Monday, June 22, 2015

Why Adam Ramsay is wrong to claim that tactical voting on the regional list is a viable option

Adam Ramsay is someone I respect a great deal, and for that reason it's incredibly disappointing to see him accuse people on Twitter of living in "fantasy land" and "denying basic maths" for pointing out that tactical voting on the regional list is not a viable option.  This is absolutely Orwellian stuff from him - black is white, war is peace.  I'll just take a selection of his tweets on the subject and try to explain why they don't make sense...

"if you only care about maximising the number of SNP seats, vote SNP twice...if you care about maximising the number of pro-Indy MSPs, vote SNP/Green...in what plausible scenario is that not true?"

"NE list in 2011 is a case in point. Took 140,000 votes to elect 1 SNP MSP...if they'd votes Green or SSP, it's have delivered 5 MSPs."

The NE list in 2011 is of course the outstanding real world example of why tactical voting on the list doesn't work. We know that some SNP supporters and members voted "tactically" for the Greens in the North-East, wrongly assuming that the SNP had no chance whatever of winning a list seat in the region. As it turned out, the SNP did win a list seat (in spite of winning every constituency) and the Greens didn't, meaning that every single one of those "tactical" votes was wasted. Worse still, the strategy ran a significant risk of backfiring catastrophically - if 2000 more SNP voters in the North-East had switched "tactically" to the Greens, and 600 more had switched to the SSP, the final seat on the list would have gone to the Tories rather than the SNP. This isn't simply a question of tribalistic fretting about the SNP's position - it would have reduced the overall number of pro-independence MSPs by one, and increased the overall number of anti-independence MSPs by one, thus driving a coach and horses through what is supposed to be the whole purpose of this "tactical voting" wheeze.

Of course, Adam's response would be that he's not talking about a mere 2600 extra "tactical" votes, but tens of thousands. Let me just gently say that I'm not sure that someone who thinks it's possible to flick a switch and get that number of people to do exactly what you want is in any position to accuse others of living in "fantasy land".  If an attempt at tactical voting is made, it will be on a small scale - but potentially just enough to do real damage to the independence cause.  The worst case scenario is that it will directly bring about an anti-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament.

"But it's simple. If the SNP get 7 constituencies...then an SNP vote on the list is worth 1/7 of an @scotgp vote"

That's technically true, but irrelevant. There's an even simpler and more basic factor that trumps all of these elaborate calculations - namely that nobody knows how many constituency seats the SNP will win until after the votes are counted. The snag is that we're being invited to cast this "tactical" vote before the votes are counted, at a point when nobody has a scooby. Do you think you can rely on the polls to tell you what's going to happen? We've just been through a general election in which the exit poll and the YouGov on-the-day poll couldn't agree on whether the Liberal Democrats were going to win 10 constituencies or 31 (they got 8), or whether the SNP were going to win 58 constituencies or 48 (they got 56). And that was the degree of uncertainty AFTER the polls had closed! What chance has anyone got of a detailed level of foreknowledge about constituency results at a much earlier stage?

It's worth heeding something that John Curtice said a few weeks ago. He revealed that he always ditches all of his preconceptions on election day when preparing the exit poll, because he knows from past experience that there is a significant chance of a big surprise.  Never has that proven to be more true than this year.

"some oppose tactical voting, others are ok with it. All this chat does is ensure that...those who want to vote tactically at least do it in an informed way."

No. Some claim that tactical voting on the list is a viable option, others point out that it isn't. Those who want to vote tactically can't do so in an informed way, because it isn't possible to vote tactically on the list at all. Those who are informed on the subject will not be attempting to vote tactically, because they know there are no realistic circumstances in which it will not run a dreadful risk of backfiring.

"you do know that an SNP list vote is very unlikely to elect an SNP MSP?"

That's an assertion, not a fact (and certainly not a "mathematical" fact, as the SNP's list seat in the North-East helpfully demonstrates). An equally plausible assertion is that a Green list vote is very unlikely to elect a Green MSP in some regions, because the Greens may well not reach the threshold required to win a single seat. If they fall below that threshold, all of the stuff about Green votes counting five, six, or seven times as much as SNP votes is rendered utterly meaningless.

We know from both 2007 and 2011 that there is a past history of opinion polls significantly overestimating the Greens' strength on the list. It's probably not a coincidence that the only Holyrood election in which the Greens did make a breakthrough in terms of seats was also the only one in which the SNP's leader did not look like a credible First Minister in waiting. They certainly can't rely on that factor this time.

But as I say, my suspicion that the Greens may not do as well as they expect next year is just that - a suspicion. It's not an established fact. That's the whole point about this debate - those of us who say that tactical voting can't work do so because we acknowledge that there are a whole range of things that are fundamentally unknowable. It's Adam who has to pretend that he knows everything for a fact, because otherwise the whole tactical voting conceit crumbles to dust.

"voting SNP on principle is fair enough, but understand it means...more unionist MSPs in total."

It's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at this point, but instead let's turn Adam's statement on its head. Voting Green on principle is not only fair enough, it's a good thing. As I and so many others have said a billion times : If you're a Green member, vote Green on the list. If you're a Green supporter, vote Green on the list. If you like Green policies more than SNP policies, vote Green on the list. But if you actually prefer the SNP to the Greens, and are only voting Green on the list because someone has fed you a cock-and-bull story about how "the mathematics" will supposedly maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs, something is going very, very seriously wrong.

205 comments:

  1. Another point to bear in mind is that the regions will vary significantly. Indeed, each region has to be treated as the individual, hermetically sealed unit it is. I'm not seeing much thought being given to that by Adam.

    Now I don't know if anyone is going to be doing any opinion polling at all at regional level for 2016 - let alone constituency polls. It's not possible to predict how any particular region is going to perform, even if by some magic you could gain access to the exact actual overall vote totals for the country as a whole. So do you assume the North East is going to be higher than average? By how much? Will the South be lower? Almost certainly, but again by how much? How will Glasgow, the Yes City, shape up?

    And even if there were individual opinion polls, how reliable would they be? David Mundell booked a fortnight in Florida following the 2015 election on the strength of Ashcroft showing him 11 points behind the SNP in DC&T a week before the vote. He had to cancel it when he won by 2 points and found himself Secretary of State for Scotland instead.

    There has never yet been a Holyrood election where the SNP didn't win at least one list seat in every region of the country. Even, as James notes, when it won every constituency seat in the region. There's no reason at all to believe that 2016 will be significantly different, whatever the strength of the party's vote.

    The reason why parties with a lot of constituencies may miss out on list seats is when their vote is concentrated in a relatively small number of strongholds. This gives them a disproportionately high constituency tally - as when Labour won 53 constituencies on barely 39% of the vote in 1999. It took the SNP 45% of the vote to win the same number in 2011, because its vote is much more evenly spread. But then look what happened. In 1999 Labour won only 3 list seats in total, on 33.6% of the list vote, giving only 56 MSPs altogether. In 2011 the SNP won a whopping 16 list seats on 44% of the vote, giving a total of 69 and an overall majority.

    The SNP's advantage here is its strong support across all constituencies and regions. That hasn't gone away with its massively increased vote, it has actually become more pronounced as the greatest increases have happened in areas where it was relatively weak before, such as Glasgow. This is why the party is always likely to be in line for another list seat even if it wins all the constituencies in a region. The list always favours parties with an evenly-spread vote.

    The band in which the SNP wins only all the constituencies in a region, but does not win a list seat is pretty narrow, and absolutely impossible to predict. A little below, and a constituency is narrowly lost, and at least one list seat is a sure thing. A little above, and you have Mark MacDonald.

    Adam would like us to believe that the SNP can only win constituency seats in 2016, and no list seats. Not to put too fine a point on it, that is a flat-out lie. The SNP is likely to win at least one list seat in most regions, irrespective of how many constituency seats it gets.

    Adam wants SNP supporters to give away these seats, in a magnanimous gesture. Thus in effect limiting the party to a maximum of 73 MSPs in total. Including Shetland, and Dumfriesshire and places like that. The SNP has to get 69 (or preferably more) seats in 2016 to avoid being portrayed as losing ground, and Sturgeon branded a loser who couldn't win as many seats as Salmond did. That's one hell of a narrow margin for error.

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    1. [continued]

      But Adam wants SNP supporters to do it anyway. On the pretext that this will result in more Green MSPs than the number of SNP MSPs that have been sacrificed. But this is vanishingly unlikely.

      If one SNP list MSP is sacrificed in a region, it's purely in the lap of the gods whether it's the Greens who will pick up the seat. In 2011 in the North East it would have been the Conservatives who got it. But suppose the Greens got the seat, how does this advance the great goal of "more pro-independence MSPs"? It doesn't. It's a pure one-for-one exchange. At this level, this is no more than a cheap scam trying to turn an SNP MSP into a Green MSP by bamboozling SNP voters, to no net benefit and at considerable risk.

      To do what Adam is proposing, many thousands of voters in each region would have to heed his call. So many that the Greens started displacing Labour, Conservative and LibDem list hopefuls. Now bear in mind that the basic premise of this is that the SNP has won every single constituency. So none of the unionist parties has a constituency MSP, and all are starting level pegging looking for list members. But somehow, the Greens are going to leapfrog these parties and beat them to the list seats.

      Not going to happen. Realistically, the best they can hope for is one MSP, taken from the SNP. On a bad day, which is perfectly likely (see the North East in 2011 again), the seat lost by the SNP will be snapped up by a unionist party which is above the Greens in the queue.

      Adam is bandying about a few simplistic arithmetical facts which are completely irrelevant when it comes to the nitty-gritty of how the seat allocation falls in real life. Saying "but a list vote for the Greens is worth seven times a list vote for the SNP" may be true by his starting premises, but it's meaningless. Calling people who try to point out (in 49 characters once the multiple @s are copied in) that it's all a bit more complicated than that "fantasists" or "tribal" is not helpful. Particularly from someone who seems to think all he has to do is to press a button and 150,000 people will dutifully cast their list votes in the way he dictates!

      Perhaps the most worrying tweet of the evening was from Mike Small (@BellaCaledonia) to me (@DrMoragKerr).

      Adam: if they'd (that's every SNP voter in the North East, over 140,000 people including Alex and Moira Salmond!) votes Green or SSP, it's have delivered 5 MSPs.

      Me: You can't parcel out votes in these numbers. You'd need a mind control ray.

      Mike: This tribal fear of pro-indy / non SNP voices is terrifying

      If people who are merely trying to point out the realities of how the seats are allocated, and the impossibility of parcelling out 140,000 votes belonging to other people by a wave of the hand, are to be accused of a "tribal fear" of "pro-indy voices" which is "terrifying", we're entering a bad place.

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  2. Another thing, just before I go to bed. It was pointed out on an earlier thread that in the scenario where the TNS opinion poll results are fed into the Electoral Calculus modeller, shifting all the Green votes to the SNP actually gains more SNP list seats than it loses Green seats.

    Thus, a tactical list vote for the SNP by Green supporters significantly increases the number of pro-independence MSPs. Just what Adam wants. If this is actually the best way to achieve his stated aim, will he advocate it? If not, then I know who I think is being tribal.

    This is nothing but a dishonest scam on the part of Green party supporters to bamboozle SNP supporters into giving away SNP seats to the Greens, under false pretences.

    The retort to that accusation is, "but the SNP doesn't own these votes, people can cast them as they wish." Again, that's missing the point. Mike isn't persuading people to vote Green on the basis of the brilliant things Green MSPs will deliver at Holyrood (which SNP MSPs won't), he's peddling an arithmetical three-card-trick.

    When specifically challenged that the most probable result of his scheme taking off in significant numbers is to produce a Green/SNP coalition in Holyrood, he disavowed this, saying a coalition would be a very bad decision for the Greens.

    Well what the hell does he want these MSPs to do? They can sit on the opposition benches if the SNP manages to hang on to its overall majority despite his best efforts, and I honestly can't see that a few more of them there is going to make a hell of a lot of difference. But if his cute little three-card-trick actually damages the SNP sufficiently that the party loses its overall majority, then they will have to support the SNP in government one way or another, or not. If not, then the entire "pro-indy MSPs" thing is a complete deception.

    Rumour has it that Patrick Harvie expected to be Deputy First Minister in 2011, in a coalition with the SNP that had an overall majority. Rumour also has it that he was bitterly disappointed when the SNP got enough seats for an overall majority all by itself, and he was the "leader" of a two-person rump on the opposition benches.

    In my personal opinion, this is all about getting him a second bite at that cherry. Bear in mind that can only happen if the SNP loses its working majority, that is if Sturgeon wins fewer seats than Salmond did. That will be hailed, rightly, as a severe set-back for the SNP, and severe set-backs for the SNP tend to be severe set-backs for independence as a whole.

    A parliamentary term of Sturgeon having to battle with Harvie's constant attempts to challenge and oppose and hold the SNP to account, from within a coalition. Who thinks this is the best way to a second referendum? Anyone?

    I think if the Greens simply voted tactically on the list to maximise the number of SNP MSPs for the sake of independence, it would solve a lot of problems. You know it makes sense!

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    1. "This is nothing but a dishonest scam on the part of Green party supporters to bamboozle SNP supporters into giving away SNP seats to the Greens, under false pretences."

      Agree 100% Morag. If the Green Party really wanted to play the tactical voting game they would not have stood in so many constituency seats at Westminster nor would they at Holyrood. A gesture like that may well have persuaded me to vote Green on the list, but that is not what is happening.

      Our list MSPs in the south of Scotland are fab. Should they not win a constituency vote I certainly don't want to risk them losing any one of them in favour of a Green MSP.

      The Green vote in Mundell's constituency still niggles. Never mind...

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    2. Yes, it niggles. It's not so much the votes themselves. I know a fair number of Green supporters did vote for Emma as the obvious, logical, tactical thing to so. One friend had a generic Green poster and a "Vote Emma" poster together in one window. Another was going round ostentatiously wearing a Vote Emma badge even though she's a Green. We can't know these 800-odd people who voted for the Green candidate would have voted SNP if she hadn't stood. You can't parcel out other people's votes like that (despite Adam wanting to do it!)

      The reason it niggles is that the candidate stood at all. Of course she had every right to stand, but then we have every right to have our own opinions about that. This was a seat where everyone who was anti-Tory needed to get together to unseat Mundell, and here were the Greens actively acting against that objective.

