Vote what?

Radical Independence Conference Gather In GlasgowWhy #BothVotesSNP = more Labour MSP’s.

The latest TNS poll was a whopper of the biggest kind, it shows that the SNP are on course to win just about every constituency seat in the country, and by doing so give itself a strong majority at Holyrood without even needing to look at the list seats.

Before we get to the numbers I want to say something and it’s important that it is said. Some SNP members/supporters have accused the other pro independence parties of splitting the vote: I think this is unfair and highly damaging to the movement as a whole. Lets look at it another way, why have the SNP not offered to stand aside on the list for the other pro indy parties? As we all know this would clear the way for a huge pro indy majority at Holyrood. Some people have suggested that this tactic could result in as many as 100-110 pro indy MSP’s.

Why don’t they then? Because, why should they? This is a democracy after all and political parties are free to challenge for any seats they want. Also the pro-indy parties don’t agree with each other on several issues so are unlikely to endorse each other. What they do all agree on is that Scotland should be independent, this is why it is just as reasonable for the other pro independence parties to stand against the SNP on the list. A healthy democracy needs healthy competition.

So on the list system.

What is becoming evident by these polls is that the more constituency seats that the SNP win the less lists seats they will win, and the more that Labour/Tories will win in their place. This is because for every constituency seat won by a party their list vote will be divided by the number of constituency seats won + 1.

Let’s take Glasgow as an example: somewhere we can surely all agree the SNP will clean up and take all nine constituency seats. This will mean that the SNP’S list vote will be divided by 10 (9 seats + 1). Now I’m not going to go into the detail of who will get how many votes, but what I will say is that an SNP list vote is worth significantly less than a vote for any other party (pro indy or otherwise). There is no denying this fact. No matter how many votes the SNP get on the list each of them will be worth a fraction of their full weight.  Labour and Tory votes however will be, and the same is true of the other pro indy parties.

The myth that by voting for another pro independence party more unionists will get in is just that, a myth, and it needs to be quashed and now. The truth is it’s much more likely that voting SNP on the list will result in more unionist MSP’s. Don’t take my word for it, go look at the TNS poll. Labour are still picking up 33 list seats out of 56, even with the SNP taking more than 50% of the list vote they only get 6 list seats.

This question of tactical voting also works both ways: by asking the pro indy movement to use both votes for the SNP as it’s the best way to gain independence and keep the unionists out, you are advocating a tactic that is an insurance policy for the SNP getting a majority government, but is also a guarantee that the Scottish Parliament will look similar to how it is now. A majority SNP block and unionists – mainly Labour and Tories – with around 25-35% of the parliament, with a handful of other pro-indy MSPs. Scottish politics, despite the referendum, will not look much different from how it did after the 2011 Scottish elections.

It’s hard to see how people can argue against this: yes if everyone votes SNP twice they might just get an extra 4-6 MSP’s, but if they vote for another pro indy party then we could end up with an extra 10-15, depriving the unionists of 10 seats meaning that the parliament may well end up with nearly 100 pro indy MSP’s. (And if you are worried about the SNP winning a majority through the constituency seats alone, you really shouldn’t be – find me 9 seats that the SNP aren’t going to win on the constituency. It’s possible to point to 3 or 4 that could be tricky, but not 9.

 I’m not going to tell people how to vote: I really believe people should vote for what they believe in and what sort of Scottish Parliament they want to see. If you prefer your politics SNP v Labour then #BothVotesSNP might make sense because it will keep both parties strong and challengers weak. But I do want people to stop for a moment and think about whether Scottish politics and the independence movement will be better if it lacks any electoral diversity. For me, I want to see the debate move away from the traditional faultlines of SNP v Labour and move to a more progressive outlook. As Herald columnist Iain Macwhirter, said in October after the SNP’s huge conference in Aberdeen, the SNP “needs critical friends more than ever. It has no shortage of critical enemies.” It would be a twisted irony if those that most despise what Scottish Labour has become are the ones who keep their critical enemies intact in spite of their critical friends.

I’m a supporter of RISE because I think the parliament needs the voices of the radical independence movement at Holyrood – but whether you’re RISE, SNP, Greens or no party at all – if you believe in the values of the independence movement and are disgusted by the role the unionists play in Scottish politics, we’ve got to get past a level of partisanship that says diversity doesn’t matter in the face of unionism, when in this election diversity is the only way, mathematically, that unionism can be made significantly weaker and the voices of independence significantly stronger.

The strength of the independence movement was in its diversity; going forward this doesn’t mean much if it is not reflected in the Scottish Parliament. We only have to look across to Catalonia or even Portugal to see what can be achieved when our parliaments have a multitude of progressive parties to vote for.

Comments (109)

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  1. Frank says:

    ‘I’m a supporter of RISE because I think the parliament needs the voices of the radical independence movement at Holyrood – but whether you’re RISE, SNP, Greens or no party at all’.

    Why can’t people associated with RISE say the name of Sheridan’s Solidarity party when they write articles. Is it self censorship? A denial of reality? Sheridan is the white elephant in the room and his party is standing in every region meaning that the far left vote will be split right down the middle. It’s just a pity they couldn’t have agreed not to stand against one another, but careers usually come before cause.

    1. Conor Cheyne says:

      Nothing to do with careers. It is to do with the fact Solidarity’s policies are questionable as to if they are socialist at all, these days they appear more and more like the SNP than a socialist party. Also, I don’t need to go into detail as to why many socialists (and almost every other political group in Scotland) refuses to work with Sheridan.

      1. Frank says:

        It’s everything to do with careers Connor. Don’t be so naïve.

        Out of interest could you name the specific policies of Solidarity you find questionable? Their manifesto looks identical to that of the SSPs?

        1. Jim Bennett says:

          Hey Frank,
          Yep, you’re right: the author’s failure to mention Solidarity is telling. He can mention every party in Scottish politics apart from Tommy’s.
          I can see no policy difference between RISE and Solidarity. Yes, sure there was a tactical sifference in whether to vote SNP at the UK election but as to policy difference? I see none.
          The fact that there are three socialist groups standing (TUSC) is utterly ridiculous. PFLP vs. PPLF anyone?

          The Greens are the only credible grouping to the left of the SNP. Organised, consistent and with decent calibre candidates with solid left credentials.g

          1. Illy says:

            And this whole concept was thoughoughly debunked when it was just the Greens suggesting it, without any other parties splitting the list votes even farther.

            Who you vote for on the list is *really* simple:

            If you want an SNP government, you vote SNP on the list.

            If you want an SNP/Green coalition, you vote Green on the list.

            If you want an SNP/”People’s Front of Judea” coalition, then you vote for the “Judean People’s Front” on the list. (It’s as likely as voting the other way to get you what you want when dealing with the comedy routine that the “socialist” parties in Scotland have turned into)

            If anyone wants to argue with that, then you need to include error margins in your analysis, as we can *only* work with fuzzy data before an election. No error margins in your analysis = no credibility.

  2. Conor Cheyne says:

    Good article, Craig. If people wish to vote SNP twice, they are entitled to do so. I would urge against it but rather than simply trying to win list votes off SNP supporters, I think it is imperative that we win people over by putting forward good arguments and proposals.

    One thing that really gets to me however (And there will be comments on here shortly that prove my point) is the idea that the SNP is the Independence movement. Yes Campaign was made up of many groups and in order to win a Yes vote we need it to be diverse. So I will urge SNP supporters not to accuse other pro-independence supporters of “splitting the independence movement”. The movement is not split, it is diverse. Celebrate it. Because it is what is needed.

