AS ALEX Salmond’s defence QC put it in his summing up on the former First Minister’s legal trial final 12 months, “There’s one thing that doesn’t odor proper in the entire thing”.
There’s a doubtful whiff coming off Mr Salmond’s Alba Celebration too.
For an outfit which professes to be about securing independence, it appears to be going about it in an odd means.
As a substitute of attempting to transform wavering No voters or entice disaffected Remainers, its pitch has been very a lot to the already persuaded.
Slightly than attempt to construct assist for independence with a broad attraction to the nation, it has revelled in course of, jargon and Nationalist touchstones just like the Declaration of Arbroath.
This can be a celebration attempting to carve out an area for itself deep contained in the Sure motion, not increase it.
It takes it as learn that the nation desires independence, it simply lacks the means to get there.
After all, you possibly can put this down as a vital part for such a celebration.
First get your self identified, then get elected, then construct on that.
However its acknowledged intention can also be a right away push for independence.
Mr Salmond stated negotiations with London ought to begin in “week one” of the subsequent parliament.
But Alba’s slender, internally-focused strategy is unlikely to enhance assist for independence.
It’s going to have received over few if any converts, and should effectively have dissuaded extra comfortable Sure voters to assume twice.
The curious odor hovering over the enterprise received stronger on Tuesday as Mr Salmond held a marketing campaign occasion.
From the outset, the previous SNP chief has stated the intention of Alba is to get a “supermajority” of pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood in Might.
The mixed complete of SNP, Inexperienced and Alba members might hit 80 or 90, he reckons, piling strain on Boris Johnson to concede Indyref2.
Or if not, then make it look as if he’s a lone and stubborn Tory Prime Minister defying an entire parliament, and therefore defying the individuals.
However requested to outline a supermajority when it comes to MSP numbers, Mr Salmond came visiting somewhat coy.
The very best he might do was to rule out the one definition of supermajority which is used at Holyrood.
The 2016 Scotland Act says any Invoice altering how MSPS are elected should be handed by a supermajority of “no less than two-thirds of the entire numbers of seats for members of the Parliament”, that means no less than 86 of the 129.
So would Alba be utilizing that established definition?
“That isn’t the definition of supermajority we’re utilizing,” Mr Salmond stated, with out, regardless of repeated asking, spelling out what definition Alba was utilizing.
Maybe it’s all the youngsters’s books I’ve been studying the nippers throughout lockdown, but it surely put me in thoughts of each Dr Seuss and Lewis Carroll.
The previous gave us the thneed, the baffling fad with a horrible price.
“A Thneed’s a Tremendous-One thing-That-All-Folks-Want!” says the product’s unscrupulous inventor.
Whereas in By means of the Wanting Glass, Humpty Dumpty grandly tells Alice that at any time when he makes use of a phrase “it means simply what I select it to imply – neither extra nor much less”.
It’s like that with Mr Salmond’s fuzzy supermajority. It’s a gimmick. Neither extra nor much less.
It has no definition he’s keen to be measured by, no authorized weight, no substance, a light-as-air slogan meaning no matter he can get away with, a tool to tickle the house crowd.
One, furthermore, which he admits might do nothing to vary Mr Johnson’s thoughts on a referendum.
Any why would the PM, given all of the downsides for him in doing so?
However Alba is based on greater than a bit of linguistic fluff, in fact.
It’s primarily based on Alex Salmond.
As a collection of current opinion polls have proven, that cuts each methods.
Whereas he undeniably has a base throughout the Sure motion, he’s largely unloved by the voters as an entire.
His evasive non-answers yesterday about whether or not Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning – wholly unrelated to his well-paid gig with Kremlin TV, you perceive – could have achieved nothing to enhance his scores.
However a profound lack of in style attraction and a rickety platform will not be the obstacles you may assume.
Not if the intention of Alba is to get Mr Salmond and a handful of his cronies into Holyrood to allow them to torment Nicola Sturgeon into shifting on and make the SNP ripe for his return.
That plan could possibly be vastly superior by persuading only one in seven SNP supporters from 2016 to modify their checklist votes to Alba subsequent month.
If Mr Salmond manages that by giving them a blast of bracing outdated time faith – and it’s totally potential – then the SNP fears a number of of its MSPs and MPs will soar ship and enhance Alba’s numbers nonetheless additional.
Mr Salmond has been pretending his new celebration can have a symbiotic relationship along with his outdated one.
He urges individuals to vote SNP in constituencies and Alba on the checklist.
No hurt, no foul, all above board and mutually advantageous.
However any celebration that poaches parliamentarians, personnel, cash and members from one other is clearly not a accomplice, however a rival.
For months Mr Salmond’s on-line amplifiers within the blogosphere have been pumping out his trashy persecution conspiracies, and have now switched to anti-SNP assault tales.
The message is obvious: a timid Ms Sturgeon can’t be trusted with the trigger, however daring Mr Salmond can.
Alba doesn’t odor like a suggestion of assist to realize independence.
It smells like a takeover bid.
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