Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A plea to both sides of the "game the system" debate - stop using misleading terminology that will increase the risk of independence supporters spoiling their ballots by mistake

I was reading the Barrhead Boy blog yesterday, and just for a moment or two I thought I felt my ears burning.  But then I realised that "one blogger in particular" probably referred to Peter A Bell and not myself.

"The glass half empty brigade are having the time of their lives. One blogger in particular who for years has been demanding that the SNP and Movement needs to stop playing by Westminster rules and do things differently has gone full circle. No, no, we must keep voting SNP 1 2 he cries we need to keep doing the exact same things I said for years weren’t working."

I'm not sure off the top of my head whether Mr Bell does use language like "SNP 1 & 2", but I would once again urge people on both sides of this debate to stop doing so.  That would actually be in everyone's interests, because we live in a country that uses three different voting systems for different elections (until Brexit it was four), which means there's plenty of room for dangerous confusion.  Voters have become familiar with using numbers to vote in STV elections for local councils, and if we say it's possible to vote "SNP 1 & 2" for Holyrood, they might just take us literally and put those numbers on the ballot paper.  The last thing we need is a disproportionately high number of spoilt ballots from independence supporters.

In a way I can understand why the "game the system" lobby are willing to risk sowing that confusion, though, because "SNP 1 & 2" gives the false impression that the list vote is a sort of "second preference" vote - which they might hope will lead people to feel that the SNP are being "greedy" in "hoarding" those votes.  The reality is that the Additional Member System is not a preferential system, and the expectation in all countries that use it is that the vast majority of people will vote for the same party on both ballots.  The only reason for having two ballots in the first place is to give the voter some discretion to vote tactically or for a favoured individual on the constituency ballot.  For example, a Green supporter in Edinburgh Central at the last election might have concluded that their party had little chance in the constituency vote, and so could have voted for the SNP to attempt to keep Ruth Davidson out, safe in the knowledge that they would still be voting Green on the really important ballot - ie. the list ballot.  The composition of the whole parliament is roughly proportional to how people vote on the list ballot, not the constituency ballot - and for that reason people should always vote for their first-choice party on the list.

As an SNP slogan once put it, "with the constituency vote you're choosing an MSP, with the list vote you're choosing a government".  There's more than a grain of truth in that.

I've thought once or twice recently about responding to the commentary on Barrhead Boy about the possibility of gaming the system, because to be perfectly frank it's contained half-truths, wild conspiracy theories and a skipload of wishful thinking.  However, as I said yesterday, it seems to me that the belief that there's a way of "hacking" AMS is like crack cocaine for some people, and once they're addicted they effectively become immune to rational argument.  One thing I do want to address, though, is the repeated claim that a "voting system that makes it virtually impossible for a single party to govern on its own" is some kind of weird aberration that could only have come about due to a conspiracy by the British state against independence.   What Barrhead Boy appears to be talking about here is simply proportional representation, which is the norm across the entire continent of Europe - the UK is practically the only European country that doesn't use it for national elections.  The idea that reverting to first-past-the-post would represent some kind of national liberation from London tyranny is, let's be honest, completely nuts and doesn't stand up to more than a moment's scrutiny.

I know it's part of Yes mythology that the Holyrood voting system was chosen to stitch up the SNP, but as far as I can see that belief is based on a single-word response by Jack McConnell at a press conference many years ago.  Would we take McConnell's word as gospel on any other subject?  It may well be that concerns over an SNP majority government made it easier for the Lib Dems to persuade Labour to accept the case for proportional representation, but the bottom line is that it's quite simply a superior system to first-past-the-post and it empowers the voter more.  It actually doesn't prevent voters from choosing a single-party majority government, but it does mean that the party in question will need something close to a majority of the votes to get into that happy situation, which is exactly as it should be.  You basically get whatever you vote for - there's no extra bang for your buck by voting for a smaller party, and indeed in many cases there's less bang for your buck, because if you vote for a fringe party that doesn't hit 5% or 6% of the list vote in your region, you might as well have abstained.

