Alternative parties?

If Nicola Sturgeon was doing her job properly there would be no talk of alternative pro-independence parties. But if the ‘People’s Alliance’ or any other alternative party wants my support they will have to convince me of three things – (a) that they really can game the voting system; (b) that they can do so without adversely affecting the SNP vote, and (c) that, if elected, they will have no policy conflicts with the SNP. That’s not going to be an easy task.

The voting system cannot be gamed. It’s impossible. By which I mean that the chances of being able to game the system are so remote as to be unworthy of serious consideration.

Any alternative pro-independence party is bound to impact on the SNP vote. It cannot be avoided when both parties are targetting the same voters. The People’s Alliance can give all the assurances they like. But the parliamentary arithmetic is such that even the slight possibility of even a small negative effect becomes a major gamble.

Assuming that the People’s Alliance is planning on standing human beings as candidates, it’s hard to imagine them having no opinions on anything other than the constitutional issue. It’s hard enough to imagine them agreeing with the SNP as regards the manner and method by which the independence campaign should be progressed. It would be a lot to expect that People’s Alliance MSPs would undertake to vote with the SNP even when in serious disagreement with the latter’s policies. It’s not a great pitch to the voters – “Vote for us and we’ll do whatever the SNP wants!”.

The Yes movement does need to come together and appoint people who can speak to the SNP, the Scottish Government and the country on behalf of the grassroots. The Yes movement needs to give birth to an effective campaigning organisation. Not to fight elections but to fight for independence. Because Nicola Sturgeon isn’t doing the job properly.



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42 thoughts on “Alternative parties?

  1. I’ve had similar thoughts but might soften ‘no policy conflicts’ to ‘strong policy alignment’ with the SNP or similar. SNP ( and other?) voters should be comfortable that an alternative list party will be supporting most of ‘good government’ initiatives and budgets etc. that the majority SNP are putting forward. However, I’d suggest that where the SNP are pushing forward initiatives that have little to do with good government and/or the promotion of independence, they should not feel confident of that list party’s support.

    Would be difficult to manage in practice, I’m sure, but an objective worth aiming for to avoid simply becoming the SNPs pets or yet another opposition party.

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    1. Still seems like a very high-risk venture to me. Why? If we ensure the SNP keeps polling as it is then we’ll have that pro-independence majority anyway. A good way of putting that majority in jeopardy. would be to tell independence-supporting voters it’s OK not to vote SNP. I know that’s not the intended message. But I can absolutely guarantee that it’s the message a potentially significant number of voters will hear. Especially when it is being augmented by Labour for Independence campaigning for British Nationalist candidates while wearing Yes badges.

      Nobody ever lost a camapign by treating the electorate as if it’s as stupid as any other mob. If you want your message heard and understood, keep it at primary school reading level. If it has more than two punctuation marks – including the full stop at the end – you need to rethink. ‘Vote SNP’ is just about simple enough to be fuckwit-proof. ‘Vote SNP except…’ is a recipe for disaster.

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      1. Hard to argue against any of that. One point though, at the moment polls show an SNP/Indy majority no problem. Will that continue to be the case if the SNP fails to deliver this year on promised indyref2? Can see their opponents equally making capital with that and the vote simply not turning out. It would be great if there was a more direct way to hold the SNP’s feet to the fire but can’t see one at the moment.

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      2. It occurs to me that the 2021 election will be one where the size of the SNP vote takes on a particular significance. Imagine getting it over 50%! Instead of farting around with list parties, perhaps our focus should be on maximising the SNP vote. Give them a big stick and make it perfectly clear that they better use it.

        Conference will be the time to be putting pressure on the party. Stuff needs to happen inside and outside the venue.

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  2. I tend to agree with the argument that the new list party should not be in conflict with general SNP policies although I do think we’re way past time where we need another body to hold the SNP to account.

    WoS did a very good analysis some time ago where at worst the SNP would lose only a couple of list seats for a substantial gain of several list seats to a new independence party.

    I think this would be a great initiative to get up and running as the Greens are an untrustworthy ally at the best of times

    To me it would be well worth the risk as Nicola seems to be stuck in the groundhog day of S30 fantasy world and needs a substantial nudge in the proper direction.