      When asked why they were doing it, the answer was something about a trial run for 2016. Great. Let's act against unseating Mundell, as a dry run. Good thinking. But then that suggests the party intends to stand constituency candidates round here next year. OK, but they still want SNP people to vote for them on the list? It gets madder every time you find another wrinkle.

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    3. Sorry for replying at the top, but I want to make sure that people read this, as it's important.

      I just want to lay out how many Green MSPs would be needed before they make a noticeable pro-indy difference.

      Number of Green MSPs in exchange for each SNP MSP:

      1) No difference, as all the first choice list Greens are (at least nominally) pro-indy, but see Patrick Harvey for how slight that has to be for it to count here.

      2) -1 pro-indy, as most of the second-choice list Greens are pro-union (assumption, based on choices of cutoffs from Adam Ramsey)

      3) no change if Green's third list MSP is pro-indy, as they cancel out the second one being. -2 if the Greens third list MSP is pro-union.

      4) Finally we get to a +1 if the Greens 3rd *and* fourth list MSPs are pro-indy.

      So, we'd need to be getting 4+ Green MSPs "in trade"for each SNP MSP, before it even does the job being suggested. And that's assuming that Patrick Harvey is being perfectly cooperative with the SNP on pulling another indyref, which I doubt he would be.

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    4. I think the sheer numbers of votes that would need to be transferred wholesale for even two Greens to be elected in return for one SNP loss negates the whole thing. In most regions, the best the tactic could deliver would be a one-to-one swap, and even that's far from guaranteed.

      So, we give away an SNP MSP in the hope that we might get ONE Green MSP in exchange. We better hope we don't let a Tory through instead! And then, what does this Green MSP do? If the SNP's majority isn't compromised, he or she sits on the opposition benches and doesn't influence much. If the SNP's working majority is lost, he or she goes into coalition with the SNP.

      I wish the proponents of the idea would start addressing this issue instead of making sterile and spurious points about what a list vote is or isn't worth in circumstances that can't possibly be predicted.

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    5. If I was you, I wouldn't get too hung up on the green vote in your constituency, had there been no green standing, the unionists might well have played it up and the ukip votes might have went to the tory or votes from elsewhere

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  3. I can't really see many folk being confused about this, despite deliberate (imo) attempts to sow confusion.
    There is only one party with independence as its main aim, and that is the SNP.
    Vote SNP twice if you want another referendum.

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  4. I wonder if this will this lead to proUnionist commentators start to put out articles quietly hyping Green issues and how important these are to Scotland.
    And 'vote with your conscience' misinformation; would they have anything to lose? Can't see a lot of Tories becoming anti-fracking, so the Tory vote is unlikely to be accidentally reduce by conscience ridden Tories switching the list vote.
    'll watch over the coming months.

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  5. I remember when Holyrood had a Lab Dem coalition. Lib Dems were saying if you vote Labour on the constituency vote, give us (LDs) your vote on the list. Labour said vote Labour twice.

    Was it this confusing message which lead to the SNP minority government?

    Just posing the question James, regards, Shagpile.

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    1. You'd probably have to look at each region and see whether Labour would have taken a seat that the SNP actually won, if more of its voters had stuck with Labour rather than moving LibDem on the list. Honestly, life's too short.

      It's essentially chaotic anyway. The fact is, the SNP beat Labour narrowly in terms of votes in both constituency and list totals. and so the result where they had one more seat than Labour in the end seems to me to demonstrate that the system worked.

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  6. I confess to being baffled by this whole argument. Tactical voting, as a policy by an individual voter, is pretty clearly irrational. Its point is to make a difference to the electoral outcome but the probability of one individual vote making a difference is so close to zero as to render not bothering to vote the option with maximum expected utility. So it makes no sense in terms of its own rationale.

    People should vote on the basis of a citizen's duty to express his or her political preferences. True, if the party closest to their preference urges, for tactical reasons, them to vote a different way, for example in 2nd preferences in an STV system say, or by not standing a candidate in a first-past the post system and urging their voters to vote for another party then that itself makes a difference. The party bosses are not being irrational if their urgings have a non-negligible probability of making a difference. And the voters obeying their advice can do so rationally, if their motive is to express support for the party.

    Even in a case where individual voters are irrational in following Shug McSporran's advice, if Shug has good reason to believe they will do this (he leads a boy band with a devoted following) it wouldn't be irrational for him to urge tactical voting since he would know his advice has a non-negligible probability of making a difference. But I still can't see how it is rational for a voter who supports party X, which is standing in an election, to vote for party Y in order to increase the chance of party Z not getting in, even if X is unlikely to get in and Z is preferable to Y. So long as voting takes up some cost in time or effort the chance of a one vote difference being registered (electoral counts are not wholly accurate) and then making the desired difference is so small, you'd be better expending the energy in earning a few more pence to send to your favoured party's funds.

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  7. Hi James,

    thanks for this, a few things before I deal with your substantive point.

    First, I think you've taken a couple of my comments slightly out of context. What I said was "fantasy land" was a claim that a result which ended up with more pro-independence MSPs, an SNP government, fewer Labour MSPs, but the SNP narrowly losing its majority would be seen as the SNP losing the election, and would be a disaster for a second referendum. The idea that there being an increase in the number of pro-independence MSPs would be a disaster for independence is a fantasy, I think. Though I should perhaps been more polite in making the point.

    Likewise, I mentioned the North East because the person I was discussing it with raised it, but that tweet alone would imply I thought it was the most potent example - clearly it isn't.

    Anyway, more importantly, here's why I disagree, in general, with your point:


    1) I agree that we don't know what's going to happen in the election, clearly. However, I can't think of any regions in which the SNP aren't almost certain to get at least one MSP.

    2) And so any individual SNP vote on the list will be worth less than any individual Green or SSP vote.

    3) Of course, quotas are complex. It's perfectly possible for a vote at 1/10th value to take one party over the line to a quota while a vote at full value doesn't get another one over a line.

    4) to continue using the NE example in 2011: Yes, had 2000 people switched from SNP to Green then the SNP would have lost that seat and the Tories would have gained it. But if 2,154 had switched to Green, then the SNP would have lost it and the Greens would have gained it. Of course, if the SNP is your favourite party, then you won't be pleased about that exchange, but it does show the narrowness of the band of circumstances in which such a tactical vote would *cost* an SNP MSP. Put another way, to elect an extra pro-independence MSP in the North East (which seems to me more likely than losing one) the SNP would have needed 34,824 more votes. The Greens would have needed an extra 4225.

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    1. "1) I agree that we don't know what's going to happen in the election, clearly. However, I can't think of any regions in which the SNP aren't almost certain to get at least one MSP.

      2) And so any individual SNP vote on the list will be worth less than any individual Green or SSP vote."


      No, that doesn't logically follow. If the SNP win a list seat in a region where the Greens and the SSP do not win a list seat, it's absurd to suggest that an SNP vote was worth less. Clearly, a vote which actually helps to elect an MSP is worth far more than a vote that does not.

      There were six regions in which the Greens failed to take a list seat last time. You may be more optimistic than I am that they will do much better than that, next year, but by raising the SSP you weaken your case, because it's surely self-evident that the SSP (or the Left Project) are at severe risk of failing to win any seats at all.

      "But if 2,154 had switched to Green, then the SNP would have lost it and the Greens would have gained it. Of course, if the SNP is your favourite party, then you won't be pleased about that exchange"

      That's putting it mildly - if that happens, the "tactical" vote has backfired. It hasn't backfired as seriously as would be the case if an extra unionist was elected, but it's still backfired. You've got your second preference instead of your first preference, rather than getting one in addition to the other, which is what's supposed to happen.

      "it does show the narrowness of the band of circumstances in which such a tactical vote would *cost* an SNP MSP"

      Not at all. A small party getting a modest number of votes is not a narrow band of circumstances - it's what normally happens. Is it harder for a large party like the SNP to get 30,000 more votes than it is for a small party like the Greens to get an extra 4225? At the very least, that's open to dispute.

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    2. I think the difference is that you are talking about the likelihood of various events, whereas I am talking about the power of one vote. Is it more likely in a given region that the SNP will get a list MSP or that the Greens will? I have no idea. But that tells us very little about the value of each vote.

      Or, there's another, perhaps more mathematical way to put it. The "value" of an AMS list vote can be described in two ways. 1) there's the mathematical value it has once it's been divided by the number of MSPs a party already has in a region (+1). 2) there's the marginal value it has - Ie how much it does or doesn't contribute to electing an extra MSP.

      I agree that in reality, we can't really know about 2). Both Greens and the SNP seem to have sufficient support that they may or may not get a list seat in any given region. I also agree that at the moment, this argument doesn't really apply re the SSP. I only included them because it's possible that, what with their potential collaborations etc, something changes and they do start to look viable. But setting them to one side, I agree that between then SNP and the Greens, we can't know the marginal value of a given regional vote.

      However, this isn't true of 1). Assuming that the SNP win at least one constituency in each region (and assuming Greens win no constituencies) an SNP vote will always be worth less in this sense than a Green vote.

      Looking at these two together, then - giving us a total value of a vote, a Green vote is much more likely to count more than an SNP vote.

      For those who don't believe me, do spend some time playing around on the Weber Shandwick seat calculator http://www.scotlandvotes.com/holyrood - if you put in any range of constituency votes even close to anything we might expect in the election, then compare the number of SNP + Green MSPs we get of you increase the Green regional vote and decrease the SNP one equivalently. I've yet to find a point where the total number falls, and in almost all, it increases.

      Also, I'd add, to those who make the point that voting is about much more than mathematical calculations of value, it's about a statement of belief, absolutely. At no point have I said that an SNP vote would be "wasted" or that people shouldn't vote SNP of they have a strong preference for the SNP over the Greens. All I have said is that, because of the way AMS works, an individual vote for the Greens will almost certainly count for more than an individual vote for the SNP on the list. And yes, I think that is a mathematical fact.

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    3. Or, to put it another way - is it easier for the Greens to get an extra 4,250 votes or the SNP to get 30,000 votes? We can't know. But we do know *for sure* that one vote is a bigger contribution, proportionately, to 4250 votes than it is to 30,000 votes.

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    4. I think you've become so wrapped up in the arithmetic you've lost sight of what you're actually trying to achieve, and why anyone who intends to vote SNP/SNP for a strong SNP government might possibly go along with you.

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  8. 5) there is another way to put your argument. If I set up the "free the tardigrades" party, and went around saying "a vote for us is worth many times a vote for the SNP because of how AMS works", then you might quite reasonably respond "aye, but a vote for you is *never* going to elect an MSP, coz your party is silly, and no one cares to pots for tardigrades. An extra vote for the SNP may, on the other hand, contribute to electing an SNP MSP, even if it is deivided by eight". And that would of course be true. So the argument from simple AMS maths doesn't necessarily always hold. I absolutely agree. However, given that we know there is a certainly level of Green support, amounting to something within the same country as a quota, this argument kind of mute.

    To summarise: because each MSP requires a quota, and because whether or not they get that is binary, there are of course circumstances in which an SNP vote divided by 7 or 10 or 3 or whatever delivers an MSP and a whole Green vote doesn't. And we can come up with lots of examples where this is a reality. But that doesn't take away from a trend, that a vote in AMS for a party with constituencies is worth less than a vote for a party without constituencies. And if that party without constituencies does have anything approaching sufficient support to elect an MSP, a vote for them is much more likely to make the difference than a vote for the party with constituencies.

    Finally, I'd like to be clear what I am and what I am not saying.

    If you don't like the Greens, don't vote Green. If your main concern is the number of SNP MSPs, then vote SNP twice. I am not arguing that people who fit these categories should do anything different. But, if you're the kind of independence supporter who quite likes both, and who wants to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs, then, on average, given that we can't now what will happen in each region, your regional vote is more likely to make a difference if it's for the Greens than if it's for the SNP. I think that is a basic mathematical fact - despite the fact that, of course, we can always find exceptions.

    thanks,

    Adam

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    1. You're making several mistakes here:

      1) Not all Green MSPs are pro-indy. So a straight swap of SNP MSP to Green MSP is, on average, bad for the independence cause. Patrick Harvey notably *isn't* particularly committed one way or the other.

      2) The margins for error for giving the Greens an MSP without costing the SNP an MSP are *minuscule* compared to the margins for error in polling. So it's literally impossible to know if it's safe for an SNP supporter to vote Green on the list.

      3) The list vote is unpredictable enough that the only sane thing to do with it is to vote for the party you want to be in government.

      4) Pro-Indy Greens should be trying to win votes from the Unionist parties, Pro-Union Greens should be trying to win votes from the SNP.

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    2. Thanks, Illy - I've just deleted a draft post, trying to say what you have succeeded in saying, far more succinctly than my version!

      It's all very well saying "if x people had done something other than what they did do, the outcome would have been different", but no individual voter, going into the polling station intending to cast a tactical vote, can ever know what those x-1 others are going to do.

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    3. To reply to the specifics:

      1) the top candidate on every list is pro-independence. It's true that some Greens aren't, but they all lost the selections.

      2) not at all. A quota for a list seat when a regional vote is divided by lots of constituencies is tens of thousands of votes. A quota when not divided is just over ten thousand votes. (Ie, if the SNP get 8 constituencies, it's 8 times the size). So the margin of error, on average, is half of that quota - ie tens of thousands of votes. Of course, in some cases, it's much smaller. But that's always true of averages.

      3) the way the list vote works is consistent.

      4) this was one discussion on Twitter! Of course the Green campaign should be focussed on reasons to vote Green, not on the technicalities of the voting system.

      Delete
    4. (I should have said "a quota is usually around" obviously they vary)

      Delete
    5. Patrick Harvey notably *isn't* particularly committed one way or the other.

      Whit? Harvie was one of the most prolific figures in the Yes campaign - arguably the most high-profile non-SNPer. Merits and demerits of tactical voting aside, that's a completely bizarre statement.

      Delete
    6. No, it's not. He was basically pushing a Green agenda, in the context of the proposal that it could be more easily implemented in the context of setting up a new country. He said himself that he wasn't committed to independence as a principle, and would only be a little disappointed for a couple of days if the result was a No.

