Thursday, April 21, 2016

A different type of 'outer darkness'

Iain Macwhirter in the Herald -

"Though [John Curtice] has been cast into outer darkness along with the Sunday Herald for suggesting a vote for SNP on the list might be wasted in most regions..."

With all due respect to Iain, that is a load of utter tripe, and it's very difficult to believe he doesn't know that by now.  John Curtice is blameless in all of this, and if any supporter of the SNP did criticise him at the weekend, it was only because they were trusting enough to assume that the Sunday Herald must have reported his views accurately.

Facts are chiels that winna ding, an' a' that.  John Curtice wrote a very fair and balanced report in which he explained how 'tactical voting on the list' might be beneficial depending on how the election result turned out, but also how it could just as easily backfire.  In my view, that effectively made the case against tactical voting, because unless you know the election result in advance, the risks are always going to be there and must outweigh the relatively minor potential benefits.  But the best interpretation that the tactical voting lobby could reasonably have made of what Curtice said is that he sat firmly on the fence and gave equal weight to both sides of the argument.  Instead, and for reasons we can only guess at, the Sunday Herald piece told readers something that was flatly, verifiably untrue - that Curtice had advised independence supporters that they should not vote SNP on the list, and that they should instead vote Green or RISE.  (Ironically, if the newspaper had instead claimed that Curtice made the vastly downgraded assertion that Iain ascribes to him today - ie. that a list vote for the SNP merely "might" be wasted - there would never have been any problem.  That would have fallen on the 'spin' end of the spectrum, rather than the 'outright inaccuracy' end.)

Iain goes on to say this -

"I don't actually believe it is in the SNP's own best interest to continue to utterly dominate Holyrood. Those #bothvotesSNP enthusiasts who argue the SNP must pile up more and more votes and bigger and bigger landslides don't seem to know why they should want this."

Again, this is very odd.  It's not actually possible for the SNP to "continue to utterly dominate Holyrood", for the simple reason that they do not do so at the moment.  They have a tiny overall majority, and it was a near-miracle that they ever won it - the voting system was supposed to make any sort of majority almost impossible.  And that's precisely the motivation of the #bothvotesSNP "enthusiasts" - they realise, as John Curtice so wisely noted in his report, that if the polls are overstating the SNP's support, the party could need every last list vote simply to retain its slim majority.  It's not some sort of "luxury" or "indulgence" vote - it's a vote for an SNP majority government.

60 comments:

  1. Well said young man.

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  2. With the sad loss of Ian Bell we are left with the likes of Macwhirter. I'm glad I've stopped buying the Herald And Sunday Herald.

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  3. Ian Macwhirter, the man who, on his return North of the border said that he thought Scotland was "appallingly white" What a prime and disgraceful example of the Scottish cringe.
    The man is not to be trusted or believed.

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  4. Iain MacWhirter is a perfectly good journalist who is entitled to his opinions, even though I don't agree with them. I would be disappointed if he turned into a cheerleader for the government. Enough journalists fulfil that role for the London government. I always thought it was Greg Dyke of the BBC who called Scotland "appallingly white". Thanks for putting me right.

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  5. "Appallingly white" ,what the heck is that supposed to mean .

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  6. Mr Macwhirter seems to deploy unctious, non-fact based arguments in favour of his Uriah Heep style of so-called political an constitutional analysis.

    Perhaps, he is a lovely but misguided chap and no ad hominem attacks on him intended, but there seems to be guy little evidence of profound, incisive, fact-driven meat to his assertions.

    Is he wrestling unsuccessfully with his very own Dinosaur Extinction Moment along with his fellow Unionists (and Ms Dugdale, in particular)?

    Mr Bell outclassed him in terms of content and easily matched him in terms of literary form.

    The latter is sorely missed by me.

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    1. Iain MacWhirter was out for Yes in 2014.

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    2. @Rolfe

      Yes, but he is really a UK federalist, nothing wrong with that, but I think it is becoming increasingly obvious that Macwhirter was a reluctant Yes.