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  3. What is “”People’s Alliance” ?
    I’ve never heard of them.
    But when I talk of another pro Independence Party, I do mean a proper political group, and one with ideas of it’s own…. constructive ideas that is.
    i’m not sure this Alliance thing., from I hear, is not that type of group.
    However, I also share the concerns of splitting the Independence vote.
    But then the Greens are also for Independence, but they seem to many, well, they are in fact, very weak on the subject.
    I see no reason, tho, why the List system cannot be used to the Independence movement’s advantage.
    But, as you say, we wouldn’t be having to think along these lines before Independence, as opposed to setting up alternatives, after Independence, if SNP was pushing far more for ending the Union, than they are doing at present

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is there any way of stopping parties based outside Scotland from fielding candidates in a Scottish Parliament election? Could the Scottish Parliament do it? Or is this a matter retained by Westminster? Is simply seems so unjust that parties based in a neighbouring country can field candidates in a Scottish election.

    Coule the Labour, Tory, and LIb-Dem parties in Scotland be required to form Scottish parties?

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    1. If it is for the UK Parliament, I don’t see ow they can be stopped.
      However, what we should be doing, is seeing if those London based Parties like Labour//tory,etc, can keep getting away with calling themselves “Scottish Labour”,, when they are nothing more than a regional group for a Westminster Party.
      They can pretend to be different all they want,, but the reality is, they are under London control, and take their orders from London.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Peter is spot on here. Splitting the vote would be a disaster. However, the question is how do we give the SNP a good kicking to encourage greater proactivity? because a big vote can lead to self-satisfaction and complacency, as happened to Labour in Scotland. The SNP’s only mandate is to get Independence for Scotland and right now they seem to have no workable idea for achieving that.

    I’m not a member, but I suggest SNP members need to take control of Conference and policy and stop being dictated to by the hierarchy as to what can and cannot be debated. SNP voters, of which there are more than 1 million, should start writing to their SNP MP’s, MSP’s etc and demand a coherent, workable plan, – I gave my thoughts on this in a previous post – because the idea that BJ will suddenly bow to the inevitable is ludicrous.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Appears “People’s Alliance” may be a Solidarity rebrand, the extreme left trying to hijack the list-only party idea.

    S30 legal challenge is under way via @PeoplesAS30 on Twitter, so best to wait and see how that goes before doing anything daft.

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  7. Langauage about ‘gaming’ the system should be avoided. It is the Scottish electorate that is being gamed by the British state.

    The D’Hondt system denies the SNP the seats their number of votes deserves and gives the Tories and Labour far more than they deserve. This is a democratic outrage and if it can be redressed, it should be.

    “Both parties are targetting the same voters”

    They are targetting the same voters, but not the same vote. It is the list vote that would be targeted, where the SNP’s vote allocation is reduced in proportion to it’s success in the constituency seats – great system that awards seats in inverse proportion to your popularity!

    “Vote for us and we’ll do whatever the SNP wants!”

    Change ‘SNP’ to ‘British Labour’ or ‘Westminister Tories’ and how does this differ from the agenda of our Unionist chums? However, unlike them, this party could potentially include some of the best thinkers in the country, an asset and a credit to our soon-to-independent Scottish parliament.

    This needs to be carefully worked out but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Every vote cast for independence should count, and at the moment it doesn’t.

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    1. The D’Hondt system doesn’t deny the SNP anything that it is entitled to. The system is designed to avoid the problems of FPTP and provide a measure of proportionality. Which it does quite successfully. You could start a campaign to have FPTP for Holyrood elections. But I don’t see you having much success.

      The hope that the generality of voters will hear the bit about different votes is just as pointless as your wish for FPTP in Holyrood elections. A possibly significant chunk of the pro-independence electorate will hear only that it is OK to vote for this other party instead of the SNP. Barely a handful will get the constituency/region specific messages that might be necessary. You make one of the most basic mistakes in communication and campaigning when you assume that your message will convey with total accuracy to 100% of the target audience.

      You make a further error by thinking in absolutes. The stuff about changing ‘SNP’ to ‘British Labour’ totally misses the point. There is a clear distinction between these two. Your aim is to blur the distinction between the SNP and the People’s Alliance. It’s difficult enough to get the electorate (as opposed to individual voters) to distinguish between and among parties as it is. You want to undo whatever actually works in this regard. Try to remember that you cannot guarnatee that your message will be understood. You can shout all day and night about voting ‘SNP in the constituency vote PA in the list vote except if your post-code is whatever in which case…’ there’s a fair chance that the larger part of the electorate will hear or interpret that message wrongly. If they even bother listening.

