Three equal parts of the SNP.

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coaldigger.jpgWithout wishing to preempt the magnificent Macnumpty Sunday Whip, Thursday's vote against Hunterston and other unabated coal was notable in another respect: every option got support from precisely ten SNP MSPs. 

Here's the list of the virtuous, the villainous and those in between, those who actively abstained. Others, like SNP Ministers, were either absent or didn't press a button.

Those in favour of the motion:
Alasdair Allan
Aileen Campbell
Willie Coffey
Kenny Gibson 
Jamie Hepburn 
Anne McLaughlin
Stuart McMillan 
Shirley-Anne Somerville 
Dave Thompson 
Bill Wilson

Those opposed to the motion:
Brian Adam 
Angela Constance
Joe FitzPatrick 
Christine Grahame 
Christopher Harvie 
Bill Kidd  
Michael Matheson 
Alasdair Morgan 
Gil Paterson
Sandra White

Those abstaining from the vote:
Nigel Don 
Bob Doris
Linda Fabiani 
Rob Gibson 
Tricia Marwick 
Stewart Maxwell 
Ian McKee
Christina McKelvie 
Maureen Watt  
John Wilson

You don't often get to see the various strands within the SNP: in fact, this is the only major division I can remember since 2007. There are a few patterns in it. The three ex-ministers all abstained. The older hands tended to vote against us, as did the most obvious wannabe Ministers, while the newer intake tended to be with us. I'd certainly rather it was that way round.

Most curious of those who voted with us is Kenny Gibson, though. I like Kenny personally, and he stuck to his guns on marine reserves during the Marine Bill debate. But as far as I can tell he's also against nuclear power and, notoriously, against wind too. There's your energy gap right there.

All the other parties went by party line, incidentally: Labour and Liberals with Greens, Tories against. The Tories had sounded reasonable in the morning before the debate, so that rather mystified me.


Can I just put on the record right now how I absolutely and utterly despise free votes, particularly those where the entire front bench has to stay away and the remaining members divide into three equal parts?

This is going to knacker my end-of-term statistical analysis, but here's a thought: given that the legalities and procedural issues dictated that the Government not take a view (and not even abstain, it seems), perhaps this result was contrived? After all, with the 30 voting MSPs supporting, opposing and abstaining on the amendment in equal measure (making 'Absent' the primary position in this debate), there is no clear SNP position on the issue, so we can't have any hope of discerning the Government position from that. I don't like conspiracy theories, but it's all a little too perfect, a little too balanced. Pre-planned, perhaps?

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This page was published on March 21, 2010 4:06 PM.

Burying coal. was the previous entry in this blog.

A moment on the campaign trail. is the next entry in this blog.