      Delete
    7. 2) Ok, so you're saying that the margin for error in your scheme is about 10,000 people? The margin for error in polls (our best hope of prediction to be able to tell where your scheme *might* work) is 3%, so the polls claim that they might be off by 3% of the population of Scotland, ie. ~159,000 people. As we're incredibly unlikely to get constituency level polling, *that* is our error value, ~16 times less accurate than needed to even consider what you're suggesting.

      4) Pro-Indy Greens should be trying to win votes from the Unionist parties, Pro-Union Greens should be trying to win votes from the SNP.

      I'm just going to point out that you're a Green supporter trying to steal votes from the SNP, and leave it at that.

      Delete
    8. I predict that you'll be castigated for using the word "steal" (although it's perfectly accurate), and there will be a long rant about the SNP not owning these votes, they belong to the voters. This response is pretty rich coming from people who are cavalierly parcelling out other people's votes by the tens of thousands, in a purely arithmetical exercise, as if they "owned" them.

      Proposing a perfectly rational, honest and fail-safe tactical vote in a FPTP situation is one thing. For example, pointing out to Labour voters in DC&T that Dryburgh has no chance and if their priority is to unseat Mundell then SNP is the way to go. Proposing a highly dangerous strategy that has a serious chance of damaging the voter in question's first-choice party, on the basis of dodgy and misapplied arithmetic, is another thing entirely.

      This Green Pouter thing is an attempt to trick SNP supporters by misleading application of arithmetic, and "steal" is an appropriate word.

      Delete
    9. "then, on average, given that we can't now what will happen in each region, your regional vote is more likely to make a difference if it's for the Greens than if it's for the SNP. I think that is a basic mathematical fact"

      That's an absolutely extraordinary comment. I've read it several times, but still can't make sense of it. It seems to mean : Because we don't know what will happen, my guess of what might happen is more likely to be right. This is a mathematical FACT.

      Delete
    10. It's also entirely begging the question, frequently raised, of where these Green MSPs are going to sit in Holyrood, and how they'll make a difference.

      Delete
    11. No, it's not. He was basically pushing a Green agenda, in the context of the proposal that it could be more easily implemented in the context of setting up a new country.

      That seems like a pretty valid reason to want independence.

      He said himself that he wasn't committed to independence as a principle, and would only be a little disappointed for a couple of days if the result was a No.

      He sees it as a means to an end, as do many Yes voters. That doesn't cast doubt on their or his commitment.

      Delete
    12. No, that doesn't, but many other things he's said do. He went with the Yes agenda because he saw that as politically advantageous for his party. He's still trying to milk that now, by using the "pro-independence" label to scam SNP supporters out of their list votes under false pretences (wasted vote and so on).

      If he saw party-political advantage for his party in voting against a second independence referendum, I think he'd do it.

      Delete
  9. I don't know the detailed mechanics of the voting system in Scottish elections so only have a rough idea of the arguments being put forward, although I confess that James and Rolfe appear to have the best case. But why doesn't someone feed different tactical voting scenarios into the Electoral models available and see the outcomes that transpire. Or am I being naive?

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    Replies
    1. It's been done to some extent, but the main problem is that the models aren't capable of predicting the way the list seats may be allocated simply from overall percentages. It's not that they're not sophisticated enough, I think it's actually impossible because of the complexity and in particular the inherently chaotic nature of the system. They can produce ball-park results, but no better than that.

      You simply can't know exactly how many votes a particular party will need to get the last seat on the list, compared to another party. You could take 2000 votes away from party A and give them to party B, and all that would happen is that party C is now the beneficiary. And any of the parties could be any of these letters.

      It's a system that allows massive recriminations in hindsight, but no possibility at all to predict in advance. One thing's for sure, no matter what the outcome there are going to be blogs written lamenting the fact that if only 1000 more people had voted for D instead of E, then D would have had another MSP. The problem is, nobody has a hope in hell of knowing that in advance.

      Delete
    2. Is this correct? If you put in, for example, the actual voting percentages of 2011 do these electoral models not produce an accurate result to match the actual result on the night? Or do they, as you imply, produce a sort of plus or minus result around what was the actual result on the night. This is a genuine question. I will have a go myself when I have the time but if anyone out there has an answer that would be great.

      Or are you simply meaning that it's very difficult to predict the percentages on the night of any future election? Which is of course the whole point of the polling industry and the basis of our the interest in this blog.

      braco

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    3. Thanks Rolfe.
      "I think it's actually impossible because of the complexity and in particular the inherently chaotic nature of the system."

      If that is the case I don't see how Adam Ramsay can possibly argue the case for tactical voting.

      Thus as I cannot be sure that the Greens will ALWAYS support Indy, and as I don't want a coalition diluting SNP views, I would vote SNP constituency, SNP list, to maximise the chance of SNP members in Holyrood.

      Delete
    4. To clarify, I mean that it's not simply a matter of accurately predicting percentages, it's the necessity of knowing exactly where each party stands in the queue to get the next list seat. Which of course depends not merely on the percentage of list votes won to a very high degree of accuracy, but on the number of constituencies won, and on how many list seats they already got allocated.

      There are far too many variables for any voter to be able to calculate in advance whether their list vote has a better chance of electing an MSP from party A or party B. Particularly in a situation where other voters might be (pointlessly) trying to weigh up the same thing!

      Tactical voting in a FPTP constituency is perfectly straighforward. In the afternoon of 6th May my next door neighbour (a Labour supporter) came up to me and said, "I've just gone up the road and voted for you lot, to get rid of Mundell!" He wasn't successful, but he might have been. He didn't damage his own party because he had correctly divined (from Ashcroft) that Labour had no chance and the only hope of unseating Mundell was to vote SNP. He was narked by the end result, but didn't regret his choice.

      The AMS list is an entirely different ball game. It's literally impossible to know in advance where the list allocations are going to end up, particularly when you come to the last couple of seats. Nobody will ever have the luxury of that level of prediction. So all a voter can reasonably do is give their vote to the party they most want to see get seats in the chamber, and leave the rest to the gods of complex arithmetic.

      Delete
    5. When I've put the numbers in, The models have shown what I am saying. Of course there are specific scenarios where a trend doesn't hold, and we can discuss such details for hours. But the trend still holds. People can argue that the models are wrong because it's all very complex, and maybe that will prove to be so. But the it's the best info we have.

      Delete
    6. Thanks Adam. Interesting. But if "there are specific scenarios where a trend doesn't hold" and, as others claim, it is impossible to know beforehand which scenario voters may be operating in, how can they make a rational decision about tactical voting?

      Sometimes the best info we have is not enough.

      Delete
    7. Yes this is true James, but it's also true to say that it's situation that cuts both ways (ie in some cases producing more unionist MSPs than would have necessarily been the case).

      As always,and as has been repeated over and over, it's down to how each individual balances those regional probabilities with their own particular political outlook and percieved goals.

      Given our 'democratic' and political 'situation', voting in Scotland has always been a 'on the best balance of judgement...' type activity. Hence the popularity of Tactical voting as a national pass time.

      braco

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    8. Adam only puts in the numbers that support his argument. It's equally if not more easy to put in numbers where his proposal achieves the opposite of what he claims it will. Dismissing these as mere "specific scenarios where a trend doesn't hold" is rather spectacularly failing to get the point.

      I'm also extremely uncomfortable with his habit of cavalierly allocating tens of thousands of other people's votes as if that's actually a thing that might happen.

      Delete
    9. "Or are you simply meaning that it's very difficult to predict the percentages on the night of any future election? Which is of course the whole point of the polling industry and the basis of our the interest in this blog."

      The problem with that statement is that the polling industry quotes it's error margins are far greater than the error margins needed for this scheme to work.

      So the polling companies *ARE NOT ACCURATE ENOUGH* for your scheme to work.

      You can change who gets how many seats by adjusting the vote counts within those margins, so trying to predict anything with those accuracy rates is daft.

      It's like trying to guess the top 5 (in order) of a 100m foot race when all you know is how fast the competitors cycle. It will give you a vague correlation, but not an accurate enough one for what you want.

      Delete
  10. @Adam.
    You talk about maximising the total of pro indy MSP's.
    Are you stating as a fact that every Green is pro indy? Isn't that slightly dishonest?

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    Replies
    1. Juteman,
      did the Greens and SSP not show their commitment to YES during the referendum campaign? Did they not add to the effectiveness of the pro Indy campaign? Have they both not increased their memberships and popularity through their positions taken and active roles played in the referendum campaign?

      I don't see your point to be honest. Both parties are pro independence, as are most of their voter support and activists. The greens for example had a vote of their membership to settle the issue prior to taking that position in the referendum campaign. Seems pretty settled to me.

      What would it take to allay your fears, or is it just a basic feeling of distrust in politicians? A feeling with which I can sympathise.

      braco

      Delete
    2. This isn't a referendum though. Folk are voting for Holyrood representation.

      Delete
    3. As I've said above, the Greens have selected their candidates for Holyrood, so we know the answer to this - every candidate at the top of a list is pro-independence.

      Delete
    4. Was the Greens' vote not 2:1 in favour of Yes? That's quite a lot of Green No people. I doubt if they changed their minds because they were outvoted. All that was "settled" was that there would be a Green Yes campaign (I'm almost certain there was a Green No, too, but it had an extremely low profile).

      That Green Yes group certainly made a valuable contribution to the campaign, but it isn't their main priority now. Are all the new members Yes? It would be easy to assume so, but not necessarily correct. The SSP is a different matter, but I'm yet to be persuaded they have any chance at all of list seats.

      I think Juteman's right.

      Delete
    5. Some people are talking as if electing a Green MSP was exactly the same thing as electing an SNP MSP. It isn't. The Green members are not going to take the SNP whip.

      They may end up sitting on the opposition benches. In that case I'm not seeing how two or three more of them is going to make a huge amount of difference. If the SNP has a working majority, it has a working majority.

      The main potential of this ploy is to reduce the number of SNP MSPs below the "working majority" threshhold. In that case the probability is that the Green MSPs will be sitting on the government benches as part of a coalition. Say hello to Patrick Harvie, your new Deputy First Minister.

      That is a huge difference from having an overall SNP majority government. I can see why Green supporters like it. I'm struggling to see why SNP supporters should be so keen on it though. Nicola Sturgeon is a politician of outstanding talent. I put my trust in her to act in the best way to deliver independence within my lifetime. I do not want to tie her hands by forcing her into coalition and having to accept a deputy from another party whose commitment to independence is lukewarm and conditional.

      And I'm sick and bloody tired of being bad-mouthed as "tribal" and not wanting "pro-indepedence MSPs" for this opinion.

      Delete
    6. A pro-independence Green at the top of every list. That doesn't sound all that reassuring to me. Is Robin Harper standing for the party at all? If he is, I think many of us will draw our own conclusions.

      This is looking more and more like an increasingly desperate attempt by the Green party to cheat its way to more MSPs by blatant misrepresentation of the arithmetic of the list allocation. Far from increasing combined SNP/Green members, it could deprive the SNP of members to the benefit of a unioinist party rather than the Greens, or in a slightly better situation, simply swap one SNP for one Green.

      The fact is, the SNP is in contention for at least one list seat in every region. Why would SNP supporters want to give that away to a Green? A one-to-one exchange isn't maximising anything! For Adam's ploy to work, one lost SNP seat has to yield at least two Greens. So we're immediately looking further down the Green list. Where's Robin Harper, do tell?

      The more this is "explained", the more dishonest it gets.

      Delete
    7. This is why everyone has been emphasising the regional aspect of any decision to vote in this way (or not). Just as you say, there are regions where it may not be reasonable, while others might be a much better fit. It will very much be down to the circumstances much nearer the election and how voters react to those circumstances.

      I do not believe in just throwing up my hands and saying 'oh it's all too impossibly difficult to contemplate', and what's more, I don't think many of the SNP supporters saying this now would be saying it if they had hopes that the SNP could gain from it, rather than fears of losing from it.

      The SNP have not been averse to the encouragement of a bit of tactical voting in the past and the Scots electorate has shown itself to have developed quite a taste for it as well. What's interesting about this conversation is the attempt to apply tactical voting thinking to what is a relatively new and ill understood (by the electorate as a whole) Scottish Parliamentary voting system.

      Therefore my simple view is, the more it's discussed the better the understanding will become and the more likely the correct analysis will get disseminated, (whatever particular side of the argument you might favour).

      That's why I don't understand the apparent antipathy toward even having the discussion on 'the theory' of it. Especially this far out from the election.


      braco

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    8. Rolfe, nobody is saying a green is the same as an SNP. Some folk do not prioritise Party support in the way you do and think in terms of pro-indy supporting MSP's.

      Once again Rolfe, 'But, if you're the kind of independence supporter who quite likes both, and who wants to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs...'

      By the way Rolfe, I am that kind of Independence supporter (as I have made clear many times before) and have just had to again.....

      braco

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    9. Sorry, my first reply was to Pantone300's comment below. Not sure what's happening with my comment placement today!

      braco

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    10. And I'll make it clear again that what you do with your vote is your affair. My objection is to the strategic reallocation of thousands and tens of thousands of other people's votes based on a bunch of dodgy arithmetic and a burning desire to get more Green MSPs at the expense of the SNP.

      You may or may not be advocating that, I find it a little hard to tell.

      Delete
    11. "Some folk do not prioritise Party support in the way you do and think in terms of pro-indy supporting MSP's. "

      As more than a one-for-one swap seems vastly unlikely, I guess I have to say this again...

      1) Not all Green MSPs are pro-indy. So a straight swap of SNP MSP to Green MSP is, on average, bad for the independence cause. Patrick Harvey notably *isn't* particularly committed one way or the other.

      Delete
    12. And I'll point out that this isn't a referendum. Like it or not, this is an election to a party-political parliament. Nobody is going to Holyrood representing the "pro-independence" party.

      What are these Green MSPs going to do once they get there?

      If the SNP manages to retain its working majority despite this underhand attack from supposed allies, then the Greens will sit on the opposition benches. I'm not clear that two or three more of them is going to have a huge effect one way or another. It would be nice, other things being equal, but other things aren't equal if the price is fewer SNP MSPs.

      If the ploy succeeds to the extent that the SNP loses its working majority, the probable outcome will be an SNP/Green coalition. This is a very different parliament from a majority SNP government. Some people (notably, Green supporters) may want this to happen, and if so they should vote for it.