In truth, AMS has worked out pretty well for the independence movement - it delivered an SNP majority government in 2011 on a minority vote, and it also delivered a pro-independence majority in 2016 on a minority vote.  In 2007 it gave us an SNP minority government when first-past-the-post would have given us a Labour majority government.  And in 1999 and 2003 it ensured that the SNP opposition to the Labour-Lib Dem coalition was far stronger than would have been the case under first-past-the-post.  In those days, the vast majority of pro-independence seats were list seats, and it was the unionists who used to complain about those MSPs being "unelected".  Barrhead Boy seems to think that unionists have an in-built advantage because their vote is split between multiple parties, but the complete opposite is true - it's the SNP's dominance of the pro-indy vote that has led to the combined forces of Yes being slightly over-represented in recent years.

Barrhead Boy also uses a number of dubious examples to support his theory that it will somehow be possible for a fringe party to come out of nowhere and win loads of list seats.  The dodgiest example of all is -

"Have they forgotten that the SNP went from 6 to 56 MPs in one election?"

Yup, you're away ahead of me here.  That's an apples-and-oranges comparison because it happened under first-past-the-post.  The 2015 surge was a remarkable phenomenon, no question, but if the election had been conducted under proportional representation, the SNP's seat numbers would only have increased from around 12 to around 30.


  1. I absolutely understand the discussions around the Holyrood voting system and the risks in splitting the vote etc.

    But I think the real subtext in these discussions is not "let's discuss the nuances of the Holyrood voting system", more so "let's discuss what we do if the SNP don't know what they're doing".

    If the SNP don't have a clear plan B then the independence voter might want their own Plan B.

    1. White rose rising, may answer your question. https://m.facebook.com/whiteroserising

    2. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 10:38 AM

      We already have a majority in Holyrood for independence/mandate. The Scot parliament has voted twice for a referendum so just what difference will a slightly bigger majority make. They vote again for a referendum with a few more MSPs voting for it and nothing happens again. Just exactly how does that achieve Scottish independence.

  2. Thank you again James for another great blog . Looks as though that SNP slogan needs to be printed again on all SNP pamphlets. I would also like to add that the unionist parties will exploit fully the divisions on either side of this debate and we need persuasive people like you to counteract their claims.
    The Scot Gov's handling of the Covid pandemic has done more than anything else in recent years in converting previous voters hostile to Independence to now wanting it. With a No Deal looming and increasing divergence from England on handling of the pandemic is only going to increase this number.You also only need to listen to the language that ScotGov is using at the daily briefings to realize that when the virus is at a low level and under control they will move onto the political issues of independence.

  3. IMO the SNP does have a plan and we could be looking at the perfect storm ahead to see it implemented.
    A no-deal Brexit is the preferred outcome for the incompetents running the UK.
    Scotland's path will become clear in the months ahead.
    Sad to read Ruth Wishart in the National implying the SNP were just warming the Westminster benches.
    I've never been prouder of Scotland's MP's after the debate on the plight of the Glasgow asylum seekers.
    Also notable was the paucity of the contribution from the GB Labour Party.
    The Tory minister was Roasted time and again by our SNP MP's.
    Think again Ruth.

    1. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 10:28 AM

      Ramstan - Scotland's path will become clearer in the months ahead.

      I've heard that a lot over the last few years.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. James, your remarks about cocaine addiction and immunity to rational argument are very apt. It's like playing "whack-a-mole". They raise an argument. You demonstrate the fallacy it contains. They raise another argument, you squash it. Up pops another argument. Never ever a concession that the point has been disproven.

    Sadly, they either stop commenting on that thread (only to pop up on another thread, with the exact same arguments), or as happened to me in a conversation with Gordon Ross of Indycar yesterday, they just shut the conversation down, and refuse to engage further.

    1. ScottytheScotinScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 10:52 AM

      The only whackamole that is taking place is Johnston's corona virus strategy.

    2. I'm not going to disagree that Johnson's playing whack-a-mole, but you should try arguing with those advocating this "minimising the unionists" scheme that they are re-heating from 2016. You'll soon feel like you're in a game of whack-a-mole.....

      "Minimising the unionists" is not a goal - it's an aspiration. The goal we should all keep our eye on is "65 seats". That's our goal. Anything we get over that is icing on the cake.

      In 2007, the unionists " did the honourable thing" and allowed Salmond, as the leader of the largest party, the chance of forming a minority government. Does anyone believe that would happen now?

