The "People's Alliance" plan for a new pro-independence party is yet more People's Front of Judea stuff, and the notion that it's going to ensure we have pro-indy parties as both the government and opposition in Holyrood is absolute pie in the sky. However, I'm much less concerned about it than I was about the proposed "Wings party". My fear about what Stuart Campbell was doing was that it might end up falling between two stools - I was almost certain that he wouldn't attract enough votes to win any seats, but I did think it was possible that he might take just enough votes away from the SNP and the Greens (perhaps 0.5% or 1%) to reduce the overall number of pro-indy MSPs. I don't believe there's much prospect of the People's Alliance causing that sort of damage - it has no big names behind it, it has no ready-made support base, and if it does put up candidates its vote is likely to be negligible.
All the same, I'm puzzled by the timing of this latest development. I said six months ago that the Wings party was "a solution in search of a problem", ie. Stuart Campbell was saying we'd lose the pro-indy majority unless we gamed the voting system, and yet opinion polls at the time were suggesting that we were on course to retain the pro-indy majority without gaming the system. That's even more true now - the recent Survation and Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase polls both showed that the SNP and Greens are heading for a thumping majority of Holyrood seats between them. So why would we want to reinvent the wheel?
The only real answer I ever get to that question is a dark whisper about the potential impact of the forthcoming Alex Salmond trial on public opinion. I must say I'm not totally convinced - within relatively recent history both the Tories and Liberal Democrats have had ex-Cabinet ministers who served jail sentences, and there's no real evidence that either of those cases had a major effect on voting patterns. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe (who was ultimately acquitted) probably did hamper the Liberals' performance in the 1979 election, but not by anything like as much as expected - they only suffered a net loss of a couple of seats. And within two years, the Liberal/SDP Alliance were riding high in the polls, and the Thorpe episode had been virtually forgotten.
However, we'll soon find out.