      But this is the choice. A few more Greens in opposition, or transforming a majority SNP government into a Green/SNP coalition. Choose, but choose wisely, understanding the actual real-world outcomes that will happen as a result of these choices. Head-in-the-clouds waffle about "pro-indy MSPs" is quite spectacularly missing the point.

      Delete
    13. Who on earth has the power to do what you are accusing me of for goodness sake?

      I am a (sometimes) thinking individual who is engaged in a discussion with other thinking adults about various voting options and tactical voting theories that those individuals may or may not wish to follow.

      I am no more 're allocating thousands and tens of thousands of other people's votes' than I was when discussing with Green, SSP, LibDem and SLab voters about my views on the wisdom of them voting SNP in the last Westminster election in order to maximise Scotland's voice.

      'thousands and tens of thousands of other people's votes' did indeed actually get 're allocated' but it was not down to me (lol)! it was down to each of those individual voters engaging in the debate and coming to their own conclusions about the issues raised.

      I heard no complaints from you at the time, over the widespread use of this most basic of democratic political rights, (that is, open debate in order to influence the thinking and voting intentions of an electorate). Why are voters who have chosen to vote SNP at the last election, and only voters that chose SNP according to your logic, to be placed off limits to similar basics of democratic debate?

      You may indeed disagree strongly with the premise, but democratic debate is all that's happening here.

      Do you not see any of this Rolfe?

      braco

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    14. I see that you're retreating behind the assertion that you're only musing over what to do with your own vote, in the company of people doing likewise. And I'll repeat that I've no quarrel with you doing that.

      I am however trying to inject a bit of realism into your deliberations, by pointing out the real world, party-political, Holyrood government implications of your musings. Something I've tried to do before but which you always seem to ignore.

      Do you favour a Green/SNP coalition over a majority SNP government, or not? That's the choice you're actually making, and waffling on about "pro-independence MSPs" is obscuring this.

      Oddly enough I notice that the people who are actually cavalierly parcelling out tens of thousands of votes on the basis of misunderstood arithmetic don't come back on posts which are criticising this behaviour.

      Delete
    15. 'Retreating'?

      braco

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    16. "You may or may not be advocating that, I find it a little hard to tell."

      If you're not advocating it, then there's little point in coming back indignantly banging on about this. Other people are, and it's these people I'm addressing.

      Have you no thoughts about the real-world party-political outcomes that might flow from your musings? How do you see the composition of Holyrood if your dreams come to fruition, and what role will the Green MSPs be undertaking?

      It would be kind of nice if you were to explain this, and why you think it's a good outcome, and why the people you hope to persuade to follow your example should agree with you. Banging on about "pro-independence MSPs" is spectacularly missing the point in a number of ways. Not least in that Adam is trying to get some unionist Green MSPs elected.

      Delete
    17. "A pro-independence Green at the top of every list. That doesn't sound all that reassuring to me. Is Robin Harper standing for the party at all? If he is, I think many of us will draw our own conclusions."

      Just to reply to these two specific points (easily checked by some Googling):
      1. The SGP 2016 lists are published here:
      https://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/news/scottish-greens-confirm-regional-lists-for-holyrood-2016/
      Most of the higher names on the lists were prominent Yes campaigners. Adam is correct that the top person on every list is pro-independence.
      2. Robin Harper isn't there. He's retired from frontline politics, having last stood for election as an MP in 2010 and stood down as an MSP in 2011.

      Delete
  11. 'But, if you're the kind of independence supporter who quite likes both, and who wants to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs,'

    By the way Rolfe, I am that kind of Independence supporter (as I have made clear many times before).

    braco

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    Replies
    1. Liking both is fine. The concept of "pro-independence MSPs" in a party-political parliamentary election is a horse of a rather different colour.

      But once again I'll make my position clear. I don't give a monkey's what you decide to do with your vote. That's your decision. What I do object to is demands that tens and even hundreds of thousands of people vote the way Adam Ramsey tells them to, because he's got this clever scheme that mere mortals are too tribal and fantasy-ridden to understand.

      Delete
    2. This is pretty spurious stuff. I've never said that people aren't capable of understanding it. I've said they are. I've never demanded anyone votes one way or another. I've encouraged people to think about the maths of AMS before they vote. I know it's easier to attack me if you invent things, but it's not very nice.

      Delete
    3. Adam, better get used to it. This is Rolfe's m.o.

      braco

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    4. Re the maths: Can you name one actual election anywhere in the world (AMS or otherwise) where one single vote going the other way would have made a difference to who get elected? And if there is such an example, how many recounts took place? Did the decision oscillate more or less randomly from recount to recount? And if there are examples, how many, how likely is it to occur?

      Delete
    5. Better get used to Braco, his MO is to feign offence when his repeated churning of the same flawed argument is met with exasperation.

      Delete
    6. Adam, I'm not inventing things. Even in the context of the restricted Twitter conversation, you were saying some extremely wrong things. James has quoted them above.

      You condescendingly told me I could vote SNP/SNP if I liked, but that my list vote was "very unlikely to elect an SNP MSP". Also that I had to understand that this "means more unionist MSPs in total".

      Neither of these statements is even remotely true.

      The SNP is in contention for at least one list seat in every single region of the country. In my region, this will be because it will take a fair-sized miracle for the party to capture all the constituency seats and it's certainly nothing anyone can be certain about in advance. So thank you, I will be voting SNP on the South of Scotland list in the sure and certain knowledge that this vote, along with many others, will elect an SNP MSP. In other regions, where a high poll is expected or at least hoped for, the list seat will be on the cards as an additional seat to all the constituencies, as Mark McDonald achieved in 2011 on a 52% share of the list vote.

      It is also entirely unpredictable whether a quixotic attempt to give away an SNP seat would in fact succeed in electing even one Green in compensation. As has been pointed out ad nauseam, it's entirely possible that a unionist party could come through the gap and snatch the seat instead. The strategy you propose could in fact deliver more unionist MSPs in total.

      As an aside, a thought experiment transferring all the Green list votes to the SNP in the recent TNS poll produced more SNP gains than Green losses, and so a larger number of pro-independence MSPs. Have you looked into that side of it?

      Finally, I'll point out again that for the Greens to capture MORE THAN ONE list seat in each region, at the cost of sacrificing one potential SNP seat, would require the transfer of thousands of votes. However, without achieving this, there can be no possibility of any increase in the total number of pro-independence MSPs. This requires people to be persuaded to do something counter-intuitive and fundamentally dangerous, on a scale the #SNPout crowd couldn't muster last month. Their proposal was actually quite straightforward and indeed sensible, and it was pushed by newspapers and indeed parliamentary candidates. It failed miserably because not enough people paid any attention.

      Against this background I'd have thought that people might be a bit wary of launching a scheme that absolutely requires massive uptake to avoid the possibility of achieving the exact opposite of what it claims to promote.

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    7. As a caveat to the above, I suppose it's possible that the SNP will fail to take a list seat in the South of Scotland. If that happens, it will be because we won all the constituencies, and I will be extremely happy about this.

      The last thing that's going to occur to me is, "gosh if I'd voted Green we might have had another Green on the list." The chance of the SNP losing one or two constituencies is way too real even to consider playing games like that.

      Delete
  12. Totally agree with Rolfe, every region is different.

    There's a very real chance that constituencies in the south of Scotland might vote for Tory MSPs.

    SNP therefore need every list vote they can get.

    It's as simple as that. SNP/SNP. Any other message is a wrong message.

    It's all too complicated just to put out one nation-wide message. Unless you can show constituency by constituency polling and then get an accurate, tailored-to-the-constituency leaflet through every single door this could all end in a complete disaster.

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    1. I remember a Holyrood election, might even have been the very first one in 1999, when there was a council election the same day. The council elections then were FPTP, so there was only one vote on that ballot paper.
      The SNP's election slogan was "One-Two-Three, SNP!".

      It certainly worked, in that the SNP's vote dropped very little between the constituencies and the list.

      Delete
    2. Adam, better get used to it. This is Rolfe's m.o.

      braco

      Delete
  13. If the Greens want to progress in 2016, they really ought to be focussed on pinching soft Labour and LibDem votes, not persuading SNP voters to loan their list votes. That said, I agree that people who support the Green Party should vote SNP/Green. I may do myself given my green inclination, but I understand the risks of a unionist sneaking in the backdoor, so I will give it careful thought - plenty of time to decide. It all depends on what happens to the Labour vote. The LibDems are finished and the tories are at base level, so wont fall any further. There is even a chance of a UKIP MSP sneaking in. If I do decide to go SNP,SNP next year, it will be because of one reason - Nicola Sturgeon. I do want this outstanding FM to have a clear majority.

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  14. I'd be more worried about the risk the list stuff if those behind it didn't keep shooting themselves in the foot, behaving like Pouters and ignoring how badly it's already going down with SNP activists and supporters.

    Having worked so hard to get the westminster, result and beginning the work for Holyrood, it's wildly out of touch for these people to be arrogantly parcelling out the votes of others they clearly have no intention of doing the hard work on the ground to win.

    Rest assured, there is absolutely ZERO chance that Nicola will go along with this risk the list nonsense and she will make it abundantly clear to SNP voters why we need to vote for her and use both votes for the SNP to ensure another Indyref and a better scotland.

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  15. To sum up then, if you vote Green, you could be voting for a Green Unionist MSP.
    Glad that's cleared up the issue.

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    Replies
    1. As I pointed out above, for Adam's proposal to work in the way he presents it, we're not just talking about he first candidates on the Green lists, but the second and possibly the third ones in some cases. So assuring us that the top candidates are pro-independence isn't really helping.

      If the SNP is being asked to sacrifice its potential list seat in each and every region, the upside of that has to be that more than one Green would be elected in compensation. A simple one-for-one swap, with serious risks attached which have been well discussed, is simply not worth considering.

      In reality, it's monumentally unlikely that enough people would go along with this for that more than one Green to replace the lost SNP seat. The whole thing is pointlessness to the nth degree.

      Delete
  16. we worked so hard to get this far. i'm not going to risk the pro-indy cause because of a few extra green msps.

    the greens are not a serious political force and most likely never will be for the next 20 years at least.

    have you even seen the greens on brighton council?? the only part of the uk they have ever controlled.

    i don't have anything personally against the greens, but their record in Brighton doesnt exactly fill you with confidence of what they can do.

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    1. I recall Cynog Dafydd, the Plaid MP who was elected on a joint Plaid/Green ticket, tearing his hair out over the attitudes of his Green sponsors. He said that their obstructionism to every proposed development made it impossible for him to achieve anything for his constituency in his entire term in Westminster.

      I recall in particular that the constituency, which had a failing port with sailings to Ireland, desperately needed upgrades to the main road serving the port to retain its goods traffic. The Greens insisted he must oppose this and blocked every attempt to get anything done about it.

      He was a very bitter man by the time the next election rolled around, and absolutely opposed to any future co-operation with the Green party in any election. This is where the SNP could find itself if a misguided voting scam resulted in the party having to govern in coalition with the Greens.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. I'm 3,200 miles away, but I seem to recall that Patrick Harvie played hardball with an early SNP budget (2008?) which caused the SNP to compromise with the Conservatives. Quite apart from the independence issue, I have to doubt that this would be a strong coalition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be a bloody disaster. Harvie has consistently spoken about wanting to oppose the SNP, hold the party to account, and challenge its policies. In fact, he's punting this scheme ostensibly to put himself in as the official opposition by getting more list MSPs than Labour, despite the fact that there's zero possibility of that happening.

      In coalition, he'd be aiming to challenge and oppose. In normal times, maybe there would be something to be said for this. In the situation where we need a strong First Minister with her own team behind her ready to move swiftly on any prospect of another referendum being successful, it's the last thing we need.

      It's being proposed as a pro-independence move, but in reality it could set independence back a real generation. It's all about achieving seats and power for the Green party, vastly in excess of what their real electoral support would entitle them to. It's playing independence supporters for suckers, and it's dishonest.

      Delete
  19. "Worse still, the strategy ran a significant risk of backfiring catastrophically - if 2000 more SNP voters in the North-East had switched "tactically" to the Greens, and 600 more had switched to the SSP, the final seat on the list would have gone to the Tories rather than the SNP."

    This is an extremely contrieved and dishonest scenario. It is only by splitting the 'tactical' votes between two parties that this argument holds any water. If you look at the actual figures for 2011 in the North East then SNP to Green switching could not possibly have resulted in unionist gains. A small swing would have resulted in the SNP losing one seat to the Greens and higher swings would have resulted in Green gains at the expense of unionists.


    ""But it's simple. If the SNP get 7 constituencies...then an SNP vote on the list is worth 1/7 of an @scotgp vote"
    "That's technically true, but irrelevant."
    Not quite true. The votes to elect the first list MSP are worth roughly 1/7 of another vote but the votes to elect each additional list MSP is worth roughly the same as any other vote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "This is an extremely contrieved and dishonest scenario. It is only by splitting the 'tactical' votes between two parties that this argument holds any water."

      Absolutely - what's contrived about that? Both the Greens and the SSP (and Solidarity for that matter) are looking for "tactical votes" from SNP supporters - is your mass hypnosis campaign going to instruct people to only listen to that message from the Greens, and not from anyone else?

      "If you look at the actual figures for 2011 in the North East then SNP to Green switching could not possibly have resulted in unionist gains."

      Rubbish. You've just quoted the exact figures I gave which prove that statement is not true.

      "The votes to elect the first list MSP are worth roughly 1/7 of another vote but the votes to elect each additional list MSP is worth roughly the same as any other vote."

      No, that's not true. I won't bother launching into a big explanation, because it's not the central part of your objection.

      Delete
    2. It's only contrived in that it uses a real-world example to show what might happen. You can replicate the same thing for lots of different hypothetical spreads of votes.

      It's a simple, demonstrable fact that a shift of the "wrong" number of list votes from party A to party B can allow party C to snatch the seat that party A has been deprived of. Also, nobody has a hope in hell of predicting in advance whether or not that's going to happen. Continually denying all attempts to demonstrate this as "contrived" is getting wearisome.