      Ifbthe unionists win 65 seats, they will form a grand coalition government faster that you can say " Indy is dead", with Surname Surname as FM, Ricardo Leadbetter as deputy Fzm, and wee Willie Winkie as minister for road signs.

      Try pointing that out to the likes of Gordon Ross, and it will be as though you haven't said a word. They just ignore the point, and start talking about how 50% of the SNP votes could win an extra dozen seats for pro-indy parties, and how the maximum number of extra seats would be 30, but 100% of SNZp voters would have to switch forbthstbto happen.

  6. ScottytheScotinScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    The Holyrood system allows didies to sit in the parliament for life - too many to list.

  7. British Nationalists against Independence just used to spew bile but now in these desperate times of complete and total annihilation of their cause to tie Scotland to their Union forever they're attempting to be cleverer by sewing confusion into every area they can, the voting 1 and 2 or system gaming is just another example of the same thing

    They'll claim to support the SNP, they'll claim to support Independence but but but there are new and inventive ways of winning they'll claim, no there's not and they're telling big fat fibs and hoping others will fall for them

    The Internet is full of mince with all sorts of folk making up strategies on how to win better than before, it's a lie and all these things are lies because if there was a way do do as they keep suggesting don't we think the political parties very clever modelling people wouldn't be telling us all about that, y'know because that is the aim of political parties, to win

    Folk tell lies for all sorts of reasons, but they tell lies

  8. Many independence supporters like myself are only contemplating snp 1 isp 2 because of lack of trust.if nicola and the rest of the hierarchy in the snp gave us a clear indication that indyref2 was front and centre for 2021 then I'm sure all would settle down.unfortunately as soon as the polls start looking good ie 54% .voter trust in the snp goverment dealing with covid.labour in melt down.torys being torys. not for the first time an snp mp or msp is out in the papers to start an internal fight.mason alienating the forces vote.black with her gra alienating the woman's vote.all the stuff with alex salmond this is not recent.look at citizen's assemblys once its mentioned an snp msp is out the gate shouting it would be great for independence.so unionists then say we will block it.my gut says the snp are hoping for polls around 50/50 so they can hold back on ref2.im hoping all yes supporters ask the snp at every opportunity will indyref be on the first line of there manifesto. If yes we can all sit back instead of all this unnecessary turmoil.

    1. I really do not think the SNP are going to miss this golden opportunity. As far as I am aware there is not even a manifesto by the ISP stating it's policies nor a commitment to Independence . So thinking of voting for them on the list vote at the moment is totally theoretical. Also it is highly questionable whether the ISP would get 5% of the list vote So for me SNP1 SNP2

    2. "As far as I am aware there is not even a manifesto by the ISP stating it's policies nor a commitment to Independence"

      you wonder if a party called Independence for Scotland is committed to independence? They have a website listing their policies - independence is the first one named.


      Also it is highly questionable whether the ISP would get 5% of the list vote"

      There is a big pool of people who are unhappy with the SNP and Greens GRA reforms who want a pro indy party to vote for. I think the only thing stopping them getting 5% would be lack of publicity.

      " So for me SNP1 SNP2"

      which is fine. Your vote your choice.

  9. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 11:54 AM

    I have voted for my SNP candidate in the constituency vote and for the Scottish greens in the regional list vote in previous Holyrood elections. "Was this gaming the system".

    I don't care to vote for the Greens again after OBF removal gave the "green" light to the football thugs. I will now look to vote for the SNP or the new independence list party in 2021. Am I gaming the system? Will I be "hacking" something? No just voting for who I want to and that will depend on what both parties say and do between now and the Scot parliament election in 2021. My choice - not the SNPs choice.

    1. No that's how it should be.

      The issue is that there are people advocating that people should vote certain ways to "game" or "hack" the system, but they're not openly engaging with the risks of that (the biggest being it doesn't work and leave people disappointed beyond belief)

