Monday, May 25, 2015

Holyrood prediction

A guest post by Ben Roberts

So Westminster’s done and dusted for another five years and we’ve already started discussing the next round of voting. "Tactical voting" on the list at Holyrood is bound to continue to be a hot topic for the next twelve months but there’s something I think we should all be considering.

The 50% vote share the SNP has picked up this month is leading many to assume that it will be repeated for the Scottish Parliament elections. The fact that historically they do worse at Westminster than Holyrood can easily cause people to assume their share will even increase for 2016. This is a dangerous assumption to make.

The consensus has always been that the SNP's better results at Holyrood is due to the fact that many people thought their vote would be wasted if given to the SNP for Westminster. Many people voted for Labour, Lib Dem or Tory on the basis that either the SNP couldn't win their local seat or had no chance of forming the government. This year that all changed as the SNP held on to their post-referendum surge right through the election campaign. The polls were consistently showing that the SNP were on course to win 30, 40, 50 or even all 59 Scottish seats.

So cast yourself back to the start of May. Put yourself in the mind of a Labour supporter (some may find this difficult but bear with me and try to resist the urge to self-harm). The polls are all screaming that your beloved party is heading for a wipeout. To make matters worse there is a high chance that the Tories will win enough seats in the rest of the UK to form a government. Although the Scottish Labour party hate the SNP more than the Tories, you - the traditional Labour voter - don't. You abhor the Tories and everything they stand for. They can't be allowed back in for another 5 years. And wait, it gets worse...there's talk of tactical voting to keep the SNP out. Suggestions that Lib Dem and Labour voters should vote Tory. You don't want the SNP but you'd much rather them than one of Davy's chums getting in. So you bite the bullet. You go into the booth and put your cross next to the SNP. It's not ideal but it’s better than the Tories.

Now fast forward one year and it's Holyrood's turn. You know the Tories haven't a hope of forming the Scottish Government. You’ve got two votes and this time you’re going to follow your heart.

Into the booth...


Labour X


Labour X

Which leads to my prediction. I think the days of the SNP faring better at Holyrood are over. The tables have turned. Instead of SNP supporters lending their votes to Labour or the Lib Dems for Westminster it’ll be the other way around. People will vote SNP at Westminster not out of support for independence but as the best way to stop the Tories. As much as I hope I’m wrong I think we’ll be seeing a resurgence of the traditional Westminster parties next year.

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This is guest post no. 6 since I launched my 'appeal'. Guest posts are welcome on any topic (within reason!). My contact details can be found at the top of the sidebar.


  1. The polls were saying 'hung parliament'.
    Why would so many traditional Labour supporters vote SNP at the GE if they weren't scunnered with Labour? In Labour-held seats at least.

    If the focus is still the constitution, then I would expect the SNP keep their lead.

  2. I think the basic message that nobody can possibly be even reasonably sure that the SNP will poll 45% or more next year is sound though. The reasons are probably multiple, but that's the take-home message.

    The purpose of the list vote is to allow voters to declare which party they want to form the government. Anyone who is so irrationally certain that the SNP is going to get 70+ constituency seats that they believe it's safe to do something else with their list vote could be in for a very nasty surprise on 6th May.

  3. Only problem with that is that it ignores all the underlying detail such as the SNPs vastly larger number of members, the morale boost of the 2015 GE result, the vastly superior approval rating for Sturgeon over any of the others, the continuing self-inflicted damage the LibDems are doing to themselves, Sturgeon's now proven record in winning elections, etc etc.

    Nothing can be taken for granted but nobody is expecting Labour to bounce back in 2016, not even Labour MSPs, as Alex Rowley demonstrated in his article in the National the other day. The real issue for me in 2016 is whether alternative indy supporting parties will make any kind of breakthrough, such as the Scottish Greens and the new Scottish Left Project party that will be an umbrella group that will include the SSP and probably a lot of those who were attracted to RIC and later Common Weal. I would actually like to see a right wing pro indy party arise as well.

    For me what's important is creating a credible political ecology in Scotland that is free from the sterile tribal politics of the SNP versus the three unionist parties.

