20 Sep 2014

The going of Alex Salmond

We might have been sitting in an undertaker’s waiting room. Something was afoot. You could have cut the air with a knife.

In fact we were waiting for the First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond to enter to give his first news conference since the defeat of the yes campaign in the Scottish referendum.

In low tones I found myself musing with my journalist neighbours as to what was going to happen. We all dismissed any idea of resignation. Indeed we each rewound what he had said to us earlier in the week.

“Win or lose, I shall see out my term as first minister”.

Four o’clock chimed and Mr Salmond strode into the Regency drawing room on the ground floor of his official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square.

Then the bombshell, “I am resigning as first minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party”.

Not since Lord Carrington resigned as foreign secretary over the Falklands war had a leading British politician resigned as a matter of honour. There was no pressure upon him to do so.

What a contrast with the light-headed scenes last Tuesday, outside the house in which he had been born in Linlithgow 59 years ago.


For an hour we had chatted with his erstwhile neighbours and a few of those who had gone to school with him (see video, below). His father lived in the self-same house until last year.

Salmond seemed in that moment rooted, secure, confident, and to be genuinely enjoying the fray. We all laughed a lot and reminisced about milestones in his leadership which some of us had been present for.

In interview in a neighbour’s council house across the green upon which he had played football as a boy, Salmond was in the best form I’ve ever known him. I remember our parting after the interview.

“I’ll give you the first interview after the result” he declared to me. In that moment he convinced me at least that he was going to win, and I could not bring myself to disagree. In that hour it seemed seriously possible.

Over the years I came to know and like Alex Salmond – breakfasted with him occasionally when he was in London. He struck me as structured, committed and deeply serious about attaining independence for Scotland.

He was by far the most charismatic and colourful of the UK’s main party leaders.

The dignity of his going describes the man. History will mark what he achieved in Scotland. Within that achievement was that of enabling a people to become politically engaged, on whatever side, to indulge in sophisticated argument, discourse, and commitment within the independence debate.

Of course there was the rough stuff amongst some of the more exuberant advocates of his cause, but where there’s politics there’s passion, and extreme commitment.

In the main it was good-natured and unlike anything I have ever witnessed in any other political contest. That is in part because Salmond himself mixed humour with unwavering commitment.

We shall miss Alex Salmond. But I have a sneaking suspicion that we have not see the last of him.

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133 reader comments

  1. Robert Wilson says:

    No point offering him a gong or seat in the old folks home. What he has done for the people of Scotland & their future generations deserves so much more. A statue, complete with cheeky grin outside Holyrood would be appropriate. However delay it a bit because at 59, I doubt we have seen his last hurrah.

    1. Cliff says:

      60-40 against in his own constituency the back bone of his supports tells you all you need to know why he resigned. A failure to secure a seat at the next election would be a humiliation that would last a thousand years

      1. ann love says:

        U know fine well that the voting was a religious one not a political one therefore A.S. will still b voted in at next election.
        Wait and c.

  2. Clive Frost says:

    It is more typical in this country for politicians and others in the public eye to NOT resign for doing something wrong or damaging to the country or to the public. With Salmond, it is the opposite – resigning for doing something completely right and wholly beneficial for us all. In the end, he might have lost the referendum vote for Scottish independence, but he won the referendum debate for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in so far as a greater degree of devolution will now be demanded by all regions of the United Kingdom, less power will be vested in London and Westminster and we will all be the better for this constitutional change. Thank you Alex Salmond!

  3. Lynn Patterson says:

    Alex Salmond should not be ashamed of his resignation. He has invigorated the Scottish political landscape forever and our young generation will be testament to that. Scotland owes him a huge debt if gratutude and we will continue to build on his achievements. Scotland loves you Alex ! Saor Alba forever x

    1. Cliff says:

      The truth is that the UK is in reality a single nation made up as all nations are historically located smaller kingdoms. Scotland like the North East or Wales or Cornwall might have once been separate kingdoms they are not now and to insist on it is has proven to be a very dangerous fantasy. Of course breaking up a country is always possible but you need some b***dy good reasons to justify the upheaval. I can’t see it when talking about the UK. We are in world where power and wealth is moving east we should consider very carefully what is in our best interests and what is possible. Breaking up the UK would make the peoples of these islands a lot weaker than we already are, it looks like a exercise in self-destruction but at a price that some numpties think OK whilst the vast majority look on in horror.

  4. Garrett Flynn says:

    Jon, I would share your viewpoint on Alex Salmond. Whatever view one holds of Mr Salmond’s political vision and views (and he seemed to generate strong positive views and equally strong negative ones), it is rare in this group of islands for a politician (or business, church or any other type of leader for that matter) to resign on a matter of honour or principle.

    I suspect history will be kind to Alex Salmond. I wish him well for the future.

  5. Tinkywinky says:

    Loved him and am genuinely gutted to see him go. The only politician I have ever liked.

  6. Andrew Haddow says:

    Alex is standing down, but he’s not going anywhere (unless it’s Westminster).

    Many thanks, Jon and team, for your excellent coverage. An oasis in the desert.

  7. David Campbell says:

    May 2015 Salmond back in Westminster with 40+ SNP MPs?

    1. HAZEL GODFREY says:

      Our way forward has to be huge representation at Westminster next May. SNP MPs led by Alex Salmond. That will “keep feet to the fire”….

  8. Neil Young says:

    And you were right!

  9. Lee Haslam says:

    Well said Jon! I really enjoy Channel 4 news for many reasons. Mostly for shooting from the hip and not afraid of venturing out on the ice, scrambling into the boat and rocking it with contempt!

    I always had a very negative attitude towards Mr Salmond. But the above interview changed all that. The man has so much passion,integrity, that it truly shames the 3 political leaders at Westminster – rushing across the border like the 3 stooges and probably would of sold their grannies if it would stop the vote for independence.

    I am English. But when I saw his resignation speech, I wished that he had won the vote. I also wished that we had someone like that that we could believe in and vote for. This campaign has shown that the MP’s in Westminster do not care about the English, let alone the Scottish or welsh etc.

    They tried to destroy Alex Salmond and tried to do the same with Nigel Farage. I think the people are starting to see through the vale of lies – at least I hope so.

