THE arrival of the new Alba party in Scotland has sent the unionist establishment into a blind panic.
Having managed to managerialise the SNP over the past few years, a brand new nationalist party led by one of the most experienced politicians on these isles is a very unwelcome surprise for our masters just ahead of the election in May.
Especially with their leftfield tactic of not standing against the SNP as such, but rather focusing all their their energies on the second vote in the Election.
Enabling a pincer approach to occur in order to maximise the nationalist vote: SNP on the constituencies and Alba on the List.
Alex Salmond’s aim is to achieve a super-majority at Holyrood, which could comprise of some 60 SNP members (constituencies) plus 20 to 30 Alba members (List).
A super-majority of this sort in the 129 seat Holyrood Parliament could then in theory enable an immediate Independence Referendum.
It’s a brilliant plan to use the electoral system strategically to serve the interests of Independence, which even the most partisan SNP supporter should be minded to support.
As SNP dominance in the constituency vote means they have little or no hope of winning seats on the List System (e.g. in 2016 they only won 4 seats out of 56, despite amassing nearly 900,000 second votes).
Allowing the unionist parties to completely dominate the List and frustrate the movement towards independence.
A second pro-independence party specifically targeting the list could end this dominance once and for all and allow Scotland to move forward.
Gwlad Leader Gwyn Wigley Evans said the Alba party’s approach was very similar to his own party’s vision for Wales.
‘Both Alba and Gwlad put our respective nations first, over and above narrow party interest’ he said
‘We have also shown this in our decision not to stand in Plaid-held constituencies but focus rather on the areas where they are weak, and also target the second vote’.
Mr Evans added Gwlad had actually created the model that Alex Salmond is now following, having said from the start that a pragmatic multi-party approach rather than an ideological single party approach was needed to deliver Independence for Wales.
The ‘you can vote for the SNP and for us’ line of Alba will certainly confound the commentariat, so used to attritional and tribal party politics.
They probably won’t be able to move beyond a simplistic Sturgeon v Salmond story line, not realizing that politics has now moved on.
The second vote narrative will allow a mature, grown-up brand of politics to develop within the independence movement in Scotland.
It will also help to focus attention here in Wales on how best to use the second vote to maximize nationalist representation at the Senedd.
As a party, Gwlad will be hoping to gain the second votes of many Plaid supporters.
But we also believe that those who habitually vote Tory, Labour, Lib Dem with their first vote, could well decide to give their second vote to a party which stands for Wales’s interests as a nation in general.
Alba have changed the dynamics of the whole election in Scotland.
A development which will not go unnoticed here in Wales as well.