All Independence Supporters Must Read This 197

To try to say this before yesterday was like standing in front of a runaway juggernaut. It had to be demonstrated by actual experience. We came extremely close to the absolute disaster of a unionist majority in Holyrood. Entirely because of this. I know many of you will not like reading this, but you have to.

Regional List Vote

North East Scotland 137,086 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 137,086 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Central Scotland 129,082 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 129,082 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Lothian 118,546 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 118,546 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Mid Scotland and Fife 120,128 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 120,128 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
West Scotland 135,827 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 135,827 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Glasgow 111,101 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 111,101 pro-independence list votes totally wasted

That is over 750,000 SNP pro-independence list votes completely wasted, electing nobody at all on the list.

By contrast in these regions the Tories got 376,000 – almost precisely 50% of the list votes the SNP received there – and got 19 MSPs for them!

If the SNP list vote which was completely, utterly and entirely predictably useless in these regions had been given to other pro-independence candidates, the number of Tory MSPs in parliament would have been drastically reduced.
We would not have the BBC crowing over “Tory victory” as the result of the election. Despite the fact that only one in 9 eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory, a fact the BBC will not tell you.

With tactical voting a dozen more committed pro-Indy MPs could have been put into parliament.

The Tories have done disproportionately well because of the “both votes SNP” campaign. This campaign was, undoubtedly, extremely successful in securing both votes SNP. Sadly it was – entirely predictably – totally counter-productive in maximising the number of pro-Independence MSPs.

I published yesterday during the voting: “But in the entire central belt and in NE Scotland, I am prepared to state boldly – and twelve hours will prove the case – that a list vote for the SNP in those regions is almost certainly wasted, and could rather have helped elect a different pro-Independence MSP.”

I was 100% right.

It was blindingly obvious in which regions SNP supporters should give the party their list vote, and in which they should vote tactically.

The question is, why did people I generally admire and, in fact, find quite brilliant like James Kelly and Stuart Campbell, get it so wrong and fail to see the obvious? I fear that the answer is one which raises wider concerns. The SNP has managed to achieve near complete identity with the independence movement, so that any questioning of total obedience to the SNP is taken as disloyalty to the nation. Those like me who want independence rather than the success of a political party find ourselves marginalised and despised. Even when we are demonstrably and undeniably correct. Perhaps especially when we are demonstrably and undeniably correct.

We need the second referendum soon. We are now dependent on the goodwill of the Greens to get it. I stated yesterday I do not trust Patrick Harvie’s commitment to independence. That annoyed some people and I am genuinely interested to see comments as to whether others pick up the same vibe from him. I do hope that the Green influence will lead the SNP to be more radical on Land Reform. That would be a great advantage to dig out of an unexpected situation.

Finally, it is not a bad thing that the Unionists are now firmly identified as the Tories. Many of them were Red Tories anyway, and all that has happened is that their allegiance has become plain. The stark choice between Independence and the Tories is now visible. It was always there, but at the referendum many did not see it. Having the Tories leading the unionist opposition simply brings the day of Independence closer. There is only one winner in that battle.

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197 thoughts on “All Independence Supporters Must Read This

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    • Andy.D

      I am totally gutted if I had read about this piece I would have given my Second vote to the Greens. sorry

      • Derick fae Yell


        Craig’s view on this are too simplistic. The margins by which seats are won on the list, particularly when you get down to seat 6 and 7 are very fine. I have no doubt that had everyone who voted SNP in the constituencies had voted SNP on the list, as you did, then the SNP would have picked up more list seats. You made the right choice. The fact that others did not (if one’s aim is more independence supporting MSP’s) is the issue.

        And much greater than that – turnout.

  • Ann Calder

    Exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to friends and family over last 3 months !

  • David Callander

    Great piece Craig and I totally agree that our ‘list’ vote should have been given to pro-independence parties to further the cause and give true diversity to the fight simply because of the fact that the 55% who voted No will only be persuaded to vote Yes in the future by the thought of an inclusive, less nationalist parliament ( their perception, not mine ) As a Green I felt overwhelmed at times by the unrelenting social media message of ‘Both Votes SNP’ and the lack of respect from certain sections of their membership for daring to voice a different view.
    I’m sure this will all settle down over the next few weeks and months but, we do need to ensure that disagreement between pro-independence parties doesn’t mean we cannot work together for that goal we all desire.
    As to Patrick’s commitment for independence, I don’t doubt it but I believe, like him, that there are a lot of things we can do whilst on the journey to an independent Scotland that will change people’s lives for the better rather than waiting for Independence Day 1 to start the work – radical land reform is certainly one of them and entirely possible during this parliament.
    For me, and I did use my first vote for our local excellent SNP MSP, the SNP government now needs to deliver transformative change in Scotland otherwise we’ll keep delivering ‘Tory Austerity Lite’ and I fear the 55% will go unconvinced…

  • Peter A Bell

    The argument that the SNP didn’t have enough list votes, so we should ensure they get fewer was extremely silly before the election. Now, it is just embarrassing. Tactical voting for OPIPs in an obviously futile effort to create an impossible “pick ‘n’ mix parliament did nothing other than cost us the SNP majority that Scotland needed.

