So, the Tories did well...
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party are now the main opposition party in Scotland - the best they've performed in any election in Scotland (both UK and Scottish) within my living memory (they used to hoover up the rural farmer vote extremely well back in the day). They won the constituencies in the South of Scotland, which was expected. What did shock was their wins in Edinburgh Central (where their leader Ruth Davidson was elected - she had previously been relying on the list vote for her seat) and Aberdeenshire West.
As somebody who grew up in Aberdeenshire (albeit the Aberdeenshire East constituency) I found it disheartening, but I'm not even entirely sure I'm surprised. Aberdeenshire has always been a Lib Dem/SNP area, and with the downfall of the Lib Dems it put the Tories who traditionally came third in a much better position to come first. The Aberdeenshire Council also has several Conservative councillors, and when you break it down by wards you can see a slight increase in Tory representatives in the west (East Aberdeenshire has a lot of Aligned Independents, but aligned to what I'm not sure and the two Democratic Independent and Green councillors are in the eastern wards). While it's also an obvious point: Aberdeenshire has a lot of farmers, landowners and wealth. While people on average incomes and those living below average also live in Aberdeenshire it's been known that wealthy people are more likely to always go out and vote than the working-class. (Across Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City the Tories came second in all wards aside from Aberdeen Central - the location of a lot of working-class and deprived areas).
Edinburgh Central, I have less of an analysis to provide as I have never lived there. Something that has been noted by other bloggers and journalists was the candidacy of Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, and how she 'split' the vote. Looking at the numbers, if you were to assume (an important word) that all those who voted for Alison would have voted for the SNP candidate has she be absent from the ballot, then yes, Ruth wouldn't have been elected. Read: assume.
On the whole, the Conservative and Unionist party (to give them their full name) has benefited from the shambles that has become both Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats, to stand up as the only credible pro-Union party in Scotland. Labour's 'move to the left' and election of an actual socialist as the head of the UK party has been blamed as the reason for Labour's failure, but really it's just that the Red Tories are now voting for actual Tories. So Tories win.
And the Scottish Greens did well too.
But #BothVotesSNP backfired a wee bitIn the Additional Member System of voting you get two votes: a constituency vote and a regional vote. The constituency vote is a smaller area and is decided on a First Past The Post basis (the same voting system used at Westminster). It puts forward one person, such as Ruth Davidson for Edinburgh Central (imagine you had a problem with you're local hospital and had to go to Ruth Davidson?). The list vote is where the parties compile a list of candidates in an order of preference, and if they get enough votes the first person on the list will become an MSP and if they get a lot of votes the second person will become an MSP, and so on.
What I didn't know until about two years ago (and from the 'success' of the #BothVotesSNP campaign I think a lot of people still don't know) is that there is a bit of maths in place to avoid really popular parties getting outright majorities because their members ran out and voted for them on both ballots. I don't have a full understanding of what this maths is and how it works (because, maths) but I know that if a party wins several of the constituencies in a region, maths will stand up and be like "Sorry pal, nae regional votes for you".
For a visual representation of this, let's look at the regional list results from Central Scotland:
And because I mentioned South Scotland above, here's a screenshot of their results:
The Scottish voting system is designed to not allow a majority government. The SNP pulled it off last time, but not this time because it's so damn hard. And that's a good thing. Oppositions are essential for democracy. Oppositions hold governments accountable. Oppositions means ruling parties can't just do whatever they want. Power goes to people's heads and only Hufflepuffs can rule while keeping a democratic head on their shoulders (yes, I just snuck a Harry Potter reference into a political analysis 'cause that's how I roll).
So that #BothVotesSNP thing? Aye, pile of pish and it was irresponsible of the SNP to be promoting it themselves and I'm not even sure why they did (if you're not Scottish and you're wondering what pish means, it means pee because we like to insult things by referring to it as urine). It was never going to gain them much, aside from in the South of Scotland and in the Highlands and Islands because Orkney and Shetland still like a bit of those Lib Dems. Apparently it was designed to increase the amount of pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood but if you really wanted to promote that it would have been constituency vote SNP and regional vote for another party that supports independence such as the Greens or RISE (not that one with the convicted perjurer, however).
This is the second Scottish Election I've taken part in and I didn't realise what maths was up to the first time: I seem to remember I crazily gave the Liberal Democrats both my votes in 2011 thinking it would turn Holyrood orange and Nick Clegg would come here and be king (which, thankfully, did not happen because of maths and the more sensible voting habits of other people). But I know now and if I do feel like a bit of cheeky tactical voting I realise that the regional list vote should go to a party who aren't predicted to win all the constituencies.
And now you know too. So next time no #BothVotesSNP (and a bit less Tory voting would be grand too).