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Alex Salmond Pledges "Magnanimity" Towards Pro-Union Supporters After Independence

The Scottish first minister said there will be no need for a "day of reckoning" against opponents of independence if Scotland votes Yes.

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EDINBURGH – Alex Salmond turned up at Edinburgh Airport's international arrivals gate on Monday confident that passengers flying in from England will have to use it from late 2016.

And the first minister promised a "day of celebration" on Friday, when, he hopes, Scotland will have voted to become an independent nation.

"We will reach out the hand of friendship and magnanimity to everyone in Scotland," he said. This includes "opponents and companies who have been foolish enough to be gulled into the prime minister's last-ditch, desperate campaign of scaremongering.

"It will be a day of celebration and magnanimity will mark our approach."

Although supposedly this was a chance to pose with pro-independence business leaders, Salmond held forth on pretty much everything: foreign policy, the employment prospects of BBC correspondents, how people should celebrate independence.

Meanwhile, two Americans, a mother and daughter, looked baffled as they tottered past the media scrum, hauling enough bags for an entire football team. They, like most of the foreign passengers passing through international arrivals, seemed to feel independence was a jolly fun idea.

What do you think about Alex Salmond greeting you off the plane?

"Uh, who's Alex Salmond?"

"He's the first minister of Scotland, Mom!"

"Oh him. He's brilllliannntttttt," the mother drawled.

Back in the scrum, the softly spoken Salmond was holding forth. Should Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, be sacked following a disputed report in which he said Salmond had refused to answer a question?

"I don't want him to be sacked," Salmond said kindly, adding that there is "real public concern" about BBC bias.

Would an independent Scotland pay ransom to hostages?

"No."

Should Yes supporters boycott companies who speak out against independence?

No need, he said. This is a positive campaign, although David Cameron's fingerprints are "all over" the interventions.

Meanwhile, the international arrivals kept trundling past, including an Israeli couple. Had they heard of Alex Salmond?

"He's the one for independence, right? We're from Israel and we got our independence from Britain 60 years ago."

Would you recommend it?

"Oh yeah!"

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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