    1. Anne Muir says:

      Alex Salmond is a rare breed a man with integrity and believes in all he does I am sorry he is leaving better politician than any in Westminster Alistair Darleen let himself down with his speech after the vote and Cameron letting the cat out bag with the queen purring and what can I say about clegg well not much I rest my case and thank you ch 4 for your honesty
      As Alex Salmonnd stood alone with Media and all the newspapers and everyone else throwing the kitchen sink at him and he still got half scotland to vote for him that is a mighty mountain to climb well done to him and I hope he comes back fighting next year

  10. David Osborne says:

    I regard Alex Salmond as the most outstanding Politician of our time. The past year i’ve watched his First Minister’s Question time where he always seems to be the tops.
    It must have been very emotional for him to accept defeat. His speech was dignified.
    I hope to see him back sometime soon.

    David Osborne

  11. CarrickWilmot says:

    A great pity that a longer period of thought has not been given to what I see as a decision made in the throes of emotion.
    The aftermath of the result has shaken the Country and had it been reversed it would have caused instantaneous civil conflict in many of Scotland’s city’s.
    Alex Cameron must be thanked for placing the motion for a vote on the table,
    And David Cameron must be thanked for ratifying that same proposal.
    Regrettably neither of them have the foresight to foretell the multiple outcomes across Great Britain and the rest of the World.

    1. Drew Campbell says:

      I’m sure there was a lot of emotion in the decision, but no little calculation either. He made way for a “new generation”, he said – remember he also said the referendum was a “once in a generation” opportunity. When Krishnan asked him why he’d decided to “retire from politics” he was right back with “When did I say I was going to retire from politics?”

      In the last four days his party’s membership has surged by well over 20,000; by the time all the applications are processed the SNP will overtake the Lib Dems as the third largest party in the UK. (Note: IN the same period pro-independence Scottish Greens also rose by over 3,000 to eclipse Scottish Labour as the SECOND largest party membership in Scotland. The Scottish Socialist Party have doubled their membership since Friday to 3,000.)
      A grand pro-independence alliance is emerging. Alex Salmond won’t be its leader but you can bet your tartan bunnet he will have a role to play.

      This ain’t done. And neither is he. Not by a long chalk.

  12. Mark Stirling says:

    Love u Alex salmond u can be proud of what you’ve done….you’ve woke up Scotland…we will get independence

  13. Paul Connell says:

    He was by far the most charismatic and colourful of the UK’s main party leaders.

    Could not have put it better. Alex Salmond was the best politician in the British Isles, not one of the bland, grey autobots that reside in Westminster just now.

  14. jamil ahmad says:

    I think Alex Salmond is a true champion of Scotland and has done more for scotland than any other politician in 300 years he will be greatly missed

  15. daniel says:

    when you look at what he was up against, getting attacked by 4 partys and the media, and carrots dangled from people that now hide, and to descover that the land and water border, has been divided up without scotland knowning that, and have labout men not in parliment being allowed air time
    and the treasury speaking about the RBS and going against the stock exchange rules what chance had he and not one red top rag said anything in his favour

  16. Pam Alexander says:

    Oh no, don’t be another Al Gore!!! C’mon. Strength is needed now! Revote, recount.
    est fort­ibus libertas ‘Free­dom belongs to the brave’

  17. Stuart says:

    You know everything, Jon Snow.

  18. Daniel Watson says:

    Quite simply the man is a Scottish Patriot and I wish him a long and happy retirement.

  19. Deirdre Scott says:

    Jon Snow seems to have been the only journalist who spoke the truth during the referendum. This is a fitting tribute to our First Minister.

  20. may mckean says:

    YES, we will truly miss our First Minister for Scotland – and sincerely hope it’s not the last we will see of you Alex, we believed in you, and always will………..

  21. Annabella Galt says:

    I agree and hope we have not seen the last of this excellent politician!!

  22. Sheila Stuart says:

    I, for one, hope we’ll see THIS ‘Flower of Scotland’ again. We need you ALEX.

  23. Louise Kerr says:

    I am sorry u felt so bad that we failed you but I seriously wish u wud reconsider u are the William Wallace of the 21st century and Robert ghe Bruce twice over plz don’t desert us now in our hour of need live u Alex salmond

  24. Jim Wilson says:

    Wonderful words on a man I had previously thought of as full of smugness and little else, in the past few months he has demonstrated courage, integrity and commitment that would put me to shame, I hope that we have not heard the last of him. He has inspired me to join his party and get invoved in politics once again, previously an active Labour member until Blair switched me off.

  25. Martin McCluskey says:

    Tearful and proud. And correct Mr Snow, ‘they’ have NOT seen the last of him…or us ; ) YES!

  26. Suzanne Gillies says:

    It is so good to read such a positive piece. I never really took to him, but Alex Salmond will remain one of my heroes for what he has done for the independence movement. Thanks for sharing this.

  27. MikeJ says:

    Mr Snow, Thank you for such a thoughtful account of our first minister. While the mainstream media and politicians spit venom about him I feel you have accurately captured my vision of an extraordinary man, who has never faltered from his committment to teh Scottish people. Thanks again.

  28. paul says:

    I hope so, Alex always fought for the people and followed through with his promises time and again. A very rare breed of politician. Almost extinct

  29. Henry Bruce says:

    A very strange beast in British politics a man of conviction and as he’s shown honour. I’d also like to say any interviews you had with him are amongst the fairest and most interesting of any channel a class apart from some of the crassest of the BBC interviews during the campaign

  30. sandra bennett says:

    Alex Salmond is a gentleman compared to some of the Ministers that came up here to rubbish him and the SNP. this was supposed to be a Referendum, not a Party Political Broadcast for the Labour Party, I’m ashamed to say I used to Vote Labour but Converted to SNP because they care about the population, we have been looked after very well, more than I and lots more can say about these Westminster people. It’s a shame he has been decried so much, he will be sadly missed in politics. One thing I’m sure of I WILL NEVER VOTE LABOUR AGAIN.


    This man has inspired the Scottish nation,there wis nae other honest MP in Scotland that wid hiv done what he has,its no finished yet,the momentum will continue tae, grow,jist gie it time.

  32. ann love says:

    Alex SALMOND lost because of religious bigotry. I hope he lives to c his dream come true. He is way ahead of his time. Orange men won’t rule Scotland forever.
    I left that culture when I was 15 and started thinking for myself. Churches in Scotland were praying for a NO VOTE.
    I will always admire the honest politician in SNP. God bless him.

