But OH NO!
The reason is that an alert reader sent us a copy of a leaflet that was being given out on behalf of someone called “Spike” at the Hope Over Fear rally a few weeks ago:
It’s so painfully, dangerously wrong that we couldn’t let it pass. (And we’re not even talking about the use of apostrophes.) We’ll make this as brief as humanly possible.
1. UKIP ARE NOWHERE NEAR EVEN 6.5%
The latest TNS poll puts them on less than half that: 3%. The whole premise of the argument is a straw man. As things stand, UKIP have close to no chance whatsoever of getting a single MSP. (And even if they did, so what? The media gives them a platform anyway.)
2. VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE PREPARED TO CONSIDER TACTICAL VOTING
As we noted in the previous articles, historical evidence shows that the percentage of people prepared to vote tactically is, at best, 5-10%. A concerted anti-SNP campaign this May, heavily pushed in the media and actively supported by at least two major newspapers, was spectacularly ineffectual.
(And as not all would-be tactical voters will be on the same side, 5% is a very, VERY optimistic estimate of how many you have any chance of getting.)
3. YOU CAN’T HAVE THREE RECIPIENT PARTIES IN A TACTICAL VOTE
Obviously. Obviously. The only way a tactical vote has even an atom of a chance of succeeding is if everyone knows exactly who they’re meant to vote for. There’s no possible way of assessing and communicating which of the three parties named in the leaflet is the best placed in each region – not least because the current support of two of them is so low it doesn’t register on opinion polls.
Since it’s stupendously unlikely any of the three will stand aside in any of Scotland’s regions, they’ll all be fighting each other to be the beneficiaries of any “tactical” vote, and thereby fragmenting it.
4. EVEN A MIRACLE SCENARIO IS USELESS
But just for fun, let’s put these cripplingly major issues to one side. Let’s assume for a moment that the tactical-vote campaign succeeds beyond its wildest imaginings and that fully one third of SNP voters decide to give their second vote to one of the other pro-independence parties. Since the Greens are the best-known by a large margin, we’ll give them 50% and the other two 25% each.
To fit as closely as possible to the scenario laid out by “Spike” we’ll allocate the list vote to Labour 20%, Tories 11%, Greens 12.7%, UKIP 6.5%, Solidarity (now aka Hope Not Fear) 4.6%, Rise (or whatever they end up being called) 4.6% and the Lib Dems 4%, with the SNP’s starting position at a notional 55%.
(We’ve given the Greens 50% of the SNP tactical votes on top of their polling base. For the purposes of the calculation Solidarity and Rise both have a base of zero.)
We ran those numbers through the D’Hondt process. The full seat-by-seat breakdown of the figures can be found here. But the end results come out like this:
SCENARIO 1 – NO TACTICAL VOTING
SCENARIO 2 – 33% TACTICAL VOTING SNP>OTHERS
In other words, all that’s achieved by tactical voting – even if it’s vastly more successful than it could ever dream of being in reality, and also assuming the SNP win every single constituency seat, which is unlikely – is swapping a Labour and an SNP MSP for two Green ones. UKIP still get in. D’Hondt doesn’t like being gamed.
That’s all fine and dandy for fans of the Greens or of pluralism in general, but as a mechanism for moving towards independence (which is the stated goal) it’s badly flawed, because this weekend’s Scottish Greens conference in Glasgow revealed that the party’s commitment to a second referendum is decidedly lukewarm:
In other words, the Green policy is only to support a second referendum if enough people sign a petition for one, and if more people don’t sign a petition against it. So there’s a real risk that instead of having six list votes against a referendum and one for (as in Scenario 1), you’d have seven against (Scenario 2).
As ever, this site isn’t interested in telling people how to vote. Vote for whoever you want to. But whoever “Spike” is he’s talking complete cobblers, and people ought to make their decision based on accurate information. We’re not fans.