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    3. I think we knew that all along, nevertheless he chose independence when it was on offer. I don't think it's fair to call him a unionist in the same mould as Kezia.

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    4. He's made the mistake of being somewhat critical of the SNP recently. In some people's eyes - even if you supported Yes in 2014 - this makes you basically Michael Forsyth.

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    5. @Rolfe

      I did not call him a unionist in the mould of Kezia Dugdale.

      @Keaton

      There is nothing wrong with being critical of the SNP. Many SNP members have been critical of the leadership recently over land reform and other issues. But there is a difference between being critical and completely over exaggerating the criticism of Professor Curtice. I have not really seen much personal criticism of Curtice. Maybe I have missed something.

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  7. On the whole, I agree with this comment and people should refrain from vilification of those who present an opposing point of view. The 'NO' campaign got a lot of mileage out of what they termed the 'cybernat bullies."
    Mr MacWhirter is a 'hack' and I do not mean that in the pejoratively dismissive sense in which it is usually deployed and mainly by journalists themselves. A 'hack' is someone who can write in a range of registers and from varying perspectives. If someone is a political commentator and attempting to be even-handed and to present a balanced perspective to the reader, listener or viewer then such skill is a good thing. It is also important for commentators to challenge the perceptions and beliefs of members of their audience and this can evoke anger, especially if it was assumed that the commentator supported the same cause.
    There is little doubt that The Herald has swung markedly to the right in its editorial philosophy and that it is much more vociferously anti-independance compared to the relatively balanced approach it took during the referendum and its conditional support for NO. The type of columnists now getting a platform, Ms Hjul and Mesrs Torrance and MacLellan are overtly propagandist. Ian Bell has not been replaced - a difficult task, admittedly - but there are commentators with his perspective on things. The Graham Speirs/Angela Haggerty fiasco shone a light on the power changes taking place within the media group and have raised suspicions that The Sunday Herald and the National might be edging towards unionism of some sort, perhaps of a federal nature. The other sad fact about hacks (again, non-pejoratively) is that they have to earn a crust like the rest of us. It is probably artisan sourdough crust, but most are dependent on what is a substantially right wing owned media.

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  8. My reply was referring to the comment made by Iain

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  9. John Curtice is the real casualty here and I can't help but wonder if it is entirely coincidental that one of the few hitherto largely respected and authoritative voices regularly seen in and on mainstream media is being traduced at this particular moment from quite so many angles by people with a clearly stated objective; namely to split the SNP vote?

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    1. John Curtice isn't exactly standing up and telling the world that he has been misrepresented. But bear in mind that he is a unionist, personally, and perhaps he's not that bothered by the misrepresentation as he sees it's likely to be very helpful to the unionist cause.

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  10. "I don't actually believe it is in the SNP's own best interest to continue to utterly dominate Holyrood. Those #bothvotesSNP enthusiasts who argue the SNP must pile up more and more votes and bigger and bigger landslides don't seem to know why they should want this."

    And McWhirter doesn't give any reasons why he thinks it is bad for the SNP to have such 'dominance'. Or is his output merely the wittering of a hack (and I mean hack in the pejorative sense) trying to drum up some controversial copy?

    As James has stated above the SNP only has a "tiny majority", so if it utterly dominates Holyrood it is because the difference in quality between the SNP and the opposition politicians is so great. McWhirter will be suggesting next that the SNP should sit back and give the opposition a chance to express itself. I know, I know, that is just about as daft as his statement.

    And we SNP people are fully aware as to why we want a huge majority. It is to send messages to Westminster and the remaining YOONS that Independence is not going away. He and his ilk might be happy with Devolution WE are not.

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  11. There is a movement towards an independent Scotland.A shift.A process.Mr Macwhirter is a witness to it.He can be a part of it,party to it,if he chooses.I don't really mind if he does or not.It will all come to pass with or without him.We don't need everyone's support,only enough support.He has to write articles.Thats his job.He's reasonably good at it.He's made a bit of a cock up here as James has pointed out in the article above.Thats his problem.