  33. Margaret Morrison says:

    Alex Salmond is probably the best thing that has ever happened to Scotland, he had great integrity and no matter what anyone says he will go down in history for his passion towards his country, I hope he does stay about for a long time and still fights our corner, but good luck Alex. I would also like to thank Jon Snow for being one of the better reporters in this whole sorry affair.

  34. Stuart Haddon says:

    I agree with your analysis of the man, Jon. I’ve been a Labour Party supporter all my life (until now), but have always admired the man. He is the genuine article. A lot of people can’t believe that of a politician, which I think is why he gets so much vilification from his detractors. He will be a huge loss but, like you, I have a sneaking feeling that he is down, but not out.

  35. Mick Connick says:

    President of the first Scottish Republic?

    Next time we should drop all the compromises.

  36. david thom says:

    Why did Alex Salmond walk out as easily as that. If It is due to illness or family reasons, them that is fine. But if it is because we lost the vote then I am very disappointed in him. I met Alex many times at the annual conference and thought he had more bottle than that. I had visions of him sitting down at his desk and saying,” right. How do we do it better for the next time”. I will wait with bated breath to hear the reason for this retirement. He has hurt a lot of people by this action.

  37. Neil McEvoy says:

    The fact Scotland voted to lose this visionary Scotsman and instead keep in place the low lives of Westminster who have ruined ALL of the UK, sums up the whole shoddy affair.

    The elderly betrayed the young and the comfortable betrayed the poor.

  38. Margaret Glendinning says:

    Alex Salmond was all that and more. Even although we did not get independence this time his enthusiasm is still with his supporters, (the 45%). Now we have lit a fire under the rest of the UK to get Westminster off their backsides and start to think about doing something for the people of these islands. I think many more Alex Salmonds will be needed because there is no individual or party worthy of representing the people. Good luck finding anyone of even a fraction of his calibre, committment and enthusiasm.

  39. Fernando sartori says:

    I would like to congratulate Alex Salmond, but also john Snow and the channel 4 news team, for being such a great example, in my view, of how journalism should be done. I wish there were more like you.

  40. Ethel McInnes says:

    Dear Alex, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving yourself to Scotland, we may not have succeeded this time, but there will be another time. The numbers of SNP members are growing fast. That is a direct result of your leadership. We, with (I hope) , the new leadership of Nicola, I feel we will not be prepared to wait 20 yrs. before we are making Westminsters lives unbearable again. I am immensely proud to be an SNP. member, and also a member of CND. We will continue to strive for Independence. We will miss our rock, our stalwart, but I know you will always be with us in our fight for INDEPENDENCE?? AYE!! Your friend, Ethel McInnes. Xxxxxxxx

  41. Kim riddell says:

    Very well put. Mr salmond has conducted this campaign with honesty and humility. A true gentleman in politics. Good luck Mr salmond and please continue to fight for your dream

  42. Douglas Forbes says:

    Good to read a reasonably balanced take on Alex Salmond from the UK media. Scotland’s debt to Mr Salmond is incalculable. Many of us are in a state of shock at the events of the past 48 hours, not least Alex Salmond’s resignation. However, though the outcome of the referendum was not that for which some 45% of the electorate had so fervently hoped, it was by no means a disaster, and the fact that so many turned out to vote, and voted yes, is a tribute to someone whom I am sure history will judge as a great man. He has helped our nation to regain some of its self-respect, and to believe that we can work through the political process to achieve a fairer, safer, and altogether better society. Thankfully Alex is still very much with us, and his work will bear fruit, hopefully in my lifetime.

  43. AnneYates says:

    Although I wanted a No vote,I thought Alex Salmond resigned in a dignified manner.Your blog was most interesting.

  44. Gordon Stirling says:

    First Minister Salmond will be a hard act to follow…I wish him well

  45. Phil Deegan says:

    Did us proud sorry to see him go

  46. Helen Mills says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I have campaigned for two long and exhausting years with the yes campaign and during that time I have met some of the most enthusiastic, committed and genuinely decent people I’m ever likely to meet. We took the campaign to as many people as we could in the ways that were available and we, all thirty thousand of us, gave it our all. What we couldn’t counteract however was the relentless outpouring of fear, half truths and downright lies spewed out by a hostile media and targeted on one particular group, the over sixty fives. This group ( my own demographic) are less likely to use social media and thus relied exclusively on main stream media and that became a mountain to climb. On the plus side we helped politicise a whole new generation of young people,desperate for change and a new way of doing things. Today they, along with the rest of us, are grieving with a real visceral hurt that will take time to heal. Yesterday we watched with horror as British Nationalist thugs run amok through Glasgow which felt as if the forces of darkness had been unleashed. This, I’m told by English friends in the south , was reported as fighting between Yes and No supporters. Nothing could be further from the truth. So we are grieving, we are angry and our desire for a smooth and ,civilised reinstatement of our soveirenty retaining mutual respect has left all of us who voted yes ( every demographic under 65 ) with loathing and contempt for The British State. This utter contempt is universally shared for The Labour party who stood side by side with some of the darkest groups. As for the resignation of Alex Salmond, another cause for tears. He has been the most unjustly, vilified figure in the British political sphere and is probably the most capable and the most loved. I have spoken to him on several occasions and found him the most helpful, affable and friendliest of men. Our tears continue but we will not lie down or go back in our box. We will get our democracy. We will get our common weal for Scotland. It will just take a little longer.

  47. Tom Halliday says:

    Alex Salmond held the torch for an independent Scotland, he will pass this torch over to another committed and inspirational leader, the torch which started life as a cinder, was passed to Margo McDonald (RIP Margo) it ignited a small flame, as time has past, the flame has grown, it has burned brighter these past few months than at any other time, when the torch is passed over, it will burn with a ferocity never seen before, an inferno fanned by the 45, full of anger at broken promises, they will fan the flames and will become a far greater movement that Westminster will not be able to intimidate when we have the next referendum. “Settled for a generation” wishful thinking that one. We will have another referendum within 5 years, The party leaders ensured that. when they promised new powers, knowing full well that they cannot deliver, they won the referendum on deceit and lies, BBC reporters, editors and journalists, not only reported on this but assisted in the deceit. Thank you Alex Salmond, I was never a fan, but you have my respect for having given me and countless thousands of Scots, hope, inspiration and self belief that we can make a difference. I look forward to my new political enlightenment and activity as a member of the SNP.

