There is a lot of absolute nonsense out there about the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system, especially concerning list MSPs. This post attempts to neatly rebut that nonsense. It’s quite long so unless you’re super keen, I wouldn’t read it in one go, it’s more a reference to point to for when you see a specific nonsense claim; hence why each claim is numbered, for easy-peasy reference!
Things aren’t looking brilliant for the SNP, they say. It’s no surprise some people are scenting blood and sizing up the prospects for a change of government. A few days ago, Ladbrokes tweeted that Ruth Davidson was the favourite to be the next First Minister. Davidson may be the most prominent opposition leader, but that doesn’t mean she has an easy route to the top.
Voters are well aware of the fact that the Greens aren’t (yet) in a position to win constituencies, and therefore the traditional FPTP worry about wasting your vote and letting a party you really don’t like win the seat greatly influences them. By contrast, in the three proportional(ish) elections where voters can be more sure a Green vote counts, many more vote Green, even at the lowest rates of turnout.
Apart from the conviction they have what it takes to be Scotland’s next First Minister, the main unifying theme in the contest is a complete refusal to countenance any form of deal with the dastardly SNP. Vote for me because I’ll stand up to nationalism and always put Scotland first, entreats Sarwar nationalistically. Vote for Real Change, is the siren song of Leonard, who apparently hasn’t given any thought to changing Labour’s self-imposed cordon sanitaire on the SNP.
There’s a wee habit that the Scottish media has that really niggles away at me. In an era of “fake news” and widespread distrust of the “mainstream media”, there are worse problems with journalism and the public’s relationship with it. Nonetheless, this little thing bugs the big part of me that’s an elections nerd. Can the media, for the love of goodness, stop referring to AMS as “complex”?
For the last few months ahead of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, I kept a little polling and projection blog. Since then polling hasn’t been as regular or as pressing to analyse, for obvious reasons. But I’ve been champing at the bit for a poll ever since the shock Westminster results here in June. After a false start, constituency only poll at the weekend, Survation and the Daily Mail have obliged with an actually useful poll. Here’s how my calculator reckons it might look;
Another general election, another reason for us to ponder electoral reform – and an excuse for me to finally get round to that post about my preferred form of PR. I’ve written in the past about my distaste for STV, which has only deepened since I fell afoul of it last month. Yet in the aftermath of Holyrood last year, I was so scunnered with AMS I’d have taken – and on balance would still take – STV over it. So exactly what would I have instead?
Like all political nerds, I’ve got a huge number of different threads swirling round my brain at the moment. The second shock general election result in as many years has thrown us all, and we’re once again utterly perplexed by our own country. So I’m sticking some of the things I’m thinking about on here, to clear them from my own brain as much as share them with others. Since I’ve got quite a lot of these thoughts, I’ve got some Scottish ones and British ones. Let’s do Scotland now, Britain later.