Scottish Tory Failure

CcdD9ICWAAA9CG9Three things stand out from this mornings latest Survation polls for Holyrood 2016. First, the much heralded Tory revival has failed to materialise despite acres of media coverage of Ruth Davidson and her daily photo opportunities. Tom Costley, Head of TNS Scotland: “There is no evidence from this February data that the Conservatives in Scotland have made any progress in narrowing the gap with Labour, to claim to be the second party – indeed, if anything, they have fallen back a little. With nine weeks to go, time is running out for opposition parties to make real inroads into SNP polling dominance.” What does this mean for Ruth? It probably means damage limitation and staggering on.

Second Labour will be wiped out, but not humiliated. An interesting concept in itself. What does this mean for Kezia? It probably means damage limitation and staggering on.

Third, we can see the contaminant of the timing of the EU referendum in the rise of UKIP, or is it perhaps David Coburn’s stirring oratory and fine-detail on policy that is attracting support?

CcdHZj9WAAAAhE8.jpg-largeHowever another poll – given the Scotland Votes treatment gives a different picture. The second poll of the day put through the seat predictor
gives: SNP 80 LAB 27 CON 15 GREEN 5 LIB DEM 2

That might be a disappointment for an ambitious Scottish Green Party campaign hoping for more seats, but it would give a very comfortable pro-indy majority (85 – ) 44) and more than doubling of the Greens presence with:
Alison Johnstone (Lothians)
Patrick Harvie (Glasgow)
Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)
John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)
Maggie Chapman (North East Scotland) possible.

It shows too that there’s much to play for in the EU debate and how people understand the UKIP message and meaning.



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  1. Alf Baird says:

    Voting SNP 1+2 will see Labour “wiped out, but not humiliated” (i.e. Labour get a shoe-in via the List, which is why all SLAB ‘big guns are on the List – its their only hope)


    Voting SNP 1+Rise/Green/Solidarity (on List) will see Labour “humiliated” (and Tories/LibDems)

    Let’s use our second/List votes wisely.

    1. John B Dick says:

      Uniquely in this election we can already tell whether the 2016 Labour party will be NewLabour, Old Labour, Council Mafia Labour,Trade Union Labour, ex-CND Labour, or whatever.

      Not exactly of course, but near enough to determine which stream are dominant.

      There will be few if any Constituency Labour MSPs; around 25 List MSPs, spread over 8 regions nearly evenly, and if you want to make a more accurate estimate of how they will be distributed, you could use the percentage of Labour votes in each region last time.

      It is probably a safe assumption that the top two in each region will be elected and the third also in Glasgow. That leaves guessing which region the remaining eight or so will be in.

      It won’t be significantly different from the top three all round.

      Conservative voters do not go to other parties, but to the crematorium. The vote will fall, but only by a tiny amount. Increased engagement of the kind seen at the referendum will depress the proportion of the total which are for Conservatives and they may lose an MSP but not more from that.

      The retiral of the sensible, hard working, decent, Butskellite Highland MSPs, who been a fixture since the beginning, may be more damaging depending on what their replacements are like and how they are perceived. The chances are that they will not be as independent of London, and cannot possible be as knowledgable as those they replace, nor have the wisdom that comes from experiencing sixty years of disappointment caused by the ignorance of their UK leaders.

      Almost nobody on the SNP list will get elected. Maybe one each from the two most northerly regions.

      We will see how much of the LibDem vote wasn’t a vote for ‘none of the above’ but a positive vote for the party. Not much of it I’d guess.

      There will be a lot of churn and loss of experience, so expect the novices to make mistakes bereft of experienced counselling.

      The Greens do a great job of creating the impression that they are a proper party with ideas and resources to contribute to government. It can’t be easy to do that, and a bit of help wouldn’t go ammiss. Last time they were expected to get a nose in the door in each region. It could happen this time.

      1. Brus MacGallah says:

        “Conservative voters do not go to other parties, but to the crematorium.” LOL!

    2. Mark says:

      Humiliating other parties isn’t what we’re doing, is it? We’re saying we like a lot of what this government is doing and we’d quite like independence, thanks.

    3. Brian Fleming says:

      Huh? I can see how they could be humiliated, but not wiped out, but ‘wiped out, but not humiliated’ just makes no sort of sense at all. Isn’t being wiped out pretty humiliating? The end of the road.

