You've got to hand it to the Greens' former PR man James Mackenzie, he's brazen if nothing else. He's updated his Better Nation blog for only the second time since October (so it's probably safe to say that something is really bugging him), and his main aim seems to be to convince us all that his pre-election "predictions" about wasted SNP list votes were not in fact the cynically misleading propaganda claims that the election result demonstrated them to be, but were somehow proved accurate. Specifically, he prays in aid this tweet about the final Ipsos-Mori poll of the campaign in late April -
"And, as with previous polls, this would see the SNP win list seats only in Highlands and Islands and South."
Which, of course, sounds uncannily accurate unless you bother to take the obvious step of checking what came before the "and"...
"The three questions for this election would be answered thus: another SNP majority, Tories beating Labour, Greens beating Lib Dems."
Ah. I see. So the whole basis for Mackenzie's "prediction" that the SNP would not win list seats in six out of eight regions was that they would win an overall majority on constituency seats alone. To state the bleedin' obvious, that isn't even close to what actually happened. In reality, the SNP fell well short of winning 65 constituency seats - but they would have been compensated for that on the list if their share of the list vote had help up. Instead, it fell. With 44% of the list vote in 2011, the SNP were topped up with list seats until they reached 69 seats overall. With 42% of the list vote in 2016, they were only topped up to 63 seats - two short of a majority. That small drop made a big difference. And why did it happen? Ooooh, we can only speculate, but one obvious possibility is the sustained propaganda campaign (from the Greens, RISE, Solidarity, and parts of both the mainstream and alternative media) that sought to persuade people that SNP list votes would be wasted no matter how many of them there were.
Mackenzie can huff and puff about "correctly predicting" that the SNP would fail to win list seats in six out of eight regions, but the reality is that this was an aim successfully realised, not a passive prediction. None of us ever said that the SNP would win a barrel-load of list seats if there weren't enough SNP list votes. The whole point we were making is that there was a path to an SNP overall majority, even without 65 constituency seats - but only if enough people voted SNP on the list. A comparison between the 2011 and 2016 results demonstrates that point to be indisputably true. Mackenzie and others used the false claims about the voting system to successfully reduce the SNP list vote and to strip Nicola Sturgeon of her overall majority. No-one can doubt that he's extremely pleased about doing that, because it was in his own party's best interests, but is he proud of misleading people to get what he wanted? I suspect he probably is, actually. For an ideological zealot like Mackenzie (I've never come across anyone else quite like him in Scottish politics), the end often justifies the means.
Elsewhere, he completely misrepresents the concerns that have been raised about the Edinburgh Central result -
"There’s been a moderate amount of mumping and moaning from the wilder fringes of Nat-dom online about the Greens’ candidacy in Edinburgh Central. Those were our 4,644 votes, they say, and we’d have held Central if the Greens hadn’t stood the wonderful Alison Johnstone."
Sorry, but who the hell has been saying that the Greens' votes in Edinburgh Central were "ours"? The only claim I've heard anyone make is one that is, again, utterly indisputable - that if the Greens had followed exactly the same practice in Edinburgh Central that they did in virtually every other constituency in Scotland, Ruth Davidson would not have been elected a constituency MSP (thus depriving the Tories of a propaganda coup), and the SNP would have been only one seat short of a majority, not two. And as it happens, we wouldn't have been deprived of Alison Johnstone's "wonderfulness" anyway, because she would still have been elected on the list. It was perfectly legitimate for the Greens to stand a candidate wherever they liked and for whatever reason they liked, but it's a cop-out for them not to acknowledge that the decision to stand in that particular constituency has had certain consequences for the pro-independence movement. Perhaps they feel that an election is every man or woman for themselves, and every party for itself - but if they do feel that, why did they spend so much time lecturing SNP voters about putting the movement first by switching to a different party on the list? They really can't have it both ways.
Incidentally, don't even bother to alert Mackenzie to this blogpost. He won't address the substance of what I've said - he'll just boast that he isn't going to read it, but then still attempt to delegitimise it as the ramblings of a "misogynistic Wings-loving tube/zoomer/rocket". If you've ever wondered why dyed-in-the-wool left-wingers like myself would think twice about voting Green even if the SNP didn't exist, look no further than the abusive Mr Mackenzie.
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UPDATE : In the comments section below, someone has objected to the notion that the RISE/Solidarity end of the propaganda campaign could possibly have contributed to the loss of the SNP's majority, because RISE and Solidarity "didn't actually receive any votes". This is another myth that needs to be knocked on the head. As poorly as they performed, those two parties in combination received 1.1% of the list vote - up from 0.6% five years ago. The SNP's list vote only fell by 2.3%, so the vote-splitting message from the radical left can conceivably explain a fair chunk of that drop.
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Kezia Dugdale has called upon the SNP to make a positive case for remaining in Europe, instead of complaining about the UK government making a negative case. Today I'm calling on Kezia Dugdale to make a positive case about why the SNP are bad, rather than complaining about the SNP's complaints.
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There's talk that the Leave campaign are deeply unhappy that Nigel Farage has been invited to put the anti-EU case in two high-profile TV debates, and that's entirely understandable. Even when George Galloway took part in the indyref debate in the Hydro and made the fraudulent promise of "Devo Super Max" if Scotland voted No, he did so (incredibly) as the official nominated representative of Better Together. So it does seem odd that the designated Leave campaign can't choose its own spokespeople for the most important debates. But what I find most interesting is Farage's own motivation for taking up the invites. It must be one of two things - either a) he doesn't care about losing the referendum as long as his own profile is boosted, or b) he genuinely doesn't have enough self-awareness to realise that Leave is less likely to win if he refuses to take a back seat.