All for Unity


All for Unity (formerly Alliance 4 Unity) is a political and electoral alliance in Scotland.[6] Founded in July 2020 by George Galloway,[7] it is a British unionist party which opposes Scottish independence and fielded candidates at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.[3] Candidates for the election included Alan Sked, founder of the UK Independence Party,[8] independent Fife Councillor Linda Holt[9] and writer Jamie Blackett,[10] who is the party's leader.[11][12]

All for Unity
Founder and Lead SpokespersonGeorge Galloway[1]
Leader[2]Jamie Blackett
FoundedJuly 2020
RegisteredPP12579
Headquarters4 Fullarton Street
Ayr
KA7 1UB
Ideology
Political positionCatch-all[4]
ColoursRed, white and blue
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
0 / 59
Scottish Parliament
0 / 129
Local government in Scotland
1 / 1,227
Website
www.alliance4unity.uk

History and policies


All for Unity was founded as Alliance 4 Unity in July 2020 by George Galloway,[4] a former Member of Parliament for the Labour Party (1987–2003) and Respect Party (2005–2010, 2012–2015), who is a staunch opponent of Scottish independence.[13] In the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Galloway said, "I have always hated nationalism. My flag is red. I care nothing for either the Scottish or the British flags. I'm not interested in the commemoration of the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn—which this referendum is being timed to coincide with. The only valid grounds for nationalism is when there is national oppression by one nation over another—that is manifestly not true in Scotland. It is not an occupied country. It has never been an occupied country. It is complete hysterical nonsense to pretend otherwise."[14]

Regarding the policies of the alliance, Galloway said, "We've got only one goal – to get the SNP out. If we don't get off this hamster wheel, this neverendum, we'll never have normal politics in Scotland. Everything will be down to grudge and division. We want a national unity government that will begin this task of returning normality to Scottish politics. I'm against the SNP more than I'm against anyone else. That doesn't mean I'm for anyone else."[4]

In August 2020, one of the party's candidates, Jean Mathieson, was criticised for her vocal support for Tommy Robinson and her comments relating to the Black Lives Matter Movement.[15] This led Green MSP Ross Greer to comment that "George Galloway and his band of racist misfits are an embarrassment to unionism."[15] Galloway did not condemn the comments made, but emphasised the broad-based nature of his movement, and has always been clear that his express agreement with any policy/candidate begins and ends with opposition to Independence. Some, such as pro-union blogger Effie Deans, have seen the new party as an important part of a strategy to combat the SNP at the 2021 election.[16] Others have also suggested that Galloway is the only person (apart from Ruth Davidson) who would be capable up against Nicola Sturgeon in a debate.[17] In August 2020, the major pro-union parties (Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) rejected the idea of an electoral pact led by Galloway, reluctant to even engage with the Alliance ahead of the election.[18]

Whilst Galloway has generally been against the holding of a further independence referendum, he stated that one should only happen if pro-independence parties (e.g. the SNP and the Greens) obtained more than 50% of the popular vote at the election.[19]

Criticism of its tactics


Some criticised All for Unity as being another nationalist party, with the only difference being that British nationalism replaces Scottish and/or "civic" nationalism as the core ideology. The party, however, characterises itself as strongly anti-nationalist and rejects the assertion that it is a nationalist movement.[5] Galloway supported Brexit and previously voted for the Brexit Party in the 2019 European Parliament elections.[20] The party has seen significant support from the Daily Express, which regularly covers the Alliance in a favourable and supportive light, describing the new party as sending the SNP's plans for 2021 success "up in flames".[21]

In the same way allegations that an "Alliance for Independence" would undermine SNP support,[22] All for Unity was likewise accused by some of being counter-productive and a "vote-splitter".[23] As psephologist Sir John Curtice has said, predicting seats for smaller parties in the list vote is notoriously difficult. The vote-splitting charge has been rebuffed by swingometer analysis of 4,500 projections of the 2016 vote.[24] There is an argument, however, that the two "alliances" are not comparable because the unionist vote is already split between three main parties (which is the problem that Alliance 4 Unity seeks to resolve); whereas, although the independence vote is divided between the SNP and the Greens, the Greens have been supporting the SNP's minority government since 2016.[23] It was also argued that Galloway enjoys greater recognition than any other opposition leader in Scotland[25] and appeal as a Faragesque Unionist populist anti-establishment figure.[26]