    4. Mike says:

      Sorry Alf but a detailed analysis of the list voting by WOS proves your wrong on that count. Splitting the SNP vote will only allow UKIP in not Rise or the Greens.

      This is not the time for RISE or the Greens to challenge the SNP. Post Independence is their time. Lets get over the line first before we start splitting the spoils or there wont be any spoils to split.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Mike, the so-called “detailed analysis of the list voting by WOS” has been found wanting by a number of commentators. Plus many like me, as the polling confirms, don’t think the SNP deserve our List votes as well as our constituency vote. The fact is that up to one million Yes List votes would at best yield 2 or 3 extra SNP seats, whereas 1m Yes List votes for other indy parties could yield 20+ seats – and hence result in 20+ less unionist seats. In any event I was unaware the SNP was offering independence at this, or any election.

  2. Crubag says:

    I’d caution against it being taken as a pro-indy majority. The SNP are running on a platform of competent Scottosh government, rather than attempting another referendum.

    Indeed, it’s been the decoupling of independence from voting SNP that has bee the making of the party. That and Labour incomptence finally coming home to roost. When we only ran under the Westminster system, with a majority of MPs taken to be the national plebiscite we didn’t do nearly as well.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Yes, decoupling via the mechanism of a referendum, no?

    2. Fae Queen says:

      Not quite correct. The upsurge in membership came from Yessers who had become more politically aware and active. Therefore, directly linked to Independence.
      An SNP 1&2 choice would indicate huge support for SNP and for Independence even with some List seats going, logically and fairly, to other parties.

  3. Robert Graham says:

    I really hope if the SNP gain a majority in the next Parliament , They table a motion to reform this bloody stupid voting system ,introduced by previous administrations ,when totally useless second rate failed polititions are able to live off the public purse just because they happen to belong to a party, some of them have no more right to be there than ordinary members of the public in the viewing gallery that on a daily basis probably have more collective intelligence than those sitting on their fat arses in the chamber, just a thought

  4. David says:

    With the snp so astronomically ahead and getting an outright majority on constituency seats alone, why aren’t people giving their list votes to the greens, rise and the libertarians. Thats going to be hundreds of thousands of pro indy votes wasted and will allow tory and labour to get back in, exact same format as usual every first ministers questions, sturgeon says ‘x’ then labour ‘BAD’, torries say ‘BAD’, libdems say ‘BAD’. Even the most ardent snp voters cant deny the cognitive effect of having three different parties, three different colours, three different positions left, right and centre, all saying no, cant, bad, then ‘ALEX SALMOND’ says yes. Conflating a yes vote with a vote for the snp, lost count the amount of people I spoke who said they voted no cause they didnt like alex salmond, didnt like the snp, didnt like the official positions on currency, nato, EU, corporation tax cut ect. in the white paper, which was rubbish tbh. And the amount of people who switched to yes once they seen the greens, radical indy, wealthy nation ect, not the snp’s version, kidding themselves on if they think the same will work again, need to have some other pro indy parties so we can A get constructive opposition to hold the snp to account over policies certain policies making them better government B, de-conflate a vote for independence as a vote for the snp and therefore strengthen the case and C boot the better together parties up the arse and show them for what they are. With that poll, If just 15% percent of snp voters voted for the other parties we’d end up with 69/70 snp, 9-10 greens, 3/4 rise and possibly a libertine, snp still astronomically ahead overall majority of voters, outright majority and super majority of 3 different pro indy parties as opposition, booting out better together when they’re like ‘ oh look your all stupid brainwashed cultist sturgonista nazi’s after all’, and would bring indy support to 60% odd 65% soon im sure.

    1. John Page says:

      Good for you, David. We should all look carefully at the polls for our own regions……for my Region all second SNP votes would be wasted and there is the real risk of a UKipper list MSP.
      The 2nd vote system is designed to boost smaller parties………given the clear current dominance of the SNP we have a choice of seeing unionist parties (including UKIP ffs) boosted or using our second votes to deliver quality Green MSPs……..I have checked that the top four Green list candidates for my Region are proIndy. Can anyone really envisage not adding Andy Wightman and Veronika Tudhope to the names mentioned above by Mike?
      John Page
      (Looking at the 2nd vote figure of 43% for SNP above and reflect that dividing this by 11 (for Regions like mine where SNP are clear to take all 10 constituency seats) gives you less then the UKIP %.)

