I READ Ruth Wishart’s column “Alternative pro-indy votes may be key to Yes majority” (June 29) with much interest.
The argument for doing something radically different is beginning to grow more and more powerful, as more and more people instinctively understand that “Both Votes SNP” will likely win no list seats for independence at next year’s Holyrood elections.
As Ruth says, the vagaries of the Additional Member System mean that if the SNP do well in the constituencies – which they are on course to do – then they simply cannot win list seats. That’s because the list vote is divided by the number of constituency seats won +1.
That’s why last time, in 2016, the “Both Votes SNP” strategy saw 910,000 votes on the regional lists deliver only four list seats for the SNP across the country. The result was the Tory Unionists gaining many seats and being reborn as the official opposition in Scotland.
This time round, with the SNP poised to do even better in the constituencies, more than a million votes could be cast for them without a single list seat being won.
Fortunately for the Yes movement there is an answer at hand, and that is the “Max the Yes” strategy, where all of Yes gets behind the SNP in
the constituencies, but votes for an indy alternative that stands only on the list.
Because those votes are then only divided by 1, they all count and many more pro-indy MSPs are delivered to the Scottish Parliament. If we all get behind such a strategy we could end up with the transformative situation of not just an indy SNP government, but a critically supportive pro-indy opposition.
Ruth mentions the new Independence for Scotland Party (ISP), and I congratulate our friends involved there for being first out of the block – but Max the Yes will work best not with a whole series of indy parties standing on the list and dividing the efficacy of the vote, but with a single broad Alliance standing on the sole issue of independence.
Such an Alliance should be capable of involving Yes individuals, Yes group affiliates and all of the smaller Yes parties – Solidarity, SSP, the new ISP and possibly the Greens – and it should be broadly representative of the Yes movement as a whole.
A genuine Alliance is a more complicated thing to set up compared to a conventional party, of course, which is why it is taking a little longer, but just such an “Alliance for Independence” IS being formed and will launch formally in a few short weeks.
This Alliance for Independence already held an initial conference in Glasgow back in February to set the process in motion, with more than 32 different Yes and indy groups across Scotland attending and voting to set it up.
And I hope I am not giving too much away by saying that they have been chatting to the ISP, Solidarity, and other pro-indy forces, and that both Solidarity and the ISP have declared an interest in further negotiations at this stage. Watch this – and other – media spaces!
The Alliance for Independence is coming soon, and everyone who wishes to participate – individuals, Yes groups and any of the smaller Yes parties who choose to do so – WILL be able to participate.
This broad Alliance will be the vehicle we need to make “Max the Yes” a success and see many Unionists kicked out of the Scottish Parliament in 2021 and replaced with pro-indy MSPs.
RUTH Wishart’s intentions are laudable, but her logic is flawed. It’s certainly true that voting SNP in the list ballot is pretty much a waste when most of the constituency seats go SNP. But that’s the point of our version of proportional representation. A party can win the 81% of the constituency seats with only 47% of the constituency votes, as the SNP did in 2016.
The list ballot brings the composition of parliament more into line with the proportion of votes cast. Adding in the Greens, pro-indy parties got 69 seats (53%) with around 48% of all votes.
So no, Ruth, “both votes SNP” does not mean fewer pro-independence seats – at least, not fewer than your vote share.
It’s true, too, that adding a new pro-indy party such as ISP to the list ballot could change that. Theoretically – if everyone who voted SNP in the constituency ballot voted ISP in the lists – you could get 70% or more of the seats for pro-indy parties with only 50% of the votes (or even far fewer).
So who would be impressed by that? Such a huge Holyrood majority would be transparently artificial. This new parliament could vote all it liked for a referendum, but it wouldn’t be any more likely to get any go-ahead from Westminster.
But far more importantly, this parliament’s legitimacy in Scotland itself would be rightly challenged. OK, it would have all been done by the rules, but by gaming them to make “proportional representation” non-proportional. You wouldn’t have won over any more Scots to indy, you’d just have antagonised vastly more. This would fatally undermine the chances of gathering momentum in popular support post-May 2021.
If you don’t want to waste your list vote, vote Green. The SNP need pushing towards much more radical policies, and a much more vigorous approach to climate change and many other issues. The Greens aren’t perfect but they have a clear set of good priorities, as well as being pro-indy.
No, we have to win more and more Scots over to independence, not try to wangle it through by electoral tricks. And it’s happening – 54% and rising. We shouldn’t be seduced by the idea of some clever dodge offering a short cut.
Lyn JonesAddress supplied
WELL said Ruth Wishart. There is no argument when you study past results. Never mind the whitabootery this and that. The numbers regional v list per proportion of votes is black and white. Time to put a bit of focus on the SNP’s raison d’etre.
Lee McLaughlanvia thenational.scot