  48. Kate says:

    I have to say thank you for a respectful and dignified article. I have admired Jon since his stance on Gaza and I applaud him for being the only high profile journalist and media figure to show respect to our First Minister. I found new administration for Mr Salmond and am genuinely sad he felt he had to go.

  49. rajiv tripathi says:

    sorry for out come but not for his leadership. he came,he saw and he was winning but lost.mr alex salmond not to feel sorry and be sad.wish him more good times by way of short break and then for second innings.

  50. John says:

    Lovely article, Alex Salmond was an inspiration to many of us. A rogue at times with a cheeky side but incredible politician and a man totally devoted to Scotland and his belief in Independence. Many of us feel lost right now but soon we will regroup and push to make Scotland better. Alex, Nicola and everyone in YES campaign are in shock but will return stronger to fight for our country and its people and create a fairer more equal society. We have much to thank him for and I for one will miss him being our First Minister.

  51. Duncan Castles says:

    Salmond is a genuine leader. Completely committed to his country, Scotland has been privileged to have him as First Minister.

  52. iain taylor says:

    Aside from his contribution to Scotland, I’ll always respect his integrity & bravery for speaking out against the planned Iraq war. Real patriotism, as opposed to the flag waving kind of his HoC opponents of the time.

  53. Tom Ruffles says:

    ‘Not since Lord Carrington resigned as foreign secretary over the Falklands war had a leading British politician resigned as a matter of honour.’

    Robin Cook resigned from the cabinet in 2003 over Iraq.

  54. Nigel de Sylva says:

    After all the vitriol directed at Alex Salmond, it is very refreshing to read such a tribute to a great statesman.Truly heads and shoulders above anybody in our current government.
    If only we had politicians of that calibre in Westminster, perhaps the words Great Britain would be meaningful.

  55. Fran Brady says:

    You describe him so well, the man we know and admire. To switch from light-hearted, confident campaigning to dignified acceptance of defeat and calm stepping forward into a new future seems to me to be an almost superhuman feat of self control. The effort it has cost him is, however, etched upon his face. God save him. When will we see his like again?

  56. Bernie says:

    Alex Salmond is not everyones cup of tea but he was passionate about independence for Scotland..The man stirred Scotland and accomplished more than any other politician I care to remember.. I for one was sorry he stood down.

  57. Martin Nichol says:

    What a pity he and his colleague Jim Sillars committed themselves to a political blind alley. We would have all gained a lot more if they had stayed with the main stream political parties.

  58. Iain MacDonald says:

    So unusual in. UK journalist to be so even handed in the treatment of this great politician. If only the rest of journalists and politicians had this level of integrity.

  59. Iain MacDonald says:

    An unusually even-handed piece on a great politician. He was a giant compared to the gnomes of Westminster – vision, passion and integrity have long been absent from that shower. I’m so happy to read something by an English journalist with a sense of balance and the courage to say it.

  60. scott mould says:
  61. Evie Hodgson says:

    Alex Salmon will not rest until he sorts out Westminster l hope, no more broken promises, and nor do l want him to. Honourable forthright passionate committed politician His stance can only benefit everyone and for that l thank him.

  62. John Rattray says:

    Alex Salmond is a man of the people so often demonised by the media in certain quarters possibly because he the Messi of politics so difficult to stop and feared by his opponents and hated by supporters of other parties .Alex Salmond will I believe continue to serve the people of Scotland and we are all the better for that.

  63. Ewen MacPherson says:

    CH 4 news coverage in the run up to the election was by far the most fair. John Snow seemed to enjoy the moment and took no sides in his reports. It was a joy to watch.

  64. Ronnie Bromhead says:

    The very last sentence raised my spirits…….. He wil be back !!

  65. John H Owens says:

    Alex Salmond is the finest Scottish politician we have had since the days of Keir Hardie. Like him or loathe him he is by far a man of immense stature. My party. My leader. Thanks Alex for giving me hope !

  66. Carol Eyre says:

    Alex Salmond has more integrity, empathy and compassion in his little finger than all of those clowns in West/WARMINSTER in the whole of their body’s …PUT TOGETHER!
    THANKYOU to Alex for all you have done for the UK not just Scotland!

    “The dream shall never die!”

    No it won’t Alex because we are growing stronger NOW TOGETHER WE SHALL FIGHT
    These governmental BANKERS…FOR ONE AND ANOTHER !

  67. Carolyn Brannan says:

    Thank you Jon Snow.

  68. Suzanne says:

    It’s in his going that the lie about him falls flat on its face. This campaign was never about Alex Salmond or the SNP – witness right now the incredible surge of engagement across Scotland of people committing themselves to wider participation in political change. Yet the media and Westminster chose to make it personal, suggesting that Independence was some vanity project or that he was a dictator-in-waiting.

    You’re quite right, Jon. We haven’t seen the last of him, and he will have more time to engage with the public which he says he would quite happily do for the rest of his life. I’m incredibly proud of what he’s done for Scotland and I will continue being proud of him. Would that Westminster could reach his standards.

  69. Alex MacKay says:

    I have met Alex Salmond more than once and found him a warm man, easy to talk with and without any reserve. I found his humour pleasant and just nothing about him not to like. He struck me as someone with a vision for Scotland and a passion to help build the Scotland of his vision. Everything I have seen of the man tells me that he was in politics because of that vision, not greed for money or power or recognition. He is one of the straightest talking politicians I have ever encountered and I was greatly saddened, though not surprised, to hear of his resignation. He worked hard and long to try to bring the facts to people and let them decide the way forward. He must feel reduced by his inability to convince enough people that his vision was achievable. He has worked longer and harder than we should have expected of him and I respect his decision to stand down greatly. I hope that he will take time to enjoy his family and friends sure in the knowledge that he is now in the hearts of many.

