NO time was wasted in dropping the hint that Alex Salmond's new party would be hankering after the women's vote.

To refresh memories: Mr Salmond has admitted to inappropriate behaviour towards women. When asked if he was still a "bully and a creep" by my colleague Tom Gordon, the former first minister trotted out a well rehearsed line that he would rely on the findings of "two court cases, two judges, one jury and three inquiries".

This is a line we're bound to hear repeated and repeated again over the next six weeks as Mr Salmond faces persistent questions about his previous conduct. Clearly he is sticking fast to the notion that because he was cleared of all criminality, morality means nothing.

So to the ramshackle launch of his new Alba party and first candidate Eva Comrie, a solicitor from Alva, declaring her priorities.

"As a woman and a lawyer," she announced, "You might understand I have been a little disappointed that equalities policies have not been as positive as they might have been," explicitly declaring that women's rights are first on her agenda.

Then Inverclyde local councillor Chris McEleny was announced. Mr McEleny has been outspoken about his views on the conflict between women's rights and trans rights, and reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

We're only about five minutes into the launch event by this point and politics watchers on Twitter are starting to speculate that Alba's bid for the list seats will have put the frighteners on the Green Party.

Only those who haven't been paying close attention could have thought so. The debate over trans and women's rights has been among the main rifts in the SNP.

The Green Party has been absolute in its support of trans rights and of GRA reform, losing MSP Andy Wightman as a consequence. A party unsupportive of this position is highly unlikely to attract Green voters.

A few hours later on Newsnight Mr Salmond explicitly referenced a need to protect single sex spaces. It would be marvellous to hear Mr Salmond detail exactly why women need single sex spaces, as enshrined in law. Only inflated ego or delusion would protect him from a niggling feeling of hypocrisy while doing so.

Yesterday morning Shettleston councillor Michelle Ferns defected from the SNP to Alba, positioned by the new party as a "key figure" in Glasgow's landmark equal pay settlement.

Very swiftly, GMB Scotland organiser Rhea Wolfson, who truly did earn her keep during the dispute, countered Alba's claims. "Ferns was not involved in the slightest," she tweeted, "Not in settlement negotiations, not in the chamber, not industrially, not in meetings with the Administration."

This from Alba is a particularly insulting claim given how badly and consistently women were let down by politicians on this issue, and how fiercely they had to organise and fend for themselves.

Then, on April 10, Alba will host a women-only conference, pledging to put women “front and centre” of key decisions.

The utter cynicism of a man who, by his own admission, is "no angel" with women, attempting to use them as a shield is jaw dropping.

He is trying to rehabilitate himself into political life by using women's rights as a campaign issue. If you believe the theory that Mr Salmond is trying to re-enter political life in order to take down his female rival, then the ploy becomes all the more obscene.

As well as the gobsmacking gall of it, there is also a risk of further damage. The trans and women's rights debate goes in circles without any hint of progress or resolution.

It is almost impossible to have any sort of sensible, productive conversation about the issue, with practical solutions and compromises almost entirely lacking.

Mr Salmond might be trying to provide a political home for gender critical feminist voters, but let no one think this will advance a solution for the cause. Instead, the trans rights side will use an alliance with the politician to discredit those with opposing views while gender critical feminist energy will be wasted defending having a man like Salmond on board.

Meanwhile, those who sit gently in the middle of many of the topics raised by the creation of Alba - whether they are soft yes or unsure where they stand on feminist or trans issues - will be further alienated as they look on aghast at yet more unproductive rammies.

There are women who have been left politically homeless by some decisions of the SNP who may be persuaded, despite Mr Salmond's audacity. But they are supping with a long spoon indeed.