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Wings Over Scotland

Don’t say we didn’t tell you

Posted on May 06, 2016 by

The first (and from our perspective, most important) thing to note is that independence is now categorically and unequivocally off the table for at least half a decade.

The failure of the SNP to secure another Holyrood majority last night (for the want of just 360 votes) combined with the Greens’ weasel-worded opposition to a second referendum – and make no mistake, opposition is what it is – will ensure that even if the rUK votes to leave the EU and Scotland votes overwhelmingly to stay in, there will be no indyref before the next Holyrood election in 2021.


Whatever else happens, you can take that to the bank.

The scenario warned of by this site, Scot Goes Pop! and Derek Bateman – while others sneered and tossed around terms like “SNP apologist” – came true. A perfect storm of Tories capitalising on Labour’s collapse by playing the Loyalist card, Unionist tactical voting, reckless self-interest from the Greens and naive stupidity on the list saw D’Hondt take its revenge on the SNP for breaking it in 2011.

It didn’t come out of the blue. We’d been warning readers for nine solid months that the AMS electoral system couldn’t be “gamed” and that the meaningless pursuit of a “pro-independence majority” could lead to disaster.

And we were right about the wildly over-optimistic predictions of how many Green seats it could deliver too. While people listened to number-juggling idiots with a track record of being gigantically wrong on the subject, who fantasised about them taking as many as 12 seats, we studied the real political landscape and consistently said that four or five was a far more plausible number. In the end we were one out.


The “analysis” by clueless Green activist James Mackenzie and his Cutbot blog, which was prominently and repeatedly covered by the Times in particular (without ever pointing out his Green links), came up with some truly laughable “forecasts”, of which the most comical was their assertion that Alison Johnstone would win the Edinburgh Central constituency seat for the Greens, beating Ruth Davidson into 3rd place:


In reality Johnstone’s pointless vanity candidacy saw her trail in a distant 4th, with her 4644 votes – less than half of what Cutbot had “predicted” – achieving nothing more than splitting the pro-independence vote enough to let the Tory leader pip the SNP’s Alison Dickie to the seat by just 610.


(And while Davidson personally would have got in on the regional vote anyway, the Tories still made a net gain from the win, taking three list seats in Lothian – one more than they got in 2011 despite winning a constituency seat this time round.)

Readers in need of a laugh after the election result are heartily advised to have a look at Cutbot’s “forecast” and see just how stupendously wrong it got almost everything.

Seats it predicted on a razor-edge turned out as landslides and vice versa. Every single surprise result – including Labour holding onto Iain Gray’s seat in East Lothian and Willie Rennie capturing Fife North East from the SNP – it missed by a mile.



And yet, we’d wager good money that no lessons whatsoever will be learned and at the next election the press will once again blindly parrot useless numbers-based forecasting over any kind of sane analysis of the reality of specific seats and regions.

Perhaps the standout moment of the BBC’s live coverage in that respect was when Professor John Curtice casually asserted early on Friday morning that the SNP had suffered from “exaggerated expectation”.


The academic somehow neglected to point out who’d exaggerated it – people like him, as the author of a much-ballyhooed study the month before the election, proclaiming that the Nats would get a majority from constituency seats alone, which was used by the media and small parties to assure the party’s voters that they could safely lend their list votes to the likes of the Greens and RISE.


The far-left parties were in the event humiliated, as we’d also predicted.


In the end, hardly anyone did waste votes on them. Cat Boyd and Colin Fox’s RISE limped in with a feeble 0.9% of the vote in their strongest region, Glasgow, scoring just ONE vote more than the demented anti-devolutionists of the “A Better Britain Unionist Party” despite enjoying vastly more media coverage.

But even more embarrassingly, RISE were trounced by their real bête noire, Tommy Sheridan’s Solidarity, who racked up almost 50% more votes than the newcomers but still came nowhere close to the 5% needed to hold onto their deposit.


(In other regions, RISE struggled to even record votes in four figures.)

But there it is. Independence supporters ignored all our warnings and now the Scottish Government will be at the mercy of the opposition, in all sorts of ways.

One of the most immediate is that the Nats may be unwilling to sacrifice one of their MSPs to be Presiding Officer, which could result in a Unionist one who would rule any second referendum outwith Holyrood’s powers, even if there were the votes for it.

The Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act – hugely backed by the public across all party lines, but opposed by the media and every non-SNP party – may well also find itself scrapped. “Named Person” legislation, overwhelmingly backed by every child-welfare agency in the land, could be sabotaged.

The fifth Scottish Parliament will be one of division and wrangling. It’ll contain more than twice as many Tory MSPs as its predecessor, crowing in bouyant and belligerent “No Surrender” mood.



The SNP has experience of successfully running a minority government, of course. But even then it was forced into funding the Edinburgh trams and had its attempts to abolish council tax and hold a referendum blocked.

