretary put that down to the excellence and hard work of the staff of NHS Grampian, and she was right to do so. Is it not incumbent on every member of this Parliament to rally behind the staff and the new leadership of NHS Grampian as they take matters forward?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
The First Minister (Alex Salmond)

I promise that I will be brief, Presiding Officer.

I have small corrections for Jackie Baillie. Saving the world was what Gordon Brown did, not me. It was not in Perth that I was expelled from the party; it was at the Dam Park pavilion in Ayr. She is wrong about YouTube. She should go and look at it again, because I did not walk out—I was flung out. I offer her this in case she is ever in such a position: never go willingly—wait to be expelled, Jackie.

I thought that the rocks would melt with the sun before Jackie Baillie said something nice about me, but I was wrong. She did and I thank her for that. I also thank her for her contribution to First Minister’s questions over the past few weeks.

I had no idea that Ruth Davidson was so close to voting for independence. She was on the very cusp, if only we had found the right argument to take her over the finishing line. I was delighted to discover that the achievements of implementing SNP policy between 2007 and 2011 were actually the Conservative Party’s achievements.

As Ruth Davidson mentioned Annabel Goldie, I say that, somewhere, there is a video of me doing a toast to the lassies and Annabel doing a reply at the scouts and guides Burns supper just a few years ago. Thankfully, because of a series of injunctions, interdicts and superinterdicts, Annabel and I, acting together, have managed to keep that off YouTube for the time being. If it ever emerges, I fear that we will both have to stay in retirement.

Willie Rennie mentioned that thing about me telling him in a cafe that the SNP was going to win a by-election. I thought that he was a voter—I did not recognise him. [Laughter.] I have no doubt that the Liberal Democrats will return; I am just not quite certain what they will return to.

I listened with great care to Patrick Harvie, but I was still left hingin as to whether I am closer to Francis Urquhart or Donald Trump. I say to Patrick that I have always regarded him and his interventions in terms of a critical friend. I thank him for that and for his remarks today.

Stewart Stevenson is right that “black bitch” is a term of huge praise in Linlithgow—it means someone who was born within the sound of St Michael’s bells—but it confirms just about everything that my political opponents have ever thought about me. I say to him that he is wrong about the hogmanay celebrations in 1954—my dad went off to the Hearts-Hibs match and was not seen for some considerable time thereafter. Stewart has been my friend and colleague for nigh on 40 years, and I hope that we can do another 40 years together. I thank him for his remarks.

Through you, Presiding Officer, I wish every single member of this Parliament well and say goodbye and good luck. [Applause.]



Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
The First Minister

It is a wise newspaper that listens to the verdict of its readers.

The more important realisation is this: we are on a political journey, and each step along the way has been dictated by the impact of the constitution on the issues that mean most to ordinary Scots.

This Parliament was reborn out of the realisation that we could no longer afford to have our domestic politics dictated by Governments without democratic legitimacy. We progressed because people became impatient with politicians who wanted to administer rather than govern, and we will grow further yet, because people wish to shape the circumstances around them and are demanding a Parliament that is fully equipped for that task.

The last 12 months have been an extraordinary example of this nation’s talents and capabilities. It has been a year of substantial economic progress: 50,000 more people are in employment in Scotland; we have a record total of women in employment in Scotland; and the figures show inward investment at a 17-year high. We have hosted our year of homecoming, staged the Ryder cup, and organised the greatest ever Commonwealth games. We have also managed a referendum that has been hailed around the world as a model of truly participative democracy.

Scotland has a new sense of political confidence and a new sense of economic confidence. They are reinforcing each other and—wherever we are travelling together as a nation—they are transforming this country for the better.

That new sense of political confidence—of engagement—is the point on which I wish to end. At the start of my speech, I mentioned the enthusiasm that was generated by the re-establishment of this Parliament in 1999, when the MSPs were applauded into the assembly hall on the Mound. Fifteen years on, that applause has evolved into something much more meaningful—sustained, critical, constructive engagement involving people in every part of the country.

Scotland now has the most energised, empowered and informed electorate of any country in Europe. We have a new generation of citizens who understand that their opinion matters, who believe that their voice will be heard and who know that their vote can shape the society they live in.

For all of us, that should be a point of pride and a source of challenge. For me, the sense of generational change has been a factor in deciding that the time is right to move on from being First Minister. For this Parliament, it should spur us on to become even more accessible and to serve the new expectations of the people. For everyone in public life, it should inspire us to involve, include and empower the electorate as we continue the quest to create a more prosperous and more equal Scotland. I wish each and every one of you well in pursuit of that endeavour.

It has been the privilege of my life to serve as First Minister for these last seven and a half years. Any parting is tinged with some sorrow, but in this case it is vastly outweighed by a sense of optimism and confidence—confidence that we will have an outstanding new First Minister; confidence in the standing and capability of this chamber; and, most of all, confidence in the wisdom, talent and potential of the people of Scotland.

Scotland has changed—changed utterly, and much for the better—over the 15 years of this Parliament and over the seven years of this Government, but I am happy to say, with every degree of certainty, that more change and better days lie ahead for this Parliament and for Scotland. [Applause.]

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12521.2 Jackie Baillie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendme
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12521.1 Gavin Brown: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12521.3 Willie Rennie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendmen
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12521 John Swinney: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—That the Parliame
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Alex Salmond
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12288: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10843: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09773: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09774: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08707: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08559: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08407: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07721: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06450: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05981: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S1W-15120: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14237: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14124: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14125: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1O-03120: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13760: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13761: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13483: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13698: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13069: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2001 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.