Sunday, January 9, 2022

And a second New Year's Resolution for the Yes movement: let's make 2022 the year Scotland gains a genuinely balanced six-party system

Back in the days when Scotland had a clear-cut four party system, there was sometimes a debate over whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that there was only one pro-independence party, and three unionist parties.  And the answer was of course that it could be either good or bad, depending on context.  In a first-past-the-post election, it was a huge advantage, because it meant that the pro-independence vote was united and the unionist vote was heavily split.  That's something both the Greens and Alba will have to take into account if we go into the next Westminster election without an independence referendum having taken place.  Lots of pro-independence candidates in direct competition with each other in a crucial FPTP vote may or may not be in the best interests of individual political parties, but it's certainly not in the best interests of the independence cause.

However, in terms of how the broadcasters cover the independence debate, the SNP v three unionist parties set-up was always a massive negative.  It allowed the BBC and others to give the unionist perspective three times the coverage of the pro-independence perspective, and innocently present that as "balance", "neutrality" and "objectivity".  It also made the pro-independence side look isolated, and the unionist side look broadly-based.

With the arrival of Alba, we can now do something about that.  If the new kid on the block successfully beds in, Scotland will have a truly balanced six-party system: three in favour of independence and three against.  It won't be the end of rigged TV debates, but they'll become a lot harder to justify.

In a sense, the six-party system is already here.  Alba have more members than the Scottish Liberal Democrats, almost as many local councillors as the Scottish Greens, and more Westminster MPs than Scottish Labour.  The main omission is that they don't have any MSPs yet, but that's balanced out by the fact that the Scottish Greens don't have any MPs.  But the broadcasters won't fully reward Alba for that position of strength until there's clear evidence that it can be sustained via votes in the ballot box.

And that's where the local council elections, now just four months away, come in.  If Alba can win any seats at all, that would be the first example of people being elected under the Alba banner, and overnight the party will gain vital credibility.

My suggestion on New Year's Day of a resolution for the Yes movement was to hold the SNP-Green government to their promises on the timing of an indyref, and not to accept the goalposts being shifted yet again.  To that I'll add a second resolution: let's use the local elections to at last get ourselves a balanced party system in Scotland.  That doesn't necessarily mean giving Alba your first preference vote if they're not your first choice party.  The beauty of the STV voting system is that all you have to do is give Alba some kind of ranking, and make sure you rank them higher than all of the anti-independence parties.  With many well-known incumbent councillors intending to stand for Alba, there's every chance of a breakthrough, provided the Yes movement can move beyond destructively tribalistic voting behaviour.  I will of course also be urging Alba supporters to rank SNP and Green candidates.

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    John does his best on WGD to suck up to the numpties on WGD by bleating that he wasted his vote on Alba last May and he won't do it again but sensibly suggests that the STV is a different voting system and it may be the case that Alba get a vote along with the SNP and Greens. That of course is not good enough for the rabid Alba hating nicophantic numpties on WGD. Poor John gets a doing. The senile Jack is literally frothing at the mouth in his post.

    A supermajority was possible in May 2021 John but Alba hating numpties preferred to vote for Britnat parties. Two votes SNP = one vote SNP one vote Britnat party. That is the truth of the matter.

    Sturgeon will never deliver independence.

    Nicophantics rule on WGD.

    In summary, if WGD is anything to go by then only Sturgeon approved parties will get a vote.

  2. I absolutely understand the logic of Alba supporters ranking SNP and Green candidates in the STV system, even if they rank Alba first and SNP and Green last/second last, but even so I still don't know if I will be able to do that part of the vote till you boak equation.

    I don't vote Scottish Greens ever anyway largely on principle, and I just don't know if I can vote SNP again without any basic level of confidence that they're actually going to do anything about independence, and not just use the vote as justification for whatever else they fancy instead.

    But I suppose I'll have to think about it properly when we get closer to the election and see if the SNP are giving any signs that they aren't just taking the pro-indy vote as a given, but actually want to earn it.

    1. Unless you think it's actively worse for SNP councillors to be elected than Unionist ones, you might as well rank them above Lab, Tory and LD.

  3. WGD numpty in chief Hamish100 doesn't want a balanced party system because an indy party polled 2% and we could end up with 7 pro indy parties.

    I'm sure he loves all those unionist Britnat MSP's as well as the Libdem, Tories and Labs.