The Independence Vote 50


Nicola Sturgeon is to be congratulated for refusing to back off from the goal of independence, and the right of the Scottish people to self-determination, under pressure from Andrew Marr today.

The truth is that the SNP’s potential for a stunning electoral result in Scotland is based on our success in holding together the Yes coalition under the SNP umbrella. All of the recent Scottish opinion polls put the SNP vote in precisely the same range as recent opinion polls on Scottish independence, up from September 2014. Given the very low polling for other pro-independence parties, it is beyond any doubt a myth that there is a significant vote for the SNP which does not want independence but is voting SNP to ensure Devo-Max. There is simply no evidence of that. The opinion polls show the opposite, and anecdotal evidence from canvassers shows the SNP vote overwhelmingly an independence vote.

In fact, I suspect that the SNP will get less unionist votes in this election than ever before. In Dundee East, which I know extremely well, there is no point denying that historically the SNP benefited from Tory tactical voters wanting to keep Labour out. That is no longer happening, due to the polarising effect of the referendum. Dundee East SNP voters are now all committed nationalists.

In fact what we are now seeing, quite openly, is the Unionist parties advocating tactical voting between Red, Orange and Blue Tories against the SNP throughout Scotland and even Labour Party activists in places canvassing for the Tories. This is of a piece with the Labour tactic of pitching its austerity policies to southern English Tory voters: Miliband’s message today is that he will be the Tories’ champion.

All the SNP have to do is continue to hold together the overwhelming bulk of the Yes coalition and, due to FPTP, we can sweep much of Scotland. That is why Nicola’s stance today was not only right in principle, but wise in preventing seepage to the Scottish Greens. That does not make FPTP a better system. And we should not allow the media to build up expectations of the SNP taking every seat, so they can claim Murphy has triumphed if he hangs on to a dozen.

But one thing we should say, loud and clear. An SNP vote is always a vote for independence, and it is absolutely a myth that there is now any significant swathe of unionist SNP voters out there.

The SNP vote is an independence vote, end of.


50 thoughts on “The Independence Vote

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    I wonder if someone could explain why the notion that the Conservatives, Labour and LibDems might – perhaps will – engage in tactical voting against the SNP brings various posters out in a sweaty rash?

    After all, the SNP wants independence for Scotland and the Conservatives, Labour and LibDems support unionism.

    So what is so surprising or wrong about the idea of tactical voting?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ditto for the idea of a Grand Coalition after the election if necessary to preserve the Union.

  • Mary

    Is it a badge of honour that the trolls (have you noticed how they pair up?) keep referring to me although I have not commented since this afternoon?

    Anyway TTFN. Hope to be back at the end of the week, deo volente, and after those marvellous people in OUR NHS have looked after me. Long may it remain free from the privatisation wide boys and vultures.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I wish you well, Mary.

    Me too, actually. I am having an operation tomorrow under general. Not absolutely major, but probably won’t post for a week or so while I rest.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Craig

    That’s why it’s called tactical voting – as opposed to (eg) conviction or belief voting.

    I do not believe you would oppose tactical voting intended to bring about a result you desired.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Is it a badge of honour that the trolls (have you noticed how they pair up?) keep referring to me although I have not commented since this afternoon?”
    _____________________

    In that case, Mary, we must be wearing the same badge since you have on several occasions referred to me although I had not posted for some while previously.

    As for pairs, I do notice that you pair off quite regularly with the likes of Macky, Mr Scorgie, RoS, etc. To the point of promiscuity, I’d say! 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Is it a badge of honour that the trolls (have you noticed how they pair up?) keep referring to me although I have not commented since this afternoon?”
    _____________________

    In that case, Mary, we must be wearing the same badge since you have on several occasions referred to me although I had not posted for some while previously.

    As for pairs, I do notice that you pair off quite regularly with the likes of Macky, Mr Scorgie, RoS, etc. To the point of promiscuity, I’d say! 🙂

  • Villager

    Mary,

    “….and after those marvellous people in OUR NHS have looked after me. ”

    Mary, would they be the ones from the same Banana Republic you believe you live in? Anyway, calm down and good luck!

    Don’t be looking over your shoulder for trolls and hope these episodes of your imagining things disappear by when you return.

  • fred

    Don’t waste your vote, swap your vote.

    You vote for the party which will do most good in your area and someone else votes for the party you prefer in another area.

    Everyone’s a winner.

    http://www.swapmyvote.uk/

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I remember well when I discovered the plots, Habby, to cause this change by reading The Nation, its contrived index of authorship, and other sources, particularly The Irish World, which had totally been missed by all other historians, especially Professor Reba Soffer when she refused to review my biography of Dicey for The American Historical Review.