      It is NOT as simp[e and foolproof as you would have people believe. To simplify it as much as possible, there are several critical unknowns and, to differing degrees, unknowables. The SNP constituency vote is the first. If a critical proportion of the electorate get it wrong and vote for one of the confusingly numerous alternative parties – that means more than two – then the SNP loses and unknown and almost entirely unknowable number of constituency seats. There’s no point in saying the alternative parties will only stand for list seats. You have no way of guaranteeing this. And people who’ve only heard your message as saying it’s OK not to vote for the SNP are likely to pick a candidate at random.

      This unknown applies to the single biggest assumption of the alternative party tactical voting plan – that the pro-independence majority is safe because the SNP will win enough constituncy seats. It ain’t necessarily so. You are asking people to gamble on that.

      But that’s only the beginning of the gamble. When we get to the list votes it gets really complicated. To simplify as much as possible, there are certain critical points in terms of percentage of the vote. There is a point, probably somewhere between 5% and 10% at which parties start to take seats. Right away we encounter a problem. The more alternative parties there are the less likely it is that any of them will achieve the necessary threshhold. So, there’s a whole shedful of unknowns there. You don’t know how many alternative parties there will be. Yopu don’t know how succesful each will be in relation to the others and the British parties and the SNP. You don’t know precisely what the threshhold is. And it wouldn’t make any differen if you did because you have no control whatever over thos relative level of success. All you can do is campaign as hard as you might for one of those alternative parties and hope that nobody is campaigning quite as hard for any of the others.

      There are other more or less critical points above 10% which relate to numbers of seats taken. The only thing that can be said with much certainty is that the SNP list seats are likely to be among the first to go. Because that’s where your message is best understood. It’s then a question of whether one or (almost certainly not) more of the unknown number of alternative parties can win enough seats to more than make up for the loss of those seats formerly held by the SNP. The alternative parties are starting from behind in a way.

      But over 10% means the alternative parties are taking seats. Or one of them would be if there was only one. If that alternative party vote is even slightly split, they all lose. And, in all probability, so does Scotland. There’s another unknown and unknowable critical point above 0% but below 10% at which the alternative parties take enough to deprive the SNP but not enough to win any seats. That’s another massive unknown that you’re asking us to gamble on. In fact, it’s easier to think of it as completely unknown. Ypou’re effectively asking people to pick a winner without knowing their form and without even a clear idea of what constitutes winning.

      It’s a gamble. Please don’t try to pretend that it isn’t. But people might be prepared to take that gamble. So they really need to be clear about what the stakes are. They can only assess the gamble if they know what they stand to win and what they stand to lose.

      What’s the best that can be won? A pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament. Which we already have. And which we can keep simply by doing what we’ve been doing up to now. Because it works. We know it works because we’ve kept a pro-independence majority in several elections just by maximising the SNP voter. So, the big prize is something we already have and only risk losing by gambling with it. Great!

      What’s the most that can be lost? The worst case scenario is that the British parties retake control of the Scottish Parliament. Do I really have to dwell on how catastrophic that would be for both the independence project and Scotland?

      What about odds? Well, that’s another huge unknown. There is no way to calculate those odds. Which means people will assess the odds according to their prejudices. If you’ve already convinced yourself that alternative parties and tactical voting is the answer to a problem which doesn’t actually exist then you’ll tend to exaggerate the odds in favour of that.

      If you’re aware of two salient facts – that there isn’t a problem which can’t be addressed by maximising the SNP vote and that doing otherwise is a massive gamble with Scotland’s cause involving a plethora of unknown factors – you’ll probably have some reservations about taking the plunge.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Unfortunately I think Peter is correct in stating that it really isn’t that simple a process to try and “outwit” the Additional Member System (AMS). I take as a practical example my own region of Lothian at the 2016 Holyrood Election:

      The SNP obtained 6 out of a possible 9 constituency seats in the region. On the list, they obtained 36% of the votes cast, by far the greatest majority (with the Tories second on 23%). Given the way the process works by counting adjusted votes through the various ’rounds’ of counting the SNP obtained none of the 7 region seats on offer.

