Monday, August 1, 2022

What are the Greens thinking of?

I'm trying to make sense of what the Greens are doing, but it's not easy because there's no obvious logic to it. Let's start with the good part - it's extremely welcome that the Greens have adopted a shared position with the SNP that the next UK general election, expected in 2024, will be a de facto independence referendum if the Supreme Court prevents a Referendum Bill from going forward.  It would have been very harmful if only the SNP had explicitly declared the election to be a plebiscite, and if the Greens had carried on with business as usual.

However, the Greens have never even come close to standing in every constituency in a general election before, and even in the constituencies where they have stood, they've sometimes quite rightly come under fire for splitting the pro-indy vote and helping unionist parties to win.  Why on earth they would think a plebiscite election is the moment at which the Yes camp suddenly has the luxury of a nationwide split vote is not immediately apparent.  I can think of three possible explanations of what is going on:

1) This is a bargaining chip to try to force the SNP's hand and get them to agree to a joint slate of Yes candidates which will feature Greens in a handful of constituencies that the SNP don't currently hold.

2) This has actually been agreed with the SNP and is a genuine - albeit highly dubious - joint strategy for attempting to win a mandate in a plebiscite election.

3) This is a go-it-alone partisan decision that the SNP will be horrified about because it could lead to them losing key seats to Labour and the Tories, thus making it much harder to press home any independence mandate that is achieved on the popular vote.

I've no idea which of those three is most likely, but let's focus on possibility 2, because that's the one everyone will probably assume is correct.  The Greens are of course a different sort of party from Alba or ISP, because a significant amount of their support comes from opponents of independence.  That's probably part of the explanation for pro-indy parties winning a majority of the popular vote on the Holyrood list ballot last year, but not on the constituency ballot.  The Greens bring far more votes to the table on the list, including people who might otherwise vote for unionist parties.  So I suppose it's not totally inconceivable that some bright spark has come up with the idea that a Westminster plebiscite election should be made as similar as possible to a Holyrood list ballot by having the Greens stand everywhere.  But if so, that would appear to be a very stupid strategy for two reasons: a) the Greens will probably lose most of their anti-independence voters overnight if they're true to their word and run a single-issue campaign (albeit one that focuses on the Green case for independence), and b) the pro-independence votes they do take will largely come from the SNP and make it easier for unionist MPs to get elected under the first-past-the-post voting system.  OK, if pro-indy parties win a majority of the popular vote but lose ten or fifteen seats, they'll claim the following day that only votes matter - but will that claim really count for much if there are 20, 25 or 30 elected Scottish unionist MPs ready to take their seats at Westminster?  The leverage needed to press home a mandate would require us to have the vast majority of seats - because then, as a last resort, we could withdraw Scottish MPs from the House of Commons or threaten to do so.  We can't do that if we don't have enough seats.

A broader issue with having pro-indy parties in competition with each other is that it undermines the whole concept of a single issue election.  Pro-indy Labour voters could look at what the SNP and Greens are doing and think "well, if this election isn't special enough for the SNP and Greens to set aside their differences, I'll just continue with my usual party of choice too".

And from a personal point of view, I'm a bit exasperated, because I've been making the point for weeks that having Alba candidates in direct competition with the SNP at a plebiscite election would be strategically foolish, to put it mildly.  I'll continue making that point because it's undoubtedly correct, and because I think Alba should be in the business of maximising the chances of independence rather than copying the Greens on a parochial "it's only fair" basis.  But it's obviously going to be much harder to get anyone to listen to that message if the SNP and Greens really are planning to do something as crazy enough as put up candidates against each other across the board.  I'll just have to cling to the hope that this is a bargaining chip on the part of the Greens.

*  *  *

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  1. I sometimes wonder if you are the only commentator in Scotland to understand AMS, who would have thought FPTP was so hard to wrap your head around as well.

  2. Seems most likely that Robin McAlpine is basically correct and that the SNP have no real idea what a "plebiscite election" for independence would fully entail in practice, they haven't actually wargamed all the implications of it, there's no actual plan and instead they were basically forced into saying something, anything new for no other reason than because saying the other "same old same old" was clearly no longer going to cut it.

    On that basis then it seems plausible to me that the Greens haven't even spoken to the SNP about it and are just equally saying whatever the first thing comes into their own head about it.

    But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they will surprise me with it all being part of the master plan.

