Futurama at Holyrood

We want to be taken care of. We want to be included. See all that “cradle to the grave” stuff that Tories so despise that we got from the the Labour Government in 1945-51? Can’t get enough of it. That government was (at least in popular memory) the high water mark of Britishness in its short lived meaning of “everybody” – and a good part of the appeal of the SNP is as re-creators of that sense of “social security” that the British State has been abandoning by painful increments ever since their introduction.

(45 seems to be our magic number – just a thought.)

The SNP’s baby boxes are a precise, welcome (and let me say quite brilliant) symbol of the emotional underpinning of Scottish political life as well as a bloody good borrowing from Scandinavia of which, I hope, there many more to come. They have sewn up this latest election to Holyrood even if it wasn’t sewn up already. The SNP manifesto is much more ambitious than expected in terms especially of policy towards the young through education as well as childcare. (With the interesting and provocative proviso that the extra spending on tackling the social divide in education is to be entirely in the gift direct to schools of the Executive and bypassing district councils). Its headlines on a reform of the social security system, on land ownership and social ownership of climate change technology are all well votable for by the “coalition” of progressives who came together for the referendum campaign.

So who needs to even consider doing anything other than giving whole hearted electoral support to anyone else on the left? The Green Manifesto doesn’t pretend to a programme for government…it’s a direction of travel document. Rise seem to be failing to make any cultural mark that translates into electoral success. The rump of the Labour Party in Scotland will have to wait until this busy series of elections is over before they can even catch a breath. They may even decide to wake up and smell the coffee.

Meanwhile the centre, where all political power resides, of Scottish politics as well as everywhere else’s politics, is well and truly captured. And the centre, the consensus points and principles, of that politics, reflects in a more secure and believable way than it has in years, what remain the expressed priorities of the electorate. The Labour Party, who dominated our electoral decisions so very recently, have been replaced by an altogether shinier, more hopeful and as complete a hegemony.

13076878_1225459714138376_883255456338357285_nPerhaps the same thing in us that demands “security” of our politicians also pre-disposes us, culturally, to the dominance of a protector. A protector in Westminster, to shield us from the Tories. And a protector in Holyrood to…well…protect us from the Tories. Our politicians are our home and away shield bearers…and we’ve decided, in both cases, that the SNP are a better bet. And I think we’re right about that. That was certainly why I voted for them in 2015, and why I’ll be voting for them in my constituency in Glasgow. (Not that I think my MSP, Nicola Sturgeon, is sitting on a knife edge or anything.)

So why, if everything in the garden is lovely, (and I hesitate a little to go over this again) am I voting Green in the List vote?

Because for the first time, I think, it feels to me like a third area of interest has been added to the defensive mindset of Scottish politics. I’m talking about the future. About the direction of travel. I’m talking about aspiration.

If all Scottish politics has been dominated up until last year by a territorial dispute between the Labour and SNP about who best to save us from the Tories in the two areas of Holyrood and Westminster (and the less conspicuous but equally bitter heartland of local government) then “the future” is the new territory that has been under dispute online.

The future? Jings! How un-Scottish is that? How un-British is that?

Nonetheless, the direction of travel is now a legitimate sphere of dispute. (I think, by the way, that the online pages of Bella Caledonia are the ideal forum for that dispute.) I believe that the Greens having a significant presence in the parliament will sustain that optimistic exploration of possibility. I think you need only take a glance at the SNP manifesto to see that it already has.

We are no longer in referendum mode, no matter how nostalgic we all are from our different pools of experience. The referendum is off the cards (and out of the SNP manifesto) unless the British vote for Brexit, and the demand for Indyref2 is so palpable and general (which it isn’t, sorry) that it is both unavoidable and a slam dunk 60% Yes. Nicola and Co. are far too canny and competent (and, it seems, ambitious for getting on with the job in the here and now) to deliver that particular hostage to fortune just because their core vote want it from them so much. They know that competent, progressive management is the core of their support outwith the constant 25-30% of the electorate who prioritise Independence above everything else.

For everyone who was involved in that binary politics of the Yes/No campaign, we are now back in the analog world. Baby boxes and all. This is the new normal. And it could be a hell of a lot worse.

Comments (83)

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  1. John Page says:

    Thanks, Peter and thanks, Bella
    Spot on
    John Page

  2. Graeme Purves says:

    Yes indeed! Spot on!

  3. K. A. Mylchreest says:

    On almost every poll I´ve seen the constituency vote for the SNP equals the sum of the list vote for SNP+Green. Which simply means that by and large the Greens are lending their constituency vote to the SNP. What else can they do given that few Greens are standing for constituencies and fewer are electable? At least the SNP seem to be aware of this support given the obvious Green elements of their policy.

    So it´s simple really. If you´re a Green you vote SNP+Green and if you´re a Nat you vote SNPx2. (And if you´re a Yoon? I couldn´t possibly comment …)

    1. Bert Logan says:

      The SNP+Green thing seems to be matched by the Tory+Labour thing. Yoons are cementing in their base numbers – unswayed by logic, reasoning, or anything sensible.

      This will be interesting because of the amount of clued up voters – it only ever grows.

  4. Redgauntlet says:

    Good article Peter, but Bella, what is going on? About the last 20 articles on the trot have been about Scottish or British politics….I’m bored.

    Where is the international angle? There’s a soft coup underway in Brazil just now for example….you know?