      That might seem a “waste” or be “unfair”. But it is a form of PR and is much more a reflection of the democratic wishes of the electorate as a whole. In any case these thought should evaporate when you consider that the Greens – nominally a pro-Independence party – obtained 2 list seats with a mere 10.5% of the popular vote, thus giving the pro-Independence bloc a total of 8 out of a possible 16 (constituency plus list) seats in the region.

      However, had the Greens list vote been a fractional 0.17% lower then they would have failed to obtain the final seat allocated for Lothian, with Labour scooping that up. There would then have been a majority of seats with the British Parties (9 out of 16).

      I am not saying that all regions will have the same set of circumstances as Lothian. However, the implication is that a splitting of the vote amongst a proliferated pro-Independence set of party options does run the risk of losing seats for the cause. Indeed it was this approach of “Vote SNP for constituency, Vote Green or RISE for the list” potentially resulted in the loss of the overall SNP majority in 2016. Another pro-Yes party might exacerbate this situation.

      Given that polls from Survation and Panelbase show that the SNP is currently in line to again win an overall majority in 2021 why take the risk?

      (If you wish to do the sums then all the base data can be obtained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lothian_(Scottish_Parliament_electoral_region).

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      1. “I am not saying that all regions will have the same set of circumstances as Lothian”

        And that is a big part of the problem which proponents of this breed of cunning plan don’t trouble themselves to address. It would require a different set of voting guidelines for each region/constituency depending on local circumstances. And those local circumstances aren’t fixed. They can change suddenly and drammatically. Look at what happened with Neale Hanvey.

        In at least one way, these ‘cunning plans’ are akin to the Section 30 process. We have people telling us this is the way it has to be done but refusing to explain how it will work given all the issues that are being raised.

        The best that can be said of these ‘cunning plans’ is that they represent a huge gamble – with nothing to win and everything to lose.

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      2. @ Peter A Bell

        My comment was in response to @Jim, not your response (to his).

        My example and opinion supports the view (yours I think) that it is a risk to try and outwit the AMS for Holyrood.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. For me a proportional system is a red line. I wouldn’t have chosen this one, d’Hondt, but it’s far better than FPTP which is quite simply undemocratic and an affront to democracy.

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  8. It use to be that the SNP were broad based and had a mix of left and right wing policies and part of the reason that devolution would kill it was that in attempting to formulate a consistent manifesto the party would fall apart. NS has been driving the SNP forward as a left of centre party so a great proportion of their voters are having to hold their noses when voting for them. I for one would vote for a right of centre party which advocated independence, on the list vote or in non SNP constituencies. And I would think that such a party would attract more conservative voters from other parties to independence by presenting a more palatable version than a socialist nirvana.

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      1. The SNP are already giving us partisan politics and are scarring off voters. Just remember 2017, NS said that voting SNP was not necessary in order to achieve independence and the poles fell. Then she said she would only work with labour and the Tory vote went up.

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  9. STOP talking about gaming the system.

    The system itself was designed to game voters. Voters always learn how to get the result they want from the system they are forced into. Sure, it takes a number of elections for voters to learn how to do it…but it does happen

    If you allow it to be called gaming – you are setting votes up as the ones who are doing something dastardly…as if YES is wicked for wanting their strongest voice heard in a system designed to silence them.

    All that is happening now is that voters are leaning how they are being gamed and how to overcome it.

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    1. Who’s talking about doing anything “dastardly”? If tghe system can be gamed than there is nothing “dastardly” about gaming it. But it can’t be gained. What is happening is that people are claiming that it can. They do that every time they say that a certain outcome can be achieved by voting tactically. That is what gaming the system is. It defies logic to make such a claim and then insist that you’re not advocating a futile effort to game the system. It is certainly not honest.

      You’ve done it yourself with your claim that it’s possible to “overcome” the system working as it’s intended to work. You are claiming that the system can be gamed using your favourite ‘plan’ for alternative parties and tactical voting.

      To be clear, the fact that the system can’t be gamed doesn’t mean that some ‘plan’ for alternative parties and tactical voting won’t be associated with something akin to the desired/predicted outcome. Given that the outcome itself is possible than it may come about regardless of what anybody does. You coukld then get to claim that your ‘plan’ had worked when, in fact, you’d just got incredibly lucky. Lucky as in winning the LKotto and Eurolillions the same week.

