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Our FAQ addresses some of the things we are commonly asked by supporters, opponents and those curious to find out more.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Won't you split the unionist vote?


A. No, we’re going to maximize the unionist vote! We’re putting country before party by only contesting the regional lists and not contesting the constituency seats where the mainstream unionist parties can beat the SNP.

This means that pro-UK voters can give their first vote (their constituency vote) to the Conservatives/Labour/Lib Dems, and their second vote (their regional vote) to Abolish. This is the tactical anti-SNP way to vote – it actually maximizes the unionist vote and can stop large numbers of unionist votes from being wasted like they have been in previous elections.




Q. Can you explain more about that?


A. Yes, of course! Right now, we have an SNP-Green coalition government because many nationalists gave their first vote (their constituency vote) to the SNP and their second vote (their regional list vote) to the Greens in 2016. They did that because when you give both your votes to the same party and your party of choice wins your local constituency seat, your vote for them on the regional list often ends up wasted. This is because of Holyrood’s confusing and convoluted electoral system – for every constituency seat a party wins, it gets one seat deducted from it when the regional list votes are added up.

Here’s an example. In 2007 Labour won no seats on the Glasgow regional list despite getting 38.2% of the regional vote in Glasgow. Yet the SNP won four seats on the same regional list with just 27% of the vote. Why? Because Labour had already won several constituency seats, and so all those regional list votes for Labour were wasted. By 2016 the roles were reversed and the SNP had many wasted regional votes, but enough nationalists still gave a tactical second vote (regional list vote) to the Greens to get Patrick Harvie elected on the list and help prop up Sturgeon.

Here’s another scenario. The SNP won almost all constituencies in the North East region in the 2016 Holyrood election, but in the 2017 and 2019 General Elections the Conservatives won many of the seats in that area. If this holds up for 2021 and the Conservatives can beat the SNP in several of those constituency seats, then second votes (regional list votes) for the Conservatives in the North East are likely to be wasted, just like all those Labour votes were in Glasgow in 2007. The smart anti-SNP vote in the North East would therefore be to give your first vote (your constituency vote) to the Conservatives and your second vote (your regional list vote) to Abolish.

If unionists unite, vote smart and put country before party, we can get the SNP out in May 2021 and give a voice to the growing number of anti-devolution Scots. And Sturgeon won’t like that one bit!




Q. Is it anti-democratic to abolish Holyrood after we had a referendum in 1997?


A. There was a referendum on the Scottish parliament in 1997, and the pro-devolution alliance of the SNP, Tony Blair’s New Labour and the Lib Dems won. However, devolution in its current form goes massively beyond anything the Scottish people ever voted for. Most powers given to the Scottish parliament were handed over without a mandate from either a referendum or a General Election.

When the Scottish parliament opened in 1999 on the back of the referendum two years earlier, that was just the beginning. Since then we’ve had several enormous power grabs by Holyrood; for example the devolution of railways in 2005; of conservation, fishing, wind and wave energy in 2008; of borrowing, spending and a host of taxation powers through the Scotland Act 2012; and of the Crown Estate, welfare and everything from road signs to gas extraction through the Scotland Act 2016. These are all powers that the SNP have mis-managed, yet nobody voted for any of that to be devolved in the 1997 referendum!

Devolution isn’t just a single act; it is a process – one that is causing the gradual break up of Britain. Not a single voter currently under the age of 40 was able to vote in the 1997 referendum. So we would suggest that to deny such a huge chunk of the electorate from ever having a say on such a major issue as devolution is in fact anti-democratic! We have every right to judge devolution on its record over two decades on from the initial devolution referendum, and Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party will offer the anti-devolution alternative in May 2021.




Q. Isn’t it too difficult to abolish Holyrood? Lots of people don’t like it, but shouldn’t we accept that it is here to stay?


A. Until four years ago they said the same thing about the EU, but the British people proved them wrong against all the odds in the 2016 EU referendum! Naturally Holyrood isn’t going to disappear overnight, but that doesn’t stop us from building a devo-sceptic movement the same way a Euro-sceptic movement was built over the years, and came from the fringes to defeat the pro-EU establishment.

The democratic way to do that is to contest elections on an anti-devolution ticket, so that’s exactly what we are doing. Initially if we elected even only a small number of MSPs, we would immediately make our presence felt by standing up to the cosy Holyrood establishment consensus. We would – for example – provide a real opposition voice against Sturgeon on ‘independence’ and the everyday issues. We would potentially hold the balance of power, to invigorate a strong and bold unionist coalition to govern effectively, with stability and unity of purpose, rather than the SNP's acrimony and divisiveness. We would campaign against any further devolution from within Holyrood itself. And those are all things well worth doing!