    1. Frank says:


      I take it you are not going to shed any light on the Solidarity policies you find questionable, which perhaps confirms my suspicion that the purpose of your post was to smear a rival political party.

      My own thinking is that the socialist cause would be damaged by having two groupings (Solidarity and Rise) in the parliament who openly despise one another. Furthermore, it would give their poisonous hatred oxygen for another four years. Hopefully the electorate gives you both a wide berth.

  3. Alan says:

    For heavens’ sakes.

    More Labour votes = more Labour MSPs. If you’re so hot on reducing Scottish Labour, then target their voters. Vote SLab 1, Vote other 2.

    I was one of those people who voted Green in the last MEP elections, in an attempt to keep David Coburn out. That worked out fantastically, with the Greens falling 32,000 votes short and the SNP falling short of a third seat by 45,000. Total votes cast for the greens about 108,000. If the SNP had given up that 32,000(and a lot more besides) they would have slipped behind Labour.

    And this was in an election where the BNP, Britain First and No2EU parties had taken almost 30,000 potential voters out of the UKIP pot. The previous seat holder? Lib dem. So the net result was we replaced a mildly rubbish federalist with a really awful unionist.

    1. Rob Troup says:

      Alan, you are talking about a different electoral system for the European Parliament elections.. There is no constituency vote , so just a PR system instead of an AMS system.. In that respect it seems a bit harsh to criticise the Green party when at the next election for Holyrood, the SNP supporters will guarantee a Unionist Official opposition and third largest party.

      The Green party are the only party that can stop the Unionists in the list vote, and even in th every unlikely event that the SNP do not get a majority on the constituency vote, they will still have a much larger support in Parliament for their policy of Independence.

      So in effect, the choices are to split the Indy vote and increase the SNP majority, with a Unionist opposition and third largest party, or split the SNP regional vote and put in a pro Indy Opposition with a Pro Indy government …

  4. Gordon says:

    I am an SNP member,I do appreciate that the Snp is only one part of the independence movement. The diversity of the independence movement was and is a major part of it’s strength. This includes the non party political community groups, the non party political national groups like WFI and the other parties. I am concerned that those who vote for Snp on the constituency vote but another party on the list need to vote not simply for another pro indy party, but to vote for the SAME other pro indy party on the list. Otherwise their second vote could be ineffective.

  5. steve ellwood says:


    As Alan says, the bright idea of tactical voting got us the idiot Coburn.

    Should the SNP withdraw candidates and not stand against other pro-independence parties?
    As Jim Bennet alludes to, there’s quite a number. Fancy getting them to agree? [Solidarity isn’t being mentioned incidentally, as they’re too incompetent to maintain their party registration.]
    Good way of letting London parties back in.

    Tactical voting again. SNP HQ to dictate who I should vote for? Someone else? Who would I trust,
    In any event, the SNP have distinct policies which many other pro-independence parties don’t agree with; the chances of getting our voters to all vote tactically? Miserable. The Unionist parties failed abysmally with their #SNPOut, remember.

    I’m still for SNP 1 and SNP 2.

    1. Rob Troup says:

      Steve, as mentioned earlier, this is not a European election, it is a Holyrood election under the AMS system and not the PR system.

      That makes the SNP regional vote effectively useless with around 90% of those voting SNP being disregarded when the seats are handed out. This means the Unionist parties will dominate the regional vote as a result of the SNP regional vote.

      Either split the SNP vote for a pro Indy Parliament (Government AND Opposition), or split the Indy vote for an increased SNP Majority , maintaining the Unionists in positions of Power at Holyrood.

  6. Craig P says:

    The problem I have with this approach is that it requires a massive, co-ordinated campaign of switching list votes – and which the SNP itself would have to buy into. It is very hard to see this happening, especially when the other pro-indy parties are so low in the polls.

    Secondly, if SNP are to switch list votes, are SNP voters to switch to Green, or to RISE, or to Solidarity? They only have one list vote, so who should it be for? Once that has been decided, the other parties should stand down to improve the chances of this approach.

    The third consideration is that it is better for a party to stand and fall on its own merits. Get some solid policies evangelised, and that will build a far more enduring base than sticking a hand out to beg another party’s supporters to vote for you.

    I will probably vote Green on the list, because my closest fit is Green. But I am torn because I am also very conscious that a low Green percentage on the list risks allowing an extra Labour or Conservative MSP in rather than who I want. (A similar thing happened in the Euro vote.) Until the other indy parties start showing some positive movement in the opinion polls, voting SNP on the list remains a safe bet for anyone who prioritises independence, and on that basis you can’t blame people for sticking with them.

    1. Rob Troup says:

      Craig,, it is worth mentioning that the Green party’s EFFECTIVE vote is nearly twice that of the SNP in the regional vote and polling to win more seats… It would take a concerted effort to get one in four SNP voters to back the Greens but the rewards would be pro Indy Government AND opposition at Holyrood …Labour and Tories demoted to irrelevance ..

  7. Alf Baird says:

    Ideally there needs to be a single non-snp list voting option for Yes supporters that avoids multi-party vote fragmentation and maximises the number of list seats that can be won. This needs parties to work together – at least for the election. Otherwise, as Craig says it will be 40+ list seats for unionist parties. A ‘Yes Alliance’?

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Too sensible, Alf!

      1. Lisa Smith says:

        I agree Jim – Alf’s suggestion of a Yes Alliance is too sensible!….so why not?…would it be impossible for the other pro Indy parties to organize?….and for the SNP to endorse?……seems to me the one sure way we’d get more pro Indy seats through the list vote,decrease the Unioist party seats, and show WM that the Independence movement is growing,organized and unstoppable!

        1. Illy says:

          Umm, what incentive is there for the SNP to do that?

          Also, what percentage of voters can each of the smaller parties bring to the table for policy negotiations?

          Yes, it would be nice, no, it’s not going to happen. Simply because of the Greens and RISE lying to people about d’hont arithmetic, if nothing else.

          1. Rob Troup says:

            The incentive would be to have a second party, the Official opposition, supporting the SNP on their policy of independence.

            To have Patrick Harvie informing Scotland of the merits of independence as leader of the opposition instead of both Kez Dugdale and Ruth Davidson spouting the merits of the Union.

            To have almost 100 MSP’s in Holyrood from pro Indy parties instead of 3 of the top 4 parties being Unionist.

            To have a much larger endorsement of the SNP’s POLICY of independence and to reduce the Unionists power base at Holyrood.

            Apart form that , I can’t think of any advantages to the SNP.

    2. Robin Stevenson says:

      IF and only if, all [non-SNP] pro-Indy parties were standing together as a “Yes Alliance” party, I would happily give them my list vote, and let them argue out between them who’s getting what after the event. But can you seriously imagine them all agreeing to this before hand? It sounds like a great idea Alf and I’m pretty certain that this tactic would improve all their chances of getting seats out of it, but the big question is, how many would dare plump for it?

  8. Keith McMillan says:

    A message needs to be sent to the british establishment next May, that message can only be sent by returning the maximum number of SNP MSPs.

    A message divided is a message that can be ignored!