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  10. Always ask who benefits from a label.

    Who benefits from defining voters right to chose as “Gaming”? Certainly not the voter or even YES.

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    1. Maybe you should stop defining the right to choose as gaming. Because you are the only one suggesting such a thing. Or, at least, I most certainly am not. Put the fucking great straw man away!

      If you haven’t yet got the point that it is those who claim a certain outcome can be achied by adopting certain tactics who are saying the system can be gamed. The idea that voters making choices in the normal way constitutes ‘gaming’ is too ridiculous even for a straw man argument. And straw man arguments are dishonest. They are deployed, in the main, by those who can’t formulate an argument in favour of their own position and so have to resort to dishonestly misrepresenting others’ positions.

      It’s also very childish. Playground tactics. Grow up!

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  11. July 2019, Nicola Sturgeon said she was open to ” some kind of progressive alliance that could lock the Tories out of Government.”

    If true for Westminster – why not equally true for Holyrood?

    An “Alliance for Independence!”

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    1. It might work. It might not. If it does, we gain nothing that we don’t already have and lose the advantage of a single party with a massive mandate. If it doesn’t work, we lose everything. Hand Holyrood to the British parties and you can forget independence in our lifetime.

      It’s perhaps worth making another point here. You fail to acknowledge the fact, but the voting systems for the two parliaments are very different. Voting for the British parliament uses FPTP. Voting for the Scottish Parliament uses a PR system which, for all its faults, actually does produce parliaments which broadly reflect the way the electorate has voted.

      What the proponents of alternative parties and tactical voting are effectively hoping to do is game the Scottish system so that it works more like the British one. They are seeking to break the proportionality. I’m not sure I would want that to work even if there was a credible chance that it might.

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      1. Peter … consider please.

        I have extracted this smaller version of the 2016 Results, it may make it easier to follow what the “Alliance” are asking you to consider.

        1) Constituency Vote – your first vote: 1) How do we get a bigger turnout of all voters? 2) How do we get them to all (as many as possible) to vote SNP on that first vote – can we get the SNP into a majority in the Scottish Parliament using that first vote?

        2) List Vote – your second vote: You need to study the figures shown – look carefully – how is it that the SNP got 4 List seats with a vote total of 950,000 – and the Tories and Labour with a combined total of the same 950,000 – got 45 List seats? 10 times as many!

        3) That is what the “Alliance” are asking you to think about – but a warning – I will be going to the Dumfries area in March to start to chat and ask questions because it will be critical that each constituency thinks hard about how the D’Hondt system works in their area. We all know that the Borders are known as predominantly Unionist – and that means how votes are cast in the List vote may be entirely different than other Constituencies.

        4) This is an extract from the Resolution that was passed just over a week ago:

        3) To aim for a larger formal conference at the end of May/beginning of June to formalise the Alliance, elect office-bearers, decide on our preferred ballot name, decide on a selection process for list candidates that is fair and inclusive, and launch our campaign for Holyrood 2021.

        It will be for the Yes movement to decide how this goes forward, be very clear on that, Bur for now, a small number of volunteers (and we all are committed volunteers – to one cause – Scotland’s independence) are asking those interested to let us come to your meetings and discuss what is involved – all we ask is have an open mind, please. An open mind for the future of Scotland!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What makes you think I don’t understand what any or all of the putative or actual alternative parties are asking me to consider. Consider this! Maybe I understand too well to be convinced.

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      3. “it will be critical that each constituency thinks hard about how the D’Hondt system works in their area”

        If that is “critical” then you’re on a fool’s errand.

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      4. “we all are committed volunteers – to one cause – Scotland’s independence”

        Not true. And it will be even less true as time goes on. This is politics. If there is a political actor which seems to be gaining traction then it will quickly become burdened with all manner of bandwagon-jumpers seeking to hijack the momentum for their own narrow political agenda. We know this will happen because this is politics and that is what happens in politics. We’d be fools to ignore this fact.

        We also know it will happen because we’ve seen it happen so often in the past. It happened in a major way with the Yes movement. We would be fools to disregard the lessons of the past.

