Sturgeon eyes closed Square

Let’s get #SNPout in May’s council elections

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THE INDY CASE IS BUST. The recent pensions debacle showed their only united activity is the queue to shoot the “cause” in the foot.  It’s like one of these supermarket trolleys where every wheel wobbles in different directions on currency, borders, debt, EU, and now pensions and instead of one stern State Mammy with a firm grip on the handle, tight rein on the family budget and concise list of what the family needs for the week, the kids – Ian, Alex, Kenny, Lorna, Patrick, and wee Robin (McAlpine, from Commonweal)  are clamouring for a shot of pushing it past the vegetable shelves to the sweetie counter.

It seems like every week they pile into the AAA battery-powered natmobile just to show the neighbours they still have a car.

The fantastic “Groundhog Day” video by Mercurius, featuring Bill Murray battering his alarm clock to smithereens every year from 2017 to 2022 brutally derides Sturgeon’s annual indy can-kicking spree.

I don’t know if she watches the Mercurius videos, but judging by some of her early morning interviews lately where she looks like she’s been up all night greetin, it wouldn’t surprise me.

But still, they finished the week  with the headline “SNP  Greens to draw up plans for Indyref2 in 2013” in the Herald kindly supplied by part-time trapeze artist Lorna Slater, who also gave an interview that  propelled the adjectives ‘vague’, as in ‘we haven’t actually thought any of that through yet’ and ‘compelling’, as in ‘when is this person finally going to self-destruct?’ to new heights.

But what can be done to put the nationalists, and Scotland, out of their misery?

Nicola Resigning? Boris resigning and Scotland falling hopelessly in love with his successor? A joint declaration by Sturgeon, Blackford, Harvie and Salmond in front the world’s press at a specially convened AUOB rally that it was all a horrible dream and the SNP apologise profusely? A tsunami of whistleblowers, super injunction and Salmond Inquiry revelations, rumours confirmed, police investigations concluded and arrests made, and pothole, ferry, door, education, health, care home, environmental and job creation incompetences all coming to a head just before the May Council elections?

As I write, there’s fat chance of any of that, and if any of them did you can bet your UK pension entitlement it won’t make it onto the STV or BBC teatime news programmes, so only about half a million people who read the papers or visit MSM social media pages will be aware, not the other half million who watch the TV news or the 1.5m registered voters who have never voted in any election since 2014.

Here’s a thought: in the 2017 council elections, out of 4.3m registered voters, only 619k – one in every seven  – gave their first preference vote to the SNP, the party that claims Scots are crying out for independence. That equated to 32% of the 1.9m who actually voted, a result that got them 36% – 431 of the 1200 seats. That – apart from a few exceptions – has been the basic trend in Council by-elections since then.

If that had been a Holyrood election they would have been out of office and Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems, who got 604 seats between them, could have formed a coalition.

As I recall, nobody made this point in 2017, although the dramatic rise in the Conservative vote carried through to the UK General Election a few weeks later, when the SNP vote share fell to 36.9% and they lost 19 seats.

What if something similar happened in the council elections in May? Even if the SNP first preference vote went up 12% to 700K, surely the point could be made this was a massive opinion poll, where the Single Transferrable Vote system enables 1.9m people to rank candidates by preference… and only 37% voted for the party of independence?

But what if – and here’s the point of this article – a campaign was mounted by the parties and campaign groups such as Scotland Matters, to get the message about SNP local government failures beyond the normal “bubble”, encourage tactical voting and reduce the SNP first preference vote share to 30%?

That would be a huge blow to the SNP, massively encouraging for the opposition parties, and proof to the 2m who voted NO in 2014 – 600k of whom have not voted for a pro-UK party in any of the six elections since then – that there can be an end to this, and it involves getting out and voting against the SNP in the next General Election.

Tactical voting has been tried before. In the 2017 General Election charts were publicised advising who people should vote for in order to avoid splitting the vote and beat the SNP. I can’t claim how many of Scotland’s voters saw them but enough people must have worked it out for themselves for the SNP to lose 21 MP’s.

It didn’t work in 2019, but at last year’s Holyrood election according to Sir John Curtice around 100k people voted tactically the right way and this thwarted the SNP’s “supermajority”.

It took a massive effort and a fair amount of money by groups such as Scotland Matters and this website to give arms  and legs to George Galloway’s promotion of the need for pro-UK parties to work together and support tactical voting.

Our provocative and creative social media and press advertising, billboards and ad-vans were seen not just by the half million well-informed voters but also one million people who don’t normally see or hear much about politics, and I think it could really work in the May Council elections – for five  main reasons:

  • The Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system reduces the chance of the pro-UK vote being split and there is no need for charts advising people who to vote for. All we have to say is “only vote for the pro-UK party candidates, and rank them in order of your preference… just DON’T Vote SNP, Green or Alba”
  • SNP local government incompetence and failures – in schools, social care, potholes, the mess in Glasgow – are staring people in the face every day.
  • And then there’s the workplace parking tax that starts on 4th March – which on top of all the other financial pressures is the last thing working people need to face!
  • And although the election is about councils, it is easy to link this to Holyrood’s management to the NHS, ferries, Hate Crime Bill and Gender legislation …and their continued kicking of the Indy can.
  • The real danger of the vote being split is on the nationalist side, where Green and Alba voters, frustrated by the SNP, may not give them their first preference vote.

For these reasons Scotland Matters has started a campaign to do the job the STV and BBC Scotland TV news and current affairs refuse to do and get the facts in front of the voters. Depending on how much money we raise we can again get to over one million people and show the world a few hundred thousand voters, a shoogly one seat “majority” at Holyrood and an indy case stuck as if it is in Ferguson’s dry dock for an interminable refit does not an Indyref2 mandate make.

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Photos are screenshots taken from the Mercurius video of a nationalist Groundhog Day.

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