Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How I voted to rank the SNP list candidates for Central Scotland next year

As some of you know, although I've consistently voted SNP since I turned eighteen, I didn't actually become a party member until last autumn. So I've just had my very first chance to vote for the rankings of the SNP Central Scotland list candidates in a Scottish Parliament election. I must say I found it a much more stressful process that voting in the deputy leadership contest, because I know little or nothing about many of the candidates, and getting it right is quite a responsibility - in many ways these internal party votes have a bigger influence on the parliament's composition than the election proper (which is why we should switch to an open list system and hand the power back to the electorate at large). And we should never forget the long-term repercussions of Margo MacDonald's lowly ranking in 2003.

I erred on the side of placing sitting MSPs towards the top of the list, because at least those people are known quantities. I was haunted by the thought that Bill Walker might have had a fabulous personal statement five years ago, and people like me might have voted for him in good faith on the basis of that alone. Having said that, there were four people I ranked higher than at least one sitting MSP -

James McGuigan : I liked the clarity of the call in his personal statement for an SNP win next year to be regarded as a straightforward mandate for a second referendum. That goes beyond even my own position, but I think it'll be useful to have people in the parliamentary party pushing that view and providing balance - there certainly won't be any shortage of caution from others.

Julie Hepburn : I've never met Julie, but living in Cumbernauld, I've heard quite a bit about her over the last decade, and it's all been good.

Sophia Coyle : A reasonably well-known name in North Lanarkshire, and I liked her personal statement.

Anum Qaisar : A fast-rising star who was very unlucky to miss out on constituency selection in Edinburgh Eastern.

I ranked Alex Neil highest of the sitting MSPs, partly because of his commitment to independence, but mainly because I think it's important to give a vote of confidence to a Cabinet minister who is doing an excellent job.

I won't give you an exhaustive list of my rankings, because some of the lower preferences and my reasons for them might be a tad controversial, and I don't want to start an argument!

50 comments:

  1. James McGuigan : I liked the clarity of the call in his personal statement for an SNP win next year to be regarded as a straightforward mandate for a second referendum.

    Dear o dear....

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    1. Well, that was the most predictable comment of the evening. My next sentence was of course the operative bit, so it's mysterious that you've left that out of your quote. Hey-ho.

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    2. James, anyone could have stood and put that in their statement. If you are going to stand to be an MSP, then in my opinion you have to be a quality candidate, we are talking about Scotland's national parliament, albeit devolved at the moment. The SNP should be wanting people who can get elected and be of cabinet potential, I am thinking here of Ivan McKee and Jeanne Freeman. I personally want to see politicians of the calibre and level of Tommy Sheppard, Mhairi Black, Stephen Gethins, Joanne Cherry etc at Holyrood as well as at Westminster.

      Even before the SNP got into government in 2007, they had young talents like Andrew Wilson, Duncan Hamilton and of course Nicola Sturgeon. Shouting about how much you want independence just does not cut it at all, it persuades nobody but the already true believers. In short, we need intellect and political acumen.

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    3. I chose between the candidates that were in front of me. There's not much point telling me I should have chosen people who weren't on the list. Sorry, but there it is.

      Incidentally, we don't need or want 60 or 70 Cabinet ministers. We need quality backbenchers as well

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    4. Everyone can't be in the cabinet and, in many ways, it's better if some don't want to be. Lessens the chance that the SNP would ever descend into squabbling over plum posts rather than fighting their opposition like Labour eventually did. So, no, not everyone has to be of 'cabinet potential'.

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    5. James, you know what I mean, and that was to do with the quality of candidates. I never said you should pick the individuals I mentioned. It was meant as an example.

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    6. These are for the List. If the polls hold up, then at most only one List MSP is going to be elected for Central Region. If the first 6 list nominations ranked are those of the candidates also for FPTP, and the 3 candidates for FPTP not on that list win their seats - likely if the polls hold up, I predict between 3 and 5 Labour, 1 to 3 Tory, One SNP and one other ( Green or Rise). I actually think it will be one Tory and 5 Labour and 1 of the others. I think all 9 FPTP will be SNP.

      So its kinda academic who a Central member selects. So long as the polls hold up.

      I also think the best quality candidates are needed for the council elections in 2017, if they are in seats like Central. Indeed several of those standing on this particular list are councillors, their elevation causes by-elections with the incumbent risks, and resource costs to be borne by local branches.

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    7. No, I don't know what you mean, Muttley. You really did appear to be telling me I should have done the impossible.

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    8. James, you are being facetious. I never said to vote for the people mentioned. Read my post at 8:22 PM again please.

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    9. To coin a phrase, Muttley, you can't keep asking me to re-read your post until you get the result you want.

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    10. No James, but it would confirm I never told you how to vote.

