Thursday, August 13, 2015

Name That Pundit

I'm sure we're all agreed that it's been far too long since I offended the sensibilities of Commentor/NaebD with an "internet drama post", so here's one to make up for lost time.  I was unexpectedly assailed by Kevin Williamson on Twitter yesterday about a blogpost I wrote almost three months ago, on the hoary old topic of "tactical voting on the list" (sic).

Kevin Williamson : ScotGoesPop all over place here. SNP at 62% now in Constit vote! 2nd Vote SNP will bolster Lab MSPs #ListVoteGreen

Me : "All over the place"? Do you mean I've contradicted myself? In what sense?

Kevin Williamson : You've consistently refused to acknowledge SNP are on course to win 65+ Constituency seats - enough to form Govt

Me : Exactly, I've consistently argued against that notion. How is that "all over the place"?

Kevin Williamson : because to argue against it is to deny the reality of consistently good opinion polls for SNP now at 62%

Me : Ah, now we're getting somewhere. The opinion polls are NOT showing the SNP consistently on 62%. Panelbase say 53%.

Kevin Williamson : almost every non partisan pundit forecasting SNP winning almost all of the Holyrood Constituency seats in 2016. Why not you?

Me : Not good enough, Kevin, justify that. Who are these pundits and when did they say it?

Kevin Williamson : I'm beginning to think you're either not paying attention to Scottish politics or in denial to make a party political point

Me : For clarity, have you ignored my question because you're unable to answer it, or for another reason?

Kevin Williamson : okay lets clarify things. How many Constituency seats do you think SNP are on course to win? Give us a ballpark figure?

Me : They are not "on course" for any particular figure. There is a 9% divergence between the pollsters, with NINE MONTHS to go!

Me : By the way, I'm still waiting to hear who these "non-partisan pundits" are.

Kevin Williamson : come on James! Is that the best analysis we're going to get from you on Scot Goes Pop? "Mibbes aye mibbes naw"

Me : This is pathetic, Kevin. Give me the names of the pundits you've cited, and direct me to what they've said.

Kevin Williamson : google the articles in wake of last couple of polls James. There are NONE suggesting SNP arent on course to sweep Constit seats.

Me : If it's that easy, you should be able to give me a couple of names so I know who you mean?

Kevin Williamson : An opinion poll analyst who refuses to project no. seats from opinion polls? Heard it all now. What you afraid off?

Me : Woah, woah, woah. What does "project" mean? You do know that opinion polls are snapshots not predictions? Perhaps you don't.

Kevin Williamson : You're just being pedantic. Every month Scot Goes Pop refuses to project no. of SNP seats its credibility will sink.

Me : If helping people understand the limitations of opinion polls will somehow harm my credibility, I'll have to live with that.

Kevin Williamson : Lets leave it for now. I'll try again after summer when next set of OPs come out.

Me : OK, but if at any point BEFORE THE END OF SUMMER you can remember the names of these mysterious pundits, do let me know.

Kevin Williamson : will do. This not personal as sure ye ken. This is about best way of keeping SLab seats to a min & maximising Indy/progressives.

Me : The electoral system does not lend itself to that kind of strategising, unfortunately.

*  *  *

Answers on a postcard if anyone can help Kevin out here with the name of a pundit or two.  Needless to say, his suggestion of a Google search proved entirely fruitless - there were plenty of examples of journalists and analysts pointing out the bleedin' obvious that if such and such a poll were replicated in the actual election result, the SNP would win X number of seats.  But I couldn't find any "non-partisan pundit" saying what Kevin claimed - ie. that it's possible to "forecast" on the basis of what the opinion polls are showing now that the SNP will definitely win a minimum of 65 out of 73 constituency seats in nine months' time.  Hardly surprising, because there are several reasons why that isn't possible -

1) Polling inaccuracy.  You'd think in this year of all years, the flaw in a strategy which totally depends on the accuracy of opinion polls wouldn't need to be pointed out, but apparently it does.  This isn't even a matter for speculation - we already know for a fact there is a degree of inaccuracy in the Holyrood polls, because the lowest post-May TNS figure for the SNP is not reconcilable with the Panelbase figure, even when the standard 3% margin of error is taken into account.  At the very least, either Panelbase or TNS must be getting it wrong (unless the Panelbase poll was an outright rogue - ie. one of the 5% of polls you'd expect to fall outside the margin of error).

2) Polls are snapshots of public opinion at a particular moment in time, not predictions of future election results.  Even if you take a leap of faith and assume that any given poll is providing an accurate snapshot, basing a tactical decision about the May 2016 election on the result of a poll conducted in August 2015 is a bit like turning up at Dunblane Cathedral tomorrow and expecting to see Andy Murray get married.  Kevin's got his dates mixed up.

3) The honeymoon effect.  As I alluded to in my short piece in The National the other day, it's pretty routine to temporarily see extreme poll results in the immediate aftermath of a landmark election.  Six months after their 1997 landslide, Labour reached a ludicrous 63% share in an ICM poll.  One month after winning a relatively modest majority in the 1979 general election, the Tories utterly annihilated Labour in the European elections.  Something very similar happened in the local elections a few weeks after the surprise Tory victory in 1992.  All of those examples have got something in common - the trend didn't last long.  The absolute most that can be said about the SNP's current 60%+ showing in TNS polls is that the longer it goes on, the less impossible it looks that it might prove to be something more significant than a normal honeymoon effect.  But anyone who thinks that it is more likely than not that the current state of play is going to persist until next May is, to be blunt, deluding themselves.  Anyone who tells you that it is certain to persist that long is just plain daft, or a chancer.

And of course apart from all that, even if you did know for sure that the SNP were going to secure an overall majority without requiring a single list seat, 'tactical voting' still isn't viable, because the SNP would always be in contention for at least one list seat in any given region, and smaller pro-independence parties would always be in danger of missing out on a list seat in any given region.  There is simply no way of knowing for sure which choice of party on the list is more likely to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs (barring the invention of that elusive mind-control ray that will somehow persuade hundreds of thousands of non-Greens to vote Green upon demand).

I don't want to be unkind to Kevin, but I think I'm right in saying that he also had a degree of involvement the last time there was one of these wildly over-optimistic "let's hack an election with an internet campaign" wheezes.  Back in the autumn of 2010, I received an email out of the blue from Bella Caledonia, "announcing an independence referendum".  It wasn't, of course, a real independence referendum, but a plea for people to abstain in the AV referendum by the bizarre method of scrawling the word "INDEPENDENCE" on the ballot paper.  As someone who has been committed to electoral reform for even longer than I've been committed to independence, I wasn't even remotely tempted to go down that road, so I just forgot about it until I saw a sarcastic comment from Bella castigating pro-independence bloggers who were supposedly sitting on the fence on the subject of the spoilt ballot masterplan.  (Jeff Breslin and James Mackenzie were probably the main targets of that complaint, because Better Nation was the most popular blog back in those days.)