    Friendly piece of criticism…

  5. Dougie Blackwood says:

    The SNP are doing a good job in government but lack the bottle to be a little more radical. Land reform is a job half done; yes they will come back to it. The Council tax tweak is timid in the extreme; better than before but tie it into land reform and replace it with a Land Value Tax as proposed by the Greens. I’ve swung this way and that but will probably end up with SNP & Green. We are hoping for a clean sweep in Scotland West and, in that case, it may be that the second SNP would be wasted.

    1. punklin says:

      Yo!, Rambo, if only that timid, shrinking violet the SNP had a bit more bottle, then everything would be so easy and achievable.

  6. Jim Monaghan says:

    The childcare thing is very interesting, bypassing local democracy in favour of central control is a feature of the SNP time in Govt and is a very thacherite way of doing things. The actual childcare provision is pretty good but pretty standard along the lines of Labour and Lib Dems proposals. The problem is that another feature of the SNPs time in charge has been failure to deliver on big ideas, so proposing this and implementing it are two very different things.

    But the bypassing of local democracy is an inceasing worry. Away from conflicting figures and arguments about how the Council Tax freeze affected cuts to Council services, the issue was about taking power away from Local democractic authority. This also means Councils ar less democraticallt accountable. If the Central Govt sets local Service taxes and Business rates, we cant hold councils to account on these issues as they have no control over them.

    If that is taken in conjunction with the feature of many Labour controlled councils – arms length companies – the undermining of local democracy is quite complete and it leaves Local Authorities in a perilous state.

    For that reason I share the author’s enthusiasm for an increased SGP presence. One thing the Greens do have better polices on than the mainstream parties that have led the Scottish parliament since 1999 is the decentralisation of power and a return to real democratic power and accountability at local level.

    1. tartanfever says:

      Oh that dreadful centralising government- how dare they freeze the council tax that my local labour council would undoubtedly have increased over the last few years ? Yes, council services are being hammered , but follow the line of funding and you’ll find the fault firmly at the door of Westminster, not Holyrood.

      They decided bankers should be paid their bonuses and be bailed out, and the cost should be paid by the sick, disabled and poor. Yes, raise the council tax because after all, we’re the suckers that deserve to get hammered.

      And recently, with the shock of PFI scandals under Labour administrations at council level where we see the utter con of self certification on new buildings – yeah, roll out the bunting for more local cock ups.

      You’re happy to console local council’s on their limited spending due to financial constraints placed by Holyrood, but not a mention of the decreasing Scottish budget being received from Westminster.

      What a blinkered view.

  7. Big Jock says:

    Slightly disagree regarding referendum 2.

    Latest poll shows 48% plus support for indi. We went for independence on 30% the last time and with a tiny majority and no WM majority. So if we have a massive majority at Holyrood, WM and then the councils next year. I am not sure how 48% support for indi is not support for a referendum.

    After all if there was no mood for indi 2 then the SNP would not be sweeping the boards. no matter how naive you are as a voter you know the SNP stand for independence.

    1. Heidstaethefire says:

      The problem,Jock, as was implicit in the article, is that we know that, while difficult to quantify, a certain amount of S.N.P. support is about standing up to the U.K. government within the Westminster/Whitehall context. We can’t assume a read across to independence. We need to look elsewhere for indications as to when to call a second referendum. We can’t afford a second loss, so we can’t go too early. Remember,too that the establishment,towards the end, were tap dancing on the panic button. They won’t be caught so easily next time,and we can expect a REALLY dirty campaign next time.

  8. Colin Mk says:

    Agree entirely, jotted down some similar thoughts at the weekend there after all the back and forth discussion, have posted below.

    I will be voting Green on the list and if I was still in Kelvin I would have voted for Patrick Harvie on the constituency too. Now I am in Glasgow South I will vote for The SNP 1. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward; I believe the Greens currently have the best policies for our future and I also believe we need a bolder Holyrood to push the SNP on certain issues to help us achieve Independence. Many of the issues I’m referring to are also at the heart of the Yes campaign, land reform, reform of broken taxation and making Scotland a much more equal and fair country.

    Since the referendum, I believe most polls have shown there is a similar or sometimes slightly smaller appetite for Independence in Scotland so I think it’s fair to say that whatever has been done since hasn’t changed the minds of many soft voters. Of course we now have another Tory government for years to come and the possibility of leaving the EU against the country’s wishes but we also have sent the highest number of SNP MPs into Westminster ever. That was a huge statement and it came from years of solid SNP government and also a hugely energised and creative referendum campaign where we asked the question, ‘What country do you want to live in?’. Credit to the SNP in government, they have captained a steady ship through troubled waters whilst helping to maintain a steady appetite for Indy and unless the polls have it massively wrong, the SNP are going to clean up next month. In Westminster I have been most impressed with their opposition and continue to be. In recent months however, I have been disappointed with the SNP’s stance on taxation and land reform amongst others. The Green’s manifesto is much more similar to the Yes campaign’s vision and promises to take action now where we can to make out country fairer, before independence.

    So that’s where we are from my point of view, not too bad after the blow of the referendum but with a government mostly unwilling to upset the applecart on the road to independence, even if that means missing out on opportunities to properly address equality.

