MY letter just before the New Year seems to have attracted the attention of quite a few Yes Campaigners (Let’s make the Green vote count for more with an SNP pact, December 30). This is important because the next election we will face will be a Scottish election. Let’s hope we have learned to deal with it in an intelligent way.

The major change from a first-past-the-post system to the mixed system we have now did in fact bring about change in political parties and their policy formulation approach. Labour and the LibDems were forced to except that any future Scottish Government was likely to be a coalition government and they stated to adjust to that. The SNP were confronted with running a minority government which could be voted down any week in the Scottish Parliament.

READ MORE: Let’s make the Green vote count for more with an SNP pact

Most political “experts” gave them a maximum of six months before they would be voted down by the parliament, but they were all wrong; the SNP survived this ordeal for a full term then won a much more secure hold of the parliament. They did not manage this without learning a great deal about how to compromise, adjust, re-align, and win support for their policies, or alternatively build opposition to the policies of their opponents.

The SNP and the Greens have learned a lot, and have changed. What they both need to do now is to apply that knowledge to the election process as well. The SNP will get huge support in the constituency section of the ballot. The SNP must never be complacent about that, and should work to improve on that in every part of Scotland.

However, in addressing the regional section the SNP must recognise its major handicap here caused by its own success. Therefore the SNP should be more relaxed about its major policy issues, and more prepared to see open debate in Scotland on these. We know what these policies are: the currency and banking reform, opposition to austerity and economic development. Serious measures to avert climate change damage. Work on Scotland’s rights and need for independence.

All of these issues are very important and most political parties can see a big need for reform in these areas. It makes sense therefore that, while many people in the country are discussing and debating these issues, groups of politicians for different parties are also looking at broad principles where there are clear lines of agreement, or could be if explored with other parties.

We need to see this emerge now. We may in the near future see a new left Scottish Labour party which is pro-indy and a recognition in the Greens and on the left that work has to be done on this. The sooner such development begins, the better for all of us in the Yes movement, because these discussions will lead to a clear majority of independence and once we have such a consensus nothing will stop the Scottish people.

Andy Anderson

COULD I just say two cheers for Andy Anderson for his letter on Monday? He is dead right that since the SNP are likely to do “very well” in the constituency section – perhaps much more than “very well? – they will be disadvantaged in the list.

If we look back at the last Holyrood election, the SNP took all the constituency seats in the Glasgow region and eight of 10 constituencies in West of Scotland. But if every single person who voted for them in their constituency had voted for them on the List, they would still not have won a single list seat.

In fact the SNP won no List seats in Central Scotland (where they also won all the constituencies), North East Scotland (where they won nine of 10 constituencies), Mid Scotland and Fife (eight of nine seats won by the SNP), and Lothian (where they won six of nine seats).

Andy Anderson is correct that the beneficiaries to date have been the Unionist parties. Currently 77% of Conservative MSPs were elected from the party List. For Labour the figure is a quite staggering 87%. SNP MSPs in contrast are 80% elected by their constituency. The need is to increase the number of independence-supporting MSPs via the Regional List.

One way this might be done, as Andy Anderson suggests, is for the Greens to develop “a loose understanding with the SNP, not standing in the constituency seats, and concentrating on the regional seats”, where they might attract Yes voters.

So, why only two cheers? Because a strategy like this requires two sides to come to an agreement. Encouragement to #SNPBOTHVOTES in 2016 saw thousands of SNP Regional List votes elect precisely no-one because the party had done so well in the constituency section. Perhaps the SNP needs to be willing to develop a loose understanding with the Greens that allows them to advise their voters that voting Green in the Regional List is not only OK, but a positive encouragement to independence?

It might go against instinct to, if not encourage votes for another party, be relaxed about it, but the SNP need to not only understand how the Holyrood voting system works, but to develop their own strategy for achieving maximum benefit, not necessarily for the party itself but for the cause of independence. Working with the Greens is one way this could be done. It takes two to tango after all!

Alasdair Galloway