ALEX Salmond has used his speech at the closing of the Alba Party conference in Glasgow to demand that Scotland take back control of its energy resources.

The Former First Minister spoke at Hampden Park to a crowd of around 300 to call for Scotland's energy to be the "people's energy".

He highlighted a cost-of-living crisis in the nation despite large supplies of renewable energy.

In his speech, he criticised the SNP for failing to hold a second independence referendum and called for urgency for indyref2.

Salmond's full speech can be read below

“Friends, we meet in Glasgow in the shadow of war in Europe. In the best traditions of the national movement in Scotland we condemn this illegal invasion, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and urge greater efforts to help those displaced and suffering from the conflict.

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"The National Movement has two other characteristics which we also stand behind.

"Firstly, we condemn ALL illegal invasions regardless of the perpetrator. That has been our stance since Vietnam and has continued through Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq.

"Secondly our movement urges reconciliation, peace, diplomacy – de-escalation not escalation.

"Some people say that is idealistic. It is – but also practical. You don’t end suffering by urging more war and you don’t end war by risking nuclear annihilation.

"That national movement in its political form is approaching a century old.

"In contrast our Alba Party has just reached our first birthday.

"People said that we would not last a month and that nobody would join.

"Now we are 6700 strong and 100 of us and more will carry the party banner into the elections in 6 or so weeks time.

"So will the party’s candidates now stand up and take a bow.

"These diverse candidates, women and men, representing the very best, and crucially ALL of Scotland, are brought together by key beliefs.

"We believe in the urgent necessity of independence for our country.

"We believe that ordinary Scots families must be properly protected from the most savage squeeze in living standards in the last half century.

"We believe that the search for equality should not jeopardise the hard-won rights of women to single-sex spaces.

"Our core belief is independence for our country. Not as an aspiration for the future but something to be delivered with urgency – not for the hereafter but the here and now.

"One thing I thought I would never see, was a BBC presenter hounding a Scottish First Minister about when she would hold an independence referendum.

"And yet, that is exactly what happened with Nicola Sturgeon and Sophie Raworth earlier this year.

"Painfully – and for any real independence supporter it was painful - the BBC’s Sophie Raworth went through the many occasions since 2014 when the SNP have promised an independence referendum and failed to deliver.

"There have been five national elections in Scotland since the first independence referendum. In each of them, the parties of independence have won a majority of seats. In last year’s Scottish election it was both a majority of seats and, thanks to ALBA’S small contribution, a majority of votes as well.

"And in all that time, with all these mandates, nothing has happened – there has been absolutely nout doing Of course there is always a reason. Brexit, pandemic, war in Europe – all mighty and important things.

"But none of these have been allowed to stop the democratic test of elections. Nor should they have.

"Why then should they stop the democratic imperative of a referendum, or another electoral test, on Scottish independence.

"Thus we have finally reached the ridiculous position of the BBC – the BBC – baiting the First Minister as to when the SNP will fulfil its contract with the people.

"In my time as First Minister, the BBC were always suggesting we were obsessed with independence. Now they are demanding to know when the SNP is finally going to get on with it!

"Well I think ALBA can answer the question as to how best to get on with it.

"Two things are necessary to make and win the independence case and in both of these, the work of ALBA is instrumental.

"First the case has to be refurbished for the modern age. The world has changed since 2014.

"That’s why we have released today the Wee ALBA Book to answer the questions on Europe, on currency, on borders, on finance – the questions on which the people are thirsting for answers.

"This is not an ALBA manifesto. It deals with a subject too important for the confines of any one political party’s policy. It is a common-sense conversation on the fundamentals of the independence case.

"If the SNP had been serious about independence, they would have been serious about the issues in this book.

"That is the reason why ALBA are necessary. Indeed it is 100,000 reasons why ALBA are necessary – one for each copy of the very first edition of this book. And that’s just the first edition.

"I saw the topical motion earlier today instructing NEC to launch a fundraiser for the next edition. Let me just mention. In ALBA, every penny will go to advancing the cause of independence and nowhere else!

"And then there is the independence campaign. For seven long years, the SNP have been refusing to face the music of what to do when Westminster says NO.