    2. george wood says:

      Rise will scare more voters than they ever gain for the Independence cause. It would be unlikely that they survived the parliament without fragmenting, as that is the way of things with left wing groupings, they end up hating each other more than the Tories.

      Independence will be won in the middle ground not on the Left and never on the Right. The SNP strategy was why we got from 25+% to 43%. By campaigning on a more radical platform, they would have scared off too many of the middle ground voters and gained far fewer people sympathetic to a more radical approach.

      Remember scaring people was they main tactic of the Unionists, we didn’t need it from our own side.

    3. willie says:

      People are lending their vote to the SNP because they like what the SNP deliver which is good solid governance and standing up for Scotland. By comparison the fringe parties such as Rise, Solidarity, Respect, the SSP are an agglomeration of bit players. The fragmentation, and fractiousness they bring would be a godsend to David Cameron and his ilk. For me, and indeed for the majority of voters, securing another SNP Hollyrood government backed by a majority of the popular vote, and a majority of MPs at Westminster gives us the strongest possible voice to secure the change we want. A fragmented array of micro parties acting in personal self interest is not what we want. And so, for the time being it’s very much SNP One and Two for most folks.

    4. Mike says:

      No David you couldn’t be more wrong. Please see the detailed analysis carried out on WOS proving the point that a second vote for anybody other than the SNP lets in UKIP not RISE or Greens.

      Come on people wake up nows the time to maintain unity of purpose. The time for dividing is post Independence.

    5. Fae Queen says:

      Early in the run-up to this election I thought, and still do, that the perfect outcome would be an SNP majority with the ‘others’ being mainly pro-Indy parties with their own special qualities. I had thought those smaller parties would get together, as everyone did pre-referendum, perhaps this time to agree to a single pro-indy candidate, party to be determined by likelihood of winning in a particular area. That consensus has not happened, and we will have eg RISE and Greens standing in competition with one another.
      If any vote can ever be said to be wasted, that’s what would ‘waste’ a pro-indy List vote. I wish RISE and the Greens well but had they worked in tandem they’d be surer of more votes and more seats. In my own area SNP numbers are high enough that they’re almost certain to get at least one extra List seat. That’s good enough for me.

  5. James Mills says:

    It’s all very well to say that , given the overwhelming strength of the SNP in the constituencies , give your vote to another party in the list . How do we , the voters , determine who is likely to be in a position in the regional list to benefit ?
    I have read numerous theories on here and elsewhere advocating the strategic use of the list vote but no one has outlined exactly how the independence hand can be strengthened without , inadvertently , allowing one of the unionist parties an extra seat or two because the indy second vote was split .
    Will the Greens and Rise and the assorted others compromise on who should get these notional second votes ? if it was made clear in each region who was to benefit then the decision is an easy one – but we all know that that won’t happen .

    1. John Page says:

      Please just do the calculation for your own Region…….for my Region the currently predicted SNP 2nd vote clearly delivers seats for the second and third Labour appointees after Jackie Baillie (now there’s an indication of real talent), 2 Tories and a LD or UKipper and maybe one Green……..and no SNP list seat.
      The system is designed to boost smaller parties…….in the current position of dominance for the SNP the SNP twice strategy will boost unionists at the expense of Greens
      John Page

      1. Mike says:

        Utter rubbish! Again WOS has done a detailed analysis on this very issue. WOS is pro Independence not pro SNP so its fair and objective. A second vote for Green or Rise will see UKIP gain seats not RISE or Greens.

  6. davie says:

    Perhaps a number of conservative supporters have switched to SNP.

  7. Heidstaethefire says:

    The use of the second vote for other parties is a flawed strategy, because it risks letting labour or tories off the hook. John, above, says do the calculation, but there are far too many variables for that to work. Unionists, for example, could combine in the constituency section in an attempt to freeze out S.N.P. candidates. Situations like the mess in Lanarkshire could blow up suddenly, there might not be as big a turnout as we would like. Any or all of these things, or other Rumsfeldian “unknown unknowns” could combine to deny a majority to the independence side. There may be a certain level where it is safe to split the vote, but until every vote is in, we won’t know where it is. I’m not prepared to take the risk of allowing labour anything they could possibly present as a revival. Play safe and vote S.N.P. 1&2.

