This was to be the election when things got tactical. George Galloway urged us to vote for the best placed constituency candidate to beat the SNP and then for his party on the List. Alex Salmond called for an SNP vote in the constituency and a vote for Alba and a 'super majority' on the List. In the event, voters chose to ignore them both. Only the Greens managed to 'game the system' and secure additional independence supporting MSPs by persuading sufficient SNP voters that they would be a more effective use of their List vote.
On the unionist side of the argument, a huge effort went into persuading voters to vote tactically for the candidates best placed to stop the SNP. This wasn't just George Galloway's All for Unity but right across social media. Again, this had minimal impact on the outcome.
Where tactical voting did work was in a small handful of key marginal seats. In the SNP's top target, Labour-held Dumbarton, a swing from the Conservatives translated into a big majority for Labour's Jackie Baillie. In Eastwood, a three-way marginal between the two anti-independence parties and the SNP turned into a relatively comfortable win for former Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw. The Labour vote there dropped by around 4,000.
In two Edinburgh seats, Labour and Liberal Democrat incumbents saw huge rises in their vote at the expense of the other unionist parties, helping them hold off the SNP in contests the nationalists had high hopes of winning. In Galloway and West Dumfries, the Conservatives easily saw off the SNP challenge thanks to Labour's share of the vote dropping by half. However, the limited success of tactical voting could be seen in Edinburgh Central and in Ayr where the SNP took both seats from the Tories and in East Lothian where they won from Labour.
Whatever the tactics might have been in a handful of seats, all three main parties stuck doggedly to a call for voters to give them both votes. The Tories stressed particularly the importance of using the List vote for them. This wasn't so much a call for tactical voting as a pitch to secure the prize as the main defender of the Union. There were six marginal seats where the Tories had real hopes of defeating the SNP if Labour supporters had been willing to lend them their votes. They won none of them. And in a number of seats where Labour came second in 2016, and might have had a chance of success with some tactical voting, the Tory vote actually increased.
So, in the final analysis, this wasn't to be the election where tactical voting became decisive. I must be honest and say, hand on heart, there are no circumstances in which I can ever see myself abandoning Labour just to keep another party out, and most Labour voters would echo that. In spite of all the anecdotal evidence of Tories being prepared to back Labour to defeat the SNP, when it came to the bit, they remained just as loyal to their party. But then is it really such a bad thing to see it as more important to stand up for something we believe in than just oppose something we don't?
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