Commentators on Scottish politics have tribal allegiances, just like the rest of us. They tend to be very dismissive of any new parties threatening to muscle in on the comfortable three-party opposition at Holyrood.
They cling to the dream that their preferred leader, Douglas Ross or Richard Leonard, is going to lead the long-awaited recovery in the Conservative or Labour vote and sweep the Nationalists from power, or that Willie Rennie will become kingmaker in any coalition.
All three parties and their cheerleaders are stuck in the pre-devolution politics, like households that have failed to change from analogue to digital. They are ignoring the Nationalist elephant in the room.
In May 2021, the legacy parties are once again set to split over 50% of the vote three ways, losing to the minority SNP by failing to embrace coalition BEFORE the election, despite polling by Scotland Matters and others that indicates the electorate is ready to ignore the old partisan approach to voting and cast their votes tactically, in support of an anti-separatist coalition.
At the other end of the spectrum are smaller parties that view proportional representation (the list vote) as an opportunity to further their (usually single issue) ambitions.
The toxic nature of Scottish politics, coupled with disenchantment with main parties that have allowed extreme nationalism to fester, leads them to believe that there is a constituency of angry people out there who will give them their protest vote.
There are at least two parties with a manifesto commitment to abolish the Scottish Parliament as well as parties that are anti-lockdown or pro- or anti-Brexit and therefore, hoping to gain from unresolved issues with Europe or COVID. Even Nigel Farage has claimed he wants to enter the fray. However, in the hope of gaining exposure for their causes they all risk diluting the pro-Union vote.
Some commentators have tried to lump Alliance for Unity in with these small parties. Party spin doctors have fed tame journalists false narratives that we are at best ‘unlikely to win many votes’ and at worst ‘only likely to split the vote further.’
It would be a mistake to believe them.
Alliance for Unity is a broad grassroots movement that transcends party politics. We seek to work with all other parties that reject separatism and will recommend voters to give their first votes to other parties and actively campaign for the Labour, Liberal or Tory candidates most likely to win in constituencies.
Our growing appeal is that we unite people from all political traditions in Scotland: one-nation Tories pragmatic enough to acknowledge that the defence of the Union is not safe in the hands of a Scottish Conservative Party that is only polling at around 20%; Labour voters who reject the fake socialism of the Nationalists, whose record on health and education has let down the poorest in society; Liberals appalled by an increasingly authoritarian SNP; Green voters who see through the far-left extremism of the Scottish Green Party.
We will encourage a plurality of views in the Parliament by running candidates with diverse political backgrounds on the lists, including some who wish to see Holyrood reformed or even abolished.
We are already building our coalition and have already received pledges of support from smaller parties, such as the Scottish Unionist Party, the Workers’ Party and Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party. Each of these parties understands that, in order to have any chance of promoting their own views in a coalition government, it is vital first to defeat the SNP and install a government of national unity.
The vote-splitting argument rests on the erroneous assumption that turnout is finite. The low turnout at recent Holyrood elections has allowed the SNP to form a government on a minority share of the vote. The Alliance for Unity, with our striker George Galloway spearheading the attack, can energise voters who feel alienated by the traditional parties and win votes that were not otherwise going to be cast.
May’s election truly will be the Battle for Britain – hence the Spitfire roundel symbol of the Alliance for Unity movement. A victory for the SNP and their thinly disguised ‘gardening section’, the Scottish Green Party, would be a disaster for Scotland.
Either they would bounce the government into a deeply damaging independence referendum while the economy is in recession, or they would continue the damaging ‘neverendum’ that holds Scotland’s economy back and stifles job creation, all while tightening their grip on Scotland’s institutions and media beyond the point of no return towards a one-party state.
We face a binary choice in May, between maintaining the Unity of the United Kingdom or facing the partition of Great Britain and of Scotland. We all need to accept that our own particular brand of politics needs to be subordinated to a greater cause for now. That is why all parties should put Scotland before party and work with the Alliance for Unity.
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