Ash Regan’s defection was a major boost for Alba and another blow to a beleaguered SNP. It met with a churlish response from the First Minister who can be cut some slack given pressures he’s under with family in the Gaza hell. But he’ll need to be careful that his image of bonhomie isn’t seen as just a cover for a far nastier side.
Ash Regan after all once serving as a Minister along with him but resigning on principle over women’s rights and the Gender Recognition Bill. A sharp contrast to Humza Yousaf’s past contortions over same sex marriage.
Others both councillors and rank and file members are joining Ash Regan in making the move. Adding to that in Westminster myself and my party colleague Neale Hanvey will be working under a Scotland United banner along with the former SNP and now Independent Nationalist MP Angus McNeill. That’s something that may well be replicated in other forums.
SNP leadership will continue to mock and sneer. But they’ve been doing routinely to not just Alba but the wider Independence movement. “Wheesht”, “It’s not the time”, “Nicola has a cunning plan” were all parroted and support for the wider movements activities whether marches or demonstrations treated with open contempt.
The offer of a Scotland United front to drive forward the constitutional issue rejected out of hand by SNP leadership. Ironically, it was the one thing that could have saved many of them from a coming rout. But it’s been this way for recent years under New SNP.
It’s why Alba was formed as an alternative to a Party where internal democracy has been stifled and probity was increasingly being questioned and not just be police and prosecution authorities. Just as importantly Independence increasingly side-lined, even damaged by the SNP through strategic failures never mind increasing incompetence in office.
Early portends weren’t good for Alba with no breakthrough in 2021 and it’s been a long hard slog since. But the idea was right and remains so. The timing though just wasn’t right with the backdrop of Covid overshadowing everything. Added to that the SNP leadership openly conspiring against it.
Yet Scotland and the Independence Movement would be in a better position with a Scottish Parliament with an Independence Super-majority rather than an SNP/Green administration. Recent comments by a Green Minister showing they’re more interested in ministerial office than Scotland’s plight. The Bute House deal brokered by Sturgeon was all to do with her predilection for gender/ID policies and nothing to do with delivering constitutional change. SNP members were conned by her and now many of them realise it. She’s gone but there’s a continuation of the same policies not a return to the old-time religion.
As I said at the Alba conference, I was persuaded to join the SNP in the early 1980’s by Alex Salmond. Old SNP then having just 2 MPs; a handful of councillors and a small but committed activist base. Even a Scottish Parliament but a distant dream. Labour in Scotland seemed omnipotent. But I was persuaded it could be changed and it was. In 2014 the dream was nearly realised, now we go again.
Alba’s in a stronger position than SNP was then. Party’s are transitory, causes are eternal. Change is coming and Alba’s on the rise.