Alex Salmond promised to add “urgency” to quitting the UK as he unveiled his Alba Party manifesto for the Scottish election.
The former SNP leader warned against “backsliding” on timetables and confirmed what he would push for, and how, if elected on May 6.
Mr Salmond, standing on the North East regional ballot, hopes to build a “supermajority” for independence at Holyrood. Poll have varied between forecasts of a wipeout to as many as six seats.
In a video address from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, he said: “We want to make sure the warm words and good intentions of the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens, both parties we respect and admire, do not slowly turn into the sound of cans being kicked further down the road.”
Everyone knows his central pitch to take Scotland out of the UK, but what else does Alba want? Here, we take a look at the main proposals, including indyref2, set out by the former First Minister.
Negotiations for independence would start “immediately” after the Scottish Parliament sits in the new session.
It would include a formal request to Westminster, known as a section 30 order. But if that is refused Holyrood should fight in court and encourage “peaceful demonstration and direct action”, the manifesto states.
A National Commission would be set up with MSPs and Scottish MPs. They would sit at the old Royal High School on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. It was the site chosen in the 1970s for a devolved administration in the failed first referendum.
A written constitution will flow from a “citizens’ assembly’ that will meet “when the people are free”.
Mr Salmond got stuck on currency in the 2014 debate on independence, when the policy was to keep the pound. Now he wants a new currency that would be used alongside sterling “over a period of time”. A central bank would be set up in time for independence, he said.
Alba take a different view than the SNP. The party wants to join the European Free Trade Association, which would take Scotland into the economic area.
It adds: “This would serve as either an interim position from which to negotiate EU membership or a long-term proposal depending on the view of the Scottish people.”
Tax and spend
Mr Salmond said he’s not in the election to form a government. The focus is all on independence, but there are overarching proposals on domestic issues like tax.
It is short on detail. The manifesto states: “In an independent Scotland we can reform our entire tax system; in a devolved Scotland we’re too easily stuck in virtue-signalling.”
Alba says there’s no shortage of capital a Scottish National Investment Bank could harness. The party supports a land tax to stop “hoarding” of assets.
Alba wants to double the Educational Maintenance Allowance and open up gyms free of charge to under-18s.
A Scottish National Housing Company would build as many “top-quality” homes as possible. A £500 annual payment would be made to low-income households.
Alba supports free school meals for primary and secondary pupils.