Former first minister Alex Salmond says his new party is going into polling day feeling “optimistic, bright and breezy” with “high hopes and burning hearts”.
The Alba party leader and former north-east MSP arrived with a loud speaker blaring from a car emblazoned with party logos to cast his vote at Ritchie Hall in Strichen this morning.
After meeting with a handful of supporters he cast his vote in the Scottish parliamentary elections before embarking on a tour of the constituency, accompanied to the sound of The Proclaimers’ hit “I’m on my way”.
And hoping he’s on his way “from misery to happiness today”, the 66-year-old said: “We are optimistic, bright and breezy much like this polling day morning.
“We go into to it today with high hopes and burning hearts. I think Alba is rising across Scotland.”
Mr Salmond brushed off suggestions that recent poll findings show him to be the public’s least favourite party leader, by claiming other polls suggest Alba is gaining support.
He also hailed the recruitment of 18 female and 14 male candidates for his party, launched in early February with the hopes of boosting the push for independence, as a “terrific achievement”.
“Alba is rising”
Mr Salmond added: “Our objective is to gain party representation across Scotland. The Alba message is getting home to people.
“An SNP vote cast is a wasted vote. That’s why I think Alba is rising. We have given urgency and immediacy to the independence question.”
The former first minister held the top job at Holyrood from 2007 to 2014 and was leader of the Scottish National Party for more than 20 years, serving two terms, from 1990 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2014.
He later served as an MP at Westminster from 2015-2017.
That makes him no stranger to polling day nerves, though he admitted seeing the Alba Party on the ballot paper today was a “different experience”.
“It’s a different experience, but a familiar one too, with difference”, he mused.
“This whole election and its count is going to have differences. But being here at Ritchie Hall is obviously very familiar to me. Polling day is always an exciting day.”
Meanwhile, it was a family occasion as Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross brought along his wife Krystle and son Alistair to vote at Alves Hall, between Forres and Elgin, this morning.
The Moray MP seemed in a jovial mood despite polling indicating that voting is unlikely to go in the Tories’ favour.