    1. "Nothing can be taken for granted but nobody is expecting Labour to bounce back in 2016"

      Nobody was expecting the Tories to win an overall majority three weeks ago, not even the Tories themselves. As the Chinese Communists once bemoaned, that's the trouble with elections - no-one knows the result until the votes are counted.

    2. You are toying with us here James (although you are right).

    3. I'm assuming James that you've seen this Tom Devine BBC interview. What's fascinating is that he lays out why Labour's problems in both Scotland and England can't be put down just to the immediate issues of this election but go right back to the dismantling of the structural supports of Labour's electoral base by Thatcher (he sees it as the slow working trough of those that has led to the Tory win in England and SNP win in Scotland). It was ironic that in doing this she was setting things up for the SNP, but the general implications of this is that Labour has a lot more re-thinking and rebuilding to do before they will be able to make much of a come-back.

  4. I have to disagree with this. Why would a traditional Labour core voter, vote SNP to keep the tories out at Westminster? Why would Yes voters flock back to traditional unionist parties? Has the track record of the SNP not warranted them more support? Labour are in dissary and don't know what they stand for? I could go on.

    1. Indeed. Lab tcvs notoriously vote Labour regardless, which is encouraged by the party to keep the popular tally up. That seems to me the least convincing point. What about the rather clear *fall* in their vote presaged by Tories/ LibDems having voted Labour to keep the SNP out?

      Of course Labour-in-Scotland could pick up votes on 2015 if they get their act together. Even a similar performance should deliver better results under the Holyrood system (that 50% won't deliver a clean sweep under that system is hardly news). But the idea that 'naturally' folk will pick a rookie Labour FM over a hugely popular SNP FM out of tribalism *next time* (again) seems to me just 'next verse, same as the last' of the song we've been hearing all year? I'm not saying 'automatic landslide' - that's dumb - but I am saying I think we need to get past continually looking over our shoulders for the return of the status quo. I'd expect 2016 to be about Labour for Labour tcvs - what direction *are* they trying to go in? SLP? Main unionist SNP-alternative? Backwards? It's not looking much like there will be reflected glory to bask in from London.

      In terms of both SNP and Greens, the Holyrood system lends itself to 'experimental' voting - the factor which has without doubt encouraged the unprecedented movement we've seen in party politics - as it *should*. Democracy is meant to be adaptive. I'm SNP, I'm absolutely pro-indy, but I'm finding all the 'this is how to vote (or else)' arrogant. (Not JK, I appreciate the specificity of his point about tactical-fail.) And kind of ignorant, given that none of us yet know what's going to be on offer?

      A lot of the conversations I'm seeing seem to be premised on the FPTP idea that you *can* elect a government (of any stripe) when the maths in our 5-party system is too complex. I think folk will grasp clearly enough that a vote for the SNP is 'Nicola for FM' and a vote for *anyone* else isn't. But what we actually elect here - more clearly than @ WM - is a Parliament.

      As an independence supporter, I need that Parliament above all to reflect and be responsive to Scotland's electorate. Not least because I want the next indyref campaign to be different from the last one, and I'm fed up of British party politics + 1. I think a SNP-vs-Unionist Parliament played right into the No campaign's hands and will again (plus is bad *for Scottish politics*). I think loyalism - and a defensive attitude to recent gains - is neither helpful, nor even reflective of what the SNP are trying to build? Vote for who you want *to represent* you is the only sensible advice: the only action that can get us past the Bain principle, past phonecalls from the London offices setting the agenda, past generational tribalism. I just watched the unionist parties spend 6 months refighting the last campaign because they 'won' it: let's not do that because we won this one - it didn't work so well for them.

  5. I have a terrible fear that we (the pro independence movement) are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2016 and I am fairly confident that the harm will be done by SGP and SSP managing to prevent a pro independence majority (never mind an SNP majority) by screwing up the list voting.

    Could everybody please get a grip and realise that the most effective way of achieving independence is to ram SNP majorities down the unionists throats until the happy day comes.

    We can only afford to start squabbling with each other on the day after Independence Day. Until then I recommend black and yellow for every vote.

    Also I'm not a robot and I have no clue about sushi ��

    1. That's just not true. The list vote is proportional. The SGP can't split the vote. It just doesn't work like that for Holyrood like it does for Westminster.