    SNP have credibility, proven track record managing the economy under a fixed budget whilst westminster cuts are being imposed and the SNP have taken us to the position where we are today.

    rise are not credible, they have no track record and their only benefit will be to the unionist parties by splitting the independence vote.

    Why are the unionists in such a dire state? Because they are divided, the only thing that unites them is their unionism, how long labour can sustain this overtly unionist stance remains to be seen.

    I am sure there are a lot of good people in rise, time they joined the SNP and bolstered the independence movement if that is their goal.

    Scotland can not and should not be divided, unite behind the SNP.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Keith, with respect, there are a few holes in what you are arguing:

      “A message needs to be sent to the british establishment next May”

      30-40 unionist msp’s again getting in via the list weakens your message considerably.

      “SNP have credibility, proven track record managing the economy”

      What makes you think Holyrood has the power to manage the economy? In any case the Scottish economy is becoming weaker as each day passes, as zero growth, longterm decline in trade, unemployment, underemployment, and low wages tells us.

      “splitting the independence vote”

      Arguably it is the snp who are wasting a Yes 1m list vote as this only secures an extra 4 or 5 seats, whilst offering a shoe-in for 30-40 unionist msp’s.

      “Scotland can not and should not be divided”

      Surely it is a sign of being united if Yes parties are able to work together for a common goal?

      1. Keith McMillan says:

        Alf, I feel you and others of your ilk in rise are hugely dishonest, trying to mislead the Scottish people.

        You are trying to jump on the SNP bandwagon, in doing so you will damage the cause. You are opportunists with no track record and your polices are frankly comedic!

        Until independence is achieved, voting for any party advocating independence other than the SNP is a huge risk, I for one would never undertake. Once independence is achieved then you may have your day, but till that day stop sowing division.

        As for your arithmetic, it’s complete garbage and you know it, look at Wings! rise will let unionists in the back door, my question to you is that what you want? If you recall the Scottish Parliament was designed by the unionists so that no one party (and for “no one party” read SNP) could ever govern on its own. The SNP have defied the odds, why put that at risk if you believe in an independent Scotland?

        Proof of the assertion that rise will not split the vote or sow seeds of distrust are “look at above comments” is in tatters already, you are a destructive force that is an irrelevance and for some unknown reason obtain the oxygen of publicity on this blog.

        You are beginning to look like a creation of the british state or one of its tools the labour party or even Monty Python as you can’t even determine who is in rise, what it should be called and why some of its members won’t talk to others, in other words rise is a complete shambles!

        Why take the risk!

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Keith, you might wish to respond to the 4 substantive points in my last note?

          1. Illy says:

            You’re not quoting error margins on your “tactical” voting call.

            Probably because you know that their lower than the error margins on the polls, so we cannot know if it will work in advance without the fabled SNP mind control ray.

          2. Keith McMillan says:

            Let’s face it Alf, rise are Johnnie come lately’s to the independence cause. rise see an opportunity to gain influence by basking in the rejected glory of the SNP. A political strategy, decision and choice, but as easy to see through as a fake tan

            30 – 40 unionists “may” get in, my concern is maximising unity and number of those in the SNP, long standing and newly joined who get in. Your numbers are cloud cuckoo land relying upon the electorate behaving in a specific way, including those who don’t support the SNP or independence.

            SNP have managed and balanced their budget, NHS, Police and Education, or do you think to the contrary? Remember the SNP have to be credible in the eyes of the Scottish people, they can’t appeal to 5% or the latest weaponised attack from unionist parties, state broadcaster and media in cahoots.

            The sum of all the second votes going to parties other than SNP will dilute the message to westminster and store up potential problems for the SNP at Holyrood.

            One united voice from Scotland instills fear into westminster! Catalan’s voice is fragmented, if they spoke with one voice Spain would have to cede to their demands.

            The more rise’s voice is heard the more they look like unionists in sheeps’ clothing.

            Back to the point 95% make, why take a “risk” on rise when your future freedom is at stake?

        2. K.A.Mylchreest says:

          “You are beginning to look like a creation of the british state or one of its tools the labour party or even Monty Python”

          The traditional terminology, I believe is ‘Useful Idiot’.

  9. Graeme Purves says:

    If the Greens and RISE want SNP supporters to give them their list votes, they would be wise to refrain from gratuitous SNP bashing. Even some of their most prominent candidates don’t seem to get that.

    1. Conor Cheyne says:

      It is not bashing when you are simply questioning the governing party.

      1. Graeme Purves says:

        You fail to take my point. I am critical of aspects of SNP policy myself, for example their timid approach to land reform and their ill-judged opposition to the extension of Edinburgh’s tram route to Newhaven. I have no problem with substantive criticism or highlighting real policy differences, but attacks of the “SNP BAD” variety are foolish and counter-productive. They can only discourage SNP supporters from casting their list votes for other pro-independence parties. The Green and RISE campaigns need to be smarter about this.

    2. Muscleguy says:

      Not everyone who is Yes agrees with the SNP in all areas. Shock! Hold the Headlines!

      Some of you SNP acolytes need to get over yourselves and your sainted party.

      1. Illy says:


        Here’s the problem:

        RISE, Solidarity and the Greens do not, as of current polling, have much chance of taking many list seats. The SNP also don’t have much chance of taking many list seats, but for an entirely different reason. The error margins for SNP list votes transferring to RISE/Solidarity/Greens and doing anything better than a one-for-one trade are FAR smaller than the error margins on opinion polls, therefore we cannot know in advance (ie, when you’re casting your vote) whether they will have any positive effect.

        Therefore the call for people who would naturally vote SNP/SNP to “lend” their vote to someone else has no mathematical validity.

        If Solidarity/Green/RISE want votes, they should campaign on the policies like everyone else, not flawed maths and trying to game the election system in ways that don’t work.

        Also, unless you’re choosing between Labour and Conservatives, you aren’t voting for the main party of the opposition by voting for Greens/Solidarity/RISE, you’re voting for the junior partner in an SNP government, at best.

  10. 1314 says:

    In 2011 labour were so confident of their constituency vote that their best people were not on the list.

    That went well.

    Chickens and arithmetic produce no chickens and bad arithmetic.

  11. DR says:

    I’m sad to see this intuitive but incorrect idea surface here. I’m sad to see it from RISE, because when it’s debunked (as it will be, by the election if nothing else) they, the Greens and the Yes movement to the extent of buy-in, will be divided and discredited with it. It is anyway profoundly anti-democratic. The number of pro-Indy seats mandated by the TNS division of votes is 80/129 (74 SNP, 6 Green). What this article specifically advocates is trying to ensure Holyrood becomes *unrepresentative* of Scotland, by trying to make a proportional system output like FPTP. If that were possible, it would still not be pro-Indy: it’s buying into the one-party-state libel used so effectively by No. You simply cannot ask people to be open-minded about independence, while at the same time organising (sort of, because opposing both-votes-SNP instead of advocating smaller parties on their regional merits *cannot* achieve what this promises) the exclusion of their current political choice from Scotland’s Parliament. Assuming it’s not malicious means concluding RISE are massively lazy and self-deluding.

