Scotland’s Big Voice and the ‘One Vote’ fight for the Union

SBV Tactical Pie FINAL v05 copy

Every voter in Scotland, whatever their political persuasion, knows that the May 2105 General Election is about one thing only – the future of the Union.

Every voter knows that this, not last September’s referendum, is the Union’s real last stand.

Only the traditional political parties are pretending it’s business as usual, that this is a General Election like any other. They convince themselves – no one else – of this, because, out of narrow party interest, not one of them is willing to address the constitutional change the voters want to talk about – because they know this is the only route to a sustainable union.

So, blinkers superglued in place, the main parties are treating the Union’s last stand like a local council election, with an agenda of domestic issues to the fore – and cannot understand why no one’s interested and none of their ‘campaigns’ have taken off?

The voters know that positive constitutional change that will re-form the Union as a sustainable – probably federal – state must come from the Union itself – or be negatively forced upon it [and to a  very different conclusion] by a departing Scotland.

In Scotland this is not an election about issues in the normal sense. It is a crude binary division between those who want to see the SNP take Scotland by the scruff and shake it out of the UK – and those who do not, who believe in the broad shoulders, the shelter, the cultural texture, the collegiality and the mutuality of the Union that might be.

With no trace of constitutional reform on the formal agenda, the people – as with the independence referendum, are again left to save the Union by their own efforts. Let down again by the self-obsessed parties, the people have only one way to do this: slow the flood tide of the SNP and protect the Union until they can get it fixed.

Scotland’s Big Voice

Riding shotgun in defence of the Union has come Scotland’s Big Voice, [SBV] a large – around 500 – group of volunteers with a cross party membership they admit is largely Labour and Conservative, marginally favouring the former, with some Liberal Democrats and some from UKIP.

In the current situation, with the people’s one option to save the Union being to stop the SNP, this group has put its mind to how best to do this – and the answer is the absolute imperative of tactical voting.

SBV has created a predictive model, which factors-in past overall and constituency election results, continuing data from the polls, the bookies’ odds , with the final judgment call also taking advantage of local intelligence. This has produced the Tactical Voting Wheel [top and below].

The Wheel identifies 17 specific seats where voting Liberal Democrat in some and Conservative in others looks like the safest place to put an effective pro-union vote. In all other seats, the red centre of the Wheel advises a Labour vote.

Tactical voting in this case means ALL pro-union voters voting for the same pro-union party candidate  in their constituency, regardless of their own normal party preferences.

At this stage, pro-union voters in Scotland are in the position of the human body faced with hypothermia: to protect the vital organs the body will sacrifice the limbs.

This is not a situation for putting party before country. It is a situation where putting the party first will see no United Kingdom left as an optional preference.

Scotland’s Big Voice [SBV] sees this as no time for sucking teeth but for swallowing old habits and doing the necessary: voting – and voting tactically – in every seat.

This is crisis action – to counter what SBV sees – plausibly – as the decisive crisis for the Union. Only this tactic can demonstrate that, in the unmentioned core issue of the coming election – retention and reform of the union or its dissolution – there are only two positions to stake out.

Tactical voting will not always defeat the separatists, although in the majority of seats, it can do so; but, where it does not, it will measure unequivocally the strength of the contrary view.

SBV Tactical Pie FINAL v05 copy

The ‘One Vote’ route

For the many who believe in the fundamental value of unity, saving the last opportunity to make unity work means that party preferences must come a distant second. Huddling in small bat-caves obsessing about how your particular party will do is not lifting your eyes to the flood tide which is sweeping in.

The question is whether the people in Scotland will prove more ruthlessly objective than the major political parties in prioritising the protection of the Union before their everyday party affiliations.

What happens to parties is of no account in Scotland in this election. It could be our last UK General Election.

With a massive new membership to keep occupied, the SNP has mobilised it to win almost every seat in Scotland. With the unionist parties divided and clueless, it has every chance of doing virtually that.

Where is the sense in answering a single question of enormous import with a flutter of different voices saying different things – and none of them an answer to the question put?

Understanding the reality can only come from seeing the picture from where the SNP stand. They have a gigantic new membership fired up by the independence well within their sights. But this is an impatient hungry horde to be fed daily to keep them motivated, otherwise they will drift away. Most are not there for a long game, are urgent for a quick result – and could make that happen.

This is the best chance the SNP may ever have of achieving their party’s raison d’etre. Why would they delay? From their perspective, it’s all about getting independence. ‘Afterwards’ is for later and tomorrow is another country.

The SNP have been able to keep their post-indyref membership surge busy in the General Election campaign. If the party does stupendously well, that triumph will drive higher the vigour of that membership and see it grow again.

