About 30 mins before Alex Salmond was due to speak last week, we were raking around the Electoral Commission website (like cool people do) and came across a strange, new registration, “The Alba Party”, no website, only a holding twitter account with 0 followers and a registered address in a shared office space. Sadly, 30 minutes wasn’t quite enough time to land the biggest exclusive in ATF history and the nation had to wait for the absolute clusterfuck of a launch event to get the gossip.
It all started in a very 2021 style: “you’re on mute”, technical difficulties and everyone mispronouncing names (in this case, their own). It wasn’t long before it degenerated into all the bells and whistles batshittery we’d come to expect from the launch event for a conservative nationalist ego trip.
Esteemed guests, who were conveniently invited to “ask questions” of the Great Leader included disgraced former SNP member, Gareth “Grouse Beater” Wardell, who left the SNP following anti-semitism allegations, disgraced former SNP member, Denise Findlay, who, erm, also left the SNP following anti-semitism allegations, Barrhead Boy (who is more misnamed than disgraced, being neither a Barrhead resident nor someone for whom boyhood was a recent experience), and, of course, The Bath Based Bigot, failed libel claimant and massive VL, Stuart Campbell AKA Wings Over Scotland, who was taking a short break from his regular gig of obsessing over women and twinks on twitter, the website he’s been repeatedly banned from for hateful conduct. If anyone was in any doubt that Salmond intended to appeal to the most toxic and bigoted subsection of the independence movement, the guest list confirmed our worst fears.
Salmond claimed his new party would deliver a “Supermajority” for independence (a concept he’s just made up) by gaming the Holyrood list system to deny representation to people who don’t support independence. If I wanted to convince people that independence was centred on respect for democracy and human rights, I generally wouldn’t aim to wipe out the representatives of a view which half the fucking country subscribe to.
So who exactly are the Alba Party? Let’s run down some of the “key” figures taking a ride on the Salmond’s mouldy gravy train.
Yesterday’s man has spent the last several years doing everything within his power to try and make his own shoddy behaviour the responsibility of everyone else. So actually, fuck him, you know who Alex Salmond is, let’s talk about the women at the centre of all this.
Just imagine for a moment how those women must feel. To have put your head above, to have briefly felt the small power of ‘strength in numbers’. To have proceeded with a process that you knew would be truly terrible for your health, as reporting complaints of these nature always is, because you felt at least you might be able help others in future. To watch powerless as this shitshow unfolds at the hands of bad faith actors across the political spectrum, but particularly in your own party, who have ensured that it will be a long, long time before another woman comes forward with concerns about harassment in government. To have your private testimony leaked to the papers by one of the committee members meant to be impartially investigating the multitude of ways in which you were failed, and nobody even bats a fucking eyelid.
And now, to watch as the man whose own esteemed QC suggested was an “objectionable bully” and a “sex pest” come out of retirement to seek a triumphant return to parliament, backed by the shrieking twitter demons who’ve been committed to crass (and totally illegal) nudge-nudge wink-wink attempts at throwing out jigsaw identification titbits about you all year while maintaining their very shaky grasp on reality when it comes to what ‘not guilty’ actually does and does not mean in a court of law. Short answer: failure of the crown to convince a jury (comprised of Humans in a Society) of something beyond reasonable doubt does not mean complainers lied, and if you’ve never had to go through the excruciatingly difficult process of seeking and usually never being able to access justice when reporting issues like these, kindly shut the fuck up forever. In completely unrelated news, there was an extensive study of Scottish juries attitudes in mock rape trials published this week that makes for illuminating reading, but I digress.
If Alex Salmond had any interest in the independence movement, he’d stay the fuck away from it, forever.
Kenny MacAskill. Kenny MacAskill.
In recent years, MacAskill has become an embarrassing shadow of his not-even-that-great-to-begin-with former self, and when he wasn’t writing about how “our racists are better than yours” or contributing to hate site, Wings Over Scotland, he was usually slagging the SNP. It comes as a shock to no one that he’s now joined Alba, although his beleaguered constituents may feel a little put out, given they voted for him as their SNP representative less than 2 years ago.