    But it’s very hard to avoid concluding that, at the very least, RISE are conflating their own interests with pro-Indy. (At the TNS vote shares, there is no case for further reducing the number of Labour MSPs: from a democratic perspective, or even from a practical Parliamentary one – it’s purely tribal. However, addition of Labour at the top of the undivided-regional vote does make a self-interested case, from a RISE perspective, because this will up the ante for smaller parties to win regional seats. The so-called strategy advocated could well win them one, in Glasgow, and that’s it. As it’s stated above, that’s all it could do to increase the ‘pro-Indy’ MSP count.) Pretending it’s surefire and national only disguises that, at the cost of confusing people about the representativeness of the voting system mandating indy, and proposed to govern it. At the cost of ensuring a whole lot of people rightly cease to trust RISE and the Greens and significant portions of the Yes movement. At the cost of handing the media, on a damn plate, a ‘tactical voting conspiracy’ for convincing trad-party voters they were robbed by the result. Not pro-Indy, not new politics.

  12. Illy says:

    As I said before on this lunacy:

    Give me the error margins on your numbers.

    If you don’t, then you are admitting that the margin for error on this is too low to actually be viable, given the current state of the polling industry.

    And for Gods Sake Bella editors, could you *please* stop pushing bad maths and perversions of the voting system.

    1. Not sure how having a political debate about routes to independence is ‘perverting the electoral system’.

      Do you have ANY idea how that sounds?

      1. Illy says:

        This isn’t a political debate.

        This is a discussion about maths and the d’hont voting system, and how to (fail to) game it.

        Political debates revolve around discussions of policy. If this was a political debate, we’d be discussing RISE/Solidarity’s policies, not maths, error margins and mind control rays.

        It’s perverting the electoral system because it’s trying to get a party more support than it’s proper share.

        1. Illy says:

          And just so you think about it: How does pushing flawed maths without mentioning the error margins make this site look?

          The analysis for all this was done *months* ago when the Greens tried it. It was thoroughly debunked then because the error margins were tiny (smaller than the error margins in polling, so we literally *cannot* know beforehand if this is workable, even if the polls are correct), and missing by barely anything gives the unionists more seats. And everyone agrees that this only gets harder if there are more than one “tactical” choice to vote for.

          1. Illy says:

            I’m also going to note that you still aren’t mentioning the error margins needed for this to work…

        2. Hi Illy – you write “it’s trying to get a party more support than it’s proper share” – what does ‘it’s proper share’ mean? (!). What could it possibly mean?

          I like how you decide what is and isn’t a political debate. The discussion of what and who and how we build a majority for independence is a political debate. This is a political debate.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            “it’s trying to get a party more support than it’s proper share.”

            I share your incomprehension at that one. It made me think of the Tories who rule over Scotland with just one MP – I guess that reflects their ‘proper share’.

          2. Illy says:

            You’re trying to get people who want an SNP government, who, in the absence of this “tactical voting” crap would vote SNP/SNP to change their vote.

            But you’re not doing it by trying to convince them that someone else is better, you’re lying to them about the maths of the voting system.

            And you’re still not quoting error margins.

          3. Illy says:

            “The discussion of what and who and how we build a majority for independence is a political debate.”

            No, that’s a tactics/strategy discussion.

            The political question at hand is “should we be independent?”

          4. EMacmillan says:

            I could be mistaken, but I’m almost certain that Illy means their “proper share” by percentage of votes – i.e. if you were trying to ensure, by playing the mechanics of the system, that a party with ten percent of the vote got fifteen percent of the MSPs, that wouldn’t be them getting their proper share.

            And indeed, trying to game a broadly proportional system to be disproportionate is, as Illy said earlier, a “perversion” of the electoral system. I think we can all agree we want more pro-indy MSPs, but achieving that goal by skewing a PR system isn’t the right way to go about it.

      2. James Coleman says:

        Do YOU have any idea how silly your comment “routes to independence” is. There is only one route to Independence and that is via the SNP. Any other route will not achieve it.

        1. nodrog says:

          Personally I think the route to independence is via the Scottish Voters yet to be convinced by the various independence supporting organisations.

          1. Illy says:

            Sounds to me like you’re saying that Solidarity/RISE and the Greens should be concentrating their efforts on converting voters from Labour/Conservatives/UKIP instead of lying to SNP voters about d’hont maths.

            In which case, join the club, we should have cookies any day now.

  13. Sora Lochiel says:

    It’s a nice idea but won’t work unless there’s only ONE other pro-independence party to give our second votes to. While Greens and RISE are both contesting this ground, it’s a recipe for disaster. Sorry. :/

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “won’t work unless there’s only ONE other pro-independence party to give our second votes to”

      Correct. So why not exploit the rather obvious flaw given to us by the D’Hondt system?

  14. Gm clarkson says:

    Utter utter rubbish
    If the author knew anything about the electoral system he would not spout this tosh
    The maths simply do not add up
    Check out the sites that actually understand the system

    Very disappointing

    1. I think it’s called having a political debate?

      1. Illy says:

        No, it’s called spouting bad maths, without addressing the flaws that *keep* being pointed out.

        It’s also trying to pervert the election system.

        A political debate would be talking about policies, not d’hont maths without mentioning that the error margins are *tiny*.

  15. bill fraser says:

    It would seem to appear that an SNP/SNP/ vote is unlikely to have any adverse effect on SNP having a huge majority assuming they win most if not all the constituency seats.

  16. Clive Scott says:

    If SNP are on track to win a majority in Holyrood from Constituancy seats alone as polls suggest then the politics must surely be to max out the list vote even if this does not produce more seats. Any drop in SNP votes will be seized on by unionists as conclusive proof of the imminent collapse of the party. Why throw them a bone? I have voted SNP at every election of every type since 1968. We appear to be winning so I am not about to stop now and lend my vote to a fringe party in the futile hope of gaming the system. It mystifies me why those who claim to be pro-indy cannot just get over themselves and vote SNP for now. There will be plenty of opportunity to indulge in fringe politics to the left or right of SNP post independence.

  17. Illy says:

    “If SNP are on track to win a majority in Holyrood from Constituancy seats alone as polls suggest”

    They don’t suggest that.

    Error margins are important.

  18. K.A.Mylchreest says:

    There is no point in the SNP ‘standing aside on the list’ for other pro-indy parties unless/until they’re likely to get a high enough % of votes to clear the threshold for getting even a single seat. In fact it would need to be 2 or more seats since even at present support levels the SNP is likely to pick up one or even two seats in every region.

    This whole approach must be due to some mixture of misunderstanding the system and sour grapes directed at the SNP.

    It the indy radicals were serious they would (a) combine into a single party (‘Unity is Strength’ — remember?) so as to have at least a fighting chance of getting enough votes for a list seat, and (b) work hard to convert ‘Scottish’ ‘Labour’ voters to their cause, after all you should be able to talk to them in their own language.

    Finally, remember that the list seats are there to counterbalance the unfairness of the FPTP seats. If, for example, the SNP got 60% of the vote and won, say 90% of the seats, they would have won 3 seats for every 2 they deserve on the basis of their support in the country. They would already have more seats than would be justified, that’s why they wouldn’t be assigned a whole pile of list seats. That would simply defeat the whole point of having a (partly) PR system in the first place.

  19. Keith McMillan says:

    Remember we have 6 months of “SNP bad” from the state broadcaster to come!

    When you go into an election strange things happen and people make the choices they want, these choices are based on what they see, read and hear in the media.

    Based on 6 months of bad news, maximising the SNP vote is essential, what take a risk on rise?

  20. The Reekster says:

    If the Green Party joined RISE there might be a credible alternative on the regional vote that would attract votes.