    We can be thankful that the dishonest campaign to convince voters that the SNP majority was “guaranteed” hasn’t done as much damage as it might. Those 4 seats for the Greens were bought at a high price. But not as dearly as might have been. The Scottish Government has been weakened in the context of UK politics. But the opposition at Holyrood has also been weakened. Which is some compensation.

    Meanwhile, the Greens hold the balance of power. But, as was pointed out repeatedly prior to the election, it is power they cannot use. They have been put there to support the SNP administration. If they fail to do so, they will be severely punished in 2021. In the past, the Greens have got away with siding with the British parties to vote against SNP budgets. That was because they were barely noticed. Now that the Scottish Parliament is so clearly split on the constitutional issue, and the Greens are in the spotlight, they won’t even be able to threaten to vote with the unionists without denting the pro-independence credentials that won them those additional seats.

    What is true of the Greens would have been just as true for any of the other OPIPs if they had managed to win seats. But, of course, that was never more than a fantasy. Tactical voting was always destined to fail. And was always pointless even if it could have succeeded. The very idea of it was dreamed up by people who were so focused on what they wanted that they completely lost sight of what was needed, and what was possible. People whose allegiance to a particular party or faction trumped both Scotland’s interests and realpolitik.

    • Andy.D

      I cant agree more with your piece and I would like to add economy wise it might make the SNP better, having to neg everything. On the other hand a majority would have been something for a government going into a third term, yes we now see that Scotland has a lot of Tories(no voters) and will always be Unionists who will block Indy at all costs. Scotland to them is colony that has to be raped cos I am alright jack, you know the kind. I wish now I had given my vote to the Greens because we need Indy supporters….

    • Duncan McFarlane

      You’re looking at the reality of what just happened and completely ignoring it Peter.

      Craig just pointed out the facts – that about 800,000 SNP second votes were completely (and predictably) wasted votes.

      120,000 odd people voting SNP in each of lots of regions and it electing not one pro-independence MSP, SNP or otherwise, because the electoral system is designed to ensure parties get roughly the same share of seats as the share of the votes they got on the First and Second votes – The SNP, which had a higher share of votes than other parties on the first vote, so won most of the seats (under First Past the Post), but still only about half the votes, was never going to get lots of seats on the second vote after that when second votes are divided by (1+ number of seats already won in constituencies in that region on the first vote).

      If 150,000 people or 160,000 had voted SNP in those regions the SNP would still have got no list seats. If more of them had voted Green,when the Greens had no constituency seats so a second vote for them was only divided by 1 – not by 6 or 7 or 8 or 9, there would be more Green MSPs and less tory MSPs though.

  • Nikkii

    After number crunching results all day yesterday one thing that struck me is that regionalisation of the list vote is the only thing that encourages attempts to predict the voting intention of others and play tactics with the list. And it’s nigh on impossible. A Green list vote in Dumfries needs to carry the same weight as a Green list vote in Skye and the only way to achieve that is to make it one big-ass list. The Greens polled enough nationally for 8 MSPs under a fair PR system but suffered in the microcosm of individual regions. I don’t know if changing the way we elect our MSPs is devolved or reserved but this small change would free people to list vote for what they believe – knowing that throughout Scotland similar votes across regional boundaries will be counted alongside their own and be of equal worth. Some argue that MSPs need to be local and representative of their area – that’s what the constituency MSPs are for – the list ones don’t need to be surely?

    Incidentally number crunching this scenario of 56 d’Hondt rounds with the 2016 list votes gave me a provisional result of SNP 59, Green 8, Labour 25, Con 30 and LibDem 7 – but would anyone have voted the same knowing their list vote wasn’t weighted due to their regional demographic? Would Labour people have voted Tory without the security of living in the confines of Tory area? Would I have voted Green knowing my list vote would be added to the votes cast in areas they enjoy more support? Probably.

    • Wayne Brown

      Good thinking Nikkii – but the system imposed on us was never meant to be about fairness, it was meant to keep us in our place. And since the voting system in our parliament is a matter under the control of another parliament the only reason it will be changed, short of independence, would be to bring us to heel.

      And to add to a comment above – the biggest problem was turnout at just 55%. Not being a member, I have no idea what the SNP did in the last few days before the vote but I would have thought the obvious thing to do, rather than appearing on High Streets around the country, would be to out knocking doors of known supporters making sure they got out to vote.

  • Frank Cross

    The voting system is an absolute disgrace designed to prevent an outright majority, but it’s ok for vile Tories to have majority in westmonster with 28 per cent, toally corrupt to the core!

  • Philip Allan

    Sorry, Craig, but I disagree with your deductions. Those voting for Solidarity and Rise were voting for total irrelevances! As an SNP member, I thoroughly resented their entire campaign – “Forget Tory and Labour, vote for us instead of SNP!” That has caused rifts in the pro-Indy campaign that, in my opinion, will take a long time to heal. I’ll probably never forgive them.

    The Greens are slightly diferent – it could be argued that votes for the Greens (if ‘donated’ to SNP in the Constituency ballots) would have seen SNP through with a majority, and prevented such thoroughly disliked people as Jackie Baillie and Ruth Davidson winning seats. However, Greens did not stand aside in these constituencies, ‘costing’ SNP the 2 seats needed, and then complain that SNP voters did not donate Regional votes to them!