      What is also getting wearisome is the pushing of the ploy to the extent that losing one SNP seat miraculously produces two Green seats. I'll say it again, thousands of votes have to move before that's going to happen. This is cloud-cuckoo-land. It's worse than Effie Deans and her #SNPout malarkey.

      If it doesn't happen to that extent, the best outcome would be swapping one SNP MSP for a Green MSP. That's not maximising anything, it's only handing the Greens influence their basic electoral support doesn't merit. If it does happen to that extent (in some parallel universe possibly) then it will actually elect some Green MSPs who are unionists, by Adam's own implied admission.

      Is anybody going to address these points, or are you all too stuck on the irrelevant arithmetical three-card-trick to notice?

      Delete
    3. The other parties are are chasing SNP voters, but only the Greens will realistically win large numbers of them. A quarter of 'tactical voters' will vote for parties other than the Greens just isn't going to happen, but it is very convenient for your argument against it.

      If we assume that other party votes stay the same, then straight SNP to Green switching in the North East couldn't possibly have resulted in unionist gains. There are regions where it would have, but the North East aint one of them.

      If you're interested SNP to Green switching in South of Scotland and Central Scotland would have resulted in Unionist gains. SNP to Green switching(if we assume it took place) in Glasgow and West of Scotland DID result in unionist gains.

      Delete
    4. "A quarter of 'tactical voters' will vote for parties other than the Greens just isn't going to happen"

      Justify that, please. I suspect you know perfectly well that it makes no sense, but are hoping that nobody will bother to query it.

      "If we assume that other party votes stay the same, then straight SNP to Green switching in the North East couldn't possibly have resulted in unionist gains."

      I didn't make that assumption - I made a far more realistic one. Why are you trying to disprove a claim I didn't make?

      Delete
    5. "Justify that, please."
      We'll call it a suspicion. Most people advocating 'tactical voting' on the lists are arguing for Green votes. You can argue against splitting votes in favour of the SSP, Solidarity, et al all you like and I'd probably agree with you but the argument against voting Green on the list does not stand up in all regions.

      Delete
    6. "No, that's not true. I won't bother launching into a big explanation, because it's not the central part of your objection."

      In 2011 the SNP would have needed 148,590 to win one list seat in Lothian, 179,360 to win two and 206,052 to win three.
      That is 148,590 for the first seat, an additional 27,770 for the second and an additonal 29,692 for the third.

      Delete
    7. "but the argument against voting Green on the list does not stand up in all regions."

      I'm not entirely convinced that you've understood what the argument is. In which regions does it not stand up, and why?

      Delete
    8. The North East for one, because(if 2011 is anything to go by) switching from SNP to Green couldn't result in unionist gains. Highlands and Islands, Mid Scotland and Fife, and Lothian too for the same reason.

      Delete
    9. For pity's sake, you quoted the North-East numbers yourself. If 2000 more SNP voters had switched tactically to the Greens, and if 600 more had gone to the SSP, the pro-independence majority at Holyrood would have been reduced by two.

      The phrase "if 2011 is anything to go by" gives the game away. The North-East example shows what would have happened last time if more people had been foolish enough to follow the tactical voting advice. But the 2011 numbers are utterly useless as far as making tactical judgements about next year are concerned.

      Delete
    10. OK let's see if I understand this. The idea is to increase pro-independence MSPs. (Let's assume that the Green gain from SNP does, indeed, produce a pro-independence MSP). Yet you say that switching from SNP to Green couldn't result in Unionist gains. That is not the same as increasing pro-independence MSPs.

      I get the idea that a Green voter will vote tactically for the SNP in the constituency and Green on the list. I struggle to understand why an SNP supporter would wish to vote anything other than SNP on the list

      Delete
    11. "and if 600 more had gone to the SSP" is the key there.
      It's a good argument against 'tactically' voting SSP but not against voting Green.

      "But the 2011 numbers are utterly useless as far as making tactical judgements about next year are concerned."
      That's true, but they provide useful examples of how different 'tactics' could alter the result. In some regions it would have been a bad idea to 'tactically' vote Green and in others it would have been a bad idea to 'tactically' vote SNP. There's a chance of both options backfiring.

      Delete
    12. I couldn't have put it better myself - in a nutshell, don't vote tactically on the list, because there's always a chance of it backfiring.

      Delete
    13. Skip_NC
      There's plenty of people who support both parties.

      James
      For the people who support both parties, voting SNP on the list can backfire too.
      Neither 'strategy' is a sure thing.

      Delete
    14. Did you read what i said? I agreed with you - tactical or 'strategic' voting on the list is a bad idea, regardless of whether it is for the Greens or the SNP. People should vote for their preferred party on the list, and then there is no risk of it backfiring.

      Delete
    15. I did read it. The point I was making is that people who support both parties but have no preference between them might want to weigh up whether voting one way or the other is more effective.

      Delete
    16. If people literally have no preference, I wouldn't even classify that as tactical voting.

      Delete
  20. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 6:00 PM

    that it is a fact that something is more likley, is not the same as stating that the fact is something is a certainty....

    eg iit is a fact that should the snp win the projected 70+ constituency seats then it is very likely they will lose most of their list msp's

    you may argue that the snp are unlikely to win 70+ constituencies and as such, voting tactically risks losing snp list mps. this is a valid objection

    i would point to the recent election results, and the most recent polls which show an increase in support for the snp in 2016, which without some "game changer" of some description that show and highlight a marked drop in support for the snp before 2016, then it is likely that the snp will win 70+ (note the vocabulary of probability, not certainty). if this comes to pass, if is a fact that the snp will lose most if not all of its list msps. a fact because that is how the system works.

    most of the social media sites i have seen when the idea of voting 1.snp/2.ssp/sg/solidarity show the vast majority of commentators support the idea of tactical voting in the list

    what would be more helpful is close analysis of the polls going forward which could highlight drop off in support for the snp

    rather than the people on this blog just insultng those who they disagree with

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "most of the social media sites i have seen when the idea of voting 1.snp/2.ssp/sg/solidarity show the vast majority of commentators support the idea of tactical voting in the list"

      If people are being misled about what can work and what can't work, of course they're going to agree with it. The proposition that is being put forward is superficially seductive (especially for those who like both the SNP and the Greens), and people don't want to hear that it isn't a viable strategy.

      "i would point to the recent election results, and the most recent polls which show an increase in support for the snp in 2016, which without some "game changer" of some description that show and highlight a marked drop in support for the snp before 2016, then it is likely that the snp will win 70+"

      Oh, for heaven's sake. This is just ludicrous.

      Delete
    2. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 6:26 PM

      rather than the people on this blog just insultng those who they disagree with

      "people are being misled "

      no comeback, just a claim that people are misleading others

      Oh, for heaven's sake. This is just ludicrous.

      not sure why to think it is ludicrous to suggest that were people were to vote in the same way they did in may 2015 in may 2016 that the result would likely be very similar?

      your continued preference to insults does you no favours

      Delete
    3. Stop this. Stop this now. I've been incredibly patient with you in the past, but I am not going to allow you to get away with suggesting that I insulted you when you know perfectly well that I did no such thing.

      Delete
    4. schrodinger, you can't assume anything about what will happen in a year's time. A year ago, it looked like Ed Miliband would be PM. A year before the 2011 Holyrood election, it looked like Iain Gray would be FM. We were told tory majorities were impossible. We have one.

      It is just conceivable that the SNP will fall out of favour. One more year is one more year of post referendum healing, one more year of SNP novelty value wearing off and one more year of services being allowed to drift into a state of neglect while the SNP pursues more abstract matters. In the end, the SNP will probably have to fudge their commitment to a second indyref - and that'll cause ructions on the yes side.

      So nothing is certain. We'll just have to wait and see. As a beleaguered unionist, seeing this issue effectively placed into cold storage for a year is a victory in itself. We have time on our side. The SNP, having been in government since 2007, don't.

      Delete
    5. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 6:55 PM

      ok james, you didnt insult me

      you implied i was misleading people and my comment was ludicrous

      not sure why, as you didnt expand.

      Delete
    6. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 7:22 PM

      you can't assume anything about what will happen in a year's time.

      I didnt assume anything would happen in 1 years time, i merely pointed out that were the voters to vote in the same way as 2015, it is very likely that the SNP would sweep the board of constituencies in holyrood. this is indesputable.

      not sure why this seems such a difficult concept.
      if you are pointing out that should support for the SNP drop, then the consequences would be a drop in the number of constituency msps they have
      I have no problem with this, it also seems self evident
      I also accept that it is possible that ukip will sweep the board in constituencies in 2016, possible, but highly unlikely
      I merely point out that for the snp, the reverse is true

      It is just conceivable that the SNP will fall out of favour.

      yes it is, which i said that we should keep a close eye out for any drop in popularity in the snp


      In the end, the SNP will probably have to fudge their commitment to a second indyref - and that'll cause ructions on the yes side.
      yes, they will, if support for indy does not reach 55-60% before the snp issue their manifesto, then the best we can hope for is a promise of indyref2 on the condition the ruk votes out of the EU and scotland doesnt

      So nothing is certain.

      shrewed but dull, while nothing is certain. somethings are more probable than others

      As a beleaguered unionist, seeing this issue effectively placed into cold storage for a year is a victory in itself.

      it has been parked since sept 2014, the ge wasnt a rerun of of the ref
      the main goal of the tactical voting in the lists is to remove as many unionist msp's and replace them with indy supporting parties

      by the time indtref2 does arrive, the union will end with a whimper, not a bang. It will no longer have any representatives who can defend it. the BT campaign will be reduced to a pro union song written by david bowie



      We have time on our side. The SNP, having been in government since 2007, don't.

      Delete
    7. "most of the social media sites i have seen when the idea of voting 1.snp/2.ssp/sg/solidarity show the vast majority of commentators support the idea of tactical voting in the list"

      At one point, 90% or the population believed that the earth was the centre of the universe...

      Quite often the majority is *just plain wrong* on empirical facts.

      "no comeback, just a claim that people are misleading others"

      Now you're just being obtuse. If you'd bothered to read the other 500000000000000000000 pages of discussion, you'd see all the maths, clarifications and other problems with what you're suggesting. Which basically boils down to you wanting an SNP/Green coalition at Hollyrood, and lying to SNP supporters to help you get it. Which, as far as I can see, only a Unionist would want for the next parliament.

      Delete
    8. I'm going to clarify that last statement, before you get all upset with me for stating what is obvious to me.

      There is only one party that has a serious chance at being in government where *all* it's MSP candidates are pro-indy. That's the SNP.

      The Greens seem to be pretty split on indy, so electing Green MSPs is *less effective* for indy than electing the same number of SNP MSPs.

      Because a significent number of second-choice list MSPs for the Greens are pro-union, you would need to get into 4-5 Green MSPs for each SNP MSP before this would have a pro-indy effect. The first one makes no difference, the third one cancels out the second one being pro-union, so it would take the third *and* fourth both being pro-indy before it even makes a difference.

      And that's without taking into account the fact the Green leader isn't very strongly opinionated either way, but is unlikely to make the same mistake the LibDems made in being a minor coalition partner.

      Delete
    9. I think I can safely bet on support for indy not reaching 55-60% before next May. Latest opinion poll shows No 49, Yes 44 (post general election so people knew about the tory win). I agree with you that the SNP will latch onto the EU issue as a potential source of material change that could trigger indyref 2. Another such issue might be the delivery of the Smith proposals. Provided Smith is delivered and the UK votes "yes" to EU then it's game over. 2021 will be the next Holyrood election - 14 years on from their original win. Sturgeon (or whoever it is) will need to pull off 18 / 19 straight years in power. Not impossible but very very difficult. By that point, if someone so much as slips on dog mess North of the border, they'll be getting the blame for it - and the radicals will have drifted away too, thanks to the failure to hold and win indyref 2.

      Delete
    10. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 8:01 PM

      The earth was flat????

      now im being obtuse......? lying to SNP supporters ???

      "i merely pointed out that were the voters to vote in the same way as 2015, it is very likely that the SNP would sweep the board of constituencies in holyrood. this is indesputable.

      not sure why this seems such a difficult concept.
      if you are pointing out that should support for the SNP drop, then the consequences would be a drop in the number of constituency msps they have
      I have no problem with this, it also seems self evident"

      how is this lying?

      if the other 90% are wrong, then being rude and accusing them of being flat earthers is unlikley to convince them otherwise

      Which basically boils down to you wanting an SNP/Green coalition at Hollyrood

      accusing me of something i didnt say or criticising my unsaid intention, is called a straw man arguement

      I wish to see the snp majority continue, and if the voters repeat their performance in may 2016, it is very likely they will get one

      my aim is to replace as many unionists as possible in holyrood with indy supporting msps by voting tactically in the list vote, this is also the reason the majority of snp supporters on social media state they are concidering voting 1.snp/2.ssp/sg/solidarity. in 2016

      The arithmatic is indisputable on both sides of the equation, no one is arguing otherwise. what is in despute is how likely is a repeat of may in 2016.
      as we get nearer the election,
      if an overwhelming victory for the snp looks likely then i will vote 1.snp/2.ssp,sg,solidarity.
      if an overwhelming victory for the snp looks Unlikely then i will vote 1.snp/2.snp

      simples



      I think it is disengenious to suggest that 90% of them (most snp voters) are wrong or flat eathers or even subversives.







      Delete
    11. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 8:15 PM

      The Greens seem to be pretty split on indy, so electing Green MSPs is *less effective* for indy than electing the same number of SNP MSPs.

      Because a significent number of second-choice list MSPs for the Greens are pro-union,

      really? name them. i know the greens on the list in mid scot and fife, all 5 are pro indy and very active in the yes campaign.

      I'm going to clarify that last statement,
      please do, a link showing how a majority of green candidates on the lists are pro union would be a good start.


      before you get all upset with me for stating what is obvious to me.

      upset..snigger

      the vast majority of greens are anti indy???
      what region are you in in scotland?

      Delete
    12. I hope Tommy Sheridan holds the balance of power and demands nationalisation of the means of production. Then SNP might have to do the unthinkable - pair up with one of the "assorted colour tory" parties to keep the country sane. That would make them yellow tories.

      Yellow tories out!!! :0)

      Delete
    13. There must be lots of greens in Scotland (or people who identify as green) who don't wish to break up the UK. Former leader Robin Harper is one of them, I believe.

