In the Herald today, Tom Gordon writes of the Lib Dem leader’s call that the Electoral Commission should deny the new Alliance for Independence (AFI) party a place in the next Holyrood election:

Former SNP MSP Dave Thompson explained the strategy:

Every regional list vote for the SNP will have no impact – it will achieve nothing. Whereas, if a lot of these votes came to AFI, we can garner a lot of MSPs. We are looking at anything between eight and 24 MSPs.

I’m not sure how former members of a party can still be a ‘faction’ within it and there’s a certain irony in the protest coming from the Lib Dems, a party which grew out of ‘factions’ within the Labour and Liberal parties in an attempt, you could argue, to allow ‘different arms‘ of the ‘left’ to ‘mislead‘ voters.

What could be driving this move by the Lib Dems? Are they worried about something?

Could it be this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_Scottish_Parliament_election

Based on the last 12 opinion polls, The Lib Dem constituency vote support has fallen from 12% a year ago to 6%.

Or could it be this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_Scottish_Parliament_election

Based on the last 12 opinion polls, The Lib Dem regional or list vote support has fallen from 13% a year ago to 6%.

No psephologist myself, I’ve tried to find consistent analysis by others as to what this collapse might mean in terms of seats lost but opinions seem to vary so I’ll leave readers, once more, to fill my gaps.