    Pro-Indy vote split IS undoubtedly the cause of the failure to achieve a pro-indy majority (I do NOT consider the Greens as pro-indy – as you said, I do not trust Patrick Harvie’s commitment to independence. I’ve also never trusted RISE or Solidarity – both appear to consider the desire to gain seats at the expense of the SNP as more important than gaining seats from a dying Labour party.

    Sadly, the general goodwill between SNP, Greens, Solidarity and RISE that was apparent at Indy-Ref 1 appears to have dribbled away largely as a result of those like Tommy Sheridan and Cat Boyd, who would appear to have put their own ambition before the best route to independence! Regional votes COULD have been transferred to the Greens from SNP, but such could only have been effective if Greens had stood down in the Contituences to avaoid splitting the pro-indy votes there. Rise and Solidarity don’t matter – the amounts of votes SNP lost to them is negligible. Perhaps AFTER Independence, there will come a time where votes for them might be considered, but not before.

    • Peter A Bell

      Well said! Although I would insist that the goodwill of the Yes campaign has been dented, rather than broken. It can be repaired. But this will require that the leaders of the other pro-independence parties (OPIP), as well as their more vociferous supporters, acknowledge that the SNP is the de facto political arm of the independence movement. They need to publicly accept that, if independence is to be achieved; and the potential to build a better politics is to be realised, then those who support these ideals must set aside party loyalty and narrow policy agendas to put the maximum weight behind the political force that has been created to serve the cause of independence.

      Everybody needs to get their heads around the fact that, while the SNP certainly isn’t the whole Yes movement, it is the best tool the Yes movement has. Stop whining about it not being a perfect tool from the perspective of every single party and faction out there and accept that it is the only effective tool we have. It is the big hammer that will knock a hole in the wall of the British state. Without that hole to walk through, disputatious quibbling about we want to make of the world beyond is as about as clever as telling us we should be using a smaller but more pleasingly formed hammer.

      • craig Post author


        Your untouchable loyalty in the face of irrefutable fact is a wonder to behold.

        • Alex Birnie

          Very, very seldom do I disagree with you on ANY subject, Craig, but on this occasion I believe you are mistaken. In theory, you are absolutely correct. In strictly arithmetical terms, it makes sense to “divvy up” the pro-Indy vote between the other pro-Indy parties, if we were reasonably sure that the SNP we’re going to do well in the constituencies. There are two major problems with your “theory”. Firstly, it would have required a massive campaign, with massive publicity, and some legally dubious statements by SNP leaders to achieve anything remotely like success in such a venture. Secondly, the SNP supporters would have to be very much more “sheep-like” than they are. In my experience, trying to instil discipline on any group of Scots larger than groups of one, is like herding cats – it can’t be done….the minute they feel they are being pressured, the rebellion begins. It was a nice idea, but it will have to remain as a nice idea until we are all lobotomised.

      • weather report

        Having a few more seats in parliament might be a victory for the Scottish Green Party but it’s a rather limited victory compared to the prospect of an independent Scotland vigorously pursuing policies to make itself a renewable energy world leader.

        Instead we have Tory Westminster largely controlling Scotland’s energy policy and funding to the detriment of the renewables industry and six Green MSPs aren’t going to change that. Sixty three SNP MSPs can’t change that either.

        The Scottish Greens are simply going to have to be a bit more astute and try to stop hampering the SNP electorally. It might mean a few more seats for the Greens in the short term but the long term goal of a renewable energy Scotland is the real prize which comes with independence.

      • Sally Norris

        I agree with every word you have said and they did it for a reason too lead them all into a false sense of security the SNP and NICOLA are no stupid there is method in their madness. Think about it now we have the go ahead of UDI referendum is out because of the POSTAL VOTES once again going missing therefore we would never be INDEPENDENT on that merit and anyone that says we would are delutional they are all corrupt as got out so way forward is UDI if the UNIONIST don’t like it GO DOON TO WESTMINSTERLAND I here they want to take away your rights, privitise NHS totally take away your freedom and destroy the most vulnerable in our society so yes agree with your thinking but not your conclusion

    • Agnes D.

      I agree with Craig that #bothvotesSNP cost the Independence movement a number of MSPs. In the 2011 parliament, there were 71 (69 SNP plus 2 Greens) pro Indy MSPs, there are now 69 (63 plus 6 Greens). As a supporter of the Greens and a supporter of Independence, I would ask those in the SNP to recognise their responsibility in making that happen. It was clearly stated by John Curtice (no fan of the greens) that in all but Highlands & Islands, and possibly South, that a list vote for SNP would not yield a list MSP because of SNP dominance of the constituency seats. There is also significant misinformation going about. Greens only stood officially in 3 of the 73 constituencies (and officially, only in two). And why should Greens have stepped down in those constituencies when there was no move to transfer a regional vote to Greens?!!!

      But I’m not bitter. Greens believe in different things to the SNP. That’s good, that’s democracy. Many SNP supporters are not the liberal, left-leaning, social democratic party they put forward in their rhetoric. A significant majority of SNP voters voted for SNP on the list is because they are not in favour of a left-leaning independent Scotland.