A heated debate ensued, and those of us opposed to the idea were subjected to many of the same taunts that will be familiar to anyone who has followed the recent "tactical voting" exchanges - ie. we weren't really serious about independence, we were grossly underestimating the potential of a word-of-mouth campaign, we were failing to think outside the box, etc, etc.  Well, not to put too fine a point on it, those of us thinking inside the box were proved totally right, because anyone who did actually write 'INDEPENDENCE' on the ballot paper was wasting their time - their numbers were far, far, far too tiny to achieve the desired impact (as was always entirely predictable), and they might as well have just expressed a view on AV.  Now, to be fair, probably anyone in that position doesn't really have any regrets, because they're unlikely to give a monkey's about AV one way or the other.  But people who throw away their vote next year after being seduced by another of these harebrained schemes may end up feeling rather differently, especially if the price they pay is an anti-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament.

115 comments:

  1. The thing is, Kevin Williamson is right and you are consistently wrong. The best voting pattern at the next election is more clearly SNP/Green than it has ever been. He's also right that there is an incongruously bizarre thread to your comments on how the Holyrood election might play out and they are based entirely on your party political allegiance and do not have the best intentions for Independence.

    As to your main points.

    1. Yes polling can be inaccurate but it can't be THIS inaccurate. The consistent SNP lead is now the established Status Quo, without a black swan it's not going to change.

    2,. The ENTIRE point of polling is to predict elections. This "polling is a snapshot" nonsense is just that - utter nonsense. It is a way to identify trends and positions in order to forecast, that's it's entire function.

    3. It is now ten months since Nicola took charge of the SNP. The Honeymoon is over and the SNP lead is solid.

    Things could change and it will be the polling which will identify that. But on current numbers and faced with current trends, The only rational choice for anyone supporting Independence is to minimise the number of Loyalist MSPs at Holyrood and the best way to do that is to split your vote in the Holyrood election.

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    1. Wrong. The best way to vote is SNP twice, if your main aim is independence. Any other vote risks a Unionist getting in by the back door. The total number of votes for the SNP is important too, as it lends authority to Nicola Sturgeon in any negotiations with Westminster.
      Of course, if you are a Green, then vote Green.

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    2. The SNP still haven't even committed to a referendum during the next Holyrood term!

      The huge opportunity to drastically reduce the number of Loyalist voices in Holyrood is one that cannot be missed. With the near certainty of an SNP Majority based entirely on the Constituency vote, with no signs of this changing means that a List vote for the SNP is EXACTLY what you claim not to want - it is letting Loyalists in by the back door.

      Close the door, split your vote and reduce the number of Labour and Tories and wipe out the last dregs of the Liberals. That's the ONLY option if your goal is Independence. If your goal is a stronger SNP to ban more useful stuff like GM crops, then vote SNP/SNP but don't claim it's a vote for Independence - it is not.

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    3. A vote for the Greens, is a vote for the Greens. No more than that.
      A vote for the SNP is a vote for the only party that has Scottish independence as the reason for its existence.

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    4. "The best voting pattern at the next election is more clearly SNP/Green than it has ever been."

      If the lovable SNPout goons showed us anything it's that tactical voting on an FPTP election is a mugs game. So what does that make tactical voting on a D'hont list?

      You may have scoured the opinion polls, read the runes, and just got yourA in higher maths to do the required calculations in the polling booth, but most folk don't.

      Look at the North East list last time - the SNP got 52% on the list and won an additional seat, the greens were nowhere near. If a few SNP voters had tactically voted Green we'd currently be minus one pro-indy MP.

      Or look at the Lothian list, if the SNP had 600 more votes they would have won another seat. The greens would have needed the best part of double their (20k)votes to have won a second seat.

      If you support Greens vote Green, if you support the SNP vote SNP. If you like the Green at the top of your list more than the equivalent SNP candidate, vote Green on the list. But DO NOT think you can game the system.

      I would dearly love Scottish Labour to be whittled down the the lowest possible number, but A pro-indy majority in Holyrood is not something that should EVER be taken for granted. Playing silly buggers on the list is a sure fire way of giving the ghouls of the better together parties control over our parliament.

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    5. "Yes polling can be inaccurate but it can't be THIS inaccurate. The consistent SNP lead is now the established Status Quo"

      Alasdair, for the love of God, I'm not suggesting that the SNP might not be in the lead over Labour. Did you really think that's what I meant? Surely you can't have misunderstood the point to that extent. This is about whether the SNP are so far ahead of Labour that they are already sure of winning 65 out of 73 constituency seats.

      "The ENTIRE point of polling is to predict elections."

      Rubbish. You can say that as much as you like but it won't make it any more true. The only poll that is a prediction is an exit poll.

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    6. "It is now ten months since Nicola took charge of the SNP. The Honeymoon is over and the SNP lead is solid.

      Sigh. As made abundantly clear in the post, that is not the sort of honeymoon I am referring to. I am referring to post-election honeymoons. Look at the three examples I gave. In 1997, Tony Blair had been leader for three years. In 1979, Mrs Thatcher had been leader for four years. In 1992, John Major had been leader for eighteen months.

      Your point is?

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    7. And we already have a vaild, current test of what support level the SNP need to get 65/73 or 89%. Because in GE2015 they got 50% of the vote and achieved 95% of the seats.

      We know that anything above 50% SNP Constituency VI guarantees enough seats for a Majoirty with a reasonable margin of error! The SNP are now at 62% and if they maintain a VI over 55% then any List vote other than Green is a vote for a Loyalist MSP.

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    8. I'm going to hammer this point home until it penentrates a few skulls - the SNP are NOT "at 62%". Estimates vary from 53% (Panelbase) to 62% (TNS). You're cherry-picking the figure that suits your argument, but you presumably know as well as I do that you could be basing your "strategy" on a wildly false assumption of the SNP's true level of support.

      And "Loyalist"? I mean, what?

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    9. We prefer 'Cavaliers'

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    10. The SNP need to get more than 65 seats. Hello, "working majority"?

      First, majorities decay over the course of a parliament. People resign and die. That has happened in Holyrood since 2011 so that the SNP now has a bare scrape of a majority. 169 seems to be about the lowest that will sustain a government for a full term.

      Secondly, anything less than 169 will be trumpeted as Sturgeon failing to do as well in 2016 as Salmond did in 2011. Indeed, even 169 will be given a lukewarm reception as merely maintaining the seat numbers. Nobody will care whether these were list seats or not.

