Friday, November 14, 2014

Where now for the Home Rule Alliance?

One of the biggest mysteries of the last few weeks has been whether the SNP leadership would say yes or no to a pro-Home Rule electoral pact that would encompass the broader independence movement, such as the Greens, the SSP, Business for Scotland, Women for Independence, and so on.  We now seem to have a definitive answer to that question, and while it's not a "no", it's probably closer to no than to yes on a continuum.  Non-SNP members will be able to stand with the party's backing in the general election next year, but they will have to be on the approved candidates list, and they will be standing under an overall SNP banner (albeit additional descriptions will also be allowed).

This isn't nothing - it means that people like Jeane Freeman will in principle be able to stand if they wish to do so (in fact Freeman will be a shoo-in to become a candidate if she's up for it).  But it does more or less rule out the possibility of a joint ticket between the pro-independence political parties.  It now looks almost inevitable that the SNP and Greens will be standing against each other in at least some constituencies.  As I've said before, that's not ideal for either party, and it almost certainly extinguishes any possibility of the first Scottish Green MP being elected in May.

So I'm disappointed, but on the other hand I wasn't blind to the dangers of a formal electoral pact, which we can now stop worrying about.  The biggest of those was that voters might have looked for the SNP on the ballot paper and then given up in frustration when all they saw was "Radical Alliance" or whatever.


  1. The yes alliance action facebook page had comments from 3 green councillors who said they were against it. I am a bit disappointed as I wanted a yes alliance involving the greens, the ssp and the SNP.

  2. The answer basically is a "no", isn't it? Candidates will presumably stand on an SNP manifesto and take the SNP whip. How's that different from just being an SNP candidate?

    1. Well, I suppose it means that people might be standing on a Business for Scotland/Women for Independence platform in addition to the SNP platform.

  3. Several well know greens were clearly and openly pro-union. I would obviously only support a pro-independence candidate. The candidate would be required to confirm and demonstrate his credentials in this regard. Being a Green is not the main criteria.

    1. Someone, somewhere (apologies it was on here) said that Patrick Harvie had stated that his priority for 2015 was getting Caroline Lucas re-elected in Brighton. I would also like to see her keep her seat, but if that's his priority, he wouldn't be much support for Scottish Green candidates.

      (different anonymous)

  4. Disappointing, but inevitable I suppose, as no-one can agree on what compromises would be involved in a formal alliance, or even what name it would have.
    And given the current SNP lead in the polls.

    To be honest, I would expect the vast majority of the new Green members to be voting tactically for SNP to keep up the pressure for more powers.

    A handful of Green MSP's could actually hold the balance of power at Holyrood, and have real influence.
    But with UK elections, a Green vote is simply a wasted vote. Harsh but true.

  5. I don't think I'd support any candidate for our constituency who wasn't prepared to join the SNP, quite honestly. I don't mind if they only joined recently, but if they won't join at all, why do they expect to stand under the SNP banner and why should they expect me to campaign for them?

    1. SNP do not own the Independence movement Rolfe, that's why. Why do you expect me, not a member of the SNP to campaign for you (as I have done, many times in the past)? Ask yourself and answer those questions Rolfe and you may be able to see that Scottish Independence has always been bigger than Party Politics. The SNP seemed to understand that in the referendum campaign. What's changed (except an obvious short term party political advantage)? This is a serious question Rolfe.


  6. Very sad. The Yes movement is diminished by this. A typically top-down myopic proposal from the control freaks at the heart of the SNP. If they don't change - and quickly - those 60,000 new members will not hang around for long.

  7. I can't say I'm surprised. The idea of the SNP stepping aside for Green or (Even more ridiculously) SSP candidates always seemed fanciful. I doubt that the Greens would be capable of pulling in anywhere near the amount of votes the SNP alone would manage to, even in the absence of an SNP candidate running in the constituency.

  8. Any sort of alliance that calls itself the yes alliance would be doomed imo. We have to remember that the greens do not want devo max as its commonly thought of, they want something less than that. So its their fault. They are the ones not up to par with the scottish electorate.

  9. I think there is still a chance of some electoral pact - as well as this new SNP policy announced today. There is still a lot of time for discussion. Nicola Sturgeon said earlier this week that she's prepared to listen to what Patrick Harvie has to say.

  10. A Yes Alliance wouldn't work it would be seen as a re-hash of the referendum.

    The SNP are clever their goal now is Devo-Max and standing for Scotland's interests. It is unlikely that people will trust Labour to deliver Devo-Max or to stand up for Scotland's interests they are so damaged by the referendum campaign, so in order to win the GE the SNP can:

    1. Voters primarily focussed on the constitution; Yesvoters & the No voters that want Devo-Maxto to vote SNP
    2. Voters not voting on the constitution will vote SNP because they will 'stand up for Scotland' at Westminster.

    If they pull it off it could be a landslide for them.

    1. Why should the SNP stand on anything less than an independence platform? Jim Sillars isn't right about everything, but he's right about this. It should be a second referendum in all but name - the SNP outwardly campaigning on an independence ticket and trying to win 50% of the vote/seats.

  11. No advantage to the SNP or to the other parties of a YES pact for 2015 - only the SNP has a chance of gaining elected FPTP representatives to Westminster; the Holyrood proportional voting system does offer the possibility of a pact. Reality.

  12. "..only the SNP has a chance of gaining elected FPTP representatives to Westminster"

    True, but it's going to be extremely frustrating if we get a scenario with a very close Labour / SNP vote share, and say, 400-500 green votes in seats that the SNP end up narrowly losing.

    I think Greens lost their deposit in every seat last time, so it is a vote of principle, rather than any expectation of winning.
    But hopefully, most Green party members will see that their own party has far more to gain with an SNP tactical vote next year, and the chance of a more powerful Holyrood parliament, where they actually have influence.

    1. Without an alliance you really can't expect Green supporters to back the SNP in 2015. That's why in my opinion it was so important.

      If there is some clear immediate gain from backing the SNP's agenda (and in the referendum that was clearly the case) it makes sense, but if it's just to help the SNP win the odd seat I can't see people buying that. There's a reason people vote Green in the first place - they have very different policies and the impression I get of most of their supporters is that they view independence very much as a tool to give themselves more influence, not as a goal in itself. If there was an alliance with a clear goal, however, then it would be different.

    2. The point I was making is that independence or home rule does gives Green supporters far more likelihood of delivering their goals than they currently have.
      eg the powers to get rid of nuclear weapons from Scotland, or invest more in renewable energy.

      There may not be a formal alliance, but this doesn't stop sensible tactical voting at FPTP elections, where voting Green is pointless.

  13. And again nobody is saying anything about the Yessers among the missing million, who were always the prime reason for a Yes Alliance. Instead we wave goodbye to hundreds of thousands of potential votes next May, and no one says a word about it. Truly bizarre.

    1. How do we GET these votes, under a party-based FPTP system, without alienating many more regular voters though? If there was an obvious magic solution, the SNP wouldn't kick it out of bed.

    2. By making the GE a rerun of the referendum and keeping that word Yes at the forefront. As in, I dunno, a "Yes Alliance".

      Perhaps there are indeed people so thick a Yes Alliance banner would confuse them, just months after they've voted Yes. Or perhaps not.

      But we KNOW FOR CERTAIN the Yessers among the missing million have had no previous interest in voting SNP.

      One is an untested supposition. The other is an established fact. I'd rather we based our strategy on the latter.

      But too late now, eh? Now we get neither the hundreds of thousands of Yessers in the missing million nor the combined SNP plus Green vote. Easily our worst day since September 18th.

      Unless something like a petition can bring the parties to their senses.

    3. I'm not sure about a petition, but I think the case should be made to the SNP to sign a declaration of some kind saying that if we get 50% of the votes for Yes parties in 2015 it's a clear expression of the will of the Scottish people in favour of independence. There might be some reluctance among some people to do that, but if the case is made for why it's necessary I think people would come around to it.

      I really don't agree with running the 2015 election on some kind of "let's not talk about independence anymore" devo max/centrist platform. Sturgeon is the leader now and she'll have to make a call on that.

  14. It was never going to happen. Where could any non-SNP candidate have stood that would have had a better chance than an SNP one? Nowhere.

    1. Boab,
      there are seats where the SNP are 4rth! A high profile Independently non aligned YES alliance candidate fighting for Devo Max (as promised in the vow) would have had a better chance than a simple SNP 'one more heaver'. No Labour held Westminster seat has less than 10% lead over their SNP rival. SNP did not win in the Labour heartlands during the referendum, The YES alliance did. Why is this so difficult to grasp. During the referendum, YES alliance won in Labour heartlands, YES alliance lost in SNP heartlands.The voters that win Westminster elections on landslides are located in the Labour Heartlands. Central Belt.


