Poor old Michael Fry he has given up on Alba just as a new Panelbase poll predicts they are going to win 8 seats at the election and help create a supermajority in the Parliament.Comment on Michael Fry’s column in The National
Poll aggregators Ballot Box Scotland and Election Polling put Alba Party on less than 3% and no seats. I am not one of those who imagine polls reliably predict outcomes. But an average of all polling has to be a better guide than picking the outlier that suits your agenda – whatever that agenda is.
It is an arid debate in any case. Partly because it can never be conclusive. We’ll know how many seats Alba has won – if any – when the votes are counted and not before. Also because the serious question concerns not how many seats Alba might win, but what the party does with those seats. We see the manifesto promises about “delivering independence” and hear the buzz on social media about using a supermajority to force a plebiscitary election; but it’s all nonsense. Anyone who bothers to think it through knows that the notion of dissolving parliament and dictating the form of the resulting election while very appealing in theory, in practice is as close to being impossible as makes no difference to those who like their politics well steeped in realism.
The cold, hard political reality is that only the SNP is placed to provide the effective political power that Scotland’s cause absolutely requires. There is no reason to suppose that the SNP is willing to lend that effective political power to the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence. On the contrary, all but the most blinkered of party loyalists long since concluded that Nicola Sturgeon is neither able nor willing to confront the British state. Getting on for seven years of inaction, prevarication, procrastination, empty promises and squandered opportunities was convincing enough for most. The failure to offer a manifesto commitment to action on the constitution was the clincher for others – including myself.
What we must assume will be an SNP Scottish Government won’t do anything for Scotland’s cause in the next parliament. And regardless of how many seats Alba Party wins they will not have the kind of leverage needed to force the SNP Scottish Government to do what is required. That too is a cold, hard political reality that is impervious to wishful thinking and ill-informed delusion. Much as I admire the likes of Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill, their speeches in the chamber won’t have any actual effect. Nicola Sturgeon is well-practised in shrugging off such stuff.
Besides, if there was something Alba Party could do – by which I mean practical action – to bring the restoration of Scotland’s independence one day closer, then they surely would have told us about it by now.
Before anybody responds with the usual tribal inanities they should at least make an effort to understand that I have no partisan interest in this matter. I remain as committed to Scotland’s cause as I have been all my life. But I’ve resigned from the SNP in despair and will not be joining any other party because none of them offer anything that might alleviate that despair. I am not looking at the situation through a partisan lens. I’m being wholly pragmatic. I’d be delighted to be proved wrong. But from that dispassionate perspective I see only Scotland’s cause being betrayed by the politicians and let down by activists.
At least part of the reason this election seems as dull at tedious as Michael Fry observes is that there was a certain expectation that it would be the ‘Independence Election’. It is not that. So there’s inevitably a sense of anti-climax. Get used to it. There’s more disappointment to come.