      The SNP is very very likely to get a list seat in every region in 2016 - either because of a repeat of the NE situation from 2011, or because despite polling high, a constituency or two is lost. In the latter case, more than one list seat may very well be achievable, for example in South of Scotland. We were just discussing this the other night, in the event of Roxburgh being lost to the Conservatives. We hope in that case that our top two list nominees might get in.

      In 2011 the only region where the SNP didn't win a list seat (despite missing out on one constituency) was Lothian, because many thousands of SNP supporters decided to go elsewhere on the list. To Margo. I'm sure most people were pretty comfortable about that. I mean, Margo. But it shows what happens when SNP support deserts the party on the list. A lost constituency fails to achieve its compensating list seat.

      Kevin, Alasdair and their mates want SNP supporters to throw away all these list seats, perhaps eight or ten of them, and present them gift-wrapped to the Greens. For God's sake, WHY?

      It's virtually impossible that the loss of one SNP seat can generate more than one Green seat. You'd need that mind-control ray. So at best you'd be swapping an SNP MSP for a Green MSP on a one-to-one basis. Given the way the Greens have been conducting themselves, is this something SNP supporters should really be considering?

      And as James pointed out, it's perfectly possible that the lost SNP seat would go to a unionist party, by letting them sneak through the middle. Way to go, guys.

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    11. This once much valued blog is rapidly becoming the..if you don't support snp in everything and in every way you're nothing but a unionist troll...blog. Have
      a nice life guys. Bye

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    12. Well done on the flounce of the week. But, to be honest, I don't think we're any happier being constantly lectured about how we don't really believe in independence because we...er, plan to vote SNP.

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    13. Ha Ha, James accusing someone else of "flouncing!" pots and kettles and all that. You're not a bad guy, and I for one won't be going anywhere but James you really cannot accept any form of even mild divergence let alone criticism, can you. Sigh. Never mind, keep up the (mainly) good work pal.

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    14. If you're the same anonymous commenter who is cheerleading for Deejay below, I suspect what you really mean is "you cannot accept any offensive ad hominem attacks on you, can you James". If so, you're quite right - my patience with it has reached an end.

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    15. Aww james chill!! no-one is attacking you, and I don't know what you're talking about re below. Man I am not an enemy ffs!! Michael

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    16. "No-one is attacking you"? Read this thread through to the end, and see if you can justify that claim.

      Fair enough if you're not the same anonymous commenter who supported Deejay's attack on me - but if you post anonymously, and especially if you do it in a provocative way, you have to accept that you're sometimes going to get mixed up with other people.

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    17. I'm ashamed to say that i take the easiest option when it comes to computers, but i don't intend any offence. I never post anything anywhere that i wouldn't say face to face. I've been accused of being "too honest" but never abusive or intentionally provcative. Apologies for coming over that way. I only get time to skim read so there's no way i'm getting through over 100 comments on here, sorry. Michael

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  2. I never see Greens posting on Unionist websites. They only seem interested in SNP votes. I wonder why?
    The unionist media serms keen on the idea too.

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    1. Yes, Williamson's first post in the excerpt James has ATL makes it clear he wants the Greens to mainly hoover up SNP 2nd preference votes. His argument there is entirely based on them making no real effort to win any from Labour supporters or other unionist parties because Labour etc can only *benefit* from people voting SNP twice if the Greens fail to take anything from these other parties.

      If it's the case that they don't think they can take from those parties, fair enough, but that's no concern of anyone who supports the SNP and not the Greens. All this railroading and shouting that we have to vote Green on the second preference has caused me to become, if anything, more certain that I am giving the SNP my second vote next year and I am someone who gave the Greens the second vote in 2011.

      I don't appreciate the hectoring on this matter, to be honest, I am not stupid and can make my own mind up who I want to vote for.

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    2. My instinct is there are a lot of natural Green voters who are backing the SNP simply because they have more chance of winning. Those are the voters that the party really needs to win over so it's no surprise that's where they're targeting.

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    3. A lot of Green supporters will vote tactically for the SNP in the constituencies, and some may even do that where the Greens are standing a candidate. That's sensible, but it's their choice and nothing that requires a quid pro quo.

      Sometimes these people react to this debate as if SNP supporters were trying to tell Green supporters to vote SNP/SNP. That's not the case. If you're a Green, vote Green on the list. Just give SNP supporters the courtesy of respecting their choice to vote for the party they support on the (more important) list vote.

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  3. My take on the second vote Green argument is that it is only likely to be effective once the Greens, at a minimum, overtake the Conservatives on the list vote in polls, and remain at that place for three months or so of polling before the election takes place. However the same poll that shows the SNP on 62% of the constituency vote, shows the Greens on 8% of the list vote - i.e. still too low for the tactic to have any demonstrable traction with the electorate, and therefore a risky tactic for any individual SNP/indy supporter to adopt.

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    1. I think you have to recognise the regional variations at play here. In 2011 if you looked simply at the national vote the Greens were on 4%, but the reason they got two seats is they had close to 8% in Lothian and 6% in Glasgow. You have to imagine that there will be variation in the vote again so an 8% national vote could mean a much higher share in certain areas and much lower share in others. Whether the Greens can win depends to some extent on where you live and so implies different strategies for tactical voting.

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    2. Unless we have region-specific opinion polls, the whole thing is blind guess-work. Dangerous blind guess-work.

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  4. SNP+SNP

    Who says the Greens are Pro Independence just because they stood with the SNP in the Referendum doesn't make it so
    With respect to the Greens, they will never be a political power ever, sorry
    Any Government can adopt good climate policy as part of policy
    The Greens have only one policy, bit like the Liberal Democrats "It's not enough" or "You could do so much more"

    It's really easy to oppose or disagree with anything, bit more difficult to actually do something, that's what's ended the Labour Party

    The Greens are trolling sites like mad trying to get folk to vote for them and it's really obvious what they're up to
    Sorry Greens folk aren't daft

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    1. "The Greens have only one policy, bit like the Liberal Democrats "It's not enough" or "You could do so much more""

      This really isn't true - no more than it's accurate to claim the SNP only have one policy (independence) just because it's the raison d'etre of the party.

      The Greens have a completely different platform from the SNP. They disagree pretty strongly on the environment (e.g. tax cuts for the oil industry) but they also disagree on more fundamental policies like taxation and how to solve inequality. They're more progressive on those issues, even flirting with endorsing a full basic income, and they're also more progressive when it comes to things like drug laws.

      Now some people will think they go too far and are too radical to have in government and that's fine if you want to go for a more centre-left/centrist party like the SNP, but we shouldn't be caricaturing what they stand for. The idea that they only care about climate change ceased to be accurate years ago. If people want genuinely radical change in Scotland then the Greens are the obvious option - the SNP won't offer those policies and the SSP are a spent force.

