Tuesday, August 1, 2017

But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning...

I'm indebted to a certain controversial rapper, because if I hadn't randomly followed a link in one of his tweets, I would be unaware of the fact that Allan Moore has charged me with (almost) singlehandedly destroying the Yes movement.  I fear Allan may be overestimating my importance just a tad, but it would definitely be worth it if it was true.  Just think of my place in the history books - they'd say the survival of the glorious United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was all down to that Scot Goes Pop blogger bloke.  I'd be the modern-day Churchill.

"We had seen this argument before, with the blogger James Kelly aggressively promoting the 'both votes SNP' argument during last year’s Holyrood elections."

Well, I don't know if that's news to you, but it's sure as hell news to me.  In reality, I must have been one of the few people on either side of the debate who went out of my way to avoid using the 'both votes SNP' line, and continually said how unhelpful and inappropriate it was.  My main preoccupation was with getting the message out that so-called 'tactical voting on the list' was not feasible, and that people should vote for their first-choice party on the list vote - the more important of the two ballots.  In practice, that meant trying to persuade SNP supporters that they should stick with the SNP on the list - because it was SNP supporters who were being targeted by the tactical voting lobby.  The SNP weren't going around telling Green supporters that they should 'tactically' abandon their own party on the list.

"As for the both votes strategy it was a success... except it wasn’t. As the SNP gathered their biggest votes ever for FPTP and beat Labour’s record for list votes their success in the FPTP seats worked against them in the list seats while the thing which lost them the cherished majority was, well SNP losses in North East Fife, Edinburgh Western and Edinburgh Central which did for them."

Simply not true.  Holding on to those constituencies would have been a 'get out of jail free' card for the SNP, but their failure to do so is not the primary reason they lost their majority.  They actually enjoyed a significant net gain in terms of constituency seats, in line with their increased constituency vote share.  But their list vote dropped from 44% to 41.7%, and because the overall composition of parliament is essentially determined by the list vote, their overall number of seats naturally fell.  If you lose support on the more important of the two ballots, more often than not you're going to lose seats.  This isn't rocket science.

"[Cat] Boyd’s appearance provoked obviously a reaction from the one eyed Yessers and also an astonishing response from the aforementioned Mister Kelly of the Scotland Goes Pop blog. Astonishing, because the post to all intents and purposes lays out a manifesto for an ideologically pure pro-Independence drive for votes taking Independence and independence only as the basis for your vote. There is no concession to whether you agree with the SNP on, say, local authority funding, education, taxation or relations with the EU, you vote SNP for independence... or you are the enemy for voting for a ‘Yoon’ party."

First of all, I did not call Cat Boyd "the enemy", and I'm not in the habit of calling either individuals or political parties "Yoons".  (Nor, incidentally, is this blog called "Scotland Goes Pop", so I'm beginning to wonder about Allan's attention to detail.)  However, it's quite true that I believe (and I think this is a statement of the bleedin' obvious) that a vote for an anti-independence party like Labour is a vote against independence, and that a vote for an anti-indyref party like Labour is a vote against holding an indyref.  By the same token, a vote for an anti-European party like UKIP is a vote against remaining in the EU, the single market and the customs union, and people would rightly laugh at you if you tried to pretend it was anything else.

Any party is likely to have policies you disagree with, and so you're inevitably going to end up 'voting for' things you don't actually believe in.  For example, I'm not mad keen on the fact that my vote for the SNP was an endorsement of NATO membership.  But that didn't stop me, because leaving NATO isn't a high priority for me.  And that's the bottom line - voting "proudly" for an anti-independence party doesn't mean that you're no longer in favour of independence, but it does mean you're not that bothered about it in comparison to other things.  That's a pretty incredible position for the co-founder of a party that portrayed itself in last year's Holyrood election as passionately pro-independence, and sought pro-independence "tactical" votes on that basis.  (Indeed, the 'I' in the acronym "RISE" actually stands for independence.)

"Kelly’s plot was well and truly lost right at the start when he said that RISE were now vulnerable...the point missed by Kelly is that RISE were canvassing for votes from the Radical Independence wing of the Independence constituency, votes that would only go to the SNP tactically anyway."

As RISE received only 0.5% of the national list vote, it's quite difficult (and perhaps not particularly important) to work out who those people were.  Nevertheless, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that RISE very much wanted SNP supporters to lend them their list votes on a "tactical" basis.  A press release was put out to that effect.  If the same pitch is made next time around, it'll be undermined by the lack of commitment to independence demonstrated by a leading figure like Cat Boyd.  That's the point I was making.

36 comments:

  1. Good article. I suspect this is a classic case of people reading only what they want (pr expect) to read and then forming their "analysis" based on their own misreading of the actual words. We see it all the time on Twitter, which is, admittedly, not a useful means of transferring thoughts on a less than black/white topic.

