THERE’S no doubt that the new Alba Party could be in contention for seats at this year’s Holyrood elections – the candidate list is diverse and it has an established brand in its founder.

If public support levels are around the 6% mark across the country, that national vote could be enough to scrape one or maybe even two list seats in Holyrood. And the Right Honourable Alex Salmond will be the likeliest of all the Alba Party candidates to be elected as an MSP for session 2021-26. This would certainly have an immediate, if not long-lasting effect on the present composition of the Scottish independence movement.

If the Alba Party experiment achieves this small level of success and Mr Salmond arrives back triumphantly on the frontline of Scottish politics, bringing with him all the baggage of previous years, there could be unintended consequences. Some of those Scots who made the journey from No to Yes over the last few years could creep back to their default political position. Alex has always been a Marmite character, as he himself would agree.

While this is one of my main worries about the upcoming election, however, it’s not the most troubling.

In the event that Holyrood’s D’Hondt arithmetic delivers Alba’s “independence supermajority”, Alex Salmond MSP will no doubt be given plenty of air time to talk at length on the subject of supermajorities – the Alba Party raison d’être – and the inevitability of a British Government being forced to capitulate and so grant a Section 30 order because of the very existence of one.

The problem will not be WILL the British Government grant a Section 30, but that it will have been handed ammunition for its muskets to demand that any future constitutional change must be on the same condition – that there is a “supermajority” in any referendum result. If a supermajority is good for the goose ... and all that.

Therein lies the very swift path to status quo and constitutional political wrangling, not just for 300 years but for forever-and-a-day. Cllr Chris McEleny, Angus MacNeil MP et al, although their hearts may be in the right place and all that, will have found their elusive “Plan B”. And they will have found it in the hardest possible way.

READ MORE: AFI leaders work out next move after Alex Salmond leads Alba 'takeover'

If some of the SNP faithful vote “BOTH VOTES SNP” and others do not, the Alba Party could still fall short significantly and other list parties could gain seats at the expense of the Scottish National Party and Scottish Greens. If the faithful, however, or a large portion of it, back Alba on the regional vote, there could be a supermajority in the form that party “suggests” – but both of these unpredictable scenarios are equally alarming. Be careful which supermajority you wish for.

I would not be so bold as to instruct any of the party faithful about which way they should vote – be it “Both Votes SNP” or otherwise. But personally, and after a lot of thought, I will be staying on the present path and not gambling my grandchildren’s almost tangible new future on any form of pop-up political party.

I’ve lost count of the number of Derby retreats the people of Scotland have witnessed over the years. But that’s just me. What say you?

Mark Saunders
Port Glasgow

FURTHER to the debate on how to maximise the pro-independence vote, it is disappointing SNP has not embraced the smaller pro-independence parties that hope to gain votes through the list vote, specially as two of those smaller parties have thrown their lot in with Alba Party. The May election is not, to my mind, about who will govern Scotland next term, but it is about registering the maximum possible number of independence-supporting votes. List votes for the smaller pro-independence parties do not threaten the SNP position in government, rather they strengthen the independence platform of SNP and further that cause.

Peter Barr
via email