by Colin Campbell
THE first poll on Alex Salmond’s Alba Party has found only three per cent of voters plan to support it. If that holds and given Salmond’s widespread unpopularity – another poll finding – then Alba will disappear like snow of a dyke.
At the weekend Salmond the slob raised the prospect of “street protests” arising from a refusal by Boris Johnson to grant permission for a legal referendum if independence supporting parties get a majority in the May elections.
Others who have joined them are proponents of “civil disorder”, most notably former SNP MP George Kerewan, who jumped ship from the SNP to Alba at the beginning of the week.
The concern was that if Salmond and his motley crew of extremists gained seats and influence at Holyrood they could pressurise Nicola Sturgeon into going down an extreme route in a bid to get independence.
Their failure barely to register in the latest poll ratings suggests that there will be no brandishing of claymores on the streets of Scotland in a mass insurrection, and maybe not even the throwing of a few rotten eggs.
The prospect of Sturgeon being re-elected First Minister is a grim one, but she is primarily committed to pursuing a legal referendum by securing a section 30 order from Westminster. And she won’t get one, regardless of the outcome of the election.
As the campaign gets underway she has joined the likes of Ian Blackford and Mike Russell in bullishly proclaiming that “if Scotland votes for a referendum that’s what it will get”.
But she’s been saying that at times when it has suited her to do so – principally election time – for the past six years and nothing has come of it.
She’s said she will hold an illegal referendum if necessary but that would be boycotted by more than half the population and would be meaningless. It would also be shunned as illegitimate by the EU. And Nicola Sturgeon knows that.
A week ago Salmond and Alba gave the forthcoming election an extra edge, an extremist edge. That has already been blunted by these poll findings.
If Alba flops then isn’t the likelihood that we are in for more of the same? A Westminster veto on indyref2, Sturgeon clueless as to what do about it, nationalists feuding among themselves over their inability to make progress, but most importantly streets which are free of demonstrations, disorder and anything close to it.
Amid the ranks of the face painters, grievance-mongers and English haters there will be disenchantment aplenty. But that’s their problem.
The pathetic three per cent support for Salmond’s Alba party gives reason for confidence that despite the current nationalist sound and fury, after May 6 it will at least partly fizzle away, and nothing much will change.