    2. SNP did not win in the Labour heartlands during the referendum

      No, but they did so in the last general election in Scotland (2011). Took 53/73 constituency seats with 'core' Labour vote on 26% (regional list); a bit like what Labour's Westminster VI currently is.

      I must admit I'm totally perplexed as to why people keep looking at 2010 for working out 2015 results. You need to look at 2011 and Westminster VI since then. Jeez, if you ask people, they gave the SNP a clear win in 2010; Labour and lib votes were regretted on a large scale within minutes of the Rose Garden.

    3. I hope you're right SS, I do, but we are now going to possibly see the SNP vote squeezed again in the usual way, as the will BBC definitely frame the entire election in terms of Labour vs...... (wait for it) the tories! Maybe worse this time, Labour vs the Tories and UKIP!

      The SNP will (as always) be painted as irrelevant, not even worthy of a debating spot. All these tactics have only ever been applicable and successful in Westminster Elections. Hence the well documented 'Berlin wall' in voter behaviour difference between the two different elections (Jeez).

      Can you really be sure the same old trick will not work again, bearing in mind that SNP need to get past the 38% mark to start landslide possibilities. Again, this election is now apparently (and at the will of the SNP Leadership) to be fought in the same old Party Political prism.

      A majority is what we need, not a load of second place, 'close but no cigars'!
      The SNP are no longer simply playing with the hopes of party loyalists, but with those of Scottish Independence supporters in general. And as we have seen from the referendum, those two do not overlap precisely. If the leadership get this wrong they will be judged harshly by not only their new mass membership but by the 1.6 million that may have been willing to lend them their support.

      This is high stakes for everyone.


    4. "I must admit I'm totally perplexed as to why people keep looking at 2010 for working out 2015 results."

      It's not exactly rocket science - Scottish Parliament elections and UK general elections are completely different. Just as it would be nonsensical to try and predict the SNP will get 29% on account of the 2014 European election result.

      We know that all things being equal we're still likely to get less of the vote in a UK election than we will in a Scottish election. We should be completely aware of that and trying to come up with strategies to deal with it, not sticking our heads in the sand and thinking happy thoughts. In my opinion the Yes alliance was a no brainer on that front because the Greens and SSP are likely to do worse as well in a UK election. It also would have changed the terms of the debate from "are Labour or the Tories going to get into government" to a statement of intent about independence.

  15. Many of the missing million also voted say that lots of them that voted yes arent snp supporters is a bit presumptious.

    The fact is, do we want to actively unite the unionist parties and have their supporters being called upon to tactically vote to keep the snp out. Or shall we listen to the people on this one, and show them that devo max will never be delivered by westminster...even though they want it....and so independence is the only way to get more powers.

    Its a journey to yes and going for devo max is a good road to go down, as its win win. Its up to the snp supporters to know this and not fall out about it. Everyone still believes in indy, but this way holds westminster to account and proves to the electorate a harsh political reality,especially to the new voters. Who leys be honest clearly need way to do that is this way. NOT losing another referendum.

    1. Hi chalks.

      I'm only talking about keeping the Yessers among the missing million on board - let's call them the missing half million. The Noes among the missing million are irrelevant here, as by definition they're the people we have the least chance of winning over.

      And BY DEFINITION the missing half million Yessers are people with little history of voting SNP. That's why they're included in the missing million.

      It's like a form of mass political snow blindness arrived after 18th September with everyone failing to see the missing half million before their eyes and went chasing Unionists again, this time with "pro-Scottishness" etc. We need to convert them for the next indyref, sure, but to wipe out the opposition in May we didn't need to convert anybody. All we had to do was hang onto the 1.6 million right before our eyes. And the best chance to do that, now sadly gone, was a Yes Alliance.

      Dismissing those half million votes as ungettable next May is a blunder even bigger than failing to combine the SNP and Green votes. But at least the latter had plenty discussion.

      The former seems to have occurred with barely a word being said, here or anywhere else. Barely even a shrugging "But those votes aren't gettable."

      Instead we have half a million potential votes disappearing to the sound of silence.

      This is the weirdest thing of all.

    2. Sean,
      it's called narrow Party Political Interests. Same old game. Those missing million (or the half you prefer) were never of any interest to the SNP. They have been more than happy to win 'landslides' on 52% turnouts just the same as all the other Parties. In fact the SNP modern voter identifying software enhances this problem by targeting only those voters who's past voting and current voter intention is known. Get your support out and target the opponents soft vote. Do not waste time, money and energy on folk that don't normally vote at all. It has a simplistic reductive logic that appeals to the professional politician.

      I hope I am wrong, I really really do, but I fear Nicola has exposed herself as a Party first thinker, an all too common political flaw in Scottish Party Political Leaders and the very reason Scotland is not yet an Independent country.

      I am feeling sad and lost...


  16. I listened to some senior SNP people yesterday and it's absolutely clear that there will be no attempt to run the election as another referendum. Quite right too.

    It would alienate more people than it would attract. It would be remorselessly criticised as a cynical ploy coming way too soon after the referendum. And it wouldn't work. The No voters would vote tactically to deny us seats. We'd lose the votes of the No voters who support the SNP.

    It would be throwing away our chance of a Westminster majority in Scotland. It would be madness.

    1. So would the SNP rather keep their own NO voting supporters happy, rather than find a way to support and give a voice to the YES voters that don't normally vote SNP?

      This is at the core of this cynical decision. Party Political interests within the SNP seem to have trumped support for Scottish Independence, from whichever Political Party (or none) it has come from. The referendum has exposed the lie of Party Politics in Scotland somehow denoting support or otherwise for Scottish Independence.

      Labour areas voted YES. SNP areas voted NO. Unless the SNP take this information on board and re align their natural supports allegiances, we can assume that power within a devolved system has become more important than the mustering of maximum support for Independence.

      How can a party with the primary goal of Scottish Independence find itself courting NO voters in favour of YES voters ?

      This was understandable as a mistake before the Referendum, as we simply did not have the data. The results are most definitely in now though, and the SNP must deal with the facts or be judged on their actions (in the long term). The morphing of political parties from one founding principle to it's polar opposite in search of votes, whilst still attempting to wear that same core 'principle' on it's shirt sleeve is a familiar meme in Scottish Party Politics. It's happened in all three of the 'major' Scottish parties and is the reason for utter voter apathy and disillusion. The SNP cannot assume immunity from the disease.

      I am starting to see this as their test.


    2. Brilliant post, Braco.

      "How can a party with the primary goal of Scottish Independence find itself courting NO voters in favour of YES voters ?"

      This would be understandable is Yes got 1 million in the referendum, but we didn't. We got 1.6 million, more than enough to achieve wipeout if replicated next May.

      There's an additional point here, which is to do with the lip service being paid to the high indyref turnout and people's re-engagement with politics.

      If this really matters to people then why aren't the missing half million and how to keep them engaged and voting at the heart of every debate?

      Instead we have at best a shrugging dismissal of them as ungettable next May, and at worst total silence. No wonder they feel their views don't matter.

  17. Looks to me that the SNP have decided to try and cynically put all the incredible gains from the 'movement' element of Scottish politics (during and post referendum), back into the party political box marked SNP. I have my doubts that is even possible (let alone desirable), and am very worried we in Scotland will once again see the greatest chance for Independence, broken (as always) on the rocks of classic Scottish Party Political sectarianism.

    The referendum proved to me that too many Scots still view support of a political party akin to that of a Football team. The referendum YES campaign broke that thinking, the NO campaign fostered it. 45% in a referendum is not enough to win, 45% in a FPtP election would sweep all before it.The referendum defeat paradoxically has furnished us with a tool perfectly designed to win in First Past the Post Westminster elections, yet here we are throwing it away. The divided Unionist vote will be breathing a sigh of relief today.

    When did the SNP ever get 45%of the vote (never mind on an 85% turnout)? Why did the SNP recognise the need for an alliance during the referendum campaign but now inexplicably believe it is no longer required?

    I fear they have mistaken the joining of those 60 thousand YES activists to the SNP banner as a definite proxy for a miraculous transfer of support to them from the otherwise usually totally politically disconnected. The disconnected that the YES campaign (not the SNP alone) motivated and delivered behind the cause of Scottish Independence. I still see no hard evidence of that.