Not that we were in any doubt where Alba was heading, MacAskill confirmed they’d put some “clear blue water” between themselves and the SNP (an appropriate colour for massive fucking Tories) by being transphobic. There’s only so many times you can go on about “women’s rights” when you’re led by Alex Salmond, and by so many, I mean absolutely never.
Hanvey is a classic example of what happens when you ignore all the warning signs that someone is an obvious baddie. Prior to his election, Hanvey was engaged in batshit conspiracy theories about paedophiles infiltrating the LBGT movement, shared the blatant lie that murderer Ian Huntley was now a trans woman and associated himself with the hate group, the LGB Alliance.
Of course, nothing was done. When anti-semitic posts were found on his Facebook, the SNP suddenly had to pretend to care about bigotry and suspended Hanvey before he was even elected.
They subsequently/daftly allowed him to rejoin the party, only for him to then lose his frontbench position when he contributed to a crowdfunder which was aiming to sue the SNP’s former Deputy Westminster Leader, Kirsty Blackman. The crowdfunder and associated threats from the anti trans army behind it came to absolutely nothing, as is often the case when gullible bigots are encourage to part with money online.
Having missed multiple opportunities to rid themselves of Hanvey, the SNP look even dafter than him for allowing him to leave on his own terms. His chances of being elected for Alba are less than zero, given he’s not even top of their regional list but he’ll be able to continue as an MP and coin in a salary until he’s kicked out by his constituents at the next opportunity. Don’t let the door hit your arse, m8.
Perhaps the least surprising defection was former Tory, Labour and SNP politician, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. After failing vetting to be an SNP candidate, being fined £3,000 for professional misconduct and going to work with Salmond on Russian State Broadcasting, it’s little surprise she’s again jumped ship.
While the status of beef on the bone is unlikely to be a major election issue this time round, our long established beef with Tory Tasmina, who once described Salmond as “hopelessly out of his depth” and “utterly naive”, rages on.
Chris “Don’t Call Me Chris” McEleny is one of those twitter characters who you always hoped would one day be revealed to be an elaborate prank. The former MOD employee has only been spared being Weekly Wanker in his own right by the fact I still refuse to believe he’s real. Like many of the anti-trans brigade, he spends a lot of time boiling his piss about “women’s rights”, an odd choice for a man who’s consistently refusing to support bodily autonomy when it comes to abortion rights or, indeed, women’s right to marry each other.
The number of embarrassing incidents involving Chris could fill tomes but we particularly enjoyed that time he photoshopped himself over a picture of Alex Kerr and the time he pretended to get offended by being called Chris despite this being the form his name appears in on the council website, in his byline in The National and when he’s writing articles for the bigotfest blog, Wings Over Scotland.
Alex Arthur MBE
Billed as a “big hitter” for Alba, former boxer, Arthur was on the ropes before the opening bell as tweets revealed his anti-vax views and disgust at “them Romanian beggars“. Arthur had previously insisted he didn’t need the jab due to not being “fat”. No sooner was the “I’m not a racist, soz if you got offended” non-apology released than It Was Exposed (by someone who may or may not have been me), that he’d liked a tweet which simply read “Fuck Gypsys”. While Arthur insisted in his initial apology that he didn’t have a spin doctor, it would take more than spin to cover for his support for explicit racism. Nothing says “taking on the establishment” quite like having an MBE as a candidate.
While he looked set to claim the golden gloves for the quickest announcement to apology in Scottish political history, he was quickly knocked out by fellow Alba candidate, Dr Jim Walker, who was no sooner announced as a candidate than he was apologising for a tweet sent but days earlier calling Nicola Sturgeon a cow.
If you’re not familiar with Lynne Anderson, it’s possibly because you’re queer so she’ll have had you blocked on her now deleted Twitter account. Like many in Alba, Lynne has spent the last several years engaged in obsessive anti-trans campaigning, attending the launch of hate group, LGB Alliance and signing pledges aimed at rolling back already existing rights for trans people.