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  12. "Those #bothvotesSNP enthusiasts who argue the SNP must pile up more and more votes and bigger and bigger landslides don't seem to know why they should want this."

    I'm sorry Ian, but I know exactly why I want this.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 21, 2016 at 5:36 PM

      You want a situation where there is no opposition and scrutiny. It is called a dictatorship. The SNP will dictate to the Majority who voted NO and have various allegiances to different parties. This is what you Nat sis are about.

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  13. "With all due respect to Iain, that is a load of utter tripe, and it's very difficult to believe he doesn't know that by now. John Curtice is blameless in all of this, and if any supporter of the SNP did criticise him at the weekend, it was only because they were trusting enough to assume that the Sunday Herald must have reported his views accurately."

    I lost any respect for Macwhirter a log time ago. I ceased buying the Sunday Herald last July as I just cant swallow Tom Gordon and Hutcheon. Now that Ian Bell has sadly passed away why would anybody buy it?

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  14. "cast into outer darkness"? Never would've taken Iain for a D&D fan. Or maybe he just reads a lot of Lovecraft?

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    1. Both votes Cthulhu (laughs)

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    2. Rolls a critical hit on d20, no saving throw allowed!

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  15. RE your first point, I think you put too much weight on the health warning that Curtice gives. Professionally of course he always would advise this, but let’s not forget the figures he was working from were not some numbers he dreamed up in the pub after work. He has calculated the average swing over a number of polls to/ from each party and put that against the 2011 results. Will he get it completely right? No I don’t think he will, and I don’t suppose he thinks so either. But how wrong? How many errors (kind of important after the disaster that was the last WM election for pollsters, apart from Curtice J that is)?
    The examplar he works from is the Lothian Regional List 2011, modified by swing since then. This is the section, of course that was the basis of the rammy (as an aside, let me say that the SH's use of this was little short of disgraceful, and your earlier post pointing out their errors in detail was excellent). But James, in 2011 the SNP won 8 of the 9 constituency seats in Lothian (only Malcolm Chisholm survived for Labour - and what do you think his 'personal vote' might have been?) and had a regional list vote of 39%, just short of the 41% that Curtice forecast for them next month. In 2011 they won no regional list seats - nada, none at all - just as Curtice forecasts for next month.
    The reason for this is that is how the electoral system is set up - any party that does particularly well on the constituency roundabout loses on the regional list swings. And the better they do on the roundabout the less well they do on the swings. Remember, in 2011 the SNP won 53 constituency seats, but "only" 16 on regional list. Since then their situation has become even stronger - their vote in 2011 in the constituencies was 45%. When did you last see a poll that put the SNP that low on the constituency vote?

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    1. Sorry, what? I'm giving too much weight to Curtice's "health warning"? What health warning? He doesn't give a health warning. He offers three distinct scenarios - one in which the current opinion polls are exactly in line with the actual election result, and two in which they aren't. At no point does he say which of those scenarios he thinks is more likely. The idea that two of those scenarios are nothing more than health warnings slapped on the third is ludicrous.

      And please understand this - he absolutely, categorically DOES NOT "forecast" anything. That word is totally inappropriate, as is "predict". All he does is PROJECT a seat outcome from the current polls, which are simply snapshots of public opinion before an election, and may not even be accurate snapshots. There's no question (to address the point in your second comment below) of Curtice being proved "right" or proved "wrong" - because a projection isn't a prediction.

      And I think you really, really are going to have to try harder to justify your crazy suggestion that people should vote tactically for RISE or Solidarity. Surely you understand that those two parties are very likely to fall well below the threshold, and that tactical votes for them might as well be thrown straight in the bin?

      And what if the SNP win fewer than 65 constituency seats? What then? Where's the safety net in this masterplan? Answer : there isn't one.

