Tired of being instructed how to vote? Fed up with being told you’re a power-hungry elitist and a traitor to Yes? Still voting for the boring old SNP? What have they ever done for us? Anybody would think there was an organised campaign to harass SNP voters. In my timeline there is a discernible trend in what begins to feel like a wee wave of dissent.
Not sure why. Surely the distorted Sunday Herald piece complete with compliant Macwhirter column counted as a coup. I mean ‘John Curtice says don’t vote SNP in the second ballot. Vote for a smaller party’ is as good coverage as you could expect without paying for it. Iain’s piece claiming Holyrood worked better without a majority and that this was against some founding principle made up the Full Bhuna.
Not sure why either when my blog offerings only say essentially two things – why I am personally voting SNP and why everyone should also vote for their party of choice regardless of outside influence. It seems that any suggestion you’re not sharing your vote is deemed to be treachery. Of what? Of whom? I’m a Scottish Nationalist who votes for an independent Scotland. In casting a second vote for them, I think I’m maximising the vote for my party of choice. I could be entirely wrong. It might work against me depending on the outcome of the FPTP constituency vote but I can’t possibly know that. I believe it’s less of a gamble to stick with the party I want to govern and which presents the only credible route to independence.
Some now say I’m breaking the bonds of friendship born in the Yes campaign. By not voting for one of the other parties? I don’t remember anyone saying in the indyref they would support independence so long as they got my second vote for Holyrood. Do you? This begins to sound like an entitlement. We backed the project, now you pay us back.
As it happens, I am pretty convinced there will be a Green surge this time. Not exactly sweeping Patrick to power …but enough to treble the MSPs and possibly more. So long as there is an SNP majority as well, I welcome this. I strongly suspect people close to me will vote accordingly. Enough people have heard convincing arguments on major issues like energy, local taxation and land reform from persuasive voices who successfully rise above the acrimony in order to feel comfortable voting Green. I think many of us feel good about voting for them as if we know we really should – a powerful motivator which also drives a lot of SNP votes.
Unlike RISE (Scottish Socialists) , the Greens have been a constant part of the Scottish parliamentary scene from the start although similarly suffering from the 2007 SNP surge. They have earned a respect which the socialists squandered. What started out – first with Tommy then the Socialist Six – as an innovative aspect to our parliament gloing on to argue successfully for policies like free school meals, fell victim to personal rifts and backbiting. Despite really good performers like Rosie, Carolyn, Frances and Colin, they collectively failed to promote a public perception of socialists as responsible and trusted legislators and instead confirmed the fears of many about irresponsibility and factionalism. Of course that’s history now but that still taints voters’ memory. I maintain that reasons for the Greens’ success include competence and maturity even while challenging society’s basic assumptions. It requires patience as well as commitment to stay the course. You have to earn the right.
I’m glad others now support independence but I never forget the trials of the early SNP and how many crushing disappointments there have been even in my adult lifetime. It’s easy for liberal commentators to talk about ‘too much’ SNP power as if that were in itself a bad thing. For a start it seems to be a reflection of our voting patterns which makes it the expressed will of the Scottish people. But it’s also a reminder of when Scotland didn’t have power, when we had to plead and beg just for an administrative assembly and times when the SNP leaders we see today pondered giving it all up. I’ve seen some of today’s Cabinet Secretaries in the depths of despair thinking it would never happen for them. It’s partly because of those times and the astonishing advances made since the rise of the SNP drove the whole devolutionary movement, that I believe so strongly in the current SNP leadership.
One of the weakest arguments is the one that the SNP is so powerful nothing can stop it and that we must remember what happened to Labour – that history will repeat itself. In a normal society you might make that case. But in Scotland with its totally distorted media relentlessly hounding the government and pouring resources into opposing everything independence is, it’s pretty silly to argue they are unimpeded. No government has ever been subject to such inexorable and biased scrutiny. Political opposition both within the party and in the chamber has also changed policy and approach from toughening land reform laws to publishing the FM’s tax details. The fact the others are so weak is hardly the SNP’s fault. Maybe’s no try so hard and gie’ us a chance?
And don’t you think the very history of Labour hegemony and their low-level corruption, cronyism and creative catatonia is the reason the SNP won’t make that mistake? The SNP has filleted every aspect of Labour and taken what they got right and rejected what was wrong.
There is understandable frustration among RISE folk at the failure thus far to make an electoral impact. The referendum gave a profile they might otherwise not have had but it hasn’t so far coalesced into voter support. The patience and belief shown by the Greens and the SNP point to a way ahead. At the same time, you only succeed by having popular policies and credible representatives who can persuade the public. Asking people with other political priorities to back you instead of their natural party isn’t much of a case.
Nor is attacking SNP types on spurious grounds of abandoning Yes or rejection of electoral diversity. After all the SNP’s the only party whose raison d’etre is independence – the beating heart of Yes and it’s funding source – and on the second point there are already five different parties represented in Holyrood. No one has an automatic right to seats.
I welcome diversity and support a move to STV for future elections. I also promote all views in debates at Newsnet and have given more airtime to RISE-supporting voices than any other outlet. None of which gives anyone a claim on my vote. To repeat – if you’re RISE, vote RISE. If you’re a green Nat – vote SNP and Green (like Peter Arnott). And I’m voting for the party most likely to deliver the outcome I want. So stop trying to hijack my vote to your cause.by