    One does not have to witness something personally to discover it.;

    You are not denying the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe because the theorists who claim it weren’t alive all those billions of years ago, are you?

  • BrianFujisan

    Mary See you back in a week.

    Stay strong wee warrior for peace, and Justice.

  • Abe Rene

    @Craig “The SNP vote is an independence vote, end of.” Indeed. And the majority of people in Scotland voted to stay in the UK. But that majority is divided between the other political parties, which could, I regret to say, work to SNP’s advantage in a FPTP system. The solution may be for the Tories, Labour and LibDem or even Greens in Scotland to have their candidates stand aside in constituencies where the SNP might otherwise win, in the interests of national unity.

  • Daniel

    “Becky Cohen, one of my favourite singer-songwriters is Leonard Cohen. Do you think you could find a way for some of his Wisdom to rub-off on you?”

    Not a chance. She’s more “Nick” than “Leonard”. Moreover, “Becky” is almost certainly a paid Lukidite Israeli troll.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Craig there is plenty of evidence that there are a significant minority of SNP voters who voted No to independence. For a start Lord Ashcroft’s post referendum poll (of people who voted in it) found 14% of people who had voted SNP in the last Scottish parliament election had voted No. Now granted, some of these will be people who have stopped voting SNP since the referendum, but equally some will still be willing to vote SNP as the party they trust best to represent them within the UK, but still won’t vote for independence.
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/20/scottish-independence-lord-ashcroft-poll

    And the biggest mistake anyone who wants independence could make would be to go for another referendum before we’re fairly certain to win one. And the chances of winning an independence referendum any time in the next few years are minimal. The newspapers have put out some exaggerated headlines claiming things like “majority now support independence” – but if you read the actual articles the polls show only the largest minority supporting it, with the 11% of Don’t Knows and 1% of Won’t Says excluded in order to sex up the headline to sell more newspapers and get more website hits. So at the very best the poll shows a referendum could go either way.

    If we got a second No vote within a few years of the first it really could be a generation before we got another. It might even settle it permanently. Wiser by far to push for more devolved powers, far beyond smith’s meagre recommendations, and wait for support for independence to build to a level where a heavy Yes vote is pretty much a certainty.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    The Scottish Green Party is pro-independence Abe. And two of the biggest reasons why many voters in Scotland back independence, or a lot more devolution, are getting Conservative governments the majority in Scotland don’t want and didn’t vote for ; and getting Labour governments that adopt most of the Conservative party’s policies, ideology and rhetoric.

    If there are enough SNP MPs to pull Labour back to the left a bit, and get major constitutional reform (e.g the PR for all elections which is SNP policy) that might as easily persuade some people that the union / UK government is actually working the way they want it to work again. That might not prevent a second referendum say 5 or 10 years from now, but it might change the result of it, or make independence a more gradual and ordered and less disruptive process.

  • Jon

    Duncan, good to see you here. I agree that a second referendum should not be rushed, especially if the security services are making efforts to destabilise things.

    However, the space on the Venn diagram of “SNP supporters against independence” must be rather small. Independence is a primary policy position of the SNP, and even if the SNP gets another referendum at which some SNP voters can say No, voting for the SNP must have the effect of communicating approval of their primary policy.

    Thus, I’d imagine that SNP supporters who voted No are not committed to the union, but were scared off by the disaster propaganda in the prior couple of months, or felt that the reassurances of more devolution were the safer bet. I wonder how much of the latter will actually be delivered in ten years? I’d wager not much, at which point a new referendum can point to the failed promises – and that it is not worth listening to the same promises again.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Yeah i agree John it’s not a huge number. Like Craig says, not “swathes”, but there are a significant minority – maybe 5 to 10% who will vote SNP, but aren’t in favour of independence. Probably the number of them is falling, as the referendum tended to polarise things a bit more. I know from my own family that some of the older people who were unhappy with Labour and willing to vote SNP in some elections, but who voted No in the referendum, are not willing to vote SNP any more – though they’ll be more than cancelled out by all the former Labour voters who are now for the SNP or the Greens and independence.

  • Muscleguy

    People vote for parties for all sorts of reasons, ignoring things they don’t support as the least worst option at the time.

    I give the Greens my party vote in Holyrood elections despite being a scientist and ignoring their anti-science bent partly because they are not going to be THE government or get given the Science portfolio in one and partly because their other qualities and policies are things which need much greater prominence, even if I disagree with how they propose to implement them.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Now Sir John Major has declared that a Labour-SNP coalition will create “mayhem” in UK governance.

    Remember that Major took over at the FO after Howe was sacked by a panicked Thatcher for letting Captain Simon Hayward publish a limited version of his life as a covert operator.

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