      This leads to another point that should be taken into account: the Greens and radical independence brought so many people to the Independence movement. I came to support independence *because* of the Greens, because of Women for Indy, and because of assurances by numerous commentators that Independence was not just an Alex Salmond/ SNP project, that there would be a journey towards a genuinely fairer, more inclusive and more environmentally sustainable Scotland. There were many like me. This seems to be discounted by much of the discussion which seems to say “if only the greens had rolled over and (once again) lent their votes to SNP, the SNP would have gotten a majority, and would lead us forth to Indyref2”. The tone of some of the discussion I heard during the SP16 campaign from some SNP supporters was along the lines of “Yes, I agree with so many principles of the Greens, but for now, we need to unite uncritically behind the SNP, as they are the only ones who will Deliver Independence. After that, I will vote Green/ Left/ Whatever”. Well guess what: I want a better Scotland now. I want Scotland, and the Scottish parliament to first start as a social democratic anomaly in the UK and when the time for Indyref2 comes, I want the Independence movement to have a broad plurality of voices that is mutually respectful and that is NOT just the project of one party. From the discussion among many in the Indy world, I am sad to say, I don’t see this happening in the short term.

  • Susan Fraser

    The voting system we have is simply not fit for purpose. If people do not clearly understand what their vote does, and how to get their choices to count, then it’s no voting system at all, and clearly there is wide confusion about this.

    At the same time, you really can’t blame the SNP for saying SNP 1&2…. they can’t do otherwise. They can’t abandon their own list candidates or endorse other parties by saying anything else.

    Also, the result we have, has achieved, in practical terms, what was asked for. No SNP majority, and Greens with enough to be Kingmakers…. that is what the argument for a different second vote was aiming for.

    However, it has also meant that the loss of the SNP majority has weakened the case for IndyRef2 considerably, which is what the meedja is now all over, the headline stories are not about independence supporting parties still being in the majority.

    So yes, SNP1&2 has harmed the Greens in particular, but not doing it has set back the indy cause too.

    The Tories got in because the hardbitten unionists have nowhere else to go with Labour now just a joke. That’s about Labour collapse not about SNP “letting them in”… and trying to make it about that is just drawing divison between the indy parties, which is the last thing we need if we are to move forward.

    • fred

      There is no case for another referendum and there never has been.

      The nationalist voters have been well and truly had.

      • Republicofscotland

        “There is no case for another referendum and there never has been.”


        On the contrary, the case has never been greater.

    • David

      The D’Hondt system that we user is fairer and more fit for purpose than the system that we use for Westminster elections. Why do we have to dumb down or simplify a voting system why can’t we make the effort to get people up to speed with how it works.

  • Annette

    I have been saying much the same thing, but I see that the Both-Votes-SNP cohort even today still doesn’t see that they got their maths wrong. To elect more SNP MSPs via the regional list, they would have needed significantly more list votes than constituency votes – how was that ever going to happen? Both-Votes-SNP has been a godsend to the Tories.

    • Gribble

      It would be instructive if, instead of throwing assertions around, someone actually produced the numbers. How many more people would have had to have voted SNP on the list in each region for them to gain a seat, and at whose expense would that likely have been?

      • Derick fae Yell

        This is the full calculation for the regional seats in Highlands and Islands in 2016

        The list count for each seat is divided by (the number of MSP’s each party already has + 1)

        SNP won 6 constituencies so for the first seat count their vote was divided by (6 MSPs + 1)= 7
        Lib Dems won 2 constituencies so for the first seat count their vote was divided by (2 MSPs + 1)=3

        The regional vote was as follows

        SNP 81,600
        Tory 44,693
        Lib Dems 27,223
        Labour 22,984
        Green 14,781
        UKIP 5,344
        Independent (Stockan) 3,689
        Christian 3,407
        RISE 889
        Solidarity 793

        Calculation. Same order as original vote order. Minor parties with zero chance of a seat not included for clarity. Imagine them sitting there unchanged all the way down, with too few votes to win anything.

        First seat
        SNP 81,600 (divided by 7 = 11,657)
        Tory 44,693
        Lib Dems 27,223 (divided by 3 = 9,074
        Labour 22,984
        Green 14,781
        Tory win with 44,693. They now have 1 MSP so their vote is divided by 1+1 = 2 for the next seat.
        44,693 divided by = 22,347

        Second seat.
        SNP 11,657
        Tory 22,347
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 22,984
        Green 14,781
        Labour win with 22,984. They now have 1 MSP so their vote is divided by 1 + 1 = 2 for the next seat. 22,984 divided by 2 = 11,492

        Third seat.
        SNP 11,657
        Tory 22,347
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 11,492
        Green 14,781
        Tory win with 22,347. They now have 2 MSPs so their vote is divided by 2+1 = 3. 44,693 divided by 3 = 14,898

        Fourth seat.
        SNP 11,657
        Tory 14,898
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 11,492
        Green 14,781
        Tory win with 14,898. They now have 3 MSP sso their vote is divided by 3+1 = 4 for the next seat. 44,693 divided by 4 = 11,173

        Fifth seat.
        SNP 11,657
        Tory 11,173
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 11,492
        Green 14,781
        Green win with 14,781. They now have 1 MSP so their vote is divided by 1+1 = 2 for the next seat. 14,781 divided by 2 = 7,239