    There will be a lot more of this coming up, I'm afraid. I won't refer to all those who had "graced" the pages of the anti-Independence MSM or made outlandish statements on Twitter by derogatory terms, but FFS time to Wake Up.

    The British Establishment includes the Media, especially the BBC propaganda mouthpiece, and the wealth and privilege that goes with it, and, importantly, the networks that effectively keep them in their position. They have all the tools to hand (including the Secret Services) to manipulate we the thoughts of we ordinary people. (This is not a conspiracy theory, just examine British Imperial history).

    Although over 70 years have passed, it seems to me that the words of the propaganda in chief in Germany during the 1930s still carry weight. Not one of his most quoted words, but apt in the UK media environment in 2017.

    "Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose."

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    1. Or as with a lot of Unionists, making it iup as they go along.

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  2. As so often, 'destroying the Yes movement' is really code for 'wouldn't endorse exactly what the RISE people wanted, so they've gone in the huff'.

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  3. I've seen plenty of cretins attacking the both votes SNP strategy. Our old friend Mikey Small(p*nis)being one not so prominent member of that club.

    Had everybody who voted SNP on the contituency ballot done the same on the List then there would have been more SNP MSPs elected and fewer yoons. Well done them on reducing the number of pro-independence MSPs.

    So their claim that there would be an SNP majority that couldn't in any way be risked by voting for the looney left was just another lie. They're good at those.

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  4. It is a fact even James would not dispute - incapable of being disputed - that had all SNP constituency voters, voted Green or Rise on the List, there would have been a massive pro-Indy majority in parliament. Anyway, old argument and pointless to rehash.

    The sad thing is that at a time when the SNP leadership has been performing extremely badly at making the case for Independence - indeed have been tactically refusing to put the case for Independence - and have hardly been radical on the domestic front, there is no decent pro-Indy alternative. RISE are a bunch of hair-splitting politically correct dullards.

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    1. It was never going to happen Craig.

      You can't push Green/RISE on anywhere ouside the central belt with any real prospect of success & then you alienate everyone else. This is especially true of Glasgow politics which is nothing like the rest of Scotland - getting there now perhaps...

      Agree with you on sense of drift and this may be why some people are making sure of their spots on the greasy pole before it shakes again. Some of those don't yet realise their pole has vanished...

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    2. Yes - I wasn't claiming it was possible to organise. But some of the mathematically incorrect rubbish I see spouted was hacking me off!

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    3. It most definitely is mathematical incorrect rubbish. In Fife, Lothian, Glasgow and West of Scotland a tactical vote for Green on list definitely did preserve the pro-yes majority. There is not a single region in Scotland where if Green had the same % of the vote as in 2011 and we assume the difference went to SNP (i.e. the tactical vote) where SNP would've gained a seat. In Fife if green had gained 700 odd fewer seat a labour msp would've got in. the same would've happened in Lothian if 200 odd fewer green votes on list had happened. We protected the yes majority in Holyrood in direct contradiction to your s and wings rubbish advice.

      Now, you got it wrong fair enough. But you still post the same rubbish. It was entirely obvious then that in 6 of the 8 regions an SNP list vote would be wasted as it is entirely obvious now to anyone who can be bothered trying to understand the not very complex workings of the d'hondt list additional member system.

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    4. PfY : I look forward to a retraction and apology for that intemperate and hubristic comment. We've been over this a billion times and it is you who has been proved wrong - it would do you some credit to admit that, rather than sticking your fingers in your ears. The Curtice report found that without the swing between SNP and Green on the list, there would have been 65 SNP seats and 2 Green seats. In other words, there would have been both a pro-independence majority and an overall SNP majority.

      So, nope - so-called "tactical voting on the list" was NOT responsible for preserving the pro-independence majority. Not even close.

      And, yup - it does look like misconceived attempts at tactical voting may have needlessly cost the SNP its majority.

      Maybe the best way of putting it is like this: "Now, you got it wrong fair enough. But you still post the same rubbish."

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    5. that report was a joke. what two seats do you think the SNP lost? it would've taken a huge swing to the SWP from green to make that happen, a totally unrealistic swing that would never have happened, given that green voters had already "loaned" their vote to SNP already on the constituency. given the denominator includes seats already won plus 1 it's fairly obvious that if you have 9 constituency seats in a region you will have a ten times smaller coefficient than a party with no seats in that region. In such an instance SNP would have needed close to 60% and above on the list to get a list seat. No poll was ever predicting that. Green was the smart choice where SNP were likely to win all constituencies or all bar 1 without question.

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    6. "that report was a joke."

      Forgive me if I pay rather more heed to Professor John Curtice than to a random anonymous commenter.

      "it would've taken a huge swing to the SWP from green to make that happen"

      Where does the Socialist Workers' Party come into it?

      Try investing in a calculator, by the way - your 60%+ claim is completely ridiculous.