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    This tactical voting idea just refuses to go away, and I suppose it’s easy to see why – in purely theoretical terms, the premise is clearly correct, namely that if (oh, now there’s a big “if”) all the SNP voters voted for another pro-indy party in the list, fewer list seats would be won by unionists. And it seems like such a simple idea as well, which makes it all the more tempting.

    The problem is, this isn’t a theoretical election. As soon as you look at the realities of voting, the whole premise falls apart completely.

    1. Mass tactical voting campaigns do not work. If they did, the SNP would have won a lot fewer seats we did in May this year, because many SNP MPs did not achieve 50% of the vote, despite the best attempts of the #SNPout campaign(s). In my own seat, the combined votes of the Labour and Tory candidates alone would have defeated the SNP, and more so once you chuck the Lib Dems in there. The attempts to build an anti-UKIP vote in the 2014 European election has already been brought up elsewhere, and again, it failed. These do not support the idea that tactical voting campaigns work. If anything, it suggests they have a nasty habit of backfiring spectacularly – might one or two of the three-way marginal seats the SNP got in May have remained in unionist hands if there hadn’t been confusion over who the main anti-SNP candidate was?

    2. There is no single non-SNP pro-indy alternative. The only way this idea could have worked is if there had been ONE party for people to get behind – SNP 1 PartyB 2. That would have been a simple message to get to people. But as soon as a choice is introduced, you’ve lost that simplicity. The more parties there are, the more scope there is for “wasted” votes. The 2003 election was a case in point, with several examples of pro-indy parties getting almost enough for another list seat, but failing by literally a few tenths of a percentage. For example, the SSP got over 5% in at least one region without actually getting an MSP. If that 5% had gone to the SNP, they’d have gotten another list MSP. Instead, it went to a unionist.

    Unless you’re going to have a massive network of folk in polling stations coordinating the vote, saying “right, RISE have got enough for a seat now, so everyone start voting Green instead” or vice versa, then there will be a lot of “wasted” votes. I’m pretty confident that we’re going to see multiple examples of the combined non-SNP pro-indy vote delivering no more MSPs than they would if they’d simply voted SNP – and in some cases, even fewer.

    3. “an SNP list vote is worth significantly less than a vote for any other party (pro indy or otherwise). There is no denying this fact.” Well guess what – I’m denying it, and it most certainly is not a fact. This is probably the most overly-simplistic part of the argument, which is why it’s so wrong. The SNP, Greens and RISE are not starting from the same point. Add 5% to RISE’s starting point of 0% and chances are it’s not enough for them to get a seat. But add that to the SNP’s list vote, and chances are it would be enough for a list MSP.

    The SNP may be having its list vote divided by a bigger number, but the vote being divided is ALSO bigger. More importantly, once a number is divided by 10, dividing it by 11 doesn’t make much difference. In 2011, the SNP got a North East list seat despite the vote being divided by 11. Divide it by 12 and 13 and it was still bigger than the Greens’ vote. We could have gotten THREE list MSPs before the Greens would have been entitled to one.

    4. Everything hinges on the SNP getting a majority purely from constituency seats. Apart from it being a bit cheeky, if nobody sees a problem with that, then cast your mind back to May, where the result took pretty much everyone by surprise. People trying to claim the SNP has a majority sewn up through constituencies alone six months ahead of the election are naive at best. We have no idea how folk will actually vote on the day. Again, if tactical voting works, then the SNP will definitely not win enough constituencies to get a majority, and where does that leave the grand masterplan to get a second indyref through another SNP majority?

    Overall, the whole thing fails on one simple fact: people are going into the polling booths not knowing who anyone else is voting for. They don’t know who is going to win their own constituency, they don’t know who is going to win the other constituencies in the region, and they don’t know how much each party is going to get in the list. Nobody knows anything, and no amount of plugging numbers into a seat predictor and tweaking them is going to change that.

    You cannot predict an election in advance. Anyone claiming otherwise is simply fooling themselves, and worse, fooling other people. Perhaps once RISE actually has policies and candidates, they’ll give the tactical vote stuff a rest, and start trying to convince people to vote for them more honestly? If not, then I don’t hold out much hope for the “new politics” that we’re meant to be a part of now.

    1. Thanks for the comment Doug.

      I suppose the response is ‘Well, we’ll see’.

      I’m interested to know though is your opposition to a multi-party pro-indy movement based on the maths or is it something else? In other words if you thought there was a way of sharing information together (say ‘the internet’) and tactical voting was possible, would you still be against it? Genuine question.

      Thanks, Mike

      1. Doug Daniel says:

        “I’m interested to know though is your opposition to a multi-party pro-indy movement based on the maths or is it something else?”

        I’m all in favour of a multi-party movement, but let’s get it because it’s genuinely what folk want, not just because some SNP supporters have been guilt-tripped into voting for other parties. If RISE and the Greens can get success based on convincing people they have better policies than the SNP, then more power to them. But if they can only exist off some sort of charity vote from SNP supporters, then I don’t really see how that helps anyone. It wasn’t so long ago folk were crying foul because the Greens dared to oppose SNP policy on FFA, and that was when these folk were just *thinking* of giving their list vote to the Greens – I can’t really be bothered seeing folk going “I voted for you in May, how dare you!” when the Greens and RISE dare to not simply back everything the SNP does. But if folk are just voting for them because of dodgy arithmetic rather than policies, it’s guaranteed to happen.

        Basically, I just think folk should vote for the party they most identify with, and then you don’t regret who you voted for, and parties get the success they deserve.

      2. Alan says:

        I would not.

        The truly honest way to achieve an all-efforts-expended Yes majority in Holyrood is for the SNP, Greens, RISE, etcetera to stand under a single banner as, say, the Yes Alliance. The YA would need to agree who to contest each constituency and fill the list seats – they could do this in an equitable manner(which would probably look like SNP, SNP, Green, RISE, SNP, SNP, Soldarity, SNP, SNP). But I would not have as much confidence in a Yes Alliance government as I do in a SNP one.

        Multiple Yes parties are inimical. Either you split the vote and lose out or you suceed in gaming the system and pick up reputations for being sleekit schemers determined to succeed at any costs. Even if democracy is one of those costs.

        We are NOT trying to break away from Westminister to set up another elitist parliament where a minority of the voting electorate can pick a majority of parliamentarians. Everyone talking about tactical voting needs to understand the practice is more applicable to FPTP constituencies than regional lists. Unless the seat is a three-way marginal(less than 10% of seats are those), you’re always stuck between the top two contenders for that seat.

        1. K.A.Mylchreest says:

          There is a potential role for non-SNP ‘Yes’ parties, that is if they can attract voters who are pro-indy but for whatever reason feel they cannot support the SNP ‘establishment’.

          In short, the more people who vote for pro-indy parties, the shorter the road to freedom. So there is absolutely nothing to be gained by ‘turning’ SNP voters. To be effective you must go out to win over voters from the Unionist parties. And maybe, just maybe, you can get to the parts the SNP can’t reach.

          IMO that’s the only safe, and the only legitimate way to go forward.

      3. Illy says:

        “Tactical” voting isn’t viable on the list vote, because the error margins required for it to work are smaller than the error margins in the polls, and missing the magic numbers means that unionists get the seats instead.

  22. commentor says:

    I’m voting SNP twice because I don’t support the policies of RISE or the Greens.

  23. Mic11 says:

    Here’s a novel idea…..just vote for who you want to.

