Why I joined Alba after 40 years in SNP - Kenny MacAskill

Having been an SNP member for over 40 years, it wasn’t an easy decision to leave and join Alba Party.

Alex Salmond launched the Alba Party last week

But I’ve done so as this election’s critical and it’s time Scottish democracy prevailed over a Westminster veto. I’ve another birthday next month, and I’ve already got my bus pass, but throughout my life Scotland has never elected a Tory Government.

Yet now under Boris Johnson we have an administration that makes Margaret Thatcher’s not only look benign but appear a bastion of probity. Our economy’s being damaged by Brexit, our NHS and social services are threatened by coming Trade Deals and Scotland, along with the rest of the planet is threatened by a return to the nuclear arms race.

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So, it’s time for Scotland to become the Nation we know it can be. The tragedy for Scotland isn’t how bad things are but how much better they should be. With all our natural advantages we’ve underperformed. Norway discovering oil at the same time as Scotland has motored ahead and Ireland from lagging well behind has overtaken us. Its why Scotland needs the powers of an independent nation to deliver the society our people want. The alternative’s to remain in the grip of a Tory Government, morphing austerity and increasing inequality.

Alba has already transformed this from a rather dull election, where the questions were whether the SNP could win a majority and who would come second. Indyref 2 was only to be a debating point, with the SNP accepting a Johnson veto but the Prime Minister making it clear he’s not granting one. There was to be just enough rhetoric to allow Tory and SNP leaderships to rally the faithful without threatening the status quo.

Alba are only standing on the regional list but it is within the rules and more than one independence party’s normal in many lands seeking their independence, whether currently in the Basque country and Catalonia, or in Ireland in years gone by. With indyref 2 refused the election has to be used as the vehicle to show Scotland's democratic wishes.

I’ve issues with some SNP policies but I retain many friends in the party, so I’m not going to criticise them. This is a personal decision and Alba will seek common cause with all supporting independence whether in a political party or without. For this is about ensuring Scottish democracy decides and that there’s no veto held by a British Prime Minister Scotland overwhelmingly rejected.

We’ll see what 6th May brings as it’s for the Scottish people to choose. But all of sudden independence has become the issue. It’s not just Alba saying that but even the Tories acknowledging it. An independence supermajority will make it the Scottish Parliament that’s confronting Boris Johnson demanding change, not an SNP Government pleading for one.

That will change the whole dynamic of the independence debate, as Alba’s entry has enlivened the election campaign. Independence is now on the ballot paper.

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