ALBA Takes Stock

Though ALBA attracted almost 41,000 votes in the Scottish election starting from a baseline of a brand new party, and over 5,000 members in a few frantic weeks of canvassing, the policies and ideals of Scotland’s newst independence party were starved of publicity and reportage, the candidates and Alex Salmond its leader, effectively censored from daily news by the British press and media. The foot soldiers of the British State need no cue to deal with rebellion and upstarts. ALBA discovered how dirty Scotland’s opposition will play to keep Scotland an English possession and docile. Here, two of ALBA’s proponents, Kenny MacAskill MP and Neal Hanvey MP, take a long cool look at how the party should regroup and prepare for the next step in its development.

Towards The Future

By Kenny MacAskill MP and Neal Hanvey MP

The election’s over and the votes have been counted. It wasn’t to be for Alba this time, but the fight goes on. Whilst there’s disappointment, there’s also vindication. SNP list votes were even greater than in 2016 and yet produced even fewer list MSPs.

There’s an irony in the SNP suffering from unionist tactical voting, having traduced Alba for allegedly gaming the system. In the end it was perfidious Albion not Alba as Labour and the Tories gave each other hauners – when will the SNP ever learn that the British can’t be trusted? They may write the rules but they sure don’t play by them.

But with more MPs than Scottish Labour and more members than the Scottish Liberal Democrats, we march on. More are already joining having seen the outcome and many more we believe will follow.

That’s because indyref 2 is being kicked even further down the road. Firstly, a veto was given to Boris Johnson by insisting that a Section 30 order was required. Now that’s compounded by allowing him to dictate the timing. The First Minister’s decision that there’ll be no vote before “coronavirus recovery” cedes that to him as well. Leaving aside how there can be recovery without the fiscal and economic levers provided by independence, Johnson can delay matters indefinitely by simply saying “now is not the time”, knowing that he and Nicola Sturgeon are now singing from the same hymn sheet.

Nationhood first, second and above all

Alba is readying itself to push for independence and promote a radical policy agenda whilst preparing the policies on borders, currency and so many other issues that the SNP have shamefully failed to do, as well as contesting council elections next year.

Local groups are getting established and a national conference to settle the constitution and set policy is being organised. In the interim the Westminster group has to be set up. Parliament has returned and so we require to formulate a strategy there for Alba. 

Alba intends to be a membership-based party where it’s the rank and file who decide policy and strategy, not executive diktat or select groups having greater influence than individual members. But as with some matters in the run-up to the election, we have to take some immediate decisions as to how we’ll operate, though it’ll ultimately be up to members. We’ll account to the national conference and will follow the directions of the party through its democratic structure.

Until then this is how we propose to operate in Westminster. Alba isn’t an abstentionist party. Westminster isn’t our parliament but having been elected there it’s up to us to use it and maximise its benefit for our cause (as well as of course representing our constituents to the very best of our abilities).

The case for dissent

We’ll seek to use the platform it provides – limited though that may be – to make our cause’s case. We’ll also seek to utilise the resource it offers through the ability to question and obtain information. Both of those factors are critical for our party’s success.

We’re working with others who have served there to devise strategy and tactics that we can deploy. Room for manouvre is limited, as the days of Charles Stewart Parnell and the ability of Irish Nationalists to disrupt has passed. Powers have been centralised and the government dictates the agenda more than ever. But still there are things that can be done and gains that can be made.

That said, there can neither be supine deference to it nor any role taken in the administration of the British State. Partaking in pageants such as the Queen’s Official Opening of Parliament will be forsworn, as will participating in issues that are neither relevant to Scotland nor of concern to her people. Seeking official offices within Parliament is not the role of an MP of a party seeking to be independent of it, and neither’s holding posts that simply entrench British authority, whether over our land or other provinces.

Attendance in the Commons will be when it affords an opportunity to promote Scottish interests, not a routine sojourn to London. There’s plenty work to be doing in our constituencies and across Scotland, and that’ll be our focus. We’ll vote when appropriate on issues as they arise.

No illusions

However, we’re under no illusions as to the likelihood of success in those votes and see no need to be there to do so on every occasion and on all issues. Since our election in 2019 not one vote was won by the SNP, let alone the opposition. A routine majority against SNP motions or amendments by the combined unionist parties was in the region of 250. On other issues the Tories had a majority of 70 over the combined opposition. (72 now with the Labour defeat in Hartlepool.) Our two votes either way are not going to make any difference.