    It's a hard lesson, but activists did not win us the referendum. 45% of votes would win us the Election with a landslide! I hope I am wrong, but I smell party political power hungry hubris (and that's the smell that drove the missing million away in the first place)!


    1. Braco, you clearly have an excellent understanding of this issue. Any chance you could contact me via the Yes Alliance Action Facebook group?

    2. Sean,
      Thanks for your kind words (not too sure though). I am not on Facebook but you can get me on and would very much like to hear from you.

      I wrote an article on Bella explaining what I am currently up to, if you are interested.
      Although, given this news, I am no longer sure of it's worth.

      maybe catch yo later Sean.

    3. Wilco. Talk soon.

      And I actually forwarded that Registry piece to many people when it appeared. It is still an essential project.

      These latest developments may mean a group like Yes Alliance Action has to drop Alliance from its name. Maybe. But dropping the Yes? Not a chance. That registry is EXACTLY the kind of approach we're taking at YAA.

      Don't let this recent nonsense hold you back. This is just a stupid, unnecessary hurdle we'll have to overcome.


  18. The real issue here is that the SNP has not even tried. There were issues to be overcome for sure but to not explore them or even debate them internally is an insult to the spirit of the Yes movement.

    Instead it has made a (really quite pathetic) token gesture at inclusion which will do absolutely nothing to change the narrative of the election. It is just going to be SNP v Lab v Con v LibDem just like any other year.

    Rather than trying to maximise the pro-Yes vote, the SNP is now risking its own vote being squeezed. There are people who voted Yes who will never vote SNP. There are people who want to vote SNP but won't because of the way the campaign will be portrayed in the media i.e. Cameron v Miliband or, even worse for the SNP, Cameron + Farage v Miliband.

    There is not a shred of evidence of any kind of long-term strategic thinking in the SNP - it's all about how the party can capitalise on the current mood. It is a return to inward looking party politics just when we need our leaders to reach out and embrace everyone.

    The SNP might still win next year but the movement loses in the long run. There is no way I'm voting for a party that tries to selfishly cash in on the legacy of a movement while abandoning its principles.

    It is assuming ownership of the Yes movement and is totally misreading the motivation of its new members.

    But the saddest thing of all is that none of this surprises me at all.

    1. And so it begins anon.

      If this is how it plays out, you still must vote SNP though, The die is cast and there is no other choice. It just means back to holding our noses like the Unionists always made us!

      I think the SNP may have just exposed themselves (and ironically joined the Unionist parties) as completely and utterly misunderstanding what happened in Scotland during the referendum campaign.

      Short term Party interests were just to succulent for them to resist when compared to the grassroot diet on offer from our Scottish Independence Movement. They (and many other YES campaigners) seem almost relieved to get back to the old familiar party political bun fight over which elite is best placed to deliver 'more powers' to a grateful Scottish electorate.

      Hush now, there there, just go back to sleep...


    2. To me I see two different factions within the independence campaign who want to move in different directions. There's the established faction represented by Sturgeon that will want to downplay the more radical elements in the independence movement and treat the general election as some kind of "vote for the SNP and we'll protect Scottish interests in Westminster" type affair. That faction would like the supporters of the Greens and SSP to back them in an election, but they don't want to spread the electoral benefits to other parties and really don't have much in common with the Greens far less the SSP on a policy level.

      Then there's the other faction which would like to see the spirit of the referendum continue rather than have a return to old party politics. That faction would like to see a Yes alliance and a strong commitment to making the 2015 election another vote on independence (a plebiscite as Catalonia is probably going to have). This is what I support, but at present we're in a serious minority and getting brushed to one side.

      The SNP has to realise that if it doesn't offer the latter option someone else will. Returning to party politics and trying to put the independence issue back in its box for a decade isn't going to work. If the SNP aren't offering direct action then someone like the SSP will do it instead and the vote will be split. If we're not voting on independence but simply a five year policy agenda then the SSP have almost nothing in common with the SNP.

      We're at an absolutely pivotal moment in the SNP's history, it has all the cards to play, with an engaged electorate and people wanting to get involved, but this won't last forever if it makes the wrong decisions - blow it now and you might never get that chance again. Unfortunately I really don't think Sturgeon sees it that way and is more interested in winning the temporary party political argument against Labour than really driving the movement forward on a cross-party "Yes vs No" basis.

    3. Very good analysis Willie but you are not making me feel any better.


    4. SNP in September: "How proud we are to be just one wing of this wonderful Yes movement."

      Two months later: "The Yes movement is now a wing of the SNP. "

      As others have said, it's sickening but hardly surprising.

      If this rejection goes ahead, that is. The movement still has the option of appealing to the parties to come to their senses.

    5. I'm not going to vote SNP just because it is the only option. Look at Slab to see what happens to parties when people vote for them because they are the 'least worst'.

      The decision is bad enough but it is the way it has been arrived it that is so insidious.

      And, isn't it a huge slap in the face to the tens of thousands of new members for them now to be told that someone who has made no commitment to the party can be fast-tracked as their candidate.

      Have a proper debate and decide whether you want a pact or not. If you don't that's fine. If you do, do the bloody thing properly.

      This proposal is just a political fix to avoid having the debate while making the SNP look inclusive. But it does so at the expense of both the wider Yes movement and the rights of its own members.

      It is the kind of horrible proposal and manoeuvring that you'd expect from Westminster apparatchiks.

  19. how accurate is this? General Election @UKELECTIONS2015


    Scotland (sub sample)

    SNP 49%
    LABOUR 17%
    GREENS 9%
    LIBDEMS 8%
    UKIP 6%11:57 AM - 14 Nov 2014
    20 Retweets 9 favorites ReplyRetweetFavorite

    1. Hi Kevin.

      None of the above detracts from the hilarity of seeing the Red and Blue Tory Alliance below 30% or the Greens above the Lib Dems.

  20. There's so many people on here on here giving advice on strategy's got me there a collective noun for "concern trolls"?
    If not, might I propose "a perfidy" with a hat-tip to Friedrich Nietzsche who cautioned that 'The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.'

    1. Jake,
      get your head out your arse and read what is being discussed. I can now just about imagine the lofty dismissal of criticism of the Labour Party in Scotland from thinking supporters during it's 'hayday'. Maybe something like.......... there a collective noun for "concern trolls"?
      If not, might I propose "a perfidy" with a hat-tip to Friedrich Nietzsche who cautioned that 'The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.'

      You are so profound Jake you don't even have to prove your opponents argument faulty, do you? Neither did they.


    2. I dunno, but the collective noun for bumbling false accusers of concern trolls/infiltrators is "a Clouseau".

      "That person disagrees with me. Unionists disagree with me. Therefore that person is a Unionist."

      Get a bloody grip.

    3. Couldn't agree more with Jake. There is some almighty slagging of the SNP's decision making process going on here, despite the fact that support for the SNP is at an all-time high.
      Did they just stupidly stumble their way there?!

      I don't agree with a Yes Alliance as a strategy for gaining the highest number of MPs at Westminster, and it's quite clear those who make the key decisions within the SNP don't either.

      The SNP need to focus on changing the perception that the SNP can make no difference at WM, and you can see them beginning to roll out that strategy now, and I believe as the months roll on, that strategy will keep the SNP high in the polls.

      You may disagree, and that is your prerogative, but I reckon you're wrong, and thankfully, so too do those that are calling the plays.

      Head firmly out of arse btw.

  21. 94-96% of SNP 2015 intenders support independence. SNP are averaging 48% for Westminster.

    This would suggest the 45%+ have already largely decided their course of action.

    Maybe it would be wise not to do a Labour and tell them what’s best for them / what they should vote for. Rather, let them decide?

    No party owns nor can claim a ‘rightful share’ of [Yes] voters for May 2015.

    We can have our rainbow alliances under the PR-type Holyrood parliament which is designed for this. Let people vote for their specific ‘colour’ there.

    No harm in putting attractive new candidates forward for Yes parties / possible local deals if this makes sense.

    May 2015 is not a vote for independence; that comes from our own parliament in Edinburgh. It is also not a vote for governance of Scotland for our MPs are a minority.

    It is about kicking out Scottish unionists from the trough, making them wonder if the union is worth it with no pad in London, expenses and ermine.

    It is about exerting what small influence we can. SNP kingmakers? LOL. Have people learned nothing? The Tories and Labour will unite against the SNP if needed (and against UKIP too). This will be particularly the case if Labour no longer care about getting Scottish MPs following Scotland kicking them out.

    All our MPs can do is hope to exploit divisions between the big parties to the home rule advantage of Scotland, while the SNP etc wait for an opportunity to commit to a new iref in Holyrood.