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    2. What I meant by a health warning - as I am sure you know - is that the polls may well not be exactly correct.
      Leaving aside your play with words - Ronnie Barker was good at that as well, but "fork handles" at least had the merit of being funny - though that you actually come within a whisker of saying that Curtice is not saying anything about what might happen in the future does come pretty close. Of course Curtice would never say he is making an absolutely 100% bang on prediction - there are always margins of error for instance. But he is talking about real possibilities. So please lets give up the sophistry - it wont win any seats, constituency or otherwise. Or do you really think that Curtice is not talking about possibilities in the future that do not have any kind of close approximation to what might actually happen. You might have saved us both a lot of time by reading and understanding me when I wrote "Will he get it completely right? No I don’t think he will, and I don’t suppose he thinks so either. But how wrong? How many errors (kind of important after the disaster that was the last WM election for pollsters, apart from Curtice J that is)? " - last sentence paragraph 1.
      On the other hand, what I did not write was that people should vote tactially for RISE or Solidariy, what I did argue was that people should vote Green/ Rise/ Solidarity, and added "It would be better if some though had gone to this many months ago to get a single beneficiary, but much too late now". Not quite the same, is it James? But at least you are consistent.
      If the SNP dont win 65 constituency seats, would they win enough regional list seats to get a majority? Remember how the system works is that the more constituency seats you get the more you get squeezed on regional list, even if your votes for both are about equal. In 2007 the SNP won 21 constituencies and 26 constituencies, but in 2011 it was 53 and 16. As Curtice shows with a 41% regional list vote in Lothian they would win no regional list seats if they have won all the constituencies (they won 8 in 2011 btw). What his figures also show is that if they win all the seats the SNP regional list vote would have to be north of 60% - as things stand that is more than bothvotesSNP.

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    3. Jesus. It really is like talking to a brick wall. Yes, Alasdair, I understood exactly what game you were playing with the silly phrase "health warning" - you were trying to pretend that TWO of the scenarios Curtice painted should, for some unspecified reason, be treated much less seriously than the third.

      What I genuinely don't understand, though, is whether you really don't know the difference between the meanings of the words "projected" and "predicted", or whether you're just pretending not to. "Fork handles" - give me strength. I suggest you either drop the silly pretence or consult a dictionary (delete as applicable).

      "people should vote Green/ Rise/ Solidarity, and added "It would be better if some though had gone to this many months ago to get a single beneficiary, but much too late now".

      Would you listen to yourself, man? "Yeah, just go ahead and vote RISE or Solidarity. Your vote will be totally wasted, but don't worry, I've dreamed up a spurious reason why someone else will be to blame for that."

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    4. I can read a dictionary, and there it is clear that both are about events that could happen in the future.
      Where do I recommend vote RISE or Solidarity? I refer to them as two of three possibilities for SNP voters to vote for. I note you keep missing out the Greens in this wee tantrum (actually its them I am likely to vote for on the list) - can we imply from their omission (twice now) that James Kelly might think if you really are not going to vote twice for the SNP that it might just be ok to vote Green? Not a prediction, and not a projection, just a thought (based on your omission).
      Btw, I post a good deal on the Herald website, and generally when the personal abuse gets rolled out, it usually reflects a weakness in argument by the other side.

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    5. "I can read a dictionary, and there it is clear that both are about events that could happen in the future."

      Now who's resorting to sophistry, and playing with words? Pathetic, Alastair. Utterly pathetic. Clearly the answer to my question is that you do know the difference between the two words perfectly well, and were pretending not to.

      "Where do I recommend vote RISE or Solidarity?"

      When you said this : "what I did argue was that people should vote Green/ Rise/ Solidarity".

      Do you have any other easy questions?

      "can we imply from their omission (twice now) that James Kelly might think if you really are not going to vote twice for the SNP that it might just be ok to vote Green?"

      The omission is deliberate, and what you can imply from it is that there isn't the same overwhelming evidence that a "tactical" list vote for the Greens would be completely wasted. That's not to say for a moment that it's a remotely sensible idea for SNP supporters to "tactically" vote Green (it's not, for the reasons I've given umpteen times), but it's not quite as daft as voting "tactically" for RISE, which is almost guaranteed to be a wasted vote. It's a difference of degree, and I think most people can understand that concept perfectly easily.