In these circumstances we’ll go when we need to but concentrate our efforts in our constituencies and in Scotland. We pledge now that we’ll do so unless and until directed otherwise by conference. In the interim we’ll maximise what we can do there to promote Scotland’s cause.

NOTE: Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey are Alba Party MPs. Article also published on Wings.


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6 Responses to ALBA Takes Stock

  1. 100%Yes says:

    The election has come and gone and the SNP & Greens have a majority, now lets see what both these political parties do with the majority and if both the SNP & Greens are able to achieve a referendum and it be legal and binding like it was in 2014? The Alba party has brought hope and its through the Alba Party sturgeon is looking to be perusing a referendum sooner than later but we’ve all heard that before. I’m look forward to the Alba Party conference as is my wife and hopefully we’ll see a good turn out and plenty MSM coverage.

  2. I like the sound of all this!

    The lip service delivered to us by The SNP has worn thin. I will not be ‘mammied’ by someone who refuses to let her country grow up & be an Independent ADULT country!

    I’ve been an independent adult since I was 16, it is time my country was too! I think we are going to have to make MORE noise now. We have so many more methods of communication today. SNP failed to engage with the internets & social media side, mostly as they know a lot of the hostility & awkward questions get asked & exposed there. We must use every method to Engage, Encourage & Educate. Our political & social commentators -Those Nasty bloggers- would be jailed or executed back in the 17the century,.

    The English gov pass laws to stop the spreading on information – how long before those Albion soft MSP attempt to do same here? Humza is creating crimes not laws. I do not care for this road we are being taken on.

    Craig Murrays treatment has been a very Cruel & Unusual torture -his relationship to the Assange case is also being interfered in. but because the SNP were directly involved in that trial the SNP leadership are silent on the British states interference once again, in our country’s Laws & Justice system.

    History is being repeated by The SNP not Created! ALBA has risen- there’s a New Dawn coming.

  3. duncanio says:

    I predicted a return of 4 MSPs at the election based on opinion polls and a few assumptions about these surveys. Some of my friends thought that I was being conservative. Alas, as it turned out and as we all now know, I was wildly optimistic.

    Still the basic premise of Alba is valid – we need Independence YESTERDAY so we need to be planning for Independence NOW and we need to be taking it to the WM establishment NOW.

    The positions taken on Independence (much more urgency), women’s rights (protection of single sex spaces) and UK assets/liabilities (clean balance sheet) will, in my opinion, bear fruit once they are given air time and work their way through to the electorate.

    The backsliding from representatives of the Sturgeon clique – such as smug Angus Robertson, complacent Alyn Smith and gloating Stewart MacDonald – has already begun. We won’t be able to do anything to advance The Cause until “COVID is, and its effects are, over” finds an echo from the constant and tedious refrain of “until the fog of BREXIT clears” in 2016-20.

    That’s 7 SNP election victories on the spin for the SNP since 2014, across Westminster, Holyrood, Council and European polls and measured by both popular vote and seats won.

    And still all we hear is “we haven’t won the argument” or “you need to convince more people” from the SNP big wigs. Hardly inspiring leadership.

    I’d like to do a “reverse JFK” on those that purport to be heading up the ‘party of Independence’ and ask Sturgeon and her acolytes “what the f*** are you ever going to do for your country?”

  4. rew1008 says:

    I did not expect Alba to win no seats, I expected one or maybe two but I wasn’t prepared for us to win none.

    Going through the campaign there was much talk of a media blackout and Alex Salmond being prevented from appearing at the debates. However, I thought the enthusiasm we all felt with the new party was bound to influence others and it did as Alba received 41,000 votes but insufficient to translate into seats in Holyrood.

    I have now seen at close quarters the dirty tricks that were enacted against Alba, not just by the British state but by one of our own Scottish parties. Treachery indeed and from a party that I supported at one time and an FM that I defended time and again, until I could no longer defend her.

    It is good to read this blog from our two MPs and to know that you both feel strongly about Alba as a party and its continued existence. Someone wrote recently that if the SNP won a majority but more unionists made it into HR, then they would tweet every day to the FM to remind her of her promise of Independence until she eventually had to do it.

    I believe the only way to achieve independence now is to do something along those lines. To remind her, at every opportunity, of her duty to the Scottish people who expect independence sooner rather than later.

  5. Alastair Naughton says:

    This is just exactly what we needed to hear! Thanks Kenny and Neale!

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