There's yet another "tactical voting on the list" (sic) article out today, this time from Fraser Stewart at Common Space. This is becoming incredibly repetitive, but I'll just briefly deal with his central claim...
"Thus, if a party was to win nine constituency seats in Glasgow, say, their second vote share would be reduced to one-tenth of the original figure. Large parties doing well on first votes systematically cannot do anywhere near as well on the list: a simple and effective reality of the d’Hondt method.
Yet many remain defiant to stand by the SNP on both constituency and list votes, in the face of this systemic impenetrability. Spoiler alert: if a pro-independence Holyrood is your ambition, both votes SNP can not and will not work."
The word "say" covers a multitude of sins. By definition we cannot possibly know how many constituency seats the SNP will win in any region until the votes are counted, by which point it's too late to do anything about your "tactical" vote on the list if all of your assumptions turn out to be wrong. But OK, let's "say" for the sake of argument that the SNP will clean up in the constituencies. The snag is that one-tenth of a huge numbers of votes is still a lot of votes, and will quite probably be a greater number than a small party like RISE has received. It may well meet the de facto threshold for winning at least one list seat in the region.
Suppose you and a friend are both SNP supporters, but are both avid fans of RISE press releases on Bella Caledonia, and are tempted by the idea of a "tactical vote on the list" (sic). Suppose you have second thoughts at the last minute and stick with the SNP, but your friend goes through with it and switches to RISE. The SNP win a list seat in spite of their list vote being divided by ten, while RISE receive a derisory vote and fall well short of the de facto threshold of 5%. Question : whose vote has "worked", and whose vote has been "wasted"?
By the way, if a pro-independence Holyrood was your aim in 2011, it may be news to you that "both votes SNP cannot work". We currently have an outright SNP majority, and it simply wouldn't have been won without list votes - if they'd been relying on constituency votes alone, the SNP would have fallen a whopping twelve seats short of the target of 65.
Oddly, the rest of Fraser's article moves on from "tactical voting", and instead makes the case that you shouldn't vote SNP on the list because it would be a really bad thing if the SNP won a huge majority. Er, haven't we just been told the system makes that impossible, and that SNP votes on the list won't even count? Jeez, get it sorted, guys...
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I thought I'd give a quick New Year's plug to this blog's Facebook page, because I know some people who only use the mobile version of the site may not be aware of its existence. Basically, if you 'like' the page, you'll see a link on your Facebook feed whenever I post here. So it shouldn't be too obtrusive! The link to the page is HERE.