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    2. Despite my irritation with the pushing of the 2nd vote stuff, it's no longer true to say that the Greens are a single-issue party. I remember researching for a paper some years ago and being asked whether the Greens had 'any future'. One reason I said I thought they did was because it was obvious they were aware they needed to have a broader policy base and I think they have developed that, to be fair. The manifesto for the election just past was wide-ranging and I have thought that of their last two or three documents.

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  5. I'm becoming increasingly convinced of an snp landslide on the constituency and I'm in mid Scotland and fife...if the polls stay the same I'll be voting green to keep Labour out.snp is my preferred choice but green is better than unionist and I think it's increasingly likely that's the list vote choice many of us will face...would be interesting to see a region specific analysis of this..I suspect green is the correct vote everywhere on the list(maybe not highlands and islands and south Scotland). We are in landslide scenario for snp on constituency...time for clever heids

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    1. I don't think you are ever going to get it. Still, one vote isn't going to change anything and I think most other people have wised up now.

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  6. I wonder how many of these 'Green' commentators on various blogs are actually Unionists trying to split the SNP vote?

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    1. SNP/SNP backers are the ones trying to put more Loyalists into Holyrood. I'm sure some are diehard "SNP 1st, Independence 2nd" and some are confused. But it is very likely a lot of them are Loyalists wanting to ensure the highest possible number of Labour and Tory MSPs.

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    2. Give it a rest. I don't suppose there's any hope of you even reading the explanations as to why your shiny cute idea is a potential disaster, never mind understanding them, but do us a favour and try.

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  7. What happens if folk give list vote to Greens then they vote with Labour etc in Holyrood. just a thought.

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    1. The Greens' main headline policy seems to be that they want to be the opposition to the SNP and "hold them to account", so it's a mystery to me why they imagine SNP supporters would consider voting for them.

      Their commitment to independence is very questionable too. Some individuals are undoubtedly committed, but some would give up on independence tomorrow if there was a Westminster government they quite liked, and others are convinced unionists.

      Imagine the SNP being forced into coalition with the Greens by this daft ploy, and Patrick Harvie as Deputy First Minister, and him harrying Nicola at every turn. He certainly played hardball over a budget or two during 2007-11. It's lunacy on stilts.

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  8. well I'm not a Unionist. I just know that in a landslide constituency SNP scenario the SNP vote is wasted and will contribute to electing a Unionist. A green vote which isn't my preferred choice is better than a Unionist. I think the polls are pointing to such a scenario. If they continue to as the election nears I will not elect the Unionist on the list so I'd vote Green. It will need the polls to continue to do so but if they do then I'd risk it. You're risking electing a Unionist by voting SNP on the list if the polls indicate a landslide for the SNP on the constituency. That is undeniably true.

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    1. If some people go along with this but not enough of them, it could easily be argued that you risk electing a unionist by voting Green on the list. There are what, 56, list seats? They are all to play for by everybody, no matter who gets most of the 73 constit. seats. Yes, the SNP will have to get more of the vote per seats in the list if they win lots of constits. but they have managed to do just that and pick up more seats in the past.

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    2. You may well be more likely to elect a unionist if you vote SNP list instead of Green, this is possible.

      BUT in the landslide scenario, this would be a unionist in a minority with no power. So to block Mister Hypothetical Powerless Unionist List MSP you effectively voting against the SNP manifesto, and weakening the democratic mandate for Indyref2. You are also risking Green/Unionist deals to block SNP votes if it turns out that the SNP doesnt have a commanding majority. Which, of course, you won't realise until after the vote!

      "No" voters would be delighted to see a minority SNP government, no matter how many green MSPs are on top of that.

      First/Consituency vote: vote for your preferred candidate.
      Second/List vote: vote for your preferred party.

      That is how D'Hondt works. It is that simple.

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    3. No it's not as simple as that. If we are in a landslide scenario on the constituency then snp will win next to nothing on the list even if 50% plus vote for them on the list. In such a scenario your snp list vote is a wasted one.We need to identify whether we are in such a scenario hence monitor polls bit if they continue to point to it then voting for green on the list is the most sensible option. If it's not clear though I'd recommend an snp list vote as we don't want a minority government. Both strategies have risks but in a landslide scenario the greater risk is voting snp on the list.

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    4. We want to remove unionists from Scotland....we could get rid of an extra 10 plus with this tactic for the potential loss of zero or 1 snp list , it's got to be worth it. Think Yes.

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    5. Think SNP twice, think Yes.
      See, i can do that too.

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    6. You sound like Scottish Labour evasive avoiding the issues. Prat.

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    7. No it's not as simple as that. If we are in a landslide scenario on the constituency then snp will win next to nothing on the list even if 50% plus vote for them on the list. In such a scenario your snp list vote is a wasted one.

      If the SNP win almost all constituencies, they'll have a majority on that basis alone, so in that scenario all list votes are wasted in terms of the practical effect they'll have on parliamentary proceedings.

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    8. No they are not wasted. We want to remove unionist politicians from Scotland. Then we remove Scotland from the union. You will likely increase the number of unionists significantly in Scotland in a landslide scenario by voting snp on the list in most areas (caveats around highlands and islands and south Scotland ) as opposed to green. This is virtually certain. The problem is identifying the landslide scenario. At the moment it looks like it but we need to monitor as much as we can. if it looks like it next year though I'm voting list green

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    9. Even if the SNP win 70 or 71 constituencies, they are still in line for as many as 10 list seats. That is very far from "next to nothing". Please stop lying to people, those of you who are pretending otherwise.

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  9. Must admit, I still don't understand how my second vote will affect things, it just gives me a headache. On balance, for now anyway, my second vote will also go to the SNP.

    On polling. I had a twitter set-to with a guy - from memory he'd been working out the odds for the referendum outcome but couldn't get past the notion that polls were a snapshot and not a projection.

    From my position, I couldn't quite understand how his betting odds worked out from polls done months beforehand could possibly be 'guaranteed' to be accurate in advance of the vote itself - he was quite adamant about it.

    I don't think either of us talked about what the percentages would be, it was just the odds one way or the other. I still maintain, if polls turn out to be right, its always going to be a fluke.

    We agreed to disagree.

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  10. All the talk is about SNP and Green votes. As there are 56 List seats, what happens if Unionist parties start doing anyone but the SNP.
    As the Tories have a UK Tory Government they could go with Lab. Lab are ineffectual but oppose everything the SNP does, useful for the Tories.
    It should be SNP/SNP for maximum effect.

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    1. It won't happen as they don't have an obvious strategy...given the likelihood of them picking up f all on the constituency it matters less how their vote is split...it matters for yes as snp will win every constituency seat or just about...when that happens the list snp vote is redundant...it derives DIRECTLY from the formula and no amount of snp 1st and 2nd drivel spouted on here will change it. The only question is whether we are in a landslide scenario...at the moment it looks like we are..but we need to monitor it.

