Labour would have the most to lose if Salmond’s campaign for a pro-independence supermajority is successful.

What will the Alba party mean for Scotland’s May elections? It’s hard to say whether Alex Salmond’s attempt at delivering a pro-independence “supermajority” at Holyrood will yield much; in part, because we don’t yet have significant polling data aside from an early survey from Survation; in part, too because the upcoming campaign could have an impact.

What we do know is how popular Alba need to be with the Scottish public before they start winning seats, and before they start boosting the number of pro-independence voices in parliament.

[See also: What’s the point of Alex Salmond’s new Alba party?]

So, for the uninitiated: here’s the detail. Scottish voters will have two votes at Holyrood elections in May. The first is a traditional First Past The Post (FPTP) constituency vote, which is for a candidate; and the second is a regional list vote, which is for a party. This list vote adds an element of proportionality to the final make-up of the parliament. It is used to top up the total number of MSPs with additional, regional members.

The SNP are forecast to win an overwhelming majority of the constituencies. If Scottish parliament elections were exclusively conducted with the FPTP system as it stands in general elections, then the SNP would be winning by a landslide. But they aren’t. The proportional “balancing act” almost excludes the SNP from winning any extra list seats. Why? Because the algorithm determines that they have already won their “fair share” (and then some) of seats through their domination of the constituency ballot. Those SNP list votes are, in effect, wasted.

The Alba party are presenting themselves as the antidote to these wasted pro-independence voters, urging those of a sympathetic mind to go SNP#1 (ie in their constituency vote), and Alba#2 (ie on the list). In the New Statesman’s current modelling, if every SNP voter did vote for Alba on the list vote, then the party balance in Holyrood would look dramatically different to the current forecast.

If all forecast SNP list voters switch to Alba, pro-independence parties would win 74% of the Holyrood seats

Composition of the Holyrood parliament

The likelihood of this happening though is almost certainly nil. Nicola Sturgeon came out swinging upon hearing her former colleague’s return to frontline politics, making a thinly veiled attack on “self-interested” male politicians. Sturgeon is still a very popular figure in Scottish politics. 

But Alba …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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How big a threat is Alex Salmond’s Alba Party?

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