One way or another Friday 26th of March 2021 may turn out to be a very significant day in Scotlands history.
I woke up to the news that Alex Salmond was about to make an announcement at 2pm that day on Sky tv news.
I didn’t know quite what to make of that announcement given all that had been transpiring previously,but I was certainly curious.
When the announcement came that he was announcing a new party which would be contesting the Holyrood election on the List seats you could have blown me over with a feather. What? What? seven weeks to go! How on earth had this been kept so quiet? How on earth could any party launched at this late stage possibly be serious enough to be a viable contender? Yet here it was.
It turned out that the planning for this new Alba party was in a much more advanced stage than I could have imagined as those joining it were announced in the days that followed. Currently only one week in Alba (pronunciation in Gaelic is Al A Ba for those that are interested) have 4100 members(more than the Liberal Democrats) 32 candidates contesting 4 list places in each Region, 2 serving MPs (more than Scottish Labour and Green MPs combined) 7 serving councillors and a transfer of Womens and Equalities SNP NEC Convenors who are standing as candidates, and the only party to have a majority of their candidates who are women. ( Isn’t that strange given that Alex Salmond is allegedly such a notorious sex pest? They surely aren’t queuing up because they are disappointed they weren’t previously molested by him?)
I will declare a personal interest here before getting back to the matters of the Alba party.
I was at one point a SNP branch convenor In Alex Salmonds Banff and Buchan constituency and worked alongside with the other members with him. As Vice Chairman of a charity which Alex privately supported out of his own pocket, and in helping some of his constituents , I got to know the man reasonably well.
When the news of the charges he faced broke I was in a state of disbelief, it didn’t add up with the man I knew at all.
When I saw the list of charges, apart from two very serious ones, the other 12 were almost laughable and I wondered how on earth they even came to court. Indeed one was dropped entirely before the trial.
I followed the trial very intently as one might expect, and the female defence witnesses who were present at many of these supposed offences completely contradicted the accusations. One of the most serious accusations of attempted rape was blown completely out of the water as the accuser could not possibly have even been there! A jury of a majority of women in front of a female judge found him NOT Guilty on ALL charges bar one which was NOT proven.
And yet for many in the Court of Public Opinion he Must be Guilty of something!
I found out who a number of those would be accusers are, but obviously I dare not say. I will say this however, when someone possesses that knowledge and who they are close to, it is no small wonder that Alex thinks there was a malicious conspiracy against him. He is a very very brave man to face up to public scrutiny as the leader of a new party at this time in his pursuit of Independence. I fully appreciate his desire to right the wrongs he perceives were done to him, but I doubt very much that I could do what he is doing now for the sake of Scotlands Independence.
Prior to the appearance of Alba on the stage I couldn’t really see much sense in the repeated mantra of SNP Both Votes, but then again I couldn’t see much alternative to it either. In my mind it cost a lot of votes with very minimal if any return. Of course the system was gerrymandered in such a way by Labour in order to ensure there could be no Nationalist majority in Holyrood, and by in large apart from a colossal fluke in 2011 that is how it has remained.
When ISP and AFI appeared on the scene I was delighted that others could see how to get an Independence majority In Holyrood, but I felt that neither by themselves at such a late stage could gain enough traction to make any difference. Indeed I thought that the Independence voting public would be split and dilute the vote which would make it effectively useless and no better than the SNP 1&2 mantra. The appearance of Alba led by Alex Salmond changed all that at a stroke particularly when both AFI and ISP stood down and got behind it, here was the remainder of YES coming back together again, and though the time is short, we now have a chance.
Instead what we currently have is factional infighting between the SNP and Alba supporters attacking each other on social media rather than finding common ground and finding the path to get what ALL Independence supporters want to achieve. Much of the reason for this I put the blame squarely on the SNP leadership who downright refuse to see common sense, and Nicola Sturgeon who for some inexplicable reason is expending her fire power on attacking Alex Salmond in a very snidey way, and who for some reason wants to ask permission for a section 30 order from Westminster which she has not a snowballs chance in hell of getting. Even Margaret Thatcher conceded that all Scotland had to do to get Independence was to send a majority of SNP MPs to Westminster, which we have had for quite some time now.
The total refusal to even allow a debate on a plan B when the section 30 is inevitably denied has been intransigence personified, and with the introduction of such contentious policies as the Hate Crime Bill and the Trans issue at a time when both the SNP and Independence were getting high, added to the clusterbourach of the Alex Salmond affair has been inexplicable.
If Bannockburn was happening today, the English army would be standing laughing their heads off on one side of the burn looking at two groups of Scots knocking hells bells out of each other, one lot pointing in one direction and the other lot pointing in the opposite direction and Robert the Bruce being hit over the head with a pike.
Its what is happening right now, the Unionist partys dont need to do or say anything, we are doing it for them.
If I had my way I would lock Nicola and Alex in a padded cell and not let them back out again until they agreed to work together to achieve cooperation.
In my opinion at the present time, provided there is no more damage done, the SNP have a good chance of getting sufficient constituency seats, and If as Angus MacNeil says we follow logic not politics, if we gave our list vote to Alba we would have that Supermajority of seats to force an Independence referendum.
Constituency seats List Seats Total
SNP 21 26 47
Lab 37 9 46
Tory 4 13 17
LD 11 5 16
Green 0 2 2
In this example you can see in general that the more seats you have in the constituency the less you have on the list and vice versa , vote share is important too…. SNP pressed Labour very closely in the constituencies Labour won, and because they weren’t penalised for winning the constituency gained more List seats. The Greens with very few votes picked up 2 List seats.
Constituency List total
SNP 53 16 69
Lab 15 22 37
Tory 3 12 15
LD 2 3 5
Green 0 2 2
Margo 0 1 1
Lets look at vote share here…. SNP had 45.5% of total votes cast, Labour had 31.7% , Torys had 13.9% and Lib Dems 7.9%
Margo MacDonald won her List seat as an Independent due to her vote share in the region.
SNP broke the system by getting a majority
Constituency List total
SNP 59 4 63
Lab 3 21 24
Tory 7 24 31
LD 4 1 5
Green 0 6 6
Vote share….. SNP 46.5% up 1.1% on their 2011 majority
Labour 22.6%, Tory 22% , Lib Dems 7.8%,
SNP had lost their 2011 majority and yet had more constituency seats and a higher vote share,thus losing 12 List seats!!
If we look to have at least the same number of constituency seats, and a similar vote share, then expect the SNP to waste another million list votes for 4 list seats. If as the polling suggests they have been doing even better, they may have no list seats at all….All of these votes on the List wasted.
Where are these seats going? To the Unionist parties.
I know its not going to happen, but Imagine if all these SNP list votes went to Independence supporting Alba , who Incidentally are by the vast majority at least giving the SNP their 1st vote, the Unionist parties would be nearly wiped out!
So it makes complete logical sense that if you want Independence, then you should be voting SNP 1/ Indi Other 2
Remember though that the Greens are directly competing against the SNP in 12 constituencies and cost the SNP 2 seats last time round.
Are you for party and tribalism first, or are you for Scotland and Independence first? The choice is yours!