      The Green Party does itself a disservice by backing independence. If I care about global warming, sustainable living and the natural world but think independence is a crock, who do I vote for? A green party should be green - it should embroil itself in separatism, particularly when the new state would have to double down on fossil fuel production in order to survive.

      Anyway, vote green by all means. Divide the cause and turn government into an endless committee meeting with oddballs holding the main party to ransom. It wont be particularly successful nor will it last.

      Delete
    14. "my aim is to replace as many unionists as possible in holyrood with indy supporting msps by voting tactically in the list vote,"

      In that case, you will have to persuade lots of people who were intending to vote for those unionists to vote for a pro-independence party instead.

      That is the only way of achieving your aim without risking the exact opposite. You cannot be sure that those SNP supporters you have convinced to vote "tactically" will receive any last minute messages to revert to normal, let alone that they will heed your contradictory call.

      Delete
    15. My aim is to build a ladder that will reach the moon. I've managed to get about ten feet of the way, so clearly it won't be any bother to achieve the rest of the distance....

      Delete
    16. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      aye rolfe

      i aim to live for ever......so far so good

      then again i live at the arse end of an uncollapsed 11th dimensional probability wave

      Delete
    17. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 9:19 PM

      There must be lots of greens in Scotland (or people who identify as green) who don't wish to break up the UK. Former leader Robin Harper is one of them, I believe.

      except robin harper is not standing(the clue is in the term Former) and i have yet to hear of a sg candidate for 2016 who doesnt support independence

      The Green Party does itself a disservice by backing independence

      so you accept the scottish greens are pro indy...at least that is an opinion based on fact rather than misinformed statements based on ignorance

      Delete
    18. Please learn to use quotation marks.

      "if you are pointing out that should support for the SNP drop, then the consequences would be a drop in the number of constituency msps they have"

      No, if support in for the SNP drops *slightly* and they lose some of the constituency seats, they can make them back up on the list, as long as people haven't been suckered by your scheme to throw away their more important vote.

      "accusing me of something i didnt say or criticising my unsaid intention, is called a straw man arguement"

      Considering I never mentioned people believing that the earth is flat (which, incidentally, is more likely than not an urban myth) that's a bit rich. Especially when I'm extrapolating your aims from your actions in a quite logical fashion: You are trying to get SNP supporters to give their more important vote to the Greens -> You want the Greens to have more MSPs and the SNP to have less MSPs -> Significant numbers of Greens are either explicitly Unionist, or only coincidentally pro-indy -> You are wanting Hollyrood to be less pro-indy. It's not hard logic to follow, is it?

      "I wish to see the snp majority continue"

      You're not acting like it.

      "The arithmatic is indisputable on both sides of the equation, no one is arguing otherwise. what is in despute is how likely is a repeat of may in 2016."

      No, what's in dispute is if we will be able to tell *before the polls close*.

      "Because a significent number of second-choice list MSPs for the Greens are pro-union"

      I'm basing that soley on the fact that one or your compatriots in this scheme refused to state that the first 2 (or three, etc...) MSP candidates on the Green lists are pro-indy. If they were, then he'd have used a statement stronger than "the first Green candidate on each list". I assume that you will present the strongest argument you have for your case, and base my assumptions on that.

      Delete
    19. The Greens are majority pro-indy (at the moment). But it isn't their top priority. Environmental and social issues trump independence for them. They would exact a heavy price from the SNP in any pro indy alliance. They would demand some kind of radical legislation or social engineering or redistributive measure that could screw the SNP for their referendum and the next Holyrood election. Beware faustian pacts.

      Delete
    20. Is this some sort of reverse psychology? Talk sense, and people will assume that as a unionist you're trying to deceive them?

      Like when Labour demanded that the SNP shouldn't approve Craig Murray as a candidate. My immediate thought was, maybe I was wrong to think he'd be a disaster, if they want him stopped. Fortunately the SNP vetting committee didn't fall for that.

      Delete
  21. Split pro indy ticket tactical voting may well increase the number of pro independence MSPs but could cost the SNP their majority. What would a minority SNP govt have to give the Greens (or heaven forbid, the SSP), to secure their backing for a programme of government / indyref 2? The Greens and SSP are extreme dreamers who shouldn't be anywhere near real power. But the SNP may have to buy them off with something. Depending on what that is, it could come back to haunt them and give the unionist parties a way back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      an increase in constituency msp's in any region entails a drop in list msp's, for ANY party. and vice versa. that is how the system works

      the land reform commision which was initiated by the snp and will form part of the snp manifesto commitment in 2016 included Andy Wightman, see the poor had no lawyers. Andy is currently n2 on the list for the greens in edinburgh.

      Delete
    2. "an increase in constituency msp's in any region entails a drop in list msp's, for ANY party. and vice versa. that is how the system works"

      Not true, and you know it.

      There's also the little problem that you're overlooking in that a lot of the Green MSP candidates are decidedly pro-union.

      Delete
    3. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      Not true, and you know it.

      really, the number of votes a party gets in the list is divided by the number of constituencies msp's they have in the region +1. this definaely divides the list votes by a greater number and the result is smaller. while it doesnt neccesarily mean they will definately lose list msps, it is increasingly likely they will, the reverse is also the case

      Delete
    4. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 9:23 PM

      lot of the Green MSP candidates are decidedly pro-union.

      big inprovement on a majority

      any advances eg, a minority or ever sfa? :)
      snigger

      Delete
    5. As I explained farther up, it doesn't need to be a majority.

      If *only* the second list candidate is pro-union, and all the others are pro-indy, you still need *three* Green MSPs for each SNP lost for this scheme to even break even, and that's assuming that the Green MSPs ignore Patrick Harvey's wrangling and just act like SNP MSPs. Which they aren't going to do. So you need at least *four* Green MSPs per SNP MSP for this to even be worth considering.

      And if you do get that, then you have Patrick Harvey as DFM (lets not pretend that the Greens could get enough MSPs to be the largest party of the opposition), which, like it or not, is a *big* problem for the independence movement.

      So the course you are advocating only makes sense from the perspective of you being a unionist, and possibly a Green.

      Sorry, but that's the only conclusion I can draw from your actions that doesn't insult your intelligence.

      Delete
    6. He or she has been posting as if an independence supporter all over the place for quite a long time now. I think we'll have to go for the other alternative.

      Delete
  22. Like I already said and subsequent comments prove, I'd be more worried about the risk the list stuff if those behind it didn't keep shooting themselves in the foot, behaving like Pouters and ignoring how badly it's already going down with SNP activists and supporters.

    They have to be hilariously out of touch not to realise how much damage they are doing to themselves by now.

    They most certainly will not be persuading SNP voters to throw their lot in with them instead of Nicola if this is seriously the best they have to offer.

    Let's be perfectly honest. There is no short-cut or quick fix that has a hope in hell of working or doing anything other than exciting a tiny number of fringe types precisely because we all know the only way to win votes is to persuade voters on the streets, on the doorsteps and in the campaign.

    We did it for months leading up to the westmisnter GE and we WILL be doing it again for Holyrood for even longer. Be certain of that.

    If the Greens or the SSP don't do the same and waste their time on this risk the list nonsense then they will be throwing away the golden opportunity the Independence referendum left them with to build up their own parties.

    The fringes are of course free to waste their time with imaginary nonsense and scenarios that will unquestionably end up as fruitful for them as it was for the Pouters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've even got to the stage where a unionist is patiently explaining to Schroedinger's Cat one of the most easily-comprehended reasons why he or she is badly mistaken, and doing it well. We're right through the rabbit hole.

      Delete
    2. Yes Rolfe, and I wonder why a unionist would so patiently argue against such a (by your reckoning) helpful boon to his cause? Would he not logically be in support of such a catastrophic strategic blunder by his currently all powerful opponents.

      Or maybe he sees the logic of the theory and fears, if put into practice, complete unionist party political meltdown in Scotland come 2016. Leading to another Indyref in very short order.

      Just a thought, but no... your probably right, I am sure he just has our best interests at heart.

      Could be a double bluff of course? ;-)

      braco

      Delete
    3. schrodingers catJune 22, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      snigger

      scot goes pop a nest of 5th columinst unionists

      who would have thunk it braco

      ha ha ha ha ha

      Delete
    4. How many people read / contribute to this blog? And how does that compare with the size of the population at large and the numbers of people who will be voting tactically and advising people to vote tactically?

      From a unionist point of view, a majority unionist bloc is unlikely at the next election. So the next best thing is an SNP-nutter coalition. It's an absolute gift to us, in the near certain absence of a unionist victory - which I would obviously prefer.

      I can afford to say that here because the numbers of people who will actually see it are negligible.

      Delete
    5. Aldo,
      how about an early Indyref 2 campaign, with only a tiny rump of unionist parliamentary representation? How would you fancy fighting that campaign? And, seeings as no ones listening, what do you think the result would be?

      braco

      Delete
    6. Better get going on converting these Labour, Tory, LibDem and abstaining voters, then. Because that's the only way you're going to achieve "a tiny rump of unionist parliamentary representation" in this system.

      Delete
    7. Something similar to last September, give or take - in line with current polling on the issue. You could have Lord Darling and ex PM Gordon Brown leading the campaign. Hell, you could have David Bowie leading it or wee Jimmy fae doon the street. The result would still be no. You can put feces on a sandwich and call it peanut butter and dress it up with a fruit salad on the side. It doesn't change what it is and you don't need anyone particularly special to point out exactly what it is - a sh1t sandwich.

      With oil prices at 60 dollars into the long term, the oil industry in mothballs and a spiralling deficit, getting a majority for independence is simply impossible.

      Delete
    8. "How many people read / contribute to this blog?"

      There are tens of thousands of unique readers per month. That said, I'm not sure how many of them make it down to comment 120 or whatever, so you may be safe enough.

      As a matter of interest, why have you been spending the last two days spamming your way through ancient threads?

      Delete
    9. " if put into practice, complete unionist party political meltdown in Scotland come 2016"

      Enough of this bullshit.

      Let me be crystal clear. If those advocating risk the list choose to fight the SNP on a platform of 'only we know best how to reduce unionist MPs to a tiny rump then they are going to become an even bigger laughing stock since we will most certainly point to the 2015 result as absolute proof that voting SNP and ONLY SNP is the obvious and only rational choice to do that.

      Let us consult the scottish 'Panda scale' to see, shall we? Voting SNP resulted in more Pandas than lib dem MPs. Voting SNP resulted in more Pandas than Labour MPs. Voting SNP resulted in more Pandas than tory MPs and, here's the clincher, if those voting green had voted SNP then fluffy Mundell would be out on his arse and the Pandas would be chalking that up as a 2-0 win against the tories.

      Ha ha ha ha ha indeed. ;-D

      Incidently I will continue to have friendly relations with Green and SSP activists locally because by and large they have not been infected with this risk the list madness and instead seem to think their best chance to win more support is to campaign for it on the ground by winning over voters. Why it's almost as if they realise there is no absurd fantasy shortcut to winning seats and votes and that you have to actually USE your membership and activists to persuade the public that your party deserves their vote.

      Funny that.

      Delete
    10. i think james was saying about 45k, not sure if that is a day or a week but the strength of the indy movement is the number of supporters on the ground and their political awareness.
      i accept that not all snp supporters will vote tactiaclly but i dont think that is an issue. the present predictions based on the ge result show that the snp is likely to increase the present 53 constituency msps dramatically which will happen in tandem with a drop of list msps. this is the mechanism which is designed to stop overall majorities in holyrood. ie increasing the present total from 68. btw, it wasnt designed to stop an snp majority, it is designed to stop any party majority. of course the unionist parties are happy to form coalitions with each other but not the snp. that it why it is important to replace the unionist list msp's with indy supporting parties. you think they are nutters? if they are then no more less popular than the unionists are now

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    11. Good plan. You know the way to do that is to persuade the people who are currently voting for unionist parties to stop doing that, don't you? Unless you do that, they will continue to be represented. It's called democracy.

      Delete
    12. I enjoy reading the threads from around the time of the glorious unionist victory - the sight of toys being hurled from the pram never fails to highly amuse. Sometimes, I even chip in. A bit pointless, I know. But the telly is complete rubbish so have to find some way to pass the time.

      Delete
    13. good for you aldo

      the long winter nights must just fly past

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    14. Well, the second one you zeroed in on was from May 8th - not much sign of a glorious unionist triumph that day. Maybe you wanted to throw some toys out of the pram yourself?

      Delete
    15. On the subject of pro indy tactical voting, the other side can surely employ the same trick, no? A unionist can vote tactically in the constitiency vote and make sure he or she votes for a separate unionist party on the 2nd vote. As there are, by definition, more unionists than nationalists, this will cancel out the pro indy tactical voting and perhaps even reduce the indy supporting bloc in parliament.

      Then there are those who think we operate an AV system who will vote 1) SNP, 2) Labour as a sort of list of preferences, not realising they are screwing over the nationalist cause by doing so.

      When you make voting systems insanely complicated, like ours, you don't really know what's going to come out the other side. The result could be a complete and utter brain boggling mess that political scientists will pour over for years;

      "We don't really know what happened. All we know is loads of ignorant people voted and lots of not very clever would be tactical voters voted also and somehow we ended up with.........a UKIP majority government"

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    16. You know the way to do that is to persuade the people who are currently voting for unionist parties to stop doing that, don't you? Unless you do that, they will continue to be represented. It's called democracy.

      yes, i do, i also know that snp voters voting ssp/solidarity or snp in the list vote will wipe out the lib dems completly, send the remaining tories up to the cheap seats at the back and reduce labour to 1 question every 3 months in holyrood

      you must have missed the previous comments rolfe

      Delete
    17. "On the subject of pro indy tactical voting, the other side can surely employ the same trick, no?"

      Pouter power!! :-o

      How we all fear those tactical wheels of comedy and the awesome might of the tens of thousands of imaginary Pouter activists on the ground who helped make May's result such a convincing one for the unionist parties in scotland.

