Time for Common Cause

Fears of losing a pro-independence majority in the next Scottish Parliament elections can be put to rest in a new exclusive Scots Independent analysis published for the SNP’s Annual Conference and available online

As delegates assemble, the SI has set out how a new two-vote strategy for the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021 could return 96 pro-independence MSPs and a mould-breaking parliamentary majority of 31 based on the same share of votes from 2016. Both Labour and the Conservatives would face their parliamentary groups being cut in half with only the Liberal Democrats holding on to the bulk of their small group.

The analysis assumes that the SNP’s second vote is transferred to a new Independence list party to return an additional 30 seats for independence supporters compared to the current 4 SNP and 7 Green regional MSPs.

One of the unexpected outcomes of such a strategy is that the Greens would in effect lose all their seats as the threshold for gaining a seat rises from the current 6% to over 10% due to the in-built favourability of large party votes in the d’Hondt seat allocation system used for proportional representation in the Scottish Parliament.

However, the Independence list party could be open to Greens, SNP and others to decide the order of candidates etc., just as is currently negotiated by similar autonomous/regional/independence groups for Spanish representation in the European Parliament where up to three people may share the five-year term based on agreed formulas.

Although it is anticipated that Unionist parties will criticise the strategy as underhand, it is perfectly within the rules of the Additional Member System which Donald Dewar unilaterally decided upon as New Labour’s first Scottish Secretary.

As SI Editor and author of the analysis, I’ve written that it was actually the former Glasgow South West MP Ian Davidson who first gave me the inspiration for thinking about this approach. In the early part of 2003, he wrote about how the Co-operative Party (which has an electoral agreement with the Labour Party), should stand for the Regional List vote and Labour only stand in constituency contests.

That way, Labour voters could feel like they were splitting their votes to get a better outcome. Of course, he inadvertently illustrated that the Additional Member System is just the ticket for a split vote to become two choices for many voters.

So, we want to ask you to consider how you would use your two votes in a future Scottish Parliament in order to ensure there was a new independence mandate. Complete the poll either here, or on Twitter or Facebook and share this blog post on social media to help us gather as many views as possible.


1 Comment

  1. I suggested this approach several years ago, and if implemented, would certainly be likely to achieve the desired outcome….as long as there was a realistic chance of amassing a large enough second vote at the election.
    However, the author seems to have completely missed the snag – that membership of the SNP precludes membership of any other political party. (I have no idea if such a rule applies within the Greens or Scottish Socialist Party)
    So…in order to take this forward, any current SNP members would need to resign from the Party and join the new Party.
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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