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By Denise Findlay

THE SPIRIT OF 2014! Who can forget that summer of hope, alive with the possibility of a new nation being born? The world waited to welcome us, and when we went to the polls on the 18 September we held Scotland’s future in our hands.

If only we had seen that future; Boris Johnston in 10 Downing Street, our European citizenship gone, our parliament’s powers removed. We could have chosen a different and better path.

It’s been more than six weary years as we have struggled, becoming disillusioned, hope dying with every postponement, with every dull ‘just one more mandate’ and every election campaign which features everything but independence. The politicians exhorting us not to scare the ‘soft Nos.’  Although ‘soft Nos’ will probably not vote Yes and we have a large working class independence vote; talk to them, enthuse them, they are our route to independence.

We could have chosen a different and better path.

The ‘party of independence’ has become far too comfortable with the status quo. We have a shadow Secretary of State for Wales and for Northern Ireland, an independence party indulging in colonial overseers’ posts. There are independence MPs boasting of their decades in Westminster clearly proud of their decades of failure. Within the party there has been vicious infighting and othering of anyone who doesn’t toe the party line. And divisive policies that no one wants but a cabal around the leader — anything but independence.

And we are giving our opponents their best lines; ‘section 30 gold standard;’ ‘illegal referendum,’ ‘gaming the system;’ ‘only an SNP majority.’ We don’t really have a strategy for independence beyond, in a few years begging Boris Johnston for a section 30, which he will certainly refuse.

On Friday 26 March 2021 the Alba Party was born. Led by Alex Salmond, the man who brought us so close in 2014. The purpose of the Alba Party is independence for Scotland, and its first goal is to secure an independence ‘supermajority’ in the upcoming Scottish parliament elections.

Alba will not compete with the SNP for the constituency vote. Alba will only stand for the regional list MSPs.

It should be obvious that we must use every avenue at our disposal to win independence. One such avenue is the Additional Member System (AMS) used to elect MSPs to the Scottish parliament. There are two ballot papers. The first is to elect a constituency MSP. There are seventy-three constituencies in Scotland. This is a first past the post vote and the SNP are predicted to win nearly all of these constituencies.

An SNP regional list vote is to all intents a wasted vote. This is due to the SNP vote being divided in most regions by ten.

The second ballot paper is to elect regional list MSPs on this ballot and the vote is for the party. There are eight regions electing seven MSPs each.

The constituency MSPs are elected first and once all constituencies are decided the regional list MSPs are elected. Any party which wins constituencies is handicapped in the regional list count.

An SNP vote on the regional list ballot — on current polling — is very unlikely to return any SNP MSPs, as was the case in six out of eight regions in 2016. An SNP regional list vote is to all intents a wasted vote. This is due to the SNP vote being divided in most regions by ten.

So, an SNP vote will be worth only a tenth of an Alba vote. It would take 100,000 SNP votes to match 10,000 Alba votes.

The regional list is where the unionists get most of their MSPs and this is where Alba will step in and win these seats from the unionists. The full-strength Alba votes on the list will replace unionist MSPs with pro-independence MSPs and provide an independence supermajority in the Scottish parliament. A supermajority is eighty-six pro-independence MSPs — a two thirds majority.

A supermajority means that an independence plebiscite can be called at any time by the Scottish parliament. A supermajority is important internationally if the Scottish parliament decided to declare independence.  A supermajority puts the cards in the hands of the Scottish parliament to face down the oncoming Westminster onslaught on our parliament’s powers.

There were two other pro-independence parties intending to compete on the regional list; Action for Independence and the Independence for Scotland Party. They had both been working for over a year and had announced candidates for the election. Both parties stood down so that the independence movement could unite behind Alba. The members of these parties made huge personal sacrifices and put country before party — and this must not be in vain.

The next parliament has a five-year term. If we chose wisely, Scotland is likely to be independent within those five years. Miss this chance and Scotland will be consigned to the shallows; a union jack bedecked ‘North Britain’ run by Tories for generations to come.

So, let us unite for independence!

Remember the hope of 2014; the vibrancy and diversity of the movement, the comradeship, the women singing ‘Flower of Scotland’ as they pushed their bairns in buggies to the polls. We let them down then, but now we can seize this opportunity.

Vote SNP for your constituency MSP and vote Alba for your regional list MSPs. And put Scotland’s future back in Scotland’s hands.

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2014 Scottish Independence Referendum | George Square


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15 thoughts on “The Spirit of 2014

  1. All the arguments clearly and carefully laid out … but how many folk will work their way through them … how many will bother to get their heids around how it all works?
    Hopefully enough will, and as you say hope is what this is all about, and Alba brings much needed cause for hope at what is probably a critical time. So Go For It Scotland while the opportunity lasts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember vividly the atmosphere in Edinburgh on the day of the vote. Thousands of people wandering through the streets waving saltires and wearing happy smiles. There was a real sense that something was about to change. And then it did. In the next days unionist thugs ran riot in Glasgow as the cops looked on. This already was the future.

    Last Saturday I wrote a piece at my blog (which is predominantly about climbing mountains) similar to the argument above. I felt I was stating facts and placing the current situation within a sensible historical context. I emphasised the logic of the voting system and the cooperation that would be required among independence supporters in order to game it, suggesting that here is an opportunity to use it to our advantage.

    I have never had so much traffic at my blog. At the time of writing this, the post has been read nearly 800 times. Most reactions have been positive and encouraging. I have also sought rebuttals from critics and challenged supporters of the SNP alone to tell me what is wrong with the logic. So far I have received only one lengthy response at the blog that completely misses the point – reiterating accusations against ALBA members and defending the status quo coalition of SNP/Green.

    Clearly there is a great deal of work to be done. There are many delusional tropes still flying about the newsfeed obfuscating and deflecting attention from the obvious logic of the system – that voting ALBA will split the independence vote, that the leader of ALBA is only interested in power and worse. Some of these are undoubtedly whipped up by unionist agents and trolls sewing confusing, but that some are perpetuated by the SNP leadership is truly depressing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You traffic would be higher Duncan if people could sign up to follow you, I use the same email addy I have had since 1995, I use it on all the bloggers sites yet all I get when I try signing up to your blood is..” Your subscription did not succeed, please try again with a valid email address.” I even tried with another email I use at times for friends. Same thing.. I did however enjoy your blood on It’s shite being Scottish.. via a link from another blogger..

      Like

    2. I am sorry to hear this. You could email me at dncnspnc at gmail dot com with your email address so I can invite you. Others have recently been able to sign up to follow he blog so I am a bit confused as to why you cannot.

      Like

  3. “The next parliament has a five-year term. If we chose wisely, Scotland is likely to be independent within those five years.” Not if Nicola Sturgeon has her way. She has declared that she intends to be First Minister for the next five years, and she hasn’t made up her mind about standing for the next five years. She plans to kick independence into the ether!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. over the past few years, I knew we were being taken on a journey chasing the end of a rainbow being treated as fools as servile semi illiterates by a party that morphed into a party lured by the establishment and the riches that are gifted to those elected to serve the people of Scotland we warned them not to get too comfortable and to avoid the lure of the trough but many who are weak of character void of principle share that trough with the enemies of Scotland now we have great hope as I have joined the @AlbaParty with my activist comrades, men and women and together we will free Scotland from Tory Gangster elitists who are determined to destroy any hope our children have of identifying themselves as Scots in a free and prosperous country.

    Liked by 1 person

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