        Sixth seat.
        SNP 11,657
        Tory 11,173
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 11,492
        Green 7,239
        SNP win with 11,657. They now have 7 MSPs so their vote is divided by 7+1 = 8.
        81,600 divided by 8 = 10,200

        Seventh and final seat.
        SNP 10,200
        Tory 11,173
        Lib Dems 9,074
        Labour 11,492
        Green 7,239
        Labour win with 11,492

        The number of constituency votes won by the SNP across the region was 90,548 so if everyone who voted SNP in the constituency had voted SNP x 2 that would have given 90,548 divided by 8 = 11,319 for the list calculation for seat 7. Labour would have won seat 7 by 173

        The difference between SNP constituency and list votes was 90,548-81600 = 8,948

        For the SNP to win seat 7 their original vote would have needed to be 91,950 = 1,002 votes higher. (91,150 divided by 8 = 11,493)

        The Greens had no constituency vote so for them to win seat 7 their original list vote divided by 2 would need to be 22,986 = 8,205 votes higher (22,986 divided by 2 = 11,493)

        It would have been easier for the SNP to win a second list seat than for the Greens to do so.

    • David

      Ok Annette but if you want to go into details then the biggest godsend to the Tories was the Green vanity project on the Edinburgh Central constituency seat that split the pro indy vote and let Ruth Davidson win it by fptp. I’m not saying “both votes SNP” was a great idea but maybe the party machines of both these pro independence parties are a bit unable to think outside the box.

  • David McGrath

    Spot on. Take western isles, had SNP lost the constituency seat they would have collected 3 seats may be 4.

    This second vote issue was highlighted very clearly by some professor and we was roundly ignored.

    But lets not dwell on this, the result is a very strong positive. Greens having 6 seats are our closest allies and we would do well to listen to their concerns in every department let alone the environment. Having to govern (I was writing the word rule, this is what Westminster does) with consensus is no bad thing and will keep our guys on their toes.

    Next time round SNP strategists will and must get this right. First vote SNP, 2nd vote the strongest indy party in your region.

  • Jill Nicoll

    Why on earth did we not get more seats when here were so many SNP votes on the list. How does this proportional representation work? It seems grossly u fair that we polled most votes yet got no seats. I tKe it this was done quite deliberate.y by uk gov at time of devolution

    • fred

      Oh yes it’s all Westminster’s fault, everything is always all Westminster’s fault.

      The system was devised by Donald Dewar the leader of the Scottish Labour party to give minority parties like the SNP a better say in parliament. In 1999 when Labour got 53 constituency seats to SNP 7 it meant that te SNP got 28 regional seats to Labour’s 3.

      • David

        agreed Fred, I’m on the SNP side and the D’Hondt system is not without its flaws or its critics but I think we all need to take a step back and realise that it is significantly fairer than the system that delivers UK conservative majority governments on 36% of the vote.

      • davidbsb

        Bollox. It was designed to ensure the SNP could never get a majority, and that Labour allied to the ever opportunist Lied Dems would be perpetually in government.

        They never planned on either of their parties being found out.

    • Derick fae Yell

      The system works as it should. The combined total of constituency and list seats is roughly proportional to the amount of votes cast on the constituency. It’s not an exactly proportional system so it slightly over rewards larger parties. Much better than First Past the Post though.

      The SNP got 46.5% of the constituency vote. When the constituency plus list seats are added up SNP got 63 MSPs = 48.8% of the total.

  • Gribble

    There’s an element of this that seems to me to have been largely overlooked. The SNP asked for both votes for them: that’s absolutely what a party should be doing, and they would have been derelict if they did otherwise. The other parties, however, were not just asking for both votes in their own right, but asking natural SNP supporters NOT to vote for their party of choice – and often in quite inflammatory terms. You want to know where the bitterness in this whole farrago came from, I’d start looking there…

  • George MacDonald

    I can’t imagine that James Kelly and Stuart Campbell didn’t realise this would happen, but how would they have put across the message?
    They would have had to give a different message to different areas of the country. ” If you live in areas X then give your list vote to SNP but if you live in areas Y then give your list vote to Greens”
    Too confusing to send mixed messages.

  • [email protected]

    I gave my list vote to the greens as I saw no harm in providing diversity in the parliament as long as that diversity did not harm support for independence. However I’ve never properly analysed the data to see what would be best, where did you get the figures from, is there a full report avalible?

  • David Milligan

    Or of course we could look at it the exact opposite way Craig.

    Hindsight’s a really wonderful thing I always say.

    Now I’ve shut up having a go my direction that the votes that were wasted on small pro indy parties could have gained just a couple (that’s two) of list SNP MSP’s somewhere in Scotland. That was yesterday. It really doesn’t matter now.

    What’s done is done. What would be the point of this particular blog article? Just to show people that they’re wrong because they voted a certain way?

    Come on Craig, you’re a billion miles better than this.

    There are lots of positives with things the way they are right now. During the campaign the Greens bent over backwards to prove their indy credentials. I think we have a right to push that button don’t we?
    And certainly the unionists have run out of steam on the claim of a “one party state”, haven’t they?

    In the past we had poor wee Kezia that did all but cry on the front bench. Now we have a real movie star baddie wearing a tory rosette in the opposition benches. If you want to bring a people together, give them a common enemy who looks as if they’re doing well. It gives them something to push against.

