Alba, too wee to vote for?

Three weeks ago when down in Castlemilk canvassing for Alba, candidate Kirsty Fraser I had a great conversation with a gentleman whose views I suspect might resonate with a worrying amount of current Scottish voters.

As I introduced myself, while out canvassing for the Alba candidate, he told me that he was an Independence supporter, had voted YES in 2014, had voted for the SNP in every election since but now he thought he would be voting Labour at this by-election.

I had a feeling I knew what reasons were coming but I asked him anyway, why he felt the need to change his vote from the SNP to Labour?

His reply was that he thought Labour were the fastest and only real chance of getting rid of the Tories as the SNP didn’t have the electoral numbers to make real change down in Westminster and crucially, Independence wasn’t something he could see happening in the near future.

The response I gave to his reply was one I’m sure all Independence parties will be using as it’s almost been gifted to us by the Labour party. I asked the gentleman “do you really believe SIR Keir Starmer as Prime Minister would be better than any of the recent Tory PMs or future contenders? Isn’t the clue in the name, SIR Keir of the LABOUR party?

A Labour Party leader who is against his own MPs standing on picket lines, is against the UK joining the EU Single Market and now appears to even be against immigration!

In my view he is also against democracy, as he joins his blue Tory friends in thinking he, who does not live in Scotland, can rule out a democratic referendum for the people here to determine their own future.”

This is where I saw the opportunity to open discussion in Castlemilk on the reason I was there. I asked if he had heard of the Alba Party and if he would consider giving us his vote, rather than Labour. 

I took the chance to explain Alba’s position on Independence, our call for a Constitutional Convention and explained that we believed Independence could happen sooner rather than later with the right strategy and political commitment.

Then came the reply, one I have heard so often and one that prompted me to write this wee blog.

“I agree with what you’re saying but aren’t the Alba Party too small to get enough votes to win or make change?”

I tried to keep my reply short as we’d been chatting a while, I’m a big believer in short sound-bites being better than long essays on the doorstep as they stick in people’s heads when they comes to decide where to place their X at the ballot box.

So the reply I gave was,

“If we’d all thought this way in 1967, the great Winnie Ewing wouldn’t have won her seat in that historic by-election. If we’d thought that way between 2012 and 2014, Independence would still be sitting at 20-30% support.

For real change, not just replacing a blue Tory with a red Tory but removing them all, we need voters to have the courage and confidence shown in 1967 and 2014.

If everyone thinks that there’s no point in voting for Alba because it won’t change anything, then it’s likely nothings will change BUT if enough people find the courage to vote for Alba Party then change will come.

It might not be in this seat but if we increase the vote here we do two things. Firstly we give voter confidence for future votes and secondly, if we keep upping our vote share, we start pressuring other Independence parties to actually take action on Independence because if our vote share goes up they’ll need to be better than us to win these votes back. 

So please don’t buy into ‘a vote for Alba is a wasted vote’ we don’t have to win the seats but if your vote for Alba pushes action and helps the cause of Independence then we are all winners.

In my discussion in Castlemilk it was evident in both what the gentleman was saying and maybe more, in how he was saying it, with a number of sighs in between sentences and a disappointed, exhausted tone in his voice, that he still wanted and believed in Independence but his belief and confidence in it happening soon was lacking.

The two points made in the conversation about Alba Party being too small and Independence not happening, leaving Labour his only options, are opinions that I’ve been hearing more frequently recently.

I would say this to anyone who believes either of these statements,

“Every party is small until it grows.”

“SNP had 6 Mp’s in 2014”

“The summer of Independence campaign grew this to 56 seats, showing that parties can grow and things change very quickly in politics.”

A vote for Alba is by no means a wasted vote, the more support Alba wins, the more pressure is mounted on Scottish and UK Governments to act on Independence.

So to anyone thinking of voting Labour as a better option than the Torys, I say this,

“Labour aren’t the answer. They made their ‘Better Together bed’ in 2014, and shared it with the Tories. They are a British state backed party that will not act in the best interest of the Scottish people.

A Sir Keir Starmer led Labour government would be no different, maybe worse, than the disaster of Blair and Brown.

Going forward I believe the SNP are the main vehicle that can get us our Independence, however their driver (the leadership) seem to have got lost behind the wheel.

If Alba keep raising their share of votes in by-elections and opinion polls it will act as a flashing light on the leaderships dashboard and push for action to be taken.

If action isn’t taken then I am afraid either the driver of the vehicle will need to be changed, or a new vehicle will be needed to complete the journey.

Thankfully Alba are ready to be that new vehicle IF it is required and we even have a roadmap in ‘The Wee Alba Book’.