"The answer is you devise a campaign to bend Westminster to the will of the Scottish people – a campaign of popular demonstration, of political action, of legal initiatives and of diplomatic moves. It is exactly the strategy which ALBA laid out in the very first debate at our very first Conference last autumn.

"After the 2011 election we faced down David Cameron and George Osborne. Are we really saying Scotland can’t face down Boris Johnson?

"The Prime Minister wanted to send me into space last week. Well his line of trajectory is downwards not upwards. He doesn’t even command the confidence of the Scottish Tory leader, the ridiculous Douglas Ross; the first referee to rescind a red card without the benefit of VAR. Boris Johnson – living proof that the road to hell is paved with bad intentions.

"As we explain in the Wee ALBA Book, the case for independence stands on its own merits – the right of a nation to self-determination, but getting rid once and for all of the Johnson Tory gang is certainly an added incentive.

"Alba says that new campaign, for Scotland’s Claim of Right, starts immediately after the local elections. Which is exactly why ALBA success is a prerequisite of independence progress.

"Which brings us to these coming elections and ALBA’S role.

"Here are three questions and I defy anyone to find the answer and not then be converted to the independence cause.

"In this energy rich Scotland of ours we produce all the electricity we need from renewable sources and are several times self-sufficient in natural gas.

"So why exactly are our electricity bills up 50 per cent already with the same again to come?

"Why are heating costs sky high and dictated by the marginal price of world gas?

"Why are we facing huge amounts of fuel poverty in energy plenty Scotland?

"The answer is because we allow our vast resources which by rights belong to the people, to be controlled by the pernicious combination of Westminster Government and international capital.

"Well no more – no more.

"Instead of closing down the North Sea as bizarrely advocated by the SNP/Green Government, ALBA say make every consented field invest in carbon capture as a condition of licence approval. Let us manage our resources in a way compatible with the future of the planet.

"And instead of the great billion pound giveaway to foreign capital of our offshore wind licenses, which could in time produce up to 5 times our own electricity needs, then let us take a public share in every single field.

"Let Scotland do with renewables in this century what the Norwegians did with oil in the last – make renewable energy the peoples’ energy.

"They tell me that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is sensitive about his height – or lack of it. Apparently the Prime Minister appoints tall junior Treasury Ministers to make his Chancellor feel inferior.

"Such are the petty rivalries of the Tory Party.

"Let me say to Rishi Sunak: it is not your stature you need to worry about. It is the tiny scale of ambition in your budget to tackle the massive problems now facing working people.

"People are facing sky high energy and food costs. Average bills are heading to £2000, that is about one quarter of the average state pension. Soon they will be at £3000 and many households will be forced to devote 20 per cent or more of their income to heating.

"Small business, farmers, fishermen are all facing crippling increases in their costs.

"And what does the Chancellor do in response? He produces a mouse when people are confronting an elephant in their living rooms and offices.

"He fiddles with Council Tax at the edges, he takes 5p off petrol when prices at the pumps are already up five times that and he allows energy companies to waltz off with £20 billion in windfall profits while people shiver in their homes.

"In contrast ALBA has put forward a serious five-point plan to tackle child, family and pensioner poverty – a plan which would make a real difference to the lives of working people across Scotland. That is what our candidates are asking people to vote for in this election. It would cost less than  threeper cent of the Scottish Government’s revenue budget and is well affordable with the political will to deliver it.

"The same political will which ten years ago restored free education, removed prescription charges and bridge tolls and froze the council tax. That is the will which is required.

"Contrast the scale of our ambition for Scotland with the tiny proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

"There he was at the dispatch box in the House of Commons with plenty of room in his budget forecast and he produced the square root of nothing.

"It is not just heartless, it is economically illiterate because unless he acts to get inflation out of the system, then we are heading for sky high interest rates and a full blown recession.

"In contrast, if he provided the funds to reduce Council Tax across these islands by a quarter it would cost £10 billion for a year. But it would also take down the Retail Price Index by 1 per cent.

"If he stopped energy costs rising by 50 per cent it would cost another £10 billion. But it would take another 1 per cent off the RPI and could be financed by a windfall tax.