    Let’s pump this system for all we’ve got. You clearly have the intellect. Now use it to best effect.

    People like me (and my weans) are depending on you. We don’t need a slap in the face – we don’t deserve that.

    Come on Craig, we can win here, help us win.

    Kindest regards,

    David Milligan

  • David

    “The question is, why did people I generally admire and, in fact, find quite brilliant like James Kelly and Stuart Campbell, get it so wrong and fail to see the obvious?”

    I think they did see the obvious and recognised that a critical mass swing to Green or other pro independence parties was never going to happen. Wings never advised people how to vote. They simply pointed out that only a very minor swing to Green or other pro independence parties, with virtually all of it draining from SNP support, was the most likely scenario. The results of the election show that they were, unfortunately, right about that.

    I am an SNP member and I voted SNP both ballots. I didn’t do this because Nicola told me to I did it because I did not believe the preponderance of no_brainer theories that were telling us with all certainty that SNP were going to win every constituency and would not require any list support for their parliamentary majority to happen. I also noticed that the Green desperation to take pro indy votes from SNP was not matched by clear confident independence support from the leadership. I was also aware that in 2011 SNP only achieved their majority with list seats.

    Was this the correct decision? Probably not but SNP did benefit from the list in a few important places and Greens did increase their numbers and might put some strain on the SNP whip and get some worthwhile progressive amendments into the coming legislation over the next five years.

    There was also some tactical voting in the constituencies. I look at the Orkney and Shetland results and I find them very hard to believe although I did expect the LibDems might win with a much closer result. Did the Greens presence on the constituency ballot in Edinburgh central give Ruth Davidison her win?

    I think we are all still on a learning curve about the workings of the version of D’Hondt that is being used. It was set up to prevent a single party from dominating the Scottish parliament and so far, except for 2011, it has been more or less successful. Despite my membership I would prefer a very large pro independence majority to a parliament with a very slim SNP majority. Unfortunately, we got neither of these.

    I wish I had more answers rather than questions but unfortunately we were all somewhat defeated by D’Hondt.

  • Michael Clarkson

    I believe that the answer is more complex than simple “wasted votes”. There is no such thing as a wasted vote. If you cast your vote according to the party you choose to represent you, you have had your say democratically.

    The real issue is the Holyrood electoral system. It is designed to promote consensus politics. If we had true PR, the answer would be different. The SNP would comfortably hold the majority. The critical point was the constituency vote, which failed to deliver the majority. The other pro independence parties split the vote, changing the proportions on the list vote.

    The SNP isn’t the only party for independence, but is the only one strong enough to deliver. Are any of the other parties in a position to influence the economics of Independence, or even to improve the confidence of the Scottish electorate that we can do it? I don’t think so. Manipulating the seats in parliament doesn’t change minds. And that is what we have to do to attain independence.

    I would rather have an honest parliament reflecting the polarity of Scottish politics that can prove the viability of independence than a parliament that gives a false impression of the strength of the case for independence.

    • Gerry Mulvenna

      You are right Michael, there are no “wasted votes”.

      You are however wrong Michael about “true PR” – that should only deliver majority government if a party gets 50+% of the vote. The SNP took 46.5% in the constituencies so a return of 48.8% of the seats in our imperfect PR system (weighted as it is to FPTP) is a slightly flattering result.

  • Calum Carlyle

    Well that’s yet another perspective, isn’t it?

    I would never think to “blame” SNP/SNP voters, just like I’d expect them not to blame me for voting SNP/Green. BOTH of my votes counted towards a result in this region, but there are a number of ways of interpreting the data.

    The AMS system isn’t designed to make every vote count, as Mr Murray seems to assume should be the case. The fact is, however, that AMS has once again delivered approximately the same proportion of MSPs for each party as the proportion of votes they got.

    I’m sure I can be challenged on this but it is much fairer than FPTP while still retaining the “local rep” aspect that is the only appealing factor of FPTP.

    If we ever do get independence, hopefully we can move to a fully list based system or some other forms of PR.

    In the meantime, blaming each other for voting wrongly isn’t going to aid the cause in the slightest.

    The British empire conquered the world using divide and rule tactics. Don’t do their dirty work for them, folks.

  • Anne

    I think this illustrates the incomprehensibility of our voting system! No one understood it, not even msps.
    In the previous election SNP had a resounding majority, no reason to think if we voted for the same again, it wouldnt happen. Its quite shocking that we dont understand it but theres the truth.

  • Charles Patrick O'Brien Lvss

    My thoughts on the list votes are very different,one if those that had voted SNP for the constituency had carried on and voted SNP on the list we would have got our majority.It was the press persuading voters that it was in the bag for the SNP that we were going to win all of the constituency votes,and thus guaranteed our majority resulted in an idea of complacency took hold and then the small new parties (I wonder how the managed to get together so quickly) trying to tempt some of us with the line that our votes would be wasted if we went for SNP X ! & 2.That lie cost us our majority,they said that we should vote for them! they never had enough followers to start with,250,000.votes went to them on the list,I think that would have swung it back to us,and we would have had a majority a pro-independence majority that is.