  10. James, I am not sure whether this is a good idea, but I will have a go anyway.
    Your point about electing parties with a hope in hell of winning seats is a good one, but mainly in the constituency section. There, unless there are particular local circumstances - someone with a strong local following - the seat will very often go to a party with a hope in hell of winning. I have no difficulty with that. If the SNP focus on places like Dumbarton (where I live) to rid me of the embarrassment of having Jackie Baillie as my MSP, then great. If they win a majority in this way, then three cheers and hats in the air.
    But the fact is - and Holyrood elections bear this out - that they are unlikely to win on the constituency section alone. Now, you will say then we should all use our list vote to vote SNP to secure the regional MSPs to get them over the line. But the fact is James that just as you speak disaparagingly of the position I have held since before 2016 that independence supporters need to vote on the List for indy supporting parties other than the SNP, it is not only us who want to game the system, for the system is itself already gamed to prevent the WM style one-party state with a form of PR which maybe does not prevent a single party winning a majority (eg 2011) but makes it much more difficult (eg in 2016 the SNP vote actually increased but they lost their majority).
    How/why did this happen? Because they won more constituency seats and as such put themselves at a disadvantage when the Regional list seats were allocated. As you know, when this is done the divisor is number of seats won in the region (including constituencies) + 1, which means that in Glasgow the SNP List vote was divided by 10, giving them no chance of a List seat even if every single SNP voter in the constituency section had voted for them on the List as well. There are at least two other regions where this is just as true.
    I am sorry James if you dont share my view that this is a problem, but perhaps you could explain why it's not a problem for you at least. What I have described is more or less what happened in 2016.
    Lastly, I appreciate that addressing this - who should folk vote for, how do we get the message out in a form that makes a difference - is by no means an easy matter, but, as I think Einstein pointed out, one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome.

    1. >>I am sorry James if you dont share my view that this is a problem, but perhaps you could explain why it's not a problem for you at least.

      I thought he did explain above? In that it is fairer, being a proportional system. People get what they vote for. It is the Westminster system of super-majorities on minority votes that is the real aberration.

    2. soccer doc "eg in 2016 the SNP vote actually increased but they lost their majority" - Wrong
      SNP won 53 constituency seats in 2011 and 59 in 2016, an increase of 6 on an very modest increase of 1.1% of the constiuency vote (45.4% to 46.5%)
      The list seats are, as the name implies, determined based on the the list vote. SNP's list vote in 2016 was 44.0% which dropped 2.3% to 41.7% in 2016. Their list seats dropped 12 from 16 to 4, in part because they had more constituency seats and in part because of the lower list vote. In 2016 had everyone who voted SNP in the constituency voted also voted SNP on the list, the SNP would have had 7 list seats and an outright majority of 3.
      James' polling figures suggest that SNP support for both votes in 2021 will be higher than in 2016, with a predicted SNP majority of 15 (+ 5 Greens to give Indy majority of 25).
      That is if the "alternative indy vote" brigade do not scupper things.

    3. the first part of your comment Geoff H is basically what I said. Re James' polling figures, it is not out of the question the SNP could gain a majority entirely - or almost so - on the basis of their success in the constituencies. That though leads to two problems in my mind
      1. the most constituency seats they win the bigger the hill they have to get up to win anything at all in the Regional Lists
      2. the increase in List vote would have to be very substantial - more so than James' polling figures. For instance in Glasgow they would have to increase their list vote by about 25% to even win the last List seat there. if, once again, they do a clean sweep of the constituencies.
      Besides, James' position seems to be one of uber purity. In the independence movement the SNP are and always will be far and away the dominant influence. The showboating by such as Colin Fox is just a distraction as well as ego massage. Where we are headed is for another SNP govt, probably with a majority, and almost certainly with the Tories as opposition, almost entirely made up of List seats (77%) How much better would an SNP majority be, with an opposition be if it were an independence supporting party, leaving Leonard and Carlaw to howl from the wings.
      As for "alternative vote indy brigade", we agree with the aim, we just differn on our analysis of how best to get there. Or has debate been locked down as well?

  11. This has to be cleared up well before May 2021. All pro-indy parties must come together to sort it out and then to publicise their course of action.

  12. I argued repeatedly in 2016 that Green on list was the correct vote and so it proved as in Fife, Glasgow and Lothian 3 green seats were returned solely on the basis of an increased list vote and a pro-Yes majority was retained. You report that SNP seats were lost with highly dubious assumptions about the numbers of people who switched to Green (you need virtually all the Green voters to have voted SNP to reach such a conclusion) - a ridiculous assumption given that most of these people are Green voters anyway. And you don't admit YOU WERE WRONG. We need a plan B. That means removing Nawbags (YES NAWBAGS THAT'S WHAT i CALL THEM) with pro-Yes candidates who endorse a plan B. Plan B is likely a consultative referendum and if that doesn't work standing an on independence platform at Holyrood. We need to be brave and encourage people to shift their vote, not some geek analysis about te tiny potential of losing bout 1 seat if say ISP and Greens got 4% each. It's highly unlikely it will land like that so we shouldn't cower and vote the same way as that as has been the case for 6 elections will provide a mandate for absolutely nothing.