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  11. The issue is not whether snp is better than green from a yes point of view. They are. The issue is whether or not you will get snp on the list if you vote for them or if in fact you'll likely let a unionist in. As the polls are now I think an snp list vote increases the chance of a unionist. Conversely I think as the polls stand a green list vote increases the chance of a green and decreases the chance of a unionist.

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    1. But if the SNP do extremely well (i.e. over 50% on both votes), they'll be in the running to pick up list seats even in regions where they win every constituency. If the last TNS poll was the election result, the SNP would win all but two constituencies, and would still get seven list seats on top of that.

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  12. As somebody else has said, won't it depend on your location? If you're in a part of the country where the Greens are doing OK, you might very well get one elected on the list; if you're in a part of the country where the Greens are doing nothing you'll just waste your vote if you put them down on the list. I'm in the Highlands and frankly have no idea how the Greens are likely to perform here but if they had very low support clearly I'm going SNP / SNP but if I thought they could help oust a Unionist then I would seriously consider giving them my list vote.

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    1. It might make a difference but in general, the Greens are very close to the support level which will guarantee one seat (i.e. one less unionist) in every single Regional List. They're also likely to get two in Edinburgh (i.e. one less unionist) and possibly two in Glasgow but the SSP and Solidarity are busy trying to screw that up (for understandable reasons).

      Every region offers a benefit to voting Green on the List if your goal is Independence and you want as few Loyalists as possible in Holyrood.

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    2. As I said earlier highlands and islands might be one of the areas where snp snp is the correct tactic...we need to watch this carefully and try to assess the nawbag liar Carmichael effect.as it stands I understand completely the difficulty you are in and to be fair I think snp snp there might be a reasonable strategy unless we get some constituency and regional information....other worrying area is south Scotland....the rest is likely snp green (with the caveat If the polls hold)

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    3. "the Greens are very close to the support level which will guarantee one seat"

      Again, using the word "guarantee" in this context is crazy. Days before the 2011 election (let alone weeks before), the Greens seemed to be at the level of support that would get them either one or two list seats in every region. In the end, they won a single list seat in just two regions. If constituency polling should carry a health warning, list polling should have a skull and crossbones sticker on it.

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    4. Actually, James, that's what I meant. 8% isn't enough but around the 10% mark even if they had a drop off (and I don't foresee that this time for a number of reasons**) they'd still be comfortably above the 6% in every Regional List.

      ** The main one was the SNP successfully putting forward the need for List votes because they weren't going to win enough Constituencies. People will not believe that this time around.

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    5. The doom mongering about voting Green is ridiculous. Yes, all polls are just snapshots and you can't have certainty about anything, but a dose of reality is needed here. The risk of the SNP not getting a majority is marginal. The risk of the Greens losing out in regions is high. There isn't a certainty about either situation, but the evidence is pointing in one way.

      What we're seeing here is some true colours coming out, i.e. party loyalty rather than loyalty to the cause of independence. Some people are SNP supporters first and independence supporters second. They'd rather have their party get the maximum amount of seats than see unionist parties as a weaker presence.

      It's not surprising as most of the SNP leadership see it that way as well - Sturgeon seems perfectly happy to flirt with the English left and carry on getting the plaudits without taking a risk and calling for another referendum. She's a world away from Sillars, who is solely about independence, not his own career. This isn't the pro-SNP movement, it's the pro *independence* movement and the SNP aren't Scotland.

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    6. "The risk of the SNP not getting a majority is marginal."

      I just despair when I read nonsense like that. Winning an overall majority under the AMS system is phenomenally difficult. Doing it without needing any list seats at all - which is implicitly what you're predicting the SNP will do - is ten times harder and has never been done before (not even close). To talk of a "marginal risk" of it NOT happening is beyond absurdity.

      "The risk of the Greens losing out in regions is high."

      Oh, I entirely agree with you there, and that's a big part of the reason why tactical voting is such a stupid idea - SNP supporters could very easily be throwing their vote away by voting Green. That's what happened in the north-east in 2011.

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    7. "What we're seeing here is some true colours coming out, i.e. party loyalty rather than loyalty to the cause of independence."

      Yes, that line is a standard part of the repertoire, as I pointed out in the blogpost.

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    8. "This isn't the pro-SNP movement, it's the pro *independence* movement and the SNP aren't Scotland."

      You know, I'd quite like to know who enrolled me into this "movement" without telling me. To the best of my knowledge, it was the SNP that I joined.

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    9. Well plenty of us are james, over 110k...We enjoy your blog but feel you are wrong on the snp snp strategy. Snp wait and see for 2bd vote seems more appropriate..can we put oor hands up given recent polling and advocate that? with the balance of risks? We know polls are a snapshot, we understand the system. But the danger of a minority snp has to be weighed against the likelihood of wasted snp votes in a landslide snp constituency scenario as looks likely....your strategy could elect dozens of unionists unnecessarily....we don't want that.

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    10. "You know, I'd quite like to know who enrolled me into this "movement" without telling me. To the best of my knowledge, it was the SNP that I joined."

      This statement pretty much sums up the debate. You've accepted that you're an SNP member first, rather than a member of the pro-independence movement. That's entirely consistent with how you've chosen to argue the point and it makes complete sense why you'd therefore want the SNP to have as many seats as possible for their own sake.

      The problem is that you seem to also want to dress up your arguments in some veneer of concern for the overall drive toward independence: i.e. the idea that it's better for the movement as a whole, whether you support the SNP or not, to back the SNP in both votes and secure a majority. Indeed if that wasn't your intention then there's no point in you arguing the point in the first place. You could simply say you're an SNP supporter and the more seats the SNP get the better, regardless of how likely a majority is or isn't.

      It's clear from your last statement that what is good for the cause of independence isn't your primary concern. You would presumably be arguing we should be voting SNP in both votes regardless of the circumstances because you're not operating from a pro-independence viewpoint, but from a pro-SNP stance. That's completely legitimate, but you can hardly be surprised that those of us who do care about the pro-independence movement over and above the SNP have a different view.

      For us the SNP is simply a vehicle toward a goal and perhaps the fact we have a bigger perspective than base party loyalty allows us to see the merit in more progressive voting strategies. I dare say we wouldn't have had the entire country undergoing a democratic awakening if the point was simply to get a bunch of career politicians into office.

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    11. "Well plenty of us are james, over 110k...We enjoy your blog but feel you are wrong on the snp snp strategy."

      Do you mean you're an SNP member? I must say I find it incomprehensible that anyone would vote against the party they're a member of. Normally being a member entails giving more than just your vote, rather than less.

      "But the danger of a minority snp has to be weighed against the likelihood of wasted snp votes in a landslide snp constituency scenario"

      Why? The first would be a huge setback, the second is missing out on a little bonus. It's like having a fabulous dinner, but not getting ice cream at the end.