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    11. Rest assured that I read it pretty thoroughly the first time.

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  2. Mutley to be fair. If the SNP have 56 mps, 50% of the vote in Wm, they get 70 msps and 60% of the vote at Holyrood. And if they put a referendum in their manifesto. Also the public have shown they expect another ref. Surely the SNP have a bloody duty to have a referendum.

    Bear in mind the last one was held after having 65 msps and only 6 mps and indi sitting at 30%. Have you heard of the ship of Theseus. If not read about the theory.

    The SNP need to remember their purpose and not become something they didn't intend to be. In other words beware of losing your way in the struggle to maintain status.

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  3. No, that would be political suicide, and exactly the reason Salmond changed the policy on how an independence referendum would be achieved. Quite frankly thank fuck he did. Second referendum=last chance for independence. Really not that hard a concept to understand. The SNP 's purpose is to deliver independence and not to spectacular fuck it up at the last hurdle, that means exercising caution and developing exremely thought through strategies and tactics.

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    1. You can repeat the "last chance" mantra as often as you like, but it won't have much validity until you explain WHY it would be the last chance. It makes no sense at all.

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    2. James, if you have not been to an SNP conference, please attend one and try to talk to a senior SNP representative. Tell them you think we can have more than two independence referendums, and see what they say. I predict you would get an answer that you refuse to accept here.

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    3. Sorry, Muttley, but if you want to try your luck with the logical fallacy of appealing to authority, you're going to have to do a hell of a lot better than that half-hearted effort. Clearly you're utterly unable to answer my question, and there's a very good reason for that.

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    4. I see, so SNP senior people are the arbiters then? What if a second referendum was lost (god forbid, mind) but thereafter something happened that a massive shift in public opinion (who knows what that could be, we cannot predict the future). Would you say, 'but SNP senior representatives say this could not happen'? Or would you just get on with it? The latter course is what the SNP would have to do if it's to be up to the people when these things happen.

      Nobody, but nobody, can be sure how any of it will play out because NOTHING IS INEVITABLE. SNP senior people only *think* they know what people might do, or think. Even if they are better at it than most of us, no-one can say for sure what people will do when casting their ballot. Bear in mind that, by the last two or three days of last campaign, both Alex and Nicola thought people were going to vote Yes. Though I would accept they have a better idea than me most of the time, SNP senior people can be fallible too, you know. It is possible and it would be wise for us to accept that they can misread the mood sometimes as well.

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    5. James, if you are so confident about this belief of yours that we are going to be able to hold more than two independence referendums, then you should put it to the test. I am sure you could e-mail the FM, Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson, John Swinney etc and ask them their views, you would not even have to go to a SNP conference. You are in complete denial over this. You simply do not get more than two referendums to achieve independence. You cannot go and on and on having them until you get the result you want.

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    6. Muttley, my friend, if you are so confident in your own belief that there is some pre-determined limit of two referendums - not one, not three, but exactly TWO - then please specify a convincing reason. If you don't have a convincing reason, try an unconvincing reason and we can at least attempt to take it from there.

      As things stand, you're relying 100% on the logical fallacy of appealing to authority - an authority that may not even agree with you. That's how weak your argument is, and frankly I'm becoming embarrassed for you. If you don't have an argument, it's probably best to stop arguing.

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    7. James, I am embarrassed that you honestly believe we can have as many referendums on independence as it takes to get a Yes vote. You are clearly unwilling to ask senior SNP elected representatives about that very subject. This is politics and we are dealing with existing nation states here, which include the most powerful one in the world. This is ruthless business and is not a game. If you refuse to look the truth in the face then that is your business. Do not say that you were never warned.

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    8. "James, I am embarrassed that you honestly believe we can have as many referendums on independence as it takes to get a Yes vote"

      What? WHAT? Where the hell are you getting that from? First the appeal to authority, now the straw man. My advice to you is to pack it in, because you're flogging a dead horse and you're doing it extraordinarily badly.

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    9. James, that is the truth. You are clearly resistance to what I have said. But I promise you that it is true. I am completely perplexed why you refuse to find out if your opinion on the subject of more than two independence referendums is shared by senior SNP figures. I have argued on more than this thread that we are not going to get the chance of more than two referendums. You are entitled to disagree but the solution to me is obvious, go to someone who has the professional insight, and find out whether they are of the same mind as you or not. I do not see the point in continuing, as we are not going to agree on this subject.

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    10. The only thing you're right about is that we aren't going to agree. If all you've got is endless repetition of the same logical fallacy that I've now called you out on umpteen times, you're doing entirely the right thing by stopping. I promise you that is true (to coin another phrase).

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    11. So, will the SNP disband if we lose two then? What's the point of them otherwise? As the suggestion seems to be they would realise the game is up?