    A lot of comments I’ve seen state that it has to be SNP 1 and 2 or else it’s a wasted vote and will ‘split the indy vote’ which is apparently now of the utmost importance. No one seems to be saying loud and clear why this is the case though. Firstly, there is no referendum on the horizon and for good reason. It’s too soon and we aren’t in a position to win. In the First Minister’s own words it is up to the people to decide. Secondly, if people see and feel real change then surely that’s more likely to help people experience the benefits of doing things differently to Westminster. The softly, softly approach didn’t win us the referendum as not enough people felt it was worth the risk. What’s the point in all the upheaval if it’s just for a different shade of what we have? An understandable viewpoint, especially with the weight of corporate and media propaganda bearing down on people. If we can prove that another Scotland is possible within the constraints of the union then that makes the counter argument much, much tougher.

    We aren’t defending a lead right now and we don’t have a definitive route to independence through the SNP alone, so I don’t see what is to be achieved with the both votes SNP siege mentality. A Holyrood made up of SNP and double-figure Green MSPs would be a massive positive. Scotland has shown it is willingly open to more ‘radical’ policies and it surely has to be that most of the SNP membership, are too. A diverse parliament, working together towards a common goal whilst pushing each other to do as much positive change with the powers we have now is what I hope to see at the end of May.

  9. Malcolm MacKinnon says:

    Scottish Greens are being pragmatic. It will take time for what was in General Election manifesto to come to fruition.
    So good to see people appreciating the policies for Hollyrood as a stepping stone to further local control, land reform, and Basic Income

  10. fehvepehs says:

    I’m voting SNP for constituency and Green for list for exactly the reasons stated in the article. Let’s hope that the people see the positivity in such a vote and a welcome end to the tribalism of Tory Labour ya boo politics which scunners abiddy wi a brain

  11. JohnEdgar says:

    The pie charts are interesting. George Robertson, former Labour MP and Nato General Secretary, now an ennobled ” socialist” in the unelected H o L, a placeman in other words, once referred to Scotland as a ” minor entity in North Britain”. Gordon Brown could never refer to himself as Scottish, he used the term ” North Briton”! Now we can see that the two ” North British” parties are reduced to minor entities and are slugging out to see who can be termed the opposition. The tory nb branch even claim that to be their aim in this election. Not to win, but to be the opposition. It must be a ” first” in Scottish politics to want to be the dunce! Perhaps, failure with lead to us being Kez- and Ruthless.

  12. yesindyref2 says:

    Oh good. I’m not reading this article before posting because I want to go OT.

    In less than 2 weeks the Holyrood elections are over, and contrary to what the despondent think and the Unionist MSM hope, I don’t think the Indy movement will be split from ass to, well it won’t be split. I think apart from a few angry people, the rest of us will get on with the business of Indy.

    Now here’s the thing. The Council elections are coming up next year and I think a lot of people want to remove Unionists at their root and branch, i.e. council level. It’s also the best opportunity for rising parties to grow their grassroots. Now personally even as an SNP member I won’t care whether it’s SNP, RISE, Green or Solidarity, as long as we give the Unionist stubble a number 1 haircut. I’ve got to be honest, our council moved from a NOC Labour to NOC SNP and apart from kind of knowing the local SNP councillors I haven’t noticed a lot of difference (that’s my member card being asked for). It would be the same with a shared SNP / whichever or allever council.

    I could see SNP activists saying “vote SNP, SNP, Green, RISE” (I think it’s often 4 votes in order) and with STV none of those votes are wasted (please don’t start).

    So I suggest very soon after the 5th May, time to get the anger controlled, putting out those feelers again between what are at the moment, rival canvassers / activists / campaigners. Have a drink, have a drink, have a drink on me (but with my finances, you’re buying!).

    1. yesindyref2 says:

      Help! See how easy it is to fall into what might appear to be a bias trap.

      To clarify, I don’t care if it’s asking for “Green, Green, Solidarity, Solidarity” or “RISE, RISE, Green, Green”.

      Phew, I think I got away with taht one …

  13. MVH says:

    I think you are right, Peter but I can’t say I am happy. Especially over the Scotland Bill. We were promised Home Rule/Devomax, in breach of purdah. But all we got was a settlement that fell short of the Smith commission. The referendum did not follow the rules that ensure it is a fair and free vote. The result is null and void. Why bother having rules like purdah if the result is not invalidated when they are broken?

    I wish the SNP had tried sticking their heels in, at least for autonomy over social security. Serious breaches of human rights are happening in Scotland through the DWP. This isn’t OK, just because it is not children who are suffering. Just our disabled and terminally ill? And the residents of high level unemployment area who are voting SNP anyway?

    I have seen it tweeted that (I paraphrase, a bit unsympathetically) that it is OK for these people to suffer, because we want out of the cage, not make the cage more comfortable. In effect, the DWP casualties are all grist to the mill of indy.That can only be said by someone who is not in contact with the death and misery caused by Tory cuts to social security right now. I’m all right, Jocks. The sort who were derided as Red Tories after the No result.

    I will be voting SNP 1 and Green on the list, as a protest against the neglect of the terminally ill, and disabled adults as well as those abandoned to poverty/unemployment by neo liberal policies. There is a humanitarian crisis in Scotland today. While SNP have tackled some of this, they haven’t gone far enough till this humanitarian crisis has been properly managed .

  14. yesindyref2 says:

    Having read the article, the latest poll apparently (removing DKs) shows Indy at 48.3%. From WST the average of the last 16 polls puts YES at 48.5% average, with ups and downs, but a current up, which this latest poll confirms. That’s nearly 4% points up on Indy Ref 1, with just 19 months gone, and little interest with the GE and HE.

    Indy ref 2 is very far from being off the cards, it’s way nearer than a lot of people think.

    There, I totally spoiled that last attempt at being impartial.