  70. sydneyTim says:

    He has done an amazing job Independence gone from 25% to 45% in 5 years. I do hope he stays in the party and helps less the Westminster campaign in 2015 Keep that 46% and roll it over to Westminster voting and it’s 50 MP’s demanding indepence
    Alex it’s not the end, it’s just the end of the beginning

  71. Grace Ferguson says:

    Oh Now Journalists are his friend. The media’s behaviour particularly the BBC has been abysmal. Most media, television and newspapers presented extremely biased reports on the Scottish referendum. The Labour party, who led the “No” campaign have lost all credibility in Scotland and Labour party members are defecting in their thousands. You should all hang your heads.
    You belong to a corrupt and disgraceful profession and I fact a corrupt ad disgraceful society. There were no winners in this referendum

  72. john hewitt says:

    It’s sad that Alex Salmond is resigning he took a small party that was look upon as jock and turned it into a force to be reckoned with he tried to give the people of Scotland there chance to be an independent nation but sadly through fear of the unknown or big business and Westminster doom and gloom predictions it managed to sway the majority its something will not see again in my lifetime a chance missed, i just wonder if the same forces and media will be singing from the same hymm book when it comes to the referendum on in out for the EU then we really will be dancing with the devil.

  73. Moira Wright says:

    It was refreshing to read an honest summery about Alex Salmon after all the lies and biased coverage given to his campaign. How the three stooges think they won this fair and square and sleep at night makes me fear for the future of Britain when it is being run these unscrupulous MP’s. I hope Aex Salmon gets the rest he deserves he did Scotland proud just sorry he is standing down.

  74. Nora Szponar says:

    Thanks John Snow for a balanced view of Alex Salmond. I have heard so many people in the media interview Alex Salmond and try to tear him to bits – he is after all the first Minister of Scotland, does that not count for some achievement. Yet he seems to deal with them all in an affable way. I don’t think he is a ‘Marmite’ politician – love him or loathe him. He is a conviction politician but also a smart and able man with a personality and not a lawyer thank God – too many of them in politics. Almost reminiscent of Harold WIlson and I mean that as a compliment. I hope he will be back in some way or another, I wish he was not going.

  75. Susan Bewley says:

    So true, and I really hope we see him again, Scotland needs him, and those like him, more than ever now.

  76. Lynda Flex says:

    We often say you dont miss what youve got till its gone,I m sure he will continue to contribute to Scotland but he has in Nicola Sturgeon a star in waiting/She has come into her own during this campaign and has proved herself in many a church hall ,ect a fine agile mind and a connector with people.I and 1.6m are very sad to see him go as our FM but he is an honourable man and in his eyes he must feel he failed to deliver YES. But he has led us on a tremendous journey that has encompassed a raft of individual movements big and small and we are not going away we have a voice and together we have a roar we are empowered.We call him Wee Eck because hes one of us,but he was never small Jon, He was simply the finest FM Scotland has had a giant of a man.

  77. mai parks says:

    Mr Snow , thank you for a fair and unbiased piece on Mr Salmond. This is something we Scottish independence supporters are not used to.
    Thank you again.

  78. R Godfrey says:

    Thank you for this. There are a lot of people feeling as if they have been twice-bereaved just now. You are one of the few who have shown such compassion. Thank you, Jon Snow.

  79. Evelyn Welsh says:

    I am not an SNP supporter. But I have been impressed by their competent governance of Scotland since being in power. They have raised the game in the Scottish parliament and made engagement in politics more satisfying. I thought the yes campaign inspiring and widely embracing of decent folks’ aspirations for a happier, fairer more equitable society. He will be missed in the parliament. I will also be tuning into channel 4 news from now on for fair and engaging reporting on national as well as international events. I value greatly the high standard of journalism shown that I once looked for from the BBC. Sadly no more.

  80. gordon b. fisher says:

    he will be missed. I was hoping for a recount but I see that has not happened. If I lived in Scotland I would have voted yes for the s n p but I was born in Victoria b.c Canada

  81. Mike Harland says:

    I had said myself to others that this referendum was not about party politics and that Alex Salmond would be gone after the referendum, because he only came back to lead people to the referendum.
    As Winny Ewing said from her care home: “. This is a movement and it will continue. There is a desire for more fairness for less fortunate people that can not be addressed under the present system. The English parliament will not consider it.” … “I have always been convinced Scotland will be independent. There is emotion in that but there is thought too. It is a matter if studying history, appreciating the process. It will happen. We are on the road.”
    What Scotland really needs now to coalesce this movement is another charismatic person to reshape the SNP, if not rename it completely: it was previously seen as a nationalist party with right wing tendencies, but has progressed to being the only truly social democratic party left in Scotland.
    Labour party supporters I know have just realised how they have been conned out of even devo-max and are swearing they will never again vote Labour – good to hear they have finally twigged things, when I myself gave up long ago during Blair’s reign after 30 years a loyal supporter of old Labour. Because what this new democratic movement in Scotland is all about is the social justice and fairness Winny always talked about, and only the SNP right now can provide it..
    The young therefore need a reformulated party or a new party, a Scottish Independence Party, with no old baggage based on discredited divisive dogmas; what is needed to take this movement forward is a policy of equality, fairness for all, justice for all and peace with one’s neighbours.
    What the ‘unionist’ cause has reawakened is the old divisive poisons of the Ulster wars, protestant marchers and their fascist salutes, ‘union’ 30ft flag poles being hoisted in Glasgow suburbs to gloat over the Yes defeat (with some Saltires being hoisted in gardens on their own flagpoles in defiance). The majority don’t want this and hate what the party politicisation of the referendum has done.
    So we are now waiting for somebody to grasp this movement and carry it forward. I hope with all my 65 years that somebody will do so and sense will prevail.
    The English red-herrings of places like Cornwall have no such passion or cause – they never had a border or even the Borders – people have always known they are coming into a different country and culture when entering Scotland and it is ludicrous to deny it. A time will come … there is no ‘Neverendum’ … and history will do what history always does

  82. G Mcwh says:

    This is the second worst news that Scotland has had this week.
    The man is a legend and scots hero.
    Scotland weeps for his departure and for every single NO voter.

  83. jean says:

    I hope not. Alex proved himself to be a great and committed person to Scotland. His passion said it all. I hope we go to the polls again. Ashamed to be Scottish after result and last night at George Square. My friend who lives in China was asked “why would Scotland not want to be independent but be ruled by another country”. She couldn’t answer that as she supported independence. Says it all

  84. Ann-Marie Savage says:

    A well written and respectful piece on a man who has always had, and always will have, the country he loves best interests at heart. I only wish it had been a yes for Scotland and for him but live in the hope that one day it will be and one day he will see his dreams a reality. Thank you Mr Salmond for all you have done for this great nation. Thig Ar Latha.