      Last, but not least, Alasdair, and listen to this very carefully if you want to post here again in future : DO NOT play the silly game that you're attempting to play with your final sentence. Just don't do it. You know perfectly well that I have not said anything personally abusive towards you. If you make that allegation again without supplying some kind of proof of the supposed "abuse", your comment will be deleted as soon as I see it. I am sick to the back teeth of having my time wasted by that kind of nonsense.

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  16. Part 2
    In short, it is not just that the polls are pointing to an SNP dominance of the constituency seats – in fact few of them (by which I mean none that I can think of, but I am leaving my options open) have forecast less than 64. Curtice goes for 70. Of course there will be exceptions (the Labour MSP like Chisholm who can hang on because of the personal respect his constituents have for him/her, no matter which party they belong to), but how likely is it that there will be enough?
    And lastly, it does seem to me that there is a logical error here. First of all no one that I know of – not even Tommy Sheridan – is arguing that first votes should go to anyone other than the SNP candidate. That is totally and utterly clear. The issue is what to do with the second vote. Let’s suppose that Curtice is right (or as near damn it) and the SNP get 54% on the constituency vote. Let’s suppose too that #bothvotesSNP works 100% and their regional list vote is 54%. Let’s then put that into table 3 of Curtice’s paper. If we make the somewhat unrealistic cet. par. assumption beloved of economists, the SNP would still not win a single seat, for Labour take the last regional list seat with 6%. The SNP regional list vote would have to be much greater than 54%. Of course it is not that much and seriously unlikely to be even any more, meaning that the main beneficiaries are the Unionist parties.
    It does seem to me that the arguments being put up by yourself, Derek Bateman and Stuart Campbell (among others) are really not helpful. The SNP seem set to dominate the constituency seats. Last year they got 50% of the vote – Curtice is suggesting 54% - even taking margin of error into account that would still be an increase, even if de mnimis 1%. Proportionately their 56 of 59 WM seats would be 69.29 Holyrood seats. With that number of constituency seats they will struggle to get many regional list seats and may even end up with none at all. That is how the system works.
    Is a better strategy – from the pov of independence – not to advise first vote SNP, but second vote Green/ Rise / Solidarity. It would be better if some though had gone to this many months ago to get a single beneficiary, but much too late now. However, reverting again to Curtice’s paper, if 0.6% of the SNP regional list vote were to vote Green we would have Andy Wightman in Holyrood rather than Sarah Boyack. It might be that this produces results at the margins, but as they say in the Tesco ads, “every little helps”.

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  17. Never bought into splitting my vote.Though I was tempted to vote for Margo last time round. SNPx2.

    @ alistair galloway. Malcolm is standing down. The Labour const. cand. is Lesley Hines, formerly Lord Provost. I live in Leith, and she had a high profile in the local NO THANKS campaign. I don't rate her chances.

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    1. indeed he is. My point was that I think he had a personal vote strong enough to "save" him. I suspect too that you are right about the former LP. But if the SNP do win every Lothian seat it makes it more unlikely they will achieve anything on the regional list.

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    2. As Michael says above I've never been tempted to split my vote. Honestly can't see why I'd want to vote for my 2nd choice when my first choice is available. I consider the list vote as like an insurance policy, if your favoured party loses the constituency the list vote should work to restore, within limits, proportionality. Of course that won't work if for SNP supporters if they split their votes every which way on the list as the unionists hope that we will.

