Despite the losses of the Scottish National Party in an election in June, the former first minister of Scotland believes that the independence movement has a three-year window after Britain leaves the European Union to push again for secession.
Salmond is still very influential in the movement. He stated that the independence drive could be refreshed by moving to join the European Free Trade Association, which would grant Scotland European single market membership.
The SNP missed a third of its positions in the national election, which includes Salmond’s own seat, in a warning of declining enthusiasm for another Scottish independence referendum after the uncertainties thrown up by Brexit.
However, despite that, support for independence itself has endured at the 45% level it was in when it was voted in 2014, and the party still holds 35 of the 59 seats of Scotland in the Westminster Parliament.
Salmond stated that the Brexit was proving to be disastrous for Britain and would only result in “humiliation”. Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to keep their membership in the European Union while Wales and England decided to leave at last year’s referendum, hurting the relations of the United Kingdom’s four nations.
“So the SNP were and are right about Brexit, but as we found out to our cost in the election just being right does not necessarily make for popularity. Nor does it absolve us of a responsibility to attempt to create order out of chaos,” he told a Business for Scotland annual dinner.
“We have 18 months of Brexit negotiations and after that perhaps a three-year period of transition to get our ducks in a row. Salmond said, in a speech peppered with jibes at the government’s Brexit talks, which have faltered in recent weeks.
He said that if necessary, the EFTA membership could be a prelude to full EU membership.
“We have to offer something which is doable, feasible and speedily deliverable for the European connections of an independent Scotland,” said Salmond.