    1. JohnEdgar says:

      After May 2016 there will be the “start” of the route nationale towards Inderef2. It will begin with the SNP action or campaign sotto voce to reach out to the no’s or naw’s. The ongoing generational shift will go apace too.
      The e next phase in Holyrood is going to deal with a start at managing part of the ” commanding heights” of government. That will enable us to grow in confidence and demonstrate to the North Briton minority to realise that Westminster is in reality a drag on our future. If these ukok parties can only aspire to “opposition”, then there is not much aspiration there – just mouthpieces who are content to be lobby fodder at Westminster and there are only three left!!
      Reality is that Lab and Slab have been out of office for a great deal of time. With EVEL there is really no hope for Slab(s) at Westminster ever to be in high UK office. They will come to see that in due course and realise that they may as well ditch their ” brothers” once and for all.
      Tories in Scotland, that remnant of the old Empire Loyalist faction in the Conservatives, are probably the most detached in terms of Scottish aspiration. Yet, in the 70’s Heath made his Perth Declaration outpacing the Labourites initially to look at Scottish Devolution! But that died when the Thatcherite clones took over the party and that led to its wipeout in 1997 with only one MP ever since. You would think ScotTory would reassess its whole raison d’être! But they still bang on about the yunion! The LibDems are off the radar for the moment. Despite outward appearances as nice, they are deep down Yunionists with a capital Y. They will always defer to Westminster; centrist whiggism still lurks in the psyche there.
      The newer pro indi parties/ groups will grow and develop.
      So, Inderef2 awaits.

      1. yesindyref2 says:

        Exactly John, every word. LibDems? They could have had a place but I think maybe they’ve blown it with first Clegg and the Tories and bye bye principles, then Carmichael. It’s up to them, I no longer care as long as perhaps the likes of Greens take on their one role which I think most people did respect them for, and that’s civil liberties.

        I don’t know what Sturgeon’s planning but I know one thing, she’s not just making it up or the likes of me are going to be on her like a tone of bricks. I’d go ballistic, and I dount I’d be the only one. Probably most of the 115,000 members would in fact.

        Meanwhile we have to get through the next less than 2 weeks to this flaming election, which seems to be hacking off a lot of Indy supporters. BUT whatever it is, whether Solidarity, RISE, Green or SNP , we must all get out and vote, and take as many others as we can.

        1. JohnEdgar says:

          Good point, yesindyref2. The once great pre-WW1 Liberal Party had home rule all round bill ready for Scotland just prior to outbreak of WW1. It died during that conflict. The merger of ILP into UK Labour killed it too. So, maybe for indiref2, it might take time for Slab to smell the coffee.
          It is telling how the yunionists from the former radical background are all silent adherents of the House of Lords.
          That bastion of egalitarian democracy and meritocracy!
          When you think of Foulkes, Darling, Robertson etc, mo wonder these people want to stay in the union. Cushy number. Independence would mean they would be ” repatriated” along with the Lib Dem and Tory peers.

  15. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I’m glad that’s all settled now.

    So when will we have Indyref2? I’m getting on a bit and want to see it happen.

    1. Peter Arnott says:

      If we’re on devo timing (1979-1997) , 2032, when we’re all bored stiff by it and it’s a walkover…

      Seriously, 2021 is where I’d put the money…past that? Wha kens?

  16. JohnEdgar says:

    Just heard on Stv news that Ruth’s Tories may be about to depress Slab into third place. If that is the case, Slab are in real trouble. Their better together dalliance with the toxic tories seems to have worsened its decline. Are they about to go off the radar too?
    Kez-less might happen before Ruth-less. The msm will herald that as a Tory breakthrough at the bottom.

  17. Alf Baird says:

    “the future. About the direction of travel”

    SNP 1 / Green 2 sounds like the best option to me as well. The promise of REF2 would have been worth SNP1+2, C’est la vie; let’s hope Tommy can get back in and introduce his promised Ref2 bill (would the SNP vote against that?). This is the SNP high point I think; other Yes parties should strengthen from here on in and I expect many new SNP members will not be renewing given the party’s ‘unionist’ strategy (i.e. aspiring merely to competently manage a unionist institution). As ever a bourgeoisie group of teachers, lawyers, social/health workers and spads/researchers elected to Holyrood will be unable to understand far less deal with continued economic decline, and they will shy away from the radical action needed to address the widening wealth gap.

    1. douglas clark says:

      The SNP, of whom I am a member, have got us to where we are now. Splitting the pro-independence vote carries risks that you seem far too willing to accept in return for what?

      I am not at all clear that you care for self-determination, unless it is completely on your own terms.

      It seems that whatever the SNP do, like a MoU with the Chinese, or the bourgeoisie nature of, say heart surgeons, is beyond the pale for you.

      Frankly Alf, you are running a series of posts about a perfect – from your point of view – Scotland that I and many like me (I suspect) would run a mile from. Fortunately, you are nowhere near government.


      If you want to make the case for land reform, say, or tidying up the tax system, you’d have more of a chance of success in an independent country than you will ever have by arguing against the only vehicle that currently has a substantial chance of delivering it. Cutting off your nose to spite your face. Ring any bells with you?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Douglas, this election is apparently not about independence so how can anyone be “Splitting the pro-independence vote”?

        I do worry about what remains of Scotland’s economy. I mean, Fergus Ewing? Scottish Enterprise? The manifesto?

        Do you see any point in the “56 roaring lions”? Can you share their purpose/objective?