Then there is the May 2016 Scottish Election on the near horizon – to which the excited and demanding membership could be instantly deployed in the wake of the General Election performance. This is the flood tide.

When Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, her predecessor was grieving for his failure in Lear-like madness, joining with firebrand Jim Sillars in advocating independence by simple UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

In an early interview, Ms Sturgeon said that she was not ‘one for short cuts to independence’ – but went on to say, however, that in a situation where the SNP manifesto for an election centred on independence, if the party won an overall majority in that election they would take that result as a mandate – a reasonable and defensible position.

The new First Minister was careful not to detail exactly what action would be regarded as mandated but why should it not be taken as a majority instruction to proceed to negotiations to establish an independent Scotland?

It is in no one’s interests for the country to be dragged through a reprise of the awful and often ugly divisiveness of indyref.

The party manifestos are not yet published. If the SNP were really bold  – and they are, inspirationally, more capable of boldness than any other party – they could make this manifesto the one to bring home the bacon. And that would have the added constitutional attraction of being a mandate won in a UK General Election.

Should they hold back from this just now – and again, why should they? – it is literally unimaginable that the SNP’s 2016 manifesto will not provide the foundation for the mandate the party seeks. [The SBV Tactical Voting Wheel will be in operation on that scene as well.]

Not to take that last near-horizon chance would be to see the decline of the membership that is currently the cart pushing the horse fast down the hill; and to see the party in government go through the inevitable confidence-weakening  early flounderings of making sense of ‘full fiscal autonomy’.

The out-and-out commitment to tactical voting which is essentially what SBV propose, has the immense merit of achieving three major and constructive developments in ‘one vote’:

  • saving the union for constitutional reform;
  • making the people the driver of positive and well-considered constitutional change to create a sustainable union;
  • sending a necessary signal to the self-obsessed political parties that they recover the ability to put the big picture first and themselves second – or they’re finished, along with the Union.

Perhaps more than any of these three major achievements, the ‘one vote’ proposition can be a lively and unified popular campaign owned by the people who believe in unity, a worthy counter to the popular strength  of the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign.

An alternative new start – or goodnight?

For supporters of union, ‘stopping’ the SNP is to be seen as a statement of admiration and respect for its nimble responsiveness to events and capture of opportunities that the leaden-footed pro-union parties have not even tried to match.

But admiration and respect do not imply rightness of position; nor ought they necessarily to terminate in support.

It is possible to be honest and to admit [with admiration and respect] the energy, the guile and the commitment to meticulous forward planning that has seen the SNP outpace and outthink the unionist parties – while knowing that separatist nationalism is emphatically the wrong road to take.

Separatism, to the longer sighted, is simply silly. Its a short sighted hippie Utopianism that blinds itself to the fact that if we weren’t demonising England as an excuse for unease, we’d be demonising elements of our own society. A glance at any history shows what outcome that habit brings.

Nationalism is narrow, exclusive, chauvinist, self-congratulatory, inbred. It  can be – has been – racist, repressive and brutalist. All of these characteristics were evident in the deeply divisive indyref.

Nationalism is the dream of the weak not the ambition of the strong.

This is a time when the people who value unity can choose to speak and act without equivocation and, by doing so in this specific way, in ‘One Vote’, force the confrontation of constitutional reform which, alone, can save and shape a serviceable union for the future.

Otherwise it’s ‘Goodnight Vienna’.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • So labour must vote Tory and Tory vote labour.

    The big lie that is the UK general election is about Labour and Tory policies is in fact about keeping the Scots and Scotland in its place according the the Unelected Lords and Ladies and the Westmister establishment.. So says NEWSIE from the province of Ulster.

    Now I know why I haven’t received any Tory or labour leaflets!

    SNP will still win as the lib dems are a busted flush after Morton Mulvanney and Walsh stuck it to Toward. Reid must be fuming.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 22

    No Cheese Here March 24, 2015 1:51 pm Reply
    • Your views exemplify the way in which – for many people – national party politics has infiltrated local government to such an extent that they identify the participants in a national election with all sorts of shambolic local government antics.
      I think it’s a case of ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ – and in Argyll, NCH, I’ve only been aware of one national political party accused of actively (and seemingly disastrously) sticking all its fingers into the local government pie.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 18

      Robert Wakeham March 24, 2015 2:34 pm Reply
      • I note you like sticking Your fingers in pies.
        You,my friend require immediate therapy.
        Please proceed to your nearest GLEE CLUB!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 17

        Machmaolain March 24, 2015 3:40 pm Reply
        • You think that you’re qualified to talk of someone else needing therapy?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

          Robert Wakeham March 25, 2015 1:26 pm Reply
          • I only do it when the need arises!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

            Machmaolain March 25, 2015 3:04 pm
  • Im intrigued by your last comment “Goodnight, Vienna”. It is a city I enjoy visiting and I have read much about its history.

