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Folk seem to have very short electoral memories

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THERE is much talk of wasted votes by folk who seem to have very short electoral memories. In the good old days when I first became enfranchised in the old Hillhead seat, and the Tories panicked if Tam Galbraith MP bothered to come north to fight his seat in a two-way challenge from long-forgotten Labour candidates, and I would scribble Liberal on my paper, none of us who did not vote for Tam would have considered that we had wasted our vote. We had demonstrated the regard in which we as a people held whichever party had gained the most seats.

Political parties take canny consideration of the polling statistics from every area, regardless of the electoral outcome in seats won. It was analysis of such statistics that enabled me to win a seat on the first Stirling Council, and at the count, as the returning officer displayed the spoilt papers for agreement among candidates,there was one across which was written ‘F*** the lot of youse*.

All of us, candidates and agents, took cognisance, passed it back to our parties and have never forgotten it. There is no such thing as a wasted vote.

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The right of franchise has been won over centuries of courage, blood, sacrifice and misery by our forebears and is too precious ever to be wasted. A vote for the losing candidate is still an expression of opinion and that includes spoilt papers. It will be recognised by the political parties.

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To vote is a precious, hard-won right, but with that right comes the duty which is to exercise it. There is no such thing as a wasted vote but people who fail to discharge their electoral duty to vote do not, in my opinion, have any right to express their opinion on any political subject.

For the record, in case any Yessers are thinking of spoiling papers because they can’t make up their minds on the list, I am SNP 1 and 2.

KM Campbell

Doune

THE projected allocation of the seven West of Scotland list seats – assuming the percentages are the same as for all Scotland, and assuming SNP again win eight of the 10 constituencies – based on the first opinion poll since the launch of Alba is SNP 37% 0, Tory 18% 2, Labour 19% 2, LibDem 8% 1, Green 11% 2, Alba 3% 0, others 4% 0.

The last seat goes to Greens with a score of 5.5. The SNP final score is 4.1. Both votes SNP is an attempt to reverse the leakage so that all constituency SNP voters also vote SNP on the list. The latest polling of constituency voting intentions shows SNP at 49%. If there were no leakage, SNP would score 49/9 = 5.8, not quite enough to beat the Tories who still get the second last seat with a score of six.

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However, the SNP would then take the last seat leaving the Greens with one seat at most. This would be at risk if the present 12% leakage from SNP is predominantly to Green.

The best that Both votes SNP can hope for in West of Scotland based on the latest polling (April 2) is that SNP take a seat from Green.

For the Greens to win three list seats, their vote needs to be above the Tories on 18%. Their polling is 11% so they would need a further 8%. As the SNP is polling 37%, just over one in five SNP list voters would need to switch to Green. If all SNP votes switched to Green, they would win five list seats, leaving Tories and Labour with just one each.

David G E Brown

Port Glasgow

THE fluctuating fortunes of the Alba Party on recent opinion polls is not surprising. After all, it is a very new party. Only a week or so old, and the current First Minister has consistently smeared Alex Salmond on almost every interview she has given.

In contrast Mr Salmond has stuck to not only focus on policies but has actually been encouraging his supporters to vote for SNP in every constituency vote. It is no surprise that Mr Salmond’s perceived popularity in opinion polls is low – it would be surprising if it wasn’t considering the vendetta and vehemence with which Ms Sturgeon constantly attacks him.

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Despite winning his judicial review and his civil case where a mainly female jury found him innocent, Ms Sturgeon appears not to trust the jury and judges who found in favour of Alex Salmond.

However, as more and more people hear direct from Salmond and realise that he has put independence back on the agenda, then not only will his personal ratings rise, but so too will that of the Alba Party.

Willie Bruce

Stirling

ALL the parties, excluding the SNP, seem to have forgotten the Scottish people ARE sovereign.

On independence the people will decide what kind of country it will be, not the political parties, members or hangers-on. All decisions on how we are governed should be put to referendums.

The government can run the country for the benefit of its people. The Section 30 order is a myth.

William Purves

Galashiels

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