      If they become 'just another party', the only way really is down, in my opinion (though, as it is an opinion, I admit I could be wrong and it could be they could continue to make capital out of 'standing up for Scotland' for a long time, but who can say if that's enough for many?)

      If 'senior SNP figures' wouldn't push for a third, then those who want one vote for a party who have it in their manifesto. Quite simple.

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  4. Exactly.

    Mutley noone has a monopoly on being right on something that has not happened.

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  5. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 22, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    In the unlikely event of the Nat sis getting their free state and the impending economic collapse, how many Nat sis that move south will admit they voted yes to fuck up a great Union. I hope the English will send them back tae think again. But how many Nat sis will be honest. Cake and Eat It. Typical Jocks.

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  6. I see Gwc is now admitting he isn't a Scot, and Brits are a different nationality.Describing Jocks in the third person. Seriously fecked up and delusional.

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  7. I see Gwc is now admitting he isn't a Scot, and Brits are a different nationality.Describing Jocks in the third person. Seriously fecked up and delusional.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 22, 2015 at 10:35 PM

      I am a Jock in the majority who does not feel oppressed by the English and wants to be in the Union. Unlike the narrow backs like youself who are still to evolve from the shell washed up on the beach so many millions of years ago.

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  8. Mutley says:" You can't keep having referendums until you get the result you want." Beginning to sound like a BBC unionist there Mutley!

    BTW if we carried that theory through. We would only have General Elections every 20 years. You can't keep asking people to vote for a party until they eventually win. In Labour's case they might just leave the Tories to it for the next 10 years, as noone thinks they can win

    It's called democracy, and the will of the people Mutley. It's not for a strategist in party HQ to decide. That's what Sturgeon has been saying all this time.

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  9. November13, it does not matter how many times you and others say we are going to get more than two goes at an independence referendum, it just is not going to happen imo. If you vote No twice in an independence referendum the game is well and truly up. Westminster would be under no obligation to permit the holding of a third indy referendum. It is not like elections. The American state and the wider international community would back the British state on that, and no amount of complaining would alter that one iota. You cannot possibly compare an independence referendum to a Westminster general election. You are only deceiving yourself and others if you keep on arguing that everything will be fine after two No votes in referendums on Scottish self determination. I do not think I can be any clearer than I have been on this thread.

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    1. "It just is not going to happen imo"

      Just as well you added the "imo", because that's the crux of the matter. You don't have an argument - just a gut feeling that you're determined to ram down everyone else's throat as if it was indisputable fact.

      Your concluding line of "I do not think I can be any clearer than I have been on this thread" is laughable. You've literally given us nothing - no reason, no justification, just the same faith-based assertion over and over and over again.

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    2. No, James I have actually heard an SNP elected rep say that there is only going to be two goes at an independence referendum, but then you are not going to take any notice of that are you. I am not going to name the individual, but I know what the person said and it confirmed what I believed, and still believe to be the case. It is no faith based assertion. I really would advise you to ask somebody in the higher ranks of the SNP about it.

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    3. Clearly my ambition should be to become an important person like you, Muttley, who actually gets to overhear unnamed individuals. It seems to be your recommended alternative to thinking.

      Is this the seventeenth or eighteenth time that I've pointed out to you that appealing to authority is a logical fallacy?

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  10. Mutley it's your opinion remember that. It's not fact, as the future is unwritten.

    But here's the important thing. We go for the next referendum when the people want it. It's not about someone in HQ saying, no you can't have. Because we will decide when we think we can win it.

    Your point is an opinion. Partly driven by comments of others online and in the media. But how do you know you are right? Surely you have confidence that we could win a second one. Or do you wait till Sturgeon is sure she can win it and we might still lose.

    There is no proof that a third referendum would be prevented. It's supposition on your part.

    My opinion as a lifelong SNP member is as valid as yours. We have played the long game and we lost. It's time for action time to be brave. It's time to listen to what the people want. I think the majority of Scotland expects another referendum. I am with James, Jim Sillars etc. I don't follow the populist line.

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    1. I genuinely do not know what the result of a second referendum on independence is going to be. I know we have to win over a significant number of voters to be sure of a Yes vote. I disagree completely with your opinion that we played the long game and lost. The situation today is completely different to what it was even 20 years ago. The decision to support a devolved parliament has been fully vindicated. The gradualist strategy, led by Salmond, Swinney and Sturgeon was and I believe still is correct. But make no mistake there is not going to be a third referendum on independence if there is another No vote.

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  11. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 22, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    And the tide is still out for you.

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    1. It's coming back in. Canute had the wisdom to see it, but your beloved Labour party won't see it until they're treading water. Oh, wait....

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  12. The gradualist approach was right to get us to this point Mutley. But it's time to move on. We had the vote and we lost.

