Today there’s the usual gloating and partisan nonsense on social and mainstream media but to understand the reasons why the Alba Party didn’t rise, as fondly hoped, in the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6th May this year, it might help to imagine a Venn diagram:
Firstly, what strikingly sets Alba off from the SNP and the (somewhat) Indy-minded Scottish Greens is a commitment to uphold the rights of women to single sex safe space and of children to pass through puberty before making any decisions about their “gender”. While “let’s get on with Indy” is also a difference with SNP executive gradualism – and Green executive indifference – that’s a debate that could be had within the SNP. In contrast, being gender-critical in that party is very hard, as the treatment of Joanna Cherry clearly shows.
So, in the Entirety of the Scottish electorate, support for Alba is largely found at the intersection of independence and gender-critical voters. Even if the former circle takes in half that population, the latter circle is small – because it’s the subset of those aware of the aggressive woke politics in Holyrood who oppose that ongoing policy capture. Therefore, in terms of Scottish voters, most of whom get their political insight from the BBC, that intersection is already very small.
Now let’s draw some more circles. Alba was not up for the Constituency election – in order not to prejudice SNP votes. Standing only for the Regional List was a gracious move but one that required voters to understand the peculiar mix of First Past the Post and the d’Hondt method of proportional representation. As the #BothVotesSNP hashtag showed, not many did. Or if they did, they didn’t care – their priority was not to maximise Indy MSPs but only SNP MSPs. Therefore #AlbaRising depended on the intersection of Indy/GC voters who understood the system and aren’t politically clannish. Smaller and smaller.
Then let’s consider the alternatives. Voters have more than one concern and some who would have happily voted Alba in the Constituency, and did vote SNP, may have used their List vote for one of the many strands of the political fringe: those awake to the dangers of the #GreatReset for the 4th Industrial Revolution had Freedom Alliance and the Scottish Libertarian Party. Those opposing Millennial woke politics from a religious commitment had the Scottish Family Party, as the historical materialists had the Scottish Socialist Party. There are others that also split the List vote.
Finally, we must consider the figure of Alex Salmond. Elder statesman, masterful politician, gracious and well-connected but with an image problem that won’t go away. Especially when part of a high profile triumvirate with a similarly controversial politician and a man of the people (however charming) whose tweets have been pounced on. Consider the voters. Those who aren’t particularly sharp have been mesmerised for over a year with our feisty female First Minister (and her popular foul-mouthed jester) pushing the profits of #BigPharma and #BigData from the pulpit every lunchtime. They think she’s done well. Many voters don’t have a problem with an older White heterosexual man but fail to appreciate that, nowadays, simply being in that demographic is “creepy” in the eyes of the largely ageist Millennials and at least worthy of wariness from GC women in general. Similar men in the SNP are very closely associated with the female leader, and many are gay. Salmond has neither advantage nor the striking good looks of the young SNP candidate Tom Wills who stepped off a Scott’s Porridge Oats box and might have made it into Holyrood but for being placed 5th on the list – preceded by female, disabled and cabinet candidates.
Having “blotted his copybook” (as my Mum puts it delicately) too, it may not therefore have been the best idea to have him visually so front and centre in recent days in the campaign. It’s the women of Alba that are so inspiring and a cannier idea might have been to make one co-leader. That selling strategy is working out for the Greens. It’s an offer that could have been made to Colette Walker of the Independence for Scotland Party, who, on reflection, may well have stood a better chance at election.
I like Alex Salmond. I don’t find him threatening (but I’m a man) and I admire his political acumen. I’m not writing this to kick a man when he’s down – and he may be down but I don’t think he thinks he’s out.
However, for the sake of Alba, for independence, for women and children whose protection urgently requires an alternative to the toxic wokery now imposed from Bute House, given the ever-smaller intersection of potential voters for such an alternative, I do think he should maybe think again.
Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Edinburgh Skyline into the Public Domain.