        You really believe offshore private equity money (from who knows where) represents the best/only option for investment (i.e. public debt)?

        The case has already been made for land reform (e.g. Andy Wightman) and the SNP walked away from it.

        I’m for self-determination (and more); its the SNP who are not.

        Is this party able to take any reasonable criticism?

        1. douglas clark says:


          This election is very much about independence. It is about persuading people that it is in their best interests. It is also about telling them that politicians and people like you and I will not run ahead of public opinion. For, if we want to win, that is what has to be swayed. Public opinion, not you, not I, the people out there.

          You, sir, want to rush a nation into something it currently doesn’t agree with. Something you and I both believe to be better.

          However, transferring people from a ‘No’ vote to a ‘Yes’ vote is not going to be easy. You seem to believe it will be simple, I don’t. There are battle lines drawn, and breaking them down is not the work of a moment.

          The idea that the people will decide when – presumeably through opinion polls – is revolutionary in it’s own terms. Frankly, getting ahead of that tsunami is daft. (Assuming the tsunami comes…)

          But, it is the right thing to do. It was assumed that the election of an SNP government gave the right to a referendum, did it not? What it did not do was guarantee the outcome we wanted. Politicians lagging behind popular opinion, at least on this issue, seems a sane course of action.

          You mileage obviously varies.

      2. John says:

        I second that Douglas , SNPX2 .

  18. tartanfever says:

    God forbid the SNP don’t get a majority and the Green vote doesn’t deliver enough for a combined pro-indy majority.

    Then we are well and truly stuffed.

    All it takes it a swing of 6 or 7 seats and there are a few pretty tight constituencies out there.

    The idea that an SNP majority is guaranteed is nuts.

    Imagine Brexit happens despite Scotland voting to remain in the EU then polls for indy increase to a consistent 60% in favour but because we don’t have a pro-indy majority in Holyrood the Westminster Govt. tell us we don’t have a mandate to hold a binding 2nd referendum.

    How sick would we all feel ?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Cheer up, an SNP minority + Greens + Tommy would be a more surefire bet to bring about IndyRef2 than any majority of SNP timeservers. We might also get real land reform!

      1. douglas clark says:


        You say:

        “Cheer up, an SNP minority + Greens + Tommy would be a more surefire bet to bring about IndyRef2 than any majority of SNP timeservers. We might also get real land reform!”

        You want land reform? Get shot of Westminster!

        You seem to put the cart before the horse in all your arguements.

        We will get an independent Scotland, when sufficient numbers of the Scottish electorate vote for it.

        Your desire for land reform, say, in an independent Scotland has a high chance of happening.

        Otherwise, no.

        I truly don’t get it with you.

        You are like a gambler who puts everything they have on a single number on
        a roulette table. Sure, you might win, but the odds against are enormous. I am not willing to play games like that with the future of our nation.

        We absolutely need to win the next Referendum, not gamble on it’s outcome as you seem so happy to do.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Just another 7 or 8 points for Greens on the list would mean a second indy party could become the second largest party at Holyrood, i.e. an indy opposition as well as an indy government. That would do more to “Get shot of Westminster” than your jam tomorrow ‘strategy’ or a totally wasted second vote. And it is within the people’s hands, not the politicians offering wooly ifs and buts and maybes. Get real – SNP1 / Green2

          1. James_Mac says:

            You’re right, having the Greens surpass the Lib Dems, and approaching Labour would be excellent. As it stands, the only way I can see how we would bring about meaningful change is through independence.

            So when the Greens talk openly about “not being a party of government” and “we’re talking about the direction of travel”, the more I am reminded about David Coburn’s interview with Bernard Ponsonby. He could not answer any questions seriously, and I think actually said “we’re not going to be in government, we’re talking about a direction of travel”. I’d like to see the Greens how they will be radical. Andy Wightman, for example, is a great guy but what is he proposing in Holyrood that’s so different from the SNP? If I do lend them a list vote , I will be doing so for pro-indy reasons, and so I’d like to see – in very clear terms from the leader – how they will help with the next independence push from day one.

          2. Mike says:

            Alf you’re full of it. In order for the Green party to become the main opposition they would have to take votes from the SNP which means they would be the main opposition to Labour.

            Me is starting to believe you’re a bit of a Yoon troll.

          3. Alf Baird says:

            Mike, this is really about what happens if say another 10% Yes list votes move from SNP/list to Greens/list? (i.e. SNP list goes down to 33% and Green list vote goes to 21%.) Lets assume a last minute flood of Yes list votes to Greens, once Yes folk realise they can have it all – an indy government and an indy opposition. SNP still gets 70 constituency seats/majority.

            Constituency ballot :
            SNP 53% (+1)
            Lab 18% (-3)
            Conservatives 17% (+1)
            Liberal Democrats 7% (+1)

            Regional list ballot :
            SNP 43% (-1)
            Conservatives 18% (+2)
            Labour 17% (-2)
            Greens 11% (+1)
            Liberal Democrats 7% (n/c)
            UKIP 4% (n/c)

          4. Alf Baird says:

            Voting SNP1 / Greens2 is actually voting ‘Indy 1+2’, i.e. for an indy government and an indy opposition.

            Voting SNP1+2 is for an indy government and a unionist opposition.