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    3. Why would you want to split your vote? As I pointed out in Lothian, if, on the basis of Curtice's figures, even just 0.6% (zero point six percent) of SNP regional list voters voted green they would get Andy Wightman rather than Sarah Boyack. What's not to like? Alternatively they could vote SNP, feel virtuous and get Sarah Boyack. Of course Curtice and all the others might be wrong - I would not go to the scaffold to defend my comment about 0.6% switching - but I cannot see them being so wrong as to invalidate the argument.
      Also, you make the point yourself - the SNP should focus on winning the constituencies, as they almost certainly will. How voters use their second vote will have no impact on who wins the constituencies, and with the SNP having 50% of the vote last May, and forecasts of anywhere from 54 to 60% it looks practically certain that they will.
      Please try to explain this to me - what is so virtuous about voting twice for the SNP when its practically certain the second vote precisely no one? There is the alternative of Green, or RISE or Solidarity which would at least be another independence minded MSP, even if not SNP. I just dont get it (maybe because I am not a party member?)

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    4. Since I'm in Edinburgh Western let's consider carefully my first hand experience of the campaign to date in the area of the constituency I live in. I'll split it into constituency and list vote, you'll see why in a minute.

      Constituency
      SNP: reasonably high profile
      LD: half the Amazon rain forest sent in leaflets - wonder who's funding that
      Labour and Tories: giving the LDs a clear run as the unionist candidate
      Greens, Rise, UKIP: nothing, nada, zilch

      List
      SNP: reasonably high profile
      Tories: half the Amazon rain forest sent in leaflets - wonder who's funding that
      Labour and LD: giving the Tories a clear run as the unionist candidate
      Greens, Rise, UKIP: nothing, nada, zilch

      In this context, with respect to my constituency, your plan could result in no pro independence constituency MSP (if the unionists get their act together as they appear to be doing) and no pro independence list MSP in compensation (if not enough SNP voters switch to Green as seems likely).

      Even ignoring the nightmare scenario above your proposition, that it is worth me risking losing out on a constituency SNP MSP for the chance of gaining a Green list MSP, depends on an SNP MSP being exactly interchangeable with a Green MSP. Which is simply not the case.

      Finally, to gain independence we will need to beat Westminster. Westminster can't be beaten by a fractured/ splintered independence movement.

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    5. Could non-SNP voters please, just for once, put themselves in the shoes of a SNP supporter? All I want is a SNP majority - I don't care what else happens - except to say good luck to the other pro-indy parties. Everyone is telling me that the SNP are "seem certain to dominate"....."practically certain" to achieve a majority from the constituencies. The operative words in all such phrases are "seem" and "practically". To someone like myself, for whom a SNP majority is "the thing and all of the thing", this isn't nearly good enough. Until someone can state that the SNP are "certain" or "WILL dominate", I will be voting SNP on the pink ballot, to insure against the "possibility" (no matter how small) that they don't. Please understand.....for SNP voters, the first priority is a SNP majority, the second priority is a SNP majority, the third priority is a SNP majority, the fourth..........

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    6. Sorry but I am finding it hard to understand what it is you are trying to say here.
      You seem to imagine that if folk put their second (regional list vote) to a party that is not the SNP that this will put the constituency result in some doubt. Can you explain that to me.
      I am certainly not suggesting that anyone should do other, in your constituency, than vote for Toni Giugliano, particularly as he is the only independence minded candidate.
      I am in Dumbarton and we have to vote out Jackie Baillie, and I will certainly be voting for our SNP candidate to do my bit to achieve that,. My one regret is that she is likely to get back via the regional list, as she is first on Labour's West of Scotland list. However, should we not then use our second vote to maximise the number of independence minded Regional List MSPs.
      So, to address your penultimate paragraph, I am saying NOTHING that puts the constituency vote for Giugliano, or any other SNP candidate at risk. First vote should go to the SNP - no ifs, no buts, no caveats, no nothing. My argument follows Curtice - that if the SNP do really well on the constituency vote, then they are likely to win very few regional list seats, so does it not make sense to transfer your vote on the second regional list vote?
      You are right that a Green MSP is not the same as an SNP MSP, but would a Green Regional List MSP not be better than a Labour Regional List MSP?
      Lastly, I agree with you about needed to beat WM and that it cannot be done with a fractured/ splintered indy movement - but that indy movement might be better for being a single party, just as the indy movement in Catalonia is not just a single party.