So if you’re an Independence supporter reading this and you find yourself agreeing, remember you don’t have to be a member of a party to vote for them, campaign for them or discuss them with your friends.

If you believe Alba can bring benefit and progress the cause of Independence then come and join our campaign and find out more.

Our next event is a National Assembly on Independence strategies to plot a way forward.

This is open to members of all parties and none to allow for the necessary wider discussion. 

Feel free to join and have your voice and opinions heard.

To find out more and register your attendance, sign up now.

Strategically, working together we can achieve Independence sooner you might think!


West Lothian By-Election Results 2022 Results in

Labour have won the Ward 2 Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh by election today. Not untypical for a by election the turnout is down from 42.2% in May 2022 to 27.2% yesterday Dec 1st.

% of vote share changes from May 22 to Dec 22

Tory vote has collapsed so it’s likely they’d have lost their existing seat on the West Lothian Council if it had been their seat in the by-election.

SNP and Greens need to be careful of complacence as both have dropped vote share, while Labour retained their seat with an increased % of the vote, likely from a mix of Tories and SNP.

The only Independence supporting party to increase their vote share is Alba Party, albeit by small gain but moves Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh from #63 to #45 in Alba’s May 2022 candidate results list.

We also can’t assume all the Labour vote are not pro-independence, given figures summarised by The Ferret in 2020 to be on average from polls at 32% of Labour’s own membership as pro-Independence, with more at least neutral on the constitution.

This all highlights the complexity of the SNP leadership’s announced ‘plebiscite’ elections and why very careful thought is needed to fully understand HOW this approach will work.

Interestingly, unlike May 21, two independent candidates stood on Dec 1st and swept up almost 9% of the vote which shows that there are definitely electoral opportunities beyond party politics in local elections, especially in 4 member wards.


Big whoop Blackford

I’ll try not to be too negative but realistically does this shuffle matter? It’s not hard to see why those in the SNP group are disappointed, there’s not even a failed strategy to point to – in effect there never was a strategy to fail. 

Ian Blackford has been in with the Westminster furniture that long, the predictable faux outrage, the bore-fest questions, the fake “aha” moments. 

The underwhelming speaker and the underwhelming chair occupier of the third party having theatrical disputes, likely rehearsed before hand, wink wink, nod nod.

I struggle to figure out what we’re losing, the mighty SNP MPs sent to Westminster to “settle up not settle down”, seem to have gone meekly into the night. I think we once or twice got an expulsion – and a one time walkout to send some heat back to the Scottish papers. 

What do we achieve down there? What’s moved the needle? The polls are stagnated right where 2015 left them. What message has been sent? What was Blackfords leadership giving us? 

What do the millions of pounds worth of staff, offices and accommodation achieve? Let’s take a look at last week alone:

David Linden took a picture of his pile of letters, on top is a written paper response to an online survey. 

Tweeting it out proudly. In reality the tax payer picks up the bill for the photo stunt. First class postage obviously rather than the quick online form.

Could we not have used the entire SNP MP postage budget (circa £6k a year each) and asked every constituent to give us their view on independence, sending the prepaid envelope results straight to Downing Street or the monarch? 

Sure it’s against the rules, but what will they do? Kick you out? What progress would be lost? 

Onto another “Stronger for Scotland” warrior. Stewart McDonald, here being presented an award from the party leader. 

Presumably for never straying once from party lines, even ones in direct contradiction to the week before. Always loyally cheering on the absolute glacial pace of movement by the Scottish Government and the Westminster nodding dog society. 

In fairness there are some exceptions, Philippa Whitford puts in an incredible Parliamentary shift and occasionally heads home in down time to aid the NHS. Joanna Cherry KC got that bored with lack of parliamentary action she took the government to court and booted them back into shape with a decisive win. Douglas Chapman roams around every open door of ambassadors, home and abroad, trying to either build support for independence recognition, or plug in a ferry route making new trade possibilities.

However the latter are all self starters – none of this was a Blackford strategy or idea. None of it was driven or demanded. 

So I’m left looking for the impact of the Blackford leadership, I’m looking for what we’ve lost, and I find very little. At school more than a decade ago I got forced to sit and listen to pontifications by boring old men in suits about god and the religious world, I became an atheist. Blackford much like Robertson before him was an utter chore, listening was painful and the output was nil. 

He’s gone, off to join the other ex “grandees” – I wonder what the follow up to the mighty horse box of independence that Michael Russell trotted about with will be with Blackfords new independence focussed role. 

However I’m left thinking, off he goes, big whoop. 


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