    So we have a Base of 45%. If polls are correct the yes vote is at least 48%. We have a despised Tory party in power for at least 10 years. A disgraced prime minister. Austerity, foodbank increases, NHS cuts due to Westminster, renewal of Trident looming. Potential arch right winger Osborne taking over. This is our time. I think Symonds mistake was having the referendum at the end of the Tories term. It gave people false hope of change. We should go for it when people expect the Tories to be in power for 5 or 10 years. That's the escape route independence can offer.

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  13. I believe Mutley is wrong on this.

    The Scottish government could hold a consultative referendum any time they so choose, and as ever often as they see fit, even if it was not in the manifesto of the party/parties which forms the government. Expectations or best guess at the outcome of such a referendum can not be a bar on that consultation. One might question the wisdom of doing so at any given frequency, yet that is another arguement.

    Let's say the government chose to hold another in 2018, backed up by a manifesto commitment, and the vote was for independence. Westminster; would obviously challenge that in the courts, to have it declared unlawful. And here's the thing. Although I am no expert and merely offering an opinion. They would not challenge the SGs right to hold a referendum as that route would be likely to fail.

    The challenge would be that the plebicite had already been put before the people of Scotland less than seven years previously and constitutionally not valid. Although the UK does not have a written constitution, it has one none the less, and if the people of NI can only repeat a Border Poll only after seven years has passed it would follow that Scotland would only have the right to hold a constitutional referendum along similar rules.

    we may be in a State of four nations, having varying laws within each nation and different levels of devolved government... but, any state can have only one constitution.

    Indyref2 in 2021, and indyref3 in 2028 if required.

    As I say, I'm no expert ;-)

    Shagpile.

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    1. Of course, the arguement would be is the seven year rule part of the constitution or part of a bilateral treaty between the UK and ROI?

      Just thought I'd add that to my post.

      Shagpile.

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    2. A consultative referendum is consultative. It is not binding. So there would be nothing for the UK government to challenge. It would only become an issue if as a result of the referendum the Scottish government declared independence. And that is not going to happen.

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    3. It would be a mandate from the people of Scotland for the SG to commence negotiations for independence from the UK. The refusal to negotiate independence, may or may not lead to a declaration of UDI, yet more likely, there would be international pressure on Westminster to concede to the will of the people of Scotland.

      That's my view.

      Shagpile.

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    4. A consultative referendum would be boycotted by No voters. Not an option.

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    5. A consultative referendum is plainly inferior to a binding one, but to say it's not even an option is to give London an absolute veto on Scottish self-determination, and that's certainly not an option.

      I don't think there would be a boycott, actually - we're not talking about a Souter-style private ballot, or a Catalan-style illegal ballot.

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    6. Rubbish.

      However, I would like to see postal votes counted separately as a measure against fraud... on the basis that one would expect the ratio between yes and no to be similar.

      Yet as I've said above. Westminster's first reaction would be to go to the Courts. That act in itself would be tantamount to an acceptance of a properly conducted consultation.

      I understand unionist fear... polls trending they way they are 2021 is not too long to wait, and whatever the objection when NO looses. It will be the end of the UK.

      Shagpile. ;-)

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  14. Support for independence was 45% last year.Its probably a few points higher now.The SNP got 50% of the Westminster vote in May on a tsunami of enthusiasm.Why on earth are so many people so confident that the SNP will receive the level of support that current polls predict? I think there is a strong possibility that many unionists who currently say they'll vote SNP next May,but who voted for a unionist party last May,will do the same next May.Will the SNPs 100,000+ members step up to the mark? Will enough of them put in the work required to retain our majority in Holyrood?

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  15. I found it a difficult choice to make for the North East list. In the end I went for those already not holding a constituency seat at present. My local ones are not standing for the list.

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  16. James, the Yes/No question was deliberately designed to split the consensus "more powers" view in Scotland. That is what Westminster is REALLY scared of. And my God didn't it work well.

    Rightly or wrongly, 50%+1 is a pretty grim scenario in most people's eyes, however democratically righteous it undoubtedly is. People are much happier supporting something they know is a clear majority stand point. We instinctively seek safety in numbers when uncertain, and instinctively avoid conflict if we have a choice. Splitting the devo-more camp all but guaranteed a No victory.

    Indyref2 in the current climate would be nothing more than taking the same runny at the same brick wall we bounced off last year and will get a second bloody nose for Yes.

    As they say, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

    So instead, as we have been doing over the years, keep increasing the heat under the No-voting frogs. We use the power and influence we have at moment to keep chipping away, keep voting SNP in 2016, and in 2017, and over again. Keep arguing for more powers, never settle for less, and specifically, aim towards something the majority of Scotland is likely to accept: full fiscal autonomy.

    Once established, indy is not a big step from there. If Scotland is still not interested, then at least we'll have formed that opinion with our eyes open.

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