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    7. Actually, the fragmentation in Catalonia has turned out to be a weakness, not a strength. That's just an aside, though - my main objection to your lengthy posts is that you've misunderstood Curtice's report, and are making truly heroic assumptions about the election result to make the case for tactical voting for fringe parties, two of which are unlikely to win even one seat.

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    8. NO I dont think I have misunderstood what Curtice said. As I wrote before the SH misrepresented him - no problem between us there. But I would seriously suggest that you read his conclusion
      "Even though the party could conceivably win a higher share of the vote than it managed last May, the SNP will not sweep the parliamentary board."
      "a party that wins, say, 20% of the vote, can expect to win around 20% of the seats, even if it fails to win any constituency seats at all"
      " A party that is very successful in the constituency contests may secure more than its proportionate share of seats, and thereby secure an overall majority it otherwise would not have won. At the same time the
      supporters of such a party can find themselves faced with a tactical dilemma—whether to support their preferred party on the list vote given that doing so may do nothing to add to its tally of seats."
      Ah, but its only a projection, so never mind!
      Sorry to be repetitive but I actually not only dont recommend voting RISE or Solidarity specifically, but voting for Green/ Rise/ Solidarity, adding for good measure that things would be better if we had got a single beneficiary sorted some time ago. I also point out following Curtice's table 3, that if this is proven correct (please note the use of "if" James) then 0.6% would see Andy Wightman elected rather than Sarah Boyack on the last round.
      Lastly sorry to have gone at such length, but this is a bit more complex than #bothvotesSNP

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    9. "I consider the list vote as like an insurance policy"

      That's the way I see it too. Back-up votes if the SNP falls short on the constituency, possibly due to tactical unionist voting.

      I would like to see a few more Green MSPs, but an SNP majority comes first.

      I am assuming the SNP will win on average 7 out of 9 constituency seats in each region, to give 63 seats, leaving a further 3 needed on the list - which may not be possible if the SNP list vote fell to around 40% due to tactical voting.

      And if that lost vote was split between 3 parties, then perhaps they could all just fall just short of the threshold needed for list seats.

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    10. 7 out of 9 would be 56 - or 3 more than 2011. On the other hand no better than 2015 would be 69. Why the long face, as Stuart Adamson asked in a Big Country CD

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  18. None of us knows the exact ramifications should some of us choose to vote for a party other than the SNP in the Regional vote. It might work to the advantage of unionist parties just as much as small pro-indy parties. Why risk it? Voting SNP x 2 might well seem frightfully boring to britnat journalists anxious to see the tiniest of chinks in the SNP armour but why should we care about the interests of britnat journalists? They certainly don't give a damn about Scotland's interests.

    Boring of me, I know, but it has to be SNP x 2.

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  19. Has anybody done a serious analysis of tactical/split voting amongst the Yoons on the Regional lists? It just seems to me that they are all fighting over what is a declining vote. I haven't heard many shouts for a tactical Yoon vote on the Regional lists or constituency seats.

    We haven't had it seems to me anything like the botched attempt at the tactical anti SNP voting orchestrated by the Yoon Press and Media at last years GE. The Tories of Eastwood certainly gave the Murph the big thumbs down at that election.

    Would any such attempted campaign work as the last one spectacularly failed. Will there be any cross Party canvassing etc amongst the Yoons like there was at last years GE? Has anybody seen or heard of any?

    I look at it this way. The SNP vote lead in the opinion polls is so huge that any attempted Yoon tactical voting would fail. Where it did succeed due to that particular constituency having a large number of slavish Yoons that would only serve to add to the SNP picking up an extra Regional seat in all probability.

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    1. Given current polling, I suspect the war of nerves playing out between Labour and Conservatives would rule out much tactical voting. Get it wrong and run the risk that your party hauls in in third place. The LibDem vote is about as low as it's going to get, so there won't be much for either party to try targeting.