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    7. SWP was a typo. The anonymity of these posts is irrelevant and an ad hominem from a person who has lost the argument and is not willing to admit it. There is a formula, historical polls, region specific trends and it was clear that with the exception of South (tories on constituencies) and Highland (lib dems on constituencies), green on list was far more likely to produce a Yes candidate for reasons of the divisor and the likely insufficient list vote of the SNP. And so it unsurprisingly proved with over 3 quarters of a million wasted list votes in these 6 regions with a return of zero list seats.

      the 60% is certainly not ridiculous at all. It gives you a divisor of 6. when you allocate 7 list seats using a reasonable distribution of votes you find that around 6 gives you the last seat. And it's virtually always above 5 which corresponds to 50% in regions that SNP win all constituency seats in. And SNP were never winning 50% of the vote. So, it's pretty phuqin obviously wasted.

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    8. Almost all of what you've just said is complete gibberish. Go and waste somebody else's time.

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    9. At the time I strongly agreed with you.

      In retrospect I have serious doubts.

      I can only really speak to mid-scotland and fife which is the area I campaigned in and analysed the data after the fact.

      Your case was predicated on an assumption that tactical voting could only really shift a small, say 3%, slice of the electorate.

      I don't think the results bear that out. We saw massive tactical voting here, enough to see Willie Rennie get a constituency seat and then four sodding Tories get elected from the list. I can't remember off the top of my head but as much as 40% of the libdem/tory vote was tactical.

      If we had done the same the greens would certainly have gotten at least one more seat.

      Trouble is that the greens consistantly prove themselves to be terrible allies. We need a single issue Yes party to vote for on the list. If SIC put up candidates that promised to vote for a referendum and abstain everywhere else they might get 20+ seats and completely skew the balance of power.

      Which is essentially what happened with the Tories last year....

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    10. Sorry, but I don't see what tactical voting in constituencies has got to do with anything. Nobody ever disputed that tactical voting in constituencies works, and indeed works very well. If you look back through the archives of this blog, you'll find me making that point several times in the run-up to the Holyrood election.
      There's a history of highly effective constituency tactical voting in Scotland going back decades - 1987 and 1997 being obvious examples.

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  5. Sometimes if you have to explain to some folk what you mean ,is a waste of time they wont understand the reasoning or the explanation of what is meant.Could be they don't want to understand or they are just not equipped to understand.Kudos for trying though,James is a good journalist saying it as it is,and also telling us of his leanings.

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  6. Cat Boyd may well be an opportunist but how on Earth can a socialist vote for the Nat si party.

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    1. I voted UKIP and leave , better together. WATP FTP GSTQ

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  7. "...Alan Moore knows the score..."

    (sings) can u dig it...

    D.

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  8. We've had a few asinine articles recently and this one from Mr Moore, whom I've never heard of, is another time-wasting addition. They all share the same lack of intellectual logic and rigour and are reminiscent of the kind of anti-intellectual gibberish written in much of the British Nationalist press where they pretend to analyse by using big words but are really just propagandising against things they don't like and cannot beat by reasoned argument.

    All this nonsense about pins and angels misses one profound point: if we don't have an SNP majority in Holyrood, or an SNP + other independence supporting MSP's majority then we are not going to get Independence. And like it or not, only the SNP are capable of getting the numbers.

    The SNP have been here for years, mostly struggling to stay alive, but have stayed the course. And, yes, the indy movement is more than the SNP. But some of these johnny-come-latelies seem a fickle bunch and appear to have other priorities.

    I want Independence, and only by voting SNP can I be sure that I'm voting for a party for whom Independence is their top priority.

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    1. Better together, WATP FTP GSTQ.

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    2. Resident Protoctista.

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  9. I see there is a bigot crawled out from under his stone with the brain of a gnat.

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    1. Yep. Sadly, it treats this place as part of its primal scream therapy...

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    2. Does your hat fit your ego!

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    3. We're discussing your id, not my ego. Goodbye.

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    4. So there are more than one of you fascist English haters! Byee knob.

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    5. Seek professional help. Immediately.

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  10. Any word on a poll for the big question?

    Surely it's of interest during these Brexit negotiations. I think there should be prominent statements from Nicola after every negotiation. If it's happening i've not heard it.

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    1. Knickerless just says what her publicly funded advisers tell her...Close down the Jock parliament and save millions for the public services...The devolded institutions are a gravy train.

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    2. State of this.

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  11. it seems to me that the SNP has lost the voters to boredom/apathy rather than anything else. 6-7k voters just not bothering to turn up plus some inevitable witherers swung seats.

    The indy surge in engagement needs to be revitalised.

    This squabbling amongst 'friends' doesn't help.

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    1. What squabbling in particular are you referring to? Allan Moore isn't a 'friend' in political terms (as far as I'm aware).

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    2. Disenchanted is probably a better description. You nat sis do not seem to be going anywhere except the dustbin of history. You have no strategy and are lost for progressive policies. The voter sees you carrying on with the old Tory policies and that is why the Tank Commander was successful.

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    3. Stench of this.

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