The Greens will be a purely negative presence in that sense – they’ll be able to veto SNP plans, but they’ll only be able to pursue policies opposed by the Nats if they get the support of ALL the Unionist parties including the Tories. Those voters dreaming of a radical force pushing the SNP leftwards are about to get a rude awakening.

But then, that’s what can happen if you fall asleep on the job.

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  1. 28 05 16 00:43

    What happened at the election? – soccer doc's blog

532 to “Don’t say we didn’t tell you”

  1. Kennedy

    What happened to the comments?

  2. yesindyref2

    @Dr Ew
    The vote for the Greens in the list was less than hoped for, just as much as the vote for the SNP was less than hoped for.

    I’d been noticing a continual slip in the SNP standings in the polls since last August. From 62% which was no outlier, but a fairly genuine reflection of the support, to 60%, 58%, 55%, 53%, 52%, 50%, 49%, and then eve of poll, 48%. When I saw the Yougov poll at 48% I expected it to be lower in the actual ballot, because it was a steady trend downwards which would likely be even less in the actual ballot. It was.

    That’s the story, never mind the fucking list, the SNP “only” took 59 Constituencies, rather than the 70 which a lot of people (not me) expected). Mind you, even having said what I did above, I still expected about 63 Constieuency seats. It didn’t happen.

    Before the election Scotlanvotes was predicting 2 list seats, and before that, 4. In the event it was 4. It was the constituency vote wot done it, and on the other hand, the SNP won 6 more constituencies than in 2011.

  3. Legerwood

    Dr Ew @ 1.32 am

    That is quite a list of policies that the Green party is going to get from the SNP in return for their support of the Scottish Government.

    Just one wee thing though, the SG is just two votes short of a majority and on any given policy proposal the SNP makes it may easily pick up the two votes or more that it needs from any of the other MSPs in the Chamber.

    Therefore the Greens should be careful that they do not overplay their hand by giving the appearance, as your list does, that the tail is wagging the dog.

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Well i voted green and snp coz there is no point in having an independent scotland where nature has been destroyed by greedy oul companies. I want a strong green influence on the snp coz they just cant be trusted alone. Many if not most yessers were (and are!) not snp but lend their vote strategically to the snp. So – FRACK OFF with your negativity. Positivity got us this far.”

    Well, you’re a balloon. I don’t believe the SNP want to allow fracking, but if they did they’d get the bill passed easily with the support of the Tories. The Greens would bitch and whine and scream but not be able to do a damn thing about it. (Nor would it be likely to damage the SNP any. They relied on Tory votes on several occasions from 2007-11 and it didn’t do them any harm.)

  5. IainB

    I’m going to form a completely new party called SNPregion which will not contest any Constituency seats.

    I stress this party has no connections whatsoever to SNPconstituency, though we have a very similar manifesto and are committed to an independence referendum under specific circumstances, we are also willing to form a coalition with SNPconstituency.

    Would you cast any of the hundreds of thousands of wasted votes for us?

  6. Ruby

    Where have all the comments gone?

  7. Craig Murray

    Just make a Lib Dem presiding officer. They will do anything for a title. Unionist vote down one immediately.

  8. Clootie

    Divide and rule, divide and rule. Even if the Greens did support Independence fully their selfish stance enabled the unionist to claim yesterday that the SNP had no mandate. They split the vote and diluted the arguement.

    The party first approach will be used against the SNP as they look for “Green” headlines by demanding tweaks to policies in return for support.

    I could well have been a Green Party member post Independence . but not now.

    They and others enabled the Union to tighten the leash….and for what? Do they think ONE of their major policies will be delivered under Westminster rule?
    I share much of what they claim to stand for but the right to determine that choice as an Independent nation comes first.

    If you want to maintain UK rule – vote for a minor party and squabble over Westminster crumbs and ensure governments who oppose everything you stand for keep control..

    The only thing the Grens could do now to regain my respect is to make it crystal clear that they remain committed to Independence…because I think they are being used by the Whitehall dirty tricks brigade.

    The far left, the far right and the planet savers focused on their particular ideology keep forgetting that it is the people who shape a nation’s policies BUT you need to be a nation FIRST.

  9. Valerie

    @Grouse Beater

    Well said. Dr Ewing sounds drunk on power already.

    I’m sick of the Greens CONSTANT denigration of Fergus Ewing, the Energy Minister, who has to talk to the fecking ENERGY sector, but that qualifies as on the take, a sell out, an oil baron.

    I’m sick of the way they simply can’t grasp the fracking moratorium is a LEGAL strategy, that will get us to a ban.

    They wilfully ignore facts.

  10. Fred

    Unfortunate that prescripition charges & tuition fees couldn’t be imposed on areas coloured blue on the map, however as tourism is writ large on their economies nobody’s forced to oblige them!

