It’s an issue that a lot of Yes and SNP supporters have been grappling with recently – is both votes SNP a good call? The other pro-indy parties in Scotland, notably RISE and Solidarity have been playing on the idea of giving your second vote for them in the Holyrood Election as a means to get more pro-indy parties into Parliament in May.
The argument they have is based on the counting method employed in counting the list vote – the d’Hont method. Essentially, the more seats a party has to start with, the more difficult it is to get list seats; whereas smaller parties with fewer seats to start with have an easier time of it, which works to allow smaller parties to gain representation. This is, of course, a fairly shoddy explanation and I can’t afford to go into it now, but I’d suggest you click on the link above to find out more.
In simplest terms, the number of votes a party has is divided by the number of seats already held (plus one) to determine which party is awarded the seat.
The other parties argue that as the SNP is likely to sweep the constituency vote, they will have a lot of seats (a larger denominator and hence a smaller vote) and therefore won’t get any list seats – these instead going to the pro-Union parties such as Labour and the Tories. The one thing they also forget is that a lot of seats is a larger number of votes cast (larger numerator, larger vote).
By taking away the list vote from the SNP for other, smaller parties, there is an even greater risk of pro-indy parties being sidelined by the Unionist parties as the SNP’s vote is split.
Over the years, the SNP have proved that they are a responsible, capable and fair party of government here in Scotland. They have proven that, even with a slashed budget from Westminster, they can deliver record spending in the NHS, reduce crime to a 41 year low and reduce instances of violent crime by more than half, putting 1000 extra police on our streets, maintaining free university tuition, continuation of free prescriptions and mitigation of the bedroom tax to name but a few.
They have also shown that they are the party who will stand up for Scotland in Westminster, being the only main party going into the 2015 General Election with an anti-austerity message. They fought the treasury over further cuts to Scotland’s budget – a violation of the vow made in 2014 – and won. They remain committed to removing Trident from Scotland. Above all, however, they remain the party with the loudest voice when it comes to fighting for Scottish Independence.
Since the referendum in 2014, Scotland has shown that it wants change; we want a fairer system that looks after our most vulnerable, a system where we invest in healthcare and education, closing the attainment gaps in schools instead of funding weapons of mass destruction, a system that provides new parents with the ability to return to work with free childcare, where jobs are protects and our public sector thrives instead of facing slash after slash in funding.
We showed this in 2015 with a record 56 SNP MSPs going to Westminster. But even with the 56 sitting in the House of Commons, Cameron and his cronies still don’t get the message. It’s up to Holyrood, where the SNP can govern and can face Westminster head-on, to send that message.
In this election, Scotland has the chance, not only to elect a fair and capable government, but to send a clear signal to London that we’re not just going to sit quietly in a corner and take orders: we’re going to follow our own path.
On the 5th of May, we have the chance to elect a strong majority SNP government who can send that message, but it can’t be done if we, as Mhairi Black MP said, ‘gamble’ our second ballot. This misnomer of the list vote conjours up the idea that it’s not as important a vote, that it’s a kind of second choice. It’s not. It’s just as important.
In 2011, the SNP’s majority hinged on the list vote; and whilst many speculate that the SNP will sweep the constituency vote, we cannot take that chance – we cannot take anything for granted. Taking the electorate for granted is what Labour did in Scotland and hit has forced them into political obscurity.
During a branch meeting, one of the members had a rather good analogy for the list vote. Think of the constituency vote as being for the person you wish to represent you and think of the list vote being for the party you want to represent you.
If you want to see a strong majority SNP government in May, to send a strong signal to London, and to see a brighter future for Scotland and all Scots, regardless of their circumstance, then the only way is Both Votes SNP.