  85. jim says:

    Politics separates the man from the politics. Whatever his personnal attributes – good or bad, he was a politician first and foremost. His job was to deliver independence for Scotland and he failed. He didnt fail because of demographics,he didnt fail because of Gordon Brown. He failed because he didnt do his job. He didnt prepare and thought he could win the vote through emotion and bluster.
    A new country cannot be formed without consideration of its structure and rules. He thought he could make it up as he went along about ; Head of State, currency, membership of the EU etc etc etc. He thought he could shout down anyone who raised these topics; he thought he could reply on that most overused line of the floundering politician – “Trust me”.
    He failed the Scottish people though his own failings. He raised their expectations and then didnt do the work needed to deliver. He treated his own people with contempt.
    The result could have been very different if he had spent more time developing serious and constructive plans for the future of his country. He didnt and the “once in a lifetime” opportunity was lost.
    So eulogise him as much as you like about his character and intent but do not whitewash his failing to take the people of his country seriously. They deserved better
    He could have won that vote and I am sure that at nigh when he lies in bed staring at the ceiling – he knows it.

  86. Fiona Fraser Richards says:

    Alex Salmond has nothing to be ashamed of. He has been a wonderful leader for Scotland, one we have needed for a long time. He is not finished he will be back and I hope it will be very soon.

  87. Niall Gòrdan says:

    Well said and written, Mr Snow.

  88. Alexander McLelland Forman says:

    Apart from Nicola Sturgeon there is nobody who can equal his Stature & Dignity!

  89. Hardie says:

    John snow you’re a legend, you’re as fair as they come and you don’t pull punches. You’re a proper journo continue to lead the way in you’re field. After bbc’s utter bias you are one if the few true voices

  90. Stephen Miller says:

    Never met the man himself but always liked and respected Alex Salmond for being without a doubt, one of the only leaders the modern world has ever known to care more for his country and people than his salary.

    Heartbroken at what is probably the end of a dream, to see his, our, beloved Scotland gain independence within his lifetime.
    To step down and walk away was the only thing any man of honour and integrity could do in such bleak situation.

    I only hope that in the days and indeed years to come, he can find some measure of peace and tranquility in his life,
    No other Scot deserves that more than he.

  91. Sam says:

    I dont think so either………..!

  92. Margaret Davidson says:

    Alex Salmond did more for me than any other politician ! He raised my awareness of the issues affecting Scotland that I really hadn’t given too much thought (shame on me). He will go down in history for everything he has fought for to make Scotland an independent nation. We were so close (only 200,000 votes). It will happen one day – I just hoped it would happen in my lifetime, but I sincerely hope it will happen in my children and grandchildrens time. There were quite a few issues that made me passionate for the YES vote; one of which was foodbanks. I cannot believe that in this day and age that some of our people are struggling so hard that they have to rely on the charity of foodbanks (but thank God for them and the people who run them!). I could go on about other issues, but we all know what they are. Now proud to be one of the 45 and will now most definitely be voting SNP in the future. P.S – I will not be watching BBC nor buying any newspaper that were not unbiased !!

  93. Frank Brown says:

    Thank you, John.

    I agree with you and it is refreshing to hear a positive message about the man. I am not surprised as I have been pleased to hear or read about your views in the past (and I am not talking about matters relating to Scotland).

    I agree with you in that I do not think we have heard the last of Alex Salmond.


    Frank Brown

  94. barbara says:

    Perhaps extreme commitment should be replaced by consideration , rather than some football type hysteria and anger

    Extremism in all its forms is a very dangerous phenomenon.

  95. Gordon McShean says:

    I like to think of my “connection” with the late Robert Curran, National Secretary of the SNP in the 1950s – the party executive who expressed to me, his young friend (and to others) his unqualified vision of the free Scotland that Alex Salmond has since worked so hard to create. Robert’s enthusiastic encouragement unwittingly led young party members to undertake various actions for the cause – from the benign (involving pipe-clay graffiti messages) to the ill-advised (which included ‘reverse’ gun control, stealing cadet rifles and burying them!). I can’t help thinking that – if Alex Salmond had been part of the executive then – our youthful volunteers might enjoyed guidance.of a more politic nature! I had to leave Scotland subsequent to the armaments venture (see http://www.gordonmcshean.com); Robert too became an exile for a couple of years. Alex Salmond runs a tight ship, and I’m looking forward to seeing his renewed commitment to Robert’s vision. It is unfortunate that (at 78, and still in exile Down Under) I’m unlikely to see creation of the New Nation.

  96. William McAlister says:

    It may sound like sour grapes because we lost the vote but there appears to be several instances of vote rigging during the counting ie boxes supposed to be opened fo first time and ballot papers coming out neatly stacked in one pile, or stacks of YES papers on NO tables. There were other instances and all caught on film. I am not saying there was 400000 worth of rigging but it make you wonder.

  97. Peter Stewart says:

    charismatic he may have been, enough to take you in John. His aim was to destroy the United Kingdom. He claimed not to have divided Scotland, well he has. For 300 years Scotland has lived in a normally easy peace, now the, metaphoric I hope, claymores and broadswords are out again and he is responsible. Regardless of last weeks result the schism is there; what we, you, must do, now that he has gone, is work tirelessly TOGETHER to try to heal the wounds.

  98. peter patrick glancy campbell says:

    Praying for you alex, now is your time for your conversion for truth, god knows all mankinds thoughts …..even before they do…..his love for us has know bounds……know matter how we sin….iam living proof?..

  99. Lori says:

    After the vilification of Alex Salmon by the British press I don’t blame him for resigning, it took a strong man to withstand it for this long. I’m just ashamed I was not a public yes voter until it was too late. Let’s hope people wake up to the lies the BBC have fed Scotland and not let them vilify our next leader.

  100. Mike van den Berg says:

    Thank you Mr. Snow for your elequent testimonial of a great man.

  101. Sarah mccallum says:

    Thank you Mr John Snow. You are a true gentleman. You have been honest and forthright about the referendum. Mr Salmond is a true Scot wanting the best for his people. I just hope the referendum figures are fair and correct. Politics at play, can’t split up the union? One wonders.