    Let the people decide in 2015. They seem to be clued up enough going by polls.

    Oh and part of the SNP rise is due to an expanded ‘planning to vote’ electorate. The ‘missing’ voters who voted Yes are planning SNP. Labour’s collapse is just part of the pattern.

    1. SS,
      Without the democratic moral high ground of an Independence supporting majority at Westminster (however it is made up), Holyrood will always remain (constitutionally speaking) powerless.The population of Scotland must see itself democratically rejecting Westminster for Holyrood (no matter how undemocratic we activists know FPtP elections to be) and that means Landslide! Not 20 or so MPs pinched from mostly Lib Dems. How that is achieved is what we are debating right here on this thread SS.

      I don't think your affected tone of authority or your strawman inferences, implying some sort of undemocratic spirit behind the calls for a YES alliance to unify the Indy vote in 2015 is at all becoming.

      Where's this come from for example! 'Maybe it would be wise not to do a Labour and tell them what’s best for them / what they should vote for. Rather, let them decide?
      No party owns nor can claim a ‘rightful share’ of [Yes] voters for May 2015.'

      Who ever suggested such a thing?

      I was as certain of victory in the referendum as you were and enjoyed and appreciated your analysis and forecasts. I am now more cautious of what, when and how to read the 'mood' of the Country. You seem to be as sure as ever.

      The things we are talking of here are things that have been talked of fervently and deeply during the grassroot movement up and down the country, both before and after the referendum. If this really is the final word on SNP policy, I can see a lot of 2015 grass root initiatives now being still born. And guess who would have been the major beneficiaries of that enthusiastic movement. Yes that's right the SNP (just as they have been shown to be from the referendum YES campaign). It makes absolutely no sense to me.


    2. That's one of the more rational arguments against the Yes Alliance that I've seen, so cheers for that. But I'm not convinced, primarily because this isn't quite so rational:

      "94-96% of SNP 2015 intenders support independence. SNP are averaging 48% for Westminster.

      This would suggest the 45%+ have already largely decided their course of action."

      Can't follow the logic of that at all. Firstly because 45% isn't the key figure from the referendum, as far as the GE is concerned. The key figure we should have aimed for is 1.6 million.

      Far as I can tell, your point above makes no reference at all to the missing half million, which as people like myself and braco keep saying, is the fundamental point here, more important even than trying to combine the SNP and Green votes.

      But if we have to talk percentages, remember that 45% of an 84% turnout is vastly preferable to 48% of the likely GE turnout. (I will refrain from just retyping that sentences over and over). And why is GE turnout likely to be so much lower? Because as braco has explained so well, yesterday's events have shunted us back to the pre-indyref party political mindset, which BY DEFINITION the missing half million have shown no previous interest in.

      In other words we've written off up to 30% of our potential vote next year with barely a word exchanged on the subject, and given War Criminal Jim Murphy his first decent sleep in months.

      "Oh and part of the SNP rise is due to an expanded ‘planning to vote’ electorate. The ‘missing’ voters who voted Yes are planning SNP."

      If you have evidence that the figures involved approach a half million I promise to drop this.

      Obviously our own group Yes Alliance Action will need now to at least discuss a name change, at least dropping the word Alliance. But I'd be very reluctant to drop the Yes.

      Let's say this SNP move proves as disastrous as many of us fear it will, and the SNP showing next year proves disappointing. Let's say too that UKIP continue to rise and in fact it's them who hold the balance of power next year. Farage's price for a coalition is a 2015 EU referendum, not 2017.

      So if the Nicola S plays such a scenario smartly we could (COULD) be looking at indyref2 much sooner than people are anticipating. This is all the more reason to keep the missing half million engaged, and to keep all that Yes wording handy.

      Plus I have zero expectation of Home Rule ever being delivered. The Unionists know it presents Nicola with the following on a plate: the RAF starts bombing some new country, Holyrood refuses to send the next cheque for defence and then UDIs with 60%+ support for doing so.

      I'm reluctant to use words like "madness", so let's just say WM granting us Home Rule is... unlikely. Ever.

    3. With respect, you've completely contradicted your own argument. You've claimed that it's for the voters to decide what 2015 is about, yet proceeded to nevertheless tell us that 2015 isn't about independence.

      I've no idea why so many people seem to want to put the issue back in a box - independence is the reason there's so much engagement with the party; the minute you take that away it's just the same old point-scoring politics as usual nonsense that put people off in the first place.

      Politics changes in completely unpredictable ways and you can never bank on future support 5 or 10 years down the line. The Lib Dems went from also rans to leading the polling for a period in 2010 across the UK, now they're on the verge of barely existing as a party. That illustrates just how quickly politics can change in a short period of time and shows that you have to take your opportunities when they come.

      Independence is on the agenda now, not in ten years - nobody knows what the situation will be then or what new parties/agendas will emerge. It's absolutely vital that we make 2015 and 2016 about independence.

    4. To clarify, my comment was directed at SS above.

  22. SS - I agree absolutely with that analysis. It makes sense to me. ;)

  23. 2015 is about getting as many SNP MPs elected with a view to increasing pressure for devo max and, eventually independence. So it is all about Scottish autonomy in the long term. But all the YES alliances in the world doesn't change the fact that 2015 is about the SNP - it's just the electoral reality. Tommy Sheridan - who I don't always agree with BTW - made this point immediately after the referendum. So, as SS says, let the people decide, let us credit them with the ability to vote tactically as they see fit.

    1. But the primary electoral focus of the Yes Alliance for 2015 was to return as many SNP MPs as possible. It's just that they would have run on a joint Yes Alliance platform/pact with the other parties and independents, to attract as many of the missing half million as possible.

      Repeat: the primary 2015 beneficiaries of a Yes Alliance were always intended to be the SNP (I myself am an SNP member).

      Why are people failing to see that?

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. It's not like it's a ridiculous idea - the idea of joint platforms is extremely widespread in other European countries. The bigger party ensures its vote isn't split among smaller rivals and the smaller parties get to be a part of a larger alliance and therefore enter decision-making/have influence (in a way that wouldn't be possible if they just ran by themselves).

      Of course for the SNP it would be better if everyone just gave up on the Greens/SSP and voted for them regardless, but the point is they won't - and why should a Green or SSP voter be expected to do that anyway?

  25. So in most cases, when people vote for this hypothetical YES alliance in 2015 they will actually be voting SNP, whether they realise it or no? What do the Greens and SSP think of this? I must admit I found the idea attractive initially but now I see it as fraught with difficulties. Far better to try to convince people that Scotland's best interests are served by voting SNP next year. Just my opinion.

  26. Why are some people still going on about a Yes alliance? We lost the referendum on independence, albeit narrowly. Therefore, there cannot be a Yes alliance at the general election, it would have to be a Devo max or Home Rule alliance. There are many difficulties with an alliance given the lack of time involved, the fact that neither the Greens nor the SNP seem keen on the idea etc. I really do not see how a Devo max alliance is achievable given the time and organisational complexities involved.

  27. @Willie B

    Independence is not on the agenda for the foreseeable future, we just had a referendum on independence. Seriously what are you hoping to achieve by arguing that we return to it straight away?

    1. Muttley79,
      maybe it's you that should be listening to SSr's advice. Your personal view nor any Political Party's narrow electoral interests will decide when, or in which election, Scottish Independence is, or is not, on the agenda. That is the change that occurred during the referendum campaign. People have taken that particular decision back for themselves, through political activism.

      You sound like all those incredulous unionists, harping on about how YES lost, so now have no right to be completely dominating the political agenda (in the way we are) with all this Independence nonsense! Joining Political Parties, agitation and even having the audacity to try and hold the UK government to account over it's false promises, only made to win the referendum with.

      You sound relieved Muttley. You and many other YES campaigners on the internet have been very quick to close down legitimate options open to the Scottish electorate and the Scottish political Parties. I do know that you and your allies are absolutely sincere in your desire for Scottish Independence so, I take this opportunity to ask a serious question. Why are you intent on closing down legitimate options before they have had the chance to be properly debated?


    2. Braco. We are debating options right now. I'm sure the unionists would love it if we didn't debate, but instead fight with each other. That was what they hoped for in the event of a No. They also wanted the SNP to collapse as people blamed them for there not being a Yes.

    3. @muttley "Seriously what are you hoping to achieve by arguing that we return to it straight away?"