        And we know it will happen because those of us with a healthy scepticism instead of blinkers can already see it happening. We already see, as we did when Stu Campbell first the idea of a Wings party, people claiming this or that policy position for the People’s Alliance or other alternative party. Or claiming the party as the vehicle for their gripe against the SNP.

        This hi-jacking of the alternative parties may only be a few individuals on social media. But so was the Yes movement initially. So was/is the People’s Alliance. We’d be fools to discount them.

        If we’re going to discuss these cunning plans to game the voting system let’s try to be both relistic and honest.

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  12. Iff every independence supporting person votes SNP in their constituency and the other independence supporting party for the lists, then there will be a mathematical majority of independence supporting members in Holyrood. If and only if.

    Holyrood elections are in 2011. As far as I see it, the alliance plan does not deal with the situation now.

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    1. If every independence supporting person votes SNP in their constituency their votes in addition to those of people who vote SNP for other reasons will secure the Scottish Parliament against being taken over by the British parties. But the SNP may also require a small number of list seats to have that working majority. Those are the seats which are put at risk by the People’s Alliance.

      I would be more ready to listen to the proponents of alternative parties if they were at least honest enough to acknowlendge such risks. I’ve yet to see one of them who has addressed the possibility – some might say probability – that the PA and others could take enough votes to keep the SNP out but not enough to get one of their candidates elected.

      This is just one of a whole catalogue of concerns that advocates of alternative parties ask us to ignore just as assiduously as they do.

      Not happening!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In which case the question becomes what is the status of the SNP? Is it to continue to be the vanguard party of the Scottish independence movement? Or must it now concentrate on good governance in alliance with others?

        There may well be other parties of independence whose chances of getting elected from the list are reduced by the addition of another. Which would seem to imply that there is only space for one other pro Independence Party on the lists.

        The Greens are pro independence but that is not their top agenda point. The same could be said for the SSP.

        There are many pro independence supporters who are suspicious of any particular agenda that takes along independence with it, or who have significant objections to and problems with the party system, which is after all a product of the British state’s power and patronage.

        I do not speak for any people’s alliance, but I believe an alliance of people could, as you put it, game the d’ Hondt, by voting precisely and en masse: SNP constituency; other general independence supporting party list.

        The parties of parliamentary Greenness and tub thumping socialism can then campaign more honestly on the basis of their actual agendas.

        Certainly, the both votes SNP strategy is badly flawed. This is a strategy designed only to maintain the position of the SNP as vanguard. I believe that there are moments during revolutionary struggles when vanguard parties are very useful, but there are also times when the vanguard must take a step back to allow broader forces to influence events. And I believe it is always necessary to point out to politicians that their decisions and conduct are not the only causes of political events.

        Iff there emerged a political party that presents itself as a general alliance of independence supporters, and then stands on the lists, it will get my vote. In the meantime I will educate agitate and organise in my usual way.

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  13. Peter – “I would be more ready to listen to the proponents of alternative parties if they were at least honest enough to acknowlendge such risks. I’ve yet to see one of them who has addressed the possibility – some might say probability – that the PA and others could take enough votes to keep the SNP out but not enough to get one of their candidates elected.”

    On the F/book page involved a debate is taking place – this is a question that was asked by one member who clearly shares many, if not all the doubts expressed by you, and others above: My question is, what happens when the snp lose constituency seats and you have taken away votes in the regional seats?

    This was my reply: “That is essentially two questions Hugh, and both are based on an “if”.

    So “if” the SNP lose constituency seats – and – they do not get the back-up you refer to through the List vote, then no Yes supporter should go in that direction, which is precisely why – I am asking every Yes supporter to get involved and debate this whole issue.

    However “if” through this very debate, we can get every Yes supporter to vote for the SNP in the first vote, and in as many numbers as possible – and use their second vote for Pro-Indy MSPs, that seems to me to be worthy of debate across the whole Yes movement.

    In no way am I advising anyone – to agree – I (personally) want this whole issue open, transparent and debated across the whole movement, those who may agree, and those who may disagree.

    I repeat from my original post: “Next May, it will be your right to choose. You will have two votes! Choose wisely!”

    That requires debate imho! Just look at this page – in only 3 weeks – open debate, people asking questions people beginning to understand what the D’Hondt system entails – maybe for the very first time, asking questions about their two votes (you have 2 latent questions from me btw) – is that something you disagree with – no matter how much you may disagree with me personally?