            I know which I prefer – SNP1 / Greens2.

            e.g. Regional list ballot (Survation – adjusted):
            SNP 33% (-11)
            Greens 21% (+11)
            Conservatives 18% (+2)
            Labour 17% (-2)
            Liberal Democrats 7% (n/c)
            UKIP 4% (n/c)

          5. Heidstaethefire says:

            Face facts , Alf that’s not going to happen. What we need is clear-sighted assessment of the present situation. We will get our independence when the people are ready to go for it. We’re not there yet, but the position is improving. The mistake the U.K establishment would like us to make is to jump too soon. The name of the game at the moment is to govern competently from the left; admittedly I would prefer bit further left than the government, but I can live with that if it wins us the big prize.

          6. Alf Baird says:

            What the 43% SNP list vote is probably going to be worth when divided by constituency seats won, plus 1:

            Regional list (Survation / adjusted):
            Conservatives 18%
            Labour 17%
            Greens 11%
            Liberal Democrats 7%
            UKIP 4%
            SNP 4%

          7. Heidstaethefire says:

            The Greens are not an Indy party, they are a party that supported independence at the last election. Frankly, I’m not 100% convinced of their continuing wholehearted support over the longer term.

    2. John says:

      I would like to think that the SNP would get both votes but I don’t think that is going to happen .Loads of people are now splitting their votes into two parties .Bella have really been pushing us to vote for something else in our second vote . We might end up with a minority SNP government , or a coalition . If this is the case there will be no second referendum , party will diminish , bye bye independence . Well , we would have had our chance and blown it ! .

  19. JohnEdgar says:

    As Slab’s demise continues, where do their swithering supporters go? As the Tories hit them again and shatter the ‘promises’ Slab made on the tories’ behalf about shIpyard jobs being safe, Slab must regret the day they got into cahoots with Cameron and clunking fist must regret his Vow. He certainly got skelped with Cameron’s proclamation of EVEL. How the eejits have fared?
    Do we see then a drift from Slab to Rise by some erstwhile Slab supporters? Anything OldSlab stood for has crumbled!
    I cannot gloat, but the Tories certainly have cawed the feet from under Slab in the same sleekit way they pulverised the LibDems! North of the Tweed there is a way back for them, if they can open their eyes, and that is to cut themselves loose from Westminster. The ” yunion card is a death knell for them all.

  20. punklin says:

    Sorry, Alf – based on plenty canvassing, to me your assumptions seem impossible!

    1. James_Mac says:

      It is also regional specific. In most regions, except possibly Lothian or Glasgow, it could be a disaster voting Green (no chance of getting elected, etc)

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Punklin: SNP list vote of 43% = 4% (in terms of worth) is really not that smart, is it?

      1. Mike says:

        That 4% could mean the difference between Majority and minority Government Alf.

        But you knew that.

  21. Mike says:

    Alf that is total made up mince and you know it. You just flung together a load of unmatched numbers and stats and told a pack of bare faced lies.

    Now I know you’re a Yoon troll.

  22. Mike says:

    The fact is that everywhere but Glasgow and Lothian, even divided by 10 the SNP vote in 2011 was comfortably higher than the Green vote.

    In Central, for example, they could more than *treble* their 2011 vote and still be nowhere near a second seat.

    The short version is that any “prediction” giving the Greens more than nine seats is an absolute fantasy and should be dismissed instantly.

  23. David Sangster says:

    It’s interesting that in this discussion, the list vote is always analysed in terms of party. However, there is a personal aspect too : at the top of each party list is an individual, and voters in their region should wake up to that. For example in Highlands and Islands Region, the Green Party list is topped by John Finnie, while the RISE list is headed up by Jean Urquhart. Readers no doubt know very well that these are the two “rebels” who resigned from the SNP in protest at the U-turn on NATO membership. Both these candidates are well thought of, and already experienced MSPs. My point is : when it comes to the list vote don’t just think party, think candidate too.

    1. Frank says:

      Yes, but it is the party you vote for and not the candidate, which is why the list system needs reformed. For example, I don’t think that people should be able to stand twice. And how does representative democracy function in areas like mine which is the South of Scotland, even though I live in East Lothian.

    2. Dougie Blackwood says:

      I’m in West of Scotland and did look at the alternative candidates. I prefer the look of the young man standing as 1st for the Greens to the guy standing 1st for RISE so That’s likely the way I’ll go.

    3. John B Dick says:

      That’s why I’m voting RISE. Jean Urquhart is a Systems Thinker.

      I will always be indebted to Jim Mather, my former constituency MSP, for introducing me to the concept of Systems Thinking. Everything of value that I have ever achieved, in Management, Musicology, Organology and Bach scholarship has been the result of applying Systems Thinking methods.

      We need a bit of thinking in parliament, now and again. Any sort of thinking will do.

      In Highland, SGP or RISE will get you an MSP of principle and integrity. What’s that worth? Denis Canavan’s numbers will give you a clue. Then there is Tatton, where integrity (or lack of it) was worth 10,000 Conservative votes.

  24. Alf Baird says:

    All I’m saying is the Yes movement has a massive opportunity here to remove unionist airtime/msm breath and nitpicking from the Baillie’s, the Rennie’s and the Carlaw’s by electing an indy opposition as well as an indy government. That only requires another 8-10 points from Yes voters added to the Greens present polled list vote to get the Greens to around 20% or more on the list. The Herald and BBC is full of this today and I would urge folk to read Alasdair Galloway’s comments there.