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  20. I am no mathematician or statistician so please can I make a very simple case for Both votes SNP? Surely when the voting is done someone at SNP headquarters will sit and count up actual votes in the Constituency and Region? Never mind d'Hondt just actual physical votes. They can then compare that to actual votes for every other party and see if they have the foundation of the case for a new referendum. That is why it has to be both votes SNP for a majority.

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  21. Mcwhirter's opinions and beliefes have as much consistency as overcooked spaghetti.

    He cannot make up his mind whether he wants Devo Max, FFA or independence. It varies week by week. Will the real Mcwhirter please stand up.

    Imagine you had a friend who one week wholeheartedly agreed with you. Then the next week he's arguing black is white. You would just stop listening to him. I think he sounds like a Libdem.Any way the wind blows.

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  22. James, a new Survation poll for the Record released. SNP on 53% for Constituency and 43% for the list. A 35% lead on the Constituency vote.

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    1. Not much change since the last poll, so may be margin of error.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2April 22, 2016 at 1:33 AM

      Marcia, a margin of error is very important in the scheme of life for the working classes. We think constantly about this error.

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  23. I hear there is more outer darkness on the way for SLAB!

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  24. All those decades that Scotland sent poor Labour career politicians and a great deal of Labour deadwood. Votes "weighed" and not counted. The feeble 50 accepted their entitlement to represent Scotland.

    Never once did I hear a concern raised about their dominance of the vote count. The name was socialist, the words were socialist but the votes and acts were Tory.

    Why did no voice in the media demand a wider representation? I heard no calls to replace FPTP with a fairer voting system.

    Generations insulted by the decline of Scottish Industry as they embraced membership of the Westminster club and HofL pomp.

    It was a Labour MP who delayed Holyrood for a generation for his unionist masters.

    At least the dominant party now is Scottish and competent.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 22, 2016 at 1:17 AM

      So were the Third Reich!

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  25. Glasgow Working Class 2April 22, 2016 at 12:56 AM

    A lot of long winded comments on this thread. Be reminded the Scots voted to remain in the Union. It was the first and only time since 1707 the Scots got a vote.

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    1. This statement is wrong. Westminster voted on the repeal of The Treaty of Union and the union was preserved by a single vote. Rusty on the acual details, yet the Scottish Lord which lead the call for repeal was the main voice for union in the first place. Yet one point is certain, this vote was (by any definition) taken well within a generation. :D

      Shagpile.

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    2. Don't feed the troll.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2April 22, 2016 at 6:51 PM

      Fur goodness sake I am talking about the people getting a vote not feudal landlords.

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  26. Oh dear! What the Daily Record is describing as a 'Shock Poll' sees the Labour party trail the Tories in Scotland!

    It must be devastating for Labour strategists, to see Kez's personal popularity ratings, decline as the campaign progresses.

    Prof Curtice mentions that there does not seem to be anything that Labour can do over the remainder of the campaign to bolster their vote, so this leaves them with a dilemma...

    Do nothing and come third, or pull a desperate 'rabbit out of the hat'

    Knowing Labour as we do, you can bet they will try the Rabbit pulling approach, but knowing Kez as we do, you can bet that whatever the strategists dream up, Kez will somehow manage to turn the announcement into a 'monumental cluster*&*%'

    Get your popcorn ready folks, and perhaps a few spare pairs of undercrackers as well, cos we just may be about to have one hell of a laugh at the Monster Raving Labour Party.

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  27. I genuinely don't get why some people rant and rave about people like Curtice. He doesn't necessarily get everything right (who does) but he's a fairly mild-mannered academic who has a pretty incredible track record/level of experience if you break it down.

    Some people really do want to see a conspiracy everywhere they look.

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  28. Glasgow Working Class 2April 22, 2016 at 6:58 PM

    It is obvious to everyone that Labour is trailing the combined Nat si Tartan Tory and Blue Tory vote. It is clear Scotland has moved to the right with the majority of Scots peeling an orange in their pockets and not wanting to pay tax to help the poor. So much for socialist Scottish claptrap we have had to endure for decades. The Jocks are as greedy as their neighbours.

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