      I think it's pretty obvious that what I'm hoping to achieve is independence. The thing that really concerns me is this idea that we can just put the issue off the table for a decade and then come back to it at some point in the future. Some people seem to think that because we're polling somewhere near 50% now that's in the bank forever - in ten years when we want another referendum it'll be no problem, we'll just take our 50% support, win a majority in Holyrood easily and pass the legislation required.

      Anyone who genuinely thinks that is being naive in my view. It's possible the SNP could still be polling that level of support in ten years, but it's equally possible the party system changes again and we're polling nowhere near that level. If you look at UK politics you see that the era of large behemoths getting 50% of the vote is coming to an end, why do we think that's not going to happen in Scotland?

      A resurgent Liberal party, a new party of the left (a la Podemos), a Labour revival under some new leader, some tactical blunder from Sturgeon - all of that could be enough to push the SNP back down to the 30% level, putting independence off the agenda. Or what if we lose power in Holyrood and they push through some new legislation saying you need a two-thirds majority to make constitutional change? Do you think they won't take the electoral hit for that?

      We have 50% of the electorate with us now and they're with us explicitly because of independence. We should be using that, not pushing independence to one side and trying to get a few minor concessions out of Westminster. There's a time to be low-key and diplomatic and there's a time to call for genuine radical politics.

    4. None of that is what is happening on this thread SS. I have simply asked the question. You are free to answer it if you like.

      Nobody I know of from within the YES campaign blamed the SNP for the NO vote. That is why they have had the goodwill and obvious membership leap from all those YESsers and YES activists. (or did you think they came from the NO vote?)

      We are now talking about the way forward, AFTER the referendum defeat.

      The SNP hold all the cards and are, as they always were, in the leadership role of the YES movement. What people who have been part of that movement, but not part of the SNP, are trying to relate in this thread is the ugly experience of now being forced to either follow the SNP lead alone or damage our movement.

      This is cynical and totally unnecessary party political blackmail on behalf of the SNP, which leaves an awful bad taste in the mouth. (shades of 'vote Labour to keep the Tories out!', when in fact, you want to vote Labour for socialist principles which are no longer required to be on offer, as the alternative is the TORIES)

      Please explain to me the benefits to the Scottish Independence Movement this decision brings, other than securing short term Party political domination within Scotland for the SNP?

      The unnatural Political domination of Scotland by any one single Party is, in actual fact, a driving force behind much of the power non Party Political elements supporting Scottish Independence brought to the YES movement. Can you not see that? Can you not value that?

      It has been my experience that non party members have done as much (and some times far more), and been more committed to Scottish Independence and the SNP's perceived needs during campaigns than many of the SNP membership have themselves. Many more than the 25 000 SNP membership manned the barricades during the referendum, as is now evident by their recent unprecedented membership surge.

      SNP organisers will tell you how many long term members donate nothing but their membership fee from one election to the next, without as much as delivering a single leaflet. All we were hoping for (sadly not even expecting) was acknowledgement of a legitimate, non Party Political position at the heart of the movement for Scottish Independence.

      Having campaigned for the SNP and campaigned in the referendum, I know that my strongest line on the door step was, 'I am not a member of the SNP, I am NOT a member of any political Party).

      Many SNP members used the same line, but adapted to use me and all the other non party political activists in the shop as their example. Any one who has campaigned knows this to be the simple truth.

      So, why and how have things now changed? Where is this miraculous support for Party Politics come from, now that the referendum has been lost?

      Answer these questions SS and we will be closer to working out whither a new, cross party (and non party), approach to Westminster politics as usual is, or is not, the way forward. Until then I reserve the right to disagree and argue until the bleedin obvious is finally addressed.


  28. @ Willie B
    Well if I was a Green voter, say, I would quite like to see my party's name on the ballot paper rather than Yes alliance or some such. Quite apart from the fact that this is not an independence referendum but an election, I wouldn't be too happy about my party being subsumed under what many would perceive as an SNP front. Now I MAY decide to vote tactically, having decided the Green candidate has no chance. But that is a decision for me to make.

    1. "Well if I was a Green voter, say, I would quite like to see my party's name on the ballot paper rather than Yes alliance or some such."

      As I said, party alliances like this are common all across Europe. For some reason we like to write it off in this country as an option.

      What I can say with some certainty is that you're not going to get people voting SNP when the Greens are on the ballot paper as an independent party. There's zero reason for them to do that and it's extremely naive to think we can convince them to do it when their party is actively telling them to do the opposite.

  29. What we don't know is the discussions behind the scenes.
    Maybe the Greens were reluctant to enter any alliance, or were demanding candidates in half the seats, or all sorts of unreasonable conditions - at a time when the SNP is flying high in the polls.

    Personally, I would have liked to see some sort of Home Rule Alliance.
    But I can understand the argument that there may not be enough time to build up public awareness.

    As things are, SNP is the logical choice for anyone who wants to make further progress on more powers.

    Maybe they should just put a little YES sign in the middle of their Thistle Logo, and campaign on "YES to more powers!"

  30. Note I would be more supportive of the idea of some sort of Devo Max alliance [and if we don't get that, it's back to a vote on indy] if the Westminster election was proportionally representative (with no tactical voting / voting differently from Holyrood) and our Yes/Devo alliance had just one policy / would not vote on taxes, benefits, EU legislation etc). It's not and they can't.

    We can't use a democratically illegitimate election (what we accuse Westminster elections of being) to achieve something we then claim is democratically legitimate. Pre 1999 this was possible as our only democratic option, but we have embraced Holyrood as our parliament now (even denying our London MPs are truly representative), with both Scots and the Westminster government legitimising that in the referendum. Holyrood is our key to international recognition and it is that which makes you independent.

    With the SNP way ahead in polls (this is not hopeful, it is the case, although we need to campaign to maintain it) and capable of putting feet to the fire to varying extents in London, should we not work with what we have?

    I'd back a manifesto commitment to a new iref post Holyrood 2016, potentially subject to provisos (e.g. depending on the results of an EU ref). This could even be readily slotted in as a choice between the new devo offered within the UK (if any) and indy.

    I'm as disappointed as the rest, but I think patience and pragmatism is needed. We need polls showing a clear Yes lead before we try again + a valid reason for asking the electorate again. How awful would it be to get 48% Yes next time and be back where we started...

    I just find some of the comments here odd. It's like having you team 5-0 up and then deciding to totally change tactics to something very risky. That and attacking your team mates for giving their thoughts.

    If people want to take party politics out of this, then look at the polls and vote, as usual, for the 'least worst and most likely to win Scottish seats' option for Westminster. That's SNP if you don't support them but are pro-indy/devo max. They are not going to be your government and their will be lots of attempts to freeze them out; that's why we want independence. They are however in the best position to exploit Westminster divisions to the benefit of home rule in Scotland.

    Also, the Yes movement is special because its not a political party.What sense therefore is there in trying to make it one? So people can complain it's all about party politics and not a peoples movement? Just a thought.

  31. Comres subset:
    49% SNP
    23% Lab
    10% Con
    7% Green
    5% UKIP
    4% Lib

  32. @Willie B

    If you genuinely want independence, why on earth do you think it is a good idea to campaign for it next year, when we have just had a referendum on independence, and lost by 10 per cent? I really cannot believe that any independence supporter thinks we should be campaigning for it at next year's general election. You say we have the support of 50 per cent of the electorate, again what are you talking about? I really hope you are not referring to one opinion poll? Good god, thank fuck we have Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond, clued up SNP strategists, and Patrick Harvey etc around.

    1. If Farage gets lucky he'll be in coalition next summer, and his price is a summer 2015 EU referendum, not 2017. So if Nicola plays this scenario cleverly we could be looking at indyref2 late next summer.

      To lighten the mood a little: picture that galumphing clown Farage coming to Scotland to instruct us to vote No in indyref2 in his new role as DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER. How many votes might that be worth to Yes?

      I'm not the saying the above will happen, but it could, and we need to be prepared for it. Which is yet another reason not to lower all those Yes flags.

  33. Comres party identity averages (not who you necessarily plan to vote for, but which party you primarily identify with), excluding non-identifiers (who typically don't vote):

    46(+7)% SNP
    27(-5)% Lab
    15(nc)% Con
    6(nc)% Lib
    4(-1)% UKIP
    3(+1)% Green

    Changes on August 2014 prior to iref.

    Highest level of SNP / lowest level of Labour identification ever.

  34. @braco

    I am not intent on closing off any options. I am just not convinced a Devo max alliance would work in practise for the 2015 general election, given the time constraints, the need to choose candidates now, and other potential difficulties involved.