    As for candidates, I agree with David Sangster that the Greens are loaded with talent, principled talent at that. Unfortunately RISE has left things too late or simply been unable to develop the critical mass. We also have to remember the usual political careerists are still piling into the SNP boat as their unionist career path options collapse. But the Yes Movement (i.e. the people) has an opportunity here, a single clear option, to consolidate list support around the Greens and squeeze even more breath out of this dying discredited union, whilst still electing an SNP ‘indy’ government.

    So let the Yes Movement drive the independence train forward bigtime – SNP1 / Greens2.

    1. Mike says:

      You know very well there can never be an Indy Government and Indy opposition with the present electorate split.

      If you split the pro Indy support in half you put Labour into power.

      Which no doubt would suit a yoon troll such as yourself very nicely.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Calling me names does not add anything to this debate, whoever you are.

        As for your statement: “put Labour into power”, have you seen the polls? Get real. Slab are struggling even to be the opposition.

        SNP1 / Greens2 (is Indy1+2) – let’s maximise the Yes Movement vote, not waste it.

        1. Mike says:

          Alf you’re deliberately spewing mince. The only party the pro Indy parties can take support from is pro indy parties.

          All you can achieve is to remove the pro indy majority Government and make them a minority Government for ZERO gain as far as Independence is concerned.
          If you take it further you can actually put Labour in as a minority Government.

          You know this I know this as does everybody who reads your mince. Its deliberate trolling and very pro unionist in its result.

  25. douglas clark says:


    You might like to look at this:


    And, then again, you might not.

    1. John Page says:

      I can only conclude (from the worked example produced by James Kelly to which you make reference) that he is a charlatan. It is both shockingly dishonest and entirely manipulative to choose an entirely bogus and artificial example (in response to Sheridan) to obfuscate the fact that the SNP list vote will be divided by 11, 10, 9 or 8 in all regions and thus ensure that Labour, Tories and LDs get the bulk of the list seats if SNP supporters vote SNP*2.
      I think it is a disgrace that he is playing on the fact the some people don’t understand the de Hont system and he is producing ridiculous examples to mislead people.
      The judgement (and it is a judgement different in every region) that people will have to make is much more nuanced than the blatantly misleading example he quotes.
      He should be ashamed of himself.
      John Page

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Douglas, the 2-party example James Kelly gives does not reflect reality and seems weighted to the SNP2 ‘mentality’. We are working in an environment with 5 main parties (plus the Tommy ‘dynamic’ in one region). So the analysis has to take 5-parties into account. Observers might also be interested to see modelling results where the Greens take a larger share of the list vote in each region, and the SNP proportionately less.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Douglas, on reflection, if this is all you and the SNP*2 brigade have in your locker, perhaps the entire Yes Movement would be better advised to vote Greens on the list.

        SNP1 / Greens2 – for max indy impact.

  26. douglas clark says:

    Peter Arnott,


    You say:

    “They know that competent, progressive management is the core of their support outwith the constant 25-30% of the electorate who prioritise Independence above everything else.”

    What makes you think it is that low?

  27. douglas clark says:


    If you really believe in Green policies, you should use both votes for Green candidates, if that is possible. Further down the article you read there is a much more realistic example….

    1. John Page says:

      If you really believe in independence and in green politics and you have two votes, why wouldn’t you vote SNP+Green?

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Douglas, all the modelling (e.g. Curtice, Scotgoespop, Wings etc) now confirms that all an SNP1+2 vote would generate is maybe as few as 2-3 list SNP seats, whereas an SNP1/Greens2 vote could potentially generate ten times that return, i.e. 20-30 seats. The latter option could also make Greens the opposition, and ensure Slab and Tories become even more of an irrelevance. This is about taking power and influence away from the unionist camp and giving further momentum to the indy movement. SNP1 / Greens2 is therefore by far the most sensible option from an indy perspective, as well as providing for more progressive and enlightened policies generally. The reward is far greater than any perceived/imagined risk in my view, and this is supported by polling and modelling analyses. Moreover, I don’t believe it is worthy for any party to ask voters to simply waste their (second/list) vote as the SNP has done and I sincerely hope voters are wise enough not to do that.

      1. Jim_McIntyre says:

        Alf, you have convinced me to vote SNP twice. I do like the Greens but I am not going to be lied to. There are reasons to vote Green but for none of the reasons you have outlined.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Care to elaborate, Jim?

          1. Jim_McIntyre says:

            There is an argument for voting Green. That they are a more acceptable pro-indy front for some left-wing unionists. The idea that the Greens will increase the pro-indy bloc in parliament on the back of SNP votes alone is clearly absurd, was wrong in Euro elections, and defeats the purpose of pro-indy supporters voting Green in the first place.

      2. John B Dick says:

        That would be beautiful. Neither Labour or Conservative first or second!

        The Greens are closest to making happen but probably not this time. I’d be happy regardless of which party to the Left of NewLabour it was.

        Then I want the pandas to have twins

        and a narrow Brexit vote in England overtaken by a Scottish remain vote.

        I wouldn’t want to leave the UK union, for a while at least if I could get all that.

  28. Alf Baird says:

    Spot the odd one out? Obviously just 1 list seat for every 175,284 votes is clearly not a good return for the Yes movement; this is 10 times worse than for most other parties depending on list votes. And the more list votes you have (with no constituency seats) the votes/seat ratio gets even better (e.g. for Labour).

    Wings List ‘Projections’
    Party List Votes List Seats Votes/Seat
    Lab 376,972 24 15,707
    Con 295,160 17 17,362
    Green 156,708 9 17,412
    SNP 876,421 5 175,284
    Lib 78,638 1 78,638

    Note: Assumes SNP win 69 constituency seats

  29. douglas clark says:

    I found that difficult to read, however,

    No RISE, no SSP etc, etc.

