Politics Explained

What Alex Salmond’s political return means for Scottish independence – and for Nicola Sturgeon

Sean O’Grady explains why the first minister has reasons to be cheerful and fearful about the new Alba Party

<p>He appears to believe that Alba can offer a ‘Heineken Effect’ – reaching pro-independence voters that the SNP, under his leadership and that of Ms Sturgeon, cannot reach</p>

He appears to believe that Alba can offer a ‘Heineken Effect’ – reaching pro-independence voters that the SNP, under his leadership and that of Ms Sturgeon, cannot reach

On social media there’s a good deal of debate about the correct pronunciation of “Alba”, as in “Alba Party”. Alba, being the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, is not spoken as “AL-BA” but rather as (almost) “ALaBPA”, a softness and micro-gap between the two syllables.

Of course, given the personality of its de facto leader, the “Alba Party” should probably be more correctly called the “Alex Party”, because Alex Salmond, former leader of the SNP and now famously estranged from it, will no doubt dominate it. It is not quite a vehicle for his outsized ego, but there’s not that much room for anything else.

Apart from relaunching the political career of Mr Salmond, what is the Alba Party for? The party itself describes its aim as creating a “super majority” for Scottish independence in the Holyrood parliament after the elections on 6 May. Apart from that: “The party's strategic aims are clear and unambiguous – to achieve a successful, socially just and environmentally responsible independent country ... We intend to contribute policy ideas to assist Scotland’s economic recovery and to help build an independence platform to face the new political realities.”

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