  35. @Muttley "You say we have the support of 50 per cent of the electorate, again what are you talking about? I really hope you are not referring to one opinion poll?"

    There's a lot of moronic posturing from you here and not a great deal of reasoning. Are we going to start arguing over whether it's 50%, 45% or somewhere less? It's blindingly obvious the point I'm making - the party is polling record numbers (by any measure) and I think it's a mistake not to use that to increase the pressure to gain independence.

    If you have a different opinion then fine. Spell it out like an adult and drop the "everyone who disagrees with me is a slavering idiot" routine.

  36. There is a devo max alliance, its called the snp.

    The greens DO NOT WANT DEVO MAX, look at their submission to the smith commission.

    This whole process is about showing the swayed by the vow no voters that their only option is yes in a future we will not obtain devo max ever. That much is obvious, but it is a road WE MUST go down to show them this. So the next indy ref we will have shown them up for the lying bastards they are.

    And the difference will be that they are already politically alive and kicking and watching westminster like hawks as some still believe them. Only one way to show them what we all know. We have a tremendous opportunity to expose westminster and cement independence.

  37. If I were you muttley, I would re read your post referendum posts then. The ones I have been reading are most definitely, on the whole, dedicated to closing down debate on what should, or should not, be on the agenda for Westminster 2015, Holyrood 2016 and beyond.

    Your last post here in reply to WillieB, who has spent much time and care to explain and develop his considered view, exemplifies your attitude. 'Thank fuck' for authority figures (and their narrow party politically sanctified views) indeed!

    As for the 'lack of time' refrain. How many SNP candidates are officially decided on and in place to stand for Westminster. Not many from what I have been told.

    Stop looking for reasons to support authority and start looking for their reasons. Many times you will find them in contradiction to the stated aim on the tin. This ability to look at political issues afresh from the party political prism, handed down from on high, has been the strength, and fear inducing power of, the recent and amazing grass root YES movement.

    Finally, just to address the point you have made on many other threads as well as this one. YES is a word and a brand. A very widespread political brand that much time, money and activist shoe leather has insured is the most recognisable non party political symbol in Scottish history (CND possibly but YES is much more current).

    YES as a word can mean many things. YES to Independence, YES to full fiscal autonomy, YES to Devo Max or even Y ou E veryone S cotland (thanks Marco).

    It is recognised and it is a unifier which has already raised 1.6 million supporters to Scottish Independence (actual, not polling figures). Not good enough though, to fight a looming first past the post election you say? 45% (of an 85% turnout) only two months ago, when 'all' we need is min 38% (on whatever turnout Westminster can muster) and pro Indy parties create the required landslide!

    Not good enough?

    I have asked it before and I will keep asking it. What are your reasons against this plan, beyond comfort in returning to the old safe (but up till now losing) Scottish political party paradigm?


    1. Add to that list: Yes to the EU.

      Dropping Yes just isn't going to happen, no matter how much Unionists want it to.

      Pros of Yes Alliance as outlined in thread above:

      1. Appeal to the missing half million.
      2. Combined SNP and Green votes.
      3. Appeal to Labour Yessers.

      Every one of the above could worth many MPs.

      Comparable Cons outlined above: zero.

      But this isn't the strangest thing about this thread. The strangest thing is the sniffy insistence that no such comparison of Pros and Cons should even be occurring.

    2. We are living in a 'post enlightenment' world Sean. I always thought that's what this fight was supposed to be about. Analysis and evidence based policy making. After the NO campaign's blatant anti truth victory, I was just about keeping my wee candle lit, but this blow from our own side has put it out (for tonight anyway).

      You keep it lit pal.


  38. Posted on YAA by Alex Birnie:

    I emailed Patrick Harvie asking him this question yesterday and he replied, saying that the SNP feel that they can do it on their own, that he understood their position, because of their impressive poll results.
     This is the reply I received - "Thanks for your email. I’m certainly aware of some of the discussion you mentioned, but as ever social media can sometimes act as an echo chamber for misleading information.

    In fact our national conference agreed a motion calling for a review of our Westminster election strategy, and for us to explore the scope for co-operation with other parties. We followed up on that decision by discussing the situation with the SNP’s leadership over recent weeks. As you may see from today’s newspapers, it is the SNP who have decided to rule out inter-party co-operation in next year’s election. I don’t blame them for that in any way, and in fact I think it’s quite understandable. They have seen some very impressive poll ratings, and I don’t think they feel that they need anyone’s help to achieve a good result next year.

    Greens will continue to work hard for the election, setting out a clear and distinctive Green agenda for the future.


    Patrick Harvie"

  39. Thanks Sean, pretty clear then.

    If that's how they feel about an officially constituted fellow Political Party, what are their views on such lowly souls as YESshops, activist groups and X'rs for Indy?

    Well we know don't we. Join the party, ask for selection by the local SNP branch selection committee, branch membership and pledge to stand under the SNP manifesto.Basically a party proposal to try and include those newly arrived members in any selection process.Unavoidable I would say, as they make up 3 times the size of the pre Indy ref SNP membership numbers.

    Good luck with all that among the committed and idealistic non Party Political activists that brought all that fresh air to the referendum campaign. I can also see all those committed SNP stalwarts graciously stepping aside, giving up their long engineered and worked for selections to stand for Parliament and represent their Party ( and dreamed of careers) just to allow some jonnie come lately outsider to stand in their place. Again good luck with that also.

    I suppose it's the fact that The SNP, as the leading Party of Scottish Independence, never even tried to put together a continuing unity ticket, to respect and allow diversity in selection for constituencies that would have benefited from an Indy candidate not tied directly to the SNP. It really does seem like a cynical betrayal of the spirit behind the YES movement that they have so obviously benefited from.

    Worse than that, they seem to have lacked any kind of strategic awareness that a YES alliance would have changed the way in which the 'Scottish' Westminster election could be reported and spun. Back to business as usual Labour vs Tories, UKIP and maybe a wee bit about the diddy parties, but not much eh?

    ' it’s quite understandable. They have seen some very impressive poll ratings, and I don’t think they feel that they need anyone’s help to achieve a good result next year.'

    Says it all really.


    1. A petition's the only way forward, a direct appeal from the party members and others to the parties to wisen up. I'll discuss this with you anon.

      (We're still gonna get indy. This recent party political nonsense might just delay it a little longer).

  40. Seeing as how you two are unwilling to understand the devo max situation. Can you explain exactly how 55 is smaller than 45?

    You see, if we campaign on independence for may 2015, people will tactically vkte to keep the snp out or a yes alliance out....they have more voters and we are all expecting the snp support to fall in the run up, as more go back to labour inevitably. So what does that tell you?

    A massive majority of people in scotland, want devo max. Including yes voters, to say we are not taking these people into account is bollocks. New members can and WILL be standing for westminster as well.

    Perhaps you should ask yer mate harvie why the greens do not want devo nax.

    I would also suggest you ask him what seats he thinks the greens would have a better chance of succeeding in than the snp?

    Lastly, I would ask that you consider that the indy question is off the table until we sort the devo max question and answer session out.

    1. Yup.
      The SNP will be using the platform of the 2015 election to wrestle as many powers as possible from Westminster. This isn't about independence, it is about using the majority of Scots support who want to get a form of Devo Max.
      Going all out for Independence, just months after it has been rejected at the ballot box, is simply going to alienate voters and piss people off.
      The SNP aren't stupid - get a form of Devo Max first, and then they can again begin campaigning for independence, whether that be from a majority in Holyrood in 2016 or an EU referendum in 2017 as a starting point.

  41. What don't us two understand about the devo max situation Chalks? We agree that the way forward is to get as large a group of pro Indy Mps to Westminster (and just as importantly, as few pro Union MPs at Westminster). We are disagreeing about the best way to achieve that aim.

    I am expressing my doubts that the SNP alone will be capable of holding the wide range of pro Indy political philosophies (and none) together in a grand scale tactical vote come May. They have never achieved this before, why so confident now? The polls?

    We need 38% voting SNP for Westminster to start the avalanche. We know we have 45% (of 85%) available and registered and motivated. We also know that many of those people are not and never would be SNP (different party affiliations or more normally anti political party all together) just as were many of the people responsible for engaging, converting and registering them to vote YES in the first place. (Me for example).

    This was the explicit strategy of both YES and the SNP. That is, SNP talked to SNP, Labour for Indy talked to Labour, Celtic supporters for indy talked to Celtic supporters, Rangers to rangers, socialists convinced socialists, non party political activists converted the sickened by party politics section of the electorate etc. etc. etc. If you were involved in the YES campaign at all Chalks you will know this as a basic fact.