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    12. "You've accepted that you're an SNP member first, rather than a member of the pro-independence movement."

      Absolutely. This "movement" business is becoming mildly fascistic - it's got nothing to do with independence and everything to do with self-appointed people telling others what to do. Who is the leader of this movement? Where is it based? Who decides who is excluded and included?

      And basically, you can just sod off with this tripe about me not being a genuine supporter of independence. Why do you think I joined the SNP - because they have the best coffee mornings? What you're saying is breathtakingly silly, and somewhere, deep down, even you must know that.

      I've pointed out that your strategy isn't going to work, and because you don't have a credible reply, you're lashing out at me instead - there isn't really any more to it than that.

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    13. James: I've seen you do this a lot. When people disagree you seem to like launching into a rant about how the other person is beyond idiotic for daring to think differently, is subjecting you to some hideous personal abuse, and all the rest of it. That's nonsense in this case - you simply have to accept that some of us have a different viewpoint to yours.

      Some of us care about independence first and don't particularly care if the SNP get a majority, win power, or even vanish into thin air tomorrow (assuming another party takes their place). For us there's a clear benefit to voting Green if the risk of losing a pro-independence majority is low. That's clearly what the polling is telling us hence why we support it. Quite what's so "breathtakingly silly" about that is beyond me - your entire counter-argument appears to be little more than saying polls can be inaccurate, a point nobody is disputing but that is actually little more than a banal qualifier that can be said about any form of tactical voting.

      If you have a different perspective and think the more seats the SNP wins the better then fine. But what you're actually trying to do is present that party-motivated case as something the rest of us, who don't have the same allegiance to the SNP, should do for the good of the independence cause. That just doesn't wash and the disdain you're showing for the rest of us is completely counter-productive.

      You mock the idea of there not being a leader of the pro-independence movement as if that's a bad thing: it's precisely what makes the independence movement strong (i.e. that it's a grassroots movement which isn't dominated by the narrow interests of any single politician or party). If we're going to be independent it will be people like us at the grassroots level that get us there, not politicians imposing it from the top down. Sturgeon and the rest are there to do a job for us, not the other way around.

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    14. Deejay i wish there was a "like" button on this blog. Couldn't agree more with your post.

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    15. There isn't a 'like' button, but there is a 'delete' button on my control panel, and Deejay is getting very, VERY close to tempting me to use it. Please understand - you can dress it up as self-righteously and sanctimoniously as you like, and you can pretend that I - not you - am the one 'ranting', 'mocking' and showing 'disdain' if it makes you feel any happier, but at the end of the day what you are doing is impugning my integrity without a shred of justification. Do you seriously expect me to conduct a conversation based on your cretinous premise that my support for independence is just a charade?

      Oh, and by the way, my argument does not consist simply of "the polls might be inaccurate". I've written God knows how many blogposts on this subject, containing thousand of words - if you can actually identify anything factually wrong in those posts, by all means point it out. But please note that my patience with these lengthy ad hominem attacks on me is now at an end.

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    16. I literally can't believe what I'm reading. Deejay and Jam are on a pro-indepence blog site telling everyone over and over and over again that the best route to independence is to make it harder for the SNP to get a majority!

      Bonkers.

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    17. Google "arcofprosperity green list voting"

      Only analysis Ive seen to help SNP supporters understand the danger of being misled into thinking your list vote is wasted. Increasing green list voting a) quickly destroys SNP majority and b) is not likely to wipe out that many unionists.

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    18. No we are arguing the best way to maximize the number of independence maps under ams is to split the vote when we are in a landslide scenario for the snp on the constituency. The polls are currently 53 to 62 for snp on constituency a minimum of 3 points higher than 2015 where a landslide was delivered. Caermichael could have problems which may affect 2 of the 3 seats and Edinburgh south may not be lost due to a particular snp statement by the Westminster candidate...ergo we are in landslide territory.if it continues to like that and green reiterate yes credentials etc we should vote for them on the list...and get rid of 15 more unionists...the benefit is massive. Nothing bonkers about it at all.

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    19. Do you mean you're an SNP member? I must say I find it incomprehensible that anyone would vote against the party they're a member of. Normally being a member entails giving more than just your vote, rather than less."

      I'd rather elect a Green than a nawbag. Realities of the system. Pat yourself on the back for voting snp on the list while letting the nawbags in. No thanks.

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    20. "benefit is massive"

      How?

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    21. Jam : And how will you feel if, as an SNP member, you "tactically" vote against the SNP on the list, and as a direct result of that a Conservative MSP is elected instead of an SNP MSP? That's what almost happened to SNP supporters and members who "tactically" voted Green in the north-east in 2011.

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    22. Wouldn't like it James. We're on the same side and I respect you for what you are doing. My contention is that's not likely to happen. Much much likelier is we elect a nawbag through a well intentioned 2nd snp list vote. I'm a natural yes and snp voter but if I can avoid a nawbag I will....and I think your strategy is wrong...only reason for my intervention...I think otherwise you're doing a super job. But clearly there might be something in it...

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    23. Jam (don't know your real name, sorry) your premise and others here, seems to be based entirely on the "fact" that the Greens are 100% for Scottish Independence. Sorry, but I am not convinced of that at all. they stood with the SNP in the YES campaign, but if there was a future Labour Govt at Westminster with a more 'green' policy programme which included keeping Scotland in thrall, I have no doubts AT ALL that the Greens would support it.

      There is only ONE party that is unequivocally pro-Independence and that's the SNP. Once that is won, by all means spend your vote how you want. but if you want independence anytime soon, that SNPx2 is the only sensible option. (In my humble opinion!)

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    24. No it's not. As I've said repeatedly on this thread Greens would need to reiterate Yes credentials. SNP x2 in a landslide scenario means the 2nd vote is effectively wasted. It follows as a direct consequence from the AMS system. That is the rationale for splitting the vote. I'm perfectly aware that Greens are not as committed to Yes as SNP but they still stood for it. IIf they reiterate their commitment, if it looks like landslide SNP Yes on the constituency well these are the two conditions where a split vote makes sense. That is all I am arguing for.

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    25. I am not a natural Green supporter. I have only ever voted SNP on both constituency and list. I realise some don't like it and I understand why. I'm asking for an open mind as the election approaches and looking in particular at the polls on both votes. Green need to reiterate a Yes statement if they wish to tap into this. If they don't it's their fault and I'd understand people's reticence in giving them their 2nd vote.

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  13. If you are a Green, vote Green. Simple.
    Stop begging SNP supporters for their vote.

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    1. You are trivialising a thoroughly legitimate discussion with bogus claims ignoring the blatant realities of the electoral system....you're a bit like a certain news reader that corbyn accused around 10:13 onwards.... https://youtu.be/QZAn7ZEvwek

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    2. You know, Juteman, this is one of the rare occasions where I wish there was a "favourite" facility on this blog.