    2. the sushi pics roboted me too!

    3. They damn well can split the vote on the list. It's perfectly possible for support lost by the SNP to allow the Tories or Labour through the middle without benefiting the Greens sufficiently to allow them to capture a seat. And the sooner people take their heads out of their arses and realise this, the better.

      Even if the little cheat worked as intended, how have SNP/independence supporters become so deluded as to imagine that a weak SNP government propped up by the Greens is preferable to a strong SNP government? It's insane.

    4. What Rolfe said +1

    5. Well if you like the Green's policies better than the SNP's? Then it would be better. And since when did having to debate and argue about policy create less good decisions? The entire problem with UK democracy is that you can get overall majorities too easily

    6. I want independence; I quite like some but by no means all Green policies. However the only things I've witnessed the officially pro independence Greens achieve is to split the pro independence vote and lumber us with Coburn and Mundell. First gain independence then worry about which blend of policies to implement.

    7. If you like the Greens' policies better than the SNP's, bloody well vote for them. Dozens of people have told you to do it and they're not suggesting you shouldn't. Especially if independence isn't your over-riding priority.

      The objection, which I thought you'd grasped but now I'm not so sure, is to you and your mates trying to trick people who are core SNP voters into a "tactical" Green vote by lying to them that it's a better way to get independence than voting a straight SNP ticket. It categorically isn't, and it has the potential to kill independence stone dead.

      So please spare us this whining about how Green voters should be allowed to vote Green, and start respecting the right of SNP voters to vote SNP.

    8. In fact, having re-read what you (David) just replied to, I'm beginning to think you have comprehension problems.

      .... how have SNP/independence supporters become so deluded as to imagine that a weak SNP government propped up by the Greens is preferable to a strong SNP government? It's insane.

      To which you replied "Well if you like the Green's policies better than the SNP's? Then it would be better."

      News flash. If you like the Greens' policies better than the SNP's. YOU ARE NOT, FUNDAMENTALLY, AN SNP SUPPORTER. You are a Green supporter who may occasionally vote tactically for the SNP. We get it. There are some of you around. We thought you were our friends.

      But you put up spoiler candidates who had no chance in the general election, and arguably lost us Mundell's seat. Thanks for nothing, from a resident of Tweeddale. You whined for "tactical" votes in the Euro election to prevent Tasmina getting another seat for the SNP, and succeeded in getting it for UKIP instead.

      Not having learned anything at all from that last ploy, you're now trying to trick SNP supporters into weakening their own party and giving votes to you instead, by lying to them that this is a no-fail way to increase "indy MSPs". And I suppose you'll just saunter off nonchalantly again if that idiotic suggestion causes the SNP to lose seats which are picked up by unionist parties. As could all too easily happen.

      NOBODY IS TRYING TO STOP GREEN SUPPORTERS VOTING GREEN. If that's your bag, be my guest. Just stop lying and smarming to unwary, impressionable and ultra-soft-hearted SNP supporters.

    9. But you put up spoiler candidates who had no chance in the general election, and arguably lost us Mundell's seat. Thanks for nothing, from a resident of Tweeddale. You whined for "tactical" votes in the Euro election to prevent Tasmina getting another seat for the SNP, and succeeded in getting it for UKIP instead.

      The SNP had no chance in Mundell's constituency in 2010, but stood a "spoiler candidate" anyway. If they hadn't done so, there's a good chance Labour would've taken the seat and wiped out the Scottish Tories.

    10. That's complete nonsense. Nobody even knew Labour were likely to come second in 2010. Many people expected Catriona to win it for the LibDems. She came third in what she herself called a two-horse race!

      2015 was a completely different situation. It was always going to be tight between the Tories and the SNP, with Emma needing every vote she could scrape up.

      The Greens were perfectly entitled to stand, if they didn't care one way or another whether Mundell won. But don't come bleating to SNP voters to help them out after that.

    11. That's complete nonsense. Nobody even knew Labour were likely to come second in 2010. Many people expected Catriona to win it for the LibDems. She came third in what she herself called a two-horse race!

      The Lib Dems always like to pretend like they can win things. But if it really was seen as a Tory-LD contest in 2010, I have to ask what that was based on. In 2005, Labour were within 4% of Mundell, with the LDs 16% behind.