  102. Doreen says:

    He could not even see things through what he had started to get it sorted.He fired everyone up splitting and causing arguments between the two parties and then decides to leave. No he did wrong. Could even have started a revolution and the going back to what is was like many years ago. Maybe Nicola is the better person for the job. She is a good speaker.I was a no voter, difficult but I didnt want to be divided but wanted us to have more say re Trident, less immigration, imports and exports., against any more privatisation, more jobs created. Give the youngsters their worth.Many are so depressed, feeling worthless, many having a number of degrees under their belts, becoming more and more disolutioned with life. Stop all this unpaid work, just cheap labour, on the pretest it will get them a job. Its just not true.Hospitals will be full of suicidal kids. We dont want that for our kids. Thatcher sold off all the assets in her time. Numerous problems re housing now All these energy companies who cant even get things
    right and others. All this cheap, rubbish stuff we get from abroad, that falls apart and goods that you cant mend and doesnt last long.We had good quality goods, including our clothing materials.Steel for the bridge now getting from China – shocking. Stop all these call centres, taking away peoples jobs here. People dont like them anyway. They are such a nuisance. I have never been politically minded, not really knowing a great deal.We need another party, maybe i will stand though.I am sure the issues above are what the PEOPLE want.I just didnt want to not be part of the UK. We are too small a country. I wasnt happy about the disruption it could cause and the not knowing how things would turn out,quite a concern. I wanted to still have our armed forces, although didnt want us to be dragged into all these wars. Lets live in peace. Too many bad things happening.. We have one life.Can we not just have happiness around us. Lets hope we all get our points across and Westminster listen. To me it was a difficult decision and probably was for a lot of people. I am half English and half Scottish, born in Scotland. I class myself as Scottish and British and proud.But we are losing our pride in our country.We do need change to make us a country we are glad to live in and give us back OUR GREAT BRITAIN. (Housewife in Edinburgh)

    1. iain morgan says:

      so sorry to read your comments Doreen, maybe in time you will reflect on them and understand the very reason you voted NO was because of fear, exactly what the politicans of Westminster set out to do and succeeded with you and many others, there was nothing positive in any of your comments, you highlighted everything that is wrong with our society today, all of which is true but instead of voting for change you voted for the status quo, shame on you and the other 55%

      1. Doreen says:

        Nothing to do with any scaremongering as I dont follow politics. I have other things happening in my life that take up all my time. I justbwanted to still be part of UK thats all.

  103. Robert W Crowe says:

    Alex Salmond, Has had the ability to read British politicians and their reactions for years. Unfortunately during the last ten days of the referendum despite the denial by the BBC the referendum faced anti propaganda from the BBC. Cigarette diplomacy from the three main Westminster parties and a public that became frightened by the scaremongering tactics employed by the three parties. What we are now finding out is that Alex was correct in his reading of the situation and 45 percent of us in Scotland One Million six hundred thousand of us thought the same. If we get a watered down version of home rule from the Westminster Government I hate to think what the reaction will be from Scotland. Remember because of the scare tactics you had a majority of pensioners who voted No.They will not be there on the next vote.Myself included but I voted Yes! I look forward to Alex having a rest then taking a SNP seat in Westminster again.

  104. Ann McIntyre says:

    Alex can’t leave, he is the saviour for Scotland

  105. Calum Whitelaw says:

    Alex You are the best politician in this generation. I think more and more of Scottish people are seeing this as each day goes by now following the referendum.

  106. Nigel Wilson says:

    Never cared for Alex Salmond or his perpetual state of dissimulation, but nothing became him more in his political life than his manner of leaving it.
    No doubt a new role in life could be found for him training the entire British political establishment into how to recognise their responsibilities and how to consequently make a dignified exit.
    He has set a standard that has to be respected.

  107. iain morgan says:

    Not surprising to read the very honest and true views of Jon Snow. I am deeply saddened by Alex Salmond’s decision to resign, unfortunately I believe he may now realise that independence may not happen when he is still politically active and therefore has stepped aside to allow the younger generations to lead us on too full independence. The man has left a legacy as a truly great politican who had a vision for his country unprencedented before, he has cemented his place in Scottish history like many great men before him and will still be remembered as the man who put the foundations in place for Scottish independence, thank you Alex Salmond.

  108. James J Paton says:

    Vilified by the BBC and mainstream media, we see the honourable man doing a completely unnecessary but very admirable thing. pity Cameron, Clegg and Milliband do not have the humility to do the same having lost the argument and 255 of the vote that was with them to begin with. a 25% swing will never be seen in British politics again and I fear we will not see his like again. He is up there with John Smith, Donald Dewar, Robin Cook and Keir Hardie, all men of principle who believed in social justice.

  109. Lynne says:

    Excellent piece Jon, your reading of the man accords with my own view of him (although I have never met him). I would also thank you and the Ch4 news team for maintaining the most balanced of coverage throughout the process. I admire your reporting on other world issues too. Ch4 is the only news we watch now. I hope you and your team continue your work..I suspect Mr Salmond is not finished making a few headlines either…

  110. HighlandWifey says:

    Mr Salmond continues to lead by example and I am truly sorry that he felt he had no other option but to resign. I am proud to have stood up and been counted alongside him in Scotland’s endeavour to be a more equitable society. The fight will go on to ensure we have a better future for all people living in Scotland and Alex Salmond has earned his place in Scottish history as our Lion Rampant. Thank you for leading the way and my message to Westminster is “Wha daur meddle wi’ me”! One Scotland. x

  111. Margaret says:

    Honour? Dignity? He is the rat leaving the sinking ship. His legacy is a country tearing itself apart and families and friends deeply divided. This referendum has shown a very nasty side to Scottish society and left a very embittered minority who lost the vote. Why should we applaud Salmond for causing it?

  112. Steve says:

    It’s difficult to see Salmond’s resignation as a matter of honour, since he had given his word that he would serve out his term as First Minister.

    Usually breaking your word is regarded as dishonourable; I do feel that Jon is being uncharacteristically partisan in this instance. As others have pointed out, Robin Cook resigned as a matter of principle over the Iraq war; Jon seems to have overlooked that as well…

  113. Tuigim says:

    “the rough stuff amongst some of the more exuberant advocates of his cause”
    I think you got that backwards.
    The YES crowd were unbelievably positive in outlook and behavior.
    Apart from one egg, there was nothing I have read about bad behavior.
    The NO side on the other hand had racist thugs who caused havoc.
    Even with a positive article like this?
    Still we have the revisionist version of events?!
    The Scottish people who want their freedom after 307 years of waiting have been too insulted by the mass media to believe anything they say any more. There was a powerful story here of a peaceful, positive movement but that didn’t suit a diabolically biased press.