    1. John Page says:

      I am sorry but I do not accept this……please just do the sums…… is 7 repeats of the same calculation.
      There is a comment somewhere that Tory voters don’t change parties, they just die. And I can’t see many remaining Labour voters switching to Tory.
      And anyway looking at Scotland West in 2011 there were 6 SNP and 4 Labour… is a racing cert that there will be 10 SNP constituency MSPs and so the SNP divisor is 11 before you start to calculate SNP list votes. (As would be the case if the SNP only one 9/10 seats)
      We all went thru the Referendum campaign learning to think for ourselves……we are not helpless and dependent on others to do our thinking for us.
      Everyone’s vote is private. But you must make an informed choice and that means looking at the polling indications as they affect your Region and then look to see if (as for West Scotland) a 2nd vote for the SNP will be totally wasted when it could easily secure more proIndy Green MSPs.
      If you want to really bury Labour then vote Green on the second vote and ensure that you maximise the proIndy cause.
      I am very happy to share my calculations which were simple but time consuming: if anyone can disprove my reasoning I am very happy to acknowledge that.
      I am sorry I do not have the IT skills to set up a framework for updates re new polling data…….the only change I can see from my calculations based on January’s polling would be the risk that UKIP might get a list seat if the expected number of 2nd wasted SNP votes are thrown away.
      I very much want to see an SNP majority government but I passionately want to kill off Labour and see fruitful contributions to Holyrood in the run up to Indy2 from Green candidates not mentioned above by Mike Small.
      I repeat I am very happy to review actual polling numbers and revise my view but vague fears about superficial risks to SNP maximum numbers just wont cut it……the system is designed to boost smaller parties………make sure it is the Greens that are boosted and not have the shame of more people like Coburn or Baillie at Holyrood.
      John Page

      1. george wood says:

        It’s been tried before and we got an UKIP MEP thanks to the Greens hemorrhaging enough of the SNP vote.
        The Greens went around telling SNP voters to vote for them to stop UKIP and it backfired spectacularly.

        What you are advocating requires coordinating on a grand scale and the right conditions otherwise all you get is less chance of a list SNP person and no certainty of whether that leads to more Unionists or not.

        You can bet your bottom dollar that all the pro Independence minor parties will be telling voters that their party is the chosen one for the list vote for the area in question. For them, it is more about getting more Greens or Rise etc into the Holyrood than it is to do with achieving Independence.

        1. willie says:

          Too right George when you say that in relation to the fringe parties it’s all about getting a few personal seats in Hollyrood rather than independence. Just look at the array of bit players all clambouring to get a few votes and you can see how they could undermine the SNP vote. Respect, Rise, Solidarity, SSP and the Greens telling us how they’ll deliver us from evil. Personally, I think they’re taking a rise because this motley crew is incapable of delivering anything other than fragmentation and lack of focus. So again, it’s the SNP for me.

        2. “It’s been tried before” – and yet, we live in a democracy do we not, so presumably people are allowed to stand for election George?

        3. Brian Fleming says:

          I thought Coburn got in because Alex Salmond went big on “vote SNP to keep UKIP out” and a sizeable chunk of Tory voters duly voted UKIP to deny the SNP the final seat.

      2. yesindyref2 says:

        For the West of Scotland, the Conservatives are still very close on the TNS poll to getting Eastwood, and if they did, the Cons would get 1 less list seat, and the 7th list seat would go to the SNP, with the Greens way behind.

        1. John Page says:

          Would you please produce your workings for that My calculations still that the SNP do not get a list seat if they get 9/10 constituency seats
          Divide the SNP list figure of 43% above by 10 instead of 11 and you still get less than the % share for UKIP and the LDs
          Thank you
          John Page

          1. Mike says:

            WOS have produced the workings for you.

          2. yesindyref2 says:

            John, I quoted the TNS poll which has SNP on 55% for the list vote. The diagram in Mike’s article shows the TNS results for Scotlandvotes but the Survation results in the pie diagram which is misleading if you didn’t know it’s two different polls..

            7th list seat for that if Eastwood goes Tory, then the divisor is 10 not 11, and the proportional swing by region gives SNP 47.9%, Lab 24.2%, Con 12.3%, Lib 2.3%, Grn 4.8%.

