THE deputy leader of the Alba Party has said it will target the SNP in May’s council elections, calling its policies authoritarian, harmful, and “fraudulent” over independence.
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said Alba would demand a renewed push for independence after it had been “abandoned by the SNP”.
Accusing Nicola Sturgeon’s party of stringing Yes supporters along with talk of a negotiated referendum that never comes because Boris Johnson refuses to grant it, he said “other routes must now be used”, including a national convention on independence.
The East Lothian MP also said Alba councillors would be more forceful in standing up for local government rather than SNP ones who had been silent and “submissive”.
Mr MacAskill, who defected from the SNP to Alex Salmond’s rival Yes party when it was launched last year, makes the comments in the new edition of the Scottish Left Review.
He mentions the SNP more than he does Alba in his 950-word article, which mentions the Tories only once, and Labour, the Greens and Liberal Democrats not at all.
After Alba failed to get any MSPs elected at last year’s Scottish election, it immediately turned its attention to the council vote in the hope of making a breakthrough.
However the council voting system is even harder to crack for a small party than Holyrood’s, meaning Alba must try to win over large numbers of SNP voters to stand a chance.
Mr MAcAskill said the elections would be “challenging” but also a “great opportunity for a still fledgling party”, which was now stronger and better organised that it was last year.
“As Alba strengthens, it is often at the expense of others, especially the SNP,” he said.
“Alba’s principal call will be for a galvanisation of the push for independence that has been abandoned by the SNP.
“A ‘neverendum’ was meant to be a pejorative remark from a unionist but has become the policy of the Scottish Government. Talk of a referendum in 2023 is fraudulent and not just fanciful. It’s why other routes must now be used.
“A national convention that should have been called after Johnson’s rejection at the polls in Scotland back in 2019 is now required more than ever.
“The local elections allow a platform for that call to be made and for a convention to encompass not just MPs and MSPs but also councillors. That convention can be the basis not simply to drive forward the push for independence but coordinate opposition to cuts and threats from a Government which Scotland has comprehensively rejected.”
He said Alba would challenge a Scottish Government which had “consciously taken action that is harmful and authoritarian”, citing gender reform, rail cuts, council cuts, a lack of deliver green jobs, and remote communities let down by problems with CalMac ferries.
He wrote: “Alba councillors will also reject the supine acceptance of Scottish Government diktat that has been the hallmark of most SNP administrations.
“Supporting a government is one thing but selling out your community quite another.
“Yet in cuts or the imposition of policies, SNP councillors and especially SNP councils have been marked by their silence and submissiveness.
“The people of Scotland are crying out for action. People are being hurt and the threat faced is severe. Alba goes into these elections with hope and optimism, seeking to galvanise the radical call for independence that ignited our country in 2014 and which has been allowed to dissipate. It’s that radical vision that’s required and it’s that – along with protecting sex-based rights and defending our communities – which Alba will articulate over coming months.”
The SNP was asked for comment.