I have a new article up at Socyberty analysing recent Holyrood opinion poll trends, and speculating on the possibility that the party that wins most seats may not necessarily claim the keys to Bute House. As you'll probably deduce from the references to 'betting markets', this was the potential guest post for Political Betting that I mentioned earlier this morning. I later received an email from Mike Smithson which, although a bit ambiguous, seemed to indicate that he'd changed his mind about using it because so much is happening both domestically and abroad at the moment.
Here are the first couple of paragraphs -
"Recent polls in Scotland showing the SNP narrowing the gap have reignited interest in the betting markets for the forthcoming Holyrood election. Labour are still clear favourites, but it’s worth remembering – and too easily overlooked as a result of our relative unfamiliarity with proportional representation – that Alex Salmond’s party does not necessarily need to entirely overhaul Labour in the popular vote to remain in office. In countries across Europe that use PR, it’s quite routine for parties that finish in second place to form coalitions or looser arrangements that freeze out the largest party. In Ireland, for instance, Fine Gael have just ‘won’ an election for the very first time – and yet they’ve led governments on several previous occasions.
This does of course cut both ways – the SNP could finish first in terms of seats, but still see a Labour-led coalition take office. Indeed, the former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell continued to harbour hopes of forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats for several days after being pipped by the SNP in the 2007 election. So is there any particular reason to suppose that the SNP are the party with the best chance of forming a government from second place this time round?"
Continue reading the article here. Note that it's spread over two pages (in case it appears to come to an abrupt halt).