      Regardless, the SNP weren't even in double figures in 2005. So unless they were taking votes from Mundell, they could only have been splitting the anti-Tory vote.

  6. I don't see it happening.

    The labour guy saw what happened to his party. Even if his party denies it, he/she knows what mistakes were made. He walks into that booth and puts down two crosses next to labour. Regardless. The other two parties can go hang. There will be no tactical voting this time. Not that there was last time either tbh.

    Lib dem guy goes into a booth - Even if the party denies what happened. he/she at least knows what went wrong. two crosses next to the lib-dem candidates.

    Same with the tories. Same with the greens. etc etc.

    SNP and former labour voter walk into that booth. Once again they put down two crosses next the SNP candidates. or perhaps the odd green candidate. Result. SNP most likely win a 3rd term. Why? Because the tables have not turned. Not yet at any rate. For Labour to be in position to challenge the SNP, would require them to radically change and split off from the UK party. They can no longer stride both sides of the left/right argument. Not this time. If they don't change and its business as usual then labour are set to suffer another massive defeat.

    The lib dems will give the Tories a super wide berth and try hold on to what little they have left. They won't have the money to campaign on a national level, not for a while. In fact even labour are probably going to feeling the pinch as well. Who will the conservatives turn to for cash this time? So this could very well be a factor.

    The tories - they are the unwelcome guest. A bad smell you can't seem to shake off. Cameron is literally ensuring this outcome and labour and the lib-dems will want to keep them at arms length for the duration.

    I suspect we are going to see Scottish politics polarise, at least as things adjust and adapt to the massive changes heralded in by the SNPs massive victory in GE2015.

    The SNP vote might have been seen as a "wasted vote" - but that's changed. In Holyrood they ran a minority administration and then went on to win a second term. The other parties are going to need a new narrative and new policies to counter the SNP. Not rely on old arguments that were comprehensively kicked into the long grass on may the 7th. They need to actually work for it this time - not expect it handed to them because of they think they are entitle to that vote. They have to use this year to show themselves as effective opposition and show themselves as worthy of being Scotland Government. The Tories and the lib-dems are in the wilderness. Labour - it all hangs on how labour adapts to what changed or does not adapt.

    1. I totally agree with that and would add one more factor. By changing leader at the end of indyref the SNP have ensured that they can go into the 2016 election with new policies and a fresh look. Sturgeon has transformed herself and in doing so has largely managed to portray herself as a fresh start even though she has been deputy leader all along.

  7. SNP / GREEN. Job done

    1. Which job is that - an anti-independence majority? Labour/Green coalition?

    2. Given that both the Scottish Greens and new Scottish Left Project party are going to be relying on SNP second preferences it will be interesting to see whether they are going to have to come out before the election with a promise not to enter into coalition with any of the unionist parties. I suspect they might think they don't need to because the SNP's first administration set the precedent for single party minority government by the biggest party but I think that would be a mistake. In this new situation I definitely think they need to make it clear.

    3. The Greens are smart enough to know that propping up a Labour government at Holyrood would be electoral suicide, especially when you consider that they'll share most of their voters with the SNP.

    4. the Scottish Greens campaigned for Yes and are to the left of the SNP. What on earth would make them vote for a right-wing unionist party like Labour? And they aren't SNP second preferences that is just crushing hubris. They are Green votes that vote SNP in the constituency (the less important vote).

    5. Sorry I was using second preference just as short hand for list vote, won't make that mistake again.

    6. The Scottish Greens should be relying on their own supporters voting for them on the list, even if these supporters have cast a tactical SNP vote in the constituency. That's absolutely fine and dandy. They seem, however, to be trying to bamboozle SNP supporters into voting for them on the list, by a combination of moral blackmail (we voted for you in 2015, time to return the favour) and misrepresentation.

      The moral blackmail is misplaced, firstly because a tactical SNP vote was the only sensible thing for an independence supporter to do under FPTP and shouldn't need rewarding, and secondly because the Greens did stand candidates as spoilers in 2015 and in fact the candidate in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale polled more votes than the margin by which David Mundell beat Emma Harper. So sod off, basically. David Mundell is my MP, thanks a bundle.