    The Viennese act as if they still have an empire,and the melange of all the different people who inhabited the former Austro Hungarian Empire and gave Vienna its pre 1914 excitement have returned despite the geo- political changes of the 20th Century.

    On several international criteria Vienna is deemed to be the best city to live.

    Vienna most definitely is awake and thriving.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

    Graeme McCormick March 24, 2015 2:03 pm Reply
    • Never got to Vienna, Graeme, although I get the impression that there is a capital much closer to us that still carries delusions of empirical superiority exemplified by the idea that we are better together but we should not get notions above our station.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

      Ken MacColl March 24, 2015 10:36 pm Reply
      • London and Edinburgh both – but I suspect you’d like Vienna, Ken..

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

        Robert Wakeham March 24, 2015 10:49 pm Reply
  • It’s slang – Rigsby in Rising Damp used to use it. Its sense is ‘game over’.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

    newsroom March 24, 2015 2:37 pm Reply
  • The Scottish electorate will speak soon enough and when they do they will on present indications send a phalanx of SNP MPs to Westminster.

    With their commitment to delivering for Scotland and others too within these islands, I suspect their presence will be welcomed by many who are heart and soul sick of the neo liberal Labour and Tory austerity agenda.

    And quite frankly unlike our resident neo-con I for one, like many many others am delighted with what May’s plebiscite will deliver.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 23

    Willie March 24, 2015 2:40 pm Reply
  • The only “NATIONALISTS” on these Islands are the Colonial mindset Briitnats.
    Often opinionated,bigoted and thick as two short planks.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 23

    Machmaolain March 24, 2015 2:52 pm Reply
    • Pot…kettle.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 20

      Robert Wakeham March 24, 2015 3:07 pm Reply
  • had been away for a while since the pathetic “reporting” of the referendum, and we’re still at it…
    Tactical voting is borne out of the system we use, reforming this should be the first priority for any one taking power – we should just be able to vote for whoever we see as best representing our views rather than to stop another party getting their views heard.

    The last 5 paragraphs of the article show just how badly the author interprets what the referendum was about and what the new snp voters are looking for.

    I will be using my vote to vote for who I want to elect, it’s unlikely to happen but if we all did that instead of using votes to block others who knows what might happen…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 14

    boaby wan March 24, 2015 3:10 pm Reply
  • So here is this wee, confused blog following the Daily Telegraph’s lead and calling for tactical voting.

    Like the referendum campaign we have utter confusion in the then-NO ranks.

    One lot is saying ‘Vote SNP Get Tory’, another lot is saying ‘Vote SNP Get Labour’, now the British Nationalists are trying to gang up on the nasty SNP.

    Except – tories are asking Lab and Lib to lend them their votes, Lab are asking Lib and tory to lend them their votes and Libs are asking tory and Lab to lend them their votes.

    How about this novelty:
    If you want a tory representing Argyll and Bute, vote Tory.
    If you want Labour representing us, vote Labour.
    If you want UKIP, vote UKIP.
    If you want Liberal, vote Liberal.
    If you want SNP, vote SNP.

    Whichever one most people vote for represents us in London.

    It’s deceptively simple…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 29 Thumb down 11

    Patsy March 24, 2015 3:35 pm Reply
  • with love from THE GLEE CLUB

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

    rickets March 24, 2015 4:03 pm Reply
    • yeh,I saw that too.Apparently Belle Caledonia exposed them as charlatans and they immediately shut down all their social!! media sites.
      I tried to get on their face book page just now but there is just a notice left on the home page.
      It read something like this.
      Gone to the Glee Club. Every bodies doing it now!!
      Ps.maybe better to shut this thread down as”nothing to see here,move along!!”

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 15

      Machmaolain March 24, 2015 4:31 pm Reply
  • This odd “wheel of (mis) Fortune” appeared first in the columns of the March Scots Independent late in February but attracted little attention at the time from our Unionist Press although it was also published in The National. News seems to come late to some parts of Argyll!