            SNP take the 7th seat with resultant percentages of SNP 4.79%, Lab 4.03%, Con 4.10%, Lib 2.27%, Grn 3.78%.

            Clearly it’s stretching the accuracy to get 2 decimal places, but it makes it esasier to see who’s won!

          3. yesindyref2 says:

            Sorry John, typed the regional figure for Green wrong, it would be 3.8% not 4.8%.

      3. Mike says:

        Well its about time you did accept it and stop living outside of reality. You may want to see more Green or RISE representation in Parliament which is understandable but the reality of the system will see any attempt to give them List support will only benefit UKIP who are on the rise and will be stronger as a result of the EU referendum.

        AGAIN SEE WOS analysis before putting wishful thinking before reality.

        1. John Page says:

          I followed WOS closely during the IndyRef but got a bit disenchanted with the rudeness and stridency. I will go back and review the figures…..when I looked the last time it was superficial propaganda and did not do the detailed 7 iterations that demonstrate the clear answer that I got.
          I find your reference to wishful thinking to be infortunate. My objective is to secure an SNP majority government, bury Labour and ensure no Ukippers in Holyrood. I think your SNP(2) strategy will lead to a very suboptimal result. We need to look at this objectively and do the complete sums.
          Can I mention one wee point……I wont be bullied by anyone into voting SNP on the list if I think that vote will be wasted.
          So drop the disrespect and show me the numbers
          John Page

  8. Robert Graham says:

    If the SNP gain a majority in May , I hope they ditch this bloody stupid voting system , that allows second rate politicians entry to parliament just because they are a member of a party , is anyone clear how the existing shambles works going by previous posts it’s as clear as mud , as usual of anything Labour has had a hand in , useless then and usless now Labours record just in case anyone has forgotten , PFI , Scottish Parliment building , Edinburgh trams , opposing a new Fourth crossing , that’s Labours gift to Scotland all F/n useless always have been .

    1. willie says:

      The current Scottish Parliamentary system as you well know Robert was set up by Labour. Specifically, it was designed so that no party could secure a thunping majority with a sub thunping proportion of the vote. Thumping majorities with circa 40% of the vote being the preserve of Westminster, the system was designed to ensure that there,was little or no chance of a pesky SNP challenging Westminster. That of course has now proved to be fallacious thinking but it brings into sharp perspective the risk that the leakage of votes to fring parties could wreak. Just look at the array of fringe parties all clamouring to say that they are the one to make the difference – Respect, Solidarity, SSP, Rise, the Greens and even maybe an RIC. The objective of securing full powers for the Scottish is the big picture and this will not be achieved by encouraging folks to vote for an array of fringe parties. It’s as much a dream as thinking that socialism can be delivered tomoorrow or the day after. By and large therefore the SNP have delivered good government. The people are moreover by and large happy to. They see them as fighting for Scotland’s interests which they certainly do and would there have been any referendum, or even a Scottish Paiament without the SNP. I think not and so do most others save for the fringe parties who would tell you otherwise.

  9. John Page says:

    I am genuinely trying to understand your figures.
    If you are quoting the TNS list figure of 55% should you not also rely on the 60% constituency astonishing result?
    Can you explain what you mean by proportional swing by Region, please.
    In any event, whether the SNP gets 9 or 10 constituency seats, why would you not vote Green on the List to replace Lab/Tory/LD unionists by Scotland West Greens the top 4 of which are proIndy?

    1. yesindyref2 says:

      John, yes I used the 60% constituency TNS poll, as I did the 55% SNP region TNS poll result. What I’m saying is that Eastwood is a marginal, and could go to the conservatives, even based on that 60% constituency poll it’s quite close, and in that case the SNP fairly comfortably get the 7th list seat on the basis of proportional swing (very similar to uniform swing but more straightforward) in the West of Scotland where I live – Ayrshire.

      The reason I’d vote SNP not Green, though I’m happy to see Greens in Holyrood, is that above everything else, it’s absolutely vital the SNP get an overall majority or we can probably kiss goodbye to Indy Ref 2 – and probably for ever. Westminster is far less likely to recognise the mandate for a referendum from a mixed pro-indy bag of MSPs.