      Misrepresentation, because they're trying to pretend that the list vote can somehow "elect the opposition" which is delusional unless they have some sort of mind control ray. In fact they're proposing to SNP supporters that a weak SNP propped up by the Greens is a better outcome than a strong SNP. How it comes about that anyone is giving this the time of day, God alone knows. I certainly do not feel inclined to present Patrick Harvie with a veto on our second independence referendum.

    7. And they aren't SNP second preferences that is just crushing hubris. They are Green votes that vote SNP in the constituency (the less important vote).

      The "crushing hubris" is to deny the existence of (far more) primary SNP/independence supporters than there are Green supporters.

      Of course there are Green supporters who will vote SNP in the (agreed, less important) constituency vote. And of course these people will vote Green in the (more important) list vote. That will give the Greens the number of MSPs their support entitles them to.

      The fatal mistake people such as yourself are making is to urge a Green vote in the all-important list vote on people who are actually SNP supporters. This is grossly dishonest and manipulative. It's aso likely to kill the independence movement.

    8. I have to appologise for asking SNP voters to vote for the Greens just due to tactical reasons. There are loads of reasons why I think the Greens are better than the SNP but to rely only on tactical arguments isn't good politics (it doesn't matter whether those tactics work or not). People should vote Green because they want a genuine socialist, environmentalist, internationalist and pro-independence party, not just because they want another SNP MSP with a different coloured rossette.

      And thanks for the clarification Alex, it is a mistake everyone makes but I thought it was you being arrogant, sorry.

    9. That's an excellent post.

      To be honest, if the tactics were sound, I wouldn't have a lot of objection, though I wouldn't do it myself. However, the tactics are not sound if the objective is independence. They're only sound if the objective is more seats and more influence for the Green party.

      After independence my party alliegance and my vote are up for grabs. Until then, I support the only party which has had an unwavering commitment to independence for 80 years, and isn't likely to take its eye off the ball on the final straight.

    10. To be fair to the Scottish Green party, it has supported independence since it was founded.

    11. I'm not disputing that. But, well, Robin Harper. Mainly, though, it's about commitment. The SNP is about independence. Harvie said he might be disappointed for a couple of days after a No vote but no biggie. It's tactical.

      I do not trust Harvie to pursue a window of opportunity to go for a second referendum if one presents itself. Sturgeon will be aiming entirely at securing an opportunity for a Yes vote if that's on the cards. Harvie will be figuring out whether it will be good for Green electoral prospects and maybe off-shore wind or something like that.

      We get it, you support the Greens and you will vote for them and that is right and proper. The Greens should have the list MSPs their share of the electorate entitles them to have. But please stop this lying and pleading with SNP supporters to weaken their own party, perhaps fatally, to get your party another half-dozen seats. Because that is exactly what you are doing.

  8. If we don't have an SNP majority in Holyrood next year Scotland will be utterly screwed.
    There arena, I mean no, leaders in the three opposition parties.
    In Nicola Sturgeon we have a strong leader who has the intelligence and drive to stand up clearly for Scotland's interests.
    None of the MSPs in the Labour ranks would have a chance dealing with the Tory Government in Westminster.
    Simply saying the days of SNP majority is over is not enough, this requires some idea of what scenarios would occur and what they would mean.

    1. What's wrong with an SNP/Green majority?

    2. A great deal. First, the SNP losing its overall majority and requiring to be propped up by a smaller party would be all the unionists' Christmases come at once. Major capital will be made of the SNP "losing" the 2016 election and the consequent allegation by the unionist media that Scots have turned against the party and thus against independence itself.

      Second, and more importantly, it would not just be a nominal, psychological blow, it would also put a real spoke in the wheel of the independence movement. The Green party does not have independence as its primary goal. Some of its senior members are unionists. The party is more interested in its own core agenda, and advancing its support to promote that agenda.

      Too many people seem to imagine that Patrick Harvie wants independence as much as the Yes movement as a whole wants it. You only have to listen to him to realise this isn't the case. If he believed his core interests were better served by some sort of deal being offered within the union, he'd go for it. Cameron could, and undoubtedly would try to cut him away from the weakened SNP herd and sow dissent.