    I and many, many others, including SNP activists spent hour after hour telling people this is not about the SNP, this is about Independence and democracy. People like me and other non affiliated activists, of whom there were many (that's where the new SNP membership has come from after all) were used as living breathing proof of that truth.

    Now, 2months later and the SNP boldly announce, sorry actually No, it is all about the SNP after all. (just as all those folk I argued with, many of whom I convinced, said it was all along) Was it just an SNP tactic Chalks? Did they believe it at the time? I don't know what's changed, but now they simply expect that incredibly dispirit voting group to tactically start supporting the SNP. From being a main reason quoted to me against voting YES, to their obvious tactical vote come May? All in less than 2 months Chalks?

    BAD Politics. Many YES voters will be lost to us in May, as the SNP would rather court NO voters than try and hold the broad based and proven Independence supporting alliance together. It's that simple!

    I can do no better than quote anon. from yesterday. Maybe you missed what they said, it's worth re reading even if you didn't.

    "The real issue here is that the SNP has not even tried. There were issues to be overcome for sure but to not explore them or even debate them internally is an insult to the spirit of the Yes movement.

    Instead it has made a (really quite pathetic) token gesture at inclusion which will do absolutely nothing to change the narrative of the election. It is just going to be SNP v Lab v Con v LibDem just like any other year.

    Rather than trying to maximise the pro-Yes vote, the SNP is now risking its own vote being squeezed. There are people who voted Yes who will never vote SNP. There are people who want to vote SNP but won't because of the way the campaign will be portrayed in the media i.e. Cameron v Miliband or, even worse for the SNP, Cameron + Farage v Miliband.

    There is not a shred of evidence of any kind of long-term strategic thinking in the SNP - it's all about how the party can capitalise on the current mood. It is a return to inward looking party politics just when we need our leaders to reach out and embrace everyone.

    The SNP might still win next year but the movement loses in the long run. There is no way I'm voting for a party that tries to selfishly cash in on the legacy of a movement while abandoning its principles.

    It is assuming ownership of the Yes movement and is totally misreading the motivation of its new members.

    But the saddest thing of all is that none of this surprises me at all"

    1. "We need 38% voting SNP for Westminster to start the avalanche. We know we have 45% (of 85%) available and registered and motivated"

      This is the core of your argument. The core of the SNP strategy is that there is 45% available PLUS the 20-25% extra people who want a form of Devo Max. That is their platform, and it seems wise to me - that's why I predicted it weeks ago, when others were wanting furiously over the benefits of a YES alliance.

    2. The core of my argument is that I am not sure, and there is no hard evidence that, the SNP have that 45% available to them alone. They have never had it before, or even close. Especially in the Westminster election setting. I.e 'vote labour to keep the Tories (and now UKIP) out!

      That 45% was of 85% turnout. The Westminster election is unlikely to produce an 85% turnout. You seem commited to triangulation when none is required. A landslide is available if we can get our YES vote out again in May. I really don't see the difficulty in grasping this concept.

    3. No you don't, and therein lies your problem. Perhaps open your mind to the flaws in your argument.

    4. Another post which, for some reason, pointedly fails to point out the flaws in my argument. Not very helpful.


  42. Just to clarify, I am not advocating refusing to vote SNP. I do however understand the sentiment and feelings expressed though.


  43. The pro-independence parties have to try and gain the support of No voters as well as Yes voters. They do this by backing Devo max. Unfortunately because of the FPTP voting system, only the SNP have the resources to have a realistic chance of making significant gains. I really do not think it is a good idea to divide the electorate in Scotland into two, those who voted Yes, and those who voted No. Lets us be honest, we have to win over more No voters to independence to achieve what we want to. This cannot be done by campaigning for independence at next year's general election. If this happens, then it is sticking two fingers up at No voters.

  44. Muttley 79,
    your post makes no sense to me. Are the SNP a pro Indy party and will their MPs stand on a pro Indy ticket? Of course they are and will. So please stop this willful straw man argument about a YES alliance some how, upon election, declaring UDI or something.

    We are talking about how to best maximise the pro indy MP count at the Westminster Election. This will also remove pro Union MPs from Westminster, which is (in my view) will have the single biggest impact on the psychology of the Scots electorate, when it comes to any future referendum or conflict of national interest between Scotland and England (=Britain).

    Secondly, the electorate of Scotland were divided into two during the referendum just as they get divided into 5 during Holyrood elections and however many they get divided into during Westminster elections. This is a banal electoral truth.

    This truth is at the root, and is the simple basis of data collection and analysis done by ALL modern political parties and think tanks. This is the information campaigns are fought on. The SNP are famed for their understanding of the electorates divisions (or more commonly known as voter history and voter intention). You are making yourself sound incredibly naive.

    This understanding of how the electorate is 'divided' becomes even more important within a first past the post election. Divide your own vote, you lose. Unify your vote against a 'Divided' vote and your opponents lose to a landslide! This is basic.

    The Westminster election's most important single factor is the REMOVAL wholesale of a large majority of pro Union MPs. Not in the amount of SNP Mps we can send down to a Parliament which in all reality will do what is necessary to ignore the lot of them. In other words, the power of a pro Indy landslide at Westminster is not in what those MPs can do in London but what that landslide says to the Scottish population.

    The Scottish electorate need to see themselves and witness first hand their tangible rejection of Westminster as the primary political authority over Scotland. The moment that happens the game will have changed and it's irrelavent from which pro Indy party (or none) those Scottish MPs are made up.

    This is where the entire argument on this thread started 90 odd posts ago. Have another read through what has been written in it and you will fully understand my, and others, position on this. You and others may disagree, but at least do us the courtesy of trying to understand our arguments instead of repeatedly superimposing straw men onto us, so as to better suit your pre conceptions.


  45. @braco

    The SNP are a pro-independence party, who will not stand on a pro-independence ticket for the 2015 general election. They will stand on a Devo max or home rule ticket. They will do this because they have accepted the result of the independence referendum, as should every democrat in Scotland. The SNP will appeal to both Yes and No voters to vote for them in the 2015 general election in an attempt to further the interests of Scotland, which is the second main aim of the SNP. Independence supporters must accept that to achieve the desired goal of indy, No voters have to be persuaded of the merits of independence. We will not achieve this by continuing to argue for independence at next year's general election.

  46. So you are telling me that the SNP will not be standing on a pro Independence ticket in May, because their new aim is Scottish Devo Max? Are you sure of this? Are you not mixing up a tactical nicety with a founding principle? I think a lot of SNP folk will be rather shocked to find out that their party is no longer aiming for Scottish Independence at the soonest possible opportunity, whenever or however that may arise. If you are correct, which I don't think you are, I would have to rethink my vote in May.

    You say, 'Independence supporters must accept that to achieve the desired goal of indy, No voters have to be persuaded of the merits of independence." Yes, but as I have already stated many times on this thread, not at the Westminster FPtP elections! They can quite easily be won by landslide through somehow mustering the current and proven pro Independence vote that turned out for us not less than two months ago.

    Even if we won all 59 Westminster seats in May, it would not result in Independence would it? No. So we do not need to persuade NO voters of anything to win the elections to Westminster. Is that not clear enough? Winning at Westminster does not, in itself create Independence and the rules for winning in Westminster elections, set by Westminster, have never required anything near a majority vote for a Landslide.

    This is doing my nut in muttley.

    Pro Indy is what the SNP MPs will be and pro Indy is what any YES Alliance MPs would have been too. Can we now stop talking semantics and address the meat of the discussion now please? If not, I don't really see the point in continuing scratching away at your continual and seemingly willful misreading of what is being said to you, over and over again.


    1. Braco: you're debating with people who can't yet see that the Yes Alliance ethos has several strands and purposes. IMO it's my/our job to explain YA better and hope folk cop on.

      Three main pros of the Yes Alliance for May 2015:

      1. Appeal to the “missing half million” who voted in indyref but traditionally don’t vote in GEs.
      2. Combining SNP and Green votes (the only aspect this site's regulars have really been discussing).
      3. Appeal to Labour Yessers.

      Each of these could be worth an extra 3-5% IMO, meaning a conservative total of 10%. In FPTP that extra 10% would be the difference between 35-40% (my predicted SNP vote without a Yes Alliance) and 45-50%, which would translate to a difference of thirty seats.

      Can we guarantee the above? Of course not. Frustrating/silly/WTF that those potential thirty extra seats have been written off with barely a discussion? Of course it is.