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    1. Any plan works perfectly in theory, when you assume everything works out just as the plan requires. When dealing with the real world, however, it’s usually wise to build in as much allowance as possible for the limitless and endlessly imaginative ways that people find to comprehensively fuck up even the most cunning of plans.

      This particular cunning plan seems to me to be critically dependent on a degree of informed cooperation across the pro-independence electorate which might be euphemistically characterised as optimistic.

      Any project that involves as many as two people is almost certainly already fucked. The extent to which it is fucked increases exponentially with each new person involved. By the time you get to 1,000,000 that’s a lot of fucked.

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      1. Peter … I hope you have sufficient knowledge of me to realise I share many (not all) of your concerns.

        I offer this extract from the f/book page concerned as my final post on your blog (to avoid tedium in the main):

        Resolution Extract: To aim for a larger formal conference at the end of May/beginning of June to formalise the Alliance, elect office-bearers, decide on our preferred ballot name, decide on a selection process for list candidates that is fair and inclusive, and launch our campaign for Holyrood 2021.

        Question – how do we make sure that every Yes supporter across Scotland knows about this initiative, and can take part in that Conference and vote on all the decisions involved?

        Answer – between now and the Conference every Yes Group in Scotland – we hope – would invite us to come and discuss every aspect involved, whether you agree with the idea, whether you disagree, or have doubts – let’s get it all out in the open, discussed and debated.

        Those currently involved as volunteers are willing to attend any Yes Group meeting – all we need is an invitation – we probably don’t need a whole meeting – you have other things to organise – but gonnae please just ask! Gonnae?

        Ends

        The question I pose mirrors yours in your original post and in this post – those in the Yes bubble will debate this whole issue for or against – either way can they reach 1,000,000 or more? The BBC/MSM will not help, they will hinder – so how could it even be attempted?

        There is only one way (for me) which is to get off my arse – and try!

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      2. My questions and criticisms are addressed to the issue, Mike, and not to yourself or any other individual.

        I have been following developments even if, as yet, I have not made any contribution to the discussion on Facebook. That I haven’t done so is not down to lack of interest or reluctance to engage but merely the distractions of some techincal issues as well as various other commitments.

        Those questions and concerns need not, I think, be rehashed hear. They should be well enough known by now. Although they remain unanswered in any satisfactory way. You prompt me now to mention another concern which, while it relates to the independence restoration project as a whole, may not have been mentioned in the context of the particular cunning plan involving alternative pro-independence parties standing regional candidates and various tactical voting recommendations pertaining to regions and constituencies. I’ve been trying to think of an acronym for this to save having to type it all every time. But perhaps the long-winded naming says something about the nature of the cunning plan itself.

        A great curiosity common to these cunning plans and discussion of the independence project in general is the tendency of those involved to set aside the far from trivial matter of time. Other resource issues are all to frequently given far less consideration than is their due. But the far from trivial matter of time is all but completely omitted from these discussions.

        This was brought to mind by your own missive which, although I’m not suggesting this reflects a personal disrefgard for the issue of time on your part, makes to mention of a timescale or timeframe.

        My concern is that, given the cunning plan in question addresses a problem that doesn’t really exist, would we be wise to expend time and energy pursuing this when time is so short? My reckoning is that any cunning plan that is going to be effective in remedying Scotland’s plight should have been launched at least two years ago if not four or, preferrably, five. That is how short our time is. For any cunning plan to be even worth discussing at this point it has to offer a high level of assurance that it will have a circumstance-altering effect well ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period. So, September or October THIS YEAR.

        As far as I can deduce, the timeframe for the cunning plan under discussion runs until the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May NEXT YEAR. Although it may have some effect prior to that on the Yes movement’s activities and on the constitutional debate, it cannot possibly promise to have any tangible political impact on Scotland’s situation even if it is successful. Even if it all works like clockwork and 7 May 2021 sees an increased pro-independence majority at Holyrood and a new mandate for a referendum with something close to or even over 50% of the vote, in what way is this progress? In what way is it different from what we have now and have had for some years? In what way might it alter the anti-democratic stance of the British government? In what way does it so much as hinder the rolling juggernaut of British Nationalism that threatens to crush Scotland?

        I suppose my real question about this cunning plan comes down to one word. Why?

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