      Events may transpire in this parliament that a swift move to a second independence referendum is indicated. The day will have to be seized with single-minded determination. Nicola Sturgeon is up for this if anyone is. Do you really want to hand Patrick Harvie a veto?

    3. So your point is that independence should be attained at all costs no matter how rightwing the SNP is? The Green party is a socialist party, the SNP isn't. It has socialist members but that is completely different. The only way for the SNP to be as leftwing as most Yes voters want is for the Greens to be in a confidence and supply deal.

      I can't imagine any situation where the Greens would vote against another independence referendum, but the SNP wouldn't. Can you think of an example? Not one Green MSP or top list candidate didn't campaign for Yes.

      And the best the Greens will be able to do is 10%-15% of the list vote. That would get them about 10-15MSPs and some of them would come off Labour so the SNP would still be the largest party and "win" the election. How could they say that an SNP government proped up by the Greens is them losing the election?

      Any seats that the SNP lose to the Greens will not make an SNP govt. any less likely as the Greens will chose the most leftwing party to support and that just won't be Labour. Green MSPs, (just like the SNP at Westminster) will be MORE effective than the party in government as they will be able to drag the SNP leftwards to where most SNP voters, and almost all members, want it to be.

      But the most important thing is that the Yes campaign wasn't just the SNP. it was the Greens and the SSP in what was genuinely a multi-party Yes campaign. To say that the Greens are somehow less worthy, less pro-independence is not only wrong but also makes independence less appealing as it is only one party, rather than three, that would be in the campaign.

    4. If you have higher priorities than independence, and prefer the Greens to the SNP, and especially if you actively oppose the SNP (right-wing???), then of course you should vote Green on the list. Suggesting you shouldn't would be as ludicrous as suggesting that an SNP supporter whose first priority is independence should vote Green on the list.

      Oh wait. Why are you doing that?

      A weakened SNP that has "lost" the 2016 election by losing its overall majority will be a disaster for the independence campaign, no matter how good it might be for the Green party to get more seats. You vote for your party, and I'll vote for mine. Kindly stop trying to hoodwink SNP voters into voting for your party under false pretences.

      This is a particularly dangerous strategy because it contains the clear potential for weakening the SNP to the benefit of, not the Greens, but one of the unionist parties. It all hinges on precisely how the constituency and list votes fall, and nobody can second-guess that.

      The Green party is entitled to the seats it can gain from the votes of the people who genuinely support the party. You're one of them, good luck to you. Please stop this dishonest, underhand campaign to persuade SNP supporters to gift their votes to you. It's distasteful, and it could cost us independence. Which you may not care about, so long as the Greens get more seats, but I sure as hell do.

    5. Ok I profoundly disagree with the Greens being bad for independence. I think that the Greens can make the next Yes campaign better because it wont just be the SNP + some other guys who no one has heard of. More Greens make the campaign for independence genuinely multi-party. Rather than break up the Yes campaign Greens allow it not just to be accused of being an SNP front by stupid unionists. Also the SNP aren't right wing. They just aren't as leftwing as I would like. The litmus test for the SNP would be Devo Max.

    6. I may be misunderstanding you but this sounds like you think the next yes campaign should be very much like the last one. It will be accused of being an SNP front by unionists no matter what the facts are. If I'm perfectly honest I didn't think much of some aspects of the last yes campaign. Too much happy clappy, not enough on the dangers of staying in the union (despite the polls a Tory victory was always likely due to Millibands personal ratings), and almost any other currency option would have been better politically. I've no idea what you mean by Devo Max being a litmus test for the SNP it's just one more step on the long road as far as I am concerned.

    7. David, more Green MSPs will not be bad for independence if you gain them honestly, and especially if you gain them from people who have been voting for unionist parties in the past. It would be lovely to have an enlarged campaign that way. Ditto the SSP.

      What will not be lovely is if the SNP gain fewer Holyrood seats next year than in 2011. That will be ABSOLUTELY portrayed as a weakening of support for independence. If the lost seats result in gains for unionist parties, as may easily happen even if the lost votes have mainly gone to the Greens, it will be a FREAKING DISASTER.

      If your love of the Green party is so great that you'd rather see the SNP weakened and independence made less likely, just on the off-chance the Greens might pick up a few more seats, forgive me if I don't go along with it.