  • weather report

    Why don’t the SNP and the Greens form an electoral alliance for Holyrood elections? The SNP could provide all the constituency candidates and the Greens could be well represented in the top places on the regional lists. No splitting of the pro indy and pro renewables vote in any constituencies or in any of the list votes.

    The result? Probably an SNP majority and the Greens in double figures in seats.

      • weather report

        The SNP took part in the Scottish Constitutional Convention with other parties and also worked with others as a minority government between 2007 and 2011. They have a track record of cooperating if it’s necessary.

        • Quo Vadis

          The SNP did not take part in the Scottish Constitutional Convention. They said they would not work towards a devolved Parliament because they wanted a separate Scotland.

          • weather report

            The SNP was in the SCC and only left because the Convention took the undemocratic step of refusing to even discuss independence as an option.

  • Muscleguy

    I have given up on James Kelly and Wings because I find the complete equation of indy support with the SNP narrow minded, obsessive and frankly nauseating.

    As for Patrick Harvie’s commitment this all stems ironically from him being more hardcore than Nicola. Patrick sees no point in more piecemeal non joined up powers trickling in from Westminster and doubts the stability of DevoMax. Both perfectly reasonable positions. He therefore is an an indy or nothing absolutist.

    To take his scepticism on the first two issues and ignore the third to accuse him of bieng soft on independence is stupid, arrogant and tragic. I’m disapointed to see you spread this slur without analysis or support of the evidence Craig.

    I fruitlessly voted Green on the list here in NE with no result. A result that has been the same for the last few parliaments. It would not have taken many SNP list voters to come over to get another Yes voice in the parliament.

    And don’t get me started on the anti-democratic expectations of SNP acolytes of their right to get a majority in parliament without majority support. In the end they fell well short of even 50% and the system worked to give a roughly proportional result, to the SNP at least. As could have been predicted.

    The Reve Stu a week or so ago even ran some hypothetical numbers he claimed supported the both votes SNP mantra. Myself and another scientist BTL tried to point out it did nothing of the sort and reinforced our contentions. We were of course roundly ignored. Take all the constituencies in a region and you will need 10-11 times more votes than anyone else to get a list seat.

    To put it in starker terms, all those wasted SNP votes were worth at best 1/10th of a Green vote or a RISE vote or a Solidarity vote or a Libertarians for Yes vote or a vote for any other Yes party.

    • Sheena Fraser

      And therein lies the problem with the current system. Not the fact that it was designed to give a proportional result, nor the fact that clever people can crunch the numbers and come up with different conclusions. The problem lies in the FACT that the average VOTER does not, and cannot know in advance of placing their vote what effect that precious vote will have on the final result. All the calculations start with a simple ‘if x = y’ whether x is turnout, or number of votes cast for a party or whatever and y is at best a good guess.

      UNLESS –

      Ask yourself this – ‘Who has access to the biggest (by a mile) comprehensive data base of party allegiances + current and previous voting intentions, which can be analysed on a national, regional, constituency or even council ward basis?’ – Obviously the answer is not any of the commercial polling companies or the MSM it is the SNP election team. With personal experience of the veracity of the data acquired through the efforts of an army of grassroots workers on doorsteps and by telephone, I fully believed their assessment that the SNP would NOT win all the Constituency seats and would therefore have to fight for Regional votes to have any chance of an overall majority.

      • fred

        That’s what is right about the system not what is wrong with it.

        The idea of democracy is that people go out and vote for the candidate or party they would lie to represent them. Tactical voting sews the results and doesn’t give an accurate representation of the wishes of the people. In the best voting systems, such as Condorcet, there is no point in tactical voting at all.

  • thomas cochrane

    My friend it would seem that I don,t quite understand the political game as much as I thought ! Wish to hell that I was not so certain in my belief Re.the list vote……….Tell you what It,s a hard lesson,but I say this to you it definitely has been learned.I will be following your writing with avid interest.

  • Ally Strachan

    A great article Craig. Spot on. The system is terrible but look at all these wasted second votes. People voting thinking their vote will be worthwhile and counted as a vote when in reality it is only worth 10% or less in some instances 🙁

    If only greens had got a few more, even at the expense of SNP to make this a coalition as I think Scotland would greatly benefit and SNP would be kept inline. They are starting to become a dictatorship. Named person, hitting middle earners with more austerity and taxing larger houses with more austerity, there is nothing progressive about that 🙁

    The new income taxes should only be used to reduce the tax rates, never to increase otherwise people will simply move south. I dont see why anybody should pay more to live in the same UK!

    Land reform may be sorted as might fracking now. There is much to do IMO. Slowly changing to a more socialist system wont work. People affected will simply move to a country where they will benefit and Scotland’s economy suffers 🙁

  • Eleanor McCarrey

    Hindsight is a marvellous thing, though voting SNPbothvotes provided the 3 list MSPs in my region South Scotland. Not a bad thing to be a tiny minority focus the government on the demands of the population. They handled a previous minority government well and this minority is a better positioned one. Facing a mouth piece of WM at every FMQ gives Nicola the massive opportunity to show the doubters exactly what being Better Together really means to ALL but the very rich in Scotland

  • davidbsb

    I’m sorry, but while I share your grief you forget a glaring problem in this analysis.

