We are absolutely delighted that Alex Salmond, First Minister for Scotland will be coming in to GNHQ <tidies desk> to answer gransnetters' questions on everything from Scotland's future and its role in the world, the 2014 referendum to Andy Murray (and taking in education, employment and health, transport, energy, sport and the Oscar-prospects of Disney animation Brave along the way)
Alex Salmond was born in Linlithgow in 1954 and studied at St Andrews University. He was first elected as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987 and was elected as National Convener for the Scottish National Party in 1990. He served as leader of the opposition in the Scottish Parliament when he was elected MSP for Banff and Buchan Constituency in 1999. He stood down as SNP National Convener in 2000 and left the Scottish Parliament in 2001.
He was re-elected as Leader of the SNP in 2004 and elected as MSP for the Gordon constituency in May 2007. He became the first ever SNP First Minister of Scotland on May 16, 2007. He won the Aberdeenshire East constituency at the May 5, 2011, election when the SNP won a majority of seats of in the Scottish Parliament and MSPs re-elected him unopposed for a second term as FM on May 18.
Welcome, First Meenister. My question is 'Can you explain why in surveys your approval rating is always the highest, by a mile, of any of the political leaders while the MSM never have a good word to say about you?
Hello Alex. Living in the North East of England I find that I often have more in common with Scotland than I do with the rest of England (especially the South). In my opinion the North/South divide is more apparent than ever and I wonder if Scotland succeeded in breaking away from GB as we know it, what would you do to prevent a "them and us" situation between England/Scotland bearing in mind the close proximity of those of us in the North East of England?
Thank you Grandmanorm . Scotland is a beautiful country, but it's been quite a few years since I've been there and I wasn't sure that I would now be welcome with so much anti-English feeling about.
I would like to ask Mr Salmond why he thinks Scotland is so much worse off than Norfolk or Cornwall or Cumberland or Northumberland? Or any other of the fringe areas of Britain which are largely ignored by London? (Unless they're looking for somewhere to bury nuclear waste)
Large areas of these fringe counties have very poor, often none existent Broadband, mobile phone reception and rail links, chronic road links and virtually no voice.
Hello Alex I am wondering how we can afford to be independent we won't have any money from Westminster so how will we pay for everything does it mean our taxes will soar thereby making life more difficult than it is now.My own preference would be to stay in the United Kingdom. Can I add a bit to the lady asking about bus passes the good news came through today that they are to continue. Well done for that Alex Salmond, thank you.
All this talk of devolution and referendums, on splitting from the EU, is just going to put us all back in the dark ages; have we learnt nothing from history? Will we ever learn that pride, in our country/ culture, causes nothing but conflict? Only by being proud to be human, whatever creed or colour, and being of this Earth will we start to think properly. Just think what we could achieve if we all decided to work together; for the good of all, not just me and mine. Time we grew up as a race and throw off our rose spectacles.
I am sure that, like me, you are saddened by NfkDumpling feeling that she is unwelcome in Scotland. Unfortunately this is one of the effects of your independence rhetoric. NfkDumpling is not alone. Most of my English friends feel the same way. Are you not worried about the damage you are doing to relations with ordinary English people? The English have been our biggest tourists in Scotland. Whatever the result of the referendum, how are you planning to restore good relations?
I'm so relieved that the questions posted above have lttle to do with Andy Murray, Brave or oatcakes. I very nearly didn't click on the thread when I saw the predictable stereotypes. So three cheers for grandparents demonstrating we've broader and deeper interests. As for the above ... you've nearly said it all!
First off, if you're living in Scotland I hope you'll take the opportunity over the next eighteen months to utilise all the information there is on the web and elsewhere so you can make an informed decision. I appreciate most folk are not necessarily politically minded but I think we owe it to our kids and grandkids to make sure we make the best decision we can for them. Not enough space here to answer your questions but you may find these websites helpful.
Secondly this is nothing whatever to do with dislike of the English or anyone else. We have English & Asian SNP MSPs (Mike Russell & Humza Yousaf to name a couple) and quite a few English folk I know living here fully intend to vote yes. Another fallacy bandied around is that you have to be SNP to vote yes. I'm not and neither are LabourforIndependence, the Greens, Margo McDonald, etc.
This is not something that should be decided without information. It will affect our grandchildren for better or worse and as I want the best I'm voting yes.
It seems that any challenge to the status quo of the United Kingdom arouses a lot of confusion and anxiety, especially among English people.
For example, Dumpling, I don't think the move for independence has to do with Scotland being "worse off than Norfolk"; I think it's about Scotland having a distinct identity and culture.
Also, Dodiegale, I don't see why independence would damage relations with English people; we get on okay with the Irish these days, don't we?
I can understand Gillybob's feeling that NE England has more in common with Scotland than with SE England; and seeing that Northumbria and Cumbria weren't part of England until the Middle Ages but were either independent or joined with Strathclyde, well, if the vote is Yes for independence, how about applying to join (or re-join!) Scotland?
Norfolk, Suffolk, most of Essex and a little bit of Cambridgeshire - ie East Anglia - is also very different, with our own culture. We are a virtual island cut off from from the rest of the UK by our chronic transport network - our capital, Norwich, is only now, this year, being fully connected by continuous dual carriageway - to London, not that we ever go there. Our own dialect is apparently as impossible for 'foreigners' to understand as Geordie or Glaswegian. Can we have home rule too!
Ok, I know I'm being silly. (Although there's quite a few in Norfolk who think we're a country too.) I was trying to make the point we've all been part of a united kingdom for so long now. Just a look at the surnames in the phone book will tell you how much we're integrated - let alone the surnames of recent prime and cabinet ministers. If James 6th / 1st had decided to stay in Scotland and rule from there and things had turned the other way up. Would the Scots be supporting an English referendum for independence? Wouldn't the Scots feel just a little bit hurt? If Scotland leaves then Wales and Northern Ireland may feel they have to follow. Whether in or out of the EU can such small nations really survive or have a voice?
Sorry, Mr Salmonds. This is supposed to be your question time. I'm putting rather too many points. The main one being that although I live a long way from the border, I would hate it if Scotland left the United Kingdom. I'll go away and shut up now.
I don't want to pre-empt Alex's answer but, presumably, this is a forum so we are allowed to put in our two pennyworth. I agree with you, Woollyjumper. However, it is just not practical. What about all the Scots who live outside Scotland? I'm sure they would like a vote, too.
I seem to remember reading that at least one opinion poll showed there was more support in England for Scotland leaving the UK than there is in Scotland itself. I am sure that the majority of Scottish voters (less than a quarter favour Scottish independence according to the most recent polls) are quite relieved that England will not have the chance to vote!
Hello Alex. Can you explain to me why you are so keen to lower the voting age to 16 in time for the Referendum?? It seems that a huge percentage of Scottish residents of voting age don't have a clue about all the why's, wherefores, ifs and buts, so how do you expect the 16 - 18 year olds to arrive at an informed decision? Call me cynical, but it smacks to me of desperation. I am not Scots born, but have resided here for over half my life and apart from one 'gransnetter' I don't know one person in favour of Independence ; in fact I am aware of a number who, should the dreaded day arrive, will move their businesses south of the border. On a lighter note, my daughter met you at a charity 'do' in Edinburgh when she was 9 and you were masquerading as Santa Claus; she told you her name was Imogen and you replied 'Emma Jane', how nice. I don't think she has ever forgiven you!