Chris McEleny says “I think that’s what people are sick of in politics, the entitlement.“. I think Chris will find that people are just as sick of the hypocrisy. The entitlement to which he refers is nowhere more evident than in Alba Party’s attitude to elections and voters. Alongside the fantastical nonsense about a ‘supermajority’, the most notable thing about Alba Party’s 2021 election campaign was the impression they gave of thinking themselves entitled to the votes of independence supporters and entitled to cooperation from the SNP. They did not ask for votes on the basis of some valid and distinctive proposal to advance Scotland’s cause. They demanded that people vote for them and that the SNP assist them on the basis of nothing more than that ‘supermajority’ piffle and the fact that they were not the SNP.
Let’s be clear. Most if not all that Alba Party and its supporters said about the failings and failures of the SNP – setting aside the mindless abuse – was true. But ask anything at all about what Alba might offer that was better and all you would get by way of response was an endless repetition of the litany of complaints against the SNP. As well as the ‘special’ arithmetic which was required to make the ‘supermajority’ seem feasible we got the ‘special’ logic which goes “The SNP is bad, Alba Party is not the SNP. Therefore Alba Party is good.”.
With such ‘special’ logic it was inevitable that Alba Party could only be made to look better by making the SNP look worse. Hence, the Alba Party campaign was bound to become an anti-SNP campaign even if that was never the intention. To which a typical Alba Party supporter – oblivious to the irony – would respond by pointing to the abuse directed at Alba Party by some SNP supporters.
Let’s face it! Alba Party fought an appalling campaign last year. And it appears to have learned nothing from past mistakes. We still see the same sense of entitlement as evidenced by the spluttering outrage that the SNP is mounting its own campaign for its own candidates and not giving Alba Party a boost. Anybody who questioned the claims made by Alba Party in the Holyrood election campaign was told they were too stupid to understand the voting system. Anybody who questions Alba Party’s claims in the coming local elections will be similarly told they are too stupid to understand how the Single Transferrable Vote (STV) works.
Alba Party still comes across as claiming to be entitled to the votes of independence supporters and an extraordinary form of cooperation from other pro-independence parties solely on the basis of it being a pro-independence party that is not the SNP. Other than that, there is only the claim that – unlike the SNP – they would treat the issue of restoring Scotland’s independence with an appropriate sense of urgency. A claim that is meaningless mainly because the Alba Party is not in a position to do anything and is very unlikely to be so within any sort of realistic time frame. But the claim is also meaningless because when you look at the ‘small print’ Alba Party’s approach to the constitutional issue is little different and no better than what we get from the SNP.
Alba Party has failed to make itself distinctive enough to grab the attention and/or win the votes of SNP-voting independence supporters. A fact that itself represents an incomprehensible failure by the party’s leadership. The one big advantage that Alba Party has over the SNP is that it is not about to be in government or have any measurable influence over the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government’s approach to the constitutional issue. It is in a position similar to small opposition parties in that it can afford to make bold statements safe in the knowledge that it will not soon be in a situation where it might be expected to stand by those statements.
The field is wide open for Alba Party to win votes by being distinctive. The simple act of repudiating the Section 30 process would clearly set it apart from the SNP. As would campaigning to ensure that the referendum promised for 2023 is a genuine and conclusive exercise of our right of self-determination.
Fantasy politics and monumental entitlement is not going to get Alba Party into double figures never mind into elected office.
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