  11. Jake

    Some Indy supporters were willfully ignorant and some were nieve.
    Played well and truly by the Yoon media.
    For anyone who thinks we can carry on as normal should be aware that under the current political make up the new Forth bridge wouldn’t be getting built and the A9 upgrade is presumably under risk.
    A lesson not learned from the Indy ref is under no curcumstances should we trust the media or any of their representatives.
    IMO Indy is now off the table for many years.
    We allowed the media and other political parties to divide us and stitch us up like kippers.

  12. ANN

    As far as I see it, the SNP bad portraid by the Unionist Press did it’s job.

    It was they and the Unionist parties, not the SNP who harked on about a future Independence vote.

    However it was the increase in the Lib Dem in Orkney, Shetland and North East Fife that got me. Orkney being the standout.

    Just shows how far voters went to stop the SNP from getting in.

  13. cirsium

    @Andrew Maclean, 1.40

    Lovely post, sir. The fight is on.

  14. heedtracker

    Dr Ew says:
    7 May, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I have answers.

    Thanks Dr Ew, terrible name for a doc by the way, if youre a doctor.

    I think Scottish Greens are just tories and I say that because I’m from Aberdeen and watched posh people of the Green party wreak havoc.

    And here we are, a lost majority to the Greens, for nice posh people who really care.

    Its just that youre all so full of shit basically.

    I read Lesley Riddocks fantasy land stuff about turning rural Scotland into rural Norway and we’ll all spend lovely weekends hill walking and picnicking at our very own pretty little butt n bens, if we just, what do you call it

    “We’ll push you harder on land reform too because we won’t be trying to appease Fergus the Fracker and the big landowners as has been the SNP approach to date.”

    Cant wait. To be fair, Green party Land reform must be the biggest Green dog whistle going.

    Why cant you be more like the German Green’s Dr Ew, Get tore into tory nuke mad Westminster? Really make a difference.

    Ah but that would take real guts. Lets pile into the SNP with the toryboys instead. That’ll teach em.

  15. Ted

    2011, Scottish independence in SNP manifesto. Holyrood majority for the SNP.
    2016, Scottish independence absent from SNP manifesto. Holyrood majority missing for SNP. Scottish independence was off the table regardless of the result. Voters decided not to vote for the SNP, scapegoating other parties is pish.
    Without Scottish independence in their manifesto, the SNP hoped to keep the YES voters and gain more NO voters. I think a lot of YES voters were disappointed in that approach and did not vote at all. Nicola Sturgeon lost the majority that Alex Salmond had worked so hard for in 2011.

  16. louis.b.argyll

    What result are you looking at.


  17. Mark

    I am doing a university project on #sp16 for uni. If anyone reading would be kind enough to spend 5 minutes taking 5 minutes to fill in a brief survey here Its completely anonymous and would be a big help. Obviously theres no obligation to do so. It would help me a lot as I need input from voters from all sides of the debate. Thanks again for reading

  18. Ted


    More votes did no mean more seats and that’s what counts.


  19. highseastim

    Ted, the SNP,I believe made as many constituency gains as any party, and gained 59 out of 73 seats, with over one million votes, astonishing that they managed to improve their votes and constituency wins when starting from an already high position. You’d think by the media that the Tories had won the election and not less than 10% of constituency seats!!

  20. Archie

    See these Glasgow list votes in your picture … one hundred and eleven thousand of them for the SNP, every one of them failing to elect any list MSPs because the SNP had won all the constituencies.

    And even if all the 23,000 Green voters had obediently followed orders and gone for #bothvotesSNP, that still wouldn’t have been enough to elect a single extra pro-independence MSP ( one less Green, one more SNP).

    However, if as few as 7000 of the SNP voters had gone Green instead, there would have been an extra Green and one less Tory.

    Same story in the North East. Greens lose out to the Tories for the last list seat, while 137,000 people give a pointless list vote to the SNP. And in Central – 129,000 SNP list votes, while the Greens miss out by under 2000.

    For the record, I’m a supporter of neither party. But the SNP didn’t lose their majority because of any votes lost to the Greens.

  21. Colin Gerard

    I’m certainly not greetin if this Named persons nonsense doesn’t get a sniff now!
    There’s too this that meets the eye, it’s so intrusive!

  22. Petra

    @ Colin Gerard says at 12:51 am

    ”I’m certainly not greetin if this Named persons nonsense doesn’t get a sniff now! There’s too this that meets the eye, it’s so intrusive!”

    Glad to hear that you’ll no be greetin Colin. Nice one. But it’s not about you …. Sonny. It’s about vulnerable weans that are greetin, screaming their heads off in fact pleading for someone to help them (in their heads), because they are being physically, sexually and / or psychologically abused. Sniff that up!