  24. Steve says:

    Best way to maximise the chances of an SNP government? Vote SNP SNP. Vote for what you believe in and aspire to. Tactical voting is risky and completely unpredictable. The other pro Indy parties need to work harder at telling me why I should vote for them in the list vote. Leave Labour and the Tories to campaign on the basis of opposition to SNP rather than what they stand for. Tell the electorate that tactical voting is undemocratic, even if it could increase the number of seats won, and that as a democratic party we accept the fact that we may lose some list seats by sticking to our belief in the democratic process. Now there a novel idea!

  25. Jt1 says:

    This is about the 100th article I’ve read from a Green or RISE person asking for SNP voters to vote tactically.

    I believe the most recent poll suggested that around a quarter of Labour voters might yet change their votes. How about appealing to those voters, just for a change? And it would actually win over a new supporter for independence.

  26. Richard Anderson says:

    I guess I’m with Doug (above). My problem is also with the issue if tactical voting. If Rise and the Greens are getting my list vote, is it because I agree with their policies or their stance on independence? Will they support the SNP in government or will they want to paddle their own canoe? Why dont Rise and the Greens just fold in to the SNP? That way, they can have their say through the branch and party networks and influence policy directly. (For the absence of doubt, I am kidding with that last couple of questions).

    I believe that the problem lies with attempting to run a referendum disguised as a HR election campaign. It isn’t helpful. Worse, I think it is detrimental to a future Yes campaign as it risks the development of resentment between organisations that are political opponents but might be on the same side in a referendum.

    Parties standing for Holyrood need to stand or fall on their policies and the appeal of these policies to the voter. independence campaigning is quite a different thing entirely.

    1. “Why dont Rise and the Greens just fold in to the SNP?”. Oh. Dear.

      1. Dave says:

        He said he was joking!
        Read the whole comment and don’t pick something out of context and comment on it!

      2. Illy says:

        (For the absence of doubt, I am kidding with that last couple of questions).”

      3. K.A.Mylchreest says:

        ‘Oh Dear’ isn’t an answer. The suggestion is not as daft as you think. Sometimes you’re better off inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in, as it were … 😉

  27. Richard Anderson says:


    My comment was followed by a statement that said “for the absence of doubt, I am kidding with that last couple of questions”. Just as much as you sought a solution that would favour your favoured political grouping, you are suggesting that SNP voters should become rise or green supporters. Nobody is saying “oh dear” to that but are trying to put down rational points of discussion. If you were hoping to persuade me to vote for someone else with my 2nd vote, how well do you think you have progressed in that aim?

  28. yesindyref2 says:

    I put a post on the other thread and it was removed, perhaps because I mistyped the name as yesinsyref2. I won’t bother repeating it, but the gist is that if RISE or Green try to convince people that “a list vote for the SNP is wasted”, they will antagonise people who are perfectly capable of seeing that that’s rubbish, and dishonest as well. And the SNP have 114,00 members who won’t like that. Honesty is the best policy.

    But an obvious addition to that is that RISE and Green are best targetting voters for other parties, Labour but also LibDems, and in that respect the 114,000 members might be encouraged to help if it’s clear the people they – we – are talking to hate the SNP. All that’s needed is for the SNP campaigner to say “well, if you hate the SNP so much, how about giving your vote to RISE / Green instead of Labour?”.

    But that won’t happen if RISE and Green continually attempt to treat SNP members as though we’re – zipped up at the back.

    1. Alan Crerar says:

      Excellent point. At the moment, Rise etc seem intent on co-opting (was going to say stealing!) SNP voters. These parties’ great strength, like the Greens, is in bringing out voters who may not have voted before or may not vote now, while disaffected Labour voters might be persuaded to RISE or SSP where they will not touch SNP with the proverbial bargepole. Solidarity certainly seem capable of gathering a cadre of loyal supporters who will countenance no other loyalty.
      It would seem that, say, in Glasgow, SNP1 and Others2 could be worth the risk, while in the old Tory rural heartlands like Stirlingshire (just a few miles north of Glasgow) that might be a risky punt.
      The MSM will treat this election like a referendum: they will be watching for a drop in SNP voting numbers and will pounce, ignoring the total that the other Indy parties provide. The psychological damage to the Union and boost to Indy of a larger than 50% total vote going just to the SNP would be great. They will certainly use a drop for propaganda purposes – we should be prepared to use the same for an increase.
      I think I just persuaded myself SNP 1&2 is best!

      1. yesindyref2 says:

        For SNP supporters and of course members, it has to be SNP / SNP in all regions.

        I do like the idea though of the campaigners mentioning Green / Solidarity etc when they come across an SNP no way voter, as not only does that give those parties more of a chance of getting in on the list, it also takes one vote away from Labour / LibDem / Conservative and all Indy parties gain.

        But at SNP 52% on the list in the last poll, assuming uniform swing in each region, I worked out in alpha order as per BBC, the list % would become Central 54.8%, Gla 47.0%, H&I 56.1%, Lo 46.3%, MidS 53.4%, NES 62.3%, SS 48.5% and West 49.0%.

        From that there isn’t one single region where the SNP are unlikely to get 1 List and maybe more, with North East Scotland being able to get 2 or 3 list MSPs.

        Tactical voting on this is a mug’s game, and I totally agree, it has to be a majority SNP government (not Indy coalition) as that’s the best chance for being “given” Indy Ref 2 when asked, and a total constituency and list % of more than 50% SNP will be a smack in the chops for the Unionists.

        1. Tony Little says:


          Where did you get the regional percentage splits from? Interesting to try to calculate those out in more detail if I get the time.


          1. yesindyref2 says:

            Tony, google for “holyrood results 2011” and take the BBC one (probably 2nd). That gives the overview, and there’s tabs for “constituencies” and “regions”, take the regions one. On the left there’s links for each of the 8 regions.

            Yes, I hand-calculated that which is always a bit dodgy, but some time I’ll just knock up a very easy spreadsheet with a top line of “inputs” for the latest opinion poll.

            Going down the actual election of list members is probably best done by hand though, using a simple table of each party with the divisor of total seats so far + 1. Some table elements could be calulated by formula, but kind of manually originated (sorry to be vague!).

          2. yesindyref2 says:

            Tony, I did a full calculation in another posting below, based on Highlands and Islands region.

            Firstly I’m not sure if RISE, SSP and Solidarity are actually polled for, or are they lumped in as “other”? Secondly my calculation is based mathematically on uniform swing which can of course very justifiably be challenged. But at least it forms a mathematical baseline for discussions about whether one region or another could be different. For instance the obvious Sheridan factor, but also the Cat Boyd / Colin Fox – or Patrick Harvie one.

  29. Mark Coburn says:

    My point in all this is that RISE and the Greens have to go out there and work hard for that vote. Hard, hard canvassing is what does it. It’s hardly a secret – just, well, if anyone can be bothered to do it. The SNP groups are already up and running.

  30. Iain Macrae says:

    Come the election I think that we’re going to find some difficulty explaining to people simply and succinctly the voting system and why both votes must be SNP votes. I like the idea of persuading ‘Never vote SNP’ers’ to give a vote to the Greens or Rise.

