You must campaign for what is good for Scotland as well as campaigning for independence. It is not a question of (independence) taking a back seat, it is a question of fulfilling your duty. I regard that as a duty. When the SNP was formed the second aim of the party was to further Scottish interests. I believe it is part of my obligation to further Scottish interests as well as to campaign for independence.Of course, it's arguable that independence has been on the back burner for some time now, but this latest interview perhaps confirms that Mr Salmond knows independence won't happen during his tenure as first minister or even SNP leader, and clearly he sees some degree of further devolution of financial powers as a more realistic legacy.
Interesting also that the language used is "fiscal responsibility" rather than "fiscal autonomy". This, of course, partly reflects the nascent Campaign for Fiscal Responsibility, but also perhaps a realisation that, although voters don't want to think about the downside of public spending cuts, on the other hand they realise that the days of the spending spree are over, whether under the current settlement or a more fiscally independent Scotland. Mr Salmond says:
It is really important, in my view, to be able to say to people how we can change the circumstances and increase revenue as well as decreasing expenditure. It is my job to come up with some answers, along with others. If you jump up and down nihilistically saying ‘dreadful dreadful, dreadful, cuts, cuts, cuts’, then I would be failing in my duty to the people.The last sentence is particularly interesting, because here the first minister seems to be criticising his own strategy hitherto, but whether this indicates a real change in emphasis remains to be seen; perhaps it's a mere superficial nod towards the CfFR.
But like the change in the centre of gravity away from independence, this shift in tenor towards a more fiscally conservative stance is unlikely to please the fundamentalist/progressive strand of Nationalist opinion, however well it may go down with Ben Thomson et al.