      Basically speaking though I joined the SNP after the Referendum, I’m still a non-party political person, for me Independence is above all party politics, as it enables all of them in a Scotland that makes all the decisions for ourselves.

    2. yesindyref2 says:

      To add, based on that 60% SNP TNS constituency poll I get for Eastwood: SNP 32.2%, Con 31.2%, Lab 26.3%. There’s not much in it, hence being very marginal. The Survation poll at 54% give SNP 29.6%, Con 38.4% and Lab 26.3%, a clear win for the Conservatives.

      1. John Page says:

        Thank you for this thoughtful information which I will consider.
        But I am sorry if I am being dense but what do you mean by these swings……..I thought you look at the % shares per whatever Poll you look at and then simply do 7 calculations based on how the constituency seats are shared out ……. you can do this on the %s or else take the 2011 West of Scotland turnout numbers.
        I have said all along, it is important to have regard to up to the minute polls.
        Do you agree that on the basis of the Survation poll, even if the Tories get Eastwood, then the SNP would not get a list seat but UkIP would?

        1. yesindyref2 says:

          Sorry John I shouldn’t use the word “swing”, I remember now I decided not to a few weeks ago! Yes, it’s a straight ratio of poll result compared to 2011 overall result for constituency and list, rather than a swing, and then applied for each of the 73 constituencies for the constituency “projections”, and for each of the 8 regions, all based on the detailed 2011 results from the BBC. Took a bit of setting up but at least that doesn’t change. I use %ages rather than votes, it eliminates having to bother about turnout and allows direct input using the poll percentages.

          On the survation poll scotlandvotes has it as one list SNP seat, but it is close to a second in West of Scotland, and there could be others.

          I didn’t put UKIP in my spreadhseet / model, nor RISE, they get lumped into “other” with apologies. I’m going to have to put in an extra pair of columns for each of them. UKIP are going to show more with the EU referendum, and RISE / Solidarity might be given a fairer shout by the pollsters some time.

          1. John Page says:

            This is really important………can you outline your workings (or supply a hyperlink) to get one West SNP list seat per Survation results……..even if the Tories get Eastwood, my calculations show no list seat for SNP …… 2 Labour, 2 Tories and one each Green, LD and UKIP. This would be a disaster so easily averted by large numbers of SNP votes switching to the Scottish Greens for the list.
            I very much appreciate your viewpoint and your reasoning based on actual workings
            Thank you

  10. yesindyref2 says:

    I think the two polls being so far apart shows the risks for the SNP. The TNS one shows the SNP with 71 constituency seats and 9 list ones, but the Survation shows 69 seats and 1 list one.

    It doesn’t end there though because a drop in the constituency vote for the SNP of even 4% to 50%, and a corresponding rise in Labour or Conservative could see another 4 constituency seats lost by the SNP, leaving 65. Take one for the presiding officer, and without any list seats the SNP would no longer have an overall majority, with 64 MSPs to a combined 64 – if they didn’t have that one list seat.

    Yes there could be compensating Green, Rise, Solidarity MSPs on the list, but without that overall majority, Cameron or his successor could well turn down a request for another referendum: “The SNP have no mandate”. The momentum might be lost, and in 2021 the SNP might do worse, and then Independence would be lost, not just for a generation, but perhaps for ever.

    For me it shows the importance of the SNP getting at least some list seats, to allow for “shock” results in various constituencies. And for others, perhaps it shows that there is a straight choice for pro-indy voters. Between getting another referendum and Independence, or having a preferred pro-Indy party having MSPs. For me also, the argument about “getting rid of unionist MSPs”, is very much less important than securing that overall majority for one party. That puts anti-unionist as a higher priority than Independence.

    Personally I wouldn’t care if it was the Green party or RISE that had 70 MSPs, as long as they have the power to call for and get a referendum. But a mixed majority won’t do the trick with any reliability.

  11. Frank says:

    Slightly off topic but the SNP’s announcement on council tax ‘reform’ today is a huge disappointment. Weak leadership! The guiding principle of any tax should be your ability to pay not the value of your home. Looks like I will be abstaining on the 1st vote.

    1. We’ve got a couple of pieces coming up

    2. yesindyref2 says:

      Suposedly it has extra safeguards for “equity rich, income poor” households. From the Herald: “The reforms will see additional support provided to families on low incomes, earning up to £25,000, who may be hit by the changes.”