      The small handful of innumerate fanatics who are steadfastly ingnoring the repeated explanations of the realities of the d'Hondt system while quite certain they are the ones who can discern the real truth are getting on my nerves.

      If you're a Green, vote Green. And try to persuade others to your cause by promoting your beneficial policy platform. Begging votes from supporters of another party on the basis of shonky, misunderstood arithmetic is embarrassing.

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    3. Sorry what is it about the number of seats already obtained (from the constituency ballot) being on the denominator of the d'hondt list formula allocation do you BLATANTLY NOT UNDERSTAND?

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    4. Nothing. What is it about the SNP being in line for another list seat even if all the constituencies are won don't you understand? It only takes about 52% of the vote, which is clearly achievable.

      Also, what is it about list seats compensating an otherwise high-polling party for a narrowly-lost constituency that you don't understand? If the SNP loses Shetland, or Roxburgh, we still hand the list seats to the Greens in these regions, do we?

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  14. Greens would love a SNP minority government, with them holding the balance of power. That would be a nightmare for the independence movement, The unionist media would have a field day with that, with headlines anout a defeat for Sturgeon and the SNP. It's all about momentum, and some folk want to halt it.

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    1. Why would that be a nightmare for the independence movement? It would immediately make the Scottish government more progressive, it could broaden its appeal beyond the SNP, and the government would be forced to adapt its policies on an issue by issue basis (as worked very well in 2007-2011) making it more responsive to the views of voters across the political spectrum.

      Sturgeon herself has sung the praises of minority government in the past and I see little reason to think it would be a disaster this time round.

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  15. Given that the list stage of the vote is supposed to be about making the outcome of the election broadly proportional to the actual votes cast why not scrap the 2nd vote and just use the constituency vote.

    It stops all this 2nd vote green bilge and also the nonsense about having real and unelected MSPs. Labour gerrymandering has a lot to answer for.

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    1. Ah now, the whole complex arrangement was skillfully designed to ensure that the SNP would never get a majority. Even to the precise numbers of list versus Constitency. How's that working out?

      They didn't factor in the collapse of the Libdems. Thats why the SNP won.

      Now we have 4 kinds of direct election conducted by 4 different methods. I cannot see the Holyrood one surviving Independence. It will be unstable.

      Is there antwhere else in the world that uses 4 different electoral methods for elections?

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    2. No it wasn't. It's harder than fptp but it's not that hard as 2011 demonstrated...if it was specifically designed so then there would be fewer constituency seats than list seats. But it's the reverse. 73 of 129 will likely be won with 40% plus of the vote...if that's specifically designed to exclude majority government then the designers should be sacked. The list system stops large majorities hence the whole discussion about greens on the list which no one has adequately addressed. Because you can't.

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    3. The SNP required roughly 45% on BOTH ballots to win a slender overall majority in 2011. 40% isn't enough.

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    4. Tend to agree that the line about the system "being designed to prevent majorities" is a bit off, despite being said frequently. It's less likely to produce majorities than first past the post, but that's only because first past the post is a ridiculous system. If we'd used the German system, which is similar but essentially ends up with seat percentages closely matching the percentage in the second vote, the SNP wouldn't have had a majority in 2011.

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    5. I was talking about seat specific constituency vote percentages. I'm perfectly aware of what the overall votes on both were. but we both know in vast majority of seats in a multi party system 40% plus brings home the seat. When such a first past the post system is used to determine the majority of seats then it's a bit disingenuous to make it seem the system is designed to never produce a majority. It's harder than first past the post but it's not so designed. 45% of the vote produced 53% of seats. It's biased towards bigger parties making it easier rather than harder to get an overall majority based on % of vote alone.

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    6. If there are systems to kick out, AMS is not the one to lose. It is a very effective way to elect a government and found in some very well run countries - Germany and New Zealand stand out. It delivers a reasonably good proportional outcome and provides very popular mandates to get a majority but most mandates to require coalition/minority government.

      STV and FPTP are the systems to drop.

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    7. No one is talking about kicking it out...It's a vast improvement but it's not specifically designed to not produce majorities as it has a majority of seats elected by fptp and produces majorities on minority votes...It's media sensationalism. We should understand our system both in this specific never so designed hyperbole and the rationale for a yes green list vote. That is all I want to highlight. The snp snp cannot adequately address this last point.

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    8. The Holyrood system favours larger parties at the expense of smaller ones. who would have predicted a 45% vote for the SNP in solidly Labour Scotland? The larger party they wanted to help wasn't the SNP.

      The best vote for political reasons is SNP-SNP. We hopefully could win most of the fptp seats, and hopefully secure a majority. But sackloads of SNP top up votes sends a strong message of political support to the SNP, and to the cause of Independence.

      Unless some of those ex MP's who lost to the SNP stand for Holyrood, then once more Labour will elect its Z team. The Libdems will hopefully stay in the doghouse, the Conservative vote is stable. Whether some deadbeat Labour loyalist gets in or not is not a good enough reason to give the Unionists any chink in the unwavering support for Independence that SNP-SNP ticket indicates. They will grab any opportunity to do us down.

      2 terms should be enough. We will have Gideon next after Dave. Labour in the south doesn't know what it wants to be. And Independence is within our grasp within 10 years.

      The problems with some AMS is that the Party selects the candidates. That is not healthy. Some system needs to be devised that is democratic and proportional, but which allows voters to pick their representatives, and not Party machines.



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    9. "sackloads of top up votes sends a strong message of support to the snp"

      Is that the best argument for a wasted vote that you've got? use the system as it is. there is a much stronger message. It's called block the unionist. If snp can't do that on the list as looks by far the most likely scenario then I'll back those who can.

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    10. "Some system needs to be devised that is democratic and proportional, but which allows voters to pick their representatives, and not Party machines."

      That system would be an open list PR system, as used in the Netherlands. Essentially you vote for a party nationally, but you indicate on the ballot which candidate on the list is your preferred one. The candidates with the most support within parties move to the top of the list. It produces highly proportional outcomes but takes some of the power out of the hands of party leaderships.

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    11. Sorry Jam. The only wasted vote is one that is not cast.

      5 SNP council seats were won last week. 1 from the Greens. Was it front page news? Would it have been front page news if Labour had taken one?

      In a few years you have the luxury of voting for anyone you like. When we are Independent. Until then, vote Green if that's what you believe. But vote SNP-SNP if you are primarily interested in Independence.

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    12. You haven't explained why. I'm interested in independence and have voted for them since 92. What you support and what you will get are likely 2 different things something you and others have glaringly failed to address. The list system doesn't care who you want to win. if snp has 9 constituency seats it will take close to 60% to produce 1 list seat in a region. That is pretty unlikely. Greens could be over ten times more productive. That is the point. the smart move is watch the polls and keep an open mind to the strategy.

