The return of Alex Salmond is the comeback everyone saw coming

What will be the Alba Party’s impact on Scottish politics? One thing’s for sure, it won’t be dull.

Alex Salmond with Nicola Sturgeon in 2008, when they were still on speaking terms (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

You could say that the Alba Party is the least surprising turn of events in Scottish politics, which no-one saw coming.

Unsurprising, in the sense that it springs from the mind of Alex Salmond, a man with a famously high opinion of both himself and his influence on Scotland.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But it’s also fair to say that this is an unexpected headache for the SNP, with its well-oiled electoral machine barely out of the garage ahead of May 6.

The comments from both Mr Salmond and the SNP in response speak volumes.

On the former first minister’s part, he made a point of saying he is not challenging the SNP in the constituencies, and that the campaign he runs will be “entirely positive”.

That, of course, remains to be seen. Relations between Mr Salmond and his protegee Nicola Sturgeon have gone from luke-warm to cold to Siberian winter.

They are pitched in opposition, despite their shared goal of independence for Scotland.

Mr Salmond’s promise of heading up a “supermajority” strategy which would help the SNP doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, and he knows it. While the impact on the SNP may not be seismic, it certainly won’t help their cause.

The SNP’s statement in response to the Alba Party attempted to strike an unconcerned tone, questioning Mr Salmond’s “appropriateness” for public office.

Whatever effect the Alba Party has on the Scottish political landscape, it’s just added another layer of narrative to Salmond vs Sturgeon, the most Shakespearean drama in politics right now.