  31. Jim Bennett says:

    I’ve read the comments and found the debate very interesting. I think key points (for me) include:
    – don’t focus on tactical voting, focus on policies & programme
    – the non-SNP YES parties are fragmented, making a concerted tactical vote difficult
    The reason that I’ll vote SNP 1 and Green 2 is that
    – I support independence so SNP 1 is sensible
    – I disagree with the SNP on numerous issues such as: their temerity on land reform, their support for NATO and the monarchy, their lack of clarity on TTIP and fracking etc etc!
    RISE would be well advised to
    – seek a unified “left” platform with Solidarity, TUSC etc
    – base themselves on policies rather than tactics.
    I’ve never voted tactically. Virtually all my life that led to my vote rarely being placed for the winning candidate! As many on this thread have said, take a radixal step and juat vote for who you agree most with!r

    1. Illy says:

      So you want an SNP/Green Coalition in the next Holyrood season?

      No problems with that voting choice, as long as that’s what you want. (Personally, I have issues with *every* parties policies in one area or another, so I’m focusing on the biggest issue, which is getting away from Westminster corruption. But I’m not going to object if you think the Greens will effect changes that you consider more important than that)

  32. James Troup says:

    What is becoming clear on the discussion forums, is that many people do not understand the AMS system and have no idea that the regional vote will only return 6 MSP’s from the SNP. Just pointing this out will illicit accusations of Unionist troll etc etc..

    Once the evidence is shown through the latest regional polling plugged in to the D’Honte calculator, showing that the Highlands and Islands for example will not elect any SNP to Holyrood the accusations come for Pro Indy party troll … I actually support the SNP !

    The message has come through loud and clear from Nicola Sturgeon and Wings Over Scotland that tactical voting cannot work. But when you consider Nicola Surgeon is the leader of a political party and is constitutionally prohibited from promoting another party, then it becomes fairly apparent why the SNP 1 and 2 vote has come from the SNP- No big surprises there.

    Realisation that the SNP second vote actually does only lead to 6 SNP MSP’s being elected out of 56, against a backdrop of unionist MSP’s taking the official opposition and third and fourth parties, the comments take on a more “it is impossible to organise” mode of rejection.

    However, of course it can be organised, but to work effectively it has to back just one pro Indy party in the regional vote. Which begs the question of would other pro Indy parties lay down their swords to back just one other party as they are expecting the SNP voters to do ?

    It will take 50% of the SNP regional vote to switch, to force Labour out of the official Opposition position and thereby severely restrict their TV exposure, sending the Tories into fourth, whilst allowing for the first time, a pro Indy opposition supporting the SNP on that policy. That would make a big difference in living rooms all over the country.

    The absolute worse that could happen is a very unlikely SNP minority Government with their independence policy overwhelmingly strengthened by the new pecking order at Holyrood..where the SNP may have to compromise on some of their domestic policies .. So if your main concern is independence then this is the right way to go.

    Splitting the vote between two indy parties will not be sufficient to displace Labour from opposition at Holyrood , which will continue to give them a media platform to oppose the SNP on Independence. Displacing Labour and demoting the Tories should be the aim of this vote.

    Would it work ? Well try asking the question on a discussion site and see how long it takes to get a Wings article up ( minutes if that), and that is only one of so many fb pages, social media outlets and grassroots organisations that are still up and running.

    It should be SNP/Pro Indy to strengthen the independence representation at Holyrood by changing the pecking order at Holyrood, and therefore in the media, but it can only be one pro Indy party supported and that party would be entirely down the SNP voters to decide on … who are in the position where they can literally pick their own Government as well as choose their opposition.

    The choice of what party to back would be the next discussion that needs to be had.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      An excellent analysis James, thank you. I think that an indy ‘opposition’ would also ensure committees and bills at Holyrood help to really deliver the kind of reforms Scotland badly needs, which are much constrained at the moment through continued significant unionist msp representation as well as snp pandering to the msm and caving in to ‘institutional Scotland’ elites/vested interests (i.e. the folk who really still run Scotland), the latter heavily unionist. Changing Holyrood’s composition would seem to be an essential part of the overall task required to transform Scotland.

    2. yesindyref2 says:

      James, even if the SNP got all 8 constituency seats, they would still based on uniform swing, get 1 list seat, not 0. Lab would get 2, LibDem 2, Con 1 and Green 1, total 7.

      Latest opinion poll list vote: SNP 52, Lab 25, Con 11, Lib 5, Green 5, UKIP 2 (ignore UKP).
      2011 result for H&I: SNP 47.5, Lab 14.5, Con 11.6, Lib 12.1, Green 5.1.
      Calculated 2016: SNP 56.1, Lab 13.8, Con 10.3, Lib 11.6, Greeen 5.8.

      SNP initial divisor 8+1 = 9, all the rest 1. List seat allocation would go (with divisor):

      Lab 13.8% / 1 = 13.8
      Lib 11.6% / 1 = 11.6
      Con 10.3% / 1 = 10.3
      Lab 13.8% / 2 = 6.9
      SNP 56.1% / 9 = 6.25
      Lib 11.6% / 2 = 5.8
      Green 5.8% / 1 = 5.8

      Standings after those 7 list seats would be SNP 56.1% / 10 = 5.6, Lab 13.8% / 3 = 4.6, Lib 11.6% / 3 = 3.9, Con 10.3% / 2 = 5.15, Green 5.8% / 2 = 3.9. If there was an 8th list seat, the SNP would get it on 5.6, ahead of the Cons at 5.15.

      1. yesindyref2 says:

        One data line missing from my posting, before the latest opinion poll list vote:

        2011 list vote overall: SNP 44, Lab 26.3, Con 12.4, Lib 5.2, Green 4.4, UKIP 0.9.
        Latest opinion poll list vote: SNP 52, Lab 25, Con 11, Lib 5, Green 5, UKIP 2 (ignore UKP).

        And the formula for the Uniform Swing prediction of 2016 list vote for H&I for each party is:

        H&I 2016 list = 2011 list * Latest Opinion poll overall standing / 2011 overall standing. e.g. SNP = 49.5 * 52 / 44 = 56.1%.

        1. yesindyref2 says:

          Typo sorry last line: SNP = 47.5 * 52 / 44 = 56.1%.

          It shows why we should always show our working.

          1. Rob Troup says:

            I think you are looking at it from a purely SNP point of view. Rather than looking at the possibility of the SNP getting an extra list seat, the fact is that the SNP regional vote will give 6 list seats to Unionist MSP’s….. because the SNP vote will around 80% disregarded in the list.

            The problem is that this result is repeated all over Scotland , with SNP scraping the last seat in a region and losing the other 6.

            The choice is to split the SNP vote for a strong pro Indy Parliament of split the Indy vote a larger SNP majority with Unionists still in their positions of power.

  33. Iain says:

    Urging SNP supporters to vote for other pro-independence parties on the list – although innocently suggested – does seem a rather parasitical approach to public support and parliamentary representation. Although the polls show the SNP doing well now, we certainly can’t count on an SNP victory, and there is nothing the unionist parties hope for more desperately than the SNP losing power. The proposal that SNP supporters should lend their vote to other parties on the list – indeed, divide their vote amongst them – on the supposition that this will increase the number of pro-independence MSPs, is a notion based on assumptions, guesswork and pretty reckless optimism.

    As others have said, why don’t RISE et al target the Labour vote for the list – attack the unionist cause directly, rather than feeding off the SNP?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Iain, I believe James Troup above has rather elevated this discussion to a higher level, in his perfectly accurate statement that the Yes vote has the potential not only to elect an snp government, but also to elect an indy opposition, and by implication remove a unionist opposition.

