by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Well, things don’t stand still in Scottish politics, do they? I suspect Alex Salmond may just have made up some minds as to where people could place their List vote.

Naturally, his decision is already causing a backlash, with many ardent SNP supporters insisting the SNP need every List vote they can get, but many of us know that the voting system is arranged in such a way that most votes for the SNP are wasted if they do well in the Constituency vote. Quite apart from whether you are one of those people who have reservations about voting for the party at all, this arithmetical handicap is what has caused other pro-Indy Parties to be formed. My main issue with the likes of AFI and ISP is that they neither had big names fronting them, nor did they have the financial resources to make the public more aware of them. While I have no knowledge of the financial resources of the Alba Party, the very fact that Salmond is fronting it should guarantee it air time.

Whether the Alba Party will help or hinder the Yes movement only time will tell. Yes, there is a definite danger that the existence of yet another pro-Indy Party could split the List vote and allow Unionists to gain seats. Equally, there is a chance that, with Salmond at the helm, it could hoover up a lot of votes which might otherwise have gone to the likes of the Greens.

Salmond is, of course, a divisive figure, and his very public falling out with Nicola Sturgeon has only helped harden attitudes towards him. Whatever your thoughts, though, he is a major figure in Scottish politics and, like him or loathe him, you cannot ignore him. I expect a lot of people in the SNP and Greens are already worrying about their prospects in May’s election.

One thought I cannot dispel, silly as it may seem, is that this gives the UK media a problem. Who will now be the main target of their attacks? Will their hatred of Alex Salmond mean that they deflect attention away from attacking Nicola Sturgeon? Or will they retain focus on the SNP and simply ignore Alex Salmond and the Alba Party? We shall see.

There’s never a dull moment, is there?