Fears of ‘splitting the vote’ demonstrate a lack of understanding

IT amazes me how many people, including MPs and MSPs – Pete Wishart being an example – are ignorant of the ways the voting systems work in Scotland.

There are three ways your vote counts: first past the post for MPs in Westminster, the modified d’Hondt system for MSPs, and the local council elections where you have to list the candidates by order of preference.

As to splitting the vote, if a new indy party is only standing on the list, going by the last elections it would only cost the SNP at most four list seats in the worst-case scenario, but the proposed gain in pro-indy seats would be substantial, ensuring a majority and support for the SNP to get their finger out and do what we put them in for.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: New parties could cost us an indy majority at Holyrood

So for all you people who claim to know that a list party will split the vote, find out how the system works, because the Unionist parties certainly use it to their advantage.

The SNP are only afraid that we’ll start to see what has been going on behind the scenes. My message to all the “sources” is: put your name to your article if you’re so sure you’re right – there is too much of this hiding behind anonymity. If you have a criticism then have the courage, as others do, to stand up for your convictions.

READ MORE: I’m critical of the SNP strategy, but can’t see how new parties help

Time for us to start making a difference. The Yes campaigners have been the backbone of the movement so far. Time for the politicians to get up and show some fire – at least name the “sources” who are decrying them.

There will have to be a major shift in the way the SNP are, supposedly, trying for independence before they will be getting my vote next year. It will be hard for me to do so but it is time to cut out the cancer, as painful as it will be. A hard lesson may be the only cure.

John Jones
via email

I’VE read a lot this week about the formation of new parties standing in the list vote at next year’s Holyrood elections. I share the frustrations of many on the lack of action towards another referendum, and indeed on the voting system in place for Holyrood elections, but I have a couple of observations.

Why is the second vote for the Greens or the Socialists not enough? I’ve heard cry enough times during elections that these voters should “lend their votes” to the SNP, so why can’t we lend our list vote to them?

The next thing that concerns me is the number of new parties. I read about two this week. This is sheer madness and it WILL split the independence vote. If you are so determined for progress towards indy, why jeopardise it in this way?

Finally, I get that people want to send the SNP a message over their inaction over a vote. I want another vote too, but I want to win it, and win it well. Our support is currently just not sustained and convincing enough. That said, I think the leadership shown by our FM may go some way in making progress.

At the moment, my intention is SNP and Green on my ballot paper.

I just don’t think multiple new parties will give us what we want, so I’ll place my vote where I think it counts the most.

Maggie Rankin
Stirling

THE comparison from certain quarters of Nicola Sturgeon with Winston Churchill’s situation in 1945 – acclamation followed by a rejection – lacks a true analysis of why people voted overwhelmingly for Labour in the General Election of that year.

I was a 17-year-old junior reporter in the Edinburgh office of the Glasgow Herald at that time and was a member of The Herald team covering a huge rally in Princes Street Gardens at which Churchill gave a rousing speech. He was cheered to the rafters, but most of the audience must have then gone off and voted Labour. This was not done as a personal criticism of Churchill but a result of the Conservatives’ record pre-war, not only the appeasement of Hitler but their terrible record on unemployment, low wages, bad housing, and child poverty.

Labour had the better programme, which included the creation of a National Health Service. The public had hailed Churchill but preferred Labour’s vision.

Now people can see through the waffle of Boris Johnson – no Churchill – and appreciate the clarity of Nicola Sturgeon and the programme and achievements of the SNP.

George MacDougall
Edinburgh

IT is good news that the SNP’s Social Justice and Fairness Commission is looking into the possibility of developing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) policy for an independent Scotland. It may also be worth talking to Graeme McCormick, who has been leading the campaign for Annual Ground Rent (land tax) and has been busy visiting branches (pre-lockdown) to highlight the benefits of this policy, bringing in a fairer tax system and cutting down on tax-dodging.

As part of his plans he has also highlighted the ability of the Scottish Government to bring in a form of UBI while still devolved (although its benefits would be more limited in this case).

READ MORE: SNP to consider UBI in bid to build a fairer independent Scotland

The current coronavirus outbreak should also give some impetus to looking again at the care of our elderly and vulnerable members of society. It’s clear that this cannot be entrusted to companies such as HC One, which appear to put shareholder dividends ahead of the care and support of their residents. Too many large companies are based in tax havens, avoiding paying UK tax yet expecting the Scottish Government to bail them out when they fail their residents.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren
Paisley

MY heart skipped a beat when I saw your headline “SNP to consider UBI in bid to build a fairer independent Scotland” (May 15). Just for a second I thought it read UDI. Maybe next year!

Brian Lawson
Paisley



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