    1. I believe you mean green voters that switched to SNP on the constituency.

    2. As per my post below, there is no order to completion of ballot papers. However the regional list is counted first, so it is technically your fist vote.

  13. Where did this 'first and second vote' thing come from anyway?

    You are given two ballot papers. They are not numbered.


    You don't get given one to fill out and put in the box before you are allowed your second one. You complete them at the same time. They are just different colours with a wee explanation at the top.

    I always consider what I'll vote on the regional list one first as it's my most important vote because its PR and always counted.

    Then I consider maybe tactically voting on the FPTP constituency.

    If you think there is some sort of order to the votes, or one is sort of a back up or second choice, you don't understand the system.

    In AMS you vote for the party you want in government on the PR list, and your preferred local candidate for the constituency. You can do this in any order you like. If it looks like your preference for the latter hasn't a chance in hell, then you might want to vote tactically.

    In terms of counting, the regional is counted first as it is the basis for seat allocation. So it's your first vote technically, if we want to be pedantic.

    1. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 3:11 PM

      Skier - I thought you were purer than pure when it came to elections but there you are saying - " consider maybe tactically voting on the FPTP constituency."

      I am sure some people could make a case that this is also gaming the system.

      What you have really been saying is - my gaming is ok yours is not.

    2. I don't know where you got this 'pure' idea.

      I just vote tactically where it's actually possible.

      It's not possible on the PR regional list. It's PR. No matter what you do, the result is proportional.

      If you think you are voting tactically on the list, you don't understand the system. You can only vote tactically on the constituency because it's FPTP not PR.

      I really don't see how this confuses people.

  14. "the regional is counted first as it is the basis for seat allocation"

    The regional vote might be counted first but the seats can't be allocated until every constituency in that region has declared as it is not until then will you know what the divisor for each party will be. The first divisor being the no of constituency seats plus one. Then when the first list seat is allocated, that party's divisor is then increased by one and then the second list seat allocated, increase that party's divisor by one etc.

    1. The PR-list form the basis for seat allocation as you say.

      'Already won' constituencies are simply deducted from the PR allocation to ensure proportionality by the counting method you note.

      This is why the SNP lost seats in 2016; Their list share fell.

      Your list vote is your most important, 'first' vote. It will always count towards the make up of government (assuming your party makes the local threshold 5%).

      Most constituency votes don't count towards the outcome as they are made for candidates who lose under FPTP.

    2. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 3:21 PM

      Skier - " it will ALWAYS count" - all votes are always counted (well I hope so) but in the sense you are meaning that is not true.

      It is the same as the constituency it may or may not count towards you electing your MSP of choice.

      In a fully proportional system - which is not the case for Holyrood and I suspect you being a Lib dem type lover of PR systems - would prefer 100% National PR - then all votes will truly count.

    3. In AMS, all votes over the 5% regional threshold count to the make up of government. It is a PR list.

      Constituency votes don't if you vote for candidate that loses under FPTP.


      This is why the ISP wants people's regional list votes.

      However, yes, full national PR has benefits, but then you lose the ability to select a local MSP.

    4. '"Already won' constituencies are simply deducted from the PR allocation to ensure proportionality by the counting method you note."

      No they are not deducted from anything. The number of list votes is DIVIDED by the number of constituency seats plus one. The more constituency seats you win the bigger the divisor and the less likely you will win a list seat.

    5. Stephen Yaxley-LennonJune 30, 2020 at 5:10 PM

      "In AMS, all votes over the 5% regional threshold count to the make up of government. It is a PR list.

      "Constituency votes don't if you vote for candidate that loses under FPTP."

      By that reasoning, constituency votes don't count even if you vote for the candidate who wins. Whether an MSP is elected by 100 votes or by 101 makes no difference at all.

