Scottish Election 2021 results: Alex Salmond’s Alba Party on course for electoral oblivion as fringe parties fail to cut through

From a former first minister to a clutch of far-right extremists, the fringes of the Holyrood election have been occupied by a lively roll call of characters, but the early signs are that their impact on voters has been negligible.

Given the regional list results are dependent on every constituency being counted, the full complement of votes secured by smaller parties and independent candidates will not become clear until Saturday. But the first day of counting in an unorthodox election provided less than encouraging signs.

With all eyes on Alex Salmond’s putative political comeback, the prospects of his return to Holyrood - and the fate of the Alba Party, which is contesting the regional lists - look ominous.

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In Aberdeen Donside, the party registered just 2.1 per cent of the list vote. Mr Salmond is its lead candidate in the north east, but even the prominence of that position is highly unlikely to translate to victory if the lowly vote share is replicated across the region.

The voting in other constituencies for regional lists suggested Alba’s fate could be even grimmer, with the party polling 0.8 per cent in Orkney, 1.3 per cent in Hamilton, 1.5 per cent in Clydebank and Milngavie, and two per cent in Angus North and Mearns.

Mr Salmond, clipboard in hand, was at the P&J Arena in Aberdeen early doors to watch the count, but gave a less than emphatic response when asked how his party would gauge its fortunes.

“I think our success is registering as a political party and registering on the political spectrum,” he explained.

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The Alba Party's leader, Alex Salmond, watches votes being counted in Aberdeen. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA

That administrative triumph notwithstanding, it looks like Alba will form a barely visible blip on the electoral radar, an outcome which will be welcomed most of all by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

The first minster was even more delighted to see the desultory performance of extremist candidates in her Glasgow Southside constituency. Jayda Fransen, a former deputy leader of Britain First who attempted to confront Ms Sturgeon in the street on Thursday, received a mere 46 votes.

The Liberal Party’s Derek Johnson, who gave a Nazi-style salute at the Glasgow count after subjecting the SNP’s Humza Yousaf to a series of racially-charged questions, won 102 votes.

“I’m proud that Glasgow Southside has shown the racists and the fascists that they are not welcome in Glasgow or anywhere in Scotland,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Elsewhere, the proliferation of parties and candidates with anti-lockdown and Brexit-style agendas had a similarly torrid time in the constituency voting.

The Freedom Alliance, which campaigned to scrap face coverings during the Covid-19 pandemic, saw its leader, Carol Ann Dobson, scrape just 204 votes in the same Glasgow constituency.

David McHutchon, an abattoir worker who leads Restore Scotland, a pro-independence party which vowed to take Scotland out of the UK - and keep it out of the EU, managed 331 votes in Banffshire and Buchan.

Don Marshall, deputy chair of the Scottish Family Party, which campaigned to restrict abortions and repeal the smacking ban, was smacked down in Perthshire North, where he claimed 334 votes.

However, not every fringe candidate endured humiliation. In Falkirk East, Peter Krykant, a drug reform campaigner who operates a safe consumption space in Glasgow, took 977 votes, just 40 behind the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate.

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