  114. Jane says:

    I have to say that I have never read so much rubbish and misplaced hero worship of such a divisive man. He has created a lot of conflict and we have seen a very ugly side of Scottish nationalism in the process. His arguments were unsound and he appealed to a deep seated nationalistic vein in some of the Scottish people. He introduced a vote for 16 year olds who are too young to make any judgement on real implications of their vote. This was a manipulation which was a typical tactic of his entire campaign. The best thing for Scotland and the entire Uk is his departure.

    1. jon snow says:

      Too young to marry too young to0 join the armed forces..no Jane..they have every right to the vore – and those that i spoke to had reasoned and clever reasons for the positions they espoused. Best wishes,

      Jon Snow

  115. Linda Fothetingham says:

    I am Scottish born and raised but now live in Canada. I am heartbroken over the vote for NO. Shame on all the NO voters and God help you for your foolishness and lack of courage to take a proud stand for your country’s independence
    Sadly for all of you is that you couldn’t even see through the propaganda and if you think for one minute that those south of the border really were sincere in wanting to remain united,just be aware that all of them have an agenda and why on earth were the politicians from Westminster so desperate for a NO vote..
    They had way too much to lose and as you will realize soon enough,they have everything to gain
    The NO voters have once again been “duped” and too weak and foolish not to recognize it! .aside from all the politics, think about the flower of Scotland lyrics…you should be ashamed.

    1. Andy White says:

      Your reference to the ‘Flower of Scotland’ is perceptive, and indicative of an national identity crisis following the vote that few have had time to consider yet.

      Previously, the Scots national narrative for identity was weighted on a strong meme that the Scots people had always resolutely fought for their freedom (Bannockburn, Braveheart) and were undemocratically forced into Union in 1707 (‘Bought and sold for English gold’). To an extent, even Scots supporters of the Union found themselves able to incorporate these romantic sentiments into a sense of who they were (Walter Scott and onwards).

      But the national vote has annulled the old story of the Scots common people being uniquely passionate advocates in the world for national freedom. Singing ‘and we can still now and be a nation again’ at national events is frankly not only going to be painful for the ‘45%’, but utterly risible to non-British observers.

      When Norway voted for Independence, I believe less than 1,000 voted ‘No’. That is actually believing in your country. An immediate Swiss cartoon post vote portrayed a Scotsman wearing a kilt on a mountain side. Two hikers pass. One asks ‘What’s he got under his kilt?’. The other replies ‘No balls’.

      For Scots used to interest and respect abroad as ‘heroic underdogs’: expect no more. Added to the Loch Ness Monster will be the universal databank entry that ‘Scotland is the unique ancient nation that given a choice voted to let others govern itself’.

  116. Martin leeney says:

    Scotland will miss him
    Well 50% of Scotland will miss him.

    0% of English Tories will miss him.

    Scotland should have gone for it , after all the UK has a national debt of over 1 trillion pounds and it’s still going up.

    Who wants to be connected to a country that’s bankrupt?

    They missed their chance.

  117. Alan says:

    Good riddance. Scotland could have been free only if they ditched sterling ( Westminster would control Scottish currency) and the EU (Eurocrats would dictate Scottish law), Mr Salmond offered neither.

  118. kenny higgins says:

    See some Brit Nats appear to have made it onto this post. Alex Salmond has been the best leader in Europe for many years by miles and is the the most misjudged politician in Scottish Political history.

  119. Avril Gregor says:

    Alex will get his award earlier than many think. The surge towards Independence since Thursday’s narrow defeat has been overwhelming. People have been joining the SNP in their droves. Over 20,000 new members since Thursday and thousands joining Scottish Greens too. Not only that but various political groups are joining together in solidarity, forgetting differences for the common good. The unravelling of the cosy Tory/Labour stance and renaging on their pledges and political time scales for more powers to Scotland will see further desertion from the Labour and Liberal party. , Alex’s award for his great leadership and continuing backing of our cause will be to see an Independent Scotland in the near future.

  120. Peter Marsh says:

    Although much admired for his in depth interviews Jon’s view of Alex Salmond is coloured.
    Alex Salmonds glib silky tongue seemingly having worked its charm with Jon Snow.
    Jon fails to mention the lack of any real economic policy, the Sterling debacle being a classic example, why Jon fails to question the constant backtracking on major parts of the SNP’s White Paper, the disturbing thug element was not brought into questioning, organised mass gatherings as seen at the BBC headquarters in Scotland, just because Nick Robinson dared to press Alex Salmond, without doubt a sinister undertone exists within the SNP.
    The possibility of unilateral independence as stated by Alex Salmond shows the real man, at best a poor looser and at worst dictatorial.
    Clearly the majority of Scottish voters unlike Jon Snow are able to scratch bellow the surface to reveal the true person.

    1. Hazel Godfrey says:

      Peter, I saw Nick Robinson question Alex Salmond who gave him a full answer, and then Nick asked him the same question to which Alex gave him the same answer. Subsequently Nick reported that he had asked Alex the question and said he didn’t reply. THAT is what the furore was about. Robust, forensic questioning is what we expect reporters to do, but honest reporting is also their job. I think the huge increase in SNP membership is testament to Alex Salmond’s standing.

  121. Andrew Haddow says:

    Nick Robinson asked Alex Salmond a two-part question. The first part was answered exhaustively and at length, but the second part (which was actually more of a sneer than a genuine question) was not.

    Why then did Robinson edit the exchange to include only the second part? Surely a serious journalist would have concentrated on the much more substantive first part, at least on the grounds that the viewers might have actually learned something.

    Perhaps Robinson’s motivation lay in another direction.

  122. jasun o'ceallaigh says:

    hi john I have just watched your interview with john redwood on housing and i must say i am very dissapointed i respect u as a juarnalisist and i am very dissapointed that you allowed this “MP”to skirt the issue of housing of familys like mine im a welder my wife is an apprentice we have a beautifull 1 year old boy but will never be able to afford to buy our own home because of people like sir john redwood i just wish u could have been a little more like newsnight in the old days and asked the tought qustions like how many homes mr Redwood owns when there are millions of familys that will never own there own homes in the uk under this gov or the next come back to your roots fight for the people not the establisment be a journilist not a puppet
    with respect Jasun O’Ceallaigh
    ps please exscuse the bad grammer

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