    6. Here are possible scenarios, assuming the ISP party wins >5% on my regional list.

      My votes:

      List: ISP
      Const: SNP

      Outcome 1:
      List: ISP get at least one seat = My vote helped deliver an ISP MSP
      Const: SNP win = my vote helped deliver an SNP MSP too

      Outcome 2
      List: ISP get at least one seat = My vote helped deliver an ISP MSP
      Const: SNP lose (e.g. I'm in the borders) = my SNP vote does not contribute to the make up of government. No SNP MSP is elected used my SNP vote. It is 'wasted' under FPTP. Net effect is that I threw away my SNP vote and have only voted ISP.

      It's quite simple really, and why little parties stand on the list. They only need >5% on the list to start getting a fair proportion of seats. It's more 30% for the constituency before you have chance of winning, and you can lose on over 40% readily in two horse races.

    7. "In AMS, all votes over the 5% regional threshold count to the make up of government. It is a PR list.

      Surplus votes above any threshold be it 5% for one seat or 10% for two seats etc, don't count toward anything. It's the votes that get you to the threshold and hence the seat that count.

    8. Independence for ScotlandJune 30, 2020 at 6:53 PM

      Skier - "Yes full National PR has benefits." Yes and the main one is that all votes will definitely count unlike in the Holyrood system.

    9. Sure, but it does somewhat break the constituency MSP link.

      If all MSPs are elected at a national level that is.

      Why care about your constituency if the national vote is what matters?

      That's the disadvantage.

      All approaches have pros and cons.

  15. what r u on about Scottish skier? the issue is what to vote for on the list. If as looks very likely the SNP are going to walk the constituency vote they'll get phuqall on the list so a switch is wise to boot oot nawbags. It's also wise to put it to the most pro-yes party on the list which is ISP not greens. first or 2nd votes is neither here nor there. It worked in 2016 in greens got a few seats that would've been lost if some of them had voted SNP on list, specifically, Fife, Lothian and Weej. Same goes again. We look at where the momentum is and back the favoured party. Given that the favoured party is obviously ISP we should try to influence where that momentum is by saying who you intend to vote for on the list. That is simply what Barheadboy is doing. I'll be be voting ISP on list. Will you?

    1. I don't know anything about the ISP. I can't say I'll vote for them until I know a lot more about their candidates and long term plans for government.

      If I ultimately prefer them to the SNP, I would give them my most important, 'first' regional list vote.

    2. It doesn't matter about order of counting. The constituency vote is the independent vote. The list result is the dependent vote as the results depends upon the outcome of the constituency ballot. Hence votes for the SNP will be virtually redundant in most of the regions.

    3. If you know the result of the constituency vote in advance, the your list vote can become a 'second choice'.

      Sadly, we don't have that crystal ball. I live in the borders, so the SNP could lose the constituency here. My mate lives in East Lothian, so a vote for the ISP on the list could see him lose his SNP vote completely.

      It's important people understand the reality of gambling in this way.

  16. If you truly want Independence for Scotland you vote SNP if you don't want Independence then you vote for somebody else, that's legitimate, but lying about reasons for voting for what you call alternatives is just lying

  17. There’s a lot of folk jumping in here to object to this and that and then this again. Wasted lives.
    Meantime can anyone seriously suggest that NS and Devi Sridhar between them are not both preaching the science and demonstrating independent thought and action? Everyone I know cheers them to the rafters when border control is mentioned - including all those with ism Murray outfits in their wardrobe.

  18. Let us stick to SNP for msp vote SNP1, and SNP for a party of government Vote SNP2.

  19. A lot of good points well made in their James.

    Seems history is repeating itself though, but in a different way: http://wingsoverscotland.com/ams-for-lazy-people/

    "tactical voting – of any sort and for anyone’s benefit – in an AMS election is a mug’s game"

  20. Bottom line, on current polling, the SNP need 10-15% of unionist voters to vote for them to gain list seats in most regions whereas the ISP need 5% of independence supporters to vote for them. I know which one I think is more likely.

    1. You said the very opposite 15 minutes ago!

  21. How to rig the system. The SNP membership could form a seperate party, maybe Inpependence for Scotland party. They could ask people to vote SNP 1 for first past the post and ISP 2 for the list.

