‘Centre-right’ pro-independence party say they will emulate Alex Salmond’s Alba in Senedd election
A ‘centre-right’ pro-independence party standing in their first Senedd elections are saying they will emulate Scotland’s new ‘Alba’ party.
Gwlad say they will take a cue from the Alex Salmond party’s “nation above party” approach in not challenging Plaid Cymru in seats where they are the incumbents.
They said they would instead by focusing their energies on those areas where Plaid have been traditionally weak in the east of Wales, as well as the regional list.
However, unlike Alba, they have announced candidates in a number of other constituencies, including Plaid Cymru’s main target seat of Llanelli.
Their candidate there, Sian Caiach, is credited by some and blamed by others for Plaid Cymru’s Llanelli losses in 2016 and 2011.
“We have always described ourselves as a pragmatic party seeking to put the nation first above narrow sectional interests, and this election allows us to demonstrate that to the public,” said Aled Gwyn Job, Gwlad’s Communications Officer.
‘In the same way that Alba are seeking to complement the SNP for the ultimate good of the independence cause, we are also seeking to work in parallel with Plaid in a way, in order to do exactly the same.”
But with another new pro-independence party, Neil McEvoy’s Propel, on the scene, and the Greens saying they would support an independence referendum, the field has become more crowded since Gwlad launched in 2018.
Aled Gwyn Job said it “made sense” for independence parties to try and “maximise the nationalist vote by targeting different areas at the same time in different ways”.
“It’s a mature, grown-up way of doing politics, and I think the public will be quite receptive to the idea of a party which seeks to work creatively with other parties, rather than resort to the tired old slagging each other off approach which most people find so tiresome by now,” he said.
He added that the second vote strand of the party’s electoral strategy would be helped by the fact that there will be more attention given to this element in the electoral mix than ever before, because of events in Scotland, with the Alba party campaigning solely to gain the second votes at Holyrood.
He said that appealing for the second vote in Wales would also be at the heart of Gwlad’s campaign at the election on May 6th.
“We think there are many voters who habitually vote Labour, Tory or Lib Dems, who could be persuaded to give their second vote to Gwlad, as a party standing for the Welsh national interest,” he said.
“Many of these people couldn’t give that second vote to Plaid because of history and political tribalism- but they may just decide to give it to a new nationalist party for a change, especially at a time when all the traditional parties are so disliked in general.”
Gwlad contested their first election in 2019, winning less than 1% of the vote in Cardiff Central and the Vale of Glamorgan but 2.1% in Montgomeryshire.
Aled Gwyn Job added that the party was being realistic about its chances, being a grass-roots party
contesting its first-ever Welsh Election.
“When we formed two years ago, we said that reaching 5% of the vote would be a good target to
aim for and that remains the case, although of course, the very nature of this election will be difficult
for a brand new party this time round,” he said.