New parties push strategy over popularity

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wo 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.

George Galloway / PA Wire

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 Mr Galloway’s party since the beginning of the campaign and only one of them projecting it to take a single seat in Holyrood.

Both party leaders have complained at being left out of televised leaders’ debates, but the BBC and STV say they are following their regulatory duties.

A rumoured debate, said to be chaired by Andrew Neil on Spectator TV, including just Mr Salmond and Mr Galloway failed to materialise.

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.

Andy Wightman in Holyrood / PA Wire

A leading land reform campaigner before his time in Parliament, Mr Wightman was considered to be one of the most fair minded MSPs in the last term, latterly serving on the inquiry set up to investigate the handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond.

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.

Mr 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.

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