SO far, there’s been little momentum around the upcoming Scottish election. If you’re bored,

I don’t blame you, and you’re not alone: privately, many serious political commentators are calling this the most tedious election in living memory. So soon after the energy of 2014, why has Scottish politics seemingly fallen into a coma? What happened to the grand battle of ideas?

Simply put, this election is boring because the only party more divided than Labour is the Tories. Riven with factional bickering and intellectually static, Unionist parties are too cumbersome to provide any clear alternative to the dominant SNP. Labour and Tory candidates expend most of their energy jostling for positions around the next party leaders. Even the best of them seem lost and hopeless. It’s actually sad to watch; for what it’s worth, I’ve stopped disliking them and I pity them instead. If there’s one thing sadder than a career politician, it’s a career politician who is destined to lose.

Their weakness allows the SNP

run a steady ship, almost as if there wasn’t even an election on. Their strategy amounts to, “Sit back, do as little as possible, and tighten things up around the slogan 'both votes SNP'." So far it’s worked well for them. From the perspective of building a party of government it’s been effective and, to be fair, it’s not their job to make elections interesting, it’s their job to win them.

However, this week, something interesting finally happened. This week, one man stepped forward, a man who could, conceivably, revive the pioneering, youthful and dynamic spirit of 2014. That man is John Curtice, a 62-year old Oxford-educated professor from the University of Strathclyde.

Professor Curtice’s report essentially questions the intellectual grounds of the SNP’s slogan in this election. “Both votes SNP”, it suggests, could be a counterproductive strategy for independence. From the simple standpoint of gaining a pro-independence majority, SNP voters in certain areas might be advised to switch their regional vote.

Online, many nationalists responded with predictable anger. Some resorted to the usual conspiracy theories, while others tried to give a more measured case for their party loyalty. I don’t share that loyalty, but I do understand it. Belonging to the SNP under Sturgeon is a bit like supporting Manchester United under Alex Ferguson: there’s a backs-to-the-wall siege mentality, a constant sense of being under attack and of needing to repel all and everyone by swift and brutal counter-attacking. Years of anti-independence bias in the media is largely to blame for this feeling.

Nonetheless, if you, like me, support independence, and want it sooner rather than later, I think there’s a tactical, logical case for voting Rise, who I’m standing for, because we offer the clearest mandate on the issue. And if tactics can convince you to vote for us, I’ll humbly accept that. I’m grateful that Curtice’s tactical intervention has opened that debate, even if many people come at it from an initially hostile viewpoint.

And, in all of this, don’t get me wrong. Tactics matter. The Holyrood system is designed – tactically – to discriminate against the SNP. That’s why a plurality of pro-independence forces makes cold, logical sense.

However, I can’t end it there. Because I’m not standing for tactical reasons, for career reasons, or even simply for the sake of independence. I believe we can do something better, and I want, if possible, to win people to that vision.

For me, the evils of Westminster are apparent in the Panama Papers incident; in any real democracy, David Cameron would have resigned long ago. But this isn’t simply about bad politicians. It’s about an economic system that provides state-sponsored luxury for the rich.

Rise is launching its election manifesto today, and it is designed to take on the era of corrupt capitalism that we are living in. Who else except Rise can finally end the era of Private-Public Partnerships? Who else is arguing for a special tax avoidance scheme to target tax fraud among the wealthiest one per cent in Scotland? Rise will stand up to rampant capitalism; and to avoid terminal dullness, never mind to change the country for the better, parliament desperately needs our voices.

For me, this is emotional as well as logical. Simply put, I’ll always back Scottish independence because I believe the British state is inherently a menace to democracy and peace. But that doesn’t mean I forget the planet we share with everyone else, the economic system that constrains all of us, and the super-rich who make everyone do their bidding, regardless of nationality. I’m ashamed that Scotland, despite its wealth, still has children growing up in poverty, pensioners freezing to death, human beings sleeping on the street. These things matter to me more than anything else.

On these issues, I’ll find common ground with people in many parties. But I’m with Rise because I think we need radical answers; radical, that is, in the sense meant by the great African-American philosopher Angela Davis, “grasping things at the root”. Twenty years from now, climate change will be irreversible, and our planet uninhabitable for future generations. And growing income inequality could render the remains of parliamentary democracy completely irrelevant. Unless we act now, these are realistic prospects, not dystopian fantasies.

So vote with tactics if you must. But, intellectually, I believe we share more than the common cause of Scottish independence. Tactically, use your first vote for the government you want; morally, use your list vote for the values you want in politics. Either way, if we disagree, let’s be civilised, and let’s never return to the narrow-minded tribal politics that killed off

Scottish Labour.