ALEX Salmond’s conference speech made headlines across the country after he announced the defection of former SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan.

But Alba claiming its first-ever MSP was far from the only thing in the former first minister’s speech. The National sat down with him afterwards to take a closer look at some of it. Here is what Salmond had to say…

Can you let us know a little bit about the process of Ash joining Alba? Who approached who?

Well, we've been in conversation with a number of people in the SNP and other parties.

It's not been a quick thing, but Ash wanted to see if the SNP conference would commit to the independence de facto strategy at each and every election, which was her policy. That and the Scotland United approach to the election. That was her points that she wanted and she felt disappointed that the amendment she was supporting wasn't taken.

Anyway, the SNP decided what they wanted not to do, and Ash (below) has decided what she wants to do.

The National: Ash Regan insisted that the referendum route is 'dead'

The latest polling, from Savanta earlier this month, found that you're quite unpopular. There’s 15% favourable towards you against 64% unfavourable towards you. Do you think these figures hold back Alba's hopes of growth, hopes of attracting more people from the SNP?

The trouble with polling in terms of parties which are polling at four or five per cent is that you've got a very narrow base of your own party to say, ‘yeah, we like that person’. That's inevitable in that sort of poll. As Alba rises, so these ratings will rise.

But just as a matter of interest, you know, if Alba were to poll 15%, for example, in the next Scottish elections, we'd have 22 MSPs. Just a thought.

You criticised the SNP’s plan to ask for “democratic effect” after a General Election victory, saying we “should mobilise domestic and international opinion”. What does that look like? How do you do that?

You have to set your objective on a mandate, and because it's an independence mandate you're calling for, it has to be a majority of votes.

It’s not credible to say it's a majority of seats, because you're giving a decision of the Scottish nation on self determination. It has to be done on a majority vote – not one party, but all parties who endorse that in their manifestos.

Once you've got that, then you're in an excellent position internationally because you have a secure mandate, deeply embarrassing and more for the United Kingdom.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf responds to Ash Regan's defection to Alba Party

It's critical that you have a convention when you've achieved the majority of votes, because that means the convention encompasses a majority of Scotland by definition.

I've advocated for a long time that the convention should be Scotland's elected representatives, plus civic Scotland. It should be meeting, it should be controlling the campaign to face down Westminster.

People say, ‘oh, what if they say no’. They won't say no, if you have a determination of intent.

The reason they've been allowed to say no is because they look at the leadership of the SNP and first ministers and know they’re not serious. They haven't been serious and they're not serious.

Whatever David Cameron thought about me, and he thought one or two things I dare say, he knew I was serious.

On Friday, the UK abstained on a UN motion calling for a sustained humanitarian truce in the escalating Gaza conflict. What is your view on the position of the UK and UK politicians?

Far, far too much of it, in my opinion, is positioning. The Tories want to isolate [Labour leader Keir] Starmer. Starmer (below) is determined to stay in the lee of the Tories in case he's accused of being antisemitic.

The UK is the ex colonial power, right? And they are now acting just in the lee of America.

For many years, the UK tried to have some semblance of balance in terms of their attitude to this issue, trying to exert some influence for good. Now that's all been abandoned.

It's because they are positioning politically in the UK. This is all about UK politics as far as the Tory and Labour leadership are concerned. They're playing this game.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at the Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire after newly elected Labour candidate Alistair Strathern won the Mid Bedfordshire by-election.

Look, you can't have a settlement without justice for the Palestinian people.

We have no compunction whatsoever about having Hamas termed as terrorists – and I can't understand the BBC's position on that incidentally – because you can't say Hamas is a representative government of the Gaza Strip. They're not and they should be treated as terrorists.

That is the whole point, you don't invade terrorists. What you do is you isolate them, you brand them as international criminals, and you bring them to book and to justice.

Collective punishment is clearly illegal under international law. There's not even a serious argument about that.

But this is the central point I'm making: you can't end violence by perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Every Palestinian child that dies, you can't make a defence of that saying, ‘oh, we weren’t aiming at them, we were aiming at Hamas, they were collateral damage’. Collateral damage breeds the next generation of terrorism.

In your speech you mentioned a proposal for a “guaranteed mother’s income”. What's the major difference between that and the Scottish Child Payment?

This is more of an investment in the future. The major difference is this is a guaranteed income. The child payment is not.

Don't get me wrong, the child payment is something I strongly support, but you cannot live off the child payment.

Guaranteed minimum income is to give you a guaranteed income level that makes it possible for you to choose, for a key period in the child's early development, not to work.

READ MORE: Seven key announcements at the Scottish Greens autumn conference

The argument is that the new studies on child development indicate that being a bereft of your mother, in particular in the very early years if she goes back to work, is a real difficulty for the development of the children.

So it's not just an investment which is credible, because you're turning the single child payment into something specific as a guaranteed minimum income, it's also an investment in the future.

It's a real attempt to tackle our underlying social problems we've got, because everything points to the fact that inequality, the difficulties in child development, psychological difficulties, often start very, very young.

So just a general one to wrap up. What is the key message that you want to send out from this Alba conference?

That we are offering people handshakes, not fisticuffs.

We are open for new members, and Alba wants to make sure that people know they'll find a warm reception if they come and join us.

Both Ash and I said, let’s leave behind the online fisticuffs and offer the hand of friendship.