Monday, April 2

7,000 votes from oblivion:4,500 votes from 'success'? The Scottish Greens, 2011 Scottish Parliament elections and AMS.


The 2011 Scottish Election produced and will be remember for the extraordinary majority gained by the SNP. The damp squib that was the Scottish Green Party's result was only remarkable for the fact they managed to stay exactly still on 2 MSPs in spite of expectations that the party would double or triple it's representation.
While some have discussed the possible failings of the campaign ( this is personally beyond my judgemennt. What I'm really interested in is the peculiarities of our electoral system that that while far more proportional than FPTP and what that means for small parties. Below is a simple graph showing how many votes each party achieves divided by their seats in Holyrood.
In 2007 the Greens scraped back into parliament with 2 MSPs (just). This time round things were a bit more secure. Patrick Harvie was elected with a margin of 2,100 votes and Alison Johnston with approximately 5,000 votes to spare. So that's ~7,100 votes from electoral oblivion.

So let's look the other way. Eleanor Scott lost out on a seat by 378 votes, while Mark Ruskell & Martin Ford were 2,000 votes off.  In the end the Greens were less than 4,500 votes off what many would have considered a 'respectable' showing. Was the result disappointing? Of course. A disaster? No. Proof that there is no future for the Greens in Scotland? No. 

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