      Much more clarity today about the problem, which is primarily not the SNP as I'd been informed but the Greens, no matter how they've tried to spin it. So we just need to forget about party political cooperation for the moment, while leaving the door open for the Greens to reconsider.

      But remember, party political cooperation was only one strand out of three (at least). Discussions are taking place among several Yes groups about pressing on with the others and we'd like you and your project to be part of that. I will email you tomorrow with further info -- today has been too busy trying to find out what the hell is happening.

      We'll never get through to the party fundies above until we've made a much clearer case for the whole philosophy of the Yes Alliance, which goes way beyond mere party politics. The Yes Alliance if properly constructed and explained is a project at least as ambitious as Common Weal, having not just an electoral purpose but a social and ethical one as well, on behalf of the people parties don't gaf about.

  47. Braco,

    I implore you to please do what you have threatened and stop.
    Muttley and others are not misreading you, they are disagreeing with your narrow-minded view.

  48. @braco

    So you are telling me that the SNP will not be standing on a pro Independence ticket in May, because their new aim is Scottish Devo Max? Are you sure of this?

    The SNP will not be standing on a pro-independence ticket in May. They will be standing on a Devo max platform. Devo max is not the new aim of the SNP, independence remains the aim. However, it was rejected by the majority of voters in the referendum only a matter of months ago. The SNP are now concentrating on winning significant new powers for Holyrood, which we were promised by the unionist parties during the recent campaign. The opportunities to hold the balance of power at Westminster are obvious and significant. The SNP can secure major concessions. The gradualist approach adopted by Salmond, Swinney, Sturgeon etc has brought significant results so far. Reverting to fundamentalism is a sure fire way to failure and ignominious defeat.

  49. Sean/Braco

    Why won't the unionists just out-vote a Yes Alliance in nearly every constituency ala the Referendum?

  50. Because they are not standing for Independence. They would be standing for exactly what the Unionists promised the electorate during the referendum, 'Devo max, the closest thing to a Federal system when one country makes up 85%of the population' Gordon Brown, Cameron, Clegg and Milliband's Daily Record solemn 'Vow'.

    It's the same strategy that the SNP are pursuing except it helps to include all those folk who voted YES in September but who, at the time, expressed strong reservations over voting YES because of the SNP. You know, the Labour, Green and 'sickened by Party Politics' missing million that Sean keeps forlornly trying to explain could quite easily be needed to make up the killer tipping point in this Westminster FPtP election.

    These people were convinced to vote Indy by non party aligned high profile individuals, speakers from Women for Indy, the common weal, business for Scotland etc. as well as the raft of various other political parties that were willing set aside their party differences to all fight under a common banner for the betterment of Scotland.

    I don't think the appearance of a few of those faces reincarnated as SNP members or SNP approved candidates signed up completely to the SNP manifesto. That is not the SNP as part of the movement, that is the SNP co opting the movement. A cynical calculation that the disgruntled will not split the vote, hold their nose and vote tactically for a party they would rather not support. At Westminster 'Vote SNP to keep the Unionists' out. Sound a familiar slogan?

    We are simply expressing doubt that the SNP alone, when push comes to shove after the BBC and MSM work their usual campaign magic, will be able to rely on tactical voting to produce the minimum 38% needed for Landslide. Especially when their seems to us a perfectly workable and more effective alternative already tested and proven only two months ago.

    I hope I am wrong, but I always go by what has already been achieved rather than unnecessarily risking a repeat of the failures, (close but no cigar) the SNP (on their own) have managed to date.


  51. Candidacy is open to non-SNP members though Braco, they don't have to agree with the SNP policies, it would help, but I'd imagine in certain areas, where the 'I'm not an SNP member' worked the best, will also work in this regard.

    The fact is, the SNP in my opinion, did not co-opt Yes Scotland in time, they were 3 months too late, Yes Scotland was a shambles, only saved by the groundwork of the activists.

    The media responses and the output from them was shocking. It was only when the SNP decided enough was enough did things pick up. That's my opinion anyway, call me biased if you like.

    The simple fact is that there simply isn't enough time nor the inclination from the parties associated with the Yes campaign to join up again. Harvie can spout his pish all he wants, but they had a hand to play in Yes Scotland failing.Blair Jenkins and his 'crack' team can also take their share.

    If the SNP want to go off on their own and go for it, then so be it. It's in ALL of our interests to support them, whether you like it or not, there is a bigger thing in all of this.

    It's democracy, the majority agree with this direction, so go with it.


    I think in the future, when there is an indy ref, you'll see competing visions for an indy Scotland, rather than one all encompassing umbrella group.

  52. Hate to break it to you Chalks, but the official YES headquarters and the SNP were hand in glove as far as the strategies, media and other, that the official Campaign followed. It was the grass roots activist campaign that produced the 45% not the lackluster Official campaign (and that includes many of the parties including the Greens).

    What the Parties did bring however, was very important actual evidence of the referendum truly being about something other than the narrow Party Political crap that has effectively lost almost half the electorate to mainstream politics.

    The SNP seem to, as you yourself have acknowledged, be using old school cynical Party Politics to co opt all those that support Indy but do not support the SNP. This is a very high risk strategy if Independence is your first goal, but a win win situation if advancing the SNP as a Party within the Scottish Part Political system is your primary interest.

    I notice you do not deny the similarity of the SNP's Westminster election campaign logic to that used by Labour for decades. 'Effectively' I here you say, but to who's benefit? Not the Scottish populations, not the democratic principle in Scottish politics and as we now see, not even their own long term benefit. That's why I and others have been on here trying our hardest to show that landslide can be achieved without deploying some of the worst antidemocratic techniques developed by Scottish Labour over my entire lifetime.

    In fact by deploying those techniques now, instead of embracing the new political consensus created during the YES campaign the SNP may be consigning Scotland's best chance at Independence (in the very short term) to the history books along with 74, as another glorious nearly.

    By the way, an example of the hand in glove nature of the YES headquarters, SNP and Greens during the campaign was their astonishing distancing and rebuke of the grass root anti BBC protests. I was at a meeting with a large hissing YES audience listening to Blair Jenkins defend the BBC coverage as fair and balanced while condemning the protests as naive and counter productive! I heard similar views handed down from the Party Political leaders.

    In fact I think the unconnected and dispirit voiceless nature of the remnants of the current YES movement can be layed squarely at the doors of YES Scotland and the SNP (who set it up initially). Would you believe me if I told you that YES headquarters never once bothered to create a simple list of YESshops to allow those activist groups the ability to contact each other directly and autonomously. No list, no network, no political threat post referendum.

    You will get no defense of the official YES campaign from me Chalks, so at last we have found something to agree on. :-)


  53. I know of many stories concerning yes scotland and the poorness of it cannot be laid at the door of the snp. They bent over backwards to ensure the media couldnt call it an snp project. The greens for instance held a gun over their head jf they didnt agree to certain things. Why do you think 3 months before the referendum the snp moved their strategy team into hope street? They didnt have that much say before then,jenkins was sidelined and about time.

    I do not agree with the labour comparison, this strategy will hopefully, enable scotland to have more powers for the betterment of scotland. Its not politicians gripping on tightly to their expenses or waiting on an ermine call.

    I get you and others do not like being railroaded into following one path. 2016 in my opinion should things go the way we expect, would be a better chance to operate your yes alliance idea. Why? Because it will be harder for the unionists to call it a rerun as most people will want another referendum should they give us nothing or piecemeal devo. Throw in the eu in out ref and i would say then is the perfect time for it.

  54. No need for a YES Alliance in 2016 as it's a proportional election, we can vote who we like without fear of splitting the Indy vote (so long as it's an Indy party). That's the whole point of an Alliance for the FPtP Westminster election.

    "I get you and others do not like being railroaded into following one path. 2016 in my opinion should things go the way we expect," Should things go the way you expect Chalks, I will be over the moon. It's because we are not confident of that expectation (for all the reasons already given) that we do not like being railroaded.

    So you've decided to blame YES headquarters (with good cause in my opinion) but not the SNP who hired and set up the organisation, the head honcho's and supplied the strategists? Not into the blame game too much myself Chalks, (on account of thinking everyone who drew a salary let us down in some form or another) but that attitude does appear a trifle one eyed to me.

    I saw massive flaws in the SNP leadership during the build up to and throughout the referendum campaign as well as great strengths, (the same as all the other Parties and YES headquarters). That's why I am so keen to keep the part of the movement that actually delivered the votes (grass roots and activists of all parties) in the driving seat. What has just happened though, is the re assertion of 'the leadership' over that grassroots.