    If you want to vote Green, vote Green. Do not pretend that you are not attempting to skew this ridiculous system. Do not even pretend that Scottish Independence is your objective. Funnily enough, there is much to admire in a Green agenda, if it as, honestly expressed.

    For that is what all minority parties that say they want independence do.

    I would far rather that Andy Whightman, Kat Boyd and Co were in the Parliament.

    But, until that is in an independent Scotland, well, hell no.

    Just away to post SNP 1 and 2.

    Postal vote.

    Best wishes.

  30. John B Dick says:

    You would not imagine the impact the baby box initiative had on the retired midwife in his house who worked in the most depived areas of Glasgow half a century ago.

  31. John B Dick says:

    this house

  32. douglas clark says:

    Done, SNP 1 and 2.

    Best wishes Alf, I think you will convince very few. Perhaps having an alternative agenda and not SNP, who are not left wing enough, would be a good idea?

    ‘Cause we are left wing, just not dafty left wing.

    This might be the case for Mike too?

    Frankly, go get votes from Labour and the Conservatives. If you can do that, you deserve seats in Hollyrood, otherwise you are parasites.

    In my opinion.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Thanks Douglas, this might be easier to follow than the table above. I think Wings projection of 5 list seats here for SNP may be overly generous. Even so, a near 1 million list votes for 5 SNP list seats is mighty high cost, and 10 times that of a Labour or Tory list seat, or Greens.

      Summarised Wings List ‘Projections’ – votes per list seat (assumes SNP wins 69 constituency seats)
      List votes – 376,972
      List seats – 24
      Votes/Seat – 15,707

      List votes – 295,160
      List seats – 17
      Votes/Seat – 17,362

      List votes – 156,708
      List seats – 9
      Votes/Seat – 17,412

      List votes – 876,421
      List seats – 5
      Votes/Seat – 175,284

      List votes – 78,638
      List seats – 1
      Votes/Seat – 78,638

      1. douglas clark says:

        Well, who are you advocating for, and why do you think is going to work out in your favour?

        In any event my vote(s) goes to independence first candidates, not johnny come lately’s.

        I note that your projection shows the SNP winning around 5 list seats.

        I completely doubt it. The divisor, seems to act against that sort of outcome, at least until the final rounds.

        Though, given what you have published, I am maybe completely wrong. It may see the SNP getting 5 list seats on the back of having won all the constituency seats, or, you will advise me, why not?

        Because that is unlikely in the extreme.

    2. Sorry Douglas – calling people parasites is not acceptable language. Last time I checked we were living in a multi-party democracy. You are allowed to stand for office and seek support from the electorate. That is all people are doing. Please try and moderate your tone. Thank you.

  33. douglas clark says:


    check it out Mike.

    The lads and lassies that can’t join the SNP, your chums I take it, are at the very least symbiotic on the SNP.

    Apologies for not agreeing with you….

    Please moderate your own tone Mike, thank you….

    1. No need to apologise for disagreeing – as you know. Hosting debate depends on people being civil to each other. Just because you can’t comprehend the concept of a movement and unity in diversity doesn’t mean you can be rude.

      Vote however you want but you cant call people parasites.

      1. douglas clark says:

        “No need to apologise for disagreeing – as you know. Hosting debate depends on people being civil to each other. Just because you can’t comprehend the concept of a movement and unity in diversity doesn’t mean you can be rude.

        Vote however you want but you cant call people parasites.”

        I have already voted SNP 1 and 2.

        Perhaps we are at a split here.

        It is pretty plain, to me at least, that votes for minority independence parties are not going to help us get independence.

        Well, Mike what do you want?

        Is it independence or some sort of internibable fight?

        I suspect you want the war to continue, at least until your faction wins out,

        Me? I want independence first and then you and I will disagree in a free nation. Remember that? A free nation.

  34. douglas clark says:

    Parasitology is not your field, I take it?

  35. douglas clark says:


    I have voted SNP one and two.

    So you figure out why I, a voter who wants indepenence first and last would do that Mike?

    This rainbow is very pretty, but it is frankly toxic, if you want independence first.

    Best wishes….

  36. douglas clark says:


    Do you want independence first, or what?

    I do.

    I am quite willing to debate with Greens, say, the desireability of tidal dams on a massive scale, which I think they are against.

    Your interminable desire for an alternate voice is not helpful.

    We need independence first, second and third. Thereafter, let a thousand blossoms bloom.

    Your arguements, those for the tiny minority parties you love, are not going to change the direction of travel. They add zero to the direction of travel. Have you noted that they all occupy a space significantly to the left of the SNP? Have you noted that those to the right of the SNP include the Labour Party, the Liberals and, obviously, the Conservatives?

    It is obviously necessary to detach Labour, Liberal and Conservative voters, because they have numbers (doh!), from their alliance. A shift in their vote, downwards, and especially over their responses to opinion polls on how they would vote in a Referendum 2, would be significant. Arguing about the share of the ‘Yes’ vote between a and b and c is frankly stupid. You hav been doing that.

    Mike, I get the message, no-one likes the messenger. You believe you are doing good, I believe you are doing the cause of independence untold harm.

    And your knowledge of ecology needs an update.

    We part. I shall not return.

    We will win this through the SNP. Not through your minority fixation.

    You have sadly marginalised what was a great blog.

    Drink some beer or summat!

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