    The wheel and its recommendations come from ScotLab activist Robert MacNeil from Tranent in East Lothian, billed as an office bearer in his local branch and of East Lothian CA and advisor to Scottish Labour. His particular reading suggests that in Argyll & Bute the most effective challenger to the SNP was the Tory candidate and you can deduce some of his other assessments from their placement on the wheel. Both Alan Reid and Mary Galraith’s chances were dismissed out of hand! The predictions were quickly rubbished by his own party colleagues and indeed Mr MacNeil’s standing within his party was also denied.

    Can it be that an element of panic is emerging?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 10

    Ken MacColl March 24, 2015 8:58 pm Reply
  • The ‘anonymous’ pro-union group ‘Scotland’s Big Voice’ is no longer quite so anonymous after Bella Caledonia published a piece identifying the registrant for the domain name as one Alistair McQuat, who also set up their Twibbon appeal.

    McQuat’s Twitter account has since been deleted.

    In his now deleted Twitter biography, McQuat described himself as a ‘No voter’ and ‘SNP hater’.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 7

    Longshanks March 24, 2015 11:44 pm Reply
  • Ken, Vienna works because it has redeveloped the social Union of the various races who were once part of the political Empire.

    There is no pretence to dominate or direct folk- you hardly see a policeman- just enjoy, live and contribute.

    The UK political Union is dying but the social Union will be strengthened once the weight of the political Union is lifted.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9

    Graeme McCormick March 24, 2015 11:55 pm Reply
  • Thank goodness Alex Salmond does not read or understand history it is full of wee men with huge egos who come crashing to earth

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 13

    Plugit March 25, 2015 8:48 am Reply
    • Somehow I think he’s brighter than you?Just an observation!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11

      Machmaolain March 25, 2015 9:18 am Reply
    • Alex Salmond does not have time to read history, he’s too busy making it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

      Murdoch MacKenzie March 25, 2015 12:25 pm Reply
  • “Every voter knows that this, not last September’s referendum, is the Union’s real last stand.”

    What every voter knows is that Scotland voted to stay in the Union and that this election is about electing politicians to represent us individually and collectively in parliament in that union. Every voter also knows that the independence referendum decision can’t and won’t be changed no matter how many SNP MPs are returned to Westminster; that can only come about with another referendum. That is a matter of reality. What is a matter of conjecture is whether there will be another referendum, whether it will be sooner rather than later, and whether if it happens the result will be the same. So it isn’t the Union’s last stand and to argue otherwise is dishonest scaremongering.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

    jake March 25, 2015 3:57 pm Reply
    • you really must keep up with the time.the London press are on a mission right now to denigrate Scots whether you voted yes or no.I personally know 7 people who voted no and now would vote yes as they are sick to the stomach of London cheek and propaganda.
      A more worrying development for the BBC,fewer people now watch,listen or believe the pap they produce.This all adds to Wastemonster and its establishment figures are losing Scotland,in fact pushing it away.
      Scotland will be independent by 2020,that I have no doubt about.
      70% of people agree with me.
      Oh,and if you are an onion jack,rule Britannia type of guy,don’t blame me,blame your own kith and kin in London.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

      Machmaolain March 25, 2015 5:10 pm Reply
      • So speaketh our Little Scotlander.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

        Robert Wakeham March 25, 2015 5:26 pm Reply
        • Robert, he certainly knows a lot of people, 70% that’s incredible.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

          richard March 27, 2015 9:51 pm Reply
      • Just for the record, Plugit, Alex is of average height and he has an Honours degree in History.
        Apart from that I imagine the rest of your comment is accurate.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

        Ken MacColl March 27, 2015 9:40 pm Reply
      • I met a colleague in Oban this morning who advised me that the SNP had won three by elections on Thursday of this week. I knew that those contests were being held but had heard nothing in the morning news bulletins so I asked him where he had the information from.
        “Oh” he replied, ” I have not yet confirmed the news but I knew that as BBC Scotland had not announced the results or even put them on their website they could only be positive for the nationalists.”
        And so it proved, with substantial wins in Buckie, Glenrothes and Armadale.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

        Ken MacColl March 27, 2015 9:49 pm Reply
    • Jake
      Last week I think, I posted several links to polls carried out since the referendum to date which showed you are ill-informed.
      These polls showed if there was another referendum today there would be a small majority for YES when undecided were removed.
      Do keep up before you misinform.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

      JnrTick March 27, 2015 9:54 pm Reply
      • lol. ‘with the undecideds removed’


        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

        Jamie Black March 28, 2015 8:32 am Reply
  • “When Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister, her predecessor was grieving for his failure in Lear-like madness, joining with firebrand Jim Sillars in advocating independence by simple UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence.”

    Do you have ONE source, just one, which you can quote for this rubbish?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

    Ian Sanderson March 25, 2015 5:35 pm Reply

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