Q. I like the idea of building homes for veterans, but isn’t the Scottish parliament building too ugly and expensive to use for that?


A. We agree, it is far too ugly and expensive to maintain! Naturally, we don’t mean keeping the parliament building and the wider Holyrood complex in its current form. Holyrood has extensive grounds, and the built area is chiefly offices for MSPs and their staff. The parliament entrance/chamber and its ugly, expensive façade is only a small part of that.

We propose stripping off the ugly façade and holding a review into the future of the actual parliament chamber to determine whether it should be demolished or re-purposed as some form of public building (we suggest a veteran’s museum to celebrate Scotland’s contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces, which would employ veterans housed in the surrounding accommodation).

The current staff buildings and surrounding grounds are themselves far more appropriate for renovation as homes for veterans, in an area of Edinburgh where land would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. That’s putting the site to much better use than dishing out six-figure salaries to Sturgeon and her cronies!




Q. Would Scotland lack a voice without Holyrood?


A. Scotland would continue to have a say at the national level, and we would actually get more of a say at our national British parliament!

Before devolution, the Scottish Grand Committee would meet at Westminster, and sometimes at various locations in Scotland. This consisted of all MPs from Scottish constituencies and was used to vote on issues which only affected Scotland. So Scottish MPs can vote on Scotland-only issues without a whole separate class of MSPs at Holyrood. The difference is the Scottish Grand Committee worked cooperatively as part of our British democracy, while the Holyrood establishment does nothing but demand more powers and push for the break-up of Britain.

Another consequence of devolution has been English Votes for English Laws at Westminster. Because English MPs couldn’t vote on issues affecting Scotland post-devolution, Scottish MPs were stripped of their right to vote on matters which only affected England, even when they could have a knock-on effect on issues which affect us all at the British level. Abolishing Holyrood would allow us to end this system of English Votes for English Laws and a separate Scottish legislature, and return to a fair, simple system of British Votes for British Laws – the way things should be!




Q. What is your alternative to Holyrood?


A. There are lots of ways to improve democracy and government without the bloated Holyrood bureaucracy! Some of our policies include:

  1. An empowered Scottish Office to get funding, infrastructure and services delivered directly in Scotland without the pantomime of party politics at Holyrood.
  2. The Scottish Grand Committee to reconvene and meet for two-months each year in Scotland and regularly all year-round at Westminster. This body consists of all Scottish MPs, and before devolution allowed Scottish MPs to vote on Scotland-only issues without the need for a whole other class of MSPs at Holyrood.
  3. Give powers back to local councils that were taken from them and mis-managed by Holyrood – for example local police and fire and rescue services.
  4. Increase the number of Scottish MPs to 74. Immediately prior to devolution in 1999 the number was 72, and had previously been as high as 74 earlier in the century. It was reduced to 59 as a counter-measure to devolution, but the full number can be restored with Holyrood’s abolition.
  5. Elect Scotland's MPs through proportional representation. First-past-the-post continually gives the SNP a strong majority of seats on a minority of the vote. We need a fairer way to elect Scottish MPs that reflects Scotland's unionist majority.




Q. How would you go about abolishing Holyrood?


In order to repeal legislative devolution in an orderly and efficient manner, we propose doing so in two general phases. In the first phase, Holyrood's current powers and competencies would be transferred to Scottish MPs who could meet at Parliament House, Edinburgh.* In the second phase, following the appropriate parliamentary debate and legislation, the final transfer of devolved powers would take place. During this period all devolved powers would be transferred variously to the Scottish Grand Committee, the Scottish Office, the British parliament and local authorities.

* Parliament House, Edinburgh was the meeting place of the pre-Union parliament of Scotland from 1639 to 1707. Between 2008 and 2013 it was renovated, updated and upgraded with modern infrastructure for 21st Century use. This cost £58 Million – roughly what the Scottish parliament at Holyrood was supposed to cost before its costs ballooned to £414 Million! As a Grade 1 listed building the government is already committed to its maintenance and financial upkeep. Parliament Hall itself is currently unused apart from occasional meetings held by lawyers. The building is a perfect and proud venue for Scottish MPs to meet and vote on Scottish issues as part of our great British democracy, allowing us to scrap the 129 unnecessary MSPs and the ugly carbuncle at Holyrood!





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Promoted by John Mortimer on behalf of Abolish the Scottish Parliament Party, both of Abolish Holyrood, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JR

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