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Scotland’s new SNP-Green ‘alliance’ comes close to a coalition, which is a conventional way for a minority government to get its business through a parliament. However the SNP and the Greens have incompatible political goals on many fundamental issues, especially oil. The deal is not motivated by parliamentary considerations, but by the desire to force constitutional change on a country divided 50-50 on the issue. How might they be able to do this?
Essentially, by exploiting the peculiar voting system that Donald Dewar devised for the Scottish Parliament in 1998 in order, as he hoped, to keep Labour in power forever. But he was too clever by half. Now this system is being used to keep Nicola Sturgeon in power indefinitely by breaking up the United Kingdom. The system looks fair on the surface, but the devil is in the arithmetic.
About 220,000 people voted for the Greens in May’s Holyrood election, which represented 8% of the votes cast for ‘list’ seats, which are allotted on a proportional representation basis. In the constituencies, the Greens achieved a total vote of 35,000, in the whole country. That was 1.3% of the votes cast. Yet they are now to be in government so they can, as they hope, force the British government to bend to their and the SNP’s constitutional agenda.
Nicola Sturgeon has been complaining for years that Brexit was foisted on Scotland “against its will” because a majority of Scots voted for the UK to stay in the EU. But over a million votes were cast for “leave” in Scotland. Sturgeon says the Brexit result was an abuse of democracy as far as Scotland is concerned. Yet she is happy to use the derisory Green vote here to break up a nation of 65 million people.