Quote of the day 29th March 2021

"Alex Salmond has plunged a stake into the heart of Scottish democracy"

(Brian Monteith, title of article in "The Scotsman" which you can read here.)

There may be one or two people reading this who fall about laughing to see me endorsing an article by former MSP Brian Monteith. But on this one he is absolutely right.

No electoral system is perfect but the AMS electoral system first used in Germany and adopted for the Scottish parliament has been one of the more successful ones at combining a constituency voice with a proportionate result.

Salmond's "Supermajority" strategy of putting up candidates for his "Alba" party only in the party list section is a clever attempt to sabotage the mechanisms in the AMS system designed to make it proportional, so as to gain an over-proportional representation for separatist votes.

He's saying to pro-Independence voters, "Give your constituency votes to the SNP and your list vote to me and we not only won't split the nationalist vote, we'll get more seats for the same number of votes."

The most effective way to restore balance would be for unionist candidates not to oppose one another in the constituency elections just as nationalist ones are not.

That may, however, be easier said than done.

If not the future of the Scotland may rest on the question of whether the former first minister may have been too clever for his own good - and the spectacle of two rival camps of nationalists who transparently loathe one another knocking six bells out of each other may do both of them enough harm to offset the benefits they gain from "gaming " the system. 

SNP hegemony in Scotland has been built on a combination of iron party discipline and the fact that separatists have been united while unionists have been divided. In the short term the Salmond strategy may be very clever. In the medium term it may be as disastrous for the nationalists as it could be for unionists, and Scotland, in the short term.


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