      I've got one thing to say and I'll say it again. No SNP supporter is twisting your arm to vote SNP on the list. Please return the favour. We get it that you want to vote for the party you prefer. Do that. Nobody is stopping you. Just stop pretending that list votes gifted to the Greens by SNP supporters will do anything but weaken the SNP.

    8. So your point is that independence should be attained at all costs....

      Within reason, yes. The SNP is not a right wing party, and to suggest that it is and that therefore independence might be less desirable, is ludicrous.

      You seem to be saying that you'd rather have more seats for the Greens than independence. Fine, vote for the Green party. But, for approximately the 65th billionth time, stop trying to hoodwink SNP supporters whose first priority is independence into co-operating with your self-serving plan. SNP supporters would rather have independence than more seats for the Greens. And the way to get independence is to maximise SNP seats, every time. If it were not so, I would have told you.

    9. The greens strike me as sanctimonious.

      They had too much power in the Yes Scotland group and were the reasons for the airy fairy replies and didn't want the SNP who have actually won elections to do their stuff.

      I would never ever vote for the Green Party. Some of their policies are inherently stupid and Natalie Bennett was awful during the campaign, they are like a left wing UKIP.

    10. David (if you're still here, or anyone else who can answer), you said
      "Not one Green MSP or top list candidate didn't campaign for Yes."

      About a year ago I tried to watch an independence debate from, I think, Strathclyde University. I don't have a TV, and my internet connection was very slow that day, so I gave up after a few minutes.

      I did, however, hear that the panel was balanced, with two Yes and two No. On that basis, I deduced that the Green on the panel (Martin Bartos, who has in the past been the party's only constituency candidate for Holyrood, and who was one of the 3 Westminster candidates to keep his deposit on May 7, so I consider him fairly "high profile") was a No.

      Can anyone confirm or deny this, please? I wasn't able to hear the part of the debate where he actually spoke, which would have enabled me to work it out for myself.

  9. The only thing which can create clear red water between Labour and the SNP is the independence issue or more to the point the unionist issue.
    Wouldn't be too surprised to see an attempt at forming a Unionist coalition at Holyrood just to keep the SNP out,after all what have Labour now got to lose.

  10. 2015- What do we have ?
    A Lib Dumb Party in free all, with one MP who might yet be forced out because of ' 'misconduct in public office'.
    A Tory Party with their lowest electoral share since universal suffrage.
    A Labour Party who have just had their worst election result in Scotland in modern times.
    They have still to elect a new Leader--- no shoo-in. Then pick their candidates. This promises to be a blood bath as the old guard make their return from the grave.
    I see no reason Nicola cannot win big.

  11. I'll be doing exactly what I did in 2011 as it is the only way of keeping independence at the top of the agenda SNP twice.

  12. Ben, a bit of a political view of the electorate, nothing wrong with that, but at the extreme, this is the "Glasgow Man".
    I don't know why my family voted the way they did, far less my friends, so trying to envision a population's voting habits is personally beyond me.
    I may be an idealist, but my advice to all parties for 2016 would be to emphasise your past record, not ignoring plans that went awry, and explaining to the voters how the parties plan's will be better for society.
    I listen, then I cast my vote, and as I said I can only comment on my voting habits, but the SNP are the only party to come close to my aspirations.

  13. I will be voting tactically:

    Constituency vote: X
    List vote: X


  14. I will be voting SNP twice to try and get another majority for an independence referendum. It worked last time.

    I accept that Nicola might not judge the timing to be right, but if the opportunity is there, then we need to have that option. Another few years of Tory austerity cuts, broken promises on devolution, and the chances might be as good as ever.

    We only need a 6% swing to get 51%, and another few years of younger voters coming through will account for half of that.

    1. It's possible that something that happens within the next five years might cause a sudden surge to a Yes vote. Catastrophe theory and all that. If that happens, Nicola needs to be in a strong position and able to move fast, with a mandate behind her. The only way she will be in that position is if as many people as possible vote SNP on both ballots.

  15. The SNP going up against 3 Right Wing Brit Nat Parties, I don't see the Tories, Fib Dooms or the Labour Party picking more votes or seats. Not after more cuts and austerity and ploughing more cash at Trident and probably trying to start another war with somebody.