      1. Frank says:

        That’s welcome; but the SNP campaigned for the abolition of the council tax in 2007 and then again in 2011. Furthermore, they are increasingly being exposed as hypocritical, or small C conservatives. Yet bereft of any serious opposition their dominance in Scottish politics looks set to continue. But increasingly the SNP need to ask themselves what do they want to do with their power? Rather than taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to radically transform Scottish politics they seem to be opting for the politics of safety first.

        1. yesindyref2 says:

          I would see this as an incidental measure. The real move I think is to start sharing income tax receipts, and perhaps the strategy is similar to the Smith and new tax powers, bit by bit to get to the eventual goal.

          So for councils income tax might start at being say 5% of their revenues, then go up to 10%, 20%, at some time both council tax and central government funding start dropping at the same time, and in a few years councils have moved to mostly or even all income tax sharing plus commercial rates.

          Who knows?

        2. george wood says:

          That’s perfectly understandable, as when you are up against Project Fear, the last thing you want to do is scare off potential and existing Independence voters.
          Independence will only be won if we win the middle ground and that means the SNP can’t do anything that will frighten the middle ground.
          The majority of Scots aren’t Tories or Radical left wingers and the wisest course is to navigate a course between them.

          1. Frank says:

            I understand the logic of that strategy George and from your perspective, the possibility of Rise and Solidarity (even Green MSPs) may damage the independence cause producing a right wing unionist backlash – certainly there is a case for a centre right party in Scotland without the historical baggage that comes with the British Tory Party. However my problem with this strategy is twofold. Firstly, it can easily become a strategy to consolidate the SNP’s power at the expense of independence – a likely scenario given the SNP’s current focus on encouraging no voters to vote SNP. Secondly, this constituency is naturally small c conservative and if independence is presented as ‘vote independence, nothing will change’, then in all likelihood middle Scotland will stick with the status quo.

    3. Mike says:

      I will be joining you on that one Frank. This is a huge let down for me too. They have gone and out new laboured New Labour. Gone for an easy tax grab without thought or consideration and tried to spin it as a progressive tax grab on the wealthy.

      There are 2 bedrooms flats which fall within the higher council tax bands many of them at negative equity bought by young couples.

      The council tax bands are far away from being an indication of wealth or status with many of the wealthiest in the land paying the same council tax as those young couples living in 2 and 3 bedroom flats.

      I can only see this as a starter for 10. As soon as a party gets into a habit of easy tax grabbing then it only escalates from there.

      For the first time in decades I cannot see myself voting SNP.

      Whoever came up with this pish needs their arse kicked hard.

  12. Mike says:

    This moronic SNP council tax grab is going to see them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    1. John Page says:

      Dear Mike
      ( I wish to reply to your post above references to WOS)
      I don’t accept anyone’s authority without checking myself…..but I must say the latest comment on WOS re West Scotland (where I live and have really drilled down into the numbers) is particularly weak. It says Lab and the SNP will swap constituency and list seats. That really just reinforces the point I was making! If the SNP get 9 or 10 constituency seats then 2nd votes are wasted and just return (the same?) Labour numpties kicked out by their erstwhile constituents. So vote Green on the second vote to use it to bury Labour and return more proIndy MSPs……and who knows those additional Green representatives might influence the next Scottish Governmentbon things like property tax reform and fracking.
      I will be profoundly disappointed if this SNP(2) narrow strategy denies Holyrood the talents and expertise of Andy Wightman on Land Tax and Veronika Tudhope on nuclear disarmament.
      John Page

      1. Mike says:

        You didn’t look deep enough. Its not about Labour gaining list seats which is inevitable when they lose their constituency seats but about UKIP making gains which they will do when the EU referendum campaign kicks off in earnest.

        Overall Labour the Lib Dems and the Conservatives will lose out but UKIP have nothing to lose and seats to gain. UKIP will gain before RISE or the Greens.

        1. John Page says:

          Yes but only if SNP supporters stick to the SNP*2 strategy…….work through what would happen if 10%,20%, 30% etc of SNP 2nd votes switched to the Greens.
          The ProIndy candidates get nowhere and UKIP joins SLAB numpties on the list only if tens of thousands if 2nd votes are wasted on the SNP.