Despite being elected to a position as SNP Equalities Convenor a few months back, Lynne is now off to “Defend Women’s Rights” by palling about with an “objectionable bully” (c) His Own Defence, who once popped up in Westminster solely to vote to restrict access to abortion and once suggested abortion law should be devolved to allow it to be further restricted.
Over the weekend, it was revealed the Met are looking into an allegation of fraud involving Anderson. Since we don’t fancy doing a Craig Murray and ending up at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, we’ll not be commenting further on that.
And speaking of Craig Murray, he’s not the only convict to endorse Salmond’s new outfit. What “progressive” party which totally cares about women would be complete without the disgraced perjurer who used the legal system to falsely brand the women he’d had sex with liars and scabs before ending up in jail for talking absolute pish in court? And what ATF article would be complete without his inclusion?
Despite “retiring” following his defeat in 2016, Tommy Sheridan had initially intended to stand for Action For Independence, a group made up of his family, people who hold buckets for him at rallies and Craig Murray. I guess it’s always good to have someone with experience of lying in court on your side.
So there we have it, an array of all the absolute worst bigots, cranks, grifters and all round bad apples, led by a man who simply can’t leave the people and movement he’s damaged in peace. The potential for reactionary nationalists to gain Parliamentary representation should concern those of us who actually believed in the Scotland we fought to build in 2014. But it’s all been heading this way for a long time. There’s an irony that the exact people who demanded we “WAIT FOR INDY” before mentioning equality and human rights are incapable of waiting for indy before attempting to resuscitate the career of an egomaniac. We shouldn’t underestimate the threat posed by Alba but we’re not about to duck from the same fight we’ve been fighting since forever.
If any bully can lead those opposed to abortion but not so opposed to racism, transphobia and anti-vax nonsense, if any egomaniac can unite not just those who commit perjury but also those who commit contempt of court, it’s Alex Salmond. You have to give him that. Salmond has now done more to rid the SNP of downright fucking dangers than years of humming and hawwing from the Sturgeon camp ever did. This creates an opportunity, for those inside and outside the SNP, to make sure we never repeat these mistakes, again, and then again, and then some more, like we always seem to.
There’s been much analysis of the “Sturgeon-Salmond Saga” which either misses the point or deliberately obscures it. There are, no doubt, more fundamental issues inside the SNP but this isn’t merely a personal grudge. Salmond has become the latest totem for a growing movement of conservative, reactionary nationalists to shout angrily behind. Whether it’s about minor administrative changes to the way Gender Recognition Certificates are obtained or a tidying up exercise around hate crime laws, the growing rage of angry men (MacWhirter, McKenna etc) over absolutely nothing is palpable. The Alba Party represent the decaying politics of Redneck Clydeside that we’ve all known and hated since the day we were born.
Far from being any kind of assistance to the independence movement, the express desire of the Alba Party to game Holyrood’s electoral system could totally undermine the credibility of a pro-independence Parliament. And I hate to be *that guy* but we’re actually electing people to run the country, not swing their dicks about a Section 30.
Independence was never a shortcut to a better society, it’s simply a road which doesn’t lead in the exact opposite direction, as the UK does and will continue to do. Eventually, the raging angry men who hate the “woke” youth, gays, women and particularly trans people were going to go part ways with…the youth, the gays, the women and particularly trans people. This is, ironically, what a normal independent country looks like.
Who knows whether the Alba Party will last beyond May but the fight for a better country never stops. We need to be ready for whatever the array of roasters currently rallying to the standard of Alex Salmond throw at us next. “Now Is The Time”, exclaims their website – but it’s time to leave Scotland’s past firmly where it belongs and build a future free from the wankers who’ve held us back. Whether those wankers wave saltires or union jacks, their time is up.
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AThousandFlowers
Follow us on Twitter @unsavourycabal