Scotland: why a new independence party?
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has announced that he plans to run in the Scottish parliamentary elections on 6 May with his own independence party, the Alba Party. Commentators disagree whether he is weakening Nicola Sturgeon's ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) or strengthening the independence movement as a whole.
A disservice to the cause
Salmond risks dividing the Scottish independence movement into two separate camps, The Independent warns:
“Launching Salmond's epic personal vendetta against Nicola Sturgeon as the main storyline of the election campaign is hardly going to benefit the wider nationalist cause. It is obvious from all that has happened this year that he sees her as his apprentice who has turned to the dark side: it is not a promising basis for a partnership in parliament to press the case for a second independence referendum. Salmond's return to frontline politics can only be a disaster for the cause of independence.”
Separatism now poses a serious risk
The pro-British parties in the Scottish Parliament should open their eyes and finally form an electoral alliance, The Daily Telegraph urges:
“The tragedy is that the parties which back maintenance of the United Kingdom regularly take votes off each other and allow the separatists to notch up victory after victory. ... If successful his candidates would combine with the SNP at Holyrood to form a nationalist majority, perhaps denying Nicola Sturgeon an overall majority with SNP seats. However, in spite of the venomous war of words continuing between the two, Salmond indicated that he and his MSPs would - if elected - back Sturgeon as First Minister as the 'only credible candidate.'”