  13. Ted says:

    The Council Tax has written into it that you cannot object to paying it due to inability to pay, i.e. lack of income. Why this has never been addressed by the SNP, I will never understand. If your financial situation is dire, there is no sympathy from the council mandarins and none from the SNP either it seems.

  14. Alf Baird says:

    This weak SNP council tax policy is all the more reason to ensure the likes of Andy Wightman of the Greens gets a seat in Holyrood. Vote ‘SNP 1’ + ‘any other indy party 2’

    All an SNP List vote guarantees is more List seats for SLAB, and an ever more complacent ‘estabishment’ SNP where independence is off the agenda. Holyrood needs an indy ‘opposition’ (not a unionist one) and the List provides an opportunity for that.

    1. Mike says:

      I thought the Green party wanted to increase local taxation as well?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Mike, in fact the Scottish Greens state that: “The Council Tax is regressive, it should be scrapped & replaced with a progressive system of local taxation based on wealth.”

        Andy Wightman’s extensive ‘stuff’ on land reform proves he is Scotland’s foremost authority and not scared to ruffle establishment feathers (unlike the ‘establishment’ parties such as SNP):

        Personally I am relaxed about voting for any List indy candidate from either Greens, Rise or Solidarity. As John Page suggests, look for the candidate you think may have best chance. In my region its probably Jean Urquhart of Rise, though Greens are a close second. If I lived in Lothians I would be an Andy Wightman/Greens supporter for sure. He’s THE MAN if you want real land reform and a better taxation system and to hold the wealthiest offshore landowners and speculators to account. And in Glasgow, I hope Tommy gets back in – independence is not for the faint hearted, it will need people of spirit and ability and knowledge. Best not to be tribal about this in my view – the real enemy are the unionist parties and we have a chance in May to remove even more of them, AND push the complacent SNP to do a bit more than offer merely ‘competent’ devolved government.

      2. John Page says:

        Andy Wightman has developed well thought out plans for a Land Tax……really worth looking at.

        1. Mike says:

          Land tax is just property tax spelt with an “L”. It is regressive and not built on an ability to pay.

          WTF is wrong with you people? Don’t you understand the principle of “ability to pay” relative to not having an ability to pay? If you tax an asset that somebody cant afford to pay for then you only end up taking that asset from them which in my opinion is theft and extortion.

          WTF would you call it?

          1. willie says:

            Land tax takes absolutely no recognition of ability to pay and it’s introduction would I believe set back the cause of democratic socialism for generations. Yes there are big landowners but equally there are a lot of small landowners. Consider the pensioner with a largish garden and laugh you may. But what about the grave yard, who pays there. Or what about the common areas on the typical modern housing estate, or the city park, or the city allotment. Or what about the £1m penthouse that occupies no land at all. Seems to me that the whole idea, whilst simple in principle will be an absolute nightmare – aside of which the ability to pay will play no part. Indeed, if a ” Mugabe style land grab from a restricted number of” white farmers – rich landowners ” is what we want then we should legislate to do exactly that. Meanwhile I’ll ponder how those in the graveyard will be made to pay.

        2. Mike says:

          So where is it possible for a family to buy a property in the UK below the band D level of council tax?

          1. John Page says:

            Please, Mike do have a close look at Andy Wightman’s detailed working on a Land Tax…..honestly it is worth the effort.
            It is a tax on land not buildings

          2. John Page says:

            Please read up on Andy Wightman’s detailed proposals on a Land Tax and do some detailed analysis and then I am sure Bella would provide scope for an informed debate.

  15. Mike says:

    “Mike, in fact the Scottish Greens state that: “The Council Tax is regressive, it should be scrapped & replaced with a progressive system of local taxation based on wealth.”

    So did the SNP but both the SNP and Greens are now talking about increasing it. Seems they are succumbing to the pressure being applied by the opposition and media over cuts that they themselves setup at UK level.

  16. John Page says:

    Are you still advocating SNP*2 in May?

  17. JohnEdgar says:

    The Survation poll shows a 5% difference between North British Labour and the Conservatives on the constituency and list charts. Wow! What does this also tell us? These parties, once the two dominant in Scotland, are falling and failing. Summa summarum: They are minor entities.

  18. bill fraser says:

    There is only one answer.Vote S.N.P. 1 & 2

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