  22. I went to the following site:


    This uses the last Scottish elections and how the parties would fair if ISP takes list votes from the SNP. Until they take over 30% they are making no real impact. Even worse is if the SNP don't take all the constituency seats then it is highly possible the independence parties end up with less seats as the list vote is split (I know this has always been your point but having the website give extra traction was interesting). This effect can be seen in the regions where the SNP don't hold all the constituency seats.

    The other point is, although we may remove some unionist deadwood if the independence vote is still less than 50% how have we progressed anything.

  23. I shall vote SNP on the list and SNP for the Constituency. For anyone who wants Independence to do otherwise would be madness.

    1. There is no guarantee of SNP constituency victories ( though every effort will be made to achieve this) in Ayr, D&G and the Borders therefor SNP list votes in the South region absolutely essential. Will ISP campaign in these constituencies against the SNP. Would be crazy to split the vote

    2. Even if they don't and decide to campaign in neighbouring
    regions this will only confuse voters as many will not have clear understanding of regions and quite possibly not know in which region they are. There is no way the SNP can campaign for List votes in one region and not in a neighbouring region.

    3. Talk about confusion - imagine neighbouring street stalls with SNP and ISP fighting for the same vote

    4. All this talk about ISP or similar is all in an echo chamber and no amount of wishful thinking will get wide knowledge or understanding of a new Party in the few months available. All it will do is take list votes away from the SNP.

    5. As said by James and others above the List vote is the important one. SNP achieving 50% on the List in each region guarantees majority. Why campaign against this?

    6. Beware of trolls claiming to support Independence but just wishing to sew discord. Quite successfully on this blog.

    SNP (and perhaps Green) on the List and SNP for the Constituency is the only way a real Independence supporter can vote. I and all activist colleagues I know will be voting SNPx2.

  24. Classic British racism.

    Asking furriners to quarantine is fine, but maybe people from England? How heinous!

    This on the back of the recent spotlight on racism too. Yet we actually have people saying English folks should be given some sort of special exception, even if that costs lives? And this is while England is locking down areas, meaning visiting Scots would be, well, quarantined.


    If my French mother in law is required to quarantine, why should someone with no relations / family from here be able to just saunter in from another country, even if that country is more infected? Only racism can explain such a privileged attitude.

    Then there is the fact it is naff all to do with 'the English'. If Scots, Welsh, M. Irish tried to come into Scotland from the rUK, they'd fact the same quarantine. The ignorance of this is racism.

    1. Independence for ScotlandJuly 1, 2020 at 12:22 AM

      English exceptionalism combined with Britnats in Scotland craven submission to England.

    2. Scottish Nat zi Quisling submission and collaboration with German run EU.

  25. Another anonymousJune 30, 2020 at 8:57 PM

    The only sure-fire way to reduce the number of unionist list MSPs is to persuade people not to vote for them. If they get 10% of list votes, they will be allocated fewer seats than if they get 25%.

    Of course other tactics might turn out to have worked, after the event. But they're not predictable. A voter in Glasgow in 2016, for instance, who assumed the SNP would defend all the constituencies they gained in 2011, would have been right. A voter who did the same in Lothian, however, would not have been right - the SNP lost 3 constituencies, one to each of the red, blue, and orange/yellow Tories.

    I'm not saying this as an SNP "loyalist" - I'm going to really struggle to give them either of my votes next time, but that's not tactical; it's because of the GRA nonsense. They have time to change that (not that I believe they will!). In South of Scotland, a list vote for them is not "wasted".

    As for the "first" and "second" vote nomenclature - that has changed. In the first Holyrood election the list was described as "first", so the Greens, who didn't stand in any constituencies, I think, printed loads of posters "First Vote Green". Four years later when they wanted to re-use them, they were confronted with the fact that a mysterious change had taken place in the interim, and everyone was now referring to the constituency vote as "first".

  26. You said it yourself and answered your own argument. I think the snp slogan is wrong though and should be the other way around. "with the constituency vote you're choosing an MSP, with the list vote you're choosing a government". The list vote gets you additional members, not a government. However, the greens get all their MSPs from the list so why is it okay for them to hog those votes and ask indy voters to vote for them.

    The YES movement has many more people than the snp have members, they come from all corners so why shouldn't they have their voice in Holytrood? The list vote is where smaller parties like the greens etc can get members elected. I will be voting for the Alliance for independence on the list vote like many others because the YES movement needs someone there to push the snp towards independence.