Salmond’s setting the cat among the ‘super majority’ independence pigeons - Steve Cardownie

The more successful the SNP is in the constituency vote in the 6th of May’s Scottish Parliament election the less successful they will be in winning seats from the regional lists and if the polls are to be believed they are set to perform extremely well indeed.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:00 am
Alex Salmond launched the Alba party last week

This has bolstered the school of thought that a 2nd vote for SNP is a waste of pencil lead. Better to vote 1 SNP and 2 for another pro-independence party to increase the chances of even more like-minded MSPs being elected goes the refrain.

Step forward Alba. Former First Minister, Alex Salmond, spearheaded the launch of the new party last Friday when he proclaimed that if they can acquire a sufficient number of second votes, their MSPs will help form a “super majority” for independence in the new parliament and one which Boris Johnson will find more difficult to ignore.

The move has certainly captured the attention of political pundits and has set a light under the current election campaign which was, to all intents and purposes, shaping up to be entirely predictable. Now eyes will be turned to Alba to see whether or not its campaign slogan of a “super majority” is gaining ground and how their candidates are likely to fare, particularly, Alex Salmond.

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Their calculations assess that they will require a minimum of 6.6 per cent of the vote to get a candidate elected from the list in Lothian with less in the other seven regions (ranging from 5.3 per cent to 6.2 per cent) which, if achieved, would see them form a sizeable contingent of eight in the new Parliament, however this is by no means the limit of their ambition and they are optimistic that they can substantially increase that base figure.

Over the last few days their strategy has been to unveil a number of high profile figures who have rallied to their cause with former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and WBO super featherweight boxing champion, Alex Arthur, joining Kenny MacAskill MP (former MSP and Scottish Justice Minister) on the Lothian Region list as Alba sought to hog the headlines between the Party’s formal launch and the close of nomination of candidates at 4pm today.

The election campaign will undoubtedly comprise of the usual drip feed from the respective party’s manifestos, peppered with party leaders photo shoots and virtual political debates but there is no denying that Alba’s entry into the fray has set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons. So far they have embarked upon a positive campaign, advocating that electors should vote SNP in the constituency ballot but vote for Alba in the regional list ballot to boost the numbers for independence.

They will need cool heads if they are to continue in this positive vein as their less politically aware or more hot-headed supporters may resort to intemperate terminology or set their sights on the wrong targets which would only serve to create unwelcome splits and provide succour to their opponents. As former SNP members of long-standing Alba’s leadership have been around the block often enough to realise that they will not be readily forgiven if they allow their campaign to derail the independence cause rather than enhance it.