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    13. The SNP got a list seat on top of all the constituencies in the NE in 2011 on 52% of the list vote. That is totally achievable on present polling as long as misguided zealots don't bamboozle SNP supporters into forgetting that.

      There's also the question of list seats to balance a narrowly-lost constituency in an otherwise high-polling region. You want to hand up to 10 list seats to the Greens, but you can't even guarantee that would happen.

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  16. I think a major factor influencing whether independence supporters vote Green should be - in addition to liking Green policies - whether they include a decent commitment to holding another independence referendum on that / backing an SNP referendum bill.

    So far, the SNP have made it sufficiently clear to me that they'd look to hold another iref at the first opportunity if they felt public will backed it. Fair enough and I look forward to how they propose this in their manifesto.

    Have the Greens made clear their position? Can we expect something on it their manifesto? That should be the real persuader if your are greenish + pro Yes.

    Personally, at this stage, I'll be voting SNP-SNP because while I like some Green policies, the SNP still fit me better as I am a social democrat.

    I also understand fine well how Holyrood works and don't like being told otherwise and what to vote. I'll decide that.

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    1. Then you'll know that an snp vote on the list will increase the likelihood of a unionist if all the polls are anything to go by. Who cares if you prefer snp....so do I by a mile. You won't be electing them and that's all that matters (although apparently you understand fine we'll how holyrood works and therefore knew that already)...confused perchance

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    2. Agree on greens need to make a statement on Yes and Indy ref...a holding line much like snps likely "in the hands of the people should circumstances change" should suffice. I'd like to hear that views on independent broadcasting and control of Scottish elections from them. They are missing a massive chance on this if they don't pipe up

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    3. "I also understand fine well how Holyrood works and don't like being told otherwise and what to vote. I'll decide that."

      That's fine, but it's hardly the case that Green voters are the only ones doing this. There have been more than a few comments on here over the last few months telling people not to vote Green in fairly over the top terms. There was a comment I read on here at one point that explicitly said anyone who votes Green is essentially threatening the entire independence movement (which is little more than scaremongering).

      Personally, I'd prefer to ditch the faux alliance between the SNP and the Greens altogether. They aren't allies, they're competing parties who happen to agree on one big issue and this election isn't about that issue. It doesn't make any sense in my view for an SNP supporter to back a party with completely different policies in the second vote under those circumstances. It might make some marginal sense for a Green voter to back the SNP in the constituency vote given the perception they can't win first past the post seats, but that's as far as tactical voting should go in my opinion.

      This is an election about what sort of government you want in Scotland - if you want a more leftist government then you can vote Green, if you want more of the same then you can vote SNP.

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    4. Is it "an election about what sort of government you want for scotland"? I'd say it's just an election. What you vote isn't what you get necessarily. It depends on what others vote and the electoral system used. Your naive analysis ignores the glaring reality of the electoral system. Who cares what you want. What you get is important. If it floats your boat voting snp list and getting Labour nawbag then go ahead. But if that's what looks likely and it's beginning to look so I won't be doing so.

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    5. Pawcheck,. utter nonsense. The constitutional issue is still the most important political matter at hand and must be kept there until Independence is achieved. I will not vote for any party that refuses to offer a cast iron guarantee of a Referendum in the next Holyrood Term.

      This "let's wait" nonsense is defeatist and risible. I'm sure all those in Quebec who thought they should "wait a little longer" in 1998 to 2003 thought that was a good idea. Now it just looks stupid as they've not had the numbers to offer one since.

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    6. Well Alistair I agree with you on the green list strategy I think you'll be found wanting on the cast iron guarantee. I think something like " in the hands of the prople/circumstances change and then we would offer a referendum" is enough for 2016. Let's get broadcasting and elections/referendums in independent Scottish control and when England elects Tory again 2020 after Labour inplodes/splits then we strike....most likely Yes Scenario.

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    7. " I will not vote for any party that refuses to offer a cast iron guarantee of a Referendum in the next Holyrood Term."

      Who exactly are you going to be voting for then? The SNP won't offer you that. The Greens won't either. Whatever you think about the timing of another referendum, that's the simple political reality of what's going to be on offer in the election.

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    8. I suppose the literal answer to that question might be Solidarity or something like that.

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  17. To maximise your chance of an SNP majority you vote SNP/SNP.

    I'm not risking a SNP list MSP by trying to remove an extra unionist - who cares how many unionists there are if theyre in a minority?

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    1. jimmy glesga east end holiganAugust 13, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      How could any decent minded left wing person vote for the Tart An Tories. I do hope the Nat sis put a referendum in their manifesto. Lets face it it would detract attention away from lack of Nat si policy. I am convinced my fellow Brit Scots will twigg that they are being conned by a lot of shysters.

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    2. What little polling evidence we have suggests the SNP committing to a new iref next May would not in any clear way discourage people to vote for them. Yougov (late May) found only 34% stated that they wouldn't consider voting SNP at all. In terms of the rest (66%) of the electorate who would consider voting for them, only 15% felt an iref commitment might discourage them from voting SNP, within error of the 11% who it actively encouraged.

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    3. Sure but it doesn't say we would win it though. And that's the point.we'll never be certain of victory and we are riding high (snp) but I agree on something material to galvanise yes and a 2nd shot...That something material could be EU but is more likely to be austerity/vow renege/labour chaos and re-election of Tories ad infinitum post 2020. It also gives the 8-10 year minimum timescale that you'd expect to avoid denying democracy jibes. In the meantime I'm arguing let's put into place the things that make both Scotland better and the winning of a referendum more likely namely BBC broadcasting control... But I know others may think differently.

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  18. For what it's worth, ICM UK Westminster poll Scottish sample:

    60% SNP
    17% Lab
    15% Con
    8% Lib

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    1. I get it, you lot wear anoraks and dribble down them at the end of railway station platforms. Figures and percentages does it for you kind of like porn does for others. I hope Dumfries and Galloway go independent. Not too far to move.

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    2. And your missus is a stinkoot

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  19. You can easily game the Scottish Parliament AMS but it would require a degree of ruthlessness and legal shenanigans that the SNP show no sign of touching at this stage of the game, where we still fantasize that we can get independence from the British empire simply by being nice. It requires two separate parties, one standing in the individual constituencies and one in the regional lists. They would have to be independent enough to get past the Electoral Commission, but clearly understood to be the electorate to have a common purpose. Barriers include sperating the funding and membership, the existing party constitutions' exclusivity requirements and the inevitable legal attempts to strike down the result - all of which with a couple of years run up to an election, independence minded lawyers and politicians could contrive, had they the will. We aren't there yet, but the day may come.

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