Thank you, SNP

With the UK general election only a few days away, I just wanted to thank the SNP.

You see, they make elections so easy for me. Since the referendum in 2014 I have adopted one abiding principle in council, Holyrood and general elections – which mainstream pro-British party is most likely to defeat them in the constituency and ward where I stay?

I won’t pretend it doesn’t involve some gritting of teeth and element of calculation as the council-provided pencil descends on the ballot paper. Gritting of teeth because it sometimes means I’m voting for a party whose political philosophy or proposed policies in government I don’t agree with. Element of calculation because I always need to work out which party is most likely to defeat the SNP and I don’t always get it right.

I expect that tactic is the sort of thing that led a nationalist to label me online once as an ‘ultra Britnat fanatic.’

In truth the label means no more than the fact that I’m committed to maintaining the union between Scotland and the other countries of the United Kingdom. I might as well call someone an ‘ultra Scotnat fanatic’ whose abiding principle in politics is independence/separation.

One of the few things I have in common with nationalists is that the constitutional question is, for both of us, existential. It over-rides most other issues, as it clearly did for this woman last autumn (The National, 18 September 2016):

I say most other issues in relation to myself because I’m sometimes assailed by nationalists with the ‘What if?’ argument, something I think the lawyers call reducto ad absurdum – ‘Ah, but what if the Tories were going to be in power for ever … what if you only had the BNP to vote for?’ and so on. I might as well argue against the SNP on the basis that they’ll be in power for ever or they might offer a cabinet post to one of the illustrious members of the Scottish Resistance. It ain’t gonna happen.

The fallacy of the ‘What if?’ argument also applies for me to the economic and social case made for independence – that things will inevitably get worse for Britain and better for Scotland if we were free of the union. I’ve seen little to convince me of that claim. It was one of the major reasons No voters didn’t believe in the SNP’s case in 2014. I await with interest but no great expectations the much-delayed report of the SNP’s ‘Growth Commission’ which is supposed to remedy the deficiencies of that case. Most people saw through the old one and I suspect most people, including those whose views might go either way, will see through whatever emerges from that exercise. I guess that’s all a way of saying that if you’re a floating voter don’t be taken in by SNP promises of jam tomorrow – unless you’re happy to have your ‘freedom’ with a large dose of poverty.

So for me at least, it’s get out there on Thursday and put my cross against … well, that’s between me, the ballot box, and my best guess at who might defeat the SNP where I stay.

My criteria for a successful general election in Scotland will be three-fold – the fall in the number of seats the SNP get (of course it will still be large but I’ll eat my hat if they don’t at least lose some); the percentage of votes they get; and the overall turnout (if it falls, that’ll probably suggest all that post-indyref enthusiasm for politics by people who never engaged previously is on the wane). Here’s what happened with those measures in our last two elections:

* Holyrood 2016 (1) % Votes = percentage of first preference votes (2) N/A = Not applicable because system of allocating seats is not comparable

You’ll spot an SNP decline in percentage of votes won between 2015 and 2016. I’m expecting a further fall on Thursday and will post an updated table once we know the general election result.

Oh, and in case any passing nationalists are tempted to ask me ‘Is there nothing that would tempt you to vote SNP?’ Yes, there is. Drop the demand for independence and reconcile yourselves to becoming a party committed to the best government of Scotland within the UK. But if that happens, I’ll be eating a second hat. I think I’m safe.

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4 Responses to Thank you, SNP

  1. Ditto – last GE, I was perhaps naive and voted with my heart for the party of my ideals, never suspecting that leafy Kincardineshire would vote SNP. On Thursday I shall, take a deep breath, and place my cross in the box most likely to ensure the continuance of the United Kingdom. Had greater and greater devolution enabled a prosperous, liberal, inclusive Utopia over the last decade, I would not have had to take this path. But, as they say, “needs must when the devil drives”, at this fork in the road, the path to prosperity does not lie in increasingly authoritarian and divisive government which is not progressing towards a Scotland that embraces the kind of values to which I am drawn.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sam Duncan says:

    I’ve realised over the last few weeks that it’s even easier for me. Even if every last unionist in my constituency were to get behind one candidate, he or she would still have a slim chance of beating the nationalist. And that’s not going to happen. According to polls and forecasts, it’s absolutely neck-and-neck for a distant second here, making it hard to decide who might be the best tactical option anyway. So I shall vote my conscience on Thursday, with no qualms or regrets, and what will be will be.

    Fingers crossed for plenty of SNP losses in tighter seats, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Island Girl says:

    I don’t think my vote will make much difference to knocking out the incumbent SNP MP so I will vote for the Unionist party that is likely to hold the SNP to account whether at Westminster or Holyrood as I want my vote to be added to the overall total number for this particular party.

    What I would say is that headline photo you have included from the Sunday Herald from last September is an important reminder that everything Nicola Sturgeon has stated subsequently in her attempt to woo the voters is utter garbage – independence transcends everything no matter what else she may say and the Scottish electorate should be reminded of this every minute from now until the polls close on Thursday evening!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Albert says:

    Evening All, My postal vote has already gone to the Conservative candidate who has the best chance of beating the SNP in Scotland. My colleague, lives in Edinburgh South and has voted tactically Labour for Murray. You will be aware that Murray is no lover of Jeremy. But what if the unthinkable happens and Corbyn, with no A levels, never had a job outside politics, never chaired a Select Committee, boasting the confidence of only 25% of his MP’s actually wins and enters into Brexit talks with Europe’s best brains. Diane would be Home Secretary and MacDonnell – too left wing for Ken Livingstone – would be Chancellor. Angela Raynor – not an ‘O’ Level to her name- she left school with child – in charge of Education. Suddenly Derek MacKay seems erudite and Mhairi Black overqualified – at least she has some sort of qualification. Anyway if Jeremy needs SNP support he will form a coalition with the SNP in return for IndyRef 2 or 3 or however many they need.

    Liked by 1 person

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