    I for one will never ever vote for any of the Brit Nat Parties ever again for any reason as long as there is breath in me. I don't think I am alone in that stance as somebody who has previously voted for Labour and the Fib Dooms.

    1. I forgot to add that the only real opposition to the SNP is the Brit Nat Press and Media, mainly in the form of the BBC and STV who are twa peas in a Brit Nat pod as far as I am concerned.

  16. It's simple. If indy is your main aim, vote SNP twice. If you are a Green, feckin viote Green!
    If you are an OO, Britnat bigot, vote Labour. Of course any selfish twats should vote Tory.

  17. I cannot ever see Labour voters returning to the "fold". They just are not Labour voters anymore and never will be again.

    Once people's eyes have been opened to Labour's blatant lies and untruths by pro-indy sites and social media there is no going back.

    Besides - they have to pick another leader and potentially deputy leader and sort out which ex-MPs are going to take over all the best MSP list seats. Total carnage for months. I will be surprised if there is much of any SLAB Party left at all by SE16 once they have sorted that out.

  18. What nobody here seems to be factoring in is the possibility mooted by commenters that David Cameron wants to hold the EU in out referendum on the same day as the next Hollyrood elections. At present there seems to be a 50/50 chance that he will depending on how his renegotiations go.

    If he does then the campaign will be dominated by the European question. I'm not sure how this would affect the parliamentary vote. It could turn a lot of SNP voters who are anti-EU off from voting SNP, especially if Sturgeon and Salmond are seen campaign heavily for a staying in. It could mean we get UKIP MSPs for the first time. Also if he does, will it force Sturgeon's hand on a second referendum? If withdrawal from Europe becomes the central issue of the Hollyrood campaign then she will have to have a response that shows that the SNP will be able to stand up for Scotland's interests in the event of withdrawal.

    This Guardian article suggests that Sunday's Polish election result has killed off any hope of Cameron getting a change to the benefits EU citizens get in the UK, so withdrawal is not just theoretical it could happen.

  19. I think we are all forgetting what happened during 2011....the SNP pushed their good governance with a minority, so imagine what we can do with a majority (without ever believing it possible) and they also had the tremendous presence of Alex Salmond and the Alex Salmond for First Minister campaign, which helped lesser prospective MSP's win their constituencies and gain list votes.

    I'm not sure if they changed the rules just after 2011 so that it isn't possible for there to be a Nicola Sturgeon for FM on the ballot paper, if there is nothing stopping them from doing that, then I think we have nothing to worry about, constitutionally, the EU referendum and conditional obligation to go for indyref should England vote us out, would probably go down quite well, as it's empowering people, yes voters and soft no's.......I'd prefer the devo max question but fully understand the opportunity that might present itself to us very very soon.

    The only things that have effectively changed since 2011 are that now the Labour tactical voters for Westminster have come over to the SNP for Westminster, the greens will struggle to make an impact, why?

    Because they lack credibility, they lack conviction on the doorsteps, Patrick Harvie is a smartarse and they will soon fall into the trap of slagging off the SNP for everything that is wrong with the world and the people who have voted SNP for the past 6 years, won't like it very much, as a high proportion of them are also yes voters, or soft no voters.

    I'd think the SNP would lose more votes to an SSP, they have much better arguments to left wing SNP people and they don't tend to be arsey about things, in my opinion anyway.

    But people going back to vote Labour who voted SNP? Can't see it, when the comparison is Nicola or Kez! Nicola hands down.

    1. The only wee snag with that is that "Nicola" doesn't begin with an A!

    2. All of us First - Nicola for First Minister

  20. I expect the SNP / Green bloc to hold or even slightly increase its majority. The challenge - and the danger - comes afterwards. Do they hold a second indyref? If so, when? What happens if the UK government blocks it - will they hold one anyway?

    Given the consequences of losing a second referendum I think we will start to see splits opening up within the SNP in the next Holyrood parliament. Should they be reliant on the support of Greens and / or Socialists, these troubles may be amplified.

    The SNP will increasingly find itself in office but not in power. As for lib / lab / con - I don't expect them back in any meaningful sense for a long time.