Tuesday 4 August 2020

Alliance for Unity

When I first discovered that George Galloway was coming back into Scottish politics my immediate reaction was delight. I’m a Conservative Brexiteer, but the reason I started writing about Scottish politics was to keep Britain united. I am willing to work with people who have different views from mine. I did this before in the years running up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. At this point working together was called Better Together. Now it is called Alliance for Unity. I prefer this title.

Do I agree with George Galloway or the other people involved in Alliance for Unity about everything? No, of course not. The aim is to attract people from across the political spectrum. It doesn’t matter if you are from the Left, the Right or the Centre. It doesn’t matter if you supported Leave or Remain. It only matters that you support Britain and oppose the SNP.

Over the past few months, it is with something like despair that I have been looking at the opposition in Scotland. To illustrate let’s look at the Twitter followers of politicians in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has 1.2 Million followers on Twitter

Douglas Ross has 17.9 thousand

Richard Leonard has 21.2 thousand

Willie Rennie has 24.8 thousand

George Galloway has 356 thousand.

Politics is about popularity and getting a message across. I have more followers than the Scottish Labour leader and the next Scottish Conservative leader. I have a little less than Willie Rennie. I’m no one. I have no party. I’m never in the papers. All I have is a website that costs me £20 pounds a year. If the Scottish opposition cannot do better than me there is something wrong.

George Galloway is a household name. He can compete with Sturgeon. He is a better debater and has a more interesting intellect. Sure, there might be aspects of his politics we disagree with, but on the issue that matters, keeping Britain united he will do a better job against Sturgeon than the present opposition and better also than anyone else I can think of.

Scotland used to have lots of first-rate politicians on the Left. There were people with Government experience, Prime Ministers, but these red flowers of the forest are all a' wede [withered] away. They are doing other things. They have retired or they have joined the SNP. 

The leader of any Alliance for Unity in Scottish politics has to come from the Left. We are attempting to attract former Labour voters back to where they belong.

Nationalism is always a fundamentally right-wing ideology, because it is opposed to the solidarity of the British people that has existed for centuries. Internationalism is not achieved by separation, it is achieved by sovereign nation states working together for the good of all. The SNP is best summed up by its former slogan “It’s Scotland’s oil”. It is an ideology grounded in selfishness. It is therefore an ideologically right-wing party dressed up in left-wing clothing. It betrays these origins today in its authoritarianism and its desire to criminalise dissenting viewpoints.

The Alliance for Unity is not going to stand in the constituency seats at the next Scottish Parliament election in May 2020. People who support the Alliance for Unity will be free to vote for their own party at the constituency level. It might be a good idea however to vote for the Pro UK party that has the best chance of winning where you live. Our task is to maximise the number of Pro UK MSPs in Holyrood to prevent the SNP having an overall majority which they could use to demand a second independence referendum.

The Alliance for Unity is only going to stand in the regional list seats. The way the Holyrood voting system works means that the more the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems win constituency seats the less chance they have of winning regional list seats. It therefore makes sense to have two different efforts. The first is to maximise the constituency vote for Labour, Conservatives and Libs Dems. The second is to maximise the Alliance for Unity vote in the regions.

The regional list seats are delivered according to the proportion of the vote each party gets in a region. For this reason, while the Alliance for Unity may cost the Scottish opposition parties seats in the regional list, it won’t lower the number of Pro UK MSPs, but could instead increase it significantly.

No one can predict how campaigns go. But we already knew that the Scottish opposition was going nowhere.

In my view the main benefit of Alliance for Unity is that it will put a rocket up the backsides of the opposition in Scotland.

Too many MSPs have nice cosy jobs in Holyrood, which require minimal work and minimal ability. What we are saying is you must improve. There is now competition.

The regional list system allows people to be become MSPs simply because they have served their time and done what they have been told. These people’s jobs are now under threat.

The departure of Jackson Carlaw, who was a major disappointment, may well have been due to the pressure that George Galloway and Alliance for Unity is putting on the political establishment. If so, that is a major result.

Scottish opposition parties can no longer take our votes for granted. I will still support the Conservative Party, but my support is not unconditional. I want a massive improvement in performance over the next year. The Scottish Conservatives must do much better or I will advise everyone to vote for Alliance for Unity with their second regional list vote.

I hope there will never be a second independence referendum. Our best chance of stopping it is to maximise the Pro UK vote next May. But if it became necessary to fight a second campaign to prevent the partition of Britain we would need to work together just as we did in 2014. We would then already have the basis for a united campaign with Alliance for Unity. It would not have to be started from scratch.

For these two reasons I would like to ask everyone to follow @Alliance4Unity

This is the beginning of a grass roots movement that is intended to shake up Scottish politics. Get involved. Add your voice to the debate. If you have concerns raise them. But let us accept that we cannot keep going as we have for the past few years.

The Scottish opposition at the moment is Cowdenbeath against Sturgeon’s Barcelona separatists. At least George Galloway and Alliance for Unity can compete.