  3. SNP once promised to resign if they won. Now they're performing really well would the defacto independence referendum / GE benefit from candidates for yes contracting to stand down for immediate by election if they win AND if they lose (ie if target % or no of seats is not met)

  4. "Trying to make sense" of it is difficult if you start from the position that the SNP and the Greens have the same strength of feeling for feeling as yourself. If you start from the position that getting more party politicians elected is more important than independence for the SNP and Greens then it makes some sense.

    If the SNP/ Greens are serious about WINNING an independence GE plebiscite then they will put up ONE candidate for each constituency under a non party YES banner. So how come Sturgeon has outlined NOTHING about how it would work?

    1. Correction : "for feeling" should be "for independence"

  5. BBC Reporting Scotland should be called Reporting England and Rubbishing Scotland.

    The tossers on this programme interview a wee Scottish girl who says she is glad WE won the Euro Football last night. Nothing but colonial brainwashing. Scotland won diddly squat. Her parents must be Britnats who wish they are English.

    Later on in this propaganda programme a propagandist states to John REDACTOR MAN Swinney that Scotland gets £126 per head of public spending and England only get £100 per head. Your head must button up the back to believe this nonsense but sadly people living in Scotland do. What does Swinney have to say about this assertion - nothing. He is too busy getting the begging bowl out begging to get some more of our own money back. Swinney - just another devolutionalist happy for Scotland to remain a colony so he can call himself Deputy First Minister of Scotland.

    Of course there is the alternative explanation that Swinney destroyed the assertion that Scots are getting 26% more in public spending than the English and strongly made the case for Scottish independence but the bad BBC edited it out of the report. If you believe this then your head does button up the back and you are likely to be a WGD numpty.

  6. SNP are just pretending to do a plebiscite election. There's no such thing and it only becomes a plebiscite election if you behave as if it is so that the electorate understand the implications of voting for SNP or whoever else at that election, which would be a mandate for independence that SNP would carry out through UDI if WM failed to recognise it, which they would.

    They deliberately chose the wrong election where the message will get drowned out by red wall/levelling up/"integrity"/cost of living and all the other stuff. Their real goal was just to shore up their vote and get elected for 5 more years. The UK government and the mainstream media would remain ex-ante absolutely silent on the pleb election to minimise the chances of a majority vote. It is highly likely given SNP have never polled over 50% at wm, that the brits would succeed. Ex-post the brits would never shut up about it saying you had a ref in 2014 and a pleb election in 2024 and you lost both now be quiet for a generation (while we swarm the place full of english unionists encouraged by sturgeon see Scot gov national devo transformation strategy sturgeon wants an extra 100k brits to move to scotland over and above current net immigration trends to make up for loss of migrant workers from brexit).

    Within hours of the SNP annnouncement, swinney had said a "majority of seats" would be sufficient and angus macbeth robertson, the future devo colony leader, had said on newsnight "if we absolutely had to we'd fight the next wm election with independence as the main issue". WTF? the main issue. isn't it always the main issue? anyway, that's not the language or the behaviour of a party committed to an independence pleb election. It would feel like a referendum with a Yes alliance not this shite.

    In short. sturgeon's strategy was absolute recklessness playing politics with one of the few strategies we have for independence to get SNP gravy trainers elected for 5 more years. In this context, the green statement has to be welcomed. It puts some pressure on SNP and at a very least if they do nothing to accommodate which they won't, Alba should stand in every seat.

  7. Sturgeon says BBC is a valid institution. I shall never vote SNP. Vote Alba for independence.

  8. Nasty WGD numpty Dr Jim says: " Scots previously thought that the Brenglish government were just bluffing on not letting them vote with all the No S30 chat."
    Wrong again Jimbo - it was just numpties like you who thought that because Sturgeon told you Johnson would cave in and be democratic. It was also the big dug himself who thought that ( or so he told numpties like you ). If Sturgeon told the numpties to kick their own arse for independence they would try to do it until she told them otherwise.

  9. I don't believe the Greens really give a toss about independence. It's simply a 'flag of convenience' whereby they pick up second votes of the gullible to get themselves elected

  10. "Indy is 100% guaranteed" so says the mad liar Irish Skier on WGD. I'm guessing he read that on the wall of an Edinburgh unisex toilet as he tours Scotlands toilets for his summer holidays.

  11. A lot of energy being expended (AIM) telling independence supporters to be nice to the colonisers and collaborators. That of course is a joke coming from Angus Robertson.
    Not much energy being expended on dealing with the Britnat propaganda gift called GERS.

    The only remaining question is what percentage of the SNP leadership are working for the British State.