New parties push strategy over popularity in election bid

Alex Salmond and George Galloway are both fronting parties vying for seats in the Scottish Parliament.

New parties push strategy over popularity in election bid PA Media
The Alba Party launched in March.

Two of Scotland’s new high-profile political parties have emphasised strategy over popularity in their push for success.

The Alba Party, led by former first minister Alex Salmond, has urged independence supporters to back it with their list votes instead of the SNP.

Controversial figure George Galloway and his All for Unity party has urged unionists to unite and stop a second independence referendum.

A section of the All for Unity website breaks down each constituency in Scotland, instructing voters to cast their ballot for them in the regional list, while supporting the closest unionist challenger in each local constituency.

The campaigns are certainly the most high-profile attempts at tactical voting the Scottish Parliament has seen since devolution.

Since its launch in March, Alba’s polling has been inconsistent, with projections ranging from no seats for the party to a Panelbase poll last week which suggested it could claim as many as eight – a move which would also deprive the SNP of an overall majority in Holyrood.

All for Unity’s position, meanwhile, has barely featured in polling data at all, with just three studies including Galloway’s party since the beginning of the campaign and only one of them projecting it to take a single seat in Holyrood.

Meanwhile, two of Scotland’s most prominent campaigners are also seeking a seat in Holyrood as independents.

Andy Wightman served as a Scottish Green MSP until earlier this year when he left the party over what he said was a lack of debate around trans rights.

He is seeking re-election on the Highlands and Islands list, as opposed to his previous seat in Lothian, and managed to raise £10,000 for his campaign through a crowdfunder.

Meanwhile, drugs campaigner Peter Krykant is running in the Falkirk East constituency currently held by the retiring SNP MSP Angus MacDonald.

Krykant came to prominence when he began operating a mobile safe consumption room in Glasgow to tackle overdoses and drug deaths.

A safe consumption room was initially mooted in Glasgow, but was blocked by the Home Office from receiving a legal exemption.

This week’s election also sees the usual smaller parties targeting a seat, with Ukip, the Communist Party of Britain, Reform UK, the Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party and the Scottish Family Party all vying for votes.