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    18. A unionist can vote tactically in the constitiency vote

      lol, the tactical voting unionists wheels worked a treat in may

      the difference in the list vote is that it is pr and if the snp do sweep the constituencies ....again :) they will win virtualy no list msp's

      even a minimal tactical vote for eg, the greens in fife and mid scotland by the snp voters in the list will see wullie rennie lose his seat,

      if the all unionist backed only one party and the indy supporters did the same (not the snp)then each would win 3 or 4 list msps rather than the unionists wining all 7 , which is likely at the moment
      whats not to like

      unionists are a virus (johann lamont's words) and i intend to see there representatives irradicated
      enjoy throwing your toys out of the pram aldo
      snigger

      Delete
    19. Fortunately, most of these Schroedinger's Cat posts are so incomprehensible, nobody who is looking for information is even going to bother reading them.

      Snigger.

      Delete
    20. Yes Rolfe, just like the 50% of the population that voted other than SNP at the Westminster elections continue to be represented. Oh no, that's right they don't.

      50% of the Scots electorate did however have a good look at the electoral system they were working with and decided to tactically vote for a single party, the SNP, in order to make their message clear. Very clear.

      That same attitude, brought to bear on a different system, using a different tactical technique could theoretically produce a similar result to what we just witnessed at Westminster.

      It's just that the necessary tactic this time does not focus and work entirely to the benefit of one pro union party, and quite understandably die hard SNP supporters don't like it. That doesn't change the facts of how the electoral systems work though.

      Under both voting systems it is absolutely theoretically possible for 50%-60% of the vote, used properly, to completely dominate the seats won.
      The SNP were quite rightly happy to benefit from that 'unfair' tactical vote for Westminster and everyone that tactically voted for them, and every (well most) SNP supporters that know someone that tactically voted for them, understands this.

      Therefore your statement 'You know the way to do that is to persuade the people who are currently voting for unionist parties to stop doing that, don't you? Unless you do that, they will continue to be represented. It's called democracy.' is factually untrue. That is one way yes, but not the only.

      What we are discussing at the moment, is how to work out the optimum circumstances necessary before deciding whither or not to try practically to put the theory into practice.

      It's a year away so plenty time to work it out.

      braco

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    21. OOPS! I meant
      'It's just that the necessary tactic this time does not focus and work entirely to the benefit of one pro Indy party,' Sorry about that.

      Delete
    22. Fortunately, most of these Schroedinger's Cat posts are so incomprehensible, nobody who is looking for information is even going to bother reading them.

      really? you do
      although your anwers mainly consist of insults

      it is a unionist tactic to avoid the question and to shout snp bad

      you failed to convice the people of scotland in may

      you will fail in 2016

      snigger :)

      Delete
    23. Right so tactical voting will be an unqualified success for the yessers despite the many pitfalls but the noers can make absolutely no use of it whatsoever. Yeah....right! :0)

      And even if an SNP majority is returned with a shed load of green and SSP helpers 'just in case' - that doesn't resolve the next three issues you will face:

      1) The SNP must seek a referendum. At the moment, they are sending out strong signals that they will refrain from doing so if Britain votes to stay in the EU. Deep down, they know they would lose and will now delay and procrastinate. "Yeah, we can beat you guys! We can take you anytime! But, erm, not just now..."

      2) Having sought a 2nd referendum, the British government must give their permission for one. There is no way around this. Sovereignty resides at Westminster - and Cameron has ruled out a second referendum on his watch.

      3) Having passed through steps 1 and 2, the Yes campaign must win. Not a chance in hell - the economic news is dire and a future No campaign now has so much ammo at their disposal it's unreal. Expect another trouncing - if things ever get this far.

      Delete
    24. "I" am a long-time member and office-bearer in the SNP. I've been fighting for independence since you were in nappies. I'm a lot smarter than likely to fall for a cheap scam to strip the SNP of seats and influence in favour of the Greens.

      We're on course to do well in May. I seriously doubt that enough people will listen to your self-serving innumerate witterings to do any significant damage. But just in case they do, I'll keep pointing out your errors.

      It's a pleasure, really.

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    25. just like the 50% of the population that voted other than SNP at the Westminster elections continue to be represented. Oh no, that's right they don't.

      No, they don't, because that was FPTP. Where it's rational and usually quite simple to vote tactically in a purposeful manner. But even so, the #SNPout malarkey failed miserably because very few people were listening. Despite newspapers and candidate's leaflets publicising the idea.

      Holyrood is a reasonable facsimile of PR, and you can't take seats from one party by repackaging somebody else's votes. If the unionist parties get their current share of list votes, they'll get seats. The only way to minimise this is to steal their voters, not SNP voters.

      Delete
    26. "It's a year away." Good thinking. Best shut up about the entire idea for eleven months, I'd say.

      Snigger.

      Delete
    27. James, May 8th was a unionist triumph. We got a conservative majority government. You can't get any more unionist than that!

      Delete
    28. Mmm, I see now where you're coming from. Interesting.

      Delete
    29. "James, May 8th was a unionist triumph. We got a conservative majority government. You can't get any more unionist than that!"

      I'm not sure what the non-unionist option was in the 80%+ seats in England, but yeah, enjoy that, er, "triumph".

      Any thoughts on the Scottish result?

      Delete
    30. "Having sought a 2nd referendum, the British government must give their permission for one"

      Ah yes, the 'genius' strategy of unionists stamping their little feet and saying "we wont' let you!". Tell me, how did that work out for stopping Devolution in the first place and then when we got Devolution (at second referendum) killing the SNP "stone dead"?

      Not a huge success overall, was it?

      "Yes campaign must win. Not a chance in hell"

      That's the spirit! No doubt that kind of amusing 'head in the sand' denial was absolutely invaluable for the tory party when they opposed devolution and for all the unionist parties in scotland just over a month ago.

      We have over 100,000 members and still rising. We have a popular leader who is in touch with the scottish public and can easily outperform any of the other unionist party leaders. The overwhelmingly biased unionist press and media are trusted less and less with each passing day. The unionist party leaders are also almost comically mistrusted and very far from popular in scotland. The scottish demographics are most certainly in our favour with every passing year.

      And of course the unionist parties whined and shrieked about oil prices and finances every step of the way during the westminster campaign right up to polling day. Didn't turn out too well for them in scotland as it happened, did it?

      Delete
    31. It was a British election - not a Scottish one. The SNP hoped to kill our union from inside the government. Now they can only watch as one Scottish Tory MP from the borders exerts more power than all 56 of them combined. I would say that's a result if you're a unionist - even if it was delivered by English and Welsh people. If you're a unionist, you see no difference anyway. We are one people.

      The vote in Scotland is eerily similar to Quebec 1981, the year after the stonking no vote in the 1980 independence referedum. The Parti Quebecois now polls a quarter of the vote with a quarter of the seats.

      Delete
    32. Aldo thinks there won't be a majority for Yes by next May. Sensibly, I'm inclined to agree with him, but I'm not so sure.

      We had one massive vote-swing for Holyrood in 2011. We had a second massive vote-swing for Westminster in late 2014. I'm kind of waiting for the third, for the independence vote.

      I think it might have happened before the referendum, but for Project Fear and the BBC's slavish promotion of it. Right now, the only thing keeping that Yes vote below 50% is the continuation of Project Fear. No matter how bad things are under the union, they'd be ten times worse with independence. Aldo has been punting the same line. People don't necessarily believe it, but they're still too afraid to take the chance.

      I don't think this can last. Something is going to cause the dam to burst. And when it does, you better hope nobody has been listening to Braco and Schroedinger's Cat and Adam Ramsey and their pals. Because we're going to need Nicola with a strong working majority and a united party behind her to seize the day.

      Delete
    33. Aldo, please, please, please get a job advising David Cameron. I think we all realise there's nothing more likely to stave off calls for independence than English Tories cackling "WE DON'T CARE HOW YOU VOTED! IT DOESN'T MATTER! THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THERE ARE OF YOU! HA HA HA HA HA!"

      That is broadly your message to Scotland this evening, from what I've gathered?

      "The vote in Scotland is eerily similar to Quebec 1981"

      It's not remotely similar to that, actually - the 1981 Quebec election was a very tight result, and it was a provincial election in any case. Federalist parties continued dominating at the federal level until 1993. Still, if your analogy holds true, we can expect a second referendum eventually, in which the Yes vote will be 9% higher than the first time round. Oh wait - that means Yes will win, doesn't it?

      Delete
    34. But it worked incredibly well in the referendum, Mick. We won - and thank Christ we did. We saved your bacon too! (Or pork, if you wish).

      The General Election brought you nothing. You ran on an anti austerity agenda. Independence was nothing to do with it. And now you face a tory majority from the opposition benches - a majority you helped create. You got nothing out of it - nothing whatsoever. If a referendum were to be held again, some SNP would switch back to "no" and the missing 14% turnout differential from indyref to GE would suddenly reappear - and not to vote for you.

      On the subject of the Westminster government denying a referendum, it is perfectly within their power to do this. They are the proper government of the country. They're not going to have a glorified quango unilaterally pulling the country apart. You can hold a vote, but it wont be legally binding without Westminster backing. And any insurrectionist stuff wont be tolerated - brute force will be used to suppress it if necessary and they'll have the backing of half the country. It'll be very much a case of "welcome to the real world - people above to command and people below to obey - or else".

      Maybe you should just honour the referendum from nine months ago.

      Delete
    35. We're already watching with vast amusement as the weak Cameron already looks to have ditched his idiotic idea to hold the referendum at the same time as the scotish elections. Not to mention his 'pledge' to ditch the human rights act dissapeared faster than you can say Alex Salmond.

      But all that will be as nothing compared to the hilarious circus and complete pandemonium of a tory party tearing itself to pieces in public over Europe with a tiny majority certain to make it that much more entertaining. (Though I admit the lib dem leader election with it's usual dirty tricks and Labour's seemingly endless 'find the Blairite' contest have also been very, very amusing.)

      " If you're a unionist, you see no difference anyway. We are one people."

      *Looks at north of England, looks over at DUP, laughs.* :-D

      "The vote in Scotland is eerily similar to Quebec 1981"

      Oh dear god not the ignorant 'same as Quebec' pish. It's usually only the terminally stupid over at Stormfront Lite who bring that up. For those who clearly haven't a fucking clue what happened in the Quebec aftermath, the chances of Nicola lurching the party to the right are precisely ZERO.

      Delete
    36. James, we voted on this 9 months ago. The vote was no by a decisive margin. It is well within the rights of the UK government to demand that the result of that vote be upheld and honoured, for "a generation", as Salmond and Sturgeon promised. A generation to most normal people is about 20-25 years. The SNP think it can be redefined to mean about five years. Life is rough in some of the SNP heartlands but I didn't think things had degenerated to that extent!

      Delete
    37. What promise was that? An opinion about the future, expressed as a warning to people who might decide to vote No because they thought they could have another go in a few years, isn't a promise.

      If Salmond warned you not to go out without a coat because it was going to rain, and it didn't rain, would you attack him for breaking his promise of rain?

      I thought it was a one-off chance too, at the time. I was still in the hall at the count when I realised it wasn't, and that it was all just another step along the road that was probably nearing its end anyway.

      I'll leave the reason for that realisation as an exercise for the reader.

      Delete
    38. And any insurrectionist stuff wont be tolerated - brute force will be used to suppress it if necessary and they'll have the backing of half the country. It'll be very much a case of "welcome to the real world - people above to command and people below to obey - or else".

      And if this apocalyptic scenario came to pass, that would be the final end of the union, on Irish terms rather than the friendly ones Scotland was proposing last year.

      Do you English never learn?

      Delete
    39. There is a parallel with Quebec. Having heavily lost the referendum, their vote soared to over 49% in the ensuing election. This, as it turns out, was not to be a permanent state of affairs. It shows that Scotland can - and probably will - break free from the SNP spell, even if it takes a number of years.

      The tory party probably won't tear itself apart. They have real power for the first time in nearly 20 years. They'll want to savour this - not blast both feet off 5 minutes after returning to power.

      What I really look forward to is the radical blue facepaint socialist yesser reaction when the SNP basically refuse them a referendum unless unlikely conditions are met first. They'll be apoplectic with rage. "Give us our freedumb!!!", they'll scream as Swinney hides behind a filing cabinet of secret austerity memos.

      Delete
    40. "The General Election brought you nothing."

      Hard to believe the tory party is dying on it's arse with a shrinking membership while the polls look to have been struck by the same ashamed tory voting that presaged the tory wilderness years.

      "a majority you helped create. "

      Simple arithmetic not your strong point I gather. You obviously need it explained. Had every single voter in scotland voted for Labour they still wouldn't have won. Certainly not because the tories did so well (less seats than John Major, tiny majority) but because Labour did so badly and little Ed was as small and insignificant as some of us said he was years ago.

      "They are the proper government of the country. "

      An elite chumocracy of fops who couldn't tax a pasty if their life depended on it. Again, sorry to bring the real world into this but you don't get a bunch of racists loons like UKIP achieving 12.6% (from 3.1% in 2010) with the tories on a mere 36.9% if the 'almighty' unionist tory party were respected by am overwhelming percentage of the voters.

      Half your own party is going to go for the throat of the other half in the name of "Conservatives for Britain", so I wouldn't be so quick with the "glorified quango unilaterally pulling the country apart", humbug.

      "And any insurrectionist stuff wont be tolerated - brute force will be used to suppress it if necessary"

      LOL

      The barking mad ranting of a complete fruitcake. That's bound to bolster your case.

      Delete
    41. No Rolfe. That would be the end of Holyrood and the SNP - and all because they couldn't do their business constitutionally and in keeping with the laws and customs of our country. We voted. That's it. Done. Respect the result.

      Delete
    42. It's disingenuous in the extreme to even suggest that the election in Scotland did not alter the dynamic of the English and Welsh election in any way. They saw the SNP coming and ran to the tories. Everyone can see that - apart from the SNP.

      All the hellfire and brimstone stuff comes from the fact that you are basically advocating UDI - a referendum and possible secession without the involvement of the British government. Such a thing isn't possible. It probably wouldn't cause a war. Who can actually be arsed with all that? But it would result in Holyrood being shut and Sturgeon doing porridge for a fair wee while somewhere. I'm sure she probably wants to avoid that hence it wont happen. They'll ask nicely and accept whatever answer they are given.

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    43. "The tory party probably won't tear itself apart."

      Based on what? Wishful thinking? There is no middle way or mebbes aye, mebbes naw. It's OUT or IN. Pro-Europe or anti.

      Did power stop the European comedy and chaos of John Major and Thatcher. Nope.

