There’s no SNP majority at Holyrood. The party came up short on the regional list vote. The consolation for independence supporters is that the Scottish Greens amassed enough MSPs to ensure a pro-independence chamber.
Those who asserted before the Scottish election that an SNP majority was guaranteed have been proven wrong. Those who suggested that the nationalists could achieve a majority via the constituency vote alone have been proven spectacularly wrong.
The SNP was never guaranteed a majority. The ‘guaranteed majority’ line was pushed by people for whom the myth suited an agenda. Top of that list were those who created and/or promoted the ‘radical’ newcomers known as RISE.
RISE emerged from the socialist left-overs of the independence referendum. Launched last August it was touted by Cat Boyd as the party that was going to occupy the space that “cannot be filled” by the SNP or the Scottish Greens. Almost from the outset it adopted a strategy of targeting SNP votes.
RISE didn’t invent the myth of the SNP ‘guaranteed majority’ but it seized on it with relish. Pretty soon RISE and its supporters were pushing a lie that voting SNP on the regional list was a wasted vote.
The lie morphed into a disingenuous claim that independence supporters could boost Holyrood’s pro-indy contingent by voting tactically. The ‘tactical voting’ ploy ran in parallel with the claim it would not inhibit an SNP majority.
We can never know how many SNP voters were influenced by the claim that their List vote was wasted, what we do know is that the fall in the nationalist List vote cost the party List seats and ultimately a majority.
Had the ‘wasted vote’ nonsense been confined to the online opportunists it might not have had much traction beyond cyberspace. But it wasn’t confined. The pro-Union main-stream media picked it up and boy did it run with it.
The issue of tactical voting was promoted by BBC Scotland in the run-up to the election. Several broadcasts lent credence to the idea that the voting system could be gamed.
When The Sunday Herald published a disingenuous front page that claimed a leading psephologist had advised independence supporters to vote RISE or Green on the list, the media went into ‘tactical voting’ overdrive.
The result was that ‘tactical voting’ seeped into the campaign coverage in the final days. It almost certainly harmed the SNP.
You’d think there would be some contrition from those who promoted RISE and its disingenuous and ultimately harmful campaign strategy. But there’s not a bit of it.
Here’s Kevin Williamson from Bella Caledonia:
The tweet is of course a reference to the decision by Nicola Sturgeon to hold up a copy of the Scottish Sun on the day the newspaper endorsed the SNP’s election campaign. The implication from Mr Williamson is that the SNP’s vote dropped because Nicola Sturgeon was photographed holding a copy of the newspaper.
In another tweet, Kevin Williamson actually attacked the SNP’s strategy [adopted by supporters and pro-indy pragmatists] of asking its supporters to vote for it on both ballots.
The alternative of course would have been to urge voters to back another party. But which party and in what regions? What if some voters ignored the plea? What if the List vote became so diverse and spread so thinly that it actually reduced the number of pro-indy MSPs?
Had the SNP even considered such a strategy, the pro-Union media would have rightly savaged it for trying to manipulate the system. It would have faced accusations of a confused message. Was it endorsing the policies of RISE? Was it really urging its supporters to back ‘perjurer’ Tommy Sheridan. Such a tactic would have been disastrous.
Prior to the election Kevin Williamson was amongst those who were asserting that the SNP was on course to win a majority through constituency seats alone.
There was of course plenty the Unionist media could do about it. One was the cooked-up smear over Nicola Sturgeon and the Chinese ‘deal’. The other was the promotion of the myth that the election campaign was ‘boring’ and that the SNP was already guaranteed a majority government. How many people stayed at home thinking the result was in the bag?
I also came across two tweets from Common Space Editor Angela Haggerty that I found pretty insulting.
The suggestion that the election result should be treated as an indicator of the work required to win hearts and minds was just bizarre. If it was an indicator, then given pro-indy parties are the majority at Holyrood, we’d already be in majority Yes territory. We aren’t. Pro-indy activists already know what lies ahead.
Ms Haggerty’s other tweet made reference to the ‘BothVotesSNP crew’ having meltdowns and advised they take time to reflect on the results ‘properly’. I am a member of the ‘crew’. I urged people to vote SNP on both ballots. I am not in meltdown.
I have reflected on the result and concluded that tactical voting and claims of an SNP wasted vote contributed to the erosion of the SNP list vote. I have concluded that people who promoted the idea that the SNP would dominate the constituency vote contributed to a myth that an SNP majority was guaranteed without the need for List votes.
I have also reflected on the consolation that we have a pro-independence majority thanks to the gains made by the Scottish Greens. Had RISE been more successful in its quest for pro-indy votes, we might not have seen the Scottish Greens make these gains. The Yes campaign avoided a nightmare scenario. The pro-Union media are dining out on the ‘SNP Failure’ regardless.
Bella Caledonia together with Common Space promoted the electoral flop that was RISE. RISE gave birth to the idea of an SNP wasted vote and the claim that the voting system used for the Holyrood election could be gamed by ‘tactical voting’. The tactical vote claim was promoted by the media and shamefully by the Sunday Herald.
I’ve no doubt that some Yessers will think long and hard before deciding whether to continue to plough their hard earned cash into these outlets. I for one am done with them. They almost cost us our second referendum.Views: 13020