    If you aint doing anything wrong in relation to your children the word ‘intrusion’ just fades away.

    If you are a child who is being ‘intruded’ upon life, day in and day out over months or years, is an absolute nightmare.

    Do your homework Mr Gerard. Start with analysing the known cases of child abuse to the point of them being killed after months or years of being tortured. Minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day living in FEAR.

    Get real.

  23. Daisy

    As much as I respect your position on this Wings. I fundamentally disagree. If we don’t have hope, what do we have?

    My take on the Scottish Parliament Elections –

    May 2016: A Historic SNP Victory

  24. Well if those that voted for an SNP candidate on the constituency followed through and voted SNP on the list we would have held onto our majority,all those who wanted to split our vote got what they wanted a split vote and SNP reliant on a minor party for major bills.Just add this on from my Facebook page;My wife,Alice, just gave me a tongue -in-cheek quip,if all those folk who voted Tory really wanted all the Tory ideas and a Tory rule ,we could,,just maybe let them pay prescription charges,older ones with the bus pass restrict it to just local buses like is done in England,no more country wide travel,let the rest of their family,if going on to further education pay university fees.We only need them to give their names and address’s to local government offices.I thought this would be an excellent idea,perhaps we could get this passed on to Holyrood and see what they make of it!
    Passing thoughts another one stopped for a moment;Why did all those Labour voters vote for their arch enemy the Tory party? Are they really just Tories in disguise? like transformers Robots in disguise. Are they ,the Labour party,so anti independence and so pro union that they would slip in to bed with anybody other than an independence party,not even a socialist party that’s not the SNP.

  25. Fred

    @ Mark, cannae get your survey to work kid!

  26. Duncan McFarlane

    Conveniently ignores the fact that a total of some 800,000 second votes for the SNP across Scotland were completely wasted due to the electoral system, an elected not one MSP, just as the SNP were warned they would be.

    As Craig Murray has pointed out over 100,000 voters in several regions (and over 120,000 in Central Scotland) gave their second votes to the SNP and, just as they’d been warned, ended up wasting those votes with not one SNP MSP elected.

    That’s because if you’ve won 70% or 100% of the constituency seats on 40 or 50% of the first vote in a region, then the voting system means that lack of match between share of votes and seats won gives you a penalty on the second vote to balance it out.

    Second votes are divided by (1+ number of constituencies already won on the first vote).

    So the result of voting SNP 1 + 2 in many regions was more ultra-unionist and right wing tory MSPs and less Greens, who are left wing, and most of who would back independence if a second referendum is held.

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “However, if as few as 7000 of the SNP voters had gone Green instead, there would have been an extra Green and one less Tory.”

    But so what, though?

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “how many more or less seats we would have got if everyone who voted SNP in the first ballot also gave their second vote SNP”

    On an average, splitting the “lost” second votes equally across the regions, two. I haven’t finished doing the region-by-region calculations yet.

  29. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Again, it bears repeating since Stu lives in a parallel fascist state where we should all vote the way he wants, people voted the way they wanted to.”

    Except, of course, you won’t find a SINGLE article on this site saying anything other than “vote for whoever you want to”. Awkward.

  30. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    ‘So would I had been better off spoiling my second vote?”

    There’s never any point in spoiling your second vote with AMS.

  31. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Of course, some of us actually want the SNP government to adopt some more “green” policies on things like fracking and land reform.”

    Well, you’re fucked. In the unlikely event the SNP want to allow fracking, the Tories will support them and there won’t be a damn thing the Greens can do about it.

  32. Peter Clive

    People must stop bickering over the outcome of the second vote

  33. Kevin

    I think the author of this post has missed the point. This was not an indy ref 2 referendum it was for the Scottish Parliament. The people who voted Green on the list vote are actual Greens, some of whom may have voted SNP in the constituency vote as a lesser of 4 evils. We Greens are perfectly entitled to stand as candidates if we want, I’m sure the SNP candidate for Edinburgh South could have stood down to give Alison Johnstone a clear run at it.
    If England votes OUT in the EU referendum there may be a case for an Indy Ref 2, but ets face it the establishment wil not let the UK leave the EU anyway.

  34. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “We Greens are perfectly entitled to stand as candidates if we want, I’m sure the SNP candidate for Edinburgh South could have stood down to give Alison Johnstone a clear run at it.”

    Given the size of the Green vote in Lothian already, Alison Johnstone was definitely getting a seat anyway. Standing in the constituency too – where she had absolutely no chance – did neither the Greens nor her personally any good, but handed the Tories an extra MSP and a huge propaganda coup in Davidson winning the seat. (And in fact, very nearly managed to rob Andy Wightman of his seat. Because the SNP didn’t take the constituency he only just scraped in by the skin of his teeth.)

    Well done all round. Tactical genius.

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