      And this is the big one. Not the ERM or the minutia of treaties but OUT or IN with with background of ten thousand idiot tory tabloid scare-stories about the EU and immigrants.

      Or didn't you realise that this is going to be a very public tory Vs tory bloodsport of red-faced screaming and shrieking incoherently about hordes of EU immigrants, Brussels and the 'EUSSR'?

      Oh that's right, you are still operating under the delusion that this will be all about Farage when half your own party are for OUT.

      *chortle*

      Delete
    44. "But it would result in Holyrood being shut and Sturgeon doing porridge for a fair wee while somewhere."

      Yeah, time to wipe the foam from your mouth and take your meds chum.

      If your state of mind and propensity for barking mad nonsense wasn't explicit before you just made it so.

      Delete
    45. The SNP have allowed themselves to get into a sort of "one more heave and we'll do it" mentality. And that's understandable given various election results over the years and the tightening of the polls during the referendum campaign. But there are two ways of interpreting their progress. They could keep going and keep increasing their popularity until they win independence or - more likely (imo) - they have already mined all the potential support they are ever likely to get and are now up against a fairly solid bedrock majority of people who will always vote no to Scottish independence if presented with the question. The polls bear this out. They are unchanged since last September and indicate an almost identical result if the vote were to be repeated now.

      With Scotland's oil industry in tatters and many of the SNP's claims proved false, it is very unlikely this majority will budge anytime soon.

      Delete
    46. So Mick you don't think UDI - treason, essentially - would carry fairly hefty and serious consequences? It's you who's utterly barking if that's the case. Not so long ago they hanged people for it. The leadership of the SNP would face prison if they pulled some of the sh1t their more nutty fans suggest they should. But, as Sturgeon et al are professional politicians leading cushty lives, I suspect they are too clever to get involved in such antics. If they do it, they'll do it by the book.

      Delete
    47. Still not willing to discuss what will happen to the SNP bubble when it emerges they are too chicken to pursue indyref 2? You go on about the tories but they have always had loose cannons and eccentric people to deal with. They're used to it. The SNP is riding a monster it can't control and has just added 75000 hard left trots and anarchists to its membership. How long before it all goes pear shaped?

      I know when - the day they release their manifesto in April 2016.

      Delete
    48. "they have already mined all the potential support they are ever likely to get "

      Like Labour said time after time after time following the 2007 result, then the 2011 result and before May in scotland. Clearly they must have had a truly fantastic GE result in May going by this 'logic'. :-D

      Or is this merely yet more head in the sand out of touch wishfull thinking from a tory party that still doesn't seem to grasp it also had a hilariously bad result in scotland with it's worst vote share in history.

      "With Scotland's oil industry in tatters and many of the SNP's claims proved false"

      This is just standard red-faced Pouter pish now. Funny yes, given that it did the Pouter BritNats no fucking good whatsoever during the election campaign in scotland, (quite the reverse) but obviously of no consequence.

      Delete
    49. "treason, essentially"

      *tears of laughter etc.*

      Nurse!

      Delete
    50. " The SNP is riding a monster it can't control and has just added 75000 hard left trots and anarchists to its membership. "

      Wibble! Parp! Squeeeeeeee!!

      ROFL :-D

      Delete
  23. In the long run we have to examine the validity of our FPTP/PR hybrid. Whilst more proportional than the Westminster system, it granted a majority of seats to the SNP based on 45% of the vote, a minority. The SNP's LIST seats take it to a majority, even though they won a minority of the vote. I can't be alone in thinking that's bonkers.

    We should vary the size of parliament, to take account of the vote share per party. We could still maintain physical constitiencies - but parliament overall would reflect vote share per party. Then there could be no argument about things like mandates for referenda - as more than 50% would have to vote for parties promising one before it could actually happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was designed that way to benefit Labour, with their geographical concentration of votes. Now the SNP is benefiting from the arithmetical quirks, they cry foul.

      There are ways of tweaking it to give better proportionality while retaining the good features. Equal numbers of list and constituency MSPs for a start. Maybe a single Scotland-wide list. I think that's the debate, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Delete
    2. I'd scrap the D'Hondt system. One national list, parties topped up to reflect vote share. Proper PR. We need it now. You can't have referenda endlessly reran by the 45% losing side who are just strong enough to achieve a 'majority' under a dodgy voting system and kick the whole thing off again and again and again.

      I don't agree with labour disproportionately benefitting from unfair systems either. But we have came a long way since 1999 and labour never proposed anything as radical as breaking up the country.

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    3. You can get proper PR from d'Hondt if you don't skew it the way Dewar did. And many people will argue passionately against an all-list system on the grounds that it allows parties essentially to nominate whoever they like, and that it breaks the connection between the MSP and the local constituency.

      Delete
    4. "Then there could be no argument about things like mandates for referenda - as more than 50% would have to vote for parties promising one before it could actually happen."

      You're thinking too small. Just pop in some 'uncontroversial' amendment at westminster to make it null and void if anything less than 40% of the total electorate don't vote Yes. I can't see that ever backfiring spectacularly in any way.

      For that matter you can give the weak Cameron a call and tell him he can cancel that troublesome Europe referendum he was planning on having.

      It still wouldn't stop the inevitable split and utter carnage in the tory party but it would at least be a slightly different kind of chaos when half the tory party collectively lose their minds. ;-)

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    5. Inevitably there will be disagreements over Europe within the tory party. But at least we are getting our first say on the issue since 1975. Cameron has gone further than any other leader has done in forty years by actually allowing a vote on this at all. That will calm many eurosceptics, even if ultimately they lose.

      Had it been left to the SNP they would have witheld this choice from the people and continued on the 1975 mandate - all the while ignoring a referendum that happened in Scotland just 9 months ago :0)

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    6. "Inevitably there will be disagreements over Europe within the tory party."

      You think??

      LOL

      "Cameron has gone further than any other leader has done in forty years by actually allowing a vote on this at all."

      By which you mean he's made John Major look strong by buckling and giving in to the Eurosceptics in his party who forced him into doing a u-turn on the referendum issue. (Over 100 of them defied a three line whip on holding an EU referendum lest we forget)

      "That will calm many eurosceptics, even if ultimately they lose."

      In much the same way that throwing buckets of chum into the water calms down a great white shark.

      I must admit I find it fascinating how many tories are living in complete denial about the IN/OUT referendum.

      This isn't just about the vote itself, it's self-evidently about whether the tory party is pro-Europe or anti from now on. Why do you think the 1922 said "think again" when Cameron foolishly tried to bounce the entire parliamentary tory party into his position of IN? Sure, there is a majority of MPs in the Cameroon/Major wing of IN but for the tory party at large, (such as it is) it is far more like 50/50. In what universe does that not become a long drawn out and bloody fight over the future direction of an entire party? (even if we ignored the history which tells us that is precisely what it will become)

      "Had it been left to the SNP they would have witheld this choice from the people and continued on the 1975 mandate"

      We're happy to put it to scotland's voters when we become Independent should they desire it.

      "all the while ignoring a referendum that happened in Scotland just 9 months ago :0)"

      Still not as impressive as ignoring the complete meltdown and annihilation of the unionist parties in scotland which occurred only a mere month and a bit ago.

      The lib dems and Labour were hammered so badly and are so out of touch now they are being compared to the tories! :o)

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    7. Where in SNP literature does it say they will hold a referendum on membership ofthe EU post independence? It was never mentioned during the Yes campaign. The line seemed to be "we'll be staying in Europe - anyone who says anything else is scaremongering". A referendum was never mentioned. Ever. Not once (and I was really heavily into it all - to the point that I now perfectly understand how someone can become radicalised).

      The unionist parties may be sh1t, underperforming and lacking talent - relying on ageing grandees from glorious times past to carry the torch. But unionism itself is, pretty ironically, in rude health. We spanked you in the referendum - and all the polls indicate it would happen again tomorrow if the process were to be repeated. The cause of unionism is backed up firmly by every academic investigation worth its salt. Neutral, qualified people are unequivocal about it - independence would cost Scotland, dearly.

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    8. "We're happy to put it to scotland's voters when we become Independent should they desire it.

      If you can't grasp that then that would be your problem.

      "We spanked you in the referendum"

      Sorry to bring the real world into things but Yes being a mere 5% from winning is laughably far from being a 'spanking'.

      75/25 that's a spanking. 56 out of 59 scottish MPs, that's a spanking. Winning a Landslide majority in 2011 under a system specifically designed to prevent it, that's a spanking. The tories winning a tiny westminster majority under FPTP with even less seats than John Major won, definitely not a spanking. :-)

      "independence would cost Scotland, dearly."

      If the hysterical financial scaremongering was so effective (all it did for month after month was reduce the lead for No lest we forget) then why on earth was the last gasp panic move from unionists to promise more powers with the infamous 'vow'? Hmmm?

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    9. That's the point. The hysterical financial scaremongering only kept the lid on it sufficiently to prevent a substantial swing to Yes. It nearly didn't work at all and had to be topped up by the false promises at the end.

      There's a pressure cooker of desire for independence there. The number of times I had people looking at me with longing eyes, saying, if only, I'd love Scotland to be independent, if only we could afford it. Try telling them we could, though! Too cowed by the scaremongering. (Another activist told of a pensioner couple who spoke to him almost in tears after voting No. When asked why they'd voted No, they said they couldn't afford to live without their state pension, and they'd been told it would be stopped.)

      There's no point in pointing out the people who won't vote Yes even if we were able to give everyone an extra £5,000 a year just to live here. There aren't enough of them. The people who want independence but have been frightened off easily take Yes to 60%.

      They can't keep this up forever. They've succeeded for 50 years, but the veil over the lies is getting very thin. When it goes, we go.

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    10. Oh come on. You were COMPLETELY spanked in the referendum (proper BDSM style - whips, chains, masks and all!) A double digit lead for no. Four areas out of 32 voting yes. Yes failing even to reach 45% (I believe it was 44.7).

      People who talk about a mere 5% swing don't quite do justice to the mountain Yes still has to climb. You need to get about 200,000 of those no voters to switch to Yes (not to abstention, but to yes), whilst not losing any of your current supporters and those who abstained before to either come out and support you next time or continue to stay away. If you can accomplish all that, you will have achieved this "mere 5%" swing. But it's a bloody tall order!

      As for financial 'scaremongering', it's not scaremongering if it's true, is it? Five minutes after the no vote, our oil industry became a dead duck. I can think of no greater vindication for the unionists.

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    11. Also, devolution and independence are completely different things. You can't assume that because people voted for devolution second time round (they actually voted for it first time around too), then the same will automatically happen with independence. Independence would be a massive step - light years beyond a mere increase in localised decision making - and by all accounts would lead to either massive cuts or massive tax rises.

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    12. I think Salmond probably did more than anyone else to make the pensioners panic:

      'Your pension will be paid under a system of Sterlingisation in which we will have defaulted on our debts in retaliation against the British government for not agreeing to our terms. The British government will, of course, continue to pay out your pension. Why ever shouldn't they?'

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    13. You still intent on continuing your amusing Daily Mail stream of consciousness?

      Perhaps someone who is as barking mad as to think - "The SNP is riding a monster it can't control and has just added 75000 hard left trots and anarchists to its membership." - might want to avoid numbers and scottish politics altogether since you quite obviously don't have a fucking clue what you are talking about.

      Just a thought. ;-D

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    14. He does seem to inhabit his own wee world, doesn't he. It's kind of sweet, in a really creepy sort of way.

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    15. Right, so let's get this straight - you are saying that the expanded SNP membership is NOT comprised of some of the most politically radical and unrealistic people in the country? And are you honestly saying they WONT be annoyed when Evita Sturgeon turns around and asks them to chant:

      "What do we want?"

      "AN INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM!"

      "When do we want it?"

      "IF AND WHEN THE UK LEAVES THE EU AND THE SMITH COMMISSION PROPOSALS ARE NOT DELIVERED IN FULL!!!!!!!!"

      "Yeah!!!"

      :0)

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    16. Why are lefties obsessed with the Daily Mail and why do they endlessly bring it up in conversations where it has no relevance whatsoever? Actually I read the Mail very little these days. I prefer the Scotsman online.

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    17. You still haven't told us how you know of these 75,000 trots and anarchists.

      I mean superficially it sounds precisely like someone who is laughably out of touch with the real world and believes everything he reads in the Daily Mail. But you no doubt have a far better reason for believing there are 75,000 trots and anarchists in the SNP.

      So by all means let's hear it. :-D

      I mean what the fuck would I know?? I only spent months helping sign up so many of those anarchists and trots who looked suspiciously like ordinary scots from all walks of life.


      ROFL

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    18. I made a joke during the indyref that Yes Scotland should rename itself Yes Socialism. Okay, not very funny - but fitting, I believe. Their entire agenda just seemed like every leftwing obsession rhymed off one after another. This plus all the radical independence stuff plus the involvement of Tommy Sheridan (who basically has told his entire party and its supporters to vote SNP - quite an extraordinary thing when you think about it - a party leader basically capitulating to a supposedly rival party lock stock and barrel). All of these things lead me to suspect with good reason that the new SNP members are mostly from the extreme left.

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  24. I see Adam is now reduced to tweeting Wings begging for support, and insisting that James is wrong. It doesn't seem to be going well for him.

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    1. Oh well Rolfe, that demolishes the case then. My eyes have been opened by that final piece of incisive analysis.

      braco

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    2. That was by way of a passing remark. Sorry you can't tell the difference. For "incisive analysis", read the posts above you've been ignoring. You know, the ones about how parliaments actually work, as opposed to referendums.

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    3. The case for this "risk the list" nonsense was demolished about five blog posts ago.

      Since then we've mostly just been repeating ourselves.

      "The list is the more important vote: don't spend it on a party that you don't want to see in government."

      Now while we're on the subject of crazy ideas that won't work:

      How about we ask Norway to reconquer Scotland?

      Think they'd go for it?

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    4. You're right, but I work on the assumption that people new to the debate might come along and choose this thread to read.

      I also find that posting about it clarifies my own thinking. I've gone from, "hang on James, why wouldn't that work?" through a clear appreciation of why it's insanity on stilts, to an even clearer appreciation of the motives of people like Adam who are pushing the nasty little three-card-trick.

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