IndyRef2: Expert on how Salmond 'complicates' independence case
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The entry of Alex Salmond’s Alba party into Scottish politics has “complicated” the case for independence. Ahead of Thursday’s crucial election, Nicola Sturgeon has been warned that her strategy for securing a second referendum could be undermined by her former party’s leader’s more radical visions. Dr Coree Brown Swan from Edinburgh Universities Centre on Constitutional Research said Salmond’s new pro-independence party had the potential to paint the SNP and wider ‘Yes’ movement as ‘extreme’ and scare away voters.
Dr Brown Swan told Express.co.uk: “I think it really does make things quite difficult for Nicola Sturgeon and for the broader ‘yes’ movement.
“Because she has focused on a very mediated process, a very cautious approach to independence.
“And then to have her former mentor now rival offering an alternative vision of independence one that wouldn’t necessarily require a referendum.
“It is going to be difficult for her not necessarily to maintain that quite a caution position but to counter arguments that the nationalist is quite extreme or quite fringe when you do have some of these more extreme actors involved.”
Dr Brown Swan also believes that “radicalism” championed by Mr Salmond has the potential to steal Nicola Sturgeon’s position as the leading voice on Scottish independence.
She told Express.co.uk: “So I do think it complicates the case for independence it makes it more difficult to say well there is a clear cut majority, there is a clear cut argument for independence, you have a single voice really making that case.
“You can imagine even if a referendum was agreed you would have the yes campaign, the official yes campaign, then you would also have all of these other voices which you did to a certain degree in 2014.
“You had radical independence, you had some different civil society actors engaging in this discussion but not with the same status or same stature, and perhaps with the same kind of radicalism as Alex Salmond might bring to the table.”
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Mr Salmond’s new party is fielding candidates in the regional lists at Thursday’s elections in Scotland.
The latest polling by Panelbase for the Sunday Times claims shows Alba on four percent with the party forecast to pick up three seats at Holyrood.
The former SNP leader has already outlined his hopes for a so-called “supermajority” in the Scottish Parliament.
Responding to the polls, Mr Salmond said: “An SNP regional list vote is a wasted vote across Scotland and they are set to win zero list seats on Thursday.
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“It is now vital to ensure a big Supermajority, with independence supporters giving the SNP their constituency vote but backing Alba on the list.
“Today’s polls show that the independence-supporting MSPs could potentially reach 80 or even more.”
Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to work with the movement in the past but has come under pressure in recent days to work with her predecessor.
Retiring SNP MSP, Gil Paterson has encouraged the First Minister to give “serious consideration” to working with other pro-independence parties after voters go to the polls on May 6.
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