Scottish Parliament election


On 27 January 2021, an application for the party to be called "All for Unity" was rejected by the Electoral Commission due to incomplete paperwork.[27] Nine days later; however, the party and its new name were both approved.[28]

At the Scottish Parliament election, All for Unity failed to win a single seat.[29][30]

Electoral history


Scottish Parliament

Election Regional Total seats +/– Rank Government
Votes  % Seats
2021 23,299 0.9
0 / 56
0 / 129
7th Not in parliament

References


  1. "Candidates for South Scotland". All for Unity News. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. "Candidates for South Scotland". All for Unity News. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  3. Stewart, Graham (21 September 2020). "Friendly fire". The Critic Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  4. McCall, Chris (26 July 2020). "George Galloway says he'll work with Tories to stop SNP breaking up Britain". Daily Record. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  5. Blackett, Jamie (12 August 2020). "Why Scotland needs a new party". The Critic Magazine.
  6. Sim, Philip (14 July 2020). "Could a new independence party reshape Scottish politics?". BBC News. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  7. The Jouker (18 July 2020). "George Galloway's Twitter Q&A backfires on 'Alliance for Unity'". The National. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  8. Sked, Alan [@profsked] (22 July 2020). "George Galloway's Alliance for Scotland has taken off. It has recruited 10,000 followers in ten days. And among those chosen as candidates are Lords lieutenant, former SAS men and myself. I am to top the Highland list. George says his parliamentary lists are for now mainly Tory" (Tweet). Retrieved 20 January 2021 via Twitter.
  9. Callaghan, Jamie (1 September 2020). "Fife councillor to stand for new Alliance for Unity party". Fife Today. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  10. Blackett, Jamie (13 August 2020). "How George Galloway and I plan to save the Union". The Spectator. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  11. Muir, Iain (22 September 2020). "Alliance 4 Unity - Deputy Leader Jamie Blackett calls for a "Clarity Act"". Scotland Today. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  12. "Candidates for South Scotland". All for Unity News. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  13. Peterkin, Tom (21 August 2020). "Michael Gove in talks with George Galloway to discuss protecting the United Kingdom against Scottish independence". Press and Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  14. Kutchinsky, Serena (28 April 2014). "George Galloway on why he's saying "naw" to Scottish independence". Prospect Magazine. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  15. Ferguson, John (23 August 2020). "George Galloway's candidate outed as racist who loved George Floyd 's**t' tweet". Daily Record.
  16. Deans, Effie (4 August 2020). "Alliance for Unity". Lily of St. Leonard's.
  17. Stewart, Graham (21 September 2020). "Friendly fire". The Critic Magazine.
  18. Andrews, Kieran; Wade, Mike (22 August 2020). "Galloway's bid to form united front to save Union shunned". The Times.
  19. Macnab, Scott (11 October 2020). "No independence referendum unless SNP tops 50% of Scottish votes, says George Galloway". The Scotsman.
  20. Williams, Martin (19 April 2019). "Socialist George Galloway under fire for backing Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in EU elections". The Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  21. Withers, Paul (9 October 2020). "Sturgeon shamed: Independence dream in 'FLAMES' - Galloway vows to 'chase SNP off field'". Daily Express.
  22. Record View (20 July 2020). "Voting for the new Alliance for Independence party could be risky gamble". Daily Record.
  23. "'The Cat Man Amongst The Pigeons'". Medium. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  24. "Tactical Vote - Swingometer". Tactical Vote Scot. 26 April 2021.
  25. "All for Unity - Shock Poll shows George Galloway best known opposition figure in Scotland". All for Unity. 16 March 2021.
  26. Holt, Linda (8 April 2021). "ThinkScotland - George Galloway, a cat amongst the pigeons". ThinkScotland.
  27. Hutcheon, Paul (27 January 2021). "George Galloway's application for new party rejected by elections body". Daily Record. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  28. Gordon, Tom (5 February 2021). "New pro-Indy and pro-Union parties approved for Holyrood election". The Herald. Retrieved 6 February 2021. On the Unionist side, All for Unity (A4U) led by former MP George Galloway, also had its registration approved by the Electoral Commission today.
  29. Paterson, Kirsteen (9 May 2021). "George Galloway's All for Unity fail in bid for Holyrood seat". The National. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  30. Matchett, Conor (11 May 2021). "Scottish election 2021 results: Did Alba and All for Unity impact the result and were the polls right?". The Scotsman. Retrieved 8 July 2021.