ALBA are the party who know how to progress Scottish independence
AT the weekend Alba Party held a major Yes event in Edinburgh that saw hundreds gather to learn more about our way forward for independence.
The event came hot on the heels of two important polls that were revealed exclusively in The National.
The first of which showed us that an overwhelming majority of Scots back Alba Party Holyrood leader Ash Regan’s proposal for a referendum on the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
This week Ash will raise the matter in the Parliament and we will finally understand more on whether or not the Scottish Government will support the proposal.
It is clear that an overwhelming majority of the Scottish public would back the Parliament having the powers to negotiate and legislate for Scottish independence so I would be very confident we would secure a Yes vote in a referendum that asked the people the question.
Therefore I cannot think of a single reason as to why the Scottish Government wouldn’t back a plan that would take Scotland’s future back into Scotland’s hands.
Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government should now embrace the proposal to hold a referendum on the powers of the parliament.
Ash had set the plan out for them, Alba Party have shown them that it has the backing of the people of Scotland, so they should now help deliver the referendum by giving it their backing.
We know that Westminster will continue to say “no” to agreeing to a referendum so it’s time to stop relying on the UK Government to progress the case for independence – we must use our own Parliament to take Scotland forward to independence.
This is the sort of plan that can bring together a majority for pro-independence parties at the ballot box. But as we also saw over the weekend, there is now a growing gap between plummeting support for the SNP and continued high support for independence – with the second poll for The National showing independence on 52% whilst polling for the times showing the SNP trailing Labour ahead of the General Election.
The SNP’s election message of “Stop the Tories” takes the national movement back 40 years. The last time the SNP fought a General Election on that limited platform was the year after I was born in 1987.
And without putting forward popular policies and a coherent strategy to deliver independence the SNP will find themselves back in the political doldrums of the 1980s.
But with independence support riding high while backing for the SNP is spiralling downwards, the independence movement won’t accept moving backwards. The SNP are devoid of strategy and they are completely clueless on how to achieve independence.
At the weekend Alba Party charted our way forward at the Yes event in Edinburgh. Now that the SNP have rejected a Scotland United approach to the election, we will be fielding candidates calling for an election mandate for independence and backing Ash Regan’s bill for a referendum on the powers of the Parliament to include independence.
It is these initiatives, overwhelmingly supported by members of the independence movement, which can take Scotland’s future back into Scotland’s hands and will be the Alba independence strategy right through to the Scottish elections in 2026.
I was also delighted that we were joined by my old “Plan B” colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil in Edinburgh. He is clearly the best independence candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar and should be backed by the entire Yes movement to hold the Western Isles for the independence cause.
This seemed to be obvious to those of the Yes movement gathering in Edinburgh at the weekend. Angus made a keynote speech at the event and received a hero’s welcome from the 250-strong crowd.
Alex Salmond also re-confirmed that Alba as a party would back MacNeil’s candidacy in the islands at the General Election and called on the entire Yes movement to get behind the independent nationalist MP.
MacNeil has been a fine parliamentarian and resolutely defends the interests of the Hebrides without fear or favour. He was also one of the first to recognise the need for a fresh strategy on independence. And like me he wasn’t scared to stand up and say so against a “flock of sheep” that thought otherwise. The SNP would be well advised to get behind him in the islands rather than hand Labour another seat.
For the Yes movement it should be a no-brainer.
Either a real independence supporter representing the islands or a Unionist Labour politician. We should all get behind Angus as a Yes movement candidate standing on an independence mandate.
Angus also highlighted on Saturday that all the political ideas in the independence movement are coming from Alba and the wider Yes movement. We have to look beyond the current troubles of the SNP and make the case for independence in a positive, fearless and forthright manner.
And he is better placed than most (geographically) to see that Scotland is tired of the SNP’s lack of ambition as he looks for inspiration to the arc of prosperity surrounding Scotland, in independent Ireland to the west, independent Iceland to our north and independent Norway to our east.