Newton Mearns North & Neilston: “Vote Until You Boak” in practice

boak photo
Photo by Pete Ashton
It’s really important that all independence supporters rank all the candidates in the council elections, as explained well by many people, such as Wee Ginger Dug. He came up with memorable way of explaining the system, namely “Vote Until You Boak”. (By the way, “boak” is a good Scots word, going back more than 500 years. For instance, in Gavin Douglas’s Eneados, completed in 1513, he wrote: “He … Bokkis furth … Raw lumpys of flesch and blude.”)

I do believe the local elections should be primarily about local issues, but it’s clearly the case that the Tories will use a good result as proof that Scots don’t want another independence referendum, so from an independence point of view it is preferable that unionist seats go to Labour or the Lib Dems instead of the Tories.

I stay in Newton Mearns North & Neilston, and here are my choices:

Newton Mearns North & Neilston – 3 seats
Party Candidate
Independent Kirsteen Allan
SNP Tony Buchanan (incumbent)
Conservative Charlie Gilbert (incumbent)
Independent David Jesner
Social Democratic Robert Malyn
Conservative Andrew Morrison
Labour Paul O’Kane (incumbent)
Liberal Democrats Roy Provan
UKIP Stuart Sutherland

Surely this must be one of the most dispiriting wards in all of Scotland for independence supporters!

I’ll cast my first preference for Tony Buchanan, of course. He’s a good man, and he’s done a great job in the past.

However, it gets hard immediately after that. I really wish there was a second pro-independence candidate to vote for (the Greens missed a trick by not putting up a candidate here – they could have got a lot of second preferences from SNP voters, and perhaps also from those Labour and Lib Dem voters who hate the Tories, too).

I therefore have to proceed to the two independents. They were both apparently active in the defunct community council – Mr. Jesner was the chairman, and Ms. Allan the treasurer. Mr. Jesner is well-known to the public (see for instance this story from 2015), but I don’t know much about Ms. Allan; I had a wee chat with her and @Mynas on Twitter the other night, however – you can see it here and make up your own mind.

Moving on to the Unionists, I know the Lib Dem (Roy Provan) a bit: We spent a good part of 18 September 2014 together in front of St. Cadoc’s Primary – I represented Yes Scotland, and he was there for Better Together. Apart from his unionism, he seemed nice enough, so I’ll probably rank him next.

Although I’m not a great fan of Paul O’Kane, I’ll have to put him above the Tories and the Kippers. I’m not entirely sure why Robert Malyn is standing for the Social Democrats, because he’s much better known as an adviser to David Coburn (Scotland’s sole UKIP MEP).

Whether you rank the Tories above or below the Kippers is entirely up to you. I conducted a wee Twitter poll, and most respondents said they’d put the Tories at the very bottom, but I’m not sure I can bear the thought of helping UKIP in any way whatsoever.

This concludes the ranking process. I hope the process involves less boaking where you are!

2 thoughts on “Newton Mearns North & Neilston: “Vote Until You Boak” in practice”

  1. I don’t understand why the SNP aren’t putting up as many candidates as there are seats. The STV quota system avoids vote dilution, as the SNP voters are highly likley to cascade to each other as the lower votes are eliminated.

    There are two possible reasons I can see, but they be dealt with using design. Both need an understanding of human interaction with static interfaces – people do what they do, its pointless saying they shouldn’t or they are wrong, they do it anyway.
    a. the Electoral Management Board have refused to fix the alphabetical order flaw in the Ballot papers. When people are presented with a list where they have to make multiple selections in order, they tend to answer in the order of presentation of data. Specifically in the example Thomas gave above, most people ranking the conservatives will pick CON Gilbert 1 and then CON Morrison 2 simply because that is the order they come up in. If SNP Buchanan had two other members of the SNP whose name was above him in alphabetical order, he’d get picked 3rd and wouldn’t get elected. This SHOULD have been fixed by the EMB and they chose not to. As we are dealing with a static printed ballot, Parties should be allowed to pick the order their candidate goes on the ballot to prevent discrimination against someone by name due to normal human behaviour. Its an obvious and unforgivable flaw from supposed professionals in running elections.
    b. Some people, despite the instructions, will pick one candidate from each party. This would cause some dilution, but is unlikely to have a high incidence, and this CAN be lowered with good instructions and parties leafleting polling stations.
    I just don’t see either of these being serious enough to counter the advantage of engaging young party members by sticking them in lower, even “no hope” slots. The SNP has more members than it needs, and this would be a way to involve more of them.

  2. I understand the motive in independents standing, representing residents and avoiding political policies sounds good.
    However I’m not sure how it works if the ward has dispirate parts, eg Newton Mearns and Neilston.
    Perhaps both NM candidates have a view they will know best without consultation? How do they gauge public opinion?

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