"Every time the RPI goes up, so does the interest payment on £500 billion borrowing of index linked gilts to financiers. So 1 per cent onto the RPI puts £5 billion onto interest payments. But equally 1 per cent off RPI takes £5 billion off the bill.

"Thus the Chancellor could act seriously on energy costs and council tax, and finance it from a windfall tax and £10 billion of savings on debt interest payments.

"He has it within his power to make a real difference to family budgets this year of £1000 or more to show that he has the will and the heart to protect people from economic fear.

"But as this week’s lamentable performance demonstrated, he would rather dole out the cash in additional interest payments to his pals in the City.

"Rishi gives to the rich – the Tories look after their own – plus ça change.

"There is a further reason why Scotland needs ALBA.

"As First Minister I pursued a strategy which sought to persuade people to independence on the basis of good governance of the devolved Parliament.

"Our unionist opponents were very frightened of it. You may remember Lord George Foulkes once whined on the radio that the Scottish Government were creating a position where services in Scotland were manifestly better than they were south of the border.

"When the bemused interviewer asked isn’t that what we were meant to be doing, Foulkes replied: 'Yes, but they are doing it deliberately.'

"He was right – we were doing it deliberately.

"I wanted to create a situation where even the most hostile critic of independence – like Lord George – was forced to concede the competence of Scottish Government.

"Now we have moved to a position where even the most ardent supporters of independence know that the SNP/Green administration is becoming incompetent and accident prone.

"A key statistic on the economy is not so much the unemployment figures, which can hide underemployment, but the EMPLOYMENT rate. For generations this key figure lagged behind the U.K. average, then Scotland overtook the UK and in the years up to 2014 opened the gap, totally confounding the Project Fear doommongers. Now we lag the UK once again.

"Our Education and health services have both suffered grievously from the pandemic, despite the heroics of the staff, but both were struggling before the pandemic started.

"We are still in the grip of a deadly virus, where last week one in eleven Scots were infected, but the public health monitoring of it is effectively coming to an end. From the 18th April, free Lateral Flow Tests will no longer be available to the general population. It will be the first pandemic in history apparently brought to an conclusion by the simple expedient of ceasing to count the cases. We invented public health policy in Scotland. The pandemic has shown how far our capability has sunk.

"And then the ferries fiasco. When you bring together one of Scotland’s greatest industrialists with a track record of success and a fine shipyard workforce at Fergusons, then it should work. If it doesn’t then it should tell you something about how the ships are being commissioned, just like constant design changes caused chaos in the building of the Scottish Parliament all these years ago. And so who is responsible? – well according to the SNP special advisers anyone who no longer around to defend themselves!

"The Scottish Government have gone from being able to build the greatest civil engineering project in Scottish history – the Forth Crossing – within 10 weeks of schedule and £245 million under-budget – to not even being able to supply our island communities with ferries. I have heard it said that when the Green Party were ushered in the door of government with no reference to the Scottish people, then common sense went out the window but, in fairness, there were problems developing with competence long before that.

"The key lint is this. We mustn’t lose people to the independence cause because the current administration has lost its way.

"We must not have people turning back to the tired old unionist parties who have nothing to offer Scotland or worse still, staying at home and not voting at all.

"There has to be an independence alternative, outside government, campaigning positively for the country and the cause.

"Make no mistake – ALBA will become that alternative.

"We go into this election asking people to vote ALBA the number one choice for those who want the best for Scotland.

"Of course we ask people to use their preferences votes for other independence parties, and thus we are loyal members of the independence coalition. We shall see if that spirit is reciprocated.

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"But we do so because we have confidence in the case for a free Scotland and in the ability of our fellow citizens to build a better society with that freedom.

"Our local candidate in Arbroath, Lisa Keogh, a doughty fighter for women’s rights, has asked me to take the Wee ALBA Book roadshow to Arbroath on April 6 – the anniversary of the Declaration, and I have accepted.

"In the Declaration you may remember it said that the flame of Scottish independence would burn as long as 100 of us remained alive.

"Well we have more than 100 candidates in this election. Let’s go from this, our national stadium, and set the nation alight."