The Tory strategy of making all votes about #indyref2 will fail
We warned about making the council elections about independence.
The reason we did so was because we wracked our brains and couldn’t think of any mechanism the local council can use to influence whether a second referendum will happen.
Some people may crave a Union Jack wheelie bin but I doubt having one will influence the population to vote No? Maybe there is a plan afoot to waive council tax for those who join the orange order? Or perhaps they could change the location of the polling stations but only let Tory voters know?
When we warned about making the council elections about independence we knew that doing so would only benefit the Tories.
They were the only party that didn’t care about local policies and just sent flyers full of Better Together soundbites. They are playing a similar game in the General Election, replacing policy with empty focus group tested phrases.
Yet, while the strategy is working in the short-term for the Tories, it didn’t work for the unionist they successfully enticed to vote for them.
If you tally up the seats won by the union backing Lib-Dem, Labour and the Tories in 2012 they collectively won 47.4% of the seats. This time they won 53.7%.
Hardly a resounding victory given the massive false emphasis on making the council elections about independence. However, more worrying for those who voted based on constitutional issues is that the unionist parties now control fewer councils.
- In 2012 a unionist Party was the largest party in 18 councils. They are now the largest party in 9 councils.
- Meanwhile, the SNP is the largest in 16 councils and was only the largest in 10 last time around.
The strategy has managed to split a unionist vote in an election that has nothing to do with the constitutional question. From the perspective of those who support the union, the tactic is the height of stupidity. Many have let themselves be manipulated by the Tories and only the Tories have gained.
The second reasons the strategy is bad from a Unionist perspective is, at the risk of repeating myself, the mandate for inderef2 comes from a majority vote in the Scottish Parliament.
There is a precedent set in 2011 for this and, regardless of what the Tories tell you, there is nothing your local council can do to change that. The many people that were enticed to vote Tory based on misinformation are going to feel let down when they realise that indyref2 is happening and the council can do nothing about it.
The last reason is that the Tories have now turned Scottish politics into:
Tory versus independence.
This is very short sighted thinking as any gains they have made in Scotland will soon be reversed as the realities of Brexit unfold. The Tories are about to navigate us into a messy, turbulent and most likely economically disastrous period of self-harm. A process they have assured us that only they have the strength and stability to guide the country through.
So, in Scotland the unionist vote has coalesced behind a party that is about to become deeply unpopular. The other two unionist parties are rudderless and in the doldrums. When people start to feel the pain of a Tory Brexit, where do you think their votes will move to?
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