    Opinion polls up to last weekend showed the SNP were guaranteed to win. They were going to sweep the board on the FPTP. They had over 50% – and have all year – support. Nicola was the new messiah.

    On the day we polled 46.5%. That is 8 % lower than the rolling poll of polls was showing 4 days before the election. We got 59 seats. Not 73, not 71, not event 65.

    If that vote slipped a little more we would have been routed in the eyes of the people.. But with those lists, the lost constituencies would have been topped by List MSP’s. Remember, Labour lost any “talent” it had in 2011 because they merely put their Z team on the lists.

    The position you are advocating is reckless and dangerous. We scraped enough seats to just about run the country as we build support for ID2, and mortality improves our demographic. However keen you are to have ID2 tomorrow, it is not yet winnable. We need to keep running Scotland until then. 30 Greens are not whipped by the SNP.

    Nicola will call it when we can win it. And whenever that is, I will be out on doorsteps. It is not time yet. We have ground to prepare. Patience. It is coming, but if we time it prematurely it will slip through our fingers forever. We have to know we are winning before we start next time.

  • Scott

    I agree on each point, barring a) the need for a second referendum soon – id like to hear the reasoning behind it, as a failure to achieve a yes vote so soon after the first one is likely to shelve indy for a generation, and b) substantive numbers of new green members joined directly after the referendum and are in favour of indy – they might play it a bit safer in terms of how they’d go about a future indyref ie consulting the public vs. Snp “material change in circumstances but no chance they’d annoy their membership by going against indy, or at least being seen to be.

  • Haemoglobin

    I don’t think that Rev Stu, James Kelly, Paul Kavanagh etc failed to see the obvious. It is apparent from their comments (on here and elsewhere) that they don’t recognise the usefulness or intelligence of the broader (i.e. non-SNP) Yes movement. To be fair, one or two make an exception for Andy Wightman, although they are probably shaking their heads at his joining the Greens. These guys (epitomised spectacularly by Peter A Bell, whose frankly horrifying comments on here are typical of this type of thinking) and their followers believe anyone who claims to support independence but doesn’t follow the SNP line is to be mistrusted, and is at best an irrelevance, or more likely setting the cause back. For them, it is childishly obvious that the only thing required from an election is maximal SNP seats and votes (and preferably Labour doing extremely badly, as this is the thing that makes them laugh most). They have no respect for or interest in the other pro-independence parties, so why should they care how they do in the election?

    I find this perspective ignorant, disrespectful and unimaginative. However, this is how they see things. I worry for the future of the independence movement, as what goodwill as did exist between the SNP and the wider Yes movement could easily be lost. The #bothvotesSNP issue is clearly a big divide – both sides are right (from their own perspectives), but the Wings/SGP/PAB type of SNP supporter can’t respect any perspective but their own, hence their blaming the Greens for the loss of the SNP majority. This is a big problem for the independence movement – we need to have tactical debates about how best to proceed, and it would be great if everyone could participate, and respectfully. However, this looks unlikely to happen. We may end up being primarily reliant on the tactical nous, imagination and judgement of the SNP to achieve independence. I’m not convinced they are up to this task. How do we make them listen to us?

    • Gribble

      All well and good, but I reiterate – this didn’t start with the SNP going after supporters of other parties, it started with the minority parties telling SNP supporters not to support the SNP – and again, I repeat, in inflammatory language at that. At no point did any of the sites you name tell anyone which party to vote for: all they did present was their interpretation of the numbers, (and they were right in many respects: the polls were misleading, the constituency vote was smaller than they predicted, the SNP lost three constituencies in one region alone, and who saw that coming?) Consistently, what all of them said is – vote for who you believe in, for what you believe in. That wasn’t a courtesy accorded to would-be SNP voters.

      • Haemoglobin

        These sites may or may not have told people who to vote for, but they made a very clear play for #bothvotesSNP, and warned of anyone voting otherwise. It amounts to the same thing.

        And are SNP supporters really all SNP supporters? …

        One wonders if the SNP would be governing Scotland at all if people voted for what they believed in. I suspect the natural political home for many SNP voters is not for a “don’t scare the horses” party, but for something more adventurous. We had Paul Kavanagh telling us that we shouldn’t vote for what we believe in (in his context, anything that might be regarded as left wing) until we achieve independence, and that following that inevitable day, we will (of course) get a socialist paradise. The SNP is fundamentally a tactical voting party. Unless you admire the austerity lite policies they believe will win over the No voters, obviously.

  • weather report

    There’s no point keeping on with an SNP against Green squabble about second votes. There’s still a pro indy majority in the parliament.

    The real story is that the Tories and Ruth Davidson as the main opposition are going to have to justify the Westminster Tories’ austerity, Trident renewal, moving of jobs south and betrayal of the shipyards.

    Ruth may have had a lot of fun in recent elections riding tanks and buffalos etc. As opposition leader she’ll have to get on the SNP bronco each week in the Holyrood FMQs rodeo and she isn’t likely to be leaving the chamber with her famous big grin very often.
    On that theme Alex Johnstone can be the rodeo clown.

  • Gordon Jenki s

    The6th of May was not about Independance or even an other referendum. I vote for the candidate I wanted and then the government I wanted. Both were SNP. I voted for what I wanted.

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