The aardvark strategy

The election for the Scottish Parliament is over, and the results are finally in. I’m in a mixed mood. On the good side, Labour is not the largest party in Scotland any more, and they lost control with many councils, too. On the bad side, far too many votes were spoilt, the SNP and the LibDems don’t have a majority together, and Labour remained in control of Glasgow City Council.

The most remarkable fact about the parliamentary election was that Labour did remarkably well on the constituency level (37 constituencies compared to the SNP’s 21), but that the SNP effectively hoovered up most of the regional votes, almost eliminating the SSP and the Greens in the process. I think this has been mainly caused by two things:

  • The two votes were swapped around, so that the regional vote became the first vote and the constituency one the second one. I think this made many people shy away from giving their regional vote to a fringe party – it was much easier to justify when it was ‘just’ the second vote.
  • The parties are listed in alphabetical order. However, instead of listing themselves as the ‘Scottish National Party’, the SNP called themselves ‘Alex Salmond for First Minister, SNP’, thereby becoming the first party on the ballot paper.

I’m looking forward to an interesting ballot paper in four years’ time. I imagine it’ll look like this:

  1. Aardvarks support Scottish Labour
  2. Aarhus is a great city – Scottish Liberal Democrats
  3. Aaron, the politician formerly known as Annabel Goldie – Scottish Conservatives


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