Why George Galloway is voting Conservative

The Leader of the All for Unity party says that tactical voting may succeed in destroying Nicola Sturgeon where the Salmond Inquiry has so far failed

“Morning Tory scum, how is our class traitor today?” I ask. The gravelly voice at the other end of line chuckles companionably. George Galloway is unfazed by the ritual online abuse he has been receiving from “Natz and Trotz”, as he described them in a tweet, after his announcement on Twitter that he will be lending his first vote to the Tories in the May elections for the Holyrood Parliament.

For a rational man like George, who sees nationalism as the antithesis of socialism and “Scexit” from the UK as a clear and present danger to the poorest in Scottish society, who would suffer from the ensuing austerity without the Barnett formula and the other perquisites of the British state, a tactical vote for a Tory is very definitely the lesser of two evils and necessary for the greater good.

It is a measure of the depths to which identity politics have sunk in Scotland that trolls from all parts of the Nationalist community and some in the Labour community have crawled out from underneath their coffin lids to denounce him. George has compounded the heinous sin of voting Tory (“How could you?!”) by teaming up with that most Satanic of creatures, an Etonian (that’ll be me). They have delighted in digging up George’s past announcements, “If you ever see me standing under a Union Jack shoulder-to-shoulder with a Conservative, please shoot me.”

Research shows some 540,000 pro-Union Scots would be open to tactical voting

It should not have come as any surprise – though evidently it has – because, since we formed the Alliance for Unity, now renamed All for Unity (for reasons best known to the Electoral Commission), last summer, we have made it very clear that our modus operandi is to break the depressing stalemate in Scottish politics and defeat the SNP by making tactical voting work, and unifying the chronically split pro-UK vote. And the sitting MSP in George’s Dumfries constituency, with the best chance of winning against the separatists, just happens to be a Tory. George with his canny Gallovidian political nous and his 360,000 plus Twitter followers has just publicised the strategy and the cybernats have helped to amplify the message. Even the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf couldn’t resist putting the boot in (while taking care not to tag George in his tweet).

Tories are less vocal in dealing with perceived traitors, but I have also had aggressive emails from tribal Conservatives accusing me of “splitting the vote” by daring to suggest tactical voting. It is becoming increasingly obvious that very few Scottish voters understand the voting system we have been saddled with since devolution, and equally clear that the big parties would like to keep it that way. For them the process of politics is more important than the outcome of the election. It is more critical for their party leaders to maintain their share of the vote than it is to evict Nicola Sturgeon on 6 May. It is also impossible for them to keep their party machine motivated and intact if they endorse tactical voting, which produces losers as well as winners among their candidates. So it suits them to trot out their message: “both votes to the Tories/Labour is the best way to defeat the SNP”, knowing full well that this is simply untrue.

Tactical voting is the way to destroy the Scottish Nationalist Party and save the Union

The d’Hondt method of allocating the second “List” votes deliberately favours smaller parties that have not won seats with first votes in the first-past-the-post constituency battles. Thus if, with George Galloway’s help, the Tories win four seats in the South of Scotland, their votes will be divided by five (one plus number of seats won) in the List. This means that tactical voters have more chance of securing their desired outcome of defeating the Nationalists by giving their first vote to the best placed “pro-Unity” candidate and their second vote to All for Unity. In fact, giving a second vote to one of the big parties would be to reduce its effectiveness. If All for Unity can translate those votes into more anti-nationalist seats then it is game over for the SNP and we will be in a position to secure a pro-UK coalition; we are calling it a “government of national unity”, in Holyrood.

Research by the pro-Union campaigning group Scotland Matters shows that 540,000 pro-Union Scots would be open to tactical voting. With the SNP clinging to power with the help of the separatist Scottish Green Party, making tactical voting work effectively would make all the difference. The Scottish Greens themselves (who are GRINO, or green in name only) have shown how tactical voting can work. They picked up six seats at the last election with only 150,000 votes. All For Unity is fast picking up followers on social media, many of them sporting our red, white and blue “Spitfire” roundel symbol on their home pages in a spirited way that no other party can match. Hence why the Nationalists are starting to sweat and increasingly direct their fire at us.

Tactical voting is the way to destroy the Scottish Nationalist Party and save the Union. Pass it on.

Jamie Blackett is Leader of All for Unity.

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