All for Unity
Founder and Lead SpokespersonGeorge Galloway[1]
Leader[1]Jamie Blackett
FoundedJuly 2020
RegisteredPP12579
DissolvedMay 2022
Headquarters4 Fullarton Street
Ayr
KA7 1UB
Ideology
Political positionCatch-all[3]
ColoursRed, white and blue
House of Commons (Scottish seats)
0 / 59
Scottish Parliament
0 / 129
Local government in Scotland
0 / 1,227
Website
www.alliance4unity.uk

All for Unity (formerly Alliance 4 Unity) was a political and electoral alliance in Scotland.[5] Founded in July 2020 by George Galloway,[6] it was a British unionist party which opposed Scottish independence and fielded candidates at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.[2]

After winning no seats, the party voluntarily deregistered with the Electoral Commission in May 2022.[7]

History

Founding

All for Unity was founded as Alliance 4 Unity in July 2020 by George Galloway,[3] a former Member of Parliament for the Labour Party (1987–2003) and Respect Party (2005–2010, 2012–2015), and a staunch opponent of Scottish independence.[8] 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."[9]

Policies

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."[3] 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 2021 Scottish Parliament election.[10] At the election, the SNP, Greens and Alba Party achieved over 50% of the Regional vote.

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.[11] This led Green MSP Ross Greer to comment that "George Galloway and his band of racist misfits are an embarrassment to unionism."[11] 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 Scottish independence.[11]

Scottish Parliament election

Some, such as pro-union blogger Effie Deans, saw the new party as an important part of a strategy to combat the SNP at the 2021 election.[12] Others also suggested that Galloway was the only person (apart from Ruth Davidson) who would be capable up against Nicola Sturgeon in a debate.[13] In August 2020, the major pro-union parties (Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) all rejected the idea of an electoral pact led by Galloway, reluctant to even engage with the Alliance ahead of the election.[14]

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.[15] Nine days later; however, the party and its new name were both approved.[16]

All for Unity's electoral candidates included UK Independence Party (UKIP) founder Alan Sked,[17] independent Fife Councillor Linda Holt[18] and writer Jamie Blackett,[19] who was also the party's leader.[20][1] At the election, All for Unity failed to win a single seat.[21][22] On 2 November 2021, the Electoral Commission revealed that All for Unity's campaign spending totalled nearly £30,000.[23]

Collapse and dissolution

On 1 March 2022, an internal party dispute emerged as Blackett disagreed with Galloway's decision to continue presenting The Mother of All Talk Shows on RT UK-linked channel Sputnik, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, Galloway said that the invasion was not "what I wanted to see", but blamed it on "pumping Ukraine full of NATO weapons".[24]

In a series of tweets, Blackett wrote:

There have been questions about my and [All for Unity's] reaction to events in Ukraine. Personally I condemn Putin's illegal invasion and stand squarely behind the Prime Minister's efforts to support Ukraine. A4U does not have and never has had a foreign policy/defence view.

A4U was set up as a v broad alliance of people from across the political spectrum to counter separatism in Scotland. I do not speak for [George Galloway] and [he] does not speak for me on issues unrelated to Scottish domestic politics.

But I am aware that his view of events is very different from mine. I believe some of his comments have been wrong and counter-productive. And therefore, in order to make it absolutely clear that I disagree, our alliance is at an end.[24]

In May 2022, All for Unity voluntarily deregistered with the Electoral Commission.[7]

Electoral history

Scottish Parliament

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

References

  1. ^ a b c "Candidates for South Scotland". All for Unity News. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Stewart, Graham (21 September 2020). "Friendly fire". The Critic Magazine. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d 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.
  4. ^ Blackett, Jamie (12 August 2020). "Why Scotland needs a new party". The Critic Magazine.
  5. ^ Sim, Philip (14 July 2020). "Could a new independence party reshape Scottish politics?". BBC News. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  6. ^ The Jouker (18 July 2020). "George Galloway's Twitter Q&A backfires on 'Alliance for Unity'". The National. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b "All For Unity". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Kutchinsky, Serena (28 April 2014). "George Galloway on why he's saying "naw" to Scottish independence". Prospect Magazine. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  10. ^ Macnab, Scott (11 October 2020). "No independence referendum unless SNP tops 50% of Scottish votes, says George Galloway". The Scotsman.
  11. ^ a b c Ferguson, John (23 August 2020). "George Galloway's Alliance 4 Unity candidate outed as vile racist who loved tweet calling George Floyd 'black lowlife pile of s**t'". Daily Record.
  12. ^ Deans, Effie (4 August 2020). "Alliance for Unity". Lily of St. Leonard's.
  13. ^ Stewart, Graham (21 September 2020). "Friendly fire". The Critic Magazine.
  14. ^ Andrews, Kieran; Wade, Mike (22 August 2020). "Galloway's bid to form united front to save Union shunned". The Times.
  15. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (27 January 2021). "George Galloway's application for new party rejected by elections body". Daily Record. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Callaghan, Jamie (1 September 2020). "Fife councillor to stand for new Alliance for Unity party". Fife Today. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  19. ^ Blackett, Jamie (13 August 2020). "How George Galloway and I plan to save the Union". The Spectator. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  20. ^ Muir, Iain (22 September 2020). "Alliance 4 Unity - Deputy Leader Jamie Blackett calls for a "Clarity Act"". Scotland Today. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  21. ^ Paterson, Kirsteen (9 May 2021). "George Galloway's All for Unity fail in bid for Holyrood seat". The National. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Nutt, Kathleen (2 November 2021). "Spending by Alba and Greens for Holyrood election campaigns revealed". The National. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  24. ^ a b Webster, Laura (1 March 2022). "George Galloway's All for Unity party collapses amid upset over RT programme". The National. Retrieved 3 March 2022.