oppLists and numbers

In recent months there has been a plethora of debate about tactics for the second, list, vote in the Scottish Parliamentary General Election next year. With more opinions and assertions than I could shake the proverbial stick at. Very few accompanied by an analysis I have to say.

One thing they tend to share is an acceptance that anyone voting SNP in the 1st paper can be readily transferred on a whim. WRONG! One because lots of people will vote SNP 1 & 2 regardless. Two because lots of folk were persuaded to do that in 2016 with very little extra to show for it. And before you point out that the greens won 6 seats, bear in mind that they would probably have won some seats anyway and also that having a record and actions to defend makes them vulnerable.

We’ve seen some people talk as though my vote is to be taken for granted when in fact it has to be earned, and through a lot of hard work over a long number of years the SNP has earned my vote and I find it very difficult to imagine voting against an SNP candidate. Like many others who have served the Party over the years, I have on occasion found myself having to hold my nose as I voted, but vote I did. And my nose was a lot less painful than if I had voted for some bauble chaser.

I vividly recall all the talk in 2016 about how voting Green etc on second vote was the key to success. Aye, was it.

Let’s have a wee look at the 2016 actual figures rather than the ones some folk would wish had happened on the second vote.     

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Popular Vote (Regional)
Liberal Democrats5.2%

Resulting in;

SNP                953,58741.7-2.34

A couple of things stand out to me;

1. Yes it’s a poor return on numbers of votes for the SNP but that’s because we were so successful on the 1st ballot and I’ve been around long enough not to take that for granted.

2. The figures for the yoons are pretty reflective of their vote and that’s what the system is designed to produce.

3. The Greens scraped a mere 6.6% of the vote even with lots of SNP voters giving them their list vote. Given that they are now just as bauble chasing as our other opponents, that’s not something which is going to happen so readily. Especially in Glasgow. Could be bye bye to Patrick.

But what really stands out is that the voters are not going to be so easily manipulated as some, including some who should know better, imagine.

If the new indy parties are to win seats, these figures would suggest that their gains are likely to come at the expense of the 4 SNP list members and the 6 greens in the first instance. The Greens secured as I have noted lots of SNP voters support for the lists but if there were to be other indy parties standing then they will pick up much of that transfer costing the greens. What this means in practical terms is simply that any indy party must win more seats than the greens and the SNP lose to change the balance in any way. That’s currently 10 seats!

If the new parties were to fail in winning those 10 seats, then the most likely gainers would be the LibDums, hardly an advance in anyone’s language.

So, if we take as a base line that the 1st past the post seats stay as they are and there’s not a huge amount of room for SNP gains given that the yoons only hold a total of 14 seats between them, then anyone arguing for this pick ‘n mix of indy parties needs to show where they can pick up seats in excess of what the SNP and Greens lose as the very first step and a quick glance at the number of Con and Lab votes shows that they at least should hold onto the vast majority of their list seats if not all. Note that with 119,284 votes (5.2%) the libdums only added 1 seat against the 150,426 for the Greens which gave them 6.6% and 6 seats. Even if for example the Tories were to drop 1 seat in each region there’s no guarantee that a split indy vote would be the gainer. Look at the Solidarity performance.

Take a good look at the map and the numbers and tell me where the extra seats are going to come from before you ask me to vote for anyone but the SNP. I spent many years casting “wasted votes” and I have absolutely no intention of going back to that “future”!