      1. Illy says:

        You’re barking mad if you think that.

        The only way under d’hont to get a pro-indy opposition is to take votes from labour/conservatives.

        Taking votes from the SNP won’t do it, unless you’re psychic, because the error margins are *far* too small when compared to the accuracy of the polls, and *even then*, labour would still be the majority opposition.

        I’m going to also point out that under d’hont, it is perfectly possible for the SNP to win all of the constituencies in a region, *and* all the list seats in a region, so why everyone is implying that they can’t get more list seats *if* they get all the constituency seats I don’t know (actually, I do know, but I’d rather not accuse anyone of malice when I can pretend to believe that they’re just ignorant)

      2. David Allan says:

        James Troup hits this on the head , I agree that a number of INDY List MSP’s from other than SNP will do the cause no harm and will ensure that their is another group in the chamber that can reflect a view of independence that nobody can deny exists.

        They might just ensure that the SNP don’t become , a little complacent!

        A yes Alliance would have been great , I guess that the calibre of the particular Candidates will determine who gets most votes.

        The public will respond to a Holyrood Chamber with a variety of party members a chamber swamped by SNP Members (many just bums on seats, anatomically speaking) will in my opinion prove detremental in the longterm.

    2. James Troup says:

      Ian, I do not believe it is a parasitical approach at all as it does not have anything to do with the smaller parties. If you consider that independence is the POLICY you are voting for rather than the Party you are voting for, then it is perfectly lggitimate to use both constituency and regional votes to strengthen that policy.

      The SNP can do nothing on the regional vote to stop the attacks on independence coming from the Unionists’ corner at Holyrood, but the SNP voters can decide to support the POLICY of Independence by electing a pro Independence party from the list.

      I think this also speaks to the wider issue of tribal politics were many people can not see past a party in order to look at the best way of supporting a policy instead .. and the best way to support the POLICY of Independence is to get as many pro Independence MSP’s at Holyrood as possible.

  34. nodrog says:

    “What they do all agree on is that Scotland should be independent,” Are you sure? The SNP do not seem to be pushing it so fervently these days. Has power for power’s sake gone to their heads? Where is the YES movement now? Why are we not painting the picture of how an Independent Scotland could be instead of constantly flip flopping current economic numbers. Tell the people how Scotland would look if we stand on our own two feet and take the levers and controls of power into our own hands. We have the experts and it could be presented on this site for all to see and read.

    1. Illy says:

      Unfortunately, Bella seems to be becoming a mouthpiece for certain political parties, rather than a useful resource.

      Which is a shame.

      I’d look to Scot Goes Pop for numeric/poll analysis, and Wings for more involved stuff.

      I’m getting very tempted to start up my own blog as well, but I’m not sure what the point would be, since it’s not like I can influence the strategy discussion, and policy discussion seems to be irrelevant while Westminster holds all the power.

      (By the by, that’s also why no-one seems to want to discuss policy, and why people are pushing “SNP ’till we’re independent” as a strategy. Solidarity/SSP/RISE getting MSPs is *irrelevant* if we’re still governed from Westminster, the SNP have become the face of the independence movement, for better or for worse. Remember when the SNP having a majority of Westminster MPs was considered sufficient mandate for Scotland to declare independence?)

      1. nodrog says:

        ” Remember when the SNP having a majority of Westminster MPs was considered sufficient mandate for Scotland to declare independence?”
        Yes I do which is part of the reason for my frustration evident from my comments noted above.
        Unfortunately we got the cart before the horse by losing Indyref1 then winning 56 WM seats. Making UDI impossible as 55% said NO.
        However now is not the time to be falling apart, it is the time to “Come Together”. I posted on Wings to that effect. We need to get organised for YES.

  35. David Allan says:

    NoDrog I share your view “The SNP do not seem to be pushing it so fervently these days. Has power for power’s sake gone to their heads?” We need a diverse range of INDY MSP’s to move the cause forward, my only caveat is that we must elect candidates who are prepared to argue the case at every possible opportunity .

  36. Janet says:

    Fundamentally, in my experience, folk at the sharp end of Scottish society are more social democratic than socialist. If socialism was wanted then Holyrood would be full off socialists but it’s not and Tommy S would be the FM but he ain’t!

    As for the hard left, it’s full of backstabbers, and it would suit the Westminster Establishment perfectly to have a minority SNP government reliant on hard left votes.

    Generally, the left parties hate each other more than the Tories and the Monty Python analogy fits the bill!

    If you want Indy, vote SNP. If you want a rabble, then take your pick.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Janet, this discussion has moved on to how the unionist ‘rabble’ might be prevented from crawling back in under the list vote and forming an opposition, as currently appears virtually certain under the predicted outcome of an snp/snp vote. It is therefore about making better use of the 50%+ Yes list vote. Many Yes voters would I believe prefer a left/indy ‘rabble’ opposition, as you describe, to a unionist opposition. Wouldn’t you?

      1. Illy says:

        If by “moved on” you mean “stuck it’s head in the sand and gone ‘lalala we can’t hear you quoting hard numbers'” then sure.

        Back in reality, the list vote is the vote for who you want to be first minister, and it’s not possible to elect a yes opposition unless the SNP do *really badly* or you’re taking votes from Labour/Conservatives.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Meanwhile, “Back in reality”, the 40+ unionists are busy positioning themselves to get back in via the list vote, courtesy of 50%+ voting snp/snp, instead of snp/Yes Alliance.

  37. Ryan says:

    Have we all forgotten that we said during the referendum campaign that independence was not about the SNP or Alex Salmond (or Nicola Sturgeon now)? We did this to deflect that argument from the ‘No’ side did we not?

    1. nodrog says:

      Yes Ryan you are correct that is why the Yes Campaign was formed. Unfortunately because we had the two organisations fighting the same cause they lost the plot. As I read the Wee Ginger Dug’s article in the Nat today I realised we were on the same train. I commented so recently on wings. We allowed the opposition to attack the economic data and spent our time defending it. Instead of painting the picture of how the quality of life could be improved in Scotland with Independence. Attack is the best form of defence as our opponents taught us.

      In the summer of 2014 we started well with the Constitution but then it faded out of the picture which became economic data on a fixed income of X depending on who you believed.

      What we need now is a YES organisation that takes up where we left off in the summer of 2014 and produces an outline plan of how much better life in Scotland could be if we were independent and presents it to the Scottish voters in a manner the can understand and support. We control our own budget not dependent on a Barnett formula or austerity measures.

      Perhaps the yesregistry and forum can achieve this. But we need it now because the SNP are too busy in government and soon canvassing for May 2016. As far as I know they are not taking up the cause of Independence until the Scottish voters tell them to. Which means it is up to others to convince the Scottish voters to tell the SNP “We want independence.” I think we have the people to do it – so let’s get after it.

  38. Christian Allard MSP says:

    #BothVotesSNP , I am the evidence that it makes sense.
    Christian Allard, North East MSP for the North East of Scotland where all Constituency seats are SNP

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Christian, with respect, just because it made sense in 2011 does not mean it makes sense in 2016. But do elaborate why you think “it makes sense” next May.

    2. Rob Troup says:

      Christian, the North EAST, at the moment is polling to send 4 Tories, 1 Labour and 1 LibDem to Holyrood because of the SNP regional vote. How does that help either the SNP or the Independence movement at Holyrood ?

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