The manipulation of the party list system is an affront to democracy, a corruption of the system. Election are our chance to get rid of failed politicians, and the use of the list to avoid being sacked is just morally wrong. Either stand on one or the other, and if you are the incumbent you defend your seat with no safety net.
Of the 21 Labour MSP’s elected in the 2016 election by the regional list, 17 of those had been either been voted out of office or otherwise rejected by the electorate.
Of the 24 Conservative list MSP’s elected on the same day, all 24 had been rejected by the voters in their respective constituencies.
The SNP retained one MSP in the above manner, the Greens 2 and the Liberals Democrats 1.
As for the manipulation of the list by the parties, this must stop. Parties should be allowed to submit a list of candidates, but that list should be a pool from which candidates are selected at random. If a party gets 4 list seats then stick the names in a bowl, like the FA Cup, and draw 4 names.
No more fiddling the system so that there are permanently unsackable characters placed forever at the top of the list. To me this practice is akin to Westminsters habit of sending rejected MP’s to the Lords: it’s two fingers up to the electorate, nothing less.