Recent polling shows not just the exciting prospect of a possible SNP majority at Holyrood in 2021, but also a small yet sustained majority in favour of independence. The usual caveats apply – it is only polling and until the results are announced, nothing can be taken for granted. But if these numbers are continued, it will be impossible for the UK government to resist calls for an independence referendum off the back of a landslide win for the SNP.
All of which makes it even more important that we make sure we maximise our voting potential. The introduction of new pro-independence parties whose sole aim is to game the system and get more pro-independence seats may seem enticing at a quick glance, but here’s a few reasons why this is such a bad idea:
- Without a sizeable amount of SNP voters giving their list vote to smaller parties they won’t win any seats, but it will still take away votes from the SNP. So it simply risks splitting the vote with no benefit to the SNP or the wider independence cause.
- Our message to voters needs to be clear and unambiguous, trying to manipulate the list vote risks making the voting process unnecessarily complicated and messy.
- In 2016, a higher share of voters gave their list vote to smaller pro-independence parties than in 2011 and the number of pro-independence seats went down. That is despite the fact that the total number of pro-independence votes went up. Voting solely for the SNP gives us the best chance of getting a majority.
- The most important reason is the most simple though: it’s completely unnecessary. The SNP has won an outright majority at Holyrood before and can do so again, especially if the momentum from current polling is maintained.
Social media is awash with grand plans for getting a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, other than simply giving #BothVotesSNP. The various permutations tend to be attempts to game the system by claiming that if 5,10,15,20% of SNP voters give their votes to party x, y or z, we can gain more pro independence seats.
Yet we have seen this all before.
In 2016 parties such as RISE, the SSP and Solidarity all promised much but failed to attract voters outwith their social media bubbles – and the SNP lost its majority.
Holyrood got less pro-independence MSPs, and Westminster used it as an excuse to question Scotland’s pro-independence mandate. Their tactical voting gamble failed before and would fail again.
This election really comes down to one question. Do you want to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, or those of Boris Johnson? If you want to help build a better, more progressive future for Scotland, then make it #BothVotesSNP on 6 May.
This will be the most important election in Scottish history. Every single vote will count. Scotland’s future is in your hands.